Best Speaker 2018 – 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.

The Best Speakers – Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose Soundlink
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Bose Soundlink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker
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  • Bluetooth
  • Jack input: Aux
  • USB ports: 1 Micro USB
  • Weighs: 0.66 kg
Best Wireless: SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Speaker
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SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker
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  • Type: Wireless
  • Colour: Black or white
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet port
Best Subwoofer: Bose Acoustimass 300
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Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer
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  • Type: Subwoofer
  • Colour: Black
  • Accessories: Power cord
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

Best Wireless Speakers

Samsung R1 360 Wireless Smart Multi-Room Speaker

The perfect multi-room speaker that is capable of connecting to your music or surround sound setup.

This innovative introduction comes from Samsung with 360-degree coverage, a mobile phone app and the opportunity to synchronise it with your other surround sound or speakers.

Not only is the speaker a great addition to your cinematic and musical experience but it also adds a lot of sleek character to your contemporary style. They really have put their competitors to the test as they offer an array of features and still fall in the ‘below £100’ bracket.

So what’s so special about the Samsung R1? Well- it showcases a beautiful design with its smooth finish and a touch has sensitive mode at the top. It can be used via its own app as you control what device it plays from, what the volume is and also pause and play from your phone or tablet. It also has a multi-room feature ensuring that you can play your music playlist from anywhere in your home via the Wi-Fi connection.

It can be utilised from your phone, tablet or smart watch and also has the expertise to connect to your 2.1 or 5.1 home cinema system.

We like

  • It can easily be synced with other speakers
  • Beautiful design
  • The price is less than £100

We disike

  • It’s a very lightweight product, ideal for travelling but rival speakers have managed to half the weight.

Final Verdict

It is the perfect speaker to team up with your surround sound and also works on its own for music. For the price, it’s the perfect portable speaker by a top brand.

+ Specifications

  • Wireless, Multi-Room, Samsung App
  • Jack input: Aux
  • USB ports: 1 Micro USB
  • Weighs: 1.4 kg

Bose Soundlink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker

As the industry leader- it’s only right that we delve into this new lightweight speaker. The portable product has been made easy to transport, meaning that we can take flawless sound wherever we go.

The immersive speaker is the centre of the party and is also that essential product in your home, as you have the option to utilise it for music and movies. It can easily be connected to your phone, tablet or television. The seamless design isn’t all about the sleek look that it conveys, it’s also very practical with the 360-degree coverage ensuring that everybody gets to embrace the true quality.

It offers over 12 hours playback and is also water resistant, is there a better all-round speaker? It can be used on the beach, for your travels, at a party or simply embed it as your household media staple. You can also use this speaker to take your calls or use features such as Google Now and Siri with voice commands.

If you’re up for taking advantage of the latest features and enjoying more than one speaker then you can easily add it to your Bose collection and sync them up for stereo sound.

We like

  • Sleek look
  • Versatile
  • Lightweight
  • Bluetooth

We disike

  • On first look it seems expensive, but we were soon proven wrong!

Final Verdict

This is the ultimate speaker, it hooks up to your complete system and it can also be used for many other purposes with it only weighing 0.66kg.

+ Specifications

  • Bluetooth
  • Jack input: Aux
  • USB ports: 1 Micro USB
  • Weighs: 0.66 kg

SONOS PLAY:1 Wireless Smart Sound Multi-Room Speaker

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.

We like

  • Easy setup
  • Great sounding
  • Great features on the SONOS app

We disike

  • Expensive but the quality is exquisite

Final Verdict

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

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

SONOS PLAY:1 product manual

Download

Bose SoundTouch Wireless Multi-Room Speaker

Bose have been providing the ultimate listening experience for decades and they have now began to dominate the wireless speaker market. There’s currently an emergence of wireless speakers that connect to Bluetooth and this is great because many of these gadgets can be played together.

You might be wondering what we mean, essentially this powerful and dynamic speaker can be the hub of your music or it can just be one of many. Add to your SoundTouch system and sync them together, you can connect all of them to one device and play through multiple rooms at once.

This Bluetooth Bose speaker possesses numerous technologies that allows all listeners to easily access over 20,000 radio stations and thousands of your favourite music via the likes of Spotify, Deezer and other platforms. There’s no need for complicated add-ons or any serious installation, it’s all setup and ready to go. If you want to move it, then why not pick it up and take it with you. We love this new age of speakers and it wouldn’t be right if this brand didn’t feature heavily in this niche, it’s now easy to spend as much or as little as possible. Don’t underestimate it due to its size and subtle sleek design, because the sound quality is immense and can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

Competing with the likes of Sonos it’s now a hotly contested rivalry and one that we as consumers can enjoy. Bose have upped their game and if you’d like to stream music throughout your home then check this item out and why not add to it?

