Best Boat and Marine Subwoofers to Buy In 2018

Buying Guides Marine Subwoofers

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Are you looking for a little extra punch from your marine stereo? Finding a top notch marine subwoofer for your boat is the solution. You may think an aftermarket subwoofer is just for seasoned audiophiles, but they’re for anybody who wants more out of their marine audio.

The best subwoofers for boats not only add extra bass, they’ll make your other speakers sound better. Better sound from your speakers is achieved by relieving them of bass duty. Instead of pumping out the highs, mids, and lows all at once, your subwoofer can take care of the deep lows while your other speakers deliver crisper, clearer high and mid-range sound.

If you’re just getting started on creating your dream marine audio setup, read some of our other reviews. Check out our lists of best marine stereos and best marine speakers and find what’s right for you. A good marine amplifier can go a long way in powering your system too, especially with a subwoofer.

Looking for the most powerful bass money can buy? Do you just want a little extra kick in your boat? No matter what you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find the best subwoofer for your boat on our list. Click on a sub in the list below to be directed to the quick review. Or, simply scroll down the page to view all of the reviews:

Our RankBoat SubwooferSubwoofer SizePower HandlingPrice
1.Alpine SWR-M10010inRMS: 300w
Peak: 900w
$$
2.JL Audio M8IB5-SG-TB8inRMS: 200w
Peak: 500w
$$$
3.Kicker 43KMW10210inRMS: 150w
Peak: 300w
$$$
4.Wet Sounds SW-10FA10inRMS: 300w
Peak: 600w
$$$
5.Rockford Fosgate PM210S4B10inRMS: 250w
Peak: 500w
$$$$
6.Polk Audio DB104010inRMS: 270w
Peak: 540w
$
7.Clarion CMQ2512W10inRMS: 180w
Peak: 400w
$$

Who Is This Review For?

This review is for anyone looking to improve their boat stereo. If you want the whole lake to hear you coming, we have booming subs for you. If you want to flesh out your existing setup with some clean sounding bass, we have subs for you too. This review is for everyone from the most obsessed audiophiles to casual boaters who like to turn up the music on the water.

There are a few things every speaker on this list has in common. They’re all high-end products that have been carefully engineered for marine use. They use special materials and construction methods to ensure they can stand up to salt, sand, UV rays, and of course, water. These subwoofers can take a beating in the great outdoors and still sound great.

So whether you’re shopping for your first sub or your hundredth, you’ll find the best boat subwoofer for you thanks to this list.

Best Marine & Boat Subwoofer List

Quick Stats

  • 10” Marine Subwoofer
  • 900 watt peak
  • 300 watt RMS
  • 4 ohm impedance
  • Thermal management system
  • Integrated insert and spade terminals
  • Hidden screw mounting and grille design
  • Waterproof rubber mounting gasket

Alpine Marine SWR-M100 Quick Review

An old favorite in the car audio arena, Alpine makes a fantastic marine subwoofer. The SWR-M100 has everything people love about Alpine. It’s a good value, it delivers excellent sound quality, and it looks as good as it sounds. This 10-inch subwoofer has an RMS rating of 300 watts and a high peak of 900 watts. Alpine’s car audio expertise shines in this subwoofer. The bass it cranks out sounds like something you’d hear in a high-end car stereo setup. It sounds so good at high volumes it almost sounds like you have multiple subwoofers in your boat. On top of all of that, it has the build quality you’d expect from Alpine.

Quick Stats

  • 8” Boat Subwoofer
  • 500 watt peak
  • 50-200 watts RMS
  • 4 ohm impedance
  • Injection-molded mica-filled polypropylene cone bodies
  • Synthetic rubber surround specifically formulated with UV inhibitors
  • Marine grade progressive roll synthetic fiber spider
  • Proprietary Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA) technology

JL Audio M8IB5-SG-TB Quick Review

This subwoofer from JL Audio is a somewhat compact design with an 8-inch diameter. Power rating is moderate with an RMS range of 50-200 watts making it good for stereo systems without an amplifier. For example, if you have a head unit powering two speakers and want to add a subwoofer, this one from JL Audio would make a good addition. It’s more for filling out low bass sounds rather than adding pounding bass. It makes your whole system sound better by taking the bass duty away from the other speakers. It’s also built to high marinization standards so it will hold up in your boat for years. It comes with a cool titanium sport grille to add a bold, yet tasteful look to your system.

