Outdoor speaker

When the weather is nice, outdoor living becomes the norm for many people. For those who would rather be on a patio than a couch, outdoor speakers are a terrific option. They offer countless outdoor entertainment alternatives for barbecues, birthday celebrations, and impromptu gatherings. In a nutshell, outdoor music makes everything better 

You may find it a bit difficult to choose an outdoor speaker because there are so many different models available. What kind, how many, and what wattage of speakers are required? Let’s summarize all you should know. 

Outdoor wired speaker

Why do you need an outdoor speaker?

There are a lot of good reasons why you need an outdoor speaker. In today’s mobile world, audio content is literally at your fingertips. Let’s explore some top reasons you need an outdoor speaker

1. Outdoor speakers set the mood 

Outdoor speakers create the setting and tone at any social event. They allow your guests to play DJ on their iPhones if you want them to enjoy themselves. Playing their favourite songs while holding a cold beverage improves moods more than anything. We all connect via music, and if the perfect song is played at the proper time, a spontaneous dance party can happen.

2. You can listen to podcasts outside

Outside speakers are not merely for playing music. It’s a terrific way to listen to podcasts while enjoying the great outdoors. Think of working in the garden or gardening while you listen to your favourite podcasts.  Another type of information that works well outside is audiobooks. On a Sunday afternoon, take it easy and listen to audiobooks. If you listen to radio, play virtually any radio station from around the world in your backyard.  

3. Enhance outdoor activities

BBQ, picnics, hikes and camping are all great outdoor activities. With outdoor speakers, those moments are enhanced with music. Memories are created, and outdoor speakers provide the soundtrack to these shared activities with others. These experiences are more enjoyable and memorable. I always bring an outdoor speaker to any outdoor activity with others. 

Outdoor Magnat speaker

How to choose an outdoor speaker

There are many different types of outdoor speakers to choose from. Some are made for permanent outdoor placement while others are portable. Let’s look at some of the things to consider based on my personal experience.

Wired vs wireless

At the most basic level, the advantages of wireless speakers are portability, ease of use, and flexibility.  They do away with the need for speaker wires and enable wireless or Bluetooth connections between your devices. This allows for seamless audio streaming. Wireless speakers are suitable for a variety of outdoor settings because they are portable and simple to set up. For example, I clip a small wireless speaker to my bag on long hikes. I like to listen to podcasts with others as we hike. 

Conversely, wired speakers need speaker connections to connect to your audio source. Even while they could take longer to install, they frequently offer a stronger and more robust connection. If you prefer a fixed installation or have a specific outdoor music system, wired speakers are an excellent choice. If I was building a new house, I would install wired outdoor speakers all around the property. 

Water Resistance

Outdoor speakers are designed to handle exposure to weather conditions. This includes rain, humidity, and even pool splashes. When choosing an outdoor speaker, look for a high IP (Ingress Protection) rating. The level of water and dust resistance is indicated by the IP rating. For example, if a speaker has an IPX6 rating, it can survive forceful water jets. In contrast, an outdoor speaker with an IPX4 rating can tolerate minor splashes. I always look for an outdoor speaker rating of IPX6. It gives me peace of mind knowing it can withstand all the elements mother nature throws at it. 

Another thing to consider is the design and components of the speaker. To avoid water damage, look for speakers with sealed enclosures, rubber gaskets, or protective coatings. This guarantees the speaker’s endurance and toughness, even when it is exposed to dampness.

Wattage requirements

Wattage refers to the speaker’s power output. This affects the speaker’s volume and sound quality. To determine the required wattage, I first consider the size of the area I wish to cover.  Then, I determine what the ideal volume level should be. I don’t want it to be too loud and people can’t have a conversation. At the same time, I want to fill the space with music. 

From my experience, higher wattage speakers offer better sound coverage in large outdoor spaces. If I intend to host gatherings or events, I typically go for outdoor speakers with a lot of wattage. However,  better sound quality doesn’t always equate to increased wattage. Personally, I look for speakers that can handle various musical genres without distortion, have acceptable frequency response, and have balanced audio performance. I’m not the type to choose bass-heavy systems with large wattage subwoofers. 

JBL Party speaker

Types of outdoor speakers

There are many different types of outdoor speakers. Let’s break down the different categories to help you decide which one is right for you. 

Outdoor home speakers 

rock speakers for outdoors

Outdoor home speakers are long-term fixtures intended to be affixed or positioned in outside areas like patios, decks, or gardens. They offer excellent audio for outdoor listening and are frequently connected to a home audio system or amplifier.

Bookshelf speakers, in-ground speakers, rock speakers, and architectural speakers are just a few of the many styles available for outdoor house speakers. They often resist weathering and mix very well with the natural surroundings. I’m a big fan of rock speakers. These are speakers that are shaped like actual rocks, and they blend into any garden or landscape. 

Portable speakers

Portable Bluetooth speakers provide simplicity and versatility for outdoor usage. They are typically small, light, and battery-powered, making them simple to carry and move. I use portable speakers all the time. For example, I take two portable speakers that sync together to a monthly jump rope meetup.  

Because these speakers have Bluetooth connectivity, they wirelessly link to smartphones and tablets. Some allow for multi-connect so two devices can be connected at the same time. This is a great feature for parties where two people can play DJ off their smartphones. 

Party speakers

Party speakers are made with outdoor parties and gatherings in mind. They typically have more built-in features and are larger in size to make the party environment better. Most party speakers include LED lights, disco lights, or strobe lights built in that sync with the music. Personally, I recommend getting a party speaker with karaoke features such as microphone input. Party speaker by day, karaoke machine at night.  

Spend more time outside with outdoor speakers 

Outdoor speakers are a great investment and choosing one over another ultimately depends on your needs. My advice is to get at least two portable Bluetooth speakers from the same brand. Then you’ll be able to pair them together for stereo sound. Not only is it great outdoors, but you can also use them as multi-room speakers during the winter. Remember, life is short, get yourself an outdoor speaker and spend as much time as possible outside. 

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.