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People dancing on a beach.

Waterproof Wireless Speakers for Outdoor Summer Fun

Today's go-anywhere speakers are ideal companions for the patio, the park, or even the pool

It’s a no-brainer that food tastes better al fresco, but the decision to take music outdoors is a little more complex. Your house has traditionally been your wireless speaker’s best friend, protecting it from the elements and providing enough sonic support and noise isolation (i.e., walls) to let it sound its best. 

But many of today’s wireless Bluetooth speakers—including the models listed below—are ready to take on the challenge of the great outdoors. They have good battery life and enough volume to fuel an impromptu dance party. And many add some degree of waterproofing, so they can be played on the pool deck or the beach. 

Consumer Reports tests wireless speakers for their sound quality and the convenience of their audio features, but we don’t test them for water resistance. So in this roundup we’re relying on manufacturers’ claims about waterproofness.

Colorful and Dunkable
UE Megaboom
UE Megaboom

    UE Megaboom

    A little bigger than UE’s best-selling Boom 2, the Megaboom features whimsical and colorful styling that says it’s time for fun. Our testers weren’t impressed by the Boom 2’s overall sound quality, but they were much happier with the deep bass and clear midrange of the Megaboom.

    According to the manufacturer, the Megaboom can withstand immersion in up to 1 meter of water for a half-hour, so it could be the right device for blasting the Beach Boys’ “California Girls”—or Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”—on your beach blanket. The manufacturer says the Megaboom floats, but we still suggest you move it before the tide comes in. 

    Strong Performance on a Budget
    JBL by Harman Flip 4
    JBL by Harman Flip 4

      JBL by Harman Flip 4

      Portable wireless speakers can live a difficult life, rattling around in the bottom of a beach bag, 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 impressive sound quality. Our test team found it easy to pair via Bluetooth, and the battery life was long enough for even your epic 81-song Abba-to-Van Halen playlist. And JBL says the Flip 4 is not only splashproof and spillproof but also totally dunkable.

      Heavy-Duty Sound Quality
      Braven BRV-XXL
      Braven BRV-XXL

        Braven BRV-XXL

        The brawny Braven BRV-XXL is the perfect companion for car camping or tailgating or even a workbench. The XXL is hefty—19 pounds, including the bottle opener on its carrying strap—but our testers found that the big Braven delivered heavy-duty sound. It provides volume aplenty from its four large drivers, while its substantial subwoofer is all about the bass.

        All told, the Braven received the highest rating of any wireless portable we tested. It’s also one of the priciest portable speakers we tested, around $300 and up.

        Braven says the XXL will stand up to poolside splashes but not a dunking. The company claims that its 15600mAh internal battery can power the XXL for 14 hours while serving as a charging station for smartphones and other small electronic devices. The XXL’s built-in microphone jack, combined with its rich sonics, all but invites you to sing karaoke under the stars. 

        Bringing the Inside Out
        Denon HEOS 1 HS2 w/ Go Pack
        Denon HEOS 1 HS2 w/ Go Pack

          Denon HEOS 1 HS2 w/ Go Pack

          If you want an outdoor speaker that can play well with your indoor multiroom system, the Denon Heos 1 fills that unique niche. It can integrate with Denon’s larger wireless speakers, all controlled by an intuitive smartphone app, so you can listen to “Revolver” in the den, in the kitchen, and on the deck, all perfectly synchronized.

          But unlike its main rival in the system speaker wars, the Sonos Play: 1, the Heos can be played outside and can even withstand a light rain. Once you add the optional Go Pack battery, the Heos 1 becomes splash resistant. All of this means that it should be fine to take the baby Heos outside during a drizzle, but you should definitely not take it into the pool. 

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          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.