Bose 251 Environmental Speakers Review - Audiostance

Bose 251 Environmental Speakers Review

Bose is undoubtedly one of the more exciting speaker brands on the market. Their headphones and speakers are extremely popular (and for good reason). While their products might not be considered “audiophile quality,” they’re fun to listen to. The Bose 251 Environmental is one of those exciting Bose products. The speakers are beautifully designed to suit any outdoor space and will impress guests both acoustically and aesthetically. The 251 Environmental is designed to work with and complement other Bose products, including the popular SoundTouch range, which we will cover later in this review.

The Bose 251 also features on our list of the best patio outdoor speakers.

At a Glance

Sold as:Pair
Power Handling:10W – 100W @ 6 ohms
Dimensions:13.5″ x 5.75″ x 8.0″
Weight:8 lbs
Speaker Drivers:5¼” low-frequency driver + 2 x 2½” tweeters
Bose 251 Environmental Speakers

Design and Sound

Each 251 Environmental speaker features a 5¼-inch low-frequency driver with two 2½”  Bose Twiddler™. The Twiddler is a high/mid driver designed by Bose specifically for their latest range of indoor and outdoor speakers. These Twiddlers are mounted at 45° left and right of the center in what Bose calls an Articulated Array. The Articulated Array gives the 251 Environmental a wider outdoor dispersion. This means that the “sweet spot” for the 251 Environmental covers a larger area, for example, your backyard.

Not only does the Bose 251 Environmental cover a large area, but they sound incredible, too. The bass response of these speakers is particularly impressive. With such a deep, punchy, low-end response, it’s hard to believe the bass these speakers produce comes from a 5¼-inch driver! You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the Twiddlers.

These amazing drivers do great with the upper mid-range and high-frequency response. Vocals appear present and upfront without being overpowering at any point. The highs produce an articulate brilliance that adds to the sound profile’s 251 Environmental clarity and intelligibility. Even at high volumes, the 251 Environmental never becomes harsh, distorts, or breaks up in any way. These speakers perform consistently well, no matter what the volume.

Power and Amplification

The 251 Environmental features a power handling of 10 to 100W at 6 ohms. However, the speakers can also be powered by 4 – 8-ohm amplifiers. Make sure you check the user manual or contact Bose for further details. To get the most out of your 251 Environmental speakers, pair these with an amplifier as close to 100W as possible. Hooking the 251 Environmental to anything less than an 80W receiver would be a waste.

The 251 Environmental was designed to operate with the Bose SoundTouch SA-5 Amplifier. The SA-5 forms part of the SoundTouch range from Bose, including WiFi speakers and amplifiers of all sizes. This allows you to create a full multi-room entertainment system using Bose products that connect via your home WiFi network.


The SoundTouch SA-5 inputs include 2 x RCA, ⅛-inch AUX, Bluetooth, WiFi, and Ethernet connectivity. In addition, the SA-5 is compatible with Alexa. If you choose to power your 251 Environmental using the SA-5, you can purchase a complete Bose package, including a speaker wire.

Bose 251 Environmental Speakers

Cabling and Installation

If you plan to install the 251 Environmental yourself, then make sure to follow Bose instructions when it comes to cable gauge. Here are the recommendations for speaker wire gauge vs. length of cable run:

  • 18-gauge – up to 30ft maximum
  • 16-gauge – up to 45ft maximum
  • 14-gauge – up to 70ft maximum
  • 12-gauge – 70ft and beyond

Included with the 251 Environmental is a bracket for each speaker. Bose designed the 251 Environmental brackets to aid one-man DIY installations by having the mounting points facing vertically rather than horizontally. This means you can place the speaker on the bracket and angle and fasten it with two hands.

The 251 Environmental can only be mounted in a vertical position. Mounting the speaker horizontally will mean the Articulated Array will fire into the floor and ceiling, losing its left/right dispersion, which would be pointless. For the Articulated Array to be most effective, Bose recommends positioning the 251 Environmental a minimum of 7ft apart. So, wherever you plan to install the 251 Environmental, make sure you can mount the speakers in the vertical (15” of vertical space) with a minimum of 7ft between the two speakers.


The 251 Environmental were designed to live and operate exposed to the elements. The speakers can operate from -22° F to 140° F, covering most parts of the US. In addition, the 251 Environmental are resistant to snow, rain, and salt fog. Even with all this protection, I recommend installing the 251 Environmental under the eaves of your roof or covered patio where the speakers are not directly exposed to the elements.

Bose 251 Environmental Speakers

Bose 151 Environmental Speakers

The 151 Environment is another outdoor speaker option from Bose. Unlike the 251 Environmental, the 151 Environmental can be mounted vertically or horizontally. The speakers are also more resistant to extreme temperatures ranging from -40° F to 158° F. In addition, the 151 Environmental have gone through 1,200 hours of salt-fog testing, double the Marine Industry Standard for this sort of test. The 251 and 151 Environmental perform similarly with similar acoustic design features in most other aspects. They can also both be powered by the SoundTouch SA-5 amplifier.

Bose 251 Environmental SpeakersWhat’s in the Box?

Included with the Bose 251 Environmental Speakers:

  • 2 x Bose 251 Environmental
  • 2 x mounting brackets with fastening knobs
  • Mounting hardware (8 screws and 8 plastic anchors)
  • 6 x rubber feet


If you’re looking for the best outdoor speakers for your home, there isn’t much competition at the Bose 251 Environmental price point. These speakers look amazing and sound incredible. So good, the 251 Environmental topped our recent list of the best patio outdoor speakers. At shy of $400, the 251 Environmental may seem expensive, but they are well worth the price. I have seen no poor reviews on the 251 Environmental, which only shows how much people value this purchase, even at $400 for a pair.

If you own other Bose SoundTouch products, the 251 Environmental for your outdoor entertainment area or patio is a no-brainer. Via the SoundTouch SA-5, the 251 Environmental will integrate into your home entertainment system.

Whether you’re looking for some background music for your outdoor area or a party system for your outdoor entertainment area, the 251 Environmental is one of the best on the market in 2019.

Audiostance Author - Matt Hallowes
Written by
Matt Hallowes

Matt is a sound engineer and confessed vinyl junkie! His work as a sound engineer includes live production and venue installations, giving him deep insight into the audio industry, with personal experience with dozens of products. While traveling the world, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us!

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  • Hello,
    I bought 4 Bose 251 outdoor and now I plan to buy a wifi amplifier to connect them. What would be the best choice? I was thinking about Sonos amp, but I would like an opinion from someone who knows about it. Thank you.

  • I need to purchase a compatible receiver that would power six Bose 251 speakers. Is that possible? If so, what would you recommend? Thank you! Tammy

  • matt – great review on bose 251 vs. 151. I have the 151′ s but one speaker died. I am thinking about replacing both. However, wanted to see if you know if i can use the 151’s brackets to mount the 251’s. Just don’t want to drill another set of wholes in the house.. Thank you in advance, Matt.