The 10 Best Airplay Speakers

Updated January 22, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Airplay Speakers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Nothing spoils a great sound system like poor connectivity. For owners of Apple phones, tablets, and computers, there's no easier way to get your music playing over external speakers than via AirPlay. The technology works everywhere within reach of your home WiFi network, so you never have to worry about connecting a cord or being out of range. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best airplay speaker on Amazon.

10. Philips Fidelio SoundAvia

For those seeking something basic that can wirelessly fill a room with quality sound and not break the bank, the Philips Fidelio SoundAvia delivers. It can also be paired with additional units for playback around your home.
  • compact space-saving design
  • frequently drops connection
  • poor manufacturer support
Brand Philips
Model A7000W
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

9. Yamaha MusicCast WX-010

With its compact, sleek design available in black or white, the Yamaha MusicCast WX-010 will look good in every home. It features a wide array of options for wireless playback from almost any device and provides impressive depth and range given its size.
  • pairs with other musiccast products
  • no aux port for analog connections
  • proprietary app is poorly designed
Brand Yamaha
Model WX-010WH
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. GGMM E3

The GGMM E3 is an alarm clock-style option with an attractive perforated design and sleek onboard controls. It features a rear USB port for rapidly charging your devices and has the capacity to stream internet radio stations autonomously.
  • available in three colors
  • bluetooth and wi-fi compatibility
  • alarm capability is underdeveloped
Brand GGMM
Model ES-201-4
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Polk Woodbourne AM6119-A

The Polk Woodbourne AM6119-A features a thick MDF enclosure for its superior acoustic properties, and a curved front baffle that adds visual interest. It can fade into your decor while perched on a shelf or make a bold statement by itself on a table.
  • usb port for charging other devices
  • convenient remote control included
  • frequently disconnects mid-playback
Brand Polk Woodbourne AM6119-
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9

For those prepared to make the investment, the Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 is as much a piece of art as it is an acoustic tool. Its innovative design and stellar sound can be enjoyed anywhere in your home, either hung on a wall or freestanding on its included wooden legs.
  • touch and swipe volume controls
  • room adaptation technology
  • prohibitively expensive
Brand B&O PLAY by Bang & Oluf
Model 1200232
Weight 43.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Harman Kardon Aura Plus

The iconic design of the Harman Kardon Aura Plus will attract the eyes of anyone who sees it, while its six high- and mid-range transducers and built-in subwoofer deliver a 360-degree sound that will leave an even bigger impression.
  • bluetooth connectivity
  • stereo-widening dsp audio technology
  • some customers received wrong item
Brand Harman Kardon
Model Aura Black
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. KEF X300A

For truly high fidelity, professional studio sound at home, check out the KEF X300A, which provides uncompromising treble and bass and overall distortion-free playback. The system promises seamless network integration so you can get to listening as soon as you unbox it.
  • an audiophile's delight
  • dual ab amplifiers in each speaker
  • hard to access rear controls
Brand KEF
Model X300AWWH
Weight 39.4 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Libratone Zipp

The Libratone Zipp is rechargeable and wireless, which means it can't achieve the sound quality or volume of most wall-powered models. That being said, it's a convenient option for moving around your home with you, and produces impressive audio for its form factor.
  • 10-hour battery life
  • can daisy chain for surround sound
  • many connectivity options
Brand Libratone
Model LH0032010NA2002
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. GGMM M3

While its sleek, retro brushed aluminum and leather housing earned it a Red Dot design award, it's what's inside the GGMM M3 that really counts. Its high density wooden cabinet and unibody Kevlar speakers provide an unparalleled wireless listening experience at this price.
  • connect up to 10 for surround sound
  • available in four colors
  • includes three-year warranty
Brand GGMM
Model WS-301-39
Weight 9.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

Renowned as much for its crystal clear sound as it is for its unorthodox shape, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is a high-end choice that does not disappoint. It is quite heavy for its size, but you can chalk that up to its solid construction.
  • deep and accurate bass
  • two dome tweeters for pristine highs
  • can connect to virtually any device
Brand Bowers & Wilkins
Model Zeppelin Wireless
Weight 20.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Airplay vs. Bluetooth

Airplay is a wireless sound technology developed by Apple used primarily for streaming music or other audio. It works through your home WiFi network to deliver high quality sounds from your iPhone or other Apple device to your Airplay speakers. Both devices used for streaming and playing the audio must be Airplay supported, and there must be an available WiFi connection in order for the service to work.

