Last Updated on
Jet ski speakers and sound systems have become more and more popular over the years. Owners want to listen to music while riding their jet skis, on the beach, or even fishing from their jet ski.
Thus, these days many new jet skis come with a factory installed sound system that can be purchased as an option in most cases, although they tend to be expensive.
Since the entire cost of jet ski ownership can be surprisinly high, many owners are not willing to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars for a musical device.
You may be wondering, if these expensive (and usually not portable) factory speakers are the best choice, or are there better alternatives on the market?
We at JetDrift dug deeper in the topic and collected the best jet ski speaker alternatives on the market. Beyond the best models we’ve compiled a full buyers guide for you that even includes instructions on how to install and mount them on your jet ski!
Factory Installed Jet Ski Speakers and Sound Systems
Due to their current popularity, all main manufacturers offer factory installed speakers on their new jet ski models. If you are planning to buy a jet ski do your research or ask your dealer about the available options. If you already own a jet ski, note that these factory sound systems can often be installed on used jet skis as well.
Although these built-in jet ski speakers usually do a really good job, we have to mention their drawbacks as well:
Price: When it comes to factory jet ski speakers, the main con is usually the price. It is not uncommon to find factory speakers in a four figure price range. (Yes, these are crazy prices for a sound system!)
Not for every model: Manufacturers usually offer speakers for the more expensive jet skis that are foundin the luxury or performance category. The truth is that it’s a trick! They are trying to force you to choose from their more expensive models. Be smart and don’t buy a high-end model just for the speakers because there are many (non-factory) options for entry level watercraft models as well!
Not portable: Beyond the price and availability issues, the main problem with these speakers is that in many cases they are not poratbe! Let’s face it, when you are out under the sun, you aren’t riding your jet ski all day long. If your speaker is built into your jet ski, you can’t take it with you to the beach!
Legal concerns: Many factory-installed (and some aftermarket) speakers can be installed in the mirror frames. Think twice before you replace your mirrors with speakers, as mirrors are required by the law for tow sports like wakeboarding or tubing.
Space issues: Riders often complain that their factory speakers are installed where they would normally put their feet, which makes riding their jet ski less comfortable.
The Best Jet Ski Speakers – Portable Options
If you are looking for cheap jet ski speaker options, we can recommend the portable Bluetooth speakers. They have many advantages and that’s why they are so popular among jet ski owners. What are these advantages?
Affordable: These models are really affordable especially compared to factory jet ski speakers.
Portable: All of these models are portable, which means you can easily take them with you when you go on shore and keep the music going!
Size and color: they are available in several sizes and colors based on your needs. Due their small dimensions you can easily store them in the storage bin.
Waterproof: Most models are completely waterproof, which means that you can even submerge them! Others models are just „splashproof,” which means that you can clean them under the tap, as long as you don’t submerge them! These models usually work really well on jet skis.
Sandproof: They are not just waterproof but sandproof as well, which is a great advantage on the beach!
Easy installation You can install these Bluetooth jet ski speakers really easily. In most cases you don’t even have to drill the fiberglass!
Volume: Many buyers are afraid that these small jet ski speakers would not be loud enough. On the one hand, it’s true that many owners choose these models and are very happy with their performance. They sound really good even at speeds of up to 30 mph. On the other hand, if you ride at 67+ mph on the water, you will hardly hear any music from your speaker or sound system!
There are countless Bluetooth speaker manufacturers in the marketplace, but many jet ski owners are choosing the JBL speakers, and for good reason! JBL is a well known and reputable brand when it comes to portable sound devices, so you can’t go wrong with any of their high- quality models.
The main factor that you must pay attention to is the size, as this will affect the performance as well as determine where it can be mounted on your jet ski.
Let’s check out the most popular JBL speakers that work best on jet skis!
You can compare our reviewed models in this video below:
JBL Clip 2 Portable Jet Ski Speaker
Surprisingly, JBL Clips are popular among jet ski owners when it comes to listening to music on a jet ski. However, these models are not extremely loud, but if you attach it to your life jacket you can expect really good sound!
Of all the micro Bluetooth speakers currently available, JBL’s Clip speakers are a resounding favorite, especially their new Clip 2. This is without a doubt one of the best options and it even comes in a variety of colors.
The Clip 2 offers a couple of significant improvements over it’s predecessor. To begin with, it’s completely waterproof, which is huge.
It’s also equipped with an authentic metal carabiner rather than a cheap plastic clip like you find on a lot of other models. And last but not least, the battery life has been extended from 5 hours to a full 8 hours.
As in previous models, the Clip 2 has a handy integrated audio cable that will accommodates other than Bluetooth devices. Additionally, the built-in speakerphone works quite well.
You need to know that even though the Clip 2 speaker will float when it first goes in the water, it will ultimately sink! It will play for perhaps 10 seconds but as it sinks below the surface, it will stop.
It’s rating indicates that it can be submerged into 4 feet of water for as long as 30 minutes, but I wouldn’t count on it. If it falls into the middle of a lake or the ocean, you’ll have to get it out fairly fast or it’ll be gone forever.
To avoid this risk, you would be smart to attach a small floating key chain to it. It will keep the speaker floating longer, just don’t forget to test it out first in a bucket or the tub!
Another good addition would be a travel case to protect it when securely storing your speaker in the storage bin. You can often get them together in a package.
