Best outdoor speaker: the best weatherproof speakers to take the party to the backyard

The best outdoor speakers for entertaining or relaxing in the backyard, from JBL, Marshall, Bose and more

best outdoor speaker Bose Portable in black sitting on wooden garden table beside group eating and drinking
(Image credit: Bose)

If you're anything like us, then every summer you will be promising that next year is the one when you will finally get the best outdoor speaker to boost barbeques, late-night cocktail evenings, and afternoon naps in the sun. Well, to help you ultimately commit, we have assembled a list of the finest examples so, by the time the weather changes, you'll at least have the entertainment sorted.

Outdoor speakers come in a variety of forms, whether that's as standalone Bluetooth devices that can be moved between your house and backyard with ease, or wired speaker systems that are installed permanently in your garden space. Each has its pros and cons, which we will go into in this guide.

Of course, you can read our rundown of the best Bluetooth speakers overall if you're more interested in something that can be used within the home, but the examples of this list are designed to withstand rain, spilled drinks, and more, and so are ideal for your next summer get together.

The best outdoor speakers in 2022

Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

1. Ultimate Ears HYPERBOOM

Best outdoor speaker overall

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless
Water resistant?: Yes
Range: 150ft
Battery life: 24 hours
Dimensions: 14.3 x 7.5 x 7.5in
Weight: 13lbs

Reasons to buy

+
24 hours battery life
+
150ft wireless range
+
Adaptive EQ
+
Good range of connections

Reasons to avoid

-
Too large to be truly portable
-
Not completely waterproof

Outdoor speakers can be used for a variety of purposes but, chief among them is for backyard parties and get-togethers. The Hyperboom speaker from Ultimate Ears has been developed to fit the bill as a centerpiece at your next shindig, with great audio output, battery life, and a splashproof design.

The Hyperboom is larger than a lot of Ultimate Ears' offerings, and it also looks quite different. That's not a bad thing, as it looks a little sleeker than you may expect, but the size of the device means that it's more suited to the backyard than it is for taking on camping trips. There's a built-in handle, but there are better portable speakers.

It's still water-resistant so can withstand any accidental spills or unpleasant weather, and there are two Bluetooth connections along with aux and optical inputs. The 24-hours battery life will also mean that you're not caught off-guard halfway through the night by a dead speaker.

JBL Xtreme 2

(Image credit: JBL)

2. JBL Xtreme 2

Best JBL outdoor Bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless
Water resistant?: Yes
Battery life: 15 hours
Dimensions: 5.2 x 11.3 x 5.4in
Weight: 5.3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Waterproof (IPX7 rated)
+
Carrying strap with added bottle opener
+
Connect up to 100 speakers with JBL Connect+
+
Built-in microphone

Reasons to avoid

-
Rugged design may look out of place

The JBL Xtreme 2 is a rugged device that is much more suited to portable use than our top choice for the best outdoor speaker and delivers equally great sound with the promise that you can connect up to 100 more JBL speakers for a true surround sound system across the house and yard.

The battery life is still impressive at 15 hours (more than enough for an afternoon barbeque or late-night gathering), and JBL has gone a step further by making the Xtreme 2 completely waterproof, rather than just splash-proof. While it isn't smart, there's also a built-in microphone for taking hands-free calls.

The downside is that the speaker has a design that prioritizes resilience and audio over style. If beauty isn't a priority for you, then this is a fantastic choice.

Marshall Kilburn II

(Image credit: Marshall)

3. Marshall Kilburn II

Best looking outdoor speaker

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless
Water resistant?: Yes
Range: 33ft
Power: 36W
Battery life: 20 hours
Dimensiosn: 6.4 x 9.5 x 5.5in
Weight: 5.5lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good battery life
+
Classic, iconic Marshall design
+
Knobs for bass and treble

Reasons to avoid

-
Not completely waterproof

If you're really into your music or have a retro-inspired design style, then chances are you've been lusting after one of Marshall's speakers. The Marshall Kilburn II is the brand's outdoor offering, with a more rugged, water-resistant design that still keeps the unique selling point of the amp-inspired aesthetic intact.

