Most shoppers have only two questions when they search for car speakers. Do they sound good? Are they going to be loud? They might be aware of terms like bass, treble and mids. But all they care about is to have great sound when they are on their daily commute.
This approach of searching for the best car speakers might be too simplistic for the audiophiles. These are sound-lovers who nitpick every tiny detail of equipment that provide their sound. What they don’t realize is that there’s a method to this simple-looking madness. Let us explain.
When you inquire about the sound quality of a speaker, you’re indirectly asking about its sensitivity, woofer material, tweeter material, crossovers etc. The speakers’ loudness, in turn, is determined by their power handling, range and wiring. All these factors combine to make great car speakers.
Scroll down to know more in our car speaker reviews.
Best Car Speaker Reviews
1. JBL GTO629 Premium 6.5-Inch Co-Axial Speaker
The JBL GT0629 coaxial speaker is easily one of the best models on the market. It is equipped with Carbon-injected Plus One cones whose larger size allows them to move more air through the system. This lets the cones crank out more bass without breaking a sweat.
Next comes the UniPivotTM tweeter of this car speaker. Its design is such that you can aim the sound at your ears even when the speaker is mounted down in the doors. The dual-level volume adjustment of the tweeter lets you customize its output to suit your musical taste.
Many cars you see on the road today come with undersized wires that have the potential to distort the speaker’s output. The GBL GT0629 resolves this predicament. Its 3-ohm speakers make full use of every watt that your car is going to supply to the speakers to compensate for this problem.
2. 4 New Rockford Fosgate R165X3 6.5″ 3-way Coaxial Speakers
Here is another coaxial speaker that is making waves in the market. It boasts vacuum polypropylene cones whose flexibility and stiffness allows them to hit all those highs and lows. You can, therefore, count on this model to deliver an extra smooth and clear treble.
This car speaker also features a rubber surround that minimizes distortion by reducing internal loss. The piezo tweeter that is mounted on top of the silk dome joins its forces with the tweeter crossover to deliver a mid-range that is as clear as it is precise. You would never miss a note.
Yet another feature of these speakers that makes them a worthy-replacement of factory ones is their OEM setup. We agree with the assertion of their manufacturer that these units would seamlessly install into compatible vehicles. Though we still recommend that you hire a professional for their setup.
3. Kicker 43DSC4604 4×6″ 2-way Speaker
Not all car owners need the largest speakers on the market. The Kicker speaker is one of the compact models that shows its true colors with its space-saving design. It lets you install it under a car seat and in doing so helps save a lot of space.
It isn’t only the compact shape of this model that makes it a must-have. Its 2-day design plays an equally important role in justifying its high-held reputation. The design ensures that all the lower frequencies are sent to the 4’’x6’’ polypropylene woofer which then refines them before churning them out.
The higher frequencies, meanwhile, are channeled toward the PEI doomed tweeter. Both these parts will deliver hefty volume even from a low-powered stock radio. Kicker further sweetens the deal on this speaker by offering a 60-day moneyback guarantee and 1-year warranty.
4. Pioneer TS-F1634R 6.5″ 200W 2-Way Speakers
Corners haven’t been cut to keep the asking price of this model in most people’s budget. It is mounted in a shallow basket to make sure you can install it anywhere with minimal fuss. The compactness of the basket won’t take much space regardless of where you decide to mount this product.
Its frequency response of 31 Hz to 16 KHz is more than enough to everyone but the audiophiles. The 88 dB sensitivity isn’t the best, but it still allows this product to go very loud. Its 200W of peak power means you won’t have to worry about this model’s capability to handle the load.
This unit is shipped alongside bars that play the role of grilles. They won’t let any external disturbances have an impact on the speakers’ performance. You also have the option to remove the bars when they get dirty to give them a thorough rinse.
5. JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5″ CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers
Similar to the Pioneer speakers that we discussed above, these woofers from JVC are also aimed at budget-minded users. Though that’s where the similarities stop. These speakers have a poly-ether imide tweeter that lets them reach highs most budget speakers can only dream of.
