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If you’re shopping for the best 6.5 speakers, it’s a good bet that you’re not satisfied with the factory speakers currently installed in your car. Ideally, you’re confident enough to manage a DIY speaker installation project. But to pick the right option, you’ll need to consider a few factors.
Naturally, you should pick a speaker that’s compatible with your car, which is why you should know what speaker size fits your car. However, also consider the speaker sensitivity, its RMS rating, the frequency range and response, and, of course, your budget. And you can’t forget audio quality — which will require you to choose between coaxial versus component speaker systems.
Keep reading our buying guide for the best 6.5 car speakers to learn more. For those just beginning their speaker search, start with our best speakers buying guide.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: The patented UniPivot tweeter will allow for a more well-rounded audial experience. You’ll be able to aim the sound directly at you, even if the speakers are situated low to the ground. They also have low-impedance levels. Pair it with the best 8-inch subwoofer to make the experience even better.
You’ll enjoy the assurance of great sound for a long time to come because these are carbon-injected and highly durable. They’re also larger than other models in their class, providing more air movement to increase bass levels. Unfortunately, some consumers have reported that while the installation was easy, the speaker just didn’t fit well in their car. It also means they won’t be the greatest in-ceiling speakers either. This won’t be the case with everybody, but it’s something to keep in mind.
The patented UniPivot tweeter will allow you to aim sound. This means you won’t be at the mercy of the installation placement. Instead, you can ensure that audio is aimed directly at your ears. Beyond this, there is a dual-level tweeter volume adjustment feature. This means that even if your speaker isn’t placed perfectly, this model will still compensate for that to deliver rich audio. You can set these speakers to fit your personal preferences.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll appreciate the inclusion of a 1.5” voice coil. This feature allows the speaker to pump out excellent output and correctly handle the power sent to it. Beyond this, the model uses a ferrite magnet and solid composite paper.
The fantastic audio provided by this model will allow you to enjoy amazing mid-tones. It also delivers excellent volume while maintaining a uniform clarity. This is great for those who are seeking a complete audio experience in their car and don’t want to compromise. Unfortunately, this particular speaker model does not have the necessary mounting hardware. This could be a dealbreaker since you have to purchase those parts separately.
There is a 1.5” high-temperature copper voice coil built into this model. That means that it’ll be able to handle the power sent to it properly, and it’ll always provide excellent output. You’ll have a fantastic sound every time you use these speakers. It is considered a mid-range option, but it’s one of the more high-powered options available in this range. It packs 300 watts of power into the 6.5-inch diameter, with an MS power of 150 watts. It’s a good point to note the differences between active vs passive speakers, in case this one isn’t powerful enough for you.
Award: BEST FOR FULL-RANGE AUDIO
WHY WE LIKE IT: This sleek model is compact enough to fit universally in most vehicles. It’s also shallow and built to take up as minimal room as possible, making them a stylish choice. This model is also straightforward to install.
If you’re looking for a fantastic 2-way speaker, this model will absolutely deliver what you need. You’ll enjoy the 6.5-inch subwoofer that produces deep bass to your entire car. This is a full-range speaker option that is relatively compact for the amount of power packed into it. However, you’ll want to keep in mind that there are not two speakers that show up in this purchase. Instead, you’ll only receive one single speaker, which could be a dealbreaker.
You’ll love how easy it is to install this model of speaker. All you need is an adapter to connect them with your car. This removes a lot of the hassle involved with the installation process regarding competing models in the same class. It’ll also be gentler on the interior of your vehicle. It should be compatible with different types of cars, which means that it’ll almost certainly be able to fit your vehicle.
Award: BEST FOR SOFT TRIM
WHY WE LIKE IT: You’ll appreciate how high-quality the design of these speakers is. They have a soft-touch trim to ensure your car interior doesn’t become damaged after they’re installed. Beyond this, they have a premium finish.
The high-quality design of these speakers ensures that you won’t have to worry about potential damage to your car. They have a soft-touch trim that will be gentle on your interior after installation. This is great for those concerned about their vehicle staying in prime condition. However, keep in mind that some consumers have reported that their speakers did not mount flush against their car interior. This means there might be a little space between the speaker and the car.
