Here are some upgrades to consider whether you’re planning your next patio party of barbecue.
A Bluetooth speaker is a great thing to have around the house, but they’re really indispensable as an easy way to bring your music outside. Bose’s new SoundLink Revolve+ is far from the cheapest option around, but CNET found it to be worth the cost, saying that it’s “arguably the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker for its size.” It has a handle that makes toting it inside or out easier, and it’s water-resistant so you don’t have to worry about spilled drinks or pool splashing.
But if you’re really planning to spend a lot of time outside, you may want to consider investing in a good pair of outdoor speakers. Polk Audio’s Atrium 4 speakers are a popular choice that will provide great sound and stand up to the elements. You can simply wire them to your indoor audio system or add in a streaming device so you can easily control the music from outside.
Outdoor lighting comes in every variety imaginable, but one option you may not have considered in an umbrella light. This relatively inexpensive one from Amir will attach to most standard patio umbrellas and offers three different brightness settings to either fully light the area underneath or simply provide a bit of ambient lighting.
If you really want to light up your deck or backyard, you may want to move beyond solar or battery-powered lights and invest in something like Brightech’s Ambience Pro commercial grade outdoor lights. Available in 24 or 48-inch lengths, the strands promise to be bright enough to illuminate a large area but not too bright.
If you want to keep enjoying your deck on chilly evenings but don’t want a big, unsightly patio heater, you can consider something like this heater that doubles as a bistro table. It’s electric, so you don’t have to worry about replacing propane tanks, and a built-in LED light can illuminate the tabletop at night.
Taking your music outside is one thing, but enjoying a big game or movie out in the fresh air requires a bit more planning (and money). One route is installing an outdoor TV like those from SunBriteTV. They’re designed to hold up to the elements and be viewable in sunlight. The downside is that they are much more expensive than your standard TV. The company’s SunBrite Outdoor43-inch model costs a hefty $1,500 and still requires some shade. Higher-end models designed for use in full sun will cost a few thousand more.
A more practical solution for occasional outdoor viewing is a projector. You can go with as basic or high-end setup as you like, but you’ll want to make sure you have a projector that’s bright enough to deliver a decent picture outside. Most experts recommend a projector with at least 2,000 lumens of brightness. The Optoma HD142X ($550) is one option singled out by CNET as offering some of the best performance around, and its 3,000 lumens is more than enough for a makeshift backyard theater.
The other component you’ll need is something to project the image on. That can be something as simple as a sheet, tarp, or proper outdoor screen. Something like JaeilPLM’s 100-inch screen costs just $100 and is guaranteed wrinkle free. It can also be packed up when not in use.