If you’re an Apple ecosystem devotee, you’ll probably know all about AirPlay already. It’s Apple’s wireless audio and video streaming standard. To get the best out of AirPlay, you’ll need a speaker with a WiFi connection as compared to Bluetooth, and you’ll get a far higher data transfer rate, which equates to a higher quality sound.
Apple have now released the next generation AirPlay 2 protocol, which allows for multi-room speaker integration and configuration. With AirPlay 2 taking things to the next level, there has never been a better time to buy a compatible speaker, which is why we put together this review of the best Apple AirPlay speakers currently on the market.
So, let’s go through them, starting with our…
Top 8 Best Apple AirPlay Speakers For The Money In 2021 Reviews
Sonos Move Wireless Smart Speaker
|(2 / 5)||(3 / 5)|
Portable, IP56 rating, TruePlay.
|(3 / 5)||(4.8 / 5)|
|(1 / 5)||(3 / 5)|
Portable, 360 degree sound.
|(2 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
Sonos Beam Smart Sound Bar
|(2 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
|(3 / 5)||(4.6 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|(4 / 5)||(4.1 / 5)|
|(5 / 5)||(5 / 5)|
|(5 / 5)||(3.8 / 5)|
|(2 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
Portable, classic design.
|(3 / 5)||(4.2 / 5)|
Naim Mu-so 2nd generation
|(4 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
Portable, IP56 rating, TruePlay.
|(5 / 5)||(4.2 / 5)|
|(3 / 5)||(4 / 5)|
Build quality, separate units.
|(4 / 5)||(3.8 / 5)|
1 Sonos Move Wireless Smart Speaker – Best Affordable Apple AirPlay Speaker
Our first Apple Airplay speaker is the Sonos Move wireless smart speaker. It’s their first attempt at a portable battery powered speaker, and it’s at the lower end of the price scale of the models featured here.
It has an attractive cylindrical design to compliment a classic black color scheme. Although it’s technically portable, the Sonos Move is more likely to be used in and around the home. At 3kg, it’s a little heavy to carry around all day or put in a suitcase or rucksack. If you do take it outside, an Ip56 rating means it’s dust and water resistant. Even light rain won’t be an issue.
Nice touch sensitive controls compliment the stylish design. Standout features include TruePlay technology, which uses microphones to auto-calibrate the sound. The mics monitor the frequency response if you move the speakers, and the speaker makes adjustments accordingly.
Battery life clocks in at 10 hours on full volume with three hours to fully recharge via the convenient charging ring. The battery can also be replaced, which makes a nice change.
The Sonos Move offers a delightfully melodic audio experience that can deliver serious power if need be. Two built in D-class amps, a tweeter, and a mid-range woofer can handle pumping hip-hop bass or the subtler instrumentation of classical music.
Connectivity is handled mostly via WiFi, although you can always fall back on 4.2 Bluetooth if out of range. Apple AirPlay 2 is fully supported, as are both Alexa and Google assistant voice assistants.
All in all, the Sonos Move is a great feature rich all-rounder and fully deserves its place on our list of Best Apple AirPlay Speakers.
- Well rounded sound profile.
- Smart TruePlay feature.
- Can integrate with other Sonos speakers.
- Easy to move around the house.
- Bass slightly lacking in oomph.
- A little heavy to carry around all day.
2 Libratone Zipp 2 Wireless Smart Speaker – Most Stylish Apple AirPlay Speaker
Libratone are a Danish Company who’ve brought chic Scandinavian design with a touch of cuteness to their Zipp 2 wireless smart speaker. There is a deliberate attempt not to appear too grown up and sophisticated going on here, which will definitely appeal to some.
Chic and stylish…
The Zipp 2 has a tower design with a two-tone color scheme. You can choose from a red, green, black, or grey fabric grille, which is removable via a zip design. Once again, this is a wireless battery powered speaker making it reasonably portable. It’s good for day trips although probably a little large to find space in your suitcase for holidays.
WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity are both available. Apple AirPlay 2 is fully supported for high quality streaming from Apple devices. Alexa voice assistance is also built in to the Zipp 2. A six mic array picks up even softly spoken commands, reacting quickly and understanding well.
