10 Best Car Speakers of 2020 Reviewed
10 Best Car Speakers
If you’re someone who loves music, then you know that your basic factory-issued speakers aren’t getting the job done. Sure, they play the music but it doesn’t have the certain richness or clear sound that you crave.
That’s why many people check into installing their own car speakers but with great sound potential comes way too many choices. Head into your local electronics store or audio shop and you’ll be bombarded with tons of options.
Plus, you may be overwhelmed with the numbers and terms on the product descriptions that you’re not even sure what you’re buying. That’s why we’ve come up with our top ten list. Here, you’ll find ten of our favorite speakers (in no particular order) so you can browse and find the perfect set for your vehicle.
At the end, we’ll run through some common questions and clear any doubts you may have about the process. Let’s get started.
Infinity has long been in the speaker game and they consistently bring high quality speakers that bring out the best sound and stand the test of time.
The Primus series is a three-way speaker, with one 6X9 woofer, a 1” tweeter and a 5/9” super tweeter. These speakers are pretty powerful, having an RMS of 300 Watts. That’s among the highest of any woofer out on the market.
The woofer comes with a polypropylene cone and rubber surrounds, insuring that it can withstand any music you throw at it for quite a long time.
These speakers produce fantastic highs and mids and offer great bass response as well, meaning you could install them without a subwoofer if you wanted.
Their one noticeable drawback is the installation. Many users have complained that the installation guide is confusing and getting everything to work is quite the trek. But, that shouldn’t influence your decision and you’d be wise to give these speakers a solid look.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic sound quality
- Great bass sound without a subwoofer
- Durable materials
- Affordable price
- Difficult installation
- Not for beginner car engineers
Infinity is a solid brand that brings legendary, unique sound to your vehicle. These are another set of speakers that are built to last. Users have raved about their ability to bring out the best sound possible no matter what kind of music is being played.
These speakers use ¾” soft dome tweeters, meaning they can handle quite a bit of power and deliver smooth responses throughout all frequencies. You’ll get a deeper feel for the music, being able to picture every instrument in the recording studio jam away.
Besides the tweeters, these speakers come with two woofers and two crossovers, giving you the full sense of surround sound inside your own vehicle. It’s pretty powerful as well, reaching 270 Watts at the peak power. All of that combined to bring you crisp and clear audio, turning your drive into a concert.
Installation for these speakers is quite easy, as you’ll be given hardware for surface or flush mounting, as well as Starfish brackets that will help you install the tweeters in many openings.
Pros and Cons
- Very clear sound, hard to top these speakers
- Easy installation
- High-quality components
- Bass response is just so-so
- While installation is easy, it takes a while
Even if you’re just a beginner audiophile, you’ve no doubt come across the Rockford brand in your research or talking with others. There’s a reason for that, as they’re known for consistently producing high quality speakers with great value. These speakers are no different.
Admittedly, the R165X3 doesn’t have the same power you’d find with other speakers meaning you aren’t going to get that loud bass or overly powerful volume that some may desire. Even though it may lack in power, it more than makes up for it in high quality components.
The woofer has a vacuum polypropylene cone with a silk dome tweeter and a silk dome midrange. In order to route each frequency to its proper component, it has an integrated crossover right behind the speaker.
Built to last, it has a rugged steel basket, rubber surround and rugged grilles that help ensure these speakers won’t falter with any music you throw its way.
Installation reviews on these speakers are mixed. While some have reported no issues, others have noted that the speakers are a tad bit bigger than originally advertised. Thus, modifications are required and installation can be slowed as a result. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to take these to a professional and have them help you out.
Pros and Cons
- Great price, best bang for your buck value
- Solid build quality, very durable materials
- Great mid range and highs
- Poor bass response
- Difficult installation
Sometimes, you need some speakers that can be your jack-of-all-trades, speakers that do everything well but nothing great. If you’re looking for something like this, then the CT Sounds Meso are the perfect option for you.
These speakers have plenty of rich tones, mixing in great, powerful bass with snappy highs. It can also handle high frequencies well, as the silk dome tweeters really round these speakers out. In addition, this set includes two crossover networks for fantastic filtering.
Many users rave over the build quality. While we don’t recommend it, the speakers are built like a tank and you could probably drag them behind the car for a bit without causing significant damage.
The CT Sounds Meso offers fantastic bass quality, something similar speakers usually lack. Some high-end noises can become distorted, but a little tweaking should fix the issue.
