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A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Doug is a hardcore barbeque enthusiast and connoisseur. While he spends most of his time on editing and research, he sometimes moonlights as a product tester for particularly interesting things he comes across.
Listening to music outdoors while you barbeque or splash around in the pool is a time honored tradition. While for a lot of circumstances a radio in the car or a little portable deal works, they’re a bit archaic and the sound tends to be tinny; not so for these outdoor speakers, designed to make the best use of the acoustics outdoors (or lack thereof) and provide a reliable alternative to what are usually temporary options.
What to Look For in an Outdoor Speaker?
An outdoor speaker is a piece of necessary tv equipment that you will need to buy when you plan to set up an outdoor tv.
Sound quality is a must, of course. Particularly, bass is important, as lower sounds travel better and clearer outdoors. As a result, most outdoor speakers tend to be woofers, and produce either 360 degree sound or large, wide cones, typically around 120 degrees at the largest.
A speaker should be Bluetooth compatible in all instances; controlled via your smartphone or tablet and providing an easy and detailed degree of control over your music.
You’ll also want to decide whether your speaker should be portable or installed, as that will determine some of the final features, primarily how weatherproof the speaker needs to be.
If your speaker is portable, it should be weather resistant (able to stand up to light rain, and UV resistant at least), but as it can be stored away and taken inside, it’s not as big of a deal.
However, an outdoor speaker that needs to be installed needs to be much more durable; completely waterproof and able to stand up to any weather your area throws at you, be it snow, dust storms, intense heat or cold, and so on. If it can’t, then it will deteriorate swiftly under the elements, and isn’t worth your time.
Soundcast VG3 Bluetooth Speaker
Soundcast VG3 Bluetooth Speaker
Bose 251 SE Wall Mount Outdoor Speakers
Bose 251 SE Wall Mount Outdoor Speakers
Dual Electronics LU43PB Speakers
Dual Electronics LU43PB Speakers
9 Best Outdoor Speakers of 2021
1. Soundcast VG3 Bluetooth Speaker
- Lightweight and portable; under 3 lbs. out of the box.
- Omnidirectional sound is loud and crisp.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Bluetooth compatible.
- Small and compact.
- Weather proof; rated for rain, snow, sand, and dust as well as extreme lows and highs of temperature.
- A poor option for anyone looking for a permanently installed speaker system.
It’s hard to pin down an absolute best outdoor speaker, since there are so many factors and preferences to consider, as we just went over. But for my money, this is the perfect option: portable, easy to use, and no installation required, while providing crisp and clear sound.
Not everyone wants or needs an expensive outdoor sound setup. While they’re nice to have, they’re also a bit limiting. This bad boy though…you can take it anywhere. Camping, to the beach, on your fishing boat, or just in the backyard while you do some yard work or splash in the pool.
Its performance is excellent, and completely weatherproof. It’s been tested against every weather condition: rain, snow, fog, sand, and dust, as well as extreme temperatures (up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit and down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit). While it clearly does a lot better in hot climates than cold ones (it’s exceedingly rare to live in a place where you’ll hit a 149 degree high, but even in a sub-tropical climate like my home a -4 degree low isn’t ENTIRELY unheard of, by windchill if nothing else) that’s an impressive array of weather resistances.
You’re not going to find many speakers in general as rugged or multipurpose, or with better sound (especially at the size), so this one is well worth giving a shot.
2. Bose 251 SE Weather Resistant Outdoor Speakers
- Top of the line sound quality.
- Weather resistant and durable in all weather.
- Disperses sound over a wide range.
- Very high price point.
- Stands out in a bad way; outdoor speakers are typically meant to blend in to the background.
If, on the other hand, you want a pair of extremely good speakers with a more fixed aspect to them, you can’t go wrong with these.
Bose speakers have a good reputation, and it’s well deserved. While I always find them a bit pricey, it’s hard to say the price isn’t fair for the amount of quality you get from these.
And the outdoor, weather resistant version of these is no less in quality. These speakers have an “Articulated Array” design which distributes high quality sound over a wider than average area, making these the perfect speaker to fully cover your back yard in velvety sound.
They’re weather resistant, as you might expect, and can stand up to a lot of abuse. There are only two main problems: the price and the appearance.
The white look of these makes them stand out a lot more in most outdoor settings than the standard black or grey. That may not be a huge deal, but it’s worth mentioning if you prefer your speakers to to stand out.
The price is something we’ve already gone over; Bose speakers are top of the line, but also top of the list in price. A 5 year warranty helps back up that high price point, but it may be more than you’re willing to shell out for a pair of speakers.
