Best Car Speakers (2023 Guide)
Listening to the sound of your vehicle as you drive along can be peaceful, but new speakers can turn a quick trip into a concert on wheels. This guide to the best car speakers is for the audiophiles who also happen to be gearheads, and for those who simply want an upgrade from their factory speakers.
Our team of experts has sifted through dozens of high-quality car stereo systems in the hopes of helping customers make informed purchasing decisions. From coaxial car speakers to component speaker systems, we have performed in-depth analyses across a variety of frequency ranges to help you find the quality sound you’re looking for. We did all the research so you don’t have to.
Car Speakers Buyers Guide
Speaker systems in general, especially car speakers, can be a bit complicated to fully get your head around. Our team members believe that knowing the difference between various types of speakers will help you make a simpler decision on your next audio purchase. We recommend knowing whether you want coaxial or component speakers, as well as if you want two-way or three-way speakers, prior to purchasing a car audio setup.
Coaxial Vs. Component Speakers
There are two types of speakers that you are likely to encounter when looking for a car audio setup.
- Coaxial speakers: Coaxial speakers have a two-way speaker design that features a tweeter, woofer, and simple crossover. Typically the most popular type of speakers, they offer an upgrade to the factory setup in your car, are usually quite affordable, and are easy to install.
- Component speakers: A more advanced setup than coaxial speakers, component speakers are made up of a separately mounted woofer, tweeter, and crossover. Though they usually produce better sound quality than coaxials do, this type of speaker is more expensive and more complicated to install.
Two-Way Vs. Three-Way Speakers
With varying degrees of sound waves, it’s imperative to know the differences between a two-way speaker system and a three-way speaker setup. It’s human instinct to believe three speakers are better than two, but this isn’t always the case. It depends on the quality of components and the crossover setup.
- Two-way speakers: A two-way loudspeaker that has two separate speakers in it, each speaker is meant to provide separate frequency selections, which are typically highs and lows. This type of speaker performs best for music with less bass.
- Three-way speakers: A three-way loudspeaker consisting of three speakers, each loudspeaker offers separate frequencies – notably high, midrange, and low. This type of speaker allows for more customization and personalization options than two-way speakers.
Not all speakers are the same size, and size impacts the actual sound quality. A general rule is that the larger the speaker’s diameter, the deeper the sound.
Speakers that offer deep bass fall in the 10 to 15-inch range, and larger speakers are typically better at producing a clear sound at high volumes. Speakers between the 4 to 8-inch range, commonly found in most car interiors, are good for mid-frequency response and musical aspects like vocals.
Subwoofers are their own category of speaker mainly due to their size. They range from 8-inches all the way to 15-inches and, as we mentioned earlier in the buying guide, they deliver a strong bass sound.
Subwoofers have their own enclosures separate from the other speakers in your car’s door frame. These come in two different styles:
- Sealed enclosures: These airtight enclosures offer a tighter sound with greater clarity.
- Ported enclosures: A vent allows air into the box allowing better amplification of lower frequencies while sacrificing some sound quality.
5 Best Car Speakers
- Best Sound Quality: Rockford Fosgate R165X3
- Best Value: Pioneer TS-F1634R
- Best Component Speakers: JBL Club6520
- Best Bass: Kicker CS Series CSC68
- Best Response: Kenwood Excelon KFC X683C
Car Speakers Comparison Chart
Rockford Fosgate R165X3
Kicker CS Series CSC68
Kenwood Excelon KFC X683C
Power Handling (wattage rating)
45.0 Watts RMS
25.0 Watts RMS
50.0 Watts RMS
75.0 Watts RMS
120.0 Watts RMS
Our Review Standards
To select the car speakers featured in this buyers guide, we consult our network of experts for their thoughts on auto sound systems. These experts have over 100 years of combined experience in aftermarket auto fields ranging from detailing to accessories to tires, and everything in-between. These experts helped us identify the qualities that would be most important to someone looking for a car speaker and the standout brands in each category.
