Summer 2021 looks like it will be an exciting one—whether you’re hitting the road, or having people over, chances are you’ll be doing a lot more socializing that you were last year. If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack to accompany you, might we suggest upgrading from your tinny iPhone speaker and getting a real-deal, outdoor-ready sound system?
These game changers will add a rich auditory experience to your next adventure outside—whether it’s a backyard campout, an outdoor movie night, or just an al fresco dinner at home.
Kooduu Synergy Pro
It’s baseline for an outdoor speaker to have easy Bluetooth pairing and great sound quality. And the Kooduu Synergy Pro (starting at $159) does that job with ease. But it also completely ups the ante with a built-in LED lamp and an ice bucket. Yes, an ice bucket—for cooling champagne and wine and beers while you bask in the fresh outdoors listening to your favorite music.
The Synergy Pro’s hybrid nature would be doing too much if it didn’t do it all so well. The lamp has a warm, ambient glow that feels cozy. The ice bucket (which has the capacity to hold either one or two bottles of wine, depending on the size of Synergy that you choose) isn’t tacky, thanks to high-end details like a leather handle and brushed metal lining. And according to reviewers, the speaker is fabulous: loud, sharp, and plays up to nine hours on a single charge.
The Sonos brand is synonmous with “superior sound quality.” Its portable Move is like an Ultimate Ears Wonderboom speaker on steroids: completely wireless, weather resistant, and easy as pie to operate. But what sets the Move apart is its durability, matched with its super techy features (like two perfectly tuned amplifiers built in and the capability to pair with AirPlay 2). It has home-theater-quality sound, but can handle UV rays, extreme temps, salt spray, snow, dust, rain, and the occasional bump or drop without skipping a beat. At $399, it’s not cheap, but it will be the only outdoor speaker you’ll need for years to come.
Uma Sound Lantern
Back in the 1990s, a particularly well-designed lamp shade called the Sophie Lamp started popping up in chic restaurants in New York and San Francisco, thanks to designer Pablo Pardo. Now, Pardo has partnered with his friend Carmine Deganello (also a renowned designer) to bring one of his elegant creations to your backyard in the form of the Uma Sound Lantern. The chic design, sexy glow, and high-quality audio make for a luxurious (and unique) speaker that is as much art as it is a tool. The Uma Sound Lantern features 360-degree sound, touch-sensitive volume control, full-range dim control, a leather strap, and can play for up to eight hours on a single charge.
Fast Company’s Recommender section is dedicated to surfacing innovative products, services, and brands that are changing how we live and work. Every item that we write about is independently selected by our editors and, wherever possible, tested and reviewed. Fast Company may receive revenue from some links in our stories; however, all selections are based on our editorial judgment.