Although the audio capabilities of modern tablets have come a long way, offering more than adequate sound for a round of your favorite game or a quick video chat with a friend, they are still a little weak when it comes to music. Sure, there are tablets with better speakers but they tend to be a way to hear some video streaming rather than a way to really bask in some tunes.
While Apple’s iPad Pro models really gave rare focus to better sound, most other tablets are a bit more tinny, lacking deep bass, have high distortion and noise, etc. In this case, an external speaker is starting to sound like a good idea. Before major Bluetooth wireless connectivity improvements, that was via wired options including speaker docks, which we’ll look at here.
But you should know the industry pretty quickly moved away from docks to more wireless options with Bluetooth speakers. Speaker docks arguably still have some purpose: they can charge your device while playing music, and provide an entertainment unit type setup. But the compatibility issues and limited demand seemed to hurt the market, and by now iPad speaker docks just aren’t the fashion.
To be clear, iPad stands are still a thing, it’s just speaker versions are not. We definitely recommend looking at Bluetooth speakers first as this is a super hot marketplace with loads of good options. For all the best Bluetooth speakers, check out our partner site SoundGuys: Best Bluetooth speakers. These are actual sound experts who review all devices for quality and value.
Now, if you still want the best speaker dock for your iPad, we’re here to help. We’ll run through some options here, including those no longer sold just so you know what to keep an eye out for if you spot one being sold online, new or used.
iHome Speaker Dock iDL48BC Dual Charging
[Price: $116.05, Amazon]
As mentioned, iHome provides us with a vast number of speakers made for Apple devices, so it should be no surprise that iHome made it on this list. It features an LED battery level indicator that lets you see at a glance when the battery needs charging, and an auxiliary jack and a USB port, similar to that of their clock and speaker dock.
Moving on to its sound quality, this model has iHome’s “Reson8” which it says makes its speaker chambers specially designed to deliver clarity, depth, and power. It’s also paired with it is its SRS TruBass circuitry enhancing the audio quality even more. This one is not really bad at all, especially when considering the price, which is as low as $68 these days.
More importantly, this is the main model you can still buy in 2020 without a worry. It’s still on sale through Amazon and it
Bose SoundDock Series III
[Price: $249.00, Amazon]
Bose has always been one of the big names when it comes to audio devices: headphones, earphones, home theater equipment, and speakers. Bose is always a name you can count on when expecting high quality products, and this speaker dock for the iPad is no exception. After years of research, the third iteration of their SoundDock series brings us their best to date. This may not be as big as speakers used in home theaters, but this sure can fill an entire room with digitally processed audio that enables finer control over the sound for more consistent, lifelike music reproduction even at low levels.
It comes with a remote control so you can handle power, volume, and the like wherever you may be in your room, and auxiliary input that always comes in handy so you can play other audio devices. This may carry with it a big price tag, especially considering that it is only a speaker dock and with no wireless capabilities whatsoever (they have a separate product line for that), but hey, this is Bose we are talking about, at least in our experience, a name that represents quality.
The catch? Bose haven’t been putting much stock out there. Bose says it last made these guys in 2017. But they still rock! So, you may find a refurbished or even a used model via Amazon easier.
JBL OnBeat Rumble
[Price: $149.99, Amazon]
Another big name in the audio world is JBL. Like Bose, we have come to expect quality audio devices from JBL, like this iPad speaker dock. Thanks to its full-range transducers, this small speaker can pack a punch, delivering exceptional sound across an entire room, this includes a down-firing subwoofer.
This product is best used for smaller Apple devices with the lightning connector, but it also has Bluetooth connectivity, so you should be good to go with any of your devices, even if not an iPad. It originally sold for close to $400 so it was always higher-end.
JBL make great quality but follow the trends. The trend is now Bluetooth speakers, not speaker docks, so like Bose, this one is no longer being shipped but check Amazon below for used and refurbished models.
We did check JBL’s own site and noted they had refurbished models starting at $299. Try your luck by clicking below.
iHome Clock and Speaker Dock
[Price: $89.99, Amazon]
iHome has managed to provide us with all sorts of speakers made with Apple products in mind. Some of them may be mediocre, some even questionable, but this speaker dock is one of the good ones, if not the best in their iOS compatible stables. What makes this speaker dock unique is, as the name suggests, that it also serves as a clock. That being said, most of its features are built on this function. We have programmable dual alarms with weekday, weekend or everyday as an option, we have programmable sleep, snooze, and nap timers, and auto sync, which synchronizes the clock to that of your iPad’s clock. It also has an auxiliary jack and a USB port which always comes in handy in case you want to use this a speaker for your other devices.
As for the sound it delivers, this speaker dock is what is termed by iHome as a “Reson8 speaker”, which makes its speaker chambers specially designed to deliver astounding clarity, depth, and power.
This guy is still enjoyed by people who own it, but new devices aren’t shipping from too many places. You’ll need to dig into used or refurbished options.
So there you have it, the best iPad speaker docks out there or what’s left of them. Options are few for dedicated docks with 30-pin or the newer Lightning connectors, good thing there are many Bluetooth speakers to get you through.
Do you still use an iPad speaker dock? If so, share with us your experiences in the comments below!