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It’s summer, and for the first time in almost 18 months, social gatherings are possible again. That might mean a cookout with friends, or an outdoor rendezvous in the sun. And no summer party would be complete without a good selection of music.
Whatever you’re listening to, a good outdoor speaker is a crucial accessory this summer — and beyond. There are a number of options to craft that perfect warm-weather sound, and here are five of the best, including top selections from Sonos, JBL, UE and Bose.
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1. Sonos Roam
Sonos has found its niche as the kind of speaker brand that can take control of your house. Thanks to its handy Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as a wide range of models, you can create a network of sound throughout. The Roam steps slightly outside that niche, remaining very much a part of the Sonos platform, but moving into the cordless space.
The benefit, then, is Sonos quality sound with portability — a speaker that sounds just as good when synced up to a massive system as it does in isolation, or outdoors. It performs well at the outdoor stuff, too. From its damage-resistant rubbery chassis, to wireless charging, it can compete with the elements, and keep music blasting for up to 10 hours. So, whether it’s your first Sonos, or an addition to a developing family, the Roam is one of the best outdoor speakers out there.
2. UE Megaboom 3
Ultimate Ears has developed an acclaimed line of wireless speakers. From the standard Boom model, to the smaller Wonderboom, the company has nailed the art of a functional wireless machine with great sound. And the Megaboom is the pick of the bunch. Nine inches high and dotted with speakers that project sound 360 degrees, the Megaboom has the look and feel of a speaker optimized for good sound. Add that to waterproof capabilities as well a solid body that prevents major bumps and dents, and the model is a fantastic functioning machine. Long-range Bluetooth completes the package for your outdoor summery gatherings.
3. UE Hyperboom
How big can a wireless speaker get? As UE asserts with the Hyperboom, they can be quite big. Abandoning the signature curves of other UE models, the Hyperboom is bigger, bolder, and more jagged. This giant cube doesn’t appear clunky, though, and neither is it unnecessary. In fact, UE sells it as an item that can “take your party into the stratosphere.” And for the quality of bass it offers at the price point, it’s hard to disagree.
It comes with all the expected trimmings of a good outdoor speaker: good battery life, some form of water protection, long range. But it also does other things well, such as adjusting its sound quality based on the environment, projecting louder and more clearly in outdoor spaces. Given that it can wirelessly link up to other UE models, the Hyperboom is a solid summer sound-making machine.
4. JBL Boombox 2
With JBL’s Boombox, retro looks cool. A clear nod to the boombox stereos of old, the wireless machine features a handle on top of a loud, almost imposing speaker. And with the retro feel in mind, there are very few modern features. Voice command, for example, isn’t available. But that’s one of the few minuses from what is otherwise one of the best sounding outdoor speakers. With deep bass and big sound, the Boombox truly projects through your party. It’s prepared for the elements, too, and can achieve the handy feat of charging your other devices while also keeping music going for up to 24 hours.
5. Bose Portable Smart Speaker
Bose’s Smart Speaker is the most nifty and techy option on the list. With both Alexa and Google Assistant capabilities, it is responsive to commands and can be easily adapted based on the surroundings or environment. The microphone is excellent, and can pick up and process instructions from across a noisy room, or in a large open space. At just 2.4 pounds and equipped with a convenient handle, its light and movable, too. And while its sound isn’t as expansive or imposing as larger, pricier models, it offers good value alone for its versatility and convenience — especially at the price point. A bundle with a wireless charger for an extra $30 is another perk.
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