JVC has used a unique rubber for the mid-range and low notes of this speaker that lets them offer a balance performance for (almost) all types of speakers. Their 92 dB sensitivity allows them to compete with the more expensive options on our list.
On top of everything else, their hybrid rubber and cloth surround makes these speakers ultra-durable for their price. The mica-cone gives them the ability to hit all the low-notes whereas their standard 6.5’’ size means you can easily hide them behind your door’s panel.
6. BOSS Audio Systems CH6530 Car Speakers
Their looks aren’t the only aspect of these speakers that appeals to their users. They are popularly named ‘Chaos Extreme’ for their clear, crisp and loud boom sound. Their 90dB sensitivity is more than enough to drown out any intruding outside noises with ease.
The rubber surround that you can see attached against the polymer-infused polymer performs two crucial functions. It protects the inner parts of the speaker against external elements and enhances the sound quality as well. They also have lightweight coils that can handle higher operation temperatures.
Aside from that, the basket that houses the speakers offer a rigid and robust platform to allow the listener to enjoy clean and noise-free output. Their piezoelectric tweeter is exceptionally resistant to overloads, and the entire unit is protected by a generous 3-year warranty.
Car Speaker Buying Guide
Whether you’re investing in a car speaker to pair them with aftermarket amps or you just want to enjoy great music on your factory stereo, there are several questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing this device.
Once you’re done answering those questions, you’ll end up with a list of features that you might want in your car speaker. Only then you can be sure that the device that you’re ultimately going to buy will meet all your needs and requirements.
7 Considerations When Buying Car Speakers
Here are some of the essential questions you need to ask yourself before you start searching for a car speaker:
What is the size of your factory speakers?
Based on the model and manufacturer of your car, the size of its factory speakers might range anywhere between 3.5 inches and 6 x 9 inches. Every speaker you see in this article is available in multiple sizes, with only a few offer all the sizes. That’s why you need to check the size of your car’s factory speakers before buying replacements.
How much power can the aftermarket speakers handle?
The power requirements of your factory system determine how powerful (or otherwise) the aftermarket speakers need to be. Those of you who have a low-powered system in their cars obviously don’t need to splash the cash on speakers that can handle lots of power. Others, whose system has external amps, will require speakers whose power-handling matches the amps’ output.
Remember, when checking the power of your system, the key spec is maximum RMS power handling and not the peak power handling. While the former measures how much power your speaker can handle continuously, peak power pinpoints the max power the speaker is capable of handling in short bursts.
How many speakers do you need?
You need to decide the number of speakers you need. Having speakers in all doors will create a well-balanced sound system in your vehicle. It will make sure that all the passengers in your car are receiving an equal amount of noise.
Having speakers only in front doors is recommended if the passengers in your car like to cover their road trip with music playing as if in the background. It goes without saying that the more the number of speakers, the more money you’ll have to spend.
What is the sensitivity of the speaker?
The speaker’s sensitivity determines how much power it needs to consume before it can emit sound at a specific volume. Speakers that are highly-sensitive aren’t power-hungry, especially if you aren’t going to replace every single component of your car’s audio system.
However, if you’re replacing all the components at once, you might want to go for a low-sensitivity speaker. It will need the high power that your system will supply it with to power tweeter, woofer and other components that make the speakers.
What is the material of the woofer?
In contrast to what some of us believe, woofers aren’t a replacement of speakers. They are a part of speakers and play an essential rule in their sound quality. Their material of construction should be the center of your attention when you’re searching for aftermarket speakers.
Most manufacturers make woofers out of polypropylene. It is a stiff yet lightweight synthetic film that is capable of producing low notes effectively. Polypropylene gives an even accurate bass response when it’s mixed with other materials, like mica, that make it stiffer.
Synthetics or woven fabrics that are coated with metals like titanium or metal also serve the purpose. They tend to be extremely lightweight and strong and offer an excellent response. All the materials that we talked about can withstand heat, moisture and cold with ease.
What is the material of the tweeter?
