Best Outdoor Speakers

Last updated: November 01, 2019
BEST PREMIUM PICK
Great Sound and Easy to Mount
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BEST BUDGET CHOICE
Bluetooth, Waterproof with 24-Hour Playback
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BEST SOUND PICK
Amazing Sound and Extremely Durable
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BEST WOOFER + SPEAKER
Superior Woofer and Build Quality
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Your guide

Buying and installing outdoor speakers is not a task to take lightly.  The speakers need to have the best sound, disperse audio correctly and be weatherproof.  If you want speakers that last for years, you need to research which are the best.

The Best Outdoor Speakers to Party To

Your patio is all set up for a party. 🎉

You have the barbeque ready, drinks are cooled and your guests should be arriving any minute.  All you need is a bit of music to get the party started. You take out your phone, pull up your party playlist and realize your phone has really bad sound.  

It’s not very loud, you barely get any bass and your battery is rapidly draining.  ❌🔋❌

You’re gonna need some outdoor speakers to get the party going.  Having a great garden and outdoor space requires great sound to make the most of it.  Moving your indoor speakers can work in a pinch, but you will not get the sound coverage you need.  

If you have an indoor speaker system, the criteria for choosing them is different from outdoor speakers.   Outdoor speakers need to withstand the elements, project sound across your garden and match your aesthetic needs.  Your speakers should also to match your budget and sound needs.  

You now head online or to your local electronics store and become overwhelmed.  There are so many outdoor speakers on the market that you can easily become confused.  

Which ones do you get?  Are certain brands better than others?  What exactly are you meant to look for? Is more expensive better?  What connections should you be looking for?

We have done all the research for you and found the top 4 outdoor speakers.  Our list covers budget-friendly speakers, premium speakers, and those with the best woofers on the market.  By the end of the list, you should have a better idea of which outdoor speakers you should be getting. 

1. Premium Pick - Polk Audio Atrium 6

Specifications:

  • Dimensions → 8.8 x 7.8 x 11.8 inches
  • Weight → 5.4 pounds each
  • Nominal impedance → 8 ohms
  • Weatherproofing → All-weather certification

Key Features:

  • Stainless steel hardware
  • 180° Speed-lock mounting system
  • Water-resistant PowerPort bass venting
  • Broad coverage baffle design

Polk Audio Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers Review

The Polk Audio Atrium 6 speakers are the all-round package.  Part of the Atrium series, they offer the best output so far.  With a price tag lower than the Bose 251, you get lifelike sound and extreme durability. 

The design of the Atrium 6 has sound and durability in mind.  The speakers are not large at 8.8 x 7.8 x 11.8 inches and weigh 5.4 pounds each.  This should not put you off because the internal components make up for this.  

Using Dynamic Balance

Each speaker has a 5.5-inch Dynamic Balance driver.  The cone of the driver is polypropylene and mineral-filled with a butyl rubber surround.  This combines to produce a bass that defies the speaker’s size. The patented PowerPort bass venting system also extends the low frequencies while minimizing distortion. 

The 1-inch Dynamic Balance tweeter provides a smooth response across frequencies.  While the driver takes care of the bass, mid and high-frequencies are boosted by the steeply angled baffle design.  The design maximizes the frequencies while dispersing the sound across a wide area.  

The Atrium 6 speakers arguably offer the best sound for large open spaces.  However, you need to loosen the coils a bit by breaking the speakers in. A recommended break-in of 4 to 6 hours will ensure you have the best sound possible. 

The power handling of 100W is impressive for the price and size of the speaker. While the speakers do state a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, it is more likely to hit 6 ohms.  As with other outdoor speakers, they should be paired with a good amplifier, but there are no limitations on which you can use. 

All-Weather Certification

While the sound may have attracted your attention, the durability and installation will seal the deal.  The external hardware is all aluminum with stainless steel to prevent rusting.  This is combined with an all-weather certification with military specs.  

A pair of Atrium 6 speakers can withstand extreme temperatures, salt fog, and heavy rain without being damaged.  This weatherproofing is backed up by a 2-year warranty from Polk.  This can be extended depending on the retailer you buy the speakers from.

Installing the speakers is easily done by one person as the mounting brackets are designed for this.  The brackets also make is easier to handle the speakers on a ladder. The speed-lock mounting system adds to the ease of installation with fewer parts.

