You’re out on the water, enjoying some sunshine. Maybe you’re towing a water-skier. Maybe you’ve cast a few lines and now you’re waiting on a nibble. Whatever it may be, the best marine speakers will let you bring your tunes with you.
Marine stereos are different than other audio products because they are designed to take the abuse that comes with the territory. From temperature extremes to soaking rains to saltwater corrosion, that’s what faces your boat’s audio system when it’s tied up at the marina. Then you have wind interference and other environmental factors to consider when driving.
That’s why settling for whatever speakers you can find isn’t an option.
What Are the Best Marine Speakers?
The best marine speakers will work with the interior of your boat. They’ll provide you with an excellent audio quality, even when you’re driving. They will endure the open climate and require little maintenance in return. These are the top-rated speakers to look at right now.
|Kenwood Marine Boat Yacht Outdoor Stereo Speaker|| 4.3 ||6.5 inches|| $$$
|Boss Audio 200-Watt Marine Speakers|| 4.3 ||6.5 inches|| $$
|Kicker 11 KB6000W White Marine Speakers|| 4.4 ||6.5 inches|| $$$$
|Sony XSMP1611 Dual Cone Marine Speakers|| 4.2 ||6.5 inches|| $$$
|Marine Maxx Heavy Duty Marine Speakers|| 4.0 ||4 Inches|| $$
|Boss Audio MR50W Marine Speakers|| 4.4 ||5.25 Inches|| $
|Kenwood 300-Watt Marine Speakers|| 4.5 ||8 Inches|| $$$$
|Pyle Dual Waterproof Marine Speakers|| 4.0 ||6.5 inches|| $
|Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Full-Range Marine Speakers|| 4.3 ||6.5 inches|| $$
|Kicker KM654LCW 2-Way Marine Speaker Pair|| 4.4 ||6.5 inches|| $$$$$+
What Should the Best Marine Speakers Have?
If you’re looking for a good set of marine speakers to enhance your boat’s audio system, then there are some specifics that you’ll want them to have.
- Good Specifications. Better specs mean you’ll receive better sound quality from your speakers. Look for options that include a wide frequency response, RMS power, weatherproof cones, and rubber surrounds.
- High Power. Most marine receivers have a 4-way amplified built into them to help drawn out the nautical noises that grace your ears while on a boat. Some models don’t have the power to punch through that interference, however, so invest into the speakers that have the highest power possible for the best results.
- Bluetooth Support. Some marine speakers work with Bluetooth technology so you can stream directly to the speaker instead of requiring a full audio system. You can find speakers that allow you to use a flash drive or MP3 player to play music. If you do have an audio system installed, make sure the features of the speaker work with the specs of the system.
It is easy to associate an amplifier with a higher volume, which is necessary for many marine applications. If you already have several speakers installed and you can’t hear your music, then a marine-rated amplifier could be a better investment option.
For those who don’t have an audio system installed yet, however, a good set of marine speakers must be your first investment. You can always add an amplifier to your system later if you find that the tunes are being lost in the wind or drowned out by the noise of the engine.
How to Find the Best Marine Speakers for Me
When you’re looking for the best marine speakers to meet your needs, there are 3 specific comparison factors that should be examined carefully.
- UV Resistance. Marine speakers are designed to resist damage from the sun, but some models do a better job of it than others. Look for lifetime UV ratings on key components, such as the cones, grills, and controls.
- Corrosion Resistance.Even if you don’t use your boat on saltwater, the weather and water exposure can promote corrosion within your audio equipment. Marine speakers are manufactured with materials that aren’t designed to rust, but be sure to make sure your circuits and connections are properly plated to avoid an unpleasant surprise in the future.
- Water Resistant vs. Waterproof. If the marine speakers are water-resistant, then they will take a splashing, but won’t survive being submerged in water. You can save some cash by purchasing a water-resistant speaker, but the gamble is that you won’t have too much water hit the speaker while you’ve got the boat out.
You don’t need to be submerged to exceed the level of moisture that a water-resistant marine speaker can handle. Something as simple as a heavy downpour to an exposed speaker could be enough to cause enough damage that would stop the audio equipment from operating.
