Best marine speakers: Bring music to your boat with these top choices

The best marine speakers can bring an extra level of musical or audio book joy to life afloat, whether you’re on a day out with friends on a fast open boat, or mid Atlantic on the adventure of a lifetime.

When planning to fit marine speakers they need to be located at a safe distance from compasses and from any sensitive on board electronics.

A distance of at least 1.1m (3ft 8in) is usually required. I’ve come across more than one boat whose speakers had to be moved after the cut outs had been made in the cockpit. You know the old adage: measure twice, cut once.

Well, check your compass while you’re at it.  The best marine speakers can pack a punch,  but they can also knock your compass off by a fair bit too. Be mindful of where you site them!

You’ll be needing a decent stereo to power these little beauties, so have a look at my buyers guide to marine grade boat stereos : 7-of-the-best-boat-stereo-and-marine-media-systems

Editor’s choices at a glance:

Best marine speakers – Fusion Signature 3 marine speakers 

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Best budget marine speaker – Osculati 2-Way Waterproof Speakers 

Best marine speakers available right now


1. Fusion Signature 3 marine speakers

Specifications: CURV cone technology, waterproof, 280 Watts

Reasons to buy: IP65 standard, Excellent performance, three-year warranty, in speaker lighting

Reasons to avoid: Premium price

Fusion is a giant in this market and has a large range, so you’re likely to find more products from this Garmin group company on other boats than any other brand.

The Signature 3 line includes a wide choice of high-end products with stunning sound quality in a range of styles including classic and high-tech units.

All are waterproofed to IP65 standards and also comply with ISO12216, allowing boat builders to fit them on deck without compromising the vessel’s safety. (this means that a wave shouldn’t cave them in and leave a gaping hole for water to get into your boat)

The Classic 280W speakers offer excellent performance thanks innovations including a woven fibre composite cone that improves sound definition and allows a higher output, while also increasing protection in a marine environment. They also come with a threeyear consumer warranty.


Specifications: Separate tweeter, waterproof, 80 Watts

Reasons to buy: Great budget option, decent fitting size

Reasons to avoid: Sound quality not great at lower frequencies

These 60W waterproof stereo speakers are very much at the budget end of the market. However, they will get your boat fitted out with decent sound without breaking the bank.

On the downside, despite the separate tweeter and woofer cones (hence 2-way in the product name), frequency response is quoted at 80-20,000Hz. This means lower tones will not reproduce accurately.

Some of the more expensive options will therefore be a better buy if good sound quality at lower frequencies is a priority.

Overall diameter is 160mm, a cut out of 125mm diameter is required and total depth is 57mm. Minimum compass safe distance is 1.1m.


3. Sony XS-MP1611

Specifications: Wireless, waterproof, 140 watts

Reasons to buy: Great budget option; decent bass, weight and waterproofing

Reasons to avoid: Higher price options provide a more premium sound and design

These 16cm (6.5in) dual-cone speakers are another excellent choice at the lower to mid part of the marine speakers market.

With a frequency range of 45-20,000Hz they offer better bass quality, as well as 140W of power from a dual-cone speaker that’s certified to IPX5 waterproofing standards.

The rigid polypropylene woofer cone is designed to provide a rich bass and clear vocals, while optimising waterproofing and keeping weight down to only 650 grammes (1lb 7oz).


SpecificationsSurround sound, water resistant, 300 watts

Reasons to buy: Incredible sound, good all-round performers

Reasons to avoid: Heavy, power-drainers

These 9-inch (23cm) two-way speakers have a waterproof cone and are able to pump out an impressive 300W of peak power.

In addition to the main speaker there’s a 1-inch balanced dome tweeter and frequency response is specified at 55Hz-20,000Hz, with an impedance of 4 ohms.

They are hefty items at 8.8lb (4kg), with the ferrite woofer magnet alone weighing almost one pound.

These are ideal if you’re looking for good all-round performance from a sensibly priced marine speaker, but make sure your boat’s batteries are up to the task.



Specifications: Up to 30ft BLUETOOTH® WIRELESS RANGE, 180 watts

Reasons to buy: Wireless control, modern aesthetic, compatible with smartwatches, DAB ability

Reasons to avoid: A premium inclusion that requires a high-quality speaker system to make the most of

While you’re buying speakers why not upgrade your boat’s stereo unit as well? Fusion’s latest model is a no-brainer for many boat owners is it offers as many features of a high-end marine stereo system as possible at an affordable price.

