When it comes to the winter, many of you are ready to rock at a moment’s notice. Most likely, you have speakers sprinkled throughout the house. However, what happens when you actually want to step outside?
The weather is getting warmer and soon the smell of barbecued meats will be wafting through the air, luring you to the backyard, the deck and/or the pool area. Those smells can be awesome. They just aren’t all that entertaining — at least, not for very long. If you entertain outdoors, outdoor speakers are a must.
Outdoor speakers come in several shapes and sizes, with several different price tags. We’ve covered plenty of those before. However, if you want to put a little oomph into that sound, consider an outdoor subwoofer.
An outdoor subwoofer can pack the same punch as your indoor subwoofer. The big difference here is that it needs to be able to withstand weather, insects and other critters. Unless you like carrying heavy audio equipment back and forth, it needs to be able to live outside. Several manufacturers make several subs that can rock in the great outdoors — and some look like actual rocks! Currently, there are two main types of outdoor subwoofers:
- In-Ground: These options allow you to bury to bulk to the speaker underground.
- Rocks and Planters: This option can blend that sound in with the outdoor scenery.
When it comes to outdoor speakers and subwoofers, placement is really important. After all, you aren’t just trying to fill the backyard, but you’re also competing with sounds from neighbors and nature. However, you also want the sound to be distributed evenly. To make beautiful music in the outdoors, the subwoofer needs to match your receiver and your speakers. Yes, you’ll need a dedicated receiver or at least one that can handle a second zone. Also, consider your climate. Sure, all outdoor speaker should be able to withstand the elements. However, if you live in especially brutal climate conditions, make sure that your outdoor subwoofer is up to the task.
Check out these 10 rocking outdoor subwoofers:
Looking like a perfect spot for some shrubbery, Polk’s outdoor option packs bass into a cabinet that can hold your plants or your drinks. Packing a 10-inch long-throw Dynamic Balance driver, this 200-watt downward-firing subwoofer promises a bass response down to 50Hz. Other features include Capacitive Coupling Technology, as well as a security anchor and screw-down points so it can’t get toppled by party guests. It even has a paintable surface to match decor or your favorite lounge chair. An optional grille is also available separately.
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Designed to get the party (and the ground) shaking, this Crestron in-ground sub has a built-in 70/100-volt transformer and 8 ohms nominal impedance. It also has two 8-inch low-frequency drivers underground and covers them neatly with a textured portal cap. Other features include 200 watts of power handling and a 22-120Hz frequency range.
MSRP: Contact your local dealer
This is another option designed to shake the ground from down below. Just bury this Speakercraft waterproof enclosure wherever you want to rock and the long excursion 10-inch woofer will take care of the rest. The only exposed element is the sub’s hooded port, which vents the system. Other features include a dedicated 250-watt amplifier, a sensitivity rating of 90dB, and a frequency response from 30-200Hz.
Are you ready to rock with an actual rock? This OSD option will disappear into the landscape, without having to be buried. Rated at 500 watts, this speaker stuffs a 10-inch reflective woofer, an 8-inch woofer and a 10-inch injection molded cone woofer with Dupont surround into a realistic looking rock enclosure. Other features include a frequency response of 20-150Hz (:±6dB) and a sensitivity rating of 90dB, as well as brown and grey color options.
Because this in-ground Niles outdoor subwoofer can be buried 16 to 18 inches down below, it easily disappears into the landscape. Not to worry; you’ll know it’s there. It can pack a mighty wallop with a 10-inch mineral-filled polypropylene woofer that can output frequencies from 25-110Hz and up to 110dB. Also worth mentioning is that this sub can withstand temperatures from 15 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can hang outside even when you can’t.
This Rockustics in-ground subwoofer options comes in 10-, 12-, and 15-inch configurations. It has a cylindrical structure that’s made of proprietary resin composite, so it won’t break down of over time. Oh, and it’s also fully weatherproof. It even has a little cover that can disguise the subwoofer’s output tube, so it won’t look like something scary that you tried to dispose of in the yard. Those covers come in three standard colors, with custom options available.
MSRP: Starts at $1,307 to $2,059
Earthquake wants to be one with Mother Nature. However, this rock-shaped outdoor subwoofer can rock out by the patio, the pool, the birdbath, or wherever else you want it. The Granite-10D has a 10-inch woofer and two 2-inch voice coils. Made with UV-treated, weather-resistant enclosure, it also has an S-shaped port, so water can’t get trapped inside. Other features include a frequency response of 30-100Hz (:±3dB), a sensitivity rating of 92dB, and a granite finish.
Technically, this Terra model isn’t an in-ground subwoofer. It’s designed to be partially buried. And if you think that a bunch of critters will start calling the exposed part (or any other part) home, think again. The AC.SUB is totally sealed, so nothing can get in—not even moisture. Featuring a 12-inch cast frame driver with a 2-inch edge-wound voice coil and a ceramic-aluminum-ceramic “sandwich” cone, Terra recommends 250 watts (RMS) to drive this big boy properly. Made entirely in the U.S., the AC.SUB is also available in black and green to match your backyard scheme.
MSRP: Contact your local dealer
Sonance’s latest outdoor sub is part of a larger package—a much larger package (pictured). The SR1 has eight satellite speakers and an in-ground subwoofer to rock up to 2,000 square feet of outdoor space. If you’re looking for a slightly smaller purchase, the company’s SLS line is designed to be used with Sonance’s Landscape Series satellite speakers, but can be purchased separately. The three-in ground models include the 10-inch LS-10SUB, the 12-inch LS-12SUB, and the dual voice coil 15-inch LS-15SUB. There’s also the 10-inch HS-10SUB, which can be built into patio furniture or planter boxes.
MSRP: Starts at $2,500 each
Designed to match TruAudio’s RK speaker series, this final rock option has a 10-inch injected poly-woofer inside. It needs a sub amp (such as TruAudio’s TRU-S3) to power up to 250 watts at 90db, and boasts frequencies down to 36Hz. Other features include a four-layer voice coil, 4 ohms impedance, and a sealed resin cabinet to prevent corrosion and insect infestation.
MSRP: Contact your local dealer
This article was originally published on March 30, 2014 and updated on July 2, 2015.