This article was written by Connor, one of our founding editors. Connor is a full-time travel and lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the outdoors industry.
It can be hard to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape and, as a result, it is tough to know exactly what to look for when purchasing a new product, such as marine speakers for your boating activities.
Marine speakers are designed to produce good sound in an aquatic environment, which is most often noisy, windy, wet, and sun-exposed. Unless your budget is really low, then it’s safe to assume that any quality boat speaker will be built to last in such an atmosphere.
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the other factors you should take into account, like speaker size, features, and power.
These days, speakers come in all sorts of sizes to suit individual tastes and requirements. You firstly need to consider where you’re going to install your speakers, rather than have that as an afterthought. This will primarily determine how big or small to go.
If you’re replacing an existing speaker system, measure the size of the holes and depth to ensure that your new speakers will fit. Of course, you may need to make some adjustments.
It could be that if you don’t have enough space and depth to install flush mount speakers, then box speakers are your best option. Box speakers don’t require that you cut into your boat but they do take up more passenger space. The other benefit of having box speakers is that they can be easily relocated if needed.
Understanding basic power ratings will not only allow you to make a good choice for the kind of sound you want but it can also help you to protect your speakers from damage. Most manufacturers display the peak power but this doesn’t necessarily reflect the power you can actually expect on average. RMS, or nominal power, is the rating you want to pay attention to because this average power a speaker can handle over a long period of time.
Most speakers and their inbuilt amplifiers are plenty, especially for small boats. However, if you really want more than this, then an external amp can work nicely with your setup.
These days, the ability to connect to a mobile device is accepted as standard but it is always worth double-checking to make sure it’s possible. Additionally, you may prefer to connect via Bluetooth, a USB port, or a dock that can charge your device while playing music.
Don’t be fooled, not all boat speakers are completely waterproof; some are just water-resistant. Decide how wet you think your speakers might get and make your choice from there. It’s naive to assume they won’t get wet; there really will be no avoiding some exposure to water.
Additionally, make sure that your speakers are resistant to UV exposure. Unless they’re undercover all the time, the exposure to UV rays can do real damage over time.