Pros:Stylish, very good sound!
Cons:Spec sheets don't give frequency response.
The Bottom Line: Great speakers for a reasonable price, work well, built like a truck.
We recently bought and installed a pair of Bose 251 environmental speakers as part of a new deck project. Before we bought these speakers we already had a high opinion of Bose products from the experience of friends and relatives (there is one pair of 901's in the family). These speakers did not disappoint! Clean, clear sound, excellent dispersion, low distortion, high efficiency and great looks.
Recommend this product?
They seem to contain their sound-field really well. Our yard is about 60' wide by 50' deep and despite using them at some pretty good listening levels, they don't seem to carry much beyond our fence, with the sound levels dropping off to non-annoying levels by the time you get to the property line.
Installation was a snap with the supplied brackets, but I would never use the cheesy plastic anchors supplied. I installed mine using Tapcon screws on brick.
The manual calls for a minimum 7' spacing, I placed mine about 14' apart and the sound is great.
If you listen to these speakers indoors, they don't sound nearly as good as they do outside - height and spacing are important. This is not to say that they sound bad anywhere!
March, 2007 Update
The Bose 251's that we installed back in July of 2002 are still working - the sound quality has been unaffected despite 5 summers and 5 Canadian winters. The speakers are installed on the south wall of our home and receive direct sunlight most days in the summer months. Ambient air temperatures can range up to 38 ºC (about 100 ºF) in the summer and down to -30 ºC (about -22 ºF) in the winter. They also get plenty of rain, snow and ice.
These speakers were a great buy and continue to perform very well. If you are looking for a great set of outdoor speakers, buy these!
December 2009 update
These speakers continue to amaze me with their performance and longevity. They've been in the weather now for seven years, and apart from wiping the dust off them every once in a while nothing else has been needed.
I noticed that the grills had worked themselves loose, I'm assuming from expansion and contraction due to temperature changes over the last seven years. I took the opportunity to remove the grills and inspect the speaker cones and webs and was amazed to discover that there was almost no visible deterioration. I snapped the grills back on and went back to happily listening to them!
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: If you want top-notch, durable, outdoor speakers the Bose 251's can't be beat. My cost of ownership is now about $55/year. Good deal!
June 2012 Update - The 251's are still rockin'! They sound and look as good today as the day they were installed!