The 9 Best Outdoor Speakers of 2023

Float down a river or host a party while listening to these outdoor speakers

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Best Outdoor Speakers

The Spruce / Sabrina Jiang

Outdoor speakers are great for entertaining in your backyard or enjoying music by the pool. “If you have a dedicated outdoor space, then permanently mounted speakers are a great solution that you set up once and use," says Doug Cunningham, Vice President of Product and Experience at Bose. "But oftentimes, you want to move the music—even if that just means to a different part of your yard. Or maybe to bring with you on a day trip or a weeklong vacation. In that case, having the flexibility of Bluetooth and battery power means you never leave your music behind.”

With Cunningham and several other audio experts' advice in mind, we researched the best outdoor speakers from the biggest names in audio based on several parameters, including ease of installation, durability, and overall sound quality. While some of these speakers may look small, they pack a major punch in overall quality and user experience.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers (Pair, White)

Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers


What We Like
  • Beautiful design

  • Rich, well-rounded sound

  • Rugged, weather-resistant build

What We Don't Like
  • White color susceptible to dirt

  • Requires external amplifier

Polk is known as one of the best middle-of-the-road brands for home audio that offers truly impressive speakers without the need to shell out premium dollars. The Atrium 4 provides full, rich sound without unnecessary bells and whistles. There’s a 4.5-inch main speaker cone with a three-quarter-inch tweeter in each enclosure, so these speakers can support plenty of full-bodied bass and the focus and sparkle you’ll want at the top end of your music.

We went with the white pair to match a clean, modern deck setup, and because you can mount the speakers vertically or horizontally, they’ll fit whatever nook you’ve got set aside for them. They also have Polk's All-Weather Performance protection, including military-grade protection against salt fog (a type of corrosion test to simulate outdoor environments near bodies of water), moisture, and corrosion. A thick aluminum grill also ensures they last a while.

The white color means that you might have to take extra precautions to reduce some cosmetic wear and tear as time goes on. Also, because these aren’t powered speakers (they're passive), you’ll have to wire them to an amplifier. But for the price and style, these are an appealing duo for outdoor entertaining.

Price at time of publish: $199

Dimensions: 5.7 x 6.7 x 8.6 inches | Power Source: Wired (passive) | Weather Resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Speaker cables

Best for Smart Homes

Sonos Outdoor Speakers

Sonos Outdoor Speaker


What We Like
  • Elegant design

  • Work seamlessly with Sonos systems

  • Excellent sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Best when used with Sonos Amp

  • Require permanent installation

Most of the speakers on this list fall into two camps: wired architectural speakers or full wireless Bluetooth speakers. The Sonos Outdoor Speakers are the option for those who want the best of both worlds. These speakers aren’t powered and require that you wire them to an amp, but if you fold them into your Sonos-run system, they’ll work seamlessly with your wireless smart home.

You can beam music and other content via the Sonos app, enabling one-touch playlist control and high-quality Sonos sound. The speakers are sleek and all-white, with a UV-, dustproof, and weather-resistant enclosure so you can mount them and wire them into a Sonos Amp system without fear of degradation over time. While this speaker pair isn't the most affordable option, because they provide full-bodied sound akin to the rest of your Sonos speaker set, they’ll fit right into your whole-home audio system.

Price at time of publish: $879

Dimensions: 12.93 x 7.86 x 7.51 inches | Power Source: Wired (passive) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Speaker cables

Best Wired

Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor Speakers

Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor Speakers


What We Like
  • Premium Bose sound

  • Classy design

  • Weather-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Require amp and permanent installation

Bose is a brand that exudes luxury, and while most manufacturers opt for rugged, utilitarian looks for their outdoor speakers, the Bose 251 Environmental Speakers channel that classy Bose aesthetic for your deck space. This speaker pair can hold up against various weather extremes, including snow and rain, and the clean black grill and curved wave-like design will sit perfectly under your eaves.

As for sound quality, Bose has put in what they’re calling an “architectural speaker array,” which means that the speakers inside the enclosure use that enclosure’s airflow to enhance the sound. You also get a powerful bass port to help the lower, bassier sounds in your music project all the way across the yard. However, the speakers are passive and require permanent mounting, so you'll need to wire them into an existing amplifier system. But once you set everything up, they’ll sit like a piece of art, not just a utility.

Price at time of publish: $398

Dimensions: 5.75 x 8 x 13.5 inches | Power Source: Wired (passive) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Speaker cables

Best Bluetooth

JBL Xtreme 2

JBL Xtreme 2

 Courtesy of JBL

What We Like
  • Rich, bass-forward sound

  • Solid battery life

  • Easy to take around

What We Don't Like
  • A bit heavy and bulky

  • Lacks the stereo sound of permanent units

An outdoor speaker sometimes works best when it’s a portable unit like the JBL Xtreme 2. Sporting a familiar, cylindrical “Bluetooth boombox” shape, the JBL can be carried from backyard to beach and back again—made even easier with an included shoulder strap.

