Between commuting and daily errands, many of us spend so much time in the drivers seat of our car that it can begin to feel like a second home. And while practically every modern car is going to come with some sort of sound system, most car manufacturers don’t pack in top shelf speakers and components. Factory settings are generic by default. But purchasing your own car stereo doesn’t have to be costly, and installing them doesn’t have to be difficult.
If you’re on the market for car speakers, HotRate can fill you in on the details. We’ve created reviews for the 10 best car speakers of 2020, and we follow that with a thorough shopping guide to make your experience easier.
- Our 10 Best Car Speakers
- 1. BOSS Audio Systems CH6530 Car Speakers
- 2. Infinity Kappa 693.11 Coaxial Speakers
- 3. JVC CS-J620 CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers
- 4. JBL GTO629 6.5″ Co-Axial Speaker
- 5. Polk Audio DB651 Marine Certified db Series Car Speakers
- 6. Rockford Fosgate R169X3 Full-Range Coaxial Speaker
- 7. Pioneer TS-G1620F G-Series Coaxial Full Range Car Speakers
- 8. Kicker DS65 6.5″ Coax Speakers
- 9. Pyle Car Sound Speaker
- 10. Alpine SPS-610 S Series Coaxial Car Speakers
- Car Speakers Buyer’s Guide
Our 10 Best Car Speakers
1. BOSS Audio Systems CH6530 Car Speakers
Boss demonstrates that a good pair of car speakers can be priced at a rate where you can make a compulsive purchase and not have to feel guilty. These CH6530 model car speakers come two for roughly $20, and they offer quality sound performance while additionally being some of the easiest car speakers to mount.
But if there was a best selling point for these speakers, it would be their durability. Build quality is above average across the board, and you can count on these speakers to last you a good long time, even if you live in an environment prone to extreme temperatures and weather conditions. From the high volume of rubber to the poly injection cone, you can rest easy knowing that these speakers will continue to produce reliable sound quality even years down the line.
2. Infinity Kappa 693.11 Coaxial Speakers
The Infinity Kappa series of car speakers has a long legacy in the world of music and car aficionados, and the current 693.11 speakers certainly live up to that reputation. While you can expect to spend $100 for a pair, you can also expect some of the best quality sound performance in the business. That's due in large part to the pristine materials used across the board.
While a lot of car speakers emphasize powerful bass, the 693.11 is one of the best options around for performing melodic and distinct mids. That's because of the presence of once inch super tweeters that really add a sense of a sound stage to your car's interior. And if you don't like the standard sound, the level control switch lets you adjust it. But the bass isn't neglected here either. The fiberglass woofer has significant audio heft while being physically lightweight.
3. JVC CS-J620 CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers
$20 would be a steal for an average pair of car speakers, but this model from JVC goes above and beyond what you could expect from a budget model. The build quality here is undoubtedly on point, to a degree where you have to wonder how JVC makes a profit. The aluminum design of the voice coils lend them high heat resistance, while the tweeters use both a neodymium magnet and poly-ether imide to produce mids with an exceptional level of clarity.
Just as delightful is how compatible these car speakers are. Coaxial cords are included, so you can get them rigged up and ready to run without much technical knowledge, and the exceptionally low impedance ensures car speakers that will work well with a wide variety of aftermarket amplifiers. They're an especially solid choice if you're looking to retrofit new speakers to an existing aftermarket sound system.
4. JBL GTO629 6.5″ Co-Axial Speaker
The GTO269 shares a name with one of the best and most recognized muscle cars in the world. While that may be a coincidence, it's a convenient one. These are speakers for car that pack in a lot of power even if they may bear a premium price tag. With low impedance levels and 3 ohms of power, these car speakers can milk every watt even if your car wiring isn't exactly hihg-quality.
The composite glass fiber these JBL car speakers are built out of is tough, making sure that these speakers will last a long time without losing sound integrity over time. You'll find refreshingly sincere mid performance, allowing you to pick out words and tones distinctly. The bass really thumps too, though credit has to go to the full resonance you'll get in the mid-bass. For our money, these are some of the best sounding car speakers available today.
5. Polk Audio DB651 Marine Certified db Series Car Speakers
So what does it take for a pair of car speakers to be "Marine certified"? It doesn't have anything to do with America's military elite but everything to do with their ability to be mounted in boats. That tough design means that these speakers can handle flooding and just about anything else you throw their way. But the quality performance of these speakers is perhaps more worthy of celebration.
