“If you are looking for a guide to buy the best car speaker, you’ve come to the right place. Here is an in-depth guide to land the best car speaker”
Choosing a car speaker can be a tricky task. With all the new concepts and the sheer number of types and models to compare, one can be overwhelming. I have been there. I have gone through all the hassle of doing the research myself to land the best car speaker for my vehicle, so I know what you are feeling now.
After doing extensive research on this subject, I have gathered some information that might come in handy for those who are on the lookout for the best car speaker. The thing is what suitable for me may not have the same effect on your car. So I won’t cut short by telling you what to buy and what not to buy, instead, I will provide you with basic knowledge so that you can take matter into your own hand, measure the speaker yourself and find out what the most suitable car speaker is.
I hope what I share here will help you as it did for me when I was a newbie looking for a speaker for my car. So let’s dive in!
List of the Best Component Car Speakers
The way the Polk Audio DB6501 looks is one of the reasons why it ranks top on the list of best component speakers. Just look at the Muscular ABS Grilles and the stainless steel mounting hardware and you will understand what I mean.
The Polk Audio DB6501’s woofer is Polymer/mica composite, which is stiffer and stronger than many other materials. It’s surrounded by rubber, which is noted for their flexibility and durability. The Pole Plate Heat Sinks is of great help with power handling and also makes a reliable surround.
If you mind the wires that are visible in some other speakers, you will love the fact that this one has a vented crossover that will hide all the wires. The crossover network also works effectively to deliver clear, pure, and in detail sounds. The case is of mice/polymer material so that it can keep distortion at a minimum level and offer a lightweight speaker.
These DB series enables you to adjust the tweeter mounting in order to enhance the experience. The Polk Audio DB6501 is able to reproduce everything, from electric guitar, vocals, cymbals, to undertones that are inaudible with other speakers.
The voice-coil is made of Kapton, which is excellent at dissipating heat, reducing the price of the speaker, and helping it withstand high-wattage. The Kapton is way better than aluminum in providing more natural sounding. Drivers with Kapton voice coil often means a more detailed midrange, higher dynamic and much less coloration and distortion.
Although it sounds great on its own, I highly recommend an external amp to enhance the output. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of its benefits.
Polk Audio DB6501 specs:
- Dynamic Balance polymer/mica composite woofer
- top-mount depth: 1-11/16″
- two 6-1/2″ woofers, 2 crossovers, and 2 tweeters
- Butyl rubber surround
- Kapton voice coil former
Rockford Fosgate P165-S is always the standard when I want to talk about the Premium component 6.5 component speakers. All the technologies and features of the Rockford Fosgate P165-S make it such a lovely system to have in your car.
The clarity and thickness of the sounds come from the lightweight polypropylene cone. This material is so great that it’s utilized by most speakers on the market these days.
The butyl rubber surround also adds to the durability of the speaker and enables you to play it as much as you want.
Rockford has come on its way to make its product one of the best in the class. You will get 25% more to the cone for more solid and deeper bass and clear sound. With Flexfit basket technology, the old day of redrilling new screw holes is long gone.
Rockford Fosgate P165-S specs:
- 6-1/2″ mineral-filled polypropylene woofer
- butyl rubber surround
- Vertical Attach Surround Technique (VAST™) increases cone area
- 1″ polyetherimide (PEI) dome tweeter
- the component speaker system includes 2 woofers, 2 tweeters, and 2 woofer grilles
It’s true that you get what you pay for, but there are some affordable yet good car speakers that I would like to introduce to you. With this in mind, we are now going to meet the BOSS Audio CH6CK, a 6.5 component speaker for people who don’t have a deep pocket but still want a decent speaker in their cars.
Here are what you will get with less than $50:
At this price, you get a polymer cone with great flexibility as well as good sounds. And the greatest thing is it will last for a long time. Quite an effort of Boss to add this good feature for a budget speaker. You are also assured of a foam surround and aluminum voice coil. A mylar tweeter means more durability and more variety of sounds.
I know I have praised this speaker a lot but it’s truly great for its price. However, bear in mind one thing. No matter how good it is, it’s a budget speaker after all. If you expect too much from it and don’t get what you wish for, you will feel disappointed. But if you set your expectation at its price range, the BOSS Audio CH6CK will be a nice surprise.
