Bluetooth speakers are so last season. WiFi speakers are where it’s at! The wireless technology for speakers is growing so fast it’s hard to keep up. Currently, most WiFi speakers are designed for in-home installation with very few designed to be fully portable. But WiFi speakers are evolving fast and it’s not long before all Bluetooth speakers feature WiFi capability as standard. In this article, we review the 10 best WiFi speakers of 2019 with options for just about every size, budget, and application.
Make sure you check out our buyer’s guide at the end of this article to help narrow down the WiFi speaker that’s right for you. In addition, we have included an FAQ section compiled from common questions asked on the web.
What are WiFi Speakers?
A WiFi speaker is a wireless speaker that can connect to your home WiFi network. Streaming over WiFi is far superior to Bluetooth in terms of audio quality and signal strength. With WiFi, as long as your device and WiFi speaker are on the same network, there is no issue with range or dropout. The audio quality is significantly better than Bluetooth as there is less compression and latency.
Connecting your WiFi speaker to your TV over your home network is also far better than any Bluetooth connection. There are no lip-sync issues and again, the sound quality is vastly superior.
One of the main reasons people purchase WiFi speakers is so they can pair this with their smart home devices, such as Alexa.
Who is Alexa?
Alexa is a voice command AI (artificial intelligence) that can be used to play music, movies, switch between apps, make calls or write texts, order products from Amazon and so much more. The technology was developed by Amazon and continues to grow and evolve every day.
Incorporating Alexa into your home essentially allows you to have a 24-hour online assistant who you can summon at any time to perform a task for you. Currently, Alexa can perform over 50,000 skills or tasks with more constantly added each day. Because an Alexa device is connected to the internet via your WiFi network, Amazon can regularly perform firmware updates that allow Alexa to constantly evolve and keep up to date.
Alexa is not the only kid on the block – there is also Google Assistant and Siri from Apple. All 3 work in a very similar manner, offering many of the same features.
14.3″ x 8.0″ x 6.0″
One of the most exciting WiFi speaker brands on the market at the moment is Sonos. I feel they are leading in many areas of the WiFi speaker market with a product for just about every room and application in the home. Their flagship stand-alone speaker is the Sonos Play:5 which can be used as a single speaker or as Sonos multi-room and home theater installations. Let’s take a closer look at the Play:5 and see what makes it one of the best WiFi speakers on the market.
The Play:5 is a modern speaker with minimalist features. The speaker is tapered on the top and sides so that when you look at it front on, all you see is the front speaker grille. This adds to the minimal footprint the speaker takes up making it easy to blend in with the surrounding decor.
The Play:5 features 3 x 4-inch woofers, 2 x left/right ¾-inch tweeters and center 1-inch tweeter. This speaker configuration gives the Play:5 stereo imaging while providing a nice wide dispersion. Great for covering an entire living space from a single source. The Play:5 produces an impressive 50W RMS and 80W Peak which is more than enough power to fill medium to large living spaces.
Another impressive feature of the Play:5 is its ability to be positioned vertically or horizontally. Sure, many speakers can do this, however, Sonos takes this to another level. The Play:5 has a built-in gyro which adjusts the internal processing to deliver either a mono signal when vertical or a stereo image when horizontal.
The Play:5 offers just two input options, WiFi and ⅛-inch AUX. You can also stream using Apple Airplay. For those who prefer a wired connection, there is also an Ethernet port on the rear. Thanks to six internal WiFi antennas, Play:5 offers exceptional connectivity which means, as long as your internet connection is solid and the speaker is in range, you should never experience dropout or buffering delays.
The Play:5 can be controlled using the onboard controls or the Sonos app. Onboard controls allow you to play/pause, adjust volume and skip tracks. The buttons are touch sensitive so you can tap or swipe on top of the speaker to access these functions. At the back of the Play:5 is the Sonos Join button which enables you to connect to other Sonos speakers.
The Sonos app allows you to connect your favorite streaming services, connect and manage multiple Sonos speakers, adjust audio settings and more.
