Young people at the beach relaxing with the Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 outdoor speaker

When I think about summertime, pretty much any activity I do, whether it’s at home or away, involves music played through either my home audio system or a portable speaker. Splashing around in the pool, hanging out at the beach, chilling in the backyard with friends and family, doing chores around the house, cooking in the kitchen, or camping with the kids can all be drastically improved with music. I even bring a portable Bluetooth speaker in the trunk so if close friends don’t have one to use in their backyard for an event, I have them covered! But how can you decide what kind of speaker will provide you with the best experience for your lifestyle and summer plans? Here’s a look at the best options to consider in four specific scenarios: for parties, for multi-room listening, for on the go, and private enjoyment.

1. Patio and backyard party sound

JBL portable Bluetooth party speaker

I don’t think my family ever goes into the backyard without music. Whether we’re working from home on the back deck, tending to the garden, building a shed, or playing games, there’s music. And when we have friends and family over, the special party playlists come out.

There are many outdoor speaker options. At my house, we have rock speakers in the garden as well as outdoor speakers throughout the long backyard and even one wall-mounted on the deck.

If you entertain a lot and aren’t ready for a fully wired system like mine, the best option is either a large outdoor-rated party speaker or a series of smaller portable Bluetooth speakers that can be what’s called “daisy-chained” together. This means you can wirelessly link them (in some cases, hundreds of them if desired) to one another so they play music from the same source in sync. A large party speaker will provide loud, booming sound that can fill the entire backyard. You can easily stream your favourite playlists to it, have guests take over by connecting their smartphones via Bluetooth, or plug in a USB drive with tunes. Some even come with guitar inputs for a late-night, around-the-fire song session, or karaoke mic inputs and other karaoke features so you can have an upbeat karaoke party whereby everyone can show off their singing chops.

If you want something more permanent for your deck, consider all-weather outdoor speakers. These can permanently remain outside, usually mounted in some way (like the ones I have). This is an great option if you just want sound on the patio, for example, or for a smaller backyard.

If you’d rather have something simpler and more versatile,  consider an outdoor-friendly portable Bluetooth speaker that you can easily move indoors and out—take it wherever you go. The sound isn’t as powerful as a large party speaker. But for background music outside, it will likely be just fine. Plus, you can find ones that are ruggedly built and can withstand the elements, from snow and rain to extreme heat. And, as we’ll discuss further down, there’s the advantage of taking them with you, too. 

2. Multiroom listening in the home

sonos sound bar system

The world is your oyster when it comes to sound at home. While the great outdoors is likely your space of choice through the summer, you will inevitably spend some time inside as well. In my house, when the TV isn’t on, 99% of the time, music is. Whether it’s quiet background tunes while we work from home or eat dinner, or exciting music to get us going while doing chores or cooking, bopping to tunes is a must.

How can you get the best music experience at home? There are so many options. Tower speakers or wireless multi-room speakers that provide an immersive listening experience when watching TV or playing video games can also come in handy for playing back music when the TV isn’t on. Even a soundbar can serve multiple purposes including just playing your favourite music when the TV is off.

For multiroom listening, considering a system that can all be controlled by a single app, whether it’s through a voice assistant and link to a smart speaker, or a system like Sonos. You can set up speakers throughout the home and then play music everywhere, even selecting different sources and music for different rooms. You, for example, might want a lovely classical playlist while you make dinner in the kitchen while the kids want pop hits while they clean their rooms upstairs. Often times, my partner will play his music in the bathroom while he showers in the morning while I have my own “workday” playlist going downstairs.

For those who really want to harken back to the old days, lie back with a hot coffee or tea, and immerse yourself in a vinyl album spinning on a turntable. There are models that range from entry-level to super Hi-Fi enthusiast. Connect one to your existing speakers and enjoy that signature crackle as the needle hits the record.

3. For listening on the go

JBL Boombox 3 portable Bluetooth speaker

A popular category of portable Bluetooth speakers are ultra-portable, rugged, and waterproof ones that you can confidently take anywhere. I have one that I bring along if we go to a cottage, camping, beach, or any other outdoor space away from the house (including friends’ houses, as mentioned, though most of my friends now have their own set-ups for outdoor music).

