Best waterproof speakers 2021: outdoor speakers for any budget
Going on vacation and thinking of picking up the best waterproof speaker you can buy in 2021? Our guide has you covered. Sunny holidays can often feature a lot of music, and a lot of water. As such, it’s important for buyers to know which speakers are indeed waterproof, as well as portable enough to take on a trip.
Are waterproof speakers really worth it, though, compared to a normal portable speaker? They are if you’re going to be around watery environments often, such as the pool or a potentially rain-soaked campsite. The best waterproof speakers can protect the circuitry from splashes, rain and water-based wear such as being dropped in puddles or pools.
Rather than risk your favorite portable Bluetooth speaker, then, we’d highly recommend one of the best waterproof speakers we’ve featured below, especially if you know you’re going to be participating in activities like swimming, for example.
Every speaker featured in our guide comes with at least an IPX7 rating or higher. This high rating signifies that the speaker can be submerged in a body of water – up to 1 meter – for roughly half an hour. And while we’re sure you most likely won’t be listening to your tunes underwater (although no judging from us if you do), the rating means that your speaker will be protected from sudden splashes or downpours.
While these outdoor speakers are designed with waterproofing in mind, that also means they’re incredibly robust, and impressively resistant to wear and tear. If you’re the adventurous type, won’t need to worry about the occasional knock or accidental drop.
These waterproof speakers are impressively rugged, then, but what about everything else? We’ve made our selections in the guide below based on other factors, too, such as sound quality, price, design and connectivity. The best speakers still need to offer solid feature sets, so expect more than just build quality and safety ratings from our picks below.
Read on for the best waterproof speakers we’ve tested, with commonly-asked questions and an explanation of water resistance below that.
The original UE Wonderboom has been at the top of our best waterproof speaker list since its debut and for good reason: It’s rugged, plays louder than its diminutive sound suggests, and could be paired to other UE Wonderboom speakers to amplify sound.
Although the UE Wonderboom 2 looks nearly identical to the original, Ultimate Ears packed in a slew of upgrades that make the Wonderboom 2 even better, like the increased battery life (up 30% compared to the original), better bass response, and the new Outdoor Boost feature that helps the speaker get even louder than before.
Combined, these seemingly minor upgrades not only keep the UE Wonderboom 2 on our list of the best outdoor speakers for another year, but they help to make it one of the best Bluetooth speakers you can buy, period.
Read more: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 review
The Sonos Roam is our pick for the best Bluetooth speaker on the planet, and with an IP67 dust and water resistance rating, it can handle the great outdoors with ease.
Following in the footsteps of the Sonos Move, the Sonos Roam comes with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, which means it can work as an outdoor speaker as well as part of your wider multi-room Sonos system – and with Google Assistant and Alexa onboard, it doubles up a smart speaker too.
The mini Sonos speaker boasts a powerful sound, rugged design, excellent connectivity features, and smart home control. A bass-heavy audio performance makes it ideal for use outdoors, while a clever Automatic Switching feature means it’s easily used indoors, too – though audiophiles may dislike the overwhelming low frequencies and rhythmic handling.
Read more: Sonos Roam review
The JBL Flip 5 is proof that the best Bluetooth speakers aren’t always the ones with the most impressive specs – and with an IPX7 rating, it’s suitable for use as a waterproof speaker.
JBL’s Flip 5 is a simple soul with Bluetooth-only playback and modest features, but if you desire a rugged, great-sounding portable speaker and can sacrifice voice control or hands-free call functionality, you won’t be disappointed.
Thanks to its neat design (camouflage grille anyone?) and great sound, it’s a steal at $119.95 / £119.99 / AU$149.95. Looking for USB charging too? Check out the JBL Charge 4.
Read more: JBL Flip 5 review
The Anker Soundcore Flare 2 is an excellent go anywhere, do anything Bluetooth speaker. The design fits well in the home and its rugged construction allows it to join you at the beach or poolside. While it lacks a built-in voice assistant, its sound, build quality and excellent app make it a great value.
Compared to the competition, the Flare 2 fits better in the home and sounds better than the UE Wonderboom 2. However, the UE is more rugged and smaller, making it easier to toss in a bag or backpack. Those wanting more bass but still want a party speaker with lights will want to check out the JBL Pulse 4, which gets louder, has more bass impact and a full-body lightshow but is over twice the price.
Read more: Anker Soundcore Flare 2 review
The UE Boom 3 is one of the best waterproof speakers money can buy in 2021. This is a speaker that can get loud and not distort at higher volumes; be light enough to carry on the move but remain durable enough to tumble in a bag unprotected.
It’s waterproof as well as dust-proof, and has a one-touch mix button that lets you pull up your favorite playlists without needing to pick up your smartphone.
