The Best Marine Audio Gear of 2021

The Best Marine Audio Gear of 2021

Last updated on February 18, 2021

Our picks for this year’s best-of-the-best marine speakers and audio equipment.

Rule #1 about buying audio equipment for your boat: if it’s not specifically made for life on the water, do not take it to sea. True marine audio gear is water-resistant, fog-proof, salt-proof and UV ray resistant. Marine receivers or head units come with coated circuit boards that don’t rust, rubber caps to cover all open inputs, and gasket sealed covers for all controls, knobs, and end caps. Marine speakers and subwoofers are built with plastic cones and rubber surrounds and come with weather-resistant mounting hardware. Anything less than true, marine-grade audio gear, and you’ll be tossing it before the season’s over. Rule #2: unless you own your own cruise ship, smart and efficient use of cabin space is critical, so look for an audio system you know will fit… while giving you the best possible bang for the buck. 

Below are our picks for the best of the best by category, as chosen by experts - one of whom is both a life-long sailor and a recent inductee into the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame: our own founder, Bob Cole. So… you ready? Let’s shove off… 

Questions along the way? Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to one of our audio technicians at 1.866.961.7781 or email us here.  We love this stuff and want to help.

2021 Marine Audio Deals

We’ve made it easy to find the best deals from brands like Sony, Kicker, Focal, JBL, Polk and more. Our deals update daily so you don’t miss a beat, and we’ve got your back through with our price match guarantee, 60-day returns, easy financing, and free shipping. Don’t see what you want on sale? Give us at 1.866.961.7781 or chat with an expert.

Shop This Guide

1. The Best-Sounding 6-1/2" 2-Way Marine Speakers: Kicker 45KM654L 6-1/2" LED Marine Coaxial Speakers

$179.96

Regular Price: $229.95

Save: $49.99 (22%)

Savings include $19.99 instant rebate. Offer ends 3/28/2021.

Why it won

Kicker’s 45KM654L 2-way marine-grade coaxial speakers easily took the crown here, and for a bunch of reasons. 

First, they are born and bred for the harsh marine environment. The ¾” PEI tweeters can resist corrosion and withstand the punishing environment that boats and other watercraft consistently find themselves in (think UV rays from the sun, fog, salt, and water). The polypropylene woofer cones not only shrug off water, they are also UV-treated to protect them from harmful ultraviolet rays. These woofers cones are attached to the basket (or frame) of each speaker by a durable Santoprene surround. Stainless steel hardware is provided to ensure longevity when it comes to mounting the speakers into place.

Second, they sound incredible. We really mean that. The sound is quite balanced and the speakers never get too “shrieky” – especially at higher volumes. The 45KM654L boast a high sensitivity at the 90dB mark, which means that they will take full advantage of every watt that you throw their way. If you decide to add an amplifier to these Kicker speakers, you will enjoy even better sound quality in addition to a higher volume potential. Um, that sounds like a win to us!

Lastly, the speakers will come with both white and charcoal-colored speaker grilles so you can match your boat’s aesthetics. The speakers even have LED lighting built into them and are capable of displaying one of 7 colors or you can add Kicker’s 41KMLC lighting controller for your choice of 20 colors and 19 lighting modes. Looks AND performance = win/win!

45KM654L 6-1/2" LED Marine Coaxial Speakers - Pair

  • Size (in inches): 6 1/2"
  • Power Handling: 65 watts RMS, 195 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz - 21kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms
Shop Now

2. The Best Fully-Loaded Single-DIN Marine Stereo: Sony MEX-M100BT Marine CD Receiver with Bluetooth & SongPal

$268.00

Why it won

If you’re looking for a high-performance stereo meant to deal with the rigors of boat life, look no further than Sony’s MEX-M100BT marine-grade CD receiver. Packed to the gills with features and ready to tackle the open waters, you’ll be thrilled with the looks and performance of this stereo. Like what kind of features, you might be asking? Well, besides the onboard CD player and AM/FM tuner, the MEX-M100BT boasts Bluetooth for hands-free calling as well as audio streaming, USB and auxiliary inputs for connecting your favorite audio devices (think iPhones, iPods, Android smartphones, etc.), and SiriusXM compatibility (optional tuner and subscription required).

If you’re planning to make this marine receiver the cornerstone of an awesome sound system, it has 5-volt front, rear, and subwoofer outputs for additional external amplification. And speaking of amplifiers, you should take note that this Sony has a strong Class D amplifier built-in, capable of 40 watts per channel of continuous power output, which will power just about any pair of marine-grade speakers with ease.

