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Best outdoor speaker 2022: Rugged and weather-resistant speakers for enjoying audio outside

Ben Johnston
21 Apr 2022
Best outdoor speaker

Take you tunes outside with our pick of the best outdoor speakers to buy

The best outdoor speaker can turn your run-of-the-mill garden party or bog-standard barbeque into a mini-festival in an instant.

While there are plenty of Bluetooth and smart speakers capable of delivering audio at high enough volumes to be enjoyed in a spacious garden or at a group gathering in the park, not all of them are built with outdoor use in mind.

Specifically, outdoor speakers require a certain level of water resistance (and, ideally, dust resistance), to ensure that they can survive in adverse weather conditions. A device’s ability to withstand such conditions is reflected by its IP rating, which we’ll discuss in detail in the buying guide below.

We’ll also cover the other key factors to consider when purchasing a speaker intended for use outdoors, including whether it’s worth paying extra for one that supports a Wi-Fi connection in addition to Bluetooth.

If you already know your IPX4 from your IP67, you can scroll down the page to our pick of the best outdoor speakers, all of which have been tried and tested by one of our experienced audio experts.

READ NEXT: The best Bluetooth speakers for every budget

Best outdoor speaker: At a glance

  • Best under £200: B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen | Buy now
  • Best on a budget: Sharp GX-BT60 | Buy now
  • Most powerful under £50: Tronsmart Force 2 | Buy now
  • Best for connectivity: Sonos Roam | Buy now
  • Best for parties: Ultimate Ears Hyperboom | Buy now
  • Best for cyclists: Tribit Stormbox Micro | Buy now

How to choose the best outdoor speaker for you

How much should I spend?

The old adage of “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to outdoor speakers. You can get a decent one for as little as £30, but these are typically compact affairs that lack the power to make an impact in large outdoor spaces.

Cheaper options also make sacrifices when it comes to battery life and audio quality and lack the advanced features found on pricier models.

Those wanting something with a bit more muscle can expect to pay between £100 and £200 for a high-quality outdoor speaker. In addition to more powerful audio, speakers in this price bracket offer advanced features like voice assistant support, along with better battery life and improved build quality.

If you’re willing to extend your budget even further, you’ll find models costing upwards of £300. These tend to be larger and capable of delivering greater sonic output, which makes them the best choice for sizeable outdoor events.

What’s an IP rating?

All speakers designed for outdoors use should come with an IP rating, which dictates how well they can withstand the ingress of small particles such as dust or sand, and moisture. IP ratings consist of four characters (for example, IP67), with the latter two characters reflecting dust and water resistance respectively.

In the case of an IP67 rating, the 6 denotes that the product in question is completely dust-tight, while the 7 confirms that it can be safely immersed in up to 1m of water for up to 30 minutes. A product rated IPX4, meanwhile, has no protection against particle ingress (X) and only limited protection against splashes of water, such as rain or sweat (4), and therefore cannot safely be submerged in liquid. A full breakdown of what each rating means can be found here.

Do Bluetooth codecs matter?

All portable speakers designed for outdoor use will support a Bluetooth connection, but audio quality varies based on the Bluetooth codecs they use. Codecs determine how data is transmitted between devices and some do this far more efficiently than others.

SBC is the most common codec and is pretty much universal, but several companies use their own proprietary codecs. Apple devices use AAC, Samsung uses Scalable and Sony uses LDAC. There’s also Qualcomm’s aptX series to look out for, with both aptX HD and aptX Adaptive being used by numerous devices to transmit higher-quality Bluetooth audio.

It’s important to note that you can only make use of a specific codec if it’s supported by both the speaker and connected audio source. If your smartphone supports aptX but your speaker doesn’t, it will default to a supported codec such as SBC.

READ NEXT: Boost your TV’s audio with one of our favourite soundbars

What other features should I consider?

Wi-Fi connectivity: Some more expensive outdoor speakers possess the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks in addition to operating over Bluetooth. While this functionality is appealing if you plan on using your outdoor speaker in the back garden, it’s not as useful further afield as you’re unlikely to have access to a wireless connection.

Portability: If you plan on taking your speaker on a bike ride or to the beach, you’re going to want something compact and lightweight. If garden parties are more your thing, you could get away with something a bit heavier, as once it’s in position you won’t need to worry about moving it too often.

Battery life: As with portability, battery life is something you’re going to want to consider if you plan to use the speaker while out and about. The most compact models have enough power to last a few hours, while larger options can last over 20 hours, but this extra stamina comes at the cost of decreased portability. It’s worth bearing in mind that models offering longer battery life tend to cost more, too.

