An Edifier wireless speaker.

What’s better than listening to your favorite music? How about cranking those tunes on the best wireless speaker for your own needs and preferences.

For some people, that means a versatile multiroom system that fills your home with music from basement to attic. For others, it’s a rugged and waterproof portable you can take to a park. And for many of us, perfection in a wireless speaker couples benchmark sound quality with an affordable price.

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And whether you prefer Sinatra or Bruno Mars, you’ve never had more or better choices in wireless speakers. 

But which model should you choose? Consumer Reports selects the most promising models in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price ranges, and puts them through a rigorous standardized evaluation program in a dedicated lab with trained testers. We review them for ease of use and versatility, but most of all for sound quality.

And we buy our test samples the same way you do, through regular retail channels. No freebies for us.

Here are five impressive models, each ideal for a specific use or a particular listener.

Best-Sounding Wireless Speaker

Speakers are all about sound. That’s why our testing protocol places more emphasis on sound quality than any other single factor. And two different-but-similar Edifier models sound better than any other wireless speakers in our ratings.

The Edifier S1000MKII, a reasonably priced Bluetooth speaker system that's sold in a stereo pair, excels sonically. It features smooth trebles that aren’t jarring but still let you hear the delicate shimmer of a cymbal. Its musical low frequencies allow you to differentiate between an acoustic doghouse bass and a Fender Jazz bass cranking through an Ampeg amp. The all-important midrange, where most vocals and solo instruments live, is free of the distortions and colorations that can make lesser speakers tiring to listen to after a while. 

And with its classic stereo configuration, the Edifier provides a truly convincing illusion that the musicians are in the room with you. Want to hear for yourself? Listen to Pink Floyd’s epic “Dark Side of the Moon” on the Edifiers.

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Edifier S1000MKII

Price: $350

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The MKII is a close cousin—and possible successor—to the highly rated S1000DB, which sounds almost identical, according to our testers. The two models are also very similar in size and appearance, but a new and much-improved remote control makes the MKII easier to use and bumps its Overall Score just a bit.

Note that the S1000DB is still available at a number of retailers for around the same price as the newer MKII. The older model could be a decent buy if you find it at a significantly reduced price, but absent the discount, make sure you’re getting the newer, higher-rated model with the superior remote.

The Edifiers don’t offer multiroom functionality, unlike models from Sonos and Denon, but they do provide a full array of connections. Most of all, they are likely to impress with stellar sound.

Best-Sounding Portable Speaker

If you’re looking for a great-sounding speaker that can be moved as needed, including outdoors, but doesn't have to fit in a backpack, Ultimate Ears’ Hyperboom is likely to serve you well.

Our testers commend its robust bass and clean midrange, and report that it’s plenty loud indoors or out. They also find its large controls to be easy to use, which helps it earn good grades for versatility. The Hyperboom features an optical input, so it can double as a TV sound bar or upgrade the sound of a game console. 

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Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

Price: $400

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The vertically oriented design doesn’t take up much space on a table or shelf, and the subdued styling allows it to blend in better than most portables when you take the speaker indoors. If you'd prefer a model that's easier to carry around, you might consider the fine-sounding Braven XXL/2, which features boom-boxlike styling.

Ultimate Ears claims an IPX4 water-resistance rating for the Hyperboom, which means that it’s splashproof and spillproof, but it isn’t designed to stand up to a full-fledged dunking. 

Best Inexpensive Multiroom Speaker

For $100, this Ikea bookshelf speaker is the cheapest way into the Sonos ecosystem, which makes it a notably good value. 

While Ikea designed the long and thin box—which can serve as a light-duty bookshelf when mounted horizontally on a wall—the Symfonisk’s internals are pure Sonos, so it can be integrated seamlessly into a Sonos multiroom system. 

In our listening labs, the Symfonisk sounds a lot like its Sonos brethren, with a clear treble that allows cymbals to shimmer, a balanced and detailed midrange that reveals the nuance in Beyoncé’s vocals, and bass that’s musical if not overly deep. The sound-quality ranking fell just a bit below the significantly more expensive Sonos One SL, but the gap is so tiny that most casual listeners won’t notice the difference.

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Ikea Symfonisk Bookshelf

Price: $100

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Our testers note that a stereo pair of Symfonisk speakers can yield a wider sound stage and a more realistic reproduction of the room ambience on a recording. 

The Symfonisk also functions like a Sonos speaker in the company’s multiroom systems. With the easy-to-use app, it’s simple to integrate the model into a whole-house system, so you can listen to Janelle Monae in the kitchen while the kids blast Taylor Swift in the basement. Keep in mind, however, that like Sonos’ other home speakers, the Symfonisk lacks Bluetooth capability, so it needs WiFi to function.

Most-Versatile Wireless Speaker

Remember that thing called a radio? The days when you could listen to the news or sports talk, not to mention your favorite DJ playing tunes destined to become gems? The Como Solo hasn't forgotten.

This compact, retro-cool Bluetooth speaker sports a very unique feature: an AM/FM tuner. Further boosting its best-in-class versatility score is an impressive array of inputs, including an optical port for connecting a TV, a USB port that allows you to play music on a stick, a headphone jack for personal listening, and a couple of additional Aux-in jacks.

The Como, which was designed by Tom DeVesto who created similarly stylish devices for Tivoli, features a real wood cabinet (available in Walnut, Hickory, Piano White, or Piano Black) and a screen that displays a vintage-style analog clock when it's not in use. All in all, it's a handsome companion for a nightstand.

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Como Audio Solo

Price: $350

Sound quality
Ease of use
Versatility
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Our testers found that the Solo's sound isn't spectacular, but it is easy to live with. The midrange is even with a little less detail than the best speakers available, while both the bass and treble are a bit subdued, which is often better than strident or bass-heavy speakers that impose their own sonic signature on your music.

The Solo is monophonic but can be stereo-paired via an 11-foot wired connection with the company's Ambiente auxiliary speaker (starting at $110, depending on finish). 

Best Inexpensive Portable Wireless Speaker

The JBL Flip 4 is a bargain. It lists for $100, and the street price is often significantly less. But don’t be fooled by the low price—the JBL is a lot of speaker for the money.

The classic cylindrical design takes up relatively little space in a beach bag or on a picnic table. And the Flip 4 comes in six fun colors, all the better to coordinate with your favorite sunglasses. 

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JBL Flip 4

Price: $80

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The company claims a battery life of up to 12 hours, and the Flip 4’s claimed IPX7 waterproofness rating means that it can survive being fully submerged, which makes it perfect for the beach or any outdoor setting where a shower—or a dunking—is a distinct possibility. 

Compared with the best-sounding speakers we’ve tested, the Flip 4 has a few shortcomings, with bass that’s a bit boomy and trebles that are somewhat subdued. But when played outdoors and in other casual environments where a speaker like this works best, the Flip 4’s largely forgiving sonic signature encourages you to play tunes one right after the other.


What Makes a Great Speaker?

Do you know the difference between good speakers and excellent speakers? On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports’ expert Elias Arias explains to host Jack Rico the art of identifying quality devices.