The Best Outdoor Speakers 2020
Last updated on March 23, 2020
From porch to patio to pool: today’s newest outdoor gear is flat-out awesome.
Whether a gorgeous 4K TV by the pool, beautiful music everywhere, or wifi in every corner of the yard, outdoor entertainment has come of age.
The industry’s biggest players are now duking it out, and the latest outdoor gear beats anything we had in our stores even just 5 years ago. Translated: this is a big win-win for music-lovers.
Below, World Wide Stereo technicians note the best of the best outdoor speakers by category. Each World Wide Stereo contributor not only comes to the party with serious audio credentials, but some are also serious backyard barbecuers and block partiers as well (and one has been our company badminton champ 3 years running).
Bottom line: you wait all year for summer, so don’t blow it. Add a little sizzle to your summertime fun with the best outdoor gear for the money - engineered and tested to withstand snow, rain, salt and temperature extremes, while not disturbing the aesthetics of your outdoor environment.
Here are our picks for the 2020 best outdoor speakers and subwoofers:
1. The Best Outdoor Sound System: Sonance Sonarray SR1
2. The Best Outdoor Rock Speakers: Klipsch AWR-650-SM All-Weather 2-Way Speakers
3. The Best Outdoor Speakers Under $300: Bose 151 SE Environmental Speaker System
4. The Best Outdoor Speakers For Sonos Systems: Sonos OUTDRWW1 Outdoor Architectural Speakers
5. The Best Outdoor Speakers Under $200: Focal 100 OD6
6. The Best Outdoor All-Weather Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins AM1
7. The 3 Best Outdoor Planter Speakers: PlanterSpeakers
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Bowers & Wilkins
Regular Price: $349.99
Save: $50.00 (14%)
PS-PTC6In store only
Why it won
The Sonarray SR1 Outdoor Sound System didn’t win “best outdoor system” by a little bit, it won by miles – for lots of reasons. Included: 8 satellite speakers (each disguised as a landscape light), 2 in-ground subwoofers, and the Sonance SR 2-125 amplifier – a 125-watt stereo amplifier made specifically for this setup. Step-by-step installation instructions are very easy to understand (the hardest part: digging the 2 holes for subwoofers.) Everything daisy-chains together, and by alternating left and right channels, the system maintains excellent 2-channel stereo sound throughout its footprint. The 2 subs can be placed (buried) anywhere along the line for best effect.
As for the sound?
World Wide Stereo has been all about high-end audio since 1979, and we’ve seen and heard pretty much everything in our 40 years. As you would expect, we’re not so easily impressed at this point, save for rare exceptions – and this is definitely one of them. After all, it's the system our own Ron Rumer has in his backyard. A long way of saying: the Sonarray SR1 outdoor system not only blew us away, but it’s also on par with many of today’s indoor stereos. We installed the Sonarray SR1 around the property at our Montgomeryville, PA store, and hardly a day goes by without customers praising it on their way inside.
Hats off to Sonance – this one’s out of the park, no pun intended. (P.S. Also good to know: if you don’t point the SR1s speakers directly at your neighbors, you can turn it up and they won’t hear a thing.)
Comes With: Eight (8) satellite speakers, two (2) subwoofers, eight (8) ground stakes, and twenty-four (24) silicone filled wire nuts | Drivers: Satellite speakers 3 3 1/2" anodized aluminum cone, subwoofers 8" dual voice coil | Impedance: 8 ohms per channel nominal | Sensitivity: 85dB and 89dB SPL, satellite and subwoofer respectively, 2.83V/1 meter | Power Handling: 50W minimum / 150W system. Sub: 150W
Reg Price: $3,250.00
Why it won
Klipsch is the Harley Davidson of the speaker world: an American company with a great backstory and a legendary product line. Klipsch is about muscle and finesse… and whether a rip-tearing Joe Bonamassa guitar hook or a Benny Goodman clarinet lead, Klipsch serves it up like it’s happening live, right in front of you. No one does “thank you sir, may I have another?” quite like Klipsch. How fitting then, that Klipsch’s outdoor entree, the AWR-650-SM, comes in the form of a big rock, available in dirt brown or mountain black.
At 50 Watts of power each, a pair of AWR-650-SMs can handle the biggest big block party without breaking a sweat. Turned down, they’re perfect for musical chairs at a kid’s birthday party. In between, you can hear the game like you’re sitting in the press box.
