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Google Home Max, which can be used as a multiroom speaker.

Best Wireless Multiroom Speakers of 2019

Top-rated models from Amazon, Apple, Google, Denon, and Sonos let you play music throughout your home

A decade or so ago, the price of a multiroom audio system could reach five figures, with the cost of the speakers, amps, keypads, and switching devices often dwarfed by the expense of snaking wires through the walls and setting up complicated equipment.

But wireless technology has changed all that, and today you can buy a wireless multiroom speaker system with great performance and unprecedented flexibility for surprisingly little money.

Though Sonos has led the way in this space, other companies are now giving you even more choices for modestly priced wireless multiroom speakers, with still more on the way. Amazon, for example, recently released an update to improve the multiroom functionality of its Echo speakers. 

Having a wide range of speakers to choose from is a good thing if you're a music lover, and our top-rated multiroom speakers offer impressive flexibility. If your aim is to hear "Achy Breaky Heart" perfectly synced through 16 speakers on four different levels of your house, go right ahead. If your goals are more modest—streaming NPR quietly in the kitchen while the kids crank "Frozen" in the family room, all controlled by your smartphone—that's an option, too.

Here we feature five of the top-rated multiroom speakers from CR's ratings, some with smart speaker features.

1

Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)
Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

    Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Generation)

    The Amazon Echo was the original smart speaker, but it's only this summer that the entire line gained multiroom capabilities and stereo pairing. While these new capabilities work with any Echo model, the Echo Plus is your best bet as the centerpiece of a multiroom system for one reason: great sound.

     

    Our testers had been less than impressed with the sound of most of Amazon's speakers, but the second-generation Echo Plus is a model that changed their minds. It sounds significantly better than the previous incarnation of the Echo Plus as well as the current version of the Echo. The Echo Plus's other upgrade over the Echo is its integrated Zigbee hub, which allows it to work better with a wider variety of smart home devices. 

     

    If you want to improve the sound of the Echo Plus even more, Amazon has also released the Echo Sub subwoofer. Adding the Echo Sub to a pair of Echo Pluses gives you a 2.1 satelite-and-sub setup with deeper bass that has more impact—and a more convincing illusion that vocalists and instruments are right there in the room with you.

    2

    Apple HomePod
    Apple HomePod

      Apple HomePod

      When Apple first introduced the long-awaited HomePod early in 2018, it was a standalone smart speaker. But this summer Apple pushed out a software update that allows two HomePods to pair in stereo, or multiple speakers to make up a wireless multiroom speaker system. 

       

      Our testers like the HomePod's sound quality, but they note that it lacks clarity in the all-important midrange. As a stereo pair, the HomePod's sound quality improves a bit, with treble that's less subdued and a more real-sounding placement of instruments in space.

       

      The HomePod is best if you're deeply immersed in Apple's ecosystem, because it offers easy integration with the Apple Music streaming service, including full voice control. 

      3

      Denon HEOS 5 HS2
      Denon HEOS 5 HS2

        Denon HEOS 5 HS2

        With its HEOS line, Denon has tried to take on Sonos at its ground-breaking multiroom speaker game, and, according to our testers, the venerable audio company has largely succeeded. 


        The HEOS models post sound-quality scores that are similar to equivalent Sonos models', and our testers find the Denon system to be a little more flexible than a Sonos. The Denons offer Bluetooth pairing, which allows you to, say, casually pair your phone to the HEOS system so that you can finish listening to a playlist or podcast that you started while you were out running. But for all its versatility, the HEOS 5 isn't a smart speaker, so you'll need to control it with your phone rather than your voice. 


        The HEOS 5 sits in the middle of Denon's wireless speaker line, and you have the option of adding the large and fine-sounding HEOS 7 or the versatile HEOS 1, which has a base with a rechargeable battery that can make the speaker portable and water-resistant. That allows you to confidently bring your multiroom music to the deck, porch, or patio.

        4

        Google Home Max
        Google Home Max

          Google Home Max

          Introduced in mid-2017, the Google Home Max was really the first smart speaker with sound quality you didn't need to make excuses for. More than a year later, the Home Max remains our best-sounding smart speaker. Our testers like its solid bass and clean midrange, along with plenty of volume. 

          Things get even better if you're willing to pair two Home Maxes in stereo. Our testers say that a pair of these speakers can almost fool you into thinking that instruments from your favorite recording are right there in the room with you.

          The Home Max's smart functions work seamlessly with Google Assistant, and the Home also offers a variety of audio options. You can integrate several Home Max speakers throughout your home, either singly or in stereo pairs, and supplement them with smaller and less expensive Google Home speakers or other speakers with Chromecast capability as part of a multiroom system.

          5

          Sonos One
          Sonos One

            Sonos One

            The Sonos One has two features that make it a great choice for a wireless multiroom speaker system: small size and a relatively low price. The Sonos One smart speaker, about the same size as the company's popular Play:1 speaker, fits unobtrusively on a shelf. Though it doesn't offer the sheer bass response of larger speakers such as the Denon or the Home Max, it does offer impressively detailed sound on vocals and instrumentals.

             

            It costs about half as much as many of its rivals, so you can start your system with couple of Ones—say, one in the kitchen and the other in the bedroom—and expand to other rooms (or to stereo pairs with better sound) later. 

             

            The Sonos One can integrate with the company's larger and even better-sounding wireless speakers, such as the Play:5 and Play:3, adding smart speaker functionality to an existing Sonos system. (But remember that if you want stereo pairing, you'll need two Sonos Ones; the company's similarly sized Play:1 won't work with a Sonos One.) 

             

            The One's smart speaker versatility makes it largely future-proof; it features Amazon's Alexa digital assistant and works with Apple's AirPlay 2, with Google Assistant compatibility promised for the future.