Rock-Solid Sound Quality - The 8 Best Outdoor Rock Speakers
Some people would call rock speakers niche products, but all of us reading this article know better. Gardening and landscaping are serious business, and creating an awesome backyard can cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
So, what happens when the time comes for your next backyard summer party? The simple answer is that all of your hard work, money, and time can easily be ruined by the speakers that stick out from the outdoor setting like a sore thumb.
You see, well-designed backyards are inherently lush and naturalistic. Modern outdoor speakers are all but that. So, here come the outdoor rock speakers trying to get the best of both worlds and provide awesome outdoor sound while not breaking the mood you tried so hard to set up.
But, what are the best outdoor speakers that deserve to find a place in your yard? Well, let's take a look at some of the most popular picks you can currently find out which one of them holds the best.
- In a hurry? After 32 Hours of Research, We Recommend:
- How to Find the Buy Rock Speakers - Buyers Guide
- 1. Klipsch AWR 650 SM Indoor Outdoor Speaker - Best Outdoor Rock Speaker Overall
- 2. Theater Solutions 2R6G Outdoor Granite 6.5 Inches - Best Affordable Outdoor Rock Speaker
- 3. OSD 5.25" Slate Outdoor Rock Speaker RX550 - Most Realistic Granite Imitation
- 4. OSD Audio RS850 8" High Fidelity Outdoor Rock Speaker - Best 8-Inch Outdoor Speaker
- 5. Niles RS6 Pro Weatherproof Rock Loudspeaker - Best-Looking Outdoor Rock Speaker
- 6. Sound Appeal Bluetooth Outdoor Rock Speakers - (Grey Slate) - Best Pair of Bluetooth Rock Speakers
- 6. It.innovative technology Outdoor Rock Speaker Pair - Best Affordable Bluetooth Rock Speakers
- 6. Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-BR Bluetooth Rock Solar Speaker - Best Solar-Powered Bluetooth Speaker
- Best Outdoor Rock Speaker - Frequently Asked Questions
- Best Rock Speakers for your Backyard - In Conclusion
- After it's all said and done, we recommend:
In a hurry? After 32 Hours of Research, We Recommend:
Last Updated: July 1, 2021
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best headphones for classical music available for those who are interested in enjoying the classic the best possible way. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best headphones for classical music currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
Top 6 Best Rock Speakers - The Comparison Table
Here you can take a look at the short breakdown of some of the best outdoor rock speakers you can currently find in the stores.
Size of the speaker
Driver Frequency response range
How to Find the Buy Rock Speakers - Buyers Guide
In the introduction, I have mentioned that some people consider outdoor rock speakers a niche market. Well, they are wrong. You see, this speaker range features all the variety you can imagine and more. So much so that sorting through all the available options can sometimes be overwhelming.
This is the reason why I have composed this short buying guide that should help you to navigate your way to the best outdoor rock speaker for your backyard.
Why would you bother with this when I started the article with my favorite pick on the list. The answer is simple - what works for me doesn't have to work for you. No matter how unbiased I try to be, my personal opinion is just that - my opinion.
Also, I have presented here only the six most popular picks. Out there, you get dozens of other outdoor rock speakers that may suit your personal needs better.
Therefore it's always good to arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can before starting the hunt. So, let's take a look at a couple of things you should take into consideration to find the best outdoor rock speakers currently on the market.
Obviously, this should be your top priority when buying outdoor speakers of any sort, and outdoor rock speakers are no exception. Still, as important as this Even property can be, sound quality can't really be experienced through sheer specs and numbers.
Even if we have an excellent frequency response range, sensitivity and power handling are great, that still doesn't mean you are 100% getting excellent output. But, these numbers do give a good idea about the speakers' overall capabilities.
- Frequency response range - All sounds that can be heard by human beings (and the ones that can't) sit somewhere on the sound frequency spectrum. Frequency response range describes a part of this spectrum that can be played through your future speakers. An average outdoor speaker will be able to hit the frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz.
