This article is a part of RS Recommends, an editorial series reviewing products in music and entertainment. Items are independently selected; Penske Media may earn a commission from purchases made from our links.
Music is a must for any backyard party. Even if it’s only there to fill the empty spaces between conversations, or provide the lightest rhythm for drinking and cooking, parties outdoors feel oddly off without good background music. But how to approach the situation? Bluetooth speakers are always an option, but unfortunately, you can’t link up more than one speaker, leaving your sound fairly one dimensional. You could opt for a WiFi speaker system as a way to bring portable surround system to your yard, but since those speakers are designed for indoor use, they’re not able to withstand even the calmest of weather.
For convenience and qualities sake, the only solution is a set of tough, wired outdoor speakers. From speakers you can shove in the dirt to elegant speakers you can hang on your wall, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite outdoor speakers. Designed to handle the great outdoors regardless of the season, these speakers can cost a pretty penny, but once they’re up and installed you can forget all about them and get back to planning, or participating in, your party.
1. Bose Free Space 51 Speakers
Styled like an upturned garden pot, the Free Space 51 speakers from Bose likely aren’t what you imagined when you read ‘Outdoor Speakers.’ However odd they may look though, the Free Space 51 are worth every minute of your time. These speakers are subtle. Shove them next to some shrubbery or stick them at the base of a tree and you’ll all but forget they exist. That is, until you turn them on. The Free Space 51 speakers offer 360 degrees of sound thanks to their design and downward firing 4.5” full range driver. But the most impressive feature of the Free Space 51 isn’t their sound quality, it’s their durability. The Free Space 51 can withstand the weather regardless of the season, from salt and sun to snow and rain, and continue to work in temperatures between 140 degrees to -22 degrees. In fact, Bose is so confident in this product, they offer a 5-year limited warranty. Purchase: $449.00 on Amazon.
2. Sonos Outdoor Speakers
No stranger to the high-quality speaker market, Sonos recently unveiled their take on the outdoor speaker. These outdoor speakers, along with their in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, are a collaboration between Sonos and speaker manufacturer Sonance. Made with a durable outer casing, these speakers were designed to withstand whatever mother nature throws their way, able to handle, “humidity, water, salt spray, heat, UV rays, and freezing temperatures,” according to Sonos. While these outdoor speakers are some of the priciest on our list, they’re a great pick for those already living in a Sonos ecosystem. The outdoor speakers are designed to work with the Sonos Amp, so if you’re already using one to power the rest of your home, these speakers are a great way to bring the tunes outside. Purchase: $799.00 on Amazon.
3. Bose 251 Speakers
If you’re a fan of Bose but would prefer a mounted speaker for outdoor listening, the 251 is a fantastic bet. Made of water-resistant composite casing, these speakers were designed to handle everything the elements can throw at them. These are the speakers you set up and forget about, regardless of scorching days or frigid nights. Each speaker measures 13. 5” H x 5. 75” W x 8” D and comes with a multi-chamber bass enclosure to ensure your music is more than just subtle background noise.
Another nice feature of buying these speakers through Amazon, however, is that they come with multiple options. Not only can you pick between the black or white model, you can also pick from options to buy with extra wiring and even extra wiring and a Bose Amp. So whether you’re adding to an existing entertainment ecosystem or just starting one, Bose has you covered inside and out with their 251 speakers. No wonder 74% of reviewers gave this set 5 out of 5 stars. Purchase: $398.00 on Amazon.
4. Klipsch AWR-650-SM Speakers
It’s foolish to write a speaker roundup without Indianapolis-based speaker brand Klipsch. Likewise, it’s just as foolish to write an outdoor speaker roundup without including the ever-popular, incognito speaker option, the rock speaker. For this reason, we had to add the Klipsch AWR-650-SM to our list.
Coming in either sandstone or granite coloring, this AWR-650-SM is the best option for those who are looking to scatter speakers around their yard without disrupting its natural look. For this one, Klipsch stuffed a 6.5” dual voice coil polymer woofer and dual .75” polymer dome tweeters into their speakers, giving you the quality you expect in an unexpected package. Users found these speakers not only sound great, but look incredible, too. If you’re looking to keep a low profile with high-quality sound, you can’t go wrong with the Klipsch AWR-650-SM. Purchase: $299.00 on Amazon.
5. Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers
If price is the deciding factor for your outdoor speakers, look no further than Polk’s Audio Atrium 4 speakers. First and foremost, this set of two speakers costs $100 (before tax). Second, the Polk Audio Atrium 4 speakers have an astonishing 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, out of 1,108 reviews. The Atrium 4’s boast 4.5″ drivers, .75″ tweeters and surpass the minimum industrial and military specifications for environmental endurance. In other words, your speakers will not only sound great, but they’re ready and willing to take any type of environmental beating.
6. Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speakers
Designed with extreme outdoor use in mind, Definitive Technology’s AW6500 speakers are a solid-bet for a backyard speaker set. Featuring a 6.5″ Mid/Woofer, a 1″ Tweeter & a 5″ x 10″ oval pressure-driven low bass radiator, the AW6500 were designed to bounce bass off of whatever wall they were mounted to, to give your music an extra rich and deep sound. 81% of reviewers gave this speaker 5 out of 5 stars, and it’s easy to see why. Definitive Technology designed these speakers to be tough and loud, and they’re all that and more. The speakers feature a water-resistant PolyStone exterior, so you can put your mind at ease and leave this speakers outside even in the harshest weather. What’s more, while you can pick up one of these speakers in either white or black, the black speakers are selling for $50 less on Amazon at the moment. So if color is not an issue, or if you’re keen on black, you can save yourself an extra $100 on the set. Purchase: $199.99 on Amazon.