Best outdoor speakers
Make your garden sing with some outdoor speakers.
Portable speakers are great additions to your Android stable. But maybe you want something you can leave outside, and not have to lug back and forth every time you want to remind the neighbors just how much you love Journey. Or maybe you want both. So wouldn't it be nice to have more options for audio fixtures in your yard?
We've rounded up the best outdoor speakers for your backyard listening pleasure.
What to consider when buying outdoor speakers
The best outdoor speakers (or speakers of any kind, really) are wired. Wired audio gives you better sound and a tried and true connection – no worrying about how the layout of your home or backyard might affect the wireless signal. If you're unsure about a wired setup, consider adding a Sonos Connect:Amp. This handy little device acts as a receiver for your wired speakers, so you can wirelessly stream music from your phone or tablet without even needing a receiver.
If you do have a receiver, then consider the Sonos Connect, which just plugs into your existing setup, allowing you to wirelessly stream music to your receiver.
If you do want to go wireless (as most of us do nowadays), then consider Bluetooth speakers, since they'll offer you great sound and you can have your device near them to help eliminate interference and a choppy signal.
A third option is to get wireless speakers that operate using a wireless transmitter. The transmitter plugs into your receiver (usually in the house) and transmits your music outside. Though this type of speaker has gotten better over the years, it's still pretty hit and miss when it comes to audio quality and signal consistency. If your receiver is turned up too loudly, your outdoor speakers will distort — even at low volumes. If you're in a crowded part of town, you'll get all kinds of interference.
This is why we've included some wired and some Bluetooth options in this roundup, so that you're getting the best audio quality possible, especially if you're planning on spending a ton on speakers.
Bluetooth outdoor speakers
Acoustic Research Hatteras
If you're looking for some solid wireless outdoor speakers, then the Acoustic Research Hatteras speakers might have what you're looking for.
Unlike many wireless outdoor speakers, the AR Hatteras speakers operate via Bluetooth. You can set them up on your deck or elsewhere in the backyard and enjoy music from your smartphone or tablet. The best part is you get to keep your device near without having to go inside to change anything with your stereo setup. You can also control playback right on the speaker itself.
The Hatteras is attractively designed as a high-tech lantern, which should nicely complement most backyard aesthetics. In fact, it is a lantern, providing some light from above the speaker, though you wouldn't want to carry it around, since it weighs around 11 pounds. It also requires a power source; no batteries here.
The bass thumps, thanks to 40 watts of peak power, two tweeters, and two mid-ranges. You won't get the true stereo sound that you would from a pair, but it's still more than acceptable, especially for a speaker of this size.
If you want a great-looking outdoor Bluetooth speaker, then look no further. This is as good as it gets, if not a bit pricey.
Acoustic Research Pasadena
Acoustic Research makes the list again with their more affordable, battery-powered Pasadena. These speakers start at around $65 each and sound great on their own — and even better when paired with a second one.
They offer Bluetooth connectivity and up to 8 hours of battery life — ideal for outdoor listening — plus it's easy to store and charge them in the garage or house when not in use. There's also an auxiliary jack on the back, just in case you'd prefer a wired connection or are dealing with a device that doesn't have Bluetooth.
The best part is that you get three-way sound in a 9.5-inch-tall package. There's a front-facing 2.5-inch tweeter, a front-facing 3.5-inch mid-range, and a rear-facing 3.5-inch woofer, offering well-balanced sound, though the bass is a bit muted.
AR is all about that lantern look, so the Pasadena resembles a more traditional lantern than the Hatteras does — perfect for the patio, though it emits no light.
If you're looking for a solid little Bluetooth speaker that's battery-powered, offers decent sound, won't break the bank, and can even be hung from a sturdier wire, then check out the AR Pasadena.
Wired outdoor speakers
Bose Free Space 51
If we're talking about the best speakers of any sort, then it'd be a sin not to mention Bose in some capacity. In this case, they truly are some of the best outdoor speakers money can buy.
In true Bose fashion, these are not wireless, but once you do wire them in outside, you can set them and forget them; these speakers are designed to withstand temperatures from -40 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. One of their neatest features is that they can be in or on-ground speakers, so you can bury them up to a certain point and still receive top-of-the-line sound quality.
Bose is all about room-filling sound and when there's no room to fill, these still provide immersive, 360 degree sound, thanks to their radial design. They are quite pricy, starting around $450 for a pair, but with outdoor speakers, you certainly get what you pay for.
If you want high-quality sound with rich bass tones, a present mid-range, and crisp-but-not-shrill highs, then Bose is the way to go — so long as you don't mind doing some outdoor wiring.
Klipsch AWR-650-SM All Weather 2-way
Klipsch is another company that makes fantastic-sounding speakers, and their outdoor AWR-650-SMs, which resemble rocks, are no slouch. They are, however, another wired option, which some folks may shy away from.
That being said, if you want HD sound outdoors, you'll have to put up with the wires, along with the steep starting price of around $200 for each of these speakers. They feature a 6.5-inch woofer and two 0.75-inch tweeters, which deliver low, rich bass and pleasing,crisp highs, respectively. Having two tweeters also means that you can listen in stereo without having to break the bank and buy two.
Aside from awesome sound, these speakers are all about aesthetic. They come in either a granite or sandstone finish and should blend in seamlessly with your yard.
If you're looking for a speaker that won't distract from your existing backyard decor, sounds great, and don't mind wiring, then check out the Klipsch AWR-650-SM All Weather 2-way speakers.
Madison Fielding Mini PlanterSpeakers
We'll put these in the quirky and unusual category, though they do deliver decent sound and are truly meant to complement your garden aesthetic. Madison Fielding's Mini PlanterSpeakers are 14-inch UV-resistant plastic flower pots with 6-inch marine speakers built into them.
You won't get the high, mid, and bass separation that you would with multi-driver speakers, but these provide decent 360 degree sound that will satisfy your want or need for outdoor music.
These speakers are on the pricy side, starting around $350 for a pair, but that's only a tenth of what Madison Fielding's Flagstone speakers go for (considered by many to be the best outdoor speakers). We've left them off this list because they start at $3,500 for a pair, which we imagine is probably unaffordable for most.
The best part about the Minis? You can actually use them as planters! Decorating your yard with these speakers, fill them with flowers, and boom, you've got solid-sounding and great-looking music.
What's in your yard?
Do you have an outdoor speaker that you find aesthetically pleasing with awesome sound? Let us know in the comments below.