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Outdoor speakers buying guide

What to look for in an outdoor speaker system for your home


hen the weather warms up, most of us find more and more reasons to be out in the yard. Whether you're digging into yardwork, reading a book, or grilling with family, outside time is more fun with your favorite tunes on hand.

Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor speakers that can help you take your tunes outside. This guide will show you a number of different options, so you can decide which ones will look and sound best in your unique outdoor space.

Two types of outdoor speakers

There are two types of speakers we generally expect to see in an outdoor environment. You may want to permanently mount outdoor speakers under eaves, in the yard, or around a swimming pool.

On the other hand, there are plenty of Bluetooth-enabled outdoor speakers that are also suitable for outdoor use.

Like the idea of permanently installed speakers, but want to use Bluetooth as your music source? You can power your outdoor speakers with a receiver that has Bluetooth built in.

Permanently installed outdoor speakers

If you want to enjoy detailed, immersive sound on a deck or porch, or in a small backyard, passive stereo speakers — the type that get power and signal from a home receiver — are the best option. Outdoor stereo speakers are similar to indoor speakers, with two big differences:

  1. They can stand up to the elements. Many outdoor speakers are weatherproof, meaning they can withstand direct assaults of rain, sun, and cold. Other speakers are weather-resistant, so they require some protection from rain and ice.
  2. They come with mounting hardware. In the shipping box with the speaker, you'll find a bracket or similar mounting hardware that attaches the speaker securely to the side of your house.
Outdoor speakers

Speakers that mount to the side of your house offer robust stereo sound for your outdoor space.

Pay attention when ordering. Some speakers, like the popular Polk Audio Atrium 4, ship in pairs. Others, like the best-selling Definitive Technology AW5500, are priced "each."

Most outdoor speakers also have paintable grilles and enclosures, so you can match them to your color scheme.


Our outdoor A/V design expert Norm has plenty of helpful tips if you choose to do it yourself when you install outdoor speakers.

You can install outdoor speakers on your own, but don't hesitate to check in with one of our experts to help plan out your system before you start.

Outdoor speakers and Sonos

If you want to use Sonos with a multi-room amplifier to build an indoor/outdoor system, good news. The company offers Sonos by Sonance Architectural speakers for outdoor use. You can easily run speaker wire from them to a Sonos Amp, like our video team leader Tara did in her treehouse Sonos system.

Norm installing Tara's treehouse Sonos system

Sonos by Sonance outdoor speakers let you expand your wireless Sonos system to outdoor spaces.

If you have an existing outdoor system, the Sonos Port lets you add Sonos capability for an easy upgrade.

Whole-home audio with outdoor speakers

If you're starting from scratch and want to build a convenient whole-home audio system, you can include outdoor speakers in the mix. Our system designers can help you plan and power a flexible system that suits your unique layout.

And, if you're hoping to use wireless sources to stream music throughout your home, a multi-node mesh router system can make sure you're getting strong, fast Wi-Fi everywhere you need it.

Patio and garden speakers

If you want to listen in an area that’s farther from your house, look for speakers designed to sit on the ground or mount on in-ground stakes.

They’re weatherproof for permanent outdoor installation without any cover or protection. And they’re a better option than simply blasting music from the side of your house way out into the yard. Your neighbors might not appreciate that. And the music won't be too loud for people sitting closer to the house.

Rock speakers in landscaping

Environmental speakers blend into their surroundings. Can you spot the rock speaker in this photo?

Some of these speakers are even designed to blend into their outdoor surroundings (like these "rock" speakers). Others are compact and rounded, so they don’t take visitors’ eyes away from your beautiful landscaping.

Some environmental speakers are designed to be partially buried in the soil. The Bose FreeSpace® 360P II, for example, uses a unique design to broadcast music in a 360-degree pattern from the top of the speaker, while the rest of it hides out of sight.

TIP: Get the right speaker wire

Remember: when installing outdoor speakers, be sure to wire them with cable that is UL approved for in-wall use or direct burial.

Stereo-input speakers

Typically, an outdoor system has two main speakers — a left and a right speaker in a stereo configuration. In some cases, you only need one speaker, say for a small breakfast nook. Or you may have the opposite issue, where your space is so large that you need a third speaker fo fill out the sound between the two main speakers.

Stereo-input speaker

This Polk Audio Atrium 8 speaker has inputs for both left and right channels, which allows stereo playback from a single speaker.

A stereo-input speaker is what you need for these types of situations. They have have inputs for both left and right channels, and two tweeters that handle the stereo channel separation.

Use four-conductor cable for stereo-input speakers. These cables contain wires for both left- and right-channel inputs in a single casing.

70-volt speakers and amps

If you want music to play in several discrete outdoor zones, a 70-volt system is a smart choice. Designed primarily for commercial use, 70-volt systems can drive several speakers with a single amplifier. They're more efficient and often easier on the budget as a result.

70-volt outdoor speakers

70-volt outdoor speakers — like this JBL Control® HST we installed at a local brewpub — are great for larger residential installations and commercial use.

Need help designing and choosing a 70-volt system? Check in with our commercial design team.

Bluetooth speakers

Convenient, portable Bluetooth speakers let you stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or tablet. Some also have built-in Wi-Fi®, so you can stream music from networked computers. If you select a speaker with Wi-Fi, be sure your home network reaches outdoors to where you’ll be using the speaker.

Not all portable speakers are weather-resistant, and none are designed to be left outdoors permanently. Be sure to read the specification on our website to determine if the speaker is water- or weather-resistant, and always bring them inside when not in use.

We can help you choose

Have questions about choosing the right outdoor speakers? Contact us today.

Norm holding outdoor speaker

System design specialist Norm shows off an impressive Focal 100 OD8 outdoor speaker.