The only issue you face with installation is the restriction of straight banana plugs.  The molded cabinet does not have enough space for these plugs. If the input angle was changed to allow banana plugs, the installation would be perfect and easy.

If you are looking for the whole package, the Polk Atrium 6 outdoor speakers are the best choice.  You will get premium speakers for a less than premium price tag. The speakers offer lifelike sound across large areas and are extremely weather-resistant.  

Pros
  • Lifelike sound quality
  • All-weather certification
  • Smooth frequency response
Cons
  • Shorter warranty

2. Best Budget - AY Portable Wireless

Specifications:

  • Dimensions → 7 x 3 x 3 inches
  • Bluetooth → Version 4.2 with a 33-foot distance
  • Waterproof level → IPX7
  • Max decibels → 80dB

Key Features:

  • Deep bass with TWS faction
  • 24-hour audio playtime
  • IPX7 outdoor proofing
  • Ultra-portable

AY Portable Wireless Bluetooth 4.2 Speakers Review

 Blasting music while enjoying your garden does not have to cost a lot.  You do not have to install outdoor speakers or pay more than $50. A portable speaker like the AY Portable Wireless Bluetooth 4.2 speaker is a great budget-friendly option.  

The design of the speaker may not blow you away.  The design is a more triangular pill which makes the speaker more stable when standing.  The controls are situated on one side allowing you to stand the speaker horizontally and vertically. 

When you pick up this little speaker, the first thing you notice is the weight.  At 1.8 pounds it feels more substantial in the hand than other portable speakers.  The weight provides a good base without being unwieldy. While the aesthetics do not have a wow-factor, the sound does.

Stereo Surround Sound

This little speaker has dual drivers capable of producing stereo sound.  The mid and high frequencies are clear without any distortion.  This is true regardless of the volume because the speaker has a Digital Signal Processor.  

While the upper frequencies are hit well, the bass is just as impressive.  AY has placed their bespoke BassUp technology in the speaker.  It is paired with a patented spiral bass port taking the low frequencies to a new depth.  While the technology amplifies the bass, there can be distortion at high volumes.  However, given the size and price of the speaker, the bass is more than enough. 

The technology in this portable speaker also offers a true wireless stereo function.  There is a TWS function allowing you to pair two speakers together.  The left-right channels provide a 360° surround sound for an embracing sound around the patio or garden.

Rechargeable battery for long playtime

Knowing the sound quality is important, but you need to consider how long you get this.  The speaker is powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. That is not the most important fact, it is the 24-hour playtime on offer.  

This is the maximum playtime and is achieved with the volume at 50%.  The louder you play your music, the shorter the battery life will be. If your speaker is dying, you will need to wait 4 hours for it to recharge fully.  

If you are worried about the effects of the environment on this speaker, you can stop now.  The speaker has IPX7-rated outdoor proofing.  This means it is protected against rain, snow, and dust making it ideal for any outdoor area.  

While you are outside, the stable Bluetooth connection will keep your music going uninterrupted.  The Bluetooth connection provides instant pairing and the connection stays strong up to 33 feet. There is also a built-in microphone that lets you handle calls while chilling on your patio.  

Bluetooth 4.2 connects the speaker to tablets, phones, and computers.  This connection is not the only one on offer as you can wire connect the speaker as well.  It comes with an integrated 3.5mm audio cable for this. 

Getting great outdoor sound does not have to cost a lot or require the installation of speakers.  The AY portable Bluetooth 4.2 speaker is the best option if you want something easier to handle. The speaker can also be taken anywhere you want from your garden to the beach to the pool.  

Pros
  • 24-hour playtime
  • IPX7-rated outdoor proofing
  • Deep bass
Cons
  • Sound distortion at high volumes

3. Best Sound - Bose 251

Specifications:

  • Dimensions → 15.8 x 12 x 16.9 inches
  • Weight → 8 pounds each
  • Nominal impedance → 6 ohms
  • Peak power → 200W

Key Features:

  • Bose Twiddler
  • Compatible with Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Mounting hardware included

Bose 251 Review

When it comes to audio equipment, Bose is a name you cannot get away from and one you shouldn’t want to.  Bose offers a fantastic range of speakers and headphones that offer unparalleled sound quality. Their outdoor speakers are no exception and the Bose 251 outdoor speakers deliver everything you could want for a reasonable price. 

