Tom's Guide Verdict
Polk Atrium 4 set the standard for wired outdoor speakers with a wide, balanced sound for under $200.
Large, crisp soundstage
Relatively small size
If you want bigger bass go for the Atrium 5
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Size: 8.6 x 6.7 x 5.7 inches
Speakers: 4.5-inch driver, 0.75-inch tweeter
Weather resistance: ASTM D5894-UV Salt Fog, Mil Standard 810 Immersion and Mil Standard 883 for salt and corrosion.
When you want wired outdoor speakers to bring sound to your porch or deck, the Polk Atrium 4 are the best mix of sound and size. A pair costs less than $200, and you get a wide, full sound. While they don’t have much bass, they produce more low end than other outdoor speakers of similar size. The relatively small speakers give you flexibility in where you place them and won’t dominate your view. Add it all up, and the Atrium 4 are hard to beat.
Read on for our full review of the Polk Atrium 4.
Polk Atrium 4: Price and Availability
The Polk Atrium 4 speakers have been available for a long time — since 2005, according to its Amazon listing. The list price is $199 and they are currently available on Amazon for $169 for the pair.
Polk also makes the Atrium 5, which are slightly larger and cost $249 per pair on Amazon, as well as the Atrium 6, larger still, for $349 per pair.
Polk Atrium 4 review: Design
The Atrium 4 features a more rounded design than many bookshelf-style speakers; that likely helps contribute to the wide sound they produce. The 8.6 x 6.7 x 5.7-inch units are smaller than many outdoor wired speakers, too. Inside, the speakers have a 4.5-inch driver and 0.75-inch tweeter. Available in black or white, the hard plastic case has a perforated grill to let sound out, and look to be able to withstand some abuse.
The speakers come with a swivel mount for hanging, and you can move them 180 degrees. You can also remove the mount if you want to place them on a table or stand.
Polk Atrium 4 review: Performance
The Atrium 4s deliver a wide, balanced sound that should make most people happy in an outdoor setting. Vocals are clear, and instruments sound warm and realistic. The bass won’t shake the walls, but you can still find the groove.
Billie Eilish’s singing was full and easy to hear even above the bombastic guitars and keyboards on “Happier Than Ever.” The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” sounded big and full, from his singing to the instruments — though the thumping drums lacked a bit of oomph. The acoustic guitars on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” were crisp and warm.
The Atrium 4 can get impressively loud. At 95 decibels the sound was a bit harsh but not distorted. They sounded more balanced under 90 decibels.
Polk Atrium 4 review: Ruggedness
Polk says the Atrium 4 are “all-weather outdoor certified.” Most speakers use IP ratings for ruggedness, but Polk lists a different set of certifications: ASTM D5894-UV Salt Fog, Mil Standard 810 Immersion and Mil Standard 883 for salt and corrosion. That all means these speakers should handle the elements well. Polk does say that they will last longer if you place them where they will receive less exposure to the elements.
Polk Atrium 4 review: Setup
Since the Atrium 4 aren’t powered, you’ll need a receiver or amp to drive the sound, connected to the speakers with wires. A home theater receiver with a separate zone is a common way to provide power to outdoor speakers.
On the back are terminals for speaker wires, which are easy to access. However, the Atrium 4 doesn’t support banana plugs.
The Atrium 4 are designed to be mounted vertically or horizontally. To mount the speaker, screw the bracket to a wall, then attach the speaker by screwing the bracket knobs to both ends of the speaker. There’s a hole in the bracket to thread the speaker wire through. You can then adjust the angle of the speaker for the best sound in your space.
Polk Atrium 4 review: Verdict
If you want wired speakers to bring audio to your outdoor space, the Polk Atrium 4 are an excellent choice. They produce very good sound for a relatively small speaker, and the small size allows you options in where you place them. They’re built to last and withstand the elements.
If you don’t want to spend $169 on a pair of outdoor speakers, the Yamaha NS-AW150W sound nearly as good and only cost about $100. They are slightly bigger, though. And if price and size are no issue, the Klipsch AW-650 will produce better bass. But for the price, the Atrium 4 can’t be beat.
Michael Gowan is a freelance technology journalist covering soundbars, TVs, and wireless speakers of all kinds of shapes and sizes for Tom’s Guide. He has written hundreds of product reviews, focusing on sound quality and value to help shoppers make informed buying decisions. Micheal has written about music and consumer technology for more than 25 years. His work has appeared in publications including CNN, Wired, Men’s Journal, PC World and Macworld. When Michael’s not reviewing speakers, he’s probably listening to one anyway.