The big complaint about the CT Sounds Meso is the installation is plenty difficult and they don’t fit in all doors. This is most notably a problem on the window speakers. WIth the magnets being so big, speakers sometimes overhang the window channel and you may not be able to roll down your window the whole way.
That shouldn’t discourage you from checking them out though, just make sure you do a bit of measuring ahead of time.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic components, incredibly durable and sturdy
- Great bass response
- Very clear sound, handles all music
- High end can be a bit shrill
- Difficult installation
- Does not fit in all door setups
These Alpine speakers offer solid quality, great range, and impressive tone definition. They don’t pack a ton of power, but you will still be seeing a serious upgrade over your factory-issued speakers.
The polypropylene cones are mineral-fortified, providing a stiff but lightweight feature which can blast out great bass and crystal clear midrange. These speakers offer low distortion as well, with the silk dome midrange drivers and tweeters bringing out fullness and deep detail for your music.
Going back to the power, the RMS is just 85 Watts, which is a full 25 Watts below industry average. The peak power is also well below the average, coming in at just 260 Watts. Despite the low power, the speakers performed incredibly well with high volumes, meaning they don’t require as much power from your amp.
The installation for these speakers is much easier, as they are all standard size. Combining that with an affordable price and you can see why many people opt for these speakers as their first big upgrade.
Pros and Cons
- Great value for your money
- Quick and easy installation, ideal for a beginner
- Solid bass response despite low power
- No grille included, may get damaged easily
- Doesn’t come with instructions
Polk has long had a reputation for bringing out consistent, high-quality speakers and the DB615S is no different. With shallow speakers and easy mounting, these speakers are ideal for any DIYers or those looking to upgrade their system on their own.
In terms of sound quality the DB615S is solid across all fronts. While its power is slightly above average, you’ll still be able to get clear audio through your speakers. It hits the highs and mids well, but doesn’t have the best punch when it comes to bass. Due to its low power, this shouldn’t be too big of a surprise.
Another area these speakers truly shine in are their durability. The woofer cone is built from polymer and mica composites while the woofer itself is made from a silk and polymer composite. The butyl rubber surround guarantees enhanced durability in the harshest of conditions.
If you’re someone who’s planning on taking their vehicle in rough terrain, then these speakers are perfect. Coming with the marine certification, you can also mount these speakers on any boat or watercraft. Built to withstand the wrath of Poseidon, they’ll hold up quite well in your car.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely durable
- Easy installation, can fit in any setup
- Marine certified
- Great value for the quality and durability
- Poor bass quality, struggles with lower frequencies
- Not the greatest power handling
If you’re looking for pure volume and loudness, then Pioneer speaker is for you. You might recognize the brand name, as they dip their toes into all kinds of speaker setups and audio equipment. They’ve done it all from surround sound systems to old-fashioned ham radios.
Even though they’ve been in the game for quite some time, the Pro series are new to the market and make a big entrance. These speakers come with a beautiful blade-like grille and a shotgun tweeter.
In terms of power, these Pioneer speakers are some of the most powerful that you can find. With 100 RMS Watts and a peak Watt rating of 600, you can see why we rave about their volume potential and ability to rattle you to your core.
They have great frequency range, able to reach easily into the highs while also providing great performance into the lows. The one area that it is a bit behind the curve are its mids, where it rates poorly on accuracy. But overall, they create a refreshing and clear sound that will bring out the best in whatever music you favor.
Despite all of the sound benefits it has, these speakers are far from versatile. They do not fit in many setups and require some modifications in order to be fully functional. You’ll definitely want to do some research and measuring before you commit.
If you’re a DIYer, then you should be an expert to set them up perfectly. It’s best that you go with a professional installation so you make sure everything is right and set up perfectly.
Pros and Cons
- Handles bass incredibly well
- Fantastic power, these speakers pack quite the punch
- High-quality components, quite durable
- Very heavy, difficult to move
- Doesn’t have the midrange frequency that you might expect
- Very, very difficult to install
Next time you’re out and about at a concert or sports arena, see if you can find what brand the speakers are. It wouldn’t be surprising to find that many of them are JBL. This is a brand that knows a thing or two about audio. They’ll be able to deliver a quality product for just about any occasion.
For those looking for loud speakers, the GTO6069C is another great choice for rattling your car and announcing your presence. This is thanks to the 270 Watts peak power and solid RMS numbers.
