Car speakers have been around since the 1930s, but today, the speakers are used for more than just your listening pleasure. In fact, they are often used for receiving and placing phone calls so that you do not have to take your hands off of the wheel. They are also used to broadcast GPS directions so that you can easily hear where you need to go next. Any audiophile will tell you that the speakers that are factory installed in your vehicle do not do justice for the quality of your music, but how do you know which car speakers are the best? We have searched the market for the best of the best and narrowed it down to six options, but before we jump to the reviews, let’s take a look at some of the consideration that you should make before making a purchase.
- Full Range Speakers
These speakers, which are often referred to as coaxial speakers, have the entirety of the speaker elements located in a single unit. This means that the woofers and the tweeters will be located in the same speaker. These are the best type of speakers to choose if you want simplicity in your speakers, but you also want sound quality that is above what factory speakers provide. They typically come in enough size variations that you can choose any style that you want and find a size that fits into your pre-existing speaker area. They are the less expensive option, but they also tend to offer slightly less customizability.
- Component Speakers
Component speakers offer a superior speaker design that separates each of the separate components so that they can work together to create the perfect sound. This amount of separation gives your music more depth; it makes it sound more like you are listening to a live show rather than the radio in your car. The materials that these speakers are crafted from are typically higher quality materials, so you can expect a set of component speakers to cost a little bit more that full range speakers.
Features to Consider
- Power Handling
Power handling indicates the amount of power the speaker can handle without becoming damaged. This rating is measured in watts, and if you play the speakers above that wattage, chances are that you will damage them. When you are looking for a new set of speakers for your car, you need to take the RMS rating into consideration, which will tell you the continuous output rate.
When we refer to the sensitivity of the speaker, we are actually referring to how loud the speaker output actually is. This is measured in decibels, so make sure to check out how loud you will be able to get your new speakers before you finalize a purchase. You want a rating that is in the high 80s, but if you can score a rating that is over 90 decibels, then you have found a great speaker for your vehicle.
If you are replacing the factory speaker models that are already in your car, it may be a good idea to find a model of speaker that is the same size so that the speaker can easily fit into the same spot. If you are unsure of the size that you need, you can either get out your trusty tape measure to find out or ask at a store that sells car stereo speaker because they can typically tell you by the make and the model of the car.
- Additional Features
Some speakers have detachable tweeters that you can position to create an amazing surround sound effect in your car. Others have tweeters that are positioned on a pivoting base that makes it easy to angle the speaker in your direction to give you the best listening experience possible. Decide if any of the additional features that you can include on a car speaker are important for your purchase.
A new set of speakers can cost from a mere hundred dollars to well over a thousand. Make sure that you decide how much you are able to spend and then do not go overboard. Too many features can be overdoing it, especially if you are not going to have your vehicle for at least a few more years.
Best Design Feature
Rockford R169X2 6 x 9 Inches Full Range Coaxial Speaker, Set of 2
The grills and the mounting hardware are included with this set of speakers.
JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers (Pair)
The Patented Plus One woofer cone creates a better bass response than many car speakers on the market.
Infinity Reference 6832cf 6 x 8/5 x 7-Inch, 180-Watt High Performance 2-Way Loudspeaker (Pair)
The dome style tweeters are perfect for increased handling and minimizing distortion.
Pioneer TS-A1686R A-Series 6.5" 350-Watt 4-Way Speakers
The tweeter has a great range of high and mid frequencies which produces a better sound at high levels of volume.
Polk Audio DB651 6.5"/6.75" 2-Way Marine Certified DB Series Car Speakers with Liquid Cooled Silk Tweeters
The dome tweeters use liquid cool technology to deliver high-frequency music without distortion.
Kicker 40CS654 6.5 inch 2-Way Speakers
The mids and lows of this speaker set sound amazing.
1) Rockford R169X2 6 x 9 Inches Full Range Coaxial Speaker, Set of 2
These speakers are perfect for someone who is looking for an upgrade to their stereo. They are not speakers that an audiophile would be dying to purchase, but they are the perfect option for someone who simply wants to listen to tunes on their way home from work. During our testing of this set of speakers, we noticed that the balance was nearly perfect for mid and high frequencies, but the bass is not quite as loud as it is with many other speakers. It does create a smooth bass sound, but the treble is definitely the most vocal component of this speaker.
Regardless of the volume that you are playing your music at, the distortion level that you will hear is minimal. The tweeter is mounted flush to the silk dome to create an aesthetically pleasing design. The grills for the speakers and the mounting hardware come with the packaging, and there are seven different size options that you can select from to make sure that the speakers can easily be installed into your vehicle.
2) JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers (Pair)
The next product on our list is the JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers, which unlike our first choice, makes the bass response of the sound output a priority. This product utilizes a Mylar Titanium Tweeter that makes the music transitions between tweeters and subwoofers extremely efficient so that the music comes together perfectly. This 6.5-inch speaker has a great balance of highs and mids as well, so you will not be disappointed if you are upgrading from a factory level set of speakers.
The sound that you can get from these speakers is nearly home theater quality because the tweeters on this product can move and swivel to fit your listening needs. In addition to the main tweeter, there is also an adjustable super tweeter in the center of the speaker that will give you an even better sound. The peak power of these speakers is 180 watts, so you can easily turn up the volume up while you are driving.
3) Infinity Reference 6832cf 6 x 8/5 x 7-Inch, 180-Watt High Performance 2-Way Loudspeaker (Pair)
The next set of speakers on our list is the Infinity Reference 6832cf 6 x 8/5 x 7-Inch, 180-Watt High Performance 2-Way Loudspeaker. Upon testing these speakers, we noticed that the lyrics were abundantly clear on every song, the balance of the speakers is amazing, and the output does not have very much distortion at all, no matter how loudly it is being played. The woofer is designed in a cone-like shape that creates more of a surface area for the tones to vibrate against, giving the music a better overall sound.
Another feature that we loved about this product was the fact that you can adjust the tweeters to produce better sound. If you have a vehicle that is a bit on the smaller side, and you have to place the speakers in less than optimal locations, then the swivel functionality is perfect for your needs. The speaker is aesthetically pleasing as well; we especially liked the gray fabric on the tweeter itself.
4) Pioneer TS-A1686R A-Series 6.5" 350-Watt 4-Way Speakers
The Pioneer TS-A1686R speakers have a great design that moves a lot of big sound. Even though they have a surface area of only 6.5 inches, these speakers actually have a great bass response and some great highs and mids; though some of the mid level guitar solos can sound a bit muddy at times.
This particular model is sold as two speaker units so that you can quickly get them installed in your car. What we really found impressive is the fact that these speakers have such high quality, but also come in at a lowish price point of about $50.
This speaker has a maximum wattage of 350, so you can definitely get a lot of output out of these. This is a four-way speaker as well; it has a woofer, a midrange, a tweeter, and a super tweeter. For hookup, the speakers have a method that connects via brackets to the door slot of your car.
5) Polk Audio DB651 6.5"/6.75" 2-Way Marine Certified DB Series Car Speakers with Liquid Cooled Silk Tweeters
The Polk Audio DB651 is the next car speaker on our list. It is a coaxial style speaker that is designed to give you a way to listen to well-balanced music at a lower price point. The sound is smooth from these speakers; the highs and the lows flow together seamlessly with these speakers. The vocal detail is sharp and playing at high volumes will never cause extra distortion in the audio. The woofers themselves are made from a durable rubber that won’t be damaged in the high heat that the interior of a vehicle can experience.
The design of the speaker is aesthetically pleasing; in fact, the grill that is included with this set can add a bit of style to your vehicle. The speakers themselves are marine certified so that says that they can be installed in a car, an RV, or a boat if you wish to do so.
6) Kicker 40CS654 6.5 inch 2-Way Speakers
The final speaker that we are going to review on our list is the Kicker 40CS654 6.5 inch 2-Way Speakers. These speakers are not the best speakers in the world, but they have a well-balanced sound. The bass is decent, but it would sound a lot better with a subwoofer installed. We felt that the crisp, clear quality of the highs and the mids were where this car speaker shines.
It has an RSM rating of 100, which means that you can safely crank up the volume without damaging the internals of the speakers. We also loved that these speakers are extremely easy to install, especially if you had similarly sized speaker in your vehicle prior to these. The dimensions of the speakers have a very low depth, which means that they easily fit into most vehicles without an issue.
Car speakers are not an interest that only audiophiles look into. You may want the speakers because you like to listen to audiobooks on your way to work and you speakers are static filled and annoying to hear. Maybe you do want to purchase top of the line audio quality. No matter what you are looking for in a speaker for your car, there is an option out there that fits your needs.
Out of all of the products that we have reviewed in this guide, the one that stands out as the best is the Infinity Reference 6832cf 6 x 8/5 x 7-Inch, 180-Watt High Performance 2-Way Loudspeaker (Pair). It is the most well-balanced option on our list, and it can give you the best distortion-free sound for your travels. If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, then the Polk Audio DB651 6.5"/6.75" 2-Way Marine Certified DB Series Car Speakers with Liquid Cooled Silk is the best option. It has all of the sound that you want in a new set of car speakers, but it is also marine certified, so if you want to install them on a boat or in an RV, you can easily do so.