The audio system is a major contributing factor in the decision to buy a car. However, a lot of drivers don’t know about the best car audio speakers out there.
As an audiophile myself, I have discovered that Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, JBL, JL Audio, Focal, Pyle, Boss, Alpine, and Infinity to be some of the very best car audio brands in the market that offer great features but do not cost a fortune.
Whether you are thinking of buying a new car or want to upgrade your current vehicle, testing a car’s audio system is worth considering, since it is an important part of a car’s overall design and is one of the most popular hobbies. In this guide, I have compiled together a list of the best car audio speakers based on various factors, including types of features, size and installation, speaker axes, structure, wattage, and more.
Our team has personally used these speakers in their cars and has contributed honest reviews about their features and quality of performance.
Kicker CSC65 CS Series
Kicker CSC65 CS Series are two-way speakers that offer a convenient drop-in installation without reducing sound quality. The speakers handle low- and mid-range audio exceptionally well thanks to their high-quality polypropylene woofer cone. They are also integrated with dome tweeter handles that handle the high range audio.
For drop-in replacement speakers, Kicker CS delivers a better bass response than your average ones and the sound is perfectly clear throughout the various ranges of volumes. These powerful speakers pair well with upgraded high-power stereo head units but also work great with factory-installed speakers.
- Has double the RMS and peak watts of other speakers in the same price range
- All-in-one coaxial design that eliminates the need to install a separate tweeter
- Handles high sensitivity and frequency ranges from 40 Hz to 20,000 Hz
- Since it does not have a three-way unit, it cannot offer the same distinct mid-range coverage
- Cannot place separate tweeters due to coaxial design
- Grille design is not the best
Kicker 43DSC504 D-Series
Kicker 43DSC504D-Series is an entry-level and budget-friendly speaker system that is part of the brand’s D Series. The system is without bells and whistles, unlike other products in this list, but it benefits from Kicker’s high-grade engineering.
The two-way speakers are surprisingly powerful and deliver enough volume to satisfy most drivers. The set consists of 5.25-inch woofers made of premium-quality polypropylene cones, which are mostly only found in more expensive models.
The woofers cones are rigid and are surrounded by plaster foam that reduces unwanted resonance. The system offers solid bass combined with crisp high, thanks to the dome tweeters. The oversized voice coils and the cooling components ensure high quality audio and long-lasting reliable performance.
The frequency response is surprisingly good for speakers in this price range. The system offers a 4-ohm impedance, a 400w peak output and 50w RMS output.
- Very affordable
- A great alternative for replacing 5.25-inch car speakers
- Excellent crossover engineering and circuitry
- Built to last
- Very easy to install
- Don’t have fancier components
Rockford Fosgate R165X3
Rockford Fosgate R165X3 is an impressive 6.5-inch set of four, three-way, speakers with coaxial and features high-grade engineering and construction. The system has highly responsive drives and offers 90w of peak power output and 45w of RMS output. Thanks to the three-way system, drivers get a dedicated tweeter designed exclusively for high-end frequencies or trebles.
It also consists of an active, silk-dome Piezoelectronic tweeter that can handle high frequency effortlessly and results in crystal clear audio. The system has dedicated drivers for all frequency ranges, which means a natural and more balanced sound.
- Highly esthetic sleek and plush design
- Excellent build quality
- 1-year official warranty
- Very affordable
- Easy to install
- Not the best bass output
- Also detected slight distortion in higher volumes
JBL GTO609C is a 6.5-inch coaxial system featuring woofers and tweeters enclosed separately. The system’s two-way component system has an RMS output of 90 watts per pair.
The audio system features carbon-injected cone material with JBL’s Plus One woofer-cone technology that helps deliver more powerful bass without extra power. The soft dome tweeters are equipped with oversized voice coils which dissipate heat rapidly, allowing excellent handling of the soft dome tweeters.
