What to Consider When Buying Car Speakers

You’re driving down the road, windows rolled down, singing along to your favorite song on the radio when all of a sudden, it happens—the bass takes over and rattles your eardrums out of their sockets! As exhilarating as that may be, it can also be dangerous if you don’t have car speakers that can stand up to the pressure. If you’re in the market for new car speakers, make sure you know what to look for before making your purchase so you get the sound you want at an affordable price.


Why is Sound Quality Important?

Car Speakers

This is one of those questions that seems too simple to be important. But sound quality matters for a few reasons. For one, it makes listening to music more enjoyable. A second reason is that having bad speakers in your car can actually be dangerous; you don’t want to have low-quality speakers because they may impair your ability to hear things like an approaching car or emergency vehicle while driving. So yes, quality matters a lot when shopping for new car speakers.


Types of Car Speaker Systems

There are two major types of car speaker systems that you should consider: component speakers and coaxial speakers. Component systems are composed of separate tweeters, mid-range drivers, and woofers. The speaker for each is wired separately, which makes installation a bit trickier. Coaxial speakers combine all three components into one unit; wiring is simpler because it’s already built-in but so is sound quality since there’s only one driver rather than three.

While component speakers generally sound better than coaxials. They also tend to be more expensive—and more complex to install if you’re not a professional installer (or enjoy pain). If you don’t plan on installing your system yourself, we recommend sticking with coaxial over component systems. Remember, cheaper isn’t always better when choosing car speakers—quality doesn’t come cheap!


Size of Your Car

One of the most important factors in purchasing car audio equipment is knowing what will fit in your vehicle and what won’t. It would be unfortunate to spend a bunch of money on something only to find out it doesn’t fit in your car! If you plan on using aftermarket components like head units or subwoofers, do some research on whether they will work with your vehicle before making any purchases. In addition, if you have certain specifications for amplifier power ratings—whether watts per channel or watts total.  you’ll need those measurements as well before moving forward with any purchase.


The Right Fit

Before buying anything online, be sure it’s made specifically for your vehicle year/make/model. Some companies have universal speaker products that will often require adapters for proper fitting, so be sure to look for products that fit or are compatible with your vehicle. Trying to install a 2008 Acura TL speaker in a 2012 Acura TL? It probably won’t fit without a good amount of modifications.


Power Output

The power output is just another way of referring to how loud the speaker system gets at maximum volume. While bigger isn’t always better (and shouldn’t be confused with additional features), there are times when high output wattage results in cleaner bass response due to fewer distortion issues. To determine which speakers will produce higher output, check both peak power and RMS power ratings provided by each manufacturer. From there, you’ll want to compare similar systems across different brands. A 3-channel set of 4 2-way 100-watt speakers from Company X might be much louder than a 6 2-way 400 watt set from Company Y. 


Installation of Car Speakers

Each speaker system has varying amounts of installation complexity. At a minimum, every pair of aftermarket door speakers requires mounting brackets designed specifically for their size and make/model/year of your car along with wiring harnesses customized to your exact vehicle model/year. Then you’ll need to plug them into factory connectors, connect them via speaker wire(s) and secure them with wire ties once everything’s in place.

You also may run into amplifiers needing professional installation if not already installed under the hood of your car. Keep all these things in mind before heading out to your local automotive parts store or even looking online at vendors such as Amazon. They have everything you could need from antenna adapters to fog light switches! 


2-way or 3-way

2-way speakers offer more control over quality and sound, but they require a crossover network. A 2-way speaker gives you sound from your woofer (bass) and tweeter (treble). 3-way speakers have additional drivers for midrange frequencies (between bass and treble). They usually also have larger speakers than 2-ways, giving them a deeper bass response as well. If you’re not sure about your needs or budget, a 2-way system will be easier to start with; 3-ways often need an amplifier for best performance.


Speaker Build Materials

There are three types of speaker materials that are used on car speakers. These include pressed paper, polypropylene, and a molded polymer. Each material has its benefits as well as potential problems. In general, you can think of them in order of diminishing quality (though there’s plenty of debate about that). For example, the molded polymer would be a better choice than pressed paper because it handles heat and moisture better, but not necessarily over polypropylene or even metal. Still, here’s what they all have in common: they’re all lighter than conventional components which means they require less power to work effectively. The downside is that their low mass also means they vibrate at higher frequencies (which leads us back to the whole light-but-weak scenario).


Go With an In-Dash Unit

Factory head units are often referred to as head units. These types of factory head units come stock with every new vehicle and integrate both visual displays and stereo audio. If you have an older model vehicle without one or have modified your dash such that no aftermarket version will fit within it. Then an aftermarket head unit can be purchased at any electronics store or online for a reasonable price, usually less than $100. We recommend purchasing from a local electronics shop if possible because they will generally have more options in regards to brand and features. 


Extras Bass in Car Speakers

Car Speaker companies often throw in little extras when you buy from them directly. These are usually items like speaker grilles, color-matched mounts, and other items designed to match and complete your car’s interior look. Not only does it add value to your product purchase, but it looks great as well! Never forget about looks when installing custom car audio gear. Most car owners care as much about aesthetics as they do the performance.


Buying Guide of Car Speakers

Buying Guide of Car Speakers

First, you’ll want to test fit your speakers. Plug them into a powered receiver or amplifier and put on some favorite tunes to listen for any unusual vibrations or rattling sounds. Next, go through installation instructions step-by-step from start to finish and practice assembling/disassembling them before doing it for real in your vehicle. And always remember to use proper safety precautions when handling speakers (and anything else in your car). Finally, ensure that they are properly installed; having well-installed car audio components can make all of the difference between sounding good and sounding great. Also, be sure to position them correctly so that bass frequencies aren’t coming out of only one speaker. You’ll probably have to play around with speaker placement a bit before you find something that really works best—just keep at it! Trust us, it’s worth putting in time finding the right spot(s) for your sound system.


How Much Do Car Speakers Cost?

How Much Do Car Speakers Cost?

Most car speakers range in price from $15-$200. This is quite a variance, so it’s important to understand what you’re getting for your money. In general, lower-priced models will not sound as good as more expensive ones; however, there are plenty of exceptions and brands like Sony that offer high-quality yet affordable speakers. If you’re working with a limited budget, look for features you can live without—such as a subwoofer—and consider purchasing used or refurbished speakers if possible. You might also want to do some comparison shopping online before making a purchase at an electronics store.

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