Can Indoor Speakers Be Used Outdoors?

Can Indoor Speakers Be Used Outdoors?

Craig Walker |

The allure of enjoying music outdoors is undeniable - the gentle breeze, the warmth of the sun (on that one day of the year!), and the sounds of your favourite tunes filling the air. 

But before you bring your indoor speakers outside for a back garden barbecue or poolside party, it's essential to consider whether they're up to the task. 

Can indoor speakers be used outdoors without risking damage or compromising sound quality? 

In this blog post, we delve into the complexities of using indoor speakers in outdoor settings, exploring the potential risks, considerations, and alternatives to ensure an enjoyable outdoor audio experience. 

Join me as we uncover the truth behind this common question and provide guidance for making informed decisions about your outdoor sound setup.


Can I Use Indoor Speakers Outdoors?

While indoor speakers can physically be used outdoors, it's generally not recommended unless they are specifically designed and rated for outdoor use.

There are occasions where you might want to drag the HiFi out for the BBQ - in theory this will be fine if it’s only a few times a year, it’s sunny and you bring it back indoors once you’ve finished but if you’re thinking of leaving indoor speakers outside all year round then you’re going to run into problems quite quickly in the British weather.

For starters, your indoor speakers are likely to be made out of MDF with a veneer - this isn’t waterproof so the speakers will rot quite quickly.

They’ll also have non-weatherproof components and may have paper based drivers without a waterproof coating. Even under-cover outdoors such as under a pergola, the general moisture is going to degrade them quite quickly.

Here are just a few reasons why it’s a bad idea to leave indoor speakers outdoors all year round:

  • Weather Resistance: Indoor speakers are not designed to withstand outdoor elements like rain, humidity, extreme temperatures, and UV exposure. Exposure to these conditions will damage the speakers and compromise their performance over time (and in the UK that won’t be much time at all!).

  • Enclosure Design: Outdoor speakers often feature weather-resistant enclosures made from materials like UV-resistant plastics, fibreglass, or aluminium. These enclosures help protect the internal components from moisture and environmental damage. Indoor speakers typically do not have the same level of protection and will rot away quite quickly.

  • Sound Quality: Outdoor environments present different acoustical challenges compared to indoor spaces. Outdoor speakers are often designed with features like weatherproof cones, sealed enclosures, and outdoor-specific crossover networks to optimise sound quality in open-air environments. Using indoor speakers outdoors may result in subpar sound quality and performance.
  • Safety Concerns: Using indoor speakers outdoors may pose safety risks, especially if they are not adequately protected from the elements. Passive speakers are fairly low risk, but your amplifier or HiFi system will need to connect to the speakers and if this is outside then water damage or exposure to the elements will lead to electrical hazards causing malfunctions or even worse an accident.

Better Outdoor Audio Options

When it comes to outdoor audio setups, using speakers specifically designed for outdoor use is often the best alternative to using indoor speakers outdoors. 

Outdoor speakers are engineered to withstand the challenges of outdoor environments, providing durability, weather resistance, and optimised sound quality. 

Here are some better alternatives to using indoor speakers outdoors:

Sonos Outdoor Speaker Mounted On A House Wall

1. Outdoor Speaker System

Naturally a proper outdoor speaker system tops the list! 

Installing a proper outdoor speaker system is a sound investment (pun intended) and will produce a significantly better sound quality in your garden. 

Better still you can leave them out all year round so they’re always ready for use on the random sunny days.

There are plenty of options to choose from with wall mounted speakers, ground spike speakers and rock shaped speakers that blend in with your borders.

If you use your garden a lot then an outdoor speaker system is the best way to go, it’ll pay for itself time and time again at BBQ’s, parties, gatherings or just for chilling in the garden.

Klipsch Gig XL Party Speaker With Skateboarders

2. Party Speakers

Another great option is buying a party speaker

These are super-sized portable speakers with a lot more power! 

They also typically have wireless microphones for annoying your neighbours, built-in Bluetooth streaming and colour changing lights for the perfect garden party!

Avoid the cheaper brands though. Pick something like a Klipsch Gig or an Eltax Voyager - these are high-quality systems, you can even link two of them together for extra sound!

Another bonus with party speakers is their portability. Not only can your neighbours enjoy your music but people at the park or beach can too! Excellent value for money.

Party speakers can be a better option if you only play music in your garden a few times a year, or if you want more flexibility over where you listen to the music.

Portable Speakers For Use Outdoors

3. Portable Speakers

The final option I have for you is a good quality portable speaker.

Again, you get what you pay for so choose a good quality brand such as Klipsch or Edifier - whilst it’ll cost you more you’ll get a much better sound quality and more volume.

Portable speakers can be a great addition if you just want some background music near the BBQ or at the seating area.

Just bear in mind that you’ve got batteries to charge up and if you wander away from the speaker the Bluetooth will cut out.

Most portable speakers won’t fill your entire garden with high-quality sound, but they can be a cost-effective way to get some good music by the seating area etc.

 

Conclusion

If you plan to use speakers outdoors, it's best to invest in speakers specifically designed for outdoor use.

Outdoor speakers are engineered to withstand the rigours of outdoor environments and provide reliable performance in a variety of conditions. They typically have weather-resistant enclosures, durable construction, and specialised components to ensure longevity and optimal sound quality.

If you must use indoor speakers temporarily outdoors, take precautions to protect them from the elements and don’t leave them out when you’re not using them.

However, for long-term outdoor use, investing in dedicated outdoor speakers is the safer, more reliable option and all round better experience.