A backyard hangout isn’t complete without some tunes, and the best outdoor speakers make it easy to bring the party out into the sunshine.
Even if you’re not a serious audiophile, listening to music from a set of quality speakers can make a world of a difference. The best outdoor speakers won’t muffle sound, cut out at your favorite part of a song, or hiss, crackle, or pop their way through a playlist. In addition to outdoor stereo speakers, there are also a lot of excellent outdoor Bluetooth speakers that can provide big sound in wide open spaces. The best outdoor speaker for your backyard should also be able to withstand some degree of moisture.
We’ve narrowed down the best outdoor speakers for your space. Multiple speakers on our list are designed to withstand the elements, connect wirelessly, and produce top-quality sound in an outdoor space.
Do I need to mount my outdoor speakers?If you just want to listen to some songs now and then – like while you’re gardening or grilling your dinner – you could probably get away with a standard wireless outdoor speaker. But if you’re planning to host a bunch of barbecues or pool parties, or you want to spend full days outdoors, you’re going to need a more serious outdoor speaker setup.
Mounting wired speakers around your outdoor living area is an ideal choice when you have the space to place them on walls or under decks. Often, these speakers are sold in pairs and have a stereo configuration with left and right inputs to help fill your space with more complex audio. The only downside is that they have a more limited range of projecting sound as they can only be tilted so far without literally hitting a wall. If your mounting options are limited or nonexistent, you can also hide your setup in your landscaping with some in-ground speakers instead.
Do my outdoor speakers need to be waterproof?In a word: Mostly. While searching for the best outdoor speaker, you’ll want to look out for keywords like “weatherproof,” “waterproof,” and “water-resistant.” Most outdoor speakers will clearly let you know that all the electrical stuff is safely and securely housed inside a weather-resistant shell. This means it will be able to withstand the elements, including rain, snow, and extreme hot or cold temperatures.
However, keep in mind that if you’re looking for a completely waterproof speaker, you’re simply not going to find one. While a high waterproof rating is a non-negotiable standard when choosing a portable Bluetooth speaker, it is not normal to see such a rating on mountable or in-ground outdoor speakers. Outdoor speakers have wiring that needs to be protected, and a completely waterproof rating can only be given if a device can be completely submerged in water. (A speaker wire exposed to the elements can prove dangerous.) That said, it’s totally normal for a wired outdoor speaker to simply be weather-resistant rather than waterproof.
How to choose a speaker with good audio qualityA speaker’s drivers will tell you a lot about the sound it’s going to produce. For instance, a speaker with multiple drivers dedicated to different sound frequencies will a have more robust sound. If you’re not familiar with audio drivers and simply want something that sounds good, don’t worry, you don’t need to get too far into the weeds to understand what to look for.
Basically, drivers are what transmit the sound to our ears. A tweeter is a type of driver responsible for higher-range tones like treble and vocals, while woofers are the drivers responsible for mid-range tones and bass. Small portable Bluetooth speakers don’t have the space to house a sizable woofer and tweeter, which is why their audio quality only goes so far. Since outdoor speakers are bigger, there’s some real estate for drivers, and therefore, booming and filled-out sound.
With that said, wide-open outdoor spaces don’t have walls for the bass to bounce off of, so the overall bass quality can sound less present than you might like. But again, that’s not really a knock against any particular speaker so much as it is a reality of playing music outside. And if bass is really important to you, you can always choose a speaker that prioritizes low frequencies or invest in a subwoofer.
Should I choose an outdoor wired speaker or an outdoor wireless speaker?If the idea of paying for installation or dealing with wiring on your own sounds like a nightmare, then you’ll want to stick with portable Bluetooth speakers or fully wireless outdoor speakers.
Wireless Bluetooth speakers are great and their portability makes them really convenient when you’re on the go, but if you’re just planning to post up at home for the majority of your outdoor music-listening time, it’s worth committing to a wired outdoor speaker system that’s likely to be more powerful, more dependable, and less susceptible to interference. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about recharging any devices or walking too far out of Bluetooth range with your streaming device.
Best budget option
Wired: Yes Mountable: Yes, hardware included Drivers: four-inch woofer and 0.78-inch dome tweeter This pair of high-performance speakers packs an impressive audio punch for the price. They’re made with a 20mm tweeter piezo dome and a 40mm polypropylene cone to provide synchronized, harmonious sound. They also feature 100 watts of peak power with a frequency range between 100Hz and 20kHz, plus a 4-inch woofer built-in for rich, boosted bass on each and every track. Easy to mount on the included swivel brackets, the speakers weigh just under three pounds as a set. The best outdoor speakers offer weather resistance, and these stereo speakers feature a UV-resistant coating and ABS enclosure for outdoor use year-round, though you might consider mounting them under an awning or deck for extra protection.
