You don’t always want a huge speaker sitting around in your house, sometimes there just isn’t the space or other times it just doesn’t fit with your décor. That’s where ceiling speakers come in, providing a discreet way to integrate speakers into your home without compromising on aesthetic.
Ceiling speakers have been around for decades, but the newest models can now become part of your smart home thanks to built-in WiFi. It is still an up-and-coming sector but, in this guide, we’ll break down the best products currently on sale in the UK, and of course we’ll keep it up to date as new speakers are launched.
- Why Choose WiFi Ceiling Speakers?
- Ceiling Speaker Buying Guide
- Best WiFi Ceiling Speakers
- Bluetooth Alternatives
Why Choose WiFi Ceiling Speakers?
As the internet of things has become a more everyday concept, more and more devices can now speak to each other over WiFi networks and it’s fast becoming more effective technology than traditional Bluetooth connections.
WiFi allows you to sync many devices together simultaneously and control them all together as one ecosystem. For example, you could choose a song from Spotify on your mobile, stream it to every speaker in the house and then use your smart speaker to change song or volume from wherever you are.
There are unlimited possibilities as you add further smart devices in your home, for example if your video doorbell rings, the music could stop and switch to the intercom with your visitor, or you could sync your smart light bulbs in time to the beat.
Ceiling Speaker Buying Guide
In our reviews, we’ll delve into the key features that make each speaker stand out. We’ll cover the services they integrate with and sizing so you know if they will fit.
We’ll also include the technical specs which are particularly important if you’re planning to buy online and won’t hear them until they arrive. Let’s first run through what they mean and what to look out for:
- Impedance – Impedance is difficult to explain briefly but is to do with the resistance of your speakers, you don’t want it to be too high or too low and you should try to match impedance of your speakers to your amp. In this guide, every speaker has an impedance of 8ohms which is very standard.
- Sensitivity – This is how loud your speaker will go, the higher the decibels, the louder the speaker. Generally, 80dB is poor for a speaker and 100dB is really good.
- Frequency response – This is the range of sounds the speaker can play from low bass to high treble. The human ear can hear between 20Hz and 20,000Hz (aka 20kHz) but most speakers won’t get that low. A low bass of 50Hz is considered really good.
- Power – This measures how much power the speaker can handle and is measured in Watts. There are two ways of measuring this; Peak and RMS. You should always look for RMS and we will try to include this where possible in these reviews. However, some manufacturers try to confuse you by only using Peak, this will give a higher number and seem like a better speaker than it actually is.
Best WiFi Ceiling Speakers
So, without further ado, we’ll share our recommended WiFi speakers for your ceiling:
Lithe Audio – Best Overall
These WiFi ceiling speakers offer a clear sound quality, good specs and are easy to install
Frequency Response: 65Hz-20kHZ // Impedance: 8 Ohms // Sensitivity: 90dB // Power Output: 60W (RMS)
If you’ve not heard of Lithe, they are a British company making serious inroads with their ceiling speakers. The WiFi version is a more recent addition to their range and has big advantages compared to the Bluetooth versions including the ability to connect up to 30 throughout your home for multiroom audio.
Included in this set up is a master and slave speaker, an amp and WiFi The sound quality of this is incredibly crisp, it has a 6.5” fibre glass woofer and a 0.75” tweeter which can be angled to direct the sound. As far as audio specs go, they have a frequency range of 65Hz-20kHZ and a sensitivity of 90dB.
Lithe Audio speakers are compatible with Spotify, Deezer and Apple Airplay, or you can stream music direct from a network accessible storage (NAS) drive.
Installation is simple with a ceiling cut out and once in place a magnetic cover helps them blend in, this can be painted too if you’re ceiling isn’t white.
Sonos Architectural by Sonance – Best Sound
If you’re an audiophile, then you’ll know both Sonos and Sonance for their best-in-class speaker quality, now they’ve teamed up on this incredible ceiling speaker set, best paired with a Sonos amp.
Frequency Response: 44Hz-20kHZ // Impedance: 8 Ohms // Sensitivity: 89dB // Power Output: 130W (RMS)
If you’re an audiophile, then sound quality doesn’t come better than Sonos. These speakers were designed in partnership with Sonance who are specialists in ceiling speakers.
