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1 October 2020

Top six best multi-room speakers for 2020

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. 
Multi room speaker
OT
Oliver Trebilcock

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.

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, join Which? to get instant access.

Top multi-room speakers

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88%
Best Buy
£800.00
Reviewed

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.

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86%
Best Buy
£469.00
Reviewed

This is one of the best Bluetooth and wi-fi wireless speakers we’ve seen in the Which? test lab. It’s a a great all-rounder, supporting Spotify Connect for music streaming, Google Chromecast and Apple Airplay. Sound remains crystal clear and detailed across a wide variety of genres and speech. It’s easy to set up, with multi-room support. Find out how easy it is to use and how competitively it’s priced in our expert review.

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85%
Best Buy
£130.00
Reviewed

This Bluetooth and wi-fi smart speaker is one of the very best wireless speakers we've seen, and is proof that you don't need big brands and deep pockets to get top-of-the-range sound quality. It easily makes the grade to be a Which? Best Buy. You can control it with your voice using Google Assistant, and integrate it into a multi-room speaker setup with any Chromecast-supporting speaker including those from other brands. It delivers exceptionally detailed sound that has set a new standard for rivals to match.

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82%
Best Buy
Great value
£169.00
Reviewed

This wireless speaker offers exceptional quality sound at a great price. It’s nicely compact, well build and easy to use too via its app on your smartphone. A plethora of music-streaming services are supported (may require subscriptions). Our professional listening panel praised its balanced, warm and engaging sound, packed full of detail and depth.

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79%
Best Buy
£289.98
Reviewed

This speaker is an outstanding package, raising the standards for smart speakers. Stereo sound is clear and detailed with excellent speech and enjoyable to listen to. Voice control means you can use it hands-free, and perform other tasks such as asking for news and weather plus much more. Multi-room built-in allows you to connect to other compatible speakers, even some from other brands.

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75%
Best Buy
£499.00
Reviewed

With easy setup and controlled by one of the most well-featured apps around, this speaker is one of the leading lights among an increasingly competitive market of multi-room speakers. 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 to tweak bass and treble built into the app.

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Need more information on what to buy? See our guide to the best wireless and Bluetooth speakers.

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.

Multi-room speakers to avoid

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50%
£249.00
Reviewed

Don’t feel you can be safe just by getting a speaker from a well-known brand. This big brand Bluetooth and wi-fi speaker with Google Assistant doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety. Bass rumbles with a great deal of boom. The speaker sounds like its constantly grumbling, with bass dominating the overall sound. One member of our expert listening panel noted it was a ‘relief’ when the speaker stopped playing. Avoid it at all costs.

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45%
Don't buy
£399.00
Reviewed

This high-end speaker from a respected brand is both very expensive and very disappointing. It's one of the worst-sounding home speakers we've tested at our lab in recent years, and by far our most costly Don't Buy. To buy one would be a very expensive mistake, proving that paying more is no guarantee of money well spent.

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33%
Don't buy
£86.99
Reviewed

Don't rely on paying more to avoid disappointment. Something has gone very wrong in the development of this expensive speaker. Awful, rumbly sound is the least of the Zipp Mini 2's problems. We've found so many issues with the speaker it's almost as if it was released before being properly tested. Choosing this speaker would be a frustrating disappointment and a very costly mistake.

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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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