The Best Car Speakers For Music Lovers 2023


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 2023” 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 2023:

The Best 2-Way Car Component Speakers

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Focal ES 165 KX2 K2 Power 6-1/2" 2-way Component Speaker System

Regular price $974.99
Sale price $974.99 Regular price
Save $-974.99 (%)
  • Woofer Material: Composite K2 Power "W" Sandwich Cone
  • Tweeter Material: TKMX ("M" profile aramid fiber inverted dome)
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity (2.83/1m): 92.5dB

Focal’s ES 165 KX2 is an incredible-sounding speaker system that you really need to hear to appreciate just how much better they are compared to most other speakers on the market. Like most other component speaker systems, this kit includes a pair of woofers, a pair of tweeters, a pair of external crossovers, and some installation accessories and speaker grilles for the woofers.

To go all-out in terms of fidelity, Focal’s sound gurus employed a “sandwich” woofer cone design that sees a Kevlar core layer surrounded on both sides by ultra-thin layers of glass-fiber pieces. This helps improve rigidity, and the resulting sound is incredibly lifelike thanks to the lightweight properties of that sandwich design. A Tuned Mass Damper rubber surround helps lower distortion potential for better sound quality throughout the volume spectrum, but with an emphasis on higher volumes.

The accompanying tweeters are shaped in an “M”-profile inverted dome design for killer sound quality, a wider dispersion, and higher peak power handling. Oh, and thanks to their 1-1/8” sizing, these tweeters can play a little lower into the upper-midrange frequency response range, which means that they blend with the woofers for a more robust sound stage compared to many others out there.

Focal has also included a pair of external crossovers for simplified installations. They can be wired in the traditional way, or you can use them in a bi-amp fashion. This kind of versatility allows different configurations to be explored. At the end of the day, you will be hard-pressed to find a pair of car component speakers better than the ES 165 KX2 speakers. If you’re looking for an audio utopia, you’re on the right path with Focal.

The Best Car Coaxial Speakers

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Focal PC 165 FE 6-1/2" Expert Flax Evo 2-Way Coaxial Speakers

Regular price $479.99
Sale price $479.99 Regular price
Save $-479.99 (%)
  • Woofer Material: Flax Sandwich Woofer Cones
  • Tweeter Material: Coaxial "M"-profile aluminum/magnesium inverted dome
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 90dB

Tired of boring, lackluster audio in your car, truck, or SUV? Why not get an immediate improvement in audio reproduction with Focal’s PC 165 FE 6-1/2” 2-way car coaxial speakers? Focal’s sound gurus blend unique materials with advanced technologies to deliver a truly superb sound experience. Focal’s Flax Evo line is a new iteration of their best-selling, award-winning Flax-series speakers. We found it hard to believe that you could have improved upon the original speakers, but we were wrong.

The flax-coned woofers can deliver some truly impressive midrange and midbass response thanks to their flax sandwich cone design. In case you’re unaware of this “flax sandwich cone” technology, allow us to explain: Focal’s engineers place a thin layer of flax between two ultra-thin layers of glass fiber to ensure unparalleled rigidity. These woofer cones are then connected to the aluminum basket via Focal’s TMD (tuned mass damper) rubber surround to further eliminate distortion potential. The built-in aluminum/magnesium inverted dome just plain sing those high frequencies. Seriously. You’ve never heard sound so good from a car coaxial speaker!

Hook up the PC 165 FE speaker kit to an amplifier that pushes them around 70 watts each (at 4 ohms) and you will hear your favorite tunes in clarity you’d never expect in your vehicle. We were thrilled with these speakers’ imaging and clarity when we first hooked them up for their inaugural test drive. One of the best bits is that the speakers only measure 2-15/16” in mounting depth, so they will fit into just about any vehicle!

The Best Value Car Coaxial Speakers

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Kicker DSC650 DS Series 6.5" 4-Ohm Coaxial Speakers - Pair

Regular price $79.99
Sale price $79.99 Regular price
Save $-79.99 (%)
  • Woofer Material: Polypropylene
  • Tweeter Material: PEI
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 90dB

If you find yourself in need of a good-quality pair of speakers that will run well off your factory-installed radio, Kicker’s DS-series 43DSC6504 6-1/2” 2-way coaxial speakers should be at the top of your list of suitable solutions. The speakers’ woofer cones are made of a durable polypropylene material that will belt out solid midrange and midbass response, while the 1/2” PEI dome tweeters planted in the middle of each speaker deliver crisp high-frequency response. A ribbed foam surround ensures a good connection between the woofer cones and the basket of each speaker.

