The Best Outdoor Speakers (Review & Comparison) Of 2020
Autumn is in full flow, and we’re heading towards the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking for the best outdoor speakers 2019 has to offer. Whether you are playing your mixes to a large crowd or a private garden audience, you will need to find a setup that’s ready to go in all weathers.
Why Buy Outdoor Speakers?
Outdoor speakers, naturally, are designed for a bit more rough-and-tumble than your average indoor kit. But why might you use them, and what should you be looking for? We have compiled a list of The Best Outdoor Speakers in 2020.
3 Outdoor Speakers You Must See – Our Winning Picks
The Best Outdoor Speakers and Sound Systems
The Products We Reviewed – Click to go
1. Bose 251 (#1 Top Outdoor Speaker)
Dimensions: 11.4 x 15.2 x 31.5 cm – Weight: 9.16 Kg – Wireless: No – Extremely wide sound field for larger outdoor areas
Bose is a brand most audiophiles will have heard of. The 251 range might be a good choice if you are looking for a lot of bass and durability in design. Customisation before you buy could be a nice touch if you know that you’re going to want very specific features and facilities. As with all good outdoor speakers, they are built to withstand the wet, which could be a big selling point if you’re going to take your decks to any beach parties in the near future.
If you do want to accessorise and upgrade your 251s, you can, as they work well with brand-affiliated amps and extra kit. You shouldn’t always buy on brand alone, but Bose remains a fantastic choice for robustness in design as well as in dependable audio quality. Expect to pay $500 for this investment.
2. Klipsch AWR-65-SM (#1 Best Value Outdoor Speaker)
Dimensions: 27.9 x 38.1 x 43.2 cm – Weight: 5.9 Kg – Wireless: Yes – Durable UV-resistant enclosure
Built for the beach, this visually-striking speaker could be a good buy if you value aesthetics first. However, that’s not to say it’s incapable of standing up to the best outdoor speakers on the market. In fact, if you need guaranteed durability in all weathers, you might benefit from the high-rated water resistance and UV protection.
The AWR-65-SM can be a little on the heavy side, however, if you value weather resistance and a lot of power in your playback, this might be a reasonable trade-off. You can expect to pay a few hundred pounds for these units, so they might be considered a long term investment. However, the fact you’re investing in a speaker built like a sandstone rock could override this.
3. Sonos Move (#1 Premium Pick Outdoor Speaker)
Dimensions: 22.7 x 22.9 x 31 cm – Weight: 3 Kg – Weatherproof and drop-resistant Move
The Sonos Move generally retails for less than £400 depending on where you’re looking, but many people will recognise the brand and consider the price tag worthy of investment. It may seem cumbersome, but if you need a little more bass behind your music or your spoken audio, you’re likely to be in good hands.
The Move may appeal to people who are looking for wireless connectivity and built-in assistance. It connects to available Wi-Fi and can use different audio assistants. This might make setting up your playlists a bit easier, or it might even work well as a high-power garden radio. It appears to be fairly flexible, despite its relatively hefty stature. It’s one of the best outdoor speakers in 2019 to offer innovative design and a ton of power.
4. Sony WH1000XM2
Dimensions: 14.5 x 9.3 x 8.9 inches – Weight: 10 lbs – ALL-WEATHER PROTECTION
Unlike the speakers we’ve considered so far, the DT AW6500 is a bit more of a powerhouse, at least to look at. Offering a professional aesthetic and casing which might appeal to some of the more serious DJs or party hosts out there, the DT line is built with year-round resistance in mind. If bass is something you want to push out rather than hide, you may benefit from the built-in radiator and intuitive design.
The DT AW6500 is likely to appeal to many outdoor party planners thanks to its flexibility. It can rotate on a 360-degree axis, which works great if you want to manipulate your sound at different angles and pivots.
5. Yamaha NS-AW294WH
Dimensions: 7.5 x 8.5 x 12.2 inches – Weight: 4.4 lbs – Water and UV resistant – Two way bass reflex design
Despite the simple aesthetic, outdoor DJs or party hosts might find the weatherproof qualities of this Yamaha line to be a good selling point. For a pair they’re available in either 80 or 100-watt varieties. These speakers might work well both inside and out, and if you want to set them up permanently, you will normally get brackets in the box for ease of mounting.
If aesthetics are important to you, you can choose between black or white standards, neutral colours which should look good on your patio or decking. This line could be considered very versatile for outdoor movies, music and more, and the relatively low price tag might appeal to you if you want to get set up outdoors on a budget.
6. Polk Audio Atrium 4
Dimensions: 19 x 16 x 24.1 cm – Weight: 1.63 Kg – All weather certified
These wired outdoor speakers should appeal to users looking for a sleeker aesthetic from their systems than most. Polk Audio Atrium 4 speakers could also be a worthy purchase if money is tight. Its interior baffle design might be worth investing in if you need your soundscapes to travel far and wide. Polk Audio also asserts that their system is ‘all-weather certified’, which means if you are likely to play music down at the beach or in the pouring rain, you can keep going.
