Best Wireless Surround Sound? Heos vs Sonos vs Bose vs Airplay

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Feel the music’s bass in your body. Watch sports games as if you were on the sidelines. Hear the explosions in action movies like you’re at the cinema. You can have all this without ever leaving the comfort of your home thanks to wireless surround sound systems.

New technology allows the sound quality to be better than ever, and you don’t have to drill holes in your wall or trip over wires either. So grab a tub of popcorn and read on to see how these wireless surround speakers can take your listening and viewing experience to a whole new level.

Article Overview

What Are Wireless Surround Systems?

Surround sound is having sound surround you from 360 degrees instead of just coming from in front of you in a two-dimensional plane (as is the case with two stereos, or left and right, speakers). Technically, you need at least three speakers to accomplish this. We should note, to get the true, heart-pounding sound, you’ll need a subwoofer (aka “sub”) speaker (usually sold separately) which amplifies the bass frequency that makes a huge difference.

Are These Systems Really Wireless?

The primary speaker (or “playbar”) usually connects directly to the television (and requires a power source like a plug). Then, the auxiliary speakers, additional sub-woofers, etc. connect to the system via your home’s WiFi signal and/or using Bluetooth. This allows you to place additional speakers around the room (or house) and then control via your smartphone app.

Not all speakers are truly wire-free though and require some sort of power (or connection) but they do tend to be wireless communication so there are not wires running from speaker to speaker. Regardless of wires with the hardware itself, all systems connect to your smartphone so you can control and play music via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon streaming, etc. to your speaker system and tune in to tunes throughout your home (or different music in separate rooms) wirelessly in addition to watching movies and TV.

Additional Surround Sound Terminology

Other terms to understand when shopping around for a surround sound system:

  • High Fidelity Sound (or hi-fi or hifi) is an industry term to differentiate the sound quality from older audio technology. Hifi reduces noise and distortion and has an optimized frequency response between what you see on the screen and hear.
  • Dolby Digital is an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories that gives a more cinematic experience.
  • Dedicated To Sound (aka DTS) is the multichannel audio technology owned by DTS, Inc. a company that specializes in surround sound for both commercial and home users.
  • Speaker Driver is a transducer that converts electrical energy to sound waves, so the more drivers, the more the amplification and louder your speaker sound will be.
  • DSP (or digital signal processing) refers to the various techniques for improving the accuracy and reliability.
  • 4K Video provides an image resolution that is so high (four times better than HD) it requires a 4K television. Still fairly new to the market and not that common (yet). Learn more in our 4K TV article.

What Is The Best Wireless Surround Sound System?

As more and more technology is shifting to wireless (PCMag even predicted this all the way back in 2007) more companies will come out with their version of a wireless home theater system or they’ll update theirs to be more competitive. However, we’ve narrowed it down to these as our top picks in our wireless surround sound reviews.

Sonos Home Theater Review


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We’ve chosen Sonos as the best wireless home theater system because you cannot beat the sound quality, versatility and sleek, compact design it offers. Sonos lets you customize your wireless home theater to fit your needs. Start with any Sonos “Play” speakers and build up from there.

For the traditional home theater experience, we recommend using the Playbar (shown here) as your starting point. It has excellent sound and features 5.1 hifi sound with nine amplified speakers within the one Playbar speaker.

Then you can add on a subwoofer which will fill the room with high-fidelity sound. Then add two of the Play 1 speakers to create a full surround sound effect. While the Playbar is reasonably priced, it won’t provide a true surround sound without at least two more speakers (but this is true of any soundbar from any company). So as a cost-effective solution you may want to start with the Playbar with the knowledge that you can always add on to your system as your budget allows.

One of our favorite Sonos features is the night mode that allows you to turn down the bass with one simple touch when others are trying to sleep. If you have not had a chance to listen to a Sonos system, be sure to do so — a quick listen will help you understand the reason we selected it as our winner.



  • 5.1 Hifi  sound via nine amplified speakers (in Playbar)
  • Night mode plays at reduced volume and bass levels for when others are sleeping
  • Easy setup and installation
  • Slim, one-unit system (Playbar only)
  • Customization options to sync up speakers throughout the home
  • Play 1 speakers are designed to withstand humidity so you can use in damp areas like the bathroom or covered patio
  • Regular software updates with new features so hardware gets smarter over time
  • Sonos has an excellent reputation
  • On the more expensive end for the entire system
  • Manufacturer’s warranty must be requested from customer service
  • Each device needs to be plugged into an outlet so it’s truly wireless, but they do sync together wirelessly via your wifi network


Coupon Code

Historically it’s nearly impossible to get discounts on Sonos, we’ve looked far and wide for coupons without success.

