A backyard hangout isn’t complete without some tunes, and the best outdoor speakers make it easy to bring the party out into the sunshine.
Even if you’re not a serious audiophile, listening to music from a set of quality speakers can make a world of a difference. The best outdoor speakers won’t muffle sound, cut out at your favorite part of a song, or hiss, crackle, or pop their way through a playlist. In addition to outdoor stereo speakers, there are also a lot of excellent outdoor Bluetooth speakers that can provide big sound in wide open spaces. The best outdoor speaker for your backyard should also be able to withstand some degree of moisture.
We’ve narrowed down the best outdoor speakers for your space. Multiple speakers on our list are designed to withstand the elements, connect wirelessly, and produce top-quality sound in an outdoor space.
Do I need to mount my outdoor speakers?
If you just want to listen to some songs now and then – like while you’re gardening or grilling your dinner – you could probably get away with a standard wireless outdoor speaker. But if you’re planning to host a bunch of barbecues or pool parties, or you want to spend full days outdoors, you’re going to need a more serious outdoor speaker setup.
Mounting wired speakers around your outdoor living area is an ideal choice when you have the space to place them on walls or under decks. Often, these speakers are sold in pairs and have a stereo configuration with left and right inputs to help fill your space with more complex audio. The only downside is that they have a more limited range of projecting sound as they can only be tilted so far without literally hitting a wall. If your mounting options are limited or nonexistent, you can also hide your setup in your landscaping with some in-ground speakers instead.
Do my outdoor speakers need to be waterproof?
In a word: Mostly. While searching for the best outdoor speaker, you’ll want to look out for keywords like “weatherproof,” “waterproof,” and “water-resistant.” Most outdoor speakers will clearly let you know that all the electrical stuff is safely and securely housed inside a weather-resistant shell. This means it will be able to withstand the elements, including rain, snow, and extreme hot or cold temperatures.
However, keep in mind that if you’re looking for a completely waterproof speaker, you’re simply not going to find one. While a high waterproof rating is a non-negotiable standard when choosing a portable Bluetooth speaker, it is not normal to see such a rating on mountable or in-ground outdoor speakers. Outdoor speakers have wiring that needs to be protected, and a completely waterproof rating can only be given if a device can be completely submerged in water. (A speaker wire exposed to the elements can prove dangerous.) That said, it’s totally normal for a wired outdoor speaker to simply be weather-resistant rather than waterproof.
How to choose a speaker with good audio quality
A speaker’s drivers will tell you a lot about the sound it’s going to produce. For instance, a speaker with multiple drivers dedicated to different sound frequencies will a have more robust sound. If you’re not familiar with audio drivers and simply want something that sounds good, don’t worry, you don’t need to get too far into the weeds to understand what to look for.
Basically, drivers are what transmit the sound to our ears. A tweeter is a type of driver responsible for higher-range tones like treble and vocals, while woofers are the drivers responsible for mid-range tones and bass. Small portable Bluetooth speakers don’t have the space to house a sizable woofer and tweeter, which is why their audio quality only goes so far. Since outdoor speakers are bigger, there’s some real estate for drivers, and therefore, booming and filled-out sound.
With that said, wide-open outdoor spaces don’t have walls for the bass to bounce off of, so the overall bass quality can sound less present than you might like. But again, that’s not really a knock against any particular speaker so much as it is a reality of playing music outside. And if bass is really important to you, you can always choose a speaker that prioritizes low frequencies or invest in a subwoofer.
Should I choose an outdoor wired speaker or an outdoor wireless speaker?
If the idea of paying for installation or dealing with wiring on your own sounds like a nightmare, then you’ll want to stick with portable Bluetooth speakers or fully wireless outdoor speakers.
Wireless Bluetooth speakers are great and their portability makes them really convenient when you’re on the go, but if you’re just planning to post up at home for the majority of your outdoor music-listening time, it’s worth committing to a wired outdoor speaker system that’s likely to be more powerful, more dependable, and less susceptible to interference. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about recharging any devices or walking too far out of Bluetooth range with your streaming device.