Best Car Speakers of 2017 [Reviews, Comparison and Buyer’s Guide]

Best Car Speakers 2017

There's a hot debate in the mobile audio communities online:

What are the best car speakers

Well, there's no hard answer for that, i'm afraid. It depends SO much on the kind of sound each person is looking for, that naming any random set just won't cut it. Even if it's some crazy high-end product.

Then, not everyone wants to spend $800 per set of speakers.
Some crazy people rather pay rent with that, if you know what I mean.

So to help EVERYONE find a perfect set of speakers for their car, the team of Gear4Wheels.com has put together a MONSTER COMPARISON between the top 10 car speaker lines on the market.
From audiophile-level to budget friendly speakers, we've got it all.

A word of caution: This article is huge. Its meant to be the ultimate resource for those looking for a new speaker. Take your time, bookmark it... enjoy. There's a grand total of 10 in-depth speaker reviews, two comparison tables (one for high-end speakers and one for more budget friendly choices) as well as a buyer's guide. You'll find a quick navigation table a bit further down below.

Comparison Chart: High End Speakers

Runner Up
Audiophile's Choice
JL Audio C5-653 Evolution C5 Series 6.5" 3-Way Component System
Hertz MPX690.3 Mille PRO Coaxial Speakers
Morel Hybrid 602 6.5" 2-Way Component Speakers System
JL Audio C3-650 6-3/4" 2-way Convertible Component/Coaxial Speakers System Evolution C3 Series
JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers (Pair)
Displayed size
6.5"
6x9"
6.5"
6.5"
6.5"
Available sizes
5.25" / 5x7" / 6x8" / 6.5"
6.5" / 6x9"
4" / 5.25" / 6.5"
5" / 5x7" / 6.5" / 6x8"
3.5"/ 4"/ 4x6"/ 5x7"/ 5.25"/ 6.5"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Top Pick
JL Audio C5-653 Evolution C5 Series 6.5" 3-Way Component System
Displayed size
6.5"
Available sizes
5.25" / 5x7" / 6x8" / 6.5"
Editor's Rating
Runner Up
Hertz MPX690.3 Mille PRO Coaxial Speakers
Displayed size
6x9"
Available sizes
6.5" / 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Audiophile's Choice
Morel Hybrid 602 6.5" 2-Way Component Speakers System
Displayed size
6.5"
Available sizes
4" / 5.25" / 6.5"
Editor's Rating
JL Audio C3-650 6-3/4" 2-way Convertible Component/Coaxial Speakers System Evolution C3 Series
Displayed size
6.5"
Available sizes
5" / 5x7" / 6.5" / 6x8"
Editor's Rating
JBL GTO638 6.5-Inch 3-Way Speakers (Pair)
Displayed size
6.5"
Available sizes
3.5"/ 4"/ 4x6"/ 5x7"/ 5.25"/ 6.5"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Comparison Chart: Mid End and Budget Speakers

Focal Access 165 CA1 6.5-Inch Coaxial Speaker Kit
Pair of Brand New Jl Audio C2-525x 5 1/4" 2 Way Speakers with Silk Dome Tweeters
Pioneer TS-A1686R A-Series 6.5" 350-Watt 4-Way Speakers
Rockford P1650 6.5-Inch 2-Way Full Range Euro Fit Compatible Speaker
Rockford Fosgate R1675X2 Prime 6.75-Inch Full Range 2-Way Coaxial Speaker - Set of 2
Displayed Size
6.5"
5.25"
6.5"
6.5"
6.5"
Available Sizes
4"/ 5.25"/ 5x7"/ 6.5"/ 6x9"
3.5”/ 4”/ 5.25”/ 5x7"/ 6x8”/ 6”/ 6.5”/ 6x9”
4x6"/ 5.25"/ 6.5"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
3.5"/ 4"/ 5.25"/ 6"/ 6.5"/ 6.75"/ 4x6"/ 5x7"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
4"/ 5.2"/ 6.5"/ 6.75"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Top Pick
Focal Access 165 CA1 6.5-Inch Coaxial Speaker Kit
Displayed Size
6.5"
Available Sizes
4"/ 5.25"/ 5x7"/ 6.5"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Runner Up
Pair of Brand New Jl Audio C2-525x 5 1/4" 2 Way Speakers with Silk Dome Tweeters
Displayed Size
5.25"
Available Sizes
3.5”/ 4”/ 5.25”/ 5x7"/ 6x8”/ 6”/ 6.5”/ 6x9”
Editor's Rating
Best Budget Choice
Pioneer TS-A1686R A-Series 6.5" 350-Watt 4-Way Speakers
Displayed Size
6.5"
Available Sizes
4x6"/ 5.25"/ 6.5"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Rockford P1650 6.5-Inch 2-Way Full Range Euro Fit Compatible Speaker
Displayed Size
6.5"
Available Sizes
3.5"/ 4"/ 5.25"/ 6"/ 6.5"/ 6.75"/ 4x6"/ 5x7"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating
Rockford Fosgate R1675X2 Prime 6.75-Inch Full Range 2-Way Coaxial Speaker - Set of 2
Displayed Size
6.5"
Available Sizes
4"/ 5.2"/ 6.5"/ 6.75"/ 6x8"/ 6x9"
Editor's Rating

