The Best Outdoor Speakers for Backyard Entertainment

The right music can set the mood for just about any outdoor activity—a barbecue, a pool party, or even gardening. The best outdoor speakers offer the sound quality you're looking for at the volumes you want, without upsetting the neighbors.

By Tiffany Lewis | Updated May 12, 2021 9:30 AM

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The Best Outdoor Speakers Option

Photo: amazon.com

Take the fun outdoors on a sunny day—enjoy the warm weather while listening to your favorite tunes or podcast. Music sets the mood and can also improve productivity, while podcasts or audiobooks can satisfy a scholarly craving. Barbecue aficionados, gardening lovers, and pool partygoers all benefit from outdoor speakers.

The best outdoor speakers for your backyard entertainment will provide the right amount of audio volume, bass, and treble. They’ll also endure conditions such as rain and changes in temperature. And, they’ll easily integrate with a home audio system or have enough battery life to satisfy your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Dual Electronics LU53PB 3-Way Outdoor Indoor Speakers
  3. UPGRADE PICK: ION Audio Tailgater Plus – 50W Outdoor Speaker
  4. BEST PORTABLE: JBL Boombox 2 – Portable Bluetooth Speaker
  5. BEST BASS: Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker
  6. BEST BLUETOOTH: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Waterproof Speaker
  7. BEST QUALITY SOUND: Polk Audio Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers
  8. BEST DISCREET: Theater Solutions 2R8G Outdoor Granite 8″ Rock
The Best Outdoor Speakers Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Outdoor Speakers

Selecting the best outdoor speakers depends on a variety of factors, including the size of the backyard, where and how they’ll be installed, and the volume and bass desired.

Size

Outdoor speaker sizes vary depending on the application and the size of the backyard. There’s a difference between listening to a podcast on the deck versus blasting tunes for a backyard barbecue. A yard the size of a balcony needs less volume than one big enough for a pickup game of football.

For big backyards, look for a speaker that’ll provide enough bass. Speakers with a large 6.5-inch or an 8-inch cone size will produce more bass. Also important is a speaker with a high-mid and high-frequency response—especially since there are no walls for the bass to bounce off. Look for something with multiple audio drivers; this will generate a good balance between bass, treble, and midrange. Small speakers that can be easily carried in and out of the house have their uses, too.

Durability

Outdoor speakers need to endure harsh weather and potentially dirty conditions. Look for a speaker’s IP rating, which indicates how dustproof and waterproof it is.

  • Dust-resistant versus dustproof: the first number in the IP rating. Anything between 1 and 5 is dust resistant, whereas 6 is dustproof. If a manufacturer uses an X in place of  a 0, they’re confident the speaker can withstand a bit of dust—it’s a tad better than a 0.
  • Water-resistant versus waterproof: the second number in the IP rating. Anything between 1 and 6 is water resistant—from withstanding dripping water to strong water jets. Waterproof is denoted by a 7 or an 8. You can submerge an IPX7 speaker in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes and an IPX8 in 3 meters of water for 30 minutes.

Outdoor speakers are also made tougher than their indoor counterparts with metal grills and rugged plastic enclosures. Rogue volleyballs, harsh winds, and persistent bugs shouldn’t damage them.

Portable vs. Permanent Installation

Permanently installed speakers save listeners the hassle of constantly taking them in and out of the house. They also provide loud and clear sound.

There are passive outdoor stereo speakers that get their power and signal from a home receiver—they need to be connected to the amplifier in the house. For those who aren’t comfortable with this installation, there are outdoor speakers that come with built-in amplifiers. These require a wire between the speakers and a connection to a power supply.

Portable outdoor speakers vary in size, from those that can be carried with one hand to ones that you can barely lift off the ground. Most of these speakers have Bluetooth connectivity and use batteries for power.

Sound Quality and Volume

Listening to music outside is different than listening to music inside. Inside, with four walls and a ceiling, sound waves don’t travel far, and the bass can shake the room. Outside, especially in an open space, the sound can get lost. Add in extra noises, like dogs barking, cars driving by, and the neighbor mowing the lawn, and an outdoor speaker has a lot of competition.

Outdoor speaker positioning plays a significant role in sound quality. Loud volumes are great, but the sound can disappear if the speakers are placed incorrectly. If setting up on a patio, mounting speakers that can rotate helps create a containable area for the acoustics.

In more open spaces, multiple audio drivers in each speaker help produce better-quality sound. A woofer handles bass, or low-range frequencies, while midrange drivers handle midrange frequencies, and tweeters take care of high-frequency treble. The larger the cones of the drivers, the louder the volume.

Some smaller speakers may have passive bass radiators. These rubber-like surfaces vibrate with the output of a powered driver—the air pressure created by the cones or the speaker diaphragm. Passive radiators create that punch of bass that might otherwise be missing without them.

