Cut the Cord: The 10 Best AirPlay Speakers

Even with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks that can move information faster than office rumors, the ability to transmit wireless audio has always been hit or miss, especially for the true fan who wants high fidelity that can blow the doors off of brick buildings. One of the few wireless options available is Apple’s AirPlay which can give incredible sound without the need of an electrical engineer and two former Metallica roadies to rewire your house. If you’re about to join the audio revolution, then you’ll want to choose one of the best AirPlay speakers below for excellent wireless sound.

Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay A9 1

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9

Adding B&O to the list isn’t really fair. This weird little satellite dish speaker will make the ultimate music fan drool. It is slick and it can go anywhere or be mounted on the wall to give you true theater-grade sound whether you live in a mansion or a boxcar. Of course, after you drop the $2,700 for one of these speakers, you will likely have to downgrade to a boxcar since you won’t be able to afford rent. These are more than just regular speakers, these are a whole living, breathing AirPlay system that houses Class D amplifiers, 2.1 channel speakers that pump up to 25,000 Hz, 5 drivers, and are so intuitive that they practically play the music you want before you know you want to hear it. [Purchase]

Audio Pro AllRoom

Audio Pro AllRoom

For the $800 bones you will be spending on the AllRoom, you would think they could have tried to make it prettier. Instead, it has that sexy stonehenge look that will complete the decor in absolutely no one’s living room. But what it lacks in beauty – or bargain pricing – it more than makes up for with big sound that drives noise everywhere. Besides making beautiful music, it has one of the simplest remotes in the biz and interfaces with nearly any wireless device you have around. It can even work without a network. Once you try it, you’ll forgive it for looking like a tombstone. [Purchase]

BandW A7

Bowers & Wilkins A7

Read carefully before you buy since Bower & Wilkins also have an A5 model. Do not let them swindle you. If you want excellent audio, you need the power of the A7. If you want affordability, you can do better than the A5. The A7 has a full bank of four stereo drivers complete with a Kevlar-reinforced subwoofer. It even has a smooth, round design that will bounce sound waves throughout the man caves or sex dungeons out there. The sound is smooth, the interface is easy, and it looks good almost anywhere. The only sacrifice is that it is about as portable as your average battleship and will run you $800. [Purchase]

ARCHT One by ARCHT Audio

ARCHT One by ARCHT Audio

It won’t be out until this autumn, but if you’ve got the $600 to drop on an AirPlay sound system that is breaking barriers, the wait should be worth it. Unveiled at the 2014 CES, the ARCHT One (pronounced ARK) looks like the coffee pot from Total Recall, but instead of making the perfect cup of java, it produces unrivaled, full-room sound from its sleek bullet shape. It is easy to move from room to room and utilizes the proprietary Sound Array Module which is meant to replicate the acoustics of live music by using the body of the speaker as a sounding chamber. This is true multi-directional sound that could be a game changer speakers everywhere. [Purchase]

Sony SANS500

Sony SANS500

Sony discontinued production of the SANS500 because they hate people that enjoy high-quality AirPlay speakers. For shame Sony. We still felt it deserved an honorable mention. The twisted cone design of the SANS set it apart from most standard gray box speakers and offers a very rich, acoustic sound that turned any room into a concert hall. It is fully portable with a battery that lasts up to five hours and will bring in the noise and the funk anywhere you take it. You can still find it at many intelligent retailers that stockpiled them. At $400, snap them up before they go extinct. [Purchase]

iHome iW4

iHome iW4

Hey, remember the 90’s when Bose came out with their wave radios that were advertised on late-night television? They promised to revolutionize the way music sounded, but really they were just ugly alarm clocks. Well, the iW4 brings back that same style, only they actually sound great. These are very heavily geared toward the Apple fan boy since they work best only with true Apple products. If you want to integrate them into your existing system, they might not be ideal but when they are coupled with your iPad, iPod, iPhone, MacBook, and Apple TV, they will shine. If you aren’t a die-hard Apple lover, they will still give you great quality for only $250, just don’t expect the interface to work perfectly. [Purchase]

Klipsch Gallery G-17

Klipsch Gallery G-17

The Gallery looks much more like a television soundbar, and with good reason. It is not going to give you full room sound the way some other options on the list will. It is meant for directed noise that goes from one end of the room to the other. It has a definite listening “sweet spot” but that doesn’t detract much from the overall quality it produces. You aren’t likely to want to carry it from room to room but rather aim it at your favorite recliner, turn up the volume, and let it do its thing. For a powerful, full-house audio experience, buy a few of these to create your own, fully wireless system. Expect to pay $200 apiece. [Purchase]

Logitech UE Air Speaker

Logitech UE Air Speaker

If you can afford something a little better than the bargain speakers, then the UE Air is the only true choice. It is the cornerstone on which you can build an entire AirPlay system. The speakers take up very little room, connect easily, and produce crisp, clean sounds even from hundreds of feet away. For the beginner, the UE works well alone, but is stylish and powerful enough to be a part of a later system as your wealth increases and your home expands. Only $150. [Purchase]

Philips AD7000W37 Fidelio SoundAvia

Philips AD7000W/37 Fidelio SoundAvia

Trying to find an AirPlay speaker under $100 that won’t make every song sound like the mating calls of a humpback whale is no easy feat. The Fidelio SoundAvia somehow manages to pull it off. Don’t expect it to blow your hair back, but do expect simple portability, decent sound, solid wireless connectivity, and a totally enjoyable experience out of these little speakers. These are great for dorms, kitchens, or home offices that just need a little wireless juice. You wouldn’t make it past the prelims in any serious speaker wars, but this is your one-stop for inexpensive quality. [Purchase]

Acoustic Research ARAP50

Acoustic Research ARAP50

The true entry-level speaker for the person that might have heard of AirPlay, but isn’t sure if they want it or not. These are really more of a test for someone that is trying to determine if AirPlay speakers are better than Bluetooth. They only push 20-watts, but they are exceptionally simple and do a shockingly good job of moving sound all around a room, rather than in one direction. They don’t have much in the way of range, but are excellent for fleshing out an existing speaker set. Zero mobility and a difficult initial setup are the reason they only cost $55, but they are also the only $55 AirPlay speaker you should even think about buying. [Purchase]

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