Best Car Speakers: Get the Best Musical Experience in Your Car
Get great music in your vehicle with these top-quality car audio speakers
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON April 12, 2019
If you are a music lover, upgrading the sound system in your car could be one of the best upgrades you can make. You could either make a few modifications to what you have or pull everything out and build a new sound system. Our advice is that buying the best car stereo speakers beats spending a fortune on building an entire stereo setup from scratch. Our review will guide you on some of the best aftermarket car speakers that will suit your personal listening preferences.
- Best OverallJBL GTO609C PremiumSummarySummaryTwo-way coaxial component speakers. Has a surround sound setup with great bass capabilities. The speakers can handle 270 peak watts and 90 RMS watts. Set of two.ProsProsSeparate tweeter placement flexibility. Resistant to overheating. Great bass output. Long lasting build. Ideal replacement for factory speakers.ConsConsExpensive. Difficult to mount the grills onto a surface.
- Best ValueRockford Fosgate R165X3SummarySummaryThree-way coaxial speaker. Cost efficient speaker with 90 watts MAX, 45 watts RMS, and good sound clarity. Set of two.ProsProsAffordable. Well-built design. Distortion-free sound. Extended high and low-frequency response.ConsConsDifficult to install. Poor bass response. The voltage may drop if not properly calibrated.
- Honorable MentionAlpine SPS-610 S SeriesSummarySummaryTwo-way coaxial speaker. The speakers have a large cone surface area for great bass output. Has 240 peak watts and 80 RMS watts. Set of two.ProsProsGreat bass response. Great power handling. Handles high volumes without distortion. Durable design.ConsConsDoesn’t come with grills. You need about 30 minutes to one hour to break them in.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Car Speakers
- Upgrade your stereo system. Car manufacturers have a lot to think about when designing a vehicle to make it fully functional. Sometimes, not much effort goes into making better-sounding speakers for your car. The good thing is that you can buy aftermarket speakers to improve the quality of sound.
- Experience great music. Do you ever get the feeling that you are not getting the most out of the beats in your favorite song? Well, chances are that your current car speakers are not powerful enough to handle the different notes. Consider modifying your stereo speakers to enjoy beefier lows and brighter highs in music.
- Enjoy driving. If you spend most of your time in your car, whether for work or leisure, good music from quality speakers can take away the boredom of driving. A set of quality car speakers will enhance the stereo effect and preserve the base to give you a good listening experience when driving.
- Space-friendly. Aftermarket speakers do not take up much space in your car. A set of two fitted on the doors or under the seats is enough. You could also go for smaller speakers as opposed to getting a big woofer if you are worried about space.
Types of Car Speakers
Component speakers provide the best audio experience, but the drivers don’t always come together. Each component is placed in different parts of the car and mounted differently to improve the user’s experience. A possible arrangement could be the woofers on the sides of the door, the subwoofer in the trunk, and tweeters in the dashboard. A crossover ensures that higher frequencies are channeled to the tweeters and the woofers handle lower frequencies.
Coaxial (Full range) Speakers
Coaxial speakers are easier to install and affordable since every component is built into the system. It consists of a woofer that handles lower to mid frequencies and a tweeter that takes on high-end frequencies. The drivers are in the same place, and the tweeter is placed over the woofer or left swiveling in some models so that it can be angled in different directions. Coaxial speakers offer a better listening experience than factory speaker systems.
JBL is an American-based company that manufactures audio equipment for cinema markets, studios, homes, and vehicles. JBL continuously unleashes innovative products in the market including Bluetooth speakers. The company was founded in 1946 by James Bullough Lansing and has its headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Try out the JBL GTO609C Premium.
Rockford Fosgate is fondly known for making quality speakers at pocket-friendly prices. The company makes audio speakers for motorsports, motorcycles, and marine equipment. It was founded by Jim Fosgate in 1973 and has its headquarters in Tempe, Arizona. A classic high-performance speaker from Rockford Fosgate is the Rockford Fosgate R165X3.
Alpine is known as a leading manufacturer of audio speakers and navigation systems. The company was founded in 1967 and has its headquarters in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Alpine products come as built-in audio systems in BMW, Honda, Dodge, and Jaguar cars. Their S line speakers, like the Alpine SPS-610 S-Series, are a great option for anyone looking to upgrade their car’s factory speakers.
If you are looking for speakers that are good enough to wake the neighbors, then Pioneer is the brand for you. Pioneer is a multinational corporation specializing in digital entertainment products, and its headquarters are in Bunkyo, Tokyo. Consider buying the Pioneer TS6900PRO if you are looking to boost the audio experience in your car.
Car Speaker Pricing
- Below $60: This is the price range for budget-friendly car speakers with less than 60 RMS and can handle a maximum power output of only 100 watts or less. The speakers have a small profile with minimal airflow and tend to overheat quickly. Despite that, most have good sound quality and bass.
- $60-$80: Speakers in this price range do not disappoint as they come with great designs and are made of high-quality materials. They can handle extended use without overheating and have impressive sound.
- Above $80: At this price range, you will find car speakers from top-of-the-line brands that will deliver the ultimate music experience. They offer differentiated sound levels, from low to high frequencies, on different cones with no distortion. They are also designed to be durable and deliver the best surround sound.
Speaker Size & Mounting Depth
Speakers come in sizes ranging from 4 to 9 inches. The speakers are typically installed in an enclosure; that is, on car doors and other parts of the vehicle’s interior. The larger the depth and size of the enclosure design, the better the sound quality. The mounting depth shouldn’t be too deep so the speaker isn’t constantly bumped by the underlying surface.