Our expert Advisors know the gear inside and out. Your Advisor can send specific Crutchfield pages to your screen, saving you a lot of browsing time. You'll get a shopping cart loaded up with everything you need for your new TV sound system.

Free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

  • Bryan from Monroe, Ga

    Posted on 9/5/2021

    I am mounting a projector in my covered patio, and need to run sound to left and right speakers I will mount on the upper back of the patio. I am thinking about using a hdmi audio extractor to run to the speakers. What amp would you recommend that would be small enough and somewhat weather resistant and what speakers do you recommend?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 9/7/2021

    Bryan - I have a couple of NAD amps in mind, which are not exactly weather-resistant, but are very compact and can easily be hidden away in a weather-safe enclosure. The NAD D 3020 V2 or its more powerful cousin the NAD D 3045 would serve very well in my opinion. And AudioSource AS545 outdoor speakers provide solid sound for such an installation. Hope this helps!
  • Rich from Dallas

    Posted on 6/27/2021

    Does anyone make Active Outdoor WIFI Speakers?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 6/28/2021

    Rich - We don't sell any that are self-powered, but we do have a Phase Tech OS-440 outdoor amplifier that connects to your home Wi-Fi. Hope that helps!
  • David Miller from Lincoln Ne

    Posted on 4/1/2020

    We have a covered porch 15'x 15' and want to install a TV out there in a cabinet it will not have direct light on it and should be protected by the weather it has a doors that swing open when in use and am wondering about what kind of outdoor speaker and wattage to use. I can run a hard wire to these speakers. Do I install these directly across from each other?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 4/2/2020

    David - There are a lot of variables you'll probably want to discuss with an Advisor via phone or chat. The main question I have is what type of receiver or amp would you be connecting to. But definitely chat with an Advisor - they'll get you exactly what you need and you'll be covered by lifetime tech support if you run into any trouble down the road.
  • Tom from Temecula

    Posted on 12/7/2019

    I want to install outdoor weatherproof speakers in my backyard. 2 under my patio cover/bbq area(detached from house) and 2 on house either in the stucco wall or under a small awning of house. They will have power but I was hoping to have blue tooth speakers so I don't have to use a receiver. How can I accomplish this and still have the ability to control each speaker individually on one bluetooth device? Many times I won't use one set just the bbq area but when I do use all 4 I want to be on one Bluetooth device. Thank you.

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 12/9/2019

    Tom - I don't know of any outdoor speakers we carry that take direct Bluetooth input, but we do have an intriguing outdoor amp that takes direct Bluetooth input from your device, so it's worth a look for the flexible system you're trying to design. It's called the Phase Tech OS-440. Hope this helps, but if it's not quite right, I highly recommend talking with one of our Advisors via phone or chat. Several of them have system design experience and might know a trick or two. Good luck!
  • Tyson Wells from Pryor

    Posted on 7/30/2019

    I have 4 definitive technology AW6500 for my outdoor kitchen/patio. I'm wondering if the sonos amp will power all 4 speakers or do I need to go another route.

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 7/31/2019

    Tyson - The Sonos amp is really only sufficient for one pair of speakers, so you'd either want to get two of them, or have one of our Advisors set you up with a multi-channel amp and a Sonos Connect so you can power everything and still have your Sonos functions. Thanks for the question!
  • Brian from Altoona

    Posted on 7/27/2019

    I've got an outdoor covered deck. Everything is wired for the television and sound. I can find plenty of outdoor speaker options but am lost on how to power them to get good sound. Do I go with a standard home receiver with my television setup?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 7/29/2019

    Brian - Typically, you have to have a receiver somewhere inside your home, so you have to run wire from inside to outside. Our Advisors are experienced with such installations, so if you call or chat with them using the contact information at the top of the page, they can find the right solution for your unique situation. Thanks for the question!
  • Al Ashton

    Posted on 7/26/2019

    As a painting contractor I need to mention your cabin needs a coat of something. That wood looks pretty dry.

  • Pat Bannan from Fort Mill

    Posted on 6/20/2019

    I am building a pool and will have a patio area off to the side with an outdoor fireplace. Nothing is enclosed so a smarty I know is recommending 4 PSB SC-1000's as the best option. Since you carry them and several other audiophile grade speakers, would you have other suggestions or do you concur?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 6/21/2019

    Pat - You're talking to a huge PSB fan, and I can't think of any outdoor speakers we carry that are better, so I'd recommend following the smarty's advice. If you have any performance questions or just want help ordering, one of our Advisors can give you more info. Just use the contact us box at the top of the page.
  • Justin P Hull from Gray Court

    Posted on 6/18/2019

    Okay, without blowing the bank, I am looking for the impossible. I'd like to get some sort of outdoor blue tooth speaker(s) that can run off my mobile phone/tablet via BT. This would be for around a pool (18x32) environment. A second area (separate) would try to throw sound into an open horse riding area (100x200). I've seen speakers that need a receiver, but then I don't want to keep going inside to make changes. I'm good with one well sounding (360) type BT speaker around the pool, but jsut want good crisp sound

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 6/19/2019

    Justin - we have a huge selection of Bluetooth speakers. I'd highly recommend speaking with one of our friendly, knowledgeable Advisors using the "contact us" options at the top of this page. They can really help you home in on the perfect option.
  • Michael Hock from Worthington

    Posted on 4/4/2019

    I have a travel trailer with outdoor speakers of poor quality and want to improve my audio excellent outside. Speakers need to be weather proof. What makes the most sense, a good value?

    Commenter image

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    on 4/5/2019

    Michael - Yamaha NS-AW150 speakers are a best-seller for a reason: they're weatherproof, versatile, and a great value. If you want a more in-depth recommendation, please don't hesitate to call or chat with one of our advisors.
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