Sonos vs Bose Soundbar: Which Is Best?

Bose logo on a black speaker.

Sonos vs Bose Soundbar: Which Is Best?

Key Points:

  • While Sonos might seem like the trendier brand, Bose has been around for decades longer. (Sonos was founded in 2002, while Bose was founded in 1964.)
  • The Bose 901 — the company’s most popular and long-running product — was introduced in 1968 and discontinued in 2016.
  • Bose technically falls under the ownership of MIT. Founder Amar Bose left the majority of the company’s non-voting shares to the Massachusetts university in 2011.
  • Sonos has partnered with over 100 music streaming services in its 20-year history.
  • Bose is notorious for gatekeeping its sound specs, arguing that numbers cannot do justice to sound quality.

Sonos and Bose dominate the soundbar market. There’s no question. Any serious buyer will always pit them against one another. When comparing a Sonos vs Bose soundbar, which brand is best? That’s the focus of this article. To answer this question, we’ll do a full comparison of Sonos and Bose soundbars, and look at their specs, key facts and their respective histories. Ultimately, there’s no doubt we’ll have a clear-cut winner between the two.

Sonos vs Bose Soundbar: Side by Side Comparison

Sonos SoundbarBose Soundbar
Product NameSonos ArcBose Smart Soundbar 900
ReleasedJune 10th, 2020September 23rd, 2021
Size3.4″ H x 45″ W x 4.5″ D2.29″ H x 41.14″ W x 4.21″ D
Key Features11 internal speakers, Trueplay fine-tuning, touch controls9 internal speakers, Voice4Video smart assistant technology, ADAPTiQ audio room calibration
Sound QualityDolby Atmos enabledDolby Atmos enabled

Sonos vs Bose Soundbar: Price Comparisons

Looking broadly at the two brands, Sonos has three different soundbars while Bose offers five. Sonos includes the Ray, the Beam, and the Arc. They range in price from as little as $250 to as much as $900. Bose’s include the 300, the 700, the 900, the Solo 5, and the Bose TV Speaker. They range in price from $200 to $900. As you can see, they’re pretty evenly matched in this regard. Bose might have two additional offerings, but Sonos and Bose’s price ranges aren’t far off.

Sonos Arc vs Bose

Bose and Sonos make soundbars that enhance the tv viewing experience.


Sonos vs Bose Soundbar: What are Their Similarities

Looking at the two most expensive models from each respective brand — the Sonos Arc and the Bose 900 — it’s even clearer just how evenly matched these two soundbars are. Both support Dolby Atmos. They both support Spotify streaming and Apple AirPlay. Setup is quite simple for the two, as well. These similarities make it tough to say which truly comes out ahead.

Above all else, both Sonos and Bose deserve to be recognized for making some of the best speakers money can buy. Whether it be something as simple as a portable Bluetooth speaker or something as intricate as a full-fledged surround sound system, both Sonos and Bose very well deserve the attention and sales they receive.

History of Sonos

Sonos was founded by John MacFarlane, Tom Cullen, Trung Mai, and Craig Shelburne in 2002. The four wanted to revolutionize the way consumers listened to music at home. They aimed to go beyond a simple surround sound setup to bring sound to every room in the house. That’s not all, either: They wanted to do it wirelessly, and they wanted to incorporate computers and the internet, too.

While it sounds ordinary today, this was a revolutionary idea for 2002. This kind of technology simply did not exist at the time. The four at Sonos were determined to change that. Working with very slow internet and very primitive technology , they met with developers and manufacturers to make their dream a reality. By the end of 2003, they had a prototype, and a year later. a product ready for demo. Reception from industry insiders and consumers alike was nothing short of enthusiastic.

The first generation of Sonos speakers shipped in January of 2005. With this development, the Sonos vs Bose soundbar battle was officially on the horizon.. Sales were less than impressive, and it took a few product lineups for word to really begin to spread. With the release of the PLAY:5, their first smart speaker, Sonos had finally found the footing they expected to have from the start. The rest, as they say, is history.

bose wireless speakers on display

Bose has a long history of producing high quality speakers in all shapes and sizes.


History of Bose

Bose’s history goes back further back than 2002. Throughout the mid-20th century, Bose founder, Dr. Amar Bose spent his time working and experimenting at MIT. While there, he garnered a collection of patents pertaining to sound. Others sold these patents to other established companies, but Dr. Bose simply stuck with his own. With this, in 1964, Bose was effectively born.

Dr. Bose spent much of the company’s earliest years working at the university by day and experimenting with proprietary speaker technology by night. By 1966, he had a prototype of a 22-speaker system called the 2201. Unfortunately for him, it was a total failure. It only lasted on the market for a few years before disappearing from shelves. It was back to the drawing board, and thank goodness for that. This initial hiccup led to the creation of the iconic 901 in 1968.

The Bose 901 solidified the speaker brand’s status as a future mainstay of the industry. Production would continue for the next several decades until it was discontinued in 2016. While the Bose 901 might no longer be on sale, Bose is still very much a titan of audio technology. They’re undoubtedly Sonos’s greatest competition. This competition is reflected in the close similarities and minute differences between the two.


Best Overall Soundbar
Sonos Arc Soundbar
  • Features Dolby Atmos
  • Enhanced Trueplay tuning technology
  • Support for AirPlay 2 as well as many favorite music streaming services
  • Blends in beautiful underneath a TV
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/26/2023 05:48 pm GMT
More open about the specs of it’s speakersFewer Sonos Soundbar options for customers
A relatively new companyQuite expensive starting at $249
Arc has two more speakers compared to Bose Smart Soundbar 900


Best Overall
Bose Smart Soundbar 900
  • Two custom-engineered upfiring dipole speakers 
  • Exclusive Bose Voice4Video technology
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Spotify Connect
  • Bose TrueSpace spatial processing
  • Built-in Google and Alexa
  • Noise-rejecting microphones
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
11/27/2023 01:01 am GMT
5 different soundbars, giving consumers some optionsKeeps particular aspects of its speakers’ specs a secret
Low-priced soundbars, starting at $199,Not as technologically advanced as Sonos
Well-built and neutral-sounding

Sonos vs Bose: Which Soundbar Is Best?

When looking at Sonos and Bose on the whole, there are several distinguishing factors to set the two apart. One is newer, one is older. One focuses on wireless connectivity throughout the home, and the other on the best quality possible. One has more options, one has less. Specs are known for one, specs are kept secret for another. However, when looking specifically at Sonos vs Bose soundbars, it’s much harder to identify key differences like these.

Clearly, the Sonos Arc and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 are exceptional, near-identical soundbars and are sold for the same price. To truly see what distinguishes the two, you have to look inside. At the end of the day, Sonos has more internal speakers, can integrate into an entire home’s sound system, and far more advanced sound technology to create clearer, crisper, louder audio. Of these two soundbar manufacturers, you simply have to hand it to Sonos.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which soundbar manufacturer is better, Sonos or Bose?

While Sonos and Bose’s soundbars bear many striking similarities, Sonos is the one who manages to inch ahead ever so slightly to take the cake. In other words, Sonos is the better soundbar maker.

How long has Bose been a company?

Bose has been around since 1964.

How long has Sonos been around?

Sonos was founded in 2002.

Who owns Bose?

Bose is owned by MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts — founder Amar Bose’s former employer and longtime supporter.

What's more expensive, the Sonos Arc or the Bose Smart Soundbar 900?

As it turns out, both the Sonos Arc and the Bose Smart Soundbar 900 retail for $899.

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