Outdoor speakers should pump out audio to a wider area with no walls or ceilings to reinforce music frequencies. They also need to overpower outdoor background noises such as passing cars, singing sparrows, and chirping crickets. That’s why you ought to have Hi-Fi speakers for your BBQ gatherings, outdoor movie nights, and pool parties.
The best Hi-Fi outdoor speaker is the Polk Atrium 4. It combines loud, clear audio with a sturdy body, easy setup, broad coverage, and frequency response at an affordable price. But if you need portability or connectivity options, Bose Soundlink Revolve would do a far better job.
In the rest of this article, we’ll tell you what to look for when buying outdoor speakers and then list the best Hi-Fi outdoor speakers in 2021 to help you choose the right model.
What To Consider When Buying a Hi-Fi Outdoor Speaker
A Hi-Fi speaker lets you turn your backyard into an outdoor entertainment area. But if you choose the wrong speaker, all your money and dreams will go to waste.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of factors you have to consider first. Read on to learn how each factor can affect your ultimate decision.
Each speaker includes two types of drivers to produce a full range of sounds: woofer and tweeter. The woofer’s vibrations emit bass and mid-to-low frequencies. On the other hand, the tweeter produces the high treble notes.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the driver, the broader your frequency range. You should go for bigger drivers for larger areas.
Since most acoustic signals contain more low frequencies, such as musical instruments, human vocals, and sound effects, woofer size is more critical than tweeter size when buying a pair of outdoor speakers.
While 3 to 6-inch (7.62 to 15.24-cm) woofers work best for small to medium areas, you need to go above 6 inches (15.24 cm) if you’re trying to cover a large yard or deck. Bigger woofers often produce better sound, especially if you’re a fan of bass-heavy music such as EDM, hip-hop, metal, and jazz.
Wattage is a vital measure of a speaker’s performance. It determines your music’s loudness and quality as well as how far the audio can travel at low volumes.
Depending on your backyard area, you’ll need a speaker with 50 to 300 watts.
A set of 50-watt speakers will give you enough coverage for a small 250 sq ft (23.23 sqm) patio. But if you want to set the pair up in a 300 to 500 sq ft (27.87 to 46.45 sqm) backyard, you’d better go for 80 to 100-watt models. Finally, 150 watts and above will cover up to 600 to 1000 sq ft (55.74 up to 92.9 sqm).
However, wattage isn’t the only factor you need to consider for the best coverage. Some manufacturers use specific enhancements and technologies to push the sound further away without increasing the speaker’s wattage. That’s because higher wattage means higher power consumption. For example, stereo speakers give you a more immersive listening experience.
Moreover, bundling multiple speakers in one unit can enhance sound quality compared to having a single large speaker. For instance, units with a three-way design output sound from three individual drivers to make the audio more authentic with richer tone details.
A rotatable speaker offers a multi-directional audio perspective, and those with articulated array configuration widen your listening zone. Speakers that come in a pair are also more powerful regarding coverage.
So, Hi-Fi speakers with the right acoustic layout can cover a large area, even if they come with smaller wattage.
If you still need a more powerful signal, you can always pair your speakers with an amplifier.
Many factors affect an outdoor speaker’s durability, but weather resistance is the most important one, especially if you plan to buy permanent speakers that’ll stay outdoors for good.
When placed outdoors, your speakers are exposed to rain showers, accidental pool splashes, moisture in the air, and dust particles.
Permanent speakers will also sit in your yard all year round. So, you have to make sure they can withstand the harsh sun of summer, winds of autumn, and heavy snow of winter.
Even if you’re going to place your speakers under a roof or canopy, they still need to be weather-resistant because a roof sometimes fails to shield against rainstorms.
Another decisive factor in your speaker’s lifespan is its shockproof properties, especially if it’s a portable one. That’s because you’re more than likely to accidentally drop your device while carrying it everywhere.
You can go for speakers with ABS, polypropylene, aluminum, and other sturdy materials. Checking for “shock-absorbent” in the description can also help.
