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The 9 best WLAN speakers in the test

They come in all imaginable shapes and colors – but which models come out on top in the test of the best WLAN speakers? atechbook shows the test winners, what they cost and what they can do.

Everyone knows about small Bluetooth speakers for rich sound on the go, but what about the big speakers for the system in your living room? Where a whole sound system with clunky speakers and endless cable clutter used to be set up, today it only takes a few inconspicuous small devices in a few corners of the room for stereo sound like in the cinema. And with the best WLAN speakers, cable clutter is also a thing of the past: Simply connect them to the home network and stream music at any time with your smartphone or by voice command.

The WLAN speaker comparison shows that the quality has improved a lot, but not every model offers the full sound enjoyment. The buyer can encounter everything from noise to tinny sounds – even in devices with a high price.

In the smart home: Without smartphone, without sound

Anyone who buys a WiFi speaker should be aware that (almost) nothing works here without a smartphone: You need the phone to set it up, update it and control it yourself. Connecting cables and starting is no longer possible without further ado with most devices nowadays – the same goes for streaming speakers. For some apps, you even have to create a customer account first. In return, it is possible to control all devices with multiple users via multiple smartphones.

App control also has advantages, of course: By integrating the speakers into the home network and the existing smart home, multi-room use is quickly set up. Multiroom means that all speakers in the network can be controlled together, but do not necessarily have to be in the same room. As a user, you are usually very flexible via the app: You can combine several speakers into groups or play something different on each device.

Voice assistants and data protection: not a good match

The biggest point of criticism in Stiftung Warentest’s test: Voice control via assistants like Alexa or Google is convenient and practical – but personal data protection suffers as a result. Even without voice assistants, security is not always guaranteed: Eight of the tested devices even received a downgrade in the test score. Among other things, because the password provisions for the associated account are too weak. But also because deficiencies were found even in the small print of the data protection declarations – even at well-known manufacturers such as Amazon, Google and Sony.

If you want to be on the safe side, turn off the voice assistants and control your WLAN speakers via the appropriate app. The manufacturers Teufel and Sonos scored with particularly watertight privacy statements in the test – but only when the voice assistants are deactivated.

Teufel Hotlist S: Test winner at Stiftung Warentest

Really good does not always have to be really expensive – this is proven by the best WLAN speaker and test winner at Stiftung Warentest. The Hotlist S WiFi speaker from Teufel delivers the best sound quality of all 38 test devices. Stiftung Warentest awards the grade “good” (2.5) for the sound, and the Holist S also scores particularly positively in the economical power supply (“very good”). And despite its rather compact size, it delivers rich sound with an integrated subwoofer – no matter where it is placed. The 360-degree design allows users to get full sound in any position in the room.

The price of the Hotlist S is not necessarily cheap, but it is still in the mid-price segment of smart speakers – making it a good deal. The manufacturer has also equipped the wireless speaker with an AUX input for analog music sources. Those who already have one or more Amazon Echo or other Teufel speakers in their house will also benefit from the multi-room function.

Teufel Hotlist S
Voice control Amazon Alexa
Supported services Spotify, Amazon Music, Napster, TuneIn
Connectivity WLAN
Control app Teufel Hotlist
Connections AUX
Special features Multiroom function, 360 degree sound

Advantages

  • economical power consumption
  • good sound
  • best data protection (without voice assistant)

Disadvantages

  • Data privacy gaps with voice assistant use

Ikea Symfonisk: The speaker in the picture frame

It is the runner-up in Stiftung Warentest’s 2022 test – and the only speaker that stands out. Literally: The Symfonisk WLAN speaker from the furniture manufacturer IKEA disguises itself as a picture frame. It comes in black or white and can be filled with different artworks, so-called panels. It is then mounted on the wall at the desired location. The built-in technology comes from the cooperation with Sonos – and that pays off: Stiftung Warentest awards the rating “good” and a solid second place in the listening test.

Those who already have Sonos-branded WLAN speakers in the house also benefit from the cooperation with the furniture manufacturer: All IKEA speakers are compatible with existing Sonos devices and integrate easily into the home sound network. Apart from the good sound quality, the Symfonisk is a good choice because of its looks: Where other speakers might disrupt the overall visual appearance, it blends in almost invisibly. Only the 3.50 meter long cable has to be attached inconspicuously. Another advantage: The speaker offers music enjoyment at a reasonable price. Compared to other WLAN speakers, it is in the affordable mid-price segment.

Ikea Symfonisk
Voice control Amazon Alexa
Supported services Spotify, Airplay 2
Connectivity WLAN
Control app Sonos
Connections
Features Multiroom function, compatible with other Sonos devices

Advantages

  • Mid-price segment
  • fancy design

Disadvantages

  • Shortcomings in data protection

Sonos Five: The best WLAN speaker in 2021

The Sonos Five speaker managed to come out on top as the test winner in Stiftung Warentest’s 2021 test – even though it is rather high-priced compared to other speakers. However, it can also score points in the comparison: Stiftung Warentest even awards the grade “very good” for the sound: “powerful, balanced and dynamic” – that was the conclusion in the test. The Sonos Five is still a good alternative this year. However, it is not exactly compact and already rather a statement in the living room. If you want perfect sound, buy it twice and place it upright. When placed upright, the smart speaker automatically switches to stereo mode.

