Best outdoor speakers with Sonos-Roam

The best outdoor speaker allow users to take their music out of the house, without fear that the performance could be compromise by the weather or challenging environments.

Unlike typical Bluetooth speakers, an outdoor speaker is designed to survive whatever Mother Nature can throw at it and still provide good audio quality. Much like ‘normal’ Bluetooth speakers, they come in different shapes and sizes to suit different cases. Perhaps you’re in need of a speaker for a big gather? Or maybe you need a smaller one to take with you to the park or overseas?

We’re here to help you decide which speaker is best for you. We’ve conducted tests with these speakers both indoors and our to gauge how well they perform, go through the feature list where possible to determine whether they work as advertised. We’ve also listened to lots of music for hours upon hours, and as such, only the best speakers in their respective areas have been put on this list.

Of course, this is only the start of the shopping process, and if an outdoor speaker isn’t what you’re after, then our list list of best Bluetooth speakers may be to your liking. Or you could also have a look at our best smart speaker page and best multi-room speaker options.

Best outdoor speakers at a glance

  • Best portable speaker: Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen
  • Best outdoor speaker under £400: Sonos Move
  • Best portable speaker under £100: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

How we test

How we test wireless speakers

We play a lot of music, and we play it loud. We play it everywhere – in the house, in the garden, and even in the bath if a speaker is waterproof.

We don’t just listen to the speakers; if there are special features then we make sure we fiddle with them until we’re satisfied. Some Bluetooth speakers have smart functionality, and as a result we’ve started speaking to our speakers as well. With portable speakers we take them outside and listen to them to get a feel for how they sound in the great outdoors.

Of course, it always comes back to the music. Speakers are tested by reviewers who have a love of music, a knowledge of sound quality, as well as a context of the market. We’ll listen to Bluetooth speakers alongside similarly priced rivals, so when we recommend a particular model, it’s among the best you can buy for the money.

Bang and Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen

Best portable speaker

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Portable
  • Alexa support
  • Great style
  • Waterproof design

Cons

  • Still pricey

The Bang & Olufsen Beosound A1 2nd Gen is a sensational-sounding speaker and, for a Bluetooth speaker, it supports smarts in the form of Alexa voice assistance.

It achieves Alexa control through a smartphone, so the Alexa app needs to be downloaded on the mobile device as the A1 2nd Gen does not natively support it. During our time with the speaker, we found summoning Alexa work rather well in a local park, proving to be responsive at handling queries. Alexa wasn’t as quick to chime in when our smartphone was performing another task, so we’d suggest you keep attempts at multi-tasking low if you want a fast response.

Compared to the Beoplay A1, battery life has also had a upgrade, with the Beosound A1 able to last for 18 hours, where the original model could only reach four hours. The B&O companion app offers some decent functionality with EQ presets and volume control, though there are fewer features than what you’d get with a Wi-Fi enabled speaker.

As a B&O product, the Beosound A1 looks the part with a stylish leather base and aluminium top surface that helps the speaker achieve an IP67 water resistance, which is the same as the Wonderboom 2. It is lighter than its predecessor at 558g, which helps to make it easier to carry around, and its leather strap has been tweaked to allow for more hanging options. The tweaks to the design make it a little more convenient to carry with you.

The audio performance is one that we found to be very impressive, the sound quality was impressively clear, with bass better emphasised that the Sonos Roam. Vocal clarity is excellent with voices granted plenty of space to exist, the tonal balance throughout the frequency range is great, and it’s a very dynamic and exciting. This is one of the best outdoor speakers we’ve come across, the only that would give us pause is that it comes at high price.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: B&O Beosound A1 2nd Gen

Sonos Move

Best portable speaker under £400

Pros

  • Big, powerful sound
  • Confident bass performance
  • Can work like any other Sonos speaker
  • Voice assistant and multi-room capability

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not exactly portable

The Sonos Move is positioned as a larger speaker for use outdoors compared to the Roam, but a good choice if you’re in need of a bigger sound for parties and gatherings in a garden.