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Mobile Audio Speakers Reviewed

Click or tap on any section to jump straight to it.

Let's jump into the reviews:

1. JL Audio C5 Series

JL Audio C5 series review

The JL Audio C5 series is a high end component speaker system that includes proprietary JL technology and engineering.

JL Audio, founded in 1975 is a very well-known and renowned brand in the mobile, marine and home audio industry.

Based in Miramar, Florida, they are one of the few companies that still make a lot of its products in the US and they have continued to be an industry leader in quality and innovation.

Some of JL Audio’s products, such as the C5 woofers and tweeters are precision built in Germany by Dr. Kurt Müller & Co. They feature DMA optimized motors, elevated frame cooling and high end silk dome tweeters.

The passive crossover networks are built with premium component parts including Mylar capacitors and segmented air-core inductors.

They offer four levels of tweeter attenuation as well as three levels of mid-range presence adjustment.

The C5’s are available in both coaxial and component configurations with the coaxial models featuring RSR (Ratcheting Swivel Rotation) for precise tweeter aiming that gives the ability for a more ‘on-axis’ tweeter.

The coaxial models are available in 5.25” (C5-525x), 5x7/6x8” (C5-570x) and 6.5” (C5-650x) sizes, while the component models are available in 2-way 5.25” (C5-525), 5x7/6x8” (C5-570) and 6.5” (C5-650) sizes as well as the 3-way 6.5” (C5-653) components.

C5-650/C5-650x/C5-653 Specs:

  • 2-way component or coaxial system/3-way component system
  • High quality external passive crossover network
  • Continuous power handling (RMS): 75 Watts
  • Peak power handling (MAX): 225 Watts
  • Recommended power handling (RMS): 25-150 Watts per channel
  • System efficiency: 89.5 dB @ 1 W/1 mFrequency response: 48Hz – 25KHz (+3 dB)
  • Nominal Impedance: 4 Ohms

EDITOR'S RATING:

Displayed unitC5-653

Note: See our JL Audio speaker review for more information on JL Audio and their current line of speakers

See available sizes and current pricing on:

2. Hertz Mille Pro

The Hertz Mille Pro series is another high end component system that will give just about any other component set in its class a run for their money.

The Mille Pro is one step below the Hertz flagship speaker line, the Mille Legend series. “One step below” is saying a lot considering the number of different speaker sets that Hertz produces and the overall quality of their products.

Starting in 1998, Hertz released its first mobile audio offering, the 1st generation Hi-Energy series of speakers which was a complete line of woofers, midranges, tweeters and coaxials, breaking into the world of car audio as protagonist for high sensitivity and strong power handling.

In 2005, Hertz released the first generation of its Mille line of speakers which saw a step towards the high end level of its flagship components that were to follow.

Then in 2011, they released the 3rd generation of their Mille components which was another leap in quality and technical achievements for component speakers.

As Hertz states about their release at the time: “These new components comprise the entire technical evolution reached by the Hertz R&D Division and are further improved thanks to the modern and advanced research and verification tools; especially for the geometric modeling of cones and surrounds the tool used is the Klippel Scanning Vibrometer”.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Displayed unitMPX690.3

As a result of all the years of experience and technical R&D, Hertz has become a leader in the car audio industry for high end and audiophile grade components as well as value products that are sure to deliver a step up in sound quality and fidelity.

The quality and craftsmanship evident in their complete line of speakers carries over to their amplifiers and subwoofers as well.

Click or tap in any of the individual models to see specs.

