Playing music in the car is, arguably, the best place to play music. This is where you get to relax after work, have fun during trips or just chill on your way to an adventure. It’s understandable that you would want the best car speakers possible. But what is the best speaker? It’s a jungle of technical terms.
That is why this guide exist. No matter if you are looking for component speakers or traditional coaxial car speakers, this guide has something for you. This guide is regularly updated to ensure that you have the latest information possible. There is even a quiz if you just want a pair of speakers.
Editor’s Choice for the Best Car Speaker
- Great sound quality
- Loud with no distortion
- Impressive Bass
The Best Car Speakers Reviews 2019
Changing car speakers in your car can be the easiest way for you to get a better sound in your car.
Adding a subwoofer will give some boom to the sound, but it doesn’t help with clarity or loudness.
A head unit can help you with that to some degree but then you should know how to connect a head unit to your car and understand which unit is the most suitable for you.
You may have heard about car speakers that crackle. That is a sign that the speaker is blown and is ready for the trash. It can happen because it’s old or because someone (not you, of course) has turned up the volume more than the speaker can handle. If your car speakers crackle, you should not get new speakers, you need new speakers.
In this guide, you can find car speakers from brands like Polk Car Speakers, Infinity Car Speakers, Kenwood Car Speakers, Kicker Car Speakers and many more. We have looked at things like the price, how the sound is, and trouble other owners have with these speakers. Using all the information gathered, we have narrowed it down to just three speakers per size, which gives you a much easier choice.
Best 6×9-Inch Car Speakers
6×9-inch car speakers are very common to have sunken down in the rear deck the back of the car. On wagons, getting an enclosure, much like this one from Amazon, solves the problem with no rear deck
The speakers are very big and can offer a great deal of bass boost to a car speaker system. They are often very loud and if you simply love to play on high volume, having a pair of 6×9-inch to fill the car, is a good idea. The size is good for any music genre, the biggest problem is usually how to mount them because of the size.
Polk Audio DB691 Car Speakers
While the Polk Audio DB691 doesn’t look that good, there is a lot going on behind that silver grill.
The DB691 has an RMS of 125W and 300W peak power, which will, with an amplifier, make your car sound like a live concert.
Okay, that might be a bit much, but I really enjoy these speakers. They do not have an amazing low and good bass that you might expect from a pair of 6x9s but 90% (made-up number) is pairing it with a subwoofer that is taking care of that. No, the thing with these speakers are their loudness.
Because they can get very loud, and this is without an amplifier. They are much louder, while still offering a good sound without distortion, than the other 6×9’s on this list. The high and mid are great and they offer a well-balanced sound from the box. As a bonus it’s also possible to remove the grill and paint it to match your interior which makes them look a bit nicer.
With an amplifier, the DB691 will produce some tight bass, but not very much. Without an amplifier, you will not get much bass at all. However, if you plan to get a subwoofer, the DB691 is a good purchase for any music genre. My personal favorite.
JBL GTO939 Car Speakers
The JBL GTO939 is a revision of the old 938 which was a revision of the one before that. JBL has been going for a long time and that is not a bad thing.
They may not be at the to of the absolute best speakers, they are definitely on the upper side of average when comparing them to other speakers in the same price range.
When it comes to specifications, the 939s have a total peak power of 300W with an RMS at 100W. Of course, you will not reach that with an amplifier but even without one, these speakers are very loud and provide a good sound experience for the listener. Turning up the volume is not a problem here.
These speakers are using a technology that JBL is calling Plus One. What this means is that JBL has been able to expand the cone to make it larger than competitors. When the cone is vibrating, and sound is being produced, the larger cone will provide a better low frequency (bass).
When it comes to the highs and mids, they perform as expected for the price. The weakest point of the speaker in the mid-range but if you plan to have other speakers in your car (which I suggest that you do), that shouldn’t be a problem.