Before investing in a speaker, make sure you know how you’re going to power it. First of all, is it wired or wireless?
Do you have a nearby outlet in your yard if the speaker is wired? If you don’t, can you run a cable from the outlet through underground or wall-wiring methods?
If it’s a wireless model, figure out a way to conveniently juice the battery up. Is there an AC/DC adapter or charging base, or can you also charge it using your smartphone USB cable charger?
Don’t forget the battery’s run time. You would ideally look for a speaker that operates over ten hours after each recharge.
This factor is exclusively relative to wired or permanently installed speakers.
So, if you’re planning to buy one, see if the pack includes installing brackets because finding compatible mounting hardware is quite challenging.
You need to make sure your speakers come with anti-corrosion, rust-proof brackets, which are easy to install. Speakers with a fast locking swivel bracket are a better choice, especially if you plan to change the speakers’ location from time to time.
Just like any other electric device, a warranty here can ensure you’ll get repair and maintenance services in a certain period. It also indicates how long your device will survive without the hassle and, if your device stops working before the warranty ends, you might get a free repair.
Other than USB and AUX ports, which are necessary for any speaker, some audio systems offer wireless streaming features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or AirPlay to stream music.
They can receive audio signals from your smartphone, computer, home network, or any other compatible device, and you won’t need to transfer files to a flash drive or stick to wires to play music.
Another connectivity feature is expandability. Look for speakers that allow you to pair them with an amplifier or other speakers. This way, you won’t need to replace your speaker when you move to a larger place.
6 Best Hi-Fi Outdoor Speakers in 2021
Here’s a quick list of top 2021 outdoor speakers that give you a stellar experience in the open:
- Top Pick: Polk Audio Atrium 4
- Best Connectivity Options: Sonos Move
- Best High-End: Bose 251 ٍEnvironmental Speakers
- Best Portable: Bose Soundlink Revolve
- Best Bass: Klipsch AWR-650-SM Speakers
- Most Affordable: Dual Electronics LU43PB
Top Pick: Polk Audio Atrium 4
If you’re looking for a cheap, small speaker with high sound quality and coverage, you’ve come to the right place.
At only 7.5 inches (17.78 cm) long, 5 inches (12.7 cm) wide, and 9.5 inches (24.13 cm) high, Atrium 4 speakers provide loud and clear audio despite their appearance. They’ll also cost you less than $200.
It features a 4.5-inch (11.43 cm) woofer covering mid to low frequencies. It can handle bass-heavy hip-hop and the distorted, fuzzy tones in electric guitars. The 0.8-inch (2.03 cm) tweeters inside each driver can also deliver the crisp highs of soprano, opera, or flute voices.
These speakers come in a passive wired model, and at 80 watts of power, they get the music streaming throughout your backyard while consuming little electricity.
With the Speed-Lock mounting system, you can simply set the brackets on your wall and adjust them vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Then, put the speakers in and push gently to hear the click sound.
Atrium 4 has a four-season certification, meaning they can handle sun rays, snow, rain sprinkles, or high-humidity areas like a pool.
The polypropylene woofers, anodized aluminum tweeters, and the surrounding rubber make it pretty durable. The generous 5-year warranty also ensures you’ll receive free repair services in case of damage.
Add the fair price to all these features, and you’ll see why this product made its way to the top of our list.
- Energy-efficient: It consumes only 80 watts of electricity.
- Easy installation: You can hook up the speakers with a few screws and single pressure.
- Wide frequency range: The speakers produce bass, mid-range, and treble frequencies, making them workable for various music types.
- Durable: It has a 5-year warranty, aluminum grilles, and mounting clips, plus rubber surrounds to shield the stainless steel internals. It can also endure all seasons or natural precipitation.
- Compact: It delivers loud voices while fitting into any area, deck, railing, or wall.
- Affordable: You won’t pay much compared to the voice you get.