Naturally, Klipsch built the AWR-650-SM to withstand extreme weather conditions (hello Florida, Texas, the Carolinas, Louisiana, and the entire left coast). Each weighs 13 pounds and features a dual voice coil polymer woofer for a powerful, precise low-end, along with dual polymer dome tweeters – so any one speaker can process both left and right stereo channels. (Most customers buy two, one left and one right for a traditional stereo setup.) Obviously, they blend in well wherever you put them, because they’re, well… rocks. That ROCK.
Drivers: Two-way system using two 0.75" polymer dome tweeters and one 6.5" polymer cone dual voice coil woofer | Impedance: 8 ohms compatible | Sensitivity: 94dB @ 2.83V / 1m | Power Handling: 50W continuous / 200W peak
Reg Price: $329.00
Why it won
These two little puppies from Bose are passive (no preamp inside), and each can handle 50 watts nominal power and 100 watts peak power. At 6.0” deep X 12.5” wide x 4.5” high, they can pretty much go anywhere via the adjustable mounting brackets that are included. The Bose aesthetic is a good one, on par with anything by Sonos or Yamaha – so you may not want to hide them. (Available in black or white. They’re also the perfect size for installing under a back porch eave or tucked away in a soffit.) As for sound, you really can’t do better in this price range…in fact, you’d have to spend almost twice as much before you’d notice a real difference for the better.
One of the first to take outdoor audio equipment seriously, Bose built the 151s to be truly weather resistant. Their literature states the 151s work well in rain, sleet, snow, high humidity, and salt. Not to mention, they can withstand temperature extremes of-40°F to 158°F.
Added together, we’re not surprised the Bose 151 SE Environmental Speaker System receives so many glowing 4 and 5-star reviews, ours included. Want great sound outside for less than $300? Check, please.
Colors: Available in black or white | Drivers: Two (2) 2 1 ⁄ 2 ” full-range environmental | Impedance: 4 - 8 ohms compatible | Sensitivity: 88 dB (2.83v/1m) | Power Handling: 50W of continuous power handling
Reg Price: $278.00
Why it won
For many, Sonos is the end-all/be-all for all-things streaming music. They love the Sonos fit and finish, the Sonos app, AirPlay 2, voice commands, and all that good stuff. So for them, taking Sonos outside makes perfect sense. But, you don’t already have to have Sonos in the house to join the Sonos revolution – a pair of Sonos OUTDRWW1 Outdoor Architectural Speakers is a great way to start your own Sonos system. (Though, first-timers will need to add the Sonos Wireless Hi-Fi Amp.)
This product is actually the result of a collaboration between Sonance and Sonos. Sonance made their name via high-end outdoor audio. (If you keep reading, you’ll see that Sonance takes our “best all-around” outdoor speaker prize below.) In this case, Sonance modified their outdoor expertise to fit the Sonos ecosystem. The result is the best of both worlds: Sonance’s award-winning sound and weather-proven durability with the Sonos look, feel, and easy-to-stream-anything OS.
Colors: Available in white
Reg Price: $799.00
Why it won
Okay, this is a little bit funny. Focal, a French company known for superior craftsmanship and highly advanced audio gear… a company with a best-selling speaker that goes for $60K a pop (and a to-die-for pair of headphones at $4K a pop)... a company that routinely designs speaker systems for some of the world’s finest recording studios – takes our “Best Outdoor Speakers for under $200” prize. If that’s a mistake, we’re not saying anything.
As part of Focal’s 100 Series speakers, the 100 OD6 outdoor versions include A) Focal’s aluminum inverted dome tweeter, B) a Polyglass treated bass/mid-range speaker driver, which together are responsible for C) Focal’s superior sound dispersion and incredibly crisp/clear results.
The mounting brackets included let you point the speakers wherever you want, and the high-density cabinet is waterproof. Focal’s 100 OD6s are one of our best-sellers. Viva La Focal!
One additional note:
At only $50 more, you may want to opt for the Focal 100 OD8. It’s essentially the same thing but comes with a bass driver that’s a full 2-inches bigger than the Focal 100 OD6. Both are excellent outdoor speakers, but the 100 OD8 definitely ups the bass equation, and the result is a deeper, fuller, more detailed low end.