Kicker 43CSS694 Car Speakers
The Kicker 43CSS694 is the only speakers you should get if you are looking to get affordable 6×9 speakers that sounds amazing. This is a pair of component speakers, meaning that the woofer and tweeter is separated.
This gives a clearer sound that is more direct and in front of you compared to coaxial speakers. You can learn more about why you want component speakers and how it works in this article.
In this system package, you get 2 6×9 component speakers, 2 tweeters, 2 crossovers, mounting equipment and other accessories. Because of all this, they are a bit trickier to mount than regular speakers, but there are many guides online on how to mount component speakers, as well as in the manual that comes with the 43CSS694 speakers.
The woofer is made of polypropylene with polyester foam surroundings while the tweeter is made ¾ inch titanium dome tweeters. It’s nice and there is no harshness from the tweeter either, even if it’s made of metal. The highs are of course great, with the tweeter going all in on that. They provide great sound at high volume.
For the woofer and the lower frequencies, the bass is hitting hard. With no need to care about higher frequencies, it does it job at full power and you can notice. If you plan to get a system without a subwoofer (which is always better), getting the 43CSS694 component speakers is almost a requirement.
Best 6.5-Inch Car Speakers
6.5-inch car speakers are very common to have in the front doors, where there is more room than in the back doors. These speakers are still big enough to provide a good amount of bass, while still offering good highs and mids.
They are a great all-round size that isn’t really great at anything but good at everything. Just as 6×9-speakers, these speakers do fit with any music genre and it is highly recommended that you have a pair of 6.5 speakers in the front doors.
CT Sounds Meso 6.5 Car Speaker
The CT Sounds Meso 6.5 might come in at a heavy price compared to many other speakers in this category but they are also better in almost any way.
Here, we have speakers with an RMS of 60W and a peak power of 120W, which is normal for 6.5-inch speakers, but’s it’s not on paper that the Meso 6.5 impress.
The speakers are very loud. You can keep raising the volume up as much as you want. I didn’t go to max because I can’t imagine anyone wanting to listen that on that volume, I sure don’t. The bass on the Meso 6.5 is also very nice.
There is a tight bass that is complementing most genres very good. You still want a subwoofer for the deepest bass but for rock or pop, the bass in the Meso 6.5 is good enough.
Talking about sound quality, the mid and the highs are very good as well. There is no distortion, no matter how much you raise the volume. The speakers are also very friendly if you do not have an amplifier. You don’t get the worst bass or the absolute detail, but I don’t feel the need to have an amplifier when listening to them. The woofer cone is made from fiberglass.
It is a lot of money to ask for when just looking at the paper but after two weeks, they will be worth every penny. The magnet is also very large so you should make sure it really fits before you purchase them. Other than that, you will be very happy with a great pair of speakers.
Infinity REF-6532EX Car Speaker
The reference series from Infinity is a popular series for consumers and it’s easy to understand. The REF-6532EX is a 6.5-inch speaker that sounds great. They provide a clean and crisp sound and they are especially good in the highs and mids while a little underperforming in the lows. But you have a subwoofer, right?
These speakers are great to use for the front doors if you don’t have component speakers and if you do, having them in the rear is a blessing. Because they are so loud, you will still be able to enjoy them no matter where you set them in the car. If you have an amplifier, they will be even louder.
Infinity has something called True Four Ohm Impedance Technology on their Reference series speakers. This technology makes these 3-ohm speakers combine with the speaker wire, making it look like 4 ohms for the head unit. This means that more power will be put out to the speakers, making them sound better, even without an amplifier.
The reference series is a personal favorite so I might be a bit biased here but when we are talking about coaxial car speakers, I think the REF-4032cfx is one of the best speakers in this price point You will not regret it if you get them.
Polk Audio DB6502 Car Speaker
The Polk Audio DB6502 is a component system where you have the tweeter separately.
This makes all the change in the world to the sound and a component system will always be better than a pair of coaxials. The DB6502 proves that.