The dual-level tweeter volume adjustment controls, drivers can find the perfect volume in their car. Designed to replace factory speakers, the GTO Series consists of 3-ohm voice coils that compensate for the extra resistance from thin-gauge factory speaker wires. Its external 12Db/octave crossover filters are designed to remove harmful frequencies.
- Equipped with proprietary Plus One woofer-cone technology that delivers powerful bass
- 12dB/octave crossover filters
- Powerful bass
- Great value for money
- May require an external amp for improved performance
- Impedance could have been higher
JL Audio C2-650X Evolution Series
JL Audio C2-650X Evolution Series is a standard 6.5-inch two-way coaxial system with a subwoofer and a silk dome tweeter combination that delivers a harmonious and well-balanced audio quality.
The car audio speakers deliver excellent higher frequency response as well as deliver exceptionally well on the low end, thanks to the woofers that have injection-molded cones composed of a mineral mixture of polypropylene and mica and stamped steel frames. Thanks to its butyl surround, there is no unwanted resonance that can ruin the sound.
The speakers have an RMS output of 60w and peak power of 225w with 4-ohm impedance and a broad frequency response range from 59 Hz to 22,000 Hz.
- Great two-way model with impressive speakers
- Made with mineral-injected woofer cones and silk dome tweeters
- Premium, plush look
- A bit pricey
Focal ES 165 KX3 K2 Power 6-1/2" 3-way Component Speakers
Focal ES 165 KX3 K2 Power speakers are handmade and tuned by audio engineers and are suitable for more picky audiophiles. The system is equipped with premium material, including a Kevlar woofer cone and aramid fiber dome tweeters, that are assembled separately with immaculate attention to detail. This results in lightweight but very strong drivers.
The external crossover is very impressive and has masterfully constructed windings that can be seen through a smoked translucent cover. A Tuned Mass Damper rubber surrounds prevents distortion and the M-shaped inverted tweeter domes result in more dispersion, higher power handling, and better sound. Hence, the set is designed to deliver mid- and high-ranges with excellent reliability.
In addition, the crossovers also have some built-in tuning features so they are very helpful for drivers who need more sound control.
- Premium material and hand-built by professionals
- Beautifully constructed external crossovers increase esthetics
- Balance sound with exceptional clarity across mid- and high-range
- Required professional installation
- Require upgraded amp, subwoofer, and stereo to get the most benefit out of the speakers
- High price
Boss Power CH6530
Boss Power CH6530 is a set of coaxial stereo speakers that allow you to hear excellent pitch, thanks to its immaculately made tweeters. The system comes in a set of two 6.5 inch speakers that offers three-way sounds over a wide range of frequency. The system works between a range of 100 Hz and 18,000 Hz, which produces a crystal clear audio flow for music lovers. The speakers are equipped with rubber surrounds that absorb unwanted resonance, eliminate distortion and result in clean audio.
The 300-watt speakers are esthetically pleasing and are simple to install. All components are made with high-quality material, as expected of the Boss brand name. However, their style does make them pick up dust quickly.
- 300w peak power
- Rubber surrounds eliminate distortions and vibrations
- Excellent option for perfect pitches
- Easy installation
- Requires regular cleaning to remove dust
Alpine SPS-610 is a set of 6.5-inch replacement speakers with two-way coaxial units that consist of a 1-inch wide-range silk dome as well as a mica-reinforced polypropylene woofer that enables extended high volume audio runs. The swivel tweeter allows over 10 degrees of movement to ensure the right amount of tuning.
The system is also equipped with a butyl rubber surround for improved natural response and fidelity. It also features an OEM adaptor with a tuned motor that gives it an adaptive sound with thumping bass.
The system offers an RMS output of 80aw and a peak power output of 240w. In addition, they also have an HD polymer frame which offers easy installation and better sound.