Naturally, you’ll want not only a portable Bluetooth speaker but also one that is rugged and durable. These come in weather-resistant housings with ports that are protected from the elements, including dust and debris as well as, in most cases, water as well. If you have a pool, you might want to invest in a full waterproof speaker that can be totally submersed. Some are even designed to float so they can swim in the pool with you.

Look for long battery life, especially if you’re going somewhere without access to a power outlet nearby, like a campsite, spending a day at the beach, or having a picnic day in the park. Some even have carabiner clips and are ultra small and lightweight so you can clip it to a backpack while you go hiking or even for a bicycle ride.

Another great option for listening on the go if you’re traveling solo is a good pair of headphones. Look for a sports pair that’s rugged, water and sweat-proof, and that is comfortable and secure enough to wear while you go for a run or bike ride. I love truly wireless earbuds for outdoor activities because they are easy to pop into my ears before I go for a weekly trail walk, don’t add a ton of weight if I decide I want to switch to a jog or run, and many come with built-in voice assistance or easy one-touch controls on the buds for skipping tracks, activating noise cancellation or ambient awareness mode, adjusting volume, and more.

4. Listen privately

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

While sharing music with loved ones can be fun, sometimes you just want to sit back and enjoy tunes on your own, revelling in every note, strum of the guitar, and tickling of the keys. If you spring for a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones, you get the added benefit of blocking out ambient noise around you so your neighbour mowing his lawn or the garbage truck passing by won’t interrupt your listening session. These are also great, by the way, if you’re mowing your own lawn. My 11-year-old son often borrows my noise cancelling headphones and wears them without music while he helps his dad mow the lawn so the sound isn’t so loud for him.

What type of headphones will depend on your activity. If you’re lying on a hammock catching some rays in the backyard, or enjoying a sweet tea on your porch swing on a Sunday morning, you might love a premium pair of headphones that you can fully immerse yourself into while you listen to a playlist or podcast. If you’re going for a run, sports headphones are the best option.

Enjoy the sounds of summer

How are you going to get the most from your sounds of summer? Huge tower speakers in the living room? Small, light, portable speakers in your backpack? As I’ve discussed, the options are pretty much endless and there are speakers to suit your lifestyle indoors and outdoors through the summer and beyond. 

Check out these and more audio products to entertain you this summer at Best Buy Online.

Christine Persaud
With 20+ years of experience in trade and consumer tech journalism, I have covered the tech space since before social media was a "thing" and the smartphone as we know it was even invented. Writing for various technology, lifestyle, and entertainment sites, I have covered and reviewed hundreds of tech products, from home appliances to wearables, fitness tech to headphones, TV entertainment products and services, and more. I'm also a passionate foodie who loves to cook and bake, a TV show fanatic (happy to give what to watch recommendations!), and proud mother to a 12-year-old son.


  1. I would be interested in the Klipsch AW-400 Outdoor speakers. The speakers would provide great stereo sound by enveloping our deck with music. Thanks for the opportunity.

  2. The bluetooth portable speakers are wonderful…bringing me my music anywhere, anytime. They are durable and waterproof for all kinds of outdoor situations.

  3. I would like a portable Bluetooth speaker that I could use out on the deck or in the family room in the basement.

  4. I love having music outdoors so either the Klipsch AW-400 Outdoor Speakers or the Bose Home 500 Wireless Multi-Room Speaker would work placed on a windowsill, I like the latter more as not limited, can move it around and use in different settings.

  5. I like the JBL speaker, but I also like Ultimate Boom because it is waterproof for outside. As for inside speakers I like the Bose wireless speakers that you can move anywhere.

  6. I like the idea of all-weather speakers like the Klipsch AW-400 Outdoor Speakers. I love that they are paintable so they can blend in with my decor and stay outside.

  7. I’m interested in the Jabra elite sport in-ear wireless headphones given its fitness tracking capabilities and waterproof design

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