7 Best Car Speakers

Meta: Improving the audio experience in your car can make driving more enjoyable. Use our guide to the best car speakers to enhance your vehicle's sound system!

Everyone has different preferences when they drive, but many enjoy the use of music or the radio to help break up the tedium of their routine or a long drive. Drivers need to have a robust sound system to create a fully immersive experience. Though it may seem simple, your vehicle's sound system comprises of several different parts.

When you're looking to improve the quality of your sound experience in your car, upgrading the speakers is where you want to start. Without an accurate and functional set of speakers, your music or audio won't sound the way it's supposed to. The included speakers in your vehicle aren't enough – you need to invest in a set of the best car speakers on the market.

How We Choose Our Best Products

Figuring out what car speakers are worth the upgrade can be a tricky situation. That's why we've performed comprehensive reviews of the available products on the market, considering the specs and customer perspective to build our list of the best car speakers:

  • Power.  How well your speaker can project sound is essential when you're in a car, mainly because many other sounds can compete for your attention. We made sure to pay attention to the RMS wattage value and relative power levels across speakers to give you the best experience.
  • Frequency Response. Depending on the type of audio you listen to, there's a chance you'll have a variety of pitches involved, especially in music. If the frequency range of a speaker is too narrow, it won't be able to reproduce sounds accurately and vibrations for the optimal experience.
  • Accuracy. Besides being able to produce a variety of frequencies, it's also important that a speaker provides the sounds it receives as accurate as possible. While environmental factors will play a role in how the music comes out, the closer the frequency is to the intended sound, the more immersive your audio will be.
Pioneer TS-A6996R a-Series 6 Inch X 9 Inch 650W 5-Way Speakers
  • 5-Way speakers
  • 650W Max (100W nominal)
  • Multilayer mica matrix cone woofer

PROS

  • Strong bass for the price point
  • Compact
  • High performance across all frequency levels

CONS

  • Might be tiring to listen to for long periods of time
  • Only two-way when advertised as a three-way

Pioneer's TS-A series line has some quality speakers, and the TS-A6996R is no doubt in the top percentage. The 650 peak wattage rating helps to bring out the exceptional audio quality across a variety of favorite music genres. For those that like music with a lot of bass or drums, these speakers will not disappoint.

Regarding size, these speakers come in several different measurements, so you're getting a relatively compact unit that shouldn't be too difficult to fit into your car. They do take some time to break in, but the use of an equalizer can help to bring out the exceptional quality.

Some users report that the TS-A6996R speakers can be tiring to listen to for long periods of time, which can be an effect for some drivers with units that produce strong mid-range sounds. They don't have the top bass on the market, but this unit performs incredibly well for the price.

Rating

  • 6 x 9-inch Car Audio 3-way coaxial Speakers (Pair)
  • RMS Power: 170 watts per pair / 85 watts each | PEAK Power: 520 watts per pair / 260 watts each (CEA-2031 Certified)
  • Frequency Response: 65 - 23,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 4-ohms
  • Cut-out depth: 5-15/16" x 8-3/4"

PROS

  • High sound quality across all frequencies
  • Incredible sound accuracy
  • Variety of sizes
  • Midrange price

CONS

  • Continuous power handling is below average
  • No included grilleadvertised as a three-way
  • No included instructions

The Alpine Type-S series performs on the top level when it comes to frequency accuracy and audio quality tests, providing precise and accurate tones. Some of its best performance is on the higher frequency levels. Even without accuracy testing, you'll easily be able to appreciate the quality that these speakers produce.

This series has a variety of available sizes, making it easy to find the one that best fits your car's open installation space. It's also energy efficient, even when producing sound at high volumes, and the midrange price makes it affordable while still bringing the assurance of quality.

The energy efficiency is excellent news since it does have a continuous power handling rating that's below the average. Even so, this doesn't incredibly affect the performance of the unit. However, these speakers don't come with a grille or directions, which might be a setback for some users.

