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 20 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.
Amazon is a major global technology company that produces various electronics including speakers. Their speakers tend to be wired smart speakers designed for home use with Amazon Alexa built-in. However, their newer models are a lot more like smart home hubs you can use to control Zigbee-compatible devices throughout your home using your voice.
The Amazon Echo Studio is the best Amazon speaker that we've tested. It's a wired smart speaker designed for home use with Alexa built-in and has no trouble understanding you even if you're far from the speaker. It also has a built-in Zigbee hub you can use to connect it to Zigbee-compatible home devices like thermostats and light bulbs, which you can control via Alexa. This speaker has a neutral sound profile making it suitable for listening to a wide variety of audio content, and you can customize it to your liking thanks to the bass and treble sliders featured on its companion app. It can also get quite loud with little compression artifacts at max volume so your audio should sound clean when listening at louder volumes. Unfortunately, Alexa may have trouble hearing you in noisy environments, and the speaker doesn't have a mute mic button you can use when you no longer want your assistant to hear you.
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 them 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.
Google is a large American technology manufacturer that sells a wide variety of internet-related products like phones, tablets, earbuds, and speakers. They currently released three smart speakers with Google Chromecast and Google Assistant built-in. Their speakers have great voice assistant support and also come with mute mic buttons you can use when you no longer want your assistants to hear you. Unfortunately, their wired designs make it difficult to take them with you when you're on the move since they constantly need to be plugged into a power outlet.
The best Google speaker that we've tested is the Google Home Max. This speaker has Google Assistant built-in and does an excellent job of understanding you even when you're far from it. Its sound profile is well-balanced, so it's a good choice for listening to a wide variety of audio content. It comes with a Smart Sound feature that adjusts its sound to the acoustics of your room, and its Google Home companion app features bass and treble sliders you can use to tweak its sound to your liking. Additionally, it has low Google Chromecast latency, making it suitable for watching movies. However, it isn't very well-built, and its directivity isn't great, so your audio may not sound as clear from all angles.
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.
Bose is an American manufacturer that specializes in home electronics. While they're best known for making high-end noise cancelling headphones, they also make speakers and sound systems. They have different speaker lineups that are geared towards different audiences. Their 'SoundLink' speakers are smaller and more portable, whereas their 'Home Speaker' lineup has smart speakers with built-in voice assistants. Bose speakers are generally Bluetooth compatible, and the Bose Music companion app has bass and treble sliders that let you adjust your speaker's sound profile to your liking.
The best Bose speaker that we've tested is the Bose Portable Smart Speaker. This lightweight Bluetooth speaker is very portable and has a built-in carrying handle. Out-of-the-box, it has a fairly balanced sound profile, and it delivers a bit of extra boom in the bass range. It has built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant, and it has no trouble understanding your voice commands. You can also use it outside since it's well-built and comes with an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Unfortunately, it doesn't get very loud, and there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume. Also, its battery only lasts around five hours on a single charge, so consider the wired Bose Home Speaker 500 if you want a speaker that can be used for longer listening sessions. Overall, the Bose Portable Smart Speaker is a versatile speaker that's suitable for playing a variety of audio content.
Sonos is an American company that manufactures high-end audio products like smart speakers and soundbars. Many of their speakers have built-in support for Alexa and Google Assistant, which is helpful if you like issuing voice commands. They often have well-balanced sound profiles that are well-suited to playing music. The companion app, Sonos S2, has bass and treble sliders, which lets you adjust the speaker's sound profile to your liking. Many Sonos speakers are intended for home use, with wired-only designs. The Sonos One Gen 2 and Sonos One SL can even be used as satellite speakers in some Sonos soundbar setups, like the Sonos Arc.
The Sonos Move is the best Sonos speaker that we've tested. Unlike most Sonos speakers, it's battery-powered, so you can use it outside. It's also well built and has an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Its sound profile is very neutral, making it suitable for playing a variety of audio content. Its built-in voice assistants understand your voice very easily, and it also supports Apple AirPlay. However, it has to downmix stereo content into mono, which doesn't feel as immersive. Also, while it can get quite loud, there's quite a bit of compression present at max volume. That said, this versatile speaker has a well-balanced sound profile and a portable design.
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.
JBL is an American company that manufactures a variety of audio equipment, including loudspeakers and headphones. They have a wide variety of speakers, though they're generally designed for outdoor use and casual listening. Many of their speakers have balanced sound profiles out-of-the-box, though they often don't have a lot of sound customization features like a graphic EQ. Some JBL speakers can get quite loud and come with RGB lights, making them suitable for use at parties. Many are designed to be used on the go, like the JBL GO 3, which has a small, portable design and a built-in hook. Overall, JBL speakers are well built and have a range of designs and uses.
The JBL PartyBox 310 is the best JBL speaker we've tested. This large Bluetooth speaker has a unique design with circular RGB lights. It has a slightly boomy sound profile that can produce a fairly extended low-bass, which may please fans of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop or EDM. It can get very loud, making it suitable for playing music in large groups of people, though there's some compression present at max volume. Unfortunately, it's not very portable due to its bulky design. That said, you can use it outside thanks to its seventeen-hour battery life and IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Like the JBL PartyBox 100, this speaker has Mic-in and Guitar-in ports, which are handy for musicians.
Ultimate Ears is an American manufacturer that's a subsidiary of Logitech. They produce a variety of audio products, including headphones, in-ear monitors, and wireless Bluetooth speakers. Their speakers are generally well-built and designed for outdoor use, with portable designs and durable builds. Many have IP ratings for water resistance, though we don't currently test for this, and the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 is even advertised to float in water. Although a lot of Ultimate Ears speakers don't offer voice assistant support, they often have a 360-degree design, which results in an open and spacious soundstage.
The best Ultimate Ears speaker that we've tested is the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST. This small and lightweight speaker is amazingly well built, and it has built-in support for Alexa over a Wi-Fi connection. It also has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, though we don't currently test for this. Out-of-the-box, its sound profile is fairly neutral, making it suitable for a variety of audio content. Thanks to its 360-degree design, audio sounds clear from all angles, and it can even play stereo content without downmixing it into mono. Unfortunately, it struggles to produce low-bass, but the Ultimate Ears app has a graphic EQ and presets, letting you customize the sound profile to your liking.
May 07, 2021: Confirmed the picks are still the best recommendations for our users. Minor changes made to the text for consistency and accuracy.
Apr 16, 2021: Confirmed all picks are in stock and still the best recommendations for our users.
Mar 29, 2021: Replaced the JBL PartyBox 100 with the JBL PartyBox 310 as the best JBL speaker and replaced the Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM with the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST as the best Ultimate Ears speaker. Confirmed the rest of the brands and picks are still the most relevant for our users.
Mar 08, 2021: Replaced the Bose SoundLink Revolve with the Bose Portable Smart Speaker as the latter offers built-in voice assistant support. Checked the text for accuracy and product availability.
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 over 20 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.