MPX 165.3 PRO Specs

MPX 690.3 PRO Specs

MPK 163.3 PRO Specs

MPK 165.3 PRO Specs

MPK 165P.3 PRO Specs

MPK 1650.3 PRO Specs

The Mille Pro series feature component systems, coaxial and individual speakers for custom builds or to run in an active system, without the need for passive crossovers.

The coaxial models are available in 6.5” (MPX 165.3 PRO) and 6x9” (MPX 690.3 PRO) sizes and the components are available as 2-Way and 3-Way systems.

The 3-Way (MPK 163.3 PRO) measures 6.5”, 3” and 1.14” respectively for the mid-bass, mid-range and tweeter.

There are multiple versions of the 2-Way components, the 6.5” (MPK 165.3 PRO), 6.5” (MPK 165P.3 PRO) and 6.5” (MPK 1650.3). Each 2-Way component has slightly different speaker parameters that are designed for different listening environments.

See available sizes and current pricing on:

3. Morel Hybrid

Morel is one of the premium brands in the mobile audio arena. There are a handful of companies that produce audiophile grade speakers, as most of the industry is focused on quantity over quality.

Luckily for us audio nerds, there are companies like Morel who still believe that accurate and dynamic sound reproduction in the mobile environment is the ultimate achievement.

The Morel Hybrid series of components highlights the superb technology and design that go into all of their products. Designing an audio system around the Hybrid series will produce some seriously hard to beat results.

The Hybrid’s components are made up of the Hybrid woofers (402, 502 and 602), the MT230 tweeters and the MXR240 crossovers.

The woofers utilize a specially designed hybrid magnet system and feature advanced technologies such as the one piece DPC cone and a large 2.1” Hexatech voice coil in an EVC structure.

The Patented C.A.R. filter improves the acoustic loading by controlling airflow within the driver, mimicking the effects of a sealed enclosure while improving power handling. In addition, the Uniflow aluminum chassis minimizes reflective distortion and increases the woofers overall performance.

The MT230 tweeter delivers the warm sound that Morel is known for with its powerful double neodymium magnet and Acuflex coated soft dome tweeter. The 1-1/8” diameter Hexatech aluminum voice coil provides excellent power handling with a low resonance point.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Displayed unitMorel Hybrid 602 6.5" 2-Way Component

These features make it a highly transient and dynamic tweeter that forms a wide soundstage and an extremely accurate image.

Adding in the Morel Crossover Resolution MXR240, with its near perfect phase control and consistent transition between drivers make the Morel Hybrid components a truly epic combination of audio excellence.

The Hybrid series is available as a 4” (Hybrid 402), 5.25” (Hybrid 502) and 6.5” (Hybrid 602) component speaker system.

Please see this link for complete specs of the Morel Hybrid components

Here's a video where you can hear the difference between the Hybrids and the C5's by JL.

See available sizes and current pricing on:

4. JL Audio C3 Series

JL AUDIO C3-650

When it comes to finding a quality car speaker system that is second-to-none, look no further than the JL Audio C3 Series.

This comes on 6.5 inch, 5 inch and a dual 5x7" or 6x8" size. It is a two-way convertible component that you can customize however you want.

It has a peak of 300 watts per set, which means it rates at 150 watts on each side of the sound system. Standard power output is half that at 150 watts per set, or 75 watts per side. You control the amount of power going to each set based on your needs.

The frequency response rate is also exceptional in that it gives you plenty of range so that you can easily get the results you want.

The range goes from 48 to 25,000 Hz, which is one of the highest ranges you will find. The frequencies settle to within three decibels of the exact frequency.

This particular speaker system has a sensitivity rating of about 93 dB and an impedance of 4 ohms, both of which help deliver exceptional sound quality.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Pros

Cons

See available sizes and current pricing on:

5. JBL GTO Series

JBL GTO Reviews

If you’re looking for a pair of three-way speakers that perform just as well, if not better, than some of the most expensive options on the list, then the JBL GTO is for you.

This particular pair of speakers packs in a ton of features that are going to make your listening experience as great as it possible can be.

For starters, you’re going to get a patented woofer cone that makes your car sound like you’re in a movie theater or surround-sound chair in your home.

Additionally, you’re going to get a true sound from built-in crossover network that delivers even tones between both speakers.

In terms of the tweet, it is a mylar-titanium tweeter and it is adjustable with level control so that you can easily get it how you want it.

JBL touts that the tweeter used in these speakers are the same as those found in home theater applications.

Therefore, you get even more quality sound that you expect to only hear while watching the latest blockbuster summer movie.

