Best In Wall Speakers

Updated: Nov 13, 2023 7:08 AM
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We’ve done the research to bring you the best in-wall speakers on the market today, narrowing it down to those with faithful sound quality across a range of at least 50hz to 20kHz and which come with paintable grills so they virtually disappear into the surrounding wall. We’ve chosen the best standalone wall speakers, the best affordable ceiling-mounted speakers, and also the best-paired speakers. Plus, one of the best hidden in-wall center channel speakers for a full in-home surround sound experience. If you prefer surround sound, take a look at some of the best 7.1 surround sound speakers too. Or, take a look at our guide to the best speakers.

A worthwhile upgrade for your home audio, in-wall speakers like our top pick, the Micca M-8S can outperform their freestanding counterparts thanks to the echo chamber effects of the wall itself while adding to the overall aesthetic of your space. They don’t have to cost a ridiculous amount either, as we’ve discovered some budget in-wall speakers that deliver great sound. Discover a way to bring audio quality into your home, without shelling out for the most expensive speaker system.

Top 7 Best In Wall Speakers Compared

 #1  1Micca M-8S Speaker

Award: Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: Flexibility and easy installation, plus strong bass from its 8-inch poly woofer meaning that, depending on your tastes and the size of the room, you may not even need a sub. It’s great for music listeners looking for a rich, natural sound from a speaker that takes up very little space.

  • Excellent mids
  • Pivoting silk dome tweeter
  • Ferro fluid cooling
  • Lacks the infinite baffle tuning of the Polk Audi oRC85i (#2 pick)
  • Comes as a single speaker rather than a pair
  • As with most in-wall speakers, installation requires some know-how

While it’s designed to work in concert with other Micca speakers, this 8” 2-way speaker provides good quality sound on its own, too. It features a 1” soft dome tweeter that pivots so you get clear, faithful high notes even when listening from an off-axis position. The 8” poly woofer provides surprisingly strong bass, especially when mounted in a space that has some inherent reverb.

The Micca M-8S requires about 3.6 inches of mounting depth, which is about average for in-wall speakers of this size. It comes with a surround that you can paint to match the wall, making it virtually invisible against your wall. The broad 12-dB crossover network ensures harmonious synchronization between the tweeter and the poly woofer, while the combination offers great flexibility for all types of music. The range is 40 Hz to 20,000 Hz. You can check out more speakers and compare.

 #2  Polk Audio RC85i Speaker

Award: Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: Sold as a pair, the Polk Audio RC85i is easy to install, comes with rubber seals to protect from humidity, and delivers balanced, lifelike sound with great coverage. It’s great for people looking to have realistic surround sound in areas like bathrooms, kitchens, covered porches, and sunrooms.

  • Low profile appearance
  • Dynamic Balance woofer with mineral filled cone
  • Moisture resistant rubber seals
  • Pricier than the Micca M-8S
  • Not true indoor-outdoor speakers
  • Bass somewhat limited

These Polk Audio 8” RC85i speakers are consistently among the top-rated in-wall speakers whether used by themselves or as part of a larger surround sound audio system. To that end, they’re timbre-matched with other Polk Audio speakers to ensure seamless blending. The RC85i utilizes Polk’s “infinite baffle tuning,” to enhance bass frequency using the room itself as a “virtual enclosure.” They’re very low profile and feature a paintable grille and clear paintable surrounds.

The Polk Audio RCi sound system is also moisture resistant enough to use in high-humidity or steamy indoor spaces like kitchens, bathrooms, and even covered pool and patio areas, without sacrificing durability. They’re also easy to install, thanks to Polk’s streamlined mounting system; they’re held by rotating cams rather than rigid supports, reducing extraneous vibrations. Compare these to the best in-ceiling speakers.

 #3  Silver Ticket 652W 6.5” Speaker

Award: Best Budget

WHY WE LIKE IT: A bargain for a moisture-resistant, 80W 6.5-inch in-wall speaker, yet it delivers great quality and even features a pivoting tweeter. It’s great for someone looking for humidity-resistant in-wall speakers for a bathroom or kitchen, at a bargain price.