A single driver handles both the tweeter and the woofer on these car speakers, so you don't have to worry about positioning at all, and the adapters are designed to be mounted on a diverse variety of different vehicles. The rubber surround here is especially impressive, and it can deliver some really substantial bass from the woofer cone. And the tweeters are wrapped in silk for an exceptional level of performance in the mids and trebles.
6. Rockford Fosgate R169X3 Full-Range Coaxial Speaker
Rockford Fosgate offers some truly phenomenal car speakers, so when you see a pair listed for less than $50, you have to ask yourself whether they've cut down their quality for the sake of budget customers. Fortunately, that's not the case. These are some of the best car speakers you'll find anywhere. The midrange frequencies are clear and distinguished, but an outsized amount of love has clearly been devoted to the bass. These car speakers thump with low level power.
But the treble hasn't been neglected either. Both a tweeter and subtweeter are built in to ensure that the high frequencies come across distinct and sibilant. There's even a built-in crossover network that evenly distributes the frequencies between each driver, so you'll always get balanced sound coming out of your head unit.
7. Pioneer TS-G1620F G-Series Coaxial Full Range Car Speakers
The midrange frequencies on the Pioneer TS-G1620F really pop. These car speakers include a polypropylene woofer with very smart design, and it performs immaculately all across the lower registers. The tweeter, meanwhile, exhibits incredibly high levels of sensitivity, and the entire package is well heat protected, a necessary precaution when driving in the summer heat. You can reasonably well trust these car speakers to last through thick and thin.
Unique to Pioneer car speakers is the P.F.S.S. Spider. This Progressive Flex Suspension System reduces vibration, creating cleaner sound and minimizing the unfortunate shaking and rumbling that's so common in car speakers. While these speakers once retailed for around 100 bucks, you can often find them for roughly a third of that price.
8. Kicker DS65 6.5″ Coax Speakers
The DS65 by Kicker is practically businesslike in its aesthetic. While there are vague flourishes of yellow on the otherwise matte black surface, there isn't a whole lot of whimsy at play here. Fortunately, there doesn't need to be. This is a car speaker that wants to impress with its sound instead of its looks. On that front, it undeniably succeeds.
The DS65 are 6.5 inch car speakers, and they make the most of that limited space. The bass bumps like crazy; but more importantly (and more rarely), it sounds clear and crisp throughout the register. That means you'll feel the lows, but you'll also hear them the way they were meant to heard. You won't find a cleaner bass frequency around. But just as much care has been invested into the tweeters, which have been outfitted with exceedingly high-quality voice coils.
9. Pyle Car Sound Speaker
Pyle has produced another set of marine speakers - a bold and sensible choice if you find yourself regularly mudding or you're looking for a speaker system that will work equally as well in your speedboat as your car. The fully butyl rubber surrounds will keep your speakers in place without irritating and unnecessary vibration, and they're designed to last a good long time as well.
And while it may not be the most important thing to consider, it's worth note that these are some tremendously cool looking speakers. Between their robotic face and futuristically blue segmented design, they give off the aesthetic of something literally out of this world. And while they don't sound like they could come from an alien world, they're still pretty impressive for a $35 pair of speakers.
10. Alpine SPS-610 S Series Coaxial Car Speakers
Alpine has created a phenomenal pair of car speakers with their SPS-610. Alpine hasn't made the cheapest models you'll find, but they're potentially the best if you really want to turn your car's interior into an audiophile's listening room. Both the cones and the tweeters are made from the highest quality materials. The former are crafted by polypropylene fortified with minerals. The latter are wrapped in silk for an organic and natural performance in the mids and highs.
In fact, for the quality provided here, these Alpine speakers are cheap. The crispness and depth of the sound here is something you would expect to find in much more expensive models, and the care of craftsmanship is clearly on point. You can easily treat these Alpine speakers as your gateway into high end sound and still keep them in rotation while you upgrade the rest of your system.
Car Speakers Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve picked your vehicle up off the lot, chances are that the stock factory speakers built in aren’t going to do you much good if you’re expecting an immersive sound experience. Stock car speakers are designed to provide only the minimal amount of sound quality. But replacing your car speakers isn’t nearly as complicated as many people may think. From shopping to installation, the process isn’t that difficult, but that doesn’t mean you should go into the experience without help.
