There are few better ways to spend a weekend than cruising around on your boat with friends and loved ones. But to make the most of your time on the water, you’ll definitely want to be able to enjoy some great tunes while riding around.
Most boats come with a pretty decent marine audio system built in, but if you want to be able to hear it over the motor, wind and waves, you’ll also need a good set of speakers.
You don’t want to use any old speakers on your boat – instead, you’ll want a set of high-quality marine speakers, which are built specifically for use in aquatic areas.
We’ll point out eight of the best marine speakers available below. This should help you pick a great boat audio set for your needs, so you’ll be enjoying great music on your vessel in no time.
The 8 Best Marine Speakers of 2019: Outdoor Empire Reviews
We’ve assembled eight of the top boat speakers below for your consideration. Each should suit a slightly different set of needs, but they’re all well-built, high-quality models for their price. They vary significantly in terms of price, so be sure to focus on those within your price range.
- Garmin Fusion MS-FR6022
- JL AUDIO MX650-CCX-CG-WH
- Polk Audio MM652
- JBL MS6520B
- Kicker 41KM654CW
- Sony XSMP1611
- BOSS Audio MR50W
- Pyle PLMR60W
|Diameter||6 in||7.7 in||5 in|
|Maximum Power||200 Watts||225 Watts||300 Watts|
|Frequency Response||70Hz – 22KHz||45 Hz - 25 KHz ± 3 dB||35 Hz → 40 Hz|
|Sensitivity (1 watt @ 1 meter)||90 dB||90.5 dB||93 dB|
|Mounting Depth||5-1/8 in||3.15 in||2.62 (top)|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best High-End #1: Garmin Fusion MS-FR6022
Although Garmin is probably most famous for their GPS products, they also make speakers, including the boat-ready Fusion MS-FR6022s. Designed to withstand the moisture and salt spray common to marine environments, these speakers incorporate a number of features that make them an excellent option for your boat.
For example, these speakers feature fully enclosed crossovers, tweeters and magnets, as well as waterproof cones and surrounds.
- Designed to comply with international standards for UV stability and salt/fog resistance
- Speakers are 6 inches in diameter
- Speakers rated for 200 Watts maximum power
- Available with three different grill options to match your boat’s decor
- Most boaters loved these speakers and rated them highly
- Several customers reported that they produced excellent sound, including plenty of bass
- A few buyers specifically mentioned the inclusion of properly tinned wires
- Generally speaking, there were very few complaints about the Fusion MS-FR6022s
- A very small number of customers received damaged speakers, but that can happen with any brand
The Garmin Fusion MS-FR6022s were some of the most impressive speakers we examined in putting together this buyer’s guide.
Most boaters would probably be happy with these speakers, but they’re likely best suited for those who’d like to replace their existing speakers with a pair that perform very well, are built to last, and don’t cost as much as some of the other high-end speakers on the market.
2. Best High-End #2: JL AUDIO MX650-CCX-CG-WH
The JL Audio MX650-CCX-CG-WH speakers are very high-end speakers that can bring out the best in your boat’s sound system.
Built around a combination of 6.5-inch woofers and 0.75-inch dome tweeters, these speakers also come with oversized 1.25-inch woofer voice coils. You can even obtain them optimized for installation in your boat’s cockpit-panel.
- These speakers provide 20% more sound radiating area than typical 6.5-inch designs do
- Designed to be used with an onboard amplifier
- Wide flange and four-hole mounting pattern for stability
- Exterior, marine-grade speakers designed for use around water
- By and large, most boaters loved these speakers and rated them highly
- Owners used them successfully with a variety of different head units and tuners
- Most owners felt that they were very loud and produced excellent sound quality
- Very easy to mount and made with an unobtrusive design
- A small number of boaters complained about the excessive plastic shielding, which muffled the speaker sound
- Fairly pricey speakers
Although the JL Audio MX650s are some of the most expensive speakers we examined, they also received some of the best reviews by users. These are likely some of the best speakers for boaters who’d like high-end speakers and are willing to pay higher prices to get them.
3. Best For The Money #1: Polk Audio MM652
Polk Audio is a familiar brand for many audiophiles. They not only make some of the highest-quality speakers around, but they also do so right in Baltimore, Maryland. There MM652s are designed for use in multiple applications, including cars, ATVs and motorcycles, as well as boats.
But interestingly, this package doesn’t only come with the MM652s – it also comes with a Rockville RPB25 40-Watt portable Bluetooth speaker too!
