Garage Stereo System: What do you Need?

If you’re like me, there is almost always something playing on the garage stereo system.  Over the past several years I have grown to appreciate audio quality more than I once did.  I spend a lot of time in my garage, so it’s only fitting that my garage stereo system produces at least a reasonable sound quality.

If you don’t have a garage stereo system, you should. Studies have shown that music can provide a boost to your mood and energy levels.

There are a lot of options available to be used as a garage stereo system.  These choices range from an Amazon Echo, all the way up to a full fledged audio receiver stereo and component speakers.  There are several good options in between to meet your needs, and wants, in a garage stereo system.

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Basic Garage Stereo System

If you are just looking for a basic garage stereo system that plays music at a reasonable volume, there are a lot of affordable and compact options that will do the job.

Amazon Echo

If you’re on a budget or just want something that plays music, it would be hard to do better than an Amazon Echo Dot.  We have a couple in our house, and the sound quality is reasonable, as well as the volume level.  If you want to spring the extra, you can get the Echo with Premium sound.

The voice control is nice if you are working on something in the garage.  There is no need to walk over to the speaker or pull out your phone with dirty hands.  

There are a lot of accessories available to mount the Echo on the wall and keep it up and out of the way.  Unfortunately the Echo has to be plugged in to work, so you can’t take it on the go if you have projects outside that need tending to.

Anker Soundcore Boost

If you aren’t too keen on the Amazon Echo, the Anker Soundcore Boost is a great Bluetooth battery powered option that comes in at a similar price.  It has an app that allows you to adjust the equalizer settings to suit your sound preferences.  Bluetooth connectivity allows you to keep your phone close for changing music.

In addition, the Anker Soundcore Boost offers 12 hours of battery power, and can function as a battery pack for other USB devices.  It is also dust and water resistant.  This is definitely one to check out if you are looking for a simple garage stereo system that you can take with you wherever your work goes.

If you are looking for a premium small speaker to use as a garage stereo system, look no further than the Bose Soundlink II.  I got one of these for my dad a few years back and it produces great sound.  It has a soft touch housing that protects it from bumps, and very easy to use buttons.  

Bose also offers an app to dial in settings to your personal tastes and preferences.  

The Bose Soundlink II is portable and provides up to 8 hours of run time on battery.  It is rechargeable through a micro usb cable, and it will work while plugged in. 

Bigger Can be Better

As we enter mid level garage stereo systems, the price goes up, but so does sound quality and available features.

Ion Block Rocker Plus

Ion Audio has some great stereo options.  I personally have their Job Rocker Plus, which isn’t currently available, and it has gone everywhere from my garage and backyard to bonfires and boating trips.  I have had to replace that battery once, but it is very cheap and readily available.

The Block Rocker Plus has 50 hours of battery run time.  You read that right, 50 hours of cordless music.  It has Bluetooth, AM/FM radio, and 100 Watts of power.  The speakers are large, and it will have no issue filling the garage with good quality sound.  It also has a suitcase design with wheels and an extendable handle for taking the tunes out of the garage.  In addition, it comes in at a very reasonable price.

The only downside is that it is a little large and heavy, but if you need volume, this is the portable option that will get it done.

Bose Home Speaker

If you are looking for high quality sound and voice control in your garage stereo system, the Bose Home Speaker might be your ticket.  The price is a little steep, but it is feature packed.

To start, the Home Speaker has 50 Watts of power, that is nothing to sneeze at in such a compact package.  It offers Bluetooth, streaming over WiFi through major music services, can be controlled via your phone, voice, or buttons.  It also features a front display to show information about the music currently playing.  

This speaker has to be plugged in and does not have an internal battery.  If you are looking for a stereo to put in one spot and leave it, while taking up a small amount of space, this is the one you’ve been looking for.

Component Stereo Receiver

If you are looking for the best sound quality and most volume, putting together a component garage stereo system may be the way to go.  This will be the most expensive option, and it will be a fixed addition to your garage.  It does allow you to tailor the system to your preferences with the sound and speakers you want to use.

