By Tracey Dowdy
Those long summer evenings mean it’s time to sit on the patio and relax. Whether that means time with friends and family or just you and a good book, having the perfect playlist can set the mood and make your evening complete. But a great summer playlist isn’t much fun if you can’t hear it over the sound of the neighbor’s lawn mower.
These speakers are among the best for your backyard or patio, providing great sound quality for the price.
Bose SoundLink Color
Bose SoundLink Color speakers are the lightest and least expensive of the Bose range. Compact and lightweight at 5.3’x 5’ x 2.1 inches and 1.25lbs, these speakers are available in five colors and promise 8 hours of battery life. SoundLink Color will remember the last 8 devices it’s been paired with, can be paired with two devices at a time, and pairs easily with iOS and Android devices. Because of its size and design as a single unit, you won’t get the same quality and stereo sound as other Bose speakers, but at the end of the day it’s still from Bose so it’s superior to most other models in this price range. ($139.99 – Bose)
Ultimate Ears Boom
The UE Boom is water and stain resistant making it the perfect speaker for poolside. With a full 15 hours of battery life, it offers a richer, fuller sound than many speakers this size. It’s available in six colors, can be placed vertically or horizontally, has speakerphone capability, and features a hook for a carabineer clip or one that can be unscrewed for a threaded tripod mount. Perhaps best of all, the speaker pairs with its own app – the UE Boom (iOS and Android). With the app, you can adjust treble and bass settings and if you use it with a second speaker, split sound into right and left channels for true stereo experience. ($200 – retailers such as Brookstone, Apple Store, Wal Mart)
TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34
Despite its ridiculously long name, the TDK Life on Record Trek Max A34 Wireless Weatherproof Speaker isn’t as pretentious as it sounds. It offers solid construction, 8 hours of battery life, speakerphone capability, water and stain resistance, and can charge your phone or tablet while the speaker is in use. It also offers NFC tap-to-pair capability and little rubber pads on the bottom to keep it from scooting across the table when you turn up the volume. It’s larger and heavier than some other speakers in this category at 3.7’ x 2’ x 9.5’ and 2.7 lbs., but unless you’re carrying it in a backpack or purse the difference is inconsequential and in this case means better sound. ($80 – Amazon)
Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro
Finally, if you want a speaker that’s outdoorsy and designed with portability in mind, the Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro may be the way to go. Marketed as pocket-sized, the Buckshot Pro is water-resistant, available in several colors and boasts 10 hours of battery life. Not only is the Buckshot Pro great for backyard use, it’s great for camping or hiking as it can be used as a USB charger for your phone and comes with an LED light you can use as a flashlight or, when detach from the speakers, it can even be used as a bike light. It also offers a strobe option, so it’s ideal as a safety light. It’s the lightest speaker on the list, weighing just 6.7 oz., and the sound quality is also somewhat “lightweight” though it does offer a passive bass port for a richer sound. ($79.95 – Outdoor Tech)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.