Our team then combed through dozens of resources such as DIY mechanic and auto enthusiast forums, manufacturer and car speaker-specific websites, instruction manuals from manufacturers, and reviews from online retailers. We pay particularly close attention to quality reviews and recommendations that highlight the quality of warranties, customer service support, build quality, materials, and overall reliability.
We also factored in the quantity and quality of online retailer reviews from websites such as Amazon, RealTruck, Advance Auto Parts, and more. We looked at factors such as standout customer reviews, prices, meaningful superlatives, and discount shipping eligibility. We did the research so you don’t have to.
Why You Can Trust Us
Since 2020, we have published over 200 auto product reviews in an effort to make shopping for auto products easier. Our team of writers, editors, researchers, and product experts collaborates to thoroughly vet top products. We try to perform in-house testing on real vehicles whenever possible before making our recommendations.
When testing is not feasible, however, our aim is to make your life easier by doing all the online research for you and presenting that research in the form of easy-to-read product comparisons and buyers guides, rather than outright recommendations. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.
#1 Best Sound Quality: Rockford Fosgate R165X3
The Rockford Fosgate R165X3 is a 6.5-inch speaker with a mounting depth of 2.15 inches. These full-range speakers are coaxial and are rated at 45. 0 watts RMS (root mean square). The speaker set features polypropylene cones, a silk dome Piezo tweeter, and a mid-range loudspeaker driver. The three-way speakers also have a 4.0-ohm impedance, which is relatively standard for car speakers.
Rockford Fosgate R165X3 separates itself from competitors with its rubber surround and high-pass (HP) tweeter crossover. The rubber surround makes the speaker system durable, while the HP tweeter crossover allows for benefits usually reserved for component speakers. Although these are coaxial speakers, the HP tweeter crossover allows you to isolate low frequencies from high frequencies as component speakers do. That translates to a high level of audio quality for a very reasonable price tag.
- Cost: Around $69
- 6.0-dB high-pass tweeter crossover
- 91.0-dB sensitivity
- 45.0 watts RMS and 90.0 watts max
- Silk dome tweeters
What’s In The Box?
When you purchase a Rockford Fosgate R165X3, you can expect to receive two speakers with grilles, integrated high-pass crossovers, and mounting hardware. A trim ring is also included, while the integrated high-pass crossover is more specifically an integrated tweeter crossover.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 11,500 ratings
Reviews mention the sound quality and the large kHz range of the rear speakers. Many reviewers note how much better these car speakers are than the factory speakers or OEM speakers that were originally installed in their vehicles.
#2 Best Value: Pioneer TS-F1634R
Recognized for being the Best Value car speakers in the industry by our review team, the Pioneer TS-F1634R is an affordable two-way speaker system. These car speakers feature an injection-molded polypropylene (IMPP) composite woofer cone and film-balanced dome tweeters. In terms of power handling, this car audio speaker has a peak power of 200.0 watts and 25.0 watts RMS.
Additionally, these aftermarket speakers hold a frequency response between 30.0 to 28,000.0 Hz and a sensitivity of 90. 0 dB. The subwoofer has a diameter of 6.5 inches, but it’s the injection-molded polypropylene composite woofer cone that separates this product from the competition, as it gives the bass more of a punch. Coupled with the staggering $26 price tag, you will be hard-pressed to find an equal deal on car speakers anywhere else on the internet.
- Cost: Around $26
- IMPP composite woofer cone
- Between 30.0 and 28,000.0 Hz frequency response
- 25.0 watt RMS and 200.0 watt max
What’s In The Box?
The Pioneer TS-F1634R comes with two 12.0-inch lengths of speaker wire, eight ⅝ -inch self-tapping screws, and eight speed clips.
Additionally, a one-year warranty for the speaker system is included with the product, though not physically in the box.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on 4,400 ratings
Reviews from customers mention how the Pioneer TS-F1634R is an incredible value for money, while others note the ease of installation. Many reviewers mention that the car speakers were an upgrade from the OEM speakers originally installed in their cars. However, a few negative reviews note that the speakers don’t produce the listed maximum power, albeit it being mentioned in the product description.
