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  • Writer's pictureTony L

The Ultimate Outdoor Speaker Guide For 2024

Hello there! You've just found your way to the most comprehensive guide on outdoor speakers.

Outdoor Speaker Catalog and Design Guide
Everything you need to know about outdoor speakers

Welcome to the Ultimate Outdoor Speaker Guide

Whether you're jazzing up your backyard for those cozy family gatherings or setting the stage for a grand outdoor event, picking the right speakers is crucial. This guide is your one-stop resource for navigating the vast sea of outdoor audio options. We'll walk you through the ins and outs of outdoor speakers, from how many you need to the nitty-gritty of powering them up and choosing your music sources. And hey, if questions pop up, don't hesitate to reach out. We're just a call or a click away from lending you a hand.

Outdoor Speaker Essentials

Outdoor speakers go beyond just being indoor speakers in a rugged shell. They're crafted to animate your open-air spaces with the music you love. Here's what makes them stand out:

  • Weather Resistance and Durability: Built to withstand the elements, these speakers ensure your playlists play on, come rain or shine, keeping the rhythm alive in any weather.

  • Sound Quality in the Great Outdoors: Navigating the acoustics of outdoor spaces is no small feat. These speakers are tailored to project clear, vibrant sound throughout your garden, patio, or by the pool, making sure every note is heard in full clarity.

Exploring Types of Outdoor Speakers

Embark on a journey through the diverse world of outdoor speakers, where functionality meets flair. Whether you're looking for something to complement your outdoor décor or a speaker that stands out, here's a brief overview:

  • Traditional Speakers: The stalwarts of outdoor audio, these speakers are adaptable, robust, and ready to be set up in your preferred outdoor spot.

  • Landscape Speakers: Crafted to blend with the natural beauty of your garden, these speakers ensure your outdoor soundscapes are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the ear.

  • Architectural Speakers: Where sound artistry meets architectural elegance, these speakers are for those who value aesthetic design as much as acoustic excellence.

  • Planter Speakers: Ingeniously combining function with form, these speakers integrate with your greenery, allowing your music to bloom alongside your flowers.

  • Specialty Speakers: Discover speakers in unique forms, like rocks that meld into your garden or portable units that bring your tunes along wherever you roam, adding a touch of wonder to your outdoor audio experience.

As we dive deeper into each category, we'll help you make the perfect choice for your outdoor sanctuary. The ideal speakers can elevate your outdoor space into a personal amphitheater or a tranquil retreat. Let's embark on this sonic journey together, ensuring we strike the perfect chord for your outdoor haven.

Choosing the right outdoor speakers is key to elevating your outdoor experience with music. Here's how to find the perfect match for your space and lifestyle:

Assessing Your Outdoor Space

First, take a close look at your outdoor area. The size, layout, and acoustics play a big role in your choice of speakers. A small patio might need a different approach compared to a large garden. Consider these factors:

  • Size and Layout: Measure your area and consider where you'll likely listen to music. This will help you decide the number and types of speakers you need. We will into this further later on.

  • Acoustic Considerations: Unlike indoor spaces, outdoors lack walls and ceilings to contain sound. Choose speakers that provide clear, focused sound to ensure it doesn't get "lost" outdoors.

Matching Speakers to Your Lifestyle

Your speakers should enhance how you use your outdoor space, whether for parties, relaxation, or both.

  • For the Entertainers: Hosting lots of backyard parties? Look at powerful traditional speakers or line array systems that fill larger areas with sound, making sure everyone gets into the groove.

  • For the Ambiance Seekers: Prefer a subtle soundtrack for outdoor meals or relaxation? Landscape speakers, like those designed to look like rocks or blend into your garden, offer great sound without disrupting your space's look.

  • For the Functional Users: If you need versatility, architectural speakers combine great sound with design appeal. And if you like to mix things up, portable Bluetooth speakers offer quality sound with the freedom to move them as you please.

Selecting the right speakers can transform your outdoor area into a personal concert venue or a tranquil retreat, perfectly aligned with your lifestyle and entertainment needs.

