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Best Marine Speakers


What are the best marine speakers for my boat?

Overview:

This article will break down what we believe as the best marine speakers for your boat. We break it down by size, price point, and what the speakers are supposed to do. There are a ton of options here and our recommendations are spread all across the board.

Option 1:

Stay Loyal - If you have a brand that you like, don't over complicate it. Go with those speakers. If you don't, you will second guess yourself as soon as you hear another boat with the brand that you are/were loyal to. If you have had JL Audio and you like JL, you should buy JL speakers. If you are a Kicker guy, get the Kickers. If your boat has a ton of Garmin electronics we recommend Fusion because they are a Garmin brand. Every speakers we sell will sound great when powered properly.
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.

Option 2:


Continue to Read This Aticle






Editor's Favorite
Rockford Fosgate M2
Editor's Favorite
JL Audio M3
Best 6.5" Marine Speakers - No Amplifier
Stinger SEA65
Best LED 6.5" Marine Speakers - No Amplifier
Stinger SEA65RGB
Best Mid-Level 6.5" Marine Speakers for Sound Quality
JL Audio M3
Best Mid-Level 6.5" Marine Speakers for Loud Volume
Rockford Fosgate M1
Best Mid Level 6.5" Marine Speakers for Value
Kicker KM65
Best Mid Level LED 6.5" Marine Speakers for Value
KM65L
Best Premium 6.5" Marine Speakers for Sound Quality
JL Audio M6
Best Premium 6.5" Marine Speakers for Volume
Rockford Fosgate M2
Loudest 6.5" Marine Speakers for Your Boat
Wet Sounds REVO 6
Best Mid-Level 8" Marine Speakers for Sound Quality
JL Audio M3
Best Mid-Level 8" Marine Speakers for Volume
Rockford Fosgate M1
Best Premium 8" Marine Speakers for Sound Quality
JL Audio M6
Best Premium 8" Marine Speakers for Volume
Rockford Fosgate M2
Loudest 8" Marine Speakers for Your Boat
Rockford Fosgate M2 Horn Tweeter
Marine Speakers with the Largest Number of Grille Options
Wet Sounds REVO 6 & Wet Sounds REVO 8
Best Looking Marine Speakers with LED Lights
JL Audio M6


The Speakers Details:


Editors Top Pics
Jeff's Favorite Marine Speakers

Rockford Fosgate M2

I like my music loud, I like my music bright. In a boat, the speakers are down low, there is a bunch of ambient noise, and I want that volume that is going to cut through and give those sharp, crisp, clean highs. I'm a Rockford guy and I always have been since high school. I like what I like. In this list, there are no bad choices whatsoever.
Rockford Fosgate M2 wins our editors top pick


Sam's Favorite Marine Speakers

JL Audio M3

I have these speakers and I just absolutely love them. To me, they blow away the Rockford's in terms of sound quality and I haven't maxed out my stereo's volume control to the point where I wanted more. Are there probably louder stereo systems? Absolutely, but I don't really care about the other people's experience, I care about what I experience when I'm out driving. I will probably stick with JL marine speakers for the rest of my life.
JL Audio M3 Speakers also received much acclaim from our editors



6.5 Inch Speakers
Best 6.5" Speakers - No Amplifier

Stinger SEA65

These speakers are affordable and they just sound good. They are available in black, white, and silver grilles. With many of the other marine speaker brands, you are paying for the name that is on the speakers and their marketing budget to make sure you know about them. Stinger is mainly known for their wire and cable and the product development manager that oversaw these speakers came from Rockford Fosgate. In terms of value, you won't find a better deal. If you are just running speakers off of your head unit, you don't need to spend money on speakers where you will never hear what you are paying for.
Stinger SEA65 selected as best marine speaker for use without an amplifier



Best RGB LED 6.5" Speakers - No Amplifier

Stinger SEA65

Same as above, just with RGB LEDs. What is unique about the RGB LEDs in these speakers is that you do not need a separate controller to change colors. Each pair of speakers comes with a remote. 1 remote can control up to 4 pairs of speakers. As long as your don't turn the other remotes on, the single remote will control all 8 speakers.
Stinger SEA65RGB best RGB LED speaker for use without an amplifier



Best 6.5" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Sound Quality

JL Audio M3

If your boat has 6.5" speakers, you don't want to or you don't have room to upgrade to 7.7" speakers, you want the best sound quality possible, but you also don't want to spend $400+ for 1 pair of speakers, I bring you the 6.5" JL Audio M3.

