All cars come with standard car speakers. But the best speakers and subwoofers are normally installed to replace factory audio systems. To install car speakers, car owners must normally find the right speakers’ size as well as the quality of the sound they need. Subwoofers need a bit more space in the car and they cannot replace standard speakers as most new cars don’t include a subwoofer.
- Features to Consider in Good Speakers & Subwoofers
- Top 5 Best Car Speakers 2023
- Top 5 Best Car Subwoofers 2020
- Guide to Buying the Best Car Speakers and Subwoofers
- Final words
Features to Consider in Good Speakers & Subwoofers
There are many indicators to the quality of certain speakers. Users can find that even the materials of a woofer have their place in sound quality. However, things are very different when going in-depth and seeing all of the speakers on the market and how they are made, from watts to coaxial or component speakers.
The frequency range is a good indicator of what can be expected for audio quality. Adjustable frequency allows users to take full control of the quality of the car’s speakers. The tweeters use directional sound which allows optimal listening. Crossovers balance the distribution of frequencies between tweeters and woofers. This means that all frequencies are properly reproduced, without any loses. Premium audio systems allow bi-amping, which is basically a separate amplification for the tweeter and for the woofer.
RMS and peak power
RMS is known as the amount of power car speakers can handle in a continuous mode. This is the opposite of peak power, which is often used for advertising purposes. Going against marketing techniques is recommended and choosing to see RMS power over peak power is the realist mode of shopping for the best car speakers.
Top 5 Best Car Speakers 2023
1. Boss Audio CH6530 Car Speakers
Designed with aa 6.5” size, the speakers come in parts of two. For most users, they should be easy to install. Similarly to other car speakers, they simply replace the old standard speakers of the car and the car audio system’s cables connected in order for them to work.
In terms of design, the polyurethane injection of car speakers is what gives them extra value. In all cars, the temperature rises quickly and soft materials such as plastics are the first which show signs of wear. With extra rubber, the car speakers are actually durable and they maintain a solid profile which avoids metal to metal contact.
The surrounding rubber is also suitable at low temperatures. The material is mainly used due to its real versatility in changing weather conditions. With a protective mesh metal on top, the speakers also look apart. The rubber part is painted in red and this means the little speakers stand out immediately.
The speakers are affordable and they are mainly made to replace old factory speakers. Old speakers can blow out for a number of reasons. But the good news is the Boss speakers are actually capable of replacing these standard speakers while adding sound quality and volume.
Since there are good materials used inside the speakers, this means they offer a more durable profile even on high bass. It is why they will last well in time, even when overheating. With a full range of up to 300W, they offer sufficient sound levels for the inside of a car or a truck.
Resistant to overloads, they can suit all types of music and radio talk shows. Those who want a more comprehensive update of their speakers can also consider the Bluetooth receiver compatible with the speakers, sold separately.
With an appealing look and a combined power of 300W, the speakers are an affordable update for better sound quality in cars and SUVs.
- A combined power of 300W
- Made with polyurethane injections
- Includes rubber protection
- Voice coil resistance at high temperatures
- Not best for base
2. Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime
Designed with a distinct audio quality often seen as an improvement over factory speakers, the Fosgates are solidly built. First of all, they come in sizes ranging from 4inch to 6,75inch. To replace old speakers, users can measure them to find out the right size to fit in the doors, in the back of the vehicle or in any other location.
Made with an all-black design, the speakers remain low profile and elegant. For all vehicles, black remains the one true versatile color. There is no grill in the front of the speakers which means bass treble will be more visible.
Installing them is easy as well. From small city cars to SUVs like the Silverado, they can be installed within minutes. With a depth of up to 2,15”, they fit well in most scenarios. But the screws they come with can be long on some vehicles. Apart from this small inconvenience, the fit is always right when the right speaker size is chosen.
One of the convenient aspects of simply choosing a design which offers quality sound is how it changes perception compared to standard speakers. It is in these scenarios that many drivers actually realize they do not want to go for an additional subwoofer as the sound quality is already at a high standard. This is also the case with the Rockford speakers.
Depth adapters are offered by the brand as well. This is also an area where the user actually has to measure the depth of front doors to ensure there’s sufficient space to install the upgrade. But in most cases, this should be possible.