1. Traditional Outdoor Speakers

Best Outdoor Wall Mount Speakers
JBL Control Outdoor Speaker Series

Traditional Outdoor Speakers: Sporting rust-proof grills and brackets plus connections that won't corrode, these outdoor speakers pack the same punch as your favorite indoor speakers. They range from 3” to 8” in size, with the bigger drivers dishing out those deep bass notes you love. Top of the line? The JBL Control series. Perfect for anyone looking to bring high-quality sound outdoors. Dive into the world of wall-mounted outdoor speakers for more info.. Learn more about Wall mount outdoor speakers here.

2. Landscape speakers come in a variety of different models including teardrop satellite, simulated rock, mushroom, bollard, and architectural design outdoor speakers. We also offer Landscape Lighting systems. and you can read our article: A Guide to Landscape Lighting Design and Fixtures For Your New Jersey Home.

Landscape Speakers Style Teardrop
Outdoor Satellite Landscape Speakers
  • Satellite speakers come with a handy pivoting stake, so you just plant them in the ground and point them where you want the sound to go. They blend right into your garden, giving you a smooth, even sound all over. Just make sure to place them where they won't get knocked over by lawn care. It's a good idea to check the stake's material since the cheaper ones might break after a while. James loudspeakers are top-notch in this category, known for their solid sound and sturdy stakes. These speakers typically feature a 3” to 6” mid driver and a tweeter, often paired with an outdoor subwoofer for that full audio experience. For more details on setting up your landscape with these speakers, check out our guide on outdoor landscape satellite speakers.

  • Rock Speakers like the robust Rockustics Octorock, are built to last and deliver a broad range of sounds, thanks to their larger drivers. Available in a variety of designs and colors, from sandstone to granite, they're made to match your garden's look perfectly. When choosing, pay attention to how the speaker is angled in its rock casing—some direct sound straight out, while others are tilted for optimal listening. Near your favorite hangout spot? Opt for a slight tilt. Covering wide areas? Go straight. With sizes ranging from 4” to 8” and sometimes even featuring three speakers for richer sound layers, the Rokustics OctoRock stands out as a top pick to boost the atmosphere of any outdoor gathering.

  • ·Mushroom Outdoor Landscape Speakers like the JBL Mushroom Speakers,

Best Outdoor Mushroom Speakers
JBL Mushroom Speakers

offer a full 360-degree sound experience, directing audio downwards towards a specially designed base for even dispersion. Sitting close to the ground, they fill your outdoor space with sound without standing out, blending beautifully with your surroundings. The JBL Control 85M is our top pick for mushroom speakers, known for its wide frequency range and great value. Perfect for both home gardens and commercial settings such as malls, parks, and outdoor venues, they bring quality sound where you need it most.

The Best Bollard Speakers
Origin Bollard Speakers
  • Bollard Speakers Blend elegance with performance, effortlessly fitting into your landscape or standing proud in the open. Their elevated design allows for multiple, larger drivers, directing sound perfectly for unmatched audio quality. While they're a premium choice, the investment pays off in superior sound. For top-notch bollard speakers, Origin Acoustics leads the pack with its 360-degree sound field and enduring build, ensuring years of auditory bliss in your outdoor spaces.

The Best Outdoor Architectural Speakers
Best Outdoor Architectural Speakers
  • Outdoor Architectural speakers Notably pioneered by Architettura Sonora, this approach merges stunning visuals with exceptional audio. While bollard speakers fall under this category, the architectural range stands out for its distinctive design and the promise of a growing trend in stylish outdoor audio solutions. For those who value both aesthetics and acoustics, Architettura Sonora is the gold standard, offering soundscapes that transform any area into a symphony of sight and sound.

Best Planter Speakers by Ambisonic Systems
Best Planter Speaker
  • Bench and planter speakers Are the unsung heroes of outdoor audio, merging effortlessly with your garden's look while delivering rich sound. Planter speakers, in particular, offer standout audio without clashing with your outdoor decor, perfect for those who prize their garden's appearance. Bench speakers, though offering great sound, might compromise on audio quality when doubled as seating. Customizable to your preference, these speakers can be angled for optimal sound direction. Adding a subwoofer to the mix brings in that deep, resonant bass, making your outdoor space come alive with music. Ambisonic Systems' planter speakers are our go-to for top-notch sound nestled among your plants. Dive into our guide for integrating these acoustic gems into your garden. Click here for more information on outdoor planter speakers and buying guide.

