Sonos Play 3 vs Play 1 — Which Sonos Speaker Is Best For Your Home?

Sonos Play 3 vs Play 1

With the Sonos Play 1 and 3 to choose from, which is the most suitable for you? Nothing is worse than purchasing the wrong item and having to return it. This isn’t something you need to worry — our experts have pitted the Sonos Play 3 VS Play 1 to help you decide. 

Sonos Play 3 or Play 1?

Best for Louder Sound
Sonos Play 3
Best for Space
Sonos Play 1

Features of Play 3 and Play 1

Play 3 and Play 1 Sound Quality

Naturally, the audio quality comes up first because it’s the most important part of getting new speakers. 

As we mentioned, the Sonos Play 1 is a smaller speaker, it is similar with other portable speakers like JBL Flip 4 and UE Boom 2making it a better fit for a smaller spaces. The size won’t impact the quality of sound for your music and movies, but the power it can muster can’t compare to the Play 3, as we found in this Sonos Play 3 VS Play 1 comparison. 

Just like the Play 3, the Play 1 can become rear satellite speakers if you buy two, or it can be its own standalone speaker. In something so small, the speaker consists of two drivers, a tweeter and mid range drivers. Having dedicated channels for each level of the spectrum, you can expect well-balanced sound from the Play 1.

For one of such a small size, the Play 1 is an excellent choice. When our experts compared it to other speakers of the same size, we found the sound produced by other brands to be low-end compared to the Sonos Play 1.

Corner placement works well for the Sonos Play 1, but unfortunately, it won’t perform very well in a larger space.

On the other hand, the Sonos Play 3 packs a punch for small to large rooms. The Sonos Play 2 is still a smaller speaker, but it’s larger than the Play 1. It can pump out sound that fills a large room or even a small apartment all on its own.

Like with the Sonos Play 1, you can purchase two Sonos Play 3 speakers to improve the sound quality. The Sonos Play 3 also has TruePlay Technology, which will tune the speakers to the acoustics of your space.

Play 3 and Play 1 Sound Output

The sound output when our audio team compared the two devices was very discernible. The Sonos Play 1 and Play 3 both have an impeccable sound quality and sound production, but the Play 3 smart speaker outperforms the Sonos Play 1. This is because the size allows it to be a more powerful speaker.

The sound projection from the Play 3 is more enveloping, which makes it suitable for larger spaces. While a pair of Play 3’s can be rear speakers, we tried it as the primary sound source and was pleasantly surprised at how it handled being the star of the show.

The Play 1 has accurate sound production just like the Play 3, but the smaller size doesn’t allow it to be a very successful main speaker. But a trick we discovered was pairing two Play 1s together. This significantly increases the volume levels and gives you stereo sound if you do pair it with the Sonos Playbar or your existing home theater system. 

Similar to  JBL LSR308 and Yamaha HS8, the Sonos Play 1 only features two drivers while the larger Sonos Play 3 has three. The Sonos Play 3 also has one more amplifier than the two on the Sonos Play 1. 

The additional channels on the Play 3 speaker is what gives it more power. The Play 3 also has an additional bass radiator. The bass radiator is what will help it project the lower notes on the spectrum more accurately.

Design and Size

Our experts always praise Sonos speakers for their minimalist designs that fit flawlessly into any system. The Sonos Play 1 has a cylindrical design comparable with portable JBL speakers like Pulse 2 and Charge 3It is placed standing up on a flat surface and the control panel with the Play, Pause and volume adjust buttons are right on top for easy access.

The Sonos Play 1 comes in both black and white, which really appeals to users who have a lighter-themed home. The small size of the Play 1 makes it very easy to carry and transport around the house.

The Sonos Play 3 is a larger smart speaker that can be placed either on its side or horizontally. It’s a boxier shape, which makes it more difficult to fit into tighter spaces but the placement flexibility makes up for this.

The position of the Sonos Play 3 will not affect the speaker sound output because it will automatically tune and optimize the sound when it detects your placement. The Sonos Play 3 will switch from non to stereo sound without any effort from you.