Other drivers consider factory speakers updates only when they are looking for a DIN or multimedia player. But the bundle can come to change the way multimedia is approached in the vehicle. With a kit which includes 2 speakers, users can improve the way music is listened to in their vehicles, regardless of the vehicle size.
Available in all sizes, the speakers can add value to all music types, even if they are not going to replace a subwoofer.
- Good sound quality across the range
- Simple installation with or without a grill
- Made with an integrated tweeter crossover
- Maximum mounting depth of 2.15”
- Reduced base performance
3. Pioneer A Series 6.5” 320 Watts Max 3-Way Car Speakers
Plenty of attention has been given to the design of the car speakers. Even for such an affordable price, these car speakers manage to offer one of the best solutions for improved durability, which is the cause for the upgrade of standard speakers in the first place, in most situations.
In terms of fit, there are various options to consider. From 4X6” to 6X9” speakers, there are different versions to consider. All of these speakers use carbon and mica reinforcements, regardless of their size.
The design of the speakers allows the front metal grill to be removed, according to the preference of the user. Of course, it has a protective role, but it can also be removed for decorative purposes. In most cases, users will be able to see the differences and even enjoy the full treble with a low base.
When it comes to sound quality, it is important to make the distinction that users have to choose the largest speakers for the loudest volume. In this case, the largest speakers come with a 320W capacity. This is a bit higher than the standard average.
Those unfamiliar with speaker wattage need to know that these speakers are not able to replace a subwoofer, no matter how loud the sound level is set. However, they cover the midranges well and they are suitable for general audio quality, not specific to any types of music. Of course, they can always be paired with a subwoofer for added quality, especially when it comes to the deep base with an impact.
A new magnetic circuit has been added to the speakers as well. Since they are not at their first generation, this means that many inherent issues with durability have not been fixed. As a result, they will last for years.
Combining characteristics such as affordability with high-end materials (ie carbon) resulted in balanced performers, suitable for all music genres.
- Top durability for the price
- Made with carbon and mice
- Suitable for standard installation
- 320W maximum power output
- Not best for high note quality
4. JBL CLUB6520 6.5" 300W Club Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speaker
Made in Mexico, thee speakers stand out with solid characteristics. In real terms, it offers the loudest music possible on standard audio cables and without any amplification. Then there are the 4Ohm characteristics which make this possible.
In terms of design, the speakers are nearly entirely covered in metal mesh, which means they will not necessarily stand out. But then again, they are not the type of speakers to be purchased for the way they look.
In terms of size, the speakers are available in 3-1/2” versions, which means they will fit in some of the most remote places of a vehicle. Their 6-1/2” versions are probably the most popular option and they offer a great replacement for stock speakers.
One of the interesting aspects of the speakers comes with their break-in period. A number of users have already shown this is the case and the period differs from case to case. As an average, it is believed that up to 25 hours of playback are needed for the base to come in place.
Once the rubber has past the break-in period, users can create their own personal upgraded music-listening space inside their cars. Since the highs and mids are considered good, the base will follow shortly after the break-in period.
Situated at the crossroads of affordability and mid-range quality, the speakers are closer to the later. It is why they are often the choice for those who want extra audio quality without investing in amplifiers.
The final verdict on the speakers cannot overpass their quality as they match their description, unlike most other speakers of the class.
- Available in 3-1/2” versions
- 320W in the largest version
- Recommended to pull most power
- Strong base for the price
- Require break-in period
5. JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speaker
Designed to meet high standards in terms of audio quality, the speakers ended up offering quality high notes. For this purpose, they are clear-sounding options for listening to music on the radio. They are only available in 6,5” options, which means they are mostly seen as a replacement option for standard factory speakers.
With a hybrid rubber and cloth surround, the speakers are indeed powerful and durable considering their affordability. With the mica cone, the poly-ether imide tweeter, the speakers can reach highs other products can’t. For the midrange and low notes, the speaker uses a special rubber. As a result, they offer a balanced performance for most types of music.
