It’s been a busy few months at the Which? wireless speakers test lab, with a new smart speaker taking the crown of our best-scoring Google Assistant speaker yet. We’ve also found our second-worst wireless speaker ever.
We’ve just tested nine wireless and Bluetooth speakers in total, and six of the most interesting are detailed here. There has been a real mix of highs and lows, so be sure to check our expert reviews to see which are Best Buys to avoid an expensive mistake.
Two new speakers with the Google Assistant voice assistant enter the fray, including Panasonic’s first-ever smart speaker and the G3 smart speaker from audio specialist Onkyo.
Best Buy wireless speakers – go straight to our recommendations.
Sony has some big new portable wireless speaker releases as well, aiming to bring fun to listening on the move. All three have party lights that dance to the sound of your music, and tapping the speakers in various places will produce percussion sounds as if they’re a cowbell or drum.
See the full range of wireless and Bluetooth speakers we’ve tested below to find out whether they’re worth buying.
Panasonic SC-GA10 smart speaker, £230
Panasonic has gone against the tide with its first smart speaker with Google Assistant. Unlike the cylindrical shapes of rivals such as the Apple HomePod, Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) and Sonos One, Panasonic has gone for a tower-shaped speaker.
It supports wi-fi and Bluetooth, with Chromecast built in for multi-room support and line-in for wired connections as well. You can listen to music with built-in Spotify (with a subscription) and also radio through BBC iPlayer Radio and TuneIn radio, all with hands-free control using your voice alone.
But does it have the sound quality to impress? Find out whether this is our best-scoring smart speaker so far in our Panasonic SC-GA10 smart speaker review.
Onkyo VC-GX30 (G3) smart speaker, £199
Onkyo specialises in audio and home cinema, with a long history stretching back to 1946. The G3 smart speaker has Google Assistant built in so you can control your music with just your voice, along with Chromecast so you can connect the speaker to your multi-room set-up with other Chromecast-enabled speakers.
It has a wooden cabinet design with a gloss finish reminiscent of hi-fi speakers, and a wide range of streaming services are supported by the speaker including Google Play Music, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, Deezer, BBC iPlayer Radio, Saavn Music and Radioplayer.
Find out whether this is your ideal Google Assistant speaker in our Onkyo VC-GX30 (G3) smart speaker review.
Sony SRS-XB31, £150
Part of its Extra Bass Range, Sony says the Sony SRS-XB31 Bluetooth speaker is ‘your own portable music festival’, with a ‘light show’ that moves to your music. It even makes percussion sounds if you tap it in various places (both these features can be turned off).
It supports NFC (near-field communication) so you can pair it with NFC-enabled devices, including many smartphones, by simply touching them together. By default, the speaker is set to Extra Bass for a more pronounced bass, but you can set it to standard, plus there’s a ‘live sound’ preset if you want it to sound more like you’re at a concert.
The speaker is waterproof and dustproof (IP67 rated), so it should survive wear and tear on your travels, and you can even wash it. Multi-room support allows you to connect multiple speakers in Sony’s range together in what it calls a ‘party chain’. You can connect up to 100, and the lights on the speakers will all sync in time to the beat.
Find out whether the sound quality matches the fun in our Sony SRS-XB31 review.
Marshall Acton (Multi-room), £319
The Marshall Action is an unusual wireless speaker, looking more like an amp for a guitar. It oozes retro style. Multi-room support means it can form part of a wider multi-room set-up with other Marshall speakers, and Chromecast support means you can link it up with Chromecast-enabled speakers from other brands as well.
It supports wi-fi, Bluetooth and NFC and has built-in Spotify music streaming (with a subscription). Internet radio is also available via the Marshall app on your smartphone or tablet.
See whether this provides the ideal soundstage for your home in our expert Marshall Acton (Multi-room) review.
Vifa Reykjavik, £179
If you’re looking for a premium travel-sized wireless speaker on the move, your options can be quite limited. Scandinavian brand Vifa aims to fill this void with its Rekjavik speaker.
The carry strap and convenient size makes it good for tossing in your bag, but it also has three powerful drivers (two tweeters and one woofer), aiming to give you the full-bodied sound rarely found in smaller speakers.
It’s the smallest in the Vifa speakers range, with the option of a ‘Sandstone’ Kvadrat wool or ‘Lavastone’ anodised aluminium finish, and has a 3.5mm line input for a wired connection as well, plus the option of USB-C playback.
Find out whether this is the ideal speaker to take on your travels in our Vifa Reykjavik review.
Tibo Sphere 2
The Tibo Sphere 2 could be the ideal choice if you want a large-sounding portable wireless speaker that you can transport from room to room to suit your needs.
It has a carry strap and a built-in rechargeable battery, so you can easily move it around without worrying about a power cord.
If you like proper buttons to press, you’ll be pleased to hear that the speaker can be fully controlled from ones found on the housing alone. It also supports internet radio, with five radio preset buttons on the speaker housing.
There’s multi-room support for connecting up to 16 Tibo speakers at the same time, and two Tibo Sphere 2 speakers can be paired together to produce stereo sound. You can even handily charge your smartphone using the USB charging socket.
See whether this could be the perfect audio solution for you in our definitive Tibo Sphere 2 review.
Other wireless speakers tested
We’ve also tested Sony’s other new wireless speakers in the same range, and another Onkyo smart speaker with the Alexa voice assistant, so be sure to check these out as well to see if they’re worth having: