Welcome to Engadget's back to school guide! Today we're talking docks. Head to the back to school hub to see the rest of the product guides as they're added throughout the month. Be sure to keep checking back; in early September, we'll be giving away a ton of gear, including some of the picks in our guides.

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Plug and play... and then party in your dorm. That's how the kids do it nowadays, with their iPods, iPhones and Android devices connected to virtual libraries of stored and streaming music. But unless you're rocking an HTC One with BoomSound, the dinky speakers on your daily driver just aren't going to adequately pump out the late-summer jams. For those at-home boogie breakdowns, you're going to need some serious hardware. And lucky you, we're here to sort through the clutter and highlight the best back to school picks for any budget.

On the cheap

iHome Dual Charging Stereo FM Clock Radio

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

This compact dock tells the time, wakes you up, plays your tunes and even charges that iPhone 5 via Lightning connector. Android fans need not worry, however; iHome's cubic dock also offers up a USB port for plug-and-play access.

Key specs: iPhone- / iPod-compatible Lightning connector, USB port, FM radio, weighs 1.2 pounds.

Price: about $70 on Amazon

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DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Philips DS1155

This sleek Philips dock is made to showcase your iOS device, but its circular form has a specific function: it outputs omnidirectional sound.

Price: about $70 on Amazon

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Sony Dock Clock Radio

Leave it to Sony to inject a unique tubular style into its only does-everything AM/FM bedside dock-clock-radio for Android and iOS.

Price: about $70 on Amazon

Mid-range

JBL OnBeat Venue

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Lightning doesn't have to be frightening if you get the right dock. This particular OnBeat Venue shucks the 30-pin connector from last year's model in favor of future iDevices and Bluetooth streaming, while still outputting bombastic sound at 30 watts.

Key specs: Bluetooth streaming, Lightning connector, 3.5mm aux jack, weighs 7.4 pounds.

Price: $199.95 on Amazon

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DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Soundfreaq SFQ-02RBR Sound Step

A shock of fire-engine red can class up any joint. It's even better when that audio design statement packs a rechargeable Li-ion battery, a 2.1-speaker configuration with a dedicated subwoofer and enough charging power for USB devices and your iPad.

Price: $149.99 on Amazon

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

iLuv Aud 5

Nothing says the future like slim design, touch controls, wireless Bluetooth streaming and a dock fit for Lightning. For the price, iLuv's looker might have you looking for your wallet.

Price: about $120 on Amazon

Money's no object

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Z2

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

Forget dressing to impress; the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Z2 is swank enough to brighten up the many shades of beige in your dorm room. With Ethernet, AirPlay streaming, a 3.5mm aux jack and a Lightning dock, this Z2's a surefire substitute wingman.

Key specs: Remote control, WiFi, Ethernet, 3.5mm aux jack, Lightning connector, weighs 9 pounds.

Price: about $400 on Amazon

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Samsung DA-E750

Audio doesn't get any prettier than this. Samsung's mahogany stunner keeps up appearances by stowing away a Dual Dock compatible with Android and iOS devices. There's Bluetooth 3.0 to let you sidestep a physical connection for wireless playback.

Price: $549.99 on Amazon

DNP Engadget's back to school guide 2013 docks

JBL OnBeat Rumble

Consider this the OnBeat Venue's bigger brother. JBL's more grown-up dock combines a subwoofer, Bluetooth streaming, Lightning connector and 50 watts of power into a Daft Punk visor-like design.

Price: about $340 on Amazon

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Engadget's back to school guide 2013: docks