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Best Outdoor Speakers

Updated July 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 116 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best outdoor speakers

    Last Updated July 2018

    Whether you want to play some lively tunes at your next barbecue or relax on your patio with a glass of wine and some soothing music, having the right sound system for your backyard is key. If you don’t have a good set of outdoor speakers, you’ll never get the sound quality that you crave.

    But choosing outdoor speakers can be tricky. You have to decide on the right type, wired or wireless, mono or stereo audio, and all the other features that will help make your outdoor listening experience as enjoyable as possible. And with so many different outdoor speakers on the market, finding the right ones can seem impossible.

    Ready to install some outdoor speakers in your yard? Our top recommendations are included here. If you’re just looking for general tips on shopping for outdoor speakers, you’ll find plenty of advice in our shopping guide.

    Outdoor speakers are designed to provide audio that can still be heard over neighborhood noise, such as cars, landscapers, barking dogs, and birds.

    why buy outdoor speakers?

    Perhaps you’re thinking about buying regular speakers and using them outside. There are several reasons why speakers built for the outdoors are a much better idea.

    • Durability: As their name implies, outdoor speakers are designed to stand up to the elements. Most models aren’t completely weatherproof, but they usually do well in both cold and hot weather and can withstand some light rain.

    • Improved Sound: Because they’re designed for outside use, outdoor speakers allow you to hear your audio even when the wind is blowing or there are ambient noises from the street.

    • Attractive Design: Outdoor speakers are designed with your landscape in mind, meaning the speakers blend in and won’t detract from your flowers or shrubbery the way indoor speakers would.

    • Versatility and Compatibility: Most outdoor speakers can work with a variety of devices that have audio, so you can connect them to your stereo system to listen to music or use them in conjunction with an outdoor television. Some models are even compatible with projectors.

    Types of outdoor speakers

    Portable speakers

    The most common – and easiest to set up – outdoor speakers are portable. They are wireless, using Bluetooth or WiFi to connect to your devices. Portable outdoor speakers feature  rechargeable internal batteries, so you can easily move them around your yard, patio, or deck.

    Portable outdoor speakers vary in size from models small enough to hold in your hand to the size of traditional indoor speakers. Because most are easy to move around, you can also use portable outdoor speakers at the beach, park, or when camping.

    Portable outdoor speakers can work very well in a small yard or patio. You can easily move them around to get the best sound quality based on where you’re sitting.

    Garden speakers

    Garden speakers are larger outdoor speakers that sit on the ground, whether on the grass, deck, or stone patio. Some styles are designed to look like rocks so they blend in seamlessly with the landscape.

    Garden speakers are wired – you must connect the wires from the speakers to the connections on your audio device, so these aren’t as easy to move around your yard as portable outdoor speakers.

    Mounted outdoor speakers typically sound best when they’re mounted no more than 10 feet above your patio, deck, or other listening area.

    Mounted speakers

    Mounted outdoor speakers are equipped with mounting brackets that allow you to mount them to the side of your house, garage, or other structure. As a result, they’re permanently set in place and must be wired into your audio device like garden speakers.

    Mounted outdoor speakers are often adjustable, so you can angle the individual speakers to face different areas of your yard. Mounted speakers are usually the most expensive.

    EXPERT TIP

    Some mounted outdoor speakers are paintable, so you can paint them to blend in with the exterior of your home.


    Outdoor speaker features to consider

    Wired vs. wireless

    Choosing between wireless outdoor speakers and those that are wired to your stereo or other receiving device is a matter of personal preference.

    Wired

    Pros:

    • Outstanding sound quality


    Cons:

    • Must be connected to audio device

    • Not as easily moved
       

    Wireless

    Pros:

    • Completely portable

    • Repositionable based on your needs
       

    Cons:

    • Can experience connection issues

    • Sound quality can vary

    Wired outdoor speakers must be connected to a transmitter or amplifier that sends a signal to play the audio. The cables can either be buried in the ground or wired through the walls.

    wifi vs. bluetooth

    If you’re interested in wireless outdoor speakers, you have a choice of WiFi or Bluetooth models.

    WiFi

    These speakers connect to your home’s network, so they must be fairly close to your router. That means the signal is usually stronger and more stable than that of Bluetooth-connected models.

    • Longer range (100 to 150 feet on average)

    • Ability to connect to more than one outdoor speaker

    • Amount of traffic on your home network can affect sound quality. If your kids are streaming videos and shopping online at the same time, your speakers may not perform as well.
       

    Bluetooth

    These speakers use Bluetooth technology to stream music and other audio directly from a specific device, such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

    • Compatible with a variety of devices, including Apple and Android

    • Typically less expensive than WiFi speakers

    • Streams audio to only one speaker at a time

    • Shorter range (about 30 feet)
       

    Bluetooth and WiFi

    Some outdoor wireless speakers offer both Bluetooth and WiFi connections, giving you the best of both worlds.

