Choosing the Right Outdoor Speakers for Your Home
Which speakers you buy depends on a variety of factors: budget, size of area, and your taste, just to name a few. You can easily pay more than $1,000 on a pair of weatherproof speakers, but you also can get away with spending just a few hundred. The more expensive speakers cover a larger area and come in more styles. If you don't want to splurge on the large, rock-shaped speakers that blend into your backyard, at least get those with a color that matches the installation area.
Also be sure to buy outdoor speakers with detachable brackets if hanging them on a wall. Though they are be waterproof, you may not feel comfortable leaving them outside if you are away from home for an extended period of time.
Installing Outdoor Speakers
The speakers you buy will come with detailed installation instructions as well as a list of additional materials you will need. Consider this an overview, one that will help you to decide whether this is a DIY project or will require professional help.
Start by purchasing 14-gauge CL2- or CL3-rated in-wall speaker cable, the amount depending upon the distance between your sound system and the speaker locations. If you are planning to bury the cables, such as when you want them to run from your home to a pool area, choose cable rated for such use.
Run the cable from your sound system through your exterior wall to the spots where you would like the speakers to hang or sit. When hanging outdoor speakers, do so as close as possible to the point where the cable comes out of the wall to keep the amount exposed to a minimum.
Before finalizing their locations and installing the brackets, connect the speakers and test their sound. You can have a friend hold them or set them atop a ladder. If the speakers aren't loud enough to reach the areas you want, hang them higher.
Once installation is complete, be sure to seal the entry point to keep your home energy efficient and free of unwanted guests.
Additional tips for this project:
- Keep neighbors in mind when deciding on locations for outdoor speakers; they don't necessarily want to hear your favorite sports team or band play.
- Consider running speaker cable through PVC piping if burying it; this not only makes it easier to find but also can better protect the cable.
- Check local ordinances on burying wire to ensure you meet the requirements.
- Never run speaker wire through a door or window; it will crimp and could result in exposed wires and, therefore, a fire hazard.
- Ensure that where you want to hang the outdoor speakers can support their weight; wood and aluminum siding cannot.
- Get this project out of the way now, before summer weather arrives; you will you appreciate beating the heat.
- Also consider hiring a professional handyman to take on this task if you don't feel comfortable working with wiring or if the setup you want is more involved than just two speakers. When using multiple speakers, it helps to have someone experienced to get the right sound and balance and to ensure the installation will withstand whatever the elements in your area are.