Whereas the woofers are meant to reproduce low-frequency sounds, tweeters, that have a relatively low profile, reproduce the highest frequency sounds. Their material of construction has a significant effect on the notes that the tweeters crank out.
Tweeters that are made of hard materials like graphite, metal or ceramics will give you sound that is snappy and bright. If you like the highs refined and mellow, go with soft materials, like silk, textile blends or polypropylene.
What is the material of the surround?
Every speaker has a cone attached to its tweeter that moves to produce the sound. The suspension that lets the cone move freely and produce bolder bass is called the surround. It is essential that the surround is durable or else it won’t stand up to temperature extremes and humidity.
Surrounds made of cloth and foam generally cost less but still perform admirably. Rubber surrounds tend to put an upward pressure on the speaker’s asking price and justify their selection by offering the best performance and extreme longevity.
5 Important Car Speaker Features and Specs
Following are the features and specs which are a must-have for the top-rated car speakers:
- Decent and balanced audio:
All of us have different preferences when it comes to music. Yet none of us would deny the chance of hearing decent and balanced sound on our long commutes. Speakers that produce such a sound make road trips more win.
- Sturdy casing:
The material that encapsulates the speaker and all its components from outside doesn’t only affect its longevity. It also helps it produce a clear sound by reducing noise cancellation.
- High-power capacity:
Speakers that tend to have a high power capacity are also the ones with higher sensitivities. They produce a louder sound, sure, but not at the cost of clarity. That’s why you must go for a model with high-power capacity.
- Medium mounting depth:
The depth of the enclosure that houses the speakers also affects their sound quality. If it’s too shallow, the sound quality will go south. If it’s too deep, there’s the danger that the underlying surface will constantly bump the speaker.
As long as you aren’t using an external amp, your head unit will let you determine what speakers are compatible with your car. Be sure that the RMS of your car’s system (head unit or external amp) is compatible with that of your speakers.
Types of Car Speakers
Following are the two types of car speakers:
Also known as full-range speakers, they contain all their elements in one basket. These models have a tweeter for the highs, and a woofer beneath the tweeter to produce the lows. Some of them also leave the tweeter swiveling to let you adjust its angle to adjust the direction of the sound.
These speakers offer a better sound experience than factory sound systems and are a cinch to install. You only have to handle one input connection, a stark contrast from component speakers that require you to take care of three sets of speaker wires and three connections.
On the flip side, coaxial speakers don’t excel at sound imaging – an important factor of sound reproduction that provides high-quality sound. The fact that all their sound drivers are placed too close to each other also leaves these speakers vulnerable to frequency interferences.
Easy to install
Vulnerable to frequency interference
The design of component speakers allows them to provide you with the best possible sound. Their construction comprises of separate tweeters, woofers and external crossovers – multiple components that are designed to work in tandem with each other.
Since you can mount the tweeter separately from the woofer in these speakers, you can install it in a location that gives you the best sound imaging. The crossover, which is external to both tweeters and woofers, sharply underlines different frequencies that are sent to each driver.
This results in a more realistic sound. You can place these speakers facing your ear to get better high frequencies and on-axis response. Or you can place them away from your ear to lower their bass level and enjoy better off-axis response. Their only downside is that they’re expensive.
More customization options
Better quality of components
Types of Enclosure
When we talk about speaker enclosures, it should be clear that we’re going to use them for bass drivers. Tweeters have their own enclosure and do not need an external one. Midrange drivers also have their separate enclosure that sets them apart from the bass driver. Or else the pressure from the driver will interfere with the midrange’s cone.
To protect the bass, the enclosure is designed to separate the sound waves produced at the front of the speaker from those produced at the back of the speaker. If it fails to do its job and both the sound waves meet, they will cancel each other. This will cause both of them to go ‘out of phase’ and produce a weak bass response.
Having got that critical point out of the way, let’s ask a question. Is there a correlation between the enclosure and sound quality? More than you think. If you have an exotic speaker with a poorly designed enclosure, it will sound worse than your friend’s average speaker that is housed in a great box.