#3 Best Component Speakers: JBL Club6520
The JBL Club6520 is a high-sensitivity component speaker setup with a compact design to allow it to fit in most cars or trucks. This speaker system’s Plus One™ woofer cone architecture provides increased low-frequency output and greater musical character. In terms of high-frequency output, the speaker’s dome tweeters are polyetherimide (PEI) balanced for smooth and high-quality sound dispersion. PEI is a polymer used for a variety of products.
The biggest differentiating factor of the JBL Club6520 compared to competitors is its acoustically damped and UV-resistant polypropylene cone. This design is unique to the industry and delivers clean and non-resonant sound quality, with the ability to withstand the sun’s rays and the humidity of a car.
- Cost: Around $48
- PEI-balanced dome tweeters
- Acoustically damped and UV-resistant polypropylene cone
- Plus One™ woofer cone architecture
- Compact design
What’s In The Box?
You can expect to receive a pair of woofers, a pair of tweeters, and a pair of crossovers. Additionally, a pair of tweeter surface mount accessories and a pair of tweeter flush mount accessories come included in the box.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on 3,400 ratings
Many customer reviews note the excellent midrange and high sensitivity. Some reviews reference how much power the sound system could pull from a stock head unit, while others simply note the great sound. Negative reviews tend to mention the long break-in time for the bass.
#4 Best Bass: Kicker CS Series CSC68
From one of the most recognizable brands in the speaker industry, the Kicker CS Series CSC68 does not disappoint. This speaker setup features Extended Voice Coil (EVC) technology, ribbed surrounds, and sturdy cones to deliver remarkable bass response and a smooth midrange. These three-way speakers have a stamped-steel framework that supports a rigid polypropylene cone and zero-protrusion PEI tweeters.
What separates the Kicker CS Series CSC68 from competitors are the CS series tweeters. A 6.0-dB inline crossover guarantees the proper frequencies are sent to the driver, while a built-in poly-switch protector provides peace of mind when playing music at higher volumes. Neodymium magnets and titanium domes ensure you can hear every last detail of your music.
- Cost: Around $89
- Neodymium magnets
- EVC technology
- Zero-protrusion PEI tweeters
What’s In The Box?
Included are two 12.0-inch lengths of speaker wire, four plastic wire caps, eight 1.0-inch screws, eight speed clips, and an owner’s manual.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on over 800 ratings
Many reviewers mention the quality of the bass and that these speakers make great replacements for specifically Ford’s factory speakers. A few negative reviewers mention that they blew the speakers out, but this could possibly be attributed to user error.
#5 Best Response: Kenwood Excelon KFC X683C
The Kenwood Excelon KFC X683C are full-range speakers with balanced dome tweeters that provide smooth audio at high frequencies without sounding harsh. These car speakers feature a diamond-like pattern etched into the woofers that increases the strength of the carbon-propylene cone for unparalleled dynamic response and lower distortion. Additionally, the butyl rubber surround is weather-resistant, meaning you can play your music no matter what.
Kenwood’s Excelon KFC X683C separates itself from competitors with its more accurate response. This is achieved through specially designed magnetic circuitry and neodymium magnets, as the tweeters in this speaker system feature less steel in their construction than most other speaker’s tweeters do.
- Cost: Around $119
- Specially designed magnetic circuitry
- Diamond-pattern etched woofers
- Butyl rubber surround
What’s In The Box?
Customers can expect two 11.0-inch lengths of speaker wire and eight self-tapping screws.
A warranty card is also included in the box and details the exact conditions of the speaker’s warranty.
What Customers Are Saying
Amazon Review Score: 4.5 out of 5 based on around 100 ratings
A large number of reviewers specifically mention the clarity of these speakers, as well as how well the speakers fit in their vehicles. Additionally, many reviewers note how easy it was to connect to the speakers via Bluetooth®. Some negative reviews for this product can be attributed to a lack of awareness in regard to the dimensions of the speakers, according to our research.
