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Best speakers: 6 top audio buys for the home

Surround your home with audio with our best speakers edit which can be with you from the sofa to when you're out exploring

best speakers
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

If you like big sound then you'll want the best speakers (your) money can buy. Either one or a set of speakers can fill the atmosphere around you with your favourite audio tunes or movie soundtracks.

There's no denying that there are A LOT of speakers out there. We're talking Bluetooth speakers, wireless speakers, multi-room speakers and home theatre set ups which can all be pretty confusing to sift through to hone in on what it is you're exactly looking for.

Need help? Fear not: this guide has picked out the best speakers out there, which means that we've essentially done all the research for you. And they're bought to you for the best price, too. Keep scrolling to see the best buys around, then check out the best home theatre system to go big with a home cinema.

The best speakers

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

best speaker

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. Sonos Move Smart Speaker with Voice Control

Best speaker 2020 (overall): it's a top choice for in-home and out-the-home audio

Specifications

Best for: Indoors and outdoors
Battery: 10 hours
Waterproof: No - water resistant
Colours: Black

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sound
+
Versatile
+
Easy connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Tad expensive

We've awarded the Sonos Move the top spot in this guide, and for good reasons too. As with all Sonos speakers the sound quality is impeccable and so, with this wireless freedom, this Bluetooth speaker is well position to be your on-the-go beat box AND main in-the-home speaker too.

If you take the speaker outside and away from a Wi-Fi connection, you will have the ability to seamlessly stream your top tracks directly over Bluetooth from your smart phone, tablet or other Bluetooth device. It can also be controlled by voice using  Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa (when connected to Wi-Fi).

Outdoors it resists light rain, snow, humidity, dust, salt spray, UV rays and extreme heat and cold. And indoors, you can build the multi-room audio you've always wanted by connecting up additional Sonos speakers over Wi-Fi and placing in different rooms throughout the house. 

Best surround sound system

(Image credit: Amazon)

2. Q Acoustics 3050i 5.1 Cinema Pack

Best surround sound system: it's not too pricey and doesn't skimp on audio quality either

Specifications

Best for: Surround sound system
Battery?: No - AirPlay, DLNA or Bluetooth, built-in access to Spotify and Deezer and internet radio tuning
Colours: White, Black, English Walnut or Graphite Grey
Contents: 2 Q 3050i floor standing speakers, 2 Q 3010i bookshelf speakers, 1 Q 3060 Subwoofer and 1 Q 3090i Centre

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money
+
Comes in a range of finishes 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most aesthetically pleasing, for some

If you're looking for a professional quality home surround system, look no further than this wireless cinema pack. Although it is not the cheapest of our top picks, it offers A LOT of bang for your buck so it gets our vote for the best surround sound you can buy.

Surround sound system aren't exactly cheap but this one offers some seriously impressive value for money. After all, you're getting a comprehensive set-up comprised of two floor standing speakers; two book shelf speakers; a subwoofer and a central speaker.

Yet while we're not convinced that everyone will want such a large speaker system in their home, for those that do, this surround sound system is pretty stylish. Available in four different finishes – Arctic White, Carbon Black, Graphite Grey and English Walnut – you're sure to find something that suits your space.

Best home theatre system

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Yamaha YHT1840B 5.1 Channel Home Theatre Package

Best home theatre system: a solid setup that won't break the bank

Specifications

Best for: Home theatre system
Battery: No - mains powered
Colours: Black

Reasons to buy

+
Plenty of inputs
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
No included Blu-ray player
-
No Dolby Atmos

With this system you're getting 5.1 channels of surround sound audio, which is more than enough for most content. 

Despite not being future proofed with Atmos, the receiver still offers support for 4K, and there are also a comfortable four HDMI inputs so you shouldn't have to pick favourites amongst your AV gear for a few years yet. 

But our main reason for ranking the Yamaha so highly is its price. It's the cheapest setup on this list that doesn't omit 4K support from its list of features, which we think makes it a great buy. 

best portable speaker

4. JBL Charge 3

Best portable speaker: a great speaker with a lengthy battery life

Specifications

Best for: Portability
Battery : Yes - 20 hours
Colours: Black, blue, red, green and grey

Reasons to buy

+
Lengthy battery life
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Better sounding speakers exist
-
A little bulky

The JBL Charge 3 has a budget-friendly price tag and 20 hours of battery life you're unlikely to care too much. 

JBL produce an almost terrifying variety of Bluetooth speakers, with the Charge line focussing on battery life. That means this isn't the most subtle of speakers around with a thick and chunky sound that's more about kicking bass than refined mids. It's also a little big and bulky, but if you want a portable speaker with plenty of sonic heft than you're unlikely to care too much. 

Best outdoor speaker

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 Bluetooth Waterproof Portable Speaker

Best outdoor speaker: a rugged and waterproof option which can travel with you

Specifications

Best for: Use outdoors
Battery: Yes - 13 hours
Colours: Black, blue, pink, red, green, peach, unicorn and concrete

Reasons to buy

+
Probably the best waterproof Bluetooth speaker 
+
Long battery life
+
Fantastic range of colours available 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not smart assistant compatible 

An upgrade from the UE Wonderboom (opens in new tab), this Bluetooth speaker boasts an increased battery life (up 30% compared to the original), far better bass, and the new Outdoor Boost feature which makes it even louder than before.

It's a rugged and waterproof speaker, making it ideal for outdoors. In fact TechRadar (opens in new tab) claim that the original UE Wonderboom is one of the best waterproof speakers on the market, thanks to its immersive 360 degree sound capabilities and 100 foot range, which means your next pool party is covered.

When it’s not in the pool, this Bluetooth speaker will do a great job of looking pretty in its designated spot, with colours such as Unicorn and Concrete giving it a stylish edge that, combined with its impressive sound quality, make it very worthy of the second spot in our list.

Best surround sound speaker

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 (4th Generation) Wi-Fi Bluetooth Music System

Best surround sound speaker: it looks really good, too

Specifications

Best for: Surround sound
Battery: No. Mains powered
Colours: Black or white

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful design
+
Big sounds
+
Built-in Google Assist

Reasons to avoid

-
Mains powered
-
Not for use outdoors
-
Big price tag (but worth it?)

The BeoPlay A9 is beautiful. It's a 4th generation of the original which was released in 2015 and is one that has had a slight face lift and integration of digital services.

The iconic shape has been superbly crafted from carefully selected materials to amplifying sound. And it's this sound which will reach new high pitches with two tweeters, two mid-range, two full-range units AND an 8in subwoofer to boot.
Connect your new A9 to AirPlay 2, Chromecast built-in, QPlay 2.0, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to play your favourite tracks from a digital music source (mobile, desktop or tablet), wirelessly.

Whether you place the A9 in a corner, free-standing in the room, or mounted on the wall, it will command any space which can all be controlled by you using Google Voice Assistant. This is one of our best surround sound system picks, too.

More audio buying guides:

Jennifer Oksien
Large Appliances Editor

Jennifer (Jen) is our Large Appliances Editor on the Homes eCommerce team.  Jen is constantly on the look out for the latest tech which claims to revolutionise how we wash our clothes, rinse the dishes, keep our food chilled and our floors dust-free. When she's not doing this she can be found at home in her Victorian terrace which she has lovingly (patiently) been renovating with her husband over the past few years. Jen also likes tea and homemade cake, very much.

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