Best Speaker 2017 – Buyer’s Guide

Sound is a powerful thing. It can inspire, enhance and set the mood. The music we choose to listen to are highly personal to our tastes, as is the medium through which we hear them. If you’re looking to enhance the sound quality of your music or get a premium surround-sound experience when watching films, then speakers are an excellent purchase decision.

However, one size does not fit all. A bit of a boost for your music streaming is one thing – a complete surround-sound system quite another. It is therefore very important to do your research beforehand, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of money. Whatever you want it for, there will be a perfect sound-system out there for you.

SpeakersImageTypeColourAccessoriesPriceConnectivityRatingBuy Now
SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker1-sonos-play-1-wireless-smart-sound-multi-room-speakerWireless speakerBlack/whitePhone App£189.00Wi-Fi, Ethernet port9.0/10
Bose Solo 5 Soundbar2-bose-solo-5-soundbarSoundbarBlackRemote Control£239.95Optical, Bluetooth8.5/10
Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers3-logitech-z506-5-1-pc-speakersSurround sound speakersBlackColour coded speaker cables£69.22Stereo inputs8.5/10
Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer4-bose-acoustimass-300-wireless-subwooferSubwooferBlackNone£599.00Bluetooth9.0/10
Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker Dock5-bose-sounddock-series-iii-speaker-dockSpeaker dockBlackRemote Control£237.993.5 mm jack input8.6/10

Best Speakers For Music Streaming

SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker Review

SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker Review

An award-winning wireless speaker ideal for music streaming

This super-compact and versatile multi-room speaker is a great choice for those who love listening to music throughout their home. Small enough to place almost anywhere – on a shelf, desk or worktop – it is very easy to set up and operate using the Sonos app on your phone. You can also add more devices over time with no fuss. Choose whether you want music to play in sync across the house, or rather something different in each room. Fully compatible with music streaming services and online radio stations including Spotify and iTunes, with this speaker you get complete control over your music with the touch of a button.

This speaker is wireless, which means you can play music via your Wi-Fi connection or plug straight into an Ethernet cable if you prefer. It’s possible to build out the sound of your Sonos-system over time by adding a playbar, sub or both.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Easy setup
  • Great sounding
  • Great features on the app
We Didn't Like:
  • Expensive but the quality is exquisite
SONOS PLAY:1
90 %

Our Verdict: We love the simple aesthetic of this small but powerful speaker and how easy it is to use.

SONOS PLAY:1 Rating: 9/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Wireless
  • Colour: Black or white
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet port

SONOS PLAY:1 product manual

Download the SONOS PLAY:1 user manual here.

Best TV Sound-bar

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar Review

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar Review

A versatile sound-bar to enhance your TV audio

A sound-bar is the ideal way to improve the quality of your favourite TV shows, games and music. What’s more, with this Bose sound-bar that has Bluetooth built in, you can position it anywhere you want. It also comes with a handy universal remote that will do your sound-bar, TV, bass module, games consoles and other Bluetooth devices – keeping everything nice and simple. Who wants multiple different remotes to navigate every time you settle down to watch a movie?

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Great sounding
  • Great aesthetic design
  • Super build quality
We Didn't Like:
  • Not compatiable with all TVs, check before buying
Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar
95 %

Our Verdict: This sound-bar from Bose is an ideal size to place on a shelf, is easy to use, excellent sounding and has a nice, sleek design that is unobtrusive. Before buying, check that it will be compatible with your TV, as it does not always work with older models. Our only gripe with this sound-bar is the lack of visual indication when changing the volume.

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar Rating: 9.5/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Sound-bar
  • Colour: Black
  • Accessories: Remote control, power cable, optical cable, coaxial cable
  • Connectivity: Optical, Bluetooth

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar product manual

Download the Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar  user manual here.

Best 5-Piece Speaker-System

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speaker Review

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers Review

A powerful 5-piece speaker with subwoofer

With 5 separate speakers, including a subwoofer for bass, this surround-sound speaker-system is perfect for those who want top quality sound alongside their movies and gaming. It offers powerful sound for a very reasonable price, and will connect easily to your PC, DVD or Blu-ray player. For the money, you can expect a perfectly adequate, immersive experience that will really bring your home entertainment to life.

 

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Easy to shift the around
  • Great surround-sound effect
  • High build quality
We Didn't Like:
  • Cables can be restrictive
Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers
85 %

Our Verdict: These speakers are easy to connect and operate and can be conveniently connected with two devices simultaneously. If you like a really powerful bass, you can turn the bass up to max and really feel the sound. This is a great set to give yourself a decent home cinema experience on a modest budget.