- Sensitivity - Sensitivity is a number that describes the outdoor speaker's efficiency or ability to transform voltage into output. Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB), while better outdoor rock speakers score 90 DB or higher.
I decided to cover this spec separately since it requires a bit more in-depth consideration. The power your outdoor speakers can handle works with two previous specs to create the sound and don't speak much on their own.
Still, they give a buyer a pretty good idea about the area they will be able to cover. Taking into consideration we are talking about outdoor speakers that don't have the benefit of walls to resonate off, these numbers are pretty darn important.
So, let's break them down:
- 60-watt speakers - On average, 60-watt outdoor rock speakers are capable of covering an area of 300 square feet or less.
- 80 to 100-watt speakers - These rock speakers can cover areas between 300 and 500 square feet.
- 150 to 175-watt speakers - The outdoor speakers scoring this much power can easily fill 600 to 800 square feet with loud, clear music.
- 250-watts or more - These outdoor rock speakers easily rock the areas of 1,000 square feet or more.
This is the point when things go awry. Being the outdoor units designed to be agile and functional, rock speakers are produced with all available connectivity options. This way, you have the doors open for setting up all sorts of different audio systems with a virtually unlimited number of layout options.
I say to go for as many of these connectivity options as possible. Your current needs and design ideas may change as time goes by. You don't want to get yourself into a position to buy a new set of speakers whenever you undergo a new landscaping project.
So, aside from the standard 3.5 mm, AUX inputs do your best to get at least a Bluetooth connection to give your outdoor rock speakers some legs.
Materials and build quality
This property is super-important. As the name suggests, wireless outdoor rock speakers (and their corded brothers) are designed to be in the outdoor space. Out there, your average rock speaker will be exposed to anything ranging from harsh sunlight to heavy rain.
These extreme elements can pound your outdoor rock speakers into oblivion if they are not made from quality materials and well put together. That is why you should make sure that your units are able to withstand all the abuse that comes with the moniker of rock speakers.
The best way to know whether your rock speakers are equipped for harsh outdoor conditions is to check their formal IPX rating, which indicates their durability to water, dust, and physical damage.
Although the look of the speakers is not something that should guide your purchase decisions, people like to have niche tech, and I am completely on board with you in this regard. However, in the case of outdoor rock speakers, this issue is even more important.
If it weren't, you wouldn't look for rock speakers. You would simply buy some regular outdoor units with a strong sound appeal. So, knock yourself out and try to find something that fits your ideal backyard setting.
But, be sure to put this consideration at the number five spot as I did. All of the previous factors should have a priority, or you may end up with a good-looking but pretty much useless tech for outdoor space.
Rock speakers are a fascinating corner of the market price-wise. But, it is good to know that even the best outdoor rock speakers clock in the lower hundreds. Sure, you can find some units that cost less than $100 but keep in mind that, in spite of buzzwords you will find on the box, these outdoor rock speakers are entry-level units.
As for the cap, you shouldn't go above, I would say that $300 is the point where novelty starts to wear off. Some of the best outdoor rock speakers you can find on the market don't ask you to pay more than 200 bucks or so. Paying anything above $300 is simply sipping money into nothing.
Best Outdoor Rock Speaker on the Market - Individual reviews
So, you now know how to nail the best outdoor rock speakers for your backyard. Now, let's see what I thought about the most popular outdoor units you can currently find in the stores and which one of them I consider the best.
For this occasion, I have chosen eight outdoor rock speakers.
Our Rating: 92/100
Klipsch is a name that requires no introduction in the world of music lovers - the brand is well known for its range of high-quality indoor and outdoor speakers known for their clear sound, good look, and reliable performance.
Klipsch AWR 650 SM Indoor Outdoor Speaker is a unit that marks the manufacturer's entry into the outdoor rock speaker market.
I am happy to say that all the good things I have said about the brand are present in this one speaker as well.
Klipsch AWR 650 SM is an outdoor speaker that features very robust measurements and an easy-on-the-eyes granite design that fits most outdoor settings. This color option is trendy since it's neutral and works rather well with other outdoor elements.
