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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

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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 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 provide good battery life and generate enough volume to fuel an impromptu dance party. And 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. 

Consumer Reports tests wireless speakers for sound quality and convenience, but we don’t test them for water resistance. So this roundup relies on manufacturers’ claims about waterproofness.

1
Colorful and Dunkable
Ultimate Ears Megaboom
Ultimate Ears Megaboom

    Ultimate Ears 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 (just over 1 yard) 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 says the Megaboom floats, but we still suggest you move it before the tide comes in. 

    2
    Strong Performance on a Budget
    JBL by Harman Flip 4
    JBL by Harman Flip 4

      JBL by Harman Flip 4

      Portable wireless speakers can take a beating, rattling around in the bottom of a beach bag 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 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.

      4
      Heavy-Duty Sound Quality
      JBL Boombox
      JBL Boombox

        JBL Boombox

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

         

        The Boombox pumped out truly impressive bass—maybe even a bit too much, say our testers—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 is good, JBL says, for 24 hours of nonstop music—with juice to spare for charging phones and other devices. Finally, the Boombox features IPX7 waterproofing, which means you should be able to fish it out after a dunking in shallow water and then go on with the party.

        5
        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 niche. It can integrate with Denon’s larger wireless speakers, all controlled by an intuitive smartphone app, so you can listen to “Pet Sounds" in the den, in the kitchen, and on the deck, all perfectly synchronized.

          But unlike its main system speaker rival, 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, which means that you should be able to take the smallest Heos outside during a drizzle—just don't drop it in the pool. 

          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.