Best AirPlay speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best AiPlay speakers you can buy in 2019.
If you own an iPhone, iPad or Mac, and want to stream wireless music, then an AirPlay speaker is one way to keep it simple.
Bluetooth may be everywhere but there are still some advantages to choosing an AirPlay speaker. Apple's streaming technology can stretch over a longer distance, it uses lossless compression rather than Bluetooth's lossy compression, and the direct connection between iOS device and speaker gives you control over the volume of your speaker not just the volume of your device. Most AirPlay speakers will also offer Bluetooth, so you won't miss out on any functionality
Thanks to AirPlay 2, multi-room playback is now on the menu - and not limited to just Apple-branded products - plus the promise of improved audio buffering and multiple control access across iOS devices (a useful touch for multi-room streaming). So if you want to keep your Apple Music experience entirely on brand, these are your outstanding options.
We had to wait a while for Apple's smart speaker, but the performance of the HomePod made it all worthwhile. This speaker truly delivers where sound is concerned, offering music with a weight and authority to challenge the best around. That it has wireless skills and the Siri voice assistant onboard are the icing on the audio cake. The HomePod assumes you're fully on board with the ecosystem, and happy to use voice commands, but for dedicated Apple users, this AirPlay speaker will be hard to beat.
Read the full review: Apple HomePod
Audio Pro currently makes some of the best wireless speakers on the market and the Addon C10 is another impressive Award-winning model. Connectivity is among the most thorough you can expect at the money, with AirPlay joined by the option of wi-fi and Bluetooth, plus aux and RCA inputs. It has all the major music streaming services, including Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz. The Addon C10 sounds big and bold, but is equally able to capture the subtler, more nuanced tracks as it is firing out big bassy numbers. Every inch the Award winner and an ideal iPhone companion.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C10
Such is the breadth of choice when it comes to AirPlay speakers, you can spend under £100 or well over £1000. Take the Naim Mu-so-2. It's extensive feature set includes all manner of wireless streaming technologies such as AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. Streaming services like Tidal and Spotify are also supported as is high-res audio to the tune of 24-bit/88kHz. It's not just about streaming, though, with a HDMI ARC input allowing you to hook up a TV and boost its sound at the same time.
The Naim looks like a premium speaker and it sounds like one too, with a rich, confident sound, packed full of detail and delivered with immense rhythmic drive. Bass is plentiful and of a high quality. If your budget allows, you'll be suitable impressed.
Read the full review: Naim Mu-so 2
The second-generation Sonos One is really a Sonos Play:1 in new clothing, but that's no bad thing. It now boasts Amazon's Alexa smart assistant for voice controls, and it's all the better for it. In fact, with its room-filling sound, it stands apart from the glut of smart speakers that are smart first and speakers second. Throw in Apple's AirPlay 2 tech and the fact that the One fits seamlessly into a multi-room set-up, and you've got a winner on your hands.
Read the full review: Sonos One
The Audio Pro C3 sports the same minimalist look that the Scandinavian company is known for, with textured surfaces and embossed leather carry handle, but the wireless tech adds a whole new dimension to your listening. It's just a shame that controlling it using the smartphone app isn't a bit better thought through. Still, this is a belter of a speaker, complete with up to 15 hours of battery life, to make it a fine home or outdoor speaker.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon C3
Although we’re prepared to give it some good-natured ribbing for an aesthetic that abandons the trend of other Audio Pro speakers, the Drumfire is put together very well. The big bottom portion of the Drumfire houses a 20cm subwoofer powered by a 200W Class D amplifier to pump bass into the room. And you can hear it. If you want a seriously powerful, seriously impressive sound - look no further. You get plenty of volume and weight but don't be thinking this speaker can't also do subtle; it's a highly-accomplished wireless speaker, whatever you throw at it. Add in multi-room connectivity and the option to extend the Audio Pro family and you have an enticing, excellent high-end speaker.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Drumfire
Devialet doesn't do subtle, simple, or under-designed. The Silver Phantom is the optimum example of its wireless speaker design. Packing huge amounts of power inside a sleek cabinet complete with side-firing drivers, it can go louder than the average motorbike and thankfully sounds much sweeter on the ears.
Not just a pretty face, it's well-specified with AirPlay, Spotify Connect and multi-room options, and delivers possibly the best sound we’ve heard from an AirPlay speaker – bolder, bigger and louder than its size would suggest.
Read the full review: Devialet Silver Phantom