The tweeter is great with the highs, which it should be. It is a ¾-inch silk dome tweeter which gives a very smooth response and sound. It’s not so punchy. The woofer hadnels the mids and lower frequencies great, also with a smooth sound that is not punchy. If you like punchy, this system may not be for you.
The DB6502 speakers are rated with a maximum of 100W RMS, which you never reach without an amplifier. If you want to get the most out of these speakers, an amplifier is really needed. However, if you go with a head unit only, you will still not be disappointed, as they are better than any coaxial auto speakers.
They still offer the same, great IP55 rating that Polk is famous for, making them great for boas, motorcycles and other cases where the speakers need to be a bit more durable. There is some bass missing but that won’t be noticeable with a subwoofer. These speakers are probably the best speakers you can get at this price point today.
Best 5.25-Inch Car Speakers
The 5 1/4-inch speakers are most common in the back doors of cars. Many are also mounting 5 1/4 car speakers in the rear deck, sinking them down to point upwards. They do this for better clarity from the back, something that 5 1/4-inch speakers is very good at.
They are really good with the mid and complement a pair of 6.5-inch really good. They are not that big and doesn’t provide that much bass so genres without much bass will benefit a lot from 5 1/4-inch car speakers.
Kenwood KFC-1395PS Car Speaker
Kenwood has been in the speaker game for a long time, and they continue to make good speakers. The KFC-1395PS is no exception. The build quality on these speakers feels robust and the installation process is super easy with the included instructions that Kenwood provides in the package.
The RMS is at 40W which might seem low but if you are not going to get an amplifier, you will not reach that anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.
The peak power is 320W which is more than the recommended peak power of at least double the RMS. You want this to ensure that the speaker can handle power spikes. Well, these will without problem.
As with any 5 1/4-inch speakers, they are not full of bass and if you are going to use these as your only speakers, getting a subwoofer is a good idea to get the lows going. However, when it comes to other frequencies, these are doing a good job. The highs are crisp, and vocals are clean and nice to listen to.
They are not very loud so they will not be as good for having in the rear deck. These speakers are more toward the front doors, to where you are, listening to great music. Because in the end, this is what they are for and why you should buy them: replacing stock speakers in the front doors. You will not be disappointed.
Polk Audio DB522 DB+ Car Speaker
If you are looking to spend less money to get a better sound, the Polk Audio DB522 BD+ is a pair of speakers to consider. These 5 1/4-inch speakers have 100W RMS which means that if you get these now, you can easily upgrade to an amplifier for even better sound in the future.
The DB522 DB+ has a very clear sound and it is easy to hear details in the music that you have never heard before with the stock speakers.
You will require a subwoofer as these doesn’t have much bass in them. Without an amplifier, they are also not super loud, so not for the rear deck unless you have an amplifier.
What’s special about these speakers is that they are water- and dustproof with an IP55 rating. Because of this, they are very durable and a great choice if you are looking for speakers for your motorcycle or any other type of vehicle where the speakers might come in contact with water.
The DB522 DB+ from Polk Audio is a great budget alternative if you are looking to upgrade your front door speakers or if you want to add speakers to your boat or motorcycle. Without an amplifier, they are not for the rear deck but that can easily be upgraded in due time.
Infinity Kappa 50.11CS Car Speaker
If you are looking to get the best speakers and are ready to pay the price, you can get the Infinity Kappa 50.11CS.
This is a pair of component speakers, which means that the tweeter is separate to the woofer and there is also a crossover in the middle making sure the frequencies go to the correct speaker.
You can learn more about why component speakers are better in this article. The speakers are giving a very clean sound, there is no distortion detected on higher volumes. And high do they go.
These speakers are very loud, and you will be able to raise the volume enough so you can’t hear yourself sing a long (I usually find it best that way). The tweeters give a very smooth and clear sound from the highs while the woofer is rocking the lower frequencies.
There isn’t that much bass and it is highly suggested to have a subwoofer in the car as well if you want to experience the best sound. I would also recommend an amplifier with these speakers, as they are able to be even louder and sound even better when they are powered correctly.
