The 7 Best Outdoor and Backyard Speakers of 2020

Relax on your deck and listen to some tunes with these outdoor speakers

The best outdoor and backyard speakers deliver the high-quality audio you'd expect from indoor speakers, but in a rugged chassis that will shield them from the elements (or the occasional splash). Wireless connectivity is also often key, of course: the last thing you want to deal with when you're lounging poolside is a bunch of cumbersome (and potentially dangerous) electrical cords.

Bose's 251 at Amazon, while not the most evocatively named speaker in creation, is an awesome fit for outdoor parties or patio entertaining. It delivers the high-quality audio that's become a hallmark of Bose products, and is water, heat, and cold resistant. It's the best outdoor speaker available, and a great backyard complement to some of the choices on our best affordable bookshelf speaker roundup.

Best Overall: Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor Speakers

With a design that’s perfect for the great outdoors, music fans looking for a high-end experience backed by a strong name should look to the Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor Speakers. Built to withstand the elements, the Bose is made of a water-resistant composite that’s tough enough to handle the hottest of hot (158 degrees Fahrenheit) and the coldest of cold (-40-degrees Fahrenheit) without skipping a beat.

The design offers an extra powerful sound that’s more than loud enough to be heard whether you're in your yard or on your patio, thanks to two 2.5-inch full-range drivers and a 5.25-inch woofer. Easily installed, the included mounting kit lets you place the Bose on a wall, overhang or even hang from a horizontal surface (think shelves or railings).

If you're trying to build a large set-up, you may want to read up on some tips on how to experience home theater outdoors.

Best Value: Kicker KB6000 Speakers

When you’re trying to find the best overall outdoor speakers for your deck or backyard, you’ll likely want a well-rounded speaker that doesn’t break the bank. Look no further than the Kicker KB6000 Full Range Indoor/Outdoor/Marine Speakers.

These 6.5-inch Kicker speakers measure 17 x 15 x 10 inches and weigh 15.2 pounds total. They have a maximum power of 150 watts per pair and frequency response between 55 Hz and 21 kHz. This means they can get loud while still conveying good, if not great, sound quality. Music especially will sound robust, with clear mids and highs and fair bass.

Customers said these speakers are perfect for personal backyards, decks and pools, but not powerful enough for a large outdoor event space. They also note that these speakers are fairly easy to install.

Best Hidden: Niles RS8Si Granite Pro Weatherproof Rock Loudspeaker

When it comes to adding music to your backyard, you'll likely want outdoor speakers that don't detract from the natural scenery, which makes the Niles RS8Si Granite Pro Weatherproof Rock Loudspeaker is a great choice. Featuring a no-fade protective paint to help against the elements, this weatherproof option surpasses military standards to help prevent corrosion. Whether you live up north where the seasons can all happen in one day or the south where the power of the sun can beat down, the Niles is designed to handle a variety of environmental conditions. Inside the four-layer fiberglass construction is an eight-inch two-way, dual tweet high-performance loudspeaker that can output sound in mono, two-speaker or single-speaker stereo output for exceptional audio performance. Weighing only 30 pounds, the Niles hardly distracts from the view, thanks to a realistic look that fits nearly everywhere in the backyard.  

Best Budget: Dual Electronics LU43PB 100 Watt 3-Way Indoor/Outdoor Speakers

If you need outdoor speakers on a rock-bottom budget, you’ll want to take a look at the Dual Electronics LU43PB 100-watt speakers. These weather-proof speakers measure 8.25 x 5.25 x 5.25 inches each and each woofer is four inches, so they are small enough to fit just about anywhere you want to place them and durable enough to last in the sun or next to the pool.

When it comes to sound, the LU43PB three-way speakers offer a frequency response between 100 Hz and 20,000 Hz and will play as loud as 85.5 dB. Each speaker has a 40mm poly cone and a 20mm tweeter piezo dome, which also work to improve sound quality.

Best for Portability: Bose S1 Pro

Believe it or not, Bose is sort of new to the outdoor/pro audio speaker game, having really only broken on to the scene a little bit ago with their tower PA systems. But, even so, with a track record like Bose's, you know their audio quality is top notch. The S1 Pro is their take on the battery-powered backyard speaker, but they’ve built this one to be able to work for a lot more applications, too.

First off, this battery-powered wedge speaker serves as a Bluetooth speaker, letting you pair your phone or music player to it and the sizeable, rechargeable battery offers up to 11 hours of play time. Bose has also added the incremental benefits of a two-channel mixer right on-board, letting you plug in two microphones or line-in instruments. And if all that weren’t enough, Bose has shaped the chassis with plenty of flat edges so you can position it in any direction and they’ve included built-in sensors that will adjust the output EQ to match the angle. It’s all pretty ingenious, and because it’s a rugged, battery-powered amp, it’ll go wherever you take your party.

Best Design: Audio Experience AES0003

While Audio Experience isn’t the first company to release an omni-directional submersible speaker, they can claim the best and most up-to-date unit with this completely redesigned model. The camouflaged unit can be buried up to ⅔" of the speaker grill and delivers true hi-fidelity sound in your backyard at a powerful 200 watts.

The upgraded eight-inch speaker driver uses proprietary technology to deliver a greater frequency for clear-balanced sound with deep bass and crystal highs. In addition to the powerful sound, this omni speaker is built with cabinetry that can resist extreme conditions. The speakers are guaranteed to last over 1,000 hours with high moisture, heat and UV resistance.

Final Verdict

For most, Bose's high quality 251 Environmental Speaker system will be the best option for rocking out outside. For a less pricey option that still delivers great sound, however, consider the Kicker KB6000.

What to Look for in Outdoor and Backyard Speakers

Weatherproofing - Solid protection against the elements — including water and ultraviolet light — is an absolute must-have. Outdoor speakers can last for years if they have decent weatherproofing, but you’ll be lucky to get a single season out of a regular speaker left outside in the same conditions.

Connectivity - Wireless outdoor speakers are extremely easy to set up and use, but wired speakers are more reliable and have the potential to offer higher-quality sound. If you plan on using your phone to play music most of the time, Bluetooth might still be the best choice, but nothing beats the reliability and sound quality of physical speaker wires.

Wattage - A pair of speakers rated at 60 watts each will do if your yard is less than 300 square feet, but go for a higher rating if you’re working with a bigger space. (A set of 200-watt speakers will provide coverage for about 1,000 square feet of backyard.)