- 5-inch drivers are paired with 1-inch tweeters
- Peak power handling: 300 Watts per speaker; continuous power handling: 100 Watts per speaker
- Includes four sheets of dampening material for the highest sound quality possible
- Most boat owners loved the way these speakers sound
- The MM652s were widely praised for their amazing sound clarity
- Reasonably priced, given the inclusion of the Bluetooth speaker
- Sound dampening material will help reduce competing sounds (rattles, vibrations, etc.)
- Some customers – particularly those who installed the speakers in cars — found the speaker’s high frequencies to be harsh
- A few buyers complained of insufficient bass volume
The Polk Audio MM652 speakers are great speakers, which produce very high-quality sound. But, because they are slightly more affordable than some other high-end speakers, and they come with a few valuable extras, they are best-suited for buyers who prioritize value and want a lot of speaker for their money.
4. Best For The Money #2: JBL MS6520B
The JBL MS6520B Speakers are designed to sound great, without costing a fortune. In fact, these are some of the most impressive marine speakers we reviewed, and they’re available at a price point that should work for all budgets.
These speakers feature synthetic rubber surrounds and grill-mounted balanced dome tweeters to ensure they produce the full spectrum of frequencies coming out of your radio or tuner.
- Baskets and grills are made from UV- and corrosion-resistant polymers
- IPX5 rating means that these speakers can withstand a sustained, low-pressure jet spray without problem
- Speakers are 60 Watt RMS and feature a 180-Watt peak sensitivity
- Grill-mounted tweeter allows the front of the woofer cone to be sealed
- Very affordable speakers are excellent for budget-minded shoppers
- Excellent-looking speakers that most owners were happy to install on their boat
- Unlike some other speakers, the MS6520Bs come with all mounting hardware required
- A few owners used them successfully without an amplifier
- Slightly different mounting configuration than some stock speakers
- Some customers complained that they weren’t terribly durable
The JBL MS6520Bs are not the most affordable speakers we reviewed, but they provide great value for their price. They’re ideal for buyers who want a high-quality speaker at a mid-range price point.
They’re also a great choice for those who are nervous about the installation process, as they come with all the mounting hardware you’ll need.
5. Kicker 41KM654CW
Kicker is a celebrated manufacturer among many audiophiles, and they make speakers and sound equipment for a variety of applications – including boats, as the 41KM654CW are.
These speakers feature a water-resistant design to ensure years of problem-free use, and they include high-end components, such as ¾-inch titanium dome tweeters. Rated for 65 Watts RMS and 195 Watts peak power, these speakers will help ensure you can hear your tunes loud and clear while the wind is blowing, and the waves are crashing.
- These speakers feature a 6.5-inch, coaxial, 4-ohm design
- Available in different colors
- Great-looking grill design will look great on most boats
- 2 7/8-inch mounting depth
- Several boaters were happy using these speakers without an amplifier
- A number of buyers reported that they were very easy to install
- Most customers found that these speakers provided excellent volume and sound quality
- These speakers appear to be a great option for those looking to upgrade stock speakers
- The thick magnet in the back may take up too much space for some installations
- Some owners felt they were slightly more expensive than their performance warranted
The Kicker 41KM654CWs are the ideal choice for boaters who are interested in significantly upgrading their sound system, without spending any more money than necessary. Just be sure that you measure the speaker cavities carefully, as these speakers do have relatively thick magnets, which caused problems for some customers.
6. Best Affordable: Sony XSMP1611
Sony is a well-known manufacturer of speakers and audio equipment, and their lineup even includes marine-ready speakers like the XSMP1611s.
These speakers are perfect for use on your boat, as they’re not only UV-resistant, but they also feature an IPX5-certified design, which means they can withstand a sustained, low-pressure water jet. Rated for 65 Watts RMS power, these 6.5-inch speakers should sound great whether you use an amplifier or want to hook them up directly to your radio or tuner.
- You can get these speakers in two versions: Dual cone or coaxial
- Available in black or white housings
- Maximum power handling of 140 Watts
- The grilles are removable so that you can paint them to match your vessel
- Most customers were happy with the sound produced by these speakers
- These speakers appear to be very easy to install
- Most buyers reported that these speakers produced very little (if any) distortion
- The sleek and tasteful design was popular with many buyers
- A few buyers complained that these speakers were not very durable
- Sound quality may diminish over time as the cones wear out
If you are looking for a reasonably priced set of replacement speakers for your boat, the Sony XSMP1611s may be exactly what you’re looking for. They’re also a great choice for boaters who want water-proof speakers, as these speakers boast IPX5 certification.
