While audio performance remains our top criteria for reviewing speakers, no one wants a hideous hunk of plastic pumping out tunes in their living room, no matter how good it sounds. A stylish speaker design that sounds terrible is also unacceptable, of course. Thankfully, there are plenty of good-looking speakers out there that sound good, too, and that’s what we’re focusing on here.
Sometimes, it can feel like there are only two design styles we see with speakers these days: rugged, rubbery outdoor-proof tanks, and rounded, cloth-lined, minimal boxes. Yet, even within these ranks, there are some standout visual designs, and our goal here is to guide you to be the best-looking speakers that also sound great.
One note: We live in a wireless world now—not every option here is a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi streaming speaker, but most of them are. Therefore, assume the speaker is wireless unless we point out that it isn’t—we've included a couple of wired options for those who can’t commit to the wireless audio realm just yet.
And if you're looking to listen in private, check out the most stylish headphones we've tested.
Budget Scandinavian Chic: Ikea Eneby (12-inch)
Ikea absolutely blew our minds this year with this budget-friendly option. We expect Ikea products to effortlessly exude minimalist Scandinavian cool, but we were skeptical about how the 12-inch Eneby would sound, especially for only $90. It turns out audio is another strong suit for Ikea—the spare, square Eneby sounds excellent for a sub-$100 option.
Splurge Scandinavian Chic: B&O Play Beolit 17
B&O Play speakers are always sophisticated, minimal affairs with streamlined contours and lovely, luxurious materials. The leather strap on the Beolit 17 is a particularly alluring touch that adds some casual cool to the look—but the speaker's best feature is its excellent sound quality.
Splurge Wireless Speaker: Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless
At this point, the Zeppelin's design is iconic. It's undergone a few tweaks in its various iterations, but it was one of the first truly beautiful speakers designed for the iPod era, and it remains relevant and eye-catching in 2018. If any speaker simultaneously screams design piece and audio powerhouse, this is it. The Zeppelin is big, loud, and meant to grab your attention, not blend in.
Budget Wired PC Speakers: Razer Nommo Chroma
If audio performance is your only priority, there are more compelling options out there, but for the price, the Nommo Chroma speakers from Razer sound good and look quite unique. Their barrel-shaped housings and built-in stands set them apart from the crowd—and that's before you factor in the prismatic LED light show the speakers are capable of producing.
Splurge Wired PC Speakers: Audioengine 5+
The beautiful Audioengine 5+ speakers sound as good as they look, and can be used with your computer or as your mains for your home stereo or entertainment system. Choose from solid bamboo or polished, piano-like finishes, and see the next slide for the wireless version.
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Wireless Stereo Speakers: Audioengine A5+ Wireless
The A5+ Wireless speakers offers a stellar sonic experience aimed at audiophiles, with 24-bit upsampling to ensure high-quality Bluetooth audio. But we're also in love with the rounded bamboo enclosure. If stereo separation and Bluetooth audio are both priorities, this classy pair will satisfy both criteria and look good doing it.
Alexa Speaker: Sonos One
Many of the Alexa speakers we've checked out are very useful, but few combine function and style—and excellent audio performance—as well as the Sonos One. Its minimalist look and strong audio performance put it in a league of its own, and its dual role as a Sonos speaker and an Alexa speaker add value to its price.
Google Assistant Speaker: Google Home Max
Photos don't quite do the Home Max justice—its cloth grille has a subtle sheen and the glowing LEDs beneath it are alluring, as well. Its audio performance is surprisingly solid—it's a stylish smart speaker that can deliver some solid bass depth, as well.
Siri Speaker: Apple HomePod
Yes, the Apple HomePod wins this category by default—it's the only speaker with Siri integrated. But its audio performance is solid, and like most Apple products, it has a modern and minimalist look. Bonus: With AirPlay 2, it can now be used in multi-room setups.
Budget Outdoor-Friendly Speaker: Soundcore Flare
Outdoor-friendly typically means a speaker covered in rubber, with brick-like dimensions. Soundcore didn't get the memo. The Flare features an attractive wraparound cloth grille that is far more common for indoor speakers—yet this thing can be submerged in up to one meter in water! Beyond that, it also features a built-in LED light show, all for a surprisingly affordable price.
Splurge Outdoor-Friendly Speaker: JBL Boombox
Once you get into the big outdoor wireless speaker realm, there are few stylish options—it's mostly tanks that can sit poolside and pump out decent bass. The JBL Boombox can deliver strong bass for certain, but its rounded contour and built-in handle—a sly nod to the portable speakers of the '80s—add a sense of sporty, casual chic to the equation.
Retro Speaker: Marshall Kilburn
Leather patina, clothe grille, knobs, and switches…the look is straight-up '70s guitar amp. The Marshall Kilburn's drivers can get truly loud, and its bass and treble knobs allow you to tailor the sound signature to your liking. The iconic Marshall logo, splashed across the front grille, completes a look that's old-school enough that you might forget you're streaming wireless audio through it.
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