In this case, we get a somewhat darker hue that leans heavily towards the color black, which may turn off some picky customers, but I am fine with it. It certainly makes a striking visual impression. The enclosing is durable and robust and makes the outdoor speaker UV resistant, but, unfortunately, it doesn't score an IPX rating.
Speaking in more technical terms, the unit scores two-way design consistent from dual voice coil polymer woofer and dual polymer dome tweeters. The connection is wired, so no Bluetooth for you this time.
But, even if it falls somewhat short in terms of connectivity options, Klipsch AWR 650 SM Indoor Outdoor Speaker more than makes up in terms of specs and sheer sound quality. For a start, the rock speakers score an excellent frequency response range of 66 – 20,000 Hz, which covers all the sounds you can hear in popular tunes.
Furthermore, the speakers have a very good sensitivity of 94 dB and, even more important, peak power handling capability of 200 watts (nominal power handling sits at 50 watts). This makes one thunderous and satisfying outdoor performance.
Be that as it may, it is the fact that the Klipsch AWR 650 SM Indoor Outdoor rock speakers produce crystal clear and precise sound that is probably the closest you get to live performance. I tried playing all sorts of genres in the robust FLAC format, and there was no lost quality whatsoever.
Be warned, though, that this performance comes with a hefty price, so I can't recommend speakers to casual buyers who only need something to make outdoor parties funnier.
My first impression when I saw Theater Solutions 2E6G speakers was that I was dealing with some subpar outdoor rock speakers. The price was so low the speakers hadn't any chance of putting on some stellar performance.
But I was wrong, and Theater Solutions 2E6G made it to the second place of my roundup. In terms of quality, these wired rock speakers are as far from entry-level range as it gets.
Much like the previous entry on this list, Theater Solutions 2R6G features a pleasing granite design. That's cool since, as we have already established, granite makes one of the popular outdoor speakers picks due to its naturalistic and neutral look.
I would go as far as to say that this package looks even better than Klipsch AWR 650 SM. The color and grading simply make Theater Solutions more natural. Another thing I highly prefer about these speakers is the waterproof and rust-resistant steel grill that provides excellent protection to the voice coils.
The rest of the materials is not bad either. Although the enclosure lacks any kind of IPX certification, Theater Solutions looks like it can sustain many beating before finally raising the white flag. I would still put the rock speakers under some kind of shelter from the rain.
Now, let's move to the performance of this bad boy. I am happy to report that hardware-wise the outdoor rock speaker sets up pretty promising foundations. The frequency response range sits between 60Hz and 20 kHz, the sensitivity clocks at 96dB, and the speakers can handle 10 - 200 watts per channel.
Even better, Theater Solutions 2E6G features very comfortable 6.5-inch woofers with sealed voice coils that are able to pump out some pretty rich and loud bass. In terms of performance, this is one of Theater Solution 2E6G's biggest assets.
Even in the outdoor space, the rock speaker will manage to cause a couple of goosebumps with its deep booming tones.
Unfortunately, the rest of the spectrum is not handled nearly as well and features a fair amount of distortion the higher you go. But, the performance is still solid, especially for the price Theater Solutions asks you to pay. And you get tons of goodies in other departments.
These outdoor rock speakers are very close to the previous package I have reviewed. Once again, we are talking about affordable passive speakers that far exceed expectations people have from this price range.
Still, this price range has its limitations, and OSD Audio RX550 leaves a couple of things to be desired.
When it comes to design, OSD Audio RX550 can be best described as good but not great. For instance, the enclosure looks great and probably makes up for one of the most realistic-looking outdoor rock speakers I have ever used. If not for the grill, they would completely disappear into the yard.
Now the very grill sticks out from the rest of the package like a sore thumb and telegraphs these rock speakers from about a mile away. But at least you get the solid protection for the components located underneath, so there's that.
Moving on to connectivity.
