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Alexa can now join your next BBQ thanks to a slew of smart speakers for outdoors that have hit the market over the last year or so. These are great for chilling in your garden, but can also be used at a picnic in the park or to entertain the kids whilst camping.
In this guide, I’ve reviewed the best outdoor speakers for Google Home and Alexa, so no matter which voice assistant you side with, you’ll be able to find the perfect speaker for use on the go.
- Quick Note: ‘Built In’ vs ‘Works With’
- Best Outdoor Smart Speakers
Quick Note: ‘Built In’ vs ‘Works With’
Before jumping into the recommendations, I need to share a bugbear when it comes to smart speakers.
Manufacturers will sometimes say ‘Works with Google Assistant’ or ‘Works with Alexa’ without clarifying what this means and how it’s different from ‘Built-in Google Assistant’ and ‘Built-in Alexa’. Luckily, I’m here to help:
- Built-In – The device has Google Assistant or Alexa built into the device meaning you can connect it to the internet and use the voice assistant without the need for a phone.
- Works With – The device has a microphone that allows you to use Google Assistant or Alexa via the Bluetooth connection to your phone. You cannot use the voice assistant without a phone. In reality, most Bluetooth speakers with a microphone can achieve this.
Best Outdoor Smart Speakers
Here are the best outdoor smart speakers for Alexa and Google Assistant:
- Best Overall: Sonos Move
- Runner Up: Bose Portable Speaker
- Most Durable: Speaker: UE Megablast
- Budget Pick: Boompods Aquablaster
- Best Portable Speaker: JBL Link Portable
- You Might Like: D3 Portable Base for Echo Dot
Below you’ll find more details for my recommendations, along with the pros and cons of each device:
Best Overall: Sonos Move Outdoor Speaker
Voice Assistant: Alexa and Google Home // IP Rating: IP65 // Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth // Battery Life: 11 Hours
My favourite outdoor speaker is the Sonos Move. This is their only device to feature an IP56 rating which means it’s protected against water from all angles. It’s also their only device that has a built-in battery which is ideal for use in the garden, although being the largest speaker of those compared here, it’s not ideal for using away from home.
Inside the wireless speaker are 2 digital amplifiers, a mid-woofer, and a single tweeter. There’s no question that the sound quality from th Sonos Move is the best of those reviewed here. This is thanks to their True Play technology that automatically tunes the speaker based on its environment.
It’s not the most durable of speakers, but it’s perfectly suitable for outdoor use in the garden and can handle a knock or two. It has an 11-hour battery life so will last all day without charge.
The speak has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, when connected via Wi-Fi you can pair two Sonos Move speakers together for stereo sound, although it cannot be used with a Sonos amp. It also supports both Spotify Connect and Apple Airplay 2, however, there is no AUX in which might be a deal-breaker.
It has both Alexa and Google Assistant built-in for voice control, you can simply say the wake word and the microphone will start recording.
Runner Up: Bose Portable Speaker
Voice Assistant: Alexa and Google Home // IP Rating: IPX4 // Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth // Battery Life: 12 Hours
The Bose speaker is my runner-up and deserves consideration. It has a slightly different use-case to the Sonos as it produces 360 audio to fill the space around it whereas the Sonos has directional sound. Your choice will depend on where the speaker is going to be placed.
The Bose speaker is much smaller than the Sonos making it more portable, however, it’s still quite a beast to lug around. As for audio quality, it doesn’t get as loud as the Sonos, especially when it comes to the lower bass, but it still has great sound quality. There’s a good amount of audio customisation using the equaliser within the Bose app.
Whilst the speaker is suitable for indoor use, this is first and foremost a smart speaker for outdoors, designed for use in gardens or the park. The speaker has Wi-Fi for use at home or Bluetooth when you’re away. It’s one of the best speakers for Alexa and Google Assistant due to the highly sensitive microphone that can pick up the wake word from the other side of the room.
You can group multiple speakers together via Wi-Fi, and you can even link it with a Bose SoundLink Bluetooth speaker.
It’s well built and sturdy, with a battery life of about 12 hours on a single charge which is quite similar to the Sonos. I like that it has wireless charging, however, it’s a shame that the wireless charging cradle is sold separately.