Rating

2 New Kicker 43DSC69304 D-Series 6x9 360 Watt 3-Way Car Audio Coaxial...
  • 2) Kicker 43DSC69304 D-Series 6x9" 360 Watt 4-Ohm 3-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers
  • Peak: 360 watts
  • RMS: 70 watts

PROS

  • Factory radio compatible
  • Easy to install
  • Two-year long warranty

CONS

  • Some customers have had speaker failures
  • Mid-range needs adjustments to have clear sound quality

When you're ready for a factory speaker upgrade but aren't prepared to uphaul your entire sound system, the Kicker DS series is an excellent place to look. These speakers can even boost the performance of a system using a factory radio without needing to make a significant price investment. If you do upgrade more of your sound system, you'll get even more quality from these speakers.

So long as you have a compatible power source, you'll be able to make the most out of the 90-watt RMS for strong high-volume audio delivery. They're also an easy install, letting you upgrade your vehicle's sound without an extensive installation process. Though component systems tend to have higher performance levels, the Kicker DS series is a strong showing for a coaxial speaker.

Some customers have had problems with speakers failing, so that's something to keep an eye out for, even with Kicker's 2-year warranty. While the highs and lows perform well with the Kicker DS series, you'll also need some additional tweaks to get the most from the mid-range sounds.

Rating

  • 600 Watts Maximum Power Handling 
  • 6" × 9" MIPP Cone Woofer 
  • 2-3/8" Metallized PEI Cone Mid-Range 
  • 1" Balanced-Drive & 3/8", 5/16" Dome Tweeter 
  • Powerful Strontium Magnet for Dynamic Bass Response 
  • Grille & Mesh Included

PROS

  • Five-way configuration
  • Optimized for digital music
  • Strontium magnetas create high bass quality

CONS

  • High frequencies are almost too powerful
  • Quality can sound limited without additional sound system upgrades.

Coaxial speakers tend to have lower performance levels than component systems, but the Clarion SRG6953R brings together the best of both worlds. It splits the sound spectrum into a five-way configuration, producing crisp sounds on all frequencies without concern of distortion. Clarion has also optimized this speaker for digital music sources.

The peak power goes all the way up to 600 watts, allowing third-party and factory installed models alike to work well with the Clarion SRG6953R. Also, the use of strontium magnets in these units produce a higher magnetic flux density, an essential component for those who value the quality of bass in their audio.

The highs are very diverse in these speakers, but they can be almost too bright, making an uncomfortable listening experience without adjusting the levels. To also pull the best quality from these, you'll likely need to install a subwoofer as well.

Rating

Infinity REF6522IX 6.5" 180W Reference Series Coaxial Car Speakers...
  • Edge-driven, textile tweeters
  • High quality product
  • Manufactured in United States

PROS

  • Adjustable tweeters for sound direction
  • Adjustable decibel level
  • High-quality performance even without an amp

CONS

  • Can be simple to incorrectly wire, affecting sound quality
  • No included grilles

No matter if you're trying to upgrade from your default speakers or even a cheap aftermarket set, the Infinity Reference unit is up to the task. With 4 ohms, 180 peak watts, and 60 RMS watts, these two-way speakers have decent specs across the board to indicate quality performance.

The cone shape and surface area help when it comes to both bass output and efficiency. You can also adjust the center tweeter to best direct the audio to your vehicle, as well as regarding decibel level. The customization means you can best match the necessary acoustics for great sound.

While these can match with any given vehicle speaker system, they do require proper wiring, which can be a complicated task. If you don't, the sound won't be much better than a default system. They also do not come with included grilles, which may cause fitting issues during installation.

Rating

Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime 6.5" Full-Range 3-Way Coaxial Speaker...
  • The Prime R165X3 is a pair of 6.50" 3-Way Full Range Speakers that are ideal for that factory speaker upgrade you've...
  • The 6.5" speakers have a mounting depth of 2.15" and come with grilles and mounting hardware
  • Perfect for replacing factory speakers, they feature polypropylene cones, a silk dome Piezo tweeter and midrange

PROS

  • Three-way system
  • Strong sensitivity levels
  • Several different sizes
  • Suited for audio books and talk shows

CONS

  • Weak bass response
  • Weak highs response

The Rockford Fosgate R165X3 speakers bring a three-way coaxial set to the game, allowing for high-frequency ranges without straining the other cones. It also has impressive levels of sensitivity with 91 decibels.

