• June 20, 2024, 1:09 am

The best outdoor speakers in 2024 SoftAIT

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Update : Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Transforming your outdoor space into an entertainment haven requires the perfect blend of nature and technology. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the world of the best outdoor speakers, ensuring your al fresco moments are accompanied by crystal-clear sound and powerful bass.

How we chose the best outdoor speakers

The only thing predictable about the weather is its unpredictability. But good outdoor speakers should reliably produce a sonic landscape while withstanding the elements. The PopSci team combined our collective experience testing speakers of all sorts with user feedback to create a list anchored in brands with innovative audio engineering and products that fit a range of price points.

The best outdoor speakers: Unleashing Acoustic Excellence

Selecting the Perfect Outdoor Speaker: A Harmony of Sound and Durability Choosing outdoor speakers involves more than just sound quality. Durability, weather resistance, and installation options play pivotal roles. Dive into the realm of acoustic excellence and discover speakers that elevate your outdoor entertainment.

Best overall: Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker

Specs

  • Dimensions: 8.88 inches by 14.44 inches by 9.25 inches
  • Weight: 9.2 pounds
  • Drivers: 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter, 6.5-inch round BDSS bass mid/woofer, 5.5 by 10-inch pressure-driven bass radiator
  • Power range: 10-200 watts
  • Frequency response: 40Hz to 30kHz

Pros

  • Can be oriented horizontally or vertically
  • Comes in black or white
  • Galvanized steel mounting brackets included
  • Can stick to one or add many to the setup
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Higher end of price scale per speaker
  • Relies on receiver/amp to have Bluetooth/WiFi compatibility

Definitive Technology makes some of our favorite indoor tower speakers, but they’re a luxury for the living room. We recommend the Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker to ensure you have great sound during patio party season. Packed into an installation-friendly form and for about $300 each, this passive speaker rocks a 1-inch aluminum dome tweeter and pairs a  6.5-inch Balance Double Surround Sound System mid-woofer with a 10-inch passive bass radiator, resulting in bumping bass whether you’re aiming to be the center of the block party or keep the next great barbecue at a neighbor-respecting volume.

Designed to withstand rain, snow, and heat, the AW6500 is housed in a PolyStone casing and an aluminum mesh grill that can be mounted horizontally or vertically. The included steel mounts allow for 360-degree rotation, so you can fill the space with sound whether you’re working with one or several to fill a vast backyard. According to DT’s user guide, a pair covers about 200 to 400 square feet.

Best speaker disguised as a rock: Klipsch AWR-650-SM Indoor/Outdoor Speaker

Specs

  • Dimensions: 11 inches by 15 inches by 17 inches
  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Drivers: Two 3/4 inch polymer dome tweeter, 6.5 inches dual voice coil polymer woofer
  • Power range: up to 50 watts
  • Frequency response: 60Hz to 20kHz

Pros

  • UV-resistant enclosure
  • Can be mono or stereo
  • Available in granite or sandstone
  • Comes with 3-foot pre-attached speaker cable
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

Speakers come in three very broad groups: eye-catching statement designs, traditional enclosures that don’t bring attention to themselves, and then some designs meant to blend in completely. The Klipsch AWR-650-SM Indoor/Outdoor Speaker looks like a rock that is somehow eye-catching but also could vanish into a rustic setting. Whether the granite colorway suits your mountain vista or the sandstone better complements your desert panorama, the Klipsch AWR-650-SM is the best design to be put on the ground where conventional loudspeakers can’t go. The fiberglass enclosure houses two 3/4-inch tweeters and 6.5-inch subwoofer that can be configured for use as a single dual-channel speaker or a pair of single-channel speakers when connected to your receiver or amp. Each rock will set you back about $330, though they seem oddly addictive. Many users note they purchased one and then went back for more.

Best landscape speakers: Furrion Aurora 4.1 Veranda Series Outdoor Landscape Speaker System

Furrion Aurora 4.1 Veranda Series Outdoor Landscape Speaker System

Specs

  • Dimensions: Speakers without stake 6 inches by 7.5 inches by 8.9 inches; Subwoofer 16 inches by 26.8 inches
  • Weight: Speakers 2.7 pounds; Subwoofer 31 pounds
  • Drivers: 0.75-inch marine-grade PEI with 10-inch dual voice coil long throw
  • Power range: 50 to 150 watts
  • Frequency response: 80Hz to 20kHz

Pros

  • Weatherproof
  • Can cover 3,500 square feet
  • Multiple mounting options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Installation will take considerable work

When your outdoor living takes place primarily off the patio, the Furrion Aurora 4.1 Veranda Series Outdoor Landscape Speaker System might be the investment for you. For about $1,800, the system includes a 10-inch DVC subwoofer and is rounded out by four two-way speakers to help cut through ambient noise and create your own immersive soundtrack. The weatherproof fluorocarbon components can be mounted in the ground with stakes, tucked discreetly in plants, or mounted on trees. The 150-degree pivoting arm allows for plenty of flexibility as you aim to eliminate sound dead spots, no matter how irregularly shaped a yard may be. The system is compatible with most two-channel receivers or amplifiers, but expansions require additional Furrion brand speakers and subwoofers. Two sets—that’s two subwoofers and eight speakers—can cover 3,500 square feet.