Best Residential Outdoor Line Array Style Outdoor  Speaker
Best Outdoor Line Array Speaker
  • Lin array speakers stand at the apex of sound technology, ideal for both outdoor and indoor venues. Crafted with a series of identical speakers aligned vertically on a gentle curve, they're engineered to project sound uniformly over vast distances, up to 300 feet, ensuring consistent audio levels throughout. This design guarantees that whether you're front and center or at the back, the listening experience remains unparalleled. Among these, JBL's line arrays are unmatched, backed by a team of expert engineers dedicated to tailoring the perfect sound setup for your specific needs.

The Best Outdoor Planter Style Subwoofer Speaker
Best Outdoor Subwoofer
  • Outdoor subwoofers bring the boom to your backyard, hitting those deep notes that get you moving. They come in all shapes and sizes, some even designed to hide away under a discreet cover or tuck into your garden's layout. The best part? They spread sound evenly, so you're free to place them wherever without a hitch. If you love the bass in your living room setup, you'll want one of these for outside too. And when it comes to top-notch outdoor subs, Ambisonic Systems is the way to go.

How do I choose the best outdoor speaker system?

Choosing an outdoor speaker is never easy but we will try our hardest to make sure you make the best choice upfront. There are 3 factors when deciding on an outdoor speaker.

Picking the perfect outdoor speaker can feel like a maze, but we're here to guide you through. Consider these three key factors to find your sound match:

1. Budget:

First things first, know what you're willing to spend. Your budget should cover everything from speakers to amplifiers, wiring, and even professional installation if needed. Planning to expand your system later? Choose one that grows with your needs.

2. Speaker Type & Space: Match the speaker to your outdoor area and style.

  • Vast Landscapes & Entertainment: Line array speakers, like those from JBL or James Audio, fill large spaces with superior sound without blocking views. Mushroom speakers also fit well here.

  • Patios & Pool Areas: Tuck satellite speakers among foliage or opt for rock, bollard, and planter speakers for open areas.

  • Compact Spaces: Traditional box speakers, or a single stereo planter or bollard speaker, are ideal for smaller spots.

3. The third and final decision is sound quality.

Just like indoor speakers, everyone has an opinion on what they perceive to be the best-sounding outdoor speaker. Do not take the opinion of this or any “Best Outdoor Speakers Of 2024” blog. If you are looking to invest in an outdoor speaker system, there are plenty of willing experts who can help you experience them in person. Most professionals will even visit your home with a few speaker options that fit your description and price point.

Considering wireless outdoor speakers?

You might be leaning towards a portable option. These speakers come with either rechargeable or replaceable batteries and feature wireless connectivity like Bluetooth, freeing you from the tangle of wires. A standout in this category is the Sonos Move, known for its robust sound and portability. It's important to note, though, that not all "wireless" speakers are completely wire-free. For instance, wireless streaming speakers, including some Sonos models, still need to be plugged into a power source, so you'll need an outdoor outlet to keep the music flowing.

Best Power Amplifier for outdoor speakers front
Best outdoor speaker amplifier

Do I need an amplifier for outdoor speakers? 

An amplifier is necessary for most outdoor speakers, and you may need to consider a separate amp if you are adding an outdoor subwoofer. Like everything else these days, there are plenty of options and features to consider. Here is our 5-step guide to buying the right outdoor speaker amplifier,

Wondering about the right power for your outdoor speakers? It boils down to two main types: volts and ohms. Let's break down the 70-volt systems versus the 8-ohm setups:

  • 70-Volt Systems: These old-timers have seriously upped their game recently. Gone are the days when high fidelity was just a dream for 70v setups. They work on a loop system, powering all speakers in the loop with the same voltage, and each speaker has its own transformer to dial it down as needed. Planning your setup involves a bit of math to match the amp size with the number of speakers.

