Best Speakers for Chromecast Audio That You’ll Love

(Last Updated On: March 19, 2018)

As audio products continue to progress, the interest in multi-room control grows. Essentially, a multi-room audio setup allows you to place speakers all around your home and connect to one or all of them and stream content from a mobile device.   

Chromecast is a popular solution for this as its capabilities as a multi-room solution. The inexpensive dongle can be connected to any speaker with a 3.5mm jack, or you can just use the Google Home app for any speaker with wifi.   

Because wifi is a cornerstone, audio fidelity flys. Since wifi can handle a much higher bandwidth of data, quality of pieces of audio can be passed through satisfying near audiophile levels without the fuss of a setup.   

With so many options, it can be hard to choose which speaker is the best for you. We tried out a bunch so you don’t have to. Read on for our best speakers for Chromecast audio.  

Quick Compare  

 

JBL Playlist

Riva Festival

Grace Digital CastDock X2

Google Home Max 

Polk MagniFi Mini

Frequency Response 

60Hz – 20kHz 

60Hz – 30kHz 

60Hz – 20kHz 

60Hz – 20kHz 

40Hz-24kHz 

Power 

30W 

200W 

50W 

100W 

150W 

Connections 

Wifi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm 

Wifi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm 

Wifi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm 

Wifi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm 

Wifi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm, HDMI, Optical 

Weight 

0.26lbs 

14.2 lbs 

7.6 lbs 

11.7 lbs 

21 lbs  

Price 

$149.99 

$499.99 

$99.99 

$399.99 

$229.99 

 JBL Playlist – $149.99 

The simplest and most cost effective option heads up our list. The JBL Playlist a simple to use speaker that offers all of the expandability of Chromecast built right into it. While it isn’t the best sounding, your wallet will definitely thank you for the price.   

Not all is lost with audio, however. Because of the wifi connection, the Playlist can stream 24bit/96kHz files directly. This a huge buff and allows truly superior file formats to be used conveniently.   

However, all of the fidelity will not come through. The price tag of the Playlist lends itself closer to an inexpensive Bluetooth speaker and not a full audiophile solution. While superior formats will supply minor gains, the true change will not always show through.   

The connection is, thankfully simple. A WPS operation is all you need. Built into the Playlist is a dual band receiver over a 2.4GHz band or a 5GHz band. That means you can stream music on one band and browse the internet on the other so long as you have a dual-band router.   

While the main function of the speaker is to use it with Chromecast, there are other connection methods. An included 3.5mm jack, as well as Bluetooth 4.2, allow this speaker to be used even if Chromecast isn’t set up. Simply use it as you would a Bluetooth speaker.   

Finding a Chromecast speaker for each room can be an expensive endeavor, so the price of the Playlist is definitely welcome. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, all-in-one solution, then you’ll find it here.   

The sleek design and limited color palette allows the speaker to blend into the background while still producing high-quality audio. While the range isn’t as wide as some other options on this list, the ease of use, expanded functionality with Bluetooth and aux, and dual-band access make this speaker truly special.  

Riva Festival – $499.99 

Price may not be an object to you and, for that, there’s always a solution. The Riva Festival is the flagship wifi/Bluetooth speaker from Riva and grants you will all of the bells and whistles that you could imagine at this price.   

The standout feature is actually the build. While initially, the speaker looks like nothing more than a plastic shroud, there is much more going on inside. Beneath the plastic cover is a full wood cabinet, giving some much-needed rigidity to the box.   

Drivers are embedded into the wooden cabinet around the speaker, giving 360 degrees of sound. There are three woofers, three drivers, and four passive radiators sitting all around. Their drivers can handle up to 200W of power peak which is a huge plus.   

To drive all of that is a six-channel amplifier. This keeps power levels driving the speakers consistent so that the box won’t distort, even at high levels. The pristine audio, even when turned up, is astonishing.   

Of course, this speaker wouldn’t be worth anything for Chromecast if didn’t connect over wifi. However, there are a variety of other connection methods as well. You can stream over wifi, Bluetooth, Airplay, and DLNA.   

There is also official support for Hi-Res audio. That means you can stream files up to 24-bit/192kHz, a step up from the JBL Playlist.   

The sound is the key attraction, though. Riva does a fantastic job of making an audiophile quality speaker in a covenant package. Highs are bright, but not too harsh, and lows flow out of the speaker is a tight and controlled way.   

Also, you should have no problem expanding to a multi-room setup. In addition to the Festival, Riva also offers the Arena, a smaller $250 speaker that holds many of the same features as the Festival. 

Grace Digital CastDock X2 – $99.99 

Going in the complete opposite direction is the Grace Digital CastDock X2. This is truly ease of use incarnate with a fantastic price to match. While the power won’t make you jump out of your chair, this speaker is a great sounding one at a good price.   

