6 of the best outdoor speakers

Make sure your next garden gathering or al fresco outing goes off with a bang, courtesy of our best outdoor speakers

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When the sun finally shows its face, we Brits instinctively know to make the very most of it, and for us here at Real Homes, that means getting out in the garden with friends and family, a few sausages sizzling on the barbecue, and, of course, music. Whether ambient tunes or dance floor fillers are more your style, there’s sure to be something to suit your next soirée in our list of the best outdoor speakers.  

Buying outdoor speakers comes with roughly the same set of considerations as buying for indoors – how much space do you have for them to sit in? What do they look like? But with one notable exception: given the fickle nature of 'summer' weather, resilience is integral in an outdoor speaker, so look for a speaker that’s fully hardy if you’re going to keep it outdoors, or at least water-resistant and shock-proof if portable.

Not sure where to start? If you’re a frequent entertainer, our first choice is the rugged Braven BRV-XXL, with its powerful sound and lightweight construction; if you want something that’ll live happily indoors most of the year and can even be taken on the road, we recommend the JBL Charge 3 or UE Megablast, for their small size and everyday, as well as party-starting, abilities. 

The best outdoor speaker

1. Braven BRV-XXL Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Loud, long-lasting, and water-resistant: is this the perfect party speaker?

Specifications
Best for: Power
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+ Loads of power + Long battery life 

Channel John Cusack in Say Anything (Peter Gabriel cassette optional) with this Bluetooth speaker, which brings the beloved boombox bang up to date with brand new tech. This one is all about producing powerful sound, courtesy of dual-sided speakers and a downward-firing sub, and you can customise the EQ to get more bass or treble according to your mood. Perhaps most importantly, it’s party-proof, with a 14-hour battery life and IPX5 water-resistant rating that’ll protect the speaker should proceedings be suddenly rained off. 

JBL Charge 3

2. JBL Charge 3

Let everyone have a go with this sociable multi-input speaker

Specifications
Best for: Multiple DJs
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+ Twin with other speakers for more coverage + Wireless streaming with up to three devices 

The JBL Charge 3 might our best speaker for small parties thanks to its tiny footprint, but it can be customised to create all-round for larger gatherings if need be thanks to its ability to be twinned with other JBL speakers. With wireless Bluetooth streaming, you can connect up to three smart devices at once, but if you do choose to plug in, you’ll get charge-and-play functionality in the bargain, and crystal clear speakerphone to get in touch with the stragglers. If you want a speaker that’s great for personal as well as party use, give this one a try. 

Klipsch AWR-650-SM Indoor/Outdoor Speaker

3. Klipsch AWR-650-SM Indoor/Outdoor Speaker

Rock out in more ways than one with this concealed speaker

Specifications
Best for: Hidden speakers
Connectivity: Aux
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Mains
Reasons to buy
+ Good-looking rock-style housing + Sound great even at high volume 

If you’ve spent a great deal of time curating your outdoor aesthetic, the last thing you want is a brightly-coloured plasticky speaker disrupting the vibe. This low-key speaker is the polar opposite, hiding out in a decidedly rock-like housing that wouldn’t look out of place in a zen garden. Available in a choice of granite or sandstone, reviewers say these hidden speakers sound amazing at all volumes, and found them surprisingly lightweight considering the hardware they pack in, although if you’re after more bass, they recommend investing in a sub. 

Ultimate Ears UE Megablast

4. Ultimate Ears UE Megablast

Aptly named, this Ultimate Ears speaker is powerful and portable

Specifications
Best for: Versatility
Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+ Powerful sound in a small package + Alexa-compatible 

Sure, it won’t beat an expensive set of stereo speakers for bass and volume, but as portable speakers go, the UE Megablast from Ultimate Ears can’t be beaten on that front. Reviewers found it lived up to its name with its powerful sound and rounded tone, that they got full coverage wherever they moved it to, and that the build was robust enough to stand up to raucous outdoor dos. Like the JBL Charge 3, this is an option to consider for year-round use, as its Alexa-compatibility and small footprint make it ideal for everyday as well as occasions.

High Performance Weatherproof Speaker

5. High Performance Weatherproof Speaker

Wall-mounted or freestanding, indoor or outdoor, black or white? Decisions, decisions...

Specifications
Best for: Wall-mounting
Connectivity: Aux
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Mains
Reasons to buy
+ Automatic EQ for indoor or outdoor + Space-saving wall-mounted design 

If you’re lacking in floor space, or simply want more of an ambient effect, look to a wall mounted outdoor speaker like this one from Adastra for your next party. It might look simple, but it’s surprisingly versatile: available in a choice of white or black to suit most schemes, it can also function as a freestanding speaker should you wish, and has two easy-select EQ settings for indoor or outdoor use. Reviewers noted that real bass heads may find these speakers wanting, but for the average user, it looks to be excellent value: well-built, sturdy and with a clear, distortionless output.

Bass Face 3 Way Marine Outdoor Box Speakers

6. Bass Face 3 Way Marine Outdoor Box Speakers

Budget-friendly box speakers for your next big do

Specifications
Best for: Events
Connectivity: Aux
Waterproof?: Yes
Power: Mains
Reasons to buy
+ Great sound for the price+ Very inexpensive 

The only pair of outdoor speakers on our list, this Bass Face offering is ideal for creating all-round sound in smaller gardens, while their bargain price means it won’t sting too much if you only need them for a single event, such as a wedding reception. Reviewers have noticed that the grille is prone to rusting after a few months outside, so consider using inside a marquee or gazebo, or storing indoors in bad weather. However, users were very impressed with the sound for the very budget-friendly price, so for short-term use, they come highly recommended. 

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