Also, because you can paint these grills to match your boat, they’re a good option for boaters who care about aesthetics, as well as sound.
Sony XSMP1611 is also available at:
7. Best Budget: BOSS Audio MR50W
BOSS produces an assortment of speakers and other types of sound equipment, including the MR50W speakers. These speakers are available in several different shapes and sizes, as well as different power ratings, so you should be able to find a set that’ll work very well on your boat.
These speakers are very affordable, but they sound great, making them a great choice for boaters who would like to upgrade their stock speakers.
- Available in black or white to match your boat’s décor
- Each speaker features a 1-inch mylar dome tweeter
- Comes complete with grills and magnet covers
- Available with a 3-year platinum online warranty
- Most buyers were very pleased with the sound quality of the BOSS MR50W speakers
- Several customers were quite happy with the cost-to-performance value these speakers provide
- These speakers appear to sound great with or without an amplifier
- Most customers found that these speakers were very easy to install
- A few buyers were disappointed that these speakers didn’t come with wires
- A very small number of customers were disappointed in the high-end sounds produced by the speakers
BOSS Audio MR50Ws are the ideal speakers for budget-minded boaters, who are interested in upgrading their stock speakers, without spending a fortune. These are very affordable speakers, but they produce relatively high-quality sound and plenty of volume.
They’re also available in a wide variety of sizes, so most boaters should be able to find a pair that fit the space available.
8. Best Budget: Pyle PLMR60W
Pyle’s PLMR60W speakers are designed to be affordable, while still being durable enough to hold up to the elements. Designed to be weather-resistant, these speakers come with a polypropylene cone and cloth surround, and a heavy-duty molded ABS plastic basket and grill to combat sun damage.
These speakers feature a 1-inch aluminum voice coil and a low-profile design, which makes them especially well-suited for installation on many boats.
- Available in three different wattage ratings: 100, 120 and 150
- Designed to be completely waterproof, so they’ll hold up to years of use on your boat
- These speakers come in two colors: black and white
- Come with all necessary mounting hardware and wiring
- Most buyers found that these speakers provided very good quality and value for the price
- Several customers reported that they provided great volume and produced very little distortion
- Most buyers found that these speakers were easy to install
- The aesthetics of the speakers elicited plenty of praise from buyers
- Some buyers complained that the mounting hardware included rusted quickly
- A few buyers complained that the speaker color faded within a year or two
Pyle’s PLMR60W speakers are ideal for shoppers who need a good pair of speakers for as little money as possible. These speakers sound good for their price, they’re easy to install, and they’re available in two different colors and three different wattages.
It may, however, be wise to purchase stainless steel hardware to avoid the rusting problems some buyers reported.
How to Choose Your Next Boat Speakers?
It isn’t especially difficult to choose a set of marine speakers, but you’ll need to consider your needs carefully and ask yourself a series of questions as you get started. Essentially, this will entail the following:
What size space do you have available for boat stereo?
Different boats are designed to accommodate speakers of different sizes (they’re also designed to accommodate a different number of speakers, so you’ll need to figure that out too).
Just be sure to measure the hole in the console or ceiling as well as the depth of the cavity. You can usually cut larger holes if need be, but this adds considerable complexity to the project.
Do you want to run an amplifier or not?
Some boaters are eager to use a complete sound system that includes an amplifier, while others prefer to simply plug their speakers directly into their radio, tuner or some other music playing device. Either option will work, but it may influence your choice of speakers, as some are designed to work with stronger signals than others.
Do you care if the speakers match your boat’s décor?
Some boaters don’t care if their speakers match the paneling and interior of their vessel, while others care about these things a great deal. Neither preference is inherently better than the other, but it is important to select a set of speakers that are available in a complementary color if aesthetics matter to you.
Also, note that some speakers come with grills that can be painted any color you like, which provides the most flexibility.
How much volume do you need?
If you just want to use your radio to quietly enjoy some tunes while you’re fishing or cruising around, you probably don’t need speakers that will put out a lot of volume. Instead, you should focus on speakers that provide good sound quality and feature durable design features.
On the other hand, if you intend to entertain on your boat and need a sound system that’ll blast music loud enough to feel like a proper party, you may want to select speakers that produce plenty of volume. Fortunately, there are speakers available that suit both circumstances well.
Do you care more about volume or sound quality?
Some speaker manufacturers focus on producing speakers that project well and produce a lot of volume, while others emphasize sound quality and limiting distortion. Once again, neither option is better in all cases; you’ll just need to decide which one will make you happiest.