3. Dual Electronics 3 Way High Performance Indoor/Outdoor Speakers
- Extremely affordable.
- Weather resistant and UV resistant construction.
- Easy to set up.
- Versatile use; 3 way setup options.
- 120 degrees cone of sound.
- Good quality.
- Not completely weatherproof.
- Sound is a bit less crisp and clear than better, but more expensive speakers.
This isn’t necessarily the best speaker set on the market, but a price this low with still better than average quality is hard to ignore.
The rugged construction is nice. Weather resistant rather than weatherproof, but good enough for most purposes, and the warranty (1 year) combined with the replaceability (they cost about a fifth what the average outdoor speaker pair of this type does) makes that an almost moot point; by the time they wear out it shouldn’t be too burdensome to buy a new pair.
The performance is quite solid as well. The sound is good, and emits in a 120 degree cone, giving you a great range of satisfying sound. These speakers can also be set up however you want, giving you a huge range of arrangements for setting up your perfect sound system.
There’s not much more to be said here: these speakers are good and cheap, and will serve you well so long as you’re not expecting the bets of the best, recording studio quality sound or something.
4. Sunbrite TV 20 Watt Weatherproof Soundbar
- Easy to use.
- Plug and play setup.
- Good sound.
- Very niche use; only works with a single brand of outdoor TV.
This is a niche, but quite good soundbar for Sunbrite TVs. It should be noted that this model ONLY works with Sunbrite TVs, and this particular one is only compatible with the 55” and 65” varieties; though it works as a stand in for all of these Sunbrite TV soundbars. Each has the same price and performance as the others, they’re just made for different variants of the same brand of outdoor television.
With that out of the way, this is a great example of an outdoor TV soundbar. It’s very easy to install and setup, with a simple design and quite clear sound, though you’ll want to augment it with a pair of other speakers (like the Lynx Sedona speakers above) or even an entire outdoor surround sound system if you can.
It is of course sturdy and weatherproof; I’d be more worried about the TV itself in most weather conditions, since it’s larger and more likely to buckle under the weight of something like heavy snow than this is.
It’s also difficult to argue with the price, which is more than reasonable for a speaker of this type; it’s not really any more expensive than a similar soundbar made for indoor televisions.
You can do a lot worse than this for setting up your outdoor sound system, so long as you make sure you have the right kind of TV to work with it.
5. Yamaha 2 Way Indoor/Outdoor Speakers
- Easy and fast to setup and take down.
- High quality sound for the price.
- Compatible with less than impressive amplifiers.
- Great price.
- Weather resistant rather than weatherproof.
These are an interesting pair of speakers. In terms of sound quality, these are some of the best on the list, for sure. The sound is not only crisp and clear, with a full range of sound, it’s also compatible with other electronics; they’re magnetically shielded and can be set very close to things like TVs without corrupting the picture quality or suffering other interference. They can also be set up either vertically or horizontally, giving you a good amount of choice for how you set them up for optimal sound reverb or use of space.
The main issue is their durability. Impact resistance is fine; it’s everything else. These are more weather resistant than proof, and made to be used in an enclosed outdoor space, like a porch. These will not hold up to any actual intense weather conditions, and so are in a bit of a weird space for me to recommend.
The sound quality is excellent for what these are (and low to mid quality amplifier compatible) and may be worth looking into these on its own, but they’ll be completely useless to you if you want true outdoor speakers. On the bright side, they’re competitively priced and can be quickly set up and taken down; so you could potentially use them as true outdoor speakers so long as you remembered to take them inside at the first sign of inclement weather.
6. Acoustic Research Santa Cruz Bluetooth Outdoor Flame Speaker
- Looks very nice on a table; excellent decorative aesthetic.
- Soothing lantern-like glow.
- Great sound quality.
- Usable both with Bluetooth or with aux cables.
- Easy to use.
- Very long battery life and rechargeable battery.
- A bit of an awkward fit for most circumstances; not good as either a portable model or permanent installation.
This is a nice little decorative speaker from AR Speakers, free standing and easy to set up. The lantern-like shape and feel of it makes it an excellent tabletop centerpiece for intimate outdoor parties. The speaker is a perfect sound system when having a film showing using an outdoor projector and inflatable screen. Also, the soft orange glow of the lantern is soothing and relaxing to look at.
The sound quality isn’t bad at all, one of the better options here, and it comes in at an excellent price. Both Bluetooth capability and the ability to manually jack in with aux cables gives you a good range of options for setting up your sound settings.
The operating life is really good as well, running on a rechargeable battery with up to 18 hours of operating life with all functions going; you could probably eke out a bit more if you shut off the lantern.
