Having speakers on boats is not a new idea. And if you want to find the Best Marine Speakers these days you have a wide choice. Although, that hasn’t always been the case.
Their practical use extends back as far as the early 1900s when Marconi was able to dominate ship to shore contacts. They have a big reputation, of course, but they were run by some rather childish people. Refusing to let their radio systems communicate with any ships that didn’t use Marconi equipment. Quite pathetic, playground behavior.
Their reputation took quite a knock when the Titanic went down. The unsinkable ship used ‘state of the art’ Marconi radio. It broke down for seven hours before the impact with the iceberg. The SS Mesoba sent a warning message two hours before the impact about icebergs …and guess what?
Radio has come a long way since, and thankfully Marconi doesn’t ‘own’ it anymore. Radios on boats mean speakers, and speakers are now made especially for marine activity. They have been built to survive what the elements can throw at them. And all the time producing a great sound.
So, let’s have a look at some of the best speakers for boats currently available and find the perfect ones for you…
Top 10 Best Marine Speakers of 2023
1 Kenwood KFC-1653MRW 6.5” 2-Way Marine Speakers Pair
Kenwood needs little introduction as suppliers of quality audio equipment. Founded in Nagano, Japan, in 1946, they have gone through a number of profile changes. However, the standards have always been high. Now known as JVC Kenwood, after a merger, they address the mid and entry-level consumer market.
Marine audio might not be something they might be well-known for, but this pair of coaxial speakers are worth a good look.
They are water-resistant, as against waterproof. This means that they will be able to handle splashing water. They will even take a light hose down to clean but cannot be submerged. They have rubber around the unit to ensure that water or rain, of course, does not get in. There is a fixed grille design that is UV protected.
They are a 2-way design system that has a maximum output of 150 watts peak per speaker. The RMS output for both is, therefore, about 150 watts. They have a polypropylene injection-molded cone woofer and for the high frequencies, a one-inch dome tweeter. They have a frequency response of 60-20,000 Hz.
The sound is, therefore, quite good, as you might expect from Kenwood. The bass is a little withdrawn, possibly, but maybe that is not a bad thing on a boat. They are very easy to fit, and you will need a depth of 2.44 inches. The fit, once installed, will be tight and will withstand any bad weather.
We should also mention that these speakers are also suitable for outdoor use around a pool or in an outdoor area. Their weatherproof, water-resistant rating allows them to be installed without a covering.
Unfortunately, they do not come supplied with any connecting wires, but this is a minor issue. A well-built, nice-sounding speaker from a respected manufacturer at a very competitive price point.
- Easy to fit.
- Good sound.
- Competitive price.
- Connecting wires not included.
2 Garmin MS-FR6022, Fusion, 6” Marine 2 Way Loudspeaker
If there is one location in the world where they love their water-related sports, it is down under in New Zealand and Australia. You might expect then to find a company specializing in the manufacture of some of the best marine speakers on the market.
Founded in 1998 in New Zealand by people who loved three things – Music, Cars, and Boats. Put those three with some sun, sand, and surf, and you will get a picture of what Fusion Entertainment is all about. Owned by Garmin, they have become a world-renowned manufacturer of quality audio and marine products.
These are not a set of speakers designed for a casual sail up the river once a week. These are built for the sea and for potentially hostile environments.
This pair of speakers is designed to handle all that with its IPX65 rating. Electrical equipment can be at risk when near the water. Even more so when at sea. Water is bad enough, but saltwater is very corrosive and, therefore, far worse. These are tough enough to handle all that. Not only are they waterproof, but they are also resistant to salt and moisture from fog.
They have a polypropylene composite woofer that has been given heat treatment. This process toughens up the cone making it able to withstand bad weather. The titanium tweeter, along with the crossover, is all fully-sealed against the elements. They have German CURV technology that enhances the sound, and they have a peak output of 200 watts.
They are easy to fit at only six inches in width, and you will require a depth of seven cms. They are very efficient and are designed so as not to drain your battery. You get three different grille options to allow you to match up to the color of your boat.
These have all the fittings and quality to be considered the Best Value Marine Speakers. Well-made with a great sound with good protection and fittings. They will take some beating at a price point, which for the quality is very competitive.
- Manufactured for harsh conditions.
- Strong weather rating.
- Good sound.
- High volume.
- Competitive price.
3 Sony XSMP1611 6.5-Inch Dual Cone Marine Speakers
No introductions needed; it’s Sony. That means quality at a cost-effective price. It also means they will be a strong contender for the Best Value For Money Marine Speakers.
