Best Car Speakers for Sound Lovers (2018 Reviews & Guide)
Car speakers are important because they provide the right sound to keep the boredom out of driving especially during long trips. It is important to have good car speakers so you can duplicate the listening experience of your home speaker system.
More often, you listen to music more in your car than in your home. While your car will most likely come with speakers from the factory, aftermarket speakers provide tweeters with better quality, woofers with precise bass, over-all sound clarity and better performance as well as a longer lifespan.
Types of Car Speakers
There are basically 2 types of car speakers: component speakers and full-range coaxial or speakers. Both speaker types differ in the manner they use drivers to create sound.
1. Component Speakers
Component speakers are equipped with separate tweeters, midrange woofers and crossover filters. Filters enhance sound quality. A component speaker would normally come with a tweeter (midrange and super), woofer, and subwoofer. All drivers are placed separately.
Their design allows this type of speaker to provide superior sound quality. Tweeters and woofers in these speakers are separated to allow the speakers to easily move inside the car. Sound coming from component speakers are more realistic.
Component speakers are costlier than full-range speakers because sound reproved is much better.
2. Full-range or Coaxial Speakers
This is a single-system type of speaker. They can produce sound in a variety of range. They are easy to install and are relatively low in cost making them the most commonly used. Factories often install these type of speakers on new cars.
Full-range speakers are equipped with a mid-range cone woofer and at least a tweeter. This allows the mid-range woofer to reproduce low to midrange sound and high frequency from the tweeter.
Full-range speakers are usually 2-way, 3-way, 4-way and 5-way when referring to the number of tweeters attached to the woofer. 2-way means one woofer with an attached tweeter, 3-way is a woofer with 2 tweeters attached etc. Tweeters allow a more defined and clear sound quality so the more tweeters added the more detailed the sound becomes in a specific range.
Drivers in full-range speakers are joined together so sound from all frequencies will come from the same a single space. The tweeter is located above the woofer. Mid- to high-frequency sound will be handled by the tweeter and low to mid-frequency by the woofer.
Car Speaker Components
You need great speakers to enjoy the superior quality sound. A car speaker consists of different sound drivers. The alignment of these drivers provides different configurations, differentiating the two types of car speakers.
A woofer is a driver that comes with large cones to allow more air for low frequencies. Woofers handle the vocals, bass, mid-basses and lower frequencies produced by drum instruments. Woofers respond to low frequencies (20 Hz to 200 Hz) of the midrange drivers of speakers. Woofers also respond to speakers with no midrange drivers (20 Hz to 1 kHz).
The best sounds of bass are produced by lightweight woofers.
A tweeter is a driver that responds to high frequencies (2 kHz to 20 kHz). It comes in a small cone because high frequencies displace only few air. Tweeters handle high-pitched sounds such as hi-hats, melodies and the rest of the drum instruments not handled by woofers.
3. Midrange Driver
This driver handles mid frequencies (200 Hz to 5 kHz). Most elements of a song are within this frequency range. This driver is responsible for the sound quality you hear such as synths, vocals, drums and leads.
4. Speaker surround
This is a casing that surrounds the woofer. It is able to tolerate heat and humidity.
Car Speaker Materials
The materials a speaker is made of determines the quality of sound it produces and its durability.
1. Woofer Materials
To be able to produce the low notes in a music effectively, woofers should be made of stiff and lightweight materials. Woofers are mostly cone-shaped that are made of polypropylene. When Polypropylene is mixed with mica, the material becomes stiffer and will produce a more precise bass response. Woven fabrics coated titanium or aluminum are also stiff and lightweight and produce superior response.
2. Tweeter Materials
Unlike woofers, tweeters are made of materials that are soft such as silk, poly or textile blends. These materials produce mellow and refined sound. If you, however, prefer highs that are snappy choose car speakers with tweeters made of hard materials such as graphite, ceramics or metal.
3. Surround Materials
Surround materials of woofers must be durable to withstand extreme humidity and temperature. Rubber is the best surround material because it is long lasting and offers superior overall performance. Cloth and foam surrounds are cheaper than rubber and also perform well. The surround allows the woofer produce bass with bolder sound thus it must be made of good quality material.
Famous Brands of Car Speakers
There are a lot of car speaker brands in the market but these brands stand out because of consistent performance and top quality.