Rounding out the feature list of the MEX-M100BT are easy-to-see buttons and a large volume knob for quick and convenient control of your music. The radio’s lighting can be changed to match the existing lights in your boat or you can use the onboard Sound Synchronization to have the lighting change to your music.

MEX-M100BT Marine CD Receiver with Bluetooth & SongPal

  • Inputs: USB (Front), AUX (Front)
  • Internet Connectivity: Bluetooth®
Shop Now

3. The Best Monoblock Marine Subwoofer Amplifier for Boats: Kicker 45KMA6001 Monoblock 600-watt Marine Amplifier



$247.96

Regular Price: $349.95

Save: $101.99 (29%)

Why it won

The marine-grade 45KMA600.1 from Kicker is a monoblock (single channel) amplifier designed to thrive in the severe environment that a boat can (and will) present. Its Class D architecture keeps the chassis compact, so it will tuck away in a cabinet somewhere on your craft, and running coolly throughout your voyage.

This little monster is capable of pushing out a remarkable 600 watts at 2 ohms (400 watts at 4 ohms), so it can provide enough horsepower to drive just about any subwoofer you have (or are going to get). In case of exposure to moisture, rest assured this amplifier can handle it. There is a conformal coating on the internal printed circuit board (PCB) as well as corrosion-resistant connectors at the power and RCA inputs in addition to the speaker outputs. The onboard tuning knobs and switches are concealed and protected behind a cover plate that contains a rubber gasket to repel against water intrusion. Kicker designed this amplifier for marine use, yes, but they also designed it for years of enjoyment. So what are you waiting for?

45KMA6001 Monoblock 600-watt Marine Amplifier

  • Watts: 400 watts at 4 ohms, 600 watts at 2 ohms
  • Dimensions (in inches): 2-5/16H x 7-1/8W x 8-1/16L
Shop Now

4. The Best Value 10” Marine Subwoofer for Boats: Kicker 45KMF102 10" 2-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer



$169.95

Regular Price: $199.95

Save: $30.00 (15%)

Why it won

Adding bass to a boat can be a very challenging prospect. Don’t worry: Kicker’s got you covered with their 45KMF102 10” marine-grade free-air subwoofer. You can get the bass you crave without sacrificing much space at all.

Free-air? What’s that mean? It means that this Kicker subwoofer doesn’t need an enclosure to perform well, which is a good thing for a boat where space can be at a premium. Instead, this rugged subwoofer can be installed into places such as a cabinet, compartment, or in a bulkhead.

Due to the high potential of the subwoofer coming in direct contact with wind, water, salt, and UV, Kicker built the 45KMF102 to withstand all of these elements and come out on the other side grinning. The built-in water drainage system will keep the subwoofer running well and the included stainless steel hardware will resist corrosion quite well. A Santoprene rubber surround will keep the subwoofer in-check for a good long time, too.

Kicker’s 2-ohm 45KMF102 will handle up to 175 watts of continuous power and up to 350 watts of peak power, so you don’t need a massive amplifier to get the job done.

If protection of the subwoofer is required, Kicker does offer a sturdy ABS plastic grille with built-in LED lighting (Kicker 45KMG10C (charcoal) and 45KMG10W (white) grilles available).

45KMF102 10" 2-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer

  • Woofer Size (in inches): 10"
  • Power Handling: 250 watts RMS, 500 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 86.27dB
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 500kHz
  • Impedance: 2 ohms

Shop Now

5. The Best Value 12” Marine Subwoofer for Boats: Kicker 45KMF124 12" 4-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer



$199.95

Regular Price: $229.95

Save: $30.00 (13%)

Why it won

Bass is an integral part of every genre of music and adds so much in immersing you into the music. Out on the open water, this should be just as important as if you were sitting in your home. Kicker’s 12” 45KM124 is a wonderful solution and absolutely something worth considering for your watercraft.

This marine-grade subwoofer has a sealed box requirement of 1.25 cubic feet, so it doesn’t take up too much while delivering solid performance. The subwoofer’s durable polypropylene cone repels water with ease and the built-in water drainage system gets rid of excess moisture so the subwoofer can play as long as you need it to. The hardy Santoprene rubber surround on the 45KM124 will keep the woofer cone in-check, ensuring accurate bass response in addition to a long lifespan.

