Consider premium home audio with the Sonos Play:5 or the “Sonos Five”. If you’re willing to spend this much, it’s worth looking into other options for wireless home speaker systems.
Some alternatives to the Sonos Five and Sonos Play:5 are:
If you’re thinking about the Sonos Play:5 or Sonos Five, check out these alternatives. You might find a better fit and save money. You might also find features that Sonos doesn’t offer that are important to you.
Take a look at these lower-cost options if you’ve read our article on whether expensive speakers really sound better. If you come across detailed discussions about amps, drivers, and other terms, refer to our guide on speaker specs to learn more.
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The Audio Pro C10 is worth considering. This Swedish company specializes in high-fidelity audio equipment and created a system that, while not as extensive as Sonos, is still worth checking out. If you want to add high-quality audio to a few specific areas instead of your entire house, Audio Pro speakers are a good choice.
It only has two tweeters and one woofer, which is less than the Sonos Play:5/Play Five. This means there are fewer drivers, so the C10 is better suited for music rather than high frequency tasks like podcasts and audiobooks. However, it can still handle those tasks.
The Audio Pro system doesn’t have as many speakers as Sonos, but it does have multi-room streaming and speaker networking. You can use Audio Pro speakers throughout your home just like Sonos speakers. However, the software is not as polished or feature-rich as Sonos. But it will still allow you to stream over Bluetooth or WiFi.
A standout feature of the C10 is the ability to connect through RCA ports on the back. There’s also a sub-out port to connect a powered subwoofer. This is different from the Sonos Play:5/Play Five, which only has aux in.
It lets you connect a record player or other analog source directly. The Play:5/Play Five are more expensive and require a Sonos Connect or Sonos Port, which each cost more than the C10, to get this feature.
|Features RCA in and Sub-out, which makes it more versatile and eliminates the need for additional Sonos equipment like the Connect/Port.||The streaming audio system doesn’t have as many speakers as Sonos.|
|More affordable and flexible.||Focuses more on sound quality rather than providing a surround sound solution for music, movies, etc. like Sonos.|
People thought the Apple Homepod was too expensive when it came out. It was compared to other voice control speakers that other companies were giving out to get more customers. The Amazon Echo Plus or Echo Dot seem cheaper compared to the Homepod.
Apple had a new idea with the Homepod. While other companies were trying to sell cheap voice control speakers, Amazon tried to join the premium speaker market like Sonos. Many companies released powerful wireless speakers, including the Homepod with its own special features.
Compared to the Sonos Five, the Homepod’s price is lower. Homepod has 7 tweeters and 1 woofer, which isn’t as powerful as the Sonos Five’s 3 tweeters and 3 woofers. The Homepod is better for tasks that need high-pitched sound, like listening to stories and shows.
The Homepod is a good alternative to the Sonos Five at its price point, unless you need the Sonos ecosystem. You can connect multiple Homepods, but they don’t provide full surround sound like Sonos.
|Includes voice assistant support with Siri.||Only works within the Apple ecosystem.|
|Airplay 2 compatibility allows easy streaming from Apple devices.||Not part of a speaker system family like Sonos that can be easily expanded to fit your space.|
The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a noteworthy speaker in this category. We’ve written about the Bose Home Speaker series before, particularly in comparison to the Bose Soundtouch products. It’s worth explaining the differences.
Bose has two in-home speaker ecosystems: Bose Music and the older SoundTouch. The Bose Home Speaker 500 is designed for Bose Music. If you’re interested in the 500 or expanding your Bose system, it’s important to know the difference. For now, let’s focus on the 500.
The Bose Home Speaker costs less than the Sonos Play:5/Sonos Five and has fewer drivers, but still delivers good sound quality. It comes with Alexa, a voice assistant, and an eight-mic array for seamless use.
The Home Speaker 500 supports local Bluetooth pairing, Airplay 2 streaming, and WiFi streaming through the Bose Music app. The app is not as polished as Sonos, but it’s sufficient at this price point.