Alpine is a well- known Japanese car speaker brand established in 1960. They also manufacture stereo and audio systems. Alpine car speakers and audio systems were used in high-end cars such as Dodge, Honda, BMW, and Jaguar. Alpine manufactures car speakers based on the listening demands of their customers.
Boston Acoustic was established in 1979 with the goal of manufacturing products with advanced designs and quality. Boston Acoustic focuses on combining elegant and innovative products with clear and authentic sound wherever people want to listen to music. Boston Acoustics produces full range speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers in different quality and various price ranges.
JBL is an American brand which began producing audio systems in 1946 and has since risen to become one of the well-loved speaker brands in the market. The professional division of JBL solely manufactures car speakers, woofers, and subwoofers. Each JBL car speaker category has distinct features to suit your specific needs.
Kenwood is a leading US-based developer and manufacturer communication and consumer electronic equipment since 1946. Kenwood is known for its stylish design and great sound quality. There is always a Kenwood car speaker available for the very budget limit. Kenwood car speakers are often the best replacement for worn out factory-installed speaker systems.
Kicker was founded in 1973 out of Steve Irby’s love for music. With meager resources, Steve developed the first car speaker system with full frequency range. Kicker manufactures speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers and other car parts.
Pioneer has been producing audio systems since 1938. Pioneer has a wide range of car speakers for varied music lovers. Pioneer knows what their customers want and have been producing car speakers to meet these needs.
Polk Audio has been a recognized manufacturer auto and home speakers since 1972. Right from the very start, Polk has been selling car speakers with superior quality sound, overall high quality at an affordable price. Polk car and home speakers are available in 3 different types each with their own distinct features.
Difference Between 2-way, 3-way or 4-way Speakers
You need great speakers to enjoy the music of good quality sound. The manner in which car speakers are configured dictates the sound quality they produce. Car speakers are configured as 2-way, 3-way or 4-way speakers. Knowing the difference between each can help you decide which car speaker to purchase.
2-way Speakers are equipped with a woofer and one tweeter. Audio signal is separated into two by the crossover – the highs and the midrange. The highs are sent to the tweeter and made up of frequencies between 2 kHz to 20 kHz. The midrange is sent to the woofer and is made up of 60Hz to 5 kHz frequencies.
Most full range and component or coaxial speakers are 2-way speakers which means they have a single unit consisting of a tweeter and a woofer cone. Some component speakers have two-way speakers even if the tweeter and woofer are not a single unit.
3-way Speakers are equipped with a midrange driver that handles midrange frequencies. Audio signal is divided into 3 bands (highs, bass, mid-bass and midrange). In a 3-way speaker, the woofer does not handle the midrange frequencies but instead only handle the sub-bass and mid-bass.
The added driver in a 3-way speaker produces more sound clarity and handles frequencies for synths, vocals, drums and leads. Most coaxial speakers are configured as 3-way speakers with the woofer, tweeter, and midrange as a single unit. In a 3-way component speaker though, the woofer, tweeter, and midrange are separated.
4-way Speakers are added are with a super tweeter aside from the woofer, tweeter and midrange drivers. The super tweeter takes charge of the high frequency (20kHz) that a regular tweeter cannot handle.
Supper tweeters are capable of handling high frequencies without sound distortion. 4-way speakers are only configured for high-end component speakers. Coaxial speakers are neverv4-way speakers.
It should be noted that the more components a speaker is configured with, the clearer the sound definition it is able to produce.
Factors to Consider in Choosing Car Speakers
In order to choose the appropriate car speakers that suit your preference and needs, there are some details you need to look closely into:
- Size. Most car speakers are either 6.5 inches or 6inches × 9.inches. You need to be conscious of the size of the speakers to ensure that they fit the doors of your car.
- Sensitivity. Check the power of your amp to determine the level of sensitivity of your speaker. A low-powered amp will require high sensitivity. Sensitivity is the power your speaker needs to produce a specific volume.
- Power handling. The speakers should match the amplifier’s power output. Power handling is the level of power in watts that a speaker can handle. It is often defined as a root-mean-square (RMS). Look closely at the power handling at maximum RMS instead of the power handling at peak RMS.
