1. Sony ZSS3IP Lightning iPhone/iPod CD Radio Boombox Speaker Dock
It doesn’t get more reliable than Sony, and this particular model boasts rich bass tones. It also supports AM/FM tuning and even has a CD player. It may be a little bulky for some people, but this is a boom box dock that will appeal to anyone who still hasn’t gotten around to transferring their old high school mix CDs into a digital format.
Reliable brand name
Includes CD and radio functionality
Overly large size
Not compatible with Lightning iOS devices
Older model that’s a little hard to track down
We’ve seen it as low as: $17.81 for a refurbished model
Compatible with: iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch 4th Generation, iPod Touch 3rd Generation, iPod Touch 2nd Generation, iPod Nano 6th Generation, iPod Nano, 5th Generation, iPod Nano 4th Generation, iPod Nano 3rd Generation, and iPod Classic. Includes Adapter for Lightning series iPhone, iPads, iPods.
Most useful rave review: “Overall, a good all-round unit, but remember to keep in mind this is no high end boom blasting sound machine.”
Most useful negative review: “When the cd is playing, it makes a hissing sound, and the music sounds all muffled.”
Verdict: As the cheapest model on our list, you’d expect this to have some detractors. While it may not be the most powerful sound you can get, this is a great model for a bargain hunter who just needs to fill a small room or cube with mellow sound.
2. Dual XML8100 AM/FM Mechless Receiver with iPod Dock
If you need a dock for your car, this is one of the most reasonably priced options. The setup comes with a remote, making this an excellent dock for drivers who like to listen to streaming radio services or use GPS apps while on their morning commute.
Comes with remote (ideal for letting kids control tunes from the back seat)
Great for people who mostly listen to music or podcasts while driving
Design may not appeal to all taste levels
Can be cumbersome to use
Only works with older models (see list below)
We’ve seen it as low as: $29.98
Compatible with: iPod 4th Generation, iPod 5th Generation, iPod Nano 2nd Generation, iPod Nano 3rd Generation, iPod Nano 4th Generation, iPod Classic, iPod Touch 1st Generation, iPod Touch 2nd Generation.
Most useful rave review: “I didn’t want all the wires going everywhere from the auxiliary cable…so I got this for $100…it’s pretty nice.”
Most useful negative review: “The weight of my phone started bending the connectors and the quality rapidly deteriorated.”
Verdict: $30 is a bargain for a car docking system. We like this because it keeps a car’s interior nice and tidy, and it also comes from a reputable brand. Plus, it’s got a great look when installed.
3. Skullcandy Pipe Speaker Dock
If you already dig on Skullcandy’s excellent headphones and earbuds, this speaker bar is a no-brainer. It comes in an array of fun colors, and supports a pretty wide range of iPod and iPhone models.
Skullcandy products sound great
Beautiful look, ideal for display in a place of prominence in a room
Reviews seem to indicate quality can vary widely from dock to dock
Mids are only decent, could be richer
Not everyone likes the Skullcandy aesthetics
We’ve seen it as low as: $39.99
Compatible with: iPod Touch 4th Generation, iPod Touch 3rd Generation, iPod Touch 2nd Generation, iPod Classic, iPod Nano 6th Generation, iPod Nano 5th Generation, iPod Nano 4th Generation, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S.
Most useful rave review: “It is pretty loud. It has pretty good mids…It is also very portable.”
Most useful negative review: “The volume randomly goes from where it is set to the highest possible setting, AND IS LOUD!”
Verdict: Skullcandy has a lot of haters out there, but this pipe speaker dock has a low profile, sounds very good when its in use, and has a lot more personality than most other docks out there.
4. JBL On Stage Micro III Portable Loudspeaker for iPod and iPhone
This speaker dock has a cool, twisted shape that blasts out sound in 360 degree glory. You get about 16 hours of play time when you load it with fresh batteries, but you can also use AC power.
Design boosts volume
Impressive sound quality
Excellent battery life
Large, heavy design makes it hard to use a portable device, depending on your needs
Somewhat expensive for an older model dock
Some reviews indicate issues with dock construction
We’ve seen it as low as: $43.95
Compatible with: All docking versions of iPod (including iPod Nano 3rd Generation, iPod Classic, iPod Touch), iPhone/3G/3GS/4.
Most useful rave review: “The JBL On Stage Micro III Portable Loudspeaker for iPhone and iPod Touch is a sleek, stylish little speaker that delivers sound quality commensurate with its size and price.”
Most useful negative review: “The sound muted okay but when the button was pressed to turn the sound back on a buzzing sound started coming out of the left speaker.”
Verdict: We love the way that this dock utilizes multi-directional sound to fill a room. While this model could never compete with Bose speakers, the sound quality here is nothing to sneeze at.
5. Petra iLIVE Boombox
If you want an iPod dock that’s portable, this is a solid option. Boasting sleek curves and a handy, well, handle, this boombox dock also includes an FM radio. Perfect for the beach!
Ideal for poolside use (note: not waterproof)
Easy to carry
May actually be too loud for some users
Lacks special features
Prone to breakage with prolonged use
We’ve seen it as low as: $47.98
Compatible with: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4G, iPod Touch 1st-4th Generations, iPod Nano 1st-6th Generations, iPod Classic 80GB, and iPod Classic 2009 models.
Most useful rave review: “More than I expected – sound quality is very good and it generates a lot of volume for its size. Easy to transport.”
Most useful negative review: “Barely had it for a few months and it stopped playing music from my phone when I connect it.”
Verdict: Portability is key with this dock, and this definitely has a look and size that make it conducive to travel. It’s surprisingly loud for such a small dock, making it a solid option for outdoor use (provided you stay away from water.)
6. Philips Fidelio DS3000
This “donut” of sound is constructed to support dynamic bass, making it ideal for anyone who appreciates a good, thumping bass line. Compatible with all iPod products with a 30-pin connector, this attractive dock is both easy on the eyes and easy on your wallet.
Not compatible with Lightning cables
Somewhat expensive given its age
Multiple users complain about “skip” issues (see review below)
We’ve seen it as low as: $54.95
Compatible with: All iPod products with a 30-pin connector (except iPod Shuffle). Also compatible with iPhone, iPhone 3G and 3GS, and iPhone 4.
Most useful rave review: “I actually had very low expectations for the Fidelio DS3000. The other speakers were tinny, lacked any sort of mid bass, and were just plain awful. However that is definitely not the case with this baby!”
Most useful negative review: “I don’t know if it’s just my unit, but it will start a song, no problem, but halfway through, it skips to another. I’m completely baffled as to what is wrong with it.”
Verdict: This is one of the most gorgeous docks on the list. It delivers deep bass and beautiful tone. This dock proves you don’t have to sacrifice sound quality when you have a tight budget.
7. Eton Rugged Rukus All-Terrain Portable Solar Wireless Sound System
Drop-proof from 3 feet, water-resistant, and extremely lightweight, this charger/speaker dock is exactly what you want to take with you on a camping trip. Plus, it just looks cool. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, this solar-powered model is worth trying out.
Ideal for outdoor use
Light as a feather
Most rugged dock on our list
Only drop-proof from 3 feet (will break from higher drops)
Solar power only works on sunny days
Doesn’t hold a charge well
We’ve seen it as low as: $74.66
Compatible with: Streams music from any Bluetooth enabled smartphone, tablet or computer. Solar panel charges any Micro USB device, including iPhone 5, 5S, and 5c.
Most useful rave review: “$99 for a solar powered, bluetooth stereo system? Not sure it gets any better. This product is worth the price tag, and a lot more. After taking it to the beach and listening to the rukus for 8 hours straight, i knew this was a great buy.”
Most useful negative review: “The solar charging is too slow to be truly useful. The speaker now refuses to turn on. It seems to lose charge over a week or so when turned off.”
Verdict: There aren’t a lot of options out there for music fans who want to take their electronics deep into the woods. This rugged model has a great design, and tons of outdoor-friendly features. Do bear in mind, however, that the solar panels are only useful on bright, sunny days.
8. Logitech S715i
What this dock lacks in little perks (FM radio or digital clock), it more than makes up for in power. There are eight speaker drivers in all, making this a small dock with a very big sound.
8 speaker drivers boost volume
Ideal for indoor or outdoor use
Doesn’t offer many perks
Older model that may be hard to find in stores
Other docks on this list have superior battery life
We’ve seen it as low as: $84.49
Compatible with: All iPhone and iPod models that use the original 30-pin dock connector.
Most useful rave review: “Despite its compact design, it offers punchy mid-bass, powerful sound and an 8-hour rechargeable battery that make it a good option for those who are looking for a good portable sound solution for indoors or outdoors.”
Most useful negative review: “Lacks common extras such as FM radio, clock, and EQ.”
Verdict: Logitech has made a lot of great docks over the years, but this model stands out because of its powerhouse sound. Definitely worth tracking this one down.
9. Alesis JamDock
Most iPod docks on the market are geared towards casual music fans, but this dock is actually tailored to musicians. You can use it to play a backing track while you rehearse, or feed into a PA system.
Awesome for musicians of all experience levels
Useful for all types of musicians or vocalists
Alesis is a trusted name in electronic instruments
Not ideal for non-musicians
This model not Lightning-compatible
We’ve seen it as low as: $99.00
Compatible with: iPod 3rd Generation, 4th Generation, 5th Generation, iPod Classic, iPod Nano 1st Generation, iPod Nano 2nd Generation iPod Nano 3rd Generation, iPod Nano 4th Generation, and iPod Touch
Most useful rave review: “The headphone amp is powerful and clear, the input selector works great line or amp both dose what is should.”
Most useful negative review: “I have an iPod Classic, and iPod was plenty loud, actually too loud. I couldn’t control volume on the iPod itself only through the master volume control.”
Verdict: If you’re a musician, this is the dock for you. Period.
10. iHome iDL45
One of the most popular names in the iPod dock world is iHome, and this multi-featured dock makes the company’s appeal readily apparent. This model is a clock FM radio that also has Lighntning and USB charging docks for your various iOS devices, including the iPad.
Supports both older and new models of iOS devices
Tons of added features
Not a huge step up from the previous generation of docks
May have more features than the average consumer needs
We’ve seen it as low as: $99.95
Compatible with: Both Lightning and 30-pin iPad, iPhone and iPod models.
Most useful rave review: “They also added many new features. For example, there’s a nap and sleep feature where you can set the sleep time to fall asleep to music, and the iHome will automatically turn down and eventually off for the amount of time set.”
Most useful negative review: “From our perspective, iDL45 is a solid early Lightning system for iHome, though it’s hard to get excited about a product that’s substantially similar in design and performance to what we’ve seen before—only with a few missing features and a markedly lower price tag as compensation.”
Verdict: This iHome dock is perfect for home or office use. It’s thoughtfully designed, feature-rich, and solidly constructed. It might not be breaking any new ground, but it gets the job done.