Outdoor speakers add the much-needed verve to any home, providing a spirit of fun and excitement and allowing everyone to enjoy high-quality tunes while relishing some fresh air. Through them, you can throw an event or a party, grill with your family, or swim in the pool with your favorite music blasting incredibly in the background.
However, choosing outdoor speakers can be a bit challenging. There are various steps that you need to take and factors that you need to consider before deciding on your purchase.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you take your music outside, as we know how a great set of outdoor speakers can be your best ally in a wide array of outdoor activities. So, read on below! Here are our best tips on selecting outdoor speakers for your home – giving you more and more reasons to go out in the yard.
1. Determine your needs
Before anything else, you must think about what you need the outdoor speakers for and where you are going to use them. Establishing the necessity firsthand makes it easier to assess what are the type and size of the speakers you should be looking for. Moreover, it will be a great help in knowing all the features to prioritize and balancing them all out in order to get one that would provide a satisfying performance whilst being aligned with your needs.
For instance, are you looking to add a pair of outdoor speakers to your patio so you can listen to your favorite podcasts and relax in the evening? Do you wish to have one that can provide all-around sound for your upcoming weekend barbecue party? Or else, you wish to have one that can allow you to play some tunes while working on your container garden? Determining what you want to achieve sets the tone and makes it easier to look at the available options.
2. Choose the type
Once you’ve established your needs, it’s time to choose which type of outdoor speakers match them. Depending on your conditions and preferences, you can select from the following types:
Wired Outdoor Speakers
As its name suggests, wired outdoor speakers are systems that have wires attached to them connecting them to a home receiver where they receive power and signal. They are your best choice if you wish to get intricate, immersive sound on your porch, deck, or small backyard. They usually come with outdoor mounting hardware like brackets that allow you to affix them securely to your home’s exterior. Some even have paintable enclosures or grilles so you’ll have an easier time matching them to the color scheme of your home. What’s even great is that wired outdoor speakers are tough and can endure elements. If you buy weatherproof models, they can withstand rain, sun, cold, and saltwater with no issues.
There are two types of wired outdoor speakers:
A. Outdoor Wall-Mounted Speakers: These speakers are ideal for patios and terraces. They come with wall brackets, making them easy to attach and direct toward your preferred listening area. Most of the time, these speakers are passive, meaning you need the speaker cables and link them to the amplifier situated inside your home.
B. Outdoor In-ceiling and In-wall Speakers: These are your best choice if you want to conceal your speakers. You can hide them in the underside of the roof, or in the walls of an outdoor kitchen, garden shed, or indoor pool. Often, they come with a detachable grille that’s also paintable to match the ceiling or wall they are integrated seamlessly into. Like their wall-mounted counterparts, you need to connect them to an amplifier to work.
While wired speakers are reliable and durable, you need to devote extra time and effort to planning and installation. Rest assured that all are worth it as you can expect to have excellent sound fidelity and lots of customization options.
Low-frequencies are difficult to produce outside, given the huge space and lots of elements like the ground, bushes, and trees that absorb all the bass. Yet, it doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice compromise on the low end. You can add outdoor subwoofers to your installation. These small-sized speakers will provide deep, musical bass so you can continue to enjoy better music in your lawn, garden, or backyard or during parties and other outdoor events.
Landscape speakers are one of the most common types of outdoor speakers you can see in residential homes. They are usually small but feature a network of six or more speakers for optimum coverage and to extend to areas usually not reached by wired outdoor speakers.
Most people also prefer these landscape speakers to blend into the surroundings, around the yard, or in the foliage, which means they don’t become an eyesore to your space. Plus, they come in different shapes and forms, enabling them to perfectly work in different settings. Here are some popular types of landscape speakers:
- Rock Speakers: Don’t be confused! These speakers aren’t meant to enhance rock music. Instead, they are made to actually resemble rocks. Also referred to as rock pod speakers, they are designed to camouflage in your garden, patio, or landscaped yard for people who don’t want speakers to ruin their space’s natural aesthetics. They come in different shapes, sizes, finishes, and colors. These speakers can also be installed horizontally or vertically, and produce a great-quality sound.
- Bollard Speakers: Bollard speakers are specially designed sleek, small-sized outdoor speakers that can be installed in areas or corners where space is not sufficient for the installation of other larger, wider types of speakers. Despite their size, they don’t compromise sound quality as they can still deliver solid low bass frequencies, incredible mid-range sounds, and crisp highs. They can either stand by the pool or on a deck or be semi-buried for less visibility.
- Stake-mount Speakers: Stake-mount speakers are one of the quickest and easiest landscape speakers to mount. They go into the soil and stay put in the garden or patio. Most of the models can perfectly blend into the well, while others have smaller and rounder structures so they won’t be off-putting and for better burying on the ground like they’re designed to do so.
Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Portable Bluetooth speakers aren’t meant to stay inside your room, kitchen, or living room. You can certainly bring them outside or even on a road trip as they’re a fun, versatile, and practical option. Just keep the battery charged and you’ll have a convenient way to listen to music from your tablet or smartphone. Some models are even weather-resistant and splashproof, so it won’t be a problem should you wish to bring them on the beach or a canoe trip.
