Best Multi-Room Speakers 2017: 7 of the best you can buy

Looking for the best multi-room speakers? We’ve narrowed it down to seven great multi-room options for every kind of household and budget.

Credit: Sonos

Sonos is no longer the only audio giant on a mission to dominate your house one room at a time. Samsung, Bose and a few lesser-known names are getting in on the multi-room act too, and the wider choice means a multi-room system is more affordable than ever.

There’s a lot more flexibility with setup these days too. None of the multi-room systems in our round-up require a hub; you simply download an app to connect the speakers to your home network – some will even stream via Bluetooth too.

Related: 18 Best Soundbars For Your TV Round-Up

How to buy the best multi-room speakers

All of the multi-room speakers in our round-up are compatible with both iOS and Android devices, but it’s important to make sure the system you choose can stream the right content. Some speakers will happily stream from any music app you like, while others are limited to key services like Spotify, Deezer and Napster.

The beauty of a multi-room system is that you can build on it over time. If your dream of Sonos heaven is stifled by your budget, you can always invest in just a couple of speakers to begin with and then add more later.

If you’re too impatient to wait, you might want to consider some of the cheaper setups on the market. The Jam Smart Sound multi-room system offers a punchy little speaker called Jam Rhythm, available for a neat £80. You can add its more costly sibling Jam Symphony later on if you find yourself with a little more cash to throw at some room-shaking bass.

Of course, it’s never going to be cheap bringing the audio cavalry into your house, but there’s a system here for everyone. You can start browsing our pick of the best multi-room speakers below. Alternatively, head to our Best Bluetooth Speaker 2017 Round-Up if you’re after that one winning speaker.

Sonos

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Key features:

  • Stream from over 30 services, including Deezer, Spotify and Stitcher
  • Sonos One features built-in Alexa functionality
  • Play: 5 and Play: 3 speakers can play stereo

The daddy of the multi-room speaker setups, Sonos offers a great variety of speaker options. There’s even a new Alexa-packing smart speaker, the Sonos One (with Google Assistant support coming soon).

Sonos speakers are among the simplest to get set up, and will connect to your home network quickly and easily. If your Wi-Fi signal is weak, you can plug speakers directly into your router via an ethernet cable, or alternatively, grab a handy device called Sonos Boost.

You can run music from your computer, but the best source of control is the Sonos app, available for both Android and iOS. Its clean, fresh interface and universal search function makes it super-easy to find the music you love.

With one of the most comprehensive apps and a growing army of compatible speakers, Sonos is still one of the best multi-room setups to invest in, and it’s affordable – despite a slight post-Brexit price increase across the entire range.

Prices: Play: 1 (£199), Play: 3 (£299), Play: 5 (£499), Playbar (£699), Playbase (£649), Sub (£699), Connect: Amp (£499), Connect (£349), Boost (£99), Sonos One (£199)

MORE: Sonos One review

Samsung R-Series

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Key features:

  • 360-degree speakers
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Touch controls

Currently boasting a lively crowd of five different speakers, Samsung’s multi-room alternative to Sonos is wide-ranging and versatile, if not exactly cohesive when it comes to design.

The R1, R3 and R5 take on a more traditional cylindrical shape, while the R6 and R7 (pictured) have a more futuristic orb design to deliver that 360-degree punch.

The entire system is controlled via the Samsung Multiroom smartphone and tablet app, and the streaming magic happens over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Spotify, Deezer, Napster and the usual fare of apps is supported.

It’s a piece of cake getting your fleet of Samsung multi-room speakers singing in harmony throughout your house, and Samsung even offers a device called the WAM-270 Link Mate to bring your TV in on the rich sound action.

Prices: R1 (£149), R3 (£231), R5 (£249), R6 (£249), R7 (£299)

Bose SoundTouch

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Key features:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • OLED display on SoundTouch 20 and 30
  • Six preset streaming buttons

Perhaps best known for its noise-cancelling headphones, Bose has delivered a high-performing collection of multi-room speakers in its SoundTouch range. The system offers multi-room audio streaming via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth playback from a smartphone, tablet or computer.

There are three speaker models in the SoundTouch family, and the free SoundTouch app is available on both Android and iOS devices for remote control around the house.