These speakers have a 3/4" silk dome tweeter for rich, smooth, balanced output and can handle 75 watts of RMS power. There are three grille options, classic white, sport white, and sport gunmetal. The sport white and sport gunmetal are available with or without RGB LEDs and if you do go with the LED lights. I actually like the M3 better than the M6 in the 6.5" speaker. The real world performance difference is not that much to justify paying up for the M6. Do the M6 sound better? Yes, absolutely. Do they sound that much better? No.

We recommend powering the M3, 6.5" speakers with the JL Audio M-Series amplifiers. Click here to shop JL Audio M-Series Amps.
JL Audio M3 Marine Speakers



Best 6.5" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Volume

Rockford Fosgate M1

If you want volume out of 6.5" speakers and you don't want to spend $300+ for a pair of speakers, the Rockford Fosgate M1 speakers are going to play bright, play crisp, and play loud. The Rockford Fosgate M1 speakers handle 75 watts of RMS power and match up perfectly with most marine amplifiers. The 1" tweeter in the M1 is larger than the tweeters in most other 6.5" speakers and that is the main differentiator with these speakers and other 6.5" speakers that are similarly priced.

The Rockford Fosgate M1 speakers come in either black or white, open style grilles and feature Rockford's Color Optix RGB LEDs. You can easily connect and control the LED lights on these speakers by adding the PMX-RGB for simple, plug and play lighting installation and you can control the colors and modes from your cell phone.

We recommend powering these speakers with a Rockford Fosgate Power Mini Marine or Punch Marine amplifier. Click here to shop Rockford Fosgate marine grade amplifiers.
Rockford Fosgate M1 Marine Speakers



Best 6.5" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Value

Kicker KM65 & Kicker KM65L

For the money, it is hard to beat the Kicker KM65 and KM65L. The difference between the two is that the KM65L comes with RGB LEDs and the KM65 does not come with any LEDs.

The Kicker KM65 speakers can handle 65 watts of RMS power and have a 3/4" titanium dome tweeter. The tweeter size and material is the same as the Wet Sounds REVO 6 speakers, but the Kicker KM65 and KM65L are significantly cheaper. When it comes to efficiency, these speakers are just as efficient as the next speakers on the market. The titanium dome tweeter will play bright, play loud, and withstand the elements while not sounding harsh like aluminum does. The Kicker speakers come with both white and charcoal grilles so that you can select which color looks best when installing the speakers instead of when buying the speakers. If you are looking for marine grade performance without breaking the bank, the Kicker KM65L deliver with premium priced features at a mid-level price point.
Kicker KM65L rated best value marine speaker



Best 6.5" Premium Speakers for Sound Quality

JL Audio M6

The JL Audio M6, 6.5" speakers are the best sounding marine speakers in the the world. The JL Audio M6 speakers were designed from the ground up to deliver unprecedented sound quality in a marine environment. Some say that the M6 speakers are the best sounding speakers JL Audio has ever made.

The 6.5" M6 speakers separate themselves from the pack with their .8" silk-dome tweeter. Every component of the speaker was optimized to not only sound remarkable, but it also had to stand up to the rigirous marine environment.

The JL Audio M6 does outperform it's less expensive M3 counterpart. In my opinion, the M3 offers better overall value for what you pay, but if you absolutely need the best of the best and you are willing to pay for it, the JL Audio M6 is the best sounding 6.5" speaker in the world.