Best bluetooth party speaker
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth
Wired: No Mountable: No Drivers: 45mm driver and 16mm tweeter If you want a speaker that you can bring out on the porch or pack for your next beach trip, then you’ll want a portable and waterproof Bluetooth speaker, and the JBL Flip 6 is our top pick in this category. In our testing, the JBL Flip 6 delivered strong bass and better overall sound compared to more expensive outdoor Bluetooth speakers from Sonos and Bose. Instead of downloading an app or dealing with wired installation, you simply press the Bluetooth button and instantly connect to your mobile device.
Internally, the JBL Flip 6 has a 45mm driver, and unlike the previous generation Flip 5, it has a separate tweeter for fuller sound. Compared to the best outdoor speakers, it has a more limited range and audio capabilities, but it still delivers full, rich sound for the size and price. With an IP67 waterproof rating, you can also drop this speaker in the pool and still keep the party going.
Best for portability
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth
Wired: No Mountable: No Drivers: One midwoofer and a downward-firing tweeter Both battery-powered and smart, this outdoor wireless speaker from Sonos has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity so you can easily stream and enjoy your favorite playlists with truly superior sound quality. (It can also be easily integrated into an existing Sonos audio system.) With a downward-firing tweeter and one midwoofer, this wireless option from Sonos delivers crisp and clear audio with rich bass.
In our testing, the Sonos Move is incredibly easy to set up and connect to, and it also boasts built-in support for voice assistants for hands-free voice control. (The Sonos voice assistant is voiced by Breaking Bad actor Giancarlo Esposito, which is a cool touch.) The Sonos Move outdoor speaker is weather-resistant in rain, snow, humidity, and extreme temperatures, but you probably won’t want to leave it out in the elements at all times since it’s not completely waterproof. Fortunately, it’s easy to move indoors thanks to its built-in ergonomic handle. Though not wired, it has a reasonable battery life of up to 11 hours, but you obviously will need to recharge it often on the included indoor-only charging base.
If you’re looking for big sound but don’t want to deal with wired stereo speakers, this is your best bet.
Indoor/outdoor bluetooth pick
Credit: Timothy Beck Werth
Wired: No Mountable: No Drivers: Two Class-H digital amplifiers, one tweeter, and one midwoofer The Sonos Roam is an impressively designed product and looks attractive whether it’s sitting on a bookshelf or hanging out poolside. For outdoor use, the Roam has an IP67 waterproof rating, which means it can be fully submerged in water and survive. Also on the plus side, it has a 10-hour battery life for all-day fun. The best outdoor speakers offer booming sound and powerful bass, and in that respect, the Sonos Roam does leave something to be desired. The sound can be a bit tinny on the high end, but for its small size, it delivers good-quality sound.
If you already have a Sonos home audio setup, or if you’re looking for a speaker that you can bring inside and out as needed, then the Sonos Roam is a dependable portable outdoor speaker.
Best for balance
Wired: Yes Mountable : Yes Drivers : 6.5-inch paper cone woofer and 1-inch silk dome tweeter The OSD Audio AP650(Opens in a new tab) speakers come as a pair, which is your first indication they’re going to provide some serious balance to your backyard music-playing game. The next is that they’re available in both black and white, allowing you to pick the one that blends in best with backyard decor. Then, of course, there’s how they sound.
The soft dome tweeter provides clarity to treble and vocals (i.e. the top end of whatever you’re playing) without broaching into harsh, sharp territory. The woofer, on the other hand, has some trouble keeping those lower tones sounding consistently rich and smooth. Still, the sound is more balanced than other speakers at this price point and capable of filling up at least a mid-sized backyard without sacrificing quality. As an added bonus, the included mounting brackets allow for plenty of rotation and tilt, so you get easy versatility with speaker placement and direction. As a final cherry on top, these speakers are sealed and have an IPX6 rating, meaning they can handle having a stream of water hit them and live to tell the tale — but it’s always best to situate them in the most protected place possible.
Best inconspicuous design
Wired: Yes Mountable: No Drivers: 8-inch woofer and 2-inch tweeter With full-range coaxial drivers — including an 8-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter — housed inside an omnidirectional cone, this mighty little in-ground speaker pumps 360 degrees of sound around your outdoor space. No matter where you or your guests are hanging out, you’ll all experience the same dynamic audio and deep bass as it’s evenly distributed throughout your yard or patio. Its earthy green color helps it blend into your landscaping, while its weather-resistant housing keeps it protected from the elements year-round, including rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. This particular model is sold individually, but it’s also available in pairs and different sizes, and a subwoofer is also offered to boost the bass of your complete outdoor stereo setup.
