Best Outdoor Speakers
Maybe you have a pool, or just a nice outdoor seating area. What you probably don’t have is the ability to play music outside easily. We usually suggest using some sort of portable Bluetooth speaker to bring your music outside. But you want something more permanent. That’s great. Just know that you’re going to need to run some speaker wire (make sure it is outdoor and direct burial rated) and connect it to an amp. If you have a home theater receiver, you probably already have the ability to run a second zone of audio and can probably control your system from your phone. If not, you’ll need to buy more gear to run your outdoor system. Doesn’t matter. Right now, you are looking for the best outdoor speakers and we’re here (or hear?) to help.
So that you know our criteria, these are the things we look for in an outdoor speaker:
- At least a 6.5″ woofer
- True weatherproofing
- Good sound
- Extension down to at least 80Hz
- Easy mounting
Author’s Note: While all of these speakers are rated for outdoor use, none of them are really meant to be exposed to extreme environments year-round. Protected placement under eves and away from sprinkler spray is always preferred. With careful placement, these speakers should last a very long time.
Best Outdoor Speaker for Small Spaces: Yamaha NS-AW150W
Right away, we are going to break our first rule. These Yamaha speakers sport a 5″ woofer and a 1/2″ tweeter. They are fairly small (5.41 x 10.125 x 6.16 inches) and can be placed vertically or horizontally. They are inexpensive at about $100 a pair making them the least expensive speakers on our list.
The biggest complaint that people have about these speakers is that they break when you push them too hard. What most people don’t understand is that it is exceedingly hard for a speaker of any size to fill an outdoor space. These speakers are great if you are going to place them in a workshop or around a sitting area. If you are looking to fill your backyard with sound, these are not the speakers for you.
Best Rock Shaped Outdoor Speaker: Klipsch AWR-650
Generally speaking, we don’t like speakers that are shaped like anything other than speakers. The aesthetic concerns are often so overshadowing that they immediately compromise the sound quality. So if we are going to suggest a rock-shaped speaker, it is going to be a good one.
The Klipsch AWR-650 rock speaker is actually two speakers in one. You connect both the left and right channels to this speaker so that you get stereo sound out of one speaker (great for distributed audio, not so hot for stereo imaging). You can also wire them as a single channel if you want to set them up as a stereo pair.
The Klipsch AWR-650 rock speakers reach down to 66Hz and have a single 6.5″ woofer and two 3/4″ tweeters (the woofer has two voice coils, one for each channel). The price of the speaker changes based on color but expect to pay around $300 each for these bad boys.
Best Overall Outdoor Speaker: Yamaha NS-AW592
The Yamaha NS-AW592 comes in white or black and is our go-to recommendation for outdoor speakers. These sealed speakers have a 6.5″ woofer and a 1″ tweeter. They are rated down to 55Hz. These speakers have larger and smaller brethren but we feel these are the best all-around option.
The integrated mounting solution works on walls or ceilings and these can be placed on tables as well. While they are all-weather, Yamaha recommends you mount them under an eve to protect them from the rain and snow. These speakers are good enough that you could use them indoors as surround speakers. They run around $300 a pair so they aren’t cheap. But you definitely get what you pay for in this case.
Best Outdoor Speaker for Bass: Definitive Technology AW6500
If you are looking for a bass-heavy outdoor music experience, we like the Definitive Technology AW6500. These speakers have a 6.5″ woofer, a 1″ tweeter, and a 5.5″ by 10″ oval passive radiator. The passive radiator acts like a port increasing the bass response down to an impressive 40Hz.
Like the other speakers, they have an integrated mounting plate. We’d highly recommend you place these under an eve if possible with the drivers firing toward the listening area and the passive radiator firing into a wall or other surface. This will increase the bass even more through boundary reinforcement.
For this sort of performance, you’d expect to pay extra and you’d be correct. The Definitive Technology AW6500 run $200 each.
What about you? Do you have outdoor speakers? Which outdoor speakers do you think are the best? Let us know in the comments.