If the time has come to replace your factory installed boat speakers you may be finding the task a bit daunting. Boat speakers present challenges that you do not face with selecting speakers that will play in an enclosed space. Speakers on a boat must be able to project sound into an open air environment that is also rough on the equipment itself. Choosing the best marine speakers for your boat gives you the opportunity to really customize the look, feel and sound of your boat.
What to Consider for the Best Marine Speakers
When purchasing boat speakers it is really important to consider performance. You want the best marine speakers you can find that deliver crystal clear sound at all volume levels including high volume. You also want marine speakers that have a high sensitivity rating because they take less power to generate greater volume. Space on many boats is somewhat limited so it can be a good idea to choose speakers that perform well in the bass range. That way, you may be able to skip buying a subwoofer and save on space. You will probably want speakers that can handle ranges above the human max of 20,000 hertz because higher frequencies help smooth and round out the sound.
Durability is a key issue when it comes to selecting the best marine speakers. Choose marine speakers that are designed to handle tough outdoor weather and water for many years to come. Marine speakers should be water and weather resistant. The outside basket of the speaker should be manufactured from durable plastics and polymers. Look for speakers that have driver cones manufactured from polypropylene or composites so that the materials are lightweight but stiff enough to reproduce both high and low frequencies. If you need to install speakers close to any navigation instrumentation then your speakers must have magnetic shielding because the magnet in your speaker can affect the accuracy of the boat’s navigation equipment.
You should also look for marine speakers that fit with the design and style of your boat. You want the speakers to enhance your boat’s look and not detract from it. Speakers are made from a variety of materials so look for marine speakers that either match the style of your boat, or contrast and enhance its appearance in some way.
Benefits of the Best Marine Speakers
The best marine speakers on the market have several benefits over traditional auto or home speakers. The most important benefit is that they are designed specifically for use in boats.
- Water and Weather Resistance. Marine speakers can withstand being subjected to rainy or hot sunny weather without sustaining damage.
- Marine Speakers are Rust Proof. Rust proofing protects the speakers from rust and salt corrosion.
- Heat Resistant. Marine speakers are built to withstand high temperatures and have UV protection to ensure the rays of the sun do not interfere or influence the speakers.
Drawbacks of Some the Best Marine Speakers
There are some cons associated with certain marine speakers. The most common complaints about marine speakers include:
- Smaller tweeters that lose some of the brightness of the sound.
- Some speaker grilles require six mounting holes instead of the more standard four mounting holes.
- Plastic grilles and mounting holes can break easily if over tightened.
- Some marine speakers lack positive and negative markings to denote polarity.
Top 10 Best Marine Speakers Comparison Guide
Top 5 Best Marine Speakers Reviews
If you want top quality in a marine speaker then the Pioneer TS-MR2040 delivers. These speakers are specially built for marine use. The heavy duty construction of theses speakers makes them highly resistant to water, corrosion, and heat. The 8” size of these speakers provides a deeper, heavier bass more suited to the unenclosed open air environment of a boat.
The cone is made of a water resistant injection molded polypylene composite material that produces one of the best mid bass responses of marine speakers available on the market. This material is also excellent at resisting salt water corrosion, humidity, and high heat. High frequencies are stunningly beautiful because of Pioneer’s innovative ¾ inch Poly-Imide Reflex Horn tweeter. This tweeter does more than simply produce beautiful high notes, it also protects the tweeter against moisture.
Other features that make this Pioneer speaker model superior include elastomer surround on each speaker to protect against color fading or running to extend the life of the speakers and an acrylonitrile Elastomer Styrene Glass Fiber reinforced basket and magnet cover that protects the magnetic circuit that can affect speaker performance. Finally, Pioneer uses gold tinsel wire and gold plated wire terminals for improved current transfer. There are many features to like about these Pioneer speakers but the best is the overall sound quality and volume. They are an excellent speaker choice for outdoor applications and boats.
These Marine grade speakers cost more than most but they really deliver great performance in harsh weather and harsh environments. The 8-inch speakers have 200 watts for maximal power handling and provide excellent volume and sound quality for outdoor, unenclosed spaces.
The removable 18- gauge stainless steel grille covers are corrosion resistant and the gold plated polarized input terminals are also corrosion resistant. Like the Pioneer it also features a thermo plastic Elastomer surround that is UV, salt, and fog resistant. If you are looking for speakers that deliver a real punch in all frequencies and offers high durability then these speakers are well worth considering.
The Infinity 612m speakers produce good sound although they do not provide the same degree of loudness as other marine speakers. These speakers perform particularly well in the mid range and provide a crisp and clear overall sound. The speakers have a 6.5 inch woofer and a 1 inch half dome tweeter which together cover the frequency range quite well although if you like a really strong bass you might want to consider adding a subwoofer.
Both the woofer and tweeter are made of polypropylene for water resistance although the speakers are not as durable as many others. The cones are sealed with rubber surrounds and the magnet assembly is also sealed to protect it from water damage. Nonetheless, the manufacturer does not warrant these speakers as being waterproof so you need to consider carefully whether or not the speakers are suited to the environment where you boat. Another quirk of these speakers is the 5 screw mount as opposed to the more standard 4 screw mount. Overall, these are a good set of marine speakers at a reasonable price point.
These Kenwood speakers were definitely designed for the great outdoors. They sound terrific, are very durable, and able to stand up to harsh conditions on the water. Kenwood uses a balanced dome tweeter that is built into the speaker grille and not into the middle of the woofer cone. This results in a water resistant polypropylene woofer that delivers an extra strong bass. The white speaker grilles resistant sun damage and discoloration.
The speakers deliver a strong, clear, crisp sound that is easily heard over the background noises of wind and water. For performance and durability these speakers are a great choice at a middle of the road price point.
The JBL MS 6200 marine speakers provide good overall sound quality throughout the frequency range for human hearing. Their strength lies in the mid range although the low end of the frequency response at 50 hertz is within the range of a subwoofer. If you prefer a really strong, thumping bass then you might want to add in a true subwoofer. Although the sensitivity rating is higher on these speakers JBL uses a different sensitivity measure so the rating is actually somewhat deceptive. A higher sensitivity rating should require less power to get a louder sound but these speakers require more power to get a louder sound because of method of measuring sensitivity.
The speakers come with corrosion resistant stainless steel hardware and the cones are made from polypropylene which is water resistant. These speakers do not have the same level of durability testing as some of the other products so it is difficult to determine just how well these speakers will handle the rough outdoor elements over the long haul.
If you are looking for a good performance speaker and you are not overly concerned with the volume level then these speakers will fit the requirements.
Overall, the speakers on this list all provide good to excellent performance throughout the frequency range with some providing greater volume than others. It does pay to research the durability of these speakers in greater depth if you plan to hold on to them for many years.