Technology

The Best Outdoor Speakers of 2024

Outdoor audio is tricky. Great-sounding indoor speakers don’t always sound great when you take them outside, and there’s also the weather to consider. These speakers stand up to the elements and sound great.


UPDATE: 02/07/2024

We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best outdoor speakers you can buy.

What to Look For in Outdoor Speakers in 2024

Not only do we want to take music everywhere we go, but we love to share it with others as well. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re outside. With outdoor speakers, you need to balance audio performance, weather resistance, and portability to find the right solution for you.


The first decision you’ll need to make when it comes to outdoor speakers is whether you’re looking for something portable or speakers you’ll use as part of an installation. We’re leaning toward generally portable for the most part, as these are the best choice for most people. But if you’re looking for year-round outdoor speakers, we have a recommendation for those as well.


Wired or wireless is a consideration too, but this largely ties into whether you’re opting for portable speakers or an installation. For outdoor speakers meant to stay outdoors, you’ll need to choose the appropriate speaker wire to hook them up to your amplifier or receiver.


The overall size and form factor are important as well. Even portable speakers can range from pocket-sized to approaching the size of a boombox. You need to weigh whether you want a bigger but often better-sounding speaker or a smaller model that’s easier to move around.


As we’re talking about speakers meant for outdoor use, every option we’re looking at has a certain level of weather resistance built in. Even so, this will still vary between speakers. The portable models we’re looking at have different IP ratings, while the stereo outdoor speakers are even more weather-resistant.


For Bluetooth and wireless speakers in general, battery life is a significant factor to consider. If you’re only using a speaker for an hour or two now and then, any model here (aside from the speaker system) will be fine. But it’s always better to have more battery life if you can get it.


After the above considerations, think about the extra features you might want. Some Bluetooth speakers let you pair two models for stereo, for example, while others feature fun features like color LED lighting.


With all of that out of the way, let’s get into the best outdoor speakers available right now.

How Did We Research

Models Evaluated

Hours Researched

Reviews Analyzed

13

3

17

How-To Geek’s product recommendations come from the same team of experts who have helped people fix their gadgets over one billion times. We only recommend the best products based on our research and expertise. We never accept payment to endorse or review a product.
Read More »

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3


Pros

Cons

360-degree sound is perfect for outside

Maximum volume could be louder

IP67 dust and water-resistant

No USB-C charging

It floats in water

Pair two speakers for stereo sound


The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom series of speakers has been popular for years now thanks to the great design, tough build, and sound quality. With the latest model in the series, the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3, the speaker has better than ever battery life and a handful of new touches.


One of the key features of the Wonderboom series over the years has been its 360-degree sound. This is especially important in an outdoor speaker since, in many cases, you’ll be gathering around the speaker rather than standing in front of it. The Wonderboom 3 keeps that 360-degree sound, as well as the ability to pair two for stereo.


That’s not the only aspect that makes the Wonderboom 3 an excellent option for the great outdoors. The speaker features an Outdoor Boost that doesn’t just bump up the volume but uses DSP and EQ adjustments to make the sound more audible outside.


Turning to the build, the Wonderboom 3 features an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. It also has a key differentiator from many other Bluetooth speakers: it floats. This means you don’t need to worry about bringing the Wonderboom 3 to a pool party.


The speaker gets a minor upgrade in terms of battery life, with 14 hours of playback compared to 13 hours on the Wonderboom 2. That said, it seems Ultimate Ears is pretty cautious with its claimed battery life, so you may find yourself with more. The only downside here is that the Wonderboom 3 didn’t upgrade to USB-C charging, so you’ll need to keep a Micro USB cable handy.


The Wonderboom 3 comes in Active Black, Hyper Pink, Joyous Brights Grey, and Performance Blue anywhere it is sold. There are also two other options, Spruce Green and Digital Lavender, available exclusively on the Ultimate Ears website.

wonderboom 3

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Best Outdoor Speaker Overall

$75 $100 Save $25

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 practically welcomes water with an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance and the ability to float. With 360-degree sound and the ability to pair two for true stereo, this is as versatile as it is tough.

Tribit StormBox and phone on table
Ste Knight / How-To Geek


Pros

Cons

360-degree sound

No app for EQ settings

Surprising amount of bass for the small size

IPX7 water resistance lets you submerge the speaker

20-hour battery life


Finding the right outdoor speaker can be difficult. You can find tough, weather-resistant speakers, but they’re usually pricey. In the case of the Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker, it’s tough enough to take nearly anything you can throw at it, sounds great, and it won’t hit you too hard in the wallet.


The StormBox is a smaller size, measuring just over seven inches long and less than three inches across. It’s also lighter, weighing in at just over one pound. That said, when we spent some hands-on time with the StormBox, we found the sound quality was much better than we expected from the small speaker.


