Marine speakers are designed to withstand the tough marine environment and are available as 6.5, box, tower and other types of speaker. The acoustics onboard a boat are different to other environments and you will require speakers designed for boats.
The best marine speakers are the JL AUDIO MX650 series, which are built to the highest quality and have a peak power rating of 225 watts. However, if you are on a budget, the Kenwood KFC-1653MRW 6.5 marine speakers provides excellent value for money with a peak power of 150 watts.
When it comes to the quality of the speakers, you really do get what you pay for and the cheapest option is not always the best. The speaker must be resistant to UV rays, dust, corrosion and water as they will be subject to this environment constantly.
Table of Contents
- Best Boat Speakers
- Marine Speakers Buying Guide
Best Boat Speakers
|Marine Speakers||Type||Peak Power|
|JL AUDIO MX650-CCX||6.5 Recessed||225 Watts|
|Kenwood KFC-1653MRW||6.5 Recessed||150 Watts|
|Pioneer TS-MR1600||6.5 Recessed||100 Watts|
|BOSS Audio MR60W||6.5 Recessed||200 Watts|
|Kicker KMT674||Wake Tower||300 Watts|
|MCM 60-10031||Wake Tower||260 Watts|
|Kicker KB6000||Box||150 Watts|
Updating your marine speaker setup can involve installing a range of speakers from a marine subwoofer, 6.5 speaker, tower, box and others. Improving the audio system will involve changing a lot of the standard speakers with the latest upgrades.
Choosing marine speakers that have been certified over car speakers that will not survive a day within a marine environment is highly recommended. It may be tempted to save a small amount of money but its not worth it.
Choosing the correct speakers can become confusing because they can be mixed with automotive speakers. However, we have done the research for you and below is a list of the best marine speakers that will provide high quality sound on your boat.
JL Audio MX650 Marine Speakers
JL Audio is a premium brand in the audio industry and the MX650 are suited to those that are looking for the ultimate audio experience on their boat. They are a standard coaxial size at 6.5 inches in diameter with separate 0.75 inch dome tweeters.
Features of the JL Audio MX650 Marine Speakers include:
- Peak power rating of 225 watts
- 60 watts RMS
- Oversized 1.25 inch woofer voice coils
- Unique design that provides 20% more radiating sound
- Excellent sound quality and heavy bass output
To get the most of these marine speakers, we highly recommend an amplifier that has between 75 and 100 watts per channel. Overall, the JL Audio MX650 are the best marine speakers money can buy but not suited for those on a budget.Check it Out
Kenwood KFC1653MRW 6.5 Marine Speakers
Kenwood are another big audio brand within the automotive and marine industry. The KFC1653MRW 6.5 marine speakers are by far one of the most popular due to their performance and excellent value for money.
Features of the Kenwood KFC1653MRW 6.5 marine speakers include:
- Peak power rating of 150 watts
- 50 watts RMS and 4 ohms impedance
- Rugged polypropylene structure
- 60 to 20,000 Hz frequency range
- UV resistant protective speaker grill
- Injection molded for additional water resistance
Overall, the Kenwood KFC1653MRW are the best 6.5 marine speakers for the money and are even available as 8 inch speakers. Considering they are reasonably priced, they still provide great performance and build quality.Check it Out
Pioneer TS-MR1600 6.5 Marine Speakers
The Pioneer TS-MR1600 are reasonably priced marine speakers that are designed to withstand water, heat and corrosion. Many cheap alternatives tend to only use a few corrosion resistant parts and leave a some components unprotected, which makes them prone to durability issues.
Features of the Pioneer TS-MR1600 boat speakers include:
- Peak power rating of 100 watts
- 25 watts RMS
- 90 dB sensitivity
- 4 ohm impedance
- Dual cone tweeter
- Uses a water resistant IMPP composite woofer
Pioneer state that the TS-MR1600 Nautica series uses corrosion-resistant materials for peace of mind. Overall, they are a great all-rounder and priced reasonably compared with other marine speakers of a similar performance rating.Check it Out
BOSS Audio MR60W Boat Speakers
Boss Audio are gaining more popularity over the last few years due to their impressive range of speakers at low prices. The MR60W boat speakers they produce are weatherproof and are sold in pairs that at an affordable price.
Features of the BOSS Audio MR60W boat speakers include:
- Peak power rating of 200 watts
- 100 watts RMS
- Impedance of 4 Ohms
- Poly injection cone and Mylar tweeter
- Aluminum voice coil that is corrosion resistant
The speakers provide a fair amount of bass but the quality may not be as good due to the low cost of this model. These boat speakers are cheap, but don’t think they will be poor quality. The fact that BOSS audio provide a 3 year dealer warranty should give you peace of mind.Check it Out
Kicker KMT674 Marine Speaker Tower System
Marine tower speakers attach to the wakeboard tower of your boat and are much more powerful than the standard 6.5 marine speakers. All that is required to install them is a 3 inch mounting that can be mounted above or below the bar.
Features of the Kicker KMT674 Marine Speaker Tower System include:
- Peak power rating of 300 watts
- 150 watts RMS
- UV treated components
- Water-resistant design
- Sealed cones and motor assemblies
Overall, the Kicker KM,T674 system are the best wake tower speakers for the money without spending serious amounts of money with the like of the Wet Sounds Revolution series alternatives, which cost thousands.Check it Out
MCM Custom Audio Wake Tower Speakers
The MCM Custom Audio marine wake tower speaker system is a cheaper alternative to the Kicker setup above. However, this does not mean that quality has dropped because they are built to last with a heavy duty construction.
