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9 Best Speaker Brands

Searching For The Best Speaker Brands

What is life without music? What is music without soul? What is a soul without a sound? 

These are all questions that probably throttle your mind if you’re anything like our Honest Brand Reviews team who spend most of our days blitzing out work to lo-fi chill hip-hop beats to study and/or relax to.

But what good are those lo-fi beats without a solid speaker through which we can hear their low fidelity in all its subpar glory? 

The best speaker brands can elevate music from background music to a full-body experience. They can turn music you once thought was dismal into music you think is horrible, but at least you’ll hear the music clearly enough to understand why you dislike it.

Keep reading through my list of the best speaker brands to find out which companies have my HBR seal of approval, what you can expect from their products, and how you can go about choosing the best brand for yourself.

The 9 Best Speaker Brands

#1: JBL

Best Speaker Brands

Although this brand has no affiliations whatsoever with the former WWE champion of the same namesake, their speakers are still powerful enough to deliver a proverbial Clothesline from Hell right to your eardrums.

It seems that everyone has a portable JBL Flip 6 ($130) Bluetooth speaker these days. They’re one of the marquee products that make this company one of the best speaker brands.

JBL is one of the most notable loudspeaker producers in the world. Their catalog extends further than just portable speakers. They also make higher-end products for audiophiles that feature smooth sound production. 

Highlights

  • Easily accessible products
  • Wide variety of products
  • Relatively agreeable prices  

#2: Bose

Best Speaker Brands

The Massachusetts-based Bose lives and breathes excellence. Their name has been associated with pristine audio quality since 1964.

They produce speakers of all shapes, sizes, and magnitudes. Here’s a short list of some of their most esteemed speakers:

  • Bose Smart Soundbar 900: $899
  • Bose Smart Speaker 500: $349
  • Bose 251 Outdoor Speaker Set: $398

Crucially, Bose puts sound quality above all else. It’s why you’ll often find Bose speakers at concert venues and sports arenas; locations where not a single watt of sound quality can afford to be sacrificed.

Highlights

  • Professional-level audio quality for affordable prices
  • Offer a 90-day risk-free trial
  • Free shipping on US orders over $50

#3: Focal

Best Speaker Brands

Let’s move away from the American companies to look at this French powerhouse of audio engineering. Focal is seen as one of the most reliable producers of loudspeakers in Europe. 

They’ve maintained control over their entire production process since 1979, allowing them to push their speakers to their limits.

You can’t purchase Focal products from their website. Instead, you’ll have to buy them from a retailer listed on their webpage. Regardless, these are speakers you’ll want to see in person just so that you can have them knock you out of your socks.

Some of their speakers have idiosyncratic finishes that aren’t available through any other company. So by shopping with Focal you’ll get speakers of the highest fidelity that deliver sounds so crisp you’d swear they were implanted in your ears.

Highlights

  • Considered one of the highest-fidelity speaker producers in the world
  • Retain control over their entire creative and production process
  • Only available through in-person retailers

#4: Sony

Best Speaker Brands

This Japanese electronics titan has probably already entered your house in some way, shape, or form, whether it be through their DVD players, televisions, Playstations, or speakers. It’s that final product line that I want to focus on with this century-old company.

Sony is one of the best speaker brands because they’re a global leader in noise-canceling technology.

This ingenuity is displayed in many of the speakers, like the Sony X-Series MEGA BASS™ Portable Bluetooth® Wireless Speaker ($500 regular, on sale for $350) and the Sony SRS-RA5000 ($700)

Their speakers frequently integrate Bluetooth, wi-fi integration, surround sound capabilities, and other leaps in engineering to deliver high-end audio.

Highlights

  • Constantly innovating new technologies 
  • Easy to find discounted items on their website
  • Items are sold through many electronic retailers 

#5: Bowers & Wilkins

Best Speaker Brands

After visiting France and Japan, Bowers & Wilkins draws my attention to its native shores of England. Their first release, the Bowers & Wilkins P1, put the company on the map in 1967 as one of the best speaker brands.

Bass is the name of the game with their products. If you’re all about that bass just like my favorite singer Meghan Trainor then you’ll want to look into loudspeakers like the Bowers & Wilkins 801D4 ($45,000). 

Yes, Bowers & Wilkins are expensive speakers, but judging by their audio quality these are worth the investment. They make home speakers, car speakers, and mini theaters.

