The 10 Best Marine Stereos

Updated November 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Marine Stereos
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you demand the same quality of music on your boat as you do in your car or at home, then have a look at these marine stereos. Offering easy installations that will not detract from the look of your dash, they are capable of playing music and podcasts via Bluetooth, USB and MP3 devices, along with FM and AM radio tuners. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best marine stereo on Amazon.

10. Kenwood KMRD765BT

The Kenwood KMRD765BT has a theft deterrent faceplate, so you don't need to worry about docking in more public areas. It also boasts dual phone connections, so you can hook it up to two devices at once. Unfortunately, it lacks a remote control.
  • android rapid charge
  • multilanguage display
  • limited bluetooth range
Brand Kenwood
Model KMRD765BT
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. JBL PRV-175

The JBL PRV-175 has a single-line LCD display and white illuminated button lighting that makes it easy to control your stereo in the dark. It also features a two-way iPod control that allows for operation from the iPod or stereo. However, installation can be difficult.
  • 18 fm and 12 am presets
  • mp3 id3 tag display
  • doesn't come with a protective cover
Brand JBL
Model JBLPRV175
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. BOSS AUDIO MGR350B

Designed for the music junkie who loves the open seas, the BOSS AUDIO MGR350B has controls for treble, bass, and balance. It is also compatible with audio from smartphones and MP3 players. Plus, its round shape suits classic style boats.
  • comes with a three-year warranty
  • 60 watts x 4 max power
  • condensation forms on screen easily
Brand BOSS Audio
Model MGR350B
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Infinity INFPRV250

The Infinity INFPRV250 is a compact and lightweight stereo ideal for smaller vessels. It attaches easily to your stereo's accessory wire and has a highly sensitive tuner that picks up a lot of stations, even in areas with bad reception.
  • totally waterproof unit
  • bluetooth connectivity is dependable
  • does not have a clock
Brand Infinity
Model INFPRV250
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Kenwood KMRD365BT

For those who cannot let go of their old discs, the Kenwood KMRD365BT will play standard CDs as well as take Bluetooth connections. You can charge your USB devices through the port in the front, and even make hands-free calling through the built-in microphone.
  • front aux input
  • display is dimmable
  • salt and humidity resistant
Brand Kenwood
Model KMRD365BT
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

5. JVC KD-X33MBS

Never be without your favorite music or talk shows with the SiriusXM compatible JVC KD-X33MBS. The interface lights up in a vibrant blue hue when turned on that helps you better see the controls, and there's a convenient answer call button on the front.
  • reverse display cuts through glare
  • also suitable for convertibles
  • built-in ipod controls
Brand JVC
Model KD-X33MBS
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Sony DSXMS60

The Sony DSXMS60 has a discreet USB docking station for compatible devices. It also boasts a handy wireless remote control that lets you choose the source, control the volume and more, so you can operate your stereo from across the boat.
  • includes a storage case for the face
  • 3-band equalizer
  • moisture resistant front shield
Brand Sony
Model ADS6R03
Weight 6.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Fusion Entertainment MS-RA70

The Fusion Entertainment MS-RA70 allows an installer the option of either mounting the stereo in the conventional dash finish or integrating it into a glass helm with a flush surface mount. It also boasts a full Apple or Android interface.
  • optically bonded glass display
  • 4 x 50 w class a amplifier
  • two independent audio zones
Brand Fusion Entertainment
Model MS-RA70
Weight 2.3 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

2. JENSEN MS2ARTL

With Bluetooth interface capabilities, and iPhone and iPod connections, the JENSEN MS2ARTL is a very versatile stereo. The user can control all of the stereo's main functions from their smart phone with the Jensen jControl app, making it a convenient addition to any boat.
  • made with uv resistant materials
  • conformal coated circuit boards
  • standard din chassis
Brand Jensen
Model MS2ARTL
Weight 3.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5BT

The Aquatic AV AQ-MP-5BT features plug-and-play installation, and a flush mount design that connects to existing factory stereo connectors, so you won't need to make any changes to your system to install it. Plus, it supports Bluetooth connections.
  • salt fog tested for 400 hours
  • uv stable for extended sun exposure
  • low heat lcd screen
Brand Aquatic AV
Model AQ-MP-5BT-H
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Why Boats Require A Marine Stereo

Marine environments are harsh. The combination of sun, saltwater, extreme temperatures, wind, and constant impacts can wreak havoc on sensitive electronics. Unlike marine stereos, standard car receivers aren't built to withstand this kind of abuse. The unique physical make up of saltwater makes it highly conductive to electrical charges. Just a small amount of saltwater inside of a car stereo can quickly cause a short, and possibly a fire. In a boating environment, especially in power boats where the wind and sea spray is more forceful, it is inevitable that saltwater will enter your boat stereo at some point.