Bose has a smaller Home Speaker system than Sonos, but it still has a good selection of wireless speakers. You can also find ways to connect soundbars for audio throughout your home.
|The built-in LED screen is a unique feature not found in the other options.||Fewer drivers than the Sonos Play:5/Sonos Five and many of the other options on the list.|
|The eight-mic array ensures a good experience when using voice assistants like Alexa.||The speaker system for the HEOS app is smaller than Sonos and has fewer expansion options. But it still has a good selection compared to some other options.|
The Denon HEOS 5 is a strong alternative to the Sonos Play:5/Sonos Five. Its design is unique and robust. While some may not like the shape, Denon tried to make the product their own rather than copying Sonos. Like the Bose Home Speaker 500’s LED screen, the HEOS 5 stands out.
The HEOS 5 has two tweeters and two woofers powered by four Class D amps, providing good sound quality. It’s not as many drivers as the Sonos Play:5/Sonos Five, but it still fills a room with sound. This unit doesn’t have microphones and isn’t designed to interact with a virtual assistant.
HEOS offers a range of speakers similar to Sonos and the Bose Home Speaker line, including the HEOS 1, 3, 7, and HomeCinema package with a wireless soundbar and subwoofer. The HEOS Amp and Link enable expansion. HEOS provides a strong case for a complete alternative to Sonos.
The HEOS app is functional and supports Spotify, Pandora, etc. It’s not as polished as Sonos, but it gets the job done. The lack of Airplay 2 support is a drawback compared to other alternatives, but it has Bluetooth for local streaming.
|The biggest speaker system out of the options we talked about is trying to be better than Sonos.||No Airplay 2 support or virtual assistants.|
|Software helps you manage audio systems in your whole home.||The wedge-shaped design of the HEOS 5 and other products is distinctive but may not be to everyone’s taste.|
The Yamaha MusicCast 50 has an oval design and offers a unique solution for whole-home audio. Unlike other systems, it doesn’t have a range of wireless speakers. The MusicCast 20 and 50 can be mixed and matched to meet most needs.
The MusicCast has Bluetooth and a feature called Airplay 2. It also has Alexa, a voice assistant. You can use the app to control it, just like you can with Sonos and other options. You might want to put it in a central location like the kitchen for easy voice control.
The MusicCast 50 has two tweeters and two woofers, enough to fill a room with sound. It can combine with up to 10 MusicCast speakers for whole-home audio. It has fewer drivers than the Sonos Play:5/Sonos Five, but it’s sufficient for most needs. It’s strange that there’s a limit to the number of combined speakers.
MusicCast has fewer speaker options than some other brands. You can’t get soundbars or other specialty devices. But you can connect regular audio to the system using a receiver like the Yamaha Aventage. If you have the MusicCast 50, you can use it with the receiver in a stereo setup, which is cool.
|Bluetooth and Airplay 2, plus a good app for streaming, make it easy to play music on the unit.||In whole-home audio, you can only have 10 networked speakers.|
|Voice assistant (Alexa) support is a bonus feature.|
To Sum Up
Sonos is a popular choice for premium home audio, but there are other options to consider. The Audio Pro C10 is a Swedish speaker that’s more about sound quality than the Sonos Five. It has fewer parts that make sound, but you can connect it using RCA ports and it has a port to connect a subwoofer.
It’s cheaper and more versatile than the Sonos Five. The Apple Homepod is cheaper than the Sonos Five, but it only works with Apple stuff and doesn’t have as many speaker options. The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a good deal with good sound quality and support for Amazon Alexa, but it has fewer parts that make sound and is part of a smaller speaker ecosystem. The Denon HEOS 5 has a unique design and a big ecosystem, but it doesn’t have Airplay 2 or voice assistants. The Yamaha MusicCast 50 is another affordable option with Bluetooth, Airplay 2, and Alexa. You can use it in a stereo setup with a receiver, but it’s part of a smaller ecosystem and can only connect to 10 speakers.