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Whether you’re hosting a raucous party or simply enjoying some well-deserved downtime, nothing can set the mood better than the appropriate music. The patio is no different: all you need is appropriate outdoor speakers; and how about being able to find out if that big storm is coming your way, simply by asking? That’s what Alexa’s here for! Find our reviews for the best outdoor speakers for Alexa below!
Neither Snow, Nor Rain…
Sun, wind, showers, higher (or lower) temperatures, these are all things a conventional speaker set is not designed to endure; it might even void the warranty, in some cases. Outdoor speakers will be fine outside, though some will be better at it than others. If weatherproof, they can be directly under the sun or rain without faltering; weather-resistant, on the other hand, will require some form of roof protection.
Many manufacturers will attach a certain number to their outdoor-intended devices; when present, this number will tell you at a glance how resilient the product really is—which is why it doesn’t hurt to understand it.
No, we’re not talking intellectual property; in this case, IP stands for Ingress Protection, a standard created by the International Electromechanical Commission (or IEC) to express the level of protection an electrical enclosure (such as a TV or, in this case, a speaker) features against foreign elements found in the environment. Its format is thus:
Where the first number denotes protection against solids, and the second indicates protection against liquids. A zero, the minimum value, means protection is absent; an X instead of a number is used to express that the protection in that specific category was not tested.
What follows is a breakdown of each number, and what the protection is rated against, depending on the category it is measuring (as indicated by its position, first or second):
1: Solid objects bigger than 50mm.
2: Solid objects over 12.5mm
3: Solids larger than 2.5mm.
4: Solid objects measuring 1mm or more.
5: Dust, to the amount that could prevent normal operation (which means, full protection against solids)
6: Complete protection; not a speck of dust can make it in—let alone any sort of solids.
1: Vertical drops of water.
2: Vertical drops of water, when item is 15° off its normal standing position.
3: Direct sprays, at an angle of 60° or smaller.
4: Splashes from any angle.
5: Water jets issuing from a 6.3mm nozzle at any angle.
6: Stronger water jets from a 12.5mm nozzle, at any angle.
7: Full immersion for up to 30 minutes, at any depth between 15cm and 1m.
8: Full immersion deeper than 1m, for long periods of time.
9K: High pressure water jets and steam cleaning.
Many products intended for the outdoors feature a rating with an X on its first position. This shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the device in question is vulnerable to solids: if water can’t make it inside, it’s a fair bet most solids can’t either.
You’ve undoubtedly heard this famous name but, what is she—or it—exactly? Short answer: an AI, or Artificial Intelligence, based on (and powered by) Amazon’s computing network. Aside from the myriad tasks a virtual assistant can do, Alexa can perform certain actions specific to your Amazon experience, such as browsing, package tracking, checkout and more. As if that weren’t enough, you can further expand its functionality by purchasing and enabling skills (including one that adds Samuel L. Jackson‘s personality).
At the onset, Alexa could be used only through Amazon’s Echo smart speakers; nowadays, it can be accessed via smartphone apps, and relied upon to operate certain devices—such as compatible speakers. That way, you can issue requests such as:
“Alexa, set volume to 6”
“Alexa, play (pop, country, ballads)”
“Alexa, increase bass”
… Without moving from your favorite chair. And, should those heavy clouds be getting too close, there’s always:
“Alexa, will it rain today?”
- Outdoor-Strong, Alexa-Friendly: The Five
For your consideration, we present a few good speakers that meet our two chosen specifications.
1. BOOMPODS ABBLK AQUABLASTER
It is rated IPX7, which means that not only can it take a splash, it can also take a short dunk in the pool. Thanks to its size, it can be carried in a pocket, or attached to a bike for your daily ride. 3 colors available.
While it may be tempting to use it at shower time, it must be noted that the speaker requires a smartphone and the manufacturer’s app to link up to Alexa; this drawback has reportedly soured the experience a bit for several consumers.
Protection against the elements far surpasses the average.
Communication with Alexa utterly reliant on the manufacturer’s app, which can limit its functionality.
2. Herdio 4″ Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers
No manufacturer’s app involved here; in this case, you need your Alexa app and Echo device to use this functionality. These are a good option if you’re looking for a permanent setup, as they are designed for wall-mount installation and come with the necessary hardware right out of the box. This means, however, that you will need an outlet nearby to plug in the 12V DC power adapter.
Available in 2 colors (black and white), they provide a decent sound output for small areas, per reported customer experiences.
No third-party apps needed.
Not truly waterproof; cables still require protection, or they will rust.
3. iHome iBT158 Smart Bluetooth Speaker
This one is fairly small, but it can provide a fair bit of added ambiance thanks to its LED lights, which feature 5 modes that include a pulse-to-music one that follows the beat, and a steady lantern one. Equipped with a strap for easy carrying, it is rated IP67 for above-average weather protection—and it is even designed for floating.
Aside from Alexa, it can work with Siri and Google assistant; thanks to iOS10 integration, it can also be used to answer phone calls.
- Low battery life.
- Not the best sound quality.
4. Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker
Rated IPX7, it has nothing to fear from a fall into the pool, and it comes with proprietary Xbass technology that will boost bass output at the push of a button. Available in 3 colors, it is designed so it will provide sound in all directions, three buttons the sole foreign presence on its all-fabric face. It doesn’t have straps or hooks to affix or hang anywhere, but it is compact enough to be carried around with relative ease.
- Performance good enough to receive praise in reputable outlets.
- Does not sync well when more than one are used together.
5. Cleer STAGE1BTREDUS Audio Stage
IPX7 means, top protection against water—and it is also tested against shocks. Near Field Communications (NFC) Technology helps make it easier to pair this speaker with your handheld device, and its proprietary app enables the use of Alexa for hands-free, voice-command control. It also comes with a 3.5mm aux input, in case wireless is not your cup of tea at any given moment.
Unit features digital amplifier, dual 48mm neodymium drivers and passive radiators, for a sound output that is generally met with praise. Available in gray and red.
- Wired connection possible but not mandatory.
- App required for Alexa causes high battery consumption.
- Best For The Beats: Tribit StormBox Bluetooth Speaker
It’s not small enough to be affixed to your bike or pocket, but that is a good thing, as its size gives it some extra potency clip-sporting units cannot have. It can be taken anywhere, too, since it is shielded from even an accidental dunk into a body of water—and therefore, from most solid elements.
Visually it’s not a bad thing, either, as it comes in 3 colors, and the 3 buttons it is operated with give it a fairly modern feel. In terms of performance, it has received glowing reviews from certain well-known publications; if they like it, odds are definitely in favor of you liking it too.