You’ll almost certainly be able to use this speaker with your car. The speaker’s dimensions are 20 x 8 x 8-inches, so make sure you measure your vehicle before purchasing to ensure a perfect fit. They weigh just under 10 pounds, making them a lightweight option that won’t be a huge hassle to install. They offer 90 watts of power at their peak power, with an RMS power of 45 watts in each speaker. This is a 3-way audio option that uses a coaxial connection.
Award: BEST FOR DOMED TWEETERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: The ultra-realistic sound of these speakers cannot be understated. This is in large part due to the dome tweeters used, as well as a few other features. The model also uses UV-treated foam in its manufacturing.
This is an innovative speaker that can fit just about any vehicle. It will ensure a far better sound than factory speakers can bring. It offers stiff polypropylene cones alongside UV-treated, ribbed foam surrounds. These materials surround the driver, providing a more realistic audio experience. Unfortunately, if you live in a busy area or where these speakers will be competing with a lot of external noise, you may need an amp. Otherwise, these speakers might be too quiet.
If you’re afraid of causing damage to your car, this speaker is a great option. You don’t have to drill holes in your car door to install it. Instead, you just need to drop it right in. This is a much easier installation process than most other models can offer. The best part is installing it right out of the box and still getting a perfect fit. Beyond this, it provides excellent magnets that up the ante. The high-sensitivity DS motor will ensure that you always have better control over volume.
Award: BEST FOR HYBRID SURROUND SOUND
WHY WE LIKE IT: The hybrid surround sound offered by this pair will pump up the volume and keep your audial experience maxed out. Beyond this, the brand used 1” balanced dome tweeters in the manufacturing of the model.
The surround on this pair of speakers features a hybrid and mica cone surround. The frame is stamped with durable, lightweight steel. You’ll also have access to 30 watts of power for the RMS power. This allows you to add an amplifier if that suits your personal preferences. Keep in mind that you may want to buy your own grills for mounting when you purchase this unit. The included grills are made out of plastic and feel slightly flimsy to some consumers.
This model also features a 1” poly-ether imide dome tweeter that is completely balanced. This will help it produce a precise range of tones. Flexible mounting options are available because of the pre-arranged holes, allowing for a convenient installation process. It also has low impedance, coming in at just 4 ohms. The black ABS composite grills are another feature that makes these speakers so durable. You can rest assured that they have great longevity.
6.5-inch car speakers are not always the best component 6.5 speakers to use in a car, but they tend to be reasonably priced. Usually, top 6.5 component speakers are an aftermarket stereo upgrade that car owners can install to enhance their car’s sound system for a decent price. Plus, this means great speakers that will go with your headrest DVD player.
Factory-model speakers installed in cars can often produce lackluster results, as they’re not always the most durable speakers, even if you grab the strongest 6.5 speakers for bass. For serious audio enthusiasts who love quality speakers made with durable materials, this can be frustrating. Music and even general audio output can sound muddled and lack depth or clarity when using factory car speakers.
Rather than undergoing an expensive upgrade from standard car speakers, 6.5-inch car speakers offer an affordable solution that, in many cases, can be easily independently installed — even by relative novices. Additionally, these speakers are typically small, so they don’t overpower your car or require modifications and attachments.
A wide array of car speaker options on the market provide excellent sound. But 6.5-inch speakers tend to be one of the more popular options given their affordability, ease of installation, and consistent sound quality with crisp highs. Some models, like the Alpine R-series, also have a decent frequency response. They’ve considered a versatile option with wider automobile compatibility thanks to its smaller size.
However, depending on the car owner, and how important sound quality is to them, even the best 6.5 bass speakers may not be sufficient. While 6.5 car speakers are fairly universal, they’re not without drawbacks. The biggest issue you’ll find with this type of speaker is that it can struggle to provide consistent quality sound when listening to bass-heavy music. Basically, with a lack of watts per speaker, they’ll be unable to produce the full-range sound that audiophiles love.
Although this might not be an issue for someone listening to a genre such as classical music, anyone who prefers to listen to genres such as house music or even hip hop may find that 6.5-inch speakers are lacking.
All speakers work by relying on a cone that has an electromagnetic coil that creates a magnetic field when exposed to a current. As the current moves, the field can attract or repel the electromagnet, which causes the speaker cone to move, creating audio waves. With 6.5 car speakers, there are two options to choose from — coaxial and component.
Coaxial car speakers (also known as full-range) are ideal for anyone working on a budget or wanting a quick and simple install. They feature a built-in tweeter and rely on subwoofers to support low to mid frequencies. Meanwhile, highs are controlled by the speaker. Coaxial speakers can be ideal if you want to replace the speakers in your car door, given their compact size and all-in-one design.