If you have spent time searching for reviews for this speaker, you will probably find that 90% of speakers agree on one thing that it’s “easy to install and produces great sounds”.
As always, the ability of the speaker to last for a long time is fundamental regardless of it is coaxial or full range and here with the Infinity speaker, it is really sturdy with Rubber surrounding that includes more grounded low-end which improves the solidness of the speaker.
I have discovered two fundamental highlights that I fell in love with about the Infinity Reference 6030cs; the first is the fully-edge-driven design that backs more power handling and less distortion. The second element is the support from the crossover to the tweeter that makes it more flexible. Installation for the 6030cs is as easy as you can probably get. With the highly versatile mounting technology, you can mount this speaker in seconds. The Plus One Cone patented Technology supports more bass and the clearer sound is another nice feature. You can never go wrong with the Infinity Reference 6030cs, considering what you have to pay to get it.
Of course, there are better products under the brand Infinity but let me remind you that this one comes under the budget line, so don’t expect too much:
Infinity Reference 6030cs Specs:
- adapter rings included for 6-1/2″ openings
- 1″ edge-driven textile dome tweeter
- the component speaker system includes 2 woofers, 2 tweeters, and 2 crossovers
- 6-3/4″ Plus One+ Injection-Molded Polypropylene (IMPP) woofer with hi-roll rubber surround
- Starfish™ mounting brackets for easier tweeter installation in factory locations
BL has always been famous for providing top-notch speakers when it comes to quality. This JBL GTO608C 6.5-Inch 2-Way Component System features a tweeter, a crossover, a woofer, and a mounting system. Its peak power is 210 watts and its impedance is 2 ohms.
The JBL 2-Way Component System is not only the does its job well but it also possesses an appealing look that can enhance the appearance of any car it comes with. With the plus one woofer cone technology, you are assured of deep bass and a high-quality output, and a 1-year guarantee.
The JBL-only Plus One® woofer cone is tough yet lightweight and offers 25% more surface area than most of its competitors of the similar size.
The GTO608C’s voice-matched outboard component crossover network will guarantee a smooth transition from the mid-woofer to the other drivers of the speaker.
My-Ti™ tweeters ensure more efficiency, better power handling, and less distortion. The Mylar®/titanium composite dome is there for smoother sounds and rapid transition from middle and high frequency and via versa.
The GTO608C’s frequency response is between 50Hz to 21kHz. The I-Mount™ provides angle-, surface- or flush-mount options for more accurate imaging and simplified tweeter installation. That mounting system is what makes the speaker one of the easiest-to-install on the market.
List of the Best Coaxial (Full Range) Car Speakers
One of the biggest selling points of the JBL GTO939 is how easy it is to install. No modification or expert’s help is needed to fit it in place. But if the speaker you are trying to replace is smaller than the JBL, you’ll have to adjust the space a little bit.
The JBL GTO939 speakers feature a Plus One cone technology which is larger than most other cones. This is beneficial to boost the bass quality. As speakers reproduce sounds by making air vibrate, so bigger cone will translate into more air is processed.
The JBL GTO939’s tweeters are another huge selling point, making most people consider what they have to pay to get them money well spent. The tweeters are made from My/Ti, which is Mylar and Titanium composite. They are capable of more power handling and reducing distortion. You can easily notice this improvement in the mid-range frequencies, where the vocals are, so clearer and crisper sounds can be expected.
The UniPivot is worth a mention here. It doesn’t directly enhance sound’s quality but it allows you to adjust the speaker’s position to your preference. What most people will do is to turn the speaker toward them for a better experience.
The JBL GTO939 has some disadvantages though. There is no hardware in the box so you may have to purchase them, which leads to a sum of additional cost.
The Pioneer TS-A6996R audio speakers come in a pair. They are 650-watt to ensure they can produce louder sounds. Although it would be better if the smaller one has more bass, I love the clear and precise sounds that the pair can offer.
The two speakers are small in size, which is one of their most striking features. This allows them to be effective without taking a lot of space. Many may associate size with power, which is true in some cases, but this doesn’t apply to the Pioneer TS-A6996R. The pair is capable of producing a quite great power output.
I’m not sure how the manufacturer can manage to increase power and reduce size at the same time, but they got me. The idea of having more space in the car is too appealing to turn down for me.
