8 Best Marine Speakers in 2020 – Reviews and Rankings

There are few things more enjoyable than spending the weekend cruising on your boat with family and friends. If you are going to make the most of riding around on the water though, you’ll want to be able to listen to your favorite tunes.

Portable speakers have made us able to take our music virtually everywhere, but if you are on a boat, you will need something that can handle being on the water without fear of damage. Marine speakers are designed to survive the harsh conditions on the water and provide high-fidelity sound so you can enjoy your favorite tunes.

As weird as it may sound, some marine speakers are more waterproof than others. That means that some marine speakers work best when situated inside a sheltered cabin but would not be a good idea to take on the exposed deck.

To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, we have put together this comprehensive list of the 8 best marine speakers of 2020. These speakers have been selected by virtue of their sound quality, durability, ease of use, and overall value.

Without any further ado, let’s dive in headfirst (pun intended!).

Best Marine Speakers – Comparison

Picture Product Name Wattage Item Weight Price
Polk Audio DB651 2-Way Polk Audio DB651 2-Way 60 watts 5 pounds Check Latest Price
Garmin MS-FR6022 Fusion 200 watts 6.88 pounds Check Latest Price
Rockville RWB80B 17.37 pounds Check Latest Price
Kenwood KFC-1663MRW 50 watts 2.2 pounds Check Latest Price
Sony XSMP1621 160 watts 1.87 pounds Check Latest Price
Kicker 11 KB6000W
75 watts 6.8 pounds Check Latest Price
Polk Audio Atrium4 80 watts 3.6 pounds Check Latest Price
Pioneer TS-MR1640 30 watts 4.41 pounds Check Latest Price

 

8 Marine Speakers That Make Boating Rock

1. Polk Audio DB651 2-Way Marine-Certified Speakers

Polk Audio DB651 2-Way Marine-Certified Speakers

First up are these dual car-boat speakers from Polk Audio, a well known audio equipment manufacturer that makes all kinds of portable and non-portable speakers setups. Polk Audio is a favorite among audiophiles for their unique niche products, and the 2-way marine certified speakers are no exception.

These speakers are actually built for both boats and cars. They are built to survive the tumultuous conditions on the water and trudging on the road, all while costing about as much as a week of groceries for a single person.

Each of the Polk speakers is rated with an RMS power of 120W so they are plenty loud enough to be heard over the sputtering on your boat engine and the sound of waves. The speaker components are made from a silk tweeter and mica (a silicate material) cone that gives great volume response and is water-resistant.

The speakers attach to your boat via a standard series of 6.5-inch coaxial hookups. It also comes with a set of adaptors so you can easily fit them in alternated sound systems. Since it is marine certified and made from water-resistant components they will stand up to the waves and ocean spray.

One thing we really like about the Polk Audio marine speakers is their designs. They look like fashionable car rims and the silver/black color scheme matches virtually any kind of boat/car interior. The speakers are very lightweight but don’t let that fool you. They can pump out a high fidelity sound that doesn’t rattle with the low bass tones. However, being a coaxial speaker, it might not be as good as component speakers when handling low bass tones, especially at high volumes.

Another cool feature is that the speakers can swivel to direct sound. That way, you can angle them to reflect off the boat’s interior, taking advantage of the boat’s acoustics to amplify sound.

What We Like:

  • Great audio performance
  • Stylish appearance
  • Easy installation
  • Works for boats and cars
  • Speakers can swivel to direct sound
  • Affordable

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not as good as component speakers for bass tones
  • No subwoofer

2. Garmin MS-FR6022 Fusion Marine Loudspeaker

Garmin is primarily known for its GPS products but they also have made a foray in audio equipment. This boat-friendly Fusion Marine Loudspeaker is a competent model that withstands saltwater moisture and has a lot of great quality-of-life features that make it easy to use.

