Best Marine Speakers On The Market Right Now [2024 Buyer’s Guide]

Best Marine Speakers On The Market Right Now

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My uncle used to say that the two happiest days in a person’s life are the day he buys his boat and the day he sells it. He was a funny man and had a beautiful boat, but I think I know what his basic problem was – he didn’t have a good sound system!

Today we’re going to look at the best speakers you can get for boats, talk a bit about what to look for in the best marine speakers and what the best brands are, and then present a list of recommendations for the best choices in the most popular sizes and types.

But if you would rather be out on the water than reading this article, here are a few of our top choices:

  1. Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speakers Overall: Rockford Fosgate M2-65B Color Optix Coaxial Marine Speakers
  2. Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers Overall: Rockford Fosgate M1-8 Color Optix Coaxial Marine Speakers
  3. Best Wakeboard Speakers Overall: Kicker KMT674 Marine Speaker Tower System

What to Look For in the Best Speakers for Boats

Well, at the risk of sounding obvious, good boat speakers should be waterproof – but you probably already knew that!

But not just waterproof – the best speakers for boats should be really impervious to the elements – water, salt, sand, dust, heat, sun, and UV.

The best boat speakers should also be tough and durable in other ways – able to withstand a lot of shock and motion and to handle the sometimes high power we blast them with to be heard over the water, the wind, and the engines.

And, if we’re not asking too much, these speakers should sound fantastic, with great projection into the boat’s cabin, or across the water even, deep and impactful bass, clear, detailed highs and rich, realistic vocals, and midrange frequencies.

And if it’s not asking too much, we also want great energy and dynamics, the ability to play really loud without distortion, and to also sound great at any volume.

Marine speakers are designed to, at least in theory, deliver all of these things – a great sound that can project into open space or across the water and can easily rise above the many often intense sounds, as well as durability and the ability to stand up to a boat’s unique and challenging conditions. 

And the best marine speakers will not just promise, or hope for, these qualities, but actually, deliver them in real-world usage.

Who Makes the Best Marine Speakers?

It would seem that the makers of the top marine speakers really have their work cut out for them, and yet countless companies continue to offer, or at least advertise, really great speaker systems for boats. In fact, there are so many different brands, models, designs, and prices that it can be a little bewildering.

But the best marine audio brands tend to really stand out, and you will notice that our list of the best marine speakers for the money – no matter how much money you want to spend – tends to focus on a few key players:

  • Kicker Marine Speakers
  • Rockford Fosgate Marine Speakers
  • Rockville Marine Speakers
  • Pyle Marine Speakers

Yeah, there are lots of other brands, but in our experience, they don’t really hold up, and while you don’t have to spend a lot of money on even the very best speakers, you still want to be sure that they will last and sound great, so we are going to focus on brands and speakers we know to be sure bets.

We’ll make it as simple as possible for you to find your perfect new marine speakers, by making recommendations in the three most popular categories, and in each case offering choices for the best premium, mid-priced, and budget choices.

So in the list below you will find:

  • Best Wakeboard Speakers – Premium
  • Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speakers – Premium
  • Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers – Premium
  • Best Wakeboard Speakers – Mid-Price
  • Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speakers – Mid-Price
  • Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers – Mid-Price
  • Best Wakeboard Speakers – Budget
  • Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speakers – Budget
  • Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers – Budget

So let’s dive right in, shall we, with our buyer’s guide to the best marine speakers on the market today!

Best Marine Speakers in 2024

Best Wakeboard Speakers – Premium

When people ask what are the best marine speakers, or what are the best marine audio brands, one name always comes to the top of the list – Kicker!

There’s no doubt that Kicker makes not just some of the very best speakers of any kind for boats, but the finest wake tower speakers on the market today – the strongest and most durable, the loudest and best projecting, and the best sounding.

And the Kicker KMT6774 is the best of the best, with incredibly powerful and beautiful sounding dual dynamic driver units on each side, each containing a bright, sweet titanium tweeter and a high compliance long-throw 6.75-inch woofers for surprisingly punchy and deep bass and rich, clear midrange and highs.