These speakers are elegant and small but tough, sophisticated but easy to install. The oval design and classic black color are appealing to the eye.
Here are the specs:
- Super Tweeter: 3/8" Dia. Dome
- Sensitivity: 92 dB
- Impedance: 4 Ohms
- Gross Weight: 4.27kg 9lb 6 oz
- Frequency Response: 27 Hz to 37kHz
- Bigger one:
- Nominal Power: 100W
- Midrange: 1" Dia. Soft Dome
- Woofer: 6" x 9"
- Max. Music Power: 600W
- Tweeter: 5/8" Dia. Dome
The Polk Audio DB651 is just 5 pounds and has the dimension of 8 x 14.5 x 4.8 inches, making the speaker lightweight, portable, and compact. Since the DB651 are 2-way speakers, you get to expect 2 different frequency levels. The cone tweeter features liquid-cooled silk/polymer composite and the cone woofer is of dynamic balance polymer/mica composite mineral, which further reduces the mass of the speakers.
The Polk Audio DB651 has one of the best power handling level in comparison with other speakers in the same category. The dynamic Balance Driver technology ensures a superior, crisp, and distortion-free audio output. The performance of the speakers is so good that it can sing through any external noise. Laser imaging is utilized in the making of this speaker with the intention to increase frequency response. The Polk Audio DB651 is highly flexible and stealthy. The tweeters can be either flushed or swivel-mounted, which allows you to aim the source of sound to any directions you like.
The Pioneer TS-A1675R is made out of highly durable material, which enables it to handle high power. The voice coil can perform in high heat and last for many years.
Moving the speaker around won’t be a problem since due to the mica materials. Water-resistance is another advantage, which ensures the speaker lasts for years.
The fantastic mica matrix cone does a great job protecting it from an internal loss so won’t find much distortion or hear anything less than the optimum sounds. The internal loss is to a suitable degree.
- Have two separate layers of mica that make sure they are rigid and tough.
- They are surrounded by a type of elastic polymer that ensures high sensitivity.
- Maximum power: 300, RMS power: 50 watts.
- These speakers can produce all types of sounds with low, mid and high frequencies by combining several woofers and tweeters.
- These speakers are capable of producing frequencies in the range of 30 Hz to 30,000 Hz, nearly covers the entire audio spectrum.
If you are new into the world of car speakers and do not have any knowledge to select which 6.5-inch car speaker to purchase for getting the best performance and a long life, you can never go wrong with the Boss Audio CH6530 speakers.
The Boss Audio Systems CH6530 Chaos Series 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speaker can handle up to 300 watts at maximum power and 150 watts of RMS power. These high numbers indicate that this speaker can produce excellent sound for many years.
The cone of the Boss Audio Systems CH6530 Chaos is made out of polyurethane, a polymer that can be as flexible as rubber but no less durable than other materials. They utilize aluminum as the voice coil, which can withstand high heat.
The Boss CH6530 is the combination of several tweeters, woofers, and cross-over, so it can produce very high audible frequency range. You still need to but an amplifier but with less power to boost the signal, not so bad for a speaker of this kind.
These speakers are made out of butyl rubber which is a copolymer of isobutylene and isoprene, which is a wonderful heat resistant material. It can also survive flexion, heat, chemical attack, abrasion, and weather as well as being able to absorb shock.
- High-tech Mylar tweeters that can produce many variations of sound.
- These car speakers produce 90 Db of sound with the frequency response ranging from 100 Hz to 18 KHz.
- Poly-injected woofer cone and ½ inch Piezo Dome Tweeter.
- The Boss CH6530 speaker is about 1.2 pounds and a warranty period of 3 years.
- Have a mounting depth of 50 mm and an impedance of four ohms.
Types of car speaker systems
Purchasing a car speaker can be a tricky task, especially if you cannot tell the difference between types of speakers. Here are two most common types of speakers: component speakers and coaxial (or full range) speakers. So familiarize yourself with them to find the most suitable speaker for your car.
1. Component Speakers
Component speakers’ drivers are not always come together. They can be separated and put in different places of a car. One possible arrangement is the woofers and/or mid-range speakers are on the sides of the doors, the subwoofer is in the trunk, and the tweeters are close to the dashboard.
