Upgrading the audio in your vehicle is a must for anyone who loves to listen to music on long drives. Old car speakers that rattle and cause distortion are annoying and make it difficult to enjoy your favorite music.
A new set of speakers will eliminate this problem and allow you to enjoy all of the highs and lows of your music. Good car audio speakers provide bass not felt with stock speakers. Enjoying your music more will enhance your mood and make you feel relaxed.
Factory car speakers are not built to last. They are made with paper and do not withstand weather conditions. Because of that, it doesn’t take long for them to wear out and sound terrible. Luckily, most aftermarket speakers are inexpensive and easy to install.
Pair your new speakers with a new amp for the best possible listening experience.
The Best Car Audio Speakers in 2022
Below, we provide a guide to the best-ranked car audio speakers and give you the full rundown on each one. Its exact specifications and uses are stated so that you can choose the best one for your vehicle.
1. JBL GTO939 – Best Sound Quality
JBL GTO939 GTO Series provide the most optimal sound quality and are easy to install. They feature Plus One Cone Technology, which allows more air to vibrate through the speakers, producing better bass quality.
The JBL GTO939 speakers each have 300-watt peak power handling. Use them with the vehicle’s stock audio system for improved sound quality, although they will sound a lot crisper when upgraded to a new amp.
These speakers have a sensitivity rating of 94dB (decibels), making them highly efficient in the conversion of power to sound.
The tweeters give these speakers a significant advantage over others. They are a 1-inch tweeter made from My/Ti that features advanced power handling, distribution, and efficiency.
Unipivot is a system that these car speakers have that allows for adjustment of the tweeters. The low-impedance voice coil allows for a powerful output from the amplifiers.
The built-in crossover network has high and low pass filters that create a smooth transition between the subwoofers and tweeters. This system stops the bass from going to the tweeter while also providing great midrange vocals.
2. Rockford Fosgate P1683 — Best Easiest Installation
The Rockford Fosgate P1683 is a three-way speaker rated at 65 watts that includes two 3-way 6×8 speakers and mounting hardware. They feature a mineral-filled polypropylene subwoofer and butyl rubber surround for protection, which reduces sound distortion.
The Vertical Attach Surround Technique increases the cone area of the speakers. The frequency response is 65 Hz (hertz) – 24,000 Hz with a sensitivity of 90dB. These speakers are equipped with slots instead of screws to allow for installation adjustments.
The Vertical Attach Surround Technique increases the speakers’ radiating cone area without increasing the basket size.
The car speakers come with eight Allen head screws and a bit for installation. Speed clips and an installation manual are also included. While no grilles are included, factory grilles should fit the new speakers.
Flexfit basket technology allows for easy installation with any difficult factory speaker locations. This technology removes the need to mount any black boxes.
The warranty is 1-year, and Rockford Fosgate provides a 60-day-money-back guarantee.
3. KICKER CS Series CSC65 — Best Bass
KICKER CS Series CSC65 is driven by a neodymium magnet provides highs while delivering sound clarity. The rigid polypropylene cone comes with an extended voice coil that produces sonic quality. The polypropylene subwoofer is perfect for lower frequencies, and the tweeter is perfect for highs.
The cones have ribbed, UV-treated rubber for reliability and fit nearly any vehicle, making installation easy. The large subwoofer magnet provides clean bass and although the effective frequency range is 40 Hz – 20,000Hz, so they don’t quite go as low as competitors, the quality is way above average.
The peak power of these speakers is 300 watts, with a solid 100 watts RMS power too: the recommended amp power being 100 watts minimum.
The size of the subwoofer is 6-½-160mm, and the size of the tweeter is ½ 13mm. The mounting hole diameter is 4-13/16 123mm. The top mount depth is ⅜ 9mm and the bottom mount depth is 1-11/16 43mm. They’re a versatile set, and although the speakers are 61/2 they also have extended mounting ears: this allows for them to also fit 63/4 locations.
The speakers come with two grilles, two 12” lengths of speaker wire, wire caps, screws, speed clips, and an owner’s manual – everything you need for upgraded sound. Enjoy Kicker’s one-year warranty as well as their 60-day-money-back guarantee.
4. KICKER 4 41DSC654 — Best Budget
The Kicker DS provides excellent sound quality and a thin profile to fit many types of vehicles. This 2-way design has a power range of 60 watts RMS and 240 watts of peak power. With limited power these speakers won’t burn a hole in your seat, but the price won’t burn a hole in your pocket either.