EDITOR'S RATING:

JBL Car Speakers

The downside of this speakers is that without an amplifier they simply won't deliver.

As stated earlier, these tiny additions to your car audio’s arsenal are well worth it.

This is one of the best all-around speakers, but it’s most definitely a great buy if you want fantastic-sounding bass.

The GTO Series is available on the following sizes:

  • 3.5"
  • 4"
  • 4x6"
  • 5x7"
  • 5.25"
  • 6.5"
  • 6x9"

Pros

Cons

See available sizes and current pricing on:

6. Focal Access

focal access series review

The Focal Access product line, as the name implies, makes Focal quality and engineering accessible to just about any budget.

Based in Etienne, France; Focal has created an audio company that is synonymous with high fidelity, audiophile grade components.

To prove this point, you need look no further than their Ultima line of products to see just how far their expertise goes.

Not many companies can produce this echelon of quality and innovation. (I’m still trying to get Focal to send me a set of the Ultima’s to demo, but I’ll probably see a flying unicorn that pukes rainbows before that happens…) I digress though.

Joe Harvey
Mobile Audio Expert

The Focal Access series is an excellent choice if you’re looking to step into the world of aftermarket car audio or just want to replace those tired paper cone factory speakers.

Speaking of woofer cones, the new DFS cone technology on the Access speakers provides excellent stability in terms of power handling and resistance to the elements.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Displayed unit: 165 CA1

Other features include reinforced ABS baskets, built in terminal board, streamlined grilles and redesigned tweeters.

The Access series includes coaxial and 2-Way/3-Way component systems with a wide range of sizes to fit just about any vehicle.

The coaxial sets are available in the following sizes: 4” (100 AC), 5.25” (130 AC), 6.5” (165 AC), 5x7” (570 AC) and 6x9” (690 AC).

The component sets are available as a 3-Way 6.5”/4”/1” (165 AS 3) and 2-Way 5” (130 AS) or 6.5” (165 AS).

Check their sound quality on this video.

See available sizes and current pricing on:

7. JL C2 Evolution Series

jl c2 series review

The C2 Evolution speakers are quite versatile and come in a wide variety of sizes and with multiple install configurations available.

They are a step up from JL’s budget line which are the C1’s (formerly the TR line) which we will not review here.

While the C2’s are still in the budget category, they offer a great bang for your buck and incorporate tweeter technology used in the higher end C5 components.

They feature silk dome tweeters and mineral filled polypropylene woofer cones.

The C2’s are available in both coaxial and component configurations.

The coaxial models are available in 3.5” (C2-350x), 4” (C2-200x), 5.25” (C2-525x), 5x7/6x8” (C2-570x), 6” (C2-600x), 6.5” (C2-650x) and 6x9” (C2-690tx) sizes. The component models are available in the following sizes: 5.25” (C2-525), 6” (C2-600) and 6.5” (C2-650).

EDITOR'S RATING:

Displayed unit: C2-650x

See available sizes and current pricing on:

8. Pioneer TS A-Series

Pioneer TS speakers review

Because there are so many products on the market and since the car audio industry is highly competitive, you can find many great speakers and systems at a low price.

One series stands out from the rest in terms of value for the money.

Buy with confidence if you want an aftermarket sound system for not a lot of money.

The Pioneer TS A-series is the way to go for decent sound on the cheap. You have a ton of different options when it comes to size, system class and output power.

You have five choices of sizes, ranging from 4 x 6 up to 6 x 9 inches.

You also get to choose among three-, four- and five-way versions. Eight power options go from 200 watts to 650 watts.

In terms of flexibility, Pioneer is a master at cramming a lot of good stuff into small speakers. The frequency response goes from 32Hz to 38kHz.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Pioneer TS Review

While the majority of the specifications depend on which size, class and output you select, there are still some features that will remain the same throughout all of the speakers.

In general terms, when it comes to car audio manufacturers we like Pioneer more for head units than for speakers or subs but this ones offer so much value for money and they sound so good for the price that we had to include them.

Check their sound quality on this video.

Pros

Cons

See available sizes and current pricing on:

9. Rockford Fosgate Punch P Series

Rockford Fosgate Punch Speakers for car Review

The Punch P series is yet another product that comes from a highly recommended brand.

These speakers are our top pick as they have a lot of configurations.

Rockford Fosgate is also one of our trusted brands for we know from first hand how good is their customer service.