Most Durable: Speaker: Ultimate Ears Megablast
Voice Assistant: Alexa // IP Rating: IP67 // Connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth // Battery Life: 16 Hours
if durability is a key concern, the UE Megablast is the most rugged outside smart speaker on the market. It has an IP67 rating which is far higher than others shared here and means it can be submerged in water for half an hour without any issues.
Whilst it’s not quite as powerful as their better known UE Hyperboom, for a small speaker, the Megablast packs a punch and can easily fill up any medium-sized outdoor space by projecting music up to 150ft. However, the audio quality isn’t up to the same standard as the Sonos or the Bose, particularly when it comes to the bass which isn’t as crisp.
The speaker has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, with Spotify Connect built-in too. You can pair up to 8 Megablast’s together for a proper party in your backyard. Within the companion app, there is an equaliser so you can tweak the sound to suit you
The speaker has Alexa voice assistant integration using the wake word, however, the microphone sometimes struggles to pick up your voice when the speaker is on full volume. The UE MEgablast doesn’t have Google Assistant built-in.
However, UE are too enthusiastic about using Alexa to control the speaker so there is no play/pause button on the device itself, instead, you’ll need to use your phone or a voice command.
It is rated for 16 hours of battery life, although it’s more likely to give you 5-10 hours with regular use.
Budget Pick: Boompods Aquablaster
Voice Assistant: Alexa Only // IP Rating: IPX7 // Connectivity: Bluetooth Only // Battery Life: 24 Hours
Who said an outdoor speaker needs to cost the Earth? Boompods Aquablaster is a cheap outdoor Bluetooth speaker that comes with Alexa built-in.
There’s no Wi-Fi, but the speaker uses the internet connection from your smartphone via Bluetooth for Alexa to work. She can still answer all of your questions and play your music as you could on an Echo, although you’ll need to press the microphone button to wake Alexa, rather than using a wake word.
Being a small passive speaker, it’s not going to compare with the other devices for audio quality. But, if you just want something to play by the pool or take camping, it’s perfect. As the speaker isn’t very powerful, it has an excellent battery life of 24 hours on a single charge.
Best Portable Speaker: JBL Link Portable
Voice Assistant: Google Assistant Only // IP Rating: IPX7 // Connectivity: Wi-FI and Bluetooth // Battery Life: 8 Hours
If you’ll be regularly using your speaker on the go, you’ll want something super portable as well as being waterproof. The JBL Link is a perfect choice, it has an IPX7 waterproof rating which would allow it to be submerged in water, and at 17cm tall it’s very easy to transport around with a minimal look.
JBL have been making excellent outdoor speakers for some time now such as the recognised JBL Charge and JBL Flip. As with the rest of the range, the Link Portable has clear and crisp sounds across the EQ spectrum but comes with added smarts.
However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no way to change EQ settings as with some of the previous devices.
As part of the Link range, it has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with Google Assistant built-in and full Chromecast support. When connected to the Wi-Fi, simply say ‘Okay Google’ to access the full range of commands. However, there is no Alexa support and you cannot use Bluetooth to make or receive calls via your phone.
The speaker comes with a handy charging dock which saves any additional cables lying around, the dock has a charging indicator so you can keep an eye on its progress.
You Might Like: D3 Portable Base for Echo Dot
Voice Assistant: Alexa Only // IP Rating: None // Connectivity: Wi-FI and Bluetooth (when used with an Echo) // Battery Life: 8 Hours
One final product that’s worth a mention is this battery base that can turn your regular echo dot into a portable speaker.
An Echo Dot needs to be plugged in because it runs off AC mains power, however, this base has a built-in 5200 mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery which allows it to run for around 8 hours at 50% volume before it needs recharging. For a slightly higher price, there’s also an upgraded D3+ which has a 16-hour battery life.
An Echo Dot isn’t the best-sounding speaker in the world and can’t compete with the likes of Sonos and Bose, however, its integration with Alexa is second-to-none with an excellent microphone array that will pick up your voice from far afield.
This base will only work with the third-generation Echo Dot and not the fourth generation which has a new circular shape that won’t fit in the dock. It’s also worth mentioning that the Echo doesn’t come included with the base.