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Top six best multi-room speakers for 2017

By Ben Stockton

With stiff competition among manufacturers and soaring prices, it's harder than ever to decide which multi-room speakers to buy. See which systems we recommend. 

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Multi-room music was once the preserve of only the most dedicated audiophiles. But with the introduction of wi-fi-connected speakers, it has been delivered to the masses. 

Now, some of the most well-known audio brands, including Samsung, Sony, Sonos and Bose, are battling it out for your investment. And when buying multi-room audio, an investment is exactly what it is. With prices stretching into hundreds of pounds for a single speaker, committing to the wrong range is an expensive mistake.

Average scores across the ranges of multi-room speakers vary by a staggering 30%.

For this reason, we put multi-room speakers through their paces in the lab so you can be confident you're choosing the right ones. We've picked out the best speakers and the worst, so you can separate the tuneful from the tone deaf. Average scores across the ranges of multi-room speakers vary by a staggering 30% - a remarkable difference when considering the hefty price tags.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Top six multi-room speakers

Lowest price (in stock) £620.00
Which? score 88%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
App ease of use:
5 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

With a striking design and marvellous sound, this speaker is one of the best we’ve ever tested. We often talk about room-filling sound when we review speakers, but at higher volumes, you could describe this one as house filling. The excellent speaker is complemented by a wonderful app that means it’s a breeze to connect and get everything set up.

Lowest price (in stock) £439.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Mar 2017
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
App ease of use:
3 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

The subtle design of this speaker isn’t in keeping with this brand’s usual eye-catching style, but the sound quality will ensure this speaker stands out. We were wowed by the crisp, detailed and well-balanced sound that will ensure all eyes are on this speaker when the music is playing. The app controlling everything is just as good, though it’s missing some features that rival speakers enjoy, such as bass, mid-range and treble adjustments.

Typical price £149.00
Which? score 84%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
App ease of use:
5 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

It’s not as striking to look at as its rivals, but it’s more than a match for speakers twice its price when it comes to sound quality. Small size doesn’t necessarily mean small sound, and this speaker is proof of that. Music is crystal clear even at high volumes, and the well-balanced audio means bass never overpowers the top end or vocals. It’s not short on features either. As well as giving you control over the music in each room, the speakers can be connected wirelessly to sound bars to give you a surround-sound setup.

Lowest price (in stock) £219.00
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Nov 2015
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
App ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

Every speaker in this range excelled in our tests. Regardless of the size, each model impressed us with its sound quality and how evenly it dispersed sound around the room. The app for controlling the speakers is easy to set up and to use, and each model in the range has the added benefit of being able to connect with certain Blu-ray players and TVs to give an audio boost to your favourite shows and films.

Typical price £150.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This brand isn’t known for its speakers, but on this evidence it deserves to be. Connecting your phone is a doddle thanks to NFC technology that means you simply need to hold your phone close to the speaker to pair with it. The multi-room setup was more of a headache, but the effort is worth it. Bass and high tones are wonderfully tuned – both pop, but neither overpowers the other. It’s also clear and easy to make out different instruments and melodies, even at high volumes.

Lowest price (in stock) £409.00
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
App ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

With a super-easy setup and one of the best control apps around, this speaker is a leading light among multi-room options. As clever as this speaker is, it’s sound quality that matters most and we weren’t disappointed. The soundscape is rich and powerful, but subtle enough that you can still pick out individual instruments and melodies. You can adjust the sound too, with the equaliser built into the app.

Not found the multi-room system for you? Browse all our wireless and Bluetooth speaker reviews.

Three multi-room speakers to avoid

Multi-room speakers don't just have to sound good, they need intuitive apps that are easy to use and a smooth setup that won't have you tearing your hair out. 

Many multi-room speaker systems fall at the first hurdle. The convenience of having an app to control your music in different rooms will never compensate for poor sound. Even if music sounds blissful, there are a few more boxes multi-room speakers must check before we can recommend them.

The beauty of multi-room systems isn't only being able play music wirelessly throughout your home, it's also being able to choose where the music comes from, whether that's streaming services, the radio or networked hard drives. 

There are a wealth of streaming options, with Spotify being the most popular, but some of the speakers we've tested aren't compatible with it. So if you have a Spotify subscription and mainly access music this way, the expensive speaker you've just bought could turn out to be a useless piece of plastic.

We've found multi-room speakers that are the whole package, with excellent sound and tons of easy-to-use features. Then there are the ones in the table below that have a hard time getting anything right.

Three multi-room speakers to avoid

Typical price £170.00
Which? score 47%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
App ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

It’s easy to connect your phone up to this speaker, but unfortunately that’s the end of our praise for it. The audio is bass-heavy and out of sync with the rest of the music, and the app controlling the speaker is nowhere near as accomplished as its rivals’.

Lowest price (in stock) £107.14
Which? score 46%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This speaker looks the part and the brand should be applauded for releasing a speaker that bucks the trend of black, and occasionally silver, boxes. Still, it should have paid more attention to sound quality, which leaves a lot to be desired. Music leans too far towards the low end, and it isn’t even compatible with Spotify.

Typical price £199.00
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Performance:
2 out of 5
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
App ease of use:
4 out of 5
Size H x W x D (mm):
Member exclusive
Claimed speaker output:
Member exclusive
Wi-fi:
Member exclusive
3.5mm line input:
Member exclusive

This speaker has the dubious honour of being the only Don’t Buy multi-room speaker (though there are several that come within a whisker). Why is it so bad? The sound quality is dire, with far too much bass, and it distorts at high volumes, which is unforgiveable.

How to buy the best multi-room speaker

Multi-room speakers have more features than your average model and, as a result, there's more to consider when you're buying one.

You can connect to some models with Bluetooth, but more often than not you'll be using an app on your phone to control your music through wi-fi. The best speakers have intuitive apps, and using them will be second nature in no time, even if you're not too smartphone savvy. 

These apps are almost always available on iOS and Android phones, but if you're on Windows phone your choice of speakers will be limited. Some speakers, such as the Sonos range, also have a desktop app.

Since the speakers use wi-fi to communicate, you'll need to have a strong enough connection wherever you want to put them. If you struggle to get a signal in the far-flung reaches of your home, your expensive new speaker is likely to have the same problem.

The last thing you want is to set up your speaker only to discover that your chosen music service isn't compatible. You can still use the music stored on your phone or an internet-connected hard drive, but not having access to the millions of songs you pay a monthly fee for would severely hamper your enjoyment of your new speaker. Make sure the speaker supports your service, whether that's Tidal, Spotify, Prime Music or Apple Music, to avoid disappointment.

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