Quick Stats

  • 10” Boat Subwoofer
  • 300 watt peak
  • 150 watt RMS
  • 2 ohm impedance
  • Injection-molded polypropylene cone
  • Single voice coil
  • Santroprene sound

Kicker 43KMW102 Quick Review

This 10-inch Kicker subwoofer is kind of similar to the JL Audio one we just talked about. It doesn’t have a super high power range and that’s just fine. What you do get is a high quality subwoofer that makes a great addition to any boat sound system. Looking for a little extra kick, but don’t need anything crazy? This Kicker could be what you’re looking for. With RMS at 150 watts, it gets the job done with rich bass. It’s marinized with an injection-molded polypropylene cone and locking, splash-proof terminal covers. For extra bass in your boat from a trusted brand, this Kicker is one of the best boat subwoofers.

Quick Stats

  • 10” Marine Grade Subwoofer
  • 600 watt peak
  • 300 watt RMS
  • 2 ohm impedance
  • Powder coated cast aluminum frame
  • Gold plated speaker terminals
  • Injection molded composite cone

Price Comparison

Wet Sounds SW-10FA Quick Review

Wet Sounds is a leader in the marine audio industry. Boating audio enthusiasts love them for their obsessively engineered products and top-notch build quality. If you want really high quality marinized materials, Wet Sounds might be your best marine subwoofer. It has a powder coated cast aluminum frame with a great strength to weight ratio. The speaker terminals are gold plated and it has an injection molded composite cone. This 10-inch sub has a healthy RMS of 300 watts. It has an aggressive closed grille aesthetic adding some extra attitude to your boat. With high-end materials and a superb look and sound, this Wet Sounds sub is hard to beat.

Quick Stats

  • 10” Marine Subwoofer
  • 500 watt peak
  • 250 watt RMS
  • 4 ohm impedance
  • Meets or exceeds ASTM test standards for marine/outdoor use
  • 2.0” 4-layer aluminum voice coil diameter
  • Proprietary corrosion resistant spring loaded push terminals

Rockford Fosgate PM210S4B Quick Review

This Rockford Fosgate is a hard-hitting 10-inch subwoofer. It has standard-exceeding construction and sound quality with impressive marinizing. It’s made of special injection molded plastic and stainless steel hardware. This subwoofer is well protected from the elements thanks to its careful construction. Flexible enclosure options make installation easy and versatile. The RMS rating is 250 watts which is plenty for most buyers. It has a unique honeycomb grille with the Rockford Fosgate logo in the middle giving it a cool aesthetic. For a well-rounded, high-end sub, this offering from Rockford Fossgate is one of the best subwoofers for boats.

  • 10” Marine Subwoofer
  • 500 watt peak
  • 250 watt RMS
  • 4 ohm impedance
  • Meets or exceeds ASTM test standards for marine/outdoor use
  • 2.0” 4-layer aluminum voice coil diameter
  • Proprietary corrosion resistant spring loaded push terminals

Quick Stats

  • 10” Marine Boat Subwoofer
  • 540 watt peak
  • 150-270 watt RMS
  • 4 ohms impedance
  • Completely marine certified
  • Designed for sealed or ported enclosures
  • Integrates cutting edge technology for optimal bass performance

Price Comparison

Polk Audio DB1040 Quick Review

This Polk is the lowest priced subwoofer on our list, but it’s also one of the most popular. Polk is normally known for expensive, high-end audio equipment and it’s amazing how much quality they’ve packed in at this price point. It delivers the fantastic, pounding bass you’d expect from Polk at a very affordable price. The RMS range is a respectable 150-270 watts and it gets plenty loud. This subwoofer has everything Polk is famous for from the sound quality to the striking, yet subtle look. This is a great option if you’re looking for multiple subs for your boat because of the price. When it comes to bang for the buck, this Polk is one of the best subwoofers for boat.

