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The best outdoor speakers of 2019

Winter is here, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a nice afternoon in your backyard or patio with a fire and some hot cocoa. Want to make those outdoor hangs even better? Get some music going with one of the best outdoor speakers.

Our pick for the best outdoor speaker overall is the Polk Atrium 4 ($90), which combines quality audio and a sturdy design for a good price. If you're on a budget, the Dual LU53 ($54) delivers excellent sound for around $50. 

But there are plenty of great options out there — ranging from wireless Bluetooth setups, to speakers mounted up high, to units that can blend seamlessly into your garden. 

Whether you want to enjoy some NFL games or NBA games outside or want to have outdoor viewing parties for your favorite Netflix shows or Prime Video movies, here are the best outdoor speakers to buy in 2019. 

Need something smaller or more portable? Be sure to also check out our roundup of the best Bluetooth speakers.

How we test the best outdoor speakers

For this comparison, we set a price limit of $500. We tested 11 outdoor speakers from eight manufacturers, using a wide range of music with a heavy emphasis on how bass and treble came through. Speakers were placed at ear level, and pairs were spread 8 feet apart. The overall design, quality of materials, ease of installation and price all varied considerably from speaker to speaker, and were factored heavily into the best outdoor speakers final ratings.

1. Polk Atrium 4

The Polk Atrium 4 is our best overall outdoor speaker

The best outdoor speakers have to withstand the elements and deliver robust bass, crisp treble and full midrange with enough power to be heard over both the wind and the chatter of a party. These Polk speakers check all the boxes, and still cost less than $100.

At 8.6 x 6.7 x 5.7 inches, the Atrium 4s are small enough so that they won't dominate your landscape and big enough to deliver full sound. With a 4.5-inch mid-woofer/tweeter and a 0.75-inch tweeter inside each speaker, the Atrium 4 aptly handled both the distorted guitars of classic rock and the thumping bass of hip-hop while producing clear vocals.

If you want more bass and have the space (and some extra cash), consider Polk's $150 Atrium 5, which come with 5-inch midrange woofer/tweeters.

Drivers: 4.5-inch mid/woofer. 0.75-inch tweeter
Wireless: No
Output: 80 watts
Battery: None
Mounting Hardware: Included

2. Dual LU53

The Dual LU53 is our best value outdoor speaker

With big bass and full vocals, the Dual LU53 speakers are a steal for about $50. The 10.1 x 7.3 x 7.3-inch three-way speaker houses a large 5.25-inch woofer, a 1-inch midrange driver and a 0.8-inch tweeter. The drivers help it produce enough bass to be heard outdoors while the vocals remain prominent in the mix.

Although not as crisp or as detailed as the Atrium 4s, the Dual LU53's bigger size creates a wide soundstage that can entertain the crowd at your next barbecue. Don't mix up the LU53 with the cheaper Dual LU43 — there's a world of difference between the sound of the two models.

For a slightly more detailed sound in a more compact form, take a look at Yamaha's $75 NS-AW150. These speakers also feature Yamaha's bracket mounts on the underside that swing from top to bottom, rather than the far more common left-to-right movement.

Drivers: 5.25-inch woofer, 1-inch midrange driver, 0.8-inch tweeter
Wireless: No
Output: 60 watts
Battery: None
Mounting Hardware: Included

3. Klipsch AW-650

The Klipsch AW-650 is our best premium outdoor speaker

If you subscribe to the "go big or go home" school of outdoor entertaining, the AW-650 speakers are some of the best outdoor speakers you can buy. These monsters of rock measure 15 x 11 x 9.5 inches and feature a 6.5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter. The result is thunderous bass and crisp, full vocals that can easily overpower the ambient noise of the outdoors when you want.

The AW-650 speakers are  built like a tank, with a UV-resistant ABS plastic polymer enclosure that's backed  by Klipsch's lifetime warranty. And at 9 pounds each, you'll want to make sure you securely mount them if you choose to place them up high; they would also work well at floor level.  

But all that power will cost you: A pair of AW-650s runs between $360 and $400 on Amazon.

Drivers: 6.5-inch woofer, 1-inch tweeter
Wireless: No
Output: 85 watts
Battery: None
Mounting Hardware: Included

4. Klipsch AWR-650-SM Outdoor Rock

The Klipsch AWR-650-SM is our best hidden outdoor speaker

Give the folks at Klipsch credit: When they promise a speaker that looks like a rock and can seamlessly blend into your backyard surroundings, they really deliver. The AWR-650-SM is more than  part garden decor and part undercover agent; like our premium pick, the Klipsch AW-650, it also delivers spectacular sound.

The housings of these ingeniously designed speakers are made to resemble 17-inch-high hunks of either sandstone or granite, depending on the overall aesthetic of your patio or garden. The undersides are slathered with sealant, and the wiring is thick and waterproof. But on the inside, Klipsch has packed these faux boulders with punch: Dual 0.75-inch tweeters and a 6.5-inch woofer deliver superior sound quality, with brass that pops and bass that comes in heavy and authoritative.

The biggest knock on these rocks? Price. Each one will set you back almost $300, and they really should be experienced as a pair. The 13-pound weight is not terribly heavy, but these are clunky to carry. (They are, in essence, large rocks, and need to be handled  as such.) But if you're willing to go the distance for maximum outdoor sound and minimal footprints around your grounds, pony up a few extra clams for these secret speakers.

Drivers: 6.5-inch woofer, dual 0.75-inch tweeters
Wireless: No
Output: 50 watts
Battery: None
Mounting Hardware: None

5. Sonos Move

Sonos Move

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Need an outdoor speaker that also doubles as a portable Bluetooth speaker? The Sonos Move will fit the bill and then some. This beefy Bluetooth speaker offers Sonos' signature high-end soundscape on top of a 10-hour battery that should last through all of your backyard festivities.

On top of offering rich bass and crisp dialogue, the Sonos Move is pretty smart. The speaker supports both Alexa and Google Assistant for voice controls, and can switch from Bluetooth to Wi-Fi on the fly, making it ideal for just about any outdoor setting. Pair that with automatic TruePlay tuning and support for all major streaming services, and you have the ultimate outdoor portable speaker. 

Drivers: One downward-firing tweeter, one mid-woofer
Wireless: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
Output: N/A
Battery: 10 hours
Mounting Hardware: None

Read our full Sonos Move review.