What makes these speakers so special are their larger than average woofer that moves tons of air. Carbon infused material has been engineered into the cones, meaning it’s lighter and stiffer than your typical polypropylene cones. With this, you’ll get top-notch bass handling and response. You can install a subwoofer if you want, but for those looking to just install speakers or those on a budget, they more than make up for it.
Users often rave about the tweeter design, as each one has a standard fabric diaphragm that includes dual level volume adjustment. This allows the tweeter to compensate for poor placement. If you have a car with oddly designed tweeter placements, then this is the speaker set for you.
The set is quite durable and a relatively easy installation. With butyl rubber surrounds, carbon-composite speaker frames and vented magnet assemblies, these speakers are going to last you for quite a while.
Pros and Cons
- Top-notch sound quality
- Great power and fantastic range of volumes
- New and innovative construction
- Lightweight and easy to move
- Can be difficult to mount the grilles
One common theme amongst the majority of these speakers is their average bass performance. Without a lot of power being driven to the speakers, they often suffer from the get-go but make it up with high-quality, clear sounds coming from other speakers.
You’ll be getting ultra-clean bass that immediately enhances the overall quality of whatever music you decide to play. Don’t worry about distortion either, as the voice coils were specifically designed to push out clear bass with less distortion.
With a max RMS of 240 watts, you can see why we rave about the bass. It’s bass response is very impressive, being one of the best we heard during our time.
The one downside to these speakers is their questionable durability. Many users have noted that they lose their accuracy ability during various weather conditions. They don’t offer the same bullet-proof, tough make that many other speakers offer. Unlike other speakers we’ve reviewed, the surrounds are made of fone and the woofer cone is made from non-reinforced polypropylene.
It is quite affordable and installation is noticeably simple, but the durability certainly puts a big question mark on it, especially for mild audio enthusiasts.
Pros and Cons
- Fantastic bass response, hard to top
- Consistent sound through all types of music
- Great volume control and use
- Very easy to install
- Lower quality components
- Not very durable
Finishing off our list with another Alpine, and it’s easy to see why. With great range and fantastic tone definition, the SPS610 is a versatile speaker with provides immediate improvement over your factory issued sound system.
Power levels are solid, offering a peak power capacity of 240 Watts. Even with this amount of power, your speakers might be turning into a mess when you seek out higher volumes. These speakers compensate for that shortcoming and make great strides in every other area. While the bass isn’t quite there, it still provides a solid kick and clear sounds.
High quality components mean that these speakers are quite durable, so they won’t be blowing out or giving in any time soon.
The poly and mica blend woofer cones mean you’ll be able to withstand those high volumes and that’s not all. The tweeters have an omni directional swivel, meaning you can tune the sound to your liking.
If you’re an audio enthusiast, you might skip over these speakers but if you’re just looking for a high quality, affordable set of speakers to give your vehicle the upgrade it needs, you can’t go wrong with the Alpine SPS610.
Despite being the “every man” set of speakers, they are quite difficult to install and you’re going to need to head to a professional.
Pros and Cons
- Great value for the money
- Perfect for those looking for a small upgrade
- Solid bass response for the lower levels
- Difficult installation, may need some modifications for your vehicle
- No grille included
How To Go About Choosing the Right Speakers
After checking out all the options, you might be wondering which is best for your vehicle. While the most ideal one often depends on you and what type of vehicle you have, there are a few other factors you can take into account when browsing.
Let’s have a look at some of those factors right now.
Types of Speakers
There are three different types of speakers to know when you’re looking for your car speaker.
These speakers are the largest you’ll see in a car. They are in charge of handling all of those low frequencies that your music can emit and are in charge of getting that bass pumping.
If you are looking for some great subwoofer options, check out our Top 10 Subwoofers Review
The majority of cars do not come with a subwoofer and even some of these speaker sets lack one. Many people buy them separately and add them onto the car audio system to complete everything. You’ll want to get one if you love listening to music with heavy bass, like hip-hop or classic rock.
When you first think of “car speaker”, chances are you’re thinking of a woofer. These are the speakers that are in your door, usually in the front seats. They handle the mid-range frequencies.
The larger they are, the better they are at handling the bass. Smaller woofers tend to handle the high range sounds with better accuracy.
Usually, speaker sets are sold with multiple woofers. Large woofers to handle the bass and small woofers to handle the rest of the frequencies.
Not just reserved for the internet and smart-witted pundits, tweeters are those tiny speakers that will handle the high-end frequencies of your music. They are usually no more than 1.5” and are mounted in the middle of a woofer.
With some systems, the tweeters are mounted high in the door handle, behind the passenger seat, or behind the driver’s seat.
The Other Components
Even though speakers get most of the glory, and rightly so, there are plenty of other components that go into making a car sound system sound great. These are usually just as important as the speakers themselves.
These items are small electronic components that you’ll find in every car system out there, from the oldest models barely making it up the hill to the brand new sports cars zooming around the city.
These are little computers, which tell the sound where to go based on its frequency. Lowest frequencies get sent to the subwoofer, mid-range frequencies to the woofers, and the high-end frequencies to the tweeters.
Depending on your system, the crossover might be built into the speaker or it will have to be mounted separately.
Even if you’re not a sound expert, you can probably guess what amps do: they amplify the sound produced by the input source. It makes things LOUDER.
The normal amplifier that comes in your factory-issued speakers is small and does enough to just cover the basics. If you want to get a bigger and badder system, you’ll have to get a bigger and badder amp.
Looking for a great Amp? Check out our Top 10 Rockford Fosgate Amps Review
Amps are sold per the number of speakers they can power. So if you see a one channel amp, how many speakers can it power? Just one. And if you purchase a three channel amp, it can power three speakers and so on and so forth.
This is sometimes an overlooked aspect and many people smack their foreheads when they realize they don’t have the right amp. Make sure you’re double checking it before you begin installation.
Types of Speaker Systems
Thankfully, there are only two types of speaker systems on the market. Here’s a quick look at both of them.
Also known as full range, coaxial speakers put every component you need into the speaker. It’s like choosing a pre-built model and is typically easier to install.
Full range speakers come with the woofer for your lower frequencies and a few tweeters for the high end frequencies. Some have additional drivers to cover the mid-range as well.
This is definitely the everyman’s audio system, providing a decent upgrade over your regular speakers at a low price. You won’t get as much customization as component speakers, but they still offer great quality and sound.
Those that do provide customization offer detachable tweeters, meaning you can remove them and install them elsewhere. Some offer swiveling tweeters, allowing you to point them in various directions.
The big daddies on the block, component speakers will give you the best overall experience. Each component is a single entity and they are much more customizable.
Woofers are mounted separately in order to provide the best listening experience possible.
These come with a crossover component, meant to send all the right frequencies to the right speakers. Component speakers often use the highest quality components, offer better sound quality, and more customization. They also tend to be more durable and can withstand harsher sounds.
That being said, you will have to pay a steeper price for these speakers. They are often difficult to install, meaning you’ll have to pay for that as well. That isn’t to say you can’t give it a go, but we recommend meeting with a professional.
Oftentimes, they require custom work to be able to even fit in your car setup. They might be too big or interfere with other parts of the car, such as seat movement or rolling down your windows.
Important Things to Consider
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, we want to wrap up with some important things to consider. Make sure you’re inspecting these elements or asking a professional about them before you make your choice.
You say it mentioned plenty of time throughout the list, as power handling is one of the most important aspects in the speakers. It’s a simple equation: the more power your speakers have, the more volume and bass they can put out.
Your speakers need to be able to handle that power or music will distort and the speakers will ultimately blow out. Then you’re back at square one.
If you’re going to stick with the original head unit, make sure that the head unit has enough power to supply your speakers. If not, then you should replace the head unit with a new one in order to make sure you’re not going to ruin your sound system.
This refers to the amount of power a speaker needs in order to produce sound.
High-sensitivity speakers require less power and low-sensitivity, naturally, require more power. Typically, low-sensitivity models are better because that means your speakers are more powerful. More powerful speakers equals better sound quality and ability.
Now that you have your speakers, you want them to last, right? Or else you get to start the whole process over again!
Even though your speakers are staying inside your car, you’re going to be exposed with high and low temperatures throughout the year.
Choose speakers that have rubber surrounds and cone materials that are stiff and lightweight. Higher-end models may have metal fibers woven into the material to improve sound quality and durability.
Tweeter materials tend to vary and use a wide range of materials, everything from silk to graphite. Here, neither is wrong and it comes down to personal preference. Harder materials produce better highs while softer materials offer more refined sound.
If you want to upgrade your car’s sound system, then there’s no better place to start than the speakers. Even a simple upgrade can make your music and ride more enjoyable.
Be sure you ask yourself what your budget is, what you want from your system, and what kind of customization you want. Answering those questions can go a long way in helping you narrow down what you’re looking for and find the best option for you.