If you’ve ever shopped around for audio electronics, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the brands Sonos and Bose. They’re two of the most prominent audio equipment manufacturers, so you may be wondering if one makes better products.
Both have a lot going for them — their focus is where they differ. Sonos focuses primarily on manufacturing home audio equipment, while Bose has a broader range of products.
Sonos was founded in 2002 and is known for multi-room audio products. Specifically, the company specializes in manufacturing high-end home speakers but has branched out a bit and now makes portable smart speakers.
If you want a home speaker system, you can’t go wrong with Sonos. Its speakers deliver outstanding sound with excellent bass, perfect for a home theater setup or a home music hub.
The most significant advantage Sonos offers is connecting multiple speakers in your home that can be controlled from one place. For example, you can have a set of speakers in your living room, bedroom and basement, and control them all from your smartphone without adjusting any connections. If you’re streaming music from your smartphone in one room, you can easily switch to another room at the touch of a button.
Sonos also has a couple of excellent portable speakers that include similar connectivity features.
Sonos products are notorious for being expensive. Some argue that the sound quality and premium features are worth the cost, but you’re better off looking elsewhere if you’re working with a budget.
Also, Sonos speakers work better with Apple’s iOS operating system, so if you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you might find that some features aren’t as functional.
The Arc is Sonos’ top-tier soundbar. It creates an immersive 3D effect so you can experience sounds like explosions, planes and whispers with breathtaking clarity, as if you’re in the movie. It features Dolby Atmos Music for high-quality sound and can be controlled in several ways, including the Sonos smartphone app and AirPlay 2. Sold by Sonos
The Five is a home speaker that delivers intense lows and studio-quality acoustic sound. It’s excellent for listening to music, and it has TruePlay tuning technology that automatically adjusts the sound based on the environment. Sold by Sonos
Sonos speakers sound terrific on their own, but adding a subwoofer is a game-changer. This subwoofer will create a more immersive, detailed sound by amplifying the bass, letting your other speakers accentuate the highs and mids. It’s easy to set up over Wi-Fi and can be paired with an additional subwoofer for an even better audio experience. Sold by Sonos
The Move is Sonos’ first portable Bluetooth speaker, and it delivers on all ends with impressive sound output, water resistance and several smart features. It can sync with your other Sonos speakers and comes with a convenient charging base. Sold by Sonos
Bose has been around since 1964, so it’s the more established, recognizable brand, offering several top-quality audio products. It makes home speakers and soundbars but is also a top manufacturer of headphones and portable speakers.
Bose products are known for their rich sound, and although Bose is a top audio equipment brand, many of them are more affordable than Sonos equivalents. A Bose home theater speaker setup will cost you less than the same setup would if you went with Sonos.
Also, Sonos doesn’t make headphones, but Bose does, in styles including over-ear, noise-canceling, sport, wireless and earbuds.
Bose speakers come with a universal remote, but it’s not nearly as intuitive as Sonos’ smartphone app. Bose speakers also are less interactive than Sonos speakers, so while you can have multiple Bose speakers spread through your home, you won’t be able to seamlessly control them all as you would with a Sonos home multi-room setup.
Thanks to its elegant tempered-glass top and metal grille, this soundbar looks fantastic, and it sounds even better behind several custom drivers and intuitive audio technology. It provides excellent surround sound and is compatible with Alexa, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Sold by Amazon
This smart speaker is loaded with features and delivers excellent wall-to-wall sound. The speaker is compatible with Alexa, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and multiple users can personalize their experience with the Bose app. Sold by Amazon
Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700
These wireless over-ear headphones deliver excellent sound with deep bass and crystal-clear clarity. The built-in microphone adjusts to environments during calls, so audio quality never sounds distorted. They have a durable but lightweight band and last up to 20 hours on a full charge. Sold by Amazon
These wireless surround sound speakers and the Bose Smart Soundbar 700 are a match made in heaven. They offer excellent 360-degree cinematic sound and only take a few minutes to set up. Also, you can buy them in stylish Bose Black or elegant Arctic White. Sold by Amazon
Sonos has a more streamlined approach to its home speakers, so they're your best bet if you want a seamless listening experience. However, Bose offers plenty of other products in addition to soundbars and home speakers, so Bose gives you more options.
Both brands deliver when it comes to audio quality. Sonos products are a little pricier, but many customers love them for their durability and functionality. Ultimately, you should work within your budget to customize your listening experience the way you want.
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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.