12 Apr WiFi Speakers 2018: A Guide
There are basically two types of wireless speaker: WiFi and Bluetooth. Most portable speakers use Bluetooth to stream music from another device such as a laptop or cell phone. Bluetooth speakers have the disadvantage of only being able to stream audio to one speaker at a time, and their range is limited to around 33 feet. WiFi speakers on the other hand, can stream audio to multiple speakers at once and their range is usually around 100 to 150 feet but can sometimes be as much as 200 feet. There are some higher end speakers that offer both Bluetooth and WiFi but they tend to be much pricier than the other options. For the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on WiFi speakers. WiFi speakers have a great sound and allow you to stream music from subscription apps like Spotify and Apple Music and radio services like Pandora and TuneIn. You can of course also use them with your own music collection.
When you’re buying multiple speakers to place in different rooms throughout your house, you need to make sure they are compatible with one another. You can in theory link speakers from different brands, but only if they have the same wireless technology standard. The standards you need to know about are: Apple Airplay, DLNA, DTS Play-Fi, Heos and Sonos. Many speakers can use more than one standard. Apple Airplay can access content from Apple Mobile devices and any computer with iTunes installed on it. The other standards, DLNA, DTS Play-Fi, Heos and Sonos usually work with iOS, Android devices, PCs and some Macs. What you should consider however, is that a speaker that uses AirPlay and another using Play-Fi won’t be compatible with one another.
Some other things you might want to think about when choosing your WiFi speakers are:
Voice Assistants: Many audio devices are incorporating microphones so that they can be voice-controlled. In addition to telling your speaker what music to play, you can ask them for weather updates, sports scores and so on. They also support third party apps so that you can use them to order pizza, uber etc. If you have older equipment you may be able to use Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini to add voice controls.
The other thing to consider is that not all devices support all audio apps. You need to make sure that the device you buy can support iTunes, Google Play Music or Amazon music, if that is where you store your music.
Lastly, if aesthetics are as important to you as sound, WiFi speakers come in many shapes and sizes so you should definitely be able to find a WiFi speaker that fits in with your decor.
This list is far from exhaustive but some of the WiFi speakers getting good reviews in 2018 are: