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

Motorola Radio For Home And Car Billboard

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:

  1. Value Range
  2. Premium Range
  3. 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.

Value Range

Rockford Fosgate T16-S

Rockford Fosgate T16-ST1 car speakers
  • Sizes: 5.25" / 6" / 6.5" / 6.75"
  • VAST (Vertical Attach Surround Technique)
  • Flex Fit basket design
  • Audiophile grade 5% tolerance component external crossover
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4.3
These are two-way component system speakers with one-inch fabric dome tweeters. The system includes two woofers with grills and a pair of tweeters. This model will offer you top sound quality with high range of frequencies. Its power handling is 80 watts RMS and 160 watts of peak power. Crossover is 12 decibels-octave.

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Alpine SPR-68

Alpine SPR-68 car speaker
  • Size: 6x8"
  • Power Handling: Peak: 600 watts per pair / 300 watts each
  • RMS: 200 watts per pair / 100 watts each
  • Multi-Layer hybrid fiber cone delivers a really strong bass response
  • High Amplitude Multi Roll (HAMR) Santoprene rubber surround provides consistent, extended cone movement

4.6
This is another great two-way car speaker system. This model has the best performance even at a high volume. These speakers introduce multi-layer hybrid fiber woofers with santoprene rubber surround. With a one-inch silk dome tweeter, its peak power range is of 300 RMS watts and the frequency response is from 63 Hz – 29,000 Hz. This charming Alpine model will give you an amazing quality of sound and is worth much more than the price tag would suggest.

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JL Audio C2-650

JL Audio C2-650 component car speakers
  • Size: 6.5"
  • Power Handling: Peak: 450 watts per set / 225 watts per channel
  • RMS: 120 watts per set / 60 watts per channel

4.2
What kind of a list would this be if we didn’t include at least one JL model? So JL, in this audio evolution C2 speaker system, has really invested their vast experience, rooted in their above and beyond understanding of what speakers are actually all about. The speaker’s power handling peak is 225 RMS watts per channel. They are extremely efficient with a low frequency extension. The JL C2 series will give you a unique experience as it delivers sound to your ears.

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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

Rockford Fosgate T5652-S 2-Way Components Car Speakers
  • Size: 6.5"
  • 1" (25mm) ring radiator LCP dome tweeter with copper phase plug
  • LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) fiber trilaminate code
Premium choice badge

5
I don’t think there’s much need for introduction here. If you have any doubts of what is truly the best of the best and you have a lot of money to invest, you don’t have to look any further. This component system includes two tweeters, two woofers, and a single external crossover network. It will give you the best quality of sound even with the highest volumes. This model is truly all that speakers can give you wrapped up in one.

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JL Audio Evolution C5

JL Audio C5-653 Evolution C5 Series 6.5" 3-Way Component System
  • Size: 6.5"
  • Mineral-filled polypropylene cone body for the woofer and mid-range drivers
  • Rubber surround enhances the suspension and speaker's linearity
  • 6-1/2" Woofer with cast alloy frame
  • Top-mount depth: 2-13/16"
Premium choice badge

4.5
Another top notch quality speaker system that introduces a 6 ½ inch woofer with a frame made of cast alloy, mineral filled propylene cone body for the woofer and midrange drivers. This JL audio system is engineered in a way that it can meet the toughest demands in terms of acoustic environmental conditions. It has a C5 crossover network built with premium components, which includes mylar capacitors, segment air core inductors, etc. Peak power handling is 225 RMS watts and impedance is 4 ohms. The Evolution C5 series is a proud moment for JL Audio.

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Morel Elate TI-903

Morel Elate Ti-903 8-3/4" 3-Way Elate Titanium Series Car Component Speakers
  • Size: 8-3/4"
  • Power Handling (RMS) / Peak Power : 200W / 1,000W
  • Sensitivity (2.83V/1M) (dB) : 89
  • Frequency Response (Hz) : 25-25000
Premium choice badge

5
This component system will offer you two woofers, two tweeters, two midrange drivers, and two crossover networks. If you want to have the most unique sound equipment that will offer you a sound that you cannot even imagine, in terms of quality, power, clarity, and depth, this is truly the model for you. Morel Elate TI-903 is really a one-of-a-kind component speaker system that is made to give you the deepest and most profound experience of sound.

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Best Cheap Car Speakers

This budget list we’re going to start with is the best in terms of quality meeting fair price.

Pioneer TS-A6996R

Pioneer TS-A6996R A-Series 6" X 9" 650W 5-Way Speakers
  • Size: multiple various models available
Budget choice badge

4.5
This is the best of the best when it comes to the budget category is a Pioneer TS-A6996R A series, a 5-way speaker. This is one of the best if not THE best speakers that you can get for a low price. These speakers introduce the multi-layered mica matrix woofers with elastic polymer surround. It has an amazing frequency response ranging from 28 Hz-38,000 Hz. The tweeter is ¾ inches PET dome and 2 ⅜ inches dome supertweeters. The sensitivity of these speakers is 93 decibels. These speakers will provide you with an excellent quality of sound. You will get much more quality than you believe could be possible in this price range. This Pioneer A series speaker can be found anywhere from $70-$120. And I can tell you it’s more than a good bargain.

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Polk Audio MM571

Pioneer TS-A6996R A-Series 6" X 9" 650W 5-Way Speakers
  • Size: multiple various models available
Budget choice badge

4.5
These are two-way car speakers that introduce lightweight woofer cones, one inch silk dome tweeters that are excellent when giving you high frequencies. The frequency range of this model is from 38 Hz – 25,000 Hz. This is a water-resistant model so you can use it for boat purposes also. Another excellent piece of equipment for a small budget. The price range is anywhere from $90-$140.

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Rockford Fosgate P16

Rockford Fosgate P16 Punch 6-Inch 2-Way Coaxial Full-Range Speaker
  • Size: 6.5" (10 different sizes available)
  • Injection molded mineral filled polypropylene cone
  • Linear high excursion matched motor magnetics and suspension design
  • 0.75" (20mm) treated PEI dome tweeter
Budget choice badge

4.2
This is a two-way 6 ½ inch speakers that has a power range of 110 watts peak power. The frequency response of these speakers is from 65-22,000 Hz. And the sensitivity is 88 decibels. They have ¾ inches polyetherimide dome tweeter. It comes with adapter brackets for 5 x 7 in, 6 x 8 in, and 6 x 9 in openings (with the need for brackets modification). The woofers are mineral-filled polypropylene. The impedance of this model per voice coil is 4 ohms. The recommended power range is from 10-55 watts of RMS per channel. You will get a one year manufacturer guarantee.

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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.

Speakers

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.

SPL = Sound Pressure Level. Measured in decibels

Power

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…

Amplifiers

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.

Price

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.

Match

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.