The speaker configuration and the physical design of the enclosures are optimized for clearly and powerfully projecting the sound across the water so that wakeboarders and water skiers can hear the music – and while this is true (or should be) for any wakeboard speakers, none of them can project the way these Kickers can, or sound as good even at such a distance.

The mounts are incredibly strong, meant for top or bottom mount but actually suitable for mounting at any angle, and will stay absolutely stable and secure forever. More importantly, the KMT 6774 speakers themselves will withstand any and all conditions and will continue to sound amazing for years.

Not just a powerful, beautiful and durable tower mount speaker system, but the finest sounding speakers of their type we’ve ever come across, the Kicker KMT6774 is the best wake tower speaker on the market today and a lifetime investment that will bring a lifetime of enjoyment.

We are so in love with Kickers, and so convinced that they make the best wake tower speaker systems on the market, that we would like to offer a couple of other models in their line, both of which are lower price but still premium choices, and both of which we know and love, and strongly recommend:

Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speakers – Premium

As clear and obvious a choice as Kicker marine speakers are for the best overall wakeboard mount speakers, we have to say that the legendary company Rockford Fosgate is just as clear a choice for the best of the best flush-mount marine speakers – in fact, in both of the most popular sizes: 8 inch (just below) and 6.5 inch (here).

The Rockford Fosgate Color Optic speakers are as durable as it gets, with a full IP67 rating and engineered to withstand not just heavy water exposure but UV rays, dust, and dirt as well. These speakers also have strong and rigid frames and ultra-durable drivers, which are not only nicely shock-proof but can withstand huge amounts of power.

But as much thought as Rockford has put into making speakers you can count on for years in such rough conditions, they seem to have thought even more about their sound – and, it should be said, their sound in those same often extreme conditions.

The Color Optix M2-65 speakers are incredibly dynamic, with a fun and energetic sound that works great with all kinds of music. They are not really that big but have quite a deep bass – as extended, tight and impactful as we’ve ever heard in this size of boat speaker.

And the integrated 1-inch metal dome tweeters are amazing in their ability to cut through noise and project into the boat’s space, and at the same time offer incredibly detailed, sweet, and accurate sound.

Really, if you are an audiophile looking for the best, highest resolution, highest-fidelity sound, or if you just love music and want the most fun and engaging listen, either way, the Rockford Fosgate M2-65 6.5 inch marine speakers are a perfect choice and a wonderfully high-quality product in every way.

If you want to kick the fun up another notch, we also highly recommend you get the matching PMX-RGB Color Optix Light Controller which, especially in conjunction with the nice downloadable app, allows you to fully control and customize the M2-65’s LED light display.

Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers – Premium

We go right back to Rockford Fosgate for the best 8-inch boat speakers, in this case, their superb M1-8 Color Optix coaxial speakers, that are larger but still offer essentially the same wonderful sound signature.

In fact, everything we love about the M2-65 above is just as true here with the M1-8, like their fun LED lights and, probably more importantly (!), incredibly tough and durable construction, with full IP67 waterproofing certification and specially designed to withstand sun and UV rays, dirt and dust.

And while they also share their smaller line-mate’s fun, punch, and dynamic sound, that can cut so clearly and effectively through the noises of the engine, water, and happy, laughing people, with sweetness, accuracy, and so much dynamic energy, these 8-inch speakers have even deeper, more powerful and impactful bass.

Another winner from one of the very best, oldest, and most respected companies in the world for marine and car audio, the Rockford Fosgate M1-8 Color Optix speakers offer a truly incredible high-resolution sound that is as fun as it is accurate and is built to withstand even the most extreme conditions and deliver their top-tier sound for many years.

The best premium level marine speakers on the market today, and at a lower price than you might expect, we can’t recommend the M1-8 highly enough!

And, as with the 6.5 inch Rockford speakers above, you might also want to consider the PMX-RGB Color Optix Light Controller and the downloadable app, for full control and customization of the cool LED light display.

