The 10 Best Outdoor Speakers

Updated October 13, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Outdoor Speakers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Take your music beyond the confines of your living room with a set of outdoor speakers. Each of these models will deliver crisp, clear sound at your next barbecue or garden party, or whenever you want to tune in while enjoying the fresh air, and can be permanently installed outside without suffering damage from rain, snow, or the heat of the sun. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best outdoor speaker on Amazon.

10. Ion Audio Solar Stone

For the ultimate in flexibility, the Ion Audio Solar Stone has no need for power cables or speaker wires. Instead, it plays audio via Bluetooth and recharges its built-in batteries by absorbing the sun's UV rays through its upper panels.
  • up to 48 hours of use per charge
  • pairing is finicky
  • must be manually turned on each time
Brand ION Audio
Model Solar Stone (pair)
Weight 24.4 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Yamaha NS-AW350

The Yamaha NS-AW350 deliver an acoustic-suspension design, resulting in clearer sound with controlled bass response, and are magnetically shielded to limit noise and signal interference. However, the wall mounting instructions are confusing.
  • also suitable for indoor use
  • available in black or white
  • front grills come loose over time
Brand Yamaha
Model NSAW350B
Weight 14.1 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

8. Definitive Technology AW6500

The Definitive Technology AW6500 has an integrated galvanized steel bracket that allows for 360-degree rotation, so listeners can orient the sound in any direction. A rugged PolyStone enclosure ensures durability in the elements for years to come.
  • pressure-coupled low-bass radiator
  • five-year warranty
  • a bit expensive for just one speaker
Brand Definitive Technology
Model NECA
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Bose 251 Environmental

Designed with water-resistant outer casings, the Bose 251 Environmental can hold up to blistering heat or bitter cold without sacrificing sound quality. The pair's multi-chamber bass enclosures provide additional booming power.
  • articulated array design
  • extremely wide sound field
  • depth of bass is a bit lacking
Brand Bose
Model 24644
Weight 10.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Boston Acoustics Soundware

The unique polyhedron shape of the Boston Acoustics Soundware allows it to be placed out of sight on the floor of your outdoor deck or patio while still projecting its sound upwards. It's fully sealed to prevent weather damage through all seasons.
  • can also be wall or corner mounted
  • customizable paint-ready exterior
  • not especially loud
Brand Boston Acoustics
Model SoundWare White
Weight 6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. OSD Audio AP670

For dynamic bass at a reasonable price, look to the OSD Audio AP670. Each one is equipped with a pair of gold-plated, spring-compressed connectors for lossless playback, but their ported design is slightly less protected against the elements than fully-sealed models.
  • sturdy abs polymer frames
  • can mount vertically or horizontally
  • warranty does not cover water damage
Brand OSD Audio
Model AP670BLK
Weight 19.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Dayton Audio IO655W

At less than $100 for a pair, the Dayton Audio IO655W is a great deal considering their sound rivals that of more expensive models. They're fully sealed, and therefore should hold up to whatever Mother Nature has in store without issue.
  • easy to mount and lock in position
  • metalized mylar dome tweeters
  • limited bass output
Brand Dayton Audio
Model IO655W
Weight 16.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. TIC Corporation GS-3

The TIC Corporation GS-3 features an in-ground mounted design, with a rugged, impact-resistant ABS shell that delivers true omnidirectional output and impressive volume thanks to its 150 watt driver, 8" woofer and 2" tweeter.
  • great value for the money
  • blends in nicely with gardens
  • strong bass when properly buried
Brand TIC
Model GS-3
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Klipsch AWR-650-SM

The Klipsch AWR-650-SM features a two-way, 6.5-inch dual voice coil polymer woofer and two dome tweeters, delivering a robust sound from both left and right stereo signals. Its rugged housing comes in granite and sandstone finishes to complement almost any yard.
  • discreet stealthy design
  • durable and uv-resistant
  • can be wired for mono output
Brand Klipsch
Model AWR-650-SM
Weight 14.2 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Polk Audio Atrium 6

