Best Car Tweeters: Review and Buying Guide (2018 Updates)
Whether you're an audiophile or an auto fiend, getting a great set of car tweeters can make a huge difference in your driving experience. Tweeters come in many styles, shapes, and can offer plenty of variation in sound quality. There are a plethora of features incorporated to modify these products in a range of ways. Combined with all the brands now on the market, it can be a bit overwhelming if you don't know what to look for. Picking out the best car tweeters are easy enough as long you keep just a few things in mind.
What are Car Tweeters and What do they do?
Tweeters specialize in distributing high frequencies - such as guitars, vocals, and horn sounds. These devices usually have a range anywhere from the 2,000 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Because of the significant amount of stress they go under from such high volumes, these devices are typically made from tougher materials. This can be synthetic materials like mylar, Polyamide, or silk, with metal types also being common as well, such as aluminum and titanium. There are roughly three tweeter designs - cone, semi-dome, and dome shapes. Of these, the cone is the most common but is considered inferior to the other two because of how they disperse sound waves. For increased performance, some higher end tweeters can contain crossovers, magnetic cooling, and waveguides.
Car Tweeter Buying Guide
Without a doubt, sound quality should be your primary focus when picking the best car tweeter. This isn't always a straightforward thing to look at though, as everything from construction material, shape, location, angle, and many more can all affect the sound of your tweeters.
- Construction Material: While synthetic materials are pretty versatile, textiles like silk do best in mostly plastic vehicle interiors with the windows up. If your vehicle is mostly metal on the inside and is going to be open a lot, you're going to want a metal-based tweeter.
- Waves Guides: They work by moving the sound waves away from the floorboard and directing them more toward you. They also help keep higher frequencies more evenly distributed across the vehicle.
- Heat Dispersion: The larger the voice coil, the more efficiently it typically distributes heat coming off of the tweeter. Ferro-fluid can also be part of the magnet to reduce temperatures, which helps the tweeter retain shape
- Mounting: A tweeter with versatile mounting capabilities can mean you can position it in a spot that sounds the best. Ideally, you want a tweeter higher up and mounted for maximum spread of music. Tweeters are either incorporated into the dash or door, which is called flush mounting, or on top of it, which is a surface mount.
- Crossovers: These features remove bad frequencies, letting you crank the volume up without getting any of the typical distortions. These crossovers are often passive though, and won't work as well as dedicated crossovers.
- Cone versus Dome: Aside from the shape itself not distributing the sound as well as dome variants, cone tweeters also typically suffer from being made of cheaper materials - which can cause an additional reduction in sound quality as it becomes more distorted from heat and volume.
- Large Domes: The larger a dome-shaped tweeter is, typically the better it distributes soundwaves, but it also will require more power. A dome that is too big for your car won’t be able to be powered correctly, messing up the sound quality considerably.
Top 5 Car Tweeters
Cross-referencing through an ocean of reviews, here is a list of the best tweeters offered today. These tweeters are some of the best in their respective fields - whether it is audio quality, mounting, toughness, water resistance, or the best bang for your buck, these amazing tweeters will more than get the job done.
1. Polk Audio 1-Inch Polymer Composite Dome Tweeter
Each of these dome tweeters is liquid cooled and made of a silk-polymer composite. This material is marine certified, which means that it is not only great for cars but also one of the best choices for boats. The neodymium magnet inside of this product gives crystal clear highs in amazing detail. Using a swivel cup system, this allows you to attach this tweeter to wherever you need to. This device has a maximum of 180 watts of power and uses a 12db/octave passive crossover, all of which is reinforced with a protection circuit to increase longevity. Customers have commented that this set of Polk Audio tweeters are great and offer amazing sound. Being one inch in diameter means it can fit in most vehicles with little hassle. Despite its low price, this set of great car tweeters provides high-quality sound.
2. Rockford Fosgate 1-Inch Mylar Dome Tweeter
This Rockford Fosgate tweeter has multiple mounting capabilities, making it one of the most versatile in terms of arrangements. Assign this tweeter either at an angle, on the surface, or flush. While it only has 80 watts of maximum power, it is capable of a wide range of frequency responses. With a response that is extremely sensitive everywhere from 2,500 Hz to 22,000 Hz, you'll hear every little note in your music. Rockford Fosgate has over thirty years of experience and it shows with this excellent product - with built-in high-pass 6db crossover and simplicity to install you'll be enjoying amazing sounds in no time flat. Users have commented that the built-in crossovers are great at blocking out unwanted frequencies in their audio system, while also saving them money. Even if you're not replacing your entire audio system, this set of car tweeters can make a remarkable difference.
3. JBL 0.75” Carbon-Composite Tweeter
This ¾" set of tweeters are made of a carbon-composite, making it a step higher in toughness compared to most others. The baskets themselves are nonmagnetic giving you crisp sound under even the most rigorous conditions. To amplify the power of the undersized wires found in most cars, this three-ohm speaker is designed to maximize every little watt at your car stereo's disposal. To ensure that the tweeter doesn't overheat and continues to produce great sounding music, there is an oversized voice coil to get rid of heat. On average this tweeter system pulls about 70 watts but can max out at an impressive 250.
