One of my favorite DIY projects is installing a new sound system. You’ve conquered the indoors and now it’s time to find the best patio outdoor speakers. Whether it’s for your outdoor TV or just a bit of background music while you’re chilling outside, installing outdoor speakers can enhance the experience. No one wants to have to lug speakers, cables etc for a bit of background music at the BBQ. Spend an afternoon installing your outdoor speaker system and you’re set. No more running cables across the living room and out the window or playing music through a small Bluetooth speaker that’s distorting because you have to turn it up loud to be heard over your guests.
But What About The Neighbors?
If you are concerned about your neighbors, then installing outdoor speakers could be a better option than what you are currently using. If you have an outdoor TV, chances are the speakers are at the rear of the TV. This means you are probably turning the sound up loud, to hear properly or get decent clarity from the TV’s built in speakers. If you are using a portable Bluetooth speaker, again, you’re probably turning this up loud to get any decent sound out of it. This is where outdoor speakers can have a positive impact for both you and the neighbors and here’s why…
Your installed outdoor or patio speakers will deliver more clarity and sound quality, even at lower levels. You can install the outdoor speakers closer to where you hang out which means you don’t have to turn the sound up as loud. So, if you are concerned about the neighbors, installing the best outdoor speakers your money can buy will be good for both you and your neighbor. Having said that, you can still pump it up from occasionally to impress your friends and annoy the neighbors.
Our Selection of the Best Patio Outdoor Speakers
We’ve put together a selection of the best patio outdoor speakers for our readers. In this selection, you’ll find something for everyone from cheap outdoor speakers, wireless outdoor speakers as well as some premium outdoor speakers for those who want to impress.
This article focuses on the compact patio outdoor speaker. This type of outdoor speaker is best suited for easy listening, background music, improving the sound for outdoor TVs or small parties and gatherings.
Polk Audio Atrium Series Outdoor Speakers
Polk Audio Atrium Series
Polk Audio has become synonymous with affordable home audio equipment. The Atrium Outdoor Speaker Series is designed specifically for outdoor use. Even though these outdoor speakers are designed to withstand the harsh outdoor conditions, Polk recommends you mount the Atriums where there is some cover. So under the eaves for example. This will prolong the life of the outdoor speaker.
The anodized aluminum tweeter domes include rubber surrounds to provide ultimate protection from the elements. The input and speaker terminals are gold plated to prevent against corrosion and offer a superior connection. Polk Audio has designed and tested the Atriums to withstand the worst elements including salt, fog, UV, extreme temperature changes or heavy rains.
The Polk Audio Atrium Outdoor Speakers come in white or black color options. If you would like the speakers to blend in with surrounding decor, wall color or vegetation, then it’s recommended you purchase the white color option which can then be painted. Polk have included instructions on how to paint your Atrium outdoor speakers in the user manual.
We have looked at three options for the Polk Audio Atrium Series, the 4, 5 and 6. We’ll look at each of these three outdoor speakers in detail to give you a better idea of which will be best suited to your needs.
The Atrium outdoor speaker design offers a wide dispersion of sound to cover a greater area. This is important for outdoor speaker design where the sound isn’t focused in one area like the sofa in front of the TV for example.
Another shared feature of the Atrium Outdoor Speaker Series is Polk’s Speed-Lock Mounting System. This mounting system allows you to mount the bracket on the wall or pole, and then pop the speaker onto the bracket and tighten either end. If you are familiar with mounting speakers on a bracket, you will know this can be a tricky procedure to line up the screws and fasten the speaker in place, especially by yourself.
The Atrium 4 & 5 are best suited as patio outdoor speakers. These speakers perform best in small, confined outdoor environments. The Atrium 6 is slightly bigger than the 4 & 5 and delivers more bottom end or bass frequencies. The Atrium 6 is also going to perform better in open spaces like across your pool room or even backyard. In smaller spaces, the Atrium 6 will offer more clarity and defined bass, even at lower volumes.
If you are on a tight budget, then, the Atrium 4 or 5 will be the preferred option with the 4’s coming in at under $100. If you are looking for superior sound quality and more volume, then, the Atrium 6 will be the better option.