- No batteries: The speakers are wired, so you need to put them close to an outlet, or otherwise, have an underground or wall-wiring. It also makes the device non-portable.
- Bass production capabilities: Although good for hip-hop, the speakers might not work well with harder basslines, such as jazz and progressive metal.
Polk Atrium 4 is the loudest and most powerful speaker in its size and price range. So, if you want a compact speaker while not compromising performance, it’s a good choice. You can easily install the set with 180 degrees of mounting freedom. It lasts pretty long, offers good customer service, and withstands the blistering hot or deadly cold weather.
Best Connectivity Options: Sonos Move
If you’re a tech-savvy user, Sonos Move will please you with its smart features.
The system pairs with both Alexa and Google Assistant. So, you can use voice commands to manage its player controls, search the web, schedule alarms, or check the latest news.
Sonos Move is a battery-powered, portable gadget that you can bring everywhere from your yard to the public outdoors. Once you charge the device, it can last up to 11 hours. To recharge the device, you need nothing more than a USB cable. You can also drop it in the charging base.
It comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can access your mobile or tablet playlists, adding to its portability. The system is also compatible with Apple AirPlay to stream audio from your Apple TV, YouTube, Apple Podcast, and Netflix.
Pairing the speaker with a Sonos amplifier or any larger system makes it more powerful for larger backyards, outdoor festivities, and in-home concerts. What’s more, the smart TruePlay technology automatically detects background noises to enhance its sound volume accordingly.
Its 3.5-inch (8.89-cm) mid-woofer allows for a rich thump while the beats drop. The single tweeter also divides to both sides to widen the sound. This arrangement brings out high and low-pitched notes, but it doesn’t produce the highest quality sound compared to traditional speakers.
With an IP67 water-resistance grade, Sonos Move is water and dust-resistant. Its sturdy shell can also hold out against UV rays, accidental bumps, and extreme weather.
- Stand-alone design: Sonos Move is a cordless gadget, so you can place it everywhere. Its lightweight 6.5-pound (2.94-kg) profile makes it easily portable. It comes in a 10 x 6 x 5 inch (25.4 x 15.24 x 12.7 cm) compact structure.
- Ten-hour battery life: Once fully powered, you can use this speaker for more than ten hours, so you won’t need to recharge it during a party, etc.
- High-end features: The ability to pair with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Alexa, AirPlay, and Google Assistant makes this device super-advanced, customizable, and intuitive.
- Weather resistance: You won’t need to worry about dust storms, rains, accidental falls, and water immersion since the speaker is weather and shock-resistant.
- Various charging methods: The gadget comes with a charging base, but if you don’t want to be restricted to an outlet, you can even charge it using a C-type charging cable.
- Loud and clear and sound: The TruePlay voice adjustment technology, together with its driver configuration, makes the device pretty powerful in terms of sound level and frequency ranges.
- Only compatible with Sonos amp: The speaker works exclusively with Sonos products. So, if you already have a third-party amplifier, you would have to invest in a Sonos Move or a Sonos product.
- Bluetooth connectivity limitations: The speaker can’t connect to multiple devices simultaneously.
- Short battery life
- Pricey: Although you’ll get the full value of your money, the package isn’t for folks looking for affordable options.
If you’re a technoid or at least enjoy working with connected devices, the Sonos Move smart speaker is probably your thing. It works with artificial intelligence, OS apps, and connectivity tools to customize your experience. However, if you prefer better sound quality over additional features, you might want to consider other options.
Best High-End: Bose 251 ٍEnvironmental Speakers
Bose has long been on the list of leading speaker producers. So, if you’re hunting for proven quality audio, here’s your best choice.
Bose 251 speakers have a multi-angled design to minimize sound distortion and deliver a full stereo experience. Not only that, the articulated array configuration also broadens your listening area and frequency capabilities—40 to 80 kHz.
With a compact 6 x 9 x 6 inch (15.24 x 22.86 x 15.24 cm) enclosure, each speaker packs a 5.25-inch (13.34 cm) woofer and a 2.5-inch (6.35 cm) tweeter with glass-filled cones to deliver a crisp, elegant sound. They also have a 50-watt output to bring out balanced music.
