Editorial Reviews | Outdoor Speakers

Best Outdoor Speakers

Summers upon us and you might want to enjoy your music outside. But not sure what to get, what to be looking for?  We’ve selected the best outdoor speakers, both wireless and wired. Weather you are looking for something to take to the beach, blend into your garden, able to handle extreme weather, or just plain of sounds great, we’ve got it.


 

iHome iW1 – $299

“Perfect iPhone Match,
No wires, no hassle, portable goodness.”

The iHome iW1 speaker offers quality sound easy with iPhone/iPad compatibility and is extremely portable.

Get multiple iW1s for each room in your house and use Airplay to stream music to every room.

While the sound from the iW1 can get lost in bigger rooms, it sounds wonderful in kitchens, studies, bathrooms.  Pushed to play at higher volumes and it doesn’t distort.  The iW1′s rich bass will pump out jams at your next BBQ and won’t sound tinny or thin.  Great for background music but can’t replace your main system.

Specifications:

  • Airplay & WIFi
  • Battery powered for cordless portability
  • Control from you iPhone/iPad
  • Bongiovi DSP for enhanced audio
  • 5-6hrs of battery life

 

Yamaha NS-AW570 – $150

“Affordable Outdoor Speakers
That can handle real weather.”

One of the best and least expensive patio or eave mounted outdoor speaker on the market.

The unique dual tweeter design of the NS-AW570 allows for a wide distribution of frequencies and helps enlarge the ‘sweet spot’. The 6.5-inch woofer pumps out a fair amount of mid-bass but if you are looking for some real thump while outside you might want to check out the larger Klipsch AW-650.

While these are ‘all weather’ speakers one should mount them with a slight downward tilt to reduce the amount of water that can creep inside.

Specifications:

  • Power Rating 40-120W
  • Impedance 6 ohms
  • Frequency Response 60Hz-30kHz
  • Sensitivity 87 dB
  • Tweeter 1″ (25mm)PEI Dome Tweeter
  • Woofer 6.5″ (16.5cm) x 2
  • All Weather Design

 

Acoustic Research AW 825 – $450

“Wireless garden speakers,
solid sounding, great bass, looks great!”

Free your self of wires. Sounds like a dream. But with the 150ft range of the AW825 speakers, that work inside, outside, in the rain and wind, you’ll be able to live that reality. The base unit does have to be plugged into a wall outlet and a source via the 1/8th adapter, so your MacBook, your iPod, iPad, iPhone, laptop, or stereo, but the actual speakers run on AA batteries and can be moved anywhere.

Each speaker is sold separately, but you can add as many as you like. Users with 4 have experienced no issues. Each speaker can be set to mono, left channel, right channel. You can place them through out your home, garden, or pool area.

The speakers themselves run at 5W and are a two way design. A 2-inch tweeter and 3-inch woofer. With a 40Hz-15kHz frequencies range.

Specifications:

  • Innovative circuit design
  • Provide TWO sets of switchable audio inputs
  • Besides the normal audio output in the back panel
  • Compact design (mini-size & light weight)
  • All audiophile-graded parts and components

 

Polk Audio Atrium 5 – $299

“Blizzards, salt, baking heat,
Quality sound that can handle the extremes.”

The Polk Audio Atrium 5 is by far one of the most rugged outdoor speakers on the market that still manages to sound like a quality speaker. Though the audio quality is only just above average, even on the newer Atrium 5, it is far from being subpar. Typically folks tend to knock it for laking the ability to produce extreme highs and deep lows. Given its size there will be natural inabilities to produce significant dump in the low end, but mounting the Atrium 5 close to a wall or under and eave can help. The mid-range of the Atrium 5 offers the classic Polk sound and the speakers high sensitivity allows for loud and dynamic playing without pops and crackle.

Though if you don’t live in a place where the weather can be very extreme, there are outdoor speakers that offer better sonics but don’t offer the same year of year reliability of the Atrium 5. If you are willing to spend a bit more money the Atrium 6 and 8SDI offer larger woofers that can get the party started.

Specifications:

  • Overall Frequency Response: 60Hz-25kHz
  • Mid/Woofer: 1 – 5″ Diameter Dynamic Balance Mineral Filled Polymer Cone with rubber surround
  • Tweeter: 1 – 3/4″ Diameter Anodized Aluminum Dome Tweeter with Neodymium motor structure
  • Nominal Impedance: 8Ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 10-100 w/channel
  • Efficiency: 90dB

 

Jawbone JamBox – $200

“Throw it in your beach bag,
Take it to your office. Ultimate in Portable.”

The Jawbone JameBox isn’t one of the best rated wireless speakers on Amazon and the Apple Store for no reason. This little guy is extremely portable, sounds very good, and is stupid simple to use.

The cherry part is that it actually sounds good too! No matter if you are on the go or just hate messy speakers wires at your desk.

The JamBox is very office friendly – hold a conference call on your iPhone or add music to your presentations. Fits in your purse or laptop bag no problems.

The only real knock of the Jambox is the bass output. Lets face it, at that size, there isn’t much. Which is why Jawbone made the BigJambox. With a better feature set and more BASS!

Specifications:

  • Wireless portable speaker connects to any Bluetooth device
  • Stream music, movies, games, phone, and conference calls
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Up to 10 hours of power from internal rechargeable battery
  • Very good BlueTooth extension

 

 

Bose 251 Environmental – $358

“Bose inside, Bose on the Outside.
Big sound from easy to hide speakers.”

The Bose 251 speakers are the perfect outdoor speakers for Bose lovers. For those that haven’t heard Bose speakers before, these 251 offer crystal clear highs, deep bass, and a very wide sound stage.

Some users on AudioReview have had their 251 for 14 years and they still sounds great. Bose stands by its product testing in extreme environments. With the 5 year warranty, you can feel safe that if the weather around you home is that extreme, your speakers are covered.

Specifications:

  • Extremely wide sound field for larger outdoor areas
  • Outside speaker cabinet designed to reproduce low frequencies with minimal audio distortion
  • Tested to withstand snow, rain, salt and extreme temperatures
  • Five-year limited warranty from Bose

 

Klipsch AW-650 – $550

“Audiophile?
You’ll want these.”

Yes the AW-650 are a bit pricer than your average outdoor speaker, but if you are into high quality audio than these are what you need. A significant step up from almost all over outdoor speakers, the AW-650 offer clear highs, significant bass, and a rich and full mid-range that makes your outside system sound as good as your main system. The audiophile’s outdoor speaker. Now, some might note that the AW-650 are rated to put out between 70-20k Hz. And 70Hz isn’t that low. The fact is bass isn’t always about the end point, but how the speaker gets there. Since the AW-650 is such a well tuned speaker, offering loads of detail, it fills in the lower mid-range so well one can’t help but be fooled into thinking these go lower than they really do.

The AW-650 is a bit larger than some folks might like, and thus hiding them away might take bit more creativity on your part, but it is well worth it.

Specifications:

  • Enclosure Bass Reflex
  • Tweeter Type Dome
  • Woofer Size 6-1/2
  • ower Range (watts) 10-85
  • Sensitivity 95 dB
  • Impedance (ohms) 8
  • Frequency Response 70-20k Hz

 

Klipsch AWR-650-SM – $299

“Most likely,
the best sounding rock speakers on the market.”

There are ample companies making OK sounding rock speakers, but if you really want speakers that will fade into the back ground without fading the musical vibes, you’ll want to check out the AWR-650-SM. In three different shade, granite, sandstone, lava rock, you should find these easy to blend into your garden.

Some have said the bass from the AWR-650-SM could be a little better, but with some positioning near a wall you won’t typically have any issue. There are outdoor subs you could pair with the AWR-650-SM. But just like the AW-650, the AWR-650-SM offers exceptional detail and sonic performance, which makes them a must have for any outdoor garden music system.

Specifications:

  • Rock bass reflex (ported) design
  • frequency response 66-20,000 Hz (±3dB)
  • True two-way design
  • Dual voice coil polymer woofer
  • Dual polymer dome tweeters
  • Durable UV-resistant enclosure

 


Tips for Getting Better Sound from Your Outdoor Speakers:

  • For wireless speakers that do not use Wifi, Bluetooth or Airplay, make sure the speaker frequency is different than your wireless phone and baby monitors.
  • Line of sight between the transmitter and speaker helps but isn’t 100% necessary.
  • For better bass performance place speakers near a wall or corner or between the eaves and walls.
  • Speakers near the ground will also have better base performance, but highs could suffer if the speakers aren’t tilting up.
  • Remember, just because a speaker says it is all weather doesn’t really mean it is.  If you live where you get all four seasons, do your speakers a favor and cover them during winter and heavy rains.  You’ll find they last much longer.
  • Use electrical tape to cover any exposed copper from the speaker wire.

Typically at this point we’d say, “This is by no means a definitive list”, but unfortunately, the reality is there really aren’t a lot of ‘decent’ sounding outdoor speakers on the market.  But if by chance we have left something off, please help others out and comment below with which outdoor speakers you like.

Editor’s note: some of the speakers require batteries while others can be left plugged into outside outlets.
Best Outdoor Speakers Gallery
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Polk-Audio-Atrium-55

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Yamaha-NS-AW570

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