September 25, 2022

Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

Sonos basically invented the multi-room category of home audio, starting as a software company in the early 2000s before integrating its Wi-Fi-enabled network into hardware a few years later. Its first amplifier (which became the Connect:Amp) and subsequent speakers were great, but the real beauty of Sonos is its ecosystem of audio products that make listening to music at home really easy.

The magic of Sonos is the ability to group any number of Sonos speakers together, provided they are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and have them all playing in sync throughout the house. Alternatively, they can all be playing different tunes if you’d like. And it’s all controlled through a smartphone app.

Imitation is the finest form of flattery, so, over the years, a lot of companies have tried to beat Sonos at its own game. New wireless protocols have been introduced, such as DTS Play-Fi, Google’s Chromecast, Bluesound and Apple AirPlay, which emulate what Sonos does. Some big companies, most notably Google and Bose, also have their own line of multi-room speakers.

Under that pressure, Sonos has introduced smaller and more affordable speakers, like the Play:1, giving more people a gateway into Sonos. Under new leadership — after a decade in charge, CEO John MacFarlane stepped down in 2017 and handed over the reins to Patrick Spence — the company is now in the business of producing smart speakers that work with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

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In 2022, Sonos’s bread-and-butter is still multi-room audio, but the breadth of its entire ecosystem has expanded a lot. Its line of soundbars (as well as its connected amplifiers) have helped it weave its way into the home theater so that now you can integrate your TV into its greater audio system. Its connected receivers and amplifiers have helped Sonos become a solution for people who already have some part of the system, like a vintage receiver or passive speakers — which is most people — and don’t want to start over. And now Sonos even has several portable speakers.

The bottom line: Sonos is still the best wireless home audio ecosystem out there and Sonos are worth it in every sense.

How to Get a Great Deal on Sonos Speakers

The Upgrade Program: As of November 2020, Sonos has introduced a new Upgrade Program that allows long-time Sonos owners to buy new Sonos speakers and get a 15-percent discount. This is not a trade-in program; you’ll still keep your old Sonos speakers. It’s an initiative by Sonos to encourage long-time listeners to expand their system with some newer products.

Shop Certified Refurbished: Sonos refurbishes many of its speakers, amps and soundbars and sells them at a discount. The catch is that it regularly changes which of its various speakers are available in its “Certified Refurbished” section, so you might not be able to get the exact model of refurbished speaker you’re looking for. For Sonos’s latest refurbished offerings, click here.