  • Easy to mount
  • Pivoting tweeter
  • Heavy weight magnet for strong, driving sound
  • Only 6.5-inch, smaller than the Micca M-8S
  • Only 80W max
  • More difficult to integrate into a larger system than the Polk Audio in-wall speakers

This silver ticket in-wall speaker, sold individually, benefits from a slim profile and a flip lever quick-mount installation system, making it quick to set up. While it has only a 6.5-inch woofer, compared to the 8-inch woofers found on our top two picks, the Silver Ticket 652W is also less expensive than either the Micca M-8S or the Polk Audio RC85i.

The Silver Ticket delivers good sound with excellent clarity thanks to its pivoting tweeter, though it lacks some of the bass capability you can get with the Polk Audio RC85 (our #2 pick.) Another plus for the silver ticket speaker is that, like the much more expensive Polk Audio, you can use it in bathrooms and kitchens and other areas that get a lot of humidity. This can bring the best listening experience into any part of your home. They are a great choice if you don’t want the best floor-standing speakers.

 #4  Yamaha NSIC800WH 140 Speaker

Award: Best In-Ceiling

WHY WE LIKE IT: A high-quality 8” ceiling speaker pair with magnetic grills, a swivel tweeter, and a slim profile for flush mounting. It’s great for someone looking to add an immersive sound experience to any room of the house.

  • 140W each
  • Good for 2-channel sound reproduction
  • Broad frequency response of 50 Hz to 28 KHz
  • Only sold as a pair, making it more expensive if you just need a single speaker
  • Not as flexible with mounting options
  • Ceiling installation may be more challenging

These Yamaha speakers, sold as a pair, are distinctly high quality and feature a clever full coverage magnetic grill that lets them virtually disappear into the surrounding ceiling, unlike other in-wall speakers which typically have a smooth plastic surround outside the grill. The actual speaker elements are high quality as well, with fluid cooling and a swivel tweeter. The specs are actually a little more impressive than those of the Micca, our top pick. However, these Yamaha speakers are more expensive as well.

Handling up to 140 W each, they have a frequency response range of 50Hz all the way to 28 kHz, broader than the Micca or the Silver Ticket and comparable to the more expensive Polk Audio in-wall speakers. The magnetic grills on these Yamaha speakers make installation easier as well.

 #5  Acoustic Audio R191 Speaker

Award: Best set of 5

WHY WE LIKE IT: A flexible set of 5 shallow mount speakers that can go in walls or ceilings and easily integrate with your existing audio system. It’s great for people looking to, relatively inexpensively, add surround sound to a den or entertainment room.

  • Set of 5 included
  • Only 3” mounting depth
  • Full frequency range coverage with tweeter and woofer in each speaker
  • Requires a receiver or amp to drive the system
  • Wiring may be more challenging than with pairs or single speakers
  • Each woofer is only 5.25” so for some applications a sub may be needed

This is one of the most affordable yet good quality multi-speaker in-wall surround sound sets on the market. The idea here is that you get 5 identical passive speakers that drive power from a common receiver or amp. This gives you right, left, front back, and center channel audio, making it great for a movie watching room, den or home studio/ office set up. Each one mounts flush to the wall or ceiling using Acoustic Audio’s unique pressure lock mounting system. They’re also a tiny bit shallower than some of the other in-wall speakers on our list, needing only 3” of wall depth. For more depth, you’ll want to compare in-wall vs bookshelf speakers before considering this one.

Drawbacks include the relatively more complex setup and wiring process; the receiver must be between 10 and 200 amps, and for some applications, you may want to invest in an additional subwoofer, given the smallish size of the woofers in these speakers.

 #6  Polk Audio 255c-RT Speaker

Award: Best Center Channel

WHY WE LIKE IT: A 2-way in-wall center channel speaker that provides room-filling sound while maintaining an extremely low profile and virtually disappearing into the wall. It’s great for those wanting to build out or upgrade a home theater system and have center-stage sound without any of the clutter of large home theater speakers.

