Marine Speakers Vs Car Speakers – What’s The Difference?

Marine Speakers Vs. Car Speakers: What's The Difference?

Wondering if you can use your car speakers on your boat? What about your marine speakers in your car? While these two kinds of speakers are essentially the same audio device, a lot of people are wondering if there are differences between the two. There must be differences; otherwise, they wouldn't be classified as two different things, right?

If this is the first time you're hearing about marine speakers (yes, there's such a thing), then this is your time to learn about it and maybe add it to your vessel.

What is a Marine Speaker?

Marine speakers are speakers that are better equipped for the waters. Not only are they generally water-resistant, but they are also more durable. Marine speakers are made to withstand the different exposure to water, humidity, and climate. Even if you're mainly placing the speaker inside your watercraft, there are still subtle differences needed in order to keep it running all throughout the trip.

Differences Between a Marine Speaker and a Car Speaker

woman with marine stereos

There are a few major differences between a marine speaker and a car speaker. Knowing these differences will help you decide if you can use a marine speaker on your car or your car speaker on your boat.

1. Durability

The first thing people think about is durability. Marine speakers are built to withstand harsh environments and salt corrosion. There's no doubt that they're more durable than a car speaker that isn't really made to withstand those things. Why would it? It's not like the car speaker gets salt corrosion or gets exposed to direct sunlight and water.

To add to that, marine speakers use more durable materials that protect its mechanism from getting ruined under different climates. Whether it's prolonged exposure to water, sun, or salt, a marine speaker can last for a while. Sure, overexposure will ruin the whole device, but if you take care of the speaker, it can survive normal wear and tear.

2. Materials

There are definitely some major differences in the build quality of a car speaker and a marine speaker. The latter uses heavy-duty materials that can help make it more durable. Most, if not all, parts of the marine speaker are also waterproof or water-resistant at the very least. You'll find most of the marine speakers made from plastic or a similar material because they are proven to be durable and waterproof.

On the other hand, a car speaker does not always have the most durable components. When a marine speaker uses a plastic cone, a car speaker uses a paper version of it. So, when the car speaker gets wet or even gets a little moisture from the cold, it can easily get damaged.

3. Wiring

wiring of marine and normal speakers comparison

What about the wiring? For obvious reasons, wiring in a marine speaker is different from a car speaker. The wires of a marine speaker are protected with weatherproof material to prevent any form of moisture getting into the wires. For car speakers, this is not always present because the probability of moisture reaching (or even forming) is low.

To add to that, the circuit boards of a marine speaker are covered with sealants for extra protection. The car counterpart doesn't.

4. Sound Production

Another major difference is the sound quality. Because the surroundings of a marine speaker and a car speaker are different, their sound production and functionality vary. For example, a car speaker is able to project sound for smaller spaces. Roll the windows down, and you can barely hear it a few meters away. If you're wondering about cars that have loud music, they probably have installed additional speakers to boost the sound.

For marine speakers, they are made for bigger spaces. They can also produce better sound in open spaces, given that they are often placed outside. Other marine speakers have to be mounted in a certain way to project higher quality audio output.

5. Price

Which one is more expensive? In general, a marine speaker is much more expensive simply because of the materials that are used to build it. If you go back to the build quality and the durability differences, you'll notice that a marine speaker is packed with protective material to ensure that it lasts under varied weather conditions. This feature already makes it a lot more expensive than a standard car speaker.

But that's not always the case. Keep in mind that there are also very expensive car speakers. If you buy a low-quality marine speaker and a high-quality car speaker, then you'll most likely pay more for the latter.

Can You Interchange Speakers From Your Car and Boat?

interchange car and boat speakers

Since both are speakers, they should work well as far as producing sound is concerned. However, if you're installing your car speakers to your vessel, then expect that this won't last very long. Since car speakers are not that durable compared to a marine speaker, exposure to the sun or water might immediately cause it to crack or tear. It's not even a matter of brand and make since car speakers are not really built to be weatherproof.

On the flip side, if you're planning to use marine speakers in your car, the major problem you'll experience is the wiring. The wiring for a marine speaker and a car speaker is different. If you know how to rewire a set of speakers, then it won't be difficult to install it.

Another problem you might encounter is the size. Obviously, a marine speaker will not exactly fit in a car speaker's place simply because they're not custom-fit to your car. If your marine speaker is too big, you might have to make space in your car, or it won't mount at all. If you're using your car speakers for your vessel, the same problem can happen.


There are a lot of differences between marine speakers and car speakers. Yes, they're both speakers, but they're built for different uses and places. If you want to interchange the two in your car or vessel, then make sure that all parts and wirings are compatible.

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