Designed specifically for use on boats or around water, these speakers have a tough build quality. They have a rating of IPX5, which is a water-resistant level. Capable of handling heavy spray or rain. They have also been treated to give them some protection against saltwater corrosion and UV rays.
As with all Sony products, the quality of the build is good. The front grille is made from plastic. It is removable and can be painted to suit the color style of the boat if you wish. Being plastic it will make them slightly more vulnerable to damage than if they were metal grilles.
They have dual-cone speakers. The 16cm drivers have ferrite coated magnets. The diaphragm is polypropylene with a cloth surround. Their 1-way design offers a power rating of 65 watts RMS. That will put the peak operating power at around 130 watts.
The sound is actually quite impressive, but then Sony knows a thing or two about creating a good sound. Considering they are only 1-way design, the sound balance is quite good. The lows are very present in the sound, as you would expect. The highs are a little limited, but they are reasonably bright and clear. They have a frequency range of 45-20,000Hz.
Fitting is easy, and you will need a depth of two and a half inches to allow them to sit flush. A decent, not high, quality build and a very good sound make these a good option. This is especially true for those wishing to fit some speakers who may be on a budget. The price point is set at a very competitive level for a pair of speakers.
These are very much a budget range model, and Sony does not make any wild claims about their performance. The sound is good, and they are reasonably well-made, but they will not be a very long term solution.
- Easy to fit.
- Good sound.
- Good certification and protection.
- Cost-effective price.
- Plastic grille.
4 BOSS Audio Systems Marine MR50W Per Pair
If you happen to be looking for loud, then you may have found a pair of speakers that delivers that. These have an RMS rating of 150 watts per pair, which is about 300 watts at peak power. That ought to be loud enough.
They are a two-way design with a five and a quarter inch driver. This has a polyurethane and carbon cone with a weather-treated cloth surround. It has a high-temperature voice coil to add the high frequencies, and there is a one-inch Neodymium dome-shaped tweeter. They do though, have a fairly narrow 120 Hz to 18 kHz frequency range.
This is shown in sound reproduction, which is rather weak at the bottom end. The highs are bright and clear, but the bass often goes missing. Not a great sound then, and so a good example of the volume isn’t everything.
They do, though, have a rugged build and are weatherproofed with good insulation. This does not mean they are waterproof, and water-resistant would be a better description. They can, therefore, handle some splash and rain. Fitting is quite easy but without much help provided.
You will need a cut-out depth of two and a quarter inches. There is not a template provided for guidance regarding cutting the hole. You will need to buy some speaker connecting wire as well because it is not included, you will need either 12 or 14 gauge copper wire. The grilles screw on to the speaker after fitting and are made of plastic. This means, of course, they might not be as rugged as metal grilles.
These are very much a budget range of speakers, and if you do not expect too much of them, you won’t be disappointed. Price point then is very competitive, and if you are on a tight budget, they might be worth considering.
- Decent build quality.
- Competitive price.
- High power rating.
- Connecting wires or templates not included.
5 Rockville Pair 8” Black 2 Way 600 Watt Marine Wakeboard Tower Speakers
And now for something completely different. Speakers on a wakeboard. The answer to your question from our perspective is, we have no idea. We are still trying to work out why you would want to fit the speakers on a board. But fit them you can, so some people want it, which is as good a reason as any to make them. They’d better be pretty tough, though.
They have nylon mounting brackets with full adjustments. They are reinforced with steel and have toughened plastic in the build. These materials are designed to withstand the effects of saltwater – they will need to be. The design process has seemingly been undertaken quite thoroughly. Each working part is made from a suitable material.
We would like to point out, though, that we cannot find any official waterproof rating for these speakers. And there will clearly need to be. They are listed as being ‘marinized’. This means quite literally converted for maritime use.
But it does mean that they have been treated to survive in harsh conditions, like saltwater. It is a process preparing something for long-term survival. It does, therefore, seem they are prepared for the job.
The power rating is an extremely loud 200 watts. It would have to be, wouldn’t it? Out in the open on the seas with a towing boat’s engine, it would need to punch out some volume.
It is a two-way system. They have Polypropylene cones with Santoprene rubber surrounds and an oversized voice coil. Also, one-inch dome neodymium tweeters. All the terminals and joints are sealed with rubber.
The sound is pretty good considering and certainly loud enough. We should mention that these are tower speakers so they can stand up. That would also make them suitable for a range of applications apart from just boats. However, they are a little on the heavy side.
They have a realistic price point. Not cheap, but considering what you are getting, worth the money. Certainly, one to consider as the Best Wakeboarding Marine Speakers.
