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What’s a backyard party without a good playlist to liven up the mood, or provide some background music while you’re eating dinner?
If you live in a house, and don’t mind a little DIY project, the best option is to install a pair (or more) of outdoor speakers. They’re larger than your standard Bluetooth speaker, so they can provide louder, clearer sound; plus, you don’t have to constantly take them in and out of your home, or worry about battery life.
The biggest difference between outdoor speaker and Bluetooth speakers is that they’re wired, which means you’ll need to connect them to an amplifier inside your house with speaker cable. In many cases you’ll need to drill them under an awning to shield them from the weather, too. Setting them up will definitely take some work (if you want to go wireless, we have Bluetooth speaker recommendations, too), but the result will be an outdoor sound system you can keep for years.
If you’re ready to take on this project, we’ve collected the best options for you below, just make sure to keep a toolkit handy.
What Are The Best Outdoor Speakers?
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right outdoor speakers for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Durability: The durability of most technology is rated on the IP (Ingress Protection) scale, which measures their resistance to water and dust. Outdoor speakers fall outside of that rating system, but we’ve chosen ones that are labeled “weatherproof,” which is a fancy way of saying they’re designed to handle rain, humidity, and snow.
Design: Because outdoor speakers are basically a piece of furniture, you’ll want a pair that look nice on display. Our recommendations look fairly subtle, and some are available in different colors, so you won’t mind when they’re seen and heard.
1. Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers
With the Atrium 4, Polk has designed the ideal pair of outdoor speakers for people who care about audio quality in a minimalist package. The speakers have a 4.5-inch woofer to handle midrange and bass frequencies and a 0.75-inch unit to handle treble frequencies. The result is a more balanced sound than speakers with a single driver (the part of a speaker that produces sound). The speakers’ curved design also helps to spread sound a little more evenly.
Polk says the Atrium 4 are “all weather-certified,” and can withstand extreme temperature and heavy rains. Its grilles and bracket are made out of aluminum, while its internal components are made out of stainless steel and brass. All that said, it’s still a wise idea to keep the speakers under some sort of shielding (an awning that completely covers them is ideal), and make sure no speaker wire is exposed.
This is the only speaker we recommend that’s available in multiple colors (black and white), so it has the highest likelihood of matching the color of your house. Regardless of its color, the Atrium 4’s simple shape is aesthetically pleasing and inoffensive.
2. Pyle Wall Mount Home Speaker System
Pyle’s Wall Mount Speaker System looks like a traditional outdoor audio system, but it’s compatible with Bluetooth.
This means you can stream music to them directly instead of snaking wires from the outside of your home to the inside of it with a speaker cable. This is possible because Pyle’s speakers are active, which means they have an amp built inside. While you won’t need to worry about speaker wires, you will need to plug the speakers into an outlet, which limits your placement options.
Pyle says the cabinets of its outdoor speakers are water and weatherproof, so you won’t have to worry about them getting damaged in a rainstorm. We still recommend protecting the speakers’ power cables with a wire guard to prevent them from being overexposed to water, which may be dangerous.
On the audio front, Pyle outfitted its speakers with a 5.25 inch woofer and 1 inch tweeter. The company says this setup produces powerful bass. If you want even more power, Pyle offers a larger version of its outdoor speakers with a 6.5 inch woofer. Either way, the speakers will be able to easily supply music for your outdoor party.
If you want a traditional set of outdoor speakers that offer the convenience of Bluetooth, we recommend Pyle’s Outdoor Speaker System.
3. Niles RS6 Pro Weatherproof Rock Loudspeaker
You may not be able to easily attach speakers to the side of your home, if that’s the case, we recommend Klipsch’s AWR-650-SMs.
The speakers’ cabinets are designed to look like rocks, which makes them a lot more subtle than traditional outdoor speakers. They also carry the benefit of requiring no tools to set up — just find a place to put them, and connect them to your home audio system.
Klipsch says the speakers are house in a UV-resistant enclosure, but doesn’t mention any specific details about their water resistance. That said, the company does specify these speakers can be used outdoors, and includes a pair of waterproof speaker nuts, so you shouldn’t have any issues. Just make sure to use heavy gauge speaker cables, which have an extra-thick coating to prevent water from seeping in.
If you’re a stickler for audio quality AWR-650-SMs have the hardware to deliver excellent sounding music. The speakers have a 6.5-inch woofer and a pair of .75 inch tweeters. This multi-driver system is sure to impress, even if you crank the speakers to high volumes.
If you don’t have a lot of space, prefer subtle audio gear, or don’t want to screw speakers into the side of your house, Klipsch’s AWR-650-SMs are your best choice.
4. Pohupa Bluetooth Speakers
Pohupa’s Bluetooth outdoor speakers are a smart, subtle choice that’re useful even when you’re not playing music.
The speakers are fit into an enclosure that looks like an outdoor lamp, complete with a handle you can use to hang them. Each speaker has an array of LED lights around the top, which you can turn on and off by pushing a button on the back.
The biggest reason to get these speakers is their built-in Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t have to worry about stringing wires anywhere, and don’t have to limit their placement based on where your outlets are. The downside is that you will need to pay attention to their battery. Pohupa says you can get up to 12 hours of music playback with the LED lights on, and 20 hours if you use the speakers as lamps. Your listening volume and light brightness settings will impact this most.
A lot of Bluetooth speakers aren’t waterproof, but this pair has an IPX5 rating. This means rain won’t damage them.
Each speaker has a single three-inch full-range driver, which can deliver great sound. You can listen to each one in mono, or connect them together for full stereo sound. The amplifier is built into each speaker, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Pohupa’s outdoor Bluetooth Speakers are the best choice if you rent your place, or don’t want to do a big home renovation to play music outside.
5. 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. They may look like a regular set of outdoor speakers, but Sonos’ option has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
Made with a durable outer casing, these speakers were designed to handle, humidity, water, salt spray, heat, UV rays, and freezing temperatures, according to Sonos. The company’s hardware is known for durability in general, so this is unsurprising. Another one of Sonos’ greatest strengths is audio quality, but the company doesn’t outline the types of drivers it uses in these speakers, which is a little odd.
These outdoor speakers can be used with any stereo equipment, but were designed to be used with the Sonos Amp. When connected to the Amp, you can wirelessly stream music to the speakers through the Sonos App (iOS or Android), or AirPlay 2 on Apple devices. This convenience makes them a little closer to Bluetooth speakers than our other recommendations.
While you can stream music to these speakers wirelessly, they still need to be hooked up to your amplifier with speaker cables. They also need to be hung from under an awning, or on the side of your home. Still, if you want outdoor speakers that are a little easier to use and smarter than the rest, this set is the right choice.