Best outdoor speakers 2020: What if we could take our music with us without having to compromise on sound quality or worry about what the weather is going to be like? Well, that’s the promise of an outdoor speaker.
What makes an outdoor speaker different to a standard speaker is that it’s designed to survive whatever Mother Nature (or you) can throw at it. As such these speakers will IP ratings that indicate how much dust or water they can resist, feature a rugged build to survive any accidental knocks or drops and an audio performance that’s as good as any other speaker that’s designed for the home.
Plus, outdoor speakers often come with features such as handles or are small small enough to fit into a rucksack. That makes them a perfect choice for outdoor parties, trips to the beach or to your local park.
What follows is a list of the best outdoor speakers, ready to survive any mishap. Have a glance at our shortlist to see what we think are the best, and decamp down the page to read more descriptions and click links to our in-depth reviews.
- Best outdoor speaker battery: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
- Best smart outdoor speaker: B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen
- Best sounding outdoor speaker: Sonos Move
- Best rugged outdoor speaker: Marshall Emberton
- Best value outdoor speaker: Tribit Stormbox Micro
- Best outdoor travel speaker: JBL Xtreme 2
- Best outdoor rugged speaker: JBL Charge 3
- Best small outdoor speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
- Best outdoor speaker with bass: Marshall Tufton
- Best outdoor adventure speaker: Ultimate Ears Boom 3
Related: Best Bluetooth speakers
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Small gains add up
- Huge sound
- Easy to use
- 13-hour battery life
- Outdoor Boost is useful
- Not much of note
Almost identical to the original Wonderboom, the Wonderboom 2 brings with it a few important tweaks.
New features arrive in Outdoor Boost and Double Up; the former boosting the mid-range when outside and the latter introducing stereo pairing. And for such a small unit, the Wonderboom 2 is surprisingly loud and energetic.
Its IP67 rating ensures it can survive wet conditions, and with 13 hours of battery life, you’ve a days’ worth of fun.
Beosound A1 2nd Gen
Hi-fi sound for the outdoors
- Excellent sound
- Alexa support
- Great style
- Waterproof design
- Still pricey
The A1 2nd gen is the world’s first Bluetooth-only speaker to support Alexa, but more than that, it’s a portable speaker with an excellent audio performance.
Alexa works by communicating via the Bluetooth signal from your phone, providing answers to your queries without much in the way of hiccups. The speaker is full water- and dustproof, but at £200 it’s not a speaker to be careless with anyway. It’s the audio that makes the biggest impression here: detailed, clear and boasting plenty of bass from a small form factor, it’s a wonderfully expressive effort.
- Read our B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen review
A versatile outdoor speaker
- Big, powerful sound
- Confident bass performance
- Can work like any other Sonos speaker
- Voice assistant and multi-room capability
- Not exactly portable
The Move is Sonos’ first Bluetooth speaker, and can be used in the home or outdoors. It marks the debut of Sonos’ Auto Trueplay feature, which adapts the sound to fit its environment. It’s tough enough to survive some falls and inclement weather, plus its IP56 rating guards it against dust, water, mud and such like.
It’s a big, powerful speaker with an assured bass performance – and while it isn’t exactly portable at 3kg, it’s the most versatile speaker on this list.
- Read our Sonos Move review
Stylish and rugged
- Rugged design
- Entertaining sound
- Nice control interface
- Stylish looks
- Other speakers deliver more precision and clarity
- Slightly soft bass
Marshall’s smallest speaker is one made for the outdoors, combining stylish, rugged build and enjoyable audio performance into one compact form.
Unlike some other speakers on this, the Emberton doesn’t feature a carry strap, which may slightly hamper its portable credentials. But, it’s design means it can survive whatever nature can throw at it, and battery life is 20+ hours, so this speaker has enough energy reserves to last almost a day.
The audio quality is entertaining, packing that signature Marshall energy but not going overboard with it. Vocals come across clearly, there’s detail to be found and the Stereophonic feature means wherever you’re sitting you’re getting a similar audio performance.
