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Ready to hit the great outdoors but need to rock some tunes or listen to the game? You’re not alone and your choices for tailgate speakers have never been better. Thanks to developments in batteries, like the ones that power your phone or your car, you can find powerful outside speakers that will run for dozens of hours on a single charge, while topping up your other devices while they’re at it.
Whether you need party-time sodas to go with you or you’re taking the audio system to the workplace all week and need to charge your cordless tools, the best tailgate speakers offer choices for your party or camping trip that range from mild to wild, from compact sound to rock the block.
For more information on the best tailgate speakers, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: DEWALT ToughSystem Radio
- 2. Porter-Cable 20V MAX Corded/Cordless Radio
- 3. ION Audio Raptor
- 4. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 5. Pyle 400w Loudspeaker System
- 6. Bosch Bluetooth Power Box
- 7. BUGANI M118 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
- 8. DEWALT 20V MAX Bluetooth Speaker
- 9. Coolbox Entertainment Cooler
- 10. Monster Rockin' Roller 270
- Choosing the Right Tailgate Speaker
1. Editor's Pick: DEWALT ToughSystem Radio
A Bluetooth speaker for your weekend parties that will also get you through your DIY projects and your Monday-to-Friday workplace slog. The DEWALT ToughSystem radio offers four full-range speakers as well as a subwoofer and bass resonator to deliver plenty of audio power when you need it. Its 360-degree speaker placement ensures that everyone can hear your tunes or listen to the game. And of course, if you have an electrical outlet in your truck bed you can plug the radio in to listen for hours, but here’s the trick.
The ToughSystem can be powered by any of DEWALT’s 12V or 20V Max power tool batteries. So the battery for your drill or cordless saw can power the radio. If you’re plugged in, you can charge your DEWALT lithium-ion battery letting you keep a juiced-up battery on hand throughout the day. A single 20V 2A battery lasts up to eight hours of play, and you can use one from any of the more than 180 20V Max products. Dust and water resistance protects you from job site hazards and keeps your party going in the rain.
2. Porter-Cable 20V MAX Corded/Cordless Radio
A radio for those who prefer their power tools in a grey brand, this tailgating speaker is light and compact. That doesn’t make it less versatile though, and Porter-Cable has equipped the job site radio to work with power from a 120V cord or from one of its 20V Max lithium-ion batteries. It can run off of the battery, or it can charge one when plugged into the wall. It comes with a built-in roll cage to help protect the speaker and battery when things get a little wild.
A built-in cable wrap makes sure that the cable isn’t damaged between uses or when you’re travelling to your latest site. An AM/FM radio and aux port allows versatile play from most of your music devices or local stations, but it lacks Bluetooth which may turn off some buyers. A three-year warranty should let the beat go on.
3. ION Audio Raptor
This radio from ION gives you just the right looks to go with your Ford pickup, especially if you’re off-roading in a Raptor. This audio system boasts a powerful 100-watt amplifier driving an 8-inch woofer and a 3-inch tweeter. The ION audio system wears a tire-tread-inspired rubber coating on the back and sides along with a grille that replicates the Ford grille on your truck. Plus, the screen gets Raptor and Ford Performance branding, while twin cup holders on the top keep your drinks safe for the whole party.
The rechargeable battery can power the system for up to 75 hours, while a USB port can recharge your phone. There is an AM/FM radio, 3.5 mm aux jack, Bluetooth, and even NFC connections to let you play the tunes from nearly any modern device. The radio is IPX4 water-resistant and the manufacturer says it’s just fine to let play when the sky is falling. The multi-color light bar can pulse to the music, stay on steady for illumination, or power off to save the battery.
4. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
A much smaller, ultraportable speaker for when you’re just planning on catching some tunes from the back of your truck, and aren’t worried about looking tough or deafening the neighbors. From JBL, the Charge 3 has a lithium-ion polymer battery that can offer up to 20 hours of play time. Want more sound or a larger range? You can connect multiple Charge 3 (or other compatible JBL speakers) units together to create a wall of sound surrounding the entire party.
Connect up to three phones at once through Bluetooth if you’re fighting over who gets to play, or you can charge and play directly through a USB port in the back of the speaker. This recommendation also lets you make and receive phone calls over Bluetooth with an echo and noise-cancelling speakerphone function that could come in very handy. A waterproof design makes this one ideal for the outdoors and your tailgate or campsite party.
5. Pyle 400w Loudspeaker System
How do you make a speaker portable but still big enough to deliver 400 watts of power and a rechargeable battery that can handle it? You add a handle and wheels like on this PA and audio system from Pyle. That 400-watt amplifier drives an 8-inch subwoofer, 10-inch full-range speaker, and 3-inch tweeter that can deliver plenty of full-range sound.
It’s a PA speaker, so there is a mic input in addition to the Bluetooth wireless connection and USB port and 3.5 mm aux jack to let you pick almost any way to play your music or be heard. You can even plug a USB flash drive in to play files. A large built-in rechargeable battery gives this speaker system a battery life of up to two hours, or you can plug it into any 120V plug for near-infinite play time. A remote lets you easily control the system if your phone isn’t nearby.