- Swivel tweeter for better tuning
- Alpine quality performance
- HD polymer frame for optimal sound
- Little bass
Infinity Primus PR6500CS
Infinity Primus PR6500CS is a 6.5-inch two-way component speaker that features the company’s patented PlusOne woofer cones. The components increase the cone radiating area as compared to other speakers in the same size and range. As a result, you get increased bass output and louder sound with smaller amplifiers. It offers a 3-ohm impedance to offset the effect of the thin-gauge factory speaker wires.
The system’s tweeter has an edge-driven textile dome that offers enhanced power handling and reduces distortion, resulting in clean and clear sound from the mid/woofer driver. The tweeter and woofer modules are separate in this model and it has an external crossover.
The system can handle an RMS output of 80w and a peak power output of 320w.
- PlusOne woofer cones
- Equipped with vented motor assemblies
- Edge-driven textile tweeter dome offers increased power handling and clarity of sound
- May require professional/custom installation
Pyle Car Sound Speakers
Pyle Car Sound Speakers offer a sensitivity of 90 dB, a peak power output of 300w, and a voice coil that can handle high temperatures, which means it is a great choice for older vehicles. The system features a 4-ohm setup and is equipped with polymer-injected woofer cons that enhance the quality of volume distribution.
With 5x7 dimensions, Pyle speakers can easily fit into any car. If you want to add a splash of color, the bright blue cone does the trick while it optimizes sound quality. The speakers have surprisingly effective wiring and components at the price point.
Pyle speakers can get quite loud but drivers need to keep in mind that the system does not have a lot of components to buffer the sound. This may result in resonance and vibrations that can result in distortion. However, this is only an issue at high volumes.
- Peak power of 300w
- Polymer-injected cones offer loud volume
- Does not have buffer to prevent distortion
Factors to Consider When Buying Car Audio Speakers
If you want to make sure you make a smart buy with the money you have, you need to take into account a few factors related to car audio speakers that can give you the right level of quality and performance. Let’s take a look at them:
Types of Car Speakers
There are two main types of car speakers: full range speakers and component speakers.
Full Range Speakers
Also known as coaxial speakers, these speakers are the most commonly available in the market. They are equipped with a tweeter that handles high frequency and a woofer that handles bass and low- to mid-range frequencies. Since these models are simple, they do not require modifications to the car and are priced at the lower end of the spectrum.
These speakers consist of separate parts placed all over the vehicle and allow drivers more control over the flow of the music, based on where they are installed. You can make sure that the woofer and the tweeter channel-specific frequencies by wiring them properly. Because of the higher degree of control, music quality is improved. However, they may require vehicle modification and professional installation.
Size and Installation
On average, most car speakers are between 4 and 9 inches. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger its factory speakers. Typically, speakers are installed behind a protective grill and the bigger the space is, the higher the audio quality.
Depending on the design of your vehicle and the space it has, you will want a different setup for speakers. You can find two-way, three-way, and four-way speakers readily in the market. Obviously, the more speakers there are, the higher the quality of the sound. Each speaker handles a specific frequency range, restricting crossover and eliminating static sounds and distortion.
The material of a speaker also determines the sound quality. Sound is the result of vibrations but drivers do not want ambient noises, which can compromise audio quality but also cause the speakers to become overheated. Hence, it is important that your speaker should have some kind of protective layer like a butyl rubber surround. This material absorbs unwanted vibration, prevents background noise, and helps the system avoid damage.
Wattage is a very important feature, particularly if you drive a bigger car. You can find speakers which offer wattage as low as 80w and as high as 350w. The higher the power output, the louder the speaker can get. Higher wattage speakers are also less likely to blow out so you should consider the type of vehicle you drive when choosing your speakers.
Getting a quality car audio speaker should not cost you an arm and leg. You can spend less than $100 on budget-friendly speakers that have good audio quality and bass. These speakers are made of good quality material, have great designs, and can handle extended use without overheating or compromising sound quality.
If you want to spend over $100, you can get speakers from the best-in-class brands that offer differentiated sound levels and more control, which can deliver the ultimate music experience to an audiophile.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding