Bose 151 vs 251- Best Bose Outdoor Speaker

Bose has earned some reputation over high-performing speakers throughout the years. Two prime examples of excellence in sound are the Bose 151 and Bose 251 outdoor speakers. But which one is the best outdoor speaker for you?

Backyard events, family reunions and pool parties, or just simple hangouts with your friends can seem much more enjoyable with a little bit of music. And a good pair of outdoor speakers can make your time with your loved ones even more exciting.

Whilst the Bose 151 really catches the eye with its simple yet elegant design, the Bose 251 can offer a killer sound for your outdoor parties. Each speaker has its own unique features that make them shine in some areas. Let’s look at them in detail.

The Bose 151 SE Environmental Outdoor Speakers

The Bose 151 SE environmental outdoor speakers offer full and satisfactory stereo sound over a wide listening area with their exclusive Articulated Array speaker design. These speakers are built with great craftsmanship and their impeccable design really helps them stand out in the crowd. The fact that the Bose 151 can be mounted both horizontally and vertically to the wall makes them very convenient to use for outdoor parties. And that’s not all they are crafted meticulously to withstand high temperatures, rain, and snow, so they really win in the durability factor.

The Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor Speakers

The Bose 251 Environmental Outdoor speakers are just what you need if you’re looking to enjoy some good music with your friends in your backyard. These speakers offer an amazing and immersive audio experience with their Articulated Array speaker design. Thanks to their high power handling capacity and wide frequency range, you can hear the booms of the music with bright colors. The best thing about these speakers is that they are very light and easy to install. With all the mounting devices that come with the package, you will easily be able to set the Bose 251 on your patio and enjoy listening to your favorite music while swimming comfortably in the pool.

The Differences between Bose 151 and Bose 251

The table below compares both the outdoor speakers for a better understanding of their differences and similarities.

Comparison chart: Bose 151 vs. Bose 251

Feature
Bose 151
Bose 251
Speaker Type
Passive, wall mount, and wired outdoor speakers
Passive, wall mount, and wired outdoor speakers
Enclosure
Bass reflex
Bass reflex
Colors available
Black, White
Black, White
Weight
11.65 pounds
8 pounds
Dimensions
12.5 x 4.5 x 6 inches
13.5 x 5.8 x 8 inches
Woofer composition
Glass-filled polypropylene
Polymer fiber composite
Number of woofer drivers
3 per speaker
2 per speaker
Size of woofer drivers
2.5 inches
5.25 inches
Frequency response
40 Hertz to 80 Kilo Hertz
10 Hertz to 200 Kilo Hertz
Sensitivity
88 dB
88 dB
Impedance
8 Ohms
8 Ohms
Power handling capacity
40 Watts
100 Watts
Connectivity
Terminal block
Terminal block
Connector type
Post
5-way binding post
Compatibility
10-100 watts per channel, 50W IEC
10-200 watts per channel, 100W IEC
Feature
Bose 151
Speaker Type
Passive, wall mount, and wired outdoor speakers
Enclosure
Bass reflex
Colors available
Black, White
Weight
11.65 pounds
Dimensions
12.5 x 4.5 x 6 inches
Woofer composition
Glass-filled polypropylene
Number of woofer drivers
3 per speaker
Size of woofer drivers
2.5 inches
Frequency response
40 Hertz to 80 Kilo Hertz
Sensitivity
88 dB
Impedance
8 Ohms
Power handling capacity
40 Watts
Connectivity
Terminal block
Connector type
Post
Compatibility
10-100 watts per channel, 50W IEC
Feature
Bose 251
Speaker Type
Passive, wall mount, and wired outdoor speakers
Enclosure
Bass reflex
Colors available
Black, White
Weight
8 pounds
Dimensions
13.5 x 5.8 x 8 inches
Woofer composition
Polymer fiber composite
Number of woofer drivers
2 per speaker
Size of woofer drivers
5.25 inches
Frequency response
10 Hertz to 200 Kilo Hertz
Sensitivity
88 dB
Impedance
8 Ohms
Power handling capacity
100 Watts
Connectivity
Terminal block
Connector type
5-way binding post
Compatibility
10-200 watts per channel, 100W IEC

What’s inside the packaging?