After spending countless hours researching the best car speakers of 2023, it’s clear to our review team that knowing what you want before you buy is of utmost importance. Most important of all is size, as our team encountered numerous reviews from customers who purchased a speaker that simply won’t fit in their vehicle.
Next, you’ll need to decide whether you’re looking for a simple factory upgrade on your speakers (such as the Pioneer coaxial speakers) or something more complicated (like the JBL component speakers). Last and certainly not least, we advise taking the time to decide whether a two-way or three-way speaker best suits the genre of music you typically listen to.
Best Car Speakers: FAQ
*Data accurate at time of publication.
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6-1/2″ (160mm) Two-way Car Speaker, Engineered For Better Sound Performance.
5-1/4″ (133mm) Two-Way Car Speaker
6″x 9″ (168mm x 240mm) Three-way Car Speaker
6-1/2″ (165mm) Two-way Car Speaker
4″x 6″ (100mm x 152mm) Two-Way Car Speaker
6″ x 8″ (147mm x 205mm) Two-way Car Speaker
6″ x9″(152mmx230mm) 3-Way car speaker
6-1/2″ (160mm) 2-Way coaxial car speaker
6″ x 9″ Three-Way Car Audio Loudspeaker
4″ (100mm) 2-Way coaxial car speaker for factory upgrade without grille
5-1/4″ (130mm) 2-Way coaxial car speaker for factory upgrade without grille
4″ x6″(100mmx152mm) 2-Way coaxial car speaker
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Acoustic screen in the car door
When buying a new car, sometimes you want to replace the speakers with better ones, as a budget speaker system is usually installed in a car from the factory. In this article, you will learn how to properly dampen doors and install speakers.
How to properly dampen car doors
Damping is an important and even necessary thing for a car, it is done to suppress extraneous noise in the cabin. For this process, both hard and soft materials are used. Damping is done using two layers of vibration and noise insulation.
It is necessary to cover the outer part of the door, which is located further from the driver, with vibration-proofing material. You also need to be careful not to seal the ventilation holes. Vibration isolation of the inner part of the door, which is located closer to the driver, depends on the selected speaker system. For example, if speakers with low power are built into the car, then it is possible to dampen the flat sections of the door, and with a powerful speaker system, it is better to close the door metal completely.
The installation of soundproofing can be divided into two stages. The first stage is soundproofing the door itself. The second stage is soundproofing the door skin. In the first option, the soundproofing is placed behind the speaker, its size should be 40–55% larger than the speaker hole itself. The purpose is to absorb acoustic waves.
The door panel is a source of various vibrations and squeaks, but it can also act as an acoustic shield. Vibration reduction is done using pieces of vibration-proof material, sticking them on the inside of the skin.
Acoustic baffle installation
The installation of an acoustic baffle in the doors is an essential part of the vehicle audio installation. The sound quality in the car depends on the door, especially low and medium frequencies, and if the screen is made incorrectly, then a bad sound will appear in the audio system. The front speakers should be at least 50Hz, if you don’t have that power then the bass quality will be poor.
There are two options for positioning the acoustic baffle in car doors. The first of them is internal – the screen is located under the door trim. The second is external, when the screen extends into the car interior. Each of them has its pros and cons.
Locating speakers with the right sound angle
For best sound in a car, the speakers should be placed at an angle of less than 60 degrees, if it is more, then the person will not perceive the sound quality from the speaker. For good sound, the speakers must be fixed firmly and securely, and the screen must also be made of solid materials.
It happens that the outer screen does not adhere well to the inner screen, or may simply be missing, and because of this the sound quality is lost. It is best to tighten the gaps between the screens with screws and cover with putty. Also, good sound quality gives the effect of connecting acoustic screens. When connecting acoustic baffles, the putty will be on the outside of the skin, so if desired, it will be easy to remove them.
If you need a professional installation of acoustics, door soundproofing, correct alignment of the acoustic screen in the door, installation of speaker beam angles – contact our installation studio!
installation in the front and rear doors
Often, many car enthusiasts are not satisfied with the sound of the standard audio system installed in their cars. And, of course, I want to replace it. The market is overflowing with a range of products in this category, which, of course, makes it difficult to choose a high-quality sounding speaker system.