  • 8-Ohm Systems: The more common choice, but they ask for a bit more elbow grease. Each speaker needs a direct line from the amp, unlike the loop system of the 70v. But, you're not stuck with one speaker per line; there are tricks to connect two speakers to a single 8-ohm channel. Need a hand with that? We're here to help.

Best Power Amplifier for outdoor speakers back
McIntosh Power Amplifier Channels

2. How many amp channels for outdoor speakers?

Simple: one channel per speaker. Got four speakers? You're looking at a four-channel amplifier. And don't forget, each subwoofer needs its own channel, too. Now, some amps talk about "zones" instead of channels. A "zone" typically has two channels, giving you a left and right channel for a more stereo sound in that area.

3. How much power for outdoor speakers?

It's all about matching your amp's power to your speakers' needs, not just counting how many speakers you have. Aim to at least match your amp's power to your speakers' ratings. Better yet, go for an amp with a bit more juice than your speakers require. This gives your system some breathing room, cutting down on stress and overheating. Pushing your amp to its max can lead to heat, distortion, and even failure, so give it some space to perform at its best.

4. What sources can I have for outdoor speakers?

"Source" simply refers to where your music or audio comes from. Outdoor listening doesn't mean you're limited in choices. Modern amplifiers come equipped with various inputs and often include built-in streaming services. When selecting an amp, check that it supports the streaming platforms you use, whether free or subscription-based. Keep in mind, not every amp will work with every service, so it's crucial to ensure compatibility for a seamless outdoor audio experience.

5. How do I control the outdoor speaker volume and playlist? Your amplifier's features typically manage the volume and playlist of your outdoor speakers. With the right setup, you can easily adjust music, playlists, and volume right from your smartphone, tablet, or home automation system. Sonos stands out as a top choice for many thanks to its reliable performance, user-friendly design, and broad compatibility with various streaming services and devices.

How many outdoor speakers do I need?

Deciding on the number of outdoor speakers you need boils down to creating what's known as a "uniform sound field." Ever been in a spot where the music's too loud or barely audible? The goal is to keep sound levels consistent throughout your space, ensuring every note and tone is perfectly balanced. A handy guideline is the "inches to feet" rule. For instance, a 6” speaker typically covers a 6-ft radius. Positioning two 6” speakers twelve feet apart gives you a smooth sound over a 24-ft area. This setup ensures everyone gets the same great listening experience, no matter where they are.

However, just slapping a couple of speakers on your home's exterior won't cut it. If they're blasting over a deck or pool, you'll get a mix of "too loud" and "can't hear" complaints. The trick is to distribute speakers evenly, tailoring the setup to your space. Different zones? Consider separate amps for each, allowing for individual or unified volume control. And remember, this approach doesn't apply to line arrays, which play by their own rules in spreading sound.

How do you protect outdoor stereo equipment?

When you invest in an outdoor system and want to get as many seasons as possible, we recommend storing your outdoor speakers for the winter. They are 100% weatherproof and will give you years of enjoyment if left outdoors but they will last longer and continue to give you the best sound when brought in, while not in use. Another way to keep your outdoor speakers performing at their best is to keep them from direct sunlight and moisture. Outdoor speakers are generally not waterproof, they are water resistant so pointing them down will keep the rain out. This practice will also keep the sun away from the cone and rubber surround, which is key to the response and sound of the speaker. There are waterproof speakers, but they are generally used for submerged applications like pools and Jacuzzi.

Can regular speaker wire be used outside?

You can not use indoor speaker wire in an outdoor environment. Outdoor speaker wire is specifically designed and manufactured to withstand the outdoor elements. From the extreme temperature differences to the minerals on the ground that can erode regular speaker wire you should only use reputable outdoor speaker wire. We strongly suggest running PVC piping or outdoor conduit to house your outdoor wiring. This eliminates the wire being exposed or damaged by landscapers, rodents or other natural outdoor occurrences.

We hope we covered the basics in outdoor speakers and outdoor sound systems for you and look forward to your questions and feed back on this article. We love this stuff! If you need some inspiration check out our Backyard Ideas Here



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