We spend a lot of time in our cars. Whether you use your vehicle for commuting, taking road trips, or simply taking runs to the grocery store, you spend a lot of time in your car. And while you’re there, you probably rely on the car audio system a lot.
Whether you listen to hip-hop or classical music, podcasts or audiobooks, talk radio or sports games, you have your car audio system on a lot. Unfortunately, the car audio probably isn’t that great. That’s because most cars – even expensive ones – don’t have very good speakers.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy – and cheap! – to improve the car stereo experience. The first, and best step is to add aftermarket speakers. Aftermarket car speakers are almost always better quality than the manufacturer’s option.
There are a lot of great car speakers available. After reading reviews and specifications, and trying them out, these are, in our eyes, the seven best car speakers available right now, from some of the best car speaker brands.
- 1 The Best Car Speakers on the Market
- 1.1 Kicker 41DSC654 D-Series 6.5” 480 Watt 2-Way 4-Ohm Car Audio Coaxial Speakers
- 1.2 Pioneer TS-A1676R 320W 6.5” 3-Way TSA Series Coaxial Car Speakers
- 1.3 Kenwood KFC-6995PS 125W 6” x 9” 5-Way Performance Series Flush Mount Coaxial Speakers
- 1.4 Polk Audio DB651 6.5”/6.75” 2-Way Marine Certified db Series Car Speakers with Liquid Cooled Silk Tweeters
- 1.5 JBL GTO609C Premium 6.5-Inch Component Speaker System
- 1.6 Alpine SPR-60 6-½” Coaxial 2-Way Type-R Speaker Set
- 1.7 Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime 6.5-Inch Full-Range 3-Way Coaxial Speakers
- 2 Car Speaker Buying Guide
The Best Car Speakers on the Market
|Kicker 41DSC654 D-Series||Pioneer TS-A1676R 320W||Kenwood KFC-6995PS 125W||Polk Audio DB651|
6” x 9”
40Hz - 20KHz
32Hz - 40KHz
60Hz - 20KHz
35Hz - 22KHz
Pioneer is one of the best names in the car audio system industry, as all reviews show. Their speakers are the manufacturer option for many cars, but their aftermarket products are their best work. This particular set of 6.5-inch speakers is one of Pioneer’s entry-level offerings, yet it’s a terrific product that creates brilliant audio quality.
These car speakers have a maximum power or 320 watts, with 50 watts of nominal power. Plus. They’re 3-way speakers, which is pretty impressive given the modest price tag that they carry. However, that’s what we’ve come to expect from Pioneer: a lot of bang for your buck, and quality speakers that receive very strong reviews, both from consumers and from car stereo equipment experts.
At 6.5”, these speakers will fit in most cars. But the impressive thing about their size is the depth of just 1.75”, making them a dream fit in virtually any door panel. You should always check a fit before buying a pair of speakers, but this pair from Pioneer will fit a large number of vehicles.
The speakers are made of highly lightweight elastic polymer, and feature a unique and very useful mica matrix cone design. It’s audio engineering and the best level, which is what we have come to expect from Pioneer, whose name is not deceiving. One of its greatest technical qualities is the heat-resistant voice coil wire that allows the car speakers to maintain quality and life even with high input power.
This line of Pioneer car speakers utilizes a stiff suspension that was created for the company’s high-end models, but is featured in this very affordable pair. There’s also a very practical cooling basket with air vent, that keeps the speakers cool, even with high use, high input power, and high volume.
While the specs are highly impressive, these speakers aren’t about the numbers. They’re about the sound: and the sound is one of the best. It’s the car audio quality, especially the range, that has led to very good reviews. These Pioneer speakers can hit some very high notes, while also providing a lot more bass than you would expect for such a small set of speakers.
High volume is no problem for these speakers, and their crispness is highly impressive. It’s one of the most praised aspects of these speakers in consumer reviews.
You can get better speakers if you spend a ton of money, but for the price, it’s very hard to beat this all-around stellar product from Pioneer.
Polk Audio DB651 6.5”/6.75” 2-Way Marine Certified db Series Car Speakers with Liquid Cooled Silk Tweeters
Just the name of this product sounds cool, and really, it’s true: these are awesome speakers. Polk is one of the leading brands in audio equipment, and is known for making some of the best home stereo equipment on the market. However, their car audio system equipment is just as good in terms of quality, and this pair of 6.5” speakers is living proof of that, as countless flawless customer reviews will attest to.
This set of Polk car speakers has a combined peak power handling of 360 watts, with an RMS of 120 watts. The dome tweeter is composed of silk and polymer, and the woofer is made of mica cone, which help create a smooth and responsive sound quality. Polk has mastered the combination and balance of materials in these speakers to create a truly breathtaking audio experience.
