Since Johann Philips's Reis created the first
electric speaker in 1861 capable of reproducing clear tones, speakers have come a long way.
Many of them offer different sleek and modern design that can blend in with your existing
home décor. If you love to listen to audio at home you’ll want to add a speaker that
can fill up your space with your favorite music or podcast without taking too much space
or creating too much clutter. Some will even become your companion and help you with your
day-to-day tasks, or support multi-room features to bring your audio from one room to the next. Hi, I’m Dago, a tester at RTINGS.com where
we help you find the best product for your needs.
Make sure you subscribe to our channel for
the latest videos, or check out our website for the full article! In this episode we will show you the 9 best
home speakers in 2021 that we tested so far. We will be breaking them down into 5 categories.
The Best Home Speaker, The Best Home Speaker for Music, The Best Home Speaker for Voice
Assistant, The Best Budget Home Speaker and lastly The Best Cheap Home Speaker. As with all of our pick, we choose this based
of our own testing. But we also consider other factors as well, such as price, availability,
and feedback from the community. We’ve tested over 50 speakers so far. So if there’s a
speaker you really like that didn’t make the list, be sure to let us know in the comments.
If you’d like to skip straight to a section
of the video, use the chapter selector below. Please note we won’t be looking at bookshelves
speakers or audio system speakers since we do not test them at the moment. So when we
talk about wired speakers, we are referring to speakers that are required to be always
connected to a power outlet. The best home speaker that we’ve tested
is the Sonos Move. Like its name indicates, this speaker is extremely portable thanks
to its Bluetooth and WIFI connectivity, which makes it easier to move from room to room
as needed. It even has a handle to carry it wherever you go and has 10h battery life,
which should be enough to play your favourite tunes before returning it to its charging
dock. Its sleek design can blend with most décor. It has Alexa and Google Assistant
built-in, which can understand you easily, even when you are far away. This speaker can auto calibrate while in WIFI
mode using the auto Trueplay feature. Trueplay measures how sound reflects off walls, furniture
and other surfaces in the room in order to calibrate the speaker where it has been placed.
Using the built-in mic on the Move, this feature takes 20 seconds to perform the room correction
once it has been moved.
Using the Sonos App S2 on IOS or Android, you can customize the
bass and the treble with sliders and pair it with multiple Sonos speakers to amplify
the audio or play music across different rooms in your house. The Move has a very balanced sound profile,
making it suitable for listening to various types of audio content like podcasts or music.
It can reproduce a deep bass, and the Move has one of the lowest frequency extension
(LFE) of the speakers we tested so far. It lacks a little in the low-bass which could
disappoint users who prefer bass-heavy music like EDM or hip-hop, though most small speakers
lack in that regard. Also, this speaker downmixes stereo content into mono, but it has good
directivity so audio still sounds clear from most angles. If you prefer a home speaker that can play
stereo content, then consider the Google Home Max.
Though it is not as portable as the Sonos
Move due to its wired design, it still has a good overall performance. When placed horizontally
it can play stereo content, resulting in a soundstage that feels immersive. As long as
the mic is on, you can also use Smart Sound to adapt the speaker to your environment by
measuring the acoustics of your space. We found this feature creates a well-balanced
sound profile, which makes it suitable for different types of audio content.
companion app, Google Home, you can adjust the bass and treble or connect it to another
Google speaker for stereo pairing. Like the Sonos Move you can also play audio across
multiple rooms. If you love listening to music at home then
consider the Sonos Five, which is our best home speaker for music that we’ve tested
so far. The Sonos Five has a sleek design with a graphite grille and can be placed horizontally
for stereo audio or vertically for mono audio. This speaker is not very portable and does
not offer Bluetooth connectivity. However, due to its wired design, it can always be
connected to your WIFI, so you can always play music without the interruption of a phone
call or a limited Bluetooth range.
It also has an AUX connection in the back if needed. The Sonos Five has touch controls on the top
to adjust the volume or to skip a track. However, most of the controls are done on the Sonos
App “S2”. There you will be able to access bass and treble sliders. For those who have
an iOS device you can calibrate the speaker to the room you place it in using their Trueplay
feature by using the microphone of your phone. With this feature turned on, their sound profile
is pretty neutral, though it can sound a bit bright.
When used in stereo mode the soundstage
is quite good, which should be suitable for lots of different music genres. If one Sonos
Five is not enough then you can also pair it with other Sonos speakers to create a stereo
pair or to amplify your music across a large room for a party or Multi Room to play multiple
speakers across multiple rooms in your home. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support built-in
voice assistant and there’s a lot of compression at max volume. Also, it’s not rated for
dust or water resistance. However, Sonos claims that it’s safe to use in humidity environments
like your bathroom, though we don’t test for this. If you're looking for a speaker with a little
bit more customization features, then consider the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM. It has a full
graphic EQ that lets you customize its sound to your liking.