The best outdoor speakers allow you to take your audio anywhere you go, and the portability and capabilities of the Atrium 4 could well lend to this. Its loudspeaker will appeal to any DJs who need to cover a large space with a fairly booming soundscape.
7. Bose Free Space 51
Dimensions: 29.2 x 16 x 16.1 inches – Weight: 13.78 lbs – 360 degree pattern and centrally located port
Bose, once again, is a name a lot of people will recognise. Therefore, if you are in the market for a reliable outdoor speaker, the curiously-designed Free Space 51 may well be in your ballpark. This speaker system could work well if you are looking for a wide-reaching soundscape, as it offers up 36-degree sound coverage. Bose also remarks that its unique design is resistant to extremely high temperatures, making it a viable choice for anyone rigging up decks in the height of summer.
These speakers slot neatly into the ground, meaning that if you do want to look for speakers which won’t stand out a mile in your garden or yard, these should be premier choices for you. If you’re likely to give it a bit of rough and tumble, you might find its pressure resistance of 350lbs impressive, too.
8. Dual Electronics LU43-PB
Dimensions: 5.3 x 5.3 x 8.3 inches – Weight: 5.4 lbs – Weather Resistant Design
Outdoor speakers can be a serious investment, but if you are serious about saving money, you might find Dual Electronics’ range to be a worthy contender. Generally retailing at $120 or less, these speakers offer what the brand calls ‘three-way’ play. For anyone keen to take their speakers inside and out, this means you should find the system and setup fairly flexible. The speakers in this set resist UV light, which means they shouldn’t falter even in the hottest heat.
An internal polypropylene cone will likely help to make your sound travel further than ever before, which is well worth knowing if you’ve struggled to find speakers that won’t do the job elsewhere. The fact that these waterproof speakers sell in pairs should also appeal to the average buyer.
9. Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Dimensions: 3.7 x 3.7 x 4 inches – Weight: 15 ounces – Bluetooth: Yes – Battery Life: Up to 13 hrs
This seemingly straightforward piece of outdoor sound kit is one of the most affordable speakers of its kind, retailing at less than £100. It may appeal to casual music fans and those who simply need a reliable audio system to relay radio and playlists while chilling out in the garden. However, its high-grade waterproofing and competitive sound level capacity could well inspire budding DJs.
It’s colourful and portable, making it a potential asset for beach trips and pool parties. You’ll get 13 hours of battery life per charge here, which may well be enough to cover you while you unwind. It’s also completely wireless, making it compatible and flexible with various audio products and systems you wish to pair up. What some users might enjoy is the fact that you can easily pair up two Wonderbooms of the same type for a dual soundscape.
10. JBL Xtreme 2
Dimensions: 7.9 x 12.1 x 18.1 inches – Weight: 2.2 lbs – Wireless Bluetooth streaming – 15 hours of playtime
Built for poolside parties and DJ sets at the beach, the JBL Xtreme 2 might appeal to you if you’re looking for an old-school boombox of sorts. If you like to customise the look of your audio kit, you’ll be able to choose from one of five different colours and designs. It is also built for a party lifestyle, as it has a bottle opener and a strap built-in.
If you have multiple devices that you need to connect via Bluetooth, you may find the dual connectivity option on this speaker to be fairly interesting. With 15-hour battery life and noise-cancellation supported as standard, the Xtreme 2 is a choice that may appeal to casual DJs and beachgoers in search of a multi-faceted sound system.
How We Chose The Headphones In Our List
Finding the Best Outdoor Speakers in 2019 means sifting through a lot of tech which flatters to deceive. However, we took into account strong consumer feedback, manufacturing and trailblazing features. Ease of use, naturally, is also a driver in building such a list. We wanted to make sure to list products that ‘wowed’ us from the get-go. Any speakers which failed to deliver on durability, innovative design and quality sound engineering simply didn’t make the cut. These products are either superbly affordable or are fantastic future investments – in most cases, they are both.
Reasons for Using the Best Outdoor Speakers in 2019
- Outdoor speakers are perfect for big outdoor parties and get-togethers
- They’re an asset if you’re DJ’ing to large outdoor crowds
- They’re perfect for outdoor movies and gaming, too
Naturally, the way you use your speakers is up to you. However, there are always going to be a few features and facilities you’ll want to look for to get the best experience.
Factors and Features to Look for in Outdoor Speakers
You are obviously going to be looking for the best sound quality available. However, as outdoor speakers are very specialised to suit their surroundings, you are going to need to look for specific facilities.