Colors: Available in black or white | Drivers: Aluminum inverted dome tweeter 6 1 ⁄ 2 ” waterproof woofer with Polyglass treatment | Impedance: Nominal impedance: 8ohms, Minimal impedance: 6.7 ohms | Sensitivity: 87dB (2.83v/1m) | Power Handling: Recommended amp power: 20 - 120W
Reg Price: $199.00
#6. The Best Outdoor All-Weather Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 2-Way Weatherproof Outdoor Speaker
Why it won
Bowers & Wilkins of Worthing, South England – trusted and embraced by legendary studios like Abbey Road and considered by many the world’s finest loudspeaker maker for over 50 years, is our unanimous choice for “best all-weather outdoor speaker.” The press calls Bowers & Wilkins' AM-1 “the most durable loudspeaker B&W has ever made, achieved without compromising power or sound quality the way so many lessor outdoor speakers do.”
Inside the AM1: a 2-way design with an inverted drive unit and a 25 mm aluminum-dome tweeter mounted below (rather than above) its 5-inch glass-fiber bass/midrange driver. This configuration ensures the AM1 provides optimal dispersion of sound when mounted high on a wall or ceiling, where best-case scenario, it belongs. On the rear of the AM-1, an auxiliary bass radiator (ABR) adds exceptional bass for a speaker this size. The combination – B&W’s unique architecture and high-end drive units add up to seriously great sound, particularly when it comes to more intricate or nuanced music. (Mozart. The Roots. Beck. Miles. Etc.)
The AM-1’s weatherproof housing is sealed from the elements, mounting is easy, and recommended amplifier power = 20 W to 100 W into 8 ohms. Our opinion: Bowers & Wilkins' AM1’s also qualify as awesome indoor speakers too, whether for stereo or home theater.
Colors: Available in black or white | Drivers: One (1) 1” aluminum dome high-frequency and One (1) 5” glassfibre cone bass/midrange | Impedance: 8 ohms | Sensitivity: 86 dB (2.83v/1m) | Power Handling: Recommended amplifier power: 20W - 100W int 8ohms on unclipped program power
Reg Price: $349.99
Why it won
Why plant potatoes when you can plant the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the entire cast of Les Misérables, or just a quiet classical guitar piece? Seriously though – if you’re looking for top-shelf outdoor sound, you can’t beat PlanterSpeakers' Piermont 17-inch planter speakers. High-quality outdoor sound is all PlanterSpeakers does, and at a recent national audio show featuring new products, several audio professionals considered Madison Fielding’s outdoor speakers best-of-show – indoors or out.
With its modern slatted teak cabinet, a pair of the Piermont 17s look great anywhere. Handmade in America with both Parasound pre and power amps inside, they offer rich, absolutely pristine, knock-your-socks-off sound. (And, they’d make for awesome outdoor home theater speakers as well.) $5995 a pair and worth every cent.
And oh… by the way, you actually can plant live plants in the Piedmont’s deep planter space. (A drainage tube comes included.)
Also, check out the Piermont 17 with 90 degree sound here.
Why it won
PlanterSpeakers’ Mini Flagstone Speakers come with a pull-out tray, in which you can plant (and water) real flowers. Underneath, an elegant, low-profile planter with a front firing speaker system that includes a 1-inch soft fabric dome tweeter, a 4-inch mid-range, and a down-firing 8-inch dual voice coil woofer for full, distinct bass. They sound great, and they’re also ideal in a sunroom – or anywhere indoors for that matter.
Why it won
Last but not least, terra cotta by PlanterSpeakers. Pots measure 16-inches in diameter. The speaker parts are hidden, yet a pair will cover up to 300 square feet with beautiful 360-degree sound via the 6.5-inch coaxial drivers inside. Everything is weather-proof, and the wrought iron stands come included. You can also plant real (or artificial) plants in the top portion.
Still not sure? We got this.
If you're still not sure which outdoor speaker or system is the best for you, give us a call or send us an email. Tell us about your ideal outdoor system, and we’d be more than happy to help you pick the ideal outdoor gear for you.
One more thing:
Once you pick out your outdoor speakers and/or sound system, a last word of advice: buy it from a trusted dealer, and the more experience / the longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens. Until then, check out our recent “Take It Outside Event” recap at our “Fun Reads” blog, and discover how easy (and affordable) it can be to bring your movies, music, and Wi-Fi outside this summer.
Speaking of trusted dealers...
World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do, and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet diehard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy. We’re brutally honest when it come to this stuff. Want to know if something is as good as advertised? Even if you're shopping somewhere else? Call us or stop by one of our showrooms — we’ll give it to you straight. We love what we do, and we love sharing that love.
With us, you get our guarantee, which includes perks like free shipping, 60-day returns, and support even years after the sale — always. Hence our rule: "no one leaves unhappy." Ever.