Additionally, this particular model is available in 11 different sizes, so be sure you have measured properly or you have checked a guide to ensure you’re buying the right fit for your vehicle.

Sizes include 3.5, 4, 5.25, 6, 6.5, 6.75, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 6 x 8, 6 x 9 and 6 x 9 four-way in terms of inches.

The 5 x 7 full-range speaker comes with a maximum power handling of 120 watts, which is plenty to make sure that you are able to get the sound you desire.

Additionally, it comes with some other great features such as the FlexFit basket design, dome tweeters, injection molded cone, and a one-year standard warranty.

The FlexFit basket on this speaker means that you’re going to have no problem slightly adjusting the speaker after it has been mounted so that you can get a perfect fit on this speaker when you install it.

In terms of the specs, there is a 75Hz to 22kHz frequency response with a 89 dB sensitivity.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Same as the R series from Rockford Fosgate, these are an absolute superseller article with more than a thousand reviews. 

You can hear a sample audio from this speakers on this video.

Pros

Cons

See available sizes and current pricing on:

10. Rockford Fosgate R Series

Rockford Fosgate R series speaker review

Right off the bat, it’s important that you realize there are a lot of different size options that you can choose from when it comes to Rockford Fosgate speakers.

These components are some of the best in the industry, so pay attention to these speakers.

There are seven different size options in the Rockford Fosgate R series. Before you go ahead and buy them, make sure that you’re getting the sound system that fits perfectly in your vehicle.

Additionally, this is on the more affordable end for speakers, which is always helpful when you consider which sound systems deserve your hard-earned dollars.

The R series comes with two speakers, one for each side of the vehicle, in the following sizes: 4, 5.25, 6 x 8, 6 x 9, 6 x 9 (two-way), 6.5 and 6.75 inches.

These standard sizes can fit most vehicles whether you have a compact car or an SUV.

In terms of the features and specifications of these particular speakers, you’re going to get a vacuum polypropylene cone with a rubber surround.

These help protect your speakers and point the sound in the right direction.

Precision manufacturing creates the right cone to direct the sound in the perfect direction, while the lightweight rubber components buffer the sound from the rest of the speaker.

You won’t find this high-tech advancement in standard factory components.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Furthermore, the silk dome pole-mounted tweeter and midrange provide lightweight, yet sturdy, mounting hardware for your system. Instead of taking away from the sound experience, the components used to put the speakers in your car enhance your listening.

Rockford Fosgate prides itself on customer service after the sale.

That’s why it comes with easy-to-mount hardware and instructions that are so simple that just about anyone can install these speakers.

These speakers have been an all timer best seller and have a massive amount of positive reviews, which proves that price doesn't always compromise quality.

It simply doesn’t get any better than this for two speakers that overhaul your audio system. The power rating is 65 watts per side, or 130 watts between the two speakers.

Customers rave about the power behind the smallest speakers in this set.

Pros

Cons

See available sizes and current pricing on:

Top Choices By Size

3.5” - Top Pick

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Since there are only a handful of 3.5” speakers to choose from, the JL Audio C2 series will suffice for a ‘Best Of’ in this category. If you are looking for something of higher quality in this size, another option is to use speaker mounting adaptors to place a 4” speaker in the factory location.

You can always browse our list of the best 3.5" speakers to see a few more good options there.​

4” - Top Pick

From Focal’s Expert Line of speakers, the PC 100 is a 4” coaxial speaker that will provide big sound in a small space. With 50 watts of nominal power handling, you can expect a big improvement in sound over a 4” factory speaker. If you are looking for even more sound, consider incorporating your 4” speaker location into a 3-Way component set and use a 4” dedicated mid-range woofer instead.

You'll find more choices on our list of the best 4 inch speakers of 2017.

Other options from Focal:​

100CA1 - Focal 4" Coaxial Speakers 100-CA1
  • Speaker Size: 4" | Design: 2-way | Tweeter Design: Cone
  • Tweeter Composition: Aluminum | Woofer Composition: Woven Glass Fiber | Woofer Surround: Butyl Rubber
  • Speaker Grilles: Included | Peak Power Handling: 80 watts | RMS Power Handling: 40 watts

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4x6” - Top Pick

4x6” is a rather odd size and since many vehicle manufacturers use more standard sizes, there aren’t too many options for these but they are out there and the Rockford Fosgate Power T1462’s will provide a good coaxial solution for this OEM replacement application. Rated at 45 watts RMS, they will perform well using your head unit, or even better with a small amplifier.

