Best Outdoor TVs and Entertainment Centers
With summer in full swing, many people are spending more time outdoors lounging on patios and firing up the barbeque. Adding a TV to your outdoor space will spice up your get-togethers and make your patio the neighborhood hotspot, but there’s a lot to consider before you invest. Outdoor TVs are a lot different than indoor TVs, and failing to understand the differences will only cost you more in the long run.
The Best Outdoor TVs At a Glance
|TV||Resolution||Screen Size||Suitable for Direct Sun||Price||Our Recommendation|
|SunBriteTV Veranda Series||4K Ultra HD||43"||No||$$$||Best Overall|
|Skyvue OBX-32000L||1080p Full HD||32"||Yes||$$$$||Best for Direct Sun|
|SunBriteTV Pro Series||1080p Full HD||55"||Yes||$$$$$$||Best Picture|
|TV||SunBriteTV Veranda Series|
|Resolution||4K Ultra HD|
|Suitable for Direct Sun||No|
|Our Recommendation||Best Overall|
|Resolution||1080p Full HD|
|Suitable for Direct Sun||Yes|
|Our Recommendation||Best for Direct Sun|
|TV||SunBriteTV Pro Series|
|Resolution||1080p Full HD|
|Suitable for Direct Sun||Yes|
|Our Recommendation||Best Picture|
Data current as of 6/13/18. Pricing and features subject to change.
The Best Outdoor, Waterproof, and Weatherproof TVs
The most important thing you need your outdoor TV to do is withstand the weather. Whether you want a waterproof outdoor TV to set up by the pool or need a weatherproof, durable one to take on the road in your RV or motorhome, we’ve got you covered with our top three picks.
The SunBriteTV Veranda Series is one of the best values in outdoor TVs. This fully-protected TV keeps out dust, dirt, rain, and other environmental nasties while providing a sharp 4K picture. SunBriteTV claims it’s 30% brighter than standard indoor TVs. While that’s great for use in covered areas, this one still isn’t meant for direct sunlight. But if you’re mostly interested in an outdoor TV for evening and nighttime viewing, this won’t be an issue for you.
Best for Direct Sun
The Skyvue OBX series is one of the brightest TVs on the market. With a maximum brightness of up to 1,000 nits, you can catch the World Cup action outside on even the sunniest days. This outdoor, weatherproof TV is also built to withstand the much higher temperatures a super-bright screen and direct sunlight can produce.
To match the aesthetic of your outdoor space, you can choose from multiple colors, including white, black, and blue. It also comes with optional Wi-Fi support and built-in streaming apps to power an outdoor Netflix binge of Stranger Things late into the night.
If you want a larger picture in a package still visible in direct sun, this model from SunBriteTV will do the trick. The aptly-named Pro Series can withstand intense high and low temperatures, making it great for stashing in an RV for a cross-country trip. It’s also fully weatherproof, waterproof, and dirtproof. In other words, if you want a true tank of a TV—fully hardened against the environment and visible in all lighting conditions—this is the one to beat.
Two Things to Consider When Buying an Outdoor TV
There are two features outdoor TVs attempt to address compared to standard indoor TVs: visibility in bright sunlight and weatherproofing.
One of the main reasons to purchase an outdoor TV is for improved visibility in direct sunlight compared to standard TVs. This is mostly because outdoor TVs are a lot brighter than indoor TVs. Screen brightness is measured in nits, and most indoor TVs average 250–350 nits. Outdoor TVs can average between 500–700 nits, with some going as high as 1,000 nits.
Weatherproofing is another important feature that outdoor TVs bring to the table. This includes things like cooling fans, heat sinks, and other technology to keep the TV cool even in the heat of the summer. Furthermore, they are sealed against dust, rain, snow, dirt, and other random debris that might otherwise weasel their way into your TV.
How to Get Video to Your Outdoor TV
Even a top-of-the-line outdoor TV is little use without a way to get content to it.
- The easiest (and most weatherproof) way is to use a wireless setup. Some outdoor TVs include smart TV functionality, so you’ll be covered as long as you have internet access.
- For TVs that lack built-in smart functionality, there are wireless HDMI adapters available that can beam the signal from a set-top box indoors out to the TV. The only thing is weatherproof wireless HDMI adapters are somewhat hard to find.
- If wireless isn’t an option, you can also run an extra-long HDMI cable from an indoor DVR or set-top box to the outdoor TV. Set-top boxes themselves aren’t generally meant for outdoor use.
- Lastly, you can hook up an HDTV antenna and get some cable channels that way. Outdoor antennas tend to be less sleek than their indoor counterparts, but they’re affordable and get the job done. We like this one from RCA.
When mounting the TV, you’ll want to make sure you leave room for any additional outdoor speakers (this outdoor soundbar is great), antennas, or enclosures you want to include. Many of these TVs either come with or require a soundbar to get decent sound, due to the thick enclosures and waterproofing. A soundbar will also help with getting your TV audio through the outdoor noise ambiance.
The most sturdy and versatile option for installing your outdoor TV is to use a mount. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our guide to the best TV mounts.
FAQs about Outdoor TVs
Can I use an indoor TV outside?
No. Using a standard TV (meant for indoor use) outside for any length of time is a great way to end up with a ruined TV. We’re not exaggerating—don’t do this!
Condensation, heat, and drastic temperature changes can cause moisture to build up inside a TV set, and it doesn’t take much moisture to ruin electronics. Most outdoor TVs have fans, heat sinks, and serious ventilation to raise operating temperatures and combat this effect. Indoor TVs don’t.
Do I need a cover for an outdoor TV?
Strictly speaking, no. Since an outdoor TV is inherently weatherproof, you shouldn’t need to cover it. However, we’d recommend one anyway, if only to keep it clean. After all, you’re probably spending several thousand dollars on this piece of gear.
You could also consider an enclosure for the whole entertainment system, though this really depends on how you’re mounting the TV.
Are there any cheap outdoor TVs?
Unfortunately, no. Even cheap outdoor TV sets tend to be around $1,000—considerably more than a budget indoor set, so plan on dishing out a good chunk of cash. The brightness requirements and the cost of weatherproofing a TV is no cheap feat.
Outdoor TVs aren’t cheap by any means, but they can be a rewarding investment if you spend a lot of time outside—especially for those looking to upgrade their outdoor entertainment setup. If you have a favorite brand of outdoor TV that’s served you well, let us know in the comments! We’re always looking to learn more about what’s out there.