(Pocket-lint) – Lazing in the garden is one of life’s great pleasures, if you’ve got one – offering up a day spent outdoors with family even at difficult times. And you need a speaker for the occasion.
Except, that last bit isn’t always the easiest thing to sort out, is it? Even if you’ve got a nice home audio system, there’s a pretty solid chance that if you want to play music in the garden, you’re not just going to be able to pick up your hi-fi speakers and take them with you.
Enter portable speakers, and in particular those that have been designed with outdoor use in mind. There are now a whole bunch of options for the outdoor listener, thankfully, to the point where it can be a little tough to choose between them. Don’t fret, we’re here to help with this list of the very best outdoor speakers to choose from.
Our pick of the best outdoor speakers to buy today
Simply the best outdoor speaker around right now.
Sonos took its sweet time getting into the portable speaker market, but the wait was worth it for the Sonos Move, a real success of a device. The speaker has a base station that it docks on in your home for regular use, when it’s basically a top-notch Wi-Fi smart speaker. Any time you like, though, you can just pick it up and take it on the move as a Bluetooth speaker.
It’s got some good weather-resistance, and the sound is straightforwardly brilliant, which is a pretty killer package for a speaker of this sort. That it can be both a superb outdoor speaker and one of our very favourite home speakers shows just how good a job Sonos has done.
Ultimate Ears UE Boom 3
There are a range of great UE options to pick from when you’re going outdoors, but our top choice from the brand is the Boom 3, a stonking little speaker.
Ultimate Ears has built itself a really comfortable niche in the speaker audience over the last decade by putting out great, hardy portable speakers that can be relied upon to give good sound and cope with any weather. The waterproof UE Boom 3 is one of its more recent efforts and sits further towards the fully portable end of the spectrum than the Sonos Move.
If you want a more easily-carried speaker that will still power any impromptu gatherings or park-based dance parties, this is a great option.
Libratone Zipp 2
A brilliant smart speaker that’s nice and hardy.
This one isn’t waterproof, but it’s one of a few on this list that cleverly fuse portability and home comforts, we really like the Zipp 2 for its unique design – that colourful sleeve and its titular zip make it stand out from the crowd. This actually works at its best when you take it outside, as it has a great picnic-y look that just demands you have fun.
It helps that the sound is top-quality, of course. It’s not the cheapest option compared to some of the competition, but a bevy of connection options make it a really safe choice.
JBL Link Portable
Great whether it’s plugged in or on the move.
The JBL Link Portable is an obvious choice for this list – JBL even put the world portable in its name to make it super clear. It’s one of the speaker-maker’s more recent efforts, and we’re big fans of how compact it is while still producing impressive sound.
That little charging dock is easier to use than a cable, in our experience, and when you want to pick it up for outdoor use you’ll discover that it packs a punch on the volume front to go with its weatherproofing.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2
Impressive little spheres of sound.
Perhaps, though, you don’t fancy carrying around some of the chunkier speakers up above – not everyone is looking for studio-quality sound in the park. If you’d rather something more ultra-portable, Ultimate Ears’ Wonderboom 2 could be perfect. The little globe-shaped speaker is small enough to fit in almost any bag, but still has great sound, and is easily our cheapest pick for this list.
Even better, you can pair two together to get stereo sound, so if a friend can bring one too you’ll be able to upgrade your experience even further. Plus, impressive waterproofing makes it probably the hardiest speaker on this list – useful information if rain clouds are on the horizon!
Marshall Stockwell II
A classic look for your outdoor rocking.
As we mentioned about the Zipp 2, up above, it’s fair to say that speaker design can be a little generic at times. Marshall’s Stockwell II is another riposte against that, riffing on the amp-maker’s classic devices to give you a portable speaker that would look at home at any gig.
It’s also got absolutely massive sound, making it a perfect fit if you’re looking to power a big dancefloor but don’t have access to any power cabling. It isn’t cheap by any means, but great battery life and water resistance make it a serious contender.
Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay P6
A classy bit of design that sounds excellent in the great outdoors.
We close out our list with what you could think of as the most aesthetic choice for a portable speaker, though it doesn’t have waterproofing. Bang & Olufsen has a range of classy, low-key speakers that you can take out on the move, but our pick is the BeoPlay P6 for the simple reason that it sounds phenomenal.
That said, it’s extremely expensive at full price, for what it is, so this is one to keep an eye on reductions for. If the sound is your top priority, alongside attractive design and genuine portability, though, the P6 is a seriously high-class effort.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.