Here, OSD Audio RX550 offers the basic wired connection you can expect from all similar passive rock speakers, meaning you will need to hook them up to an amplifier or a receiver. That's OK, but I would like to get more options even at this price point.
Last but not least, let's talk about protection. Although the manufacturer claims that the unit is weather-resistant, the device doesn't have any official IPX certification, so there's no way to be sure.
For the time I have used the device, I hadn't experienced any weather-related problems.
In terms of specs, OSD Audio RX550 feels a bit underpowered. Sure, 100 watts of peak power, 88 dB of sensitivity, and 65Hz to 20kHz of frequency response are solid, especially for this price point. But, as soon as you move things into the outdoor settings, you will notice the difference.
On the other hand, a 5.25-inch woofer coupled with stamped aluminum tweeter provides an enjoyable acoustic experience. Honestly, if you enjoy lounge music, this small rock speaker will probably offer one of the best experiences not only in this price range but also a couple of price grades above.
So, if you prefer sheer power, take a look at the previous review. If you are looking for a more precise music experience, this is the one for you.
Our Rating: 86/100
Now, here is the second entry coming from OSD Audio. Unlike the previous outdoor rock speaker that definitely felt like a nab at the entry-level market, OSD Audio RS850 makes the manufacturer's attempt to cut a slice of the bigger pie.
But, with higher prices come higher expectations. So, let's see how OSD Audio RS850 looks observed from this perspective.
If there is one good thing I can say about the design of this rock speaker, that would be it simply looks great. Seriously, the texture of the enclosure is spot-on, the color is very realistic, and even the grill looks great. It almost disappears into the rest of the rock speaker.
So, you do get something for the 100 bucks price bump.
But, joking aside, its 8-inch woofer with sealed voice coil does make for a much more realized bass-heavy competitor. In outdoor use, you get every slice of extra bass power, and this outdoor rock speaker packs that power in abundance.
But, putting aside the sheer size, OSD Audio RS850 offers very few surprises. It is your standard fare passive outdoor rock speaker package that needs support from additional hardware to be fully operational.
The enclosure is durable and, as the manufacturer claims, weather-resistant as well as resistant to rust. During my test run, I haven't encountered any problems, so I can't say anything about that.
Speaking about the performance, I must say this neat outdoor rock speaker uses the increase in size rather well. Here, you get an excellent frequency response range of 28Hz to 20kHz, peak power handling of 200 watts, and solid sensitivity of 88 dB.
These specs, coupled with spacious woofers, do create a full range, rich sound that easily fills in a vast outdoor area. It's not the best quality audio on the market, but it's loud and produces a heavy-hitting bass which is everything you can wish for outdoor use.
But, as for the rest, you get a performance that is very comparable to the previous product I have covered - good acoustics that sounds the best in the mid-range spectrum. But you can get pretty much the same performance for half the price.
So, not one of the best outdoor rock speakers on the market, but still very solid.
Our Rating: 85/100
Sorting out this list was very hard since I really had an opportunity to try out some of the best outdoor rock speakers on the market. Finding a way to rank them was very hard, and as you will see, most of the products I have covered rank in the high eighteens.
The reason I am making such an introduction is that if I ranked these entrants on the looks alone, this one would easily take the title of the best outdoor rock speaker.
But, the competition is simply too high.
So, I have hyped up the look of this outdoor rock speaker quite a loot but shoot me - I really like how this piece of patio equipment looks. The granite look is very realistic, and the dark gray hue simply looks fantastic.
This rock speaker is not made to blend into the backyard but rather to stand out - but in a good way.
It is also good to mention that the enclosure (4-layer fiberglass) we can find in this product is hard as nails, water-resistant, as well as UV resistant. Unfortunately, these good terms are not backed up by the official IPX rating, but I tested the outdoor rock speakers in all sorts of weather conditions, and they worked just fine.
These artistically shaped foundations are complemented by the dense rust-resistant aluminum grill that also looks very natural and realistic. It doesn't quite disappear into the rest of the rock speaker, but it does create a very nice visual impression.
