Suppose you're starting to get that familiar yearning to go out and enjoy your backyard. In that case, the best outdoor speakers can enhance this experience by allowing you to listen to music in the background, play podcasts or audiobooks in the sun, or party with friends at the weekend.
Come rain or shine, these portable and weatherproof speakers will provide you with all your audio needs on-demand. Some are even compatible with smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa, so you can ask it to check the weather or the traffic for your route home from the beach.
To help you tune in to the best options available, we have compiled this guide of the top buys available. Included are weather and splash-proof devices and speakers that can easily withstand a dip in the pool or day out by the sea.
And if you want to build a home theater right in your backyard, check out our guide to the best outdoor projectors (opens in new tab).
Keep scrolling to see what we thought, as well as some advice on choosing the best portable speakers.
The best outdoor speakers: tried and tested by us
A genuinely portable speaker from Sonos has been a long time coming, and the Sonos Roam is much more lightweight and diminutive than the previously released Sonos Move.
So the clue's in the name - this is a rugged, IP67-rated speaker designed to be taken out and about. But, of course, it works just as well in the garden as it does at the beach, and it's small enough to carry around in a handbag when it comes to the latter. The audio quality isn't any better than other entries on the list, but certain features put it over the top.
Chief among these is TruePlay tuning, which automatically adjusts bass and treble levels based on where you are listening. So it will sound different in the house and the garden because certain levels need to be tailored. You also have AirPlay 2 connectivity, which is unique to the Roam on this list.
Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A typically gorgeous speaker from high-end brand Bang & Olufsen, the 2nd Gen Beoplay A1 is a smart Bluetooth speaker that houses all of the features you'd want from a rugged outdoor offering housed within a shimmering pill-shaped package.
With this being the most expensive speaker on our list, you may be reluctant to carry it anywhere near water or sand, but rest assured the Beoplay A1 can take it. With an IP67 rating, you can throw pretty much anything at it without missing a beat.
Controls on the unit side allow you to play/pause, control the volume, pair over Bluetooth or turn the microphone on/off when not in use. There's also studio pairing for multiple B&O speakers, so you can have even more fun if you have a second unit. Battery life promises 18 hours.
The speaker also has in-built Alexa smarts, allowing it to double as a tool for hands-free calling. You'll need to connect this up via Bluetooth rather than the standard Wi-Fi, but instructions on how to do this are included.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
One for classic rock fans, this mini Bluetooth speaker is designed to look like the Marshall guitar amp and will appeal to those who value their tech's design and its functionality.
Of course, as an outdoor speaker, it's also pretty solid. With IPX7 protection, it will withstand water from a nearby pool or beach, and it's lightweight enough to pop in your handbag when you're moving.
We'd recommend the Emberton as a personal speaker for relaxing in the garden, however, as the audio is at its best on lower volumes and won't suit a party.
Otherwise, it keeps things pretty simple, with no smart features or apps. Instead, everything you need to control Bluetooth pairing, volume, and playback is placed on top of the unit, with a display indicating the current battery life. Offering up to 20 hours of playback, we also loved how quickly it recharged.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The best outdoor speakers: more top picks
An outdoor speaker designed to withstand everything from being dropped, covered in dust and sand at the beach, or (as pictured) accidentally knocked into the pool. So naturally, none of this will phase the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2.
The best portable speaker on our list, the second generation Wonderboom boasts 30% better battery life (13 hours) and 10% better bass when compared to its predecessor. In addition, the wrap-around mesh design means you'll get the best sound wherever you're sitting, and it's available in a range of fun colors, including red, blue, and pink.
Given the speaker's small size, sound quality is slightly limited, but there are some ways to boost audio. The best of these is 'outdoor mode,' which restricts bass frequencies to cater to the sound being heard outside. You can also pair the Wonderboom with another to create a studio effect.
Another entry from Ultimate Ears, the Megaboom 3, is the larger cousin of the Wonderboom range. The speaker boasts the same 360-degree sound and large volume controls on the front, but new updates have added intuitive ways to listen to music inside and outside alike.
A 'Magic Button' on top of the unit allows you to do everything from skip tracks and pause playback to pull up pre-made playlists from Apple Music and Deezer. There's also app connectivity where you can control this and a stereo pairing for up to 3 Megaboom 3 speakers or 150 Megabooms in PartyUp.
It's as rugged as you'd expect for UE, with the high-density fabric covering giving the speaker IP67 protection from water and sand. You can even submerge the device in the water for up to 30 minutes - so don't worry about accidentally getting it wet.
You'll get an impressive 20 hours of battery life on a single charge, and if you don't want to worry about the charging cable, you can purchase a separate PowerUp charging dock (opens in new tab).
If you're looking for a budget offering that delivers, then the Sony SRS-XB23 is well worth considering. Designed to fit nicely into the cup holder of a camping chair, this is a formidable device that you can take to the beach, out to the yard for a pool party, or on a Sunday morning hiking trip.
It's entirely water and dustproof and has a handy tag that allows you to hang up the speaker out of the way (as pictured). You can choose from the standard black or opt for red, green, blue, or beige variations.
Playback and volume controls sit on the back of the speaker, which promises a respectable 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. The best feature, however, is the ability to connect the SRS-XB23 to up to 100 Sony speakers in party mode - even assigning them left or right audio duties.
The ideal smart-enabled speaker to have with you by the pool, the Bose Soundlink Color II offers a range of casing options, a splash-proof rubber casing, and good connectivity. Just don't go dropping it into the water.
Connect your devices via NFC and Bluetooth, with multipoint connectivity allowing more than one phone to be paired at once. This makes controlling the tunes during a gathering or party much more convenient. There's also a microphone so that you can use those smart features.
The big downside of the Soundlink Color II is its battery life, which only promises 8 hours of playback. This will likely be enough for one session but pales compared to the other outdoor speakers on this list.
How to choose the best outdoor speaker
When looking to buy a waterproof speaker suitable for outdoor use, there are a few factors that you'll need to consider:
Mains or wireless?
When choosing the best outdoor speaker, the first question is, do you want a model that replies on mains electricity or a portable, wireless speaker?
Some outdoor speakers are just replacements for a Hi-Fi and will provide top-quality audio, while other wireless models are small enough to fit in a pocket. In general, it tends to be that the smaller and lighter the model, the less accomplished the audio. But that's not to say the wireless options we have chosen aren't brilliant, just that if you are after the best of the best in terms of sound, going for a larger speaker that isn't wireless is probably your safest bet.
Next, think about how waterproof you need your outdoor speaker to be. All models we have chosen are either waterproof or water-resistant. However, suppose you will keep your speaker covered in a gazebo or something similar. In that case, you can get away with a speaker that's just water-resistant, but if it's going to be open to the elements or near a pool, pick a waterproof speaker to ensure that it's fully waterproof.
Then there are any extra features to consider. For example, do you need a speaker that allows you to charge your other devices? Does it need to have a microphone too so you can answer calls? Do you want more than one person to be able to control the speaker?