JBL Flip 4 Jet Ski Speaker
If you want to attach a Bluetooth speaker to your jet ski, the JBL Flip 4 is probably the best choice. This model is small enough to mount on the handlebar, and at the same time it has really good sound.
When you compare it to the Clip, it’s a bit larger and heavier (1.14 lbs. or 517 g). It has better sound that can be played much louder. The battery life is a lot longer as well, lasting up to 12 hours.
The Flip 4 is completely waterproof rather than just splashproof, which is a great asset out on the water.
The lanyard that comes with it can be removed so you’re able to hang your speaker from practically anywhere you want; from a tree, your beach umbrella, or the loop attached to the outside of your backpack.
However, due the larger size it’s not recommended that you attach it to your life jacket during your rides. The best practice is to mount the speaker to the handlebar or to the top of the glovebox!
If you’re trying to figure out how to attach one of these Bluetooth speakers to your jet ski, your best best is to use PWC Brackets, which you can obtain by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should be able to install these speakers on the handlebars without having to drill or cut the fiberglass, but this would depend on the model. Otherwise, you can attach it to the storage bin in front, or even the handrails for passengers.
It will depend on the size of your speaker and your preferences.
JBL Xtreme for More Power
If you are need of more power or bass, the JBL Xtreme is for you.
Just looking at the JBL Xtreme, you can’t help but think of brute strength. It’s big, powerful and as tough as it gets!
The only spots where you’d want to be careful would be the passive bass radiators located on the ends of the drum. Otherwise, the rest of the speaker would stay intact even if it got severly banged around.
The hefty material it’s made of does contribute to it’s weight of 2.1 kg, but the size can be easily managed because it comes with a handy carrying strap. It isn’t affected by rain because it’s splashproof, although not waterproof so you can’t submerge it. However, JBL claims there is no problem if you want to wash the Xtreme with running water.
One nice feature of the Xtreme is that it has a charging point with an auxiliary input plus 2 USB outputs for charging your phone using the Xtreme’s 15-hour battery life. Since these are not waterproof, you need to be careful.
When it comes to placing a larger speaker on your jet ski the best practice is to attach it to the passanger handrails. To do this, use a simple bungee cord net or another similar tight fastener and attach it to the tow eye (U-bolt) that is used for towing wakeboarders or tubers.
Installing a Jet Ski Sound System
Portable jet ski sound speakers work really well for most riders, but let’s face it they are not for everyone.
If you are looking for something really loud than you might want to consider a custom built-in sound system. These usually include an amplifier, a pair of speakers and even a subwoofer.
If you have the tools and skills you can even install the system on your own, or most audio specialists could install it on your jet ski. This would likely be your most expensive option, but it would undoubtedly look the best and be the highest performing.
But before you have a custom jet ski sound system installed, you should also be aware of the drawbacks, which involve the following:
Cutting holes: The first and main disadvantage is that you have to cut large holes into the hull for the speakers. The larger the hole, the more it weakens the structure of the body. Another issue could be potential leaking around the speakers, which can lead to several problems. So, you have to pay a lot of attention to ensure the seals are tight.
Storage space: Amplifiers and subwoofers are usually installed onto the storage bin. As storage space is always a key factor on a jet ski, this could be a problem if you lose this space because of the sound system.
Resale value: Because of the modified hull, you can expect a lower resale value if the next owner is not a music lover!
Beyond the negatives above, these systems look really cool and have extreme power!
Beyond all the fun these provide, there are some safety issues that you have to pay attention to. These are what you need to be concerned about:
Limited preception: Riding a jet ski can be dangerous, so you have to be careful at all times. You probably need all of your senses to detect the other vessels around you, so if you are in a crowded area it’s best if you turn off the music as it can be very distracting.
Tow sports: It’s always wise to turn the music off while you tow a wakeboarder or tuber because you need to pay maximum attention to him/her.
Lost phones: Because you often need your phone to control the music, you have to take it out of the glovebox again and again. You need to be really careful as many phones end up at the bottom of lakes and oceans!
Jet ski speakers and sound systems are available in different shapes. The most expensive solutions are the factory installed systems, which are not portable in most cases.
Because of these drawbacks, many riders choose the very affordable portable Bluetooth speakers, which do a really good job.
The small Clip speakers can be attached to your life jacket. This is a really simple and the most affordable way to listen to music on a jet ski.
The smaller tubes, like the JBL Flip 4, can be mounted on the handlebar or on the glovebox in front of you. They are the most popular solution with a great price/value ratio.
If you are looking for something larger with more bass, the JBL Xtreme is for you. However, it’s a little bulkier and heavier than the Flip 4, so the best practice is to attach it to the passenger’s handrails.
If you are looking for the most powerful jet ski speakers on the market, then built-in sound systems are for you. Aside from the drawbacks, they are very stylish and sound really good.
Try to avoid mounting large ATV speakers on your jet ski. These tubes can be too bulky and heavy on a jet ski, and in a worst case scenario you can lose them or even damage your jet ski in several ways.
As you can see, selecting the best jet ski speaker is not so difficult after all. Just do your research and pick the model that meets all your requirements.
Also, while you are on the water enjoying your new speaker, don’t ignore the safety issues as inattention in a crowded area could result in a serious accident!
DISCOVER 2020 PWC MODELS
Kawasaki, Sea-Doo, Yamaha, Krash…