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Office worker with a computer listening to music on a desktop speaker

Best Wireless Desktop Speakers for Your Office

Great-sounding models from Bose, Sonos, and Apple provide music to work by

A number of research studies suggest that listening to music while you're at work can improve your mood, and actually boost your productivity and creativity. If you'd like to do just that—or simply listen to tunes while you type—it's worth investing in a good desktop speaker.

The first requirement for a work speaker is that it needs to sound good. A grating, annoying midrange—the tones where you hear most vocals—might not be such a big problem in a portable speaker you take to the beach, but over a long work day, any sonic flaws will stand out.

On the other hand, while home speakers might have to fill a large living room, most offices are modest in size—so you don't need a desktop speaker that can crank out volume. Instead, you want a model that sounds appealing when played quietly and from close range.

Lastly, the physical package matters, too. If the speaker will be sitting on your desk, you want it to be relatively small—desk real estate is precious. And you'll be staring at it all day, every day, so your speaker should be attractive, or at least unobtrusive. A cool-looking speaker may even be a conversation starter for anyone who visits your desk.

And these days, you have a lot of good choices.

"Many of today's best wireless and smart speakers work well in an office environment, because they offer impressive sound in a small and simple package," says Nish Suvarnakar, Consumer Reports analyst for the home audio market.

Here are five stylish speakers that do well in Consumer Reports' labs—and will work well in your office, too.

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2
More Than Museum-Quality
Edifier E30 Spinnaker Bluetooth Speaker System
Edifier E30 Spinnaker Bluetooth...

    Edifier E30 Spinnaker Bluetooth...

    Love them or hate them, these Edifiers look like something you'd buy from the gift shop at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Edifier says the 16-inch-tall Spinnakers are meant to evoke the big sails on racing yachts. Others may think they resemble ox horns. But either way, these desktop speakers demand attention, especially if you choose the striking red finish. 

     

    But the price tag brings more than good looks. Twiddle the minimalist remote and you'll discover that the Edifiers sound as good as they look. The fact that the speakers come in a stereo pair gives the music a sense of space, and the mellow high notes make it easy to keep listening even if you're working overtime. The pair earns a Very Good sound quality score from our testers.

     

    The only reason not to spring for the Spinnakers? If you have a big office and don't care much about aesthetics, Edifier makes a much larger speaker that sounds even better. The S1000DB costs only $50 more and is our current sound quality champ. 

    3
    Merging Home and Office
    Sonos Play:3
    Sonos Play:3

      Sonos Play:3

      Do you work at home? If you're a telecommuter or a freelancer, the Sonos Play:3 is an especially smart choice for a desktop speaker. It sounds great, with convincing stereo imaging from a single 11-inch wide box. (If you have a small desk, check out Sonos' smaller Play:1.) The Play:3 can also play quite loudly—a nice bonus if you don't have to worry about disturbing your office mates when you're cranking Sleater-Kinney. 

       

      The Play:3 can also integrate seamlessly with other Sonos models in your home, forming a flexible multiroom system for after-hours use. That means the speaker can sync the same song in different rooms and on different floors, or instead create separate listening zones: Bill Evans at your workspace and Ariana Grande in a kids' bedroom, all controlled by an intuitive mobile app. 

      4
      Dome Sweet Dome
      Harman Kardon Allure
      Harman Kardon Allure

        Harman Kardon Allure

        Sitting on your desk, Harmon Kardon's Allure certainly makes a visual statement, though it doesn't exactly scream "speaker." With its transparent dome, 8 inches in diameter, the HK looks a bit like a high-end room humidifier. (Once you turn it on, LEDs underneath the dome light up, making the speaker look a bit like an accent lamp.)

         

        The Allure is an Alexa-powered smart speaker, and a good one at that. Its overall sound is a bit warm and relaxed compared with some of its brasher competitors, which isn't a bad thing in an office speaker. 

         

        The Allure's touch-sensitive controls weren't as intuitive as some, but our testers say most consumers should find the learning curve reasonable. Harmon Kardon's products are often steeply discounted, so don't be surprised to find the Allure selling well below its $250 list price.
         

        5
        The Apple of Your Desk
        Apple HomePod
        Apple HomePod

          Apple HomePod

          If your desk resembles an Apple Store outpost, with your iPhone and iPad charging next to your MacBook, the HomePod smart speaker might make an ideal office companion.

           

          Just under 6 inches in diameter, the HomePod exudes that Apple aesthetic that fans of the brand have come to love, and it interfaces seamlessly with the Apple Music streaming service. However, Apple's Siri digital assistant currently has fewer specialized skills than Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant, although more are on the way.


          Soundwise, the HomePod features a signal processing algorithm that adjusts the speaker to your room, or your desk, or wherever it's placed. Our testers liked the HomePod, but they also found that the overblown bass blurred the all-important midrange. The Apple HomePod is highly rated for sound but comes in behind the Google Home Max and Sonos One smart speakers on that measure.