Sonos vs Bose: Which is better for home audio?


Two brands that come to mind when thinking about premium audio home entertainment systems are Sonos and Bose. Whilst they offer many different types of speaker, their standalone units are very popular choices of devices for listening to home audio entertainment such as podcasts, music, and video media.

In this article, we specifically look at their top of the range standalone speakers that perform this task, covering both all in one unit and soundbars that can be accompanied additional units to build a complete surround sound system. This will show the way with Sonos and Bose and help you find a speaker that meets your home entertainment needs. Models included in this comparison include:

  • Bose
    • Wave SoundTouch Music System IV
    • SoundTouch 30
    • Soundbar 700
  • Sonos
    • Play:5
    • Playbar

Related: Bose QuietComfort 25 vs 35

Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV – Option with a CD Player

Bose wave soundtouch magic iv

If you want a system that fills your whole home with enhanced sound when listening to music then the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System is your choice. An especially versatile speaker, this Music System supports CDs, MP3s, Bluetooth, and WiFi as well as accessing huge online musical verse. Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and iTunes to name a few apps.

Basic playback control is carried out with a basic smart remote that accompanies the Wave SoundTouch Music System. We also have to mention the integration of Alexa with this speaker, although it requires you to have an Alexa device. Playback control with basic commands as well as accessing online music apps is a few of the tasks you can control with your voice.

Bose is a leading force in producing high-quality premium speakers with the best sounds, clarity, and balances of frequencies. SoundTouch Music System IV has rich, powerful and vibrant sounds that sweep through your home’s airspace. That said, there are other options that may be better quality and some do not consider the speaker good enough for the living room.

Pros & Cons of Bose SoundTouch Music System IV

An impeccably put together device, the Wave SoundTouch Music System IV has some many high points:

  • High quality powerful and rich sounds
  • CD player
  • Easy setup
  • Access to major music services
  • Included remote
  • Alexa compatibility
  • Attentive customer support

The speaker isn’t perfect with certain issues arising due to lack of clarity with the specs of the device:

  • Music from CD can’t be transmitted to synced additional speakers
  • CD player delicate and prone to breaking
  • Not considered good enough for the living room
  • Can’t adjust the equalizer

>>>View Bose Wave SoundTouch on Amazon<<<

Sonos Play:5 – Powerful Wireless Audio Streamer

Sonos Play 5

The Sonos Play:5 is a similarly matched speaker to the Wave SoundTouch Music System IV in terms of price, sound quality, and connectivity options. A few slight differences in regards to the scenarios and people they suit are pretty clear. This speaker, the Play:5 is more catered for those who source their music from streamed online content, mediated by Wi-Fi. Being a more modern orientated speaker means there is no CD player. An Ethernet port option allows for a stronger and more reliable internet connection to support these media-rich audio services. The Sonos Controller app is the basis for your control and access to the streaming features.

High powered woofers in the Play:5 put plenty of oomph in the low ends whilst enhancing the low and mid-frequency instrument and vocal elements of the sound. The speaker is built up of Six Class-D amplifiers to accentuate the surround sound effect and richness of the music without causing distortion. A two-room buying option includes two Play:5 speakers to extend the range of sound significantly around your home.

Alexa compatibility is the same as that is found with the Wave SoundTouch speaker. Unlike the Sonos One which has Alexa actually built into it, the Play:5 requires an external Alexa speaker that is connected wirelessly.  Repeated experiences of wireless card failures have been experienced by many and following this.

Pros & Cons of Sonos Play:5

The Play:5 has some notable strong points that make it a solid option of home entertainment speaker:

  • Top-notch sound quality
  • Strong bass and width
  • Easy setup
  • Easy interface
  • Solid choice for music streamers
  • Ethernet port for better connection
  • Alexa compatibility

Unfortunately, the Play:5 does seem to have some substantial issues that crop up commonly:

  • Wi-Fi card fails
  • Poor customer services
  • Poor longevity
  • Glitchy software

>>>View Sonos Play:5 on Amazon<<<

Bose SoundTouch 30 – Most Powerful Standalone Speaker

Bonos soundtouch 30

If you want the best sound quality and performance from Bose’s one piece range, look no further than the Bose SoundTouch 30. This system is their powerhouse of sound that is versatile and widely compatible. Just like the Wave SoundTouch Music System, there is a centrally placed display screen that displays playback information.

Without a CD player, the SoundTouch 30 is more orientated for wireless streaming of music, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is an ethernet port to support the more reliable and faster-wired option of internet connectivity. Available streaming services are the same as listed above, including Spotify and Amazon Music to name a few. Alexa integration is extended to this speaker although an additionally sold Alexa speaker such as the Echo Dot will be required.

Out of the bunch, this Bose speaker is the most powerful and best-sounding wireless speaker attributable to the high-performance drivers and proprietary waveguide technology.  This is the speaker you want if your set on filling your home complete with sound, perhaps for parties or other gatherings.