The Polk Audio Atrium 6 have been constructed with anodized aluminum tweeter domes and sturdy rubber surrounds, making them almost completely impervious to outside elements. They deliver impressive clarity across the audio spectrum, and are available in black or white.
  • speed-lock mounting system
  • exceed military weatherproof specs
  • protected against salt and corrosion
Brand Polk Audio
Model AM6088-A
Weight 15.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

Hidden And Protected In Plain Sight: Outdoor Speakers

Outdoor speakers, at their core, work much the same as any other speaker set you might buy for the home. The main differences between the two lies in their durability, power needs, and amplification.

Most speakers resonate through silks and other fabrics in their tweeters and woofers, and these materials can erode very quickly when exposed to the elements. The outdoor variety, the best ones anyway, are built to be weather resistant. If their wiring can be fed through the wall, this improves their longevity, by avoiding the possible of producing rust.

When it comes to power input, outdoor speakers have greater needs than their indoor cousins. If you didn't know, sound doesn't travel well outdoors, and music especially can sound flat. Speakers need a little help, or in this case amplification, when competing against background noise, wind, the neighbor's barking dog that won't let up, etc. Some people call these nuisances, "sound obstacles".

Another obstacle outdoor speakers face is bass reproduction. Typically, indoor models don't face this challenge, because the bass can simply bounce around the room and create itself, to an extent. Outdoor speakers need help in that department, and usually recreate it thanks to clever internal designing.

Tips For Achieving Great Outdoor Sound

Producing good quality sound in large, empty, outdoor spaces is no easy feat. There are many uncontrollable factors to work around, the main one being background noise; birds, dogs, cars, planes, the neighbor's outdoor A/C, lawn mowers, etc. Obstacles aside, there are methods to the madness that can help you achieve the level of sound preferred in your outdoor setting.

If you're looking to mount speakers around an outside patio, it's ideal to slightly point them downwards when mounting. This not only helps to focus the sound towards guests, but it also helps keep rain from concentrating within the speaker cones. For balanced sound, it's important to give enough distance between the speakers, but not too much. The golden range is in the ballpark of 10-12 feet.

Also consider your coverage area. There is a huge difference between turning up the volume, which can lead to sound distortion, versus having multiple speakers to distribute a fair spread of sound throughout the outdoor space. If you are faced with a large open area to fill with melody, it may behoove you to measure out every ten feet of the open space prior to purchasing a set, to see if more speakers are required.

Another possible requirement can be extra wire, or at least, making sure you have the proper wire depending on the size of the designated space. Though the standard is typically a 12-guage wire, the longer the distance you're covering, the thicker the wire you will need. This reduces the risk of power failure.

The greatest tip above all others, however, is to test the speakers prior to mounting. There's nothing better than taking the time to set everything up, only to realize you have a lemon.

How Speakers Came To Be, A Short History

Only with the invention of the hearing aid, did the evolution of the speaker begin. German inventor, Johann Philipp Reis, studied the inner workings of ear canals well before he decided to apply the concept of sound into a machine. Combining his studies with those of physics, he constructed the first telephone prototype in 1860 with the company of a speaker, so named the Electronic Loudspeaker. However, the first patent for a practical telephone was awarded to Alexander Graham Bell nearly 16 later.

The late 1800s, and well into the 1920s saw the development of musical horns, which were generally made out of copper, and attached to a music player. For their time, they were technologically advanced speakers that could generate sound to fill large spaces. Stand alone speakers wouldn't be available for the public until 1926, when RCA sold theirs across the nation in what is equivalent to $3000 by today's money standards.

The years following these milestones have lead up to the speakers that we recognize today. As for their evolution into the use for outdoors, we can only assume trial and error has lead to the weather-proof, better amplifying devices that are now the norm. As for the future of speakers, we again can only assume that they will become significantly smaller in size, while maintaining the high quality sound they are expected to achieve. If only Johann Reis were here now, to see how far his idea developed in a short amount of time.



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Last updated on October 13, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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