Sonos vs Bose: Which is better for home audio?

Sonos vs bose

This Sonos vs Bose comparison will look at two brands that come to mind when thinking about premium audio home entertainment systems. 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 playing podcasts, music, and video media. For some cheaper options please take a read of our article; Best Bluetooth Speaker Under 50, 100 & 200 dollars.

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 of Sonos and Bose include:

Related: Sonos One vs Sonos Play:1

Sonos vs Bose Comparison Chart

MODELBose Wave SoundTouch
Music System IV
Sonos Play:5Bose SoundTouch 30Sonos PlaybarBose Soundbar 700
DesignBose wave soundtouch magic ivSonos Play 5Bonos soundtouch 30sonos playbarBose Soundbar
Surround SoundNoNoNo3.1 or 5.13.1 or 5.1
AlexaCompatibleCompatibleCompatibleCompatibleBuilt in
Streaming ServicesYesYesYesYesYes
Bottom LineAll Round High Quality
& CD Player
Recommended Option
For Home
Powerful Speaker
Lots of Bass
Second Best
Best Soundbar
AvailabilityCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Check Out: Best Bluetooth Speaker with Microphone

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

Bose wave soundtouch magic iv
Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV

If you want a system that fills your whole home with enhanced sound when playing music then the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System is your choice. An especially versatile home speaker, this Music System works with CDs, MP3s, Bluetooth, and WiFi as well as accessing huge online musical verse. Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple 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 home speaker, although it requires you to have an Amazon Alexa device. Playback control comes 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 that come 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 use in 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
  • Comes with CD player
  • Easy setup
  • Access to major music services
  • Included remote
  • Amazon Alexa compatibility
  • Attentive customer support

The home 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
  • Can’t adjust the equalizer

This is a great speaker if you want a modern sound system that produces rich and vibrant sounds. It is the go-to option for those with CD collections but also wants modern digital services. There are a few issues relating to the CD player, but with a little care, these can be avoided.

Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV, works with Alexa, Espresso Black
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold...
  • Enjoy all your music easily: online music services,...
  • Exclusive Bose waveguide speaker technology delivers...

Sonos Play:5 – Powerful Wireless Audio Streamer

Sonos Play 5
Sonos Play:5

The Sonos Play:5 is a similarly matched home 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 home 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 home 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. You use the Sonos app to 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 a home speaker:

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Strong bass and width
  • Easy setup and use
  • 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:

  • Glitchy software
  • Customer service support issues

The Sonos Play:5 is a versatile and powerful speaker that can be used for parties, as background music and much more. You can easily hook up many of these together to create a bigger system with a stereo effect. A really solid choice for those who use music services. Most users have no issues with the Sonos Play:5, but occasionally there are complaints of customer service.

Sonos Play: 5 - Ultimate Wireless Smart Speaker - Black
  • Experience pure, vibrant sound with play: 5, tuned by...
  • 3 custom designed woofers deliver rich bass while the...
  • Pair 2 Play: 5s in the upright position and each...

Check Out: Best Bluetooth Speaker with Microphone

Bose SoundTouch 30 – Most Powerful Standalone Speaker

Bonos soundtouch 30
Bose 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 home 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 home 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
  • Bose app
  • 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

The SoundTouch 30 is an absolute powerhouse from Bose, especially the bass. Overall, it is a very well rounded home speaker and the best choice if you like to take your audio up a notch or two on the volume.

Bose SoundTouch 30 wireless speaker, works with Alexa - Black
  • Works with Alexa for voice control (Alexa device sold...
  • The most powerful wireless speaker from Bose; Wave...
  • Works with your Wi Fi and Bluetooth devices to play...

Related: Bose QuietComfort 25 vs 35

Sonos Playbar – Crisp Mids and Highs

sonos playbar
Sonos Playbar

Moving towards more video entertainment geared audio, the Sonos Playbar is a cinematic enhancing home 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 as there isn’t much bass. 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

One of the best soundbars you can get from Sonos, the Playbar is of superb quality in the mid and high range. One issue if you purchase this option is that you will want to make sure you add in a sub as an additional unit as it doesn’t quite nail it in the lower frequencies.

Sonos Playbar - The Mountable Sound Bar for TV, Movies, Music, and More - Black
  • The mountable soundbar for TV, movies, music, and more
  • Enjoy crisp dialogue and impressive bass from wall to...
  • Whether you mount it on the wall or place it below your...

Bose Soundbar 700 – An Impressive Soundbar That Delivers

Bose Soundbar 700
Bose Soundbar 700

Proclaimed as the best Soundbar from Bose, the Bose Soundbar 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 and Apple Music.

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 comes with 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
  • Bose Music 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

The Bose Soundbar 700 is a premium soundbar with very impressive audio quality. This is the go-to choice out of the selection for those who want to take their visual media to the next level, as well as enjoying digital streaming services. Again, like the Sonos Soundbar, an additional unit to provide more bass is recommended as it doesn’t produce much.

Bose Soundbar 700 with Alexa Voice Control Built-in, Black
  • The best performing sound bar from Bose, featuring an...
  • Built in voice assistants, like Alexa and the Google...
  • With Wi Fi, Bluetooth, and Apple airplay 2...

Final Word

These brands offer the best standalone soundbars and home entertainment speakers you can get your hands on. Here are the perks of each home speaker:

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 to use for your home entertainment.


In this section, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions in regards to Sonos, Bose and comparing the two audio speaker producers.

Is Sonos better than Bose?

It is too simplistic to ask and answer this question as each manufacturer shines in different areas. For example, it depends on what scenario; for a party or a film? How do you intend to use the speaker? And of course how much money you wish to spend and which home speaker you go for. In this article, we have laid out which scenarios each speaker fits.

Are Bose and Sonos compatible?

Without going into detail this scenario is possible but we wouldn’t recommend it as it is an extra complication. It is far easier to just stick to one brand so you can easily add Sonos or Bose units into existing setups. The Bose app or Sonos app makes this process easier.

Is Sonos a good brand?

Overall Sonos is undoubtedly one of the best brands for home audio, especially with speakers such as their Playbar and Play:5. In general, they are very popular speakers and fan favorites for streaming services and easy use.

Are Sonos worth the money?

Every Sonos speakers comes with a reasonable price tag which is justified. The combination of excellent sound quality, internet connection, streaming services and companion Sonos app, the Sonos brand is worth going with.

Is Bose really worth the money?

Bose is known for its premium quality of speakers and is without a doubt one of the safest choices you can make. Thanks to a wide range of speakers sold by the brand and their maintained quality throughout, Bose is a fantastic option.

Photo of Rupert Pople

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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