Features:

  • Can be connected to more speakers
  • Multi room, can connect multiple speakers
  • Connect via Wifi & Bluetooth

 

We like

  • Streams through Deezer, Spotify & Apple Music
  • App on iTunes and Google Play
  • Multi-room features
  • Can be used by IOS or Android users

We disike

  • Expensive but worth it

Final Verdict

A good all rounder. Although expensive, the quality is worth it.

+ Specifications

  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Built in
  • Jack input: 5mm
  • USB ports: 2
  • Weighs: 3.2 kg

+ Downloads

Bose SoundTouch user manual

Download

JBL Charge 3 Portable Wireless Speaker

An all-round speaker that can easily fit into your home or be taken on your travels!

From the moment you lay eyes on this stylish speaker, you can see that it’s been made to last. The durable gadget is lightweight and is also water resistant ensuring that you can enjoy music from wherever you wish. It’s no secret that the market is becoming very competitive and there are lots of very capable speakers within the portable category, and JBL have now joined the race. The good thing with a company lesser known such as JBL is that they are simply charging for the fact that their product excels.

You can stream your smartphone sound straight to your speaker, meaning that you can party with this ultra-light product and also connect anywhere in your home. It also comes with the option of connecting more than one speaker- giving you the opportunity to create an entire sound system.

Not only does the Bluetooth speaker unravel crisp, quality sound that adjusts to the genre but it also has a battery life capable of 20 hours of music playback.

We like

  • It weighs less than 1kg
  • It has an impressive 20-hour battery life
  • It can sync to other speakers

We disike

  • Design could be nicer

Final Verdict

This is a great wireless portable speaker which comes at a great price. Good quality audio played through a smart phone.

+ Specifications

  • Bluetooth
  • Jack input: Aux
  • USB ports: 1 USB
  • Weighs: 0.79 kg

Best Subwoofer

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer

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.

We like

  • Easy connectivity
  • Fantastic quality
  • High build quality
  • Looks great

We disike

  • Instructions are very minimal – Google will yield more help if required.

Final Verdict

A great purchase for those who want the full package.

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

Bose Acoustimass 300 Wireless Subwoofer product manual

Download

Best Soundbar

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar

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?

Features:

  • Accessories: Remote control, power cable, optical cable, coaxial cable

We like

  • Great sounding
  • Beautiful aesthetic design
  • Super build quality

We disike

  • Not compatible with all TVs, check before buying

Final 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.

+ Specifications

  • Type: Sound-bar
  • Colour: Black
  • Connectivity: Optical, Bluetooth

+ Downloads

Bose Solo 5 Sound-bar product manual

Download

Best Speaker System

Logitech Z533 Multimedia Speaker

This sleek designed PC speaker set is an adaptable product that can be setup within seconds.

The easy-to-use speaker pair come with a sub woofer and you also have the option of adding the Bluetooth feature, you can get an accessory that simply connects to the speakers, and enables you to play from your favourite device. Despite coming with a pretty bulky sub, it is very nice on the eye and it even celebrates a gold trim on the speakers.

Simply labelling them as PC speakers does not do this item justice; it contains a powerful sound and works well for both music, general sound or for movies. The versatile set can be plugged in via a head jack meaning you can plug it into your phone, laptop or television.

You’re not paying for a brand name; you are paying for quality sound and a stunning design. The contemporary volume attachment is quite inconspicuous and acts as a quick way to turn your volume up and down whilst being able to also adjust your bass when you want via the separate toggle.

You can’t argue these multimedia speakers at this price, these are a fan-favourite and that is no wonder! They can be plugged in nice and easy, they are easy to use and they can be combined with your tablet, laptop or phone. The Bluetooth addition does cost a little more money but it can be worth it, so that you can effortlessly connect your phone.

We like

  • Very Adaptable
  • Option of Bluetooth
  • Powerful Speakers
  • Good Bass Quality
  • Sleek Design

We disike

  • Bluetooth isn’t mandatory
  • Bluetooth accessory takes up another plug socket

Final Verdict

A great all-round product that is low priced. They are a versatile system that’s also powerful in its own right.

+ Specifications

  • Optional Bluetooth Add-on, Easy Setup
  • Jack input: 3.5mm inpu
  • USB ports: 0
  • Weighs: 4 kg

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speaker

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.

We like

  • Easy to shift the speakers around
  • Great surround-sound effect
  • High build quality

We disike

  • Cables can be restrictive

Final 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.

+ Specifications

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

+ Downloads

Logitech Z506 5.1 PC Speaker user manual

Download

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.