The Sonos Five’s equipment is especially worthwhile for fans of cinema sounds: Six amplifiers, three tweeters and three midrange speakers provide the highest music enjoyment inside the WLAN speaker. Thus, the Sonos Five is also forgiven for not offering Bluetooth pairing and a voice assistant. At least there is an AUX port for alternative music sources. And of course, the test winner is also compatible with other Sonos products and can be controlled in the shared app in the multi-room system.

Sonos Five
Voice control
Supported services Spotify, Airplay 2
Connectivity WLAN
Control app Sonos
Connections AUX, LAN
Features Multiroom function, mono and stereo function

Advantages

  • high data protection

Disadvantages

  • rather high price
  • No Bluetooth

Bose Portable Smart Speaker: Super sound – even on the go

If you’re looking for an all-rounder to take with you, you won’t be disappointed with the Bose Portable Smart Speaker: It’s the only device in the comparison that can also be used on the go as a WLAN or Bluetooth speaker. Most other models are not suitable for this due to the lack of battery power. The Bose Bluetooth speaker even has a carrying handle so that this is immediately obvious to the user. Stiftung Warentest confirms that it is also suitable for stationary home use with good sound quality: The smart speaker received the test mark “good” in the listening test. However, the testers criticize the speaker’s long start-up time, among other things.

Stationary operation is possible with the multi-room speaker, but it is rather impractical due to the fact that it is not powered from the mains. Theoretically, it can also be operated with a power adapter via USB-C cable – but that is probably not the ideal option for the installed battery. In fact, the Bose speaker looks best as a portable device. Since its quality (and price) is far above that of standard Bluetooth speakers, it also delivers much better sound – for example, for garden or house parties, in the vacation home, in the caravan, or while traveling. Fully charged, it offers a battery life of over eight hours.

Bose Portable Smart Speaker
Voice control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Supported services Spotify, Amazon Music, AirPlay 2
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app Bose Music
Connections
Features Multiroom function, with carrying handle

Advantages

  • good sound
  • suitable for on the road

Disadvantages

  • data protection with major flaws
  • no mains operation provided

Sony SRS-RA3000: Flexible WLAN and Bluetooth speaker

Sony’s WiFi speaker combines the portable Bluetooth device with the stationary WLAN sound box in the living room. The third-placed speaker in Stiftung Warentest secures an overall rating of “satisfactory” (2.7) and scores in its very own way: It cannot quite keep up with the sound quality of stationary speakers – but as a Bluetooth box to go, the music experience here is very good in comparison. The high connectivity as well as the flexibility of the Sony speaker are decisive for the user when buying it.

Sony’s Wi-Fi speaker can be operated via the corresponding app. The smart speaker does not offer a built-in voice assistant, but there are analog controls on the surface. Due to the design, the Sony RA3000 offers the same sound quality everywhere in the room. Although Stiftung Warentest says that the user account is protected, the Sony device is devalued in the test: The privacy policy has clear flaws.

Sony SRS-RA3000
Voice control Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant
Supported services Spotify, Google Chromecast
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app Sony Music Center
Connections AUX
Special features Multiroom function

Advantages

  • Bluetooth connectivity on the go
  • Compact

Disadvantages

  • Satisfactory sound
  • Shortcomings in privacy policy

KEF LS50 Wireless II: high-end speaker with digital limitations

The pair of WiFi speakers from KEF is by no means a bargain – on the contrary: The speakers are among the most expensive devices on the market. On the other hand, the sound quality is simply outstanding and the KEF speakers offer maximum flexibility: The available WLAN as well as Bluetooth connectivity turns the high-quality manufactured speakers into stationary home systems as well as impressive party speakers. In addition, there are connections for TV, record player or console – so HDMI-eARC, analog, optical and coaxial inputs for almost any source. The unusual color selection from dark gray to wine red makes a clear and elegant statement: you don’t want to hide these WLAN speakers. With additional accessories, they can optionally be placed on a stand – which in turn takes some getting used to in terms of design.

Despite the high purchase price, the KEF LS50 Wireless’ app is unnecessarily stubborn and not particularly reliable. Some users needed a very long time to even set up the speakers – a reliable connection is not always established. Considering the high price of these WLAN speakers, there is room for improvement. Nevertheless, the KEF speakers – once set up and connected to the WLAN or Bluetooth – offer the highest sound quality for the living room, and thanks to the multi-room system, also for the entire house. However, these speakers do not offer voice assistant support.

