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Best Budget Car Speakers: The Better to Hear Jams With

These speakers are inexpensive, but they still sound great

With decades of combined experience covering the latest news, reviewing the greatest gear, and advising you on your next car purchase, The Drive is the leading authority on all things automotive.

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BYJohnny Puckett/ LAST UPDATED ON January 26, 2022

You’re in your car, and your favorite song comes on. You know, the one with the incredible bass line. You crank up the volume, and crack! You’ve got that annoying rattle of a busted speaker ruining your groove. It's a story that’s been told time and again since cars first rolled off the lot with built-in audio systems. 


But a busted speaker doesn’t have to screw up your daily commute. The market for good audio equipment has become so big that there are tons of great options out there that fit almost any car. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to get better sound quality than you had before. 


Although, with so many options there are a few things you need to look for when trying to find the right speakers. Have you ever considered factors like frequency response, sensitivity, and wattage? Probably not. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best budget car speakers in our guide below. 

Best Overall

Pyle PL63BL

Summary

These 6.5-inch speakers have a 4-ohm impedance, an 89dB sensitivity rating, and a 100 Hz-20 kHz frequency response. They can handle 360 watts of power.

Pros

They are just as good as speakers that cost twice/three times as much. They produce a rich sound with minimal distortion and are a great replacement for factory speakers.

Cons

Without a subwoofer, they don't produce great bass response, and there's not a lot of tonal clarity in the mid range. Installation can be tricky in some vehicles.

Best Value

Rockford Fosgate R165X3

Summary

These 6.5-inch full-range speakers have a frequency response of 52Hz-20kHz, a 91 dB sensitivity, and they can each handle 90 watts of max power.

Pros

You get four R165X3 speakers in this package as well as all hardware necessary for installation. They produce great sound and are designed to deliver high-performance audio.

Cons

While the highs and mids are good, there's little to no bass. They are also likely to blow out if your music punches too hard.

Honorable Mention

JBL CLUB6520

Summary

These 3-ohm, 6.5-inch speakers have a sensitivity of 91 dB and a frequency response of 55Hz–20kHz. They operate well even with thin factory wiring.

Pros

They're constructed out of high-quality materials and produce good bass, mid-range, and highs. They sound great with a factory head unit and even better with an amplifier.

Cons

The speaker grills aren't included. To get good bass, you need a subwoofer. They may also sound a little tinny.

Best Budget Car Speakers: The Better to Hear Jams With

Our Methodology

We can’t put our own hands on every item available. In these instances, we put our collective experience in journalism, research, and prior product testing to use to make our product picks. Items that are used by our own staff may get earnest endorsements as well, but we’ll never accept fees or bonuses to sell you stuff we’re not actually excited about. Affiliate revenue is always disclosed.

The Drive aggregates reviews and research from all over the internet to figure out which products are worth buying. We also put out shopping guides to help you understand how to assess the value of these things on your own. As our editorial cousins at Car Bibles say, “Knowledge is horsepower!”

Types of Low Cost / Budget Car Speakers 

Coaxial Speakers

Most factory-installed sound systems have coaxial speakers in which all the components are contained in one structure. They typically feature a woofer and tweeter and have basic, built-in crossovers. Coaxial speakers, which are also known as full-range speakers, are the most common. They also don't take up a lot of space, so they're popular in cars.

Component Speakers

As for component speakers, they have separate drivers (mid-bass and tweeters), so you can install different "components" in different locations in your vehicle. These speakers have a network of crossovers that help the woofers and tweeters better handle different frequencies, so they produce clear, high-quality sound.

Top Brands

Pyle Audio Inc.

Located in Brooklyn, New York, Pyle Audio has been around since the 1960s. The company initially produced high-quality woofers before expanding its line of audio components. It makes equipment for cars as well as home entertainment. One top product is the Pyle PL63BL speakers.

Rockford Fosgate

In the early 1970s, Jim Fosgate tinkered with car audio equipment in his Arizona garage and built the first car amplifier. The company currently manufactures amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, signal processors, and more. We recommend its Rockford Fosgate R165X3 speakers.

JVC

This consumer electronics company was founded in Japan in 1927. It's largely known for creating Japan's first televisions, and these days produces a lot of equipment, such as car entertainment, headphones, speakers, camcorders, and projectors. One of its popular speakers is the JVC CS-J620.

