The best AirPlay 2 speakers you can buy
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- Great AirPlay 2 speakers offer Apple’s latest and greatest connectivity standard, to be sure, but they also boast other smart features, look good, and sound great, too.
- That’s exactly why we’ve chosen the Sonos One as our top pick — it has all the features you want in an AirPlay 2 speaker with the added benefit of a smart voice assistant, thanks to Alexa support.
The concept of the multi-room speaker is only getting more popular as companies increasingly adopt new wireless standards to deliver excellent audio experiences that you can enjoy throughout the home. While early multi-room experiences were limited to companies like Sonos, these days the likes of Apple and Google have their own multi-room standards, so you can buy different speakers from different companies for different rooms and still connect to all of them from your phone.
The most recent of these standards is Apple’s AirPlay 2, which is an updated version of the original AirPlay. The new standard adds a number of great features, including multi-room support. That means you can stream content to multiple different devices at once, straight from the apps that you’re used to using on your phone.
Only a few months after the launch of AirPlay 2, there are a number of compatible speakers, and they’re not all created equal. Some are more expensive, yet offer a superior sound-quality, while others are built more to be portable and inexpensive rather than deliver a top-quality sound.
When buying an AirPlay 2-compatible speaker, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is other standards. Some speakers don’t just have AirPlay 2, they also feature other connectivity standards like Bluetooth. That is important for homes with both Android and iPhone users.
Here are the best AirPlay 2 speakers you can buy:
- Best AirPlay 2 speaker overall: Sonos One
- Best AirPlay 2 speaker for bass: B&O Beoplay M5
- Best portable AirPlay 2 speaker: Libratone Zipp 2
- Best AirPlay 2 smart speaker: Apple HomePod
- Best AirPlay 2 sound bar: Sonos Beam
Updated on 08/27/2019 by Christian de Looper: Added the Zipp 2 and updated prices and formatting.
The best AirPlay 2 speaker overall
The Sonos One is well-designed, sounds great, and boasts plenty of smart features — easily ensuring it gets the top spot amongst other AirPlay 2-compatible speakers.
The Sonos One has topped our list of speakers a few times, and after the company added AirPlay 2 support, it was a no-brainer that it should be the top pick for this guide, too. The One is well-designed, sounds great, and boasts a ton of connectivity. We reviewed it, and we think its the best smart speaker for music lovers.
Perhaps the best thing about the Sonos One is just how smart it is. Apart from offering support for AirPlay 2, it also has Amazon’s Alexa built in to it, and Sonos says it will get Google Assistant support by the end of the year. Safe to say, while you might want Siri to feature on the speaker, getting both Alexa and Google Assistant certainly isn’t a bad compromise.
Of course, the best thing about the speaker is how it sounds. The bass on the speaker is nice and thick, offering a nice cut to kick drums and a smooth bass tone. The midrange is well-tuned, offering warm low mids and cutting high mids, though there does seem to be a slight cut in the high mids, which is something for the audiophiles among us to keep in mind. The high end is clear and detailed, helping cymbals shimmer through.
The speaker is also well-designed and easy to control. There are touch-sensitive buttons on the top of the speaker for things like playing and pausing, plus there’s a microphone button to mute Alexa if you so choose.
So what are the downsides? Well, the main one is that the Sonos One isn’t overly cheap — though it’s not too expensive if you buy multiple One speakers in a bundle. Also, as mentioned Google Assistant isn’t yet featured on the device.
Pros: Nice design, good sound quality, smart features
Cons: A little pricey, Google Assistant not yet featured
The best AirPlay 2 speaker for loud bass
If you want a speaker with a little extra oomph, then the well-designed B&O Beoplay M5 is the best way to go.
While the Sonos One is the way to go for the vast majority of shoppers, those who want a bassier sound should get the B&O Beoplay M5— providing you’re willing to shell out the cash for it.
The Beoplay M5 has a lot going for it. For starters, it’s absolutely beautifully designed. It offers a nice cloth outer design that should look great in any modern home. The design of the speaker is optimized for 360-degree use, so you’ll get a nice even sound even if you place it in the middle of a room.
It’s also a very smart speaker. Apart from AirPlay 2, the speaker also boasts Google Cast, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth, and even B&O’s own Beolink Multiroom. In other words, if down the line you decide you don’t want to use AirPlay 2 and switch to Google products, you’ll still be covered.
Perhaps the best thing about the BeoPlay M5 is the sound quality. As mentioned, there’s a ton of bass on offer, which is great for those who like the idea of a heftier sound. That’s not to say there isn’t excellent high-end response, though. The high-end boasts a ton of clarity and detail.
There are, of course, a few downsides to the B&O BeoPlay M5. For starters, it’s certainly not cheap, coming in at a cool $590 on Amazon. On top of that, while it certainly sounds great it doesn’t quite offer the most natural sound, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you may want to keep looking.
Pros: Plenty of bass, great design, lots of connectivity
The best portable AirPlay 2 speaker
The Libratone Zipp 2 speaker has a unique design, it sounds great, and it’s compatible with AirPlay 2 and Alexa voice control.
If you’re looking for an AirPlay 2-compatible speaker that you can carry around the home, then the Libratone Zipp 2 is definitely the way to go. The speaker looks great, is well-built, plus it sounds pretty awesome too. We reviewed the speaker, and we loved it.
The Libratone Zipp 2 looks very similar to the original Zipp speaker, with a range of color-schemes and a fun vibe, but the control panel on the top is slightly different in function, offering more connectivity options and quick settings.
Like the previous-gen speaker, the Zipp 2 has a handle for carrying it around, and it has a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth connectivity in case you take it out of the home and don’t have Wi-Fi anymore.
Perhaps the biggest difference between the Zipp 2 and original Zipp is the fact that the newer speaker is quite a bit smarter. It features AirPlay 2 support, to be sure, but it also has Alexa built right into it, so you can use Alexa to control some smart home devices, play music, and more.
The speaker, thankfully, also sounds great. It’s got deep, thick bass response, decently-tuned mids, and plenty of clarity in the high-end. While it’s probably not the best choice for audiophiles, the speaker sounds more than good enough for the vast majority of users. And, you can take that sound with you on the go too. Its battery lasts up to 12 hours on a single charge.
Pros: Nice design, great sound, battery power
Cons: A little pric