JL Audio M6 rated best sound quality marine speaker



Best 6.5" Premium Speakers for Volume

Rockford Fosgate M2

While they aren't the absolute loudest 6.5" speakers, the Wet Sounds REVO 6 win that prize, the Rockford Fosgate M2 are, in my opinion the best 6.5" premium speakers for volume. The M2 have a 1" tweeter and can handle 85 watts of RMS power. Their sensitivity rating is 91.8 dB @ 1W/1M. There are a couple of things that separate the M2 from the pack when it comes to comparing loud, marine grade speakers.

First, Rockford redesigned the tweeter when they upgraded from PM2 to M2. The new PXNX tweeter material is a hybrid material that is a cross between and hard dome and a soft dome tweeter. You essentially get the sound quality of a a soft-dome tweeter but the volume and brightness of a hard dome, essentially the best of both worlds. Rockford isn't interested in telling he world what PXNX is, but know that it is good. The second thing that I really like with these speakers is the Color Optix RGB LEDs. The PMX-RGB controller allows you to change the mode and color from an app on your phone. Also, the RGB LED connection are designed to be plug-and-play. Instead of purchasing a large spool of RGB speaker wire, you just buy the Color Optix cables and plug them into each speaker. No cutting, soldering, crimping, splicing, or wiring involved. Finally, I think the stainless steel mesh that has been a staple of Rockford marine speakers is the best looking speaker grille out there for marine speakers. Sure it is a little closed, but it looks different and better than everything else. There are enough open, spoke-style grilles out there.

We recommend powering the M2-65 and M2-65B speakers with a Rockford Power Mini Marine of Punch Marine amplifier.
Rockford Fosgate M2 Marine Speakers



Loudest 6.5" Speakers for Your Boat

Wet Sounds REVO 6

The Wet Sounds REVO speakers are the loudest 6.5" speakers you can put in your boat. When you compare power handling, tweeter size, efficiency, and tweeter material, you can see on paper why the REVO 6 should be the loudest speakers. When you hear them in person, you will find that what appears on paper is true.

The Wet Sounds REVO 6 speakers can handle 100 watts of RMS power. That is 15 more watts than the Rockford Fosgate M2 and the 1" titanium dome tweeter is going to deliver crisp, bright, clear highs without sound brash or harsh. In terms of sensitivity, the Wet Sounds are rated at 90 dB at 1W/1M which is as high as we see for 6.5" speakers.

Wet Sounds only does marine grade audio and they do it well. In a noisy, marine environment with noise from the engine, water, and wind, you want something that is going to be loud, something you can hear when going 30 mph on a hot summer day while listening to your favorite song.
Wet Sounds REVO 6 are the loudest 6.5 Inch speakers



6.5" Marine Speakers with most Grille Options

Wet Sounds REVO 6

I would argue that there are too many options for the Wet Sounds REVO 6 grilles. There are 4 different colors, black, white, silver, and gunmetal. Then, there are two styles of closed grilles and 1 open style grille. Check out the images below for all 8 grille options available for the Wet Sounds REVO 6 speakers.
Wet Sounds REVO 6 Marine Speakers
Please scroll up one section to see the options.



8 Inch+ Speakers
Best 8" Speakers - No Amplifier


We don't recommend using 8" speakers without an amplifier.
8 Inch speakers not recommended without amplifier


Best 8" Speakers - No Amplifier w/ LEDs


Even with LEDs, We still don't recommend using 8" speakers without an amplifier.
RGB 8 Inch speakers not recommended without amplifier


Best 8" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Sound Quality

JL Audio M3

The JL Audio 7.7" M3 speakers just sound better than the other 7.7" and 8" mid-level speakers out there. The JL M3 have specially treated, silk dome tweeters that offer a rich, balanced, smooth sound profile. When powered properly, these speakers will play plenty loud, at least for those inside the boat and in close proximity. JL focuses on the marine market and the M3 product delivers. You get superior sound quality at an affordable price point.

