The HomePod isn't the only smart speaker that can damage your furniture.
White rings caused by the Apple HomePod (left) and the Sonos One (right)
When I learned yesterday that Apple's HomePod speaker—which I had been testing—can damage oil-stained wood, I was more than a little concerned, as it had been sitting on my cabinet for quite some time.
When I got home, I saw a large white ring, a telltale indication that the HomePod's silicone base had messed up the finish. But, as I was inspecting the damage, I noticed a series of smaller white marks near where the HomePod was sitting.
A closer inspection revealed that the Sonos One speaker, which also has small silicone feet, had made these marks on my cabinet. Looking around the top of the cabinet, I noticed a bunch of little white marks, all left from the Sonos Ones as I moved them around. So, they will damage your wood furniture, too.
“This is the first time we're hearing about this," said a Sonos representative. "We're investigating.”
For what it's worth, this appears to only affect wood that doesn't have a finish coat, such as polyurethane. I had the Sonos Ones sitting on top of a pair of speakers with a clear coat, and no white marks were apparent.
A white ring is still visible a week after I moved the Apple HomePod.
The good news is that the marks appear to fade somewhat with time; when I reviewed the HomePod last week, it was sitting in a different location on my cabinet, and while there's a white ring there too, it's much less prominent. According to Apple, the marks can fade over the course of several days after the HomePod is removed, and if that doesn't work, you should clean the surface with the manufacturer's suggested oiling method.
Still, the fact that both Apple and Sonos speakers can damage wood furniture is very distressing. Hopefully the marks fade even more, but I'm not looking forward to having to refinish a centerpiece of my living room.
I would advise anyone purchasing these speakers to place something between them and whatever surface you're planning to place it on.
Editor's Note (2/15): This story was updated at 4:12 pm with a quote from Sonos.