With over four decades of history behind them, Rockford speakers have a place in the public opinion that you can't deny. The other specs are also decent, with 45 RMS watts and 4 ohms. There are also six different sizes, giving you options when it comes to finding the right choice to outfit your vehicle.

However, the bass and high response aren't the best, especially when compared to other picks on our list. Music listeners won't be able to get a lot out of these speakers, but people who regularly listen to talk shows, podcasts, and audiobooks will be more than satisfied.

Rating

JBL 6-1/2" 540 watts Peak 2-Way 3 ohms impedance GTO Series Component...
  • 6-1/2" GTO Series 2-Way Component System
  • Peak: 540 watts per pair / 270 watts each
  • RMS: 180 watts per pair / 90 watts each

PROS

  • Excellent volume capability
  • Stellar frequency accuracy
  • Design prevents overheating

CONS

  • Most expensive of our best picks
  • No included screws for the bezel

For those who want to crank up the volume, the JBL GTO 860 can produce quality sound as loud as your eardrums can handle, if not even more. For those who want to use their car's sound system for outdoor activities like gatherings, the JBL GTO 860 can do the job.

It also has excellent sound accuracy, thanks to the fiberglass woofer. Also, the design also helps to prevent overheating, which is excellent if long drives at high volumes are in your future.

While the quality of these speakers is worth it, they are easily the most expensive pick on our list. There are also no included screws for the bezel, though this is an easy enough problem to fix.

Rating

Things to Consider When Purchasing Car Speakers

While the factors we mentioned earlier are no doubt essential to finding a quality speaker, there are some other sections you'll want to keep in mind when making your purchasing decision.

Impendence and Electrical Resistance

While these factors aren't as crucial to identifying if a speaker is a quality model as the accuracy level, the impedance can make a huge difference if you're not careful when making a purchase. Impedance refers to how much power the speaker draws from the source, which is the amplifier.

If the two don't match up, it will affect the performance of the speaker. As such you want a speaker and amplifier with low impedance to go together, and the same for when impedance levels are high. If not, you run the risk of burning out your amp or speaker.

Coaxial vs. Component

While searching through speakers, you may have noticed that some are coaxial, while others are component. Coaxial units are a much more common option, and they combine the woofer and tweeter into one speaker to produce all the necessary frequencies from one system.

In contrast, component speakers have the woofer and tweeter in different locations, which allows for much more accurate sound and customizable audio to fit your car. Putting aside the initial cost, the additional wiring and potential need for new mounting areas also tend to require professional installation.

Size

Speakers can produce quality sound without needing to be larger, so you don't need to pick out the largest size automatically. However, it won't do any good if the speaker can't fit into your vehicle. Check your car's speaker's dimensions, and take that into account when picking out replacements, since not all speakers come in all sizes.

Also stay aware that not all speakers will match up with the screw holes in your car since there isn't a standard cutout that vehicle manufacturers follow. Picking up a speaker bracket can help you line it up correctly if you notice this problem while installing the speakers yourself. This solution works even if you have a smaller sized product than what fits in the default cutout.

Sensitivity

When it comes to car speakers, sensitivity refers to a rating of energy efficiency. Besides affecting the type of amplifier you'll need, this rating will give you an idea of how loud the speaker can play with the provided score. Lower sensitivity speakers will need more power to produce the same volume of sound that ones with higher sensitivity can.

Wrapping Up

The audio experience in your car can vastly impact the enjoyment level of your drive. When you select a quality speaker, you're on the road to a fully upgraded sound system. With our list of the best car speakers on the market, you'll have no problem finding the best fit for your vehicle.

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