Wireless Range

Bluetooth speakers are limited to 2.4 GHz, and most have a maximum range of about 30 feet, while the minimum range for Wi-Fi speakers starts at around 30 feet. Outdoors, some wireless Wi-Fi speakers can reach ranges of up to 600 feet in ideal conditions, especially if antennas are added.

Another benefit of wireless Wi-Fi is that it can work on 2.4, 3.6, and 5 GHz frequencies. Because more devices use 2.4 GHz, there is a higher chance of interference. Using 5 GHz speakers allows for better overall bandwidth, speed, and range.

Wattage and Battery Life

Outdoor speakers range between 60 and 300 watts. While it is true that more wattage can mean higher volume capacities, it is also the case that there is potential for better sound and coverage at lower volumes.

The amount of wattage you need depends on the size of the area you want to cover:

  • 60 watts for areas smaller than 300 square feet
  • 80 to 100 watts for spaces between 300 and 500 square feet
  • 100 to 175 watts for anything between 600 and 800 square feet
  • 250+ watts for areas over 1,000 square feet

Most yards will do fine with 100-watt speakers. As most speakers come in twos, a pair of 80-watt speakers have a total of 160 watts.

The majority of portable speakers use lithium-ion batteries charged via USB or an AC power adapter. At one time, 7 to 10 hours of battery life was standard. Today, however, you can find batteries that last up to 30 hours. Keep in mind that blasting your speakers at top volume for hours will drain the battery faster. Some outdoor speakers use AA alkaline batteries as a backup to AC power.

Additional Features

Outdoor speakers come in a variety of designs. There are speakers disguised as rocks, lanterns, and planters, among other things. To create a stealth outdoor getaway where the speakers blend into the backyard and no one is the wiser, shoppers can have fun bringing it all together.

For those looking to entertain friends or impress their kids, give them a light show with speakers that come with lighting effects, like a lantern-shaped speaker with lights that look like flames or different colored lights that dance to the music.

Some speakers also come with voice assistance like Google, Alexa, or Siri, which allow users to instruct the speaker to decrease the volume, for example.

Our Top Picks

The following are some of the most popular outdoor speakers for backyard entertainment, measured against the shopping considerations listed above.

Best Overall

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers
Photo: amazon.com

These Atrium 4 outdoor speakers from Polk Audio feature a 4.5-inch woofer for midrange and bass and a 0.75-inch tweeter for treble frequencies. The dual drivers in each speaker offer a balanced sound that’s great for listening to anything from classical music to hip-hop. The curved design helps to disperse the sound evenly, and the 80 watts per channel should cut through annoying background noises.

To install the speakers, users simply need to mount the bracket, click the speaker into place, aim it where desired, and tighten it. Users can install the speakers vertically or horizontally.

The speakers boast all-weather performance with aluminum grills and internal stainless steel and brass parts. That said, it’s still best to install the speakers under some type of shielding, like an awning. The speakers are available in black or white.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Dual Electronics LU53PB 3-Way Outdoor Indoor Speakers
Photo: amazon.com

Getting quality sound from an outdoor speaker project need not break the bank. These reasonably priced outdoor speakers from Dual Electronics boast a three-way component design that ensures a crisp and clear audio experience. Each speaker has a 5.25-inch woofer, a 1.6-inch midrange cone, and a 0.78-inch tweeter that drives different sounds evenly and outputs 60 watts of power.

Each speaker has a UV resin coating and is housed in a plastic enclosure, making them both weather resistant. Users can install the speakers horizontally or vertically under a covered area.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: ION Audio Tailgater Plus - 50W Outdoor Speaker
Photo: amazon.com

Get prepared for any outdoor party with the Tailgater Plus speaker from ION audio. The speaker boasts a woofer, a wide-dispersion tweeter, a 6.5-inch subwoofer for high-quality sound, and a 50-watt amplifier. Users can crank up the bass even more with the “bass booster” button and get the party booming.

These Bluetooth-enabled speakers can connect up to 100 feet away. That’s 67 feet farther than many other Bluetooth speakers. Devices can also connect via a 3.5-millimeter AUX port or near-field communication one-touch pairing for wireless NFC-enabled smartphones. To ensure the music never runs out, users can charge devices on the USB charge port. If listeners tire of their regular playlists, they can switch to the speaker’s AM/FM radio. There’s also a microphone for announcements or karaoke.

The battery lasts upward of 50 hours, and the rugged speaker weighs 11.2 pounds and has a handle for carrying.

Best Portable

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: JBL Boombox 2 - Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Photo: amazon.com

The JBL Boombox 2 comes with an IPX7 rating for waterproof protection up to 3 feet deep. Users can enjoy listening to music by the backyard pool without worry, or they can carry the mobile speaker to the beach. The 13-pound speaker has a distinctive grip handle that adds stylish portability.