The M3 speakers come in three different grille options, classic white, sport white, and sport gunmetal. Both the sport white and sport gunmetal grilles are available with RGB LEDs. When it comes to marine grade coaxial speakers, the JL speakers just sound better.
JL Audio M3 Marine Speakers win 'best sound' for 8 Inch Speakers



Best 8" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Volume

Rockford Fosgate M1

The Rockford Fosgate M1 speakers are very efficient, come with RGB LED's built in, have a 1" tweeter, and can handle 150 watts RMS. In terms of pure volume, these slightly beat out the Kicker KM84L. From an appearance perspective, the Rockford Fosgate speakers look better, they have superior LED lighting, and the Color Optix RGB LED controller has more options, is easier to install, and you can control it on your phone via Bluetooth. In terms of speaker performance, the M1 and the KM84L are very similar.
Rockford Fosgate M1 Marine Speakers



Best 8" Mid-Level Speakers w/ Amplifier for Value

Kicker KM84L

If you are looking to put 8" speakers in your boat, it is hard to look past the Kicker KM84L. These speakers come with RGB LED's integrated into the grille and they come with both charcoal and white speaker grilles. If you can't decide between white and gray, you don't have to do it before hand. Way until you get the speakers and see which ones you like best.

Apart from the cosmetics, the Kicker KM84L speakers come with a 1" titanium dome tweeter. Titanium gives you the volume and bright sound profile of a metal dome tweeter but without harshness that you can sometimes find with an aluminum dome tweeter. The Kicker KM84L 8" speakers have the same size tweeter and the same tweeter material as the Wet Sounds REVO 8. When comparing the RMS power handling, these Kicker speakers can handle just as much power as the Wet Sound speakers do. I think the Wet Sounds still play louder than the Kicker speakers do, but they are also double the price. If you want close to Wet Sounds performance but you are willing to sacrifice a little to pay significantly less, the Kicker KM84L is the best value available in an 8" speaker.
Kicker KM84L are our best value mid-level 8 inch speaker



Best Premium 8" Marine Speakers for Sound Quality

JL Audio M6

While technically a 7.7" speaker and not an 8", the JL Audio M6 coaxials deliver with both fidelity and efficiency. These speakers have a 1", specially treated, silk dome tweeter that sounds smooth, fuller, and more defined that the aluminum and titanium tweeters found in most other 8" speakers. With the JL Audio M6 7.7" speakers, you can choose between three different grille options, white classic, white sport, and gunmetal sport. All three grille options are available with our without RGB LEDs.

When developing the M6, JL Audio did not just re-purpose an automotive speaker and make it marine grade. The JL engineers set out to develop and build the best sounding speakers they could while making sure that they withstood the elements. To quote a JL representative, "The M6 speakers are the best sounding speakers JL has ever made. I like them even better than the C7's". The C7 speakers are for automotive applications, but they are 3-way speakers that cost $2200+ per pair. You can get that type of sound quality and definition in your boat for significantly less money.
JL Audio M6 offer premium sound in 8 inch speaker size



Best Premium 8" Marine Speakers for Volume

Rockford Fosgate M2

Rockford Fosgate redesigned their marine speaker line when they added their Color Optix RGB LEDs to their speakers. The M2-8 not only come with lights now, but they also have a 1" tweeter made from a proprietary material called, "PXNX." This new tweeter is 3dB louder than the previous PM282 model which means that these speakers are twice as loud as before. The PXNX material is a hybird between a soft-dome and hard-dome tweeter to give you the best of both worlds. You get the fidelity, richness, and smooth output of a soft-dome tweeter but the volume and distance of a hard-dome tweeter. These speakers are the real deal if you like it loud. We were tempted to go with the horn tweeter version, but they are almost too loud for the hull of your boat which is why we chose the PXNX version.
Rockford Fosgate M2 Marine Speakers



