LAST UPDATED: May 15, 2019
Best 6.5-Inch Speakers: The Best Picks for Upgrading Your Car’s Sound System
The best 6.5-inch car speakers to enhance your driving experience
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON May 15, 2019
Improving a vehicle’s sound system is something that every audiophile strives for, and the first step is to upgrade the speakers. In choosing a new set of speakers for your vehicle, there are many variables, including the power output and the compatibility with different aftermarket decks. In our buying guide below we list the 6.5-inch speakers that have the best sound quality and features.
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Benefits of 6.5-Inch Speakers
- Realistic sound. Most modern cars now come with an infotainment center. This means you’ll most likely be playing music or movies in your car at some point, and a good set of 6.5-inch three-way speakers make a difference.
- Compact design. A 6.5-inch speaker is designed with a circular shape, making it ideal for pickup truck doors and classic vehicles.
- Affordability. Traditionally, a good set of 6.5-inch car speakers will cost a lot less than a 6.9-inch speaker. This offers a more budget-friendly alternative to upgrade your sound system.
Types of 6.5-Inch Speakers
Component speakers are the bread and butter of a sound system. The component speakers make up the complete sound system: the subwoofer, tweeter, super-tweeter, and mid-range speakers. The component speakers deliver the ultra-high and ultra-low frequency ranges.
Full-Range (Coaxial) Speakers
Full-range speakers are more complex than component speakers. Full-range speakers have the tweeter built in and rely on the subwoofer to handle the low-to-mid frequencies, while the speaker handles the highs. Full-range coaxial speakers are a good choice because the units require less external hardware while still offering crystal-clear sound quality.
Perhaps one of the most well-known players in the automotive speaker market is Rockford Fosgate. Founded in 1973 by Jim Fosgate in his Arizona garage, this company has become one of the go-to brands for sound enthusiasts who want complete control over their sound system. Jim Fosgate was the inventor of the Punch EQ, which gives a tremendous amount of control over the bass and treble. The Rockford Fosgate PPS4-6 Punch Pro Single 6.5" Speaker is worth checking out when searching for a new speaker.
You’ve probably seen the logo since you were a child. JVC has been a staple of the electronics world since the company’s foundation in 1927. The brand remains a strong presence in the automotive audio market and the electronics business. JVC makes a full line of affordable and value-oriented automotive audio products including double-din and single-din decks for your car. The JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers are a great addition to consider for your sound system.
Pioneer is more than just an audio equipment maker; it’s also a consumer electronics company that was founded in 1938 and has remained a presence ever since. Pioneer is a brand name we have seen on various electronics for decades, and the brand makes exceptional automotive audio equipment such as single-din and double-din decks and an assortment of speakers. The Pioneer TS-A1680F 6.5" 350 Watt 4-Way Coaxial Car Speakers are worth a mention for a great, well-rounded 6.5-inch speaker set.
6.5-Inch Speaker Pricing
- $10-$25: This is the beginning range of pricing that you can expect to pay for a pair of 6.5-inch speakers. The speakers in this price range are rarely from a well-known brand, and thus not engineered to last a very long time.
- $25-$60: This price point will offer you higher-quality speaker options. You’ll be able to get a set that’s designed for high-quality sound and durable enough to tackle years of consistent use.
- $60-$100: This is where you can get into some serious audiophile territory. In this price range, you will see some advanced speaker sets designed for sound competitions and top-notch audio quality.
For investing in a pair of 6.5-inch car speakers, you want a pair that will evolve with technology. New car decks come along every few years with upgraded features such as Bluetooth compatibility, and you want to get a pair of speakers that will evolve with the rest of your system.
A car’s speakers take quite the beating in everyday life, from the scorching sun to freezing winters. You need a pair of 6.5-inch speakers that take what life throws at them, and the main way you get this level of durability is with a rubber cone inside of the speaker. Low-quality speakers use a paper cone and these crack after a few years of usage.
While a speaker will make a difference in your radio’s sound quality, the tweeter is an important aspect that consumers often overlook. Because the tweeter produces the high range noises that come from the speaker, you’ll want a pair of speakers that has a good set of tweeters built in. This will give the sound system excellent clarity for talk radio and just about any music you might be playing.
