Best outdoor speakers 2020: We all like to listen to music at home, but what if we could take our music or podcasts with us without compromising sound quality? Well, that’s the promise of an outdoor speaker.
What makes an outdoor speaker different from a standard Bluetooth speaker is that it’s been engineered to survive outside of the home. Such models carry IP ratings for adverse weather conditions, a more rugged build to survive any accidental knocks or drops and, most importantly, an acoustic performance that’s very big.
That makes an outdoor speaker the perfect choice for outdoor parties, a trip to the beach, or to your local park. Plus, outdoor speakers are likely to come with added portability features such as handles; while there are some models that are small enough to fit into a rucksack.
This is a list of the best outdoor speakers, ready for any occasion and able to survive any mishap. Read on to find out what will be your next outdoor speaker.
- Best outdoor speaker battery: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
- Best sounding outdoor speaker: Sonos Move
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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