Polk Audio Atrium Series Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Polk Audio Atrium Series Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Brackets
- User Manual
One issue with small speakers is they lack bass frequencies. Definitive Technology have addressed this shortcoming with the AW6500 by adding a bass radiator or bass driver. The bass radiator is located on the opposite side of the mid-range and tweeter drivers. Bass is omnidirectional so doesn’t have to face any specific direction to be effective. If you intend mounting your AW6500 outdoor speaker close the eaves, ceiling, wall or other hard surface, the bass will be accentuated when reflecting off these surfaces. Definitive Technology has made it easy to identify which way to direct the AW6500 by placing the logo on the side with the tweeter. So you’d need to face the logo towards the area you wish to cover.
While the AW6500 outdoor speaker can be installed as a single speaker, to be truly effective, you would want to purchase a pair. The speakers are designed for wide sound dispersion and are just as effective mounted vertically or horizontally. The aluminum grilles, PolyStone enclosure and fully sealed design ensures the AW6500 can be installed where it is fully exposed to the elements. While this outdoor speaker is weatherproofed, Definitive Technology recommend you mount the AW6500 where the speaker won’t be 100% exposed to the elements like the eaves of your roof. This cover will ensure the extended life of your outdoor speaker.
Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker – What’s in the Box?
- 1 x Definitive Technology AW6500 Outdoor Speaker
- 1 x Mounting Bracket
- User Manual
Yamaha is possibly one of the top 5 professional audio manufacturers in the world. The company is renowned for the high quality of their products and excellent after-sales service. The Yamaha NS-AW150 is the most affordable in our list of the best patio outdoor speakers. These ultra-compact outdoor speakers deliver a wide sound dispersion and can be just as effective whether mounted vertically or horizontally. Yamaha recommends the NS-AW150’s should be mounted no further than 6’10” apart. This will ensure good audio coverage. Should your outdoor area is greater than 400ft² consider installing a second pair of NS-AW150s opposite your primary pair.
Yamaha has included a magnetic shield in NS-AW150s. This will prevent any magnetic interference if placed near a flat-screen TV. The NS-AW150s speaker enclosure is sealed to protect against rain, snow, dust, and insects. While these outdoor speakers are weatherproofed, it is advised to install the NS-AW150s in a position offering some protection like the eaves of a roof. Yamaha has included a safety cable for each speaker. In the unlikely event that the speakers come loose, the safety cable will prevent the speaker from falling, possibly inflicting injury. If you are installing these outdoor speakers in a public area, this is a safety feature most health and safety regulations will require. So this is a small convenience and cost saving.
The Yamaha NS-AW150s are available in black or white. If you wish to customize the color, you can purchase the white and paint them. Instructions on how to protect the speaker when applying paint can be found in the user manual.
Yamaha NS-AW150 2-Way Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Yamaha NS-AW150 2-Way Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Bracket
- 2 x Mounting Bases (Vertical Installations)
- 2 x Brackets for Safety Wires
- 2 x Safety Wires
- User Manual
Klipsch is undoubtedly the leaders in consumer audio. This American brand design and manufacture products to the highest quality and standards. As Klipsch is a US-based company after sales service and support is easily accessible across the country. This makes purchasing any Klipsch product a safe option.
The Klipsch AW-650 Outdoor Speakers are enclosed in a UV-resistant ABS enclosure with rustproof aluminum grille. The zinc C-bracket, stainless steel hardware and easy draining input cup mean the AW-650s are built to survive wet and snow conditions.
With a 350W power handling and 95dB sensitivity, the Klipsch AW-650s pack a serious punch with a surprising amount of bass and definition. These outdoor speakers will easily full most garden patios and will sound crisp and clear at both low and high volumes with minimal distortion. In fact, you will probably find you will rarely need to turn these outdoor speakers up full. They’re seriously loud given the compact size. If you are serious about your outdoor speaker setup and have a good budget allocated, then the Klipsch AW-650s are the best patio outdoor speakers we can recommend.
Like most outdoor speakers on the market, the AW-650s are available in black and white. Klipsch provides special instructions for painting the speakers inside the owner’s manual.
Klipsch AW-650 Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Klipsch AW-650 Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Bracket
- User Manual
OSD stands for Outdoor Speaker Depot so you know these guys are focused on manufacturing the best outdoor speakers. The OSD Audio AP670 are part of OSD’s patio range of outdoor speakers. The ABS polymer frame, rustproof grille and sealed make the AP670s fully weatherproof and protect against the elements. The gold plated connectors offer both resistance to rust and superior connection. Having noted these weatherproofing features, the AP670s are not going to stand up to excessive direct rain and wet conditions. It is recommended to install these outdoor speakers on a covered patio or under the eaves of your roof.