Winner: Bose 151

The first thing that you’ll notice when you unwrap both the boxes of the outdoor speakers is that they come with a lot of mounting apparatus.

Inside the box for the Bose 151 SE, you will find things such as mounting brackets, lock washers, wall anchors, screws, and so on. The packaging includes two mounting brackets; two-bracket locking screws; six lock washers; four bracket-to-speaker mounting screws; four wood screws; four wall anchors for concrete mounting and lastly, one owner’s guide to help you fix the outdoor speaker.

On the other hand, the packaging of Bose 251 includes self-adhesive rubber feet, brackets, knobs, screws, and plastic anchors. When you open the box you will find two mounting brackets; eight screws; eight plastic anchors; six rubber feet; four knobs and an owner’s guide.

It is true that the packaging of Bose 151 includes more contents than that of Bose 251, however, the setback for both models is that a speaker wire needs to be bought separately.

Read: Let’s Compare Bose with Sonos

5 Best Bose Speaker

How is the design?

Winner: Bose 151

Both the Bose 151 and Bose 251 outdoor speakers come in the classic color options- black and white.

The Bose 151 has a sleek and modern design, with the Bose logo positioned in the middle whereas the Bose 251 takes more a traditional speaker approach in terms of design, with the volume control at the side in the back and the logo positioned near the bottom in the front.

Although design is much of a matter of perspective, I think we can all agree that the elegant and contemporary exterior of the Bose 151 catches all eyes in the room without an effort.

Read: HomeTheatre Speaker Comparison Between Sonos Beam and Playbase

What about the build quality?

Winner: Bose 151

The Bose 151 SE weighs heavier than the Bose 251, but is smaller in comparison. It has a height of 12.5 inches, a width of 4.5 inches, and a depth of 6 inches. It consists of three woofer drivers, which are composed of glass-filled polypropylene. The three woofer drivers have a size of 2.5 inches.

On the contrary, the Bose 251 which is lighter in size has a height of 13.5 inches, a width of 5.8 inches, and a depth of 8 inches. It has two woofer drivers which are around 5.25 inches in size. The woofer drivers are built of polymer fiber composite.

The disadvantage with the Bose 251 outdoor speakers is that it can only be mounted vertically to the wall. The Bose 151 is more versatile and convenient as an outdoor speaker since it allows for both vertical and horizontal wall mounting. Although it’s a bit heavier than its competitor, I’d say that the Bose 151 is better in terms of build quality since it is convenient to use.

What is the audio performance like?

Winner: Bose 251

Bose is known for its high-quality speakers but is the Bose 151 and Bose 251 worth it?

Both the Bose 151 and Bose 251 outdoor speakers have their exclusive technology incorporated in them. The speakers have what is called an Articulated Array design which works especially well for outdoor music. This special feature allows the woofer drivers of the speakers to be positioned in such a way that it emits clear and crisp sound for an outdoor setting. This means that your audio experience will be made much more pleasurable with exceptional surround sound. 

Both speakers have the same impedance and sensitivity rating. Usually, a sensitivity rating of 88 dB is considered to be average for speaker sound quality. The difference, however, lies in the frequency range. The frequency response of Bose 151 is at 40 hertz to 80 kilohertz but the Bose 251 surely puts a lasting impression with a wide range of 10 hertz to 200 kilohertz. The Bose 251 also has a larger power handling capacity than that its competitor, Bose 151.

The biggest difference lies in the woofers of the outdoor speakers. Whilst the Bose 151 has three drivers attached to its woofers, the Bose 251 has two. Nevertheless, the woofers in Bose 251 are much larger which means that they have better base output.

When compared, the Bose 151 has the advantage of more drivers but the Bose 251 has a higher frequency range, power handling capacity, and larger-sized drivers. This ultimately goes on to show that in terms of audio quality, the Bose 251 is the winner.

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Are the speakers resistant to harsh weather conditions?

Winner: Tie

It is very important for outdoor speakers to be built in such a way that they can withstand changing weather patterns. Keeping in mind the impacts of rain, hail, and storm, the outdoor speakers has to be designed specifically.

Bose has ensured that both Bose 151 and Bose 251 undergo environmental testing before being introduced in the market. These speakers are designed to withstand up to 100 percent of humidity and temperature extremes of -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

So it is safe to assume that both these speakers are pretty solid and can withstand unpredictable weather changes.

