Which boat speakers are best?
When the sun is bright and warm and the water is shimmering and cool, it’s time to hit the lake. Grab some friends and family, make some sandwiches, pack an ice chest of drinks and prep your summer playlist. In order to have the best experience with that last point, you’ll need to buy the best boat speakers possible. The Boss Audio Systems Weatherproof Speaker and Stereo Package includes everything you need to pump the best tunes and can connect to your phone over Bluetooth.
What to know before you buy boat speakers
Cone size and shape
The cone is the main piece of the boat speaker and is responsible for volume and bass. Larger cones can create louder sounds, but this needs to be balanced against your boat’s speaker holes. Most cones are round but some are oblong instead. These shapes do have a minimal impact on the sound and its quality, but the average consumer shouldn’t hear much of a difference.
Frame size and shape
There are two boat speaker frame shapes to choose from: circular or box. Both shapes need to have their sizes compared against your boat speaker’s frame size to ensure they’ll fit.
- Circular frames are more common to match most boats’ speaker hole shapes.
- Box frames are less common and usually require your boat’s speaker holes to be modified to fit them. However, the box design naturally amplifies the cone’s bass.
What to look for in quality boat speakers
A boat speaker’s power is given in watts. Higher wattages make louder and less distorted sounds possible without damaging the speaker. Higher wattages are thus more expensive.
Most boat speakers have wattages between 120 and 350. When shopping for boat speakers, ask yourself what situations you’ll be playing music in and purchase accordingly. For example, if you plan to play music only while sitting still on the water, you can save money on a low-wattage speaker. If you want to hear your music while you jet around, you can feel comfortable spending the money on a high-wattage speaker.
Weatherproofing and waterproofing
Most boat speakers have at least some minor weather- and water-resistance. This usually takes the form of ultraviolet light-resistance and a simple splash guard. The best speakers have fully sealed and waterproofed housings, though these aren’t capable of protection should your boat sink.
Tweeters are responsible for the high notes called treble. Most tweeters are made of aluminum for its affordability, but better speakers use titanium instead. Titanium is lighter and less resonant, so it provides less distorted and more accurate tones. However, it costs more.
How much you can expect to spend on boat speakers
Boat speakers typically cost $10-$300, though most cost $20-$100. There are plenty of great options for less than $50, though they won’t have much wattage. The best speakers start at around $125.
Boat speakers FAQ
Can I use car speakers in boats, and vice versa?
A. Many — but not all — boat speakers can be installed in either vehicle. They are only marketed as boat speakers due to their high degree of weatherproofing and waterproofing. A few car speakers can be installed in boats, but it’s never recommended to do so because they’re unlikely to remain usable after a few outings and enough contact with water.
Does my boat stereo’s quality affect my speakers?
A. Yes. Your stereo is the system by which you feed your intended sounds to your speakers for them to amplify said sounds. If your stereo is low quality, it will feed in low-quality signals no matter how high quality the source is.
Do boat speakers need to be installed professionally?
A. They don’t need to be, though many find that the professional installation process is the way to go. Most speakers do include the instructions needed to install them on your own, but you still need to have the proper tools, time and patience. If you don’t have the tools or are simply nervous you’ll make a mistake, shop around for a professional with a good rate.
What are the best boat speakers to buy?
Top boat speakers
What you need to know: This is the ultimate starter package.
What you’ll love: The stereo has multiple connection methods, including Bluetooth, USB and a standard auxiliary jack. The USB port can even charge your devices. It can also connect to AM/FM radio stations and the NOAA weather band. Most were happy with the volume levels.
What you should consider: A few consumers reported that the speakers aren’t as weatherproof as they could be, and some issues with rusting were mentioned.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top boat speakers for the money
What you need to know: These are perfect for playing music while you cruise.
What you’ll love: These can be used in both boats and cars and have a good-quality sound. The exterior is built tough to resist moisture and dirt as well as prevent them from getting inside to the speaker’s components. They’re available in black and white.
What you should consider: Some shoppers found installation to be difficult. Others had rare issues with durability. They aren’t loud enough to blast your music over a roaring engine.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: These powerful speakers have excellent volume.
What you’ll love: They have titanium dome tweeters with a 65-hertz to 20,000-kilohertz frequency response and 250 watts of power to blast your music as you please. It also has a 4-ohm impedance to reduce any distortion for a clearer sound.
What you should consider: Their weatherproofing and waterproofing aren’t strong enough to use outside, making them best suited for below-deck rooms. A few purchasers had issues with these speakers requiring larger-than-expected holes.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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