The Best Car Speakers of 2021
Last updated on February 17, 2021
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 2021” 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 2021:1. The Best-Sounding 2-Way Car Component Speakers: Focal 165 W-XP 6-1/2" Utopia M 2-Way Component Speakers
2. The Best-Sounding 3-Way Car Component Speakers: Focal ES 165 KX3 K2 Power 6-1/2" 3-way Component Speakers
3. The Best-Sounding Car Coaxial Speakers: Focal EC 165 K 6-1/2" K2 Power 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
4. The Best Car Component Speakers Under $500: Focal 165 AS Access 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
5. The Best Car Component Speakers Under $200: JL Audio C1-650 6-1/2" C1-Series 2-Way Component Speakers
6. The Best Low-Power Car Coaxial Speakers: Kicker 46CSC654 CS-Series 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
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ES 165 KX3
Regular Price: $2,880.00
Save: $580.01 (20%)
## 1. The Best-Sounding 2-Way Car Component Speakers: Focal 165 W-XP 6-1/2" Utopia M 2-Way Component Speakers
Why it won
The Utopia series from Focal is arguably the finest-sounding series in all of the car audio world. The Focal 165W-XP continues to carry this pedigree into 2021 with some improvements over the previous model, the 165 WRC speakers.
While the new inverted dome tweeters are still made of pure Beryllium for exquisite detail and unreal sound quality, the accompanying woofers now boast a Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) surround to assist in lowering distortion potential and improve sound quality. Speaking of the woofers, the woofer cones are made up of a “sandwich”-style design: at the center (or meat) of the sandwich, there is a strong foam core while at the top and bottom of it (or the bread) are ultra-thin layers of glass fiber. The results are a pair of drivers capable of belting out some impressive bass response as well as some serious mid-range.
Included in this speaker system is a pair of external crossovers to help simplify the installation. These crossovers are can be used in a traditional form or they can be bi-amped. Bi-amping the speaker kit (meaning that you utilize something like a 4-channel amplifier to power the tweeters and woofers individually) allows you to dial in the perfect sound depending on the placement of the speakers as well as the acoustics of your vehicle. The crossovers are finished off with an acrylic top plate and gold-plated contacts for the speaker wire connections. If you think that the build quality is impressive, you should hear them!
- Woofer Material: Glass Fiber Composite
- Tweeter Material: Beryllium Inverted Dome
- Impedance: 2Ω
- Sensitivity: 93dB
Reg Price: $2,500
## 2. The Best-Sounding 3-Way Car Component Speakers: Focal ES 165 KX3 K2 Power 6-1/2" 3-way Component Speakers
Why it won
If you’re in the market for a killer-sounding 6-1/2” 3-way car component speaker system, you must check out the ES 165 KX3 speakers from car speaker guru, Focal. Included in this kit are a pair of woofers, a pair of midrange speakers, a pair of tweeters, and a pair of external crossovers. Focal also thoughtfully included some different tweeter mounting adapters so you have some options based on your installation configuration.
The woofers’ and midrange drivers’ cones are made up of a “sandwich” design which sees a strong Kevlar piece sandwiched between a pair of ultra-thin glass fiber pieces. The result is drivers that are not only lightweight but also incredibly strong. A Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) rubber surround helps eliminate distortion for better sound quality at higher volumes. The tweeters in this Focal speaker kit showcase an “M”-shaped inverted dome for better sound, wider dispersion, and higher power handling. The crossovers do include some tuning options built into them, so if you’re looking for more control, look no further!
All in all,
it’s an impressively built kit, but more importantly, it sounds divine. The
rich sound quality that these speakers deliver will truly transport you to
- Woofer Material: Composite K2 Power "W" Sandwich Cone
- Tweeter Material: M-shaped Inverted Kevlar Dome Tweeter
- Impedance: 4Ω
- Sensitivity (2.83/1m): 93dB
Reg Price: $2,880
## 3. The Best-Sounding Car Coaxial Speakers: Focal EC 165 K 6-1/2" K2 Power 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
Why it won
The Focal EC 165 K 6-1/2” 2-way car coaxial speakers are truly in a class of their own. We’ve been doing this since ’79 and we have yet to hear a better pair of speakers in this category – and we have heard A LOT. Borrowing materials and technologies from their component speaker siblings, these Focal speakers feature a “sandwich” woofer cone design which means that the sturdy and light Kevlar woofer cones are sandwiched between a pair of ultra-thin glass fiber layers for increased strength and longevity. A hardy rubber surround is highlighted by Focal’s Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) technology for stronger resistance to distortion when that volume knob begins to twist strongly to the right.