First things first, each speaker is 6 inches in diameter and are rated for a max 200W of power (400W total). That is pretty loud as far as marine speakers go and they will be loud enough to drown out the sound of the engine or lapping waves. They have fully enclosed crossovers, waterproof cones, and you can choose between three different grill styles to match the style of your boat.

The Garmin features the latest German “CURV” technology that uses a fiber composite to make a stronger cone. The result is that the cone has a greater sound output, high sound definition, and greater resistance to moisture and ocean spray. It is also engineered to reduce interference with navigational equipment that relies on magnets. The efficient design also reduces battery drain so you can run them without worrying about running dry while on the water.

As far as performance goes, the Fusion fares very well, especially considering its reasonable price. It performs as well as some higher-quality speakers while being a fraction of the price. They are easy to install and the package includes the correct marine tinned wire need to connect them to your boat without problems.

They also provide an excellent amount of bass without rattling and you can increase the fidelity by hooking them up to a high powered amp. By themselves, though they are perfectly passable and should work well for all kinds of music.

The only real downside of the Fusion we could find is that quality control seems to have some issues. Some users report getting their package with one speaker already broken.

What We Like:

  • Powerful and durable
  • Built to reduce magnetic interference with navigation instruments
  • Easy to install
  • Good all-around sound profile
  • Comes with correct installation wires
  • Low power design reduces battery consumption

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some quality control issues from the manufacturer
  • Need to be hooked to an amp for maximum output. Not necessarily a negative, but something to keep in mind

Also Read: Best Saltwater Spinning Reels for Your Next Fishing Expedition

3. Rockville RWB80B

So far, everything we have covered has been labeled “water-resistant,” meaning that the speakers can handle some excess moisture and spray. These water-resistant speakers are not, however, designed to survive being fully submerged in water.

The Rockville RWB80B marine speakers are genuinely 100% waterproof and are sealed with rubber gaskets at every seam to lock water out. They are fully marinized against salt and fresh water and are rust-resistant, so you never have to worry about them being damaged from weather conditions. They are specifically designed as wake-board tower speakers so they easily snap onto bars or roll cages.

Each speaker is 8 inches across and has a high-quality polypropylene cone treated with mica that gives good sound definition and range. This design is coupled with a dedicated mid-range tweeter that boosts sound clarity and depth. A high powered neodymium magnet minimizes magnetic interference and prevents scratching sounds at high frequencies.

Each speaker has a max capacity of 300W and an RMS of 200 for a max capacity of 600W and 400W, respectively. They have a peak sound output of 98 dB which is about as loud as a heavy-duty gas-powered lawnmower; more than loud enough to be heard on the water.

The only real problems we found with the Rockvilles are the speaker clips. They are sturdy enough and the speaker won’t fall off whatever it is mounted to, but they loosen over time and you will have to readjust them to keep the speakers straight. This is not a problem with the speaker per se and is more an inherent problem with the clip design.

Overall though, the Rockville is a great pair of speakers that will last you a long time. The waterproof design, high fidelity sound, and ease of installation all make it one of our favorite sets of marine speakers.

What We Like:

  • 100% waterproof and rubber-sealed
  • Dedicated mid-range tweeter for better mids
  • 600W combined power output
  • Max 98dB sound pressure
  • Extremely easy installation

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Mounts can get jostled around
  • Cannot swivel mounts

4. Kenwood KFC-1663MRW

Up in 4th is the Kenwood KFC-1663MRW, designed and created by Kenwood, a well-known maker of marine sound systems. The Kenwood is one of the more powerful options in their price point and very compact. Each speaker measures 6.5” across and like the Rockville that we covered previously, they have a great range of sound ranging from low basses to high trebles.

The Kenwoods have a massive response range from 60Hz to 20,000Hz. The woofer is made from a water-resistant PP cone and has a 1” balanced tweeter that helps pick up mid-range tones. It has a very narrow mounting depth so it won’t protrude from the boat interior too much.

As is expected for marine speakers, the Kenwoods are resistant to UV damage and salt damage, so you can operate them without worry. The power output is relatively limited at 150W per speaker (300W total) but that is to be expected for the lower price. They can be powered solely by the head unit but you can bump up the sound by connecting them to an amp.

The speakers themselves have a neutral and sleek design. It’s very easy to install too. It comes with an adaptor fixture if the cut-out does not fit them perfectly. Once you place them, all you have to do is plug them in and you are good to go. The low-power design minimizes battery consumption.

The Kenwoods are probably not the most powerful marine speakers out there but they are comparable to a lot of offerings at a higher price point. They are easy to install out of the box, have good sound quality, and are loud enough to drown out the waves and boat engine, though the sound is likely not to extend outside of the boat’s carriage.

What We Like:

  • Very affordable for the quality
  • Dedicated woofer and tweeter
  • Narrow depth profile
  • Good crossover
  • Easy to install

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Low max power output
  • Sounds better when running through an amp

5. Sony XSMP1621 Marine Speaker

In short, the Sony XSMP1621 Marine Speaker System is a good set of speakers at an affordable price that offers good sound quality through high and low-frequency ranges. Sony is a reliable brand and makes some good sound system equipment and these are their foray into water-resistant marine speakers.

The model has a 91dB sensitivity which is about a third higher than many other comparable marine speakers. This makes them more efficient but they have a relatively low RMS at 70W. The Sonys have been tested for range fidelity and score above average in the high and low department, but slightly below average in the mid-range region.

This is a slight problem as the mid-range is where you hear the most details of your music. It is a bit more than half as loud as the best marine speakers at their best RMS wattage. It can still fill a smaller boat completely with sound but it might be lacking with a bigger boat.

All speaker materials are made from polypropylene which is water-resistant and does not warp from heat or US rays. It is ASTM certified for salt, fog, and water protection. There is one kink in this armor though as the speakers do not have shielded crossover networks that protect the wiring unit. It lacks the usual gold-plated terminals but the stainless steel terminals are still corrosive resistant.

While the Sony may not be a top-line marine speaker, it is a noticeable upgrade from factory-installed speakers. It has a higher than average decibel sensitivity but a lower than average continuous power handling. It has a very reasonable price point for a speaker of its quality and makes a good mid-range option if you are looking to replace stock speakers.

What We Like:

  • Good crisp sound
  • Easy to clean and removable grills
  • High decibel sensitivity
  • ASTM certified for fog, water, and UV radiation
  • Good upgrade from stock speakers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Lower continuous power wattage
  • Crossover unit is not shielded
  • No gold-plated terminals

6. Kicker 11 KB6000W Marine Speakers

These 6.5” tower marine speakers are a highly popular and great performance outdoor speaker system that is available for a competitive price. The all-weather design is made to be mounted in the open air and the casing is treated to resist UV damage. It features a standard 1” soft dome tweeter and a 6.5” woofer that can generate some low tones.

The speakers are wall mountable and have swiveling C brackets so you can tweak the position for the right sound projection. It has pretty impressive power and has a 75 RMS and 150W max output for each speaker. They have an average decibel sensitivity of 90 dB and a frequency response rate of 55-21,000 Hz, pretty standard for 6.5” speakers.

As far as sound quality goes, the Kicker has a natural sound with minimal distortion or noise. They perform well for any genre of music and have a sturdy build that can handle a beating.

One of the better features of the Kicker is the fully enclosed design that completely seals out water and debris. The speakers are pretty compact and light so they are easy to mount and easy to take off if you experience inclement weather conditions. It is water-resistant though not entirely waterproof so you may need to take them down if the weather is very bad.

The KB6000 is a passive 8-ohm speaker so you will need an external power receiver and speaker wires to operate them. These materials are found easy enough so this is not a big deal that is hard to manage.

Otherwise, speaker performance is great and can get very loud. It competes on level ground with other louder and higher-end speakers. They make a good upgrade from stock bot speakers and can perform well in most weather conditions.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy design
  • UV resistant
  • Good frequency response range
  • Easy to mount and takedown
  • Fairly water-resistant; Designed for open-air use
  • 1-year warranty

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can’t handle heavy water
  • Has trouble with low bass tones

7. Polk Audio Atrium4 Outdoor Speakers

This highly-rated outdoor speaker is another offering from Polk Audio. The Atrium4 is a good option if you like the speaker box design of the Kicker 11 reviewed above. The Atrium4s are designed for all-weather performance and can be installed in virtually any outdoor space, not just your boat.

The powerful speakers have 4 3 ½” mineral-filled Dynamic Balance polymer cone that gives good sound dispersion and a ¾” anodized aluminum dome tweeter for dedicated mid-range production. 80W of power from each speaker (160W RMS total) produce quality sound that is loud enough for most locales. The speakers are ASTM certified water-resistant and the creators claim they exceed the performance of military-grade speaker models.

Power handling and frequency are optimized to give great outdoor performance and durability against the elements. Key parts are encased in feature rubber to prevent vibrations and the baffles are designed to diffuse sound more effectively.

The Atrium4 is easy to mount and features a quick speed-lock system that only requires one hand to use. This makes them easy to take on and off depending on the weather.

As far as performance goes, the Atrium4s really live up to the motto of “small speakers, big sound.” it can produce sounds ranging from 12 kHz to 20 kHz which extends to frequencies outside of the human hearing range. The bass might not be heavy enough or everyone’s taste but you can pair them with a subwoofer to up the bass tones.

2 important features of the Atrium4s are the Dynamic Balance that uses advanced geometry to eliminate unwanted distortion and the Klippel motor optimization ensures a better sound reproduction and high fidelity volume levels.

The only downside we could find is that the design does not really allow for portability. They are small and light but have a weird shape that’s hard to pack and take with you. However, given the reasonable price, this is not that much of a negative.

What We Like:

  • Robust tough construction
  • Military-grade components
  • Good dispersion
  • One-hand mounting
  • Works outside, not just on boats.
  • Great price point

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not very portable design
  • Not very stylish looking

8. Pioneer TS-MR1640 Marine Speakers

Last on our list but certainly, not least is the Pioneer TS-MR1640 marine speakers, a meticulously designed piece. It has a unique fan shape that makes it stand out from competitors and is a solid mid-range performing marine speaker. Pioneer is a well-known maker of speakers so they have the fundamentals of speaker construction absolutely nailed down.

The Pioneer has actually been around in the market for quite a while. That market longevity testifies as to the product’s quality and signifies it’s a reliable purchase. It has a top-quality build including gold tinsel wires and gold plated terminals, water, and corrosion-resistant body, and UV resistant frame.

One thing that makes the Pioneer stand out among competitors is its impressive bass performance. The 91dB sensitivity is higher than average for comparable speakers. And each speaker has a 160W max output (320W total). Midranges are clear, highs are crisp, and low tones really rumble without any loss of sound fidelity.

Install is easy too. All you have to do is drill the mount holes, attach the connector wires, and you are good to go. They make a solid upgrade from stock speakers and they have the quality of high-end speakers for a much more reasonable price.

The only downsides we could find are some quality control issues. Some users report speakers come to them already damaged.

What We Like:

  • Fantastic reliable brand
  • Gold plated components are of high quality
  • Higher than average of 91 dB sensitivity
  • Easy to install
  • Good upgrade speakers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Bass might not be good enough for some
  • Sounds can get muddy at high frequencies

Conclusions:

So there you have it, the 8 best marine speakers for music while boating. A good set of marine speakers can make or break your boat trip. After all, what kind of trip would it be if you couldn’t listen to your favorite tunes while out on the waves? These marine speakers are all great options to upgrade your stock speakers and gave a good enough sound profile to handle all genres of music.

Derek S. Webb
 

Derek Webb is a family man, outdoor enthusiast, and Editor-In-Chief at Outdoor On! He is a regular columnist in big media publication - writing from fishing to camping to various outdoor stuff.