- Read our Marshall Emberton review
Tribit Stormbox Micro
- Clear and detailed performance
- Dust and waterproof
- Good, smart design
- Affordable price
- Not the most directional-sounding speaker
The Stormbox Micro is a small speaker but it packs a big surprise. It’s the first effort we’ve heard of the brand and we can’t wait to hear what else they have in store.
The Micro’s tear-resistant strap allows it to be placed on a handlebar of a bicycle or attached to a backpack. The 8-hour battery life is slightly less than what we’ve come to expect, while its IP67 ratings protect it from dust and water.
The sound is much better than we’d imagined, with bass bigger than expected and audio cleanly delivered and detailed. Considering its size it doesn’t pitch the broadest of sounds, nor is it the most directional sounding of speakers (sound has a tendency to be fired up rather than at the listener). Nevertheless, the Tribit is great value for its £40 asking price.
- Read our Tribit Stormbox Micro review
JBL Xtreme 2
Powerful, high-fidelity sound
- Sweet, refined yet still powerful sound
- Good battery life
- Water-resistant and portable
- Its style isn’t subtle nor neutral
- Bass isn’t as “Xtreme” as some may want
The JBL Xtreme 2 is an uncomplicated wireless boombox speaker. It has no need for Wi-Fi, no interest in voice assistants or any other smart tech. It’s loud, has a sound that’s better balanced than the original, and comes with a shoulder strap for added portability. For those who value audio quality alongside portability, the Xtreme 2 is a superb buy.
- Read our JBL Xtreme 2 review
JBL Charge 3
A robust outdoor speaker
- Sturdy build
- Weighty sound
- Decent waterproofing
- Doubles as a portable charger
- A little on the heavy side
- Mid-range can be hit and miss
The Charge 3 is built for performance on-the-go, with a built-in battery allowing you to listen to your music and charge your phone at the same time. It will survive a drop into a pool thanks to its IPX7 rating, and its sound performance is nicely balanced, with well-controlled bass and crisp treble. The Charge 3 lacks excitement at low volumes, so turn it up loud.
- Read our JBL Charge 3 review
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom
A nigh-on unbreakable speaker
- Pretty much unbreakable
- Solid battery life
- Ridiculously loud
- Doesn’t handle mid-range well
If you’re after a Bluetooth speaker for your travels but don’t want to spend a small fortune, the original Wonderboom can still do a job.
Small and rugged, it can survive submersion into water at 1m for 30 minutes, meaning it’s great for pool parties. 10 hours of battery life before it conks out is still a respectable figure – and, as is usual from Ultimate Ears, the Wonderoom delivers a big sound with plenty of bass.
- Read our UE Wonderboom review
A party starter
- Big, energetic and fun sound
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 20 hour+ battery life
- Distinctive look
- Not the most articulate performer
- No smart features
The Tufton is the biggest speaker in Marshall’s portable range – but, like the Sonos Move, it has a few impediments in the way of being truly portable.
For one, it’s big and although the IPX2 rating will protect it from some water splashes, this doesn’t cover being caught out in the British weather. At £349 it’s expensive, and you’ll need to feed it songs that work to its characteristics – but there’s a reason it’s on this list.
Its big, powerful and energetic sound. This speaker is infectiously fun, and with its distinctive looks the Tufton is a great way to get an outdoor party started.
- Read our Marshall Tufton review
Ultimate Ears Boom 3
A speaker that’s ready for adventure
- Great rugged features
- Loud, clean “360-degree” sound
- Smart-looking design
- No aux input
- Some rivals offer deeper bass and a better soundstage
The Boom 3 is the Goldilocks of UE’s portable range of wireless speakers. It’s neither too big, or too small, and plays music very loud. With a clean and stylish look, the Boom 3 isn’t only waterproof, it floats too. Other speakers pip it for sound quality, but the Boom 3 is a fun speaker nevertheless.
- Read our Ultimate Ears Boom 3 review