Marine stereos are a popular upgrade for many boat owners. Stereos designed for boats look similar to car stereos, but they are designed to withstand occasional exposure to saltwater and constant sun.
Our product guide will review the available options so boat owners understand which stereos provide the best value and the best sound.
Best Marine Stereos
Here are our picks for the best stereos for your boat.
Don’t be fooled by the MS-RA70’s simple look; it looks simple because it is designed to be tough in harsh environments. While this stereo lacks the flashy lights of other stereos, it has the key features you need: 200 Watts of Power, DIN interface for retrofits into existing stereo slots, and full Bluetooth connectivity with your mobile device and streaming platform.
- 4x50W Class A amplifier with 1 aux-in
- AM/FM/iPhone/iPod/Android interface with Bluetooth
- Single DIN rear and face will fit into a traditional car stereo hole for retrofit installations
The Pyle Marine Bluetooth Stereo is an incredible value, available in models with or without CD players. This stereo includes Bluetooth hands-free calling and a remote control so you can pick your tunes from anywhere on your boat.
- 300 watts of power (75 watts x 4 channels)
- Bluetooth connectivity with any mobile device
- Digital front panel and digital LCD display with knob controls, aux-in, USB/SD slot and AM/FM Radio
This Kenwood premium stereo includes aa black waterproof protective cover, which is a great feature for stereos installed in dashboards or under gunwales where sea spray will threaten the stereo.
- Includes black waterproof protective cover to be mounted on the stereo
- Includes 45” antenna mast with 22’ cable
- Connects to your mobile device via Bluetooth or mini-jack aux-in
Kenwood’s Marine Digital Media Receiver is designed for the entire family on the boat. This stereo can connect to four Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and it is pre-set for integration with Spotify, Pandora, or iHeartRADIO. This stereo can be controlled by your smartphone by downloading and installing the remote app on your phone.
- Short chassis for mounting in tight boat dashboards
- Front USB and AUX-IN
- Up to 4 Bluetooth devices can be paired to the receiver at the same time
The JVC KD-X35MBS is a premium branded stereo with sufficient power to keep most boats rocking. Bluetooth pairing is a snap, just select Bluetooth pairing on your mobile device and press the round dial on the stereo once and you are synched.
- 50 watts x 4 channel power output
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free talking and audio streaming
- Connects to Sirius XM
The BOSS Audio Systems MR1308UAB is simple and stylish. This is a great value stereo that has an indestructible hard plastic build. This stereo is perfect if you do not need a CD player and you are satisfied with 4 channel, 4 speaker power.
- Bluetooth: Play and control music through your smartphone or MP3 player as well as apps like Spotify/Pandora
- 50 watts x 4 channel power
- Does not include a CD player
This kit from Pyle Audio includes everything you need; a stereo, four speakers, a waterproof cover for the stereo, and a remote control. If your boat’s sound system is obsolete this is a good system to buy as a retrofit, or you buy this kit if this will be your boat’s first sound system.
- Waterproof Marine Console
- 50 watts x 4 channels
- 4 Waterproof speakers have 4-ohm impedance and 80Hz-18,000 Hz frequency response
Jensen’s gauge style receiver forgoes the typical car stereo shaped receiver deck in favor of a small round stereo that controls your speakers and connects via Bluetooth to your mobile device for all of your sound needs. You will probably need to cut a round gauge hole into your dashboard to mount this stereo, but after doing so you will have powerful sound in a compact and easy to see location.
- Gauge style receiver fits into your boat’s dashboard in a gauge size hole
- Durable JBL speakers are built for the sun and sea spray
- 10” USB extension cable allows you more flexibility and mobility with your mobile device while streaming music and operating your boat
Sony’s MEX-M72BT is a premium Sony Stereo designed for Marine use with Bluetooth, AM/FM, and CD Player. This stereo offers effortless integration with your iPhone and Siri voice control for the stereo.
- Dual Bluetooth lets you connect two smartphones simultaneously
- NFC technology allows you to pair your mobile device instantly by tapping it on the receiver’s volume knob
- Voice control with Siri iPhone app
This Kenwood kit includes a stereo, four premium Marine speakers, and a 400-watt amplifier for powerful sound. This kit is a good investment for loud and fast boats that need a sound system retrofit or a completely new installation.
- Marine receiver is compatible with mobile devices
- Includes 400-watt amplifier
- Includes 4 premium Kenwood Marine speakers
Buyer’s Guide – Finding the Right Marine Stereo for your Boat
Marine stereos are popular upgrades because many older boats are still on the water with older stereos. While older boats still have plenty of life left in them, stereo technology has come a long way and older stereos with cassette decks are obsolete. New stereos can give an older boat a modern feel with a modern sound. Several stereos are available for less than $100, but boat owners should be mindful of the cost of installation too. If the stereo installation is not a do-it-yourself job, then the cost of installation can be two or three times the cost of the actual stereo. Fortunately, Amazon offers installation services by local professionals with your order. Our product guide summarizes the product attributes that you should consider when buying a new Marine stereo.
Stereo power is measured in watts. A car stereo and speaker system typically has 4 speakers and 200 watts total power, which is also referred to as 4×50 watts or “4 channels”, where channels represent the number of speakers. The same 200-watt output that is common in factory car stereos is also common in boat stereos. Boats with four speakers typically have two speakers near the console and two speakers up front, either inside the cabin or in the bow seating area. Four 50 watt speakers are just enough power to hear crystal clear sound sitting at the dock or anchor without engine noise, wind, and waves. If your goal is to hear your stereo while underway, you’ll need significantly more power in the form of an amplifier connected to your stereo.
Marine stereos now offer four different sources: CD, AM/FM receiver, Bluetooth, and Aux-in. CDs are becoming obsolete for most boaters because it is not convenient to carry CDs on a boat. Bluetooth is rapidly superseding the need for AM/FM or Aux-in. With Bluetooth connectivity and a smartphone connection music can be streamed from any online music service. If you will be boating in waters without mobile service then AM/FM or CDs will remain important.
All boat stereos can be controlled by buttons on the stereo deck and receiver. A few units have remote controls. These remotes are a nice feature for cabin cruisers, where the stereo deck is typically near the helm, but when downstairs in the cabin for the night the helm is not convenient to reach.
Our product guide helps you to choose the best stereo for your boat. Each helpful review explains the attributes of each stereo. Choose wisely and be ready to enjoy new sound on your boat. Once you have installed your new stereo the next step will be to develop your boating playlist. Below are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Best Boating Songs
- Little Big Town – Pontoon
- Craig Morgan – Redneck Yacht Club
- Zac Brown Band – Toes
- Otis Redding – Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay
- Kenny Chesney – Boats
- The Beach Boys – Wipe Out
- Kid Rock – All Summer Long
- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ in the Dark
- Kenny Chesney and Uncle Cracker – When the Sun Goes Down
- The Beach Boys – Kokomo
- Luke Bryan – Muckalee Creek Water
- Alan Jackson – It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
- The Lonely Island and T-Pain – I’m on a Boat
- Chris Jansen – Buy me a Boat