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Everything you need to host a summer party: Grills, speakers, coolers, and more

Here's what you need to host the ultimate summer party.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Christina Darby

Summer is arguably the best season of the year, full of swimming, nice weather, vacations, sunbathing, grilling, and of course, a few parties and get-togethers with family and friends. 

Also: The best portable speakers of 2023

If you're hosting a party during summer, there are several gadgets and products that make for a successful, fun, and stress-free gathering. Plus, with some summer deals and sales going on, you may even be able to snag them for a discounted price.

We thought about some of the most common party planning needs, cross referencing them with the top tech on the market -- from electric grills we've tested to ZDNET's top picks for outdoor TVs -- to compile a list of everything you'll need for your summer get together. 

A grill 

A grill is a great way to simultaneously socialize and feed all your guests. Plus, a hot dog or burger on the grill is a summer staple.  If this is one of the first times you've grilled this year and are realizing that it's time for an upgrade, or want to invest in one in general, now is the time. From electric grills to gas grills, these are the grills that'll get the job done.  

This gas grill from Char-Broil is great for multi-taskers with has an electronic ignition button to ensure quick and easy grill lighting and a built-in thermometer makes it easy to check cooking temperatures as you grill. Plus, a 10,000 BTU side burner lets you cook sauces and sides or keep appetizers warm while grilling your main course.

After going hands-on with the Weber Lumin grill, it's safe to say we're impressed. It can pre-heat and cook in similar time frames as a gas grill, and is even able to mimic that classic, charred flavor you get from gas grilling. In addition, it comes with a steamer basket for using soaked wood chips, thawing meat, and steaming vegetables. 

The classic design of this Weber grill is perfect for both direct and indirect heat grilling as well as smoking tougher cuts like ribs and brisket. In addition, the lid features a built-in thermometer so you can check your food's temperature without taking the top off. It also has adjustable vents to control cooking temperatures for perfect steaks, chicken, and fish. On the more compact side, this grill stands at 42.3 inches high and 32 inches wide, but still promises to fit up to 19 burgers. 

Also: The best charcoal grills you can buy

An outdoor TV 

Your outdoor area is for entertaining, and what better way to entertain than by watching a game, a movie, or stream the latest binge-worthy TV show outside? The best outdoor TVs have bright displays and durable builds so you can watch anything no matter the weather. 

The 55-inch 4K QLED display on the Samsung Terrace is made for the outdoors. More specifically, its anti-glare screen prevents the hot sun from interrupting a movie. Plus, IP55 waterproofing protects the TV from a rainy day. You can even connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to use the browser function and surf the web to watch YouTube videos outside.

The tempered, anti-glare screen on this outdoor TV is twice as bright as indoor models, so it can handle any bright environment, like your back patio on a sunny summer day. The Element Roku also has a IP55 rating, meaning it's weatherproof against water, dirt, humidity, and even snow. 

The anti-glare screen on this Furrion outdoor TV boasts excellent clarity with LED technology, an anti-glare LCD screen, and 4K resolution. Its 1,500-nit brightness immerse you in entertainment regardless of how bright the sun is shining, and the IP54-rated weatherproof housing ensures it's protected from the outdoor elements. 

A speaker 

Music is essential to a party. Therefore, so is a capable speaker. Whether it's a complete sound system or a portable speaker to bring with you on the go we've rounded up a few picks sure to get (and keep) the party going. 

If your summer get-together is taking you to the lake or a campsite, a portable speaker like the Sonos Roam is a great given its full sound and IP67 waterproof status. Sonos Roam uses dual Class-H digital amplifiers with a tweeter and mid-woofer, which promises a dynamic sound, regardless of range.

These speakers from Rocksteady are each a dual type of speaker that includes a tweeter with a mid-bass driver and bass drums to produce incredible sound. Essentially, you get full surround-sound at a relatively mid-tier luxury speaker price. This is an entirely flexible unit that allows you to connect multiple speakers at the same time, greatly expanding your outdoor listening area. 

If you're worried about wires and water, the Polk totes a waterproof rating to put your mind at ease, allowing you to focus on the sound with a Bass Boost that lets you really feel the music. With 80 watts of power, the speaker promises to overpower background noise, putting the sound of your music over sounds of nearby traffic or competing party's inferior music taste. 

A projector 

If an outdoor TV isn't feasible for your outdoor space, a projector is a great way to bring entertainment outside or on the go. You can sit back and watch your favorite movie on a bigger screen with crisp displays using simple Bluetooth connections to stream. Here are our top picks for the best outdoor projectors

This projector has both HDMI and USB-C connectivity so that you can enjoy 1080p viewing with extra bass from two midrange tweeters and a 10-watt woofer feeding sound from the 2.1-channel Bluetooth speaker. It also comes with Android TV so you can connect from your mobile device via AirPlay and Chromecast. At 5.06 pounds and 20 x10 inches, it's also fairly portable. 

At 2400 ISO lumens, this projector from Anker allows you to watch movies anytime, even before the sun goes down. In addition, Anker employs Dolby Audio and a 3D soundscape, which it promises to deliver top-tier sound to match the high quality visuals. Plus, the Anker's included handle makes it easier to transport the 10.69 projector from inside to outdoors or from party to party. 

The Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 smart streaming laser projector uses Epson MicroLaser Array Technology to accept content in clear, 4K picture and display video in clear, bright color. It uses a sound system designed by Yamaha, promising sound so powerful you won't need or miss a soundbar. At 4.7 pounds and featuring a sleek design, the Epson is both portable and stylish. 

A cooler 

A summer party isn't complete without some beverages. Whether its water, soda, or adult beverages, you need a reliable cooler to keep the drinks cold. Here are some of our favorite coolers

Yeti's insulation design, called Permafrost, uses pressure-insulated polyurethane foam walls, ensuring items stay cold for days at a time. It can hold up to 26 cans with ice, and coming in 12 fun colors, it'll be easy to tell which one belongs to your party. 

The Polar 120-quart cooler from Igloo is an excellent choice for those looking for serious capacity at a budget-friendly price point. The insulation technology holds ice for up to five days, and the threaded drain plug make for an easier emptying and cleaning process. 

At just 21 pounds, this cooler is much lighter than other options, making it great for portability and travel. It holds up to 70 cans (with no ice) so there's plenty of room to stock a beverages for your party. 

You might also need

Look below for more summer party essentials that can help Wi-FI to your guests and TVs, fire pits for a s'mores session, and more.  

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