With these facts in mind, let’s look at the various types of enclosures:
As the name makes it clear, sealed enclosures are airtight from all sides. They don’t let any air escape or enter the box as the speaker moves. These enclosures use the air captured inside as a spring to control the movement of the cone.
When the speaker moves in, the inner pressure increases, when it moves out, the pressure nosedives. This simplistic-looking arrangement gives these enclosures better control over their diaphragm. You can, therefore, count on them to produce a more accurate sound and a deep base.
On the downside, as their driver is constantly on the move, their speaker’s inner air pressure constantly changes. This exposes the diaphragm to extra pressure as it moves back and forth. To overcome this anomaly, sealed enclosures require more power.
These enclosures have a port (hole) located in the front that lets air in and out to equalize the pressure between the speaker’s inside and outside. When the diaphragm moves out, the hole maintains the internal pressure by funneling in air.
When the diaphragm moves in, the hole funnels out air to maintain internal speaker pressure. This action ameliorates the sound waves that are coming from the speaker. It is also responsible for a marked improvement in the system’s overall efficiency.
Unfortunately, ported enclosures suffer from one shortcoming. They are less likely to give as accurate results as a sealed enclosure. That’s because their reverberating diaphragm isn’t influenced by extra pressure. So the speaker might be prone to reproduce less precise bass notes.
May provide less accurate results
Band-pass enclosures borrow the strong points of both the abovementioned enclosures while leaving the weak ones. They consist of a dual-chambered box (one chamber ported, one sealed) and mount their woofer inside that box.
This arrangement ensures that the sound waves only emerge from the ported side. The sound that does come out has a low frequency but is extra loud. That is the reason why band-pass enclosures are preferred by audiophiles who want nothing but the maximum slam.
The aggressive sound that these enclosures produce is excellent for hard rock, rap, and reggae. However, not all subwoofers work with band-pass enclosures. So you need to be careful before selecting them for your speaker.
Super-efficient within their range
Not universally compatible
Car Speakers Sizes Chart
There is a large variety of car speaker sizes available on the market. The one size you’re going to select must be compatible with that of your car’s size. Otherwise, if you end up making the wrong choice, you may have to return the delivered product for its smaller/bigger size.
With this cautionary note, let’s look at various car speaker sizes:
6×9 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: Superior
- Bass: High-quality
- Max power consumption: 150W
One of the most widely-used car speakers, these speakers exploit their greater surface area to move more and provide high-quality bass. You can mount them in a separate speaker box or in the rear deck. And their competitive asking price won’t blow a hole in your pocket
However, their relatively large size acts as a double-edged sword. On the one end, it allows these speakers to provide superior sound. On the other, since you’ll be installing these units in a separate box (or in the trunk), the sound level that they provide will be muted.
6×8 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: High
- Bass: Good-quality
- Max power consumption: 350W
Also termed as front-door speakers, they are relatively big and therefore occupy more installation space. They tend to be pricey as well but justify their high initial asking price with good quality bass and high-quality sound.
The only drawback of these speakers is their huge size. It rules them out of the running for smaller cars – those that don’t have as much space to spare as these speakers need for mounting. That’s why we recommend you check the space available in your car before purchasing them.
6.5 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: High
- Bass: High-quality
- Max power consumption: 300W
In comparison with the 6×9 speakers, these units consume more power and are relatively smaller in size. That makes it impossible for the volume level produced by these speakers to compete with that of 6×9 speakers. So you can’t expect them to provide a loud thump.
On a positive note, listing to these speakers will let you know that they don’t distort or tear up the sound at loud volume. Their stiff but lightweight cones enable them to provide an efficient response. They also offer better power-handling capabilities.
5×7 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: Best
- Bass: Powerful
- Max power consumption: 600W
These speakers are great at receiving sound from the source and transmitting it to the head unit. Their universally compatible sizes allow them to fit inside a 6×8 speaker opening. That’s because both have identical basket fitments, which make them interchangeable.
Although they do offer (almost) universal compatibility, there’s a dark side to 5×7 car speakers. They are extremely power-hungry and should only be used if you already have or plan to run an amp alongside them. Or else all the added power that they consume won’t give you any benefit.