It is important to note the Play:5 is Alexa compatible which means you need an external Amazon Alexa device to use the voice assistant. To be clear, Alexa is not built-in to the Play:5.
What Does the Sonos Play:5 Sound Like?
In its size and price range, the Sonos Play:5 is undoubtedly one of the best sounding WiFi speakers on the market at the moment. The speaker delivers a controlled yet deep bass sound which is never overpowering. The mid-range is upfront and clear while the highs are crisp and clean. For all genres of music and radios shows or podcasts, the Play:5 performs well.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Sonos Play:5:
- Sonos Play:5
- Power cable
- Ethernet cable
Sonos Play:5 Conclusion
The Sonos Play:5 is an excellent, modern WiFi speaker, however, at $500, might be a bit more than many people would want to spend. What I can say is the Play:5 is well worth the price tag and worth saving up for. You get a great sounding WiFi speaker, advanced features, and the ability to connect to other Sonos speakers for multi-room or home theater setups. If you’re serious about sound quality and the latest in speaker technology, the Play:5 should be near the top of your list of WiFi speaker considerations.
13.9″ x 9.9″ x 7.1″
The Sonos One is essentially a baby version of the Play:5 except that the Sonos One features Amazon Alexa built-in. This is really convenient if you’re looking for a compact WiFi speaker to use in smaller rooms of your home without the necessity for additional devices.
At just 6.36 inches high and 4.69” inches wide, the Sonos One is compact enough to fit on most tables and shelves throughout the home. The speaker features a low-end driver with a single tweeter which produces enough power to fill most small living spaces with ease. If you’re planning to use the Sonos One in the kitchen, study or bedroom, you’ll find the size and power of the speaker are just right for these spaces.
The Sonos One features an onboard capacitive touch control panel which allows you to play/pause, skip tracks, adjust volume, and mute/unmute the microphones. There are several microphones mounted on all angles of the Sonos One to ensure your voice commands are always heard by Alexa. If you wish to turn Alexa of, you can, of course, mute the microphones for 100% privacy. On the back of the speaker, there is a Sonos Join button for multi-speaker setup.
Sonos have decided to keep things simple with the Sonos One by only allowing for a WiFi input. There is also the option of Apple Airplay 2 for those with iOS devices.
The Sonos One can be connected to multiple Sonos speakers in either a multi-room or home theater setup. The speakers make excellent rear surrounds, however, if this is your only reason for purchasing the Sonos One, you might want to consider the cheaper Play:1 speaker instead. The Play:1 doesn’t come with Alexa built-in so this is one major advantage the Sonos One has over the Play:1.
What Does the Sonos One Sound Like?
I think anyone who is familiar with the sound of a decent compact speaker will be pleasantly surprised by the Sonos One. For its size, the bass response is impressive. Granted, it doesn’t reach the sub-bass range but the speaker is warm and punchy. Mids and highs deliver excellent clarity, especially for dialogue-heavy audio. While the Sonos One can fill most small to medium living spaces, it’s best for close proximity listening so, in the kitchen, bedside table or on the desk in the office.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Sonos One:
- 2 x Sonos One WiFi speakers
- 2 x Power cables
Sonos One Conclusion
If you’re looking for the best compact WiFi speaker, then the Sonos One is definitely the way to go. Even though this speaker is small it packs a serious punch that will truly impress. At just under $380 for a pair, you get two premium WiFi speakers which can be used on their own or in a multi-speaker setup.
8.3″ x 5.5″ x 3.4″
AUX, Bluetooth, WiFi
When looking at pictures, you might be inclined to think the Bose SoundTouch 10 is a large WiFi speaker. It’s not. The SoundTouch 10 is ultra-compact and lightweight weighing in at a mere 2.89 lbs! While the SoundTouch 10 is small in size, it’s certainly not small in sound. This WiFi speaker packs a serious punch with some awesome features to match.