Taking a quick look at the speakers, you could mistake them for the Bose 151.  They have the same modern look with some subtle differences. These speakers are a bit on the bulky side at 15.8 x 12 x 16.9 inches and weigh 8 pounds each.  This should not be a problem as they are meant to stay in one place. 

The speakers are designed for wall mounting and come with a bracket.  While the speakers seem a bit big, they have been designed for one-person installation.  The only issue with mounting is the limitation of vertical positioning.  However, it is not the exterior design and mounting you need to focus on.  

Bespoke Bose Technology

Inside the black or white casing is a 5 ½-inch low-frequency driver which is combined with two 1 1/2-inch Twiddlers.  The Bose Twiddler is a bespoke high and mid driver which is only found in the latest Bose speakers. 

The Twiddlers are part of the Articulated Array housed in the speakers.  This array is what gives the speakers the outdoor sound projection that makes them one of the best.  The dispersal of sound will cover your entire garden without any sound loss.  

The sound itself is what you expect from Bose.  The bass delivery is impeccable with a deep low-end response you would expect from much larger speakers.  The upper-mid and high-frequencies do not suffer as the drivers do an amazing job on them.  

Song vocals are never overpowered and are crystal clear.  Turning up the volume does not distort the sound at all. The 251 performs consistently for as long as you use them. 

While the technology provides great sound, the distance between the speakers is important,  Bose recommends installing the speakers at least 7 feet from each other. This offers the best dispersal of audio and sound making the speakers really shine.

Superior Power Handling

These speakers surprise when you see that they have power handling of up to 100W at 6 ohms.  This is something that you generally find with more expensive speakers only.  While this is good, if you want to get the most from these speakers, you should pair them with a good amplifier.

The 251 were designed to live outside, but you should not stick them in the middle of your garden.  They are resistant to rain, snow, and fog, but they should still be installed under the eaves. The operating temperatures cover most of the continental US at -22°F to 140°F.  

The durability of the speakers is backed up by the Bose warranty.  This is a 5-year warranty when purchased from an authorized retailer.  

If you are looking for the best sound on the market wrapped up in an overall attractive package, the Bose 251 outdoor speakers are for you.  The bespoke Twiddlers and array provide clear and evenly dispersed sound without breaking your bank account. You also get the benefits from a big name in the audio business.

Pros
  • Clear sound at all volumes
  • Powerful for the price

 

Cons
  • Bulky
  • Limited to vertical positioning

4. Best Woofer + Speaker - Klipsch AW-650

Specifications:

  • Dimensions → 15 x 9.5 x 11 inches
  • Weight → 9 pounds each
  • Nominal impedance → 8 ohms
  • Peak power handling → 340W

Key Features:

  • Paintable UV-resistant ABS enclosure
  • High power handling
  • Super-sized IMG woofer
  • Tractrix horn and titanium dome tweeter

Klipsch AW-650 Speakers Review

Being a veteran of the sound industry, any Klipsch speakers have a lot to live up to.  The AW-650 does not let the brand down. If you are looking for outdoor speakers that last and will be the life and soul of your party, look no further. 

The Paintable Speaker

The one place these speakers let Klipsch down is the design.  The overall aesthetic is not as sleek or modern as other speakers on the market.  Klipsch has tried to overcome this with the materials being used.  

The cabinet is made from UV resistant ABS and the grill is rustproof aluminum.  The enclosure is also paintable so you can make it fit with the rest of your outdoor area.  While this can be a good feature, the design has made the speakers heavy at 9 pounds each. The speakers are also among the larger on the market at 15 x 9.5 x 11 inches.

All About The Bass

Looking past the somewhat boring exterior, the components and sound quality are what sets the AW-650 apart.  The tweeter and horn provide wide frequency response. The horn is a 90-degree by 90-degree Tractrix horn which is connected to a 1-inch tweeter.  This provides clear and crisp high frequencies.  

While the woofer is an Injection Molded Graphite woofer, the size is what matters.  This type of woofer is found in most high-end shelf speakers and reduces sound distortion.  The AW-650 has a 6.5-inch woofer. 

This woofer has a maximum power delivery of 340W making it one of the most powerful on the market.  The bass range on offer is deep and will surround your entire garden area.  The difference between this speaker and others with the woofer is the natural sound of the bass. 

With other speakers, improved bass can sound unnatural or be overpowering.  The IMG woofer and the design of the speaker project the bass audio while keeping it balanced with the higher frequencies.  The depth of the bass and power for the woofer eliminate any need for a subwoofer.