As far as the technical specs go, they are the best on this list by far, putting out the most power and reaching the lowest bass levels. With a low bass of 44Hz, you’ll really feel the bass of these. As well as sounding great, they blends right in to your room, with a plush fit to the ceiling and covers that can easily be added. You can also angle the audio really easily to get the perfect sound set up.
The speakers integrate with almost any streaming service using the Sonos app, including Apple music, Spotify, YouTube music etc, and it works seamlessly. The speakers also work with Airplay and can be controlled using Alexa.
The speakers do need to be paired with an amp and obviously Sonos recommend their own to be used. The reason for this is to use the Trueplay functionality which adjusts the sound for the room the speaker are in, this gives you an even better sound.
Being such powerful speakers means they do take up a lot of space, you’ll require a 122mm gap above the ceiling for them to fit so they won’t be suitable for every room. The other downside is the price and boy are they expensive!
Power Dynamics WCS50 – Affordable Pick
A budget pick that offers reasonable sound suitable for general background listening, although not fit for a home theatre.
Frequency Response: 70Hz-20kHZ // Impedance: 8 Ohms // Sensitivity: 88dB // Power Output: 50W (RMS)
This 50W (RMS) speaker system includes both an active and passive speaker with built in WiFi for adding the speakers to your home audio set up. Whilst the speakers can handle a decent amount of power for the price, they do struggle when it comes to bass so you won’t get a crisp sound at high volumes.
If you have an Apple device, then you’ll be able to use these speakers via Airplay, however they are lacking in terms of other integrations with the lack of Spotify connect being a big problem.
There are ways to get your favourite streaming services to play via the speakers so you won’t be at a complete loss, this includes the recommended Muzo app or via a Bluetooth connection, however these are not as intuitive as being able to play directly.
At the time of writing (Autumn 2020), there isn’t a huge selection of WiFi ceiling speakers available in the UK. However, there is a great work around that allows you to connect any Bluetooth speaker to your WiFi via the magic of Alexa.
All you need is an Amazon Echo device within range of your speaker, and you can add it to your smart home.
We thought we’d include a few of our favourite Bluetooth ceiling speakers that make good alternatives.
Herdio Ceiling Speakers – Best Bluetooth Alternative
Herdio is our recommendation for a good all-round Bluetooth ceiling speaker, they are loud with a crisp sound and a very good price
Frequency Response: 60Hz-20kHZ // Impedance: 8 Ohms // Sensitivity: 89dB // Power Output: 150W (peak)
These Herdio speakers offer a good sound at an affordable price, making them ideal for the home or office. These speakers operate via Bluetooth, or you can also purchase the Herdio Bluetooth wall controller with USB, Aux and mic inputs.
Unfortunately, the manufacturer has only given the peak power output instead of RMS, however at 150W (peak), that’s still a great output compared to the other Bluetooth ceiling speakers on the market and the sound quality is crisp.
The frequency response is from 60Hz to 20kHz, although it does lack a little in bass so are best paired with a sub-woofer. They do manage to crank out a decent volume with an 89dB sensitivity.
Lithe Audio IP44 Bluetooth Speakers – Great for Bathrooms or Outside
If you need audio in an area prone to moisture, such as a bathroom or outdoors, these IP44 speakers are an excellent choice
Frequency Response: 65Hz-20kHZ // Impedance: 8 Ohms // Sensitivity: 90dB // Power Output: 50W (RMS)
Here’s another device from Lithe Audio, this time it’s a Bluetooth ceiling speaker that’s got an IP44 rating, making it ideal for use in the bathroom so you can enjoy some soothing tunes whilst in the bath.
We included this in our round up of speakers suitable for the shower but thought it would be great to include here too. The sound quality on Lithe speakers is always great, and these are no different, however if you want that deep bass that shimmers through your body then you may need to pair them with a sub.
I-Star Bluetooth Ceiling Speakers – Easy to Install
These low budget speakers are simple to install as they have been sized to replace a standard downward spotlight and can use the same power cable.
Impedance: 8 Ohms // Power Output: 12W (RMS)
The i-Star ceiling speakers are one of the most popular Bluetooth ceiling speakers on Amazon, not least because they are very affordable and very easy to fit due to being the same size as a typical downward light. They can also be powered by existing lighting circuits, making them hassle free.
With a power output of just 12W, they aren’t the most powerful speakers around, but offer a good enough quality and volume for background listening. Plus, they come with a 12 month warranty from I-Star which is a UK based company.