For outstanding sound and deep, powerful bass, the speaker features two woofers and two tweeters. Users can enjoy their music all day and all night with the speaker’s 24-hour battery life. The speaker also has Bluetooth for streaming music, a power bank for charging mobile devices, and a 3.5-millimeter AUX port for connecting older devices. Users who own other JBL PartyBoost-enabled devices can link multiple speakers to blast the music even louder. The JBL Boombox 2 is available in black and camo.

Best Bass

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker
Photo: amazon.com

Play some electronic dance music, house music, or even some heavy metal and enjoy that bass booming through the AW6500 speaker from Definitive Technology. The speaker houses a 6.5-inch mid-woofer, a 1-inch tweeter, and a 5.5-inch by 10-inch bass radiator. The oval pressure-drive low-bass radiator delivers quality bass without affecting the treble and midrange frequencies.

The speaker has a steel mounting bracket that allows for 360-degree rotation, so users can install it vertically or horizontally and point it in whichever direction sounds best. The speaker is fully sealed in a rugged PolyStone enclosure, making it both moisture and wear resistant, and it comes in black or white.

Best Bluetooth

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Waterproof Speaker
Photo: amazon.com

Users can pair their Bluetooth devices to the Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 speaker and listen to music all day long beside a pool, at a barbecue, or the beach. The cylindrical design disperses the sound in every direction, and the speaker provides clear and balanced audio with resonating bass that won’t exaggerate or distort the music. The one-touch channel control gives complete and easy control over streaming music. The speaker’s 20-hour battery life lets users stretch the party into the night.

With an IP67 rating, the speaker is both dustproof and waterproof—making it an ideal choice for pool or beach parties. The durable speaker is also drop-proof and can survive falls from a height of 3 feet. The rugged and attractive two-tone fabric cover adds to the durability. The attractive speaker comes in lagoon blue, night black, and sunset red.

Best Quality Sound

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Polk Audio Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers
Photo: amazon.com

These Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers from Polk Audio feature a 5.25-inch woofer for midrange and bass and a 1-inch tweeter for treble frequencies. The speakers pack a punch and produce accurate, high-quality sound. The dual drivers in each speaker offer a balanced sound that’s great for listening to classical or hip-hop music, and more. With an angled design the sound disperses evenly, and the 100 watts per channel should cut through annoying background noises.

Users can install the speakers vertically or horizontally by mounting the bracket, clicking the speaker into place, aiming it where desired, and tightening it.

The speakers boast all-weather performance with aluminum grills and internal stainless steel and brass parts. That said, it’s still best to install the speakers under some type of protection, like an awning. The speakers are available in black or white.

Best Discreet

The Best Outdoor Speakers Option: Theater Solutions 2R8G Outdoor Granite 8" Rock
Photo: amazon.com

Listeners can hide speakers in the landscape with these clever Theater Solutions speakers that are designed to look like large rocks. Each speaker houses an 8-inch angled woofer directed toward the listener when it’s placed at ground level. Users must connect the speakers to an indoor amplifier for power.

The multilayered silicone-sealed cabinets and rust-resistant grills make these speakers weatherproof and durable. Users also need not worry about temperature changes as the speakers are rated for up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

FAQs About Outdoor Speakers

Still need information about outdoor speakers? Check out these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q. How many watts is a good outdoor speaker?

The number of watts users need depends on the size of the area they want to cover:

  • 60 watts for areas smaller than 300 square feet.
  • 80 to 100 watts for spaces between 300 and 500 square feet.
  • 100 to 175 watts for anything between 600 and 800 square feet.
  • 250+ watts for areas over 1,000 square feet.

Q. How should outdoor speakers be chosen?

Here are a few things to consider when choosing outdoor speakers:

  • The size of the area needed to cover: deck versus large backyard.
  • What type of audio sounds will be played: podcasts and audiobooks or booming house music?
  • Will the speakers be used for entertaining, or are they just for your enjoyment?
  • Will the speakers be permanently installed—mounted to the side of the house, for example—or is a portable speaker more suitable to carry outdoors when needed?

The location of the speakers and how they’ll be used will play a significant role in which ones are chosen.

Q. How are outdoor speakers protected from rain?

Check the IP rating. IPX7 and IPX8 indicate the product is fully waterproof; IPX6 and below means the speaker is water resistant. Install water-resistant speakers under a covering, such as an awning.

Q. Where should outdoor speakers be placed?

This depends on the type of speaker. Some speakers can be mounted to a house, a pool house, or a shed. Others are in-ground speakers that can be placed in a garden, and there are some that look like rocks that can be placed in a garden or a lawn. Additionally, a speaker’s IP rating will impact where it can be placed.