The touch sensitive controls sit on top of the tower. The usual controls are all present. A long press of the multifunction button will also reveal other options. These include a feature that will make adjustments to the sound based on the size of the room. It also has SoundSpace, which allows you to link the Zipp2 to other Libratone speakers.
A 4-inch driver and two passive radiators achieve quite a deep low end, which always stays controlled regardless of the volume. The mid-range could be more refined. It’s not harsh or distorted, just lacking finer detail, which leaves vocals especially, sounding a bit airy.
Not the very best in sound quality…
There is definitely better audio to be had at this price from other Apple AirPlay speakers. Still, a good combination of features and connectivity options earn the Libratone Zipp 2 a place on our list.
- Unpretentious fun design.
- Portable to an extent.
- Feature rich.
- Lack of detail in the mid-range.
3 Sonos Beam Smart Sound Bar – Best Apple AirPlay Sound Bar
Another Sonos offering, the Beam, is a relatively small sound bar that can handle your TV audio or stream from every imaginable service, including Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility. Alexa voice assistance makes this a very versatile speaker that can cover all your living room audio needs.
It’s sleek 26 x 3 x 4 inch design comes in classic all white or black color scheme. A wrap-around cloth mesh covers the drivers rather than a metal grille. All the relevant ports are housed at the rear of the unit, and the controls are housed in a panel on the top.
Connectivity can be achieved through a wired or wireless connection via WiFi. Being a Sonos product, it can be used independently or as part of a group of Sonos speakers for a more complete sound.
Don’t let its diminutive size fool you…
The Sonos Beam has an unexpected amount of power when the volume’s cranked up. An impressive audio field is created by the four woofers, one tweeter, and three passive radiators. The only real complaint is the lack of sub bass extension. It needs to be paired with a Sonos sub-woofer for a truly wall shaking experience.
It’s a powerful sound nonetheless, from the low mid-range to the crystal clear highs.
Best for movie night…
The Sonos Beam is probably more suited to the movie experience than for playing music but has just enough bass response to do both jobs effectively. It’s quite the all-rounder and offers pretty good value for money when you consider is versatility.
Interested in Sonos? Then take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Sonos Speakers.
- Surprisingly powerful.
- Great compact design.
- Can connect with other Sonos speakers.
- Good value.
- Lack of bass extension.
4 Naim Mu-so Qb 2 Wireless Music System – Best Value for the Money Apple AirPlay Speaker
Rising up the price scale, we come to the Naim Mu-so Qb 2. This beautifully designed unit brings startling power, audiophile level sound quality, and full Apple Air Play functionality to the table.
Black and grey or pay a little more…
The sleek cube shaped design sports slight wave like bulges on the fabric grille that covers three sides. The rear panel houses all the ports and mains power connection. The standard color scheme is a black/grey affair. You can buy different colored fabric grilles at an extra cost. It would be nice to have this option included in the price, considering how expensive it is.
The design highlight is the stylish oversized circular control panel that sits atop the whole unit. The touch sensitive controls are a joy to use. No rival has got close to this level of manual control sophistication. An accompanying remote works perfectly to control basic functionality.
Apple Home compatibility allows the Naim Mu-so Qb 2 to effortlessly connect with any other AirPlay speaker to enable multi-room arrangements. Multi-platform compatibility can also be enabled via the Naim app.
The front side of the cube features two angled tweeters, two directional mid-range drivers, and a large front facing bass driver. Passive radiators on the side panels help to create a more expansive sound. And what a sound. The sound profile has a rich openness across the ranges.
Superb in every frequency range…
The bass is well capable of flexing its muscles when needed. The Qb 2 is equally capable of taking care of mid-range and treble detail in a gentle and refined way. The angled drivers disperse the sound very effectively.
The Naim Mu-so Qb 2 may seem expensive, but there’s nothing to rival its sonic prowess at this price. So, even though it is expensive, it is still fantastic value for the money considering what you get. With a full array of connectivity options and compatibility with multiple platforms, we have ourselves a prime contender for the best Apple AirPlay speaker.