Features of the MCM Custom Audio 60-10031 includes:
- Peak power of 260 watts
- RMS 130 watts
- 8 inch poly cone woofer
- Titanium dome tweeter
- Available in black or white
- Sensitivity of 91 dB
- Heavy duty ABS case and mount
Considering that these two speakers can be bought for less than $100 dollars, they are definitely the best cheap wakeboarding speakers available. If you were looking to improve the sound quality further, you could connect these speakers to an amplifier.Check it Out
Kicker KB6000 Marine Box Speakers
Marine box speakers are another type of speaker setup that can be angled in a range of angles. This KB600 series by Kicker is very popular in the US due to its high quality audio from a full range speaker.
Features of the Kicker KB6000 Marine Box Speakers include:
- Peak power rating of 150 watts
- 75 watts RMS
- Available in black or white
- 12 dB octave low-pass crossover
- Can be used in alternative applications
If you are after sound quality over bass, these will do the job with a 12-decibel octave low-pass crossover with impedance compensation. The boxy design means that they are easy to fit anywhere for your marine application.
Overall, they are the best marine box speakers for the money and provide good performance at a relatively small cost.Check it Out
Marine Speakers Buying Guide
Improving the audio quality and bass on your boat will require marine speakers that are designed for the rough marine environment. It can be a fairly confusing topic when deciding on which speakers are required for your boat but our buying guide will help debunk myths and give you a brief overview.
Location of the Marine Speakers
Marine speakers come in a range of styles and sizes and you must decide where you want the speaker to be placed. The reason for this is because it must be proportional to the space you want to cover the sound too. It must amplify clearly around the cabin or if it is on the deck, it must cancel out the wind noise. On top of this, you do not want it placed somewhere that is going to get covered in water.
When choosing the placement, you must remember that there will be wiring required and the speakers will get their power from the marine battery. Therefore, if they are up high, the wires will be clearly visible to anyone on the boat.
However, if you are able to box up areas of the boat, you can install marine speakers virtually anywhere inside the boat. For example, below we fitted speakers to the front of the boat with slight tilt to amplify the music towards the passengers of the boat.
What the Difference?
Understanding the difference between automotive and marine speakers is a common question that we are asked regularly. They are not simply white speakers slapped with a certificate as it goes much further than that because they must be able to withstand salt, spray, UV, wide ranging temperatures and much more.
Marine speakers are made from a more heavy duty material to survive the marine environment. For example, instead of the paper cones used in the standard speaker, a marine rated speaker will use a plastic, which can withstand moisture. Additional components such as rubber surrounds will be used for protection too.
As salt and metals don’t mix well, the majority of metal used is of higher quality and protected by the grill of the speaker.
Types of Marine Speakers
When it comes to the different types of marine speakers, the main ones include recessed/6.5 speaker, box and tower marine speakers. They all have separate benefits, installations and quality of sound. We have covered all of the best marine speakers of each type in this article for those looking to perform an overhaul of their audio system.
The recessed speaker is the most common form and can be installed in virtually anywhere inside your boat from the dash, floor, seats and much more. The most common form is usually 6.5 inches in diameter and they can have varying performance ratings depending upon your budget.
Marine tower speakers are much more powerful than 6.5 marine speakers and attach to a boats wake tower. They can be targeted to face the person on an inflatable towable or water skis or towards the direction of the boat passengers.
Finally, marine box speakers are fairly simple and can be installed in a range of locations around the boat. They can also be angled in different directions, unlike the likes of a recessed speaker.
Clarity of the Speakers
Unlike a car, which only needs to deal with engine and road noise, marine speakers have far more to deal with. You can improve the clarity instantly by installing a marine amplifier but if the speakers are poor quality, there won’t be much of an improvement.
All of our recommendations are designed to output high and low bass without becoming distorted. This means you can switch the volume right up without worry about distortion.
Not all marine speakers are the same and some provide a much higher power output than others. However, you cannot fit the most powerful marine speaker you can find without matching it against the power your receiver or amplifier can handle.
If you choose one that it too high, you can end up blowing them and causing damage to your new expensive marine speakers. Check the maximum power output of the speakers you buy and compare it against the stereos channels.
On top of the maximum power output, you must also consider the continuous power (RMS). The higher the values of these two ratings, will ultimately result in better quality and loud audio output.
Premium brands will often have a higher output of both values, where other cheaper brands will aim to impress you with a high peak power rating.
You simply cannot upgrade two marine speakers and expect miracles to happen. Along with the speakers, you must consider the bass and quality of the sound, which will require a subwoofer and an upgraded amplifier. However, so many people forget the most important aspect, which is the marine stereo.
Improving the wiring may be a good option too if you are planning a complete overhaul of your audio system. Building the an audio system for your boat from scratch can be a great project and make a world of difference.
Specification of the Speaker
Alongside the the peak power rating and the RMS, there are various other ratings given to a speaker. One such rating is the sensitivity of the speaker, which is specified in decibels. The lower the sensitivity, the more power that must be input into the speaker.
The frequency response is specified by kHz and determines the type of audio coming from the speakers, which include deep low bass and the much higher frequencies.
Whether you are planning a boat party or simply enjoy blasting music whilst on your boat, upgrading your marine speakers is an affordable and effective modification for your boat. All our recommendations within this article are certain to improve the quality and bass on your boat.
It may be tempting to choose a cheaper automotive car speaker but we highly advise not to. The durability of marine speakers cannot be matched and you are able to blast music no matter the weather.
In terms of the amount of marine speakers you actually need on your boat, it really does depend on the size of your boat. Many people will just install two 6.5 marine speakers to the dash but those with a wakeboard tower will also install additional speakers onto that. Those that have large boats may find themselves buying 10 or more speakers with additional subwoofers and amplifiers.