Capable of handling up to 240 watts of peak power, these 4-ohm speakers thrive in as little as 10-60 watts of continuous power. That’s perfect if you’re teaming them up with a factory-installed or aftermarket radio. With a mounting depth of just 1-13/16”, you should have few issues fitting them into most speaker locations. Suppose you need some protection for the speakers. In that case, a pair of hardy plastic grilles are included to protect your audio investment. We think it’s time to upgrade those poor-sounding speakers in your vehicle. Don’t you agree?

The Best Car Coaxial Speakers Under $300

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Focal 165 AC Access 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers

Regular price $269.99
Sale price $269.99 Regular price
Save $-269.99 (%)
  • Woofer Material: Dual Fiberglass Structure (DFS®)
  • Tweeter Material: Processed aluminum inverted dome
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 92dB

If you're looking for a truly outstanding pair of 6-1/2" 2-way coaxial car speakers, check out Focal's 165AC Access-series kit. Boasting dual fiberglass structure (DFS) woofer cones that deliver some great midrange and midbass response coupled to an aluminum inverted dome tweeter that sounds plain gorgeous, you will not be able to find a better solution to your audio dilemma.

We want to talk about the tweeter a bit more as it is quite unique to a coaxial speaker design. The tweeter in the middle of each speaker is in an angled mount atop a rotatable post. This means that you're able to spin this tweeter post to get the tweeters to project their sound towards your ears. You will hear more detail in every bit of music you listen to!

This 4-ohm speaker kit can handle up to 120 watts of peak power (up to 60 watts RMS), so your choices are wide: power them off the existing audio system or add a small, robust amplifier to make these things really sing! Each speaker's ABS/fiberglass basket is only 2-1/2" deep, so you should have no install worries in most vehicles. If you're not planning on using the existing speaker grilles in the car (or they don't exist), Focal has some in the box with these speakers.

The Best Value Car Component Speakers

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Kicker 46CSS654 CS-Series 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers

Regular price $143.96
Sale price $143.96 Regular price
$179.99 Save $36.03 (20%)
  • Woofer Material: Polypropylene
  • Tweeter Material: Titanium
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 12dB

Kicker has designed their 46CSS654 CS-series 2-way 6-1/2” car component speakers to be a hefty upgrade over what’s installed into most cars, trucks, and SUVs today. A lot of research and development went into these speakers to ensure that they sound good and last a good long time. Woofer cones crafted from polypropylene are attached to the speaker’s durable stamped basket via ribbed polyester foam surrounds and 3/4” titanium tweeters all but assure you that they are truly great-sounding speakers.

Boasting a woofer mounting depth of only 1-13/16”, you should find little installation woes in your vehicle of choice. Even the included crossovers are compact enough to tuck away into a door or under the dash for a discreet location. If you need some protection for the speakers, Kicker thoughtfully included some grilles for this very reason.

This 4-ohm car component speaker kit will handle up to 100 watts of continuous power and then up to 300 watts of max power, so you have a few options for powering them: factory-installed radio, aftermarket radio, or an amplifier. Well, what are you waiting for? Click the “Add to Cart” button and start your journey to better-sounding audio today!

The Best Car Component Speakers Under $200

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Focal ASE 165 6.5" 2-Way Component Kit

Regular price $159.99
Sale price $159.99 Regular price
$199.99 Save $40.00 (20%)
  • Woofer Material: Polypropylene
  • Tweeter Material: Mylar
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 91.5dB

If you’ve done any research on upgrading your vehicle’s speakers, there’s a very strong chance that you saw Focal’s name pop up a time or two. That’s because they are darn good at what they do and their Auditor-series ASE 165 6-1/2” 2-way car component speakers show the incredible value you receive from the French speaker manufacturer.

Smooth midrange and tight midbass response are delivered via the polypropylene woofer cones while detailed high-frequency response from the Mylar inverted dome tweeters make the nuances in your music emerge effortlessly. Simple, but efficient, compact crossovers are tasked with the duty of separating the incoming audio signal and sending the appropriate audio information to the proper driver (midrange and midbass go to the woofers while highs go to the tweeters). We love how small these crossovers are because it makes the installation of the system so much easier! Also making the installation easier is the 2-1/2” mounting depth of the woofers – that type of depth should fit in virtually any vehicle.

While the ASE 165 speakers are designed to thrive in a low-power environment (such as running off a factory-installed or aftermarket stereo), you will get the utmost in performance if you team them up with a 60-watt per channel amplifier. In doing so, the speakers will achieve better sound quality as well as playing more loudly. Win/win, we believe.

