Reviews

Best Aftermarket Car Speakers: Pump Up the Volume While Driving

The best aftermarket speakers give your car stereo system a new lease on life

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BY Alice Musyoka , Daniel Rika / LAST UPDATED ON November 7, 2019

If you love to listen to music as you drive, you know that the right car speakers make a big difference. Not all vehicles come with a high-quality sound system, so getting new speakers may cross your mind at some point. If you have finally decided that factory speakers just won’t do, here are some of the best aftermarket car speakers worth considering.

Best Overall
JBL Premium Speaker System
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Summary
Summary

Made by one of the most reputable speaker companies, these speakers amp up your driving experience by displacing more air and creating more bass. They maximize every watt of power your car stereo can deliver. 

Pros
Pros
  • You can flush mount or surface mount the tweeters, thanks to the patented I-mount system. 
  • The speakers can deliver up to 270 watts and have large voice coils for enhanced power handling. 
  • They efficiently supply high-frequency sound without distortions.
Cons
Cons
  • The speakers have a plastic trim ring that is attached to them that hinders the dash grill from fitting properly. 
  • They are also not very loud. 
  • Speaker wires and connectors are not provided.
Best Overall
JBL Premium Speaker System
Best Value
Skar Audio TX69 Elite Coaxial Car Speakers
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Summary
Summary

An affordably priced pair of 6 x 9 inch car speakers that are made with high-quality, high-performance components to deliver above-average performance within anyone’s budget.

Pros
Pros
  • Engineered for excellent sound with a 1.25-inch copper voice coil
  • Glass fiber cone provides great responsiveness at many frequencies
  • Together, the pair of speakers delivers up to 240 watts.
Cons
Cons
  • Speakers may be prone to premature crackling and popping, even after short-term use
  • Sound can be muddy at medium to high volume levels.
Best Value
Skar Audio TX69 Elite Coaxial Car Speakers
Honorable Mention
Pioneer A-Series 4-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers
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Summary
Summary

A speaker set that creates impressive bass without blowing your entire budget, with great sensitivity and a wide dynamic range so you hear clear, crisp vocals no matter how much the bass is pumping.

Pros
Pros
  • Speakers are designed and built with an “open and smooth” sound concept for top-tier performance. 
  • Each speaker is built with carbon and mica reinforced cones for fast response and better bass
  • They pair with Pioneer’s CarSoundFit smartphone app for even more versatility.
Cons
Cons
  • Lows are a little bit lacking
  • if you’re expecting extreme levels of bass
  • You’ll need to make sure you have trim tools on hand for proper installation.
Honorable Mention
Pioneer A-Series 4-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers

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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Aftermarket Car Speakers 

  • Upgrade your factory sound system. If you have an older car model, there’s a pretty good chance that it didn’t come with the best sound system, from the stereo all the way down to the speakers. Even without replacing your factory stereo unit, a set of high-quality aftermarket speakers can make a significant improvement in your system’s sound quality.
  • Experience a well-detailed sound. Most factory sound systems may not be able to reproduce crystal clear sound across all frequencies. If you are an audiophile you may notice that some music genres with extremely high or low frequencies may sound muffled or distorted. You can get new speakers with a tweeter, midrange speaker, and woofer that can bring out the best sound across all frequencies. 
  • Versatile installation options. You can install the new speakers almost anywhere in your vehicle. You can get larger speakers that fit under the seat or smaller speakers that can be mounted on either the dashboard or car doors. 

Types of Aftermarket Car Speakers

Component Speakers 

Component system speakers deliver great sound with delicate vocals and detailed sound. That’s largely because the drivers come separately and are typically mounted on different parts of the vehicle. A component speaker system may consist of a tweeter, mid-range speaker, and subwoofer, which handle the high, mid, and low frequencies respectively. It also includes a crossover that ensures that the right frequencies are channeled to their respective drivers. 

Coaxial (Full Range) Speakers 

In a coaxial speaker system, all the drivers are integrated into a single speaker. That means you have one woofer cone with an integrated tweeter that handles all the frequencies of the sound system. For that reason, they are cheaper and aren’t as great-sounding as component speaker systems. Despite that, most aftermarket full-range speakers typically offer a better audio experience than stock speakers. 

Top Brands

JBL

James Bullough Lansing founded JBL in 1946. It’s a reputable audio equipment manufacturer that’s headquartered in Los Angeles, California. JBL is known for making some of the best sound equipment for vehicles, homes, cinema markets, and studios. Some of its best aftermarket door speakers are the JBL Premium Speaker System and JBL Premium Component Speaker System.

Rockford Fosgate 

Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Rockford Fosgate makes affordable and high-quality speakers for motorcycles, vehicles, and marine equipment. Jim Fosgate founded the company in 1973. Some of its best-selling aftermarket car speakers are the Rockford Fosgate Coaxial Speakers and Rockford Fosgate Prime Full Range Speakers.  