The tweeters built into the speakers follow the “M”-shaped inverted dome design for superb sound quality, better power handling, and increased sound dispersion. Capable of handling up to 80 watts continuously, you can rest assured that these speakers can really rock when you get the proper power running them!
When it comes to the overall sound quality, we were absolutely tickled with their performance. If you’re gunning for the utmost in sound and are in the market for a speaker pair of this size, just stop looking and get these!
- Woofer Material: Kevlar Sandwich Woofer Cones
- Tweeter Material: Aramid Fiber “M”-shaped Inverted Dome Tweeters
- Impedance: 4Ω
- Sensitivity: 93dB
Reg Price: $1,000
#4. The Best Car Component Speakers Under $500: Focal 165 AS Access 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers
Why it won
If you’ve been reading our other buying guides in this Car Speakers category, you may have seen a common brand flying around - Focal. The 165 AS speakers from the French manufacturer have claimed this category quite handily – they even outperformed some more expensive kits from other manufacturers! This is due to the excellent craftsmanship of the speakers, of course. The woofer cones are made of a Dual Fiberglass Structure (DFS) which equates to strong, rigid cones capable of outstanding midrange and midbass performance. These cones are attached to the chassis of each speaker via a durable rubber surround.
Moving onto the tweeters, these are made of aluminum and pressed into an inverted dome shape to enhance imaging and tonal quality. A pair of external crossovers are provided to keep the appropriate frequencies going to the proper speaker. Overall, you’ll find the sound easy on the ears and expressive in output. The 165 AS kit from Focal are designed to run well off of a factory-installed radio or, for even better sound quality, an aftermarket amplifier. Regardless of your power solution, prepare to be impressed!.
- Max Power: 120 watts
- Nominal Power: 60 watts
- Sensitivity: 92dB
- Frequency Response: 60Hz - 20kHz
Reg Price: $480.00
Why it won
If you've ever looked at anything car audio-related, you probably saw the name “JL Audio” thrown around and for very good reason: they are one of the leading manufacturers in car audio and have been since their inception in the late 70s. The C1-650 6-1/2” car component speakers from JL have quite the pedigree to uphold, but they do so effortlessly. The mineral-filled, injection-filled polypropylene woofers cones are strong, but lightweight, ensuring dynamic midrange and midbass performance. These woofer cones are attached to the stamped woofer baskets with a durable rubber surround. The high-frequency response it handled via edge-driven aluminum dome tweeters that sound crisp, but not overwhelmingly bright. Inline outboard high-pass filters protect the tweeter from harmful frequencies are small enough to tuck away just about anywhere – simplifying the installation process by quite a bit, too!
Best of all, while the speakers handle up to 50 watts of continuous power, their 91dB sensitivity ensures that they will run well off of factory-installed radio power all the way through aftermarket amplification. You can make a simple audio upgrade by getting the factory speakers out of your ride and putting the JL Audio C1-650 speakers in their place!
- Woofer Material: Polyglass
- Tweeter Material: Aluminum/Magnesium
- Impedance: 4Ω
- Sensitivity: 93dB
#6. The Best Low-Power Car Coaxial Speakers: Kicker 46CSC654 CS-Series 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers
Why it won
Kicker’s 46CSC654 6-1/2” 2-way car coaxial speakers sound incredible and, more importantly (for the folks looking for a simple, but noticeable, audio upgrade in their vehicle), they don’t need gobs of juice to perform well. The polypropylene woofer cones couple quite well with the PEI dome tweeters for well-balance, natural sound. The tweeter on each speaker boasts zero protrusion, so you don’t have to be concerned with the tweeter hitting the inside of the door panel when you’re putting everything back together after the installation.
And speaking of installation, Kicker put a lot of time and thought into the fitment of the rear part of the speaker, too. Measuring only 1-11/16” in top mount depth, this speaker system should have no issues being installed in virtually any vehicle. A pair of stylish protective grilles are included in case you need them, too. If you’re looking for even better sound, consider adding a small amplifier into the mix to enjoy these speakers even more!
- Woofer Material: Polypropylene
- Tweeter Material: PEI (polymer imide)
- Sensitivity: 90dB
Reg Price: $89.95
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.