JL Audio vs Kicker: Which Is Better?

When it comes to price, the Kicker offers very good sound at an affordable price point. Meanwhile, JL Audio is more expensive but it has a better sound quality.

JL Audio vs Kicker

The fact remains that both JL Audio and Kicker hold a good reputation in the industry. Let’s take a deep dive into these two marine speakers and compare different aspects of the two products. We will compare the products to help our readers decide which one is the right pick for them. The review will also cover both 6.5 “and 8” sizes.

8 “Speakers

The larger speaker size with more surface area can handle more power and perform better. Their larger cone area means that the 8 “speakers can also play louder with higher mid-bass, compared to 6.5” speakers. Plus, they sound better. 

For those who have ample space and budget, the 8 “speakers are always recommended over the 6” models. 

6.5 “Speakers

This site is very popular and is mostly used on modern boats. Kicker and JL Audio both have 6.5 “versions of their speakers and we will be comparing them too. 


There is one 8 “marine speaker offered by Kicker and it is called KM8. It has built-in RGB LEDs with white and charcoal grilles. In the 6 “size, Kicker offers their top of the line model, KM65, and another more budget-friendly model, KM604.

Due to the overall good performance and lower price-point than JL Audio, Kicker’s 8 “speakers can be one of the best value for money marine speakers currently available. 

JL Audio

JL Audio does not have an 8 “speaker but a 7.7” one. These come in two variants, namely M3 and M6. The same models can also be found in 6.5 “variants. Performance-wise, the JL Audio speakers are comparable to Kicker’s KM8 and KM65. However, differences can be seen in the tweeters, sound profiles, and the price of speakers.

Silk tweeters on the JL speakers contribute to a rich and smooth sound quality.They have a more premium feel at a higher price point. 

Power Handling; Sound

The higher the power handling of your speakers, the louder they can get and the cleaner and crisper they sound.Let’s take a look at the ratings of each of the 8 “models by JL Audio and Kicker.

JL Audio M3 is at 70 watts, JL Audio M6 is at 100 watts, and Kicker KM8 is at 150 watts. In our opinion, both the JL Audio M6 and Kicker KM8 have a fantastic sound quality that is up to par with each other.

Among the 6.5 “models, the Kicker KM604 has 50 watts and the KM65 has 65 watts. JL Audio M3-650x has 60 watts, and JL Audio M6-650x has 75 watts RMS.

Efficiency Rating

This benchmark indicates how loud your speaker volume can go (assuming other variables are constant), and it is measured in dB at 1W/1m.

JL Audio M3 has an efficiency rating of 90.5 dB @ 1W/1m, and the M6 also has the same 90.5 dB @ 1W/1. Kicker KM84L has a rating of 92 dB @ 1W/1mJL.

Among the 6.5 “sizes, JL Audio M3-650x has 90 dB @ 1W/1m and JL Audio M3-650x• has 89.5 dB @ 1W/1m. In comparison, Kicker KM65 has 90 dB @ 1W/1m. 


Tweeters play an important role in the sound profile of your speakers. Marine speakers usually come with three types of tweeters, hard dome, soft-dome (silk), and horns. 

Kicker speakers have tweeters made of titanium. This hard alloy material ensures that the speakers are durable even in tough environments. The tweeter also plays loud and clear without any harshness. 

In comparison, JL Audio comes with silk-dome tweeters that are specially treated to produce a soft and warm, crystal-clear sound. The tweeters are also made in a way that they can withstand salt fog and UV exposure. 

Grille Options

Both brands also offer different grille colors. One advantage of the Kicker speakers is that they let you choose your grille color after you’ve bought your speakers. Kicker offers white as well as charcoal open-style grilles. However, close-style grilles are not an option. 

JL Audio’s 7.7 “speakers come in a white, close-style grille and open-style grilles in two color options, gunmetal, and white. 


Among the entire marine speaker range by JL Audio and Kicker, the best value for money speaker has to be the 8 “Kicker. JL Audio’s M3 and M6 speakers in 7.7 “also sound amazing and the silk-dome tweeters have a quality of their own. But you will be paying more for the product. 

Kicker’s 8 “speaker has a loud, bright sound with power handling of up to 150 watts RMS, and a high-quality titanium tweeter. It sounds extremely good as well. In our opinion, all of these features offered at a super affordable price make this speaker a solid winner.