But don’t let the portability fool you. While the sound quality can't match permanently installed speakers, this little speaker really bumps with two 20-watt channels of power and plenty of bass support on deck. At more than 5 pounds and measuring almost a foot long, it isn’t the most portable Bluetooth speaker around. But with IPX7 water resistance (to splashing and submersion up to 3 feet) and around 15 hours of playtime on a single charge, it will go the distance in most conditions.

Price at time of publish: $250

Dimensions: 11.3 x 5.4 x 4.2 inches | Power Source: Wireless (battery-powered) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth, 3.5-millimeter connector

Best for Versatility

Bose S1 Pro

Bose S1 Pro


What We Like
  • Tons of inputs

  • 11 hours of battery life

  • Excellent Bose sound quality

What We Don't Like
  • Lacks stereo sound

  • Not as loud as it could be

You may be most familiar with Bose’s smaller-format Bluetooth speakers, but the S1 Pro Portable Bluetooth Speaker does two things well: It acts as a Bluetooth speaker with solid headroom, and it gives you PA-style options to plug in microphones, instruments, and more. If you want a loud Bluetooth speaker to soundtrack a party, then the S1 Pro has you covered. It has plenty of range and power thanks to the tilt-back design. With dual XLR/quarter-inch inputs and basic effects on board, this unit also works as a battery-powered amp for small events like a backyard wedding ceremony.

The S1 Pro is portable enough to toss into the back of your car for traveling to parties or gatherings, but with only one main speaker cone, there is a lack of stereo sound. Also, it isn’t the loudest speaker on the list because of the size, and it's quite pricey. But in terms of overall versatility, it’s quite impressive.

Price at time of publish: $699

Dimensions: 9.5 x 11.2 x 13 inches | Power Source: Wireless (battery-powered) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth, XLR, TRS, 3.5-millimeter connector

Best Waterproof

Marshall Emberton Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Marshall Emberton Bluetooth Portable Speaker


What We Like
  • Retro aesthetic

  • Compact size

  • Impressive battery life

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Longer charging time

While all of the speakers are weather resistant to a degree, the Marshall Emberton speaker really stands out thanks to its IPX7 water resistance rating. It can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes with no damage. Its compact size and lightweight design also make it the perfect on-the-go speaker.

“This is the speaker I rely on to get me through long road trips," says Meg Lappe, Senior Editorial Director for The Spruce. "It's about the size of five protein bars stacked on top of each other, fits in the palm of your hand, and weighs as much as two cans of soup (about 1.5 pounds). It was my sole speaker on a road trip up and down Highway 1 in California in an old truck with no stereo. It sounds great in the cab with all the windows down—and with 20 hours of music, you can drive all day long without having to plug it in.”

Although it's slightly on the more expensive side, given its size and longer charging time (about 3 hours for a full battery life), we still think it's worth the investment if portability and durability are your priorities.

Price at time of publish: $150

Dimensions: 2.99 x 6.3 x 2.68 inches | Power Source: Wireless (battery-powered) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth

Best High-End

Soundboks Soundboks 3

Soundboks 3


What We Like
  • Very loud

  • Excellent build quality

  • Resistant to distortion

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Not a subtle design

SOUNDBOKS is the most party-forward brand on our list, and the SOUNDBOKS 3 is an ideal option if powerful sound is at the top of your checklist. If raucous pool parties and ear-splitting volume aren’t your thing, this packs a great punch for everyday listening too. The proprietary speaker cones are designed to provide near-concert levels of sound without distortion, meaning that you can take this speaker way out into the backyard, and you’ll hear it well into your front yard.

The massive metal enclosure provides a ton of durability, including splash and shock resistance, but it's fairly heavy and bulky, so make sure you’ve got someone strong to tote it to your destination. It also offers nearly 40 hours of battery life so you won't have to continuously recharge. While the SOUNDBOKS 3 comes with a premium price tag, it's packed with features. If you want the loudest volume you can get in a portable design and app control over sound modes, this robust speaker could be worth the splurge.

Price at time of publish: $999

Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 25.6 inches | Power Source: Wireless (battery-powered) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth, XLR, 3.5-millimeter auxiliary

Best Rock Speakers

Innovative Technology Technology Outdoor Rock Speaker Pair

rock shaped bluetooth speaker

Innovative Technology

What We Like
  • Incognito design

  • Easy wireless functionality

  • Weather-resistant

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly quiet

  • Lack some bass and body

While many speakers fit with your outdoor decor, these Rock Speakers from Innovative Technology blend in with the natural topography of your backyard. Once you turn them on and connect your phone via Bluetooth, you’ll hear just how well they work for light music during your gatherings. They're also weather-resistant, so they’ll be fine in most conditions.

There are only 5 watts of power per speaker, so they certainly aren’t the loudest or fullest options on this list, but you'll get up to 30 hours on a single charge or 10 hours of playtime at top volume. If a more discreet aesthetic is your priority, at a passing glance, these speakers appear more like decorative ornaments than functional speakers.