5.25 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: Average
- Bass: High-quality
- Max power consumption: 200W
Those of you who drive a compact car or sports car might have limited space available for speakers. You might also need to save whatever space is on offer in your trunk for groceries. If both these factors apply to your case, then 5.25 car speakers are a must-have for you.
These speakers take minimal space to let you fit them in a dashboard or a car door. They also outperform your factory speakers for sound quality and produce less distortion at high volumes. You can even count on them to provide a better listening room, and that too, without a woofer.
5 inch Car Speakers
- Sound quality: High
- Bass: Good-quality
- Max power consumption: average
As long as you don’t own an exotic car, chances are that it already features 5-inch car speakers. They are the most inexpensive of the bunch and compatible with a large variety of cars. The ease of installation of these speakers also makes them endearing to car manufacturers and users alike.
However, since they fit in anything and everything, these speakers don’t do anything outlandish. Both their sound quality as well as bass response is average at best. They might also produce some distortion if you like to listen to your music at full volume.
4×6 Car Speakers
- Sound quality: High
- Bass: Low-quality
- Max power consumption: 240W
As you might have guessed by now, the main advantage of these speakers is their diminutive size. They let you mount them in your dashboard and in the door. Their life span is also admirable. So they might be worthy of your attention if you drive a small car and need speakers than can last years.
The only thing which holds some people back from using these speakers is their inability to produce high, loud music. Their small sizes make them practically incapable of breaking the sound barrier – thereby forcing you to add an amp if you want to enjoy loud music with them.
Difference Between a 2 Way Vs 3 Way Car Speaker
2 way car speakers are also known as coaxial speakers and they generally consist of a tweeter and a woofer. The tweeter is the driver that is in charge of high frequencies, like those coming from a flute, a cymbal, or a tambourine. Woofer, meanwhile, handles low frequencies.
Three-way speakers also have a woofer and a tweeter, but they have one extra driver called the mid-range. Its function is to handle frequencies that fall between the lows of the woofer and the highs of the tweeter. Such sounds usually come from multiple sources, including a human voice.
That means that the only difference between the two is the extra driver that the 3-way car speakers have that they call mid-range. Aside from that, there aren’t many differences between both in terms of sound quality. As it’s influenced by multiple factors, i.e. your listening environment and speakers’ built material.
Subwoofers Vs Speakers – What’s the difference?
Both the speakers and subwoofers are devices that audiophiles refer to as transducers. They take one form of energy and convert it into another. But the fact that they operate on the same principle doesn’t mean that there’s no difference between both.
The primary difference between the duo is that the speaker, unlike the subwoofer, isn’t capable of producing sub-bass. It can cover high-frequency and mid-frequency sounds, but it cannot reproduce bass and sub-bass at very low frequencies, a job that subwoofers perform with aplomb.
There is another factor that distinguishes the pair. Subwoofers, unlike speakers, aren’t built to be used alone. You’ll generally see them as part of an audio system that already has a main speaker. That isn’t the case with speakers that you can use on their own. Though adding the sub will improve the system’s audio quality as it will free speakers from low-bass and improve mid-range.
Car Speaker Brands For Bass and Sound Quality
Following are the major brands in the car speaker space:
JBL GTO Series Speakers are among the favorite options for car owners. They are incredibly well-built, use their manufacturer’s Patented Plus One woofer-cone technology and therefore give you an excellent low-frequency response. Their Edge-driven soft dome tweeters also let them provide bright highs.
Yet another notable feature of these speakers is their UniPivot¬¬TM design. It gives you more installation options by allowing surface mounting or flush mounting. These speakers let you tweak their tweeters via their adjustable level control to customize them to your listening preferences.
Polk Audio dB Series Speakers are equipped with sturdy ABS grilles and steel mounting hardware. That allows them to add style to your car’s interior. Also, these speakers are marine-certified and can, therefore, withstand the extremes of temperature and humidity.
Their combination of liquid-cooled 3/4″ silk/polymer dome tweeters and polymer/mica composite woofers allows them to deliver crisp details and makes them durable. The 6×9 series of these speakers has gone the extra mile by offering ¾’’ dome super-tweeters in the package.