    • You can choose Bluetooth or WiFi depending on your needs. (For example, you can play music from your collection using WiFi and switch to Bluetooth to play a song on a phone or laptop.)

    • These are more expensive than outdoor speakers that use one technology or the other.

    Some wireless WiFi-connected outdoor speakers are able to access streaming music services, which gives you a greater song selection for outdoor parties.

    Mono vs. stereo

    If you’re purchasing wired outdoor speakers, you’ll need to consider whether the sound is mono or stereo. Stereo offers audio output in two different channels, the right and the left. While the signals are similar, some audio is recorded specifically for one or the other, which means, for example, stereo audio won’t sound as good if played through mono speakers.

    Nearly all speakers offer stereo sound, but some offer only mono. For the best results, choose outdoor speakers that offer both mono and stereo.

    Some outdoor speakers are circular to provide 360° of audio.

    Inputs

    Wireless outdoor speakers usually offer auxiliary audio inputs that you can use to connect devices, such as a TV. It’s important to consider what inputs a model offers to make sure that you can use it with your favored device.

    • USB Port: If your wireless outdoor speakers have a USB port, you’ll be able to charge certain devices through your speakers.

    • Optical Digital Audio: This input allows you to connect a Blu-ray, DVD, or CD player to your wireless speakers.

    Connectors and docks

    Many wireless outdoor speakers feature connectors or docks that allow you to connect a specific device to them. In most cases, the docks are designed for Apple products, such as an iPhone or iPod. However, the speakers may also feature a USB connection that allows you to connect other devices directly to the speakers.

    Before buying, pay close attention to the product specifications to make sure that your device’s generation is compatible with the speakers. In some cases, you might need a special connector to attach older devices.

    Many Bluetooth-connected outdoor speakers have a hands-free call feature, which allows you to take calls from your smartphone through the speaker.

    Adjustability

    Many outdoor speakers are adjustable, so you can turn, swivel, or otherwise direct the sound to a specific area of your yard. Mounted models usually offer this feature, and some garden speakers do as well.  

    Portable wireless speakers typically don’t offer this type of maneuverability because you can easily turn the entire unit to direct the sound wherever you want.

    Remote control

    For greater convenience, some outdoor speakers are equipped with a remote control that allows you to adjust the volume or other features from a distance. Some remotes even have voice-recognition capabilities. Rather than press a button, you can simply tell the speakers to turn the volume up or down.

    Outdoor speaker prices

    Prices for outdoor speakers vary depending on whether you choose wired or wireless, Bluetooth or WiFi, a single speaker or a set, and higher or lower sound quality. In most cases, outdoor speakers range in price from $20 to $800.

    • Budget Friendly: A single wireless outdoor speaker that uses Bluetooth technology usually costs from $20 to $80. A single wireless outdoor speaker that uses WiFi technology usually costs from $40 to $100. A single wired outdoor speaker that offers lower sound quality usually costs from $50 to $100.

    • Mid-Range: A single wireless outdoor speaker that uses both Bluetooth and WiFi technology usually costs from $100 to $180. A pair of wired outdoor speakers that offer lower sound quality usually costs from $100 to $170. A single wired outdoor speaker that offers high sound quality usually costs from $125 to $250.

    • Expensive: A pair of wired outdoor speakers that offer high sound quality usually costs from $250 to $450. A set of three or more wired outdoor speakers that offer high sound quality usually costs from $450 to $800.

    Some outdoor speakers can be mounted in the ceiling, which is a good option for covered decks or patios.

    FAQ

    Q. Can outdoor speakers stand up to rain, snow, and extreme temperatures?
    A.
    Outdoor speakers that are meant to be permanently installed, such as mounted or garden styles, are typically designed to withstand the elements, including rain, snow, and hot summer temperatures. They’re constructed with weatherproof materials that won’t absorb water, so you also don’t have to worry about them cracking in colder temperatures. However, it’s still a good idea to install or position the speakers in areas where they’re covered by eaves or other structures for further protection.

    Smaller, wireless outdoor speakers usually aren’t fully weatherproof. They can withstand light rain showers, but these shouldn’t be left outdoors all winter.

    Q. Can I set up outdoor speakers myself?
    A.
    Many homeowners do choose to install or set up their outdoor speakers themselves. Wall-mounted styles require you to be a little bit handy, but garden style and wireless models are extremely easy to set up, so you should have no issue even if you’re not particularly skilled at do-it-yourself projects.

    Q. How far apart should I place outdoor speakers if I’m using more than one?
    A.
    If you’re using multiple outdoor speakers in your yard, the proper distance between them usually depends on the size of the speakers. In general, a distance to 10 to 30 feet is sufficient.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer