The 6 Best Tailgate Speakers

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Tailgate parties are embedded in American culture, bringing like-minded sports fans together in celebration. Even if your team loses, you can always fall back on the success of a good tailgate meetup. Music and microphones are essential for tailgating, and having the right speaker for the task is paramount. These tailgate speakers will ensure your next event is one to remember.

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Features of Tailgate Speakers

Any speaker can be used for tailgating, but the best speakers for tailgating are those that have the following traits:

  • Loudness: Speakers that produce more than 90 dB are well-suited for tailgate use, but ones with over 100 dB have a big advantage, as they are less likely to be drowned out by other tailgaters.
  • Microphone input: A microphone input is essential to MC and hype up the crowd.
  • Waterproofing: A robust IP or IPX rating ensures the speaker is protected from rain and spilled drinks.

Some people prefer light, compact party speakers that are easy to transport in their vehicle, while others put more focus on volume, which is typically better the bigger the speaker is. Below is our list of the best tailgate speakers and a quick review for each:

1. ION Block Rocker

The 6 Best Tailgate Speakers 1
  • Power: 120 W
  • Battery: 35 hrs
  • Weight: 20.5 lbs
  • Size: 8.13 x 14.49 x 17.87″

Noteworthy Features

  • IPX5 waterproofing
  • Mobile app support
  • 120W Output
  • FM Radio
  • Built-in wheels

The ION Block Rocker is ideal for tailgating parties. It features a built-in microphone, long-lasting battery, and IPX5 waterproofed design, to keep the party going throughout the day no matter the weather. The inclusion of built-in wheels and a carry handle makes it easy to transport, despite weighing 20 lbs.

The Block Rocker comes equipped with an 8″ woofer, two 4″ midrange drivers, and a 2″ tweeter. These drivers are positioned to provide a wide sound spread that is ideal for tailgating, where not everyone is going to be seated directly in front of the speaker. It can produce more than 90 dB of volume while covering a broad area.

It’s been updated to include modern Bluetooth connectivity, ensuring a reliable connection with low latency. If you prefer a wired connection, there is a 1/8″ aux input and a USB drive as alternative options. Additionally, it offers an FM radio option.

The Block Rocker also comes with mobile app support, a massive benefit that lets you adjust the sound quality directly from your phone by using the equalizer. The app also gives the ability to adjust the lighting effects.

Looking to take your tailgating to the next level and need more coverage? Pair two Block Rockers together in TWS for a stereo pairing that increases soundstage and power.

Pros

  • Long-lasting battery (35 hours of playtime)
  • Wide sound spread
  • Mobile app for additional control
  • Clear sound

Cons

  • No dust protection rating
  • May be too bulky for some environments

2. JBL PartyBox Encore Essential

jbl partybox encore essential front
  • Power: 100 W
  • Battery: 6 hrs
  • Weight: 13 lbs
  • Size: 10.87 x 12.87 x 11.54″

Noteworthy Features

  • Built-in lighting
  • TWS support
  • Supported by the JBL PartyBox App
  • Bass Boost function

JBL’s PartyBox range consists of several medium to large speakers intended for party purposes. The Encore Essential is one of the smaller speakers in this series and is great for tailgating.

It has an IPX4 water resistance rating, protecting it from gentle splashes and sprays, including light rainfall. The exterior is made from durable plastic that can handle the bumps we expect from tailgating adventures and the built-in carry handle makes it very easy to move around.

You can expect JBL’s engineering standards to shine through, with clear and balanced sound. Even when you push the Encore Essential’s volume up, it retains clarity and can reach an impressive 95 dB of volume. Need more bass or want to improve vocal frequencies? No problem, either use the Bass Boost feature to bring up the lows or use JBL’s PartyBox app for further refinement.

You can even pair two of these speakers together in TWS for a true stereo connection that splits each speaker into a dedicated left and right channel option.

Battery life isn’t the star of the show, but the Encore Essential is still rated for up to 6 hours of playtime and can achieve that with a relatively high volume level being used.

Pros

  • Balanced sound
  • Mobile app support
  • Gets loud
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Limited waterproofing
  • Not many additional features

3. Monster Rockin’ Roller 270

monster rockin roller 270
  • Power: 200 W
  • Battery: 100 hrs
  • Weight: 28.7 lbs
  • Size: 13.2 x 10.8 x 18.6″

Noteworthy Features:

  • Powerful sound
  • Long-lasting battery
  • QI wireless charging
  • TWS pairing

For a tailgate speaker that can also be used in practically any scenario, the Monster Rockin’ Roller is praised for its incredibly sustainable battery life, capable of running for up to 100 hours on a single charge. The Monster hosts all the standard features you could want in a tailgate speaker, plus more. Let’s take a deeper look.

The Monster’s power handling capabilities are simply astonishing considering the size of the speaker, which is capable of outputting up to 200 Watts of power.

Using QI wireless charging technology, the onboard battery can also charge your mobile device. 

As for sound quality, the Monster directs sound in a 270-degree radius due to the front and side-mounted drivers. These drivers create a lot of volume, reaching more than 95 dB (almost as much as a subway train). It produces a clear sound that will be sure to leave your neighboring tailgaters jealous. Additionally, you can activate the Bass or Treble boost function on the control panel for further enhancement and get your car shaking. 

The Monster supports True Wireless Stereo connectivity that lets you pair two together for stereo sound. As for connectivity options, the Monster supports Bluetooth pairing and offers two inputs for microphones or guitars, where each channel’s input gain and echo level can be adjusted independently. 

The Monster also accepts an auxiliary input and an output if you wish to extend the output signal to another speaker.

The Rockin’ Roller is one of many speakers that have built-in wheels to make transportation easier. Its wheels are some of the largest and most durable we’ve come across, so moving it is easy, no matter what the terrain.

Pros

  • Lots of features
  • 200W output power
  • Wireless stereo pairing

Cons

  • Useless sound directionality in enclosed spaces
  • Large size and weight
  • Limited sound customization options

4. Anker Soundcore Boom 2

The 6 Best Tailgate Speakers 2
  • Power: 30 W
  • Battery: 24 hrs
  • Weight: 11.9 lbs
  • Size: 6.3 x 6.3 x 15.8  in

Noteworthy Features:

  • Loud, clear sound with adjustable EQ via app
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and portable with a built-in handle
  • IPX7 waterproofing and floats
  • Customizable lighting effects

The Boom 2 has a boombox-style design and is tailored toward portability. It’s lightweight and the built-in handle makes it extremely easy to carry. Despite being weighed more towards portability, it can still produce impressive volume levels that will get you and your tailgating buddies hyped.

The IPX7 water resistance rating protects the speaker from even the heaviest of rain and while the floating feature isn’t important to tailgating, it does make this speaker more versatile, meaning it can form a part of your home audio experience too.

Bluetooth 5.3 provides reliable long-distance connections with low latency. It also supports multi-speaker pairing with up to 100 speakers and a TWS connection when pairing two Boom 2’s together.

It reaches volume levels of 93.3 dB and despite its relatively compact size, it’s able to keep the tailgate party going. You also won’t have to worry about the speaker dying on you, as it lasts more than 12 hours even at high volume levels (about 17 hours at 50-60%).

Use Soundcore’s comprehensive mobile app to dial the Boom 2 into your preferred sound using the 9-band EQ or one of the EQ presets.

Pros

  • Waterproof and floats
  • Bluetooth 5.3 for ultra-stable connections
  • Lots of volume

Cons

  • No microphone input
  • Other options offer similar features at a lower price.

5. Ecoxgear EcoTrek

ecoxgear ecotrek
  • Power: 100 W
  • Battery: 50 hrs
  • Weight: 19.2 lbs
  • Size: 15.4 x 10.2 x 16.7″

Noteworthy Features:

  • Dust & water resistant
  • Microphone input
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Voice assistant support

Housed within a durable molded plastic enclosure, the Ecoxgear EcoTrek Bluetooth speaker is an incredibly versatile and powerful tailgate speaker. The EcoTrek features IP67 weather-resistance ratings, proving it capable of withstanding water and dust.

As for user-friendliness and compatibility, The EcoTrek has it all: it supports a wide range of connections, including Bluetooth, auxiliary input, and AM or FM radio. The microphone input is also great for taunting your rivals.

The top of the speaker has an array of buttons for playback control and speaker features, a great feature if you don’t want to use your phone.

What’s a tailgate party without drinks? The EcoTrek has one of the most tailgate-relevant features – built-in drink holders. The speaker can not only withstand an accidental spill but is also shockproof in the event of accidentally knocking it over. 

Utilizing a 6-way speaker system consisting of a pair of 5.25-inch full-range drivers, 2 x 5.25-inch rear woofers, and dual 2.25-inch tweeters, the EcoTrek can get pretty loud for its size and maintain clear sound quality at any volume. The EcoTrek tailgate speaker has a variety of inputs including Bluetooth, a 1/8-inch auxiliary cable, and AM/FM radio. Siri and OK Google voice assistant services are also compatible with EcoTrek.

Aside from the impressive sound quality and versatile features of the EcoTrek, it earned its status as one of my favorite tailgate speakers due to its supreme durability.

Pros

  • Versatile connectivity (Bluetooth, AUX, AM/FM)
  • Weather-resistant (IP67 rating)
  • Durable and shockproof

Cons

  • Cluttered control panel layout
  • Cup holders may not be useful for everyone
  • May not be as loud as some other tailgate speakers

6. W-King 80W Bluetooth Speaker

w-king 80w
  • Power: 80 W
  • Battery: 24 hrs
  • Weight: 9.58 lbs
  • Size: 9.37 x 8.19 x 18.11″

Noteworthy Features:

  • Dynamic lighting
  • Lightweight design
  • IPX5 water resistance

The W-King 80W Bluetooth speaker is an easily portable option with a removable handle, should you wish to position the speaker sideways or otherwise. The battery life of the W-King is rather impressive. With the ability to pump out 24 hours of playtime at 50% volume or between 10 and 12 hours at max volume.

The W-King supports inputs from a variety of sources, the first of which is Bluetooth 5.0, which provides a strong connection strength over a reasonably long distance. The W-King also accepts a 1/8-inch auxiliary input for older devices, a USB cable for charging mobile devices on the move, and a TF card reader. 

The W-King can also pair with another of its kind to form a stereo pair- great for taking the tailgate party to the next level and increasing the area covered by the speaker.

The W-King’s built-in dynamic lights provide an additional entertainment angle, where the LED light rings can ‘dance’ in sync with the music you’re playing. There are five modes and other settings, including color scheme, patterns, etc. 

For the price, the W-King does not disappoint. The W-King is for you if you’re looking for a speaker that can reach insanely high volume levels for its compact size.

Pros

  • Portable with carry handle
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Versatile connectivity options

Cons

  • Not the lightest
  • Not Waterproof
  • LED lights may not be for everyone.

How to Choose a Tailgate Speaker

All the technical specifications can become overwhelming when you’re simply trying to weigh up your options and find the ultimate tailgate speaker for your needs. Here we’ve broken down each element to give you a better understanding of how it impacts the speaker’s overall performance: 

Sound Quality and Characteristics

While overall sound quality should be the most important to anyone looking to buy any audio-related device, the actual tonal characteristics of the speaker are essentially influenced by your listening style.

We’ve been running a poll on our article about the best party speakers, and you’ve told us that thumping bass is the single most important feature in a party speaker. A speaker with a bass boost function or an overall low-end enhanced sound signature would be appropriate for bass-heavy music, like what you’ll likely play at a tailgate party.

However, if you sometimes enjoy music that calls for a more natural listening curve, you might encounter troubles here. At the end of the day, this feature is purely dependent on what you listen to and how you want to use your speaker.

Battery Life

Suppose you’re planning on tailgating all day or using your tailgate speaker for something else, such as a camping trip or house party where you may need extra battery longevity. In that case, this factor can make or break your experience. Make sure your potential new tailgate speaker can last long enough to fuel the party, but if you plan on using additional features such as onboard lighting shows or USB charging, you’ll need the extra strength to do so. It’s also important to consider the charge time, as speakers can take anywhere between 1 hour and 5 hours to recharge fully. 

Water Resistance

Most tailgate parties occur in exposed environments where rain, wind, dust/sand, and rust can affect the speaker’s lifespan and performance. In addition to exposure to rain, one also needs to account for the potential of spilled drinks around the speaker. Generally, an IPX6 rating of IPX5 or more is recommended to provide a reasonable level of safety from such hazards. An IPX7 rating is typically my go-to, as it grants protection from exposure to practically any conditions. These devices can usually float and handle a shallow and brief submersion period. 

Karaoke Features

Many tailgate speakers support karaoke playability, where you can connect a microphone (usually a 1⁄4-inch connector, which is annoying) to the speaker and sing along to your favorite tracks. If this function excites you, it’s worth looking at how many inputs the speaker can accept and if it has any onboard vocal processing abilities such as auto-tuning, reverb, or other effects. 

Light Show

Many party-focused Bluetooth speakers have some LED lighting onboard for added entertainment. If this feature excites you, it’s worth checking out what is available on the unit. Some offer strobes, some can synchronize the lights to the beat of your music, and some have no lights.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Watts Should My Tailgate Speaker Be?

The power of your tailgate speaker depends entirely on how far and wide you want to be heard and the size of your group of guests. For an average tailgate party around a car, we’d suggest something between 100W-150W. If you plan a smaller, more intimate party, some of the 60W speakers on this list will serve you just fine.

Am I Allowed to Take My Tailgate Speaker to Any Game?

While many sporting events allow tailgating, the rules surrounding it ultimately depend on the venue or the actual event organizers. Make sure you find out what those are before heading out.

What Waterproof Rating Will Protect Against Spilled Drinks?

A simple IPX 4 rating should be sufficient to protect your valuable tailgate speaker against accidental drink spillages. Anything above that is a bonus.

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Author: Bryn De Kocks

Bryn has worked in the field for several years, writing in-depth speaker reviews for various audio publications. His work has historically focused on headphones and Bluetooth speakers, while incorporating his understanding of the Bluetooth speaker market to help educate potential buyers.

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