Check out our list of the best 4x6" car speakers to see other options on this size.

Other options from Rockford Fosgate:​

Rockford Fosgate Punch P1462 4 x 6-Inches Full Range Coaxial Speakers
1317 Reviews
Rockford Fosgate Punch P1462 4 x 6-Inches Full Range Coaxial Speakers
  • FlexFit basket design
  • OEM adapter plate included
  • PEI dome tweeter

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4x10” - Top Pick

Sale!
Kicker KSC41004 KSC4100 4x10' Coax Speakers with .5' tweeters 4-Ohm
3 Reviews
Kicker KSC41004 KSC4100 4x10" Coax Speakers with .5" tweeters 4-Ohm
  • Pair Kicker 44KSC41004 4x10" 300 Watt 2-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers KSC41004 . High Power Handling. Extended Dynamic Range. Silk Dome Tweeters For A Smooth Sound.
  • Polypropylene Woofer And Tough Rubber Surrounds. Thin-Mount Design Easily Fits Behind Factory Grilles. These KSC speakers work best with 75 watts of recommended power. See below for more details.
  • Specifications: Speaker Design: 2-Way. Woofer: 4"x 10" (100mm x 250mm). Tweeter: ½" (13 mm). Rated Impedance: 4 Ohms. Peak Power Handling: 150 Watts. Continuous Power Handling: 75 Watts. Sensitivity: 88 1W, 1m. Frequency Response: 45Hz - 20kHz.

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Speaking of odd size speakers, the 4x10” is the unicorn of car audio speaker sizes, except maybe for the odd European car which can have some pretty funky speaker designs as well. With even less options to choose from, I would rate the Kicker KSC4100 as the best choice in this application. 75 watts per speaker RMS rating.

Joe Harvey
Mobile Audio Expert

5.25” - Top Pick

Morel Hybrid 502 5-1/4" component car speaker system
  • 5-1/4" 2-Way Hybrid Series Component Speaker System
  • Power Handling: Peak: 1000 watts per set / 500 watts each side // RMS: 240 watts per set / 120 watts each side
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Morel Hybrid 502 is the top choice in this size category. Since the 502 is a mid-range woofer, be prepared to find a place to install the tweeter’s included in this component set.

Many newer vehicles have separate factory tweeter locations, or you can mount them near the top of the door if no factory locations are provided.

Another option is to fabricate custom windshield pillars if you are so inclined.

5x7”- Top Pick

JL Audio C5-570 Evolution C5 Series 5'x7' 2-Way Component System
9 Reviews
JL Audio C5-570 Evolution C5 Series 5"x7" 2-Way Component System
  • Component speaker system includes two 5"x7"" woofers, 2 tweeters, and two external crossovers
  • Mineral-filled polypropylene woofer with butyl rubber surround
  • Cast alloy frame with Elevated Frame Cooling

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There are a number of good options for 5x7” speakers and the JL Audio C5 series are the perfect upgrade from a factory 5x7.

Available in both coaxial and component sets, you will be able to achieve excellent sound quality with this speaker.

Remember to check out our top 5 on this size if this choice doesn't fit what your look for.

6”- Top Pick

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another size limited by speaker choices, the JL Audio C2 series is a quick and easy replacement solution. You can always use speaker mount adapters to fit a 5.25” if you want to expand your selection of choices.

6.5”- Top Pick

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

By far the most common car audio speaker is the 6.5”. We've done an extensive coverage for this size.

Every manufacturer makes one and with so many choices, it can be hard to narrow down the selection.

I nominate the JL ZR650 component set out of all the speakers we’ve reviewed at Gear4Wheels.

Check out our JL Audio Speaker review for more info.

6.75”- Top Pick

Focal ES 165KX2 6.5' 2-Way Component Speaker Kit
1 Reviews
Focal ES 165KX2 6.5" 2-Way Component Speaker Kit
  • Inverted dome "M"-shaped tweeter; High sensitivity (92.8 dB/oct); Bi-Amp; Audiophile grade crossover
  • diameter 6-1/2″ (165mm); voice coil diameter 1-1/4″ (32mm); voice coil height 0-9/16(15mm); motor Magnet; tweeter TKM ("M" profile aramid fiber inverted dome); cone Composite K2 Power "W" sandwich cone; surround Tuned Mass Damper (TMD); separated crossover 6-12/12dB (3.5kHz); tweeter adjustable level +3; 0; -3dB/oct; max power 200W; nominal power 100W RMS; sensitivity (2.83V/1m) 92.8dB; frequency response 60Hz-22kHz; impedance 2 Ω; accessories Supplied grilles
  • WOOFER: K2 Cone: sandwich composite consisting of a foam core, a structural glass fiber bottom, and a Kevlar top. Surround: Focal's patented butyl rubber TMD surround controls unwanted resonances. Phase Plug: ensures a smooth, flat off-axis frequency response by preventing the high frequency sound waves emanating from one side of the cone from interfering w/ waves from the other side. Voice Coil: The voice coil is wound around a 1-9/16" low-mass Kapton former, ensuring no coil deformation.