Best Wakeboard Speakers – Mid-Price

A high-efficiency speaker that will handle tons of power, but play loud with even smaller amps or head units, the Rockville RWB90 is the ideal choice for an affordable but absolutely no-compromise wake tower speaker system.

Incredibly well made, the RWB90 speakers are designed to withstand all kinds of harsh environments, and are as popular among off-roaders – talk about some brutal, pounding conditions! – as water sport enthusiasts. They can handle direct exposure to water, sun and UV, dust, dirt, and sand, and the speakers and brackets are rigid, strong, and stable, and can take even strong, ongoing physical shocks in stride.

They are also designed to handle plenty of power and are physically configured to best project their intensely energetic, entertaining, and engaging sound over the water. And they really do sound fantastic, even over the often overwhelming sounds we encounter when water skiing or wakeboarding. 

The list of materials and technology that go into a pair of Rockville RWB90 marine speakers sounds like a passage from a science fiction novel – polyamide neodymium dome tweeters, polypropylene mica injected cone woofers, Kapton voice coils…

I’m not even sure what some of that stuff is, but I am sure that the Rockville RWB90 sounds amazing, in the boat and behind it, and it is clear to me why these heavy-duty, essentially audiophile-grade speakers have become one of the most popular and highly rated wakeboard speakers on the market today.

They are a great product and a great value and strongly recommended. 

Best 6.5 Inch Marine Speaker – Mid Price

Just as Rockford Fosgate dominates the market in premium level marine speakers, especially in the most popular 6.5 inches and 8-inch flush mount sizes, Skar Audio is the undisputed champion in the even more competitive mid-priced category.

And it’s easy to see – and hear – why, and to understand just why Skar products are so incredibly well-loved, highly rated, and popular.

Just like the 8-inch variety below, the Skar Audio SK65M is a strong, well-made speaker system that will hold up to even pretty extreme conditions, and will sound amazing through it all.

With light and rigid mineral-filled woofer drivers and marine-grade silk used for the tweeters, these are high-resolution speakers that will offer a true audiophile experience, and work brilliantly with all kinds of music. And they will easily project that fantastically clear and musical sound throughout the boat, even over the roar of the wind, water, and motor.

Designed and built to hold up to the rigors of an active boat’s environment, the 65s will withstand direct and frequent exposure to water, and also can easily handle wind, sun and UV, dirt, and dust. The high-quality components, rigid speaker frames, and well-designed mounting hardware will also keep these speakers sounding great even after years of pounding across the water.

Better sounding, and even better built, than so many premium-level marine speakers we’ve encountered, and at a much lower price, the Skar Audio SK65M is the best choice you can make – and the best marine speakers we’ve ever used – in the mid-priced category.

Best 8 Inch Marine Speakers – Mid-Price

Skar is fast becoming known for not only brilliant sound but for offering the best marine speakers for the money.

The Skar Audio SK8M is a great example – an extremely well made, tough and durable pair of 8-inch speakers for boats that have pretty amazing tech for the price – mineral-filled microfiber composite woofers with high compliance butyl surrounds and a silk dome tweeter specially formulated for marine use, along with a proprietary high-resolution crossover and huge, high-efficiency magnets for the woofers.

And as great as all of this sounds on paper, it sounds even better in real life, with phenomenal clarity and detail, sweet musicality, incredible dynamic energy and impact, and a fun and engaging sound with all kinds of music.

People tend to be amazed on first listen to the amount and quality of bass that comes from these speakers, and while it is awesome to be sure, the SK8Ms sound just as good all the way up and down the audio spectrum, and have a sound that is as enjoyable after years of use as it is initially.

They also have a superior ability to project that fun and highly accurate musicality all throughout the boat, even with strong wind and water noise and a loud engine.

A massively overbuilt speaker, with an ultra-rigid frame and marine-grade housing, the SK8M is a truly top-notch product at a surprisingly low price, and will easily outperform and outlast even much more expensive choices – an easy choice, then, for the best mid-priced 8” marine speaker in 2024.