  • Reflective surface compensation
  • Dynamic and clear sound from its twin 5.25-inch woofers and adjustable tweeter
  • Very thin, paintable magnetic grill
  • Requires more wall space than just the paired RCi series speakers (our #2 pick)
  • More expensive than most of the in-wall speakers on our list
  • Works best with a full surround sound setup

Billed as the centerpiece of a home theater’s audio system, this 2-way center channel speaker delivers room-filling sound while remaining visually inconspicuous thanks to its super thin grill. It fits easily to the wall and closes magnetically to ensure a flush mount. The speaker itself consists of paired 5.25-inch drivers with an adaptive, adjustable tweeter. A unique bass design helps reduce distortion at high volumes and the tweeter compensates for acoustically reflective surfaces, giving you crisp and lifelike sound whether you’re screening movies or listening to music.

This center speaker also comes with Polk’s generally easy installation guidelines, featuring the rolling cam mounting system and a magnetically secured, paintable grill. If you are looking for wireless, our best wireless speakers list is what you need.

 #7  Theater Solutions Surround Sound TS50W Speaker

Award: Budget Paired Set

WHY WE LIKE IT: An inexpensive paired set of 100 W speakers to give you quality surround sound with the flexibility of wall or ceiling mounting. It’s great for those looking to remodel or add more lifelike interior sound quality to a den, game room, or living room without adding clutter.

  • Extended-throw Kevlar drivers
  • Durable aluminum surrounds
  • Silk and titanium dome tweeters
  • Surrounds are larger than with the other speakers on our list
  • Offers a smaller range of compatible speakers for building out a multi-speaker system
  • Installation is somewhat more difficult than with the Polk Audio models

These Theater Solutions speakers are appealing because they deliver very similar sound quality as the more expensive models from Polk Audio and Yamaha, for a fraction of the price. This way you don’t have to shell out for the best 5.1 surround sound speakers. They include extended throw drivers made of woven Kevlar and with butyl rubber surrounds, plus silk and titanium pivoting tweeters; they have a crossover at 2.5kHz and push about 100 Watts each.

They’re even moisture-resistant, meaning these paired in-wall speakers are suitable for kitchens and bathrooms. On the minus side, they may not be as easy to install as some of the speakers from Polk Audio (like our #2 and #6 picks) since they only come with one paint mask and lack the rotating cam feature found on those speakers. Compared to the Yamaha NSIC800 they’re a little bit less “invisible” since the Theater Solutions speakers have larger surrounds, which might make them more noticeable depending on the texture of your wall and how closely you can match the colors. If you are out to sea, the best boat speakers are great.

How We Decided

In looking for the best in-wall speakers for your home or studio, we narrowed looked for units with faithful sound quality across a range of at least 50hz to 20kHz and which come with paintable grills so they virtually disappear into the surrounding wall, leaving no unsightly mesh visible. We chose 5.5-inch or larger drivers for room-filling sound, and for standalone speakers at least 7-inch drivers. If none of these speakers was a sell for you, take a look at the Bose Virtually Invisible 891 instead.

We also selected only models that came with tweeters featuring directional adjustability, so as to avoid the pitfall of “dead spots” from speakers with a fixed location in a room. We also went for speakers that could be paired with others to form part of a buildable, upgradeable home theater system. If you like high-quality audio in your home, you might also consider taking a look at a Tractrix horn.

In Wall Speaker Buying Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Frequency Response
    This is a technical term that refers, basically, to the range over which a speaker can faithfully reproduce sounds. “Flatter” is better in this case, somewhat counterintuitively. The specs for each speaker on our list include a frequency response range of at least 50 Hz to 20000 Hz, covering nearly the full range of audible sounds with less than 3 dB variance.
  2. Pivoting Tweeter
    A pivoting tweeter helps widen the range of locations within the room where you get the best possible sound from your in-wall speaker. Since higher frequency sound doesn’t carry the same as low-frequency sound, the treble can otherwise get distorted depending on where you’re standing. You want a speaker that can handle high frequencies, and also lower frequencies.
  3. Low Profile/ Paintable Grille
    The key to the minimalist appeal of in-wall speakers is the ability for them to virtually disappear, blending thoroughly with the surrounding wall. To that end, look for speakers with a low profile, like the Micca M-8S (our top pick) or the Polk Audio RCi series (our #2 pick.) A frameless grille is another plus, as on the well-regarded Yamaha NSIC800WH (our #4 pick.)

Best In Wall Speakers Questions (FAQ)

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