- Frequency Range. This measure the lows and highs produced by the speakers. Car speakers come with varied frequency ranges. The wider the frequency range the higher the sound quality. Emphasizing too much on low or high frequencies will cause other sounds to distort thus it is best for a speaker to have a balance frequency.
- Number of Speakers. Be conscious and check if the speakers are 2-way, 3-way or 4-way. The more components a speaker has, the clearer is the sound quality.
- Price. Before shopping for a car speaker, know how much you are willing to spend for one.
Top 10 Car Speaker Reviews
1. BOSS Audio CH6930
This Boss audio, full range 3-way car speakers comes in a poly-coated Chaos paper polyurethane cone design in red metallic.
This car speaker features a Mylar tweeter for wide range sound modifications and channel handling. It has considerable power for high sensitivity and to provide a wide range of audio frequencies. It produces good quality sound and the bass is of low level. It does not need amplifiers because of high handling capacity.
These car speakers are ideal for users who want speakers with an awesome look and good sound quality that will last long. It is a cheap upgrade for your car’s audio system.
- Spectacular design
- Superior sound quality
- Lacking in mid sound
2. Rockford Fosgate R1675X2
This is 2-Way full range 6.75-Inch coaxial speaker features solid rubber surround in a propylene vacuum con for enhanced quality. The frequency to the tweeter and woofer are divided by a built-in crossover.
The speaker comes with an integrated tweeter for superior sound quality. An attached silk-dome fine tunes the flush tweeter for a much better sound. The set is very easy for installing thanks to its necessary attachments.
These speakers are ideal for users who love to listen to instrumental and mellow music.
- Superior sound quality
- Powerful and affordable
- Easy to install
- Bass is too big
- Basses do not work well at low volume
- Low maximum 90-watt power
3. Pioneer TS-A1676R
This Pioneer 3-way 6.5 coaxial car speakers have a maximum power of 320 watts and are designed to provide amazing sound and pure tone.
These car speakers are made of elastic polymer for enhanced sensitivity. Each speaker features a polymer surround and a mica included matrix cone. The woofers feature multilayered matrix cones for superior sound reproduction and surround.
These speakers are ideal for users with a limited budget but like to listen to music with good quality sound.
- High sound quality
- Superb bass
- Simple installation
- Durable design
- Equalizer need to be tweaked for a good sound
- Adapters needed for installation
- Lacks sensitivity adjustments
- Low 50-watt RMS power
4. Kicker 41DSC44
This pair of 2-way car speakers features a polypropylene woofer which comes with a polyester ribbed design foam surround. The pair comes with a good 120-watt peak power and runs continuously at 60 watts
Despite the small size of these car speakers, they are tough and can produce some solid low. The speakers come with a thin profile allowing them to fit in almost all vehicles.
This is ideal for car owners looking for budget speakers that have quite a respectable sound quality.
- Best bass for 4-inch speakers
- Easy to install
- Fantastic price
- Crystal clear treble and mid-range
- Good bass response
- Low power handling
- Not so loud
- Distorts heavy when in the continuous range
5. Pioneer TS-A6996R
These are 5-way speakers that are an awesome and quick upgrade for your factory installed car speakers. These car speakers feature an improved mica matrix cone capable of a deeper bass reproduction.
Tweeter, as well as the frequencies at mid- and high- range, are more improved than the previous models.
The 100-watt nominal and 650-watt peak power are adequate for the average user who wants good sound quality regardless of the type of music played.
- Continuous at 100 watts
- Easy to install
- Fits almost all vehicles
- Excellent mid and high-range
- Superior bass
- Crystal clear sound at full-range
- Slightly inferior materials
- Additional components needed
6. BOSS Audio NX654
This pair of heavyweight speakers comes with magnet covers and protective grills. They are capable of heavy-duty sounds at elevated on high and tough temperatures. These speakers feature 2 woofers, basket cast, rubber surround and woofer cone is poly injected.
The speakers come partially covered in a metal mesh.
In terms of audio, these speakers provide superior sound with all music genres. If you often drive with your speakers at high volumes, the audio will have no distortions.
- Adequate bass
- Stylish design
- Great sensitivity
- Inferior quality control
7. JBL GTO609C
This pair of component speakers is just of the right size. The speakers are with a cone of carbon- injected material. The speakers can tolerate high levels of output to clearly reproduce coherent and clear sound.