Loudest 8" Marine Speakers for Your Boat

Rockford Fosgate M2 w/ Horn Tweeter

The horn tweeters that come on the M2-8H and M2-8HB are insanely loud. One could argue that they are too loud to install in the hull of a boat because there is no reason to turn the volume up that loud. We are talking "Melt your face off" intensely loud. These are the same speakers that are used in the Rockford tower speakers that are designed to deliver volume and fidelity up to 60 yards behind the boat. Now, imagine being 2 or 3 yards away instead of 60. Yea, you get the point. If you want to be the loudest guy on the water, pair these up with some Rockford horn tower speakers, make sure you have plenty of power, and you will be that guy.
Rockford Fosgate M2 w/ Horn Tweeter are the loudest 8 inch marine speaker for your boat



8" Marine Speakers with the Largest Number of Grille Options

Wet Sounds REVO 8

One could argue that th Wet Sounds REVO 8 speakers have too many grille options. With white, black, silver, and gunmetal color choices, you would think that's enough. However it's not. Wet Sounds offers several different styles for most colors. If you want white grilles, they have two closed models and one open style grille. The XW and the SW are the two closed style grilles and the XSW-SS is an open style grille with a stainless steel overlay. The same options are available if you want black. There are two closed options, the XW and SW, and the XS, open style grille with the stainless overlay. For silver and gunmetal, the only option is the open-style XS grille. The silver is not offered with the stainless overlay and gunmetal is only offered with the overlay. The Wet Sounds REVO 8 speakers are perfect for pairing with a set of 2 or 4 REV 10 tower speakers. Both the white and black XS grilles with the stainless overlay will perfectly match the REV 10's. If you also want to add a subwoofer, matching grilles are available for the Wet Sounds subwoofers as well.
Wet Sounds REVO 8 Marine Speakers



Best Looking Marine Speakers with LED Lights

JL Audio M6

The transflective RGB LEDs that come on the JL Audio M6 speakers are the best looking, brightest RGB LED Speakers available. These speakers are not cheap, but they do handle 350 watts of RMS power. If you have the amplifier(s) to give them the power they want, these speakers are insane.
JL Audio M6 Marine Speakers with LED Lights



Largest Marine Speakers for your Boat

Wet Sounds REVO CX-10

The Wet Sounds REVO CX-10 are massive, 10" marine grade coaxial speakers. The REVO CX-10 are 2 ohm speakers to help maximize amplifier power output, so make sure your amplifier is 2 ohm stable.

We recommend powering the REVO CX-10 with the Wet Sounds Sinister Series amplifier.
Wet Sounds REVO CX-10 10 Inch Marine Speakers





Frequency Asked Questions About the Best Marine Speakers

What makes speakers "Marine Grade"?

While there are no set standards as to what makes a speaker marine grade, there are some common themes among speakers that typically classify them as marine speakers. Marine speakers differ from car speakers due to the environment in which they are installed. Most cars, with the exception of some Jeeps and convertibles are sealed environments. If it is raining, you are not going to get wet or wetter inside the car. Also, when the car is parked, the cars design prevents the interior from getting wet and exposed to moisture in the air. With many boats the opposite is true. Sure there are cabins that stay dry and are not exposed to the elements, but most boats get wet when it rains. In addition, depending on where the boat is docked or parked, it can be exposed to air with higher salt levels. Marine speakers are designed to withstand moisture, salt-fog, and UV light. These three things wreak havoc on most standard car speakers. To design a marine grade speaker, the tweeter is usually "bridge mounted' so that there is no opening in the cone where moisture could get in and effect the motor of the speaker. Many car speakers have paper cones because they are lightweight and can produce sound without a ton of power. With marine speakers, the cone needs to be made of a material that will withstand the moisture. The hardware of marine speakers must be stainless steel so that it does not rust and corrode when exposed to water and salt fog.

Is it better to buy "Premium" speakers vs. "Mid-Level" speakers?

Not necessarily. You want to get speakers that are going to match up well with your amplifier. We will use round numbers here, but if your amplifier puts out 100 watts RMS, a pair of speakers that handle 100 or 125 watts RMS will sound much better than a pair of speakers that handle 200 watts RMS. If there's a Honda Civic and a Cadillac in my driveway. Assuming I am by myself, which one is going to be easier to get in the garage? The same principle applies to speakers and their power handling.

How do I know the best size speakers for my boat?

