If you want to listen to music outdoors, it helps to have speakers that are built for outdoor use. As you likely know, listening to music outdoors is often a challenge. Wind and ambient outdoor sounds often cause the speakers to sound muffled or muted.
High-end outdoor speakers offer improved clarity and fuller sound compared to cheap portable speakers. However, with dozens of quality outdoor speakers, finding the right option can be overwhelming. Here’s what you should know when looking for the best outdoor speakers 2021 for listening to music outdoors this spring and summer.
What Features Should You Look for in Outdoor Speakers?
The first consideration is your budget, as the cost of wireless outdoor speakers varies significantly. Keep in mind that more expensive speakers tend to include the amplifiers and speaker drivers needed for optimal outdoor listening enjoyment.
Along with the cost of the outdoor speakers, pay attention to:
- IP rating
- Battery life/power source
- Ease of use
- Quality of sound in outdoor settings
The outer shell of the speakers should be shielded against moisture and water. Look for outdoor speakers with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP55 or higher. IP55 makes the device water-resistant and reduces the risk of dust accumulation.
Several outdoor speakers, including the Sonos Roam, have IP67 ratings. With an IP67 rating, the device is “dust tight”. It is also protected against immersion in water for up to 30 minutes at depths up to about three feet. You can drop an IP67-rated speaker in shallow water without instantly damaging the internal components.
Wireless outdoor speakers typically use Bluetooth to connect to an audio source, such as your phone or a Bluetooth-equipped sound system. Bluetooth has a range of about 30 feet. If you plan on connecting the speakers to a device located inside your house, look for speakers with WiFi connectivity.
WiFi connectivity allows you to stream audio through your home WiFi network. With a standard antenna, the typical home WiFi router has a range of up to 150 feet. Adding an extra router or a WiFi extender can increase the range of your network to cover more of your backyard.
Most outdoor speakers are designed with simple controls. They typically have a few buttons for changing the volume or playing and pausing music. You can also find smart speakers that work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Airplay for remote voice commands.
The battery life is another important feature, especially if you plan on taking the speaker on trips to the beach or hikes. The Sonos Roam and the Sonos Move have internal batteries that can last all day.
After reviewing the technical details of a speaker, learn about its performance in outdoor settings. Read customer reviews and recommendations to find out how good the speakers sound outdoors.
Based on these features, you should find it easier to select the best wireless outdoor speakers. We’ve also provided a few of our top recommendations to simplify your search.
Sonos Roam and Sonos Move for Portability
A cheap portable Bluetooth speaker is a slight upgrade from listening to music on your phone. If you want a better listening experience, the Sonos Roam comes highly recommended. It is affordable, portable, and built for outdoor use.
The Sonos Roam measures just 6.6 x 2.44 x 2.36 inches and weighs less than a pound. You can slide it in a bag and carry it anywhere. The speaker has a built-in battery with 10 hours of playtime and a USB-C charging port. Along with a compact design, the Sonos Roam has an IP67 rating, making it waterproof in depths up to one meter for 30 minutes.
The connectivity options include Bluetooth, WiFi, and an audio jack. It also works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Airplay 2, offering multiple ways to connect t
o your music. It also stands out for its automatic Trueplay tuning system, which automatically adapts the sound to the surroundings to compensate for outdoor noises.
The compact speaker delivers clear, bright audio for a device of its size. However, the sound starts to suffer if you are more than a few yards away from the device, especially in windy conditions. If you want outdoor music for group listening, we recommend the Sonos Move.
The Sonos Move includes all the connectivity options found on the Sonos Roam. However, it is a larger device with two large speaker drivers, a mid-woofer, and a downward-firing tweeter. The Sonos Move offers crisp, clear high tones and rich, deep bass across a wider soundstage compared to the Sonos Roam and cheaper Bluetooth speakers.
Paradigm Garden Oasis Series
The Sonos Roam and the Sonos Move are two of the best portable outdoor speakers. However, if you prefer a permanent outdoor audio setup, the Paradigm Garden Oasis series is the top-of-the-line recommendation.
The Paradigm Garden Oasis speaker systems are built with a rugged weatherproof design featuring high-density polyethylene (HDPE) enclosures. They are mounted in the ground and resemble outdoor lighting fixtures, helping them blend with the scenery.
The speakers are not wireless. They are wired to a central amplifier, which eliminates any concerns about Bluetooth or WiFi ranges. The speaker system is also scalable, as you can start with a pair of the cheapest satellite speakers (GO4). The GO4 speakers include four-inch drivers and offer distortion-free sound in almost any weather condition. You can expand the system to suit your needs with a selection of larger speakers and outdoor subwoofers.
You now have several recommendations for outdoor audio. If you want a portable solution, go with the Sonos Roam or Move. They offer long battery life and multiple connectivity options. If you want a permanent solution, the Paradigm Garden Oasis series delivers optimal audio and wired connectivity.
Have any questions about outdoor speakers? Contact us and we will be more than happy to help!