Bose doesn’t specify the power output of the SoundTouch 10, but I can confirm this speaker kicks! Even at just 60% volume, you’ll easily fill a small to a medium sized room. The SoundTouch 10 produces a decent amount of bass with a nice punchy low-end sound. Mids and highs are clear with both music and vocals coming through brilliantly clear.
The SoundTouch 10 is designed small so it’s semi-portable to easily take from room to room in the house. I say semi-portable as the SoundTouch 10 doesn’t have a built-in battery so needs a power source. You have the option of ⅛-inch AUX, Bluetooth and WiFi for audio inputs which means there are very few devices that won’t connect to the SoundTouch 10.
You will need the SoundTouch app to connect your SoundTouch 10 to your mobile device over WiFi. This does require a sign up to the SoundTouch app but the features and benefits are well worth it. The biggest benefit, of course, is that you are not limited by the range of your Bluetooth or AUX cable and can move freely around the house with your device without any dropout or disconnection.
Through the SoundTouch app, you can play audio from your favorite streaming services and even set up a playlist, save your favorite podcast or streaming service as a preset for quick access. The SoundTouch 10 allows you to save up to 6 presets which can be accessed via the SoundTouch app or on top of the SoundTouch 10 control panel which has a separate button for each of the 6 presets.
The control panel on the SoundTouch 10 also includes a power button, Bluetooth pairing/input selection, and volume control. The WiFi speaker also comes with a remote so you can control the SoundTouch 10 at a distance without needing to access the app. On the remote, you also have the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons for use with streaming services.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Bose SoundTouch 10:
- Bose SoundTouch 10
- Power cable
- USB A to micro USB for computer connections
- Remote control
Bose SoundTouch 10 Conclusion
The Bose SoundTouch 10 is essentially a portable speaker for the home. The WiFi speaker is surprisingly powerful with incredibly good sound quality. The SoundTouch 10 has everything you need from a WiFi speaker including being compatible with Alexa. The compact size of SoundTouch 10 means the WiFi speaker can be moved around easily and placed on just about every surface in the house. For just under $170, the SoundTouch 10 offers excellent value for the money.
13.7” x 7.6” x 7.2”
AUX, RCA, Bluetooth, WiFi
Marshall is most famous for their range of professional guitar amplifiers. If you’ve ever seen a live band, no matter the genre, it’s very likely the guitarists had a Marshall amp on stage. In recent years, Marshall has begun manufacturing Bluetooth and WiFi speakers modeled off their iconic range of guitar amplifiers. The aesthetic, features, materials and functionality is almost identical to the large Marshall guitar amps.
The Marshall Stanmore II Voice is the newly released update of the original Marshall Stanmore which was also a WiFi speaker. The upgraded Stanmore II Voice has made some improvements to keep up with the times. Most notably is the integration of Alexa. The Stanmore II Voice actually has Alexa built-in to the WiFi speaker eliminating the need for external Alexa devices.
Stanmore II Voice features two built-in class D amplifiers, one 50W for the low-frequency driver and a second 15W for the tweeters producing a combined 65W of sound. Truly impressive for a speaker of this size. The Stanmore II Voice has an excellent bass response with a deep, well defined low-end sound. Better than most speakers this size on the market today. The mid-range is exceptional, upfront and present with highs that have just the perfect amount of sizzle. The Stanmore II Voice is a really exciting speaker to listen to for all genres of music.
Marshall has been very generous when it comes to audio inputs. You have the option of RCA, ⅛-inch AUX, Bluetooth and WiFi. Inputs can easily be switched but pressing the source button on top of the Stanmore II Voice. A red light illuminates next to the input label so you can easily see which is selected. Other buttons on the Stanmore II Voice include a play/pause and voice button for accessing Alexa.
There are two microphones on top of the Stanmore II Voice to pick up voice commands. These microphones are exceptional at picking up your voice and can easily hear your commands from across the room with the Stanmore II Voice playing loud music. With the voice commands, you never have to touch your Stanmore II Voice as you instruct Alexa to change the music, adjust the tone or volume, buy concert tickets or shop on Amazon.