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Since 6.5” and 6.75” speakers are virtually interchangeable, I recommend this component set by Focal as another option in this size range.

The dynamic range and clarity of these components are excellent and with proper amplification, volume will never be an issue.

Focal tweeters can sound very bright to some people and if this is the case, you could also consider the Morel Hybrids as another option since they have a warmer sound to them.

6x8”- Top Pick

C5-570X - JL Audio 5'x7' 2-Way Evolution Series Coaxial Speakers
6 Reviews
C5-570X - JL Audio 5"x7" 2-Way Evolution Series Coaxial Speakers
  • 2-way 5"x7" speakers (pair)
  • 2-way external crossover network with 4-position tweeter level and 3-position midrange control
  • cast alloy frame with Elevated Frame Cooling

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5x7” and 6x8” speakers are easily interchangeable as well so keep that in mind when selecting speakers if there is a 5x7” option of a speaker that you prefer. You can always check our list of the best 6x8 speakers for more choices.

The JL Audio C5 is a great fit for replacing stock speakers and offers either coaxial or component installation choices.

6x9”- Top Pick

Hertz MPX690.3 Pro 6' x 9' 130 Watts RMS 3-Way Coaxial Speakers
1 Reviews
Hertz MPX690.3 Pro 6" x 9" 130 Watts RMS 3-Way Coaxial Speakers
  • Power Handling: 260 Watts Peak | 130 Watts RMS | Impedance: 4-Ohm
  • Frequency response: 30 ÷ 24k Hz | Sensitivity: 94dB SPL | Woofer size mm (in.): 6 x 9
  • Tweeter size mm (in.): 35 (1.4) | Supertweeter size mm (in.): 29 (1.14) | Woofer Voice Coil Ø mm (in.): 38 (1.5)

Last update on 2017-12-12 at 12:32 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Morel MPX 690.3 PRO is one of the best 6x9” speakers on the market when it comes to sound quality and performance. If you are going to be using 6x9’s, these are the speakers you want. Worth every penny and more.

Car Speakers Buyer's Guide

How Your Car's Sound System Works

A sound system converts electrical signals into sound waves. There are three main components of your car’s audio system.

The head unit controls everything, from the sound input, the bass level, the volume and the balance of the speakers.

This is often reffered as the "stereo" and its mission is to translate data (songs stored on a cd, usb, or radio) into electric pulses.

Then you (may) have an amplifier, which is a device that strengthens the audio signal to the speakers. It takes the pre-amplified signal from the head unit, and boosts it to feed powerful, undistorted signals to the speakers.

The third part includes the speakers themselves, which finally translate those electric pulses into sound.

The pulses go to the coils of the speaker and create a magnetic field that moves the cone which moves up and down, ultimately creating sound waves.

how a speaker works

Here is an awesome animated graphic that shows with great visuals how speakers are made and how they work to reproduce sound

There are various different types of speakers that enhance the sound quality in your car, according to the range of frequencies they reproduce.

Subwoofers produce lower-toned sounds, also known as the bass.

Mid-range drivers, sometimes called woofers, handle middle-of-the-road frequencies in between lower pitches and higher pitches. Tweeters handle the highest frequencies of sound. Combine elements of all three speakers and you have a dynamic sound system that delivers.

What To Look For On An Aftermarket Car Speaker

When you shop for an aftermarket car speaker, you must know exactly what you are looking for and what can help make a great speaker system.

The following are some of the top things that you need to consider to make sure you get the right system for you among two major choices, the component speakers and the full-range system.

Size.

May sound obvious, but new speakers have to fit your car! If you are directly replacing the factory speakers, the best thing you can do if you're not sure (you can always use amazon's will it fit? tool) is take them off the door and measure them directly.

Range of frequencies

You want to look at the range of frequencies that the speakers reproduce.

