Wireless Bluetooth speakers have grown immensely popular. With the success of so many streaming services and the continued focus on high-quality in-home sound systems, knowing where to begin your search for the perfect speaker system can be tough. Should you lean into the latest and greatest, hoping the audio quality will match the high-tech look and feel? Or should you go old school, trusting that classic brands are still around today for a good reason? These are the questions at the heart of the Sonos vs Klipsch debate.
Sonos is a bright, shiny, and new speaker brand. The latter is an old-school, 75-year-old name in speaker tech. Both have spectacular offerings under their brand’s umbrella, and neither is a bad choice. But which is ultimately the best? Let’s compare Sonos vs Klipsch below, paying close attention to their advantages and disadvantages in some key areas. In the end, we’ll be able to confidently say whether you should go for the Sonos speaker system or the Klipsch speaker system. Let’s dive in first with a side-by-side comparison of the two.
Side-By-Side Comparison: Sonos vs Klipsch
|Founder(s)||John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, Trung Mai||Paul W. Klipsch|
|Key Products||Speakers, soundbars||Speakers, soundbars, receivers, headphones, the Klipschorn|
|Dolby Atmos Support?||Yes||Yes|
|Home Theater Price||Premium Immersive Set with Arc: $1,946||R-50M 5.1 Home Theater System: $1,256|
|Annual Revenue||$1.72 billion (2021)||$630 million (Voxx, 2021)|
Sonos vs Klipsch: Key Differences
One company is known for its wireless speakers and soundbars, and the other is known better for surround sound systems and its flagship product the Klipschorn. One has been around for more than 75 years, the other is just 20 years old. One has more than a billion in revenue; the other makes less than half — even with its parent company’s revenue accounted for. Let’s dive deeper into these key differences, paying close attention to who comes out on top.
Sonos and Klipsch have two very different product lineups under their respective belts. Since their founding in the early 2000s, Sonos has been about one thing: streamlined multi-room audio products. Looking at their small line of about a dozen different speakers, it’s apparent Sonos has put a lot of time and energy into accomplishing this goal. They don’t abide by traditional sound system standards, with no receivers, no left and right channels, and so on. They do their own thing, and their product lineup demonstrates this.
On the other hand, Klipsch is less concerned about a small, sleek, futuristic-looking lineup. Their catalog is much larger (and far less cohesive) than Sonos’s. This isn’t necessarily a critique, however. When comparing Sonos vs Klipsch, the sheer size and variety found in the latter’s catalog make the former seem underwhelming. Klipsch offers home theater speakers, home audio speakers, wireless speakers, outdoor speakers, soundbars, earbuds, and receivers. They’re truly a one-stop destination for all audio needs.
|Soundbar||Sonos Playbar||Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar|
|Subwoofer||Sonos Sub (Gen 3||Klipsch R-100SW 10|
Sonos vs Klipsch varies greatly when it comes to their respective product lineups. The same can be said about their wireless support, as well. We know that Sonos is known best for providing wireless connections between its speakers. As such, it’s no surprise that the company is probably the most supportive of wireless technology in the industry. Even before Bluetooth speakers were in high demand, Sonos worked on perfecting wireless connectivity. The company’s name is practically synonymous with wireless support.
Klipsch, by comparison, does not prioritize wireless support. That’s not to say that they don’t offer it, however. There’s an entire section on their site dedicated to wireless speakers, complete with portable, tabletop, and voice-activated options alongside your traditional Bluetooth soundbars and powered speakers. It’s just not Klipsch’s only priority. As a massive speaker brand with enough to offer something for every kind of consumer in the speaker market, Klipsch offers wireless support alongside several other alternatives.
Pricing plays a huge part in any decision, especially when comparing Sonos vs Klipsch. Both are considered high-end speaker companies, and their respective prices reflect this. The Roam, their portable Bluetooth speaker, retails for $179. The thinner, smaller version, the Roam SL, retails for $159. The Move, a bigger Bluetooth speaker, is priced at $399. The Five, one of their premium sound system speakers, retails for $549 each. Sonos soundbars can range anywhere from $279 to $899, depending on the model. A full Sonos sound system will run you nearly $2,000 in all.
By comparison, Klipsch speakers have far more affordable options than Sonos. (But they also have some more expensive alternatives.) Klipsch offers wireless Bluetooth speakers for as little as $119 for the Groove. Their soundbars are a little pricier than the cheapest Sonos, most exceeding $400 or more. However, their flagship product, the enormous Klipschorn, will cost you more than $16,000 for a pair. They have a massive catalog, which means you’ll find cheaper and pricier options compared to Sonos’s much smaller lineup.
5 Must-Know Facts About Speaker Systems
- Sonos began not as a wireless speaker company but as a company striving to ascend through the world of aviation. What would eventually become their central Sonos tech originated as enabling local-area networks for pilots and airplanes.
- Klipsch’s flagship product, the enormous Klipschorn, is currently the oldest speaker in production. It was patented over 75 years ago in 1946 and remained a part of the Klipsch lineup.
- The company pre-dates Spotify, iTunes, and the iPhone to understand just how ahead of the curve Sonos was. They were thinking about wireless connectivity before the technology truly existed as we know it today.
- Klipsch was purchased by consumer electronics brand Voxx International in 2011 — nearly a decade after Klipsch founder Paul W. Klipsch had passed away.
- Sonos brought wireless internet mesh technology to the world of consumer electronics, which was unheard of at the time. In the early 2000s, this tech was only used in places such as the military.