Reviewers have mentioned that this tweeter system sounds amazing and is well worth the low price. The adjustable angle on the tweeter mount has also been praised as it helps bring sound off the floor. This tweeter gives highs that are crisp with no distortion.
4. Kicker 0.75” Titanium Dome Tweeter
Combined with angled, surface, and flush mounting hardware, this Kicker tweeter can give you amazing audio quality. The high-pass crossover works at 6db per octave, blocking out all those bad frequencies that can damper sound quality. The 50 watts of RMS power handling can go as high as 100 watts for peak power, with an additionally impressive high-frequency response. The response of this set of great titanium tweeters is from 4,500 to 21,000 Hz and has a sensitivity of 92 dB. The titanium construction has a two-fold advantage over other materials - not only is this metal remarkably tough, but also has been shown to produce some of the best in terms of sound quality. Customers have remarked that this Kicker tweeter works great with just about anything because of all its mounting options and included wiring.
5. BOSS Audio 1-Inch Polymide Dome Tweeter
BOSS Audio is well known for having excellent home theater systems, and it shouldn't be a surprise that we find them on a list of great tweeters either. Composed of a polyimide in a 1-inch dome size with an internal ferrite magnet, this tweeter setup can work with most cars, trucks, and jeeps. The frequency response is from 2,500 to 21,000 Hz and has an impressive sensitivity of 93 dB. The dual crossovers work great at maximizing the 250 watts of power for awesome music. Because BOSS has put a little bit of everything in this - power and features - you can be sure that you are maximizing your listening experience. One user comments that this incredibly inexpensive tweeter compares to even more expensive varieties as it sounds great and comes with plenty of mounting options.
While tweeter installation isn't necessarily difficult there are a few things you should consider before you jump on it. Once you figure out your preferred placement it's just a matter of doing the mounting and wiring.
While flush mounting looks better, they do require a cut out to be put in. They also often have angle-mounts built in, allowing you to customize the direction of your tweeter if needed. Surface mounts, on the other hand, require only a screw or two to be held into place.
There are many areas along the door that the tweeter can be added. They are often found on the upper portion of the door, the pillar between the door and the windshield, or even along the sail panel. One of the best areas to put them though is along the dash, as this can push soundwaves through your vehicle the best.
After you’ve picked your spot make sure to cut off power from the battery. This is done by removing the negative (-) terminal from it. By doing this you ensure your electrical components are kept safe from possible shorts.
If you are doing a flush mount, you’re going to need to remove the panel where your speakers are located and start disconnecting all the old wiring. Speakers and tweeters are typically mounted with screws, so you’re going to need a Phillips screwdriver.
Add any extra things like crossovers, amps, and subwoofers. You’ll probably need some soldering for the wiring, along with making sure all polarities are connected correctly.
Bore out the holes in the panel that you want to mount the tweeters. More mounting brackets might be needed depending on your speaker and car set up
Products used in Conjunction with Tweeters
Car audio systems can be a complicated and multifaceted process. Tweeters are only a small part of a full audio system and can be used in conjunction with many other devices to improve your music listening experience.
- Speakers: Factory speakers aren't meant to be the best, just good enough. Getting a new set of speakers are some of the most obvious and cost-effective upgrades you can perform.
- External Amplifiers: These give additional power to car audio equipment up and above what your car can normally handle. Many setups can’t take advantage of the upper range of wattage found in tweeters and speakers without an amplifier.
- Dedicated Crossovers: These are a step higher than those built into many tweeters, removing more unsavory frequencies and reducing distortion
- Insulation: Use a sound deadening product to neutralize vibrations that mess up your speaker and tweeter sound. These materials can also block out noise from the outside, meaning you don’t have to crank your music up as loud, which puts less stress on your system.
- Equalizer: These devices give you more fine tune control on treble, midrange, and bass frequencies. This can help you get rid of problem areas associated with your audio.
- Subwoofer: This helps maximize the lows of your music. Since tweeters help with the high, a good subwoofer can bring more balance with boosting up the bottom octave.
- Capacitors: A machine that works great with wattage heavy systems as they store power and release as needed. Roughly they are buffer between your car battery and amplifier, helping distribute power effectively throughout your audio set up and the rest of your car.
While tweeters come in a few different shapes, dome shapes have been shown to be the best in terms of sound dispersion. While metal is often preferred, textile and synthetic materials do have their use. Make sure to pick the right spot, as this can seriously impact the dispersion of the sound waves. When installing remember to put safety first and if you're uncomfortable doing it get a professional. The best tweeters keep shape even under high volume conditions, have built-in crossovers to improve audio quality, and have waveguides to keep the music off the floor.