The 45KM124 has a 4-ohm voice coil and handles up to 175 watts of continuous power (and up to 350 watts peak). It’s mounting depth is only 5.5”, so finding a suitable enclosure for the subwoofer should be relatively easy. If you prefer a ported enclosure for this subwoofer, the box requirement only jumps to 1.75 cubic feet.

If protection of the subwoofer is required, Kicker does offer a sturdy ABS plastic grille  (Kicker 45KMG12C (charcoal) and 45KMG12W (white) grilles available) with built-in LED lighting.


45KMF124 12" 4-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer

  • Woofer Size (in inches): 12"
  • Power Handling: 300 watts RMS, 600 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 87.46dB
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 500Hz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms

Shop Now

6. The Best Loaded Subwoofer Marine Enclosure for Boats: JBL MBP10AM 10" BassPro Amplified Marine Subwoofer Enclosure

$459.95

Regular Price: $499.95

Save: $40.00 (8%)

Why it won

While the JBL MBP10AM powered subwoofer might look like a spacecraft out of a science fiction flick, it’s way more at home in a marine environment, like your boat or other watercraft.

Imagine how much better your music will sound out on the open water (or dockside) by adding some more “thump” to it. Every bit of music – from hip hop to heavy metal – has bass response that your current speakers cannot reproduce. The MBP10AM from JBL can change that.

What makes this JBL powered subwoofer really popular is that it has a 250-watt amplifier built into its chassis, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an amplifier (or figuring out where you’re going to place the amp!) to drive the sub. Speaking of the amplifier, it gives you basic (but definitely worthwhile) adjustments to get the most out of the speaker. You can control things such as a variable bass boost, a low-pass crossover, gain, and phase.

The MBP10AM system is designed to endure the harsh marine environment because it has gone through all manners of testing right at JBL’s manufacturing facility to ensure longevity. What manners of testing, you might be asking? JBL’s QC crew will bake, freeze, blast with UV, and shake the powered subwoofer to mimic what might happen in its lifespan to guarantee a long-lasting solution.

MBP10AM 10" BassPro Amplified Marine Subwoofer Enclosure

  • Size (in inches): 10"
  • Built-in Amplifier Output: 250 watts RMS, 750 watts peak
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 120Hz
  • Inputs: Stereo female RCA jacks
  • Product Dimensions: 8-1/2" top mount depth, 10-1/8" cutout diameter
Shop Now

7. The Best Marine Tower Speakers: Kicker 45KMTC65 6-1/2" Marine Coaxial Tower System

$629.95

Regular Price: $699.95

Save: $70.00 (10%)

Why it won

If you are the owner of a boat and it lacks either the volume you’re gunning for or speakers entirely, Kicker’s 45KMTC65W could be just the thing for you.

These sleek, glossy white weather-proof enclosures each house a 6-1/2” polypropylene woofer and 3/4” balanced dome titanium tweeter that will not only outlast the weather, but they will also sound (and look) great doing it. The built-in LED lighting will only enhance your experience! Perhaps best of all, this speaker system from Kicker is treated to be resilient against UV rays, salt, fog, and water so they will last as long as the boat does.

The 45KMTC65W tower speakers come with the hardware, such as brackets, clamps, and levers, to get them in-place and fastened securely. The swiveling clamp system will allow you to point the speakers in the direction where you want the sound to be.

In powering these speakers, Kicker does suggest an amplifier with up to 65 watts of continuous power per channel to get these things singing clearly throughout the volume spectrum.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get your boat rockin’ – whether it’s out on the water or dockside.

45KMTC65 6-1/2" Marine Coaxial Tower System - Pair

  • Size (in inches): 6 1/2"
  • Power Handling: 65 watts RMS, 195 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz - 21kHz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms

Shop Now

One more thing... 

Once you pick out your marine audio gear, a last word of advice: buy from a trusted dealer, and the more experience / the longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens. (See our “Happiness Guarantee,” right here.)

Speaking of trusted dealers… 

World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do, and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet diehard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy. And P.S.: we’re brutally honest when it comes to this stuff. Want to know if something is as good as advertised - even if you're shopping somewhere else? Call us or stop by one of our showrooms — we’ll give it to you straight.  

Until next time: turn the music up, have fun, and be safe – make sure everyone has a life jacket – including the dog!

Write a Comment

You must be logged in to write a comment. Log In.

Top