It isn't just shorts that are a problem for electronics in saltwater. Corrosion is also a major issue. The combination of saltwater and oxygen can quickly eat away at metals that aren't designed to withstand constant exposure to it. Saltwater corrodes metal five times faster than fresh water. That is why humans have invented marine grade metals, which have special alloying elements added that help to defend against corrosion.

Marine stereos are built with the harsh conditions of the open water in mind. Most will feature a water-resistant faceplate, and many include a water-resistant remote control, as well. As we mentioned previously, though, it isn't a question of if water will get into a marine stereo, but when. Even with a water-resistant faceplate, the combination of wind and sea spray will force water inside of your stereo at some point. This is why manufacturers make marine stereos with circuit boards that are covered with a conformal coating, made from silicone, acrylic, or some other polymer. Because of the flexible properties of these conformal coatings, they can get into all of the nooks and crannies of a circuit board and effectively create a water- and dust-resistant seal.

How To Choose A Marine Stereo

One of the first considerations when choosing a marine stereo must be the size of the existing stereo you are replacing. If you are putting a stereo into a boat that has never had one before and you intend to cut a new hole, this obviously doesn't matter. Most people, however, buy a new stereo to replace a broken our outdated model. In this case, it is important to buy one that fits within the current cutout.

It is important to look at the power specifications of any model, as well. Most boat owners don't plan on using an external amplifier, and expect their head unit to provide enough power to the speakers on its own. Unless you are planning on installing a large, complicated, and high-powered system with sub-woofers and an amplifier, you'll want a model that will push out enough wattage to produce good sound at high volumes.

When reading the specs, you may see either peak power output or RMS. Peak power is the amount of watts a stereo can produce at any given moment. RMS is the average amount of power it can produce over time. Peak power is always higher than RMS. For example, a stereo with 50 watts peak power per channel, will generally have somewhere around 20 watts RMS per channel. Because of this, most manufacturers publish peak power specs, since they sound more impressive. For most users, models that output somewhere between 40 and 60 watts peak power per channel should suffice. Since most head units have four channels, that translates to a total peak power output between 160 and 240 watts.

If you have a large CD library, you would do well to choose a model that has a CD player. With the advent of digital music players, CD players are no longer standard in marine and car stereos, so if this is important to you, double check to make sure the unit you are considering has one. Also, take into account what type of connectivity options you need. There are units available that come with Bluetooth, AUX inputs, USB ports, and SD memory card slots. You can choose one with all of these, or try and save a little cash by choosing a model without any of these features if your budget is tight.

There are a couple of other features to consider, as well. If you have a cabin in your boat and want to be able to control your boat while below deck, or perhaps while fishing at the stern, a model that comes with a remote control will best serve your needs. A unit with oversized keys can be convenient and allow for easier control while cruising at high speeds. Determine your needs first, before making a purchase.

The Difference Between Marine Stereos And Marine Radios

Landlubbers and those new to boating often confuse the terms marine radio and marine stereo. To old sea dogs, the difference may be obvious, but it is not hard to see why it can be misleading for some. It is not uncommon when talking about a car stereo to refer to it as a radio. In fact, the two terms are practically interchangeable.

A marine stereo is used mainly for music playback purposes. Some models may, of course, be used like a speakerphone, if they offer Bluetooth connectivity and have microphone support. Marine radios are devices capable of transmitting and receiving messages. They are used to communicate on set international frequencies, referred to as channels. In the United States, most of these channels fall within the 156 and 174 MHz spectrum. Marine radios can be used to summon help from emergency support services, contact bridge tenders to request an opening, and speak with captains of other vessels or marina personnel. They are also often used to listen to weather and sea reports.

According to United States regulations, only certain types of vessels fall into the compulsory equipped category and are required to have a marine radio on board. These include cargo ships over 300 gross tons, for-hire boats certified by the Coast Guard to carry more than six passengers into the open sea or tidewaters, power vessels over 60 feet in length, uninspected commercial fishing boats, and a few others. Most recreational boats fall into the voluntary equipped category, but despite this, it is still a smart decision to keep a radio on board.



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Last updated on November 18, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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