KEF LS50 Wireless II
Voice control
Supported services Spotify, AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app KEF Control App, KEF Stream App
Connections AUX, LAN, HDMI-eARC
Features Multiroom function, expandable with stand

Advantages

  • outstanding sound
  • chic design
  • many connections

Disadvantages

  • Connection problems

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge: The all-rounder

The Beosound Emerge is first of all an eye-catcher: Its narrow, high design reminds us of a book – and that’s exactly how it can be placed. Thanks to the front-facing sound output, it is also suitable for narrow corners or bookshelves. So if you don’t like the look of this WLAN speaker, you don’t necessarily have to place it in the middle of the room. Thanks to 180-degree sound – the manufacturer promises – a full sound still reaches almost everyone in a room.

The Emerge is otherwise an all-rounder: It streams many different services, can be operated via app or directly on the device, and offers an AUX as well as a LAN connection. It can also be paired via Bluetooth – but without battery operation, it is not suitable for on the go. Stiftung Warentest gave the Bang & Olufsen WiFi speaker a rating of “good” in the listening test – the device only showed weaknesses at very high volumes.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Emerge
Voice control Google Assistant
Supported services Spotify, AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app Bang & Olufsen
Connections AUX, LAN
Features Multiroom function

Advantages

  • good sound
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Disadvantages

  • Distortion at high volume

Amazon Echo (4th generation): Good sound and many extras

Even though the Amazon Echo only gets the grade “satisfactory” (2.9) for sound quality in Stiftung Warentest’s speaker test, you have to consider it in the overall package. First of all, it is comparatively cheap to buy compared to other WLAN speakers. And of course, it is more of an addition to the smart home in your own home than a full-fledged stereo system. With the integrated Alexa voice assistant, it offers several additional functions that make life easier for the user: Alexa controls countless electrical devices in the smart home, reads articles or books aloud, searches the Internet and provides information about the weather.

The Echo connects to other devices via the Multiroom function or plays music from Internet radio or services like Spotify as a standalone device. The price-performance ratio is right overall here – at least when the Amazon Echo is not used as a pure speaker. Despite its low weight and handy dimensions, the Echo is not intended to be used as a Bluetooth speaker on the go. It needs a power adapter and does not offer battery operation. Nevertheless, it is practical for the garden party, vacation or business trip.

Amazon Echo (4th generation)
Voice control Amazon Alexa
Supported services Spotify
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app Amazon Alexa
Connections AUX
Features Multiroom function, microphone off button

Advantages

  • many additional functions
  • favorable

Disadvantages

  • none on the device

Xiaomi Mi L09G: The best WLAN speaker for beginners

There are definitely users who want better sound quality for the living room, but are not willing to invest several hundred euros in a WLAN speaker. And indeed, the Xiaomi Mi Smart Speaker is just the right model for that: It brings full connectivity and rich sound into your home at an amazingly low price. Of course, the listening experience with Xiaomi’s speaker is not comparable with the sound quality of a Sonos device, for example. But those who have only listened to music and movies via TV or even cell phone boxes will find access to a whole new world of sound here for the first time.

The smart speaker offers WLAN and Bluetooth connections, has a touch control panel and comes with integrated Google Assistant. In Stiftung Warentest’s test, the speaker scores with a quick start-up and good voice assistant – even though shortcomings in the privacy policy also led to a downgrade here. If you are willing to invest a bit more, you can buy the speaker twice – this rounds off the sound experience, especially in combination with the TV.

Xiaomi Mi L09G
Voice control Google Assistant
Supported services Google Chromecast
Connectivity WLAN, Bluetooth
Control app Google Home
Connections
Special features Multiroom function

Advantages

  • favorable
  • high connectivity

Disadvantages

  • no outstanding sound

Conclusion: The best WLAN speakers in the test

Whether for the living room at home, the smart home, while traveling or for the next garden party: WLAN speakers have become almost indispensable. Anyone who has once switched from normal TV sound to the unimagined sound quality of a good speaker will never want to go back. And even if the purchase in many cases means a not inconsiderable financial outlay: Smart speakers are available in almost all price categories and for all needs.

Those who want to try it out first or do not want to make a large investment will find good entry-level devices in the WLAN speakers from Xiaomi. The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, offers a number of additional functions and only acts as a speaker on the side – but with surprisingly good sound quality. The Sonos brand, on the other hand, is already present in many living rooms and now offers a large selection of different speakers and smart speakers. The speaker in the picture frame from IKEA is particularly unusual. If you want a flexible device that can also be used on the go, you can get the Bose Portable Speaker. Audiophiles in particular invest in a KEF speaker, which guarantees that they will never have to worry about bad sound again.

However, Stiftung Warentest criticized the insufficient data protection of some WLAN speakers in the test. Users are therefore well advised to be sparing with their own data and to simply turn off the integrated voice assistants – if they are not needed. Most devices even have a “microphone off” button, such as Amazon Echo. Without worrying about data protection, the WLAN speaker sounds much better.

Topics

  • Loudspeaker
  • TOP L1STS
  • WLAN