One neat little feature is an array of six preset buttons on each speaker in the range, allowing you to jump directly to your favourite internet radio stations or playlists with a single press. You can quickly set up and change your favourite go-to stations using the app.

Prices: SoundTouch 10 (£169.95), SoundTouch 20 (£279.95), Soundtouch 30 (£429.95), SoundTouch SA-5 amplifier (£369.95)

Related: Bose SoundTouch 30 Review

Jam Smart Sound

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Key features:

  • Two Wi-Fi speakers
  • Spotify, Tidal, Tunein and more
  • Jam Home audio app

The Jam Smart Sound multi-room system features two speakers for round-the-house fun: Jam Rhythm and Jam Symphony. The mid-sized Jam Rhythm is better suited to kitchens, bedrooms and offices, while Jam Symphony brings booming bass to larger spaces for double the price.

While Jam’s offering has less variety than some of the big multi-room families in this round-up, it comes with the perk of being the most affordable, starting at just £80 for the Rhythm.

Control is via Jam’s app, available for both iOS and Android, and there’s also an intercom feature in case you need to announce home time to your party guests through your multi-room setup, Big Brother-style.

Prices: Jam Rhythm (£80), Jam Symphony (£169.99)

Bluesound

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Key features:

  • 24-bit/192kHz support
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 
  • Supports MQA

Bluesound is arguably the choice multi-room pick for audiophiles, thanks to its hi-fi legacy (it has the same brains behind it as British hi-fi company, NAD) and high-res music support. It’s also the first multi-room system to support better-than-CD quality MQA streaming from Tidal.

The system rivals Sonos for its flexibility, with a choice of three wireless speakers, the Pulse soundbar and sub, the Vault 2 NAS drive and the Node 2 and Powernode 2 for more traditional speaker setups.

All the wireless speakers also include 3.5mm line in and Bluetooth streaming for ultimate flexibility, with multi-room functionality controlled via the BluOS app for iOS and Android (a desktop app also allows Mac and PC control).

It supports most of the streaming services that matter, including Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, Deezer and Napster, but it is currently missing Apple Music. It’s pricier than most of the competition, but its performance and functionality will make it a worthwhile hike for some.

Prices: Pulse Flex (£299, + optional battery pack £69), Pulse Mini (£499), Pulse 2 (£649), Node 2 (£499), Powernode 2 (£799), Pulse soundbar (£999), Pulse sub (£599), Vault 2 (£1099)

Riva Audio

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Key Features:

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 3.5mm inputs
  • Google Home functionality for casting

With a name a lot of people won’t have heard of and a design very similar to its Sonos competition, it would be easy to dismiss Riva’s multi-room system as an also-ran. But not only would that be short-sighted, it’d also be completely wrong.

Riva’s two-strong multi-room family offers a good choice for both smaller or larger rooms, and in both cases, gives Sonos a good run for its money in the sound department too.

The system mainly works on Google Home, and setup is quick and simple via the Google Home app. You then cast your music to the speakers directly from the streaming apps, including Spotify (via Spotify Connect), Tidal, Deezer, Google Play and Qobuz.

Unsupported services like Amazon Music and Apple Music can be played via Bluetooth, and there are also hardwired connections, including aux-in on both, and optical on the larger Riva Festival. Very flexible indeed.

Prices: Riva Festival (£449), Riva Arena (£229)

Marshall Multi-Room

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Key features:

  • Google Home connectivity
  • Bluetooth
  • Aux input

The Marshall multi-room system will appeal to anyone that enjoys the retro styling of Marshall’s inimitable amps, with a whole host of flexible connectivity and decent sound quality to back things up.

It’s made up of three speakers that kind of correspond to the Sonos way of doing things – the little Acton, the mid-size Stanmore and the larger Woburn.

Similar to Riva, Marshall uses Google Home to cast music direct from the streaming apps themselves, with Bluetooth connectivity to cover those unable to (like Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music). There’s also 3.5mm aux in connections for hardwiring devices.

It’s only problem is that it’s higher priced than the arguably better-sounding Sonos, but its cool styling may still sway it for some.

Prices: Acton (£319), Stanmore (£399), Woburn (£539)