They are loud, and they are tough, and they are ready for a bit of surf. We wonder if Brian Wilson’s got some?
- Tough build.
- Loud decent sound.
- Realistic price point.
- Quite heavy.
6 Kicker White OEM Replacement Marine 6.5” 4Ω Coaxial speaker Bundle
Kicker was established in 1973 in Oklahoma and is a brand name of Stillwater Designs. They have a reputation for building speakers that can handle a lot of power and like to give people the ‘live music’ experience. Although they do tend to concentrate their efforts in other areas, their marine speakers are well-thought of.
This particular model is not the loudest that Kicker produces. However, it still manages to produce 50 watts RMS per channel. There are four speakers, each with a six and a half-inch woofer and a half-inch tweeter. They are secured and protected by Santoprene, a rubber material.
They have a frequency response of 35-20,000Hz. The sound they put out is very loud, but we wouldn’t say it is the best we have heard. As we quite often say, the volume isn’t everything.
They are made to be used in the open air, onboard a boat, or maybe outside at home. Unfortunately, we can find no formal rating for weatherproofing, so we will not be commenting on that. They are delivered in packaging rather than in a box and come with stainless steel screws for fitting. There is no speaker connection wire included.
Fitting is quite easy, though there is no template offered. They will require a mounting depth of two and a half inches. They do not come with a wiring harness. The grilles are not removable, and there is a built-in LED lighting option, but it is not wired, and will take some added work to install.
These are placed at what we consider a rather expensive price point for what they are. There are four speakers, of course. But the only real attribute that we can confirm is that they are loud. In our view, that doesn’t make them particularly attractive.
- Four-speaker setup.
- High power rating.
- Average sound.
- Fitting issues.
7 Kicker KB6000 2-Way Full-Range Indoor Outdoor Marine Speakers (Pair)
We stay with Kicker as we look at a system that has not been designed exclusively for marine activity. These have the potential for a variety of uses.
We will commence by once again, mentioning that we can find no official weather or water-resistant rating for these speakers. Not even on the Kicker website where we would think they would be pleased to announce it. We will, therefore, be making no further comment on its suitability near water or in inclement weather.
Regardless, these have been built to be used outside the home on a patio or around the pool as well as on a boat. It is a dual enclosure design that has a six and a half-inch woofer. They have a tuned polypropylene cone and also have a Santoprene rubber surround.
There are two 5 inch compression-loaded tweeters that are located in the horn. Each speaker has an RMS rating of 75 watts. They have a frequency range of 55-21,000 Hz.
Measuring 11 by 8-⅛ by 8-⅛ inches, they are quite large, and at over six pounds each will require a secure fixing. The design of the mountings will allow the speakers to be positioned in a convenient place. It should be mentioned, though, that these do not sit flush to the wall.
They need to be placed in a position where they are now a potential hazard. The construction is quite rugged, and they have metal grilles. They have a reasonable sound and a good quality level of construction. At their price, they are not the cheapest you will find. But if you are looking for speakers with a variety of potential options they might suffice.
- Variety of uses.
- Good power rating.
- Quite expensive.
- Very heavy.
8 JBL MS6520 180W, 6.5 Coaxial Marine Speakers
Unfortunately, another manufacturer who claims weather-resistant protection but offers no official classification or rating. As usual, we will make no recommendations as to its suitability.
These are a pair of coaxial speakers that have a woofer with a polypropylene cone and balanced dome tweeters. They have a peak power rating of 180 watts, which means an RMS of about 90 watts and a frequency range of 50 Hz – 20 kHz.
The fittings have rubber surrounds for protection. Rubber is considered better than the foam surrounds that some use as it is hard-wearing. They have a one-piece polymer basket. They are easy to fit, and the grilles are a screw-on design if you wish to change them. The grilles are plastic, though, and are going to be a little vulnerable.
The sound they produce is nicely balanced across the frequencies, as you might expect from JBL speakers. The price point is reasonable, and as we have said, the sound is well balanced, and there is enough volume.
- Decent JBL sound.
- Easy to fit.
- Reasonable price.
- Plastic grille covers.
9 Polk Audio Atrium 4 Outdoor Speakers
What do most people think of when they consider Polk speakers. Firstly they are likely to be loud and second that they will have a tough build. However, they are certainly not the biggest speakers Polk produces.
Measuring just 7.5 by 6 by 9.5 inches, they are quite small and at just over three pounds also quite lightweight. But they do the job adequately well. These have been given an ASTM D5894 rating that covers UV light, Salt, and Fog. Therefore, they will be able to handle sea spray and rain but also extremes of heat, which can be just as damaging.