This kind of installation may require digging or trenching, so the company recommends checking with the dig agency in your area before picking up a shovel.

Best for live performances: SOUNDBOKS4—Bluetooth Performance Speaker

Black Soundboks 4 outdoors speaker with an orange Fender guitar on a gravel patio

Specs

  • Dimensions: 20.87 inches by 15.55 inches by 29.17 inches
  • Weight: 34 pounds
  • Connectivity: XLR or Bluetooth

Pros

  • Loud
  • 40 hours of battery life (charges in 3.5 hours)
  • Portable if you’ve got the space
  • Customizable EQ and sound modes

Cons

  • Larger and harder to transport
  • Only battery-powered

The Soundboks 4 performance Bluetooth 5.0 speaker isn’t for your apartment, main casual speaker situation, or even something you want to toss in your car for a quick trip camping. You could absolutely use it for all of these scenarios, but it is likely overkill, and certain design aspects could prevent challenges—not to mention your need to have extremely understanding neighbors. That being said, the speaker is perfect for a smaller patio party or tailgating and allows you to add up to five other Soundbok speakers if you’re throwing a full-on rager in your backyard. Able to reach up to 126dB while maintaining audio clarity—just into the uncomfortable/damaging level—you don’t have to worry about people talking getting in the way of your cha-cha slide number.

If you are going into the wood or a setting requiring a speaker that can stand up to the elements, the Soundboks 4 has you covered with silicone ball corners that prevent the powdered aluminum frame, steel honeycomb grill, and an IP65 waterproof rating. The built-in carrying handles also make the 34-pound speaker fairly easy to pick up and place in your car if you did need to transport it.

The companion smartphone app gives you all the typical controls over a connected speaker including multiple sound mounds, the ability to customize the EQ, and connecting multiple other speakers. While we don’t love that the speaker is ONLY battery-operated, you can buy more batteries for extra battery life. But to be fair, you get up to 40 hours out of each charge, and we can’t imagine most people needing more than that. If you do, you’re probably on a longer trip and have portable power stations or another type of generator to re-up the battery.

One other standout feature is the speaker’s microphone and instrument input. Perfect for streaming your favorite Spotify artists, you’ll also have a chance to plug in an electric guitar, DJ controller, or vocal mic to host a show or perform. All in all, this is a solid multi-purpose speaker that can be used for anything, but its size might get in the way of some use cases.

Best portable outdoor speaker: Ultimate Ears EPICBOOM Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

White and red UE EPICBOOM outdoors speaker floating in a blue fountain

Specs

  • Dimensions: 6.38 inches by 4.7 inches by 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 4.36 pounds
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Bluetooth range: 180 feet

Pros

  • Portable
  • Can be wirelessly linked with other UE speakers
  • Waterproof, IP67 rating
  • Onboard controls
  • NFC pairing for Android 8.0 and later

Cons

  • No WiFi
  • No voice assistant
  • No microphone
  • No aux port for other sources

The wired life isn’t for everyone, which is why Bluetooth speakers are so popular. For the very digital, the Ultimate Ears EPICBOOM offers 360 degrees of big, bassy sound in a durable but attractive package for about $300. In either charcoal or cotton white, the EPICBOOM is a shockproof, dustproof, waterproof device that can be immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Forget poolside; the EPICBOOM can be in the pool. (Its little sibling, the Wonderboom, is also one of our picks for a swim or a soak, as it’s one of the best shower speakers.)

The EPICBOOM needs to be paired with a phone to stream music, but it excels at this. The speaker itself features buttons for fast play, pause, skip, and volume changes, so wet or dirty hands don’t have to handle a comparatively delicate smartphone to change the vibe. The BOOM app adds additional controls, like customizable EQ and connecting several UE BOOM devices together to create a dispersed sound system on the fly.

While some Bluetooth speakers can serve as an access point for voice assistants or pull double-duty as a phone speaker, the EPICBOOM focuses on music and playing music only. However, the EPICBOOM’s battery life is a decent 17 hours, so it will likely last longer than your favorite playlist. Still, anyone aiming to party all night and every day will need to keep a USB-C charger handy (and maybe some comfy patio furniture and some of the best deck lights).