Whole-Home Audio System with Outside Speakers
If you’re just starting to build your home, you have the option to go for a whole-home audio system. You can plan it out and integrate it smoothly with your home layout, as well as add outdoor speakers to the mix. That way, you can listen to music, podcasts, and tunes both inside and outside your home.
3. Wired or wireless?
The next thing that you need to decide on is whether to go wired or wireless. If you go for corded options, expect that there will always be a hassle during installation, trying to organize and conceal all the cables.
While you won’t face such an issue if you go for wireless outdoor speakers instead, corded speakers will always have the advantage in terms of better sound quality. Though Bluetooth and WiFi have become a juggernaut in the audio industry, they’re still vulnerable to interference that can affect sound quality.
The decision all boils down to whether you wish to be free from the chaos of tangled wires or carry the burden during installation to enjoy better sound quality.
4. Decide on the size
Size is also an important factor that you need to consider when selecting outdoor speakers. Just be wary that size doesn’t pertain to the exterior dimension of the speakers. Rather, it involves the cone of the speaker, which is relative to audio quality.
In general, outdoor speakers are available in 4, 6, or 8-inch speaker cones. Those with larger cone sizes will usually have great mid-bass and sub-bass reproduction, while their smaller counterparts may lack depth and richness. As such, bigger outdoor speakers will always sound better in outdoor spaces. The catch is they will be quite difficult to hide. So, if you’re unsure, better settle for 6-inch speakers to get the balance.
5. See the type of connection available
You’d also want to check the type of connection the outdoor speakers come with. It’s crucial as it will dictate the kind of input and the most fitting place will connect the devices. For example, speakers that feature auxiliary connectivity can be connected to a wide range of appliances like CD players, MP3s, turntables, PCs, and TVs. Those models that allow home theater connectivity are, of course, suitable to be connected to home theater systems. Knowing these can help you decide which outdoor speaker to purchase, especially if you’re aiming for better versatility.
6. Check the construction material
As outdoor speakers are meant to be outside, never miss out to take note of the material used for the construction of the model you’re planning to buy. While they are generally hardier than indoor speakers, you also need to take into account the environment where you live in.
For instance, if the area you’re staying in experiences too much rain, heat, hail, wind, and dust, it’s better to go for more durable outdoor speakers that have weatherproof elements. Quality outdoor speakers are usually made out of aluminum, brass, and steel, which won’t corrode or rust over time and in wet conditions. Internal parts should be made out of durable plastic that is not susceptible to humidity and moisture. Meanwhile, the exterior casing should also be made of sturdy plastic that can withstand different environmental conditions and rough handling. Through that, you can ensure that the model you’re buying will be able to serve you better and longer.
7. Test the volume and bass levels
Unlike indoor speakers, outdoor spaces don’t benefit from enclosed spaces that have reflective surfaces like floors and walls to produce better sound quality. That’s why they must be outrightly powerful and robust and deliver high volumes for the best sound experience. With that, you must always test the model you’re planning to buy and ensure that it can create ample sound for the large, open space you have. It must also be strong enough to drown natural noise interferences like wind, wildlife, and nearby traffic.
8. Consider your music choice
It would also be great to consider your music selection too. Certain genres sound better when played over specific speaker styles. For instance, if you love to listen to R&B and Rock, you should find outdoor speakers that have an incredible, booming bass sound than when you’re playing Instrumentals, Jazz, or Opera.
9. Factor in the aesthetics
As mentioned earlier, some speakers are customizable or are readily designed to blend in seamlessly with your surroundings. They come in all forms, designs, shapes, and sizes, so you don’t have to worry about skipping on your aesthetic preferences. You can always have speakers that can match your landscape while enjoying the high-quality outdoor sound you deserve.
10. Set a budget
Same with any important purchase you make, the budget will always be part of the consideration. Of course, it’s always better to shoot for high-end brands. You can find many reliable products from their line backed up by their expertise and years of experience. However, not all are willing to spend more than $300 per set. If you’re on a tight budget, you can still purchase good outdoor speakers below that price tag without hurting your wallet. Just set an initial budget, so you’ll know where to start your search.
11. Remember your neighbors
If you’re fortunate enough not to have any neighbors, skip this part. If not, then you’re among the many of us who have to consider the people living next door. To avoid any problems, make sure that you don’t annoy your neighbors by blasting extremely loud music all day and all night.
If you want to listen to booming music, a step you can take is to cover the entire area where you’re playing the music. Instead of just a pair of speakers, you can use several speakers in all locations. Through that, you can set the volume lower while still being able to hear the music in all directions. With that, you can ensure that you won’t cause disturbance and remain friends with your fellow homeowners.
With these tips, the process of selecting the perfect outdoor speakers should be a little easier. All you need to do is assess your needs properly and get all the right pieces to end up with a smart decision. Use all the information in this guide and you’ll surely attain success in improving the entertainment atmosphere in your beloved outdoor space.