The speaker is plenty tough, too, with IPX7 water resistance. You can submerge the speaker in water up to three feet deep for as long as 30 minutes without causing any harm. We’ve seen this plenty in more expensive speakers but less in budget-priced options.


Unlike a standard Bluetooth speaker, the StormBox uses a 360-degree design. This means that regardless of where you’re standing, you’ll get the same sound quality. This is useful in any outdoor situation, but it’s especially useful for outdoor parties.


You’ll be able to keep the party going for quite a while, too. The internal Lithium-ion features up to 20 hours of playback time on a single charge. You don’t have to guess how much battery you have left either, as an illuminated four-segment indicator on the front shows you how much battery life you have left.

tribit-stormbox-product-picture

Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker

Best Budget Outdoor Speaker

If you’re looking for an outdoor speaker that is tough and affordable but offers quality audio, the Tribit StormBox is a perfect fit. It’s even got 360-degree sound, which is great for outdoor listening.

Best Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker: JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5 in the rain
JBL


Pros

Cons

Excellent sound quality

No microphone for calls or voice assistant

Bluetooth multipoint lets you pair multiple devices

May be too large for some uses

Built-in power bank is a nice extra utility

IP67 rating for dust and water resistance


When it came time to choose our pick for the best Bluetooth outdoor speaker, the solution was simple—why not just add our pick for the best Bluetooth speaker, period? The JBL Charge 5 is loud enough to keep a party going all by itself, and with weather resistance, it’ll be fine if it starts raining.


The Charge 5 is plenty loud, but what if that isn’t enough? Easy. Just use the PartyBoost feature to pair another compatible speaker from JBL, giving you full stereo sound or, at the very least, a boost in volume when listening to music.


Regarding battery life, the JBL Charge 5 has the longest battery life of any Bluetooth speaker we’re looking at, with a maximum playtime of 20 hours. Even better, you can use the built-in power bank feature to charge your other devices.


The Charge 5 is IP67 rated, meaning it’s dust-proof and waterproof. While we’re not sure if the Charge floats like the UE Wonderboom 3, the water resistance is still nice if it starts to rain in the middle of your outdoor party.


To ensure that the Charge 5 stays with you for a long time, JBL has included an accessory we rarely see in Bluetooth speakers—a hard-shell case. This helps protect the speaker when you’re not using it, letting you truly take it anywhere with you.


The Charge 5 comes in the standard Black colorway, but there are more options. If you prefer a splash of color, you can choose from Blue, Red, and Teal.

JBL Charge 5

JBL Charge 5

Best Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker

$160 $180 Save $20

If sound quality and portability are important to you, the JBL Charge 5 is a great choice. Plus, the built-in power bank will help you keep your other devices charged.

Best Portable Outdoor Speaker: JBL Clip 4

JBL Clip 4 attached to a girl's overalls at a beach party
JBL


Pros

Cons

Built-in carabiner is improved from previous models

Can’t pair two for stereo

IP67 dust and water resistance

No built-in microphone

10-hour battery life is nice for a smaller speaker

Loud for its small size


Not everyone is looking for a speaker to be the virtual life of the party. If you’re more concerned with something light, nimble, and easy to take everywhere with you, a portable Bluetooth speaker like the JBL Clip 4 may be more your speed.


One of the best features of the JBL Clip 4 is the titular clip, a carabiner-style attachment built right into the speaker. This lets you hang the speaker nearly anywhere, from a loop on your backpack to a branch on a tree at your campsite.


The Clip 4 has an IP67 rating, similar to many of the other Bluetooth speakers we’re looking at on this list. This means the speaker is protected from dust and water, two of the biggest problems you’re likely to encounter carrying a speaker outside.


JBL states the maximum battery life for the Clip 4 at 10 hours, which is on the lower end for the speakers we’re looking at, but this does make sense given the small size. Unlike larger JBL speakers, this model won’t charge your phone, and it doesn’t support PartyBoost for pairing multiple speakers.


The JBL Clip 4 is available in the nearly standard black finish, but while it doesn’t have as many color options as its predecessor, there are still plenty on offer. Color varieties include Blue, Grey, Pink, Red, Squad (Camouflage), and White.


If you’re looking for a more affordable model, the JBL Clip 3 is still available. While it doesn’t offer the same dust resistance (or at least isn’t tested for it), the speaker has the same battery life and features at a lower price.

JBL Clip 4

JBL Clip 4

Best Portable Outdoor Speaker

The JBL Clip 4 is small, portable, and loud, plus the built-in clip means you can secure it nearly anywhere, making it as useful indoors as it is outdoors.