Made to be installed in the door panel, the speakers will not take long to set in place. If the steps are followed as described, the speakers will play music in a matter of minutes. In some cases, the installation process might require small modifications. This, however, should not be a matter of concern. The manufacturer provides a number of alternative screws and mounting tabs which can improve the way the speakers fit the door.
With 92db, the speakers are comparable to other slightly more expensive alternatives. Apart from their clear highs, they do not exceed the sound quality of the other versions seen above. However, they are nearly two times as affordable and this makes them a top solution for those on a budget.
With crystal-clear highs and prices which is hard to match, the speakers are a top option for a number of users seeking maximum power.
- Made with poly-ether tweeters
- Includes installation screws
- Ships with mounting tabs
- 300W maximum power output
- Lower base performance
Top 5 Best Car Subwoofers 2020
1. Rockville RW10CA 10" Car Subwoofer
Most car owners are blown away by the quality and sound level of the bass and the input options. Without a doubt, the slim design of the subwoofer is its most appealing characteristic. As a result, it can be mounted in many locations around a car. From the trunk to mounting underneath a seat, the subwoofer is very versatile.
Its practicality is still unmatched for its size. For example, it comes with a function which detects when the subwoofer needs to turn on or when it needs to turn off. When it detects an audio signal, it automatically turns on. This means users don’t have to manually switch the subwoofer on wherever they jump into the car.
All the inputs and wiring have been installed on a side panel. As a result, the subwoofer can even stand without impeding the input cables. This goes to show that attention to detail characterizes this quirky subwoofer.
There is a thermal protection system installed on the subwoofer. The extra bass can overheat the speaker of the subwoofer quickly and this acts as a first safety measure. But the sound quality can match all of these high expectations as well.
For most cars, the 800W performance is more than enough. It offers a full sound which works to complete the existing door speakers. Another distinct characteristic comes with the built-in amplifier. Practically, users save money as they don’t need to purchase additional amplifiers. For most of them, it is an opportunity to save space as well. Without having to look for extra space for the amplifier, there’s less clutter and wiring to worry about.
The subwoofer is small and it includes an amplifier. It works for any type of car as a result.
- Made with a slim profile
- Includes mounts
- Delivers 800W performance
- Made with overload protection
- Not the cleanest basse
2. Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch Shallow-Mount Pre-Loaded Enclosure
The large car subwoofer has a distinct appeal with its 1200w (300w) performance. It is made with resin and it has the capacity of delivering deep base which can impress even avid audio tech fans. In terms of design, it comes in a distinct large box with a slim profile.
The subwoofer is small, but not that small so that it could fit underneath a seat. But at the same time, it can be quickly installed in the trunk. It is here that it can be fixed to the back of the car’s backseat. Covered by carpet, the subwoofer is bass-ready and it creates sufficient space for air to pass whenever loud bass is needed.
With an injection molded design, the subwoofer can be the base of great music inside the car, the SUV or the family truck. Its space-saving dimensions mean it will fit cars which are not typically suitable for subwoofer installation. The likes of a Mini, a Smart for Two or an Audi A1 can be the cars where this compact subwoofer can be installed. Even a quirky Fiat 500 can handle such a compact design.
At the moment, the subwoofer comes with an all-black color. Branding is added on the speaker and in terms of looks, it will work for trunk installation. At a length of 56 inches, it delivers impressive results.
This slim-profile subwoofer is an interesting choice for compact cars, where space is at a premium.
- Made with a thin profile
- Only measures 55.9 inches in length
- Low weight of 9kg
- Suitable for low bass
- Will not fit under a seat
3. Audiobahn TQ10DF 10" Flat Enclosed Subwoofer
The design of the subwoofer is probably its best feature. It allows the simplest installation and for most car owners, it saves space without minimizing luggage carrying capacity. The carpeted design is what recommends it within the trunk, where it can be fitted to the walls easily.
In terms of design performance, the subwoofer has been made with a tight seal. With extra joint strength, it is among the strongest designs of its class. Without too much effort, the spun aluminum cone stays in place for powerful bass.
Apart from its compact design, the subwoofer is installed quickly. There are no free wires to worry about and its installation is quick. However, unlike other options, it does not include an amp and it should be paired with one in order to get most out of its bass.