Rockford Fosgate Speakers are available in three major series. You can get the ‘Prime’ Series for entry-level speakers, ‘Punch’ Series for budget speakers and ‘Power’ Series for high-end units. Among the three, the Punch speakers are our favorite. Here’s why.
Apart from providing a brilliant mix of price and power, the Punch speakers are available in both component as well as coaxial configurations. They are also available in a wide range of sizes between 3.5’’ to all the way up to 6×9’’. You can easily get one tailored to your car.
JL Audio C2 Speakers won’t come cheap, however, they justify their high asking price by offering a perfect balance of Hi-Fi sound and sturdy build quality. These speakers are equipped silk-dome tweeters that empower them to crank out bright highs.
Apart from that, their mineral-filled polypropylene woofers give them the ability to crank out powerful bass. The built-in crossovers of these speakers will ensure that your music will play seamlessly across a broad musical spectrum.
Alpine Type R Car Speakers are a significant upgrade to their stock counterparts. These speakers boast smooth silk dome tweeters and a multi-level hybrid fiber cone. This allows them to churn out thumping bass and bright highs.
Since these speakers rely on powerful neodymium magnets, they can afford to reduce their mounting depth without making any compromises on their power handling. The decision of these speakers to use HD polymer frame makes them sturdy, lightweight and a cinch to install.
Kenwood Performance Series Car Speakers clear up your muddy stock sound without blowing a hole in your pocket. They are a budget-friendly option, come in all standard speaker sizes and are available in both coaxial and component configurations.
Kenwood’s proprietary Sound Field Enhancer has widened the sound field of these speakers and increased their sound dispersion. They are also able to provide an improved response in the 3000 to 4000 Hz range thanks to their built-in Acoustic Sound Harmonizer.
Kicker CS Car Speakers are available in a variety of sizes and come in various configurations. They have bounded their polypropylene woofer cones to polyester foam surround to provide stellar bass. The Polyetherimide (PEI) balanced dome tweeters of these units ensure crystal clear highs.
Pioneer A-Series Speakers justify their stellar reputation by offering top-class sound quality. They are available in a budget price tag and offer deeper bass with an enhanced dispersion of sound. Their decision to use an extra midrange driver has allowed them to churn out distinct bass lines previously lay hidden.
FAQs and Answers
- Q: Why car speakers blow out?
A: When someone says that their car speakers have blown out, it means that either the speaker are not working at all or they sound terrible. There are multiple causes of a speaker blowout including:
1. Mechanical: If your speaker has collided with its casing and there are broken or torn components in the aftermath, this incident might be the reason behind blowout.
2. Thermal: If the internal components of your speakers have overheated or burned – or when its voice coil is burnt, it will give no sound.
- Q: Why are my car speakers buzzing?
A: Car speakers usually produce a static sound when an electrical field from a nearby object interferes with that of the speakers’ power wires. There are numerous things, both within the car and without it, that can generate electrical fields. They range from the speakers’ own sound components to the windshield wiper motor and overhead power lines. All these sources will provide a different level of static noise.
- Q: Do speakers with a higher sensitivity sound better?
A: The higher the sensitivity rating of your speaker, the louder will be their output. Most speakers you see on the market have a sensitivity of around 88dB. A speaker whose sensitivity rating exceeds 90dB is considered an excellent choice by the audiophiles.
- Q: What Speaker Impedance Means and Why It Matters?
All the best car speakers that you saw above are a great option to add astounding audio to your daily commute. These models will help you whether you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in your road trip playlist or feel as if you’re in the studio with your favorite singer.
The main reason why these speakers are so highly-rated by their users is that they go the extra mile. Aside from handing extreme treble and bass, they also withstand temperature extremes as well as bumps on the road. You can go through these car speaker reviews to make sure of that.
Lastly, since these speakers come with built-in tweeters and woofers, they are more than capable of cranking out the highs and clarifying the lows. All in all, they have everything that you need to take your road listening experience to the next level.