It can get quite loud without
too much compression at max volume. It offers a great soundstage but be sure to properly
orient the drivers to take full advantage of its stereo sound. Unlike the Sonos, it
offers more connectivity options, like Bluetooth and optical, but it does not have any WIFI
capabilities. However, its battery life lasts almost 24hrs on a single charge so you can
move it around your house a lot easier or even take it outside. It does not have Multi-Room,
but the companion app lets you pair it to another HYPERBOOM speaker for stereo pairing
or to amplify your audio. If you love using the aid of a voice assistant
for your day-to-day tasks, then consider the Apple Home Pod as the best performing home
speaker for voice assistant that we tested.
This wired speaker has built-in Siri voice
assistant and offers an excellent performance in that regard. You can activate Siri with
your voice, and it does an excellent job at understanding you whether you’re far away
or in a noisy room. This smart speaker can be a great addition
to your Apple ecosystem since its companion app is only available on IOS devices. You
can add another Home Pod for stereo pair, multi room or to play music across a crowded
Thanks to its 360-degree design, it offers an outstanding immersive soundstage
for your music. However, it does not offer any functionality with Android devices. Unfortunately,
you cannot turn off Siri and it doesn’t have a physical mute button. If you would like a speaker that offers similar
voice assistant performance but with Android and IOS capabilities, then consider the Bose
Home Speaker 500. This speaker has both Alexa and Google Assistant built in. It can register
your commands even if you are far away or in a noisy environment.
There is even a switch
to turn it off when you want to mute the assistant. It also comes with a display screen to show
that time as well as information about the music you're listening too, which is handy. The speaker’s 360-degree design also offers
an amazing, immersive soundstage, but its not quite as impressive as the Homepod. The
sound profile could sound a bit dull due to their underemphasized treble range compared
to the Home Pod’s neutral and balanced sound profile. If you’re on a budget but want to get the
most of a home speaker then consider the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2.
It comes in several different
colors so you can choose the design aesthetic that best fits your style. This small and portable speaker can play stereo
content and has an immersive 360-degree soundstage that is open and large. It comes with a 12hr
battery life and even has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we do not
currently test for this. On that note, it’s the one of the only speakers that we have
tested that is advertised to float in water for those pool enthusiasts. Unfortunately, like most small speakers, it
doesn’t get very loud and struggles to reproduce a low bass so it may not be ideal to use in
a large room. Fortunately, you can always pair two WONDERBOOM 2’s for a large room
or to play music on both speakers by the pool.
The Amazon Echo Dot Gen 4 is the best cheap
speaker that we’ve tested. This wired only speaker comes with Bluetooth and WIFI capabilities.
It offers built-in Amazon Alexa support and does an excellent job at understanding you
in noisy settings or when you are far away. This speaker offers a balanced mid-range that
can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly, but they could sound a bit dark or
dull. You can always pair two of these speakers together in order to create a stereo pair
or to boost music across a large room. Unfortunately, this speaker downmixes stereo
content into mono which is not very immersive. That said, it's still a solid choice for its
price. If you're looking for another bang for your
buck speaker then also consider the Sony SRS-XB12. It offers a better soundstage then the Echo
Dot Gen 4 even while downmixing stereo into mono.
The speaker does not get very loud but
offers minimal compression artifacts at max volume. Unfortunately, it lacks customization
and does not have a voice assistant built-in which could be useful as a home speaker. The Bose Soundlink Revolve is a stylish, portable
Bluetooth speaker that’s a solid option for listeners who prefer or are looking for
a small speaker. However, like most small speakers, it can struggle to reproduce low-bass
and it doesn’t get very loud The Amazon Echo Gen 4 is a small speaker with
built-in Alexa capabilities that offers a very good performance for voice assistant.
However, it isn’t as versatile as the Apple HomePod. It’s also more expensive than the
Echo Dot Gen 4 but it does have a better-balanced sound profile and can get louder.
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is a small, portable
Bluetooth speaker in the budget range that comes with a graphic EQ to customize the sound.
Though, it is not as well built as the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 and it doesn't get as loud. The Sony SRS-XB43 is a portable speaker with
customizable lighting. Its sound profile isn’t very well-balanced, but it has a basic graphic
EQ in its companion app and a 15-hr battery life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a built-in
voice assistant, so it uses the voice assistant from your paired smartphone. The JBL BOOMBOX 2 is popular choice for certain
people. It offers a whopping 24hr battery life, and it can get very loud which is good
for large rooms or parties.
Though, it can get quite a lot of compression artifacts at
max volume and it has a somewhat narrow soundstage. It also lacks EQ customization. So what do you think of our picks? Have you
bought one? Let us know below, and be sure to tell us if there’s any other speakers
you recommend. Also, we are currently hiring in our offices
in Montreal for various positions. So, if you want to help people find the best product
for their needs, have a look at the careers page on our website. You can check out all of those picks on our
Article link below. If you like this video, subscribe to our channel. You can also become
an insider on the website for early access to our latest results! So that's it! Thank you for watching and see
you next time..
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