Our guide will you shop smart and get the sound quality you deserve in no time at all. We’ll walk you through both the shopping process so you can more accurately compare the features and assign a more personal rating to each of the car speakers we’ve reviewed. We’ll then discuss installation and how you can further customize your car audio systems and answer some of the most commonly asked questions we hear.
The first thing to consider when shopping for car speakers is how you intend to connect them to your head unit. There are two options available: component and coaxial cables.
- Component cables are the premium choice when looking to set up a stereo system. Their features of component cables include external crossovers as well as distinct woofers and tweeters. The former creates a better sense of soundstage and imaging, essentially ensuring that the different instruments feel like they’re coming from distinct physical spaces. The latter allows the woofers and tweeters to individually distinguish themselves from one another. That said, component speakers are more expensive and significantly more complicated to install.
- A coaxial speaker system might not be as rich in sound quality as its component counterpart, but it’s far more compatible, and installation is a significantly easier experience. Coaxial is the smart choice if you’re inexperienced and looking to install the car speakers yourself. And it’s the best choice if you’re working on a tight budget. Also known as full range speakers, you can typically just take out your stock fcar factory speakers and lock these replacement speakers in their place.
There’s no such thing as one size fits all speakers for cars. While speakers with a shallower width are more likely to be compatible with more cars, there’s no way to know for sure without looking it up. There are a number of online tools you can use to look up the compatibility of a speaker by just providing the make and model of your vehicle. One of the advantages of coaxial speakers when shopping is that they’re typically standardized, so a compatible model can just slide right where your old car speakers were. If you’re working with component speakers, you may have to be smart and work a little harder to make them neatly fit into place.
The materials your speakers are confronted on can have a major impact on your sound quality, and smart shoppers know that this should be a top priority when looking to compare speakers and find the best. That said, there are three main components to take into consideration when rating potential speakers, and there’s some level of personal taste in what kind of sound you want you want your car speakers to provide.
- The surround is like the armor that surrounds your woofer cones. It aptly surrounds the woofer to let it move freely, and the best surrounds will be highly durable but flexible enough to not get in the way of the bass. Surrounds also need to be built to withstand extreme temperature conditions. Foam and cloth are adequate materials for a surround that tend to be very cheap, but rubber is the hands down luxury choice if you really want speakers that are going to last.
- All car speakers you’ll find on our list include at least a single woofer and a single tweeter. Woofers take the shape of cones and serve essentially as dedicated drivers for bass performance. Segregating the highs and the lows allows each driver to specialize and produce the best quality available. Woofers need to be temperature resistant and maintain a nice rigidity. Metals like titanium and aluminum are ideal because they offer all those qualities while still being lightweight, but cheaper models are often constructed from a synthetic film known as polypropylene, sometimes combined with other materials for better performance.
- The tweeter executes the high sound frequencies in music, what’s typically known as the upper mids and treble. Manufacturers are of two minds about the appropriate materials for tweeters. Audiophiles who like brighter and more distinct highs tend to prefer a tweeter crafted from harder materials like ceramics and metals. Car speakers more commonly come with tweeters from soft materials like silk. This produces a smoother and more naturalistic sound that organically fades into the larger soundscape.
The frequency response is a measurement of sound pitch measured in Hertz and MegaHertz. In a frequency response graph, lower numbers represent the bass and mid-bass of a track (such as drums or bass guitar) all the way up through the mids and into the treble (sibilant sounds like high pitched vocals or snares). Most car speakers come with a frequency response listing, and the numbers of that frequency response essentially tell you that it can accurately produced frequencies in that range. If the minimum frequency is too high, you’re likely to experience muddied drums. A maximum frequency too high is likely to result in anemic highs.
The recognized hearing range for humans falls in the space of about 20 Hz to 20 KHz (or 20,000 Hz). Many of the car speakers don’t quite reach the borders of that limitation. The best car speakers function significantly beyond those borders. But just because it’s outside the range of human hearing doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Wider frequency ranges typically produce richer and more distinguished and textured sounds even within that frequency range.
Power handling refers to exactly how much juice your car speakers can handle. For the sakes of our specs, we marked two power ratings to present: RMS power and peak power. Peak power lets you know the maximum amount of wattage that your speakers can channel. RMS stands for root means squared. This power rating tells you how much wattage your speakers can handle on a continuous base. It’s the far more important rating to consider when trying to compare a speaker to what your car needs.