Once again, we are limited to wired AUX connection, which is not something to wire home about but, at least, the installation is as easy as it gets.
In terms of performance, I must admit this cool-looking patio rock speaker has some very decent specs to brag about. If we take a look under the hood, we will find a power handling capability of as much as 200 watts, a sensitivity of 88 dB, and a frequency response of 50 Hz - 21 kHz.
Throw into the mix dual voice coils capable of delivering left and right channels from one speaker and a huge 8 inches woofer, and you do get a promise of great sound and excellent performance.
Unfortunately, these promises are fulfilled only to an extent. Namely, the sound of the music you get from the speakers is a bit shallow. As a matter of fact, the speakers sound the best when you are playing the mid sounds. The bass sounds booming but somewhat flat, and the higher music notes feel slightly distorted.
That feels like a missed opportunity because design-wise, this is one of the best outdoor rock speakers that deserves to be on every patio and in every backyard.
And finally, we are having our first entry belonging to the family of Bluetooth outdoor rock speakers. Having this option is very novel, but why so few manufacturers decided to make their rock speakers with this option.
Well, patio and backyard owners usually like their outdoor rock speakers to be permanent installations. Bluetooth rock speakers need to be moved to be recharged, which tends to be a chore.
A small disclaimer - this is not the reason why this Sound Appeal rock speaker ranked so low on this list.
Sound Appeal Bluetooth Rock Speakers are a pretty good-looking piece of hardware. The gray granite look makes the speakers truly pop up. Also, the Sound Appeal speakers feature great looking texture that makes them a nice addition to any patio or backyard in existence.
The manufacturer also claims that the rock speakers are resistant to elements like hot sun and extreme cold, but once again, we lack the official IPX certification. For what it's worth, I must say I hadn't encountered any problem with the speaker in different weather conditions, so no reason for complaint.
Unfortunately, the grill we can find on these outdoor rock speakers doesn't look nearly as good and drags the visual impression a couple of notches below.
But, we have our long-expected Bluetooth connection, which sets this neat pair of speakers from the rest of the bunch.
So, we've seen how the speakers look. Now, let's see how they perform. Here, the good people from Sound Appeal kinda dropped the ball. Not entirely, since the pair of rock speakers still pumps out a solid sound output and some pretty sweet music.
This is mostly due to an excellent frequency response of 35 Hz to 20 kHz, which is pretty sweet and allows for some deep satisfying bass. Also, the package features nice sensitivity of 89 dB. These two features produce delightful sound and precise music across the full range of the spectrum.
But, much like many other Bluetooth rock speakers, these ones are a bit underpowered. This time you get 60 watts output which is OK for an average-sized patio.
Still, the area where this pair of Bluetooth speakers fail the most is its Bluetooth technology. The Bluetooth connection is very unreliable, and sometimes you will have a hard time hooking up the backyard speakers to your device.
We've seen how Sound Appeal fared in the realm of wireless outdoor rock speakers. Now, let's check what its direct competitor Innovative Technology has to say in the matter.
One thing's for sure these speakers come at a far more affordable price and make a much more sensible pick for garden and backyard owners with a bit more shallow pockets. Do the speakers deliver great sound?
Well, when we take a look at these units, we can easily see they are not the best outdoor rock speakers you can find in the market. But they are a very nice-looking pair of speakers that fit any smaller backyard or mid-size patio.
Sure, the speakers' enclosure doesn't look that natural and good people from Innovative Technology did exaggerate the features of a granite stone, but at this price point, I am more than willing to look past some design flaws.
Especially taking into consideration that I am getting a wireless Bluetooth connection at a bargain.
The most important thing is that the enclosure is water-resistant and provides solid protection against extreme outdoor elements. The grill is pretty noticeable and drags down the overall visual impression, but the materials are rust-resistant and provide good protection to the pair of speakers underneath.
Now, let's see what these wireless Bluetooth speakers have to offer regarding sound quality. Well, the speakers come with a pretty decent set of specs that clock the package at the sensitivity of 89 dB, a frequency response that sits between 35 Hz and 20 kHz, and 60-watt output.