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers Rating: 8.5/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Surround-sound
  • Accessories: Power cable, direct audio cables
  • Connectivity: Stereo inputs

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers product manual

Download the Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speakers user manual here.

Best Subwoofer

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer Review

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer Review

A dynamic lone subwoofer to enhance bass

On the slightly more expensive end of these appliances, this powerful Bose subwoofer is the perfect example of ‘you get what you pay for’. Ideally paired with other items in the Bose 300 range, such as the Bose SoundTouch 300 sound-bar or wireless home cinema, this wireless subwoofer adds amazing deep bass for a fully rounded cinematic experience – perfect for movies, gaming and house parties.

We love the sleek black design and glass-top finish that you get with this subwoofer, as well as the fact that it automatically reduces distortion to give smooth, satisfying sound. Its simple design means that it’s relatively unobtrusive in your home and will likely go perfectly well with your existing setup.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Easy connectivity
  • Fantastic quality
  • High build quality
  • Looks great
We Didn't Like:
  • Instructions are very minimal – Google will yeild more help if required.
Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer
90 %

Our Verdict: A great purchase for those who want the full package.

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer Rating: 9/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Subwoofer
  • Colour: Black
  • Accessories: Power cord
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer product manual

Download the Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer user manual here.

Best Dock-Speaker

Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker-Dock Review

Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker Dock Review

Hear all of your favourite songs in clear, high quality with this speaker-dock from – you guessed it – Bose. Bose is well-known for its quality products, and this one is no exception. Supporting mostly newer Apple products, including the iPhone 5 and iPod Touch, as well as other devices such as your laptop or tablet, it is the perfect partner for sound enhancement. Its remote control allows you to easily hop, skip and jump from one song to the next, and its quality and ease of use are top notch. We would love if it also had Bluetooth and could connect to non-Apple devices  – hopefully this is something that will be catered for in later models.

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Pros and Cons
We Liked:
  • Great build quality
  • Great sounding
  • Auxiliary IN can be used with any device
  • Remote control
We Didn't Like:
  • No bluetooth for the high price
Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker-Dock
86 %

Our Verdict: A high performance speaker-dock for your devices, look no further than this device for all your sound-docking needs. Great sounding and overall value for money.

Bose SoundDock Series III Rating: 8.6/10

Specification & Downloads

Specifications:

  • Type: Speaker-dock
  • Colour: Black
  • Accessories: Remote control, power pack, power cord
  • Connectivity: 3.5 mm jack input

Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker-Dock product manual

Download the Bose SoundDock Series III Speaker-Dock user manual here.

Speakers Buying Guide

Power and frequency

The more powerful your device is, the higher volume it can reach without loss of quality. Most have a power rating, but it can be tricky to ascertain what kind will work best in a particular room based purely on this metric. As a ballpark guide for those who want a really decent speaker, aim for 25W and above and consider using an amplifier to improve the quality of the sound.

By contrast, frequency refers to sound range. Quality speakers will produce sound in the range of 20-20,000 Hz – the same range as the human ear.

Wireless connectivity

An option with wireless or Bluetooth connectivity can be a great option for those who enjoy listening to music and using music streaming services. Wireless-speakers can be connected with your devices – laptop, smartphone, tablet – and play seamless music at a much higher quality than you will be able to achieve with built-in device speakers. Being wireless, your device doesn’t have to be physically tethered to the speaker, so you’re free to carry it around as usual.

Speaker-docks

Speaker-docks are a speaker designed to work with a smartphone or MP3 player. You can simply mount your device onto the dock and it will amplify the sound through the speakers. If you buy a speaker-dock you must make sure it’s compatible with the specific device that you have, as they are not all the same.

Location

Where you decide to place your speaker can impact the sound quality that you get. Variables such as room size and hard/soft furnishings will affect the acoustics, so this should be something that you think about before making your purchase.

If you have a small room, go for smaller models with minimal bass. If the room is large, consider bigger speakers and perhaps a sound-bar to maximise surround sound.

Bear in mind that soft furnishings will absorb sound, whereas hard furnishings disperse it and bounce it around. A room with lots of soft furnishings therefore needs more powerful speakers than one with a lot of hard furniture made from wood or metal.

Listening habits

How you plan on using your speakers will impact which type is the best option for you. Before buying, think about what you are going to use the speaker for, and plan accordingly. For those who simply want to listen to music with a better quality of sound, then one or two will likely be perfectly adequate. For extra oomph, an additional subwoofer may also be worth considering. If you want the full surround sound experience, then aim for a complete set including speakers, subwoofer and additional sound-bar.

What sort of speakers are you looking for and what experience do you want from them? Let us know your views in the comments below.

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