If we want to talk about the best car speakers, then it would be appropriate to create some categorization in terms of what you want out of your speakers, which quality, what type, how much money are you willing to invest and so on. If you are just changing your speakers and you leave all other sound equipment that is factory integrated, like the amplifier for example, that is a completely different story than rejuvenating your car with full sound equipment. First, there are some guidelines and basic ground that we need to cover. But first, let’s have a brief look on the background.
If you are looking for a total overhaul of your car’s audio system remember to have a look at our article about the best car amps also.
A Little History
It has been more than eighty years since Motorola successfully installed the first commercial AM car radio system. In 1929, Mr. Paul Galvin and his brother Joseph owned a company called Galvin Manufacturing Co. that had developed the home radio system. It operated on a household electric current instead of being battery-powered. It wasn’t long before Paul first heard that people were fitting their home radio systems into cars.
Even the time of the Great Depression could not stop Paul in his endeavors to create the first commercial car radio. In 1930, his first successful AM radio system marked as the 5t71 model received the honor of being the first commercial car radio. Since then, long rides from home to work became much shorter and we could fulfill our soul’s need to listen to our favorite melodies, shows, or audio books conveniently in our cars.
One thing we can all agree about is that we all love to have the best possible car sound system ever. Some people even have sound systems that are more expensive than their car, believe it or not.
Best Car Speakers For Sound Quality 2018 - Our Picks
Because the variety of options is so humongous we decided to place our picks in three separate categories:
- Value Range
- Premium Range
- Budget Range
The first one is your “bang for your buck” type of speakers – the ones on which you get most value for your money and where a reasonable price meets excellent sound quality. The second one is for people who are looking for the ultimate best and money is not a deciding factor. The last one is for people who want the best while operating on a limited budget.
Rockford Fosgate T16-S
JL Audio C2-650
Best High End Car Speakers
If you are ready for a brave investment, here are the best of the best, top of the line, cream of the crop, crème de la crème and everything nice to put your courage to the test…
Rockford Fosgate T5652-S
JL Audio Evolution C5
Morel Elate TI-903
Best Cheap Car Speakers
This budget list we’re going to start with is the best in terms of quality meeting fair price.
Polk Audio MM571
Rockford Fosgate P16
Car Speaker Buyers Guide - Things To Consider
Now let’s have a look on what qualities you should focus on when hopping on to the market.
Here are the basic guidelines you need to know when you are looking to buy new speakers. First, we need to realize the basic components of car speakers.
- Tweeters are speakers that are basically responsible for the production of higher sound frequencies.
- Woofer speakers are the ones that are designated to give you all low to mid-range frequencies.
- Subwoofers basically give you that excellent bass. They produce very low sound frequencies that are usually of 180 Hz and lower.
In terms of types of speakers, there are two basic categories: component speakers and full range. Full range speakers is the system where everything is integrated within your speakers. Depending on the price range and availability, they will produce good quality of sound or you will have trouble.
On the other hand, a component speaker system is the one made out of separate components, where woofers and tweeters are separated and can be placed in any part of your car that you desire.
Quality of Sound
This is what speakers are all about. You really want the best sound quality when you’re listening to your stereo. The most important part is the range of frequencies. The bigger the range your speakers have, the better reproduction of sound they will have. In most cases, sound frequencies that the speakers produce are from 10 Hz to the peak frequency of 20,000 Hz.
Loudness and Power
Decibels are the actual measurement of loudness that your speakers produce. So this is one of the most important factors that you need to know when you want to buy speakers. Especially if you are that extreme SPL fanatic.
A typical car sound system is in the range of between 90-130 decibels. 130 decibels is the loudness that will challenge the threshold of your pain. To understand decibels better … if you add 3 decibels to any sound volume, you will be barely able to perceive it. And if you add +10 decibels, you will almost double the loudness.
Power is measured in watts (W). A watt is a measurement of an electric power. All speakers have a maximum measurement of watts that they can withstand and not blow out. You can also translate watts into decibels. For example, 30 watts equal to around 105 decibels, 120 watts is around 110 decibels, and so on.
When we talk about power, you have to make sure that your amplifier does not push more power into your speakers than they can handle. This leads to speaker damage. A few important factors to consider when combining speakers with amplifiers are…
RMS is the power that the amplifier can provide over a longer period of time.
The peak is a measurement of the amplifier power that it can provide in short bursts.
In the case of speakers, RMS equals nominal power damage and peak equals peak power damage.
Choosing Your Speakers - What Do You Want?
There is some ground that needs to be covered in terms of the price range of speakers and matching your new speakers with your car.
So before you go shopping for speakers, of course one of the most important factors is how much money you’re ready to invest in your new speakers. Nowadays, the price range of speakers can be anywhere from $60 to a few thousand dollars. Your budget is the starting point from which you will consider your options.
To match your speakers with your car stereo, you need to consider two general categories: high power and low power.
All those car stereos that will give you 15 watts or less of RMS per channel are considered to be low powered. And those which will offer you 16 watts and up of RMS are considered to be high powered stereos.
So low power stereo systems you should match with high sensitivity speakers, and vice versa, high power stereos should be combined with speakers of low sensitivity.
Another thing you will need to consider, in terms of matching your speakers, is the place where you can fit them. This means that you will not consider buying speakers that are too large and will be difficult to install in your vehicle. Of course, one more small detail we should add to the game, is that if you have big bucks to spend, you can consider changing your full stereo system along with your speakers.
Other Things Worth Mentioning
It’s better for you to invest in the installment of speakers by a professional rather than installing them by yourself. This way, you will ensure proper installation and won’t bring your new speakers into unforeseen and risky situation in which they can be damaged.