JBL

JBL got its start as Lansing Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles, California, in 1927. It produces a wide range of audio equipment for both the consumer and professional markets. We recommend its JBL CLUB6520 speakers.

Infinity Systems

Infinity Systems, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, got its start making loudspeakers in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1968. The company has since expanded its operations to include car audio amplifiers, subwoofers, in-wall home speakers, and marine applications. One popular product is the Infinity REF-6522EX.

Car Speaker Pricing

If you’re looking for a good set of affordable car speakers, there are options available for as little as $25. However, spending more money brings higher-quality components and enhanced features. The differences between high-end speakers and budget options are very noticeable. However, price increases alongside quality and some individual speakers can go for as much as $100 or more.

Key Features

Size

Speakers come in a variety of sizes. Some of the smallest and most affordable speakers are 4 x 6 inches. They're easy to install in your dashboard. There are also 5.25-inch speakers that are typically installed in a vehicle's back doors but sometimes in the rear hatch or package tray. Other options include 5 x 7 speakers, 6 x 8 speakers, etc.  It's important to choose the right size when it comes to the sound it produces and to ensure it will fit properly in your vehicle.

2-Way vs. 3-Way Speakers

If you plan on upgrading your sound system yourself, then 2-way speakers are a great option. They are easy to install and are very popular. They only have one tweeter, but these speakers are still better than factory-installed ones. As for 3-way speakers, they feature a woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter. Neither is really better; it's a personal choice.

Power Handling

Power handling is measured in watts, and if you have a low-powered system you don't need a speaker that handles a lot of power. With a high-power system, however, it's critical to consider the power in order to ensure optimal performance. Check out the RMS, which is the median amount of power the speakers can tolerate over a consistent period of time.

Other Considerations

  • Sensitivity:  A speaker's sensitivity is measured in dB, and it dictates how much power your speakers need in order to produce a certain amount of volume. Speakers that have a higher sensitivity don't need as much power to generate a higher volume of sound. If you have a factory sound system or low-end unit, choose speakers with greater sensitivity.
  • Frequency Range: The frequency range refers to the musical tones that a speaker reproduces. Audio frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz), and humans can generally hear frequencies from 20Hz (low bass tones) to 20Khz (high treble notes).  A wider frequency range is better because the speaker is able to more efficiently reproduce sound.
  • Construction: Factory speakers aren't usually made with the highest quality materials, so they eventually start to degrade. The good news is that many low-cost aftermarket speakers are a huge improvement over OEM speakers. Look for speakers with rubber surrounds, which are durable, sound good, and are much better than foam and paper surrounds.

Best Budget Car Speakers Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Tips

  • Full-range speakers with pivoting tweeters are a good choice if you're replacing your door units. You can "aim" the tweeters towards the listener for a better, more realistic sound that has greater depth.
  • If you're looking for cleaner, more efficient sound, consider component speakers that have external crossovers. Those with extra input terminals can accommodate bi-amping, which is a good idea for a high-performance audio system.
  • For even better sound, and to boost bass levels, invest in a subwoofer. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get great audio in your car or truck.

FAQs

What are the best cheap car speakers?

A:  There are several affordable car speakers on the market, including those featured in this review. They all come from reputable brands, so you know you’re getting good-quality components for your audio system. 

2-way vs. 3-way?

A: As we already noted, 2-way speakers have two drivers: a woofer and a tweeter. They produce more clarity than single-speaker drivers but don't produce deep bass. Three-way speakers have three speaker drivers: a woofer, mid-range, and tweeter. Three-way coaxial systems do not outperform 2-way coaxial systems. However, they make a difference when it comes to component systems.

Coaxial or component?

A: Most vehicles come stock with coaxial speakers, which are also called full-range speakers. The tweeter is mounted onto the woofer cone, so it takes up minimal space during installation. Component speakers are also known as separates. A component system usually features two woofers, two tweeters, and two external crossovers that are each mounted separately. Component speakers sound better, but they cost more and are more complicated to install than full-range speakers.

Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best budget car speaker is the Pyle PL63BL. These 6.5-inch speakers sound great and cost much less than some of their higher-end rivals. The Pyle speakers are a great option if you want to upgrade your stock speakers. If you want a set of four speakers at an affordable price, consider the Rockford Fosgate R165X3.

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