The Stanmore II Voice also comes with an app which allows you to control and calibrate your WiFi speaker to suit your exact requirements.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Marshall Stanmore II Voice:
- Marshall Stanmore II Voice
- Power cable
Marshall Stanmore II Voice Conclusion
The Stanmore II Voice is one of those speakers you never truly appreciate until you use it. If you’re a musician or even an audiophile of sorts, you’ll love the sound the Stanmore II Voice produces. It’s a relatively flat response while still managing to sound exciting. At $360 the Stanmore II Voice is not a speaker I would consider affordable but when you consider you have Alexa built-in, multiple inputs and exceptional build and sound quality, this WiFi speaker is definitely worth the money.
8.0” x 6.7” x 4.3”
If you’re a Bose fan you’ll likely appreciate the Bose Home Speaker 500. The Home Speaker 500 shares similar design features to the new generation of SoundTouch speakers, however, sadly can’t pair with any of the SoundTouch or SoundLink range.
One thing that’s truly unique about the Home Speaker 500 is its LCD display. While it’s not the biggest display, it is full color and displays album art and track information of the song playing. This obviously allows you to see what’s playing without having to look at your phone. While it is unique, the real question is “does it make the Home Speaker 500 more valuable?”.
The Home Speaker 500 allows for three audio inputs WiFi, Bluetooth, and ⅛-inch AUX. The device can be controlled using the onboard controls or via the Bose Music app. Starting with the onboard controls, you can play/pause, adjust volume, skip tracks, change inputs, pair Bluetooth devices, and switch between six audio presets.
With the app, you can connect streaming services, adjust audio settings, and program the six audio presets which can be activated on the speaker or via the app. Setting up presets is really easy and you have the option of assigning a track, artist, album, playlist, or internet radio station to each button. You can also change these at any time.
Alexa fans will be pleased to know the Home Speaker 500 features Alexa built-in. No need for an external device. There are multiple microphones mounted on all sides of the Home Speaker 500 to ensure voice commands are heard no matter where you are in the room. You can also mute Alexa for 100% privacy.
What Does the Bose Home Speaker 500 Sound Like?
As with most Bose products, there is definitely some bass enhancement on the Home Speaker 500. The speaker delivers a nice punchy bass sound which is going to be appreciated by urban and dance music fans. As is always the case with bass boosted speakers, the Home Speaker 500 doesn’t produce a perfectly clear mid-range response which might be a sticking point for audiophiles, however, it’s most than adequate for the average consumer. Highs are crisp and clear adding to the fun sound profile of the Home Speaker 500.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Bose Home Speaker 500:
- Bose Home Speaker 500
- AC cord
Bose Home Speaker 500 Conclusion
As far as compact WiFi speakers go, the Home Speaker 500 does not disappoint. This speaker easily gives the Sonos One a run for its money, however, I find the latter delivers slightly better sound quality and features. Where the Home Speaker 500 does beat the Sonos One is the bass response and loudness, so, if you like your bass, you might want to consider the Bose instead. At just under $400, the Home Speaker 500 is priced on the high-end of the spectrum but the quality you get is well worth it.
13.7” x 7.0” x 8.0”
UX, RCA, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi
Klipsch is arguably the industry leader when it comes to mass-produced consumer audio products. Their products are made using premium parts with excellent attention to detail and some of the best sounding speakers on the market. The Klipsch The Three features vintage aesthetics, simple controls, and inputs for every device including a turntable.
The Three features a 5¼” low-frequency driver coupled with two 5¼” bass radiators and two 2¼” tweeters. The combined system produces 60W RMS with an 80W Peak power out. When you consider the compact size of The Three, this amount of power is just mind-blowing. The 5¼” low-frequency driver produces an impressive amount of bass which is tight and chunky with a solid punchy definition. The mid-range and highs are upfront and present with the tweeters producing an exciting sizzle on the high end. Overall the Heritage Wireless Three is excellent for both music and vocal audio playback.