Infinity Systems 

Infinity Systems was founded in 1968 and is currently headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut. It’s a subsidiary company of Harman International Industries. Infinity Systems manufactures a wide range of audio equipment including car audio amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, and marine speaker systems. Some of its best coaxial speakers are the Infinity KAPPA Three-Way Coaxial Speakers and the Infinity Kappa Multi-Element Speaker

Pioneer 

Since its inception in 1938, Pioneer has been known to manufacture some of the best-sounding and long-lasting speaker systems. From its headquarters in Bunkyo, Tokyo, it designs headphones, home theater systems, and speakers for marine and automotive equipment. One of its best car speakers is the Pioneer G-Series Car Stereo Speakers

Aftermarket Car Speakers Pricing

  • Below $50: Most speakers within this price range are two-way speaker systems. Two way systems only split the frequencies into two parts: low and high. For that reason, you don’t get the best sound quality in comparison to high-end models.
  • $50-$100: This price point is mostly for components and three-way speaker systems. The audio quality and sensitivity of the speakers get better the higher you are in this price range. The speakers also come in a variety of sizes and designs that can withstand extended playtimes without overheating. 
  • Over $100: Most speakers within this price range are high-end components speakers and four-way coaxial systems. You must pay for quality and power-intensive speakers. That means that you will most likely have to buy a new head unit or an amplifier that can power the new speakers. 

Key Features

Build Quality 

The build quality or construction of a speaker has a profound effect on the sound quality and how well it’s going to do in extreme weather changes. Extreme heat or cold conditions can damage a speaker. The most durable and heat-resistant woofers are made of stiff yet lightweight polypropylene cones with a butyl rubber surround. Tweeters produce the best sound when made of soft material like silk or hard material such as graphite. 

Speaker Size 

You can find car speakers that are as small as 3.5 inches and some as large as nine inches, which are typically fitted under the seat or in the car trunk. Larger speakers offer better sound quality since there’s room for better sound dispersion in the speaker components. However, they take up a lot of space in the car, and you may have to modify the mounting enclosure to fit them in. 

Power Handling Capacity 

Most speakers are rated in watts, which tells you how much power the speakers can handle before they overheat and blow out. Speakers with a low power rating can be powered with your factory stereo. If the speaker has a higher power rating than your stereo output, you either have to buy a new head unit with a higher power rating or include an amplifier in the setup. 

Other Considerations

  • Sensitivity: This is the amount of power that needs to be channeled to a speaker so that it can produce sound at a specific volume. High sensitivity speakers require less power in that respect and can, therefore, be powered with your stock stereo components.
  • Compatibility: To guarantee that new speakers are compatible with your vehicle, select the same size as your stock speakers. You won’t have to modify the original mounting hole or struggle during installation.
  • Frequency Range: A speaker with a frequency range of about 80 to 20,000 hertz means that it can only produce lows and highs within that range, respectively. Any frequency out of that boundary will sound distorted. You should, therefore, prioritize speakers with a higher frequency range for richer and well-detailed sound.
  • Impedance: Speakers have an impedance rating, which is measured in ohms. You need a speaker with low impedance for better sound quality. A speaker with high impedance restricts electrical signals or how easily music frequencies flow in the speaker. You have to use an amplifier to improve the signal flow.

Best Aftermarket Car Speakers Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
JBL Premium Speaker System

The JBL Premium is a 6.5-inch coaxial speaker system that’s designed to move more air and make better-sounding bass than other speakers in its class. The woofers are made of carbon-injected Plus-one cone material, which is stiff yet lightweight. The speakers have a two-inch mounting depth and a mounting diameter of about five inches. 


This system features JBL’s patented UniPivot tweeters, which produce brilliant highs that can reach your ears even when the speakers are installed low on the doors. In addition, the tweeters feature dual-level volume adjustment that offers balanced sound even with improper speaker placement. Integrated crossover components direct the low and high frequencies to their respective drivers. Also, at three-ohm impedance, the speakers can compensate for undersized wires found in most car audio systems. 


The downside with these speakers is that you may experience a number of installation issues. One is that they don’t come with wires and connectors, and you’d have to buy them separately. Also, the speakers are fitted with a plastic trim ring that hinders the dash grill from fitting in a standard 6.5-inch mounting hole.

Best Value
Skar Audio TX69 Elite Coaxial Car Speakers

If you’re looking for a pair of aftermarket car speakers that won’t cost you a ton of money, Skar Audio TX69 Elite Coaxial Car Speakers are just the right choice. These speakers are made for high-performance sound, and your investment will really pay off thanks to the quality materials used to construct them. 


