The 9 Best Speaker Brands - Winter 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Speaker Brands
41 Speakers Tested
  • Store-bought speakers; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
  • Supported directly by you via insider access and when you purchase through our affiliate links
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

If you're looking to buy a new speaker, you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the start. There are lots of different speaker brands on the market, and it can be challenging to figure out which is the best for you. While some brands make speakers that cater to a wide variety of users, others focus on a particular segment of the market, like voice assistant speakers or speakers for listening to music. Even though some brands stand out from the rest, there's really no easy answer when it comes to the best speaker brand for you. Depending on your unique listening habits, certain features may appeal to you more than others.

We’ve tested speakers from over 12 different brands, and below are our recommendations for the best speaker brands. The recommendations aren’t ordered by rank or position; the first brand listed isn’t necessarily our top pick overall, and the last brand isn’t the worst. Instead, we’ve listed the brands by use or specialty, keeping brands with similar audiences together to make it easier to find what best suits your needs. See also our recommendations for the best Bluetooth speakers, the best home speakers, and the best cheap speakers.


  1. Amazon

    7.1
    Music
    6.1
    Videos/Movies
    6.3
    Podcasts
    7.9
    Voice Assistant
    5.4
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    No

    Amazon is a global online retailer that has recently expanded its offerings to include smart speakers with built-in Amazon Alexa capabilities. Their speakers are generally designed to be used in your home, and you can ask questions and make requests to Alexa using your voice. Since the release of the first generation Amazon Echo in 2014, the brand's speakers have evolved from a simple smart speaker into smart home hubs. Newer Amazon devices let you connect other compatible smart home devices so you can also control them using your voice.

    The best Amazon speaker that we've tested is the Amazon Echo Studio. This wired speaker comes with a built-in Zigbee hub, so you can connect other compatible smart home devices like light bulbs and thermostats to the speaker and control them using your voice. It offers a very good voice assistant performance thanks to its built-in Amazon Alexa capabilities. It can understand you even if you're far away, but it has doesn't perform as well in noisier settings as the Amazon Echo Gen 4. If you don't want the speaker to listen to you, there's even a mic mute button. Also, it has a stereo spatial enhancement feature advertised to create a more immersive listening experience by creating a 3D sound.

    See our review

  2. Apple

    7.4
    Music
    6.4
    Videos/Movies
    6.9
    Podcasts
    8.5
    Voice Assistant
    4.8
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    No
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    No

    Apple is a premium-end manufacturer of home electronics and is well known for its mobile devices, laptops, headphones, and now smart speakers. Their speakers have built-in Siri voice assistant capabilities, so you can control it using your voice. They're also ideal for listeners who already use a lot of other platforms in the Apple ecosystem, like Apple AirPlay, Apple Music, and iTunes. Some of their speakers, like the Apple HomePod, can also operate as a soundbar for your Apple TV. However, you likely won't be able to access all of their features, like the Apple Home app, if you aren't using an iOS device.

    The best Apple speaker that we've tested is the Apple HomePod. It has an amazing voice assistant performance thanks to its built-in Siri capabilities. It can understand you well, even if you aren't close to it or if you're in a noisy setting. Its 360-degree design offers an outstanding soundstage performance, so you can hear clear sound from all angles. While you can turn Siri off with your voice, there isn't a physical mic mute button, which may be disappointing for some listeners. However, if you have an iOS device, you can use the Apple Home app to pair it with other HomePod speakers and create a stereo pair or play your audio across different rooms in your house.

    See our review

  3. Google

    6.9
    Music
    6.5
    Videos/Movies
    6.5
    Podcasts
    8.0
    Voice Assistant
    5.4
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    No

    Google is a major technology company that produces a wide range of Internet-related products. When it comes to their speakers, they sell smart speakers with built-in Google Assistant capabilities. You can activate them using your voice, and they usually come with mic mute buttons so you can control when the speaker is listening to you. They also have built-in support for Google Chromecast, which makes it easy to stream audio to the speaker from other compatible devices. However, their speakers are really only intended for home use, so you can't bring them with you on-the-go.

    The Google Home Max is the best Google speaker we've tested. It has a great voice assistant performance, and its built-in Google Assistant can hear you clearly even if you aren't very close to it. It also has a well-balanced sound profile that makes it suitable for listening to a variety of audio content, and it even has bass and treble adjustments available in the Google Home app so you can customize its sound. Its Smart Sound feature can auto-calibrate the speaker based on the room you're listening in as well. It also has very low latency over Google Chromecast, so it's well-suited for watching videos. Unfortunately, it doesn't have very robust build quality, but it's still a solid choice for a home speaker.

    See our review

  4. Sonos

    7.0
    Music
    6.5
    Videos/Movies
    8.2
    Podcasts
    8.6
    Voice Assistant
    7.7
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    Yes
    Speakerphone
    No
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Sonos is a manufacturer of wireless audio products, including smart speakers, which are designed to let you play the same audio simultaneously across different rooms in your house. These smart speakers have built-in compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can control them using your voice. They also make models that are compatible with Apple AirPlay, so you can incorporate them into your existing Apple ecosystem. Generally, they have versatile overall performances and balanced sound profiles that are suitable for lots of audio content. They're mostly intended for in-home use, though.

    The best Sonos speaker that we've tested is the Sonos Move. As one of the few Sonos speakers that's battery-powered, it's a very portable Bluetooth speaker that you can even use outdoors. It has an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. It has a very neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for lots of different audio content, and it even has a room correction feature that automatically optimizes your audio based on the room you're listening in. Unfortunately, there's some compression when you play it at max volume. However, its built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant offers an excellent voice assistant performance, and it has built-in Apple AirPlay.

    See our review

  5. Anker

    6.7
    Music
    6.1
    Videos/Movies
    7.5
    Podcasts
    3.8
    Voice Assistant
    7.6
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Anker is a young company that produces lots of different audio equipment, including portable power banks and affordable charging cables, but they also offer wireless Bluetooth speakers for listening to audio. Most of the speakers we've tested from this brand offer very good value for their price point. Some of their newer models are compatible with the Soundcore app, which lets you customize their sound using the included graphic EQ and presets. They don't have any built-in voice assistant features, but some are compatible with the voice assistant on your paired smartphone.

    The Anker Soundcore Motion+ is the best Anker speaker that we've tested. This portable Bluetooth speaker has a small, lightweight design, so you can easily bring it with you to listen to audio outside. It even has an IPX7 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Out-of-the-box, it has a pretty neutral sound profile, though vocals and lead instruments may sound a bit dark. Fortunately, you can customize its sound using the graphic EQ and presets available in the Soundcore app. It also lasts for over fifteen hours off of a single charge, which is incredible.

    See our review

  6. Bose

    6.6
    Music
    5.9
    Videos/Movies
    7.9
    Podcasts
    6.3
    Voice Assistant
    7.2
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Bose may be best-known for their comfortable, noise cancelling headphones, but they also produce lots of other audio equipment like speakers and sound systems. They offer speakers at many different price ranges, and they have products that are geared towards more casual listeners as well as musicians. Their 'SoundLink' speakers are designed as portable speakers that you can use to listen to music while you're on-the-go, and they also produce other speakers that are more suited for at-home use. If you're a musician looking for a speaker with microphone and guitar inputs, you may prefer speakers like the Bose S1 Pro System.

    The best Bose speaker that we've tested is the Bose SoundLink Revolve. This Bluetooth speaker has a sleek, portable design, and it offers versatile overall performance for its small size. It has a neutral, balanced sound profile that can reproduce clear and accurate vocals and lead instruments, although, like many small speakers, it struggles to produce a thumpy low-bass. It has an incredible battery life of over twelve hours, and its 360-degree design helps create an open, immersive soundstage. You can even pair two SoundLink Revolve speakers together to create a stereo pair using the Bose Connect app or to amplify sound across a crowded party.

    See our review

  7. JBL

    7.4
    Music
    6.6
    Videos/Movies
    7.9
    Podcasts
    3.1
    Voice Assistant
    7.3
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    No
    Voice Assistant
    No
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    JBL manufactures lots of different audio equipment including loudspeakers and headphones, and their speakers are generally designed for casual listening or outdoor use. As a Harman subsidiary, many of their speakers reproduce a balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, though they don't offer a lot of sound customization features. Their party-oriented speakers also come with bright RGB lights and Mic-in and Guitar-in ports that are ideal for musicians. They're also a solid choice if you're looking for durable, well-built speakers with very portable designs. With built-in hooks and IP ratings, speakers like the JBL GO 3 are well-suited for listening to music while you're on-the-go.

    The JBL PartyBox 100 is the best JBL speaker we've tested. This tall, large speaker has a distinct design, thanks to the circular RGB lights that light up in lots of different colors. It has a pretty neutral sound profile with a little extra warmth in the bass range that's ideal for fans of bass-heavy music genres. It gets really loud, and it also has Mic-in and Guitar-in ports if you want to use it to play music. However, there's some compression when you play it at max volume, which may not be ideal if you want clear and pure audio reproduction at loud volumes. You can also pair it with up to two devices at the same time, making it easy to switch your audio source between your phone and your laptop.

    See our review

  8. Sony

    6.5
    Music
    5.9
    Videos/Movies
    7.0
    Podcasts
    4.1
    Voice Assistant
    7.5
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    Yes
    Voice Assistant
    Yes
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, and they produce products like headphones as well as a wide range of speaker models that can appeal to lots of different users. If you love listening to music, you may prefer one of their more premium models like the Sony SRS-XB33 that are compatible with the Sony Music Center app, which gives you access to a graphic EQ and other sound settings. However, if you want a speaker you can bring on-the-go, their smaller, cheaper speakers still offer a pretty good value for their price. While some of their speakers are compatible with the voice assistant on your paired smartphone, they don't offer any built-in capabilities.

    The Sony SRS-XB43 is the best Sony speaker that we've tested. This well-built speaker has a portable design, and it even has an IP67 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this. It has Sony ClearAudio+, which automatically detects your audio content and adjusts its sound field accordingly to optimize your listening experience. Unfortunately, it struggles to reproduce low-bass, and there's some compression present when you play it at max volume. That said, there's also a graphic EQ available in its companion app, and you can even use it with the Fiestable app to control the colors of its RGB lights.

    See our review

  9. Ultimate Ears

    7.5
    Music
    6.8
    Videos/Movies
    8.0
    Podcasts
    3.0
    Voice Assistant
    8.1
    Outdoors
    Bluetooth
    Yes
    Wi-Fi
    No
    Speakerphone
    No
    Voice Assistant
    No
    Battery Powered
    Yes

    Ultimate Ears is a subsidiary of Logitech that manufactures in-ear monitors, headphones, earphones, and also wireless Bluetooth speakers. Most of their speakers have a 360-degree design that's intended to offer a clear sound from all angles, so you really feel immersed in your favorite music. Their wireless designs make it easy to bring their speakers with you on-the-go, and they often come with IP ratings for water resistance, though we don't test for this. The Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 even floats in water, which is handy if you like to listen to music at pool parties. Overall, Ultimate Ears' speakers usually offer balanced sound profiles out-of-the-box, so it's a solid brand if you want a speaker for listening to music.

    The best Ultimate Ears speaker that we've tested is the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM. This portable Bluetooth speaker is a bit bulky, but its built-in carrying strap makes it easier to bring with you on-the-go. It also has an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Its balanced default sound profile is suitable for listening to lots of different audio content, and you can even use the graphic EQ and presets in the Ultimate Ears app to help customize its sound. While it doesn't offer any voice assistant support at all, it can get loud, and it has an outstanding battery life of over 23 hours.

    See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best speaker brands and the best speakers available to buy for most people in various price ranges, from 9 different speaker manufacturers.

If you'd like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our speaker reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect speakers. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:
Become an insider
EARLY ACCESS

Gain early access to all tests results for new products

Early Access UI
PRICES LISTED

Prices will now be listed directly in reviews and tables

product prices UI
MORE VOTES

Have 5 votes per product category to choose which product we’ll review next

Additional votes UI
UNLIMITED ACCESS

Gain unlimited access to detailed test results in tools and results (no blurred results)

test table UI

Create Post