History of Sonos
Sonos was founded in 2002 by John MacFarlane, Craig Shelburne, Tom Cullen, and Trung Mai. The four initially operated under the name Rincon Audio, Inc. A couple of years later, they collectively rebranded to Sonos. Equipped with a sleek new name, Sonos aimed to upgrade in-home sound systems in a major way: via an innovative wireless speaker system that spanned throughout the home. The problem? Wireless technology was nowhere near the place it is today. Nevertheless, the Sonos gang was committed to developing the tech themselves.
Working with the best of the best in wireless tech, MacFarlane and crew began showing off their innovative new tech at consumer electronics show after consumer electronics show throughout 2004 and into 2005. Their new and exciting tech was immediately disruptive, capturing the scorn of tech rivals such as Steve Jobs and beyond. Despite the opposition, Sonos’s revolutionary wireless speaker tech was ready to hit the market in 2005. Surprisingly, it didn’t catch on as they’d hoped at first. Thankfully, the late 2000s smartphone boom was exactly what Sonos needed to thrive.
Sonos underwent a company-wide rebrand to embrace apps and streaming services to coincide with the rising popularity of smartphones. They slowly revamped everything under the Sonos name between 2011 and 2014. This move proved to be remarkably wise for two reasons. For one, it put Sonos at the forefront of the burgeoning wireless speaker industry. Additionally, it allowed Sonos to be one of the first to embrace more than 100 music streaming services and smart assistant applications. Both moves led to soaring sales and industry-wide support.
- Sonos One - The powerful smart speaker with voice control built-in
- Brilliant sound - Get rich, room-filling sound with Sonos One, and control it with your voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay2, and more
- Voice control - Amazon Alexa is built right in so you can play music, check news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, completely hands free
- For every room - The compact design fits just about any space; Put it on your kitchen countertop, or tuck it away on your office bookshelf; It's humidity resistant so you can even put it in the...
- Stereo sound with 2 - Pair 2 Sonos Ones together in the same room for stereo separation and more detailed sound; Use a pair as rear home theater surrounds with Arc or Beam
How Klipsch Competes
Klipsch began as Klipsch and Associates way back in 1946 — decades before Sonos or its revolutionary tech would disrupt the speaker industry. Founded by audio engineer Paul W. Klipsch in Hope, Arkansas, the initial success of Klipsch and Associates was rooted in one flagship product: the Klipschorn. Actively in production since its 1946 patenting, the Klipschorn is still the oldest speaker in production. Apart from some basic tweaks and improvements to its design, it’s more or less the same product today it was more than 75 years ago.
It works like this: Klipschorn’s large speaker enclosure contains a woofer, a squawker, and a tweeter in one. The actual body of the speaker cabinet forms something of a horn, hence its name. The shape is not unlike a baseball diamond, with the back of the speaker forming an open point and the flat front of the speaker offering a wood panel to reflect the sound. With its top covered in cloth, the Klipschorn is designed to sit in the corner of two walls to reflect further — and, in turn, amplify — the sound.
While Klipsch has since ventured into other industries in the world of audio tech — including surround sound systems, Bluetooth speakers, receivers, soundbars, and outdoor sound systems — the legendary company is best known for Klipschorn. This fact remained unchanged even after the company’s acquisition by consumer electronics company Voxx International in 2011. When looking at Sonos vs Klipsch, there’s something continually appealing about Klipsch’s classic look and old-school technology remaining mostly unchanged, even after all these years.
- 40” 2.1 Soundbar with 8” wireless subwoofer.Mounting Type: Wall Mount
- 400W peak power
- HDMI-ARC: Single-cable, single-remote control
- 5.1 decoding for virtualized surround sound
- Class-leading 8” Subwoofer
Sonos vs Klipsch: Pros and Cons
|Pros of Sonos||Cons of Sonos|
|Sonos wireless speaker systems are truly state of the art||Sonos speakers are known for being difficult to set up|
|There’s widespread support for over 100 streaming services and tech companies||You need a good internet connection for the best Sonos experience|
|Offers an easy app for you to control your speaker system with||There’s not as much support for Dolby Atmos as you’d expect in this day and age|
|Great audio quality||Sonos speakers are pretty pricy|
|Pros of Klipsch||Cons of Klipsch|
|Many different speaker options for many different types of consumers||Its massive catalog can make the decision-making process more difficult|
|Cheaper Bluetooth speakers than Sonos||The flagship Klipschorn is extremely expensive|
|Offers a full 5.1 surround sound system with a receiver, unlike Sonos||Not as many wireless options as Sonos|
|Remarkable sound quality||Old-school look and feel might not appeal to all|
Sonos vs Klipsch: Which Is Best?
As we can see, Sonos and Klipsch are two excellent speaker system brands. Neither one is at a clear disadvantage, and both have plenty to offer customers in the market for a high-quality sound system. However, there can be just one winner between the two. Which is it, though? Thinking back to what we’ve discussed, there’s one brand that seems to have come out ahead time and time again. That brand is Sonos. This isn’t to suggest Klipsch is bad by any means. Sonos takes precedence.
Sonos is an all-around great speaker system for the modern music listener, television watcher, or film aficionado. Their multi-room functionality makes them a great pick for listening throughout the house, and their widespread support of countless different streamers and brands only helps their case that much more. Klipsch is an incredible brand for 5.1 surround sound systems, but not everyone has the know-how to set up such a complicated sound system. Pros will certainly prefer Klipsch, but Sonos is a superior pick for just about every type of setup.
Last update on 2023-03-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API