Waterproof Wireless Speakers for the Outdoors

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

The Bose SoundLink Color II wireless speaker.
When you shop through retailer links on our site, we may earn affiliate commissions. 100% of the fees we collect are used to support our nonprofit mission. Learn more.

It’s a no-brainer that food tastes better alfresco, but the decision to take music outdoors is a little more complex.

Your house has traditionally been a portable 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 provide good battery life and generate enough volume to fill your yard with music. 

All the speakers in this roundup add some degree of water resistance, so they can be played in a summer drizzle. A few can even handle a trip to the splash zone on a pool deck or the beach. 

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

A Top-Ranked Contender
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom
Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

    Ultimate Ears Hyperboom

    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 in the great outdoors. Our testers find 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 stands in contrast to horizontally oriented boom-box-style speakers, such as the Braven XXL-2 and JBL Boombox, takes up less room on a picnic table. Its more subdued styling also allows it to blend in better when you take it indoors. 

     

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

    A Moveable Musical Feast
    Braven XXL/2
    Braven XXL/2

      Braven XXL/2

      The Braven BRV-XXL/2 is an ideal tool for taking your tunes to the great outdoors. With its rugged-looking styling and its magnetic bottle opener, the XXX/2 feels like the country cousin to speakers such as the JBL Boombox. 

       

      The Braven XXL/2, like the original XXL, has great sound for a Bluetooth speaker. It delivers impactful bass, a pleasing midrange, and plenty of volume for indoors and out.

      Note that while Braven’s list price is close to the street price for the Boombox, it’s often discounted significantly, so it pays to shop around. The claimed IPX5 water-resistance rating means it should be splashproof.

       

      Heavy-Duty Sound Quality
      JBL Boombox
      JBL Boombox

        JBL Boombox

        Quality or sheer volume? With the JBL Boombox, there’s no need to choose. As a modern rethinking of those giant cassette boom boxes from the 1980s, this 12-pound music machine is ideal for a socially distanced dance-off.

         

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

         

        But unlike its battery-powered predecessors, this Boombox doesn’t eat D cells. It features a robust Powerbank power supply that’s good, JBL says, for 24 hours of nonstop music—with juice to spare for charging phones and other devices. And the Boombox features IPX7-level protection from the elements, which means you should be able to fish it out after a dunking in shallow water, then continue with your tunes. 

         

        Colorful and Dunkable
        Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3
        Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

          Ultimate Ears Megaboom 3

          The Megaboom 3 features whimsical and colorful styling that says it’s time for fun. It’s a little larger and a little more expensive than the Boom 3, and it sounds 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. 

          Basic but Not Boring
          Bose SoundLink Color II
          Bose SoundLink Color II

            Bose SoundLink Color II

            Sometimes basic is a good thing. The Bose SoundLink Color II doesn’t have the biggest menu of features, but testers reported that it shines where it matters most.


            It sounds good, with powerful sonics that belie its modest size and moderate price of about $130. If you simply want to listen to “Walking on Sunshine” while sitting out in the sunshine, the SoundLink Color II might just be the speaker for you.

            Bluetooth pairing is easy and intuitive, and the speaker is splashproof, according to Bose. The SoundLink Color II is less expensive than lots of competitors with similar sound quality.

            Strong Performance on a Budget
            JBL Flip 4
            JBL Flip 4

              JBL Flip 4

              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 impressive sound quality. Our test team found it easy to pair the speaker with a phone via Bluetooth, and the battery life was 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.

              You Can Take It With You
              Bose Soundlink Micro
              Bose Soundlink Micro

                Bose Soundlink Micro

                If you need a speaker that’s not just portable but also invites you to carry it with you, look no further than the Bose SoundLink Micro. Just under 4 inches square, this device can easily strap onto a backpack or bicycle handlebars.


                And while the baby Bose falls a bit short of larger models in our sound-quality testing, our techs find the Micro to be enjoyable to listen to. It has a silicone cover in black, dark blue, or orange, and is designed to meet IPX7 water-resistance standards, which means it should survive a not-so-deep dive into the kiddie pool. 

                67
                Wireless & Bluetooth Speakers Rated
                Access Ratings
                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.