Best outdoor speakers Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best outdoor speakers you can buy in 2022.
Whether you genuinely love a podcast in the garden or are calmly nudged that way when your nearest and dearest does their online yoga class, an outdoor Bluetooth speaker makes a great companion. Maybe you want a larger option to wheel out when hosting an outdoor party, or maybe you've just learned that sticking a playlist on while weeding the lawn eases the job. Whatever necessitates your music al fresco, there are plenty of outdoor speakers we want you to know about.
How to choose the best outdoor speaker for you
Fully waterproof speakers are a great option and will survive a lengthy dip in your private pool (you lucky thing, you) while dustproof options can also shrug off sand with the best of us (if you want a speaker for the beach, look for IP67 rather than waterproof-only IPX7).
Most portable speakers feature hooks or handles for carrying plus Bluetooth wireless connectivity, if you want something for a camping holiday or road trip. Some models even offer access to voice assistants, should you need to ask Alexa the current temperature in Florida, or the chances of decent surf this weekend in Cornwall.
Some of these models are great for slinging in a bag, but don't be fooled: there are bigger high-fidelity options too if you want to really level up the sound quality outside. Read on for our pick of the best outdoor speakers, each with a full, in-depth What Hi-Fi? review attached. We'll let you select the best fit for your needs.
We're leading with this option because, while it is not waterproof, the Drumfire could certainly be wheeled out to start a party. What you see here is a great, space-filling speaker that stands over half a metre tall and boasts a top-notch build quality.
As an all-in-one system to which you can connect a multitude of sources, the Drumfire is a great choice for the money – and Audio Pro’s sonic chops only get better as its speakers get bigger. This hefty hunk of hi-fi is as good as we had hoped. Get ready for those summer heatwaves on the patio with a scorchingly good speaker.
Read the full review: Audio Pro Drumfire
Another biggish option here – promo shots can be deceptive, so note that the Move is six times bigger than the slightly newer and super-portable Sonos Roam.
As with the Roam though, the Move supports both Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity, so you can stream tunes to it offline from a phone or tablet, or over the internet using a service such as Spotify or Tidal – as with the rest of the Sonos speaker range. Wi-fi also means it can work as part of a Sonos multi-room system – but its wirelessness means you can take it outside. All in all, plenty of options here, and the sound quality is worthy of the revered Sonos name.
Read the full review: Sonos Move
The JBL Xtreme 3 is a versatile, talented wireless speaker that’s as happy chilling at home as it is being the life and soul of a party. Yes, it's rugged, it's IP67 dust- and waterproof certified and you’d be forgiven for thinking at first glance that it might be more preoccupied with the amount of bass it’s producing rather than musical quality. But let us reassure you: the JBL Xtreme 3 proves to be a careful and considerate performer from the lowest of lows to the highest highs.
Bassheads should be more than satisfied with the healthy low-end clout on offer, but there’s quality as well as quantity. The JBL Xtreme 3 gained five stars across the board during our rigorous in-house testing, never appearing out of its depth no matter how complicated the musical arrangement.
Read the full review: JBL Xtreme 3
The JBL Charge 5 is even more durable and better sounding than the four Charges before it – and now, it is a What Hi-Fi? 2021 Award-winner to boot. Its predecessor carried an IPX7 rating, meaning it could handle being submerged in water to a depth of 1.5m, but the IP67-rated Charge 5 builds on that durability by also being fully dustproof. Want a speaker roughly the dimensions of a bottle of wine that'll charge your phone and sound great? You've found it.
Thanks in part to its new 10W tweeter and racetrack-shaped driver, the Charge 5 is currently as good a sound as you can get in a portable Bluetooth speaker design for under £200 ($200, AU$300). It boasts marginal improvements, both sonically and aesthetically, over its predecessor, the five-star Charge 4 (below).
