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Home / Customer Support / Custom Install Audio Learning Center/DIY / Outdoor Speaker Help DIY / Outdoor Speakers Buyers Guide (I)

Outdoor Speakers Buyers Guide (I)

What Kind of Outdoor Speaker is Right for You?

Some people have sprawling back yards, while others have small patios and a tiny patch of grass. Big or small, you can enjoy outdoor sound without having to drag a house speaker outside or prop one dangerously from a bedroom window. The trick is to know what speakers work well in what environments and what you expect from your outdoor sound.



It's Not Easy Being an Outdoor Speaker

Outdoor speakers face many more challenges than their indoor counterparts. Inside your home, there are walls to reinforce low-frequency response and reflect and contain sound. Outside, of course, it's wide open. Outdoor speakers must also contend with background noise such as traffic, lawnmowers, barking dogs, and even crickets! It's equally important to consider the craftsmanship and durability of a pair of outdoor speakers. These products have to work in the heat, cold, rain, etc. Make sure your outdoor speakers are fully weather resistant and are rigorously tested.



Choose Enough Bass for Your Space

Okay, we’ve established the difficult sonic conditions; what does this mean for you? If you want the best sound possible, consider the space you’re trying to fill and determine the right cone size and wattage. To combat the less than ideal conditions, it’s vital for your outdoor speakers to provide enough bass. If you’ve got a large backyard, choose outdoor speakers with good low-frequency response. These are typically larger speakers with 6.5 or 8-inch cones--the larger the cone, the more bass! Wattage will depend on the power output of your receiver/amplifier; however, OSD outdoor speaker wattage range from 60 watts to 300 watts. The advantage of bigger wattage is not only the potential volume increase, but also better sound quality and coverage at lower volumes. A pair of 60 watt patio speakers will give you great coverage in areas less than 300 square feet. For 300 to 500 square feet, look for 80 to 100 watt speakers; 150 watts to 175 watt speakers will cover 600 to 800 square feet with clear, sharp music sound at soft volumes. Speakers with 250 plus power will cover over 1,000 square feet.



How Will You Use Your Outdoor Speakers?

Know what you want to achieve when you install these speakers. You can easily spend thousands on speakers but this might be overkill if all you want is listen to the radio while you cut the grass. On the other hand, 40-watt wireless speakers are going to be a major disappointment if you want to full concert sound while you relax in the hammock.



Know What You’ll Need to Complete the Job

Remember that with the exception of wireless speakers, all of our outdoor speakers are passive. That means they need power to operate. You’ll need to power your patio, rock or garden speakers with an amp/receiver that has the appropriate power rating. If you’re running wire underground, you’ll need outdoor-rated direct burial cable. If you’re running speaker wire through your walls, you’ll need CL-rated cable that is specifically designed for in-wall use. Waterproof connectors from the cable to the speakers terminals are always a good idea to add extra protection from the elements as well. OSD carries all the necessary cable and connectors to help you get the job done.