The OSD Audio AP670s come with specially designed bass ports between the speaker driver and tweeter. This bass port delivers improved bass which often lacks in compact speakers. The AP670s are designed to be mounted vertically and horizontally and deliver a wide sound dispersion in either position. A pair of these outdoor speakers will perform well in small to medium size patios but wouldn’t be recommended for open areas. For larger patios consider adding a second pair of AP670s.
The AP670s come in black and white. OSD Audio have included instructions on how to paint these outdoor speakers in the owner’s manual should you wish to do so.
OSD Audio AP670 Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x OSD Audio AP670 Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Brackets
- User Manual
The Dual Electronics LU53P are the most affordable outdoor speakers featured in this article. At under $60, a pair LU53Ps won’t break the bank but they probably won’t break sound records either. These low cost outdoor speakers are recommended for small patios where you don’t need a significant amount of volume. With the frequency response starting at 100Hz, the LU53Ps don’t offer much in the way of bass either.
The speakers are coated in a UV resistant resin and housed in a ABS enclosure to protect against the elements. Gold coated connectors prevent against corrosion and offer good audio connection. The Dual Electronics LU53P outdoor speakers are manufactured and tested to be weatherproof but not waterproof. These outdoor speakers will not be affected by slight amounts of moisture from dew but will not survive wet conditions including rain. Dual Electronics do however manufacture the LU53P as waterproof rock speaker which can be placed out in the elements.
The LU53Ps deliver a wide sound dispersion. This wide dispersion is effective whether mounted vertically or horizontally. The grille on the LU53P cannot be removed and therefore cannot be painted to your preferred color. The outdoor speaker is however available in black, white and waterproof rock for the garden.
Dual Electronics LU53P Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Dual Electronics LU53P Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Brackets
- User Manual
The simple yet stylish Yamaha NS-AW194 outdoor speakers will look good in most living spaces, both indoor and outdoor. The NS-AW194 are both weatherproof and waterproof with an IPX3 waterproof rating. The IPX3 rating gives protection of direct water sprays 60° from the top of the device. This means your Yamaha NS-AW194 outdoor speakers will be protected from rain but probably won’t survive a splash from the pool or sprinkler system which would usually come from below the speaker. Even with the IPX3 rating, you would not want to mount the NS-AW194 speakers in a position where they will receive direct rain or sunlight. Some cover from a patio roof or eaves would be best advised.
The NS-AW194 outdoor speakers can be mounted either vertically or horizontally. In the vertical position, they deliver an 81° dispersion pattern. This is wide enough for a pair of these speakers to cover most patios. If you plan to mount in the horizontal, you would want
to mount at between 30°-45° downward facing. This will offer good dispersion from a wall mount. Ideally, the NS-AW194 would be best mounted on the ceiling angled 45° down from the ceiling towards the area you wish to cover. The Yamaha NS-AW194 will lack some bass with the frequency response only starting from 100Hz. These speakers would be best suited for general background music or as a speaker upgrade for your outdoor TV. The Yamaha NS-AW194 is available in black or white.
Yamaha NS-AW194 Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Yamaha NS-AW194 Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Brackets
- User Manual
If you’re after the convenience of outdoor Bluetooth speakers offer then, the Sound Appeal BT Blast Pro is what you’re after. The BT Blast Pro are tested and rated as both weatherproof and waterproof. This means you can install these outdoor speakers anywhere in the backyard. Weatherproofing includes a protective UV resistant enclosure, powder-coated aluminum grille and, stainless steel screws. Rubber surrounds the speaker driver to prevent water and moisture from getting into the speakers. Even the power switch is waterproof!
The BT Blast Pro wireless outdoor speakers are active with a built-in high power Class D amplifier. This means all these outdoor speakers need is a power from the socket and connection from a Bluetooth device to play audio. No amp or receiver required. Each speaker delivers 40W RMS with a combined output of 80W. This is sufficient to fill most patios, however, a pair of these wireless outdoor speakers may battle to deliver sufficient volume for open areas like the yard.
The Sound Appeal BT Blast Pro Wireless Outdoor Speakers can pair any Bluetooth device up to a distance of 60 feet. Perfect for most backyards. One downside to the BT Blast Pro is there is no hardwired input. This means you can only connect via Bluetooth. If you have a TV or other device without Bluetooth, this does limit these outdoor speakers to Bluetooth devices only.