The control panel on the Heritage Wireless Three is neatly laid out with a vintage aesthetic and feel. There is a dip switch for turning the WiFi speaker on and off, a rotary knob for switching between the five inputs and pairing Bluetooth and, lastly, a master rotary volume dial.
With the remote, you can play/pause, track skip, adjust volume, switch inputs, mute, power off and even turn the LED lights on and off (useful for when you want to go to bed at night without the LEDs illuminated).
Additionally, you can download the Klipsch Heritage App to stream your favorite services over WiFi to The Three.
The Heritage Wireless Three has an input for just about every device. Aside from wireless inputs like WiFi and Bluetooth, you also have ⅛-inch AUX, USB (type B), and a switchable line/phono RCA input. The phono input is obviously an exciting feature for those who are into vinyl. It’s very rare speakers have an RCA input these days, let alone a phono. Klipsch phono preamps are exceptional and the quality of the phono-pre on The Three is excellent. Alternatively, if you prefer using your own phono preamp, you can switch the RCA to line level.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Klipsch Heritage Wireless Three WiFi Speaker:
- Klipsch Heritage Wireless Three
- Power cable
- Remote control
- ⅛-inch AUX cable
- USB A – B (for connecting to a PC)
Klipsch Heritage Wireless Three WiFi Speaker Conclusion
The vintage style is extremely popular at the moment and Klipsch has done a great job with The Three and the whole Heritage Wireless range. The Heritage Wireless Three not only looks great but sounds incredible too. The ability to connect every device including your turntable is what truly sets the Heritage Wireless Three apart from other WiFi speakers on the market in 2019. At a little under $500, the Heritage Wireless Three is pricey but the quality and features surpass most WiFi speakers on the market.
9.69″ x 5.59″ x 5.0″
BT, WiFi, AUX
If you’re on a tight budget, then you might want to consider the Hitachi W100 WiFi Speaker. This relatively unknown brand offers excellent value for money. The W100 is somewhat minimalist in its design with discrete branding, large speaker grille, and small onboard control panel.
The W100 features 2 x 2 ¾-inch full-range drivers and a single 1-inch tweeter delivering up to 12W of power. While the W100 isn’t as powerful as most of the WiFi speakers on this list, it is capable of filling a small to medium sized room comfortably. If you’re looking for some more power, you do have the option of the W200 which delivers 22W.
You have three ways to connect to the W100: WiFi, Bluetooth, and ⅛-inch AUX. An Ethernet port is also provided for wired connections. In addition, there is an NFC tag for instant Bluetooth pairing.
The W100 features an onboard control panel which allows you to control some of the speaker’s functionality. These include play/pause/Bluetooth pairing, input selection, volume up and down. Three LEDs below the controls enable you to see what mode or function the W100 is in. At the back of the speaker, you’ll find three more buttons for power, WPS and WiFi setup.
The W100 is compatible with the Hitachi app when enables you to connect streaming services, pair Hitachi speakers and adjust audio settings. Unfortunately, the W100 is not compatible with Amazon Alexa.
What Does the Hitachi W100 Sound Like?
The W100 does lack in bass response, however, it does deliver a decent amount of low-end definition. It’s a little wooly but that’s usually the case for a compact speaker at this price point. The mid-range is present but not as upfront and clear as the premium WiFi speakers featured in this article. Highs are good adding to the pleasant sound quality the W100 provides. One thing to note is the W100 is surprisingly loud for its size, however, does start to distort at full volume. If you plan to use this as a personal speaker, I don’t see any reason to push the W100 to these sorts of levels. If you’re looking for a party speaker, I would recommend choosing another option from our list.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Hitachi W100 WiFi Speaker:
- Hitachi W100
- Power cable
Hitachi W100 WiFi Speaker Conclusion
If you’re looking for a cheap WiFi speaker, the W100 is definitely one to consider. The W100 comes with most of the features you would expect from a premium WiFi speaker including multi-speaker/multi-room capability. The only downside to this speaker that it isn’t compatible with Amazon Alexa. If you don’t plan to use Alexa, then that won’t be an issue. At just over $100, the W100 is well priced and offers excellent value and sound quality for this price point.