These can be easily fixed onto your boat but are also suitable for use around the pool or on the patio and are attached with brackets that are included in the package. The grilles and brackets are made from aluminum with other fittings made from stainless steel and brass, so there will be no rust with these speakers or their mounts.
The brackets are fixed to the boat or to the wall, and the speakers click into place. They can, therefore, be moved or taken with you elsewhere if you choose.
Each speaker has a four and a half-inch long-throw driver with a polymer cone. They have rubber surrounds for protection. For the high frequencies, there is a 3.4-inch neodymium tweeter also with rubber protection.
Considering the physical dimensions of the speakers, the sound is quite loud. They will give a peak rating of 80 watts. The high frequencies were dominant in the sound balance, and the bass a little understated. Not really surprising given the size of the speakers. They will push out enough sound unless you like your music very loud. If so, then you might find they struggle a little bit.
They have a nice unobtrusive design finished in black, and a typically rugged Polk build. The price point is set at a reasonable level, which makes them a good option.
- Good build.
- Versatile mounting.
- Reasonable sound.
- Lacking in power.
10 Pair of Kicker 41KM654CW 6.5” 2-Way Coaxial 4-Ohm Marine/Boat Speakers
We return to Kicker again for our last look at marine speakers.
These are a 2-way design with a peak power rating of 195 watts. That equates to about 65 watts RMS. They have a ¾” titanium dome tweeter that has a rubber surround. The same rubber protection is also given to the driver, which is a six and a half-inch titanium polypropylene speaker.
They have a decent frequency range of 35-21,000 Hz. Sound-wise, the high and low frequencies are dominant, but the mids sadly missing. This means a slightly unbalanced sound. But for those that like the music bass-heavy, they will appeal.
They are supplied with both black and white speaker grilles. The grilles are plastic, so they will be potentially vulnerable to breakages.
Fitting is easy, but there is no wiring included. You will need a depth of 2⅞ inches. Whilst we think they may have been designed for the boat, they can be used in other areas. We would recommend though they are installed under some form of covering. The price point is quite expensive for what they are and so don’t make the best option.
- Interesting design.
- Easy to fit.
- Unbalanced sound.
Best Marine Speakers Buyers Guide
A Life On The Ocean Wave
There are actually quite a few issues to deal with when choosing speakers for your boat or even for around the pool at home. So, let’s go through them…
Have you got enough room? Where you place them can be critical. If they are on a boat, then they will need to be able to be heard. Pointing them out towards the sea might entertain the fish but won’t do much for you.
The installation location is vital, and this may depend on how much room there is. Don’t assume they will fit and also don’t assume the manufacturer’s measurements are absolutely accurate, so make sure you have plenty of space and depth.
How Much Power?
We are tempted to say the louder, the better, but then that is not always the case. But they do need to be able to be heard over the engine of the boat and also any peripheral ambient noise going on. Also bear in mind that 100 watts indoors will not sound the same as 100 watts outside. Externally the sound will dissipate very quickly because it does not reflect off any hard surfaces.
The same applies to the pool or patio at home. You might not have the engine of the boat to get over, but there are likely to be more people — all making noise. Also, take note of the RMS output figure rather than the often-quoted peak power rating.
If the speakers are going to be on the boat, they will need weather protection. There is a formalized official test, and that should be either IPX5, 6, or 7, with IPX7 being the most protection. IPX7 will include being submerged for up to 30 minutes. You might not need that much protection as we think the idea is the boat doesn’t sink.
That rating may also include dust and other unwanted material protection, which includes sand. If the speaker does not carry a recognized published rating, we would recommend that you be very careful. But even at home, they will need some protection if they are exposed to the weather.
Easy for some, not for others. It is quite likely you will have to buy your own wiring. This doesn’t cost much but is still an extra. If you are not practically minded, then there are places to get them fitted. Remember also you will need an amp as all these speakers are passive.
The price range is not vast, but it is big enough to warrant some thought. How much you will use them and where they are to be located will have an effect on the price. The better the build quality, which is an important factor, the more expensive they are likely to be.
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So, What Are The Best Marine Speakers?
If we were to choose a set of speakers, we would choose something tough enough to be able to handle anything thrown at them. We would, therefore, recommend the… Garmin MS-FR6022, Fusion, 6” Marine 2 Way Loudspeaker.
So, in our view, this is definitely our Best Marine Speaker choice.
Manufactured for harsh conditions with a strong weather rating, they are everything you need. Plus, the good sound quality, plenty of volume, and competitive price are the icing on the cake!