All these things amount to the quality sound output that hits all the music notes but still feels somewhat week and constrained. The bass is deep but not exactly punchy.
As for the Bluetooth connection, I must say I am more than pleased. The wireless outdoor rock speakers easily connect to devices of all sorts and rarely drop the connection. The battery power is also satisfying, with the device can squeeze out 10 hours of music at 100% volume (30 hours at 50%). The performance is worthy of the best wireless speakers.
So the main faults of these Innovative Technology pair of speakers lie entirely on faulty hardware. The whole system feels buggy, shuts down for no reason whatsoever, and seems very prone to malfunction.
Too bad since such a solid sound quality deserves the best wireless hardware.
Our Rating: 80/100
Now, this is the wireless outdoor rock speaker that is definitely riding on a gimmick. As if offering Bluetooth connection in this bargain bin segment wasn't enough, engineers from Alpine Corporation decided to grace their QLP542SLR-BR outdoor rock speakers with a couple more interesting features.
The most important addition we can find in this package is definitely the ability to use the sun as your power source.
How does this novel idea work in practice?
The best way to describe this small Alpine Corporation outdoor audio system would be as an expensive toy. Sure, the rock speakers do attempt to look like a genuine rock, but this is the point where the efforts end. The best outdoor rock speakers would try to imitate the curves and the texture of the real thing, but you don't get this premium treatment here.
But the Alpine Corporation did make sure to make the package weather resistant and suitable to extreme conditions. During testing, I haven't experienced any weather-related system problems whatsoever.
It is also good to know that aside from the solar battery, the outdoor rock audio system doesn't have any other alternative power source, so you will need to rely on good weather to keep you charged.
Fortunately, the features this outdoor rock speaker relies on are well-realized, and the fully charged device will give you solid 12 hours of audio time.
These 12 hours of playtime would be much better spent if you got actual quality sound. Unfortunately, Alpine Corporation QLP542SLR-BR doesn't quite offer the best outdoor rock speaker performance.
As a matter of fact, I would call overall sound quality average at best. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the exact specs of this thing, but the audio system sounds all over the place and, what's even worse, under-powered.
The audio output sounds decent enough when you keep your rock speaker indoors. But as soon as you move the speakers outdoor, the audio quality will start dropping like a rock.
But hey, you do get that solar charging features that kinda make this system one of the best outdoor rock speakers in this niche segment.
Best Outdoor Rock Speaker - Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best outdoor rock speakers currently on the market?
If you ask me, the title of best outdoor rock speakers easily goes to Klipsch AWR 650 SM Indoor Outdoor Speaker. This system has it all - the sound quality is excellent, the bass is deep, and the dome tweeters work like a charm. A weather-resistant design that closely reassembles the garden granite rocks is there to make the whole deal even more appealing.
But, judging by the sound quality alone, these are by far the best outdoor rock speakers you can find in the stores.
What are the best outdoor rock speakers for casual users?
I would say this flattery title goes to Theater Solutions 2R6G Outdoor Granite 6.5 Inches. First and foremost, this system is ridiculously affordable. But, you would never be able to tell that judging on the performance alone. Theater Solutions has the building blocks of some of the best outdoor rock speakers on the market - a bit more refinement, and it could've taken the number one spot.
Best Rock Speakers for your Backyard - In Conclusion
Now that we had an opportunity to take a look at some of the best outdoor rock speakers on the market, let me quickly share my top three picks, regardless of how I ranked them in my roundup. Obviously, the number one sot goes to Klipsch AWR 650 SM, which offers the best sound quality on the list. The second recommendation goes to Theater Solutions and its 2R6G Outdoor Granite 6.5 Inches, which still manages to offer great sound quality wrapped into an affordable package.
Last but not least, we have Sound Appeal Bluetooth Outdoor Rock Speakers - a nice pair of wireless speakers for all of you who love to stream your music from a distance.