An iPod speaker dock provides the perfect solution for playing the music on your iPod at home or on the go – at parties, social events or wherever you want background music. Plus, these devices can store and charge your iPod or iPhone when they are not in use. Most docking stations are compatible with iPods and iPhones with 30-pin connections, although some are compatible with newer iPhones and other devices.
Best for Battery Life
Portability is one of the best advantages to iPod docks. Good battery life is essential if you move from room to room or take your music to the jobsite, campground or playground. The Logitech S315i has built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Most iPod docks require you to continually supply batteries or buy your own rechargeables. These batteries automatically charge when plugged.
The Logitech S315i weighs less than 2 pounds, and it’s small enough to carry from place to place. The speaker has a fold-out stand so you can keep it upright, and the 3.5 mm auxiliary jack allows you to connect any smartphone.
Logitech audio products are always dependable for great sound and quality construction. Logitech rechargeable speaker docks for iPod or iPhone are no exception. These portable iPod speakers use a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 20 hours of on-the-go music on a single charge, which makes them especially long-lasting iPod docks.
Best for Backpacks and Lockers
A benefit of iPod docks over large stereo systems is they often come in smaller packages with a smaller price tag. The JBL On Stage Micro III is one of the smallest docking stations for iPods, just 6 inches in diameter and 2 inches tall. You could easily slip it into a gym bag, backpack, or make space for it in a dorm room.
While the design of the On Stage Micro III is unconventionally rounded, the 360-degree array of speakers sends music in every direction. This dock comes with a remote, AC and battery power, and synchronization with iTunes via the USB port. It weighs less than 1 pound, and LED lights give feedback to button presses.
The JBL On Stage Micro III is the one of the most bizarre-looking iPod docks on the market, resembling a futuristic pinwheel hovercraft. Not only is it a shape you can stare at for a while, but it also produces an incredible sound that will have you furrowing your brow trying to understand how that iPod dock sounds that good. It has an attention-snatching design, delightful sound, 12-hour battery life and a unique USB interface.
Best for Sound Quality
If you’re looking to fill a room with sound or share audio with a group of people, a great set of headphones won’t do. If you’re going to invest in an iPod dock, you’re going to want one that can provide great sound and reach beyond the walls of a cubicle. Typically, units with larger-diameter speakers will produce great volume and higher-quality sound.
We found that Altec Lansing iPod docks feature larger speaker sets than most competing docks. These docks prevent interference and sound distortion from nearby electronics. They also use sound-enhancing technology that creates a richer sound than the speakers would otherwise be capable of producing. Altec Lansing docks typically have 4-inch speaker pairs.
Altec Lansing iPod docks with speakers are paired with AM/FM radio tuners and aux ports so you can get your music from a variety of sources.
An iPod dock should be portable, easy to use, compatible with a wide range of iPod and iPhone models, and capable of interfacing with other audio devices. It should also, of course, play your music the way it was meant to be heard, without sounding like an out-of-tune radio in a metal filing cabinet. The Altec Lansing iPod docks fit that bill on all counts. In fact, Altec Lansing was the first company to make an Apple-certified iPod dock, so it's no surprise that they do it so well.
When selecting docking stations, we only included products that work with Apple gadgets. However, we included many docks that also have adapters or alternate ways to connect your mobile or MP3 device, such as auxiliary jacks and USB ports. All products had to charge the iPod while the dock is plugged in, not from batteries.
We also looked for products that didn’t require any sort of installation. While we prefer truly portable docking stations, we also included a few small units that have to stay plugged into a wall outlet. None of the products in this guide act as clock radios. If you’re interested in alarm clocks, visit our iPod Clock Radios guide here
iPhones or iPods with a Lightning Connector and other Bluetooth-enabled devices will likely be more compatible with other types of speakers. To learn more about other options for speakers, you can check out our reviews of Bluetooth Speakers, Waterproof Speakers and larger Portable Speakers. For more information, be sure to read our articles on iPod speaker docks.
Though none of the iPod docks have all of the features we looked for, we found some common features that span the range of functionality to look for when deciding on the iPod speaker dock that's best for you. These features include: a remote control, integrated CD player and radio, multiple inputs and outputs, and portability features.
It's also important to find an iPod that's compatible with multiple Apple devices and other MP3 players. While all of the speaker docks can accommodate other MP3 players with a line input jack, they do not charge them, and you cannot control them with the remote.
Look for an iPod dock that includes the features you want most. With a bit of searching, you can find one with great sound quality and features that improve the listening experience.