The BT Blasts are available in black or white, these speakers cannot be painted.
Sound Appeal BT Blast Pro Wireless Outdoor Speakers – What’s in the Box?
- 2 x Sound Appeal BT Blast Pro Wireless Outdoor Speakers
- 2 x Mounting Brackets
- User Manual
Here’s a quick recap of the best patio outdoor speakers and which option would be best for your needs. Remember to always check the recommendations from the manufacturer. Some outdoor speakers are weatherproof but not waterproof. This can make a big difference where you install the speakers outdoors.
The Cheapest Outdoor Speakers
If you are looking for a cheap pair of outdoor speakers then the Dual Electronics LU53P will be your best bet. The LU53P come in at a little under $60. These outdoor speakers are good for smaller patios. The LU53P will be great for background music and will certainly offer better sound quality than your outdoor TV’s built-in speakers. The LU53P lacks some power and bass so you would need to take this into consideration. For less than $20 more you might want to consider the Yamaha NS-AW150. The Yamaha’s will deliver more bass than the Dual Electronics. Yamaha after sales service and support is also far better.
Best Quality Outdoor Speakers
When it comes to the best quality patio outdoor speakers, the Klipsch AW-650 far exceed the competition. The AW-650 will also be the loudest and most durable outdoor speakers featured in this article. The Klipsch are the most expensive, however, if you have ever owned a Klipsch product, you know the cost is justified. The design and internal electronics are of the highest standard. This American brand offers exceptional after sales and support all over the US.
The Best Wireless Outdoor Speaker
The Sound Appeal BT Blast is our best Bluetooth outdoor speakers. The BT Blast are fully waterproof and weatherproof, built for the harshest outdoor conditions. If you have a pool party these speakers can be placed near the pool without worrying about damage from water splashes. The convenience of Bluetooth means you can change the music without needing to get up.
Best Outdoor Speaker System
If you intend on installing a full speaker system with multiple speakers in your outdoor area, then the Polk Audio Atrium Series is the best option. Apart from the 4, 5 and 6 we have featured in this article, the Atrium also includes the high powered Atrium 8, a 10” outdoor subwoofer and the ultra-compact satellite speaker Atrium SAT30. This diverse system means you can install the perfectly suited speaker to cover each specific area you wish to cover. Polk Audio also manufacture the amplification and processing for their outdoor speaker range.
The Best Outdoor Speakers Buyers Guide
To help you find the best outdoor speakers, we’ve put together a brief buyers guide to help you understand the terminology and decide which outdoor speaker is right for you. One thing I cannot stress enough is to always read the user manual, especially when it comes to outdoor electronics. The manufacturer will always list the limitations of the outdoor speaker which, if not followed correctly, could mean your outdoor speakers live a short life.
Weatherproof vs Waterproof
Be aware that there is a difference between weatherproof and waterproof. A weatherproof speaker does not mean it is waterproof. Weatherproof speakers are designed to be installed outside and can handle some moisture, rust, dust, and insects but unless the manufacturer states the outdoor speaker is waterproof, do not assume they are.
Waterproof speakers are designed to withstand direct exposure to water like splashes from the pool or rain. These outdoor speakers include resin coated speaker cones sealed with rubber to prevent water from entering the speaker enclosure.
What is Frequency Response?
The frequency response is an important feature that many buyers over look when purchasing any type of speaker. Checking the frequency response of your outdoor speaker is important because it’ll tell you what the speakers will sound like. Human ears typically hear frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. This is typically referred to as a full-range speaker because it is the full range of our hearing.
20Hz to around 250Hz is your bass frequency range. Without these frequencies, your speakers will sound “thin” or treble heavy. This will be okay for speech but music, movies, and games won’t sound as rich.
250Hz to around 1kHz is your mid frequency range. This is where you get definition in your sound. Without the mid-range, your speakers will sound muffled.
1kHz to 20kHz is your treble or “highs”. This is where you get sibilance and clarity from your speakers. Without the high-range, your speakers will sound muffled and harsh, much like a megaphone.
So the goal when selecting the best outdoor speaker is to aim for as close to 20Hz to 20kHz as possible.
Active vs Passive Outdoor Speakers
One of the most common descriptions of speakers is whether they’re active or passive. This is important because it will determine whether or not you will need an external amplifier. The purchase of an amplifier or receiver for your passive outdoor speakers obviously influences cost.