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What are the speakers compatible with?

Winner: Bose 251

The Bose 151 is compatible with amplifiers or receivers that have a rating of 10 to 100 watts per channel as well as 50-watt continuous power handling.

On the contrary, the Bose 251 is compatible with receivers and amplifiers which have a rating of 10 to 200 watts per channel, with a continuous power handling of 100 watts.

Therefore, the Bose 251 has a greater range of compatibility among the two environmental speakers.

FAQ

This FAQ Section is going to discuss some of your basic problem and solution to that. Let’s see what this part is bringing to us!

What are the advantages of Bose 151?

  • The Bose 151 are sleek and elegant looking speakers
  • The outdoor speakers have both options of vertical as well as horizontal wall-mounting
  • The Bose 151 are extremely durable 
  • They are easy to set up and mount
  • The Bose outdoor speakers can withstand harsh weather conditions and are waterproof

What are the drawbacks of Bose 151?

  • The Bose 151 may not have sufficient bass
  • The outdoor speakers do not include a bracket to mount under the eaves 

What are the advantages of Bose 251?

  • The Bose 251 shows exemplary product durability- the build quality is just excellent
  • These outdoor speakers are very easy to set up and use
  • The Bose 251 sound fantastic and are packed with a lot of power
  • These speakers can withstand adverse weather conditions 
  • The speakers have a lot of compatibility options
  • The frequency range of these speakers is very impressive

What are the drawbacks of Bose 251?

  • The speakers do not have enough bass

How do I clean my Bose 151 speakers?

To remove dust from your speakers, use a cloth that is dampened in mild detergent and water. You can also use a hose to rinse them thoroughly with fresh water.

What can I do if the bass on the Bose 251 is weak?

If the bass seems weak, check the tonal balance setting on your amplifier or receiver.

What should I do if neither of my Bose 151 speakers is playing?

If neither of the speakers is playing, check the settings on your receiver or amplifier and refer to the instructions in the manual.

How do I connect my Bose 251 speakers to the brackets? 

First, you will have to connect the speakers on the left side of the listening area to the left channel of your amplifier or receiver. To do this, simply attach the marked wire to the red terminal and the plain wire to the black terminal. After this step, you are required to connect the speaker to the right side of the listening area to the left channel of your receiver or amplifier in the same way.

Do I need an amplifier for outdoor speakers?

It is necessary to use an amplifier for most outdoor speakers- especially if you are considering adding a subwoofer to your audio system.

How many channels are required for outdoor speakers?

One amplifier is required with one channel for each speaker. Therefore, if you have two speakers, you will need a two-channel amplifier and so on. 

How do I control the volume and playlist of my outdoor speaker?

You can control the volume and playlist of your outdoor speaker mainly with the amplifier. You can use your phone, home automation system or tablet to control the music that you will choose.

Are the Bose 251 outdoor speakers wireless?

Yes, the Bose 251 outdoor speakers are wireless.

Do the Bose 151 speakers have a Bluetooth connection?

Yes, the Bose 151 speakers have a Bluetooth connection.

Outdoor speaker buying guide

Here are some things that you should know before getting yourself the perfect outdoor speakers:

Types of Outdoor speakers

There are different styles of outdoor speakers available. 

Traditional outdoor speakers are the ones that are designed to include a weatherproof casing, corrosion-free wire connections, and rust-proof grilles, enclosed in a waterproof casing. These speakers are similar to indoor bookshelf speakers and are most commonly used.

Landscape speakers are outdoor speakers that are built to hide in plain sight. These include teardrop satellite, simulated rock, mushroom, and bollard design outdoor speakers.

Outdoor architectural speakers are those that are more visually appealing and offer a great sound experience.

Line array speakers include multiple speakers that are mounted in a vertical line on a slight curve, a design that allows sound to be dispersed over a wide area.

How do you know which type of speaker to choose from? The line array speaker would be best if your outdoor space is large. If you have a large patio or a pool area, satellite speakers should be a good choice. However, if you have limited outdoor space, traditional speakers are the way to go.