Built-in microphones: Some outdoor speakers have microphones built-in to allow you to summon your voice assistant or use the speaker for calls and video chats. Microphone quality varies from device to device and few offer a crystal-clear communications experience, but speakers with mics provide an easy way to involve friends and family in calls without everyone having to huddle around your phone.

Power bank capabilities: Finally, some of the options on this list double as a power bank, allowing you to charge devices such as your smartphone from their battery, generally via a USB-A port. This is an extremely useful feature but will of course drain the speaker’s battery, so bear that in mind when planning your charges.

READ NEXT: If you need more charge, check out these top power banks

The best outdoor speakers to buy in 2022

1. B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen: The best outdoor speaker under £250

Price: £239 | Buy now from Amazon

The Beosound A1 2nd Gen manages to surpass its excellent predecessor the BeoPlay A1 in just about every area. Audio quality is spectacular, the battery holds out for roughly 40 hours at low volume (middling volume is closer to 18 hours) and the addition of Alexa support allows for voice control via the Alexa mobile app.

Most pertinently, this second-generation speaker is rated IP67 for dust and water resistance, making it a fantastic choice for outdoor use. It’s not perfect – the lack of a 3.5mm port and the inability to pair with its older sibling are disappointing – but the A1 2nd Gen excels in enough other areas to make such minor grumbles easy to overlook.

Read our B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 2; RMS power output: 30W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1 (AAC/aptX Adaptive); IP rating: IP67; Battery life: Up to 43 hours; Dimensions: 133 x 133 x 46mm; Weight: 552g

Buy now from Amazon

2. JBL Go 3: The best ultra-compact outdoor speaker

Price: £35 | Buy now from JBL

The Go 3 may be the smallest Bluetooth speaker that JBL offers, but don’t let its palm-sized stature fool you – the output here is seriously impressive. As well as crisp, clear audio and the unbeatable portability, the Go 3 is also one of the more durable outdoor speakers that we’ve seen, thanks to the rugged anti-tear fabric housing.

An IP67 rating rounds out the Go 3’s outdoor credentials, making it equally well equipped to handle a trip to the beach or a sudden downpour at a garden party. There’s also a range of eye-catching colours available, so you’re sure to find one that matches your style.

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 1; RMS power output: 4W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: 5 hours; Dimensions: 85 x 72 x 38mm; Weight: 210g

Buy now from Amazon

3. Sharp GX-BT60: The best cheap portable outdoor speaker

Price: £30 | Buy now from Amazon

As portable as it is affordable, Sharp’s GX-BT60 is a Bluetooth speaker well worth checking out. It delivers powerful audio that belies its diminutive form and has enough stamina to keep going through a full day in the park or at the beach.

Despite its meagre price tag and compact frame, audio output is impressive. The soundstage is nice and open, allowing for a decent amount of detail to be articulated, and the bass response doesn’t overplay its hand. You may experience some slight treble distortion at maximum volume but that’s forgivable at this kind of price.

The frame is suitably rugged and an IP67 rating certifies it both dust-tight and waterproof. Charging takes place via a micro-USB port, which feels a little behind the times, but the inclusion of an AUX-in port helps soften the blow by providing a way to connect to non-Bluetooth audio sources. Those in search of a larger, louder stereo experience can buy two GX-BT60s and take advantage of “Duo Mode”, which Sharp says works at a range of up to 40m.

Read our Sharp GX-BT60 review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 1; RMS power output: 6W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: Up to 13 hours; Dimensions: 101 x 101 x 44mm; Weight: 230g

Buy now from Amazon

4. Sonos Roam: The best outdoor speaker for connectivity

Price: £179 | Buy now from Sonos

The banner feature here is that, in addition to Bluetooth, the Sonos Roam can also connect to Wi-Fi networks. With this, you can head out and about, enjoying the Roam’s 10-hour battery life while playing audio over Bluetooth, before heading home and hooking it up to your wireless network as part of a multiroom Sonos speaker system.

As well as generous connectivity options, the Roam features support for both Google Assistant and Alexa, though it should be noted that you can’t use both at the same time, so you’ll have to pick your favourite. Apple AirPlay and Spotify Connect are also supported, with the Sonos app providing access to pretty much any streaming platform that you could want.

On the audio side of things, the Roam delivers a pleasingly wide soundstage with enough dynamism to handle a range of genres. The only real issue we’ve had with this speaker is that setting up your voice assistant can be a fiddly process. This is by no means a deal breaker, however, and once you’ve overcome that hurdle, you can sit back and revel in what a smart, excellent-sounding speaker the Sonos Roam is.

