The Best Marine Audio Gear: Waterproof Boat Speakers and Stereos 2023


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 2023:

The Best-Sounding 6-1/2" 2-Way Marine Speakers

Product Image

Kicker 45KM654 6-1/2" 4-Ohm Marine Coaxial Speakers - Pair

Regular price $143.96
Sale price $143.96 Regular price
$179.99 Save $36.03 (20%)
  • Nominal Power Handling: 65 watts
  • Maximum Power Handling: 95 watts
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz - 21kHz

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.

The Best Marine Subwoofer Amplifier

Product Image

Kicker KMA800.1 800 Watts Marine Mono-Channel Amplifier

Regular price $319.99
Sale price $319.99 Regular price
Save $-319.99 (%)
  • Power Output @ 4 ohms: 300 watts x 1
  • Power Output @ 2 ohms: 600 watts x 1
  • Power Output @ 1 ohm: 800 watts x 1
  • Frequency Response: 25Hz – 200Hz
  • Wired bass control knob: Included

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” x 2-5/16” x 8-1/16” (WxHxD), 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.

The Best RGB-Lit Marine 10" Subwoofer Under $500

Product Image

JBL 10" Stadium Marine Subwoofer - Each (Lightning Gray)

Regular price $299.95
Sale price $299.95 Regular price
$399.95 Save $100.00 (25%)
  • 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

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.

The Best Value 10” Marine Subwoofer for Boats

Product Image

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

Regular price $159.96
Sale price $159.96 Regular price
$199.99 Save $40.03 (20%)
  • Woofer Size (in inches): 10"
  • Power Handling: 250 watts RMS, 500 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 86.27dB
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 500kHz
  • Impedance: 2 ohms

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).

The Best Value 12” Marine Subwoofer for Boats

Product Image

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

Regular price $183.96
Sale price $183.96 Regular price
$229.99 Save $46.03 (20%)
  • Woofer Size (in inches): 12"
  • Power Handling: 300 watts RMS, 600 watts peak
  • Sensitivity: 87.46dB
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz – 500Hz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms

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!

Related Posts:

2023 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.

Leave a Comment

Related Articles