The Best Car Speakers of 2019
Last updated on July 22 2019
Don’t know what to get?
BOOM: here’s some expert advice.
If you’ve never purchased speakers for a car, boat, or ATV before, here’s a little heads up: there are TONS of them. And, though they come in every size and shape for every car make and model, a significant percentage are junk – and often not as good as the stock speakers your car came with. The good news: you don’t have to spend a fortune to significantly upgrade your system if you know what to look for, or who to talk to. That’s what our “Best of 2019” list is all about: our experts cherry-picking the best car, boat, and ATV speakers currently on the market, by category – best for sound quality, best for the money, best coaxial, and so on.
Questions along the way? Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to one of our mobile technicians at 1.866.961.7781 or email us here. (You will make their day – they love this stuff.)
Here Are Our Picks for the Best Car Speakers of 2019:1) The Best Sounding Car Speakers: Focal ES 165 KX2 K2 Power 6-1/2" 2-way Component Speaker System 2) The Best Car Speakers For Under $100: Kicker 44KSC6504 6-1/2" KS 2-Way Coaxial Speakers 3) The Best Budget Coaxial Car Speakers: Focal RCX-165 Auditor 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers 4) The Best Car Speakers For The Money: Dynaudio Esotan 272 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers 5) The Best Component Speakers Under $500: Focal ISU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers 6) The Best Coaxial Speakers: Focal ICU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers 7) The Best 6.5 Component Speakers: Focal PS 165 FX Expert Flax 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers 8) The Best Component Speakers Under 200: Infinity KAPPA 60CSX Component Speakers 9) The Best Car Speaker For Bass Without A Subwoofer: Kicker 43CSC654 6-1/2" CS 2-way Coaxial Speaker System 10) The Best Value Car Speakers: Infinity REF 6532ix 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers 11) The Best 6x9 Car Stereo Speakers: Focal 690 AC Access 6x9" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
#1) The Best Sounding Car Speakers: Focal ES 165 KX2 K2 Power 6-1/2" 2-way Component Speaker System
BRAND & MODEL: Focal ES 165 KX2 K2 Power 6-1/2" 2-way Component Speaker System
REG PRICE: $1,299.99
Why it won
Focal designs and manufactures some of the world’s finest loudspeakers for the home, as well as what many consider the best over-ear headphones money can buy. So, it’s no surprise the French company’s “K2” line of car speakers are, in a word, sublime – and an easy choice for “best sound.”
For serious music lovers and audiophiles, we recommend Focal’s ES 165 KX2 K2 Power 6-1/2" 2-way component speaker system. In the box: one pair of woofers, one pair of tweeters, and one pair of crossovers with tuning options. (Plus grilles, mounting rings, gaskets, two flush and two surface tweeter cups, and hardware.) There’s a lot to talk about with Focal’s K2 series, and you can see a complete list of features and specs right here, but here are three that got our attention:
The “M”-shaped Inverted Dome Tweeters incorporate an extremely lightweight yet tough Kevlar® aramid fiber (known for body armor) and the result = high frequencies with freakish accuracy. The two K2 crossovers employ audiophile-grade components so absolutely nothing is lost in translation, and the two “W” sandwich cone woofers are, to our ears, industry best. Overall: music in the car on par with the world’s finest recording studios, or "oh là là!”
#2) The Best Car Speakers For Under $100: Kicker 44KSC6504 6-1/2" KS 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Kicker 44KSC6504 6-1/2" KS 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
REG PRICE: $79.76
Why it won
If you’re driving a GM, Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, or one of many imports, you’ll enjoy a nice overall improvement in sound – for less than a single Benjamin – via a pair of Kicker KS-Series, 6.5-inch coaxial speakers. And by improvement, we mean surprisingly deep, rich bass – and smooth, accurate vocals – via polypropylene woofers with tough rubber surrounds partnered with silk dome tweeters built for high-frequency response (43 - 21kHz).
At 6.5-inches each, these two coaxial speakers can handle 100W RMS of power, with peak power handling at 200W. All in all, more bang for the buck than you might think and a very economical way to better sounding music on the road.
#3) The Best Budget Coaxial Car Speakers: Focal RCX-165 Auditor 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Focal RCX-165 Auditor 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
REG PRICE: $119.99
Why it won
At $1,299 a pair, Focal’s K2s took our “best sound” prize (see #1 above). But for only $119, you can own a pair of Focal Auditor 6.5-inch 2-Way Coaxial speakers that were made to run on whatever factory-installed or aftermarket amp (or radio) you currently have in your dash. Once installed, you’ll notice an immediate and fairly significant improvement in overall sound – bigger / cleaner bass and cleaner, crisper highs – especially when you turn things up.
