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A photo of a small wireless speaker to illustrate an article on the best wireless speakers.

Best Wireless Speakers for People Who Want Great Sound

Feature-filled wireless speakers are still about listening to music; our testers say these models sound terrific

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Today’s wireless speakers can pull off all sorts of impressive tricks. Some float in the pool. Others put on a light show. A few can even levitate. (Truth be told, we’re not all that impressed with those.) And, of course, there’s a whole subgenre of smart speakers, which respond to your verbal commands.

But when it comes right down to it, what you really want in a speaker is spectacular sound, right? The kind that makes you sit back and marvel in the majesty of Tony Bennett, Adele, or Kacey Musgraves.

That’s why we selected the models below—they all feature sound quality that puts them near the top of our best wireless speaker ratings


Edifier S1000DB
Edifier S1000DB

    Edifier S1000DB

    For the Supremes Fan

    As much as we like “You Can’t Hurry Love,” this recommendation isn’t about Diana Ross and that iconic Motown girl group. It’s about the fact that the Edifier is simply the very best-sounding wireless speaker in our ratings. 


    Our testers were impressed by high frequencies that were clear but smooth and the extended bass, which remained musical, so you could tell the difference between an upright bass and an electric Fender Jazz Bass. And for that very reasonable $350 price, you get a stereo pair of Edifiers, which allows the speakers to create a convincing illusion that the musicians are there in the room with you. 


    We don’t really think of it as a shortcoming, but these aren’t the most versatile speakers. While they sport a variety of connections—from robust Bluetooth pairing to RCA and digital jacks—the Edifiers aren’t designed to work as part of a multiroom system. They’re all about playing music in one place with truly impressive fidelity, and there’s nothing wrong with that.


    Sonos Play:5 (2015)
    Sonos Play:5 (2015)

      Sonos Play:5 (2015)

      For the Fan of . . . Well, Everything

      What if you want to listen to a podcast in the kitchen, your spouse wants to rock out to Prince in the bedroom, and your kids and their friends in the basement are enthralled with the soundtrack from “Black Panther”?


      Enter the Sonos Play:5. Supremely flexible and versatile, the Play:5 can function as the centerpiece of a wireless multiroom music system that serves up different content in different parts of your home using an app on your smartphone. You can position a Play:5 on every level of your house, or integrate just one into a system that includes the company’s Beam sound bar and a Sonos One smart speaker. One caveat: Like all Sonos models, the Play:5 is WiFi only and doesn’t support a Bluetooth connection. 


      But here’s what makes the Sonos Play:5 really stand out: It delivers superb sound quality. When it comes to sonic performance, a single $500 unit is topped only by the Edifier S1000DB. Add a second Sonos Play:5, and that stereo pair joins the Edifier pair as the only wireless speakers to earn an Excellent rating for sound quality from our very discerning testers.


      JBL Boombox
      JBL Boombox

        JBL Boombox

        For the Queen Fan

        The Oscar-winning film “Bohemian Rhapsody” reminded sports fans that Freddie Mercury’s progressive band was also responsible for some of the most iconic stadium rock anthems ever. And whether you pump your fist to “We Will Rock You” or you get chills while listening to “We Are the Champions,” the JBL Boombox is the ideal wireless speaker for pregame parties in the stadium parking lot.


        Weighing in at 12 pounds and packing a robust Powerbank power supply that’s supposed to be good for 24 hours of nonstop music, with juice to spare for charging phones and other devices, the JBL is the total tailgating tool. 

        But as one of CR’s highest-rated portable wireless speakers, the Boombox is more than just a crowd pleaser. It sports truly impressive bass—maybe even a little too much, according to our testers—and can supply volume aplenty without distortion even when you crank “Under Pressure” in the great outdoors.


        Marshall Kilburn
        Marshall Kilburn

          Marshall Kilburn

          For the Jimi Hendrix Fan

          If you’re a guitar player—or you just like watching classic rock videos on YouTube—you’ll quickly recognize that the styling on this wireless speaker channels the classic good looks of Marshall’s line of iconic guitar amplifiers.

          As long as you aren’t looking for peel-the-paint volume levels, you’re likely to be pleased with the Kilburn’s impactful bass and pleasant midrange.


          The Kilburn is also worthy of praise for its impressive ease of use. Like a vintage guitar amp, the Kilburn’s three most prominent controls (volume, bass, and treble) can be accessed through beefy knobs on the top of the unit that are nicely knurled and turn with a silky feel. The speaker also incorporates two buttons that make it simple to change audio sources and pair it with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.


          Bose SoundLink Color
          Bose SoundLink Color

            Bose SoundLink Color

            For the Lady Gaga Fan

            At 5 feet 1 inch tall, the Emmy and Oscar winner may be small of stature, but the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta packs plenty of sonic wallop. Same with the Bose SoundLink. This inexpensive portable Bluetooth speaker (available in five colors) strikes an impressive balance between size and power.


            At a trim 5.5x5x3.5 inches, you can pop the Bose in a bag or place it on a corner of a desk or a picnic table without yielding much real estate. And yet, in our tests, it delivered a surprising amount of oomph—just like the “A Star is Born” star. The SoundLink is splashproof but not waterproof, and it features an analog audio input for use with non-Bluetooth devices.

            Wireless & Bluetooth Speakers Rated
            Access Ratings
            Allen St. John

            I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That's why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books ("Newton’s Football" and "Clapton’s Guitar"). For me, there's no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that'll help others be smarter and better informed.