Component speakers are great, and you never want to get back to coaxial. Yes, the price will be a bit higher and the installation is a bit more complicated, but the reward is way worth it. For any component speaker.
Best 4-Inch Car Speakers
On many older cars, 4-inch can be found at the backdoors, while 5.25-inch in the front doors. You can also find them in the trunk of a car. 4-inch car speakers work really well for voices and slower music. If you listen a lot to podcasts or radio, 4-inch speakers can be great. In a full system, they will carry the voices the most.
Because of the small size, you should not expect good bass. Basically, all 4-inch speakers provide bad bass, and the three down below is included in that. Keep that in mind when configuring your sound setup.
Rockford Fosgate P142 Car Speaker
There is always at least one speaker from the Punch-Series on this list. Rockford has made a great some great speakers and they are always improving on new models and revisions.
The P142 is the 4-inch version of this series and it’s a very good complement to most car audio setups. They are on the expensive side for being just 4-inch, but you also get what you pay for.
The P142 has an RMS of 30W and a peak power of 60W, which isn’t much. I would not bother to run those speakers on an amplifier as larger speakers would benefit so much more from an amplifier than what these would do.
The P142 will deliver good highs and mids while not so much low. This is expected since they are so small, but they outperform many other 4-inch speakers on the highs, so that is where these speakers really shine. With this knowledge, I would use these as a complement to add to the highs in your car, not to depend on them.
One thing to note with them is that is it very important that you equalize correctly. Yes, that’s always important but if you don’t do it right, these speakers will be hidden between your other speakers and not take any space at all, which is sad on such a good pair of complementary speakers.
JBL GT7-4 Car Speaker
The JBL GT7-4 follows the typical JBL standard of good design and good sound. They look good, and they sound good.
The GT7-4 is a small 4-inch speaker that is great for small spaces or if you want some extra detail in your sound.
As with any other 4-inch speaker, there is very little to no bass here but that is not the reason why you would purchase a 4-inch speaker. The GT7-4 provides a very clean sound that is great for most types of music. They are not so loud as preferred but on the other side, there is no distortion either.
If you have OEM speakers in your car today that is 4-inch, these will be a huge improvement. However, it’s also fair to note that these speakers aren’t that big and will not rock your world. They are also quite cheap and does not offer the same clarity as the Infinity REF-4022cfx.
You don’t need an amplifier with these, they are quick plug and play-speakers. Even with the above, it’s good to remember that these speakers are very good for its price. These speakers provide impressive frequency response, so if you enjoy music, they will not disappoint.
After all, it’s JBL!
Infinity REF-4032cfx Speaker
4-inch car speakers may not sound the loudest or have the most bass but they are important for clarity and vocals. The Infinity REF-4032cfx is for you who is looking for the best sound in your car.
They have a heftier price than the others, but they are worth it, history tells us that. Earlier revisions of this models sell like hotcakes, and this one do too.
Infinity also has something they call True Four Ohm Impedance Technology. It’s a complete marketing word but what it means is that these 3-ohm speakers will combine with the speaker wire in your car.
What this do is that the head unit will see them as 4-ohm speakers, giving them more power = more power to the speakers. Infinity has also made the cone bigger than on other speakers in this size. This means that the speaker is able to move more air and thus, make the sound better. The sound itself is crisp and clean and because the speakers can move more air, it’s punchier than expected.
There are no grills included in the box and that is normally a bad thing, but these speakers are gorgeous to look at, so it’s very individual what you think. Often, the factory grills can be reused. It should also be said that these speakers would really like an external amplifier to be fully used.
Best Speakers 2019 Buying Guide
Unless you are an audio technician in the music industry, or familiar with PA systems and speakers in general, understanding the technical aspects of speakers can be very difficult for anybody. To help you with your research we will now break down some of the main points of confusion that the average customer will have before they purchase aftermarket speakers.
How Many Speakers Do You Need?
This depends on your personal budget and how much sound you need. Most car systems come with two or four car speakers, but you might consider getting 6 or even 8 speakers to ensure the sound is even all across the vehicle. If you factor in subwoofers to this question (which also count as speakers) you should at least have three speakers in your vehicle.
Bigger vehicles such as vans and RVs will definitely need to have more than this. The idea is that you can hear the entire audio spectrum (low, mid, and high) across your vehicle at the same strength. For example, if there is a hi-hat playing in accordance with a bass guitar, you should be able to hear both as the track’s audio engineer intended.
The main thing to consider is the amount of power that your speakers provide, where they position the speakers, and how big your vehicle is. In any case, if you purchase a couple speakers with about 100W of RMS power, you really shouldn’t need more than two if you correctly position them.
Another thing to consider is the position that your speakers are in. Many two-door vehicles will position their speakers at the feet of the driver and passenger side, and might not have other slots available in the vehicle. If you purchase a pair of speakers with only 35-40 RMS, you might have difficulty stretching out the sound to your whole vehicle when you factor in passengers and subwoofers.
How many car speakers you need will depend on your car
The Difference Between 2- & 3-way Speakers
Most speakers that you will find are 2-way speakers since they are easier to construct and more affordable to purchase. The main difference between 2-way and 3-way speakers is that there are three separate components for the low, mid, and high audio frequencies in 3-way speakers, whereas 2-way speakers combine all three of these frequencies into two outputs.
If you want speakers that are simple and affordable, you will likely purchase a set of 2-way speakers. 3-way speakers are great for ensuring that the sound for low middle and higher frequencies will each have their own speaker. This is a great way to protect your speakers and make them last longer.
However, keep in mind that although 2-way speakers might sound different than 3-way speakers, that this may not always be the case. Some 3-way speakers have a separate tweeter that you can position in separate areas of your vehicle. This model will be noticeably different than the 2-way models, which combine all of the different mechanisms into one speaker and then put a grill on it.
When you consider that 2-way speakers are often able to produce the frequencies desirable for music, the only thing you might choose to worry about is how reliable they are, and how long they will last. Since 3-way speakers are built with a little bit more longevity and quality in mind, many people will prefer them regardless of the audio frequencies they project.
Both 2- and 3-way speakers will be acceptable for the novice who simply wants their music to be loud and clear. At the end of the day, really any aftermarket will sound better than the stock factory speaker you have. If you want to impress a music-minded person, consider purchasing 3-way speakers.
Full-Range Vs. Component Speakers
Similar to the difference between 2- and 3-way speakers, component speakers have separated the tweeter from the subwoofer, which takes up more space but also leaves more headroom for the woofer to function independently. The main difference is that component speakers will allow you to install tweeters in different areas, such as your dashboard.
Full-range speakers will typically have all of the necessary components in one place, which generally makes the speaker and installation much easier than that of a component speaker. However, component speakers can be a lot nicer for vehicles that have speaker slots jammed down near the pedals, which means the tweeters will be harder to hear.
If you want to purchase the most affordable speaker, it will likely be a full-range speaker. If you are looking for a fancy system which separates the tweeter from the subwoofer and allows you to put it in different locations, you should choose a component speaker.
Component speakers are often expensive and thus, most people have full-range speakers
Why Max Wattage Is Not Important
When you are choosing your car speakers, keep in mind the maximum wattage is not as important as the RMS wattage. A speaker can have 1,000W of maximum power (which by the way is extremely powerful) but if its RMS is only 300W, you should expect the wattage to normally operate at this level. Check for the RMS wattage instead of maximum wattage before you purchase any speaker.
Also, keep in mind the typical DJ’s PA system has 2,000-6,000 watts of maximum power for venue sizes ranging from 500-1,000 people. A car system doesn’t need to be nearly this powerful for the sound you want. If you purchase a speaker with, say, 100W of RMS power you could, theoretically, blow your ears out at maximum power.