- Since the components of the speakers are not fixed in place, you are able to put them in different places to create your own unique music experience.
- Most component speakers can reproduce top-notch quality sounds and enhancements than its full range counterparts.
- They are pricier but come with high-quality components and durability.
- The component speakers are usually pricier and have a wider range of choice. The variations and combinations are endless so this might cause you a lot of time, energy, and money, to have the best system.
- They are also more complicated to install and require a professional’s assistance.
- Repairing them might be more complex.
2. Full Range (Coaxial) Speakers
Coaxial speakers are more popular in car audio systems than component speakers. It usually consists of a tweeter and a woofer. The woofer is responsible for low-to-mid frequency sounds while the tweeter produces mid-to-high frequency sounds. The drivers of full range speakers are at the same place (the tweeter is placed over the woofer) so all the sounds will originate from that place.
- Full range speakers are generally less expensive than its component counterpart. They are also more suitable for everyday use than the component. They come in a wide range of budget, there is something for everyone.
- A full range speaker system is much easier to install and often comes with a direct fit. If you would like to install the speakers yourself, the full range is a good option to opt for (of course, always check with the experts if you’re not sure how to do that).
- It is way better than the factory speaker systems with enhanced listening experience.
- The full range speakers come in a package so you cannot customize them the way you do with component speakers. There are also limited choices for control and optimization.
- Full range speakers cover a wide range of sounds, but the bass, high tones, midrange tones are not as good as those of component speakers.
- One size doesn’t fit all and the full range speakers may not fit flush into your car. They come with an array of attributes, brands, models, so you might have to spend some time shopping around to find the best one.
Types of car speakers (by size)
- Subwoofer – The subwoofer produces the lowest and deepest sound frequency ranges. For consumer products, the typical frequency range for a subwoofer is 20–200 Hz, under 100 Hz for professional live sound, and in THX-approved systems, it is below 80 Hz. A subwoofer usually requires a power amplifier and an enclosure. It is also the first upgrade that can be made. Their sizes are typically from 8” to 15”.
- Midbass – They handle mid-to-low tones such as lower octave vocals, and bass drums, and also deliver deep sounds. Midbass can be adapted to many different functions in component and full-range systems. They are usually 6.5” to 8” in size. You could think of a midbass speaker as a bass speaker with another speaker (a subwoofer for example) producing the lowest frequencies. Many midbass speakers can be utilized in high power applications when a high powered subwoofer cannot fulfill the speed requirements of midbass sounds.
- Midrange – As you may make out from its name, the midrange speakers deal with all the frequencies that come in the middle of the audio spectrum accurately and in detail that the midbass and tweeters can’t compare. The midranges are typically measured 3.5” to 6.5” in size. A mid-range is responsible for the most important part of the audio spectrum the most fundamentals produced by musical instruments and the human voice. Midrange handles sounds that are most recognizable by the human ears and where discrepancies are the most easily detected. Since it has such a big responsibility, it is vital that a midrange is of good quality to ensure low-distortion reproduction.
- Tweeter – They are used for the highest frequencies such as high hats and cymbals and are responsible for the detail and clarity of voices and musical instruments. Tweeters are usually of the smallest size in a system and put at a higher place than woofers in a component system. In a full coaxial system, tweeters are typically hung in the middle of the woofer. These drivers typically range from 0.5” to 1.5” in size. Tweeters are not only much smaller in size than woofers but they are specialized in audio frequencies above what woofers can reproduce, in some cases, the sounds that you can only sense but your ears cannot detect. Since high-frequency sounds are highly directional, tweeters are there to distribute these sounds properly so that you can hear them accurately.
How to choose the right size of car speakers
Size is arguably one of the most important things you should know before purchasing any car speaker. However, this is not as straightforward as you might think. I’ve learned this in a hard way but you can avoid my mistakes by taking the guide that I’m going to share here.
At this point, you may wonder why we don’t just use the manufacturers’ measurement on the speakers as an indication to make our decision. The thing here is these numbers are the diagonal measurement of the frame as well as hole alignment.
The actual size of a car speaker heavily depends on the design. Take the Rockford Fosgate P1694 and the Pioneer TS-A6996R as an example. Both of them are 6X9 speakers but they aren’t equal. This highlights the importance of taking the actual measurements of a speaker to make sure it fits our cars. Unfortunately, there is no standardized mean to do such job, so you may have to take the matter into your own hand and master the skills yourself. But don’t worry, I have you covered.
