Sonos Play 1 vs Play 3 vs Play 5 vs Playbar

If you were born before the new millennium, then you might remember how complicated it was to get a decent sound system in your home.

All those wires!

Speakers were mounted on walls and wires had to be run through walls and concealed for a clean look.

It wasn’t easy to switch devices either. If you wanted to switch from your TV to your stereo, you had to manually remove and plug in wires. Or get an AV receiver to get your stereo and theater to work together, usually with a remote. But then, so many WIRES.

The Sonos Suite

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Nowadays, it’s much simpler as sound systems are wireless and a single sound system can suffice for your entire house. The competition between sound systems nowadays is not only on which speaker has the clearest sound, but also which one has the most connectivity.

The Sonos Play Suite: Explained

The beauty of Sonos products lies mainly on the ease of syncing them together to wirelessly creating a complete sound system for your home.

How Sonos Works

Just place your speakers anywhere you want, power them up and connect them to your home Wi-Fi. You can then set them up all together with the Sonos app on your smart device. Done.

Since your Sonos speakers utilize your Wi-Fi network to stream songs instead of Bluetooth, you can literally place your speakers anywhere in the house that has a wi-fi signal.

Just simply add more Sonos speakers throughout your house, sync them all together with the app, and they will all work together seamlessly.

The control is yours: using your app, you can play one song on a single speaker, or all the speakers throughout the house. You can even play different songs in different rooms if you want.

Sonos speakers generally work well as standalone speakers. However, if you’re willing to splurge to fill the room with rich, soul reverberating sounds, getting a pair of speakers and designating each one as left-channel and right-channel speaker will dramatically improve the overall sound quality.

One of the advantages of the Sonos sound systems is compatibility. The Sonos app is readily available for Android, iOS, Mac and Windows. You can virtually control your sound system on any device you may have.

If you really want a dedicated remote control for your sound system.

All the music, audio books, podcasts in the world is only a few clicks away. You can also integrate your speakers with different apps such as the Spotify app.

Sonos also regularly updates their software, so your speakers “age well”. The longer you own your speakers, the more features you’ll have. For example, with its recent integration with Alexa, your Sonos system is now voice-controlled.

Its compatibility with IFTTT also adds a variety of different features. You may set your sound system to start playing when you get home, for example.

Potential Problems

Since the Sonos’ system relies on Wi-fi, minor problems may pop up from time to time. Some common problems include devices not being on the same network or poor signal problems.

These problems are easily fixed by setting up your speakers once again, moving the speakers closer to your router or plugging them straight into your router via Ethernet cable.

If you hate the idea of wires and/or moving them is not an option, you can always get a Sonos Boost. The Sonos Boost has a wonderful effect of daisy chaining your speakers together. This is especially effective if you live in a large house, as each speaker will always connect to the speaker, the Boost or router closest to it.

If all else fails, a factory reset can sometimes do wonders. You’re basically restarting from scratch and upgrading to the latest update. If this doesn’t work, you can contact Sonos customer service.

You may also want to do the factory reset should you ever want to sell your speaker or give it to a new owner.

Sonos Play 1

Sonos Play 1

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The Sonos Play 1 is the smallest among the Sonos speakers. This compact speaker is only about six inches tall, so you can place it on shelves, counters, virtually anywhere you want music.


You can use it on its own as a standalone speaker, or mount it on the wall and pair it as rear speakers to work with your home theater system.

Easy Setup

Building your Sonos sound system is simple and straightforward. Simply connect your speaker to your wi-fi, access it through your app, and you’re ready to rock.

Small But Powerful

Contrary to its size, the Sonos Play 1 packs a powerful punch when it comes to sound. Two Class-D amplifiers and custom-built amplifiers are dedicated to bringing you a rich audial experience.

Humidity Resistant

Like to listen to music while taking a long, hot shower, but you’re worried the moisture might damage the speakers? The Sonos Play 1 is resistant to humidity, so you can put them in damp areas such as the bathroom or even on your patio by the pool.

Trueplay Speaker Tuning

The Sonos Play 1’s Trueplay Speaker Tuning feature fine-tunes your speaker to suit whatever environment it is placed in. So it doesn’t matter if you have tiled walls in the bathroom or carpeted walls in your study—the Sonos Play 1 will make sure it delivers the best sound no matter where you put it.

Integrated with Other Apps

As with almost all Sonos speakers, the Play 1 is integrated to work with other apps, so you can easily stream all your music and audio services such as Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music Unlimited, among others.

Sonos Play 3

Sonos Play 3

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If you have more space, then the Sonos Play 3 is a mid-sized option. It is bigger than the Sonos Play 1 since it has more drivers and amplifiers than the latter, and produces higher sound quality.

On the other hand, the Sonos Play 3 is smaller and lighter than the Sonos Play 5—5.7 pounds to the latter’s hefty 9.15 pounds.

Of course, going smaller has trade-offs when it comes to sound quality, but overall, the Sonos Play 3 is a good, cheaper alternative to the Sonos Play 5.

The Sonos Play 3 has all the features that the Sonos Play 1 has (except humidity resistance), and a few that are uniquely its own.

A Richer Bass

The Sonos Play 3 has a rear-firing bass radiator, and for a speaker this size, it certainly pumps out impressive lows. This deeper bass results in a more full-bodied sound, which is suitable for bigger bedrooms, kitchens or other larger rooms.

Powerful and Clear Sound

The Sonos Play 3 features three Class-D amplifiers and three drivers: one tweeter for the highs and two 3-inch midrange drivers.