The main issue with this one is it’s a bit weird. It’s only weather resistant, so you can’t leave it outside, but it’s not really great as an indoor model, nor is it probably your best bet as a travel option. It’s a bit cumbersome to be used as a portable outdoor speaker.
So unfortunately it falls into a weird void where I like it (it looks nice and performs well) but it’s difficult to recommend because it fits so few circumstances. If you want something to use on your small back porch or patio, this is great, but it’s not suitable for much else.
7. Margaritaville Sounds of Paradise Tiki Torch Light Up Bluetooth Speaker
- Easy to use.
- Good quality speakers.
- Fairly inexpensive.
- Looks nice for the most part.
- Great music battery life.
- Lighting is a real battery hog.
- Tacky logo ruins the aesthetic a bit.
- Short range limits its use as a whole yard sound system.
For the most part, I really like the looks of this speaker. I’d like it more without the tacky logo, but from a distance you shouldn’t be too bothered by it.
As a decorative piece in your backyard, garden, or around the pool it works very well, though its relative lack of range (only 33 feet) limits its ability in that regard just a bit. Really that’s the main problem with this speaker. The lack of range makes it hard to set up multiple of these and spread the ambience around a larger area.
The battery life is good though, with the ability to play music for up to 22 hours straight, and light up with its nice warm glow for 11 hours. The combined battery life (7 hours if the lighting and music are running at the same time) isn’t as impressive, but it’s still pretty decent.
If you’re looking for a cheap, simple little speaker with a nice ambience (and you keep the tacky logo pointed away from you) this will serve very well.
8. Lynx Sedona Bluetooth Speaker Pair
- Bluetooth compatible and controllable from any smartphone.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Crisp sound.
- Rugged and withstands any weather conditions short of exceptionally high winds.
- Good price.
- Works okay standalone.
- Not quite a full speaker set.
This is a great outdoor pair of speakers, with a lot of nice advanced functions.
They’re Bluetooth compatible of course, and easy to set up, with wireless multi-room audio; you can control a set of these in different rooms with the same controls. They can be controlled via any smartphone, making it easier to keep track of your remote.
The construction is durable, with strong mounts and a rugged design made for the outdoors; they are of course built to stand up to all types of weather, from the hardest rain, to the heaviest snow, to the most intense sunlight.
The sound quality is good, and they can be arranged to your preference with relative ease. Keep in mind these are in wall speakers, so you’ll need a proper mount for them; these can’t be effectively used as free floating speakers.
I like these a lot, and for the price you’re getting a great deal, though it worth noting that like the others on this list the set is “incomplete”; they’re best used with another soundbar to even out the sound, though these do work better as solo units than a single soundbar stands on its own.
9. Bose Free Space Outdoor In Ground Speakers
- Top notch sound quality.
- Very durable with high pressure resistance.
- Weatherproof for most conditions.
- Easy to install.
- Extremely expensive for just a pair of speakers.
- Very low cold resistance makes this an iffy prospect in most climates.
These are the perfect garden speakers, providing a nice gentle ambient sound to any outdoor setting while being fairly unobtrusive. You can stick them pretty much anywhere in the ground, and they’ll blend in with most greenery, while providing surprisingly good sound.
The 360 degree sound radius disperses sound evenly in every direction, and it excels at low frequency sounds, providing a rich sound profile.
They are, as you might imagine, quite durable. These speakers are not only weatherproof, being designed to be installed in the ground and left there permanently, but have an immense resistance to pressure, being able to stand up to 350 lbs. of force.
Their resistance to temperature is the only thing that I really look sideways at. The high temperature resistance? Excellent, standing up to temperatures in excess of 150 degrees Fahrenheit. But as for low temperatures, they barely stand up to a brisk fall afternoon in some places, only being rated for as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. These are clearly made exclusively for tropical climates or something, or at the very least you’re meant to dig them up when fall starts rolling around and are expected not to use them for a while.
This last bit is why they’re not very high up on the list, unfortunately, combined with their price. These speakers are expensive, and while the sound quality and durability is more than worth it, that particular flaw is a bit of a doozy.
All of these speakers are quality products in their own way, with satisfying performance and a wide array of looks to either blend in or stand out in the right way. Some are portable, and some are installed, but all provide something for everyone.
Of those two broad varieties, I like the Soundcast VG3 for portable models and the Bose 251 SE for stationary options, but the rest of these all offer something different, whether it be appearance, versatility, or just a steep enough drop in price to make them a tempting option.
I’m comfortable recommending any of these options for SOMEONE out there, even the Santa Cruz, which I admittedly still a bit of a hard sell for most people. But hey, whoever it works for, it’s a perfect fit.