The product’s polypropylene cabinet means it’s resistant to both sweet and salt water, so you can rest assured if your house sits in a coastal area. After being weather tested, the speakers can also withstand temperatures from -40 to 70°C (-40 to 158°F).
The 5-year warranty is another proof of its long durability.
The only downside, according to customer feedback, is being wired. Bass heads may also find it quite restricting because it won’t deliver the best sound for funk or metal music.
- Trustworthy brand: Bose is a top leader among loudspeaker manufacturers, meaning you won’t pay for an inferior product.
- Articulated array design: This feature creates an exceptional stereo effect with minimal imbalance.
- Durable: The five-year warranty, weather-resistance certification, and polypropylene closure ensure the unit lasts long under various outdoor circumstances.
- Full-range drivers: The precisely positioned glass-filled drivers are powerful enough to cover low to high frequencies.
- High coverage: The speakers diverse the sounds over a wider area, making it great for big yards as well as outdoor picnics.
- Low running costs: A 50-watt output means low electricity use, hence lower running costs.
- Not for deep bass: The speakers don’t produce below 40 Hz, so they won’t play sharp drop-offs of modern music.
- No batteries: The device is wired, so no batteries or chargers are included.
Bose 251 reproduces the true and clear sound of your music. It distributes the sounds over a large area and has a broad frequency response. The unit also lasts long under harsh water. Unless you’re a fan of modern rap music, these speakers won’t disappoint you.
Best Portable: Bose Soundlink Revolve
Soundlink Revolve is a feature-rich Bluetooth speaker with a true sound that doesn’t exaggerate the lower or upper frequencies.
It has three full-range drivers to offer 360-degrees of sound distribution, so it presents the same quality as you walk around the device. It also allows you to pair it with two other SoundLink systems, switching to party or stereo effects.
The device charges through a USB Type-B cable. Its 12-hour battery run-time means a non-stop sonic experience for your parties. The lithium-ion battery means you don’t need to replace it in the near future.
It weighs only about 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg) so that you can carry it everywhere, and the tiny 3 x 3 x 6 inch (7.62 x 7.62 x 15.24 cm) design makes it more than possible.
The NFC and Bluetooth pairing lets you sync with your system’s music library or virtual assistant, Siri, or Google Assistant. You can also use its integrated microphone to answer your calls from up to 30 feet (9.14 meters) away.
It has an aluminum construction to guarantee years of use, but the IPX4 rating means it’s only splash-proof rather than rain and snow-resistant. So, don’t pick this option if you live in an area with frequent rain, and don’t forget to bring it inside when the party ends.
- 360-degree coverage: The three-way design distributes sound evenly, no matter your position to the speaker.
- Sturdy construction: The aluminum construction easily handles accidental drops and corrosion.
- Affordable price: It’s more affordable than its competitor portable speakers.
- Lightweight: The 1.5-pound (0.68 kg) weight complements its portability features.
- Full-range drivers: It handles all frequency ranges, from low to midlines and treble.
- Good connectivity: You can pair it via NFC and Bluetooth to access your virtual assistant or smartphone playlist.
- Not water-proof: You can’t immerse the device underwater or leave it out when it’s raining.
If you’re looking for a compact portable device with an affordable price tag and connectivity functions, Bose Soundlink Revolve is the right choice. It produces an even, punchy sound for its size.
Best Bass: Klipsch AWR-650-SM Speakers
Klipsch AWR-650-SM is a rock-shaped dual speaker with booming bass and amazing loudness.
Each speaker packs two coil polymer woofers with a whopping 6.5-inch (16.51-cm) size to support low pitch frequencies, plus a duo of 1-inch (2.54-cm) polymer tweeters. So, you’ll hear music from two audio channels, experiencing a true stereo effect with a single speaker.