How to choose the right audio system without additional costs and installation problems?
- 1 Choosing an audio system
- 2 Standard car speaker sizes
- 3 Speaker power
- 4 Speaker size
- rear doors
Choosing an audio system
First you need to determine the dimensions speakers that will be installed in standard holes prepared for them when assembling the car. All acoustic systems that are offered to the attention of buyers have several standard sizes. The speakers installed in the car by manufacturing companies sometimes have overall dimensions that occupy a middle position between the proposed standards. But it’s not scary. In order to switch to the selected speakers with a certain standard of overall dimensions, it is necessary to prepare podiums for them, replacing the former regular ones made of plastic with those that the car owner chooses.
Dimensions of standard car speakers
Round speakers (see photo) are one of the most popular speakers built under metal mesh in the dashboard, in panels under the dash, in the doors, and also on the sides of the rear panel. 16.5 cm is the most popular speaker size.
Oval Speakers (see photo) – mounted in mounting panels or on the side of the rear shelf, and in doors. 15×23 cm is the most common speaker size.
Beginners who decide to choose a speaker system should remember that the purchase of high power loudspeakers does not at all mean that high sound quality can be obtained at the output. The main thing is that the power of the speakers coincides with the power of the radio. The total acoustic power must not be less than the declared power of the car radio. It is worth paying attention to the fact that at peak or maximum power, the speakers give very large distortions. A clean signal is obtained at rated power.
Do not install a large sound system in a car as it is not a concert hall. Therefore, as a rule, speakers with a size of 10-13 cm, reproducing high frequencies, and speakers with a diagonal of 16-17 cm, producing high and low sound frequencies, are quite enough for a car (see photo).
Installing speakers in the front and rear doors
How to install speakers in the door trim of a VAZ car? The designs of the rear doors in the Lada Granta and Lada Kalina cars, as well as in other VAZ cars, are identical, and they provide places for acoustics. But even to install the speakers in regular places, the design will still have to be finalized.
Consider the standard installation of speakers in the front and rear doors of modern Lada cars:
- First you need to remove the door trim (see photo).
- Select speakers, preferably 13 cm (see photo).
- Prepare speaker stands. You can make them with your own hands from a sheet of plywood using a stencil (see photo).
- Buy a standard plastic mesh from the store, but it is better to cut it yourself from a mesh made of metal sheet (see photo).
Cars of the Lada Granta, Kalina, VAZ 2107, VAZ 2110 series, produced as standard, do not have standard equipment with speakers and a car radio. But in these car models there is a mandatory place for an acoustic system. Doors in various modifications of the “Lada Grant” and “Lada Kalina” do not have significant differences, which cannot be said about their skin. In the “standard” version, she is deaf. But, using an electric jigsaw, you can make a figured cut in the plastic and stencil holes for the regular lining of VAZ cars, which is located above the speaker system.
Often there are inconveniences when installing speakers due to limited space in the cabin. Therefore, it is often most convenient to place speakers in the front doors and on the podium. There are craftsmen who install the speaker system directly on the dashboard for ambient sound, but for this you need to have certain skills to finalize the dashboard and install speakers in this part of the car. This is quite a difficult job, and it is better to contact a specialist.
If you do the installation yourself, then the most convenient option for the location of acoustics is in the doors of the passenger compartment. This will allow sound to flow in all directions. To do this, choose small speakers with a diagonal of 10-13 cm and a sensitivity of about 92 decibels.
The first thing to start installing your speaker system is to try on the speakers before you start. If their depth turns out to be too large, you will have to slightly modify the plastic backing in place (see photo). You may need to trim the bottom a little. Next, using nuts and screws, you need to fix the part in the door and make sure that all fasteners fit and become in place. After that, you can install the speaker by securing it with screws. It should be remembered that the loudspeakers must be firmly fixed, which will improve the sound quality of the speakers and prevent rattling. For this, it is best to use a material that protects against vibration.