In this set, you get two speakers, each of which measures 6 x 9 inches and delivers 120 watts (for a total of 240 watts). Along with the speakers, a 1-inch high-performance silk dome tweeter with 4 Ohm impedance keeps sound smooth and crisp. 


With a frequency response of 40 to 25,000 Hz, these speakers enhance your music or audio. And the powerful ferrite magnet and 1.25-inch copper voice coil only make them even more of a great choice. All in all, you’ll get rich sound paired with impressive clarity whether you’re listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts or other audio files.

Best Bass
Pioneer A-Series 4-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers

The Pioneer A-Series 4-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers are made to deliver smooth sound. However, they offer another big benefit: these aftermarket car speakers are fantastic for bass. If you’re looking for speakers that’ll offer impressive bass without degrading clarity or quality, these are just right for your needs. 


Each one of the two 6 x 8 inch speakers delivers 125 watts of power for a total peak of 350 watts. They’re paired with a carbon and mica reinforced IMPP woofer cone, plus dual 11-millimeter dome tweeters. A high-heat resistant wire voice coil ensures you can hear vocals clearly and sharply. 


The speakers deliver 4 ohms of impedance and have a frequency response range of 34 to 3,400 Hz. Another cool benefit of these Pioneer aftermarket speakers is they pair with the CarSoundFit app on your smartphone so you can get the very same speaker sound and listening experience when you’re out of your car.

Best for Jeeps
KICKER OEM Replacement Marine 6.5

Don’t let this speaker set fool you — the Kicker OEM Replacement Marine 6.5” Coaxial Speaker Bundle might sound like it’s just for boats, but it’s actually a fantastic choice for off-road vehicles too. These aftermarket speakers make for a perfect upgrade in vehicles that can get muddy and exposed to the elements, like Jeep Wranglers. 


The speakers are weatherproof and able to survive everything from mud to rain, wind to dust and dirt. You’ll enjoy high-quality highs and midrange sounds, plus the right volume and frequency coverage for loud environments outdoors. Each speaker included in the set measures 6.5 inches and offers 4 ohms, 150 watts, and a frequency range of 35 to 2,100 Hz. 


You’ll have a 5 3/16 inch mounting hole diameter and need enough depth for the 2.5-inch speaker depth. If you’re installing these speakers in your vehicle, just double-check to make sure they’ll make a perfect fit.

Honorable Mention
Rockford Fosgate P142 Punch 4” 2-Way Full Range Speaker

The Rockford Fosgate P142 Punch 4” 2-Way Full Range Speaker — which is actually a set of two speakers — delivers high-quality sound and makes for a fantastic factory replacement in your vehicle. Along with impressive music and audio results, these speakers are simple to install and backed by a complete one-year warranty for increased reliability. 


These two-way, full range speakers are made just for audio enthusiasts, with a power handling rating of 30 watts RMS or 60 watts max, 4 ohms, and a frequency response range of 100 to 2,200 Hz. The 4-inch speakers come with 4 x 6 and 6 x 8 inch adapter plates and have a mounting depth of 1.75 inches. 


A PEI dome tweeter with built-in crossover and a mineral-filled polypropylene cone, plus a rubber exterior, deliver high sound output and accurate frequency reproduction. And the unique FlexFit basket helps you easily mount these quality speakers in your OEM mounting holes without difficulty.

Tips

  • If your car's stereo system is low powered (15 watts RMS), high-sensitivity range speakers are the best choice. If the system is high powered, get low-sensitivity range speakers.
  • If you can, get three-way speakers because they have a higher frequency range. They comprise a tweeter, a woofer, and a mid-range component. Two-way speakers only consist of a woofer and a tweeter.
  • Choose speakers that are made with polypropylene because it has the ability to deliver accurate bass sounds. They must also feature lightweight construction as this helps with sound production.

FAQs

Q: Will my factory radio be able to power aftermarket speakers? 

A: Yes, in most cases. While aftermarket speakers sound better with a little more power, most sound okay with factory power. However, there are exceptions—like matched component sets and speakers with an RMS power rating of at least eight watts.

Q: How many speakers can a two-channel amplifier accommodate?

A: A two-channel amplifier can accommodate two to four speakers. However, the ohm must range between 4 and 16 and the speakers must be arranged in a parallel line. The connected speakers must be 8 ohms for the best sound output.

Q: Does a higher efficiency rating mean the speakers sound better?

A: The efficiency rating does not tell you how good a speaker sounds; it simply tells you how well it uses power. If your car has a low-powered factory system, be sure to choose a speaker with a high-efficiency rating (90db and above).

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for aftermarket speakers and you want nothing but the best, get the Skar Audio TX69 Elite Coaxial Car Speakers. But if you have a limited budget, the Rockford Fosgate Coaxial Speakers are worth looking at.