HEOS HomeCinema Review

Denon HEOS HomeCinema Soundbar & Subwoofer#2

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HEOS HomeCinema gives you strong sound at a lower price and includes both the playbar and wireless subwoofer with dual 5.25 inch drivers. The HEOS app can be used to control the system or you can use the TV remote. It has music and movie modes so you can choose the best setting to listen to your audio picks.

Like Sonos, HEOS also has a night mode to make it easier for others in your home to sleep while you are playing video games in full surround sound. The major downside to this system is the inability to upgrade additional speakers throughout your home. They do offer an amp and link product, which allows you to create a multi-room speaker system experience, however, they work independently of the TV/cinema products.



  • Hifi sound and Dolby Digital Plus and DTS sound decoders
  • Works with TV and Blu-ray player or cable/satellite tuner
  • Night mode to adjust to a lower volume at night
  • Easy 4 step process and one wire setup
  • Wireless subwoofer included in more affordable base price
  • Cannot connect additional HEOS speakers to create more of a surround sound or connected home experience
  • Soundbar is 40″ long (5″ longer than Sonos)
  • Manufacturer’s warranty must be requested from customer service


  • $650.00  for Soundbar & Wireless Subwoofer

Coupon Code

There are not any active HEOS coupon codes.

Bose SoundTouch 300 Review

Bose SoundTouch 300#3

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Bose is one of the leading brand names associated with optimal sound experience. So when it comes to Bose wireless surround sound, you can expect quality. We reviewed the SoundTouch 300, one of several systems Bose offers. You can purchase the soundbar first and then add two wireless speakers later, or buy them all as one bundle.

Bose has ADAPTiQ technology which auto-calibrates the speakers to fit the unique acoustics in your room. If you are a minimalist who doesn’t want a lot of equipment cluttering up your living room or home theater, this system might not be the best fit for you, but Bose does give good quality for the price.



  • Virtually Invisible Surround Speakers are very compact
  • ADAPTiQ auto-adjusting technology
  • Can customize and add speakers throughout home
  • 1 year warranty included (only one in top three to have)
  • Good reputation with Bose
  • On the more expensive side
  • A little light on the bass


Coupon Code

We’ve looked thoroughly and there are not any Bose coupon codes or discounts to be found. The price for Bose products is consistent across all reputable websites.

Airplay Review

Many of our readers are curious to know the comparison of Sonos vs Airplay. Sonos, as you’ve read, is a type of wireless speaker system. On the flip side, Airplay allows you to stream audio/video from your iOS device to your HDTV and speakers via your Apple TV. If you do not have Apple TV or an iOS device, then you cannot use Airplay.

Video: Use Airplay With Sonos

Watch this video to learn how to configure your Sonos to use Airplay.

Which Sound Will Surround Me?

If you’re looking for a simple solution with customization and upgrade options, Sonos is the best bet. However, you’ll be looking at a hefty price tag.

If you just want to convert one TV to surround sound affordably and don’t plan to upgrade other rooms, HEOS may be the best way to go. If you want a system that has a good brand reputation, is backed by a solid warranty and you don’t mind a little more equipment, then check out Bose.

We expect to see many changes in this category so visit this article often for additions and updates. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit smaller and portable (with high-quality sound), bluetooth speakers might be a better route for you to go.

What do you think is the optimal wireless surround sound speaker setup? 

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She is one of Exploring Life's Mysteries most experienced researchers. When reviewing products and services her natural curiosity helps her dig deep and unearth the truth behind the marketing. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

Kimberly grew up camping at the nearby lake with her family when she was a young girl. It wasn't until she met her husband that she rediscovered her love for the outdoors and began taking regular vacations to the national parks. Some of Kimberly's favorite memories include camping in a tent, hiking beautiful terrains, sitting around a campfire eating s'mores and sipping on a cold craft beer.

After three years of dating and exploring different regions of the U.S., Kimberly's husband proposed to her with the help of Exploring Life's Mysteries' online engagement content that she had researched and written. Not only was he able to design her ring himself, he was able to do so at great cost savings.

Kimberly likes starting her days with a warm cup of Nespresso, and she enjoys going for walks with her family and hound mix, Sally. In the evenings, she likes indulging in a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate while cozying up by the fire pit in her backyard.

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