As a rule of thumb, the wider the better, although you can count that for very low frequencies, the sound quality of small speakers simply cannot be too good, as proper SQ for bass requires a bigger cone. That's typically the mission of the subwoofer.

Sensitivity.

Sensitivity is a value that expresses the capacity of the speaker to produce sound pressure.
It measures how many audible db are produced with just 1watt of power, at 1 meter of distance from the speaker.

The higher this value is, the louder the speaker is going to be.

RMS

The term RMS stands for “Root Mean Square” which is a way of rating a speaker's capacity to handle audio signal power.

The practical side of it, what concerns us, is that the higher this value is the more power we can (and should!) feed the speakers and the louder they are going to be

We have to try our best to match the RMS from the speaker to the RMS the head unit or amplifier is able to produce.

In most cases, the amplified signal from a head unit wont reach more than​ 25w RMS. Underpowered speakers don't give their full potential, and we are likely to turn the volume up to compensate that lack of power which will produce more distortion.

However, if we include an amplifier (there are really good amps for little money, you can check our recommendations here) we can push those new speakers we just got ourselves to the right RMS and truly enjoy their full potential.

Plus, we get undistorted music which will increase the sound quality and crispiness dramatically.​

Impedance

In simple electrical terms, a speaker is a resistance and its value is expressed in Ohms.

You have to pair that impedance (ohm value) to the impedance your head unit or amplifier is ready to handle.

Take for instance the Rockford Fosgate Punch on 6x9" size, they rate 75w RMS at 4ohms impedance.

You want your amplifier to be 4ohm stable, and to produce as close as possible to 75w RMS for everything to work smoothly. If you are hooking them straight to the head unit, make sure the Ohm rating of your head unit is the same of the speakers.

This is really relevant when we install multiple speakers together and we wire them in series or parallel, changing the total impedance of the set.

Flexibility vs Simplicity

When it comes to the full-range speaker system, you get an all-in-one system.

Typically, these systems are going to be the simplest to install and have the lowest prices.

They produce a wide range of sounds so you can listen to just about any type of music. While they are not as customizable as the component speakers, a nice set will still provide you with quality music to replace the factory sound system.

Consider some of the extra features that can be included with a sound system, so pay attention to the features offered. For example, detachable tweeters can be installed in just about any sound system and it is great because they can easily be switched between systems.

Furthermore, external crossovers help to separate the frequencies set in the tweeter and woofer so that they aren’t attempting to produce sounds that they can’t make.

This results in much better sounding music.

Lastly, the pivoting tweeters are great because they can be moved around so that they can point towards where you are listening.

Best Car Speaker Brands

1. JL Audio

The American brand was founded in 1975 by James Birch and Lucio Proni. They combined the initals of their first names to name the brand, JL.

The company is based in Miramar, Florida, where they design, manufacture and were originally selling their subs back in 1979.

JL strives to give customers exactly what they want because they know that great audio has incredible value and it’s easy for customer to tell the difference between low-end audio and high-end audio.

2. Focal

Focal is a French manufacturer that has been in the car audio industry for the last 38 years. They are one of the most renowned brands when it comes to audio fidelity and sound quality. They are an audiophile's dream come true.

3. Rockford Fosgate

Rockford Fosgate originally began producing audio equipment in 1973 and ever since then, the company has continued to produce high-end, exceptional-quality sound for your vehicle.

Across each and every one of its products, there is a brilliant use of technology and design so that you can enjoy everything you should enjoy about your music. They appeal to both the high-end part of the market and to the super tight budgets. Regardless, they always deliver which is one of the reasons I believe they have to make it into my top 3.

Additional Resources

Here are a few articles that you may be interested in reading if you're about to buy a new speaker:

  • 2 Way Vs. 3 Way speakers. We settle the debate as of which one sounds best and why you should pick the right one according to your desired results.
  • Best Car Tweeters. Remember that you can add separate tweeters to your front stage to get a richer sound. If the speaker set you're going for doesn't come with component tweeters, you can always get some aftermarket ones! These are our choices.

2 thoughts on “Best Car Speakers of 2017 [Reviews, Comparison and Buyer’s Guide]

  1. Hey there, first of all,great piece on speakers, It is actually hard to find good info on real speakers these days. There are so many shoddy manufacturers these days that build just shit woofers. Me and friends buy and sell cars have been looking for speakers for our garage.Can I share this with my facebook group(its a group about doing up cars)?

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