Whether you’re looking to host friends or relax by the pool, having a quality waterproof outdoor speaker can elevate any backyard. However, unlike your indoor speakers, your wireless outdoor speakers not only have to provide amazing sound quality, but they also have to be able to take the occasional splash from the pool.
So before you invest, you should know the types of speakers you have available to you. Additionally, you’ll also want to know the important speaker specs that can make or break your listening experience. For these and more, read ahead.
First Things First: Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
In the era of Alexa and Siri, Bluetooth compatibility has become essential for most music-loving households. Not only is a Bluetooth device great for quick music changes, but it allows anyone to plug in and take the reigns. No more “perfect-playlist gurus” hogging the one aux cord!
While Bluetooth compatibility has become a prerequisite for most modern speakers, not every outdoor speaker has this function. If being able to connect your phone wirelessly is a must, it’s recommended to double-check this spec before committing. It should be found front and center on any box or online spec list.
It should be noted that just having a Bluetooth connection isn’t always enough. When picking among the best Bluetooth speaker for backyards, here are some crucial points to consider:
- Range – Most of us don’t want a wireless bluetooth speaker that requires you to be an arm’s length away. The Bluetooth range of an outdoor wireless speaker can vary, but most quality speakers tend to offer great bluetooth connection with a range of up to 33 ft. Want a broader range? Consider purchasing a networked or Wi-Fi wireless speaker.
- Rechargeable Battery life – Sometimes, the cheaper option isn’t always the best option when it comes to your waterproof Bluetooth speaker, especially in regards to battery life. If you plan to take your speaker beyond your backyard and into the great outdoors, consider looking at speakers that hold at least 10 hours of battery life from a single charge.
- Bluetooth Version – When it comes to a Bluetooth speaker, you may be shocked to find out that there isn’t just one version, but quite a few. The most recent release, for example, Bluetooth 5, has an extended battery life and a broader outdoor transmission range than previous versions. Sounds great, right? Well, only if you have an iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, or something newer. Be sure to choose a version compatible with your hardware.
- Using Multiple Speakers – Is 360° surround sound a must for you? With the right outdoor Bluetooth speakers, you can hook up one on the roof, one hanging from the table umbrella, and a few more sprinkled throughout the backyard for the ultimate listening experience.
As far as basic functionalities go, these should definitely play a role in which wireless bluetooth speaker you choose. However, these aren’t the only factors that matter.
Coming in all shapes and sizes, choosing your outdoor speaker can become a difficult choice. Before you start choosing your preferred color though, let’s get back to the basics. When thinking about the design of your speaker, it’s vital to consider the following:
- Do you want a portable, modern-looking speaker or one that fades into your landscape?
- Is a smaller speaker more important to you than the length of the battery?
- How loud do you want your speaker to be?
- What type of environment will your speaker need to withstand?
Going through these questions will not only make your choice more straightforward, but it will also ensure that you pick a design that fits your lifestyle.
Portable vs. Mounted | Permanent Speakers
Looking for a great outdoor speaker for party purposes? Well, first, it’s crucial to consider where your next party is going to happen. If you’re taking the speaker to the beach, you might want to consider a portable speaker that’s small and compact. However, if you want a speaker to reside in your backyard permanently, you’ll be looking for something completely different. And the design will be batch.
Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons for both portable and permanent speakers:
- Portable – If you plan to take your speaker with you wherever you go, a portable speaker might be the perfect companion. However, while portable speakers provide more flexible usage, they also tend to have less consistent sound quality compared to the installed alternative. And if you want your speaker to pump the volume, be aware that heaviness will start to turn your portable speaker into an unmovable speaker.
- Mounted or Permanent – Not wireless or portable, these speakers can be installed almost anywhere in your backyard: from your garden to the edge of your pool. Made to withstand the elements, these speakers are generally more durable than their portable counterparts. Further, these speakers also tend to be louder, filling large outdoor spaces with clear, crisp sound. Interested in an outdoor speaker that blends seamlessly into your landscape? Check out our Wireless, Waterproof Outdoor Rock Speaker.
Your Speaker Broken Down: Size, Shape, and Weight
Unlike your indoor speaker, your outdoor speaker faces a few more challenges—the biggest being sound quality in an open space. Without walls to reflect sound waves off of, your outdoor speaker will have to have a few design modifications in order to optimize performance.
Practically speaking, smaller lighter speakers are more versatile, but they also tend to be more prone to damage and less able to keep a charge than a more substantial, sturdier speaker.