Read our Sonos Roam review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 2; RMS power output: Not stated; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: Up to 10 hours; Dimensions: 168 x 62 x 60 mm; Weight: 0.43kg

Buy now from Amazon

5. Ultimate Ears Hyperboom: The best outdoor speaker for parties

Price: £359 | Buy now from John Lewis

If you’re planning a large gathering and want a powerful outdoor speaker to match, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is the way to go. Packing four speaker drivers, this beast delivers excellent audio across the entire frequency spectrum. Bass has an especially heavy presence, but not to the point where the low-end overpowers the crisp, well-articulated mids and trebles. Best of all, the UE Boom app gives you a range of settings to fiddle with, allowing you to tweak the audio to your liking.

While technically portable, thanks to the pull out strap, the heft of the Hyperboom means you won’t want to move it too far in one go. Additionally, it’s only rated IPX4, meaning that splashes of water are no problem, but anything more runs the risk of damaging the internals. With this in mind, the Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is best suited to a garden party where it can sit comfortably and rock away.

Read our Ultimate Ears Hyperboom review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 4; RMS power output: Not stated; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IPX4; Battery life: Up to 24 hours; Dimensions: 190 x 190 x 346mm; Weight: 5.9kg

Buy now from John Lewis

6. Tronsmart Bang: Best boombox-style outdoor speaker

Price: £110 | Buy now from Amazon

Boomboxes came to prominence in the 1980s and have made a bit of a resurgence in recent years, with JBL leading the way with its Boombox 2, which costs over £400. The Bang is available for a fraction of that and offers loud, impactful audio along with LED lighting and some useful functionality.

Surprisingly, the Bang is a little light on bass but sound quality is solid on the whole, especially if you're using the "Sound Pulse" EQ, which delivers a pleasingly broad soundstage. It's one of a number of EQ options available in the Tronsmart companion app, which also enables customisation of the LED lighting running along the bottom of the speaker grille and surrounding the passive radiators.

LED lighting won't be everyone - particularly given the hit battery life takes while its engaged - but speakerphone functionality, voice assistant support and the ability to double up as a powerbank certainly will.

Read our Tronsmart Bang review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 4; RMS power output: 60W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IPX6; Battery life: Up to 8 hours (LED on), up to 15 hours (LED off); Dimensions: 361 x 150 x 183mm; Weight: 3.08kg

Buy now from Amazon

7. Tribit StormBox Micro: The best outdoor speaker for cyclists

Price: £37 | Buy now from Amazon

If the idea of blasting out some tunes while you’re out on a bike ride sounds good, this speaker is well worth your attention. Compact and extremely portable, the StormBox Micro features a convenient strap that can be used to mount it onto your handle bars – or onto a belt or a bag, if you’re not the cycling type. Despite its diminutive size, sound quality is solid, with particularly clear vocals and no obvious distortion at higher volumes.

For longer bike rides, the StormBox Micro offers a respectable eight-hour battery life, and the IP67 rating means that it will hold up even if the weather turns on you. As a final flourish, there’s the option to pair up two Micros and create a stereo sound experience. The audio quality here is enough that this isn’t a requirement, but it’s a neat option to have available.

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 1; RMS power output: 9W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: 8 hours; Dimensions: 98 x 98 x 36mm; Weight: 295g

Buy now from Amazon

8. JBL Charge 5: Rugged, powerful and with plenty of stamina

Price: £160 | Buy now from Amazon

JBL has a great track record in producing excellent mid-range Bluetooth speakers, and this latest iteration is their best one yet. Audio is deeply impressive, with the newly configured speaker arrangement adding a dome tweeter that works in tandem with the woofer to deliver crisp, well-balanced sound that can easily fill an outdoor space. The IP rating has also been beefed up to IP67, making the Charge 5 impervious to dust particles as well as water resistant.

The 20-hour battery life (based on listening at a moderate volume) is plenty to cover you for a lazy day at the park or visit to the beach. Better still, the Charge 5 also doubles as a charger for your smartphone, so if you forget to bring a power bank out with you, it’s simple enough to sacrifice a few hours of audio playback to keep your phone ticking over.

Our only criticisms are the lack of a 3.5mm port and a microphone, as well as the inability to tweak the audio settings. Still, compared to everything that the Charge 5 gets right, these are fairly trivial, and shouldn’t discourage you from considering this model for your next outdoor event.