These car speakers are created to be free of distortion, and they do that wonderfully. The sound is remarkably crisp and clean, and distortion is almost entirely nonexistent. All in all, the car audio quality is tremendous: not only is it a silky and clean sound, but these speakers can handle a large range very smoothly. There’s a very impressive amount of bass output from this pair of speakers, and reviews suggest that the mid-range audio is one of the best in its class.
But the beauty really lies in the details, where Polk has found a way to create a set of speakers where every little detail is basically perfected. The speakers are 6.5”, but come with 6.75” adapter rings to make them fit in a wide range of cars. They’re also Marine Certified, so they can withstand serious weather conditions, should they somehow reach the speakers. The voice coil has a very high melting temperature, ensuring the the speakers can not only survive, but continue to provide excellent quality audio even when they’ve been used for long periods of time. And the tweeters are swivel-mounted, so you can aim the audio output.
Last, but certainly not least, these are beautiful car speakers. Polk managed to make a set of speakers that looks as crisp and modern as they sound. These speakers are simply excellent in all areas, which should be expected from Polk.
|JBL GTO609C Premium||Alpine SPR-60||Rockford Fosgate R165X3|
52Hz - 20KHz
Like the other companies on this list, Alpine is a very well trusted audio equipment brand. Alpine makes some of the best amps, receivers, and entertainment systems, but where they excel is with their speakers. These 6-½” coaxial two-way speakers are among the Alpine products with the best reviews from customers, and that’s saying something, given the brand’s reputation. And it’s easy to see why, as they offer stunning car audio quality.
As a pair, these car speakers have a peak power handling of 600 watts, with 200 watts RMS. The 86 dB sensitivity is exactly what you would hope for from a top-tier set of speakers, which is what this Alpine pair is, especially if you read the reviews. And because these speakers are a standard size, with a shallow mounting depth of just 2-¼ inch, they’re able to fit in most cars. That’s good news, because as soon as you hear these speakers, you’ll probably be wanting to get them in your vehicle.
Because ultimately, it’s always about the car audio quality, and Alpine makes that abundantly clear with this product. Most impressive is the ability to hit high notes cleanly. Unlike many speakers of this size, this Alpine pair hits the highest of notes smoothly, with no ear-splitting screeching sounds. If you enjoy listening to any kind of modern music, you’ll be very pleased with how well this pair deals with synthetic, pop, and electronic sounds.
It’s not just about higher pitches, though. Reviews show that Alpine also hits mid-range wonderfully with this product. Mid-range audio is clean, crisp, and hard-hitting, and these speakers can really hold up to high volume without showing any signs of cracking or wearing. Even the low-range bass is pretty impressive for a speaker of this size.
They’re also some of the best looking speakers on the market. Alpine chose a simple aesthetic for this pair of speakers, but it really pays off. The simplistic design is both modern and classic. It’s sleek and sexy, but most importantly, it looks high quality. These speakers provide some of the best quality of audio that you’ll find for your car, so you want the design to suggest that. And that’s exactly what Alpine has achieved.
If there’s one drawback, it’s that a few customer reviews suggest that the speakers can begin to give out after about a year’s time. At that point, there can be a tendency to get a little crackly and scratchy. As long as you take good care of these speakers, however, that’s unlikely to happen, and you can enjoy some high-quality audio equipment.
Car Speaker Buying Guide
If you decide to up your car stereo equipment game, you can do so with any of the seven best car speakers listed in this article, or with many other top quality speaker products. But before making an investment into a pair of speakers for your car, it’s important to do know how to buy car speakers. You never want to be an uninformed consumer, and that’s especially true with car stereo equipment. You’ll be listening to the new speakers in your car almost every day, so it’s crucial that you make an informed, quality decision. As such, you want to pay attention to a few factors.
What is Your Budget?
Whether you’re buying the best car speakers, groceries, or a new house, your budget is always the most important factor. You need to figure out how much money you’re willing to spend, so you can narrow down your options. Looking for a good deal is always important to, but just finding your price bracket is most important.
For instance, you can get virtually flawless car audio system equipment if you’re willing to spend $2,000. But if you’re looking to stay under $100, you shouldn’t be comparing the speakers you’re looking at to the $2,000 pair. Figure out your budget so you can set your expectations, and narrow down your options.
Now, just because you’ve reviewed your budget doesn’t mean you need to max it out. It may be that you find the best deal at a lower price; only you can determine what that means. But if you don’t have a clear budget, you’ll likely end up getting drawn to the very expensive products that aren’t worth it for the money that you’re willing to spend.
As the Rockford Fosgate speakers in this article prove, you can get excellent speaker quality for a very low price. So whatever your budget is, you’ll find audio equipment that makes you happy, and you won’t have to spend an amount that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Is This the First of Multiple Audio Equipment Purchases?
Buying some of the best car speakers for your car will instantly improve the audio quality, and make life happier for you when you’re driving. However, while one pair of speakers will make a big difference, there’s plenty more that can be done.
