We’ve been carefully analyzing dozens of Bluetooth speakers for years, and we also love gardening, so we were happy to approach the question of how best to combine the two.
We’ve found that listening to podcasts and music while weeding (especially with a stand-up weeder) makes the whole venture a lot more enjoyable.
We went in search of the best-sounding speaker that is hardy enough to tolerate the odd splash of a hose or grime from dirty hands. And our top pick well exceeds those expectations; it’s also our overall top choice for travel Bluetooth speaker. (Further down this page, we’ll also discuss a larger, louder option and a smaller, wearable speaker that can go on your collar while you do yard work.)
The Best Speaker for Working in the Garden: UE Boom 2
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Why We Love the UE Boom 2 for GardeningUE Boom 2 is our top pick for listening to music while planting, weeding, or just enjoying time outside while listening to music or podcasts.
Here are the main reasons:
- Excellent sound: Don’t be fooled by its small size; the UE Boom 2 delivers an even mix, warmth, and punchy bass.
- Loud: The UE Boom 2 is marketed as going up to 90 dBA. In any case, it’s plenty loud to be heard across a small or mid-sized garden.
- 360-degree sound: The speaker is designed to sound great from any spot, so if we set it in the center of your garden we don’t have to move it or turn it towards where we happen to be working at the moment.
- Battery life: UE claims a battery life of 15-hours and one consumer testing organization even found it to last for much longer. In any case, it’s more than enough for a long day outdoors without recharging.
- Voice control: Want to change the volume, skip a track, or play a different playlist, but your hands are deep in the dirt? Just bark orders at the UE Boom 2. It has integration for control of your music with Amazon Alexa, Google Now, and Siri, and this works with iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and iOS and Android music players.
- Tap to play: In a similar vein, basic control is possible without reaching for our phones. We tap the top of the speaker to play or pause a track, and tap twice to skip to the next one. The oversize volume buttons on the side of the speaker are also convenient.
- Waterproof: The speaker is fully IPX7 waterproof, meaning it is rated to stand being submerged for up to 30 minutes in a meter of water. You’re not likely to put it through that test, but it is lovely to be able to just hose the speaker off at the end of the day and this can be way simpler than cleaning your gardening tools.
- D-hook: You can either hang the UE Boom 2 from the your garden fence or from the side of a work basket by attaching a carabiner through the D-hook. This also makes it super easy to carry around.
- Tripod mounting: Another option is to use the tripod mount that is revealed by unscrewing the D-hook. If you get a claw-grip tripod, you can use its flexible legs to attach your speaker to a tree branch, post, or pretty much anything else out in your garden.
- Pair multiple UE Boom 2s: With UE’s mobile app you can pair up to 150 of the speakers — though really two is fine. It allows you to create a true stereo experience on the go, and is great for an outdoor dance party.
A few drawbacks:
- We think this is the most convenient size for a speaker we’d carry out into the garden while working, but some might want a larger speaker for more volume, a smaller speaker, or even a wearable speaker. See below for those options.
- Bose Revolve instead (we compare it with the UE Boom 2 here).
A Larger, Louder Optionfavorite larger waterproof Bluetooth speaker.
Its features are very similar to the UE Boom 2, but we have a full comparison of the two speakers if you’re struggling to decide between them.
Basically, the UE Megaboom goes just a bit louder and its bass goes deeper and has more impact. It also has a bit more battery life at 20 hours.
As with the UE Boom 2 you can pair two or more for stereo sound, and there is also a D-ring and a tripod mount. The Megaboom is also fully IPX7 waterproof.
A Wearable Speaker for Gardening
The Polk Boom Bit is the only tiny, wearable speaker that we currently recommend. It clips onto your collar and provides a sort of open headphone replacement. It’s a great way to listen to talk programs in particular while out taking care of your plants.
The sound quality for music is clear enough to be able to enjoy the mids and treble, but don’t expect much on the bass end. It was originally marketed as fully (IPX7) waterproof but Polk seems to have since retracted this claim, so you shouldn’t dunk this speaker. We don’t think the odd splash of water or a sweat-drenched T-shirt will cause it any problems, however.
Garden Bluetooth Speakers Designed to Look Like Rocks and Flowers and Such
We think the flexibility, features, and convenience of a truly portable Bluetooth speaker are far better for enjoying and working in one’s garden.
But for those of you looking for a speaker that also serves as an outdoor design element, here are a few options. What follows is an automatically generated list of the bestselling garden speakers on Amazon.
We offer the above for comparison purposes, and for those looking for speakers with a certain type of look to match a patio, for example.
Frankly, I wouldn’t buy them — I have no problem with a speaker that looks like a speaker, and just want it to sound great. And as for the wired garden speaker options, we’re suspicious of how long such permanently installed speakers can really last out in the elements.