It’s RMS that you’ll want to take into consideration when determining what wattage you need for your existing stereo system. If you’re using head units or amplifiers that aren’t too sophisticated, practically any power handling rating should suit you just fine. But if you’re working with a more advanced stereo system or you have intentions of upgrading your system sometime in the future, we recommend you aim for a higher power handling rating. Power handling shouldn’t be the major determining factor for most customers, but you should definitely pay it some attention when shopping for the best car speakers.
Installing Car Speakers
Many people prescribe to the belief that you need to hire a professional to install new speakers in your car, but that’s far from the truth. Even someone with no installation experience can typically install car speakers with coaxial wires, and while installing speakers with components connections tend to be a little more complicated, it can be done without professional experience.
While we don’t have the space here to thoroughly guide you through the speaker installation process, there are fortunately already resources that can help you with that. Fortunately, most speakers come with all the mounting hardware you need as well as a manual that notes the entire installation process.
This video tutorial can guide you through the process of installing coaxial car speakers.
The more complicated car speakers that come with components are a bit more difficult. But Villain Garage Works has a video that can teach you everything you need to know.
Expanding Your Sound System
While there’s no more sensible place to start than with the speaker, car enthusiasts will likely want to eventually move beyond what speakers can provide. A stereo system is made up of a lot more than just car speakers, and there’s a wide range of others components and accessories to compare. If you’re looking to create the best sound system for your car, take note of the following car accessories looking forward.
- Crossover is available in many component speakers, but a few don’t come with it at all. But crossover plays an important role in maintaining a balance between car speakers. By making sure that all of the power is distributed equally to the car speakers in your system, it will create a richer and more textured soundscape in your car interior. Even if your speakers do come with passive crossovers, you may eventually want to upgrade to more powerful active crossovers.
- If you’ve ever seen a car vibrating so hard from bass that you can hear it from blocks away on that rumble alone? That’s the work of a good subwoofer, and the subwoofer should probably the first choice you should look for in your car sound system once you have your speakers lined up. A good subwoofer delivers exceptional bass quality that goes well beyond what you could expect from woofer cones alone.
- If you’re adding a subwoofer to your car, chances are that the amplifier built in isn’t going to be up to the task to handle it, but an amplifier can serve the equally valuable purpose of putting more power behind your new car speakers. When you use an amplifier to increase your stereo’s performance, you can hit higher decibel levels without having to worry about distortion.
- The head unit can be thought of as the navigational interface for your stereo. Head units can take the form of detachable stereo faces or any number of other dash-mounted interfaces. The one thing they have in common is that they allow you to play music, but many of these accessories now offer the sort of features you’d expect to find in a virtual assistant. The head unit will play a major role in determining how you navigate your music and even what sound formats you’re capable of playing in your car.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Car Speakers Have the Best Sound Quality?
We don’t want to put your money where our mouth is. Sound quality can vary significantly from customer to customer depending on what sort of balance you like and the type of sound your preferred genres of music emphasize. But we’d recommend the Infinity Kappa 693.11. They’re somewhat more expensive car speakers, but we really love the balanced sonic texture that permeates through the entire frequency range.
Are JBL Car Speakers Good?
Absolutely. JBL is easily one of the best manufacturers you can look to when you want speakers that can provide crisp and quality sound across the entire frequency response spectrum. JBL products are universally well manufactured, constructed from high-quality materials, and highly durable. The JBL selection is also varied, so there’s a strong chance that you can find a JBL speaker that’s suited to your specific car setup.
What Are the Best Car Speakers For Bass?
We adore the GTO629 by JBL. It features some of the best built woofer cones we’ve seen and offers some of the most pristine lows we’ve ever heard even if you aren’t using an amplifier. But what really makes us eager to recommend the GTO is how well balanced the bass is against everything else. These speakers provide some of the most substantial bass performance around, but it’s just one layer on some well made audio accessories.
Are Pyle Car Speakers Any Good?
Truth be told, we’d have a hard time recommending Pyle speakers across the board. That’s because this company of speakers and a wide range of other musical accessories for cars outsource their manufacturing to other companies. That makes us very reluctant to provide a sweeping assessment of Pyle accessories on a whole, but you can rest easy knowing that the Pyle PL683BL which features on our list is a top notch speaker by any reasonable measurement.
The first time you read about car speakers, it’s likely to sound like Greek, and chances are good that it will still seem a little confusing after the first time, but we encourage you to push forward. Our reviews can help you understand the options available in each of these models in plain English, while our guide helps you identify the most important features when shopping for car speaker accessories. We hope you find exactly what you’re looking for here.If you liked our article on car speakers, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.