A set of aftermarket speakers is the first step in improving the audio experience in your car. Once you’ve done that, you can add a rear set of speakers, some larger tweeters, a subwoofer, an amplifier, a receiver, and a few other things as well. You don’t have to add any of this things, but you can. And figuring out whether that’s part of your future plans is an important part of speaker buying.
If this is simply the first move for you, then you’re going to want to factor that into your budget. You’re also going to want to purchase speakers with future purchases in mind. Do you want to stick to one brand with all of your equipment? What speakers will look good with the other equipment you’re putting in your car? Which speakers are easily compatible with the other products you’re considering?
If these speakers are simply part of a larger automotive project you’re pursuing, you’ll need to take that into consideration.
What speaker size is best for you and your car?
The speaker size that you purchase is often determined by your vehicle. Cars have ports to put speakers in (usually these ports are occupied by the speakers that come with your vehicle, which will need to be removed). These ports determine the size of the speaker that you need. Not only is the circumference important, but the depth is, as well. If you purchase speakers that are deeper than the space provided by your vehicle, then your audio equipment will protrude and be a hassle.
Before purchasing any car speakers, figure out what size your car can accomodate. If you’re not sure about this, you can easily find the information online, and often in your car’s owner’s manual as well.
The ports in some cars are adaptable, so you can fit speakers of a few different sizes. Either way, it’s important to do your research before making a purchase, so you can find a pair of speakers that fits perfectly into your car.
What is the Power Output?
Speakers require power in order to operate. That’s true for the speakers in your home audio equipment, and it’s certainly true for the speakers in your car. Your speakers get their power from your vehicle, but each set of speakers requires a different level of power.
Speaker that require a higher power output are often better quality (and naturally more powerful). However, they also often sap power from the car, which can lower performance, limit the lifespan of the speaker, and even lower the mileage that you achieve in your car.
For speakers with higher outputs, it can be important to get an aftermarket amplifier. An amplifier can help control the power being funneled to the speakers, to ensure that both the car and the speakers are operating at their prime.
There’s no “right” power rating for a speaker. It depends on your car, your amplifier, and what you want for your speaker. However, it is an important part of buying automotive speakers, so take it into consideration. If you’re at all confused or not sure what to do, you can talk to an audio expert (either home or automotive) at an electronics store. They’ll be able to help you out. Reading reviews can also help here.
Is the Brand Important to You?
For a lot of the products we buy in our lives, the brand isn’t particularly important. We either want the best product, the best price, or some compromise between the two. Whatever brand happens to offer that is the brand that we choose.
But people can be very picky with their cars, and they can be even picker with their audio equipment. As such, a lot of people have really strong opinions about car speaker brands
There are a lot of reasons to care about the car speaker brands that you buy. First, most people are simply more comfortable purchasing speakers from a reputable company. Even if you don’t know much about speakers, but you’re familiar with the company name, you may feel at ease buying from them. Second, many people who are into car stereo equipment like to stick with one brand. For performance, installation, and aesthetic reasons, a lot of people prefer to use the same company for their amplifier, subwoofer, and speaker sets. And third, a lot of folks have used a few different home audio equipment brands, and developed a favorite company. A company that they trust, whether it’s because of the performance or the customer service.
Car speaker brands might be important to you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If it is, you’ll want to take that into consideration before buying car speakers.
What Aesthetic are You Going for?
Far and away the most important thing that car speakers do is provide sound. Audio experience is the first, second, and third most important reasons for buying car speakers. But with that said, there are a few other perks that new car speakers offer as well.
Namely, looks. Car speakers can look really, really good. All of the best car speakers are exceptional looking, but each looks different. What you like is a matter of personal taste, but there are a few things to consider.
First, you want to think about whether you want speakers that really catch the eye, or ones that kind of blend in. Both look sleek, but each serves a different purpose. And second, you need to consider how the car speakers look with other aspects of the car, most notably other car stereo equipment that you plan to purchase. It’s important to not only determine what your preferred aesthetic is, but find ways to make sure that your entire car is matching that aesthetic.
If you’re unsure how good a product looks from online pictures, find it in a store, or read some reviews.
Give the Speakers a Test Run
It goes without saying that you can’t buy a lot of pairs of car speakers, install them each separately, see how they sound, and then choose a winner. Well, technically you could, but it would be a gigantic waste of both time and money.
However, there are still ways to test some speakers. Many electronics stores, especially large ones, allow you to listen to some of the car speakers they sell. An independent car stereo equipment store should have a lot of speakers that you can try out. And maybe you even have a friend with a pair of speakers that you’re considering, and you can try them out there.
Reviews are helpful, but nothing beats getting to hear how the car speakers sound. If you have that opportunity, it will really help you in you car speaker buying process.