Sonos vs Airport Express: Difference and Comparison

Some people like to listen to music very much, and due to these habits, technology has led to the development of many devices.

These devices or systems provide the best experience to such people; many systems are doing the same job. Examples of such devices are Sonos and Airport Express; both of them are used for the same purpose and hence can lead to confusion.

To make things easier, it is important to understand their features, merits, demerits, and differences between both systems.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sonos supports a wider range of audio formats, including MP3, WMA, and AAC, while Airport Express supports only a few.
  2. Sonos is a standalone system that doesn’t require any other device to operate, whereas Airport Express requires an Apple device for setup and control.
  3. Sonos supports multi-room audio with its dedicated app, while Airport Express can only stream audio to one speaker at a time.

Sonos vs Airport Express

The difference between Sonos and Airport Express is in the services and features. Sonos is used widely due to its features of providing access to more radio stations at a time, whereas Airport Express does not have the same access. It can only be used for a single audio file. As Sonos has access to a radio station, it can only be used in a restrictive range. This does not happen with airport express as it has a wider range in comparison. Another main difference is in the reliability of PC or Mobile. Sonos is not reliable on any of these devices, while Airport Express is reliable on them. Except for these differences, they also differ in terms of sound quality and affordability.

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Sonos is an audio streaming device that offers access to over 100 channels of radio stations. It is not restricted to a small range, but obviously, it can only be used in places with signals.

It can be used without connecting to mobiles and computers. It also offers good-quality sound within a small place. It can be non-affordable for a few people due to its expensive nature.

Airport Express is also an audio streaming device that can be linked with cable or wifi with a mobile or computer. In the absence of these electronic devices, they cannot be used.

It is restricted to a range where the Wi-Fi signal is easily accessible, which is less common. It offers the best sound quality in a small place. It is best due to its cheapness.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSonosAirport Express
AccessOver a hundred radio stationSingle audio file
RangeNot restrictiveRestrictive
PC and MobileNot reliableReliable
Sound qualityComparatively lessBetter 

What is Sonos?

It is one of the best audio streaming devices due to its advantages. It is preferred among other devices as it has access to several different radio station channels.

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Another advantage is that it can be used even if there are no other electronic devices connected, such as mobiles and PCs.

The following are the merits of Sonos:

  • It is easier to use Sonos as it comes with a set of instructions that make it simple to do the setup.
  • It does not require an electronic device to change the songs or music as it is not dependent on computers or mobiles.
  • It can also use wireless if or when it is connected to Ethernet.
  • It can be used to support several devices for audio streaming.

Following demerits of Sonos:

  • Many playlists are not supported by the Sonos system.
  • It is more expensive and not ideal for a budget-friendly option.
  • Sonos security system has deficiency due to the support of iTunes
  • Using some versions of it, the sound quality is not suitable for large spaces or areas.

Therefore, while considering all the points, any person can choose Sonos.

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What is Airport Express?

It can be used for existing speakers. It is linked with the help of optical cables and a secured speaker. It is also not very difficult to set up due to the simplified instruction manual it comes with.

The first step of the manual is, setting up the wifi connection. This also means that it can only be used in an area within the wifi range, and only a single song is streamed.

Merits of Airport Express are:

  • It is recommended mostly due to its price range, it is cheaper and can be afforded by most people.
  • It has the best sound quality, providing the best service within the boundary of wifi connection.

Demerits of Airport Express:

  • Electronic devices are required for connection; these devices include either a computer or a mobile.
  • You cannot play continuous music if you are not in the range of the signal.
  • It can also be used as or transformed into an audio streaming receiver.

For someone who does not use these systems more frequently, Airport Express is better due to its affordability. It also has disadvantages but advantages too, which is good for the price paid.


Main Differences Between Sonos and Airport Express

  1. The main advantage of Sonos is that it has access to more than a hundred radio station, which means you have a choice of more than a hundred songs or audio file at a time, whereas Airport Express only have access to a single audio file at one time, unlike Sonos more stations does not have access on it.
  2. As mentioned above, Sonos have access to the radio stations, and therefore it can only be used in a certain range, it leads to the disadvantage it can only be used or comes with a restrictive range, while Airport Express is not operated on it and therefore, it can be used anywhere and does not have any restrictive range.
  3. Another important difference between both of them is the reliability of PC and Mobile. In the case of Sonos, this is not an important factor as this device is reliable neither on PC nor on mobiles, but it is not the same with Airport Express, it is an important factor as it is highly reliable on either PC or mobile, in the absence on them it cannot be operated.
  4. Sonos have many disadvantages, which are more in comparison to its advantages, one of them is it can only be used in a room as it provides great quality of sound there only, while Airport Express can be used in a comparatively wider area, providing good sound quality.
  5. Lastly, the major difference between them is in their affordability, Sonos because of its advantages and non-dependable nature it is more expensive and less affordable by most people, whereas Airport Express is comparatively said to be a more affordable option due to its cheapness.
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Last Updated : 03 September, 2023

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16 thoughts on “Sonos vs Airport Express: Difference and Comparison”

  1. These devices options are quite interesting but can cause confusion. Understanding their differences is useful.

  2. Sonos and Airport Express both have their strengths and weaknesses. It’s crucial to weigh them based on individual needs.

  3. The reliability factor with respect to electronic devices is an essential consideration in choosing the right system.

  4. The comparison between Sonos and Airport Express is very informative. The differences in sound quality and affordability are key aspects to ponder.

  5. The comparison between Sonos and Airport Express is very well-explained. It’s easy to understand the benefits of each system.


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