One day JBL may produce a Charge that can be outdone by a new and plucky rival, but rest assured, that has not happened with the rather splendid Charge 5.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 5
Given that the Flip 5 is a past What Hi-Fi? Award winner, it will come as little surprise to learn that the Flip 6 is another resoundingly five-star product. We might have thought we’d be advising JBL to rework the Flip by now – add a few more features, change it up a bit to keep up with the competition – but instead, we are left praising the sonic chops of a proposition that now offers extra durability (IP67 water- and dustproofing over the waterproof-only IPX7-rated Flip 5), plus an extra ounce of space within its trademark zealous and musical presentation. Yes, it's still 'just' a Bluetooth speaker – but what a great-sounding Bluetooth speaker it is.
If you want more from the midrange and less from the treble, say, you can now tweak it thanks to a new EQ feature in the app. For a nominal price hike over the launch price of the Flip 5, there’s certainly more detail here, too.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 6
It isn't water resistant, so bring it indoors if the rain shows up at your next barbecue, but otherwise this slightly older speaker (it has recently been superseded by the T3+, but we actually prefer this model) is comfortably more expressive and enjoyable than your average budget wireless speaker.
In the sound quality, we found it near-impossible to fault, and because it is a slightly older model (although 2018 is hardly old, is it?), the Addon T3 is now even more affordable than ever...
Read the full review: Audio Pro Addon T3
The Sonos Roam is one for those looking for an off-roading, hiking, beach-combing, deep-diving speaker with dimensions and a feature set to rival offerings from JBL and Ultimate Ears. Given Sonos’s recent run of superb-sounding products, one we can drop in our backpack and take on a ramble has been highly-anticipated – especially since the Move (listed above), the company’s first battery-powered speaker, was more portly than portable in comparison.
Sonically, it's meaty with plenty of bass weight and impact – no bad thing for the great outdoors...
Read the full review: Sonos Roam
A worthy What Hi-fi? Award-winner in 2020 – and if all you want is a portable outdoorsy Bluetooth speaker that sounds as good as £100 can buy, you’ll still be hard-pressed to better the Flip 5. Because it has been superseded by the Flip 6 (above) you'll probably find it for a lot less, too. Truly, JBL’s backpack-friendly offering sounds great for the price. If you don’t mind the lack of aux-in port or inbuilt microphone (as seen in the Flip 4) or the inability to partner it with older JBL speakers (the PartyBoost function is not backwards compatible with Connect+ enabled speakers, such as the JBL Charge 4), it’s an excellent proposition for the money.
It may be low on added extras, (there is a wrist strap that fits comfortably over our hand and makes the Flip 5 feel extra-secure when we're holding it) but the Flip 5 gets away with it. It can be beaten for battery life, at 12 hours, but once you're actually listening to it, JBL's fifth Flip easily betters the competition at the price.
Read the full review: JBL Flip 5
The Wonderboom 2 cements Ultimate Ears' reputation for creating cute, brilliant-sounding portable speakers. The 13-hour battery life is enough for any al-fresco extravaganza, while an IP67 rating means it won't freak out if you drop it in a pool or leave it out at the beach.
The real attraction, however, is the fantastic sound quality – that's what made it a 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award winner. It's energetic at any volume and it delivers a thumping whack of bass that belies its size. Given that it costs around £89 (and you may get it cheaper owing to its relative age), the Wonderboom 2 is still a near-perfect party speaker and ideal for outdoor excursions.
Read the full review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Bang & Olufsen isn’t noted for following the herd. In the Danish electronics specialist’s catalogue you'll find a wheel-shaped wireless speaker, a TV that opens up like a butterfly, and an 8200-watt monolithic speaker comprising 18 drivers. Its output could reasonably be described as "premium" and "innovative" – and the B&O Beosound A1 (2nd Gen) wireless speaker is no exception.
It boasts similar dimensions to a large floury bap, but that's where any comparisons with baked goods end. The new A1 supports Qualcomm’s latest aptX Adaptive Bluetooth 5.1 codec, there's an IP67 rating for water and dust ingress, and Alexa is here – despite the fact that it's Bluetooth-only.
