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Wireless speakers and audio systems give you lots of great ways to enjoy the endless supply of music that's on tap from your smartphone and internet connection.
Below you'll find shopping tips for portable Bluetooth® speakers, multi-room systems, and smart speakers with voice assistants. For more info read our complete buying guide.
Battery-powered Bluetooth speakers stream tunes from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. There are compact models that fit in your backpack. Larger ones are perfect for hanging out at the pool or the campground.
Unlike portable Bluetooth speakers, these wireless speakers must be plugged into an AC outlet. They connect to your phone via Bluetooth, or to your home network via Wi-Fi®. Most provide an app for picking songs, and adjusting volume. Some can function as part of a wireless multi-room audio system.
What makes a speaker smart? Wi-Fi connectivity and a built-in voice assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Tell your speaker what to play or use your voice to control compatible smart home devices.
In a wireless multi-room audio system, speakers link together on your home Wi-Fi network. You control them with an app on your smartphone or tablet. You can play different songs in different rooms or play the same music throughout your home.
Several multi-room systems are "closed," meaning they work only with other products from the same brand. Sonos, Denon HEOS, and Yamaha MusicCast are some popular examples.
Other systems are "open," meaning you can mix and match speakers from different brands. Open systems include DTS Play-Fi®, Apple® AirPlay® 2, and Google Chromecast.
Some sound bars and receivers can be linked to wireless speakers that play the rear channels of a surround sound mix. To learn more, read our article about the best wireless surround sound systems.
Want to play music from your phone through an old stereo system? Try a home Bluetooth adapter, a compact device that receives Bluetooth transmissions from your phone, tablet, or computer. Connect it to an auxiliary input on your sound system.
Do you use an Apple iPhone® or iPad®? A wireless powered speaker with Apple AirPlay lets you stream audio directly from your Apple device to that single speaker. AirPlay 2 takes it a step further: you can send tunes wirelessly from your Apple device to compatible speakers or audio components throughout your home.
Many portable Bluetooth speakers are dirt-proof and waterproof. The degree to which they can withstand the elements is reflected in their IP rating.
Speaker stands and wall mounts are available for many wireless speakers. The best way to find these is by checking the accessories tab on individual product pages.
If you're placing your Wi-Fi speaker in a far corner of your home, or if you're outfitting several rooms with wireless speakers, you may find that you need a better Wi-Fi router.