The most common aftermarket speakers are two-way, three-way, and four-way speakers. The higher you go, with four-way being the highest, the better the audio quality. For instance, four-way speakers split up the frequencies into four parts, low, mid-range, high, and very high. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a budget-friendly three-way audio model could beat a higher-priced two-way speaker since other performance specs like power handling capabilities and sound quality come into play.
- Build Quality: All parts making up the speaker must be durable. The woofer material should be lightweight and tough, which is something you typically get from synthetic films like polypropylene. Rubber is a great surround material since it’s flexible and can withstand heat. Tweeter materials should be soft, like poly or silk, to produce refined sound quality.
- Number of Speakers: You need to look into how many speakers you need. Having speakers in the front and back gives you a well-rounded sound system in your car. An even number of speakers also contributes to the car’s aesthetics.
- Car Compatibility: You need to ensure that the sensitivity and power handling of the speaker is compatible with your car. Your head unit or external amp will give you an idea of what volume level your speakers need to attain to determine their sensitivity. The RMS of the speaker should also be compatible with your car’s amplifier that utilizes the RMS power.
Best Car Speaker Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: JBL GTO609C Premium
The JBL Premium speakers are regarded as the best 6.5 component speakers for bass sound in today’s market. These speakers come with the most versatile and flexible soft-dome tweeters. The tweeters have I-Mount systems that allow you to flush or surface mount them. They also have dual level adjustments for volume and feature large voice coils that have high power handling capabilities, promote smooth highs, and further dissipate heat from the system.
As for the design, JBL included butyl rubber surrounds, standard fabric diaphragm tweeters, carbon composite speaker frames, and vented magnet assemblies. All these components make the GTO609C the loudest speakers that deliver clean and clear sounds at all frequencies. The speakers come up as the largest in their size class, all thanks to the carbon-injected cone shape. The large surface area of the cone allows more air to move in and create a great bass sound.
As a set, the GTO609C comes at a higher price than other 6.5-inch car speakers. You may also find it hard to mount the grills on your vehicle’s door. Nevertheless, these speakers are ideal for cars that have undersized wires as they can handle up to 270 watts, which is more than most car stereos can deliver.
Best Value: Rockford Fosgate R165X3
The R165X3 are affordable 6.5 component speakers that offer good bass and sound quality. As a three-way coaxial speaker, each one isolates different frequencies (low, medium, and high) to channel them through specialized cones. The woofer cone is made of polypropylene, and the tweeter dome is made of an active silk dome coupled with a quality-graded magnet for seamless high-frequency response.
The speakers are available in six different sizes and have a sensitivity of 91 decibels. On top of that, they come with grills, mounting hardware, and integrated high-pass crossovers. It takes less than 10 minutes to install the set. With responsive drivers, these speakers have a power peak of 90 watts per speaker.
At 45 RMS watts, they are weak car speakers and may overheat after extended use. The speakers also sometimes struggle to effectively distinguish between different frequencies and to deliver them to the appropriate speaker cone. As a result, the high sounds may seem muffled, while the low sounds may seem sharp.
Honorable Mention: Alpine SPS-610 S-Series
Alpine’s SPS-610 is another remarkable car speaker under the 6.5 component type. The woofer is built from polypropylene reinforced with mica mineral to guarantee that the speakers can withstand extended use at high volumes and to prevent distortion of sound quality. Its 1-inch tweeters feature a silk dome for great sound quality and an omnidirectional swivel that lets you tune the sound to your liking.
The speakers have a woofer cone that’s lifted with a copper coil wire, while the walls of the speakers are designed with an HD polymer frame and butyl rubber surrounds. In addition, Alpine speakers contain an OEM adapter with an optimized motor to give you a dynamic sound with deep bass. The frame of the speakers allows maximum airflow to prevent overheating of components.
You may not get the best out of these speakers immediately after you install them. You’ll need to play some music for about an hour to break them in for the best sound results. The set also doesn’t come with a grill since it’s sold separately. Despite these minor limitations, these are the best sound quality speakers that put out clear mid and high notes.
- If you want to improve the bass levels of your speakers, consider purchasing a subwoofer and including it in the setup. It doesn’t have to be the extravagant kind.
- Play higher-quality music files from your MP3 player or smartphone. The music sounds better when it’s from a file with a high bit rate. If you’re streaming the music, set the audio to the best quality to get the most out of your speakers.
- Do not attach the speaker on a thin piece of metal like a door panel. As the music plays, the metal vibrates and kills off the music from your speakers. It’s better to install them under the seats or in the trunk.
Q: What causes a blowout in a car speaker?
A: The blowout could be because of a mechanical failure in the speaker when it collides with its enclosing surface and results in broken or torn components. The blowout could also be due to a thermal failure when the speaker’s internal components overheat and melt or burn. When the voice coil is burnt, you will get no sound from the speaker.
Q: Is it normal for car speakers to buzz?
A: The buzzing is only normal if the AM radio is on. AM signals are affected by the ignition system, and your speakers could start buzzing, especially if the radio isn’t shielded or insulated. If the AM radio is off, you probably have an electrical issue that’s interfering with the speakers, like a phone charging inside your vehicle. Another reason could be a loose wire that indicates that your speakers are wearing out.
The best car speakers are the JBL GTO609C Premium. They have a great sound, come in a set of two for both the driver and passenger sides, and they have the best power-handling capabilities available.
The best car speakers for the money are the Rockford Fosgate R165X3.