With a single speaker, the subwoofer is mainly suitable for in-car use and it can sometimes be installed on large vehicles such as vans as well. However, its high 1200W capacity also means that cables which connect it to the amp should be above average in quality.
Suitable for in-trunk installation, the subwoofer offers loud bass if paired with a reliable amp.
- Made to offer 1200W
- Suitable for in-trunk installation
- Carpeted design
- Reinforced box for strength
- Requires an external amp
4. Rockville RWS12CA Slim 1200 Watt 12" Powered Car Subwoofer
The design of this affordable subwoofer makes it one of the most attractive solutions in its class. Apart from the way its grill looks, the subwoofer comes with a thin profile of only 12”. Inside the box, there’s laminated foam and extra space for air circulation. The result is clear and deep bass with great impact on different music genres, especially hip hop, and bass-rich music.
With a long list of accessories such as cables, washers and yoke plates, it represents a practical choice for the average user. It is these users who will appreciate the included amp as well. There’s no need to spend more and lose time searching for the best amp for loud bass.
With some of the best quality carpet covers, the subwoofer can be a solution to last for years. Of course, it might not be moved much once in place. But it is reassuring to know that it will maintain its looks and sound quality over the years, even if moved around the trunk as needed for storage purposes.
With an acrylic dust cap, the subwoofer is actually going to look better than most other options as well. The combination of black and orange makes it one of the most suitable designs for all types of powerful cars.
This loud subwoofer is ready to go as it comes with an included amp and some of the most durable materials of its price range.
- Made with an included amp
- Includes an acrylic dust cap
- Ships with quality cables
- 2” high-temperature aluminum voice coil
- Some distortion on the lows
5. Kicker 11HS8 8" 150W Hideaway Car Audio Powered Subwoofer
Not all users need the largest subwoofer. The Kicker subwoofer is one of the compact options which shows its true quality with its righteous design. It fits immediately under a car seat and for this reason, it saves a lot of space.
But apart from saving space, the subwoofer comes with an included amp. It is why there are not too many wires to worry about and why most users can actually install it with no help. Its boxed shape will eventually make it invisible once under a seat.
There’s no doubt the size of the subwoofer is its strongest point. However, since it comes with a 150W performance, it might not be ideal for all car owners. It will work for those who want strong bass but who do not want the strongest bass. It is why it is mainly considered by the users who are not necessarily into crystal-clear sound but are rather looking to complement their stock car speakers.
With a compact boxed design, the 150W subwoofer can add depth to the music, even if at a reduced level.
- Made with a thin profile
- Fits under a seat
- Delivers 150W
- Includes a built-in amp
- Not the loudest choice
What size speakers do I need?
When it comes to speaker size, in most cars, only certain sizes will fit. Replacing standard front door speakers requires measuring the old speakers to determine proper size. Speakers in the back of the car can also be situated inside the access doors. Apart from custom-made solutions, most car speakers may only replace standard sizes which came with the car.
What is RMS?
RMS refers to the continuous power supported by speakers. It is different to maximum power capacity which is often advertised with third-party speakers. It is one of the defining characteristics when making a purchase. The higher the RMS, the higher the continuous sound level is.
What is peak power?
Peak power refers to the maximum power output of the speakers. It may not be continuous power and it can be very different from the actual continuous power of the car speakers and subwoofer.
Can I install new car speakers myself?
Most car speakers can be easily installed. A car electrician can install speakers properly, in a short period of time. Installing amps and subwoofers is mainly recommended to be made by a professional, as it involves extra power and possibly cable upgrades.
Do I need a car amp?
A car amp can add volume to a subwoofer or to speakers. Most drivers don’t actually need an amp but many of those who love music can’t live without one.
How big is a subwoofer?
Subwoofers now come in all sizes. However, not all of the options of the moment are actually made to fit all cars. Some subwoofers may even prove too large for small cars. However, as seen above, the sizes of the subwoofers vary considerably.
Do I need extra bass?
Extra bass is basically achieved by installing subwoofers for the low notes. But not all drivers need it. In some cases, it can even prove tiresome to drive long distances with powerful bass. Having the option to turn the bass on and off is the best solution for everyday cars.