You might be wondering why you wouldn’t just invest in a set of Bluetooth speakers. After all, Bluetooth doesn’t require the use of a WiFi network and is compatible with Android devices as well, right? Fortunately, for audio lovers, there are a wide range of options in both Airplay and Bluetooth speakers, but Airplay seems to offer more advantages over the average Bluetooth-enabled devices.

While both Bluetooth and Airplay are created for wireless connection and streaming, Airplay generally delivers a higher quality sound. Because it operates over a WiFi network and is specifically equipped in certain devices, it is designed for clear, crisp audio. It is great for use at home across multiple devices in every room, if you so choose.

Bluetooth technology is designed for convenience and portability. If you are frequently in places with no WiFi connection but still want to stream your music or other audio, then Bluetooth is the way to go.

However, if you are looking for both quality and convenience around your home or office, consider buying Airplay speakers. All Airplay speakers are compatible with Apple devices, and some even come equipped with Bluetooth and Android compatibility as well. While it's true that Bluetooth will likely run at a lower price, Airplay is the way to go for more quality and convenience provided you have a readily available WiFi network.

Because Apple has made the technology readily available to other manufacturers, there are many wireless speakers on the market from a wide variety of companies equipped with Airplay capabilities. That means you now have the option of choosing a high-quality speaker that you can operate from your phone, tablet, or computer within a reasonable budget.

Advantages of Airplay

It’s possible, even after hearing so many great things about Airplay, that you are still considering purchasing Bluetooth-only speakers. We think that’s a big mistake, and here’s why: There are a number of advantages to using Airplay besides sound quality alone. The versatility that the service offers is something you won’t find with any other wireless audio connection.

First, Airplay allows you to pick a specific speaker in your home. If you have Airplay speakers and other Airplay-enabled devices around your home, you can choose to stream your music or other audio to any one of these locations or even choose multiple locations at one time for a full, surround-sound experience.

Second, more and more amplifiers and other receivers are being equipped with Airplay capabilities meaning that you can also stream Airplay to these devices for an enhanced audio experience. Major brands such as Philips, Sony, and Yamaha offer such devices to be used in addition to your standalone Airplay speakers.

Third, Airplay is versatile enough to be capable of streaming over an Ethernet connection. Occasionally, you might run into an Airplay-enabled device that struggles to pick up the WiFi signal. It could be due to the device or due to the quality of the WiFi connection itself. Regardless, if your receiver has an Ethernet connection port, this issue can be easily resolved.

Next, Airplay can not only be streamed from a Mac, but the Mac can be used as an Airplay receiver as well. A simple software download can allow you to stream music and other audio from your iOS device to your Mac computer or from one Mac to another.

Finally, advancing technology and the popularity and availability of Airplay are making it possible to use your Android phone to control Airplay. Some newer Android phones are being created to be compatible with Airplay and operate just like the iOS devices used to facilitate audio streaming.

A Brief History of the Airplay Speaker

Airplay made its official debut in the fall of 2010 although it was available under the name “AirTunes” for several years beforehand. It was based on the idea that streaming music over a WiFi connection is much more efficient and a higher quality than using Bluetooth.

In 2004, when the technology was still known as AirTunes, a man named Jon Lech Johansen reverse-engineered the protocol so that it could be utilized on a variety of devices. It took several years for this technology to be converted to AirPlay so video and audio could be streamed together.

Apple developed a free app to use in conjunction with Airplay so the feature could be easily controlled using a mobile phone, tablet, or computer. When AirTunes was first developed, it was for audio use only. However, Airplay allows for video streaming as well. Similarly, AirTunes was specifically for Apple products only while Airplay technology has been made available to a wide range of manufacturers so many products can be compatible.

In 2011, Steve Jobs announced the invention of Airplay Mirroring that would allow for wireless video streaming directly from an iPad to a compatible HDTV. As of right now, an AppleTV is required in order to utilize this feature as it has not been sufficiently tested and made compatible with other receiving devices. It works best when being sent from specific types of Mac computers.

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Last updated on January 22, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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