Bose wants you to build a home sound system with their products exclusively. They are averse to anyone connecting up other speakers via an aux cable and have even gone to the lengths of creating a sound delay when they are connected. As a standalone, this is a great speaker but as a connected system, an echo effect can ruin your music and video entertainment.

Pros & Cons of Bose SoundTouch 30

For a standalone speaker, the SoundTouch 30 is one of the best options you can go for, especially if you crave some real audio power. Highlights of the SoundTouch 30 include:

  • Most powerful standalone speaker
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Top-notch bass
  • Good for streaming services
  • Ethernet port
  • Alexa compatibility

As a standalone speaker this is a solid option, despite there being a few problems when connected up to a larger system:

  • Aux delay create echo effect when connecting other speakers
  • Limited remote functions
  • No CD player

>>>View Bose SoundTouch 30 on Amazon<<<

Sonos Playbar – Crisp Mids and Highs With Added Bass Needed

sonos playbar

Moving towards more video entertainment geared audio, the Sonos Playbar is a cinematic enhancing speaker that can take your experiences to a new level. Sonos wants the user to build up a collection of their speakers to create a wholesome sound system. You can start out with the Playbar and add their One speaker and a Sub to create a true surround sound system.

This is done wirelessly so you have to worry about tangling cables creating an eyesore. Highly customizable too, this sound system has in-depth equalizing controls to perfect sound based on the acoustics of your room. Although the focus here has been placed upon the Playbar, it is highly recommended to build up the system to achieve a 3.1 or 5.1 surround sound.

Soundwaves from the Playbar are both loud and clear due to highly specced nine amplified speakers drive. These are three tweeters and six mid-range drivers that sort out the mid to high frequencies in a clarified manner. Subtones are there to a degree but a subwoofer is especially recommended as an added purchase. Alexa works with both wireless and wired connectable Playbar. Also, check out our article comparing the Sono Playbar vs Playbase.

Pros & Cons of Sonos Playbar

A crisp and clear soundbar, this speaker is highly equipped to enhance your viewing experiences thanks to these benefits:

  • Crisp and clear dialogue audio
  • Highs and mids superior quality
  • Build up to 3.1 or 5.1 surround system
  • Wall-mounted option
  • Works with Amazon Music and other streaming services
  • Alexa compatibility

There are some negatives apparent with the Playbar:

  • Direct power needed
  • Additional subwoofer highly recommended
  • Volume consistency issues

>>>View Sonos Playbar on Amazon<<<

Bose Soundbar 700 – An Impressive Soundbar That Delivers

Bose Soundbar

Proclaimed as the best Soundbar from Bose, the 700 model is an equitable speaker to the Sonos Playbar.  The premise is similar, this soundbar is part of a system that can be built with additional Bose speakers to create a fully fletched 3.1 or 5.1 surround sound setup. This device not only allows you to connect your television, but it can also be used with live streaming devices to get the best sound. Fine-tuning of the equalizer is possible with the remote or Bose app.

The first thing you’ll probably notice with this device is that there are several input options for other devices. The Bose SoundTouch app is also compatible with both Android and iOS devices which increases convenience whilst adding a new and contemporary layer of control. Primary connectivity methods include both Bluetooth and WiFi as well as compatibility with the new Apple Airplay 2.

A distinguishing feature of the Soundbar 700 is the Alexa that is built in the hardware. Contrasting to the Sonos Play:5 which requires an external Alexa speaker device, the built-in element makes the speaker relatively cheaper for this function.

The glass and metal design are exceptionally classy for a speaker of this kind which turns it into a relished piece of furniture in addition to being electronic. It also has a wide range of sounds which gives you more options and better results.

Pros & Cons of Bose Soundbar 700

The 700 series is of consistent and pristine quality thanks to some serious perks:

  • Classy design
  • Clear mids and highs
  • Alexa inbuilt
  • Equalizer function
  • Wide sound
  • App control
  • Home movie theatre audio quality
  • Light at 10 lbs

There a few issues that are more a small nuisance than a catastrophe:

  • Recommended to buy Base module
  • Older Bose speakers don’t sync with Soundbar
  • Power supply needed

>>>Bose Soundbar 700 on Amazon<<<

Sonos vs Bose Comparison Chart

View on AmazonDESIGNMODELConnectivitySurround SoundAlexaStreaming Services
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONBose wave soundtouch magic ivBose Wave SoundTouch Music System IVWiFi
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONSonos Play 5Sonos Play:5WiFi
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONBonos soundtouch 30Bose SoundTouch 30WiFi
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONsonos playbarSonos PlaybarWiFi
3.1 or 5.1CompatibleYes
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZONBose SoundbarBose Soundbar 700WiFi
3.1 or 5.1Built inYes

Final Word

These brands offer the best standalone soundbars and home entertainment speakers you can get your hands on. We hope you feel informed and inspired to get your hands on one of the speakers and take your home entertainment to an ascended level. We hope you enjoyed this comparison and hope you have found the right audio tech for your home entertainment.


Rupert Pople

Rupert is the founder of this website and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices. Within his Business Management (BSc) degree at the University of Nottingham, he studied the technological impact of the Internet of Things.

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