Best Wakeboard Speakers – Budget

When manufacturers are trying to design and build the best marine speakers for the money, especially at the lower price levels, it is understandable that they might concentrate more on durability than on sound – a boat speaker can, after all, have a pretty grueling life, and this can be especially true for a poor old exposed wakeboard tower speaker!

But this has never been Pyle’s way – in fact, in their 45 years of business Pyle has become legendary for products that are not just amazingly affordable, but amazingly well built and long-lasting as well, especially products that sound fantastic.

Case in point – the wonderful Pyle 4-inch stereo wakeboard speakers, that sound much better than their size, or their price for that matter, might suggest, are designed and built beautifully, and even come with a cool LED light show!

All of Pyle’s marine-grade wakeboard speakers are incredibly rugged and overbuilt – again, way beyond what you would expect at this price level – and designed to not just stand up to pounding water and wind, heat, sun, and UV rays, but to last for years in those conditions. 

And not just last, but sound great the whole time – and here is where we get to the heart of these speakers, and really any Pyle product we’ve used: that sweet, energetic Pyle sound.

Here we have 4-inch mid-woofers that go much, much deeper and have much more impact and foundation than they should, smooth, detailed low distortion titanium tweeters, and the ability to not only handle 300 watts of pure power – and play not just to the skiers in back, but to the opposite shore of some lakes we’ve been on – but to sound equally good, dynamic and engaging even at low volumes.

Based on the quality of construction, durability, design, and attractiveness alone, these Pyle wakeboard speakers – or pretty near any Pyle speaker – could sell for far more, but factor in that wonderful Pyle sound and they are truly giant killers!

Best 6.5 Inch Speakers – Budget

Right back to the same giant killer – Pyle – for our recommendation for the best cheap marine speakers in the most popular 6.5-inch size. And not just budget, but a great pair of speakers for an insanely low price!

As we’ve seen with their wakeboard speakers, just the quality of materials and construction, and the ability to stand up to water, wind, heat, sun, and UV, not to mention the physical pounding boat speakers must endure, would make these Pyle 6.5 inch marine speakers well worth the low price.

But their sound – again, that typically beautiful, musical Pyle musical signature – puts these bargain speakers on a whole different level. Extended highs that are smooth, detailed and so easy to listen to – even at high volumes – combine with rich and realistic vocals and midrange frequencies, and strikingly deep, slamming bass.

And the intelligent physical configuration of these Pyle 6.5s allows them to project the sound so effectively, even through open space and over the sounds of the water and the boat’s engine.

Really fun-sounding speakers, engaging and accurate, that work well with pretty much any kind of music, and are designed and built to last for years – an essentially automatic choice for the best budget speakers for boats, and an astounding value!

Best 8 Inch – Budget

We end our 2023 buyer’s guide to the best boat speakers with a pretty special product, which sounds so amazing and looks so good that people will think you paid a mint for them – but in fact, they are uber-cheap, and our choice for the best budget 8-inch marine speakers!

The Rockville RMSTS80W is all about excitement, with deep, deep bass, incredible dynamic energy, bright and clear highs, and midrange frequencies – including vocals – that are so palpable and present you may look around to see who’s there.

Of course, we could as easily say they are all about durability – and they do have the toughest speaker baskets and drivers at this price level, and are especially good in tough conditions, including exposure to water, wind and sun, heat and cold, physical shock and lots of amplifier power.

But with that last bit, tons of power, we’re kind of back to the excitement, because the Rockville 80s can play really loud, and they will fill a closed cabin or an open deck with rich, full, and exciting music, cutting through the noise and reproducing both subtle details and slashing guitars with ease, accuracy, and incredible energy.

These speakers are also available in 6.5 inches (and could have just as easily been recommended as the best cheap 6.5-inch marine speakers (sorry Pyle!!)), as well as 6×9, but it is the 8 inch, with its beautiful full-range sound and awesome bass, that we know so well and love so much, and which is our clear winner in the best budget 8-inch marine speaker category.