5 Best AirPlay Speakers: Your Buyer’s Guide

AirPlay Speakers

If you love Apple products, the best type of wireless speaker for your home is an AirPlay speaker. You can stream music over Wi-Fi to an AirPlay speaker using any iOS device, or from a computer that has iTunes installed. And with the release of AirPlay 2, you can now use multiple speakers from different manufacturers to create a synchronized multi-room sound system. Here are the five best AirPlay speakers available today.

What Are the Best AirPlay Speakers You Can Buy Online?

Sonos One best airplay speaker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Rich sound from one speaker
  • Alexa and Google Assistant built in
  • AirPlay 2 support
Price: $196.74 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Naim Mu-so Qb best airplay speakers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Sleek design
  • 300w of power
  • Great audio quality
Price: $599.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Libratone Zipp 2 best airplay speakers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Portability
  • AirPlay 2 support
  • 12-hour battery life
Price: $249.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Apple HomePod best airplay speakers
  • Stellar sound
  • Best-in-class bass
  • Minimalist design
Price: $299.99 Shop now at Target Shop now Read our review
Sonos Beam best airplay speakers Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Doubles as a soundbar
  • AirPlay 2 compatible
  • Alexa integration
Price: $397.54 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Sonos One | Best Overall AirPlay Speaker

    Pros:
    • Excellent sound quality
    • Surprising volume for its size
    • Sonos app is great
    • Can use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant for voice control
    • Works well with AirPlay 2
    Cons:
    • Not cheap
    • Limited color options
    • Some users feel that setup is a challenge

    Looking for a small speaker that can still fill a room? The Sonos One is a great option. The Sonos line of speakers is designed to allow users to have custom music playing in different rooms of the same house, or to use multiple speakers to fill the whole house with the same sound.

    This edition of the Sonos One plays nice with AirPlay 2 and is integrated with both Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, making it ideal for households that leverage Apple, Amazon, and Google’s smart home ecosystems. The Sonos One also sounds incredible and is surprisingly powerful for its small size. Use one alone for smaller rooms or use two together and create an easy stereo system. 

    Potential downsides here include the price, which is less expensive than the other products on this list but still isn’t cheap, as well as a design that’s not the most intuitive. Multiple user reviews online complain about how difficult set-up can be. However, if you’re a digital native and not tech-phobic in the least, then this speaker will likely be well within your abilities to set up alone. 

    Overall, the Sonos One is a great blend of quality, usability, and affordability, which is why it’s our pick for the best overall AirPlay speaker.

  2. 2. Naim Mu-so Qb | Best Premium AirPlay Speaker

    Pros:
    • Beautiful design
    • 300w of power
    • Great audio quality
    • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, AUX, optical, and USB inputs
    • Can change black sleeve to different colors
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • No voice control
    • Setup can be a challenge

    The Naim Mu-so Qb is a stylish AirPlay speaker with superb sound quality and a hefty price tag. The standout feature of this speaker has to be the design: It’s an 8.5 x 8.5 x 8.3in. cube with a sleek black and metallic finish that will likely look great in any room. The Mu-so also has a stylish touchscreen control panel on top of the unit.

    Of course, the elegant design wouldn’t be enough to justify the price tag if the Mu-so Qb didn’t also produce high-quality audio. Thankfully, audio from the unit is crisp and clear, and the bass is pronounced enough to be present without being overbearing. Where the Mu-so Qb is best, in terms of audio, is its loudness. The device has 300 watts of power at its disposal, which gives it plenty of oomph to fill up even larger rooms with sound without distorting.

    In addition to the onboard control panel, the Mu-so Qb can be controlled through the Naim Android and iPhone app or directly through other streaming services. The Naim app is less polished than some of its competitors (particularly Sonos), but it gets the job done. You also have the option of purchasing a remote that some users say improves the overall experience. Unlike the other speakers on this list, the Mu-so Qb does not support voice control or use of a digital assistant. This is a glaring omission compared to other AirPlay speakers, especially given the Mu-so Qb’s high price. 

    The biggest downsides of the Mu-so Qb, other than the lack of voice support, are its price tag and its setup process, which some users report is more complicated than it should be. But if you don’t mind the price and you won’t miss the voice controls, the Mu-so Qb produces top-notch audio and looks great while doing it.

  3. 3. Libratone Zipp 2 | Best Portable AirPlay 2 Speaker

    Pros:
    • Portability
    • Excellent AirPlay 2 functionality
    • 12-hour battery life
    • Great audio
    • Surprisingly loud and bassy
    • Multiple color options available
    • Inputs of all kinds
    Cons:
    • Look isn't for everyone
    • Taller than other speakers
    • Alexa integration is so-so

    The Libratone Zipp 2 is a fantastic AirPlay speaker for those who want to bring their music with them outside of the house. Constructed with a stylish thermos-shaped design and several striking color options, the Zipp 2 is a sporty-looking speaker that has the sound quality to boot.

    The Zipp 2’s primary selling point, aside from its unique look, is its portability. The full-sized version shown here has dimensions of 14.2 x 8.3 x 8.1 inches and weighs only 5.6 pounds. It also has a solid carrying strap, which just begs you to take the speaker with you to the beach or by the pool. You can also check out the Zipp Mini 2, which is slightly smaller and about a pound lighter, for even greater portability. And with a 12-hour battery life, you don’t have to worry about the Zipp 2 dying before your day is done. 