The best way to measure the optimal speaker size for your boat is to remove your existing speaker. Next, measure the hole that is in the hull or mounting location. The mounting hole diameter will usually determine how large of a speaker you can use. Next, measure the depth behind the speaker. You want to make sure that you do not purchase new speakers that are too deep for the mounting cavity. Finally, you will mount to measure the outer diameter of the speaker grille and check if there are limitations for the replacement speaker. If your speaker is located in a tight space, you want to make sure that the new speakers do not have an over-size or overly bulky speaker grille that would prevent you from installing them properly.

Are bigger marine speakers better?

The short answer is "Yes". The larger speakers have more cone area and usually have larger tweeters. The larger the cone area, the larger the basket, the larger basket means they can handle more power. More power = more volume and improved clarity. TL;DR. Bigger is better. If you can fit 8" speakers and you have enough power for 8" speakers, go with the 8". If you are looking at the 8.8" or 10" and you have enough power, go with them. They will just sound better

How do the LEDs in Marine Speakers work?

Many marine speakers now come with LEDs integrated into the speaker. There are two ways this is usually done. Most speakers have a ring of LEDs on the backside of the grille, located behind the tweeter. The LEDs shine backwards, onto the speaker cone, and illuminate it. JL Audio has come out with their Transflective RGB LEDs on their M6 speakers and the LEDs are located behind the speaker cone, by the speaker's magnet. Using a translucent cone, the LED's light up the cone from behind for brighter and smoother illumination without the hot spots that you often see when the LEDs are on the backside of the tweeter. If your speakers have 1 or 2 color LEDs, it is a straightforward, positive and negative connection, independent of the speaker wire. The LEDs use their own wiring that is not used to carry the audio signal. If you have RGB LEDs, you can wire them to a fixed, static color by only connecting certain colors, or you can purchase an RGB LEDs controller separately and switch between colors, modes, and the speed at which the lights flash and/or fade between colors.

What do I need for Marine Speaker Wire?

Marine speakers should use marine grade speaker wire. What makes it different? Primarily tin plating. Instead of bare copper wire strands, the strands of wire are tin plated to resist corrosion. If you are using RGB LEDs, you maybe purchase 6 conductor, RGB speaker wire which has two, usually larger wires for the speakers and 4 smaller wires to power the LEDs. The 6 conductor speaker wire helps keep your wiring nice and tidy and eliminates the need to make long wire runs with two cables, isntead you only need one.

How do I know if I am a sound quality person or a LOUD person?
  • If you consider yourself an audiophile, you probably want sound quality. If you see "Audiophile" and you don't know what that word means, go with volume.
  • Sound quality is Michael Buble in a Jazz Lounge. LOUD is slammin' beers at a Motley Crue concert.
  • If you mainly listen to hip-hop or electronic music, you will like LOUD.
  • If you are the type of person that has ever come home drunk and just blasted your stereo at 2am, much to your neighbors delight. You are probably a LOUD person. If you are the neighbor that called the cops, you probably want sound quality.
On a more serious note, here are things to consider if trying to determine whether you want sound quality or volume.
  1. What type of boat do you have and how do you use it?

    Do you have a wakeboard boat that will have significant engine, wind, and water noise, or do you have a pontoon boat that you use for sunset cruises while drinking wine?

  2. How fast are you usually going?

    Do you party and just float down the river? Are you in a power boat making 50+ mph passes? Are you fishing and just cruising?

  3. How loud is "Loud Enough"

    If you have an amplifier that doesn't suck, all of the speakers will play plenty loud for you and the people in your boat. If you want everyone else to hear your music, go with a volume speaker over a fidelity speaker.

  4. What type of music do you listen to?

    If you listen to classic rock, jazz, and music that has high production value, you will want speakers that are accurate and sound good. If you listen to hip-hop, electronic, or metal, often times the production value isn't there and you might as well pay for something that's going to play loud.

  5. How do I connect my speakers to my amplifier?

    We have a separate article which explains many different scenarios and how to wire your speakers to your amplifier?