The real joy of summer–whether at the beach or hosting a bonfire at home–is making the most of the warm weather. Hanging out, having a few beers, and sharing in some laughs with friends is only half the formula. It really comes down to ambiance to turn a get-together into a real party.
For me, that means music. Adding a little bit of background noise can set the tone for a party and drown out some of the more distracting parts of being outdoors, like a neighbor’s noisy kids or living close to a road. And in these cases an iPhone won’t cut it. Instead, I need something a bit louder that can keep up with the vibe of the night, while also being durable enough that I don’t feel the need to be precious with it. Accidents happen–beer gets spilled, summer showers can come out of nowhere–but the party should keep going either way.
What To Look For in an Outdoor Speaker
There are a few features to keep in mind when looking for outdoor speaker worth purchasing. Making sure that it’s one that will last, work seamlessly with your phone, and is weather-safe are all key for your next outdoor speaker. Other things to consider include:
- Durability: A quality outdoor speaker should be durable enough to withstand various weather conditions and physical impacts. It should have a sturdy and waterproof construction to protect the internal components from moisture and dust. Ideally, it should also have shock-resistant features to prevent damage from accidental drops or impacts.
- Sound Quality: One of the most important features of a quality outdoor speaker is its sound quality. It should be able to produce clear, balanced, and powerful sound, helping to drown out unwanted background noises, which will help to keep the energy up without the distractions which come with being outdoors
- Battery Life: Battery life is key to an outdoor speaker. Whether it uses batteries or is rechargeable, having a long battery life will keep you from worrying about needing to find an outlet if it drains too quickly when you’re outside and everyone is having fun.
- Wireless Range: You’ll definitely want something that doesn’t skip or have static, but connects seamlessly to your phone. Look for something with Bluetooth 5.0 technology or higher, which offers faster data transfer rates and longer range than older versions, meaning a more stable connection that won’t skip, ruining the vibe of your well-curated playlist.
- Weight: The last thing you want is to be lugging a heft device around, especially if your yard has multiple hangout points, like a hot tub and firepit. Keeping it lightweight also means you can pack it for camping trips, beach days, or to just have on hand for wherever Summer vacation may take you.
The Best Portable Outdoor Speakers You Can Buy Right Now
JBL Charge Five
The JBL speaker will tick most of the boxes for those looking to invest in a new speaker. Coming in at just under two pounds, it’s compact enough to take with you wherever you go, but don’t let the size fool you–it can keep up with much larger speakers on the market. Equipped with an optimized long excursion driver, a separate tweeter, and dual bass radiators, it will produce a rich sound quality for up to 20 hours of playtime.
Sonos has made a name for itself as a high-quality brand that brings best-in-class audio to homes. Their Roam model exemplifies this. A tower design that’s as much form as it is function, the Roam portable speaker produces an amplified quality sound with all the bells and whistles modern tech-heads look for. This includes voice enabled commands, a 10-hour battery life, and a seamless conneciton with Apple Airplay. While it may seem sleek, it’s also a durable speaker, being both drop-resistant and waterproof with an IP67 rating.
Marshall Emberton II
If you’re looking for a retro design, Marshall will be your go-to option. Looking to past designs as a starting point, the Emberton II is a modern wolf in vintage sheep’s clothing. Boasting a whopping 30-hours of play, this is a speaker that’s meant for all day (and all night!) use. The audio function on the Emberton is also worth mentioning. It can sync up with other Marshall devices to create a fuller experience, utilizing True Stereophonic, a unique form of multi-directional sound from Marshall that creates a 360-degree audioscape. And if you’re worried about this little guy withstanding the elements, don’t be. It’s got a IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating, so a little dirt or rain won’t hurt you from rocking out.
For entertaining or keeping your patio party-ready all year long, the Polk Atrium6 would be your best option. Designed to either remain portable or be mounted, the Atrium6 provides a well-rounded audio quality that doesn’t skimp on the details. Built to maintain the elements (even snow!), the Atrium6 ensures that any time of year can be a good excuse for a party. At 5.4 pounds, it’s a design that’s still portable but perhaps best to stay put, which shouldn’t be a problem, as the Atrium6 boasts a frequency range of 50Hz-27kHz.
Bose SoundLink Flex
Bose’s SoundLink Flex punches way above its weight class in terms of audio quality and overall portability. In a small pill-shaped speaker that’s barely eight inches and less than two pounds, you’re looking at one of the top speakers on the market at a great price point. Meant to be used, the Bose SoundLink Flex is built for everyday life when music can enhance the mood. Able to pair with other Bose speakers, you can create your own stereophonic environment or put it in your bag and hit the road. It’s got 12-hours of playtime and even if you drop it in the pool, it’ll be okay. It’s totally waterproof, meaning it’s totally worry-proof.Buy Now $129