Story by Parker Hall, via our partner site, Digital Trends /
Outdoor speakers are extremely convenient, letting you enjoy the music in any weather. After all, when the pool party starts to get a little crazy, you don’t want a speaker that’s going to give up on you with the first sign of spray. Whether you’re looking for a rugged backpacking companion or even a mountable option for the back patio, we’re here to help. Our list of the best outdoor speakers runs the gamut from weather-resistant designs that will survive a bit of rain, to fully-submersible pool party favorites, and everything in between.
Wondering which tunes to blast on your next adventure? Be sure to check out our list of the best Spotify playlists, and keep up to date on the latest hot tracks with rolling list of the best new songs to stream.
Ultimate Ears Megaboom
Why you should buy it: You’re on the hunt for a speaker the offers the perfect blend of sound quality, battery life, and rugged durability.
How much will it cost: $250-300
Why we picked the Ultimate Ears Megaboom
If you want something to really pump up your next pool party, and you’ve got some cash to burn, the Ultimate Ears Megaboom is the ticket. The speaker improves on its less “mega” little brother the, UE Boom 2, with boosted bass response, excellent battery life, and an exterior shell that can take a beating and keep the tunes bumping.
Like most Bluetooth speakers, the Megaboom has extras like an on-board speaker phone and a charging port for your smartphone, and it also has a class-leading wireless range of up to 100 feet. It’s a bit spendy for a rugged Bluetooth speaker, but its mixture of excellent sound and plenty of extras, including up to 20 hours of battery run time, makes this one of the best outdoor speakers around, and the top on our list to keep the good times rolling long after your guests have gone.
The Best Bang for Your Buck
JBL Flip 4
Why you should buy it: You want a small, powerful, water-proof speaker, and you don’t want to spend through the nose.
How much will it cost? $100
Why we picked the JBL Flip 4
Ever since we checked out the original JBL Flip four years ago, we’ve been fas of the cool cylindrical speaker for its excellent sound and durable exterior, as well as its remarkably affordable price. The Flip has gotten better and better as a series of updated models have arrived, with the new Flip 4 continuing to boast great sound and functionality for its price point.
The Flip 4’s battery life is a solid 12 hours per charge, and the speaker also features an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning that it can be submerged in up to three feet of water for 30 minutes without cause for concern. Easy pairing and accessible control keys for volume and playback make this a no-brainer for those seeking a go-anywhere speaker that doesn’t break the bank.
The Best Boombox-Style Speaker
Why you should buy it: You’re looking for an extremely loud — but still very rugged — outdoor option.
Who’s it for: Those who want to throw a full-blast dance party at the lake or by the pool.
How much will it cost: $350
Why we picked the Braven XXL
For those instances in which smaller Bluetooth speakers simply don’t offer the oomph you are looking for, Braven‘s boombox-style XXL is a great option. While it may not be pocket sized, the XXL is among the loudest Bluetooth speakers designed with the outdoors in mind. The speaker features four drivers and a whopping 15,600 mAh battery, allowing it to absolutely blast tunes for up to 14 hours in the wilderness.
A rubberized, shock-proof exterior is joined by a water-jet resistant IPX56 rating, meaning you’ll be able to kick out those jams even in the heaviest of downpours. Sound performance is customizable via an adjustable EQ, and the XXL even features a universal microphone jack for those who want to sing along to their favorite hits, or make an announcement at an outdoor gathering.
The Best Multiroom Speaker
JLab Block Party
Why you should buy it: You’re looking to fill your backyard and your house with simultaneous sound, Wi-Fi not required.
Who’s it for: Those who want a portable speaker that can double as a multiroom listening device.
How much will it cost: $150
Why we picked the JLab Block Party
JLab’s Block Party isn’t just a great sounding rugged speaker, it’s also a jack of all trades. Packing portable sound in a sleek, splash proof design is just a glimpse of what this little guy can do. The Block Party is able to connect with buddy speakers via an internal 5.8 GHz signal to link up a multiroom sound system, allowing you to rock tunes on your deck, in your bedroom, and in the living room all at the same time. Best of all, the speaker doesn’t require Wi-Fi to function, connecting to your phone over standard Bluetooth, so you can take it anywhere.
Inside its metallic shell, this indoor/outdoor speaker packs dual woofers and dual tweeters for a powerful punch in a small package. Battery life is just nine hours per charge, but the sound is much better than you’d expect from a budget speaker. With extras like a 100-foot wireless range, built-in EQ, and easy access controls, the JLab Block Party is an excellent way to branch out your sound throughout the home, or take it along for the ride.
The Best Mounted
Why you should buy them: You’re looking for mountable speakers to bust out clean and clear sound for your deck, pool, or patio.