3.5″ x 3.5″ x 9.4″
If you’re looking to take your WiFi speaker on an adventure, there’s no better option than the Ultimate Ears (UE) MEGABLAST. The MEGABLAST offers all the conveniences of a portable Bluetooth speaker but with the sophistication of a WiFi speaker. Not only is the MEGABLAST portable, but protects against the elements too.
The MEGABLAST features an IP67 waterproof rating (IPX7) which protects the speaker up to a depth of 1m for 30 minutes of submersion. In addition, the MEGABLAST is also protected against mud and sediment and will continue to operate even when buried. The MEGABLAST is covered in a rubberized exterior which protects against drops and knocks. UE go to great lengths to make their portable speakers “everything proof” and the MEGABLAST is no different. This speaker will survive most of what the outdoors has to through at it.
The MEGABLAST features a 16-hour built-in battery which is more than enough for most outdoor adventures. The great thing about a battery operated WiFi speaker is you can move it around the house without having to worry about plugging and unplugging the speaker. With its IP67 rating, you can also take the MEGABLAST into the bathroom or shower. Something you just can’t do with most WiFi speakers.
Another thing the MEGABLAST has over many WiFi speakers is 360° sound. The speaker features 2 x 2-inch full-range drivers with 2 x 1-inch tweeters mounted opposite each other. This coverage is especially useful for BBQs or around the pool. In addition to the four active drivers, there are also two passive bass radiators for an improved low-end response.
The MEGABLAST offers WiFi and Bluetooth for audio inputs. The speaker also features Amazon Alexa built-in which adds to the incredible value the MEGABLAST offers. Unfortunately, the doesn’t have full Alexa capability. Features missing include Alexa voice or video calling, Drop-in, notifications and messaging
On the speaker itself, there are just three controls for volume up/down and muting the internal microphones which operate Alexa.
For full functionality, you’ll need to connect the speaker to the MEGABLAST app which enables you to pair additional MEGABLAST speakers, connect streaming services and adjust audio settings.
What Does the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST Sound Like?
It’s important to note that the MEGABLAST can’t really be compared to other WiFi speakers. In essence, the MEGABLAST is a portable Bluetooth speaker with WiFi capability. At least that’s how I would describe it. The MEGABLAST delivers a fun punchy bass sound which is boosted but the bass radiators. This is a little woolly when compared to WiFi speakers but on par with a premium Bluetooth speaker bass response.
The mid-range and highs are clean and clear but not at the quality of a home WiFi speaker. With that said, the MEGABLAST is fun to listen to and will certainly make a great party speaker. Urban and dance music fans will be especially happy with the MEGABLAST sound.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST:
- Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST WiFi/Bluetooth speaker
- Power cable
- D-ring – for attaching a strap to the speaker
Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST Conclusion
If you’re looking for the best sounding WiFi speaker, you’re not going to get it from the MEGABLAST. This speaker performs in other areas such as portability and convenience which is where other WiFi speakers are significantly limited. The MEGABLAST is also a great speaker to use as a multi-purpose WiFi speaker on your home network, in the shower, outside, in the kitchen or just moving around the house as you go about your day. The MEGABLAST is available in several color options and comes in at a little over $200.
3.9” x 1.7” x 3.9”
AUX, Bluetooth, WiFi
Possibly the most popular WiFi speaker range is the Echo series from Amazon designed primarily to work with Alexa. The Echo Dot is the most compact WiFi speaker from the Echo range measuring just 3.9” in diameter and weighing a mere 10.6 lbs. The latest version being the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) which includes three more microphones for a total of four over the 2nd Gen’s 1, an improved speaker, aesthetic design improvements with a trendy fabric finish around the outside of the speaker.
Currently, Alexa has more than 50,000 “skills” which are essentially commands that Alexa is capable of carrying out for you. These include playing a certain track, opening an app, sending a text message or even shopping online. The great thing is Amazon is continually working to improve and update the technology with firmware updates so Alexa will learn and grow without you needing to purchase a new Echo device.