Many of their items come with Dolby Digital Sound capabilities, meaning that they can make music sound better than you thought possible.

Highlights

  • Extremely well-crafted speakers for a premium price
  • Free delivery
  • 2-year warranty

#6: Klipsch

Best Speaker Brands

Klipsch is considered one of the best speaker brands for how well they wield horn loudspeaker technology. Essentially, horn loudspeakers can maintain high levels of audio quality at various frequencies.

This means that Klipsch speakers can maintain consistency in situations where other speakers would sputter and distort.

The American company combines rustic mid-century designs with great sound quality. Their loudspeakers have been their bread-and-butter since 1946 and you can find them in public places.

When companies are using your speakers to broadcast to the masses then you know that you’re making some dang good speakers.

Due to their powerful output and vintage designs, Klipsch speakers are sought after on the second-hand market. That’s another feather in the company’s cap as it means that their products can hold up for years on end.

Highlights

  • Consistent audio quality
  • Favored by vintage speaker collectors
  • High-end speakers with mighty output

#7: Harman Kardon

Best Speaker Brands

This brand was originally founded in 1953 in Connecticut, US, but they’ve operated under Samsung’s guiding hand since 2017.

Harman Kardon is considered one of the best speaker brands for cars. You can find their speakers in automobiles made by Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, and Jeep.

That’s great news if you’re a transformer, but what does this company offer in terms of home audio? They’re actually one of the best speaker brands for refurbished speakers.

Items like the Harman Kardon Soundsticks Wireless ($270) and the Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio 6 ($480) assert this company’s place in the market.

Their sound quality is considered above average regardless of which product you buy. Their physical designs are fetching too. Some Harman Kardon products look like they’re from one of the Star Wars prequels while others are minimalist yet dashing.

Highlights

  • Unique aesthetics
  • Free shipping on purchases from their website
  • Free returns

#8: KEF

Best Speaker Brands

KEF has been running their operations out of England since 1961. Their catalog is an all-star collection of home speakers, Bluetooth speakers, home theaters, subwoofers, and – my personal favorites – THX-certified speakers.

The company is obsessed with high-fidelity audio to the point that I think they’re trying to romance the concept. KEF’s speakers have earned praise for their ability to reproduce sounds with such accuracy that it feels like you’re experiencing them live.

This means that you can throw on your favorite Metallica live CD and have it sound like you’re sitting in the front row, feeling James Hetfield’s sweat drip onto your forehead. Talk about a unique experience!

Due to their extremely high-quality audio output, KEF speakers aren’t the cheapest products on the market. For example, the KEF LS50 Meta costs approximately $1,800 and the KEF LS50 Wireless II will run you nearly $3,000.

That being said, if you’re truly committed to experiencing the best possible audio, then I think that KEF is well worth the money.

Highlights

  • Produce THX-certified speakers
  • Abnormally high-fidelity sound quality

#9: Sonos

Best Speaker Brands

The final entry in my list of the best speaker brands is the youngest company here. Be careful; don’t let that fool you into thinking that they don’t know what they’re doing. 

This American company has been knocking it out of the park for the past 20 years when it comes to speakers that broadcast the same audio to multiple rooms.

The secret to their success is in their integration of modern technology. Sonos speakers are connected through wifi to a single audio source.

From there, you can control the speakers using the Sonos app. You can adjust the volume, quality, and more for multiple Sonos speakers all from your phone.

You can also adjust the speakers individually, meaning you could turn down the volume in one room while increasing it in another. The app connects directly to music streaming services which streamlines (pardon the pun) the entire process.

They make home speakers, portable speakers, home theaters, and soundbars. Some of the prices you can expect on their products include;

  • Sonos Roam: $229
  • Sonos Move: $499
  • Sonos 2 Room Set with Arc: $1,598

The brand also has sales on their bundles, meaning you can save more money by buying multiple speakers at once. That’s a smart idea because Sonos speakers are designed to be used in unison with one another.

Highlights

  • Sonos app controls multiple speakers at once
  • One of the most unique speaker companies on the market

How to Shop for the Best Speakers

Best Speaker Brands

After reading about the best speaker brands you might feel like an audio genius and feel ready to purchase a set of speakers. If so, then go ahead!