It benefits from modern aesthetics and an anti-fogging display, plus water resistance to IPX6 and IPX7 standards.

Wireless control is possible via Bluetooth or ANT technologies, with the latter offering easy compatibility with your Garmin Quatix smartwatch or ARX remote control.

In addition to conventional FM and AM reception there’s also a built-in DAB tuner.


Best portable marine speakers


1. Sony XG500

Specifications: 30 hours of battery life, water resistant and dustproof

Reasons to buy: Good waterproofing, great battery life (30 hours)

Reasons to avoid: Heavy, requires charging

Waterproof portable speakers are sometimes a better option than fixed units.

Sony’s XG series is rated to IP66 and has 30 hours of battery life. Even a quick 10 minute charge will provide up to a further three hours of use.

Despite the need for compactness, a mix of speaker types, including passive radiators for a punchy base, plus high efficiency tweeters, helps to produce impressive clarity across the frequency range.

The unit weighs 5.6kg and includes two USB charging ports, as well as an ambient lighting mode.




2. Bose Frames Tempo

Specifications: 17.53 x 10.41 x 7.62 cm, 1 Lithium Ion batteries required (included)

Reasons to buy: Scratch and shatter resistant, Premium feel from quality manafacturer

Reasons to avoid: Only IPX4 water-resistant, only 8 hour battery-life

You might wonder what a pair of sports sunglasses is doing in this listing. This is not a mistake – these IPX4 water resistant sunglasses have a speaker in each temple.

The idea is to enable you to listen to favourite tracks or podcasts without using earbuds that cut off ambient noise. This enables you to stay more in tune with your surroundings and therefore helps to maintain situational awareness when on the water.

The polycarbonate polarized lenses are scratch and shatter resistant. They can also be changed to suit different sports and lighting conditions. Battery life is up to eight hours.




3. Fusion StereoActive

Specifications: Built-in Li-ion batteries provide up to 20 hours of play, 40 watts

Reasons to buy: Robust, Waterproof, Dual speakers

Reasons to avoid: Only 40W, premium price

The Fusion StereoActive more than justifies its premium price tag – with our esteemed sister publication Yachting World describing this unit in its recent review as “seriously robust” and “a comparatively large, yet user-friendly speaker that packs a proper audible punch”.

Key features include dual 2.5in 40W directional speakers, IPx7 waterproofing and an AM/FM tuner.


4. Ultimate Ears Megaboom 2

Specifications:Rechargeable via USB, Battery life (max) 15 h, 90Db sound output

Reasons to buy: Robust, Waterproof, fills the room/cabin or air space easily.

Reasons to avoid: premium price, superceded by a newer model (which isn’t as good in my opinion)

This Ultimate Ears Megaboom weighs in at a hench 878grams, or 1.9lbs in retro old School weights.

At 23cm high and 8.5cm diameter it’s not a small thing to slip in your bag. But as a result of this weight and size, you do get some punchy sounds.

It has 360 sound so it doesn’t matter where you stand, you’re getting bathed in lovely tunes.

Pontoon Parties are so much more fun with a little bit of music, especially if the speaker is floating in the luggage cart that’s filled with cold water and beers. This speaker is waterproof and it floats.

The grippy feeling fabric cover dries out quickly after a dunking. I’d recommend giving a rinse with fresh water if it’s been covered in salt water spray though.


What to look for in the best marine speakers

SWe answert a frequently asked question:
What does the IPX rating actually mean?

Marine speakers tend to be offered with different levels of water proofing, so it’s worth remembering the IPX weatherproofing rating system definitions:

  • IPX0 No protection.
  • IPX1 Protected from condensation or vertical drips.
  • IPX2 Protected from spray when tilted up to 15° from vertical.
  • IPX3 Protected from spray when tilted up to 60° from vertical.
  • IPX4 Protected from water splashed in any direction.
  • IPX5 Protected against low-pressure water streams.
  • IPX6 Protected against spray from strong water jets.
  • IPX7 Protected against immersion at a depth between 15cm to 1 metre for 30 minutes.
  • IPX8 Protection against longer periods of immersion under pressure.



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