Saltwater exposure will reduce the waterproof nature of a marine speaker over time as well. Many speakers use rubber gaskets to create a seal that keeps dust and water out of the unit. Salt exposure will eventually wear out these gaskets and cause them to fail, though it usually takes several years to have this happen.
With high-quality features in these three specific comparison factors, you’ll be able to find the right speakers to meet your needs today.
How to Get the Most from Your Marine Speakers
The best marine speakers are an investment. There’s no getting around that fact. That means you must make sure the speakers you settle on can provide you with the power that is needed so your audio system can perform well.
Although it isn’t published, the ratings on speakers are usually a bit conservative. They can take more power than is published, but you’ll need to meet at least 75% of their power rating to receive a quality sound from the speaker.
That means you must match your current audio system to the specs of the marine speakers you want to make sure you can get the most from your marine speakers.
Here’s what you’re going to need to look at.
- What is the optimum minimum power for the speakers? Find out the top RMS rating for the marine speakers. Pairs can sometimes be a little different, so never assume that two speakers are the same. Use the lower rating for the minimum if you do have differences. Then multiply the number by 0.75 to determine the minimum wattage that you’ll need.
- What is the optimum maximum power for the speakers? To determine the maximum output power, you’ll want to multiply the same number by 1.5. Sometimes you might not be able to find marine speakers that can match the maximum wattage. As long as you have an amplifier that can have its gain scaled back, you won’t blow out the speakers.
- How many amplifier channels are required? Smaller boats only need a 2-channel amplifier to work with their marine speakers. It’s a practical solution when a pair of speakers will work to provide you tunes while you relax. Some manufacturers offer up to a 6-channel amp that can be run with numerous speaker configurations. Decide on the size and scope and then plan the amp to match.
At minimum, your amp should offer 75 watts per channel so you can have the audio cut through the nautical interference. You can have a difference of 5-10 watts in either direction and still be okay. Just make sure your new speakers can meet the watts per channel that are being produced.
If your amp offers 75 watts per channel, you’ll need speakers that have a 50-watt rating installed.
Installing Your New Marine Speakers Can Be Tricky
Some marine speakers come with complete installation instructions and a marine-rated wiring kit to make sure you can connect them to your current audio system.
Then there are the marine speakers that provide you with the speaker and nothing more. The best marine speaker reviews will let you know if you need additional wiring or a wiring kit to complete the installation.
When purchasing marine speakers, you may be given the option to purchase a professional installation while checking out. That is optional and at your personal discretion, but can be helpful if you need to cut holes for the speakers.
As part of the installation process, you may wish to install a secondary battery to make sure your amps are properly powered. Draining the boat’s battery because you’re playing music all day and then can’t get home is a fast way to turn a fun day into a disaster.
Having a capacitor available to make sure you have reserve power stored can be helpful for your new marine speakers as well.
Don’t forget the other hardware that you may need to complete the installation of your speakers or your new audio system. Fuses, distribution hardware, grounding cables, terminals, remotes, and line out converters may be necessary to finish the job.
What Are the Prices of the Best Marine Speakers?
Quality levels can vary greatly when looking for the best marine speakers for your boat. Entry-level models can be priced around $75 for a pair, but will provide you with minimal sound coverage. It’s still a good option for smaller boats or if you don’t want to listen to music while driving.
For most boats, the average cost per speaker to expect is about $70 each. For a 10-speaker installation, that means an investment of $700. That may be overkill for some owners, but would provide enough sound coverage in most nautical circumstances.
Premium speakers can be upwards of $300 each.
Most owners will find speakers in the $100 or less category fully capable of meeting their needs. Look for discounts when shopping by purchasing the best marine speakers in pairs.
Reviews: 10 Magnificent Marine Speakers
If you’re looking for marine speakers that get all the basics right, then this is the pair for you. These 6.5-inch speakers have a nice grill that will go with just about an interior. The design is naturally water resistant, while the UV-resistant grill does a good job of promoting sound that cuts through nautical interference. These speakers are tough to hear while driving, but they do have a maximum output of 86 decibels, so you’ll get plenty of sound while you’re lounging around. Mounting screws, speed clips, and templates are included.