What is your budget?
One of the very first things you should consider when picking out marine speakers is your budget. This will immediately narrow down the number of speakers you can consider, as speakers vary wildly in price.
If you want a true high-end speaker system, and you don’t mind spending several hundred dollars to achieve such, you can obtain premium quality speakers. But, if you only have a relatively small amount of money to spend, you can still get some functional speakers that’ll allow you to enjoy music on your boat.
But you’ll obviously need to sacrifice a little bit of quality to do so.
Top Marine Speaker Brands
There are a stunning array of speaker manufacturers, and many include marine speakers among their product lineups. Different manufacturers and brands emphasize different things with their products, so it is wise to familiarize yourself with a few of the industry leaders before you start shopping.
We’ll provide some basic information about three of the leading speaker manufacturers below.
Boss Audio is a 30-year-old audio equipment manufacturer, who produces everything from amplifiers to speakers. They cater to all listening environments, including home, commercial, mobile and marine, and they primarily focus on economy to mid-priced products.
BOSS Audio has an in-house acoustic team to help ensure they produce some of the best speakers possible at reasonable price points, and they are headquartered in Oxnard, California.
Kicker produces a variety of speakers, amplifiers, and other audio equipment, but they’re probably most famous for their sub boxes, which are designed for automobile use. Nevertheless, Kicker produces some very nice speakers for boats, and most are priced at the mid-range of the cost spectrum.
Kicker traces its roots all the way back to 1973, so they’re definitely not a new entry to the world of audio products. All Kicker products are designed, manufactured and shipped from their 280,000-square foot facility.
Like the other manufacturers we’ve highlighted here, Polk Audio manufacturers a variety of different speakers and sound equipment. A lot of their focus is centered around home audio products, but they also produce a variety of marine speakers too.
This may actually appeal to many serious audiophiles, as home audio systems are often some of the most impressive speakers available on the market – this experience producing super-premium speakers certainly crosses over to their marine-based products.
Polk is also a company with a lengthy history, as they were founded in 1972. Polk is headquartered in Vista, California, but their products are sold worldwide.
Marine Speaker FAQs
Boaters who are considering swapping out their speakers often end up having a number of questions as they navigate the process. We can’t answer all of the questions you may have about marine speakers, but we’ll try to address a few of the most common ones below.
How waterproof are marine speakers?
Different marine speakers are built to different water-resistance standards. Most are built to withstand incidental splashing and spraying, but they will become damaged if soaked. However, some of the best marine speakers bear an IPX5 certification, which means they’re designed to withstand a continuous low-pressure jet of water.
If you are worried about your speakers getting wet, you’ll definitely want to look for a set that have received IPX5 certification.
Can marine speakers be submerged?
Typically, no. As explained earlier, some marine speakers are designed to withstand a low-pressure jet of water, but very few will survive being submerged in water.
Can you put marine speakers in a car?
It’s difficult to make broad generalizations, but most marine speakers would work in a car. In fact, several of the products recommended above feature reviews from customers who’ve mounted marine speakers in the automobile, RV, or trailer.
Are marine speakers easy to install?
Marine speakers are usually about as easy to install as car speakers are. In fact, they are occasionally easier to install, as boats tend to offer easier access to some of the necessary components than some cars do. Nevertheless, this will vary from boat to boat and speaker to speaker.
Will marine speakers deteriorate in the sun?
Eventually, all marine speakers will deteriorate if left exposed to the sun’s UV rays. However, high-quality speakers are usually made with UV-resistant materials, which will allow them to hold up much longer than cheaply built speakers made from low-cost plastics.
Do marine speakers work without an amplifier?
As explained earlier, most marine speakers will work with or without an amplifier, however, some will only live up to their potential if powered by an amplifier. Just make sure you review the specific speakers you have your eye on before making a choice.
If you decide that you need an amplifier, it shouldn’t be very difficult or expensive to find one and have it installed. You may even be able to install it yourself if you are comfortable doing so.
If you keep your boat for any length of time, you’ll likely find it to replace your stock speakers at some point. And for that matter, you may simply wish to upgrade your existing speakers so you can enjoy the best sound system on your boat possible.
In either case, you’ll find that there are a number of replacement speakers on the market. Just remember that while you’ll have a number of options available to you, only a select few will provide those things you need and work well on your vessel.
We recommend opting for one of the eights speakers we recommend above, but if you decide to select some other model, be sure to keep the speaker selection criteria we discussed above in mind. This way, you’ll be sure to obtain speakers that will suit you and your boat well.