It works a treat, too, delivering a pleasingly comfortable yet authoritative performance that you'd be happy listening to all day. Throw in its classy, well made design, easy to use operation and the bonus of Alexa, and you're looking at a Bluetooth speaker sequel that has very much been worth the wait.
Read the full review: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 (2nd Gen)
The JBL Link Portable's neat connectivity features bring a plethora of streaming options to the table – features rarely seen in the sub-£150 speaker category including AirPlay 2, Chromecast and hi-res support. You also get hands-free Google Assistant, a charging cradle and wireless streaming via wi-fi or Bluetooth.
The Link Portable looks and feels like a premium yet durable product. For a speaker of this size, it has oodles of detail and an expansive mix with everything present, including bass. While there's no PartyBoost or Connect+ support for daisy-chaining other JBL speakers, the Link Portable makes JBL a serious contender in the category of affordable outdoor wireless speakers.
Read the full review: JBL Link Portable.
You'll get a whopping 20 hours of playback from this little five-star performer on a full battery – and it doesn't just come in this colour. The fact that we really like the JBL Charge 4 should come as no surprise to those who read our Charge 3 review, or the newer Charge 5 (above). JBL fine-tuned the sound in this iteration to please even pickier ears and battery capacity was increased. We can’t reasonably ask for any more at this price – and you'll almost certainly find it discounted following the release of the new Charge 5. Obviously there's a limit to the bass floor in a speaker of this size, but the low-end is tasteful – and there's still plenty of punch.
Read the full review: JBL Charge 4
The diminutive, soap on a rope-styled Go 3 features Bluetooth 5.1 instead of 4.1 plus a maximum power output of 4.2W, up from 3W in the previous iteration, the Go 2. The one specification that hasn’t changed is the Go 3's stamina. It takes 2.5 hours to charge fully, and you can still only get five hours of playtime from it from a single charge.
If you can live with this, there's much to celebrate in the sound department at the level. The extra power and overhauled design have resulted in some solid sonic enhancements, and aesthetically it's perhaps even cuter than the 2nd generation model. We gave this iteration five stars for sound. It's less of an issue if it's only coming as far as your garden, but will five hours get you through a day at the beach or a lazy picnic in the park? Probably best to take a wireless charger.
Read the full review: JBL Go 3
If there's a home decor, backpack or personal taste that the Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro can’t merge in with happily, we've yet to find it. It's the size of a stack of drinks coasters, it's IP67 rated, there's a useful rubberised strap across the back of it, it's really rather affordable and you can pair two of them in stereo mode.
You'll be pleasantly surprised by the bass clout the Tribit is able to deliver, too. Although a speaker of such dimensions is obviously limited in terms of bass weight, it does remarkably well; close your eyes while listening and you’ll picture a bigger product.
If your budget maxes out at £50 ($60), the Tribit is a splendid option. Similarly, if you only have a small zip compartment in the top of your backpack for a sonic travel companion, this speaker is worthy of that space. Take note, Ultimate Ears: a little-known brand called Tribit Audio has produced a budget belter of a Bluetooth speaker.
Read the full review: Tribit Audio Stormbox Micro
How we choose the best outdoor speakers
We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test all of the outdoor, portable and Bluetooth speakers we review.
What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, listening to one product up against its closest competition to figure out exactly how it differs and what each model does best. We keep class-leading products in our stockrooms so we can compare new products to ones we know and love.
We are always impartial and do our level best to make sure we're hearing every product – including affordable, rugged outdoor speakers – at its very best. Whatever your budget, we want you to have the best solution for the money, so we'll experiment with features, test any voice assistant integration and app support, try plenty of different types of music and give the proposition plenty of listening time (and time to run in).
All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole too, rather than an individual reviewer, thus eliminating any personal preference while making sure we're being as thorough as possible. Note that there's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to our verdicts. We, your What Hi-Fi? team, are proud to have been delivering honest, unbiased and thorough reviews since 1976 – and we're not about to change that.