- Best audio quality in its price bracket.
- Attractive design.
- Multiple streaming options
- Multi-room ready.
- None at this price.
5 Devialet Gold Phantom Wireless Speaker – Best Premium Apple AirPlay Speaker
The Devialet Gold Phantom wireless speaker comes with a quite staggering price tag that only a few lucky people will be able to justify spending the money on. But the question has to be…
Is it worth the astronomical price tag?
If you have the money, then undoubtedly yes. It’s hands down the absolute best stand-alone, Bluetooth speaker money can buy.
The completely unique egg shaped design is initially confusing, but it all makes sense once you look under the hood. An all metal enclosure houses the revolutionary technology. 22 carat gold plated sides round off the all-white color scheme. It’s certainly not a lightweight model, weighing in at a hefty 11kg’s.
A life of its own…
The Devialet Gold Phantom speaker system comprises two bass drivers, one mid-range driver, and a tweeter. The bass woofers on either side of the oval shape have a life of their own, pulsing to the beat in what can only be described as a hypnotic frenzy.
Features wise, it’s a relatively simple affair. The Devialet Spark app allows EQ adjustment and enables you to play music via your favored streaming platform. Devices can be connected via Apple Airplay 2, WiFi, Bluetooth, or Ethernet connection.
The ultimate in sound quality…
The main focus, however, is most definitely on the astounding audio quality. The drivers pump out a mind boggling 4500 watts, which can produce an incredible 108dBs of sound at its loudest. The bass quality simply defies belief. It can be felt standing a full 10ft away. It leaves you smiling from cheek to cheek.
The mid-range is flawless. It’s like each element has been surgically separated to achieve sonic perfection. A joy to behold. The titanium tweeter delivers consistently perfect detail even at full volume. Regardless of the volume level, the Devialet Gold Phantom produces the same perfectly constructed sound.
Stupidly expensive, but worth it…
Unfortunately, most people can only dream of having the spare cash for such a luxury item, but if you can afford it, buy it! If it wasn’t for the price, the Devialet Gold Phantom would be a serious contender for the best Apple AirPlay speaker.
If we’ve got you intrigued, you can find out even more in our in-depth Devialet Gold Phantom Review.
- Mind blowing sound for its size.
- Multi-platform compatibility.
- Innovative technology.
- Staggeringly expensive.
6 Audio Pro Addon C3 Wireless Speaker – Best Budget Apple AirPlay Speaker
Bringing ourselves back to reality, we have the Audio Pro Addon C3 wireless speaker. It’s an affordable multi-room ready, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Apple Airply enabled speaker that won’t break the bank yet still delivers an awesome sound.
The grown up design, unusually in these circles, actually looks like an old school speaker. A 9cm woofer splits two 7.5cm tweeters on the front face of the rectangular unit. The busy yet well laid out control panel sits on the top surface below the nicely embossed leather carrying handle.
Four preset buttons can be set to access your favorite internet radio stations or playlists from your favored streaming services. The Alexa voice assistant is not built in but can be accessed via the Alexa app.
Best left at home…
Although technically portable, the Addon C3 is too bulky and heavy to be carrying around in a backpack all day. It can be easily moved around the house or to and from the garden no problem, though.
The audio profile is where this speaker really shines. It’s remarkably well refined for such a small speaker. Bass has heft and punch to it when required, and all the frequency ranges hold up well, regardless of the volume. Texture and fine detail are the order of the day, with every genre represented faithfully. The Audio Pro Addon C3 certainly gives more expensive speakers a real run for their money.
- Tight, textured bass.
- Classic design.
- Excellent value.
- App has occasional issues.
7 Naim Mu-so 2nd generation – Best Hi-end Apple AirPlay Speaker
Roaring back up the price scale is the Naim Mu-so 2nd generation wireless speaker, the second most expensive on our list of best Apple AirPlay speakers.
Although it looks very similar to the 1st incarnation, Naim assures us 95% of the components have received an upgrade. This includes a whole new set of advanced drivers along with totally different processing and connectivity technology. It’s certainly not small at 25 x 10.5 x 5 inches and far from light at 11.5kgs, but there’s a lot of high-end technology packed into this speaker.
