The 10 Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. If you want to enjoy your favorite tunes by the pool, on your patio, or in nature, consider one of these weather-resistant outdoor speakers. We've ranked the best based on IP rating, battery life, maximum volume, and audio fidelity, so you can find a Bluetooth sound system that's easy to sync with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, to provide musical entertainment wherever you happen to be. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 16, 2020:
For our latest update, we upgraded the OontZ Angle 3 Ultra to the OontZ Angle 3 Pro, as, while being aesthetically very similar, the latter model is 33 percent more powerful than its previous-generation counterpart, and this was one of the main issues raised for an otherwise well-designed and well-constructed unit.
Next, we switched the Anker Soundcore Flare+ for the Anker Soundcore Flare 2, and the JBL Boombox for the JBL Boombox 2. While these are obviously the newer iterations of their prior releases, the Flare 2 has similar performance to its predecessor, but at a considerably lower price, and the Xtreme 3, while being a little larger and heavier, features multiple unit connectivity, and has improved performance at higher levels and a slightly better bass response.
Similarly, we upgraded the JBL Xtreme 2 to the JBL Xtreme 3, which is a more compact answer to its Boombox cousins, with the newer model offering an extra 5 watts of power per speaker, USB-C connectivity, an extra power bank connection, and Bluetooth version 5.1. We then removed the EcoXGear EcoBoulder, as it doesn't perform as well as most in wet conditions, adding the Ultimate Ears Boom 3 instead. This model is consistently praised on review sites for its impressive sound quality at high volumes, exceptional build quality, and attractive looks.
Lastly, we felt the Sonos Move deserved a place on our list, as it has garnered very high praise in the relatively short time since its release. Featuring compatibility with Sonos in-home speaker networks via Wi-Fi, industry-leading sound engineering technology, and Amazon Alexa compatibility, it is a well-recommended option, albeit a rather expensive one.
June 20, 2019:
You can go small, medium, large, or really large when looking for an outdoor speaker. The JBL Clip is about as small as they come, and as long as you aren't looking for tons of bass, it sounds pretty good. The Oontz Angle 3 Ultra sounds even better, because it's a bit larger, and costs just as little. JBL's Charge and the Anker Soundcore+ are just a bit bigger and have considerably fuller sound for only a modest price increase. If you're really looking for your tunes to be heard clearly, though, there are a few great choices. The Denon sacrifices battery life and a little volume in favor of high fidelity, while the Bugani gives up some of its audio quality in exchange for affordability and a long-lasting charge. If you really like bass, check out JBL's Boombox, which pumps out some serious low-end and can get remarkably loud. Fugoo's Style XL is incredibly durable and sounds excellent, while the JBL Xtreme 2 has a slightly brighter sound profile and costs just about the same. And if you need something that will really project, take a look at the EcoBoulder, which, at 100 watts, is definitely one of the loudest. We would not, however, recommend throwing it in the water to test out its waterproofing.
Bose S1 Pro About as close as you'll come to a battery-powered professional-grade PA speaker, the Bose S1 Pro promises to exceed the sound quality of the average portable speaker -- but it also weighs and costs quite a bit more. Nonetheless, if you're willing to make the investment, it really does sound great, indoors and out. bose.com
SoundBoks 2 With a 122-decibel sound pressure level and a 100-watt-hour battery, the SoundBoks 2 claims to be one of the loudest portable boomboxes on the planet. This may be true, but it also costs considerably more than most of the competition. It also claims military-grade durability, so it should be able to stand up to anything. soundboks.com
Pairing Power, Portability, And Technology
Installation is also simple in most circumstances, as the speaker pairs seamlessly with other devices without any complex setup procedures.
When you want to listen to your tunes on the patio, you can eliminate the complexities associated with the installation of traditional audio equipment by using a Bluetooth speaker. It provides a powerful, wireless, and inexpensive way to share your music outdoors with both family and friends.
While a Wi-Fi setup provides a centralized, high-speed wireless gateway through which a full-scale network operates, the outdoor Bluetooth speaker doesn't require a communication standard quite so powerful or robust. It's important to understand that the technology has gone through several iterations and is specifically-designed for both portability and ease of use. Bluetooth provides a low-bandwidth option for linking something as small as a smartphone to a nearby, portable speaker capable of streaming audio content directly from the source device. This allows you to conveniently listen to music outdoors on the patio, by the pool, or at the park. This assumes that both the speaker and source device are located within a 30-40 foot range of one another.