Price at time of publish: $180

Dimensions: 10.25 x 8 x 10.5 inches | Power Source: Wireless (battery-powered) | Weather resistance: Yes | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Micro USB

Final Verdict

If you want the best value and the best sound for a traditional outdoor system, go for the Polk Audio Atrium 4 speakers, which earned the top spot on our list. They're durable with military-grade protection against weather wear, plus they offer amazing sound quality at a pretty reasonable price. If you want the versatility and portability of Bluetooth, turn to an option like the JBL Xtreme 2. This compact, yet mighty speaker has 15 hours of playtime on a single charge and is waterproof and splashproof.

Another Option We Like

JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Speaker: "JBL’s waterproof speaker has come with me on countless beach and lake trips for years and the music still sounds great. It’s reliable, the bright orange charge cord is hard to misplace, and the speaker is light enough to pack in a carry-on suitcase. It works in wide open spaces (like the beach) and also smaller spots, like my tiny apartment (roughly 320 square feet).”—Meg Lappe, Senior Editorial Director for The Spruce

What to Look For in Outdoor Speakers


The first factor to consider when diving into the outdoor speaker market is whether you have an existing sound system or amplifier running the audio in your home (think: the receiver that powers your home theater system). If you have a pre-existing system, then a passive pair of installed speakers will work. “If you’re just getting started building an outdoor system, a pair of passive speakers is a great way to go, as they can be hung externally under the eaves and still create a rich sound experience,” says Casey Clemens, Director and Installation Expert at Sonos.

If you want something more standalone, without the need to run wires and cabling, consider a powered speaker, perhaps with Bluetooth functionality. "In the end [where you mount a speaker] should be in a place that aesthetically makes the most sense for the owner and/or in some cases the most convenient way to get speaker wire to the outdoor speaker," adds Doug Cunningham, Vice President of Product and Experience at Bose.


Once you’ve determined whether you want a powered speaker or not, it’s important to consider how you will feed music to that speaker. Passive speakers nearly always use standard plus/minus speaker cables fed to an amplifier. On the other hand, powered speakers offer more inputs, such as Bluetooth, 3.5-millimeter auxiliary, or even live instrument inputs via XLR or quarter-inch cables.

In addition to the actual connectivity of outdoor speakers, you'll want to consider the ambiance they create once placed in your space. “Indoor and outdoor environments are very different from an acoustic perspective. Indoors, sound waves have lots of surfaces to bounce off, which has different effects, including amplifying specific frequencies," says Stephen Hempton, Principal Product Manager at Sonos. "This isn’t the case outdoors, where the environment is typically wide-open, and people tend to be more spread out around the speaker.”


When you’re considering a speaker meant to live outdoors, durability is an important factor. Ensuring that the speaker has some degree of weather resistance will be crucial for speakers left outdoors indefinitely. “Many good-sounding speaker elements like carbon and aluminum are inherently weather-resistant,” says Frank Sterns, president of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology. So many speaker manufacturers harness these weather-resistant materials to ensure your speakers sound good for a long time.

  • Where should you place outdoor speakers?

    With speakers that are permanent fixtures on your home, considering their placement is paramount for the best sound quality (and so you don’t have to move them around once they’re installed). While placement can be an aesthetic choice, it also affects the sound quality. “We recommend placing passive speakers about 10 feet apart and no more than 10 feet above the listening area for a clear, immersive sound experience,” says Clemens. But consider your own space and place the speakers where you will use them the most.

  • Are outdoor speakers weatherproof?

    Any speaker billed as “outdoor” will almost certainly feature a degree of weather resistance. “Everything [in an outdoor speaker] must be able to withstand the harshest of environments and situations that a typical indoor speaker would never encounter," says Cunningham. However, the emphasis here is on the word “resistant.” Even if a manufacturer promises that something is weatherproof, it’s challenging to truly weather-seal an electronic device. Even ratings like IPX7, which often means a product can handle submersion in water for up to 1 meter, are only lab-tested to withstand a certain water intensity.

    Most average users will have no issue leaving their speakers out in inclement weather, but it’s best to install them properly and put them under eaves or overhangs for longer life.

  • How loud are outdoor speakers?

    “Because the outdoors lack walls to reinforce bass, this requires a little more clever engineering to provide more bass output in [outdoor speakers], while also being careful to not alter the sound too much,” says Cunningham. That’s why many outdoor speakers project loudly—not to harness a room’s inherent acoustic qualities. It’s important to remember that most outdoor speakers are passive, so the loudness rating on their spec sheet is only as good as how much power your amplifier can push out.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Jason Schneider has been a tech writer, musician, and audio enthusiast for decades. For this article, he considered both portable Bluetooth party speakers and permanently-installed outdoor enclosures—with an eye on the right balance between quality and price. When researching, he dug into the installation process and made sure to consider the design and purpose of the speakers. He also sought the expertise of Stephen Hempton, Principal Product Manager and Casey Clemens, Director and Installation Expert at Sonos; Doug Cunningham, Vice President of Product and Experience at Bose; and Frank Sterns, President of Polk Audio and Definitive Technology.

Emma Phelps, an associate editor for The Spruce, updated this article to include additional outdoor speakers and refresh this roundup's copy. Phelps considered competitive brands in the space and also ensured that the current product recommendations are still some of the best on the market. Phelps owns an iHome iBT9 speaker that she's had for years. Although iHome no longer sells this specific model, she can attest to its durability and sound quality.