Looking past the frequencies and only focusing on volume, the AW-650 cannot be passed in its price range.  The 340W peak power handling is a sign of how loud these speakers can get. This does bring a downside.

The loudness of the speakers can make them unsuitable for smaller patio areas.  Keeping the volume low is a good option, but getting the most out of these speakers requires space.  If you are expecting a lot of additional noise such as screaming children, these speakers ensure your music is still heard.  

The sound quality is made better by the durability of the speakers.  The enclosure is resistant to UV light and was built to handle all weather.  While it does not have the all-weather certificate of the Polk Atrium 6, it does hold up in durability tests. 

All of the non-ABS components are corrosive-resistant aluminum.  The mounting bracket is made from heavy gauge zinc. The durability of the speaker is backed up by a 5-year warranty.  In the past, Klipsch offered a lifetime warranty, but 5-years is still on the higher end of the scale.  

When it comes to installation, the AW-650 are easy to install and it can be done by a single person.  The C-style mounting bracket allows you to place the speakers anywhere.   There are no restrictions as the speakers can be placed vertically or horizontally.

The size and weight of the speaker may seem daunting when installing but the bracket has been designed to make it easy.  Once the brackets are in place, the speakers can be slipped in and tightened. After the speaker is in place, you can adjust the angle to get the best sound. 

If you want speakers that offer the bass you get with a subwoofer, the Klipsch AW-650 is the solution.  While they are not the most aesthetically pleasing, they are durable and offer deep bass. The tweeter and horn ensure the upper frequencies can match the lower tones.  

Pros
  • IMG woofer drastically increasing bass range
  • Tractrix horn and titanium dome tweeter for clear upper notes
  • UV-resistant enclosure
Cons
  • Heavy at 9 pounds per speaker
  • Unexciting aesthetics

Frequently Asked Questions: Outdoor Speakers

What is a good wattage for outdoor speakers?

The ideal wattage will vary depending on what you want from the speaker. Wattage or amplifier power defines how loud your speaker can play before the sound becomes distorted. If you are looking for a window shaking loudness with outdoor speakers, go for a higher wattage.

The needs of most people are met with 50 watts. Outdoor speakers do need higher wattage to project the sound throughout the outdoor area. More than 50 watts is recommended for these speakers and 100 watts will meet all your needs. Anything greater than this will be considered overkill and only needed for very large areas.

Do I need a subwoofer for outdoor speakers?

A subwoofer is needed if you want outdoor speakers that meet audiophile standards. Subwoofers produce low frequencies for bass-heavy music and movies. To get audiophile levels, you need a speaker driver of 8 inches at least. This is based purely on the physics of sound production.

Most outdoor speakers will not have this, but some models are close such as the Klipsch AW-650. It is generally recommended that you try your outdoor speakers on their own before you look at a subwoofer. This is due to the cost of subwoofers and the limited range on the market. You do not have to get a subwoofer if you purchase a good pair of outdoor speakers.

Do outdoor speakers need an amp?

You will need an amp if you have passive speakers. Most of the outdoor speakers on the market are passive instead of active. Active speakers have amps built into them and are more common among indoor speakers.

If you have passive speakers, an amp is a requirement. The amp will generate the power for the components in the speaker and should match the power handling of the speaker. Too little or too much power can damage your outdoor speakers. Some speakers have specific amps you should use while others state general guidelines to help you choose the best ones.

What are the best outdoor speakers for the garden?

If you do not have a patio or do not want to mount your outdoor speakers, portable or garden speakers are best. Portable speakers can be moved to where you are in the garden as long as you are within the Bluetooth connection range. If you want outdoor speakers that blend into the garden, you should look for camouflage ones.

Camouflage speakers have enclosures designed to look like rocks. Some of them will have powerful woofers for stereo clarity and carry sound throughout the garden. There are other garden speakers that are in-ground. These are the ultimate in blending in, but never offer wireless connections.

Are all outdoor speakers weatherproof?

All good outdoor speakers will be weatherproof. The level of weatherproofing will vary depending on the speaker and manufacturer. Some speakers have military specifications in terms of weatherproofing while others are weather-resistant.

You will need to check the exact weatherproofing of the speaker you want. If you have certain weather conditions such as salt fog, you need to check the speakers are resistant to this. The cost of the speaker does not always equate weatherproofing as budget-friendly options can be more waterproof than more expensive outdoor speakers.

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