The drivers are mounted on the fabric covered front panel. Two bass woofers, two mid-range drivers, and two tweeters complete the array. A classically designed control panel is positioned off center to the left on top of the unit. It features source switching, volume control, and five preset buttons that you can customize to your liking through the app.
But what does it sound like?
Naim have upgraded the drivers to improve on the already excellent sound of the original model, and the 2nd generation has reached new levels of audio excellence. Bass response is satisfyingly full of impact, and the mids and treble are treated with the same level of reverence.
Instrumentation and vocals are delightfully separated with the kind of clarity you’d expect at this price. Its performance as a TV sound bar is equally as impressive.
Impressive, through and through…
Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility is right up to date, likewise with all the other main streaming services if you’re an Android user. A Bluetooth connection covers any straight from device connection you may require. The Naim app functions superbly to manage the wealth of connectivity options available.
The Naim Mu-so 2 has made huge leaps with this 2nd generation speaker on what was already an outstanding package. Yes, it’s not cheap, but it’s absolutely worth every penny and is most certainly one of the best Apple AirPlay enabled speakers on the market.
- Sensationally detailed sound.
- Rich and textured bass.
- A ton of streaming and wireless features.
- That pesky price tag.
8 Audio Pro Drumfire Wireless Speaker – Best Combination Apple AirPlay Speaker
Our last model is something a little different. The Audio Pro Drumfire is a mid-priced, multi-room ready, speaker, and subwoofer stack combination.
Stylish and practical…
It’s a stylish aesthetic, and hard to imagine it being an unwelcome addition to any living room. The faux leather exterior is hand stitched, and the fabric grille melds perfectly into the design.
The larger bottom unit is home to a 20cm subwoofer and 200-watt amplifier to take care of the bottom end. The top unit houses two 11 cm mid-range drivers and a 25mm treble tweeter. The well-designed control panel is found on top of the center of the smaller speaker.
Four preset buttons feature along with the standard source change, power, play/pause, and volume controls. You’ll also find an AUX input port for direct from device wired playback.
Good connectivity but a so-so app…
Both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity are on offer to play from your preferred streaming platform, including, of course, Apple AirPlay 2 connection. If there is one major complaint regarding the Audio Pro Drumfire, it would be with the rather erratic app. Setup was far from smooth, with several attempts needed for it to recognize the Drumfire.
Hopefully, we were just unlucky, and this was just an anomaly. The app interface could also do with an update for a smoother overall experience.
Listening is a pleasure…
Fortunately, this being an Audio Pro speaker, sound performance is highly pleasurable. The separate bass woofer packs quite the punch without ever sacrificing nuance for body blows. There’s a lovely fluidity and dynamism to the mid-range and trebles that are no doubt helped by being housed separately.
It’s a shame about the rather clunky app as the Audio Pro Drumfire would otherwise be a top contender for best Apple AirPlay speaker.
- Living room friendly aesthetic.
- Clear mid-range and tight bass.
- Excellent build quality.
- Awkward app.
Looking for more superb speaker options?
Then take a look at our in-depth reviews of the Best Smart Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, the Best Studio Monitor Speakers, and the Best In Ceiling Speakers on the market in 2021.
You might also enjoy our reviews of the Best Bookshelf Speakers under 1000 Dollars, the Best Home Theater Speakers, the Best Wireless TV Speakers, the Best Bookshelf Speakers under 500 Dollars and the Best In Wall Speakers that you can buy!
Best Apple AirPlay Speakers – The Verdict
Well, if money was no option, the clear winner would be the…
It’s the most incredible piece of audio engineering we’ve ever encountered. Unfortunately, it’s lofty price point is out of reach for the average person.
So, with that in mind, the title for best Apple AirPlay speaker goes to the…
The beautiful design is complemented by audiophile sound quality and a whole host of connectivity options and streaming compatibility. It’s a fantastic all-rounder at a far more realistic price that will leave you as one happy buyer.