Now, familiarize yourself with the terms below:
Diameter: It may come as a surprise to you that the speaker cone’s diameter is not the chief criteria to measure its size. The size is actually calculated based on the diagonal length of the speaker frame. To measure the size of a 4-hole speaker frame, start at one hole and end at the hole at the opposite diagonal end. With other speakers, measure the diameter of the frame.
Mounting depth: This measurement is the range between the base of the magnet and the speaker’s mounting flange. This will determine how deep the speaker goes to the place you plan to put it in. If the speaker you have an eye on has an excessive mounting depth, it can be damaged by being bumped on surfaces beneath it.
Mounting height: the mounting height is measured from the mounting flange to the speaker’s highest point. The smaller the mounting height’s measurement, the flatter it looks. It is vital that this is accurate to avoid damage to the speaker from bumping to panel or grills.
Cutout diameter: the cutout diameter is the diameter of the back of the speaker. This number will determine whether the speaker is not too large or too small to fit flush into your car’s speaker slot.
Car stereo enthusiast also notes that making sure your car speaker fit flush into the respective place is not enough, there are other things to consider to ensure it works perfectly. The first thing I recommend you to look at is the wattage. Speaker’s and head unit/amplifier’s wattage should match for the best performance. Next, check the frequency response. If you have a small space but still want to experience fuller sound, integrated speakers are worth knowing too.
Getting the car speaker to fit where you want it to is the ticket to have aftermarket sounds in your vehicles, whether you are looking to install a system or thinking about an upgrade.
How to find the most suitable car speakers
Here are some features of a car speaker to consider to land the best one for your car:
Component speakers or full range speakers?
As I have stated above, coaxial speakers or full range speakers have all the parts in one package, so you don’t have to worry about where to set up the woofer or tweeter. They are also easy to install, just remove the old system and fix the new one in and you are set to go.
However, if the ultimate listening experience is what you after, a set of full range speakers might not be a good choice. In this case, you’ll need component car speakers, which have the parts separated so that you can arrange them in the places you need to produce the best sounds possible.
Component speakers are for those with great taste and high demand for the quality of music, if that sounds like you, I highly recommend you to opt for a set of component car speakers, and otherwise, full range speakers will be the quickest option.
Speaker Durability (build quality)
No one wants short-lived car speakers, especially when they have gone through all the hassle of picking, purchasing, and installing them. Here are some things to consider to maximize the time you have with the speakers:
In order to have a durable car speaker, every part of it must be durable too. But the thing here is the woofer is different to the tweeter and also to the surrounding material. So we will have to take each of them into consideration:
The woofer should be made out of lightweight and tough materials. Most manufacturers nowadays use synthetic films such as polypropylene for the woofer cones.
Rubber is a good choice for the surrounding. It can withstand the heat and is flexible enough to move freely.
The best material for the tweeter depends on your liking of sounds. If you like refined and mellow sounds, go for soft materials like textile blends, silk, or poly. If you prefer bright and snappy sounds, hard materials like metal, graphite, or ceramics.
At this point, you should have known how important tweeter is in a car speaker system. Whether you go for a component or a coaxial speaker, make sure that the tweeter is of excellent quality.
Pivoting or Swiveling Tweeters
If you intend to place the speakers low in the door, coaxial speaker accompanied by pivoting tweeters can be a good choice. These tweeters handle directional high-frequency sounds so you and other passengers can turn it to the direction they want for the best listening experience.
External crossover can be found in some higher-priced, coaxial speakers. It is there to create a clean separation between the frequencies for the woofers and those for the tweeters. If the external crossover does its job, there will be no redundant sounds or distortions that can affect your listening experience.
I have seen many people complain about the speakers are too big or too small for their cars, leaving them with no choice but to return the merchandise and wait for a new one. We have gone through what you should do to measure the speakers accurately. So please stick to the guide to avoid wasting too much time on it.
Compatibility with your car
To make sure the speaker is compatible with your car, check the two things below:
Sensitivity means how much power the speaker needs to reach a certain volume level, so find out how much power your external amp or head unit can provide.
