Best outdoor speakers: weatherproof and portable speakers for your backyard

The best outdoor speakers to set the mood at your next backyard party or al fresco dinner

best outdoor speaker: Sonos Roam Smart Speaker
(Image credit: Sonos)

If you're starting to get that familiar yearning to go out and enjoy your backyard, then 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 of your audio needs on demand. Some are even compatible with smart home platforms such as Amazon Alexa, so you can ask it to check on the weather or check traffic for your route home from the beach.

To help you tune into the very best options available we have compiled this guide of the top buys available right now. 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 out a home theater right in your backyard, check out our guide to the best outdoor projectors.

Keep scrolling to see what we thought, as well as some advice on how to choose the best portable speakers.

The best outdoor speakers in 2021

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 Portable Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

1. Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Best outdoor speaker overall

Specifications
Battery life: 13 hours
Protection: IP67
Smart?: No
Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Outdoor sound mode+Studio pairing
Reasons to avoid
-No Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility-Limited sound quality

An outdoor speaker designed to withstand everything from being dropped, covered in dust and sand at the beach, or (as pictured) accidently knocked into the pool. 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. 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 small size of the speaker, sound quality is slightly limited, but there are some ways to boost audio. The best of these is 'outdoor mode', which restricts bass frequencies in order to cater the sound towards being heard outside. You can also pair the Wonderboom with another to create a studio effect.

Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Ultimate Ears)

2. Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Best outdoor speaker for battery life

Specifications
Battery life: 20 hours
Protection: IP67
Smart?: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life+Pair up to 150 speakers in Party mode+25m Bluetooth range
Reasons to avoid
-Power Up charging dock sold separately

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 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, as well as 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 accidently 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

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen) Portable Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

3. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 (2nd Gen) Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Best premium outdoor speaker

Specifications
Battery life: 18 hours
Protection: IP67
Smart?: Yes - Alexa
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful design+Alexa compatibility+18 hours battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Connecting to Alexa a bit fiddly

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 a IP67 rating, you can throw pretty much anything at it without missing a beat.

Controls on the side of the unit 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, if you have a second unit you can have even more fun. 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 normal Wi-Fi, but instructions on how to do this are included.

Marshall Emberton Portable Outdoor SpeakerReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Marshall)

4. Marshall Emberton Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Best outdoor speaker for solo use

Specifications
Battery life: 20 hours
Protection: IPX7
Smart?: No
Reasons to buy
+Looks great+20 hours battery life with fast recharging+Lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-Sound quality lacks oomph on louder volume-No app or smart features

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 the design of their tech along with 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 at the beach, and it's lightweight enough to pop in your handbag when you're on the move.

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 so won't suit a party.

Otherwise it keeps things pretty simple, with no smart features or app. Everything you need to control Bluetooth pairing, volume and playback are placed on top of the unit along 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

Sony SRS-XB23 Portable Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony SRS-XB23 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Best budget outdoor speaker

Specifications
Battery life: 12 hours
Protection: IP67
Smart?: No
Reasons to buy
+Affordable price tag+IP67 protection+Stereo pairing and party mode
Reasons to avoid
-N/A

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 tough 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 completely water and dust proof 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. Perhaps 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.

Sonos Roam Smart Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Sonos)

6. Sonos Roam Smart Speaker

Best smart outdoor speaker

Specifications
Battery life: 10 hours
Protection: IP67
Smart?: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Bluetooth and Airplay 2+TruePlay tuning based on surroundings
Reasons to avoid
-Slightly disappointing battery life

A truly portable speaker from Sonos has been a long time coming, and the Sonos Roam is thankfully 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. 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. Audio quality isn't really any better than other entries on the list, but there are certain features that 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.

Bose Soundlink Color II Portable Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker

(Image credit: Bose)

Best smart outdoor speaker (runner up)

Specifications
Battery life: 8 hours
Protection: IPX4
Smart?: Yes - Siri, Google Assistant
Reasons to buy
+NFC and Bluetooth pairing+Works with smart assistants+Comes in variety of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Just 8 hours battery life-Limited water resistance

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 one time. This makes controlling the tunes during a gathering or party that much more convenient. There's also a microphone so you can make use of 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 in comparison with the other outdoor speakers on this list.

How to choose the best outdoor speaker

best outdoor speaker: Sony SRS-XB23 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: Sony)

When looking to buy a waterproof speaker suitable for outdoor use there are a few factors which you'll need to consider:

Mains or wireless?
When choosing the best outdoor speaker, probably the first question to ask is do you want a model that replies on mains electricity or a portable, wireless speaker? 

Some outdoor speakers are basically just replacements for a Hi-Fi, and will provide top-quality audio, while others 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. 

Water-resistance
Next think about how waterproof you need your outdoor speaker to be. All models we have chosen are either waterproof or water-resistant. If you are going to be keeping your speaker covered in a gazebo or something similar, 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.

Bonus features
Then there are any extra features to consider. 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?

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.