But if you still need a bit of guidance then allow me to give you some pointers as to which factors you should consider before you purchase a sound system and blast Xiu Xiu’s A Promise while chomping down an entire pint of ice cream.

Brand  

Anyone who has ever bought a pair of earbuds from a gas station knows how important a brand can be when it comes to audio equipment.

Each of the companies in this article is known for producing amazing speakers. They’d each make a great jumping-off point for those trying to learn more about speakers.

Type and size 

Sadly, you probably shouldn’t buy a home theater speaker system if you live in a cramped apartment in Brooklyn. The system is too big and you’ll only be playing yourself.

Thankfully, many of the best speaker brands craft a multitude of items in different sizes and shapes. I’m sure that you’ll be able to find one that suits your needs – so long as you know those needs.

Sound quality

Make sure you look into measurements like the RMS and the wattage for each speaker. I’ll go into a bit more detail later, but these are both crucial factors for determining sound quality.

If you don’t care about sound quality then why are you even reading this? Do your homework and learn which quality matches what you want.

Space and acoustics 

Certain brands like Sonos recognize that the best audio set-up is with multiple speakers across many rooms. Others brands like Bowers & Wilkins make speakers that are strong enough to fill concert halls. 

Regardless of your living space or its acoustic capabilities (i.e. the ways that sound waves interact with a room’s architecture), there’s a speaker for you. 

Larger spaces will benefit from speakers that can project their sound at higher frequencies while smaller spaces would be better off with a more modest speaker.

Extras 

I’m not talking about speakers that come with the additional ability to brush your teeth. Some speakers will require a mount, others will need to be drilled into the wall, and some need to be angled in certain ways.

These specific requirements must be considered before you finalize your purchase so that you don’t nullify a speaker with subpar placement.

Price

Speaker price is a funny thing to discuss because – for most people – they just want ways to hear their movies or music more clearly.

They’re not so attached to quality so long that they can hear what they want. In those cases, I do not think that price matters that much.

As your interest in audio quality grows so will the prices you consider reasonable. Most of the best speakers can be quite expensive but they justify their price tags.

It’s the difference between listening to a song downloaded straight from YouTube and hearing that same song played off of its original vinyl pressing.

My advice is to think about how important the small details of audio quality are to you and if you can feel comfortable spending upwards of thousands of dollars for the crispiest audio available

What are the 4 types of speakers?  

Best Speaker Brands

Much like the elements in Avatar: The Last Airbender there are four different types of speakers that each have their own advantages. These four types are:

  1. Loudspeakers
  2. in-the-wall/in-the-ceiling speakers
  3. Soundbars
  4. Subwoofers

Loudspeakers are the most typical speakers and function essentially how you’d imagine a speaker should function.

In-the-wall/in-the-ceiling speakers work like loudspeakers except they’re mounted to a wall to preserve space in the room.

Soundbars are better for creating dynamic sounds and you don’t have to bog your room down with speakers everywhere.

Finally, subwoofers are bass machines. They broadcast the lowest ends of the mix and are responsible for the boom you often hear at big concerts.

What is a good RMS for speakers? 

Best Speaker Brands

RMS is an acronym that stands for root-mean-square and refers to how well a speaker can handle a certain amount of power over a given amount of time. Basically, it’s how much power a speaker can handle before the audio quality is compromised.

A good RMS for one speaker is anywhere from 30 to 100 watts.

Do more watts mean better sound? 

Best Speaker Brands

It’s generally the case that the more power a speaker has the higher its sound quality.

That being said, it’s hard to notice the difference on smaller scales. A speaker would likely have to double its wattage in order for you to notice a difference in sound quality.

Can an amp be too powerful for a speaker? 

Best Speaker Brands

While an overpowered amp likely won’t damage the speaker it can cause a decrease in audio quality.

If an amp’s power exceeds the power of the speaker then the resulting sound will be distorted, fuzzy, or crinkled. It’ll sound like a Manowar concert, except with fewer riffs.

Final Thoughts

Best Speaker Brands

Audio quality is something that the best speaker brands all treasure above everything else.

There’s no point in purchasing a speaker if it’s going to make your music sound like garbage disposal unless you’re listening to Pulse Demon and wish that the mix could be even more rubbish.

While I believe in all the brands I’ve included in this article, the decision is ultimately in your hands. Use the tips I provided to find the speaker that best meets your needs.


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