Garage Stereo System Receiver

Sony STRDH190

The Sony STRDH190 is a 2 Channel stereo receiver.  It features 200 watts of power across 2 channels.  There are several audio inputs on the rear to hook up the music source of your choice.  Don’t have anything to plug in?  No worries, the receiver has Bluetooth built in allowing streaming from your phone or tablet.

There is no dedicated subwoofer output if that is a feature you are looking for, but with the right choice in speakers, you may not miss it.  It does come with a remote, so you can tuck the receiver somewhere out of the way.


The YAMAHA R-N303BL is another 2 channel receiver that features 200 watts across the channels.  It has similar features to the Sony above, but it does have WiFi and network capabilities not found on the Sony.  

Once again, pair this with the speakers of your choosing and you will have the best garage stereo system on the block. It also is compatible with Alexa, so you can set it up for voice control with an Echo.

Garage Stereo System Speakers

These speakers will be great options to pair with the above receivers.  For the purpose of this article, we are only going to cover bookshelf speakers.  If you have the room, you can explore more options in tower speakers and subwoofers, if you have a receiver that supports one.

Klipsch R-41M

The Klipsch R-41M bookshelf speakers are compact, and are rated for 50 Watts each.  We have  Klipsch home theater system speakers, and they are fantastic for the price point.  I would not hesitate to use these in the garage stereo system (or home stereo system, for that matter).  These should produce a reasonable amount of bass, so if you aren’t heavy into electronic music the sound should be right on par.

Another plus is that these look great.  You can choose to take the grills off to show the copper colored cones in all their glory, just keep in mind how much dust your garage stereo system will see based on the type of work you do.

Yamaha NS-6490

The Yamaha NS-6490 bookshelf speakers can pump out up to 140 Watts of power.  If you want loud, these will give you loud.  There are 3 speakers in each housing providing great balance and sound.  With stunning reviews for rock and classic rock, if that genre is your main listen, then these speakers should be high on your list.  They come in at a great price point as well.

Thrifted Garage Stereo System

If you really want a component system but don’t want to lay out the cash for a new one, check your local thrift and second hand stores. 

Anytime I have gone (which was a lot), there were always some stereo receivers and speakers laying around for reasonable prices.  Be ready to do some quick research on your phone to check for reviews and quality.  I have found some amazing deals on stereo components for under $10 that would have cost several hundred when new.  

If you go the thrifting route for your garage stereo system, you are going to have to be ready to compromise or find workarounds if you want modern features like bluetooth.  Odds are, the stereo receivers found at a thrift store are going to be many years old.  Bluetooth wasn’t a thing when they were designed, or at least wasn’t used for streaming music. 

You may have to use an auxiliary adapter with Bluetooth for wireless connection, or an auxiliary cable if your music playing device still has a headphone jack.

Don’t let this deter you, if you enjoy the hunt and keep your eyes open, you can get a really nice stereo for pennies on the dollar.

Headphones in the Garage or Workshop

Many people will turn to headphones in the garage or workshop. I, for one, am not a fan of headphones or ear buds when I am working on a project.

Headphones get rid of your situational awareness. As silly as it sounds, headphones allow people to come up behind you without you know, and that can lead to some serious accidents. If you get startled because you don’t know someone else is in your work space, fingers and hands can end up encountering saw blades and drill bits.

You can also tell a lot by the sound your machines and tools are making when in use. If a saw is straining, you may need to increase speed, or feed slower. The same goes for a drill press or hand drill.

Headphones and ear buds may prevent you from hearing a tool hitting the floor, and you could damage the tool further by stepping on it, or even worse, tripping over it. It sure would be a bad day if you didn’t hear your favorite square hit the ground and stepped on it, bending the rule.

Final thoughts

Music plays an important role in my garage, whether that be getting me motivated to get projects done, writing articles like this, or relaxing after a long day.  I’m betting that there are others that feel the same.  Getting a garage stereo system that fits your needs, budget, and preferences can really make your time in the garage more enjoyable.

I personally think after upgrading our home audio system, the time has come for me to put together a component stereo system for my garage. My Ion Job Rocker is great, but I have a perfect spot for a receiver and set of book shelf speakers, and will appreciate the sound quality upgrade.

Now that you have your sound system figured out, turn on some music and get organized with our sandpaper storage ideas, or find a new garage hobby with scrap metal art!

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