JBL vs. Sony: Which Speaker is Better?

JBL offers a better lineup of portable speakers compared to Sony. But Sony typically has better home theater speakers and a wider selection of overall products. The better brand comes downs to your wants and needs as a consumer. 

My name is Donovan, and I’ve worked in the audio world for years. I’m a home studio and home theater enthusiast with plenty of experience dealing with many JBL and Sony speaker models. 

This post will compare JBL and Sony speakers to give you an idea of which brand is better. Both offer many good options, and the better speaker choice typically comes down to your needs. But I’ll help steer you in the right direction in this article. 

Let’s get after it. 

Key Takeaways

  • JBL and Sony are both solid speaker brands and have many quality products. Which one is best can vary from consumer to consumer. 
  • JBL has a better lineup of portable speakers, so it is a great option to go with if you want a reliable Bluetooth speaker that sounds great. 
  • Sony has a wider selection of products and excels with its lineup of home theater speakers compared to JBL. 
  • Neither of these brands is an ideal home studio speaker, so you should look for other options if you are searching for studio monitors. 

JBL vs. Sony: Which is Better

You have many different options to choose from in the world of speakers. JBL and Sony are two of the most well-known and easily available brands to look into. I’ve had good experiences with speakers from each, so you are already off to a good start on your search. 

Before diving into a detailed comparison of JBL and Sony, it’s important to realize that what might be the best speaker for one person might not be the best for another. The best option really comes down to your needs and preferences as a consumer. 

My goal here is to steer you in the right direction for your speaker needs. One brand might excel over another in a particular category, and that can work the other way around. I aim to provide enough information here to get the best speaker for your particular needs. 

Portable SpeakersClear winner for selection and design of portable speaker lineup. Has several portable speakers that are decent, but not as many as JBL.
Home Theater SpeakersLimited selection of home theater speakers with soundbar and bookshelf options. Better overall selection of home theater speakers with soundbars and bookshelf options.
Recording Studio SpeakersA few studio monitors available, but not professional-level. Not many professional-level studio monitors available. 
LooksPortable speakers have a rugged look but are not as stylish as Sony. Sony wins the looks department with many flashy and innovative designs.  
ValueA solid value for how much speakers cost versus their functions/features. A good value for how much speakers cost versus their functions/features. 
Customer Service Good overall customer service and a 1-year limited warranty on most speakers. Good overall customer service with a 1-year limited warranty or 5-year warranty on some speakers. 

The table above should provide you with a quick side-by-side comparison of JBL versus Sony to give you an idea of how the brands stack up and which might be a better choice. But let’s break down the categories in more depth and give you a winner for each. 

Best Portable Speakers: JBL

JBL has an extensive lineup of portable speakers, and these are arguably the main focus of the brand currently. JBL makes some of the best portable speakers on the market, and they are all reliable and sound great. 

Some of the best portable speakers that JBL offers include the Flip, Go, and Xtreme models. These are all built to withstand rigorous use in various situations and have excellent battery life to last all day long. 

Some JBL portable speakers are even waterproof, so you can bring them to your next pool party and get them wet without worrying about ruining them. And there are a variety of sizes and shapes to choose from to match your needs. 

Sony does have a lineup of portable speakers you can check out. While I don’t think any of these are a bad choice, the comparable JBL model is better across the board. The Sony options aren’t as durable, but they still sound decent. 

If you plan on taking your portable speaker outside or just want a more durable option, JBL is the option to go with. If you just want a portable speaker inside your house, both JBL and Sony models can work. 

Best Home Theater Speakers: Sony

If you are setting up a home theater and want to get the audio bumping, Sony is a better choice than JBL. Sony has a long-standing reputation in the world of home audio and has many speakers that can enhance the experience. 

Sony has a wide selection of both soundbar and bookshelf-style speakers. So no matter if you want a modern or more traditional setup, you have plenty of options. And all of these are built to deliver excellent audio quality. 

If you want an authentic home theater experience, Sony also sells speaker/subwoofer bundles. You can even get surround sound satellite speakers in the mix to make all your favorite shows and movies sound as real as possible. 

JBL also has a range of soundbars and bookshelf-style speakers, but its selection is much less than Sony’s. Sony has a better focus on home theater design, and JBL lags behind just a bit in that department. 

Based on Sony’s sheer number of home theater options, it stands well above JBL in this category. If your primary purpose for getting new speakers is to enhance your home viewing experience, choose Sony over JBL. 

Best Recording Studio Speakers: Neither

As a musician and producer, I have strong opinions about the equipment I use. So I don’t recommend JBL or Sony for recording purposes. Both brands focus more on the average consumer than on recording professionals. 