One charge will get you around 20 hours of playback time, which is on the higher end, and Marshall actually promises that you can get three hours of use out of a 20-minute charge. Ideal if you unexpectedly run out of juice just before heading out. And, speaking of heading out, the high-end features have been extended to the red velvet carrying strap.

One of the best things about Marshall speakers is the classic controls on top for volume, treble, and bass levels. Not only do these look great, but they give a lot more control over how your music sounds.

Bose Portable

(Image credit: Bose)

4. Bose Portable Home Speaker

Best smart outdoor speaker

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless
Water resistant?: Yes
Range: 30ft
Works with: Alexa, Google Assistant
Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.6 x 4in
Weight: 2.3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Alexa and Google Assistant come built-in
+
Lightweight and easy to carry
+
360-degree sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Slightly lacking battery life (but still adequate)
-
Not completely waterproof

Love your smart assistant and wish you could take it everywhere with you? The Bose Portable Smart Speaker lets you do just that, with weather resistance, 12 hours of battery life, and a useful handle for carrying it from place to place (even if that's just from your home office to the backyard).

You get a choice between Alexa and Google Assistant so, whether you've already sworn allegiance to one or this is your first foray into the smart home world, you have the choice. And that smarts don't stop there, as Wi-Fi, Chromecast, and AirPlay 2 give you a lot more choice about how to stream your favorite podcasts or music.

For parties, you can link the Bose Portable speaker with other compatible speakers for more widespread sound. The 12-hour battery life is shorter than some other speakers on this list but is likely to still be adequate for most people. 

Sonance Garden 8.1 SYSTEM

(Image credit: Sonance)

5. Sonance Garden 8.1 SYSTEM

Best outdoor Bluetooth speakers system

Specifications

Connectivity: Wired
Water resistant?: Yes
Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.5 x 6.7in
Weight: 5lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Complete outdoor speaker system
+
Covers up to 3,500 sqft of space

Reasons to avoid

-
Wired system
-
Expensive

While most of the best outdoor speakers on this list are single-unit Bluetooth devices, the Sonance Garden 8.1 system is an entire set-up for those who like to spend a lot of time outdoors and need an audio system that's up to the task. Consisting of eight satellite speakers and an in-ground subwoofer, this is a serious piece of kit that will enhance all of your outdoor gatherings.

No matter where you place the satellite speakers, Sonance promises even sound coverage, and the system is capable of covering up to 3,500 sqft so is suitable for both smaller and larger outdoor spaces. As you'd expect the system costs a little more than a standalone speaker but would be worth the investment for those looking for something more advanced.

How to choose the best outdoor speakers for your backyard

Sonance Garden 8.1 SYSTEM

(Image credit: Sonance)

Do outdoor speakers need a receiver?

Because of the convenience factor, the majority of the best outdoor speakers listed in this guide are standalone Bluetooth devices that can be used wirelessly indoors or outdoors and moved around with ease.

For speakers systems or technology you want to keep permanently in your outdoor space (e.g. mounted to the wall), the need for a receiver may come up. Whether you require a receiver should be made clear before purchase, but generally speaking, wired speaker systems consisting of more than one device will need a central receiver placed within the vicinity - similarly to true surround sound systems for the living room. 

Are outdoor speakers waterproof?

It makes sense for speakers designed for use outdoors to be waterproof since none of us can predict the weather (or the clumsiness of party guests near a pool). What you'll find most often is speakers rated as 'water-resistant', which basically means that they can withstand a little weather, a spilled glass of wine, or a splash, but won't stand up to being submerged in water. If you want something truly impervious, take a look at our guide to the best bathroom speakers.

How far apart should outdoor speakers be?

The range of your particular speakers should be laid out in the instructions, but a general rule of thumb is that they should be placed about 10-12ft apart from one another for the best results. Where you put them will depend on the space you're working with, and another benefit of portable Bluetooth speakers is that you can move them around as much as you want until you find the perfect sound.

Caroline is the smart homes ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.