There are certainly more detailed outdoor speakers out there (see: Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin down below), but at a price that’s relatively affordable to all, the UE Boom 3 hits all the right notes for the third year in a row.
Read more: UE Boom 3 review
The UE Megablast is at the very peak of Ultimate Ears’ line of waterproof speakers. Its larger size means that the Megablast can get loud and can last up to 20 hours at a sensible volume.
Bass is stronger and richer than its smaller UE Boom 3 and Wonderboom 2 brothers, and this is the speaker for anybody who wants to really blare their music at a party. For people who want to save some cash, however, the other Ultimate Ears outdoor speakers cost much less and sound nearly as good. Still, it’s not a bad option if you want a personal assistant with you at the beach.
Read more: Ultimate Ears Megablast review
The JBL Charge 4 isn’t a huge step up from the JBL Charge 3, sure, but that’s because the speaker series was already such a massive success. What the Charge 4 does do, however, is add much better tonal balance while still being able to dish out some serious bass that doesn’t overwhelm other parts of the frequency spectrum.
The JBL Charge 4 may seem like a boring update on paper, but it’s still one of the best waterproof speakers around. For the money, you get an outdoor speaker that sound great, is tough as nails, acts as a charger for your phone, and lasts all day.
Read more: JBL Charge 4 review
Back in the day, the boombox was the iconic symbol for music that went with you. It was the boombox that got people dancing in the streets, and serenaded a barbecue or campsite in every backyard or park.
JBL is after that kind of social outing with the JBL Boombox 2, a portable Bluetooth speaker whose primary mission is to get loud.
And loud it gets — even more so than its predecessor, which is saying something, considering how bombastic the previous JBL Boombox was.
The similarities between them are more numerous than the differences, and the price is still expensive. It’s a hefty tag to pay for a pretty one-dimensional product, but if you need an outdoor-ready speaker for a family gathering and don’t care about hi-res audio, the JBL Boombox 2 has you covered.
Read more: JBL Boombox 2 review
If you believe the old adage about getting what you pay for, you might not expect much from the Tribit XSound Go’s sound quality. Thankfully, that adage has never been less applicable: the speaker gets loud enough to fill up a medium-sized room, and at full volume, there’s only a little distortion on the highs.
Honestly, the Tribit XSound Go shouldn’t sound this good for the price, but it does. The speaker impressed with balanced sound, is near distortion-free at high volumes, and lasts and incredible 20+ hours of playtime at medium volume. Plus, this outdoor speaker is IPX7 water and dust resistant so it’ll put up with a day at the beach or pool without a problem. While it’s design may be forgettable, you won’t care once you hear how good the XSound Go sounds.
Read more: Tribit XSound Go review
Last on our list is the Braven Stryde 360 that, in all fairness, is a solid waterproof speaker that is average in just about every way. Sound quality is good but the speaker struggles with bass response. Battery life is an average 12 hours and its design doesn’t particularly stand out. For the price, there are better options (see: any of the outdoor speakers above), but if you’ve gotten this far and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, the Braven could be it.
Read more: Braven Stryde 360 review
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the UE Roll 2
Outdoor speakers FAQ: quick questions answered
- Can you put an indoor speaker outside? It’s possible, depending on the type of power output. A wireless speaker can be put anywhere, providing it’s near enough to its source device – smartphone, computer, or otherwise. Keep in mind indoor speakers won’t usually be waterproof, though. So it’s always best to get one built for the outdoors to be safe.
- What’s a good wattage for outdoor speakers? 5W might be suitable for a quiet picnic, but you’ll want more for a bustling BBQ or party out of doors. For comparison, most smart TVs come with maximum 10W speakers.
- How many outdoor speakers do I need? This depends on the volume of the device and where you’re putting it. For covering various spots around a garden or yard, you may want several.
Waterproof vs water resistant
Waterproof vs water-resistant speakers
While waterproof and water-resistant aren’t synonymous, they roughly translate to ‘water won’t ruin it’.
When hunting for the best waterproof speaker for the great outdoors, look for its IP rating. This is how water resistance gadgets are categorized. You’ll see that IP mark, followed by two numbers – IP67 is one of the most common, and means the speaker can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. This is the one you want and means it’s a great option for waterproofing and one of the best outdoor speakers your money can buy.
Waterproof is the better of the two, as it usually carries an IP67 rating that means it can withstand to float in around a meter of water for a half-hour before it bites the dust.
Water-resistant, on the other hand, means it could survive a splash or two, but it’s not the kind of thing you’d just want to casually throw in the pool.
Of course waterproofing isn’t the only thing we looked for when picking out this list of the best outdoor speakers. We also considered factors such as sound quality, price and feature set, all of which helped establish a set of criteria that we could measure all speakers against. What you see above is the result of that effort – our definitive list of the best waterproof speakers.