Focal’s RCX-165s can handle up to 60 watts of continuous power and 120 watts peak power. In the box: everything you’ll need for a clean install, including protective grilles and mounting hardware. (One suggestion, use Dynamat’s Xtreme door kit when installing your Focal speakers. With the added sound insulation, you’ll reduce outside road noise and get an even better bass response.)
#4) The Best Car Speakers For The Money: Dynaudio Esotan 272 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Dynaudio Esotan 272 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
REG PRICE: $599
Why it won
We’ve designed and installed some very serious custom car music systems in our day, a few costing upwards of $20K. The point: we know just how good music in a car can sound with A-list equipment and a pro install – so we were floored when we heard what Dynaudio’s Esotan series can do for only $599. The 272 kit comes with two 6.5-inch magnesium silicate polymer (MSP) woofers, two soft dome tweeters, and two crossovers to ensure the right frequencies get to the right speakers. (Of note, Dynaudio added 3-inch voice coils to the 2019 version of the 272s, which means you turn them up, as in WAY up, without distortion.)
As for performance, put it this way: if listening blindfolded, our car techs would probably think they’re hearing an audiophile-grade system worth 4 or 5 times as much. Highs are as smooth as a baby’s behind with a high frequency range up to 20kHz… while mid-range and bass tones are strong, articulate, and can, when called upon, punch extremely hard (45Hz - 5000Hz). Dynaudio totally takes “best for the money.” P.S. If you can do it, this 2-channel amp = the perfect mate.
#5) The Best Component Speakers Under $500: Focal ISU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Focal ISU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
REG PRICE: $279.99
Why it won
Please note: this is Focal’s third appearance on our list, and though the category is “best component speakers under $500,” Focal’s ISU-165 kit runs in the $300 neighborhood, so we’re talking “significantly” under $500. The kit includes a pair of woofers, tweeters and crossovers, plus flush and angle mounted tweeter cups and all mounting hardware.
The build quality is exquisite – once installed, it’s a shame they’re hidden – and includes breakthroughs unique to Focal. One example: woofers made from molten glass balls (polyglass) adhered to the pulp woofer cone to A) strengthen the woofer and B) dramatically improve bass at louder volumes. Another: aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeters that provide an extremely detailed high-frequency response.
The pair can handle up to 70 watts of continuous power (peak = 140 watts) and the crossovers are small and easy to tuck away. Everything is designed to run off your stock radio or amp, and you’ll enjoy an improvement in overall sound that’s far from subtle. (Even more so if you wrap the in-door set-up with Dynamat’s Xtreme Door Kit.)
Bottom line: sounds amazing, crazy low price, viva la Focal.
#6) The Best Coaxial Speakers: Focal ICU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Focal ICU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
REG PRICE: $169.99
Why it won
We like these two Focal Coaxial speakers for three reasons: 1) They’re extremely compact (shallow) and fit pretty much every car on the road. Focal also built in snap-off fixings, so you can make them even smaller. 2) Each includes Focal’s latest take on coaxial speakers – inverted aluminum/magnesium tweeters designed to pull out and push forward high frequencies with serious, lifelike detail. You can even boost each tweeter with the 2-position / +3 dB adjuster built-in. (Which is a good idea if your install is positioned low on the door.)
And #3? This is Focal – exquisitely designed, easy to install, and powerful: 140 Watts Max power with nominal power @ 70W and 93dB sensitivity. (Frequency response: 60Hz-21kHz.) For coaxial speakers, Focal’s 165s sound awesome and will run through your car’s present stereo or radio. Please note: speaker grilles are not included, the idea is to use your car’s existing speaker grills to maintain that OWM look.
#7) The Best 6.5 Component Speakers: Focal PS 165 FX Expert Flax 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Focal PS 165 FX Expert Flax 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
REG PRICE: $649.99
Why it won
FX = Focal’s Expert line, and Focal’s FX 165s are, without question, true audiophile-grade speakers – and one of the best choices for a serious custom upgrade. In the box: 2 pairs of woofers, tweeters and crossovers, plus grilles, mounting rings, gaskets, flush or surface cups for the tweeters and all mounting hardware. Also in the box: a renewed love for driving to work, or anywhere for that matter, in a front row seat to all your favorite concerts. (“Does anyone need anything from the store? I’ll go. Seriously, I’ll go… how about right now?”)
Features include: Crossovers that let you adjust gain with the flick of a switch, or for even more control, let you “bi-amp” the system right through the crossover itself. High frequency response by way of 1” aluminum/magnesium inverted dome tweeters – designed to negate the “tinfoil effect” associated with inferior metal tweeters. Rugged, flax woofers cones are sandwiched between pairs of thin glass fiber sheets for a kick-ass, end-result.
In a sentence – for those of us who love our cars – and loud, beautifully reproduced, crystal-clear music while driving in our cars – Focal delivers on all fronts.