6. Bosch Bluetooth Power Box
A speaker ready for tailgating and for powering everything you bring with you, this Bosch Bluetooth Power Box is, well, a portable power box. Able to run on an 18-volt battery or plugged into an outlet, the Power Box comes with a built-in battery charger to charge up your other tool batteries if you have an outlet in the bed, but it can run for hours on a battery of its own.
If you don’t have a power bar with you in your truck, the four 120V outlets let you connect anything you want to share the single outlet in your vehicle. A 26-watt rating means it’s not the loudest in the world, but a slim pack should run anywhere from two to four hours if the volume is turned way up. A Bluetooth range of 150-feet is longer than most, while it can also charge your phone through a USB port if you’re not far away.
7. BUGANI M118 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
A portable Bluetooth speaker designed for the outdoors. That means resistance to water, heat, and even the cold. The M118 speaker has four full range speakers and five passive radiators to help give you clear sound and deep bass, even if it’s playing at your campsite or your pickup tailgate. Fifty watts is plenty of volume for this compact size, as is the 10,000 mAh battery inside. The manufacturer says it can connect to your Bluetooth device within a second after the initial pairing, making it nearly instant when you’re ready for the tunes.
The rechargeable battery offers long life, while the wall power and input ports are protected from sand, water, salt, and other party accidents from getting inside and damaging the connectors. The power connectors include USB to charge your phone, while an extra-long standby function leaves it ready to come alive whenever you (or your phone) tells it to.
8. DEWALT 20V MAX Bluetooth Speaker
Compact, affordable, and dual-speakers, this DEWALT option comes with everything you need, including the rechargeable 20V Max lithium-ion battery. You can order it without, but if you’re just entering the cordless power tools universe, an extra battery is always great to have. On top of the large 5-Ah rechargeable battery which should last you more than a full day’s use, you can just swap in another battery. Or, put this larger battery in your drill or saw and use the smaller one in the radio to still get loads of play time. It can also play through an included wall adapter.
Control the music from your Bluetooth-enabled device or do it directly through the speaker, which also comes with a handle and a place to hold your phone, as well as a USB port to charge it. This is one of the lightest and most convenient packages on this list, but it can’t charge itself and needs a separate battery charger.
9. Coolbox Entertainment Cooler
Keep the sounds hot and your sodas cold with this best of both worlds. It’s the Coolbox entertainment cooler and it lets you jam out with your drinks on ice. The battery lasts four hours of playback and it can charge your phone and tablet through a pair of USB ports. Then it’ll play music through a pair of 20W speakers via Bluetooth that are water resistant and durable enough for any climate.
Unhook the large plastic latches and the cooler can keep 22 cans on ice for up to five days. That’s some serious chill time. Because drinks and ice are heavy, this radio cooler offers wheels and a pull-out handle to let you roll it along like a suitcase from table to truck or from house to wherever you need to go. Why fuss with a cooler and a speaker on your tailgate party when you can do it all in one?
10. Monster Rockin' Roller 270
Monster is best known for cables but it builds audio systems too, like the Rollin Rocker that delivers 200 watts of power to make sure even the neighbors can hear you along with amazing playtime battery life. Multiple speakers project sound through 270 degrees, making sure that it’s clear from three of the four sides. An IPX4 weather resistance rating means that it’s protected from tough weather. Forget charging your phone through USB, this one offers Qi wireless charging, right on the top of the unit. And with True Wireless System pairing, you can link a second speaker to double your output.
A phone app lets you adjust the volume through your device as well as adjust the equalizer and control FM radio stations. It even lets you change the LED light colors. The large battery offers 100 hours of playback so that if the party runs late, you can too, and the telescoping handle and large wheels make for easy transport.
Choosing the Right Tailgate Speaker
When it comes to choosing the right tailgate speaker, you need to consider what you’re planning to do with your new speaker. If it’s just to listen to some tunes as you sit by the lake, then you probably care more about a long battery life and less about fancy features like the ability to connect to other speakers or ground-shaking bass. You might also be interested in one with a built-in cooler, giving you one less thing that you need to bring with you and carry around.
If, on the other hand, you’re using cordless tools at work all day and want your radio to be seven days a week, then longer Bluetooth range, more sound, and the ability to charge and play using the same batteries that power your drill, nailer, and saw can be extremely convenient. If you’re ready to go rain or shine and will be tailgating in every season, look for a waterproof rating that ensures one less thing to worry about getting wet. If you’re looking to go wireless, not all of these speakers offer Bluetooth, though most do. With most newer phones lacking a headphone jack, Bluetooth is more important of a connection than ever.
While you’re not going to get audiophile sound quality from any of these, especially those with just one or two speakers thereby not offering stereo sound, that’s not really the point. These are for that tailgate party when you’ve got the grill cooking, the pre-game show playing, and just need to hear what’s going on. For that, these speakers are ideal for crowds ranging from small to massive.
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