Sonos vs Bose — Our Audio Expert Compares the Two Giants in Home Sound

Sonos and Bose may be the biggest names in home cinema, but which is better for you? From its sound to how it looks, Livingetc picks a side

a sonos speaker and a bose soundbar
(Image credit: Sonos / Bose)

When it comes to setting up your home audio system, two names immediately come to mind: Sonos and Bose. These brands are leaders in the market and are well-known for their wide range of products, including home cinema speakers like soundbars, built-in surround speakers, outdoor options, and Bluetooth speakers.

However, with so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which brand offers the superior product and, more importantly, which would be the best fit for your home. Everyone listens to music and watches TV differently, so home speakers are not one-size-fits-all. However, as a professional tester, I know the best ways to compare the two brands across their different product offerings, so you can make the right decision for your home set-up.

Continue reading to find out which brand is the best in terms of sound quality and aesthetics. If you're interested in similar content, check out our guide to the best surround sound systems.

Sonos vs Bose: Design

  • Verdict: When comparing Sonos and Bose speakers, Sonos emphasizes luxurious design with organic shapes and curved edges, creating an inviting atmosphere. In contrast, Bose offers stylish, contemporary designs and a wide range of connectivity options, providing adaptability and premium sound quality.

Sonos vs Bose: Pricing

  • Verdict: Bose definitely has the most choice, but there's also something to be said for Sonos's more streamlined offering. The top-end soundbars from both brands are the same price, and while Sonos is more focused on home cinema with multiple speaker sets, Bose has a more substantial Bluetooth speaker range.

Sonos vs Bose: Smart speakers

  • Verdict: Sonos gets our vote here due to the price difference between its offerings and Bose's. We would argue that the Sonos Roam is the most portable and cheapest of the bunch, and the Sonos One is an excellent choice for less cash than the similarly-specced Bose Smart Speaker 500.

Sonos vs Bose: Home cinema

  • Verdict: Again, the difference here comes down to pricing, with even Sonos's most expensive package being cheaper than Bose's equivalent. Despite not having as many soundbars to offer, Sonos's choice of home cinema packages is more varied, with two, three, and four sets all available from the site.

Sonos vs Bose: Our verdict

  • Winner: Sonos

Both brands offer high-quality products tailored to different preferences. Sonos excels in luxurious design, offering organic shapes and curved edges that create an inviting atmosphere. The brand also offers a variety of speakers at different price points to cater to various budgets and needs.

On the other hand, Bose stands out for its stylish, contemporary designs and extensive connectivity options, prioritizing adaptability and premium sound quality. While Bose products often come with a premium price tag, the brand's dedication to superior audio performance and advanced technology justifies the cost for many consumers.

Sonos has positioned itself at the top for several key reasons. However, Bose is also a good choice for those who prioritize functionality over aesthetics. Both brands offer smart speakers with Alexa and Google Assistant and portable weather-proof options. Of course, the sleek design of Sonos' range may be a deciding factor for many people.

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.