If it’s a smart speaker you’re after, the Sonos Move 2 costs $150 more but adds more connectivity alongside durability (and if you really love the multiroom Sonos ecosystem and are tired of moving things around, the best splurge is to install Sonos by Sonance Architectural speakers, which are $900 a pair).

Best budget: Pyle 3-way Mini Box Speaker System

Pyle 3-way Mini Box Speaker System - best outdoor speakers

Specs

  • Dimensions: 3.75 inches by 5.25 inches by 3 inches
  • Weight: 2.63 pounds
  • Drivers: 1-inch superior dome tweeter, 3.5-inch aluminum injection cone with 1.75-inch-wide dispersion cone midrange with bass reflex vent
  • Power range: up to 200 watts
  • Frequency response: 70Hz to 21kHz

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick connect/disconnect terminals
  • Waterproof; IP-44 rating
  • Corrosion and stain-resistant mesh grills

Cons

  • May want to upgrade the included speaker wire
  • Relies on receiver/amp to have Bluetooth/WiFi compatibility

File the Pyle 3-way Mini Box Speaker System under “good things in small packages.” For about $30, this pair of small speakers features are marine-grade, so they can be mounted outdoors on the patio, near a pool, or on a boat without worrying about splishes or splashes. The speaker system is waterproof with stain and corrosion-resistant mesh fronts. These little guys come with removable mounting and can be attached horizontally or vertically. They’ll deliver good sound for the price, but people who want to flood a large yard with tunes may want to look elsewhere. However, this could be a pro depending on whether your neighbors like to lodge complaints. A few users also suggest ditching the included but thin speaker wire for an upgraded one.

Want the best value on something really whimsical? You can hang a 2-pack of the pohopa 20W lantern-shaped waterproof Bluetooth speakers with built-in LED color lights for less than $175.

What to consider when buying outdoor speakers

We love making the great outdoors greater by adding music. As you shop for outdoor speakers, start by thinking about the size and shape of the space you want to fill, what elements the speakers will operate in, and your price point.

Weather resistance

If you’ve ever mistaken water-resistant hiking boots for waterproof ones, you’ll understand the difference between weatherproof and waterproof. Water-resistant boots are good for the occasional puddle or light rain, but crossing a stream will quickly lead to soaked feet. Weatherproof and waterproof speakers are similar. All of the selections in our list have weatherproofing—resistance to elements and more durable, sealed housing—but truly waterproof speakers come with an IP rating. Generally, manufacturers recommend finding spots to mount outdoor speakers that have some protection from the elements, like under an awning or a covered patio. For more extreme climates, like beaches and deserts, look for additional information about how speakers deal with salt air and sand. So, can you leave outdoor speakers in the rain? Many of them, yes. But look at those ratings to be sure.

Installation options

Do outdoor speakers require amplification? It depends. Portable outdoor Bluetooth speakers are best for setting up a sound system without installing amps or anything else. However, more permanent options will require patience and expertise running speaker wires between the outdoor speakers and the indoor A/V components (and sometimes drilling a hole through a wall). The upside is higher sound quality and a wider source selection.

The size and layout of the outdoor space will also dictate some system features. Many systems include wall mounts that allow for adjustable angles, though a space with no walls may need speakers that can go on the ground or on stakes. Little spaces, like a condo patio, don’t need as many watts as trying to turn a large yard into the daytime version of your favorite club.

FAQs

Are outdoor speakers suitable for all climates?

Yes, many outdoor speakers are designed to withstand various climates. Look for models with weather-resistant features such as sealed enclosures and rust-proof materials for optimal durability.

Can outdoor speakers be connected to smart home systems?

Absolutely. Numerous outdoor speakers are compatible with smart home systems, allowing you to integrate them seamlessly into your home automation setup for enhanced control and convenience.

How do I protect my outdoor speakers during the winter months?

Consider covering your outdoor speakers with weatherproof covers during the winter to shield them from harsh conditions. Additionally, detach and store portable speakers indoors to prolong their life.

Can I install outdoor speakers myself, or should I hire a professional?

Installation difficulty varies, but many outdoor speakers come with user-friendly manuals for DIY installation. However, for complex setups or in-wall installations, consulting a professional is advisable.

Are portable outdoor speakers waterproof?

Many portable outdoor speakers come with water-resistant or waterproof features, making them suitable for poolside use or unexpected rain showers. Check the product specifications for detailed information.

How can I extend the lifespan of my outdoor speakers?

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning the speakers and inspecting connections, contributes to a longer lifespan. Additionally, storing portable speakers indoors when not in use protects them from extreme weather conditions.

Conclusion

Elevate your outdoor entertainment experience with the best outdoor speakers. From weather-resistant designs to wireless connectivity, finding the perfect blend of sound quality and durability ensures your outdoor space becomes a haven for music enthusiasts.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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