The outer frame is tough ABS plastic to make it impact-resistant. It’s also UV-stabilized, so it won’t degrade from sun exposure. The water-proof wrap around its wiring system can prevent electrical hazards. Coupled with Klipsch’s lifetime warranty, all these features make AWR-650-SM a super-durable speaker.
However, go for these speakers only if you’re looking for permanent installation. Each speaker weighs about 13 pounds (5.89 kg), which is not suitable for regular moving. Plus, they’re wired and need a nearby outlet to work.
You can get the speakers in both granite and sandstone coating. They’re also a great idea for landscaping due to their unique nature-like appearance.
- Rich sound: AWR-650-SM’s killer sound guarantees it’ll cover the biggest outdoor areas with the most surrounding noises.
- Stereo and mono modes: The speakers are equipped with both mono and stereo capabilities, so you’re free to customize them based on your needs.
- Resistant shell and hardware: The Klipsch twin speakers have a sturdy casing just like their rocky look. They can withstand all seasons and geographical regions.
- Fun look: The stone-finished housing blends well with an outdoor environment, unlike most electronic devices.
- Affordable price: Compared to what you get, AWR-650-SM comes at a low price.
- Weighty: The two speakers weigh 26 pounds (11.79 kg) in total, making them difficult to carry around.
- Wired: The pair requires a nearby outlet and proper wiring, another factor making them non-portable.
- No Bluetooth connectivity: You can’t control the device remotely.
Klipsch AWR-650-SM is a stereo speaker that resembles the shape of rock to complement your garden. It’s great for those who want a permanent installation powerful enough for large backyard parties, especially if you don’t have a canopy or ceiling to protect your outdoor appliances.
Most Affordable: Dual Electronics LU43PB
Dual LU43 comes at an unbeatable price among Hi-Fi speakers, and still, it produces enough bass that you can hear it in a crowd.
With an 8 x 5 x 5 inch (20.32 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm) frame, it houses a remarkable 4-inch (10.16 cm) woofer, a 1.6-inch (4.06 cm) midrange driver, and a 0.8-inch (2.03 cm) dome tweeter, handling a wide spectrum of frequencies. The 100 watts of output also makes for an unforgettable, high-quality sound.
Thanks to the swivel brackets, each speaker can rotate to the left, front, or right, giving you a three-way design to better disperse the music through your yard. Besides that, you won’t need to invest in mounting hardware since that comes with the package.
It has a UV-resistant nano-coating and ABS sheathing to guard against outside elements. You’ll also get a one-year warranty to ensure its long-term performance.
Pair it with the DBTMA100 Amplifier to experience the best acoustic features.
- Vocal boost: With a full range of frequency, you won’t lose upper or lower range vocals.
- Affordable: The pair sells at an unbelievably low price compared to its quality sound.
- Three-way rotation: The swivel design allows for up to 120 degrees range of Hi-Fi music.
- Rigid enclosure: Hard plastic plus resin coating ensure the device’s resistance against sun rays and humidity
- One-year warranty: It promises the minimum one-year lifespan of your system while ensuring you can return, repair, or replace the item within this period.
- No batteries: Despite their small physical size, you can’t carry the speakers anywhere since they only work when wired-in. You also can’t listen to music when the power goes out.
Dual LU43PB is a good choice if you want deep bass, durability, and affordability in one package. The pair is comparably loud for an 8-inch speaker and can handle the harsh outdoor weather for at least one year.
Outdoor speakers are a must-have for backyard entertainment. They lift your mood, break the ice in your gatherings, and last a long time.
Polk Atrium 4 is our top pick in this roundup because it covers a large backyard, emits precise sound across most frequencies, and withstands all seasons.
But if you:
- Are looking for a budget-tier device, Dual LU43PB is a better option.
- Care about wireless connectivity and streaming options, go for Sonos Move.
- Need a portable speaker to bring to picnics, invest in Bose Soundlink Revolve speakers.
- Enjoy bass-heavy music, check the Klipsch AWR-650-SM model.