Having the best AirPlay speakers is a convenient, portable, and reliable way to play your audio. There are a lot of AirPlay speakers on the market today. And, finding the best ones for your needs can get confusing. This is why we are helping you with our new guide of the best AirPlay speakers of 2017.
We compared the most important features and considerations and then narrowed our research to find the 10 Best AirPlay Speaker options to make your decision easy.
What is AirPlay?
AirPlay is the proprietary Apple technology that allows music and video to be streamed from an iPad, iPhone or AirPlay enabled device to another Apple device such as AirPlay speakers or Apple TV. The AirPlay technology works over WiFi to transmit the sound or audio. This means it will work anywhere a wireless network connection is available.
Top 10 Best AirPlay Speakers Comparison Guide
AirPlay Speakers vs. Bluetooth Speakers
AirPlay and Bluetooth are both methods of transmitting sound from one device to another. As described above, AirPlay speakers use a wireless Internet connection to transfer sound while Bluetooth connects the two devices together using radio waves. In order for Bluetooth connections to work, both devices must be in range of each other. The distance from which the signal will work varies between devices and design of your house. AirPlay is Apple technology and only works on Apple products.
Bluetooth was originally developed by Ericsson. Now, however, it is available in a wide variety of devices, including Apple and Android phones. The best AirPlay speakers tend to have better sound quality since none of the data is lost over the wireless signal. Also, AirPlay technology allows users to connect multiple speakers to one device. Bluetooth only allows direct one to one pairing.
Reviews of the Top Rated AirPlay Speakers
The Archt One by Archt Audio is a product that started as a Kickstarter campaign and has transformed into one of the best AirPlay speakers on the market. The Archt One earns this top spot because of its patented Sound Array technology. These high quality AirPlay speakers are designed with a built in subwoofer to produce deep bass, and the physical design of the speakers allow sound to be transmitted in 360 degrees. In other words, this AirPlay speaker functions more like a stereo system than a single speaker.
For an even better sound experience, the Archt One can automatically adjust to provide the best sound for the room it is in, taking into account space and size. The speaker is most effective as an AirPlay speaker as you can connect directly over WiFi and link up to 6 speakers, but it also has connectivity through Bluetooth and USB. The biggest drawback to this AirPlay speaker is that it does not have a built in battery and must be connected via the AC adapter. But, as long as you keep this speaker within cord distance to an outlet, you are in for some solid sound.
The Libratone Zipp is comparable to the Archt One. It also has great sound quality that boasts solid bass and treble for the size of the speaker. These best AirPlay speakers have sound that can be calibrated through the app by choosing options such as “floor” or “table” to best suit your environment. The design of this AirPlay speaker is great for the listener who wants a stylish device that can be moved throughout the house. The Libratone Zipp is designed with removable speaker jackets that come in a variety of colors, and each speaker is equipped with a handle that can be used to transport or even hang the speaker.
The biggest draw back to the Libratone Zipp is that this AirPlay speaker uses a “PlayDirect AirPlay” connection where the speaker essentially creates its own WiFi network to play your audio. This means that the speaker can only play audio stored on your phone, tablet, or laptop and cannot stream via your home network WiFi while connected through AirPlay. You can use a smartphone or tablet through your data plan to stream content, but the lack of versatility may be a deal breaker for some consumers.
The MartinLogan Crescendo wireless speaker system is a high quality, luxury AirPlay speaker that will blend easily into your home speaker décor. These highly rated AirPlay speakers are clearly designed to be more attractive than your typical speaker. It has a dense cabinet enclosure that floats atop a sturdy aluminum stand. Not only do these popular AirPlay speakers look nice, but they deliver in sound quality as well. The sound is crisp and clear and has strong bass, especially when placed a bit away from walls.
The only potential issue you will run into with this AirPlay speaker is with wireless connectivity. If you place your speaker and wireless router on separate sides of the house, the speaker may struggle to maintain its connection.
What can you really expect from a wireless speaker that’s just 1.5” thick? We were skeptical too before reviewing this amazing Airplay speaker. The GGMM E5 is out to change the way you think about small form speakers, though. Taking up less space on your shelf than a book, this speaker provides multi-room volume and clean, crisp audio no matter how loud.