- Power handling
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Here are some questions that I have been asking about car speakers:
- Can Car Audio be used in a home stereo?
Yes. These are passive device so you can definitely use them at home. However, you need to check if your home stereo can manage the lower impedance of most car speakers.
Most car speaker models on the market are 4 ohms while most home receivers are 8 ohms. So you will need a receiver that can drive 4 ohms or a pair of identical drivers in series to have 8 ohms. Bear in mind that a 4-ohm woofer and a 4-ohm tweeter with identical crossover points will not add up to 8 ohms so they need to be connected in parallel. Paralleling a 4-ohm tweeter and a 4-ohm woofer will not sum up to 2 ohms. The passive crossover makes the impedance rises beyond the passband. So over the entire frequency range, the impedance will be 4 ohms.
Electronic pieces are a little harder wire. You need to convert the 120 volts AC from the wall into 12 volts DC. Things like a head unit can use a bench power supply that can deliver 2-10 amps DC. Amplifiers will need more power, like a large converter in the 20+ amp range. You will get a decent converter at the price of $100 to $200 and this is the one you need. The largest you might see on the market nowadays is 40 amps continuous. Check the meters on the converters to see if you are pushing your luck.
- Can you wire a car speaker backward?
Yes. You can do that, even though this is not dangerous to the speaker or the amplifier, power delivery and speaker response will be interfered.
The bad bass response is the first thing you might notice when the polarity is reversed. When the signal is out of phase, the bass speaker moves in instead of moving out, resulting in inaudible bass drum notes and the music’ muscularity is lost. However, you can fix this by swapping the leads of the speaker or amplifier.
Imaging happens when a pair of speakers can project an audible representation of the instruments. When you wire a car speaker backward, this imaging will become out of focus and also causes the music to lose most of its impact.
Miss-wiring also leads to airy treble that in turn makes the soundstage seems larger but less defined. Some might see this as a benefit, but this is after all, inaccurate and comes hand in hand with poor imaging and bad bass response.
- Can you blow a car speaker
Car speakers blow out might because of mechanical or thermal failure. The former happens usually because the cone is made to move further than it’s supposed to which makes other components in the speaker to collide with each other or with the speaker’s frame. After that, they can be broken, torn, or suffered permanent damage.
The latter occurs when the speaker has to handle too much power, which leads to a buildup of heat causing the internal components and the delicate wires to melt or burn, or soften the glue that holds the components together. The most serious damage heat can cause is to the voice coil. Once this component is burnt, you will hear no sound at all.
Car speakers can be blown out accidentally by cranking up the volume too high and leave it there for too long. However, that’s not the only possible cause of blowing out. Car speakers can fail because of old age. Speakers made with inferior components are more likely to blow out when they age.
Basically, anything that can damage the speakers to the point that it cannot work properly will blow it out. But most of them have mechanical or thermal nature. So the most common way to avoid blowing out is not to leave your car speaker at excessive volume for too long.
- Can water damage car speakers?
Yes. If water got inside the voice coil gap, it will, in most cases, short the speaker out or burn the amp. One way to test if your speaker has been damaged is to use an ohm meter and press on the cone to see if the meter changes. If it is good, the speaker is fine. However, there is a chance that dampness can collect into droplets and make a short when the speaker is operating causing the amp to shut down or burn up.
If the voice coil is coated with resin, this incident might not affect it. But if the spider is damp or wet, I recommend letting it sit for at least a week to make sure it’s totally dry. Because the spider is responsible for holding the wires in place, so the wire can short from a wet spider.
Repairing a wet speaker can be done with a simple recon kit. A cheaper option is to dissolve the glue holding the cone in place, remove it and then clean the cone up. Use a fine emery paper to remove any rust that may have built up in the voice coil area. Blow it dry with air. And remember to check the voice coil for damage
I know this much information is a bit overwhelming, especially for first-timers who have no experience with car speakers. But as we all know, no pain no gain, once you have mastered all the necessary skills and know all the basic concepts, landing the most suitable car speaker will become easier than ever. Pay attention to how to measure the speaker to make sure it fits flush is the part that I find most challenging, so read that part carefully. The ranking I made above is my personal opinion, you don’t have to always buy the best one or the most expensive one, what you need is the most suitable speaker for your car.