On its own, the Sonos Play 3 is impressive enough as a standalone speaker, with clear distinction of left and right stereo channels.

Smart Directional Design

The Sonos Play 3 has an internal sensor that detects the position your speaker is in. When placed horizontally, the speaker goes to stereo mode, while a vertical position will make it switch to mono mode.

Part of the logic behind this feature is if you buy two Sonos Play 3 speakers, you can dedicate one as the left-channel speaker while the other will be your right-channel speaker.

Power Saving

The Sonos Play 3 is constantly powered on and ready to play anytime you want it, but when it’s not in use for some time, the speaker will automatically drop to standby mode.

Sonos Play 5

Sonos PLAY5 Ultimate Wireless Smart Speaker

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If you have the budget and space is no issue, then go for Sonos’ best-sounding speaker: the Play 5.

The Sonos Play 5 basically has all the features that the Sonos Play 3 has, but upgraded. Plus it is built to be humid resistant to boldly go where no speaker has gone before.

Pure Sound

With big size come great sounds. No wonder, as the Sonos Play 5 has been packed with six amplifiers and six speaker drivers to deal with the highs, mids and lows.

Even if you turn it up loud, you’re unlikely to hear any distortion, helping to keep the sound remaining smooth as velvet. The crystal clear quality will surely earn a thumbs-up from even the most discerning audiophile.

One downside of the Play 5 is when it is being used as a standalone speaker. Since the components are tightly packed together, there is not much stereo separation to the sound.

However, pairing a couple of Sonos 5 speakers together and designating separate left and right channels will result in audial bliss.

Exceptional Bass

Speaking of the lows, the Sonos Play 5 delivers an amazing bass. The speaker is completely sealed, and has three woofers to deliver a deep clean bass with no echo or that broken thumping sound.

Doubles As A Network Bridge

For those of you who have Ethernet outlets on your walls, plugging the Sonos Play 5 into a port is also an option.

This wired option actually brings out an added feature to the Sonos Play 5—since the speaker has two Ethernet jacks, your speaker can now also work as a network bridge.

Once the speaker is online, not only does it serve as a bridge to other Sonos products, but you can plug other non Wi-fi devices into it, such as your gaming consoles or your TiVo.

3.5mm Audio Jack

The Sonos Play 5 is the only speaker in the Sonos lineup that has an audio jack. You can plug in anything—your phone, for example—and listen to your favorite music the good old way, without having to set anything up.

If you own multiple Sonos speakers, you can also send the audio to them to play too.

Touch Sensors

In case you can’t find your phone anywhere, there are touch sensors on the speaker itself that you can use to manually adjust the volume or change tracks.

Sonos PlayBar

Sonos PlayBar

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Many people buy the Sonos PlayBar for its versatility and ease of installation and use. The Sonos PlayBar is quite versatile as it can be used in a number of ways: it can be used as a standalone speaker, connected to your TV for a better audio experience, or can be paired up with other devices for surround sound or a whole house sound system.

Minimalistic Design

The Sonos PlayBar is a long, sleek bar measuring almost 3 feet long. It features a minimalistic design: there are only two buttons on the side—a play and pause button, and the volume button.

Flip it over and find the ports for their two-cord system on the back: one for the power cord and the other is an optical port for your TV. Beside them you’ll find ports to connect to your router.

Clear Sound

The Sonos PlayBar features three high range tweeters and six mid woofers dedicated to giving you crystal clear speech and a whole range of sounds in detail. Nine amplified drivers give you that clear, booming bass. Pair the PlayBar with a subwoofer and speakers, and your ears will be in 5.1 hi-fi heaven.

What’s great about the PlayBar is that it knows when you’re listening to music, watching a movie or the news. It automatically adjusts to give you the silkiest sounding music, or if you’re listening to dialog, it sends the sound to the center channel to be more audible.

If it’s not clear enough for you, the Sonos PlayBar has a Speech Enhancement option that you can turn on to make the dialog even clearer.

Easy Control

The Sonos PlayBar is mainly controlled by its app. After installation, download the Sonos app onto your phone or smart device. The PlayBar also responds to your TV remote control, so you really only need just one remote while watching TV.

Night Sounds

If you’re a night owl and love watching TV in the wee hours while everyone else in your household is deep in slumber, you can turn on the Playbar’s Night Sound. This feature will automatically dampen loud sounds—such as explosions—while still delivering crystal clear quiet sounds.


So what are you looking for? Are you looking for a standalone speaker or to build an entire sound system?

If you’re looking for a standalone speaker or maybe a couple of speakers to position in a room, then the Play 1 or—if you’re willing to splurge a little more—the Play 3 are good choices. They’re light too, so you can move them easily from room to room.

If you live in a bigger house or if you don’t plan on moving the speakers around, go with a Sonos Play ??5 or two for an amazing audial experience.

If you’re planning to use your speaker with your TV, then the Playbar, with its dedication to delivering crystal clear speech, may be your best bet.

Some users were perfectly happy with owning a single Sonos speaker, but audiophiles definitely would go for pairing at least two speakers together for that wonderful stereo sound.

Sonos speakers don’t come cheap, but the sound quality makes it well worth the price. And the best thing about the Sonos ecosystem is you’re not compelled to buy an entire set of speakers all at once. You can build your home sound system gradually.

Besides, with the constant upgrades, think of your Sonos speaker as an investment. The longer you own it, the more it can do.

Thank you for reading this article! We hope you enjoyed it, and found it informative. Feel free to share this article if you liked it, and don’t forget to leave a comment or ask questions in the appropriate section below!

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