Best Waterproof Wireless Outdoor Speakers

These rugged, go-anywhere models from Bose, JBL, Sonos, Sony, and other brands can fill your summer with music

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red Bose bluetooth speaker in front of background with water droplets Photos: Bose, iStock

What’s better than your favorite music in the great outdoors? Many of today’s best wireless and Bluetooth speakers—including the models listed below—are ready to take on the challenge of music alfresco. They provide good battery life and generate enough volume to fill your yard or even the beach with your favorite playlists.

All the speakers in this roundup add some degree of water resistance, so they can be played during a light rain or withstand a water bottle spill. A few are better sealed and can even handle a trip to the splash zone near a pool or an accidental dunking.

All were lab-tested by our experts for sound quality, ease of use, and versatility, using samples purchased through regular retail channels. Consumer Reports doesn’t test speakers for water resistance, so we can’t confirm manufacturer claims about it.

If you’re looking for a speaker that just plays indoors, see our review of the best wireless multiroom speakers.

If sound quality is your top priority, the Hyperboom will serve you well. It features robust bass and a clean midrange, and it’s plenty loud even outside. Our testers found its large controls easy to use, and it got good grades for versatility. It features an optical input, so it can double as a TV soundbar or upgrade the sound of a game console.

The Hyperboom’s vertical orientation, which differs from horizontally oriented boom-box-style speakers, takes up less room on a picnic table. The more subdued styling also allows the Hyperboom to blend in better when you take it indoors.

UE claims an IPX4 water-resistance rating, which means the model is splashproof and spillproof, but it isn’t designed to stand up to a full-fledged dunking.

JBL’s Boombox 2 delivers a lot of the same advantages as its predecessor, the Boombox. The lightly updated Boombox 2 is an elegant, modern rethinking of those giant cassette boom boxes from the 1980s, which means that it looks cool and is easy to carry.

In our lab, the Boombox 2 pumped out truly impressive bass—maybe even too much, our testers say—along with plenty of distortion-free volume for the great outdoors.

But unlike its battery-powered predecessors, this speaker doesn’t eat D cells. The Boombox 2 features a robust rechargeable battery that’s smaller than the one in the earlier Boombox but provides enough juice, according to JBL, for as much as 24 hours of nonstop music. There’s also power to spare for charging phones and other devices. The Boombox 2 also features IPX7-level protection from the elements, which means you should be able to fish the speaker out after a dunking in shallow water, then continue with your tunes.

The Megaboom 3 features whimsical and colorful styling that says it’s time for fun. It’s a little larger than its less expensive sibling, the Boom 3, and our testers report that it sounds significantly better, too. The Megaboom 3 also provides enough volume for use outside or in a large room.

Though it boasts almost comically large volume buttons, the Megaboom 3 achieves only average ease-of-use scores from our testers because routine functions require the use of unlabeled buttons.

According to the manufacturer, the Megaboom can pass a water-resistance test that immerses it in 1 meter of water for a half-hour. So it could be the right choice for blasting the Beach Boys’ “California Girls”—or Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”—on your beach blanket. The manufacturer claims that the Megaboom floats, but we still suggest that you move it before the tide comes in.

Sony’s SRS-XB23 is proof that less is more. The manufacturer’s earlier wireless Bluetooth speakers were laden with bells and whistles, including colorful LEDs that pulsed with the music and digital sound effects that bleated when you beat on the speaker. These features were fun but ultimately beside the point.

A speaker should be all about filling your life with music, and the more straightforward XB23 performs its primary function admirably. It’s a medium-sized speaker that checks a lot of boxes, and it’s relatively inexpensive. Sony claims that it’s water-resistant. And it sounds good.

The low bass of the SRS-XB23 is a bit lacking, and the midrange is missing some of the clarity of the very best portables. But on balance, the speaker’s sound is satisfying.

The Anker SoundCore Rave Neo does everything you want from an inexpensive portable wireless speaker. Except sound great.

Our testers give it high marks for ease of use, noting that it’s a piece of cake to pair it with a smartphone; the Rave Neo essentially lives in pairing mode. It also earns praise for offering USB and Aux inputs for wired connections in addition to Bluetooth.

That said, the speaker’s sonics leave something to be desired. The bass is a bit tubby, highs are somewhat smeared, and the important midrange, where most voices and instruments live, has both a slight plasticky resonance and a “swooshy” quality. Every $100 speaker is going to make sonic compromises, but while there’s a lot to like about the Anker, there are better-sounding models for the money. If you buy the SoundCore Rave, understand that you’re trading sound quality for convenience.

Portable wireless speakers can take a beating, rattling around in the bottom of a backpack or getting knocked off a picnic table—and maybe even getting lost entirely. All of which argues in favor of a modestly priced model, like the high-value Flip 4.

Despite a price below $100, the Flip 4 boasts rather impressive sound quality. Our test team found it easy to pair the speaker with a phone via Bluetooth, and the battery life is long enough for even your epic 81-song Abba-to-ZZ Top playlist. JBL says the Flip 4 is not only splashproof and spillproof but also totally dunkable.

If you’ve got a Sonos multiroom system and want a portable speaker, the Sonos Roam SL is worth your consideration. That’s because—brand loyalty aside—the Roam SL actually adds features to the rest of your Sonos system.

The Roam SL is the “non-smart” version of the portable Sonos Roam and it performed well in our lab tests, albeit with some limitations. The bass has impact but doesn’t go very deep, and the sound can get harsh when you crank up the volume. The model carries an IPX 67 rating, which means it’s sealed against dust and can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water.

Like the Roam, the SL can add Bluetooth functionality to your other Sonos speakers. That means you can take a playlist from a friend’s smartphone and easily pair it to your Sonos Five or even a Sonos soundbar via the Roam SL, which helps to justify the Roam SL’s higher price.

For whatever it may lack in sound quality, the JBL Clip 4 has two important things going for it: It’s inexpensive and it’s small.

The model fits easily into your palm and features a carabiner that easily clips onto a backpack, a beach bag, or even your shorts, if you’re so inclined. JBL claims an IPX 67 rating, which means the speaker is both water-resistant and dustproof. Our testers found the Clip 4 to be easy to pair and gave solid marks to the prominent controls.

Sonically, the Clip 4 is somewhat challenged. The highs are a little sizzly, the midrange is a bit nasal, and there’s not much bass to speak of. The performance can’t match the similarly small but significantly more expensive Bose SoundLink Micro. But if you’re taking a walk or bicycle ride and want to bring along your tunes (or, better still, your favorite podcast), the Clip 4 provides a significant step up from the built-in speaker on your phone for not much cash.

Allen St. John

I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That's why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books ("Newton’s Football" and "Clapton’s Guitar"). For me, there's no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that'll help others be smarter and better informed.