If you’ve heard any of the previous versions of the Echo Dot, you’ll know there isn’t much of a speaker to speak of. In fact, you get better sound from your mobile phone. The 3rd Gen Echo Dot is significantly improved resembling audio quality reminiscent of a portable Bluetooth speaker. There is a nice bassy punch with vast improvements to the intelligibility of the speaker making it easier to hear audio and chat to Alexa from across the room.
Aside from connecting to WiFi, the Echo Dot 3rd Gen can also connect via Bluetooth and ⅛-inch AUX so you can connect just about every mobile device to the WiFi speaker.
The best thing about the Echo Dot is its ability to connect to other WiFi speakers. This allows you to have a fully integrated Alexa system allowing you to perform voice commands for your entire WiFi speaker system.
If the improved Echo Dot 3rd Gen is still not powerful enough for you, there are a few other Echo options available.
The Echo Plus is the latest upgrade from the Echo and the largest of the Echo WiFi speaker series. It incorporates a 3” low-frequency driver with a 0.8” tweeter delivering excellent room-filling audio. The Echo Plus can be paired with an Echo Sub to enhance the low-end capability and deliver a full-range audio experience.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa:
- Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
- Power cable
Echo Dot (3rd Gen) – Smart speaker with Alexa Conclusion
If you’re looking for an ultra-compact WiFi speaker, then currently, there is very little competition to the Echo Dot 3rd Gen. With the recent improvements to the speaker, the Echo Dot is now competing with premium compact portable Bluetooth speakers. Obviously, the Echo Dot requires power to operate but, if you’re just looking for a speaker for around the house, then the Echo Dot with its WiFi capability makes a lot more sense than purchasing a cheap Bluetooth speaker. Keep in mind this is a small speaker and not very powerful. I’d only use the Echo Dot 3rd Gen for close proximity listening and background music.
The best thing about the Echo Dot 3rd Gen is the price. At just under $30, the Echo Dot 3rd Gen is the most affordable WiFi speaker on the market today.
3.6″ x 6.0″ x 3.6″
AUX, Bluetooth, WiFi
If you like the Echo Plus but the $150 price tag is a little more than you are willing to pay for a WiFi speaker, then the COWIN DiDa is a cheaper alternative coming in at more than half the price. The COWIN DiDa has similar features to the Echo Dot and Plus with a bigger sound than the Dot and slightly less than the Plus. Most importantly, the COWIN DiDa has Alexa built-in so you can operate the speaker exactly the same as an Echo from that perspective.
The COWIN DiDa features two 7.5W full-range speaker drivers to deliver a combined 15W of power. Enough to fill a small room with background music. The COWIN DiDa produces a surprising amount of bass although this isn’t as punchy and defined as the Echo Plus. The COWIN DiDa also has good intelligibility in the mid-range and highs making it great for listening to music, podcasts and chatting to Alexa.
There is one major downside to Alexa on the COWIN DiDa compared to the Echo range, you have to press a button to activate Alexa. With the Echo range, you just call Alexa from across the room and she responds, the COWIN DiDa you have to physically press the Alexa button to engage voice commands. Still, at more than half the price of an Echo Plus, this is a minor inconvenience for the money you’re saving.
If you install the COWIN app, you can engage the Alexa button from your phone eliminating the need to engage this button on your COWIN DiDa.
In addition to WiFi, the COWIN DiDa allows you to connect audio via Bluetooth and ⅛-inch AUX.
On top of the COWIN DiDa is a touch-sensitive control panel with play/pause, volume up/track skip forward, volume down/track skip previous, Alexa voice, input selection, and WPS for connection to your WiFi network. All of these functions can also be accessed via the COWIN DiDa app.
One thing the COWIN DiDa has over the Echo range is a built-in battery. The COWIN DiDa features a 9-hour built-in battery which lasts up to 9 hours of continuous playing. This makes the COWIN DiDa fully portable to use around the house and take outdoors.
What’s in the Box?
