The Best Marine Audio Gear: Waterproof Boat Speakers and Stereos 2022
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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.
Here is the Best Marine Audio Gear of 2022:
The Best-Sounding 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Marine Speakers:
Kicker 45KM654 6-1/2" 4-Ohm Marine Coaxial Speakers
The Best RGB-Lit Marine 6-1/2" Coaxial Speakers Under $500:
JBL 6.5" Stadium Marine Two-Way Coaxial Speakers
The Best RGB-Lit Marine 8" 3-Way Speakers Under $500:
JBL 8" Stadium Marine Three-Way Convertible Speakers
The Best Marine Subwoofer Amplifier:
Kicker KMA800.1 800 Watts Marine Mono-Channel Amplifier
The Best RGB-Lit Marine 10" Subwoofer Under $500:
JBL 10" Stadium Marine Subwoofer
The Best Value 10” Marine Subwoofer for Boats:
Kicker 45KMF102 10" 2-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer
The Best Value 12” Marine Subwoofer for Boats:
Kicker 45KMF124 12" 4-Ohm Free-Air Marine Subwoofer
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.
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1. The Best-Sounding 6-1/2" 2-Way Marine Speakers:
Save: $20.00 (10%)
There’s nothing like enjoying music on the open waters – especially if you are listening to great speakers like the marine-grade Kicker 45KM654 2-way coaxial speakers.
The 45KM654’s woofer cones are made of UV-treated polypropylene and then attached to the speaker’s frame with a durable rubber surround. The 3/4” titanium dome tweeters do a fine job of delivering stellar high-frequency response to each listener – even through the fair amount of noise when the engine is running and wind is whipping past.
Capable of handling up to 65 watts continuously (and up to 195 watts of peak power), these speakers will run well off a marine-grade amplifier. Adding an amplifier (assuming you don’t already have one) will increase both sound quality as well as volume potential.
Two pairs of stylish protective grilles are included to finish the speakers off quite nicely – one pair is white and the other is charcoal in color. These Kicker speakers are designed to withstand the punishing environment found on boats, so you can rest assured that you’ll be enjoying them for years.
- Nominal Power Handling: 65 watts
- Maximum Power Handling: 95 watts
- Sensitivity: 90dB
- Frequency Response: 35Hz - 21kHz
2. The Best RGB-Lit Marine 6-1/2" Coaxial Speakers Under $500:
Save: $217.21 (54%)
If you’ve got a boat and the desire to make those voyages even more entertaining, you’ve gotta check out JBL’s Stadium Marine 62 6-1/2” marine coaxial speakers. This 2-way speaker kit from JBL’s Stadium-series of speakers features PlusOne woofer cones for extended bass response and grille-mounted Mylar tweeters for a crisp, clean high-frequency response. The speakers’ IPX5 rating means that they can handle what life on the water throws at them! These 3-ohm marine-grade speakers can handle up to 100 watts of power each, so go ahead and splurge on a good-quality amplifier to get the very best performance from them.
A great attribute of the Stadium Marine 62 speakers is that the woofer cone features RGB illumination for a custom look. You can choose from up to 7 colors, but if you want more, it’s possible: you just have to purchase an external lighting controller (sold separately) to get more color options. Along the lines of color, the speakers’ grille is a fashionable gray color that should match or contrast existing colors quite nicely. So what are you waiting for? Get better sound out on the water now!
- Size (in inches): 6 1/2"
- Power Handling: 100 watts RMS, 300 watts peak
- Sensitivity: 92dB at 2.83 volts
- Frequency Response: 40Hz - 25kHz
- Impedance: 3 ohms
3. The Best RGB-Lit Marine 8" 3-Way Speakers Under $500:
Save: $54.50 (11%)
The Stadium Marine 82 8” 3-way marine-grade speakers are one heck of an upgrade for any watercraft. These Stadium-series speakers not only employ JBL’s PlusOne woofer cones for deep bass response, but they also feature grille-mounted midrange drivers in addition to Mylar tweeters. You end up getting some incredible sound quality.