When selecting your car speakers, the maximum wattage is nice to know since it gives you an idea of what your speakers are capable of. However, what will matter most at the end of the day is the RMS wattage, since this is what the speaker will normally output at.
However, you should likely never need speakers which go above 100 watts of RMS power. This is a lot more powerful than the average person who wants a loud system will realize. If your ears start to ring when you turn your car off (which is possible at very low RMS wattages), then this means you were playing your music too loud.
The amount of power your speakers can handle is very important. Your speakers should be capable of handling the power your head unit or amplifier puts out.
Car Speaker Materials
If you are installing your own car speakers, familiarizing yourself with the parts of a speaker is something that you will want to do. Most speakers will be a little bit larger than the diameter that is provided, which means that you need to ensure that they will fit into your vehicle before purchasing them.
The cone of a speaker is where your speaker will produce the bass sounds. These are usually flat and flexible. Even when you are playing music from another source, you may notice that the cone of your speaker is vibrating; this is a good thing.
The tweeter of your speaker will handle the high frequencies, it’s where you will find most of your mid- to high-range sounds. Tweeters are sometimes known as horns. If you purchase system to include subwoofers, you might decide to make most of the sound which comes from your tweeters instead of subwoofers.
One of the most important components for installing your car speakers are the brackets and audio cables. The brackets are the mechanism that you use for screwing your speaker into place, which means that you might need to account for added space.
Lastly, audio components are important for ensuring that the high-quality frequencies transmitted by the speakers are taken over into the deck, amplifier, and subwoofer. Audio cables are taken lightly by many people, but if you are willing to spend a little bit of extra money, you will be pleasantly surprised by the sound of your speaker project.
Car speaker materials is something that you should consider when purchasing new speakers
Increasing the sound quality even more
So now you have a great pair of car speakers but it’s possible to increase the quality of the speakers even more. Additional items to consider purchasing for your vehicle is a good head unit, amplifier, and subwoofer. Each of these items will only make your car system that much better.
For example, purchasing a good head unit will allow you to have more control over the EQs, and give features like iPod and MP3 connectivity, XM radio, and the ability to customize the settings of your car system. If you purchase a good head unit, you will also easily be able to connect to an amplifier, which will allow you to you connect your speakers to a subwoofer.
Amplifiers are one of the more underrated parts of a car system. For example, you can purchase a subwoofer with 100 watts of RMS power, but if your amplifier is only at 50 watts, you won’t even start to make full use of that great subwoofer you just purchased. An amplifier provides power, so if you need some extra power for a new component (such a subwoofer), buying an amplifier is something that you simply cannot skip.
Lastly, a subwoofer is something that puts the perfect stamp on your audio system. Any set of speakers will provide some bass sounds for your car, but if you want the feeling of being at a club from within your vehicle, a subwoofer is something that you will need. However, some people will simply purchase a set of speakers and a new head unit, being overwhelmed by the power of a subwoofer.
So, these are the best speakers that we can recommend to you. If you just know which speaker size you should buy (which you can see on your old speakers), then you should be pretty set with any of these options. Some of them are cheaper than others but with that, a less impressive spec sheet will come.
We tried to answer questions that we had when we were new to car speakers and hopefully they have been of use to you as well. If you have any other question, do not hesitate to ask in the comment section and we will make our best to answer them
Check Out the Other Guides
In a car, there is so much more than just the speakers. First, you have the subwoofer, often in the back, that is taking care of the really low frequencies. A good subwoofer can really rumble your car. If you want to get a new subwoofer with your new speakers, you should check out this guide:
But there is also the thing that you, as a driver, interact with: the head unit. We believe that the only type of head unit you should get is a double din head unit, as you can do so much more with a screen. There is even head units with a 10-inch screen today. How about having Spotify or Google Maps on that beauty? Would it make things easier? Then, don’t forget to check out this guide:
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Last update on 2019-11-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API