Besides the elimination of an annoying power cord, the outdoor Bluetooth speaker offers several other advantages. It delivers impressive power output for its small size, which means it will enhance the sound already coming from a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. This makes the listening experience more enjoyable when shared with several people at the same time. The speaker creates a listening experience different from what you'd expect to hear through a set of headphones. You may not hear every nuance of a song as you listen through your Bluetooth speaker in an open outdoor environment, but it will be easier to interact with others and enjoy the experience together as a group.
The device also consumes very little energy, which means its internal battery lasts for up to several hours of uninterrupted use before it requires recharging. This makes it an ideal form of entertainment at outdoor parties and social gatherings. Installation is also simple in most circumstances, as the speaker pairs seamlessly with other devices without any complex setup procedures. In many cases, the Bluetooth speaker is automatically discoverable by source devices as soon as it's powered on. When this occurs, the speaker pairs with a mobile device quickly, oftentimes within a matter of a few seconds.
Cutting Wires Without Cutting Corners
There are several practical considerations to keep in mind when investing in a Bluetooth-enabled outdoor speaker. Shape, size, color, weight, power output, and material all play a part in determining the best option. Many of these considerations will depend on one's intended location for the speaker. For example, if you're planning a trip to the beach with family or friends, then something bright, durable, lightweight, moderately-sized, and waterproof will come in handy. Although convenient for transport, a pocket-sized Bluetooth speaker doesn't always provide the appropriate wattage or volume output necessary to carry through environments with high levels of ambient noise. A beach or park will certainly have a lot of background noise, be it from the rustle of trees, the laughter of children, or the crashing sound of waves at high tide.
Many of these considerations will depend on one's intended location for the speaker.
One should be sure the speaker's overall shape is conducive to delivering as close to 360 degrees of audio resonance as possible. Some Bluetooth speakers are octagonal, square, or even triangular in shape, which helps to direct the sound waves appropriately. If the speaker is to rest on a blanket over uneven beach sand, then a contoured profile will be beneficial.
A ruggedized construction for the speaker ensures its durability in harsh outdoor environments, as well. Many Bluetooth speakers are equipped with rubber edges to withstand impacts or potential tumbles onto patio decks or cement. Some are even capable of being completely submerged in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes without being damaged.
Consider the type of amplifier with which the portable unit is equipped. The Class D amplifier, for example, is relatively lightweight in design with an ability to reproduce steady bass at low frequencies.
One must also consider the estimated battery life for the unit. A high-capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasts for several hours before requiring a recharge. Additionally, some units feature battery-sharing functionality through which a USB cable can be used to charge up a mobile device or tablet on the go.
A Brief History Of Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
The concept of Bluetooth technology was first born back in 1989, thanks to Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson Mobile and its then CTO, Nils Rydbeck. The original purpose of the technology was for the development of wireless headsets. Rydbeck also tasked inventors Johan Ullman and Jaap Haartsen with developing the Bluetooth technology, which occurred as early as 1994. This coincided with the invention of the wireless speaker. The technology evolved into a method for exchanging data over short distances using ultra-high frequency radio waves.
The original purpose of the technology was for the development of wireless headsets.
By 1998, Bluetooth was endorsed by several promoter corporations that included: Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, Toshiba, and IBM, followed by a public launch of the technology later that same year.
By 2005, Bluetooth headsets became popular, many of which were equipped with wind-noise reduction capabilities for carrying on phone conversations outdoors in crowded places. Additional devices released during this time included the Bluetooth mouse, keyboard, and stereo headphones for those wishing to isolate themselves and their music from the surrounding environment.
Beginning in 2008, some states even passed hands-free cell phone laws requiring the use of a wireless Bluetooth headset or speaker in the car while driving. With the growing popularity of both Bluetooth technology and the use of smartphones in the 21st century, the next logical step was for the evolution of ruggedized and portable Bluetooth speakers of all shapes and sizes. Within the last decade, these speakers have been and continue to be used as outdoor companions for high-definition audio experiences across short distances.