Bose Soundlink Revolve+ on table outside
Bose


Pros

Cons

360-degree sound is great outdoors

No Alexa built-in

IP55 water resistance

Higher IP rating would be nice

The handle makes carrying the speaker easy

Can pair with multiple Bose speakers, either stereo or multiroom

Easy setup


If you’re looking for an outdoor speaker with plenty of volume that can also double as a smart speaker, pickings are slim. Most larger smart speakers aren’t tough enough for outdoor use. The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (Series II) may not be the smartest, but it’s perfect for pulling double duty as an outdoor speaker and a smart wireless speaker.


The SoundLink Revolve+ II isn’t as durable as some of the other speakers we’re looking at, but it does feature IP55 water resistance. This means it can handle a few splashes at a pool party, but you don’t want to dive in while carrying it. Speaking of carrying the speaker, it features a flexible fabric-covered handle that makes it easy to bring everywhere.


Connecting to Bluetooth speakers isn’t generally a very difficult process, but Bose makes it even easier with the SoundLink Revolve+ II. The built-in voice prompts walk you through the entire pairing process, meaning you don’t have to check the manual to connect to the speaker.


It features a built-in microphone, which lets you take calls using the speaker and also use your phone or tablet’s default voice assistant. There is no Alexa or other smart assistant built into the speaker, though. That said, you can connect an Echo Dot or other Alexa-enabled device to add more smart controls to the SoundLink Revolve+ II.


While the speaker offers plenty of volume, it may not be enough if you’re hosting a big party. Fortunately, you can pair two SoundLink series speakers together in either Party Mode for extra volume or Stereo Mode for better imaging. You can also use Bose’s SimpleSync to pair with other Bose smart speakers for multiroom audio.


The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ II is available in black and silver varieties.

Bose Soundlink Revolve

Bose SoundLink Revolve+ (Series II)

Best Wireless Outdoor Speaker

The Bose SoundLink Revolve+ has enough water resistance to feel safe bringing it to a pool party and it’s got 360-degree sound. If that isn’t enough, you can pair it with other Bose speakers.

Polk Audio Atrium 4 set up outside
Polk Audio


Pros

Cons

Ready for extreme temperatures and heavy rain

Small size makes for a lack of bass

Mount vertically or horizontally

You need an amp or A/V receiver to use these

Easy to mount

Small and unobtrusive


While the other speakers we’ve looked at are speakers you can carry anywhere, that doesn’t do you much good if you want a proper outdoor speaker system. For this, you’ll need a set of outdoor stereo speakers, like the excellent Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers.


These are the smallest, most affordable speakers in Polk’s Atrium range, with 4.5-inch drivers still capable of bringing plenty of bass. While we’re looking at these for use in playing back music, these will also be a perfect fit if you’re looking into setting up an outdoor home theater.


Polk says these speakers are all-weather certified. This means they’re not just able to handle a few splashes of water. Instead, they will stand up to extreme temperatures and heavy rain, meaning you don’t have to worry when the weather takes a turn for the worse.


When it comes time to install the speakers, they’re easy to fit anywhere. This is thanks in part to the mounting system, which lets you mount them oriented either vertically or horizontally. The mounting bracket itself lets you install the speakers with just one hand.


These are passive speakers, rated 80 watts. So, in addition to an amplifier or A/V receiver to power them, you’ll also need speaker wire. If you’re using them outside (which you likely are), you may want to spring for some outdoor-specific speaker wire to ensure that they keep working year after year.

Polk Audio Atrium

Polk Audio Atrium 4

Best Outdoor Speaker System

$152 $199 Save $47

The Polk Audio Atrium 4 are wired outdoor speakers for serious music enthusiasts who want a dedicated outdoor system that can withstand heavy rain and extreme temperatures.

FAQ

What sort of gauge speaker wire should I use for outdoor speakers?

Since most cable runs for outdoor speakers are typically longer, you’ll want a larger gauge, which means a smaller number. 14 or 12 AWG should be sufficient, even for cable runs of 100 feet or more. For more information see our guide to speaker wire gauges.

How do I protect outdoor speaker wires?

One of the easiest ways to protect speaker wires outdoors is to run them through hose or PVC pipe. For more protection and a better look, you can bury the PVC pipe and speaker wire in the ground.

How do I install an outdoor speaker system?

Installing an outdoor speaker system isn’t any different from standard speakers, as far as the wiring goes, just with longer runs. When it comes to mounting speakers outdoors, this will depend from speaker to speaker, but most outdoor speakers have installation manuals.

Do I want a passive, active, or powered outdoor speaker?

Active and powered speakers are the same thing, each has a built-in amplifier. Passive speakers require an amplifier or A/V receiver. In most outdoor installations, it’s easier to use passive speakers and keep your receiver indoors, but this will depend on your needs.

source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button