Humidity Resistance

This is when the small guy has an edge over the big guy. The smaller Sonos Play 1 is humidity resistant, so not only does it have a smaller size and can be played in any room of the house, it can perform in the bathroom without risk of damage.

Unfortunately, although it has won in every other category, the Sonos Play 3 is not humidity resistant. This fact makes the Play 3 smart speaker a less versatile option than the Play 1. You won’t be able to play it in your bathroom or even outside in wet weather.

Humidity resistance isn’t a pressing feature to have, but it definitely adds a level of durability to your speakers that can result in a longer lifespan. 

Play 3 and Play 1 Connectivity

Sonos speakers use Wi Fi wireless connectivity and not Bluetooth. While it does limit the compatibility with other devices unlike other Bluetooth speakers under 200 that generally support Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi is a much more stable connection to operate on and it does not have a distance limitation within your home.

Mobile Compatibility

Both the Sonos Play 1 VS Play 3 can work with the Sonos app [1]The Sonos app can come in handy even when connecting other complicated Sonos models like Sono 5.1. The application is where you can connect all devices and control it from the palm of your hand. 

The application is a very intuitive one and this makes the Sonos speakers very easy to use. The app even walks you through the whole setup process of these wireless speakers that can be done in a matter of minutes. 

From the application, you can fully utilize your streaming services. Your smart speakers are comparable with Bose Soundtouch 20 and 30 which can easily popular music services like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and more. 

While we mentioned the Sonos Play 3 coming with TruePlay Technology, it can only be controlled and activated with iOS devices. If your phone does not operate with this system, then the medium-sized smart speaker cannot use this feature.

The application is a very intuitive one and can also give you the opportunity to control the sound and bass from different rooms. You won’t need a remote control or the control panel with the Sonos App.

Play 3 and Play 1 Accessories

Both the Sonos Play 1 VS Play 3 can work with Amazon Alexa. While the virtual assistant is not directly built-in, it can be paired with an Amazon Alexa device for voice control. 

You can pair another Play speaker with your Sonos One for stereo quality sound from your home theatre. They also both feature multi-room music that can play your favorite tunes and movies from any room in the house.

Of course, both the Sonos Play 1 and Play 3 can be paired with other speakers including midrange speakers like KEF Q100 and Q150 to round out your system. For high quality surround sound, our experts more than recommend doing so if you have a Sonos system.

One of the better things about pairing more than one of these speakers together is the music clarity and bass enhancement.


The setup processes of the Sonos Play 1 Vs Play 3 are both very simple. Once you download the application, your Sonos speaker can be set up in a matter of minutes. The app would virtually walk you through the setup process of the Sonos Play 1 VS Play 3 to go from unboxing to enjoying high quality music easily. 

The application is very easy to use, as we mentioned before, and the interface is intuitive. Everything you need is included in the box.

To know more about setting up a Sonos soundbar, you can visit our Sonos Playbar setup page here


Can you pair Sonos Play 1 and play 3?

No, you cannot pair Sonos Play 1 and Play 3 together. That’s the catch when purchasing Play 1s or Play 3s. They are not compatible with each other, so if you are looking for stereo sound, you need another Play 1 or Play 3 to make it happen.

Here’s how you can setup Sonos Play 3 properly. 

Is the Sonos Play 1 worth it?

Yes, the Sonos Play 1 is worth it. It’s easy to use and does wonders for your music without costing too much. It’s also a smaller speaker design but still pumps out the bass and features WiFi and mobile application compatibility. You also get a speaker that is humidity resistant for more durability.

Overall Winner: Sonos Play 3

The verdict for our Sonos Play 1 VS Play 3 is quite obvious: the Sonos Play 3. They are amazing mid range speakers that can be bought as one or a pair. 

Your music will get significant enhancements and your overall listening experience will be better. The bass radiator will pump out the bass tones and the application makes the speaker easy to use. 

Want to improve your car audio system? Install one of the best Hertz speakers on our list for enhanced car audio quality now. 


Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.