How much will they cost: $75 per pair
Why we picked the Yamaha NS-AW150
If you’ve already got a good stereo inside and are on the hunt for a great set of mountable outdoor speakers, there are perhaps no more universally lauded speakers than Yamaha’s NS-AW150. Boasting a 6.5-inch woofer and half-inch tweeter in each port-free cabinet, the speakers are punchy but never boomy, offering solid fidelity at a very palatable price point.
Every pair of NS-AW150 speakers comes with a set of universal mounts for easy setup. The speakers are water resistant and hang tough against the elements, though we always recommend mounting outdoor speakers under some kind of cover if they won’t be removed in the winter months. At such a low price point, the NS-AW150 are an excellent expandable speaker for your home, and can be driven by a wide variety of amplifiers. That said, this isn’t an all-in-one or a wireless solution: To enjoy these speakers, you’ll need to run cables to each one, and use either a dedicated outdoor amp (stored in a dry place), or an indoor amp with multiple zone configurations.
The Best Poolside Speaker
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
Why you should buy it: You’re looking for tiny a ball of sound to revolve around your floating recliner.
How much will it cost: $80
Why we picked the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
The perfect listening companion for the water-bound among us comes in the form of the softball-sized Ultimate Ears‘ Wonderboom. A floating sphere of sound that can be fully submerged in three feet of water for 30 minutes, the Wonderboom is also perfect for the clumsy among us. Along with waterproofing, the speaker is shock resistant, able to withstand falls up to five feet without issue. Dual 40mm drivers take your music to a relatively powerful 86 dB — about the volume of a home blender — meaning you’ll never be away from your favorite tunes, even among the excitable shouts of children in the water.
The Best for the Apocalypse
Eton Ruckus Xtreme
Why you should buy it: You like to spend time off the grid, but don’t want to give up your tunes.
How much will it cost: $190-200
Why we picked the Eton Ruckus Xtreme
The Eton Corp‘s Ruckus Xtreme offers everything you need to keep the tunes flowing through multiple days off the grid. A higher-end version of the Rugged Ruckus we reviewed, the Ruckus Xtreme features a large solar array to charge up during the day and an internal battery to keep it going for up to 8 hours when the sun goes down.
The speaker is built for tough terrain, able to survive a few splashes and light rainfall. The shock-proof shell is also rated for a drop of up three feet or so without incident. Two full-range drivers bust out the sound, while the efficient solar panel can also be used to charge smartphones or other USB-powered devices on the go, making the Ruckus Xtreme an excellent two-in-one solution for both music playback and a mobile charge or two.
The Best for an Outdoor Party
808 Audio Hex Encore
Why you should buy it: You want potent portable sound for your karaoke night, dance party, or backyard barbecue.
Who’s it for: Those who like to throw fun outdoor get togethers, with or without a power outlet.
How much will it cost: $150
Why we picked the 808 Audio Hex Encore
Party lovers who find themselves without a power outlet will find a friend in 808 Audio’sHex Encore. Whether you need a loud speaker to pump out your favorite dance music, or a neon karaoke machine, the Hex has you covered. Given its heft, the battery-powered speaker is best for shorter excursions, but it does offer some pretty awesome features from within its beefy frame. Those include Bluetooth and Aux inputs, an SD card slot, and two USB ports to charge up mobile devices.
In addition, the Hex Encore packs two microphone inputs and even comes bundled with a microphone, allowing you to sing along to your favorite tunes or make announcements at the party with ease. The large driver is surrounded by a customizable light ring for some cool visual accompaniment, and a 50-hour internal battery means that the Hex Encore will easily jam out the party as long as you do.
The Best for the the Landscaped Yard
Why you should buy them: You’ve just finished landscaping your backyard paradise, but you’re missing the music.
Who’s they’re for: Those who want to jam out in their yard, but don’t want unsightly speakers getting in the way of the natural aesthetic.
How much will they cost: $600 per pair, $300 each.
Why we picked the Klipsch AWR-650-SM
If you’re looking for high-quality sound that doesn’t obstruct your view, there’s perhaps no better choice in the outdoor market than the cleverly disguised AWR-650-SM from Klipsch. Yard-ready audio devices designed to look like large rocks, the ARW-650-SM come in both granite and sandstone colors. Each speaker features dual 3/4-inch tweeters and dual 6.5-inch woofers, delivering dynamic audio to every corner of your yard. And of course, Klipsch claims each speaker is weather and UV resistant for long-term use.
Like the Yamaha NS-AW150, the old-school speakers must be wired to a dedicated or dual-zone amplifier or receiver, and those looking to set up a pair for long-term listening may want to hire a professional contractor to properly install them. Still, if you’re looking for powerful sound that appears to come from nowhere — and you don’t need to take your favorite tunes with you on the go — these are a fantastic option.