It weighs 3kg, which isn’t exactly portable in the truest sense but in our opinion, the integrated handle actually makes it seem lighter than it is when carrying it about. Build quality is what we’d describe as durable, and while we wouldn’t recommend dropping the speaker from any height, we accidentally did and the result was a tiny mark that we can’t actually locate any more. Rated at IP56 rated, meaning it’s well protected against dust and mud, and should be able to withstand all types of conditions the British weather can throw.

It’s available in two finishes in Shadow Black and Lunar White, the former serves the purpose of protecting the Move against overheating.

Used indoors and the Move works much like any other Sonos speaker when connected to Wi Fi. There’s hands-free access Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, both of which are quick to respond to requests. Other Wi-Fi related features include AirPlay 2 that brings multi-room and connectivity to iOS products into the equation as well as support for Siri.

Sonos’ Auto Trueplay feature automatically optimises audio output based on the speakers’ placement for the best sound quality, while battery life has been extended to up to 11 hours (it was initially 10) through an update. If damaged, Sonos supports replacement of the battery.

We found the Move to be one of the better-sounding outdoor speakers, much like its smaller Roam sibling. It’s a neutral-sounding speaker with good amounts of detail, clarity and sharpness to its presentation. It handles the low end with confidence, though if you want more bass and a wider soundstage then the Sony SRS-XG300 is a good alternative. However, that speaker doesn’t have the top-end clarity with high-frequency notes that the Move has.

Regardless of what you listen to, the Move puts in a clear, precise and detailed performance that works well across a range of genres, and it’s capable of going pretty loud, though bass does appear to be nerfed at higher volumes.

Reviewer:Kob Monney
Full review: Sonos Move

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

Best outdoor speaker under £100

Pros

  • Big sound
  • Easy to use
  • 13-hour battery life
  • Outdoor Boost mode

Cons

  • Not much of note

The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 brings with Ultimate Ears’ signature sound to a small form factor, putting in an energetic and fun performance.

It has decent weight to low frequencies, though we wouldn’t necessarily describe it as a bass monster. In fact, the new Wonderboom 3 features a more effective and rounded bass performance. Sound can be projected 360-degrees with a similar performance accessible from whichever direction you’re facing the speaker.

The design of the Wonderboom 2 is largely unchanged from the original, a handful of refinements as opposed to a complete overhaul. It is slightly bigger with the same rubberised surface on the top and bottom for better grip when holding the speaker. Rated at IP67, the speaker can repel dust and water, the material is scratch-proof (to guard against any feral domestic pets) as well be dunked under water for 30 minutes (though it’s likely to bob on surface than sink). The range of different colours available also means there’s plenty of diversity in the Wonderboom 2’s appearance.

Battery life has been improved up from 10 to 13 hours, and there are a couple of new sound modes to play around with in Outdoor Boost and Double Up. Outdoor Boost makes the speaker more expansive and brings clarity to the midrange and treble frequencies, while Double Up adds the functionality of using two Wonderboom 2 speakers in a stereo pair. With the Wonderboom 3 set to go on sale in October for the same price carrying the same features, you may want to wait for that to appear than purchase the Wonderboom 2.

Reviewer: Kob Monney
Full Review: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2

FAQs

What does the IP waterproof rating mean?

IP stands for Ingress Protection, and it refers to a products ability to withstand ingress of dust and water. The higher the rating a product has, the better the protection.

Which is the most powerful outdoor speaker?

If power is what you want, then you’d be looking at a bigger speaker, such as the B&O Beolit 20, Marshall Tufton and Sonos Move.

Which outdoor Bluetooth speaker has the best sound?

B&O’s Beosound A1 2nd Gen is one of the best-sounding portable speakers we’ve tested, with excellent clarity and good bass for its size.

We also considered…

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Specs compared

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