Long-term use is ensured by a voice coil with the vented magnet and high thermal capability for effective heat dissipation.
Users who want car speakers with a unique feel and look will love this JBL component speaker.
- Superior sound quality
- High sensitivity
- Fast frequency response
- Superior power handling
- Superior quality materials
- Stylish look
- Easy and quick installation
- Inferior bass quality
8. Polk Audio DB6501
This pair of silver car speakers are the best 6.5-inch component speakers from Polk Audio. These speakers produce superior and clear sound quality regardless of volume. Woofers are a combination of polymer and mica material supported by heavy-duty rubber surrounds.
If you are looking for car speakers with a good price and an amazing performance this Polk Audio 2-way component system is a perfect choice.
- 100 Watts RMS
- Excellent sensitivity
- Top-notch speakers
- Difficult to install
- Inferior quality woofers
9. Pioneer TS-A1686R
These speakers are a good buy for the price because it has an amazing frequency range of 32Hz-38 kHz and a 90dB sensitivity for crystal clear audible sound. Voice coils can withstand extreme conditions because they have high temperatures.
If you are looking doe a complex speaker for your car with a good price, these speakers are an ideal option.
- High level of reliability
- Superior mid to high-frequency performance
- Oversized cones pose placement issues
- Bass not as good as speakers of the same price
10. JBL GTO629
This pair of JBL speakers is the smallest of the co-axial models. Just like the other 2 sizes, they feature cones which are carbon injected that are bigger in size as compared to other brands with similar speaker sizes thus they can create better bass.
As compared to the bigger model though, the JBL –GTO29 is equipped with a patented UniPivot tweeter that makes you aim the sound directly to you even when the speakers are located in the lower portion of your car doors for a more realistic sound quality.
This is a perfect pair of speakers for high fidelity audiophiles.
- Right size
- Superior quality sound
- Cones perform better
- Produces more bass
- One-size-fits-all design can pose a problem
Choosing Where to Install Car Speakers
Choose a location where the speakers are free of any obstruction. This is so the output of the speakers is not blocked. Car speakers are often installed on the lower portion of the car doors.
How to Install Car Speakers
The manner in which you install your car speakers is as important as the speaker design. This is the way you can try setting up your speakers on car doors.
1. Determine the exact spot in the car doors you wish to install the speakers.
2. Position the layout of the speaker on the front movable panel of the door.
3. Temporarily fix the layout with a tape on your desired spot.
4. Remove the movable panel or inner side of the car doors.
5. Remove the temporary layout and place the movable panel or door in front.
6. Reduce the movable panel or door to set a durable elastic piping within the door frame.
7. Wire the CD or radio through the piping.
8. Wrap the wires in the door and internal panel with electrical tape.
9. Install the speakers on the movable panel or door of your car.
10. Fold the wires to the back portion of the audio system.
11. Re-install the movable panel or door of your car.
Maintenance and Care Car Speakers
Proper care and maintenance of your car speakers will ensure they function at the top condition at all times. Proper care and maintenance can also extend the lifespan of car speakers.
1. It is a must that you regularly clean your car speakers. You need to get rid of the dirt and dust that has settled on the car speakers. Dirt and dust on the car speakers can affect sound quality. The car speakers will also deteriorate faster when not regularly cleaned.
2. Use a hand-held vacuum cleaner to clean car speakers and remove dust from the sound system.
3. Clean the exterior of the car speakers with a soft brush. Be extra careful if the speakers do not come with grilles.
4. While cleaning, inspect the wiring of the car speakers. The wires should be in the right places at all times. If there are dangling wires, put them back in place. Inspect the wires too for any wear and tear. Immediately replace worn out wires.
Upgrading Car Speakers
Some feel they need an upgraded car speaker to keep up with the newest trend. For car owners still with factory installed car speakers, an aftermarket car speaker can allow the enjoyment of a better bass and an enhanced sound clarity. There are three simple ways to upgrade your car speakers:
- Add new speakers
- Add a subwoofer
- Add an amplifier
If you are up to it and have the budget, you can purchase an all-new car speaker.
A top quality car radio or compact disk player is useless without excellent speakers. If you want to experience superior quality sound from your car radio or CD player, you need to invest in the best car speakers available in the market that matches your needs and preferences.