Guide to Buying the Best Car Speakers and Subwoofers
Some of the best car speakers of the moment are actually made with similar characteristics. But details such as materials can make the difference. However, car speakers and subwoofers are mainly considered for an audio upgrade and this is why they need to be better than standard speakers.
The size of the speakers is where all purchases begin. Larger or smaller speakers cannot replace standard factory speakers and this is why all users actually have to ensure their cars are ready to take the new speakers in.
The size of the subwoofer is also important, especially if the car’s owner plans to install one under the seat. In this case, ensuring there’s enough space under the seat is mandatory. Many large subwoofers are installed in the trunk. All car owners need to know that they will take up a lot of space in the trunk and there might not be too much luggage space left as a result. But since all cars are different, the decision is taken taking into consideration each trunk’s size.
Additional accessories might be needed. If not all subwoofers come with included amps, a separate amplifier might need to be purchased. This is why all users need to actually shop around to find the entire setup to fit a car. If most under-the-seat subwoofers now come with included amps, things can be different for trunk subwoofers. An additional amp is not large, but it needs its space for permanent installation.
RMS and true sound quality
Many speakers are branded with 1000W stickers. In reality, this may as well be just a peak performance characteristic. The real continuous wattage is different. It allows nominal power to offer a constant type of audio quality and volume.
All drivers need to ensure their cars are actually suitable for the extra power, as in many cases, too much power will come with its side effects on the car. The best performers of the moment are speakers which successfully combine peak power with top audio quality.
Interior acoustics and preferred music genres
A discussion on music genres is needed for some of the most powerful speakers. Since there are drivers who only listen to certain types of music, the biggest subwoofers are not always an option. Rock fans might need better mid and high tones while hip hop fans will value the extra bass. When it comes to the average car driver, having a balanced subwoofer may be the best choice.
The car’s interior can certainly rattle with too much bass. At the same time, having too much bass can take away from driving safety as drivers lose concentration. It can be said that the days of the most powerful subwoofers are now gone and an emphasis on quality is seen with many purchases.
Installing a subwoofer – what to do and what not to do
When it comes to installing a subwoofer, the required steps vary from setup to setup. From finding a metal ground to connect the battery cable to the amplifier, there are a few steps to be followed.
In most cases, subwoofers come with detailed instructions. In other cases, the instructions are limited. However, some fine-tuning is always needed. Playing familiar songs will offer a better perspective on whether the subwoofer is correctly installed.
So which parts are needed in the installation process? A typical setup includes the subwoofer itself, an amplifier, 10-gauge insulated wires, RCA cables, in-line fuses, screws, basic tools, etc. All of these are used in the process and having thicker cables is a must for extra power.
In most cases, taking the car stereo out is needed to install the RCA cables. This is why it’s not recommended to follow this process at home, without the help of a professional. Simply sling the car stereo out in a weird angle can lead to scratches on the dash or on the stereo itself.
Adding the power cable to the battery also needs to be done as neatly as possible. Car batteries can be found in the front of the car or at the rear of the car. Most installers simply place the cable between the battery clip and the post of the battery.
Some of the best car speakers and subwoofers are not complicated to install. It’s worth finding the options which include quality cabling for installation purposes. However, the difference will be made in audio quality and many users simply need to find the right designs to fit their own cars.
Replacing car speakers is a simple process. However, a few words on warranty are needed here. Since all electrics come with a warranty, they need to be properly installed in order for customers not to lose this coverage. Some car speaker manufacturers do not allow home installation. Practically, the product warranty is only valid if the speakers are installed by a professional. It is why all car owners are responsible for their own speakers’ warranty.
When properly installed, car speakers are covered by a typical warranty of around 2 years. After the installation process, all the paperwork needs to be archived and stored in case there’s any problem with the speakers in the given timeframe.
Apart from proper installation, users might also lose the warranty if they use poor quality cabling for the installation process. The higher the cost of the speakers, the more attention is placed on the quality of the accessories. Warranty is also lost when the amp is tuned to a higher power than the speakers can handle. Reading the owner’s manual becomes a must-do even before the installation process. It is the base of the successful car speaker and subwoofer installation process.