Regardless of weight, the most vital factor in choosing a speaker might be how it’s shaped. While some speakers provide 360° sound by having a cylindrical shape, others may work on a multi-speaker system that not only necessitates specific placement but also requires purchasing more than one speaker for balanced, optimized stereo sound.
The quality of the materials used in the best weatherproof speaker can drastically improve lifespan. However, that doesn’t always mean that the higher price tag is the way to go. In general, durability is a topic that is debated endlessly, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research. Here are some of the specifications to consider when purchasing your speaker
- Water Resistant IP Rating – While only you, and not your speaker, should be taking a dip in the pool, it’s always good to prepare for the worst-case scenario. One way to prepare is to take note of your speaker’s IP rating. According to Trusted Reviews, an IP rating is a standard that “determines how resistant an electrical device is to fresh water and common raw materials – like dirt, dust and sand.” Ultimately, the higher the IP code, the longer your speaker can last submerged in water.
- Materials – The quality of materials used to build your speaker are essential to consider in assessing durability. One small example of this is the cone, which is the device inside your speaker that pushes air molecules to create sound vibrations. The cone can be made out of a variety of materials, from paper to ceramic fiber polymer. In general, less flexibility equals less sound distortion and ultimately, better durability. While looking into every spec might not be reasonable for a smaller purchase, it might be for more extensive, multi-speaker investments.
Additional Note: Regardless of how well made your speaker is, it’s essential to make sure that you’ve made the right choice for your music needs. We recommend that you always double-check the speaker’s return policy before purchasing, just in case the speaker doesn’t meet your expectations. For example, Victrola offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all products.
Beyond the design and aesthetic of a speaker, every audiophile knows that at the end of the day, sound quality is what matters the most. So after determining what type of speaker that suits your needs, you might also want to consider the following specs:
- Frequency Response – While no speaker is ever going to be perfect, a good speaker will try to reproduce stereo sound in the most accurate, authentic way possible. Frequency Response measures this scientifically. First, it takes into consideration the human hearing capacity, which ranges from 20 Hz to 20kHz, and then it measures the speaker’s output frequencies. Here is how TechHive summarizes Frequency Response:
“Assuming that your ultimate goal is accurate audio reproduction, the less variation in loudness between frequencies—in other words, the flatter the frequency response chart is—the better the speaker quality. In a frequency response chart, you want to see a flat line instead of a line with peaks and valleys.”
- Bass – Remember our brief discussion on cones earlier? Well, it turns out the type of cone used in your speaker, in conjunction with wattage, affects the amount of bass your speaker produces. The larger the cone, the heavier the bass. Similarly, the higher the power, the more space your speaker can fill. For instance, want to fill a backyard that’s around 400 square feet? You’ll be looking for a speaker with at least 100 watts of power.
- Sensitivity – Sensitivity describes the relationship between power input and sound output, or how efficiently power converts to sound. In other words, the more sensitive the speaker, the less power required to reach louder volumes.
Choosing the Best Weatherproof Speaker For You
As an audiophile, you want your favorite albums to be treated with the respect they deserve—to be played on the grandest of speakers—regardless of whether that’s indoor or outdoor. But, in the case of outdoor speakers, there are a number of challenges to face: size, volume, portability, and of course, being water resistant.
To find the speaker for your renowned taste, and the speaker for backyard party celebrations, consider the above specs and don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Victrola if you have any additional questions or need some cool patio ideas.
- PCMag. Bluetooth Versions. pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/bluetooth-versions
- ElectronicsNotes. What is Bluetooth Technology: basics & overview. https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/connectivity/bluetooth/what-is-bluetooth-technology-basics-summary.php
- Victrola. Innovative Technology Wireless Waterproof Rechargeable Bluetooth Outdoor Rock Speakers Pair, Grey. https://victrola.com/collections/outdoor/products/innovative-technology-wireless-waterproof-rechargeable-bluetooth-outdoor-rock-speakers
- Trusted Reviews. IP67 vs IP68: Waterproof IP ratings explained. https://www.trustedreviews.com/opinion/what-is-ip68-ip-ratings-explained-2947135
- TechHive. What makes one speaker better than another? https://www.techhive.com/article/2000385/what-makes-one-speaker-better-than-another.html
- Sound Guys. What is frequency response and how does it affect my music? https://www.soundguys.com/frequency-response-explained-16507/
- HowStuffWorks. Speaker Sensitivity Explained https://www.soundguys.com/frequency-response-explained-16507/