- Frequency: When buying a pair of audio speakers, the frequency is something you’ll want to consider. The higher the frequency, the better the sound quality. You’ll preferably want a speaker that has a higher range of frequency, as this will mean exceptional sound quality.
- Optimizing The System: There are a few tweaks that you’ll want to consider doing to your car stereo to get the best performance out of your speakers. Installing the external tweeters in the dashboard is ideal to keep the higher frequencies at ear level. It is also beneficial to ensure that the subwoofer is in the trunk or an enclosed speaker box for the best acoustic response.
Best 6.5-Inch Speaker Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Rated at 60 watts, the Alpine SPE-6000 is the audio upgrade you need if you want a reasonably priced speaker system that delivers a lot of punch. Each speaker has a 4-ohm impedance and a frequency response of 68 to 20,000 hertz to give you an enjoyable, full range of sound. They utilize a peak power of 480 watts, so you can enjoy listening to music at extreme sound whenever you need to. An ultra-responsive, built-in, soft-dome tweeter eliminates the shrill in the audio to produce clean highs, and a mica-injected polypropylene woofer cone helps to produce better sounding tunes. Grills are included in the design to protect the speakers from mechanical damage and excessive vibration once mounted. While the mids and highs are impressive, the speakers fall short in the bass department. You may have to include a subwoofer in the setup to get a more punchy bass. Also, they aren’t as loud as we would like high-quality speakers to be. You could use an amplifier to improve the volume quality.
If your factory speakers have been losing their subsidence and sound quality, it’s time for an upgrade. The JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers are more than suitable for a factory upgrade. The JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers come in at a stellar bargain. One thing that’s unique about the JVC CS-J620 is the polypropylene cone, which is far more durable than traditional factory speakers. Compatibility is a major focus point for the CS-J620; the outer case on the speaker has engineered holes that allow the unit to accommodate universal installation. The sound quality is crisp, and the overall design of the two-way speakers is an exceptional improvement over factory ones. There are some drawbacks to the JVC CS-J620 speakers. One is the lower frequency range, so the speaker will need an amp to give it any real bass. Second, the speaker lacks a protective grill over the surface area, so you must be a little more cautious during the installation so you don’t puncture the cone.
The JBL GTO629 has a UniPivot tweeter separate from the speaker to align the sound with your eardrums. The dual-level tweeter volume change is also a unique feature that allows the driver to control the sound output on both sides of the cabin. The polypropylene cone is a lot larger than other 6.5-inch speakers, and it helps the speaker move more air at high volumes. You get much better bass and treble response, which means clearer and more precise sound quality. The large cone design takes up a lot of slack for audio setups that might not have an amplifier or subwoofer, thus saving you money. There are some drawbacks to the GTO629, and the first comes from the large, heat-resistant cone. This makes the speaker too cumbersome to fit in a pickup truck or small car door, especially on older car models. Also, because of the clip-on coaxial connections, the GTO629 might be a little more difficult to install in a classic muscle car without mounting hardware.
This is a set of two-way, full-range car speakers from Pioneer that are rated at 200 watts peak power and have a four-ohm impedance. The frequency response ranges from 32 to 16,000 hertz, thereby making them a great option if you want decent bass without adding a subwoofer. A sensitivity of 88 decibels means that they will pair fairly well with a factory stereo. The woofer cone is made from injection-molded polypropylene, and inside the speaker is a heat-resistant coil wire that allows the speaker to withstand a high power output. This means that you can crank up the volume without worrying about overheating issues. The speakers are easy to install due to the shallow design of the woofer cone, and they come with a speaker connector for select Toyota vehicles. Also, they are quite affordable. However, being one of the cheapest speakers on our list, they may not offer such a huge improvement from your factory speakers. The sound quality isn't as impressive as the high-end models. Apart from that, the speakers can bottom out easily, especially when played at high volumes.