Sound quality

The most important thing to consider before getting that outdoor speaker you’ve been looking for is how well it sounds. Because without a good functioning speaker, your outdoor party might not be fun.

First of all, if you are looking for the best sound possible you should determine the right cone size and wattage for space where you will install the speaker.

Usually, the more bass, the better an outdoor speaker sounds. If your backyard has plenty of space, you should choose an outdoor speaker that has a low-frequency response. This technically means speakers with larger cones, i.e. 6.5 or 8-inch cones, since the larger the size of the cone- the more bass it can offer.

Usually, the range of power for outdoor speakers is between 60 watts to 300 watts but the rating mainly depends on the power of the output of the receiver or amplifier that is used with the speakers. A greater wattage rating has the advantage of not only the speaker sounding louder but also covering a lot of distance for sound.

Setting up the outdoor speaker

It is very important that you know precisely about the environment in which you will set up your outdoor speakers. You have to clearly identify the position in which you will mount or place your outdoor speakers so that when buying them, you will know which size to go for and the number of speakers you’ll be needing.

If you’re going for a wired speaker, you will need to make sure that the length of the wire is correct for the perfect placement of the speakers. Since the speakers are to be placed outdoor, wireless speakers will be a better option.

Lastly, make sure you have all the things you need to set up the speaker. Mounting hardware such as anchors, screws, knobs, and brackets are absolute necessities.

Read: SVs and Ultra: Which is the right speaker for you?

Best outdoor speakers for 2021

Here are our picks of the best outdoor speakers for 2021 if you are still not convinced about the Bose models.

The Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers

The Polk Audio Atrium 4 are widely recognized as one of the best looking outdoor speakers with their simple and integrated design. It is composed of a 4 ½ inch mineral-filled Dynamic Balance polymer cone and a ¾ inch anodized aluminum dome tweeter with a rubber surround, which helps it achieve wide sound dispersion and powerful bass. Thanks to its one-click speed lock mounting bracket system, installation is quick and easy. Its rugged build gives it extreme environmental endurance- making it stand strong through rain, hail, or storm.

Pros

  • Clear and high-quality audio
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Heavy in size so difficult in terms of portability

The Ultimate ears Hyperboom

If it’s all about the bass for you, these hyper boom speakers can offer just the right amount of boom to keep you up to your feet and dancing. These crazy outdoor speakers are wild- they do not compromise at all when it comes to bass. Not only do they look cool, but they are also amazing in terms of sound thanks to their phenomenal dynamic range. With a one-touch music control option, handling these speakers is pretty convenient. With the Ultimate ears hyper boom, the party goes on.

Pros

  • Amazing bass quality
  • One-touch music control
  • Can get really loud
  • Dual Bluetooth input option
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Large and heavy

Yamaha NS-AW294WH

Yamaha Audio manufactured Yamaha NS-AW294WH is a two-way bass-reflex design outdoor speaker with a simple exterior and powder-coated grilles to provide resistance to harsh weather conditions. It is built of weatherproof cabinets that are water, drip, and UV protective.  Thanks to the powerful woofer drivers, the sound has accurate mid and low-frequency responses. The environmental speakers have mounting options that are very flexible, thus making them easy to install. With a combination of superior audio quality and impeccable waterproof design, these outstanding high-end outdoor speakers get a big thumbs up from our end!

Pros

  • The speakers are extremely durable
  • The speakers are waterproof and can withstand climate changes

Cons

  • Might not be visually aesthetic for some

Final Verdict

When you’re looking for outdoor speakers, the two most important things are whether they can have environmental endurance and whether they can be loud enough to rock your party.

The Bose 151 and Bose 251 are two impeccable choices for outdoor speakers.

Both manufactured by the famous Bose corporation, the outdoor speakers have their striking differences. 

Whilst the Bose 151 may look visually aesthetic, the Bose 251 offers better sound performance. The great thing about Bose 151 is that it is more versatile in the sense that it can be mounted both vertically and horizontally- leaving more installing options open. Both speakers have been built to withstand heat, snow, and storm. But when it comes to bass and compatibility, the Bose 251 is clearly winning.

The Bose 151 is pricier and does not offer the same level of bass as the Bose 251. 

If the sound is your first priority, you should definitely pick the Bose 251. You won’t be disappointed at all!

 

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