Quick Stats

  • 10” Boat Subwoofer
  • 400 watt peak
  • 50-180 watt RMS
  • 4 ohm impedance
  • Liquid drainage system
  • Gold plated terminals
  • Mica-injection polypropylene cone woofer
  • Magnetic shielding integrated into basket

Clarion CMQ2512W Quick Review

Don’t be fooled by the budget-friendly price tag on this Clarion subwoofer. This 10-inch sub has some serious marinization and delivers impressive bass. It meets or exceeds high ASTM standards for salt, fog, and UV exposure. It also has a neat liquid drainage system to keep it dry and protected in tough marine conditions. It comes with gold plated speaker terminals which is impressive at this price point. This is another one that doesn’t have a very high peak power rating, but will be good enough for most of you. RMS come in at 180 watts. The included faceplate doesn’t offer a ton of protection, but it looks great.

Best Boat Subwoofers: What to Look For

The specs you need to know are pretty similar to what you should look for in any subwoofer. We’ll go over those specs and what they mean to make you an expert.

  • RMS Power Rating – We’re going to be talking a lot about RMS power ratings. It’s not something you hear a lot about from the manufacturer and we’ll get into why that is in a minute. RMS stands for “root mean square” which is a mathematical measurement of the best value of a waveform. What it means in plain English is the recommended power rating. RMS is the power level at which you can listen to music through a sub for a sustained period of time. This power level is measured in watts. This is one of the main specs you should be looking for when shopping for the best marine subwoofer. Something to keep in mind – each manufacturer calculates RMS a little differently. If you’re concerned about it being able to keep up with your amp, dig in and do some extra research on how the manufacturers you like measure their RMS.
  • Peak Power Rating – Peak power is where the bragging rights lie for subwoofers. It’s the number you’ll see marketed and plastered in a big font on the packaging. While it’s not as important as RMS, it’s a bigger number so it’s the one manufacturers like to throw around. Since most people don’t know the difference between peak and RMS, they figure the bigger the number, the better. While it’s true that a higher peak power means it can go louder without blowing up, it isn’t as important as RMS. A subwoofer can only handle input at its peak power for moments at a time, not at that high of a sustained volume. If there’s a loud part of a song that goes higher than the RMS, the peak power takes care of it. When looking at the peak power rating of a sub, make sure it matches up with the peak power of your head unit or amplifier. If you feed a sub more watts than it can handle, you’ll have problems.
  • Impedance – Impedance isn’t a huge deal, but it’s still worth noting and understanding. You’re going to see measurements of ohms in each subwoofer description. Ohm is a measurement of electrical resistance which is basically what speaker impedance is. The subwoofer acts like a big resistor and the lower the ohms, the more power it can handle from an amplifier. Lower ohms ratings are often found on high-end products like the ones we’ve reviewed here. The best subwoofer for boats usually has an impedance rating of 4 ohms or lower.
  • Size – This might seem obvious, but sometimes the size of a subwoofer is overlooked. 10-inches is the most common size for marine subwoofers, but there are varying sizes for different applications. Bigger doesn’t always mean better. There’s an 8-inch sub on our list that would be great for a smaller boat or if you just want it to be less noticeable.
  • Mounting – Like size, mounting is important to keep in mind when thinking about where you’re going to put your sub. While the diameter of the actual speaker might be uniform, shapes and sizes can vary greatly between different models. Some are deeper than others. They all have different mounting brackets. Some are intended to go into special enclosures. When you find the best boat subwoofer for you, make sure you do some measuring and have an idea of how you’ll mount it. You don’t want to get it and then figure out you can’t install it where you wanted to.
  • Marinization – What sets the best marine subwoofers apart from normal ones is the marinization. A car subwoofer doesn’t need to be able to withstand the elements like a marine one. Marinization doesn’t just mean water resistance. It also needs to be able to stand up to salt, UV rays, and maybe sand. They’re marinized not only for durability, but to maintain high sound quality with the right protection on the right components. Take your environment in consideration when choosing your sub.

22 Comments

  1. what about pioneer deh-x3800ui

    Reply
  2. These car radios aren’t cheap, you can find many at under $40 on amazon.

    Reply
    • The aren’t cheap because they are actually good.. moron.

      Reply
  3. Hi ! Which one is 32-bit ?

    Reply
  4. Why do all units still come with CD players? It’s 2017, for God’s sake.

    Reply
    • CD’s still have the best sound quality, try it!

      Reply
    • Because some people still like good quality music! Bluetooth doesnt care about audio quality.