Polypropylene woofer cones are weather-resistant to keep the speakers safe in all temperature and weather conditions. The ribbed polyester foam surrounds allow for extra bass output without sound distortion.
The ½” PEI balanced-dome tweeters provide smooth frequency. Neodymium magnets allow for high power handling and these speakers have a decent frequency range of 40 Hz – 20,000 Hz and a sensitivity of 90dB.
Zero-protrusion tweeters provide sound clarity without interfering with factory grilles for effortless installation.
The mounting hole diameter is 4-13/16 inches, 123mm. The top mount depth is ⅜ inch, 9mm, and the bottom mount depth is 1-11/16 inches, 43mm and the zero-protrusion tweeters provide sound clarity without interfering with factory grilles for effortless installation.
When the customer opens the box, they will find two speakers, two grilles, 2 11” lengths of wire, four plastic butt connectors, eight self-tapping screws, 8-speed clips, and an owner’s manual. It’s the full package with an affordable price tag.
5. 2 New Kicker 43DSC69304 — Best for All Weather
These 3-way speakers handle up to 150 watts RMS with 300 watts of peak power. They are a low-profile speaker with reduced mounting depth and minimal tweeter protrusion, making it easy to mount them in any vehicle and offering pretty impressive power too.
Durable polypropylene subwoofer cones resist moisture and all temperatures, keeping the speakers safe in all weather conditions. That gives you peace of mind about your aftermarket audio, all year round.
The speakers use lightweight silk for the 3/4+” dome tweeter and 1” dome midrange. The silk allows for smooth mid and high-frequency sounds while also being efficient. Use the crossovers to direct frequencies, or the tweeters can become damaged.
The frequency range of the speakers is 30 Hz – 21,000 Hz, and the sensitivity is 92dB. Kicker offers a generous 2-year warranty and 60-day-money-back guarantee.
Customers will find an owner’s manual, the car audio speakers, two grilles, and two bottom mount spacers in the box. There are also two in-line crossovers with speaker wire, two adhesive foam pads, grille putty, and 8-speed clips for efficient installation.
Proper wire caps and screws are provided with purchase, so you’re ready to roll for a DIY installation.
6. JBL GT7-6C — Best For Vocals
These aftermarket car speakers provide quality materials, ideal sound quality, and easy installation. Their Plus One architecture creates a 6-½” polypropylene subwoofer that delivers a much better bass sound than most speakers.
They feature state-of-the-art thermoplastic PEI (polyetherimide) edge-driven dome tweeters. This film produces a wider range of sound frequencies to provide crisp and clear vocals. The tweeters can be mounted flat on a surface or at an angle, giving various mounting options for customized sound.
The external crossover housing provides extra space for high and low pass sections. The crossover connections feature screw terminal inputs and outputs that utilize spade connectors or bare wire. The tweeters are set to 0dB or 2+dB options.
These speakers handle up to 50 watts of RMS power and have 150-watt peak power. Their frequency response is 50 Hz – 20,000 Hz, and they have a sensitivity of 92dB. You will also get a 1-year warranty and a 60-day-money-back guarantee.
The speakers also come with an owner’s manual, 2 subwoofers, 2 tweeters, 2 crossovers, and 2 grilles to protect the hardware. The tweeter mount housings are provided along with a variety of self-tapping Allen screws and speed clips for mounting. Universal backstraps are required for installation.
7. Infinity Reference 6530CX — Best Adaptability
The Reference series speakers from Infinity provide an adaptable package of speakers with ample power and smooth highs. With up to 90 watts of RMS power with 270 watts of peak power and a frequency response of 53 Hz – 21, 000 Hz, these speakers handle highs well but bass is somewhat lacking.
Each car speaker used large Plus One+ Woofer Cones that offer greater bass output and increased efficiency. Hi-roll rubber surrounds give the subwoofers a great range of movement, resulting in greater bass output.
The tweeters have a ¾” edge-driven textile dome which creates accurate and smooth-sounding highs. There are several options for mounting the tweeters including I-mount or Starfish mounting brackets.
I-mount has two options; either surface or flush mount. The tweeters can be surface mounted by screwing the surface-mount cup onto the mounting location. A cutout is required for the flush mount adapter. This way, the tweeters can be angled.
