Best Car Speakers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2022
Upgrade your car’s basic sound system with some of the best car speakers that offer high quality and great performance.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON November 19, 2021
Your car speakers might seem like an accessory you don’t need to worry much about. However, whether you’re a huge music fan, love listening to podcasts on your commute, or simply enjoy tuning into the radio while you’re on the road, your car’s speakers can make a world of difference. Standard factory speakers don’t always offer the best sound quality or clarity, and they can be downright frustrating if you really want to customize how your car’s audio system performs. But there’s good news: upgrading your speakers is as easy as buying a new set. Which car speakers offer the best in terms of quality, performance, and sound that’ll really resonate no matter what you’re listening to? You can check out our picks for the best car speakers right here.
These two-way speakers incorporate a surround-sound setup. They offer powerful bass and impressive range. Coming as a set of two, these six-and-a-half-inch speakers work in almost any vehicle.
- You can choose where to place the tweeter to control sound dispersion
- Not prone to overheating
- Built to optimally replace factory models
- Can be difficult to mount the grills
- High amounts of carbon in the construction can result in premature wear
This four-way speaker offers up to 300 watts. At six inches, it fits most vehicles. Priced affordably, they provide crisp audio at a wide range of frequencies.
- Comes at a friendly price point
- Features a copper voice coil for optimal resistance
- Synthetic rubber exterior buffers static
- Aftermarket speakers not compatible with most warranties
- Four-way design at low power can feel too quiet
A four-way, six-inch car speaker, this model is built to withstand the elements. Easy to install, it provides smooth sound transitions and high clarity at all frequencies.
- Includes tough polypropylene cone for quality bass
- Rubber surround prevents sound distortion
- Durable tweeter for high-frequencies
- 80 watts is fairly low
- Better for smaller vehicles
- Can be too quiet if competing with noisy trucks
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
In order to find the best car speakers available, we dove into the wide selection of different speakers and took a close look at many. With so many different product options, we compared each set of car speakers based on their specific details, from speaker size to materials and construction to ease of installation. We took a look at the specs of each set of car speakers too, considering the wattage for power, the cone structure and material, and the levels available for bass and treble. Our top picks were those car speakers that offer good value for their price and great performance, whether you’re tuned into music or talk radio.
Best Car Speakers Reviews & Recommendations
Our Verdict on Car Speakers
The JBL Premium Car Speakers are our pick for the best overall car speakers, with a two-way design that creates a surround-sound setup inside your vehicle. With powerful bass and great range, they can deliver all of the features you need. If you’re looking for a good combination of value and quality, the Scosche HD6904 Car Speaker is another great choice.
What to Consider When Buying Car Speakers
Where should you begin when you’re searching for the perfect car speakers to replace your factory ones? With our guide right here. We’ve got all of the information you need to pick out the right level of quality and performance, plus advice that’ll help you hone in on the qualities you need from your vehicle’s speaker system.
Types of Car Speakers
Also referred to as coaxial speakers, these are the more basic speakers and the most prevalent on the market. The speakers feature a tweeter and a woofer, with the former being responsible for higher frequencies. Woofers deal with the bass at lower and mid-range frequencies. Since these models are so straightforward in design, they require fewer modifications and are more budget-friendly. Improving the sound substantially, you can get up to four-way coaxial speakers to control the flow of the soundwaves.
This type of car speaker consists of separate parts which are positioned throughout the vehicle and lets you control the flow of the music based on how you mount them. You can ensure that the tweeters and woofers channel different frequencies to play to their strengths by wiring them correctly. Because of the extra control, the music quality is optimal with component speakers. However, they are more likely to require modifications to the vehicle and also take substantially longer to install.
Car Speakers Key Features
Size and Installation
Most speakers fall somewhere between four and nine inches. Typically, the larger the vehicle, the bigger the factory speakers. Usually, the speakers are installed behind a protective grill and the amount of space you have to work with determines the size of the speaker you can get (unless you want to make modifications). Generally, the more space there is, the higher-quality the audio is.
Depending on how much room you have to work with and the layout of your vehicle, you will want a different speaker setup. Within the full-range category, you can find two-, three-, and four-way speakers. Naturally, the more speakers, the higher quality the audio will be. Each of the speakers accommodates a specific frequency range, limiting crossover and cutting down on sharp, staticky sounds.
Another critical feature is the materials of each speaker. Sound results from vibrations, but you don’t want ambient noise. It not only compromises the sound quality, but it also can cause the system to overheat. Look for models with a butyl rubber protective layer. This material absorbs the vibrations, helping prevent damage to the system and preventing background noise.
Especially if you drive a loud vehicle, wattage is an essential feature. You can find stereos as low as 80 watts and higher than 350 watts. The higher the wattage, the louder it can get. Now, all speakers can blow out, but you are much less likely to face this issue if you’re working with a higher wattage capacity. Consider the type of vehicle you drive when picking out your new speakers.
Car Speaker Brands to Know
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 Speakers Pricing Considerations
You can spend less than $60 and get budget-friendly car speakers with less than 60 RMS and a maximum power output of 100 watts or less. Despite that, most have good sound quality and bass. For $60 to $80, you’ll find speakers that don’t 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. Spend $80 or more, and you’ll 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.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and car speakers. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- 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.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q: How do you check if the speaker is working?
The easiest way to check the function of your speaker is to listen to music on it. Make sure you check a range of frequencies, test the bass, and make sure the volume works properly. Look for any vibrations or noisiness and try the speakers while the car is in motion. You’ll know if something is off by the quality of the sound.
Q: Can I use 8-ohm speakers in my car?
Cars use either two- or four-ohm speakers, while models for the home rely on eight ohms. Since ohms refer to the electrical resistance in the system, it’s a very important consideration. Stick to low-ohm speakers for your vehicle, as they are designed for exactly that purpose.
Q: What causes a blowout in a car speaker?
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.