The best outdoor speakers should be easy to manoeuvre and set up wherever you may go. Older outdoor speaker systems are cumbersome and unwieldy to move around. Modern outdoor standards, however, are generally much lighter and are portable by design. If moving speakers around means a lot to you, look at lighter weights and carry handles.
You might want to use outdoor speakers in all weathers, so it makes sense to find systems which can withstand the wet. Particularly capable speakers also work great for beach parties. Choose a speaker setup that’s water-resistant up to a fair depth. You may find that there are some systems which go a little further than most. It’s all going to depend on what you intend to use your speakers for.
Connectivity and Compatibility
The days of having to plug everything in through tangled cables and wires are over. Many outdoor speakers take full advantage of Bluetooth, which means it might be easier for you to connect up devices and additional speakers completely wirelessly. This can also fall under portability, to an extent.
Battery Power and Life
Outdoor speakers which are free from cables are going to need a portable source of energy. For this reason, you may want to look for a good, reliable battery which isn’t likely to short halfway through your set. Some outdoor speakers use disposable batteries which can be interchanged. Others, meanwhile, have chargeable battery packs, which might be more convenient for you. Try and look for a solid battery life that offers more than ten hours of play per charge.
Integrated smart assistance isn’t always a given with outdoor speakers, though you may find it useful if you want to go completely hands-free. This could really maximise the portability of your speaker setup. Look around for speakers which have simple voice activation if you want to keep your hands completely free from your playlists. However, you may have to pay more for the privilege.
Aesthetics and Look
The look and feel of your speakers might be just as important to you as the sound quality and functionality. There is no reason why you should have to buy units which are solid cubes of black. Speaker design has come a long way since the 90s, and waterproof, Bluetooth-enabled systems are more likely to be colourful, creative and speak to your personality.
Mounting and Rigging
Not all outdoor speakers are going to be freestanding. In some cases, you can freely mount them to walls temporarily, or you may be able to spike them into the sand at a beach party. Consider your needs. How likely is it that you’re going to want speakers which can be securely fixed? Are you comfortable with freestanding speakers providing they do everything you ask of them?
Ease of Use
No one is ever going to buy outdoor speakers which are difficult to use. However, be shrewd about the features you look for. Can you control your speakers remotely? Can you activate them with your voice? Can you carry them around and link them up at short notice?
Read What Other People Say
This buying guide is only the start. Make sure to read what verified buyers on Amazon and elsewhere have to say about their purchases. What do they use their outdoor speakers for? Does it sound as though you could stand to benefit from the same features and functionality? Tread carefully, and make sure to compare and contrast a variety of opinions. Ultimately, go with your gut, too.
Outdoor speakers offer a lot of versatility and are a brilliant solution for anyone in need of great soundscapes out in the open air. Heading to the beach or setting up an open-air gig? Choose a powerful, innovative option which fits your budget, your aesthetic, and your lifestyle. You can’t always try before you buy, but reading a few guides and reviews, to begin with, is a good start.
Q: What Do Outdoor Speakers Do That Normal Speakers Can’t?
A: Outdoor speakers are perfect for use in all elements. Traditional speaker systems are, by and large, only suitable for indoor use, whereas outdoor units can be weatherproof, and possess the sound design to create broader, wider-reaching soundscapes.
Q: What Are the Best Outdoor Speaker Brands?
A: On the whole, the best brands for outdoor speakers are those who you may already be aware of. Leading names such as Bose, Sonos and Yamaha are good choices. Generally, a solid, well-known name is a mark of quality from the get-go.
Q: Why Might I Need Outdoor Speakers?
A: Outdoor speakers are perfect for parties, for DJ sets and trips to the beach. In this guide, we’ve listed a variety of speakers which are great for all purposes. Some are more powerful than others, but all are innovative and easy to use.
Q: How Much Do Outdoor Speakers Cost?
A: In short, it depends on what you’re looking for. Cheaper speakers retail at £100 or less, though these will generally better suit small parties and gatherings, whereas you will be looking at £500 or more for the best in sound design and those which are most reliable for outdoor use.
Q: Do All Outdoor Speakers Come with Bluetooth?
A: Bluetooth is a common feature in many wireless outdoor speakers, however, it is not always guaranteed. Make sure to compare the speakers we’ve listed above before you put any money down.
Q: Can All Outdoor Speakers Be Fully Submerged?
A: No. Nearly all outdoor speakers are water-resistant by design, but this doesn’t mean they can survive a dip in the pool. You’ll find speakers which are fully waterproof receive gradings such as IP66, which can take on a specific amount of water. Once again, compare and contrast.
Q: Can I Take Outdoor Speakers Anywhere?
A: Not all outdoor speakers are suitable for portable or travel use. Some are designed with handles for ease of transport, though there can be a trade-off for power and sound design in this regard.