I'm poised to mount some patio speakers and am trying to figure out how to best protect the point where the speaker cable connects to the speaker. The speakers will be mounted on an exterior wall with no other protection from the elements, ie I can't mount them under the eaves or under a screened-in porch.
I assume I should at least use banana plugs but the range of opinions on this topic runs the gamut from bare wire is OK to duct tape to electrical tape to some sort of gel to heat shrink to coax wrap.
Forget banana plugs. They are primarily used to try to impress someone.
I have five speakers out on my deck with no other protection. I used banana plugs and have yet to have an issue after 5 seasons. Who would you impress with banana plugs that no one will see anyway? I think that by inserting into the binding post, the end that actually makes contact stays pretty well protected from the elements.
If you use binding posts and plan on inserting/removing them a lot, then tining your wires will save you a lot grief. A soldering iron capable of doing this won't cost you too much, and isn't too difficult to get the hang of.
It is certainly easier than having to re-strip the speaker wire all the time because the individual copper wires have started to break off.
Also, no one will judge you if you use banana plugs if you have to do a lot of plugging/unplugging, just so long as you don't go overboard and purchase a $50 set of platinum-plated ones or something crazy like that.
I used banana plugs and have yet to have an issue....
Yeah, they work OK most of the time if you use good ones. The cheap ones don't work very well because of minimal contact area and pressure. The locking ones generally work pretty well. But a tinned lead in a binding post that is properly tightened will be a better, more reliable connection, and is less trouble and expense than a banana plug. The same can be said for a properly crimped/soldered $.10 spade lug, which is no more trouble to connect/disconnect than a locking banana plug.
Aside from all that, a problem with even the best banana plugs when mounting speakers on a wall is that they will generally prevent the back of the speaker resting flush with the wall.