It’s worthwhile knowing what the best outdoor bluetooth speakers are, especially if you own a smartphone (who doesn’t?) and plan to go camping, spend time by the pool or simply take a trip to the beach. After all, this speaker can withstand exposure to water, dust, drops, and other environmental trials.
Fortunately, manufacturers understand this, and many ruggedized portable speakers are designed with durability in mind. But which are the best ones? That’s precisely what we’re questioning today. Read on to find out our top recommendations.
Top Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers Comparison
|FUGOO Tough||UE Boom 2||Braven BRV-X|
|Frequency Range||60 - 20,000Hz||90 - 20,000Hz||80 - 20,000Hz|
|Playback Time||Up to 40 hours||Up to 15 hours||Up to 12 hours|
|Bluetooth range||33 feet||100 feet||33 feet|
|Weight||1.4 lbs (643 grams)||1.2 lbs (548 grams)||1.5 lbs (680 grams)|
#1 Pick FUGOO Tough
It’s regarded by many that FUGOO has hit the most perfect balance between durability and performance in a portable Bluetooth speaker. The Tough, as the name implies, is ready for practically any abuse you can imagine, from water, dust, mud, snow, and shock (impacts). All sides and corners of the Tough are fortified with a casing constructed from fiber-reinforced resin and substantial aluminum.
Solid protection isn’t the only thing going for this Bluetooth speaker. Battery life is rated at an insane 40 hours of playback, and the audio packs a punch from a total of six drivers (two for treble, two for mids, and two passive radiators for deep bass). The speakers are spread about all four sides of the unit, which produces a 360° sound.
FYI: the FUGGO Tough is the same speaker as the FUGGO Sport. The difference? The Tough has a rugged “jacket” that can be bought separately for $79.99.
The FUGOO tough goes for $179 and has a black/silver color scheme. Folks who want even more power and louder jams can opt for the larger Tough XL, which packs 8 audio drivers.
#2 Pick UE Boom 2
The UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker from Ultimate Ears also deserves a spot on your short list. Its exterior may not be as reinforced as the FUGOO Tough in our #1 spot, but don’t be fooled, the Boom 2 is designed with life’s perils in mind. It carries a IPX7 waterproof rating (submersion up to one meter for 30 minutes) and is shockproof too; in an efficiently compact and simple package.
The cylindrical design allows for 360° sound from the four drivers, and since this is UE that we’re talking about, expect some high quality jams. Ample features are incorporated, such as a 15-hour battery life rating, a whopping 100-foot Bluetooth range, and even quick NFC pairing.
Another great thing about the Boom speakers is that UE is generous with the color options (six different electric color schemes). And if you require more power, there’s also a MEGABOOM alternative – check out our Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM review.
#3 Pick Braven BRV-X
Price: $146 | Battery Life: Up to 12 hours | Weight: 1.5 lbs (680 grams)
Braven is another mobile device manufacturer that specializes at super rugged outdoor Bluetooth speakers. The BRV-X series is the company’s most balanced offering between size, durability, battery, sound, and price. Specifically, we’re looking at a compact, rectangular chassis that is shock resistant and IPX7 certified waterproof (rated for water immersion up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes).
Also See: Braven BRV-1 Bluetooth Speaker Review
Among technical features are a hefty 5,200 mAh battery that can give you about 12 hours of playback, 33 feet of Bluetooth range, outdoor mode that boosts audio range or indoor mode that focuses on the best sound quality, and wireless pairing. The powerful audio is delivered by sizable dual 51mm HD drivers and bass radiators. Braven offers two color schemes to choose from: black with blue accents or gray/black with red accents. The BRV-X runs just under $150.
What to look for in the Best Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker
Durability Ratings: Manufacturers sometimes talk up their devices up with attractive lingo, but the sure way to know if an outdoor speaker will stand up to the ruggedized claims is if it’s backed with durability ratings. The most common of these is the Ingress Protection (IP) rating, that says how resistant a device is to water, dust, sand, snow, or anything thing else that can seep in and cause damage. Two numbers are assigned to the IP rating (i.e. IPXX, where the first placeholder refers to dust protection and the second to water), and the higher the number, the more it can withstand. A device is dust tight at a rating of IP6X and waterproof at IPX7 and up. With regard to impact resistance, you should look for drop test military-grade MIL-STD-810 certification.
Battery Life: The battery sentiment speaks for itself. We’ve all run into the frustration of a device dying on us. Bluetooth speakers have rechargeable Li-Ion batteries like many mobile devices, however, mAh capacity stated in the specs may not be a clear indication of the battery life. Speakers vary a lot in terms of driver size and power output. It’s best to see what the manufacturers states what the playback time should roughly be. Most times, they say “up to” a certain amount hours, which bear in mind, is more or less based on the volume level. The louder the volume, the less hours of playback you’ll achieve.
Sound Quality: Many times with speakers, bigger is better. You’ll find a wide variety of speaker sizes and with that, varying number of audio drivers packed within. You’ll want to keep that in mind depending on the use case – if you’ll primarily use the speaker for causal listening or want a powerhouse for outdoor parties. Additionally, the driver size can be telling on how loud the system can get or the audio quality.
Also Read: Best Bluetooth Speakers 2019
Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t Go Too Cheap: Sometimes it just is that you get what you pay for. A speaker can appear rugged, but not actually be built with the tight protective measures. Or it can have a lesser rating on the IP scale, meaning that while there is some resistance to water or dust, it can be susceptible in trying conditions.
Short Bluetooth Range: Using a Bluetooth speaker outdoors means that you’ll probably hit the wireless range limit, especially if your connected mobile device is in your pocket. If that sounds likely, you’ll want to be mindful of the what the manufacturer claims for the range. Most speakers at least have a range of 33 feet, but nowadays there are a good amount that can reach 100 feet.
Most Important Features
- An outdoor Bluetooth speaker is likely to be subjected to the elements, so it should be sealed tightly and substantially reinforced.
- Look out for durability claims in the device specs – a high rating in the IP scale against both water and dust, and a drop test certification for impact/shock resistance.
- Audio manufacturers typically use a multi-driver setup on portable speakers to get worthy sound. Bigger units can pack more of a punch, so usually you’ll see a larger variant of the same model (but costlier).
- You’ll want to find the right balance for you between portability, sound, and price. And if possible, demo the speaker and see if your ears accept the quality.
- Battery life is one of the most important features in an outdoor Bluetooth speaker. Running times vary quite a bit, so make sure the length of playback cited in the specs is acceptable.
- A healthy Bluetooth range eliminates frustration of the signal cutting out, unless you plan to keep the source and speaker stationary.
Which Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker is Right for You?
The great thing is that we have a lot of choices in durable Bluetooth speakers, and for varying budgets. The FUGOO Tough takes the cake for most outdoor-tough Bluetooth speaker, because it’s equipped with an extra layer of protection. But this isn’t to say that the UE Boom 2 or Braven BRV-X aren’t built tough either. You’d be surprised at how much punishment they can take. Therefore, make sure to weigh all the features that would make your perfect outdoor Bluetooth speaker.
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