Don’t Buy a Sonos One Until You Read This

sonos one

Don’t Buy a Sonos One Until You Read This

Smart speakers have become a common part of modern living. The Sonos One presents a relatively high standard for a smart speaker, packaging high-tech features with a less-than-affordable price tag. If you’ve been in the market for a smart speaker, it might be the one to get.

However, there are a few very well-founded complaints about the actual performance of the device. Some of these complaints are rather mild, but some are rather glaring when considering its overall performance.

The point of today’s guide is to make you a better-informed consumer in regard to the Sonos One. While it might be a spectacular device, it always helps to know what you’re getting into when purchasing something like this.

Let’s take a closer look at some common complaints regarding its performance from critics and users alike so that you can draw your own conclusions.

Sonos One Overview

The Sonos One was introduced in 2017 and was a notable shift for smart speakers. Previously smart speakers were the domain of tech giants like Google, Apple, and Amazon. As such, the devices themselves were competent, but the focus on audio was perfunctory at best.

The Sonos One, despite its price, has become something of a premium smart speaker. As you might expect from a primarily audio-based manufacturer, the quality of the sound from this device is stellar.

It is in the process of being phased out currently by the Sonos Era 100, but you can still find the Sonos One on shelves. This has been a slower replacement process and the device is still very viable in 2023 for your smart speaker needs.


Frequency Response50Hz to 16kHz
Sound StageMono, can be paired with another speaker for stereo output
Maximum Volume86 dB
Weight4 pounds
Height6.36 inches
Width4.69 inches
Depth4.69 inches

1. Pricing

The Sonos One is a premium device, and that comes with a premium price tag. The MSRP of the Sonos One is $219.00, which is quite a leap ahead compared to the Amazon Echo line of smart speakers.

This pricing, of course, comes with the expectation of greater overall performance compared to the Amazon Echo or the Google Home line of smart speakers. That said, the pricing makes this an enthusiast’s device through and through.

Our Pick
Sonos One (Gen 2)
  • Compatible with the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay2, and more
  • Voice control
  • Compact design
  • Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for stereo separation
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/09/2023 08:30 pm GMT

The Sonos One is readily available from a variety of retailers, but the overall pricing structure is uniform across the board. You can find it on sale on rare occasions for $179.00, but you could very easily snag multiple Amazon Echos for the same price, even on sale.

For those looking for a smart speaker with stellar audio quality, this might be the way to go. If you’re looking for something more affordable that you can place around the whole home, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

2. Difficult Setup

The Sonos One is not for the faint of heart when it comes to installation. It isn’t an impossible install, but it is a very involved process. Some of the niceties you might expect from something like the Amazon Echo line of devices aren’t readily present here.

There is, of course, an app that will guide you through the overall process, but the device lacks certain key connectivity that makes it more difficult to use. Part of what makes the installation difficult is the rings you have to jump through just to get the device connected to your home network.

With later revisions of the Amazon Echo, the setup process is fairly simple. Here, you’ll either have to connect the device directly to an Ethernet cable, greatly hindering where it can be located, or opt for Wi-Fi.

Connecting to Wi-Fi with a Wi-Fi-only device might sound confusing, and in this instance it certainly is. Users will have to connect to the device’s own Wi-Fi network to route it to their home network.

3. Lack of Bluetooth Connectivity

Given how ubiquitous Bluetooth has been for a number of years, it seems odd that the Sonos One has no option for it. It is, of course, compatible with Apple AirPlay, Chromecast, and many of the other streaming media protocols you might expect, but the omission of Bluetooth connectivity is an active detriment.

This makes for a host of issues, as you might expect. Things like setting up the device are instantly more difficult since a simple Bluetooth pairing would handle most issues.

Newer Sonos speakers have this functionality, like the Sonos Move and Roam portable speakers. Perhaps Sonos opted to leave the device as Wi-Fi since it very much is intended to be an appliance in a room rather than a device meant to travel with its user. That said, for the price point, you would expect a little more in terms of functionality.

4. Lack of Volume

Most people will purchase a smart speaker to serve an entire room. While the Sonos One certainly can fill up your typical kitchen, dining room, or other location it struggles with larger spaces. If you’re looking to install the Sonos One in a basement or garage, for example, it will struggle with output.

Our Pick
Sonos One (Gen 2)
  • Rich, room-filling sound
  • Built-in Amazon Alexa
  • Humidity-resistant
  • Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for more detailed sound
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/09/2023 08:30 pm GMT

Now, this isn’t to say the overall audio output of the Sonos One isn’t great. The sound quality on offer is second to none when it comes to smart speakers. There is a problem with volume, however. The Sonos One has a measured output of 86dB, which is more than enough for small to medium-sized rooms.

Large rooms and open spaces will actively struggle for sound to be audible, however. Part of this could perhaps be attributed to the overall speaker size, but the Sonos One has no means of connecting to other devices to get a power boost.

5. Downmixing Audio

This one isn’t an absolute shock: audio is automatically downmixed when using a single Sonos One. Smart speakers, by their nature, are mono devices, unless paired with more than one of the same device.

Given the high overall cost of the Sonos One, this might be less than efficient for most users. That said, any stereo material you feed the Sonos One is going to be summed to mono. Wider sound mixes might sound very narrow and lose some of the overall sheen.

Older or more conventional songs won’t struggle with this, as those usually are mixed to be mono-compatible. That said, it is a consideration to keep in mind, unless you feel like purchasing two Sonos One devices just to get stereo sound output.

6. The Size

The Sonos One isn’t a gargantuan device, but it is far larger than its contemporaries. Part of this comes down to how many speakers are actually present in the Sonos One. There are multiple quality drivers inside the unit itself and, as such, those need a minimum of space to be accommodated.

It is small enough to be moved with one hand by the average adult, but it is on the larger side compared to an Amazon Echo. As a result, your placement of the device is going to greatly depend on what sort of space will accommodate it.

7. Some Closing Thoughts on the Sonos One

Any device on the market has its drawbacks, and the Sonos One is no exception. The simple fact remains that the Sonos One is a stellar smart speaker with a higher-than-average price tag.

If you can look past the high asking price and you simply want to get the best-performing smart speaker on the market, it is hard to go wrong with the Sonos One. If affordability, space, or output are concerns, it is worth looking elsewhere for a better fit.

As previously mentioned, you can purchase multiple devices for the cost of a single Sonos One smart speaker. With any addition to your home, it helps to be informed so that you can make the best purchase for your needs.

Don’t Buy a Sonos One Until You Read This FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does the Sonos One have Bluetooth support?

No, it has zero Bluetooth support.

Can I use the Sonos One to listen to podcasts?

Yes, that is one of many things a Sonos One can do.

Is the Sonos One the latest on the market?

No, it is being replaced slowly by the Sonos Era 100.

Does the Sonos One have decent bass response?

While it doesn’t have a dedicated subwoofer, the Sonos One handles bass frequencies just fine.

Is mono music a bad thing?

No, but there are mixing techniques in audio processing that might make certain songs sound a little off.

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