These speakers also feature an IPX5 rating, so you know they’re meant for that water life. Additionally, their 3-ohm impedance will extract strong power from the radio or amplifier that they find themselves connected to (speaking of which, they can handle up to 200 watts of continuous power!). Our advice is to look into a robust marine-grade amplifier to power these bad boys (we have quite the selection to choose from, too!).
We haven’t even mentioned the best part yet. Here goes: the Stadium Marine 82 speakers are what’s referred to as a “convertible” design. This means that the grille-mounted midrange/tweeter assembly can be detached from the center of each speaker and mounted separately – in a component speaker fashion.
Last but not least, these 8” speakers feature RGB-lit illumination. You have seven colors to choose from, but you can create your own custom color by adding an external lighting controller (sold separately). How cool is that?!
- Size (in inches): 8"
- Power Handling: 200 watts RMS, 500 watts peak
- Sensitivity: 92dB at 2.83 volts
- Frequency Response: 30Hz - 22kHz
- Impedance: 3 ohms
4. The Best Marine Subwoofer Amplifier:
Save: $30.00 (9%)
In need of a heavy-duty marine-grade amplifier to drive your new subwoofer(s)? Look no further than Kicker’s 48KMA800.1 monoblock amplifier. Measuring in at only 7-1/8”W x 2-5/16”H x 8-1/16”D, this amplifier is compact, but powerful.
This KMA-series amplifier boasts pretty incredible power output: 300 watts x 1 @ 4 ohms, 600 watts x 1 @ 2 ohms, and 800 watts x 1 @ 1 ohm. To ensure that this amplifier keeps chugging along in the marine environment, Kicker applied a conformal-coating to the amplifier’s internal printed circuit board. The amplifier’s hardware is also resistant to corrosion and rust. This thing was designed to last.
The included remote bass knob allows you to dial in the perfect amount of bass response from the subwoofer(s) connected to this Kicker amplifier. Speaking of tuning, the 48KMA800.1 has an on-board bass boost to help emphasize the bass output of the subwoofer(s) as well as a subsonic filter to protect the subwoofer(s) from harmful ultra-low bass response. With these controls properly set, those subwoofers will be able to achieve fantastic volume with low potential of distortion.
Long story short: get this amplifier to get the most from your boat’s subwoofers. You won’t be disappointed.
5. The Best RGB-Lit Marine 10" Subwoofer Under $500:
Save: $50.01 (11%)
So perhaps you have outfitted your vessel with some killer speakers, but what about that important bass response? We got the solution for you: JBL’s Stadium-series Marine 102 subwoofer! This marine-grade subwoofer features an IPX5 rating, so you know it’s ready for whatever life throws its way.
The Stadium Marine 102 employs JBL’s patented PlusOne woofer cone for deep and powerful bass response, and their Selectable Smart Impedance (SSI™) to allow you to flick a switch to select between a final 2- or 4-ohm impedance. Having this option permits you to get versatile in selecting the proper amplifier (or using one of your existing ones) to power this subwoofer properly.
Speaking of power, this subwoofer will handle up to 300 watts of power continuously and then up to 900 watts of peak power. And as far as placement of the subwoofer goes, the choice is yours because this is a free-air subwoofer, which means that you can mount it just about anywhere in the boat. Use an existing wall, cabinet, under a seat panel, etc.
The durable gray grille is a nice addition to protect the subwoofer from damage and it’s also UV, salt, and water resistant just like the subwoofer it guards.
- Woofer Size (in inches): 10"
- Power Handling: 300 watts RMS, 900 watts peak
- Sensitivity: 89dB at 2.83 volts
- Frequency Response: 20 – 2kHz
- Impedance: 2 and 4 ohms
6. The Best Value 10” Marine Subwoofer for Boats:
Save: $20.00 (9%)
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).
7. The Best Value 12” Marine Subwoofer for Boats:
Save: $20.00 (8%)
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.
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!