Just from the outer appearance, we can tell that these Polk Audio speakers have a well-protected design due to the ABS wheel-design grills holding the speaker’s body. They come as a set of marine-certified speakers with a peak power rating of 165 watts. With a frequency response of 35 to 22,000 hertz, these speakers produce a deep, punchy bass and sharp, detailed highs without straining. Built-in two-way crossovers help with sound separation so there’s minimal distortion across all frequencies. Each speaker has a built-in, liquid-cooled, silk polymer dome tweeter that utilizes Neodymium magnets for the best high-frequency response. The tweeter can pivot, and you can adjust the angle so that the sound can be aimed at your ears for a better listening experience. The woofer cone is designed with a balanced composite mineral-filled polymer to help amplify the sound, and the speaker is equipped with a durable butyl surround that’s built to last through extreme temperatures or intense sun rays. Unfortunately, the speakers might not have a lengthy lifespan and may blow out if you frequently blast them at high volumes. Also, the bass quality may not be impressive for an audiophile so you may still need to buy a subwoofer.
The Orion Cobalt Series is a pair of decently-priced speakers that are power-efficient. They operate at a 150-watt RMS power and max out at 600 watts. They are specifically designed for delivering the best mid-range frequencies since they have a frequency response of 81 to 15,000 hertz. This means that they will perform at their best even when powered from a head unit. They also have a four-ohm impedance and a high sensitivity of 94 decibels. As for the woofer cone design, it’s constructed from a high-strength paper cone that’s topped off with a cloth edge. A one-inch high-temperature voice coil helps to keep the speaker from bottoming out when music is played at loud volumes or for extended play times. To get a full range of sound, you should consider pairing them with a tweeter, subwoofer, and amplifier. Much like the other speakers on our list, this too has a few drawbacks. First, they aren’t very durable and may only give a few years of decent service. Also, the speakers might produce static after a few months.
The DS18 Loudspeaker is a midrange speaker that can handle sound frequencies on a wide spectrum ranging from 106 to 17,000 hertz. It’s designed to produce clear, concert-like sounds for both the instrumentals and the vocals. It has a four-ohm impedance and a high peak power capacity of 600 watts so that it can handle different types of audio. To enhance its durability, it’s fitted with a 1.5-inch high-temperature voice coil that’s extremely tolerant to heat. The voice coil is further protected with a red aluminum bullet dust cover to prevent damage from dust contamination. Also, the bullet dust cover further enhances the sound quality of the speaker. However, this speaker can present mounting issues with some car models with limited mounting space since it has a large basket design. In addition, it tends to perform better towards the higher frequencies than the lower frequencies.
This two-way component speaker system features sleek woofers that add commendable detail to your audio experience. The woofers are made from an injection-molded polypropylene cone, and each woofer has a built-in PEI-balanced dome tweeter that delivers smooth and detailed highs. Also, the tweeters are equipped with an in-line crossover for better separation of sound frequencies. When it comes to performance, these speakers have a high sensitivity of 90 decibels, which makes them a great option for any car audio system with a factory stereo. Aside from that, the set has a peak power rating of 300 watts and a frequency response of 50 to 20,000 hertz for decent highs, mids, and lows. Unfortunately, they may experience a little distortion at high volumes. Also, the speakers may not fit on some car models, and you have to buy an adapter bracket to get a snug fit. Also, the bass quality is wanting.
- Remember to always check the Root Mean Square (RMS), since this will determine if the speaker will function correctly with your amplifier.
- Always wear latex or rubber gloves when installing electrical components. Even speakers can experience electric buildup and this can cause shock.
- When you install your new 6.5-inch speakers, you’ll want to disconnect the negative battery cable until the process is complete.
Q: What’s more important for good bass, an amplifier, or the RMS rating?
A: Both are important to consider purchasing a new set of speakers. The amplifier will give the speakers a boost of power that enhances the bass. A higher RMS rating means that the speakers can handle more power.
Q: Will a new set of speakers improve my stock sound system?
A: Yes. Factory speakers wear out after a few years of use. A common problem in older model cars is that the speakers used a paper cone that would crack and affect the sound quality adversely.
Q: Is choosing a speaker with a built-in tweeter important?
A: Choosing a speaker that has the tweeter built-in means you’ll need less external equipment to get high-quality sound.
Our top pick for the best-sounding 6.5 speakers is the Alpine SPE-6000 6.5” 2-Way Speaker.
For a more budget-minded option, consider the JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers.