Sonos Play 3 VS Play 5

Play 3 and Play 5 are both top speakers, but which is better? They are very similar albeit with slight differences that can make an impact on your experience. To make sure you don’t end up going through a lengthy return, our experts have pitted the two against each other in this Sonos Play 3 VS 5 review.

Sonos Play 3 or Play 5?

Best for Sound
Sonos Play 5
Best for a Smaller Space
Sonos Play 3
Sonos Play 5
Sonos Play 3
The Sonos Play 5 is the largest speaker from Sonos with a total of six amplifiers and x 6 dedicated speakers including mid woofers for the deepest and most expansive sound for a larger living room. You can listen in stereo by pairing two Play 5s together or keeping it mono sound.
Play 3 is larger than Play 1 and is capable of richer sound. Even with the audio enhancement, the Play 3 is still a mid-sized Sonos speaker that produces quality sound without taking up too much space.
Best for Sound
Sonos Play 5
Sonos Play 5
The Sonos Play 5 is the largest speaker from Sonos with a total of six amplifiers and x 6 dedicated speakers including mid woofers for the deepest and most expansive sound for a larger living room. You can listen in stereo by pairing two Play 5s together or keeping it mono sound.
Best for a Smaller Space
Sonos Play 3
Sonos Play 3
Play 3 is larger than Play 1 and is capable of richer sound. Even with the audio enhancement, the Play 3 is still a mid-sized Sonos speaker that produces quality sound without taking up too much space.

Features of Sonos Play 3 and Play 5

Sonos Play Design

Both the Sonos soundbar or smart speaker feature a minimalistic design. They also both come in white or black to pair with any room in your home. Our experts do prefer the appearance of the single Play five smart speaker due to the more seamless design without a clear metal grille. If you want a smart speaker that has a clear grille design, then go for the Play three.

Both the Sonos soundbars have a rudimentary control top panel that includes the Play/Pause button but the controls are better handled on the Sonos mobile app.

Both products are very pleasing to the eye and very well-built. Play 3 is a smaller size, this one comes in at 5.7 pounds and 5.2 x 10.5 x 6.3 inches. Play 3 can be placed vertically or horizontally, giving users another layer of convenience and versatility.

Play five is much larger at this one comes in 8.03 x 14.33 x 6.06 inches and  at a pretty intimidating 14 pounds. However, the size of the smart speaker allows it to accommodate a bigger room in your home. Like the Play 3, the Play 5 can be placed on its side or standing up as the sensor will detect its positioning. 

These wireless speakers can become rear one speakers when paired with compatible devices such as the Sonos Playbar.S

Sound Quality of the Sonos Play

The Sonos Play 5 is outfitted with six drivers, three tweeters, and three mid range sub woofer. This creates a piece of equipment that can adequately create an accurate spectrum that sounds and bass as close to real life as possible.

Yes, like the Play 3, the Sonos Play 5 also lacks a subwoofer, but the Play 5 comes with TruePlay technology, the bass sounds can be boosted to a satisfactory level.

Another piece that catapults the Play 5 comes to the top of our list is the audio at any level is clear, crisp and undistorted. The Play 5’s bass sounds is better than the Play3’s.

If you require bass, look for a products with one bass radiator such as these smart speakers which can also boost the bass response. Adding a wireless subwoofer to your music system can also create more booming bass tones.

We also compared the Bose Soundtouch 10 and Soundlink Mini in this regard, the results also detailed by our experts.


We mentioned Sonos’s TruePlay technology, but what is it exactly? TruePlay is a features present in some Sonos soundbar or even in a Sonos 5.1 home theater system that can enhance the music or sound quality. It detects the environment and the layout of your room and automatically tunes and optimizes its settings to create the best audio or music experience possible.

If you are looking into Sonos devices, our experts highly recommend one that comes with TruePlay technology features, like the Sonos soundbar.

Compatibility with Mobile Apps

Both the Sonos Play 3 and Sonos Play 5 work with the Sonos app features. In this day and age, it’s important to have a new way to control all your devices conveniently with one user-friendly app. The Sonos mobile app is very easy to use and accessible to all consumers. 

The app also functions as an assistant with answers to most of your queries about the products and even guides you through the whole process. Streaming services such as Apple Music, Pandora, Google Play Music and Spotify are all easily navigated from the Sonos app.

The app comes from Sonos isn’t only there to offer full control of your speakers, but to also make your life easier by allowing you to calibrate the speakers and music streaming content easily.

Compatibility with Voice Assistants

This is another category where both the Sonos soundbars are neck and neck. These smart speakers are compatible with voice assistants to make your life even easier and streamlined. They are similar with Bose models like Soundtouch 20 and 30 that can fully integrate Amazon Alexa through  Bose Skills. In this case, if you have an Amazon Alexa device, you can combine it with either the Sonos soundbars to have hands-free command over your speaker with voice control.

Your Amazon Alexa can also carry out basic commands and check for new information with one voice command. You can integrate your speakers into your home theater system easily and use voice control to keep everything in line.

Sonos Play Setup

No matter how good the device is, a complicated setup will definitely knock a few points off of the final tally. One of the main differences between the layout and connection between the Sonos soundbar is an audio line-in. A line-in is a jack that allows users to connect an external device to the smart speaker. It is similar with the AUX input and 3.5mm male connector present in JBL Xtreme and Bose Soundlink 3

If you are solely taking and want advantage of the Wi-Fi system, then this is less important. Play 5 is the right one with this feature and it does give more options for connection and setup.

These Sonos speakers connect to Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, which gives it a much stabler connection quality. The layout doesn’t get any easier than with Sonos speakers. Once you download the app, the rest is easy. The sonos offers application will guide you through the entire process step by step. 

The structure for both devices is just a matter of turning on your speakers and making sure it’s get connected to a power source, connecting it to the WiFi, and voila! 


Other than using the very convenient and intuitive app, the other option is to use the control panel. On the Play 3, you can see the volume control and mute buttons. Meanwhile, Play 5 has the Play/Pause button, sound or volume controls and an option to change tracks on your music streaming services.

Due to the couple more options the Sonos Play five offers compared to the Play 3, the 5 has our vote for this section.

Mono and Stereo Outputs

Both the Sonos soundbar produce high quality sounds in mono speaker and sounds in stereo formats. What’s interesting — and a huge plus in the eyes of our experts — is the design of the mono and stereo outputs. 

As previously mentioned, the Play three and Play five wireless speaker can be placed on its side or vertically. They are smart speakers designed to tell the difference and play different formats depending on their placement. For mono output, put the speaker upright, and for stereo sounds, lay the speaker on its side. 

Humidity Resistance

If you live in a more humid environment, our experts would lean more towards the Play five. The Play 5 is humidity resistant [1] but the Play 3 is lacking in this department. A  better sound system that is humidity resistant also has a longer lifespan. 

Keep in mind that humidity resistant does not mean it will get completely protected and it also doesn’t equate to water resistant. Not many speakers on the market can boast protection abilities like this, which makes the Play 5 one that blows the competitors out of the water.

Sonos Play 3 and 5 Accessories

You can pair the Sonos Play three speaker and Play five speaker to other Sonos products seamlessly. You can also integrate them right into your existing sound system to create multi-room music streaming.

Price of the Sonos Play 3 and 5

You can clearly see a clear winner thus far in our review, which also justifies the higher tag for the Play 5. If you want more bass and high quality music streaming sounds for listening experience, you can expect to pay a higher price.

Both two speakers can play music and get elevated your favorite tunes, but the two speakers have a couple hundred price difference between them. Of the two soundbar, the music better sound quality is really apparent from the Play 5. Also with Trueplay Technology, which can tune the speaker to your room environment, the higher cost for the Play 5 is more than worth it.

However, for those on a budget, the Sonos Play 3 is an excellent and the right speaker to buy and worth it for the cost you are paying.


What is the difference between Sonos Play 3 and 5?

The difference between the Sonos speakers is the technology, sound quality and connection. Sonos Play 5 has Trueplay, which can automatically calibrate the speaker, it has more bass enhancement even without a mid range subwoofer and has a line-in for connecting external devices. On top of that, the Play 5 is also humidity resistant.

Can I use my Sonos Play 5 without WIFI?

Yes, you can use your Sonos Play 5 without WiFi. Since it has the audio line-in, you can connect your external device to the Play 5 through this cable connection to enjoy your music and other content. However, WiFi is the easiest option and also offers the neatest arrangement.

Overall Winner: Sonos Play 5

Our experts are pleased to announce the winner of the Play 3 VS 5 battle is the Sonos Play 5. Although it does come at a higher price, what you get for the money is well worth it. Not only does it have more bass enhancement than the Play 3, it’s also humidity resistant and comes with TruePlay technology, which will optimize the speaker to the layout of your room. 

If you don’t want to connect via WiFi, the Sonos Play 5 can also operate with the line-in jack and connect to your external device that way. 

Owning a Sonos Play 1? Here’s how to setup Sonos Play 1 seamlessly. Read next!

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.
Willie Greer

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