Active Outdoor Speakers
Active or powered speakers have a built-in amplifier. This means all they need is electricity from a socket, an audio feed and you’re good to go. In a pair of active speakers, usually one is active and the other passive. The amplifier from the primary speaker powers the second speaker via a standard speaker cable.
When purchasing an active outdoor speaker, make sure where you plan to install the speaker is covered. Active speakers are connected directly to your mains so any water getting inside the power socket will trip your power or damage the speaker. Check whether or not your active outdoor speaker is waterproof if you intend installing in the open.
Passive Outdoor Speakers
Passive speakers require an external amplifier or receiver to get power and audio signal. In many cases, especially if you require stereo sound or, your amplifier can only power one speaker, you will need to run two separate cables, one to each speaker.
Active vs Passive – Which do I Choose?
Active outdoor speakers can be a little more pricey than passive speakers however, you’re eliminating the cost of an amplifier or receiver. There is usually less speaker cabling to run, especially for outdoor speakers.
In an outdoor environment where socket power might be far from the primary speaker, passive speakers might be the better option. You also need to consider audio input. A receiver for passive outdoor speakers may be easier to access to plug in your laptop, mobile phone or TV. Audio signal for active outdoor speakers must be plugged in at the primary speaker. Unless of course, you have active wireless outdoor speakers which can be paired via Bluetooth.
What is Speaker Impedance?
The simple explanation of speaker impedance is the resistance the speaker applies to the amplifier’s current or voltage output. Typical outdoor speakers are going to be rated 6 or 8 ohms. For the purposes of this article, it won’t be necessary to go into too much detail. All you want to ensure is to make sure your outdoor speakers match the impedance output of your receiver or amplifier.
What is Speaker Sensitivity and Power Output?
Speaker sensitivity is measured by placing a microphone 1 meter away and then running the speaker as loud as possible at 1 Watt. So the higher your speaker sensitivity, the louder the volume of your outdoor speakers. The sensitivity is measured in decibel or dB.
Speakers also have a power rating measured in watt or W. For a passive speaker this will be a recommendation of the amplifier output. For active speakers, this will tell you the power output of the built-in amplifier. The higher the wattage, the louder the speaker.
Wireless Outdoor Speakers
A feature many consumers look for in speakers today is wireless or Bluetooth. Wireless outdoor speakers are almost always active making them the easiest outdoor speaker option available. All you need to do is mount the wireless speakers, power them via a socket and you’re good to go. Aesthetically, wireless outdoor speakers will look better without the need for power and audio. Some wireless outdoor speakers come with cable and Bluetooth inputs which means you can have your primary device permanently plugged in and then connect a Bluetooth device when needed.
Installing Outdoor Speakers
When installing outdoor speakers, you need to keep a few things in mind. Outdoor conditions can be brutal for electronics. Even if your outdoor speakers are weatherproof and waterproof, you will want to try to install your speakers where they will be at least partially covered. If you do plan to install your speakers in the open, try fit them so you can easily remove the speakers and bring them indoors when you don’t intend using them for extended periods of time. If you live near the ocean, you would want to store your speakers indoors as often as possible. Salt air is very unforgiving, even for the most waterproofed outdoor speakers.
The speakers are not the only part of the installation you need to weatherproof. Make sure you include some weatherproof cabling and connectors with your outdoor speakers. Wherever possible, bury any cabling to protect from UV and other possible damage.
If you plan to mount your outdoor speakers, consider using safety cables. Safety cables are used in professional installations as an extra safety measure in case the speaker bracket fails or the speaker is somehow knocked off the bracket. Not only will your safety cable stop the speaker from falling on someone but also prevent against damage from a fall. Safety cables can be purchased ready-made or you can purchase some 7×7 stainless steel wire and make them yourself. Make sure the safety cable is rated for at least 3 times the weight of your speaker. This will ensure the cable will hold up against the jerk of the slack from a possible fall.
Painting Outdoor Speakers
If you want your outdoor speakers to blend in with decor or surrounding vegetation, a good option is to paint the speakers. Most manufacturers will offer a white, paintable model of their outdoor speaker. Painting speakers will involve some disassembly and cover of connectors, speaker cone, and tweeter. Details of how to paint your outdoor speakers and what precautions to take will be found in the user’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.
To recap on the above-mentioned speakers, and to help you choose between the provided options; here is a quick table summary that compares the various features of each speaker to help you pick the perfect speaker for you.