How does the GGMM E5 manage so much sound in such a little space? Packed within its 3lb frame, this speaker uses six total drivers, including four midrange and two subwoofers. Where most other speakers use woofers and tweeters, the GGMM E5 cuts its own path and the results are extraordinary. The soundscape created by this speaker truly envelops you with sound, seemingly out of nowhere.
While the GGMM E5 includes a small control panel from which you can manually set volume, skip songs, and even manage Bass and Treble knobs. Most of your work will be done through the GGMM E5 Series app and AirPlay, however. The company’s app may be used to sync multiple E series GGMM speakers in the same house among other useful things.
Connecting to this speaker is easy and more importantly dependable, with connections staying strong throughout the entire home. In addition to the WiFi connectivity needed for Airplay, the GGMM E5 can connect through Bluetooth. No matter which connection option you choose, this speaker runs for over 15 hours at mid volume on a single charge. That kind of battery life in such a small and powerful speaker is rare among this speaker’s competition.
Almost flawless, this portable speaker is perfect whether you plan to leave it on the shelf or carry it with you everywhere. The GGMM E5 would be a great buy already, but it even comes with a 3-year warranty. The company obviously cares as much about its customers as they do about the quality of our products. That’s why we’re proud to list the GGMM E5 as one of the best Airplay speakers.
Looking for something a little more budget friendly? You won’t have to hide the receipt for the affordable XREXS HI-FI Surround Stereo. Your new table-side companion, this highly portable speaker weighs just 2.5lbs and is sized to fit easily in your bag, backpack, or center console. Its light but durable aluminum and plastic construction does not creak, crack, or bend under pressure. We especially like speakers in the XREXS’s shape because there’s no “wrong” way to put them down. Vertical, horizontal, or laying on two of the three sides, this speaker fits everywhere.
Considering its price,the XREXS HI-FI Surround Stereo provides full, warm sound without that tinny, far-away effect from which most portable speakers suffer. Volume is also good, but don’t expect to fill more than one room with this speaker. For large, open spaces we recommend using two of these speakers. Syncing is easy enough so long as you’re using two of the same speakers.
Unplugged, the XREXS HI-FI Surround Stereo lasts about 8 hours at full volume and over 12 hours at lower volumes. While that’s not incredible battery life, it’s definitely enough to last through your work day or down time at home. Speaking of down time, it takes just a few hours to recharge this speaker to full. Of course, you may also use this speaker while it charges.
The XREXS app makes it easy to manage everything right from your phone and gives you access to sync multiple speakers. The app is particularly helpful for those who use multiple services for their audio entertainment. While certainly not the best sounding speakers on our list, the XREXS HI-FI Surround Stereo wins out with excellent portability, connectivity, and convenience.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is everything you need and more for a permanent Airplay solution. Unlike many of the other Airplay speakers on our list, the Zeppelin doesn’t market itself as a marvel of portability. Instead, this 26”long, 20lb beast is meant to sit proudly in your bedroom or living room, filling your space with awe inspiring audio.
If any speaker on our list deserves audiophile approval, the Zeppelin is it. This incredible speaker houses a tour de force of Bowers & Wilkins’ own house drivers. Inside the Zeppelin’s unique architecture sit two 1” tweeters, two midrange drivers, and one subwoofer. For a total of 100W, this powerful speaker gives special attention to all ranges with sophisticated accuracy. The bass is especially restrained and detailed, letting you enjoy low ranges without compromising highs and mids.
The CONTROL app is responsive and easy to learn. Use it first to connect the Zeppelin to your WiFi network, then again to control audio from any room in the house. Dependable as your WiFi itself, the Zeppelin’s Airplay connection is unshakable no matter where you wander. If your WiFi ever fails, this speaker may also use Bluetooth connectivity.
Not every room needs a multi-speaker setup, and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is perfect for those times. Without taking up too much room and looking sleek in the meantime, the Zeppelin provides loud, full-range, true high definition audio that you expect when you use AirPlay. For uncompromising audio quality and the most dependable connectivity, the Zeppelin won’t disappoint.
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