Starfish mounting brackets allow for the tweeters to be installed behind the grilles and include three options; bottom, surface, and flush mount. Bottom mounts require the starfish bracket to be trimmed and secured to the underside of the grille.
A surface mount also requires the starfish bracket to be trimmed and must be secured to the top of the mounting surface of the grille. There are upper and lower tabs that are mounted with the tweeter inside them.
The selectable tweeter output level allows the driver to use the 2-way crossover to select the tweeter output level. It can be set to +3 dB or 0 dB.
True Four Ohm Impedance technology allows the speaker’s 3-ohm impedance combined with the speaker wire impedance for a 4-ohm load. This allows the speakers to be compatible with many different types of vehicles.
Consumers will find a wide variety of mounting essentials included with their speakers including 2 subwoofers, 2 tweeters, required grilles, mounting rings, and housings.
There are also mounting adapters, locking nuts, washers, all screws and nuts required for assembly, and an instruction manual.
8. New Kenwood KFC-6965S — Best Treble
New Kenwood KFC-6965S provides powerful bass and high-quality treble without the need for an amplifier. The polypropylene cones are covered in cloth for great sound production and to improve their life quality. The treated cloth surround provides bass while also keeping the speakers safe through weather conditions.
These speakers are very sensitive and don’t require high amounts of power to sound great. They will even sound great with a factory amp for power. That simplifies the install job, but Kenwood speakers are designed to specifically fit in a surrounding encasing and must be fitted correctly before installation.
Their diamond array pattern provides lower distortion, but these speakers don’t have a built in crossover. This can cause the mids and highs to cut out at high volumes.
The ½” ceramic super tweeter helps provide highs and lows. They have an RMS of 45 watts and 400 watts of peak power – a little on the low side, but the high sensitivity means you get to hear every watt of power. Their frequency response is 30 Hz – 22,000 Hz.
Additionally, the speakers come with two grilles, two 12” lengths of speaker wire, self-tapping screws, speed clips, and an owner’s manual for installation. Kenwood’s owner’s manual is particularly detailed and helps you optimize your custom sound.
The Buyer’s Guide to Car Audio Speakers
You must decide which type of car speakers you want. There are full-range and components.
Full-range speakers contain everything in one basket. They have a woofer with a mounted tweeter. Some models may also have a midrange and sub tweeter added.
Full-range speakers are easy to install and replace factory speakers. Component speakers are the best option for sound quality. They have separate woofers, tweeters, and also external crossovers. Full-range speakers are also the more expensive option.
Consider the car speaker’s power handling. The new speakers must be able to handle the head unit’s power load. If there is too much of a wattage difference there will be distortion and the speakers can blow.
The speakers will have an RMS power rating which is the maximum power the speaker can deliver in short bursts.
Take the speaker’s impedance into account. Impedance is the measure of the resistance to the current, which shows how much power the speaker pulls from the amp. The lower the impedance, the more power that it pulls. This is measured in ohms – and we’ve broken down 2-ohm vs 4-ohm speakers right here.
Car Audio Speaker Sizes
Car speakers come in many shapes and sizes, from the 6.5-inch to the 6×9. While they all have their own pros and cons, one important thing you must consider is which speakers you are replacing. Measure the old speakers to ensure that the new ones will fit.
5.25-inch speakers aren’t the smallest you can go in your vehicle, but they’re much more popular than smaller sizes thanks to the performance boost. The greatest 5.25 speakers on the market will offer the perfect balance between affordability and performance, with a power handling of up to around 50 watts.
6.6-inch speakers are a great like-for-like replacement for the speakers in your vehicle’s doors and they’re likely to fit in many vehicles. Top-rated 6.5-inch component speakers offer impressive power handling, but because the speakers are composed of several parts, installation is more complicated.
On the other hand, the best 6.5 inch coaxial speakers will be easier to install and, thanks to a typically lower power rating, you can get away with using your factory amp.
The best rated 6×8 speakers provide a powerful upgrade for your OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sound system. Thanks to the “squashed circle” design, making them as tall as 6-inch speakers but wider, they move considerably more air – in layman’s terms, we’re talking louder.