If you’re looking for some decent marine speakers so you can have some tunes while fishing or catching some sun, then this pair of speakers can get the job done. Although the overall output is somewhat minimal, you’ll still receive up to 90 decibels of audio. When networked with 2 or 3 additional pairs, you can create an effective stereo experience for your boat. These are entry-level speakers, however, so their durability and sound quality are somewhat limited when compared to other models.
We loved the sound quality that comes out of these 6.5-inch marine speakers. With a max power of 150 watts and RMS power of 75 watts, these two-way speakers offer a solid woofer and tweeter function that gives you a nice frequency response. There’s enough power to cut through all but the toughest of environmental interference issues while the audio remains crisp and clear. The mounting hardware is included, along with a water-resistant enclosure. We found them to be well-built and excellent speakers for the price.
These IPX5 dual-cone speakers may seem unimposing at first, but their UV and saltwater resistance[ lends]-not sure what this should be to a 65W RMS power option that works well for most boats. The grill is removable on these speakers as well, making maintenance a simple chore. They’re available in three different color options, including black, so you can install the right look for your boat. Front or rear mounting is possible. Max power handling is 140 watts. Expect these speakers to last about 12-24 months under regular operating conditions.
If you’re looking for small speakers for your boat, the choices you have are somewhat limited. In the 4-inch category, this option is our preferred speaker. These 2-way marine-grade Hi-Fi speakers offer a full range stereo output experience. Max handling is 100 watts and the installation process is very easy. The speakers come in a self-contained pod with mounting brackets, so you’re done in under an hour. The only issue is hearing the audio with nautical interference, which can be difficult at high speeds. Otherwise we found these speakers to be an incredible value purchase.
These waterproof marine speakers are a surprisingly good value. Magnet covers and grills are included with the speaker, which is backed by a 3-year platinum warranty. The basket is plastic, while the surround is treated cloth, so there are some limitations to the installation and application of these speakers. They’re 5.25 inches as well, which may not work for every boat. The voice coil is made of aluminum, with the cone being polypropylene, so there is some durability. If your budget is tight and these speakers meet your needs, it’s a good entry-level option to consider.
These were easily one of the best speaker pairs we were privileged to examine. With a max wattage of 300W and RMS wattage of 100W, these CEA-rated speakers create a balanced sound that slices through interference like a hot knife through butter. There is water-resistance built into the design, though they aren’t waterproof, so you’ll want to avoid spraying them down as you clean the interior. Just keep the mounting depth of 3 3/8 inches in mind before purchasing to make sure they’ll work with your current setup.
These marine-grade component speakers are about as affordable as you’ll find in this category. As one might expect, the quality of the sound is somewhat questionable, but you do receive a stereo sound reproduction with this setup. Mounting hardware and speaker wire are included in the box. Max power is 150 watts, with RMS power at 75 watts. The diameter of the magnet is 3.5 inches. Distortion is minimal. One word of caution: the mounting hardware that came in our box was not stainless steel, so keep that in mind for installation. You may need to do some additional work to make sure the water-resistance you need is there.
With a vacuum polypropylene cone, we weren’t expecting much from this speaker. The silk dome pole-mounted tweeter with integrated crossover works with the other speaker components to give you a nice mid-range, while the high-pass is still good enough to fill out the sound. The RMS wattage is just 45W on these speakers, so they’ll work in most situations. The setup is intended to be direct to the amp, so if you have different installation requirements, you’ll need to purchase a harness adapter or do a separate quick splice. The bass is about average, but for the money, it’s tough to find a better pound-for-pound speaker.
If you want to add a little atmosphere to your marine experience, then these speakers with built-in LED lighting might just do the trick. With a titanium tweeter dome, peak power at 195 watts, and RMS power at 65 watts, these speakers are stylish and bold. You can remove the LED accents if you wish. We appreciated the moisture draining system that these speakers provide. With these speakers installed, the sound quality is excellent, the look is fantastic, and definitely worth the additional investment.
The best marine speakers will help you enjoy your time on the water in the best way possible. Kick up the tunes, kick back as you cast a line, and let the day pass you by. That’s the magic that these speakers can provide you when combined with your favorite playlists.