Included with the COWIN DiDa with Amazon Alexa:
- COWIN DiDa
- Charging cable
- ⅛-inch AUX cable
COWIN DiDa with Amazon Alexa Conclusion
At more than half the price of the Echo Plus, the COWIN DiDa holds its own in terms of sound quality and features. Where the Echo Plus doesn’t require you to press a button to activate Alexa, the COWIN DiDa does which is a slight disappointment. Where the COWIN DiDa wins, however, is its built-in battery making it a fully portable WiFi speaker. At a little over $60, you can own a WiFi speaker with Alexa built-in and a 9-hour battery which is unbelievable value for money.
WiFi Speakers Buyer’s Guide
We’ve offered a lot of diverse choice in this article so here is a helpful buyer’s guide to help you narrow down which WiFi speaker is right for you. Narrowing down these choices was extremely difficult as we would love to own every one of these speakers. Each one is amazing offering interesting and unique features.
Cheapest WiFi speaker
If you’re looking for the cheapest WiFi speaker, you’ll want to go with the Amazon Echo Dot. Keep in mind this speaker is purpose-built for communication with Alexa. While it can play music, this is really only for background music and not loud enough to fill an entire living space.
Here is a full list of all the WiFi speakers from cheapest to most expensive:
|Under $30||Echo Dot (3rd Gen)|
|Under $100||COWIN DiDa|
|Under $200||Hitachi W100Bose SoundTouch 10|
|Under $400||Sonos One (pair of speakers)|
Marshall Stanmore II
Bose Home Speaker 500
|Under $500||Sonos Play:5Klipsch The Three|
The best compact WiFi speaker goes to the Sonos One. At under $400 for a pair, the Sonos One is well worth the price. With Amazon Alexa built-in, you don’t have to worry about purchasing additional devices. You can have the Sonos One in separate rooms on the same network, as a stereo pair or as rear surrounds in a Sonos home theater setup. If you already own other Sonos speakers, then it makes sense to stick with this awesome brand.
If you just want to play music, then it’s a tough choice between the Klipsch The Three and the Marshall Stanmore II. Both of these WiFi speakers sound incredible, however, because The Three has a phono input for turntables, it’s the better option for sure.
If you like to play your music loud or have a party, then you need a WiFi speaker that can deliver the goods. Our best choice is the Sonos Play:5 which tops the 2019 list. Not only is this speaker loud, but it also delivers exceptional sound quality. If you decide to purchase two Play:5 speakers, you can set them up as a stereo pair for up to 160W of sound. That’s more than enough power to fill most living spaces.
You might also want to consider the Ultimate Ears MEGABLAST. This speaker is fully portable and can be used outside around the pool or BBQ. The built-in battery means you don’t need a power socket to power the speaker. I would go as far as to say the MEGABLAST is one of the best outdoor wifi speakers on the market.
WiFi Speakers FAQ
Q: Does my WiFi speaker have to have Alexa built-in to work?
A: The short answer is no. Some WiFi speakers have Alexa built-in making it convenient by cutting down on the number of devices you need and the money you’d have to spend. Most WiFi speakers don’t have Alexa built-in and are instead designed to be compatible with Amazon’s Echo range which can then talk to you through your WiFi speaker.
Q: If my WiFi speaker also has Bluetooth, which should I use to stream music?
A: As mentioned at the start of this article, WiFi is far superior to Bluetooth. I would recommend using WiFi for all streaming services. In some cases, WiFi speaker systems require the use of their own app to stream music services. If you don’t want to use the manufacturer’s app, then you’ll have to stream from your phone via Bluetooth. The big disadvantage of Bluetooth is 1, inferior audio quality and 2, restricted wireless range.
Q: Can I have multiple Echo Dot or Plus speakers connected at the same time?
A: Yes you can. This is a new feature as you were unable to have multiple Echo Dots or Plus linked together. Now you can have many, one for each room if you choose. To add additional Echo devices simply open the Alexa App, click the “+” icon and follow the instructions to add the new device.