However, the CastDock X2 doesn’t do Chromecast on its own. You’ll need to buy a ChromeCast dongle to plug into the 3.5mm jack. Wifi connection isn’t supported, which is disappointing. Still, even with the price of the dongle, the price is good.  

That isn’t to say the speaker isn’t built for Chromecast because it certainly is. The top features a stylish and secure docking point for the Chromecast module. It sits inside beautifully, in a way that looks perfectly suited for the design. It also will pass power straight to Chromecast so you don’t have to worry about a mess of cables.   

The power handling, however, is disappointing. The CastDock X2 features a fully digital class-D 50w amp inside. It’s not the worst, but it’s surely not much when compared to the amp in the Festival.   

However, the speaker still sounds pretty great. Highs are defined and the midrange is fairly balanced. It falls apart with the bass, though. There is simply too much of it and, because of that, the highs and midrange suffer more than it should. It’s not too overbearing, but you definitely feel more bass than is necessary.   

Also disappointing is the lack of control on the speaker. There is a mute button, but nothing else. Instead, you have to control everything from your app.   

Despite the few issues, it’s hard not to see a lot of value with the speaker. It sounds pretty good and will get you into the Chromecast system for cheap. It’s a fantastic value and your wallet will thank you in the long run.  

Google Home Max – $399.99 

If you want the Chromecast experience, then it’s never a bad idea to go right to the source. Google has a range of fantastic speakers that are built specifically for Chromecast. The Home Max, the flagship model, is the largest and best sounding speaker in the range.   

Of course, the experience is great. Simply plug the speaker in and download the Google Home app and you’re on your way. The ease of use is fantastic and will make you feel like that extra money was well spent.   

However, another key feature really sets it apart. The Home Max includes Smart Sound which will adjust the EQ of the speaker based on your room. Since sound is so dependant on placement and acoustics, this is a huge plus for the Home Max.  

And, thankfully, the EQ works really well. While it doesn’t perfectly tune the speaker to your room’s acoustics, it goes a long way to clean up the sound. Because of that, you’ll hear, more or less, the intended sound of the speaker, no matter what room it’s in.   

104752317-google-home-max.530x298

The Home Max is supposed to be used with other Home products from Google. This is a big advantage to this speaker over others. Instead of having a few different speakers that are all expensive, the smaller speakers are much cheaper.   

A Google Home, for example, is only $129 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), and the Home Mini is only $49 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). Because of the pricing, it’s much easier to get a true multi-room setup without going completely out. Having a Home, two Home Minis, and a Home Max would be $629. Comparing the same set up in the Riva line would be $1250.   

While it’s not the pinnacle of Chromecast speakers in terms of audio fidelity, it is a fairly priced start to the system. If you’re truly interested in multi-room audio and are willing to drop money within reason, then the Google Home system is for you.  

Polk MagniFi Mini – $229.99 

Rounding out the list is a mid-range option that delivers a considerable amount of features at a good price. The Polk MagniFi Mini is a two-part system intended mainly for home theater use. You get a sub and a small soundbar, but wifi is built in, opening up the possibilities to Chromecast.   

The size of the system is a huge selling point. While the sub takes up a good amount of space, the soundbar is about as small as they come. It looks more like a Bluetooth speaker and less like a soundbar, so your TV space isn’t crowded up.   

That doesn’t mean this system doesn’t have a big sound, though. Five drivers placed around the front of the unit projects sound wonderfully into a room. The bass and treble are all where it needs to be, without too much in either area.   

This projection also brings in the first con of this speaker. It is intended to have its back against a TV and, because of that, doesn’t have 360 degrees sound. Drivers are only placed in front and, while the audio is projected out the front, you are going to get some issues in an open space.  

However, that’s really the intended use of the MagniFi Mini. It’s, first and foremost, a home theater solution, and a Chromecast device secondary. That’s not really a con as much as it is a distinction.   

There is definitely a place in the market for this product. If like me, you watch a lot of movies and have a TV in just about every room imaginable, then the MagniFi Mini pulls double duty in the audio department. As opposed to buying both speakers for multi-room listing and a soundbar, this all comes in one package.  Conclusion 

So, those are the best speakers you can get for Chromecast. Of course, your budget and needs will largely determine which is for you. As with many audio products, quality has gone up significantly in recent years and you’re sure to find a fantastic speaker at any price point.   

Overall, the Playlist comes in as our first choice due to its low price, great sound and superb flexibility. However, you may find a better speaker if you’re willing to spend a little more money.   

The Riva Festival, for example, is a full-force solution for Chromecast audio with a price tag to match. If you have the budget, this is, by far, the best sounding speaker on the list. The highs are beautiful and clear and bass rumbles without becoming too obtuse.   

Still, consider your budget and you’ll find the speaker for you.   

Which speaker do you want? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.  

Juan Alexander

Juan is a self-professed sound-nerd and the webmaster / lead author & tester for AllSoundLab. You might literally walk into him on the street because he's tuned out to the world and tuned in to his beats...

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