The subject of car audio is hotly debated and has many sub-topics, but what it comes down to is a matter of personal preference. Some people want clarity and high definition to their sound while others want nothing but booming bass. In this guide, what we’re going to focus on is sound quality across the whole range of highs, mids, and lows and find the best balance between price, sound quality, and how durable the speakers are.

Your results may vary because of various factors like physical vehicle shape, car age, previous mods, head units, and more but we’re going to focus specifically on the speakers themselves in terms of their pure sound quality. One other important consideration is that some cars will require a slightly different size of the same brand and model of speaker as the ones we will review, so that can slightly alter the performance for your particular vehicle, but in general the speaker manufacturers have gotten really great at balancing the size differences and sound quality between them.

JBL has built a speaker here that is designed to sound great, be extremely durable, and fit in most any vehicle. They made sure the durability is there by infusing a carbon composite in both the speaker housing and the speaker cone, so not only is the housing that actually mounts to your car not going to vibrate or become brittle over time, it will also ensure the speaker itself can handle continued, high volume sound for years to come. The carbon injected cone means the actual cone itself has a bigger surface area than other speakers in the same class, resulting in bigger sound, lower lows and higher highs. People will think you have an even bigger system in your car than you actually do and you’ll be able to enjoy fantastic sound quality without huge modifications to your whole system.

This speaker produces some surprisingly great sound even though it’s not particularly big, requiring only a mounting area with 2 inches of clearance, so you can fit them in most any door and almost certainly in any trunk area / back window mounting spot. This speaker also comes in a 6×9” form, so you can put the two 6.5” speakers up front and have the same fantastic audio from the 6×9’s in the back.

Whether you have a factory or an aftermarket head unit, these speakers will definitely be able to handle it because they can take up to 180 watts of power being thrown at them without distorting the sound quality. It also has a built in power handling mechanism, complimenting other JBL car audio systems like amps and subs so that even if the power levels get too high, it’s able to manage that level of intensity and perform at optimum capacity.

 

Advantages of this products:

  • Highest continuous power handling of it’s class
  • Good price and available all over
  • JBL offers a 30 day return policy, so if you don’t like them you can get your money back
  • Sounds fantastic across a range of different genres and audio types

 

Disadvantages of this product:

  • Peak power handling is lower than average, so it won’t get as loud or as bumping as other speakers but it’s able to handle more simultaneously than other speakers.
  • Check to be sure your head unit supports 3 ohm speakers.

For those of you not familiar with the name, Rockford Fosgate was founded by an audio engineer who wanted better car audio options. Jim Fosgate invented the very first car amplifier and since then his company has made leading innovations in both car audio and feature film / theater audio systems. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise then that their car speakers are good.

Built to fit in almost any spec vehicle, even those from Europe, this speaker features a flex-fit mounting system that allows it to be easily modified to fit properly and securely so they don’t rattle and still produce great sound quality. For this specific speaker line, Rockford Fosgate developed a system called VAST which is designed to increase the speakers effective range of low range sounds by up to 25%, without the need for an external amp or sub. Our tests show that the bass is one of the best of any speaker in this class, so if you prefer a more bass heavy experience, this speaker is a great fit.

Overall, the sound quality is really on-par with a speaker of this price and from a brand we’ve come to expect a lot of over the years, despite being up against giants like JBL and others. With that in mind, the power-handling is lower than many speakers in the same class so you probably will need to keep reading to find a speaker that will handle a high power amp blasting into them.

For those looking for a solid speaker at a great price without having to change really anything else about their audio system, these are the speakers for you.

Advantages of this product:

  • Great budget friendly price
  • Sleek, flat black design to blend in well
  • Sound quality and loudness is good, considering the price but isn’t the absolute  best

Disadvantages of this product:

  • Power handling is below average
  • If you want to blast your music, you’ll get to distortion and clipping sooner than other speakers in this list.
  • Trade off of reduced loudness and power handling in favor of great bass

Boasting some of the highest power handling of any of the speakers we reviewed, the short version of this speaker set is that it will handle super high volumes without sacrificing sound clarity or getting distortion. This is absolutely still possible, but these speakers give you a better chance of not getting to that point as soon as some of the others.

Pioneer went for an approach that aims to maximize the accuracy of sound reproduction from your music and achieved that by developing a multi layered mica cone that gives fantastic responsiveness and lightweight. This means you can blast anything from dubstep to hip hop to live performances with maximum sound clarity and high volume. Pioneer stuffed a cone that is 15% larger than other cones for the same size 6.5” speakers, which means better bass sound quality across the entire low range this speaker is capable of producing.

Some higher end speakers have a spider-like woven cone that allows for higher volumes to be pushed through the cone without damaging the speaker. This TS series from Pioneer has that same technology, despite the affordable price so you can feel comfortable turning up the volume and really getting the most out of these speakers. A byproduct of increasing power handling and consumption is heat and these speakers have a built in air vent to help allow increased cooling. In addition, the coil wire also has a higher heat tolerance so these speakers are built to last, while handling the power they’re actually rated for.

Advantages of this product:

  • Can really be cranked high without risking damage
  • Great price and readily available
  • Amazing high and mid tones

Disadvantages of this product:

  • Lower end suffers due to high volume rating
  • Needs small sub to have really thumping bass if you want that

Proving over multiple years to have good sound quality and reliability isn’t easy, but Kenwood has done it again with these affordable, mid level quality speakers. When we say mid level quality, that is not to discourage you from buying these speakers because they will almost certainly sound better than the OEM speakers in your car, especially if they’ve aged, but you aren’t going to be able to expect top quality sound from a speaker that’s usually one of the cheaper options when looking for decent aftermarket speakers.

Despite the affordable price, these speakers are rated to handle higher power so you can crank them up and not worry, unless you have a crazy aftermarket head unit. Even if you do, just make sure you pay attention to the type of music you’re playing, how loud, and for how long, and you should have no issues. Most people who end up with these speakers are those who want something that sounds good and maybe ends up in a car they don’t drive as often or aren’t as concerned with the greatest sound quality.

Many speakers boast a re-design basket of some kind, but Kenwood has stuck with what they know has been proven time and time again and that is a steel basket. The basket basically helps cancel out any unwanted noise and hiss so that the sound you actually hear is high quality and as true to form as it can be. Once again, these speakers are perfect for those looking for a one up on their OEM spec speakers and who don’t want to break the bank.

Advantages of this product:

  • Great cost / quality balance
  • Shallow mount application at under 2 inches
  • This model has been produced for years, proving it’s quality

Disadvantages of this product:

  • Grey color so it might show depending on your door panel and install location
  • Cheaper cost trades off overall sound quality
  • Takes a bit of EQ tweaking to get the sound dialed into your specific preference

The JBL GTO629’s take the win in our opinion because they offer superb sound quality and although they lack the overall high power handling that some of the other speakers on this list boast, that isn’t an issue for the overarching focus of this guide. If you plan to massively upgrade your sound system at some point in the future, perhaps get the Pioneer’s we mentioned earlier, but the reason we chose the JBL’s is that even with a solid aftermarket head unit, these speakers will still sound amazing. You can get a pair of 6.5s and a pair of 6x9s which won’t break the bank and the sound quality will be stunning. And, as we mentioned, if you’re not totally satisfied JBL offers a 30 day return policy.

We hope you enjoyed this guide and please be sure to reach out to us if you have any thoughts, comments, or would like us to review a particular product.