      Reply
  5. I guess Alpine is not what they used to be, ranks at the bottom of the list.

    Reply
  6. If only the Pioneer DEH-80PRS had HD .. oh well ! I’ll probably make that purchase anyway .

    Reply
    • I so much concur with you comma it looks like I will probably end up doing the DEH – 8800. Seems nice that it has a 13 band EQ, and still has 4 volt pre outs for my amplifiers.

      Reply
  7. I want a great stereo for the car I had just restored and the stereo has to be as great as the car,its a Lincoln so I want something that fits the bill,its got to have GPS and Ipod,4 speakers and two tweeters and a amp

    Reply
  8. I have actually owned all of these units over the years and the best unit hands down from user friendly to sound quality and everything in between is the pioneer deh80prs. Well worth the money.

    Reply
  9. I have had many car stereos, Alpine, Pioneer, Blaupunkt , as they were going downhill. I loved the sound of the Alpine but their build quality was terrible. It was always breaking down. And with Alpine everything is an additional charge. My favorite, hands down is the Pioneer deh-80prs. Everything is included. Bluetooth, IPod connection. The sound to me is better than alpine at a fraction of the cost. I bought my first one for $350. , they are now $250. . Great receiver and paired with quality speakers and amps you can’t get a better sound system. Highly recommended!

    Reply
  10. I was an Alpine guy in the past. Sorry to see in general the overall degraded quality and general lack of elegance from a decade past… even so, I find it interesting that Sony doesn’t have a single deck listed here.

    Reply
    • They do. #3 on the list: Loudest

      Reply
  11. I have kenwood car stereo mp3 player of single din type in my car. iI have problem in the head unit (detachable portion). Can I use Pioneer car tape head unit of single din at the kenwood car tape amplifier unit (this means that the head unit ang tha amplifier unit will be of different make)?

    Reply
  12. I’ve owned many of the brands (Clarion, Alpine, JVC, Kenwood, Sansui, Sony) over the years however I keep going back to JVCKenwood products. My current deck is a cheap JVC that has served me well in two vehicles over the years (no issues). I just purchased a new eXcelon deck and plan on installing it this weekend. Hopefully it will be a quality deck. My fav was my Alpine from the mid-90’s. To bad nothing is made like the great gear back in those days.

    Reply
  13. Good list. I’m wondering if you have any information on how these various units handle the power antenna output? I recently upgraded my unit to a new Alpine and was dismayed to find that the unit raises my antenna for all input sources. Previous units have only raised the antenna when the radio was selected as source. Wondering if this is now the new norm?

    Reply
    • Hello, thanks for your comment. Typically, if wired correctly, the power antenna output is only active when the radio is on. I’m wondering if your power antenna was wired to the accessory instead of the power antenna output on the back of the unit?

      Reply
  14. In my old Opel I used a simple, non-mechanical Kenwood (KMM-204?) for years. I have given it to my son a year ago, so I had to find something for replacement. I bought an Alpine UTE-72BT, it works well.

    BUT I am not enthralled from the quality of FM receiver of this Alpine. The highs are a bit “shh”-ish, “grainy”, “intrusive”, not clear. Nonetheless, the sound from USB stick or external source is adequate, and the sensitivity of FM receiver is excellent, too. I cannot state, that FM sound quality of this Alpine is terrible, but I can say, it is irritating in the long run. Sometimes I feel better to switch to USB when I am tired. Even also I know, that the quality of the FM broadcasting is not the best most times, but the difference between the Kenwood and this is senseble.

    The FM sound of Kenwood was much more clear and balanced. As I mostly listen to radio during driving (also for listening for daily news on a music-profile radio station), the FM quality is a keypoint for me.
    Now, I am hesitating about buying a new radio but, it is hard to find any tests about sound quality of these boxes. The reviews I found mainly focus to the fancy features (“bells and whistles”) not the feelings of long-term usage. The few articles, what I found about sound quality, mostly enumerate Kenwood, Pioneer, Sony and JVC, less othen Alpine units. But how could I decide without buying, mounting and listening (for example from a webshop)?
    I would appreciate if I could read (subjective) descriptions about LISTENing to those equipments, that were made for listening… Do you know such a revirew of these car stereos?

    Reply

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