Best Boat Speakers - Reviews and Buying Guide for 2020

Almost nothing beats the experience of enjoying a relaxing day on the water by yourself or with friends—that is, unless you can include some great music too. However, hearing your favorite jams while you’re out on the lake or ocean usually requires a pair of speakers if you want any kind of decent sound quality. 

There’s more than a few boat speakers out there to pick from, and if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve compiled a list of recommendations for you. 

Why Do I Need Boat Speakers? 

One question that a lot of people have is why they need a pair of boat speakers when they could easily purchase a wireless speaker or just use their phone? Well, there are a couple of reasons why you might find that boat speakers to be the best pick. 

A lot of wireless speakers don’t have the capacity to provide the crystal clear sound you’re looking for while you’re out on the water. Not to mention, most wireless speakers aren’t waterproof or even water-resistant either. All it takes is an accidental fall or splash to permanently damage the speaker. 

Marine speakers, however, typically include protective material or coatings that allow them to soak up more moisture without risking permanent damage. This trait also sets them apart from car speakers, which rarely have waterproof protection either. For instance, you might see paper cones in your car speakers, but this material probably wouldn’t survive more than a couple of months on your boat. 

Wireless speakers might be fine in a pinch, but if you’re serious about a durable product with great sound quality, you’ll probably want to invest in marine speakers. 

What to Look For in Your Boat Speakers

When you’re out shopping, there are a few factors that set subpar speakers apart from the best boat speakers. 

Durability

A good pair of marine speakers will typically include specific protections to fight tough weather conditions. Tower speakers, for instance, can usually handle a lot of wear and tear before you begin to see the signs of age.

The best marine speakers also use heavy-duty parts that can withstand months and even years out on the water. Instead of the paper cones you see with car speakers, a durable set of boat speakers will typically use plastic cones. 

Louder is Better

When you’re out on the boat, there’s a lot of background noise that your marine speakers have to contend with. Not only do you need to hear the sound of the music over the water, wind, or waves, but most likely over other boats or voices too. 

For this reason, it’s a good idea to seek out speakers that are more powerful or contain wider ranges of frequency. The last thing you want to do is purchase a pair of speakers, go through the hassle of installing them, and then be able to barely hear them. If the manufacturer doesn’t tell you how loud the speakers are, there might be a way for you to measure it on your own

Ease of Installation

Some people may opt for professional installation when they purchase marine speakers, but a lot of boat owners at least try to install them on their own first. Unless you’re purchasing wireless marine speakers, the installation process will require mounting the speaker and a little bit of wiring. 

If you can, finding a pair of speakers that are easy to install can save you a lot of trouble. Not only will it take less time, but the easier they are to install, the less likely that you’ll run into potential problems. If you don’t install the speakers correctly, you could end up damaging the speakers or hiring a professional to undo the damage you caused. 

Keep in mind that not all speakers come with every component you need for the installation process. It’s not uncommon for some speakers to lack an essential wire, or require screws that don’t come with the purchase. Most speakers will tell you that they lack a certain wire or part, so it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for these messages. 

Best Boat Speakers Under $200 

For less than $200, here are our top picks: 

Kicker White OEM Replacement Marine Coaxial Speakers

Weighing only around ten pounds in total, the Kicker White OEM Replacement Marine Coaxial Speakers can turn your boat into a private concert. These four speakers also come with stainless steel mounting screws and a relatively easy installation process that shouldn’t take you hours. 

If your speakers happen to get a little wet, you don’t need to worry. The weatherproof design of these speakers helps them endure any weather conditions you might encounter out on the water. 

Pros:

  • Easier installation
  • Lightweight
  • Can endure tough weather conditions
  • Doesn’t require a lot of wiring
  • Includes grilles 

Cons:

  • Might need to purchase the other side of the plug separately
  • Only handles 150 watts at peak power
  • Some smaller boats might need all four speakers

BOSS Audio Systems Weatherproof Marine Gauge and Speaker Package

Looking for a pair of high-quality 6.5-inch speakers? If so, the BOSS Audio Systems Weatherproof Marine Gauge and Speaker Package might be exactly what you’re looking for. With a USB port and Bluetooth capabilities, there are multiple ways that you can connect your smartphone to the speakers and play your favorite jams. 

Keep in mind that the USB port is capable with most smartphones as well as some MP3 players if you’re worried that your phone won’t connect to the Bluetooth. For manufacturer defects, there’s a 3-year limited warranty if you encounter any problems. 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Includes a USB port and auxiliary input
  • Comes with Bluetooth capabilities
  • Weatherproof
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

Cons:

  • Won’t hook up to a CD player
  • Might not work with all MP3 players 
  • Doesn’t come with a detachable front panel

Best Boat Speakers Under $100 

Looking for something under $100? Here’s what we’ve got for you: 

Kenwood KFC 2-Way Marine Speakers

If you’re interested in finding something that has a relatively simple installation process without all the bells and whistles, you might want to consider the Kenwood KFC 2-Way Marine Speakers. 

At less than three pounds, hauling these speakers around shouldn’t be too much trouble, and they do include a water-resistant coating. Even if they get a little wet, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. 

Pros:

  • Simple and easy installation process
  • Lightweight 
  • Water-resistant for tough weather conditions
  • Better sound quality
  • Wide frequency range 

Cons:

  • Might need to purchase the wire separately
  • Might not be as durable as some choices
  • Only gets up to 50 watts

BOSS Audio Systems Marine Waketower Speaker System

Not all boat speakers may be as waterproof or water-resistant as they seem, but you might find that the protective coating on the BOSS Audio Systems Marine Waketower Speaker System makes all the difference. The rubber on the outside of the speakers can withstand more damage than some other choices. 

The voice coil in the speakers can also withstand high temperatures, so you shouldn’t need to worry about potential damage on those hot summer days. If you’re worried about potential manufacturer defects, there is a 3-year warranty that comes with purchase. 

Pros:

  • High-quality voice coil
  • More water-resistant 
  • Better sound quality
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Doesn’t require an amplifier

Cons:

  • Doesn’t connect directly to Bluetooth
  • The speakers don’t rotate
  • Will require a speaker wire

Best Boat Speakers in Class

When it comes to looking for something that’s the best in class, we stand behind this option: 

Skar Audio 2-Way Marine Full Range Speakers

With 160 watts each, the powerful Skar Audio 2-Way Marine Full Range Speakers can give you the high-quality sound that you’re looking for. To provide even better sound, you’ll find that the mid-woofer uses composite mineral material. There’s also a larger voice coil to maximize your sound output as well. 

While they aren’t as lightweight as some options, it shouldn’t matter much once you’ve installed and hooked these speakers up inside your boat. 

Pros:

  • Don’t require a separate amp
  • High-quality sound 
  • Includes 1.2-inch voice coil for better sound output
  • Comes in multiple colors to mix and match if you want
  • Water-resistant material 

Cons:

  • Not as lightweight as some options
  • Covers are not detachable
  • Might not be as loud as some people might want

Conclusion

Every person has their own individual needs and preferences, but if we had to pick the best boat speakers in this list, it would have to be the BOSS Audio Systems Weatherproof Marine Gauge and Speaker Package. Along with being lightweight and easy to move around if you need to, these speakers also come with easy-to-use Bluetooth capabilities. 

Even if you aren’t looking to use Bluetooth, you can always hook your smartphone up with a USB port or aux cord. This makes it easier to switch between devices if you want so, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.