The best outdoor speaker

Lauren Corona

Some outdoor speakers are available in a range of colors so you can choose a shade that blends in with your surroundings.

Relaxing in your yard is one of life's great pleasures, whether you're alone, entertaining guests, or having fun with your family. A set of outdoor speakers can bring a whole new dimension to the experience, allowing you to enjoy your favorite music while in the garden.

Read this brief yet thorough guide to learn more about outdoor speakers. Our top outdoor speakers are Polk Audio's Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers. Their rugged design lets them stand up to all weather conditions, plus the audio quality is on point.

Considerations when choosing outdoor speakers

Outdoor speaker types

Portable outdoor speakers are the simplest option. They're battery powered, so there's no tricky installation required, and you can bring them with you wherever you want to listen to your music. The downside is, they tend to be relatively low volume, and the sound quality will never be exceptional.

Mounted outdoor speakers can be mounted onto the outside wall of your house or any other outdoor structure and can usually be angled toward your sitting area. They're great for patio areas and are unobtrusive if they're mounted up high, but the sound dispersal can be hit or miss.

Freestanding outdoor speakers can be positioned on the ground or on any raised object, with wires running to a power socket. They generally need to be wired in professionally, unless you know what you're doing. Some models can look out of place in your garden, but others can be partially buried or are designed to blend into their surroundings. A large number of options have 360º sound dispersal.

Bluetooth vs. WiFi

Although you can choose to have some outdoor speakers wired to an indoor stereo system, many allow you to play music wirelessly, either via Bluetooth or WiFi. Bluetooth-compatible outdoor speakers can pair with a device (such as your smartphone) to play audio that's either saved on the device or available via a music-streaming service. WiFi speakers connect directly to your home WiFi network to stream music. This method is reliant on having a strong WiFi signal wherever your speakers are located.


Connectors and docks

Some outdoor speakers allow you to connect devices the old-fashioned way to play your music. Some have docking systems compatible with either iPhones or Android phones, whereas others have headphone connectors, so you can play music from any device that has a headphone jack. 

Remote control

Although not essential, a remote control is a nice extra to have included with your wireless speakers, allowing you to control them from the comfort of wherever you're seated rather than being forced to get up to make any adjustments.

Outdoor speaker prices

Outdoor speakers range in price from $20 for basic portable speakers to more than $500 for high-end wired-in speakers. You can find some excellent mid-range models for around $100 to $200.


Q. Are outdoor speakers completely waterproof?

A. Outdoor speakers should be fully waterproof and able to withstand heavy rain and snow. Some portable outdoor speakers, however, are only water resistant since the assumption is that you'll probably head inside and bring your speakers with you if heavy rain starts falling.

Q. Do outdoor speakers have decent sound quality?

A. As with any speakers, this completely depends on the model you ultimately choose to buy. Some high-end speakers have sound quality to satisfy the pickiest of audiophiles, whereas some budget models are tinny and distorted.

Outdoor speakers we recommend

Best of the best: Polk Audio Atrium 6 Outdoor Speakers

Our take: These high-quality mounted outdoor speakers can stand up to extreme weather conditions and sound great, too.

What we like: Excellent sound dispersion with powerful bass. Easy to change the angle to direct sound to wherever you are outside. Simple mounting system.

What we dislike: Can sound distorted at high volume.

Best bang for your buck: DOSS Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Our take: If you're looking for a rugged portable option, this speaker won't let you down, nor will it put too much of a dent in your bank balance.

What we like: Completely waterproof for all-weather use. Bluetooth compatible. Twelve-hour battery life. Built-in lights are ideal for nighttime use.

What we dislike: Doesn't have the volume or sound quality of more expensive models.

Choice 3: Bose Free Space 51 Outdoor In-Ground Speakers

Our take: Truly exceptional outdoor speakers from a trusted brand in high-end audio, but some buyers may balk at the high price tag.

What we like: These speakers stand out for their 360º sound dispersion and overall high-quality audio with impressive low end.

What we dislike: May require professional installation.

Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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