Component speakers are considered a premium 6.5 option. Unlike coaxials, they support a full sound system with a subwoofer, tweeter, super-tweeter, and mid-range speakers. And as a result, they support ultra-high and ultra-low frequencies. Because of this, component speakers are more expensive and will usually require a bit more effort to install since you’ll need to work with multiple individual parts.
But beyond ease of installation and cost, a pair of speakers needs to be compatible with your car. Typically, this factor revolves around power consumption and is referred to by the root mean square (RMS) and peak power ratings. The RMS power represents the continuous power rating for a speaker — meaning how much power the speaker draws when it’s in use. Meanwhile, peak power refers to the maximum power a speaker can handle in short periods without damaging the components. Both figures are usually listed as watts of power.
The RMS and peak power ratings need to be compared against your car’s amp to determine compatibility. Keep in mind that RMS is more important, as this is the consistent power usage figure. But most car experts would agree that it’s always better to pick a speaker with a lower RMS or peak power rating than your car’s radio to avoid experiencing underpowered speakers struggling to perform properly.
However, there’s a caveat. Complete audio system reinstalls that also replace the radio with high-quality materials can be paired with speakers featuring higher RMS or peak power ratings. But of the two figures, the watts of peak power rating tend to be less important.
Some people are serious about their listening experience, which can also extend to time spent in the car. If you have a compact car and want crisp, quality sound, 6.5-inch car speakers may be just what you’re looking for. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should run right out and buy them.
Most car speakers — regardless of speaker size — are designed to last several years before they need to be replaced. This can range from as little as five years to much longer than the life of the car. But as with anything, your experience will vary based on user behavior and speaker compatibility.
As we mentioned earlier, regardless of the type of speaker you select, you need to match the speaker’s RMS to your car’s amp. Picking a speaker with an RMS that’s higher than your car can support means you’ll experience poor performance. In that respect, your speakers will last longer, but it’ll be irrelevant since the sound quality isn’t that great. In contrast, picking an RMS that’s lower than your car’s amp can give you consistent performance.
On the other hand, if you’re the type who blares music at loud volumes, you’re going to end up damaging your speakers and significantly shortening their lifespan. Also, keep in mind that other factors, such as speaker quality, materials used, and even installation location, can also impact how long your speakers last. For example, door installations tend to be most susceptible to water damage, which will shorten functionality over time.
Hands down, your biggest factor in picking the right speakers is selecting a set with an RMS compatible with your amplifier. However, other considerations, such as coaxial versus component car speakers, and even materials, can all impact your experience.
As we mentioned earlier, 6.5 car speakers are divided into two categories — component and coaxial. Component speakers are more expensive and composed of separate woofers, tweeters, and external crossovers. While these can take more time to install, they usually offer better sound output and quality.
Conversely, coaxial speakers incorporate mid-range woofers and tweeters. They’re often referred to as a full-range speaker and rely on an integrated crossover to help separate high and low frequencies. Along with being cheaper, coaxial speakers are usually considered easier to install and ideal for replacing door speakers.
Keep in mind that speaker power ratings are listed in terms of RMS and peak power. Of the two, RMS is the more important figure as it references the consistent power draw when the speaker is in use. For best results, be sure that your speaker’s RMS doesn’t exceed your car’s receiver or the external amplifier output. Picking speakers with an incompatible RMS can cause premature damage to the speakers.
Once you’ve confirmed the style and that there will be plenty of power output, you’ll need to decide on the sensitivity rating. This refers to how easily the speaker converts power into sound. Higher sensitivity ratings typically translate into better sound performance because less power is needed. Sensitivity ratings are generally listed in terms of decibels (dB). Even basic speakers can provide a sensitivity that’s around 87 to 88 decibels. But if only the best will do, look for speakers with a sensitivity rating of 90 decibels or higher.
No matter how great your speakers sound, if they’re made from cheap materials, you can’t expect to get more than a few years of use before they need to be replaced. For example, a polypropylene cone will last longer than one made from paper. Along with durability, don’t forget to consider where you’ll be installing the speaker and pick accordingly.
This question is especially important if you’re replacing door speakers. You’ll want to focus on models incorporating water-resistant materials or having a water-resistance rating. For best results, prioritize speakers that have an IP64 or higher rating.