Best high-end option
Wired: Yes Mountable: Yes, hardware included Drivers: Two 2.5-inch full-range drivers and a 5.25-inch woofer This pair of stylish outdoor Bose speakers delivers clear and powerful, high-end sound quality thanks to its 2.5-inch full-range drivers and 5.25-inch woofers in a multi-chamber bass enclosure. Weighing in at about eight pounds each, they’re sturdy, durable, and easy to mount with the included hardware. They were also made with the great outdoors in mind, boasting a water-resistant and all-weather build. They’ve also been battle-tested by Bose to withstand very rough conditions and extreme temperatures from 140 degrees down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit, all while delivering the best and highest quality sound no matter the weather.
Best for easy installation
Wired: Yes Mountable: Yes, hardware included Drivers: 5.25-inch Dynamic Balance driver and 1-inch dome tweeter Designed with fewer moving parts, this pair of outdoor speakers features a single-click “speed-lock mounting system” for easy and safe one-handed installation. Beyond that incredible convenience, the speakers’ internals feature a broad soundscape and acoustic design that make them sing with a full-range of sound in large areas. Spec-wise, the speakers each come with a 5.25-inch Dynamic Balance driver and 1-inch dome tweeter to maximize audio and bass across wide, open spaces. Best of all, the speakers’ rugged durability exceeds baseline industrial and military specs, earning them an all-weather certification that makes them pretty much immune to rain, snow, and extreme heat.
Best for audiophiles
Wired: Yes Mountable: Yes, hardware included Drivers: Graphite woofers and titanium dome tweeters If you have a pair of expert ears and want the best audio quality while you’re lounging in your backyard, then this incredible pair of indoor/outdoor speakers is most definitely for you. The speakers deliver crisp and detailed sound with spotless highs and strong lows that will keep any audiophile happy. The set features a UV-resistant ABS casing with an aluminum grille that’s completely durable and rust-proof, ensuring they can take harsh damage from the elements. They’re also designed to consume less power than typical outdoor speakers, so that’s another thing that will put you at ease as you soak up the sun and good vibes on your very well-tuned patio.
Best camouflage option
Wired: Yes Mountable: No Drivers: 6.5-inch woofer and 0.8-inch tweeters While this natural-looking speaker is easily camouflaged in your outdoor space, its quality sound certainly does not stay hidden. And while these camouflage outdoor speakers are not advertised as portable speakers, they’re definitely more mobile than every other option on this list.
Inside its 17-inch-tall faux-stone frame, dual 0.8-inch tweeters and a 6.5-inch woofer provide loud, clear audio with significant bass to keep your barbecues booming. These beefy boulders also weigh in at about 13 pounds, so a big gust of wind won’t blow ’em clear across the yard, and they’re well-sealed to keep out the elements. In your choice of sandstone or granite finish, the outdoor rock speaker boasts a durable UV-resistant enclosure and waterproof wires that are easy to bury or hide so you can enjoy superior sound in a semi-secret style.
Best for bluetooth
Wired: Yes and no Mountable: Yes, hardware included Drivers: 6.5-inch long-throw woofers and 1-inch polymer dome tweeters This pair of 6.5-inch outdoor speakers allows you to connect non-Bluetooth devices to play your music, but why not harness its convenience and wirelessly stream your tunes instead? You get the best of both worlds as it’s wired for electricity so you don’t need to worry about recharging a battery, but you can play your music straight from your mobile device and you don’t need an amplifier to hear it loud and clear. Best of all, its durable, marine-grade weatherproof construction with rust-proof speaker grills ensures these speakers are not only functional in all seasons, but they continue to look good, too.
When evaluating outdoor speakers, we made sure the speakers actually live up to their waterproof rating. In some cases, that might mean a splash of water, but for speakers with a full IP67 waterproof rating, that means fully submerging them in water. In addition, when comparing speakers, we performed a blind sound test to see which speakers offer the fullest sound and deepest bass. Finally, we checked to see how easy these speakers are to connect to and install. That might involve downloading an app or wiring them for power, but we want to ensure the setup process isn’t unnecessarily challenging for beginners.
The following speakers were hands-on tested: The Sonos Move, the Sonos Roam, and the JBL Flip 6. The rest of the speakers on this were chosen based on hours of online research that considered price point, specs, and user reviews.
Ashley Keegan is a freelance contributor to Mashable.
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