Listening to tinny Spotify music through your phone’s speaker just isn’t the same as hearing your favourite tunes played through a top-quality hi-fi system. But with so many different technologies and stereo systems on the market it can be mind-boggling to say the least - just where do you start when choosing a new stereo system for the home? And what do you actually need? Or perhaps more importantly what don't you need in your home music system?

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We debuff the myths and break through the jargon to bring you the best advice on how to choose the right home stereo system

How to choose a home sound system

When it comes to investing in a home sound system, there are options to suit all needs. If you have plenty of room to play with then a stack of speakers might be the way to go, or a surround-sound home-cinema system for truly immersive sound. If you’re limited on space, then a one-box audio unit, like a bookshelf speaker or a high-quality soundbar, is a more feasible option.

Also consider how you want to listen to your songs. Do you need the speaker to connect to the TV so you can play DVDs as well as music? Or perhaps you use a music streaming service like Apple Music or AirPlay, Amazon Music or Spotify and want to link this to your smartphone, in which case you’ll need a wi-fi or Bluetooth speaker connection.

Finally, before you buy, you should think about what features are going to be the most important to you. Do you want a speaker that is portable or one that looks as good as it sounds so it slots in with your interior style?

Here are our recommendations for the best home speakers on the market right now, as well as our jargon-busting guide to understanding what features to consider when choosing a music system.

Whether you’re a smart-tech newbie or a hi-fi aficionado, you may not be clued up on all of the technical terms you come across when looking for a new speaker. Here are some tips to help.

Hi-fi

This stands for ‘high fidelity’, which is the term used to refer to a high-quality reproduction of sound. 

Bookshelf speakers 

Usually sold as a stereo pair or home-theatre package, they are a compact size and are intended to be placed on a raised surface,  like a bookshelf or dresser. 

Subwoofer 

If you love the sound of hard-hitting bass, then a speaker with a subwoofer is the way to go. It’s a loudspeaker designed to reproduce dramatic, low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass and sub-bass. If you have a small bookshelf speaker that doesn’t include a subwoofer, then you can buy one separately and attach it to your speaker. 

Source

This refers to the place where the music is coming from, for example, a Bluetooth speaker. 

Satellite speaker

Usually, this is a speaker in a home-theatre system that is placed behind or on the side of a listening area for surround sound. 

Soundbar

A loudspeaker that projects music from a long, wide enclosure. Its shape makes it easy to slot under a computer monitor or TV screen. 

Braces

Internal braces are sometimes placed inside a one-box loudspeaker to stiffen the panels and reduce vibrations from inside the box when you play music. 

The best home sound systems to buy in the UK in 2022

Bose home speaker 300

Bose 300 home speaker

An impressive room-rocking bass speaker with a built-in smart assistant – what’s not to love about this home music system?

  • Bluetooth, wi-fi and Apple AirPlay 2 connectivity
  • Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant voice control
  • Surround sound
  • Access to the personalised Bose Music app
  • Works with other Bose smart speakers and soundbars

Groov-e Aura speaker

Groov-e aura speaker

For a simple sound system that will do the job without all of the fancy gadgets, choose the Aura speaker.

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Touch control
  • LED lamp with three light modes
  • Wireless charging base
  • Easily portable

Amazon Echo Studio with Alexa speaker

This speaker is great value for the price, especially with a built-in subwoofer for bass lovers and the smart voice-control function.

  • Voice-controlled wi-fi speaker
  • Play music from popular streaming services, such as Amazon Music and Apple Music
  • With the Alexa function, you can ask questions, set diary reminders and get news updates
  • Use the speaker to control other smart devices in your home
  • Includes a built-in subwoofer

Sonos One

Sonos One speaker

With this smart speaker, you get superior quality for a steal. Its exceptional sound has met with rave reviews and on top of that, it has a whole host of additional useful functions, which you’ll struggle to find for this price anywhere else.

  • Voice control with built-in Google Assistant and Alexa so you can play music, check the news and set alarms easily
  • Wi-fi connection You can pair two Sonos One devices together in the same room for even more detailed sound
  • Includes Sonos Radio with over 60,000 stations
  • Easily portable

We named the Sonos One speaker one of the best smart speakers you can buy

Sony SRS-XB23 extra bass portable Bluetooth speaker

Sony SRS-XB2 Speaker, Olive Green

Rockers and dance-track lovers of any age will appreciate the powerful bass that this compact, portable speaker offers.

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easily portable
  • Up to 12 hours of
    battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Includes an Extra Bass mode for deep, intense sound

Edifier Bluetooth R1280DB

Edifier Bluetooth R1280DB

For classic bookshelf speaker style paired with easy-to-use Bluetooth connectivity, pick the Edifier.

  • Bookshelf speaker
  • It can connect to an iPhone, Android, tablet, PC or MacBook
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • High-quality studio sound
  • Remote controlled

Bronze 100

bronze 100 speaker

Because sometimes one is just not enough – this pair of speakers will spread deep, intense sound across the entire room.

  • Bookshelf speakers sold as a pair
  • Use of smart technology to produce live-like music and a deep sound
  • Available in four finishes
  • Winner of the Hi-Fi News Outstanding Product and EISA Best Product awards
  • Braces placed inside the speaker prevent unwanted vibrations when playing loud music

LG surround 3D multiroom home cinema system

LG surround 3D multiroom home cinema system

Do you want to listen to tunes and have surround sound for films? Look no further, this is the system you’re searching for.

  • Mixed speaker sizes for excellent audio output
  • 1,000 watts of audio power for superior sound
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Free-standing and satellite speakers for high-quality surround sound
  • Blu-ray player included

Q Active 200

Q Active 200 speakers

If you really want to splurge on some good quality speakers our sister title BBC Music Magazine recommends Q Active 200 speakers and has chosen it as one of the 'best active speakers to buy in 2022 - although at over £1000 a pair they are rather pricy.

Active speakers allow you to stream music directly to them. BBC Music's audio expert Chris Haslam says: 'The Q Active 200’s control hub (Wi-Fi and Ethernet) takes audio from a plethora of digital, analogue and streaming inputs and sends it wirelessly to each speaker in 24-bit/96kHz hi-res. But what’s brilliant about the 100W (280W peak) speakers is the fact that each pair of offset 2.25″ Balanced Mode Radiator drivers virtually eliminate the hi-fi sweet spot, so no matter where you’re positioned you enjoy an impressively wide soundstage.'

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore

Want a speaker that is robust enough to also take outside for garden parties or even a street party for the Queen's Jubilee? Chris Haslam from BBC Music Magazine recommends the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Explore. He says: 'This portable bluetooth speaker the speaker is impervious to dust and rain and feels incredibly solid. At just over 600g, it isn’t featherlight, but good-sounding speakers rarely are, especially those with 27-hour batteries built in'.

BBC Music Magazine named it one of the best outdoor speakers on the market

Denon DT-1

Want a complete sound system? The all-in-one hi-fi system, Denon DT-1, features two 15-watt amplifiers, CD player, FM/AM radio and Bluetooth streaming convenience and both aux and optical inputs for connecting portable music players and TVs, as well as a pair of stereo speakers. What else do you need? And at just over £200 it is an affordable choice for those seeking a better sound quality and an all in one hi-fi system.

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Authors

Rebecca MessinaEditor, YourHomeStyle.uk

Rebecca is the Digital Editor of Your Home and HomeStyle

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