Best Car Audio Speakers Buying Guide

Looking for clarity and a step – by – step process for selecting the best car speakers for your car stereo? Our guide covers all the relevant aspects and features of car speakers in detail to help you make the most informed decision during your research. Also, check out our car speaker reviews for a clear, quick and easy assessment of the top car audio speakers.

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Best Car Audio Speakers Buying Guide

  1. Sound Quality:

    As we mentioned above, there are two types of speakers for cars: coaxial and component speakers. While coaxial speakers don’t provide the highest level of sound quality that component speakers present, they are extremely easy to install and are designed to replace the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) speakers that you’re vehicle came with. On the other hand, component speakers provide incredibly precise and accurate sound quality through various setups including using mid-range speakers, woofers, sub woofers and even super tweeters. However, these speakers do not fit the DIY installation process and may require major overhauling of the interiors of your vehicle to accommodate wiring as well as all the different speakers.

If your desire is to get the highest sound quality, then component speakers with their higher price tag are your best bet, but if you’re okay with a good level of quality and want the job done quicker, then you should stick with the less expensive coaxial speakers.

component and coaxial speakers

  1. Frequency Range:

    Another important factor is the frequency range of the speakers. The greater the range, the more complex sounds the speakers are capable of producing. For most speakers for cars, the peak frequency that they can produce is usually 20,000 Hertz, while the lowest is around 10 Hertz. Although the entire range of frequencies is not required, you can purchase speakers that produce the whole range. However, you should know that as we get older, the upper limit of the range of frequencies we can hear begins to shrink and for the most part we cannot even pick up on the extremely high frequencies. 

  2. Sensitivity Rating:

    In layman’s terms, sensitivity rating measures the speaker’s ability to convert power from an amp (short for the amplifier) into sound. What that implies is that, if you’re working with a poor quality factory stereo with low power output, then you’re going to need speakers with a higher sensitivity rating, however, for most quality, branded car stereos or external amps, speaker’s with low sensitivity ratings are a good match.

  3. Power Capabilities:

    This refers to the power handling capacity of your chosen speakers. The car speakers you chose should be able to handle the power that your head unit or amplifier produces. This is why it is wise first to select a head unit and amplifier before purchasing your speakers, although you can also get your speakers first and then find a head unit and amp that will best match them. The amount of power that your speakers can process is measured in watts, and the most common measurement is RMS (root mean square value).

  4. Frequency Response and Music Tastes:

    Frequency Response describes the range of audio frequencies, tones, and beats that a speaker can generate. Every sound has a frequency, whether it is low bass as in rap or high treble as in techno and EDM. Since, frequency response dictates the range of sounds of different frequencies that a product is capable of producing; it is good to get a car speaker with a broad frequency response. Preferably one that has a range between 18 Hz to 20,000 Hz so that you can enjoy a wide variety of music, tones, and beats.

  5. Speaker Configuration

    : Most vehicles today come with pre-installed OEM, factory manufactured speakers for cars. And, unless you’re driving a vintage, the chances are that your car already has a set of speakers that are built-into the deck and doors of your vehicle. It is worthwhile to learn a little about the speakers that are already installed in your car before you shop for new ones to replace them.

If you’re not up to doing your homework on the speakers and measuring them, don’t worry. Most car speakers and stereo dealers and manufacturers will be able to give you the specs on your speakers. All you need to do is provide them with the vehicle make, model, year, body and trim and they will give the score on the entire 9 yards of your speaker’s configuration and specs.

  1. Speaker Sizes:

    There are a wide variety of car speaker sizes to choose from. Car speaker sizes vary between as small as 1 – 2 inches up to 6”×9” configurations. Tweeters are the smallest sizes of car speakers that fit into a larger setup of speakers. Then come the mid-high range speakers that measure between 2-3.5 inches. These speakers are designed to fit into the dashboard of your car and serve to complement that larger ensemble of speakers in the car.

The 5 and 5.5-inch speakers make for great stand – alone speakers for your vehicle. These are versatile and produce a broad range of sounds as well as fit in several ports in your car.  However, they are not so good at producing low bass sounds.

The 6.5-inch speaker is the most common and popular car speaker size. These speakers are extremely versatile and can provide the whole range of sounds from low bass to high-frequency. They are most commonly used in most car models and, therefore, are the easiest to find and replace.

The 6”× 8” speaker, although not as common or widespread, is an excellent overall speaker that is capable of producing a broad range of sounds. However, the installation of these speakers may require some modifications to the interiors since only a few car makes and models come configured for this speaker size.

Finally, the 6” × 9” speaker has an extremely high power handling capacity and is the ideal bass speaker size. For certain car models, you might need some modification to accommodate these speakers, but for the most part they are designed for several models. Owing to their extremely high power handling capacity, they also consume more power and therefore are best suited to stereo and external amps that can match their power output.

  1. Speaker Materials and Build-Quality:

    Speaker materials matter and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The materials used for the cone have a crucial impact on the sound and range of frequency that is produced. To understand why this is, let’s take a closer look at the fundamental mechanics of how a speaker works to create sound waves. An electric current from the stereo or amp flows into the voice coil attached to the inner part of the speaker’s cone which sits just in front of a permanent magnet. The electric current transforms the voice coil into an electromagnet which either repels or attracts the permanent magnet which in turn pushes or pulls the cone of the speaker, thus producing sound waves.

coaxial and component speakers

The forward and backward motion of the cone of the speaker is what ultimately creates sound. Flexion has a lot to do with the quality of sound that is produced by the speaker. At certain frequencies, the cone of the speaker tends to flex which in turn distorts the sound. Good quality materials such as polypropylene, clay, mica or metal-coated synthetic fabrics as well as fiber polymer lend rigidity and help to arrest flexion and prevent the distortion of sound. Other materials such as paper, glass, foam and textile are a secondary option and do not do the best job at keeping flexing to a minimum. For the best sound quality, and variety in frequency, it is best to choose speakers built using polypropylene, clay, mica or other metal-coated synthetic fabrics.

9. Cost: Even the Top 5 Best car speakers are pretty easy on the pocket, and the top brands quote reasonable prices for their products. Although there is a stark difference in price between component speakers and coaxial speakers, for the most part even the best pair of component speakers won’t cost you more than $150. All said and done; you can purchase a wicked pair of coaxial speakers for no more than 30$.

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