Best Waterproof Speakers of 2020
Waterproof speakers are versatile, small, and affordable, so you can take your tunes with you wherever you go. Use our shopping guide to determine which one is right for you.
Your Guide to the Best Waterproof Speakers
Gone are the days of carrying around a heavy boombox to enjoy some music while you're outside. Bluetooth technology has made it possible to listen to music almost anywhere. Waterproof Bluetooth speakers are small enough that you can hide them outside, place them around the pool, or keep them next to the sink to listen while you work in the kitchen. These days, there aren't many places where you can't take a waterproof speaker.
However, there are so many options that narrowing down your choices can be tough. That's why we've put together this shopping guide to help you get a better idea of which type of waterproof speaker will meet your specific needs, including our picks for the three best models on the market.
How Waterproof Are Waterproof Speakers?
"Waterproof" and "water-resistant" are often used interchangeably, but they don't always mean the same thing. In general, these terms mean the speaker can get rained on or sprayed with water and continue to work properly.
However, the term waterproof is also used for speakers that can survive complete submersion. For example, some waterproof speakers can be submerged in up to 30 feet of water, while others can be submerged only up to 10 feet. All waterproof speakers can only withstand submersion for so long before their operating systems are compromised.
Waterproof devices and gadgets are given an IP rating that indicates their level of water resistance. IP ratings are two digits. The first digit represents how well the device resists dust and debris, which can range from zero to six. Waterproof speakers that are dust-proof will have a digit here. If they are not dust-proof, there will be an X in that position.
The second digit indicates how effectively the device resists water, which can range from zero to eight. The higher the number, the more waterproof the speaker. A speaker with an IP rating of IPX7 has a high water resistance but is not dust-resistant. For waterproof speakers, the higher the second digit of the IP rating, the better. A waterproof speaker with a rating of IP67 or IP68 is among the most durable on the market.
What to Look for when Shopping
You can't talk about speakers without discussing sound quality. A good speaker is one that reproduces the sound intended by the musicians as accurately as possible. That said, waterproof speakers are typically meant for portability and outdoor use, so don't expect concert-quality sound. However, you can find waterproof speakers that produce a clear sound without distortion at high volumes. If you want bass, look for a model with a subwoofer. It may add extra weight, but it also creates depth of sound.
Omnidirectional sound means the waterproof speaker has 360-degree sound dispersion. A full 360 degrees of sound means everyone at your backyard BBQ will be able to hear the music.
The wireless range can make a big difference in the usability of the speaker. Some waterproof speakers have a short range of only a few feet, which is no good if you're biking or hiking. Others have a wireless range of 100-plus feet. With a range like that, you can walk around a campsite with your speakers parked on a picnic table. Keep in mind that the greater the range, the more expensive the speaker will be. Think about the kind of activities you want to do with the waterproof speaker to determine what kind of range you need.
Multipoint and stereo pairing
All Bluetooth speakers, waterproof or not, can pair with at least one device like a smartphone or tablet. Models with multipoint pairing can sync with more than one device. These waterproof speakers can sync with a smartphone and a tablet, although the speaker can receive information from only one source at a time. Stereo pairing allows the speaker to become one of two or three speakers to create a surround-sound effect.
Battery life is a serious consideration with waterproof speakers because you're more likely to use these speakers while outside or traveling. Most waterproof speakers have a bare minimum of six to eight hours of playing time at full volume, although with inexpensive models you'll get less. The highest-quality waterproof speakers can have anywhere from 20 to 40 hours of playing time at full volume. That said, the speaker's settings, along with extreme heat or cold, can shorten battery life.
Weight and portability
Most people want waterproof speakers to be portable, which means you won't want something heavy. In general, waterproof speakers weigh between a half-pound and two pounds. If you want to use the speaker backpacking or while cycling, there are some great palm-size models that are very lightweight.
Phone charging capability
The ability to charge a phone with your waterproof speaker is definitely a luxury feature. But think of how convenient it would be to charge your phone with your speaker while spending a day at the beach. Of course, charging your phone uses up your speaker's battery faster.
If floating in your pool to your favorite tunes is how you like to spend the summer, a waterproof speaker with a float should probably be on your list. A float allows the speaker to be in the pool with you, which means you can adjust the sound or any other settings without getting out of the water.
How Much Do Waterproof Speakers Cost?
Waterproof speakers range widely in price. For example, you can get an inexpensive shower speaker with six hours of battery life for around $20. However, the sound quality in this minimum price range isn't the best, and these models are typically only splash-resistant.
At around $25 to $50, you start to see a big jump in the durability of waterproof speakers. You can find models with an IPX7 rating in this price range. These waterproof speakers typically are not shockproof or dust-proof, but they have good water resistance and sound quality. You may find some with omnidirectional sound, too.
Between $50 and $100 are some excellent waterproof speakers with the right balance between sound quality and price. There are many lightweight options with built-in subwoofers and 10 to 15 hours of battery life in this price range.
Waterproof speakers with all the perks like multipoint pairing, phone charging, 360-degree sound, and high IP ratings fall in the $100 to $200 category. These speakers are for the true audiophile who wants the versatility of amazing sound anywhere.
Large waterproof speakers with LED lights, stereo pairing, subwoofers, and built-in microphones can come in well over $200. There are also portable models that are submersible up to 100 feet at this price.