6×9 speakers are the biggest speakers you can easily install in your vehicle and if you’re looking for maximum power and serious volume, elite 6×9 car audio speakers are your best bet. 6×9 speakers perform well all-round and provide a great bass response in the absence of a subwoofer. Just watch out, these babies are popular amongst car thieves!
Why You Need Aftermarket Car Speakers
Whether your car speakers are starting to vibrate and play distorted sounds or you just want an upgrade, aftermarket speakers bring many advantages for a cheaper price.
Most car audio speakers are easy to install, making it even more tempting to upgrade your sound system.
Aftermarket car speakers are engineered better and built to last longer. Most stock systems will not last long. Factory speakers use surrounds made from foam and paper, which deteriorate.
Rubber surrounds used in aftermarket speakers are built to last and withstand all weather conditions. These cones also produce better bass and sound quality.
Aftermarket car speakers deliver tweeters that change the sound experience. You will hear better bass, frequency separation, and much better clarity. The sound is a night and day difference from your factory speakers.
Aftermarket speakers also can handle a lot more power, allowing you to add an amp and change the audio quality in your vehicle. If you love loud music that sounds fantastic, this is a must.
What To Look for in Car Audio Speakers
The type of car speaker allows you to understand its use. A component speaker will cost more and produce better sound quality since it uses better design and multiple drivers. A full-range or coaxial speaker will be the cheaper and easier replacement.
Subwoofers produce low-frequency sounds known as bass. This is what vibrates your vehicle and allows you to feel the music. They require an exclosure and must run off of an amplifier.
Midbass speakers produce deep sounds in mid-to-low bass frequencies, including bass drums and lower octave vocals.
Midrange speakers produce detailed frequencies in the middle of the audio spectrum. Tweeters produce the highest frequencies, such as cymbals and high hats. They also provide clarity for vocals and instruments.
When shopping for car speakers, focus on speaker sensitivity, power handling, and external crossovers. Sensitivity refers to the amount of sound the speakers produce, which is supplied by the stereo.
Low-powered stereos pair with high-sensitivity speakers, and high-powered stereos pair with low-sensitivity speakers for the best sound quality. Power handling is how many watts a speaker can handle. RMS handling will let you know how many watts the car speakers can handle.
Crossovers create a clean separation between the frequencies send to the tweeter and subwoofer. This prevents the tweeter and subwoofer from wasting energy and producing frequencies that they aren’t supposed to reproduce.
Crossovers also offer the ability to bi-amp cables so they can carry signals to separate amplifiers.
How To Install Car Audio Speaker
You’re probably wondering if you need to take your vehicle into a shop and pay extra to have it installed. The good news is that most car audio speakers are easy to install.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the process so you can install them yourself.
Each car speaker will be a little different. Always read the instruction manual that came with your speakers before installation.
- Ensure that the car speaker’s dimensions will fit in where your old ones are. Consider any extra mounting that will have to be done.
- If installing a new amp, first decide where to mount it. The trunk of the vehicle is a spot for an amp. Under or behind the back seats are also common places. Ensure the amp will have room for wires to be run into it and that you can securely screw it down.
- Disconnect your vehicle’s battery so that you can remove the old speakers from the doors. Remove the door by removing a few screws and using a flathead screwdriver. Each vehicle will be different.
- Remove the old car speakers. They will have a few screws and adhesive backing on them. The wiring harness will also have to be removed from the back of them.
- Determine if you can connect the wiring harness to the new speakers. You may have to solder or crimp the wires and create a connection. Consider adding electrical tape.
- Test the connection before putting the door back on. Connect the wires to the battery to see if the speakers play sound.
- If the speaker works, securely install it into the door. Replace the door with any screws necessary.
- Run all wiring from the speakers to the battery. Don’t forget to connect to your amp if you have one.
Music lovers can all agree that your vehicle is a perfect place to listen to music. It boosts mood and motivates you on long drives. Unfortunately, factory car speakers are not built to last, and it doesn’t take long before they sound distorted.
Aftermarket stereo systems allow you to hear all the highs and lows of your music the way it was designed to be heard.
Whether you’re looking for something that can blast bass that you feel in your sternum or want a car speaker that will have clear vocals, there’s an option perfect for you.
You’ll get extra benefits of having aftermarket car speakers too, like Bluetooth audio, GPS nav, and more.
When revamping your car’s audio system, the speaker should be paramount in your mind to give you the kind of sound you want.