The Best Car Component Speakers Under $300

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Kicker 47KSS6504 6-1/2" KS-Series 2-Way Component Speakers

Regular price $249.99
Sale price $249.99 Regular price
Save $-249.99 (%)
  • Woofer Material: Polyglass
  • Tweeter Material: Silk Dome
  • Impedance: 
  • Sensitivity: 12dB

Okay, so you may have noticed that we are fans of Kicker speakers. There’s a good reason why; let us tell you about one of our personal favorites: Kicker’s KSS6504 6-1/2” 2-way car component speakers. While this KS-series speaker kit shares similar polypropylene woofer cones with its DS- and CS-series speakers, the 1” silk dome tweeters are quite different. One of the best aspects of silk dome tweeters is that they can be ultra-smooth sounding with none of that harshness that some metal tweeters deliver.

We know we just mentioned the woofer cones for this speaker kit, but we did not want to forget to tell you that the surrounds for the woofers have been upgraded to a durable rubber material that will outlast the foam variants found in some other speaker kits. Another tidbit worth mentioning is the phase plugs (the bullet-shaped piece in the middle of each woofer included in this kit). A phase plug’s primary duty is to ensure that all the sound created by the woofer is pushed out towards your ears, not “stuck” at the front of the woofer and affecting the rest of the frequencies that the speaker is dutifully creating.

The 47KSS6504 component speakers have a 4-ohm impedance and would love to see continuous power of up to 125 watts, but they will handle up to 250 watts of peak power, too. Like the DS- and CS-series equivalent speakers, the KS-series variant has a mounting depth of just 1-13/16”, so that should simplify your installation quite a bit versus some deeper speakers that could begin making contact with components inside of the door, for example. The included crossover networks permit tweeter output adjustments, so you can change the output to something better sounding depending on the tweeters’ placement in the vehicle.

Those phase plugs we mentioned earlier can be removed, and the tweeters can be mounted in that cavity to improve versatility. This changes the Kicker speakers from a component setup to a coaxial one. This can be beneficial if you change cars and the new one doesn’t allow you to mount the tweeter in a separate location. It appears Kicker has thought of everything, right?

The Best Car Component Speakers Under $500

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Focal ISU 165 Universal Integration 6-1/2" 2-Way Component Speakers

Regular price $255.99
Sale price $255.99 Regular price
$319.99 Save $64.00 (20%)
  • Nominal Power Handling: 70 watts
  • Maximum Power Handling: 140 watts
  • Sensitivity: 93dB
  • Frequency Response: 60Hz – 21kHz

The ISU 165 6-1/2” component car speakers are hands-down one of the best options available if you’re looking to upgrade from a rather dull sound system in your vehicle to a better-sounding experience.

The woofer cones are made using Focal’s polyglass technology, which is the result of adhering micro glass balls to a pulp cone. This allows the woofer cone to have a fair amount of rigidity without weighing much. This improves mid-range and midbass response while limiting distortion potential. Aluminum magnesium inverted dome tweeters deliver smooth high-frequency response and are protected from harmful frequencies by the slim in-line crossover Focal supplies.

The ISU 165 speakers can handle up to 70 watts of continuous power (and up to 140 watts of peak power), but thanks to their 4-ohm impedance and 93dB sensitivity rating, these things will sound wonderful even running off a factory-installed radio. If you add an amplifier to power them into the fold, they will sound even better. With a mounting depth measuring only 1-15/16”, the woofers will fit into almost any location imaginable. Please note that Focal does not include speaker grilles as they expect the ISU 165 speakers to reside behind existing grilles. So what are you waiting for?

The Best Low-Power Car Coaxial Speakers

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Kicker 46CSC654 CS-Series 6-1/2" 2-Way Coaxial Speakers

Regular price $71.96
Sale price $71.96 Regular price
$89.99 Save $18.03 (20%)
  • Woofer Material: Polypropylene
  • Tweeter Material: PEI (polymer imide)
  • Sensitivity: 90dB

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-balanced, 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 car speakers even more!

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.

Comments (1)

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1 Comment

People, i did car audio custom installs for 2 decades in Los Angeles area. entered professional car audio sound offs and even was a judge in SPL level tests. Best speakers are what your ears like to hear. dont go with what someone tells you. take couple of songs you know well and how they should sound. i advice, of course depends on person, maybe jazz or instrumental, rock, etc. you know how it sounds to your liking. then go shopping and listen to your songs and which set of speakers comes the closest. and ask if they have similar set up in a car. if so or we use to have sound rooms to test as mock up car. get an idea how they may sound in your car. what you like to hear, is the best speaker system for you. But,also choose an amp etc accordingly. thanks

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