Bose Free Space 51 LifestyleSource: Bose

Best Wired and Wireless Outdoor Speakers Android Central 2020

Turn your backyard into a sound garden with a new set of outdoor speakers. Whether you want an in-ground system, a wired set, or a wireless Bluetooth speaker you can take anywhere, we have you covered. Our favorite is the Bose Free Space 51, but they're not the only speakers that made the cut. Read on to find out which wired and wireless outdoor speakers we rank best this year.

Best Overall: Bose Free Space 51

Bose Free Space 51 LifestyleiiSource: Bose

Audiophiles need no introduction to Bose. The company has been putting out top-notch sound systems since 1964. The Bose Free Space 51s are a pair of in-ground green speakers that blend in with their environment. Bury them in the ground, plant them in the bushes, or set them up next to the pool. The flexible design fits in anywhere and delivers the award-winning rich sound that Bose is famous for.

Built tough, Bose Free Space 51 speakers can withstand crazy temperature swings. Bose guarantees they'll stay powered up in temps that range from -22 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bose promises this set of speakers are weatherproof, so you can leave them outside. They're easy to install too. This set can be installed in-ground or above ground. Grooves on the underside of the speaker base allow you to tuck and hide wires, giving you a professional look.

Now, let's talk sound. Bose gives you 360 degrees of sound coverage. Tones are deep and rich, never tinny. The domed grille that rests over the speakers reflects highs and lows, spreading them over a wide area. Whether you're poolside, seated on the patio, or enjoying a picnic lunch at the table, you'll be treated to sounds that will move you. Yes, they're pricey, but if you're looking for speakers with the best sound around, they're worth every penny.

Pros:

  • Withstand crazy temperature extremes
  • 360-degrees of killer sound
  • Blend in with the environment
  • Rugged
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Wired speakers more complicated to install

Best Overall

Bose Free Space 51

Our favorite permanent outdoor speaker

Bose Free Space 51s are wired speakers that install quickly and have the best highs and lows of any model on the market.

Best Value: Anker Soundcore Boost

Anker Soudcore Boost LifestyleSource: Anker

If you're not keen on wiring speakers and you want to lighten the load on your budget, Anker Soundcore Boost is the way to go. It's hard to call this a value speaker (even though it is one of the cheapest options around) because it's such a robust system.

The Anker Soundcore Boost pairs nicely with phones via Bluetooth or NFC. A combo of dual drivers and twin subwoofers deliver 20W of audio excellence. Tones are balanced and bright, and they can be boosted with extra bass so you can thump away to your heart's content. Battery life clocks in at a full 12 hours, so it'll pull you through a whole day when needed.

Build quality is solid on the Anker Soundcore Boost. Design is minimal yet tasteful, and the housing is rated IPX5, which is tough enough to withstand splashes of rain or spills, though it's not waterproof. With this setup, you'll get the Anker speaker, a Micro-USB charging cable, and an 18-month warranty. It's an investment that's silly to pass up.

Pros:

  • Boost the bass with a tap
  • Superb sound
  • 12-hour battery life
  • Excellent build quality
  • NFC + Bluetooth

Cons:

  • Water-resistant, not waterproof
  • Old-school Micro-USB charging

Best Value

Anker Soundcore Boost

Small in size, big on sound

You'll get 12 hours of battery life and superb sound in this portable Bluetooth speaker. It's a bargain at any price.

Best Mounting Options: Polk Audio Atrium 6

Polk Audio Atrium 6 LifestyleSource: Polk Audio

The Polk Audio Atrium 6 outdoor speakers don't need to sit on the ground or on a table like other models. This dual set of mountable speakers hangs under eaves, on fence posts, or even attaches to pool furniture. Installation brackets come in the box. You simply add the mounting system wherever you choose and click the speakers into place.

Polk Audio Atrium 6s are water-resistant and work in all seasons. They're durable enough to withstand high and low temps, and Polk guarantees they'll see you through heavy rains. Aluminum grilles and brackets, plus stainless steel and brass hardware never rusts, stains, or loses its luster.

And the sound? Thanks to the baffle design, the speakers offer broad coverage that fills large open spaces without missing a beat. This system from Polk Audio is an excellent choice for those who want a fixed outdoor audio system. The only downside: these don't have Bluetooth baked in. You'll need to hardwire this setup. To add Bluetooth, you'll have to add in a Bluetooth receiver. If you can live with that, these sound every bit as good as more expensive offerings.

Pros:

  • Installation is a breeze
  • Can be mounted vertically or horizontally
  • Materials never rust
  • Excellent sound
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth

Best Mounting Options

Polk Audio Atrium 6

A perfect outdoor fixed audio system

If you want a fixed system, run with Polk Audio. The sound is superb and the mounting options are fantastic.

Best Lantern Speaker: Olafus Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers

Olafus Lantern Speakers LifestyleSource: Olafus

Olafus Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers are just plain fun. They look like standard backyard lanterns, but they also pump out decent sound. Use one at a time, pair the set together for full stereo, or connect multiple lanterns and really crank out the tunes.

Unique to Olafus, built-in LEDs. These speakers double as garden lamps or mood lighting. They can cycle through eight colors and even sync to the beat of the music. The lanterns hang with a simple hook or sit directly on any flat surface. Easy to push controls line the front of the speakers and are simple to operate. This set of speakers is rated IPX5, making them water-resistant to most spills and even light rain.

There's one downside; though you'll get 10 hours out of the batteries when playing music and using the LEDs, it takes more than three hours to recharge each lantern. On the plus side, the speakers do come with a power adapter so you can keep the party going if you don't mind tethering to an outlet. All told, these are good sounding speakers that are water-resistant and have the added bonus of providing cool lighting options.

Pros:

  • 10-hour battery life
  • Built-in LEDs
  • Bluetooth
  • Connect multiple speakers together
  • Optional power adapter

Cons:

  • Long charging time
  • Only IPX5 rated

Best Lantern Speaker

Olafus Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers

Add some mood lighting

These speakers from Olafus do double duty. You'll get color-changing LED lanterns plus two speakers with 10 hours of battery life.

Best Portable Sound: JBL Xtreme 2

Jbl Xtreme 2 LifestyleSource: JBL

JBL Xtreme 2 ranks consistently at the top of our list of favorite Bluetooth speakers. IPX7 waterproofing means you can not only take this speaker to the pool, but you can fully submerge it without concern. The entire unit is perfect for rough and tumble lifestyles. With the included shoulder strap, the JBL is a joy to carry to the backyard, the beach, or throw in the backseat of the car.

The Xtreme 2 has an impressive range. Basses are clear without being overpowering, and mids and highs are always present. If you have other JBL models, they can connect to the Xtreme 2 with other speakers through Connect Plus, JBLs free app. A nice touch for those who want to extend the range of sound. On that note, the Xtreme 2 isn't as loud when using battery power as it is when plugged in. If you really want to crank it up, you'll want to stay wired.

For those who want to go portable and need a tough-as-nails speaker, the Xtreme 2 is a winner. The battery lasts and lasts! You'll be treated to 15 hours of continuous playtime over Bluetooth, which is exceptional for any speaker these days. If you're in the market for a speaker that can take on Mother Nature and crank out your playlist for hours on end, you want the JBL Xtreme 2.

Pros:

  • 15 hours of playtime
  • Waterproof
  • Built rugged
  • Convenient shoulder strap
  • Stellar sound

Cons:

  • Volume not as loud on battery power

Best Portable Sound

JBL Xtreme 2

Throw it over your shoulder and go

The JBL Xtreme 2 can go anywhere. It's portable, powerful, and has a 15-hour battery life.

The last word

Long gone are the days of carrying around boomboxes with short cords and even shorter battery lives. Today's speakers can be as portable as you like or wired into your existing sound system with little effort needed on your part.

The speakers I rank best are Bose Free Space 51. Like all Bose hardware, they sound out-of-this-world amazing. You'll get 360-degree sound no matter where you sit. Basses are deep and thundering and trebles are tight and never thin or tinny. The unique radial design disperses sound in a way that delivers the rich tones Bose has built their reputation around.

And Mother Nature is of no concern to the Bose Free Space 51s. Designed to withstand extreme changes in temperature, plus snow, salt, rain, and lightning, Bose's weatherproof speakers can sit out all year long without a hiccup. If you want rugged wired speakers that deliver the best sound, put your money on Bose.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jodi Owan works behind a keyboard and a camera. See more of her work on her website and on Instagram.

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