Read our JBL Charge 5 review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 2; RMS power output: 40W RMS; Wireless: Bluetooth 5.1; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: 20 hours; Dimensions: 223 x 97 x 94mm; Weight: 980g

Buy now from Amazon

9. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3: The best outdoor speaker for pool parties

Price: £169 | Buy now from Ultimate Ears

The latest and (arguably) greatest addition to Ultimate Ears’ floating armada, the Megaboom 3 should be the centrepiece of your next pool party. Certified IP67, this speaker will happily bob about on the surface of the water like a musical buoy, with no risk of damage to the insides. It can even be submerged for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one metre, so feel free to chuck it in the pool and watch it float back up to the surface.

The Megaboom 3’s sound quality is just as impressive as its buoyancy, with an excellent bass response and energetic trebles making it the perfect speaker for bouncy pool party hits. The 20-hour battery life can be replenished via a micro-USB port, tucked discreetly away behind a protective hatch, but if you’d prefer to avoid fiddling with cables, Ultimate Ears also sells a charging dock that simplifies things and looks pretty stylish to boot.

Read our Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3 review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 4; RMS power output: Not disclosed; Wireless: Bluetooth (SBC); IP rating: IP67; Battery life: 20 hours; Dimensions: 87 x 87 x 225mm; Weight: 925g

Buy now from Amazon

10. Huawei Sound Joy: Best outdoor speaker for Huawei users

Price: £100 | Buy now from Huawei

With a rugged design and IP67 rating, the Huawei Sound Joy is a Bluetooth speaker you can take just about anywhere. It’s got bumper battery life of up to 26 hours and its warm default sound signature makes it a great choice for outdoor gatherings.

Huawei smartphone owners will get the most out of it as they’ll be able to access a wide range of audio customisation options along with the ability to sync the Joy’s LED ring light with whatever audio is playing. But even if you’re not part of the Huawei ecosystem, the Sound Joy is a fine-sounding speaker that puts in an impressive performance regardless of whether you're outdoors or sitting on your sofa.

Read our Huawei Sound Joy review for more details

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 2; RMS power output: 30W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5.2 (AAC/SBC); IP rating: IP67; Battery life: Up to 26 hours; Dimensions: 70 x 70 x 200mm; Weight: 680g

Buy now from Amazon

11. Tribit StormBox Pro: Highly portable and feature-rich

Price: £120 | Buy now from Amazon

There’s a lot to like about the Tribit StormBox Pro: it’s relatively affordable, has solid battery life and includes a convenient carrying handle for portability. The rugged casing is IP67 rated, so stands up to treacherous weather without any issues, and it can be used to charge external devices via a USB-A port. Siri and speakerphone support are also supported, making the StormBox Pro an especially good choice for iOS users.

The StormBox Pro sounds pretty good at low and moderate volumes but we did find low-end frequencies distorted somewhat when the speaker was pushed to its limits. This can be remedied by turning off the XBass mode, but those in search of beefy low-end reproduction may find the resulting audio a little flat.

Still, if you can overlook some sonic shortcomings, the StormBox Pro is a rugged and highly portable outdoor speaker with plenty of features to offer and ample battery life.

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 3; RMS power output: 40W; Wireless: Bluetooth 5; IP rating: IP67; Battery life: 24 hours; Dimensions: 96 x 96 x 180mm; Weight: 970g

Buy now from Amazon

12. Marshall Emberton: The most stylish compact outdoor speaker

Price: £130 | Buy now from Amazon

A striking combination of slick style and sonic substance, the Marshall Emberton is instantly eye-catching thanks to its logo-emblazoned front grille, calling back to the guitar amps for which the company is known. This aesthetic is reinforced by the vintage brass knob on the top that controls most functions, and juxtaposed by the more modern, but equally useful, LED battery indicator that shows how much of the 20-hour battery life remains.

On the audio front, the Emberton manages to produce punchier audio than its compact casing would suggest. Two inch drivers and a pair of passive radiators comfortably fill reasonably sized spaces with well-balanced audio, while Marshall’s True Stereophonic multi-directional sound successfully spreads the audio in all directions, making the Emberton a great choice for small outdoor gatherings.

If there’s one flaw to the Emberton’s audio, it’s that bass feels a little weak at higher volumes, but this is far from a dealbreaker for what is ultimately an excellent and elegant Bluetooth speaker.

Key specs – Speaker drivers: 2; RMS power output: Not disclosed; Wireless: Bluetooth 5.0; IP rating: IPX7; Battery life: 20 hours; Dimensions: 160 x 76 x 68mm; Weight: 700g

Buy now from Amazon

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