Other brands I recommend for studio monitors over both of these include KRK, Yamaha, and Neumann. But there are plenty of other options to check out that will deliver better overall quality, performance, and features. 

Now, both JBL and Sony have studio monitors in their lineups. These could work if you are a beginner and looking for an affordable set of monitors to get you started. But you aren’t going to get professional-level performance with either brand in the studio. 

This doesn’t mean that JBL and Sony are bad speaker brands. They just aren’t focused exclusively on recording. It’s worth spending a little more money on high-quality studio monitors because this will pay off in the long run. 

Best Speakers for Looks: Sony 

Let’s get something straight before exploring this factor – looks should not be the biggest deciding factor in your speaker search. Sound quality and value are more critical in the long run. But some people also care about aesthetics when it comes to their speaker choice. 

Sony is the winner in this category. The brand has a sleeker lineup of speakers with many different designs to match the look of your room or home. Sony stands out quite a bit here compared to JBL based on the number of speakers it offers alone. 

JBL speakers have more of a utilitarian look. That’s not to say its speakers look bad – they just aren’t as sleek or elegant as the options from Sony. JBL has a more rugged design approach, which makes sense for the portable speakers they sell. 

If you are concerned about the look of your speakers, check out the many options from Sony rather than JBL. Sony has you covered if you want some simple bookshelf speakers that blend in or a full surround system that sounds out.  

Best Speakers for Value: JBL

JBL makes for a better overall value with most of its speakers, but Sony speakers can be a good value too. I almost ranked this category as a tie, but I think the durability of JBL’s portable speakers makes them an excellent value. 

JBL also has a broad range of prices, so you can easily get a speaker that matches your budget. Sony has a larger overall selection, but many are more expensive than similar JBL models. 

Whether you get a small portable JBL speaker or a full home theater system, you can trust that the product will work well, sound great, and hold up over time. That makes your investment well worth it and provides lasting value. 

Sony also has some speakers that are a great value. But some of its higher-end speakers are overpriced, which brings the overall value down a few notches. But again, you can find good value with both of these brands. 

Best Customer Service: Tie

Customer service is another important factor when making purchasing decisions, and both JBL and Sony get good marks in this category. Both brands make it easy to contact representatives if you have issues with your speakers, which is very nice. 

JBL and Sony both offer a 1-year warranty on most of the speakers they sell. You can get your speaker repaired or replaced for free within that time period if you run into any issues that are caused by a manufacturer’s defect. 

Sony does offer a 5-year extended warranty on some of its products, but knowing which speakers this applies to is difficult to figure out. JBL only offers the 1-year option, but both brands stand up to the quality of their products here. 

In my experience, the best way to contact customer service from either JBL or Sony is to use the chat features on their websites. This will give you 24/7 access to a representative if you have any questions or concerns with your speakers. 


Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to JBL versus Sony speakers and which one is best. 

Which speaker sound quality is best? 

Some top brand names for speaker sound quality include Bose, Sony, and JBL. If you are looking for studio-quality performance, you’ll want to explore Yamaha, KRK, and Neumann. Wired speakers will have better audio quality than wireless options. 

What brand is better than JBL? 

The best speaker brand choice really depends on your needs and preferences as a consumer. JBL is a quality brand, especially for portable speakers. Also, consider checking out Sonos, Bose, or Sony for speakers that compare to JBL. 

Which brand of Bluetooth speaker is the best? 

JBL makes some of the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market. It also has one of the widest selections of speaker models. Sonos also makes some good Bluetooth speakers, as do brands like Sony and Ultimate Ears. 

Is the JBL Partybox better than the Sony? 

The JBL Partybox is one of the best party speakers you can find, and it is often ranked higher than similar options from Sony. The Partybox also has many fun features, like a light show and a wristband controller, which Sony doesn’t offer. 

Do more expensive speakers sound better? 

There is generally a correlation between the cost of a set of speakers and their sound quality. But this isn’t always true across the board, and you can get excellent sound quality from more affordable speakers. You don’t need the best speakers for decent sound. 

Does Sony own JBL? 

Sony does not own JBL. JBL is currently owned by Harman International, which is a subsidiary corporation of Samsung. Samsung is a South Korean corporation. Sony does own some smaller speaker brands, but JBL is not one of them. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, JBL and Sony are pretty comparable speaker brands. Both of them can work out well, but the best choice depends a lot on your specific needs and preferences. JBL has better portable speakers, while Sony stands out in the home theater speaker category. 

Even though JBL and Sony both have studio monitor options, I don’t recommend either of these brands for serious musicians and producers. They are average at best, and won’t give you as good of sound quality or performance as studio-specific brands. 

What brand of speakers do you like best? What is your favorite speaker model? Let me know in the comments below. 

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