LAST UPDATED: May 8, 2020
Best Budget Car Speakers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
These speakers are inexpensive, but they still sound great
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON May 8, 2020
So 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The speaker grills aren't included. To get good bass, you need a subwoofer. They may also sound a little tinny.
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Benefits of Budget Car Speakers
- Upgrade your audio system. If you want to improve upon your vehicle's sound system, one of the best ways to do so is by purchasing a new set of speakers.
- Replace blown-out speakers. Nothing sounds worse than a blown-out speaker. Instead of turning off your music completely when you’re driving, replace the units with a set of brand-new speakers that sound better than factory-installed equipment.
- Save money. You don't have to spend a ton of money when you're building a sound system in your car. There are several speakers available both online and in stores that cost less than $100.
Types of Low Cost / Budget Car 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.
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 better sound that is also more clear.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
Best Budget Car Speakers (Ranked)
- $25-$100: If you’re looking for a good set of affordable car speakers, there are options available for as little as $25. However, the more you spend, the more features the speakers will have, so make sure you check the specs before making a purchase.
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 back dash. 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 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.
- 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
The Pyle 4'' x 6'' Three Way Sound Speaker System is our best overall pick as these 6.5-inch speakers can compete with ones that are priced two and three times as much. They are well-made with a poly injection cone, a butyl rubber surround, and a one-inch neodymium film dome, and can handle 360 watts of power. The three-way design allows for a 90Hz - 20Khz frequency response. These speakers feature a 4-ohm impedance and an 89dB sensitivity rating. With a one-inch high-temperature ASV voice coil, these speakers have a rich sound with low distortion and are a perfect option to replace factory speakers. Whether your factory speakers are blown or you’re just in search of better sound, these are the replacement car speakers you’re looking for to replace the stock speakers.
Some of the best low-power car speakers are the JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers. While these speakers are not going to pump out a ton of bass, this is a great-sounding set of speakers with clear highs and a warm mid-range. The frequency response is from 35Hz to 22,000Hz. The speakers have a 92dB sensitivity rating and they can handle 300 watts of peak power. The 30 watts RMS is limiting but if you're not running a monstrous amp then these are great speakers with a sound quality that you will be happy with. The shallow depth makes for an easy installation, and materials used to make these speakers produce a sound quality that is an improvement over most factory speakers.
If you want the best shallow-mount car speakers, the Infinity REF-6522EX Shallow-Mount 6-1/2 Inch Coaxial Car Speakers are a great option. These speakers will fit in a variety of 6.5-inch and 6.75-inch openings making installation easy. They can handle 165 watt peak power and feature a frequency response of 57-21,000Hz and a sensitivity rating of 93dB. The True 4 Ohm Impedance Technology compensates for the impedance of the speaker wire, so they will function better with your amplifier but still sound great without one. Whether you are just replacing the factory speakers in your car or you are building an amp-powered, hard-hitting system for your ride, you will not be disappointed with the way these speakers sound and save you time on installation.
If you want to keep your stock head unit, some of the best car speakers you can get are the JBL CLUB6520 6.5" 300W Club Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speaker. These 3 ohm speakers will work with even the thinnest factory wiring to pull all of the power they can out of your factory head unit. They are made with the quality materials you would expect from JBL, including a polypropylene cone with a rubber surround and a PEI balanced dome tweeter. They can handle 150 watts of peak power and feature a high sensitivity of 92dB. The frequency response is 55Hz–20kHz and delivers good sounding bass, mid-range, and highs. While these speakers are made to sound great when used with a factory head unit, they also do well with an amplifier. For quality, sound, and price this is a very good speaker
Our pick for the best value in car speakers are the 4 New Rockford Fosgate R165X3 6.5" 180W 3 Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers. Made by the high-performance pioneers, these speakers can hold their own against higher end speakers. These 6.5-inch prime full-range speakers are perfect for getting that legendary Rockford Fosgate sound quality out of your factory system. They feature polypropylene cones with a rubber surround and a silk dome Piezo tweeter with an integrated crossover. The frequency response is 52Hz-20kHz and each speaker can handle 90 watts of max power. The sensitivity rating is right at 91dB. While the initial cost of these speakers might seem high, the package does include four speakers and comes complete with installation hardware. If you need to replace all four of your car’s or truck’s factory speakers, you will not find a better value with better sound quality than the Rockford Fosgate R165X3.
- 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.
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 sounding 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.
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.