    But the Zipp 2 has more going for it than just its portability. Audio from the unit sounds great, and the Zipp 2 is equipped with 100 watts of power, which is more than enough for most rooms and small outdoor environments. It also comes with a fantastic selection of inputs, including Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, 3.5mm line-in AUX, and even USB. The inclusion of a USB port is particularly nice, as you can use the Zipp 2 as a power source to charge your phone or other electronic devices. AirPlay 2 is a great addition as well and has made the Zipp 2 the go-to backyard speaker in many reviewers’ home audio systems.

    The Zipp 2 does have a few downsides, namely that the look won’t jive with every kind of decor and that the Alexa integration is somewhat basic. But the Zipp 2’s versatility, paired with its great sound quality, make it the best portable AirPlay 2 speaker currently available. 

  4. 4. Apple HomePod | Best AirPlay Speaker for Apple Fans

    Price: $299.99
    Pros:
    • Stellar sound with especially good bass
    • Siri integration works well
    • Attractive in either white or space grey
    • Excellent AirPlay 2 Integration
    Cons:
    • Apple ecosystem restrictions
    • Pricey
    • Only supports Siri

    The Apple HomePod is the first smart speaker from Apple, and as you would expect, it is one of the best AirPlay speakers currently on the market. The HomePod sounds incredible, with deep, clear bass and a pleasing audio balance for music of all genres.  The far-field microphones are also sufficiently sensitive that you’ll be able to give Siri directions from anywhere in the room with absolutely no problems. 

    The big downside of the HomePod, however, is that Apple has decided to restrict the product to the Apple ecosystem: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are not supported, non-iOS mobile devices are not supported, and the HomePod is only able to stream music from Apple audio services, including iTunes, Apple Music, and music uploaded to the iCloud Music Library. To clarify, you can still use streaming services like Spotify and TIDAL with the HomePod, but you can only control them from another device (like your phone or laptop) via AirPlay. Most notably, you cannot use Siri to play specific songs, though you can still have her perform basic functions like pausing/playing and skipping. 

    If you don’t mind the above limitations, then the Apple HomePod is a fantastic AirPlay speaker and would be a welcome addition to any multi-room music setup.

  5. 5. Sonos Beam | Best AirPlay Speaker/Soundbar

    Pros:
    • Doubles as a soundbar for your TV
    • AirPlay 2 compatible for multi-room synchronized music
    • Built-in Alexa and Google Assistant integration allows for voice control (limited Siri support)
    • Smart balance settings for different audio needs
    • Sounds great for music and TV
    Cons:
    • Primarily a soundbar
    • Expensive
    • Limited Siri support

    The Sonos Beam is an AirPlay-compatible soundbar that produces excellent sound quality, whether you’re watching TV or listening to music. Unlike the other products on this list, the Beam is first and foremost a soundbar, which puts the Beam’s focus primarily on movie and TV audio. To that end, Sonos claims that the Beam was “specially tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers to emphasize the sound of the human voice.”

    That being said, the Beam still makes a great AirPlay speaker. It’s compatible with AirPlay 2, plays well with other AirPlay speakers (especially those in the Sonos line), and even has Alexa and Google Assistant built in (with limited Siri support), allowing you to control the Beam with your voice using your preferred smart ecosystem. Music played through the Beam sounds great, with good tonal balance, deep bass, and more than enough volume. Given the fact that you’ll likely be using the Beam with your TV, it’s a great option for a living room speaker in your multi-room audio setup. 

    The biggest downside of the Beam is simply that it is primarily a soundbar with AirPlay support, rather than a dedicated music speaker, which is also reflected in the price. As mentioned above, the sound quality of the Beam is great, regardless of whether you’re watching TV or listening to music. But the speaker is specially tuned for film and movies, which can sometimes alter the balance of music in unexpected ways. 

    Still, anyone in the market for both an Airplay speaker and a soundbar should definitely take a look.

Choosing an AirPlay Speaker

Choosing which AirPlay speaker is right for you comes down to a couple of considerations, the most obvious of which is price. AirPlay speakers are generally more expensive than Bluetooth speakers, largely due to the fact that AirPlay audio is not compressed like Bluetooth often is, producing a richer and clearer overall sound. The products included here cover various price ranges, with the Sonos One and the Libratone Zipp 2 being the best-value entry-level AirPlay speakers available today. More expensive products like the Apple HomePod and the Naim Mu-so Qb offer superior sound quality to justify their increased price tags.

Another important consideration for many people is smart home functionality. If you plan on using your AirPlay speakers to create a multi-room sound system, you'll want to get speakers that support AirPlay 2 (as all of the above products do) and also support your preferred smart home ecosystem. The Apple HomePod is great for Apple lovers, or for those who don't care about having a specific virtual assistant. But those who prefer Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant will want to consider alternative options like the Sonos One or the Sonos Beam. Meanwhile, the Naim Mu-so Qb does not support voice control at all, and the Libratone Zipp 2 is limited to Alexa.

The above two factors—price and smart home functionality—should narrow your product search down considerably. From there you'll want to consider what room in the house you want to use your speaker in and whether you're looking for a portable option or not. The Sonos Beam is great for a TV room; the Zipp 2 is great for portability; and the Sonos One, Naim Mu-so Qb, and Apple HomePod are great general-purpose speakers for any room of the house.

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