#8) The Best Component Speakers Under $200: Infinity KAPPA 60CSX Component Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Infinity KAPPA 60CSX Component Speakers
REG PRICE: 198
Why it won
Interesting idea here from Infinity: extending the cone of the woofer to the very edge of the enclosure, while maintaining the footprint in a typical 6.5-inch speaker assembly, resulting in a bigger woofer surface area… that fits the same space. That, and it’s a cool look, too. Infinity woofers are made from glass fiber, which boosts bass performance and quality. Rounding everything out, KAPPA’s edge-driven textile soft dome tweeters deliver liquid smooth highs, and the combination sounds like it costs 3 or 4 times as much.
Another good idea: Infinity also offers two 2-inch midrange speakers drivers so you can turn your 2-way system into a 3-way system (woofers, tweeters and midranges). Though A) depending on your car, you may have to cut two new holes to make them fit, and B) you’d exceed the $200 limit in our “best under $200” category.
In the box, 2 of everything: woofers, tweeters, grilles, crossovers, rings, gaskets cups (surface or flush), starfish tweeter mounts, and hardware. All in all, great idea, great look, and amazing sound for the money.
#9) The Best Car Speaker For Bass Without A Subwoofer: Kicker 43CSC654 6-1/2" CS 2-way Coaxial Speaker System
BRAND & MODEL: Kicker 43CSC654 6-1/2" CS 2-way Coaxial Speaker System
REG PRICE: $69.95
Why it won
Kicker 6.5-inch CS Series woofers are built shallow, and the tweeters are inset with zero protrusion – making them easier to install in tight spaces. And, both run well when tapped into any power source, whether radio or amplifier. The woofers are made from a thick polypropylene for a better bass response, and the whole package is a step up from most stock coaxial speaker systems.
The Kicker CS Series delivers remarkable performance and ultra-clean bass, so even without installing a subwoofer, these will sound incredible.
Easy to install, $69 for the pair, sounds great… what’s not to like?
#10) The Best Value Car Speakers:Infinity REF 6532ix 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Infinity REF 6532ix 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
REG PRICE: $74.95
Why it won
Infinity Reference Speakers are some of our most popular – they’re easy to fit right out of the box (Infinity claims they fit over 85% of cars without any drilling or customization) + they win a surprising amount of “sound-offs,” where customers listen to different speakers side by side + the price is hard to beat. Added together = best value.
The 6432s incorporate more speaker cone surface area than similarly priced speakers, and the result is a bigger / badder bass response. Given that high frequencies are very directional, Infinity’s Reference 6532s come with rotatable tweeters, so you can “point” the sound in any direction – ideally upwards towards your ears. (You can also adjust levels on the tweeter and add up to 3dB.)
The 6432s come in standard 6.5-inch and a 6.5-inch “slim” version for cars with tighter fits. In the box: a generous collection of mounting hardware (clips, rings, screws, tape, etc) and speaker grilles.
#11) The Best 6x9 Car Stereo Speakers:Focal 690 AC Access 6x9" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
BRAND & MODEL: Focal 690 AC Access 6x9" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
REG PRICE: $299.99
Why it won
If you’re not convinced bigger is better when it comes to all things audio, try listening to a pair of 6X9-inch Focal Access coaxial speakers… while comparing to anything else on the market. The difference is dramatic.
Focal reigns supreme when it comes to car audio, and these oversized, Access Series coaxial speakers are built for big, warm, extremely detailed sound. The 690s include dual fiberglass structure woofer cones (DFS®) for excellent bass reproduction, and aluminum inverted dome tweeters for clean, crisp highs. (The tweeters sit in an angled mount that you can rotate towards upwards your ears – instead of firing at the side of your leg.) The combination = stellar sound, whether mounted on the back deck or in the front door panels, and everything runs off your existing radio or amp. What’s more, the 690s are built to withstand extreme weather conditions.
No question: a pair of Focal’s 690s represent a significant upgrade over any stock audio setup. But, if you’re seriously want to put a tiger in your tank, we’d also recommend swapping out your stock car radio for something more worthy of Focal, and this is a great place to start.
One more thing...
Once you pick out your new car speakers, a last word of advice: buy from a trusted dealer, and the more experience / the longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens. And if you have any questions along the way, please don’t hesitate to talk to one of our car techs. Call 1.866.961.7781 or email us here.
Speaking of trusted dealers…
World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet diehard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy. We’re brutally honest when it comes to this stuff. Want to know if something is as good as advertised - even if you're shopping somewhere else? Call us or stop by one of our showrooms — we’ll give it to you straight. We love what we do, and we love sharing that love.
With us, you get our guarantee, which includes perks like free shipping, 60-day returns, and support even years after the sale — always. Hence our rule: "no one leaves unhappy." Ever.