Car Speaker Buying Guide: What to Look for to Choose the Right One?

Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by CarAudioHunt

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When it comes to selecting the perfect car speakers, it often feels like you are walking through an unknown puzzle or a game of guesswork. A question that lingers on your mind is - what should I look for in the speakers?

You do not need to go through this indecisive moment anymore, as this car speaker buying guide will cut through the confusion with practical advice. Our guide will help you make the necessary decision with every consideration you need to create and with some bonus quick tips!

So, buckle up as we are going to accelerate you toward the speakers that will enhance your favorite driving soundtracks and turn your car's audio from mundane to magnificent!

Several crucial factors come into play while finding the best car speakers, so you should understand the nuances that make a significant difference in sound quality and compatibility with your car. We will go through some of them.

How Many Car Speakers Do You Need?

The answer to the number of car speakers required isn't one-size-fits-all and hinges on various factors, including your car's existing setup. The physical space available in your car will also decide how many speakers it can fit.

The sound quality you are aiming for is critical as well. You might need to consider adding more speakers than a basic 2-speaker setup if you want a rich, immersive audio experience.

Size of The Car Speaker

The size of the car speakers you choose is crucial for both fitment and sound quality. Car speaker sizes range widely, from small tweeters measuring around 1 inch in diameter to large subs of 12 inches or more. Most importantly, your car’s door’s dimension and remaining depth for the speaker will decide the speaker size you should buy.

If you are specifically looking for stellar low-frequency performance and sound output, you should look for a large-diameter speaker unit. We have a detailed guide on car speaker size that will help you choose the right size speakers for your car. Have a look at the guide before you make a decision!

Power Required for the Car Speaker

Car speakers come with 2 primary power ratings:

  • RMS (Root Mean Square) Power: Represents the amount of continuous power a speaker can handle.
  • Peak Power: Indicates the maximum power level a speaker can take in short bursts.

For a balanced and safe audio system, you should focus mainly on the RMS power ratings and match them closely with your car stereo or amp’s power output. A good practice is to have a little extra power remaining above your speaker's RMS rating. It ensures the audio remains clear and undistorted at higher volumes.

For instance, if you have speakers with an RMS power rating of 50 watts, ideally, your car stereo or amplifier should provide around 50 to 75 watts of power per channel.

Different Types of Speakers

The two primary categories of speakers you'll encounter are full-range and component speakers. Each of them offers particular advantages and caters to different audio preferences and installation complexities.

Full-range Speakers

Full-range or coaxial speakers are the most common types found in cars, especially as factory-installed equipment. These speakers can cover the entire range of sound frequencies. They are simple to use, space-efficient, and more affordable. If you want a straightforward, hassle-free upgrade to your car's audio system, they are ideal for you.

Component Speakers

Component speaker systems separate the different speaker elements into individual units—woofers for low frequencies, tweeters for highs, and often mid-range speakers or super-tweeters. These components are connected through an external crossover network that directs the appropriate frequencies to each speaker. These are perfect for you if you are looking for superior sound quality, higher-quality components, and customizations.

Speaker Build Quality

The materials and construction techniques used in the speakers impact their performance and durability. Some of them are -

  • Cone or Diaphragm: It is central to its sound-producing capabilities. You should look for durable, lightweight materials like polypropylene mixed with mica or metal-coated synthetic fabrics for cones in top-quality speakers.
  • Tweeter: Tweeter material affects the type of high-frequency sounds produced. Soft materials like silk or textile blends are better for producing smooth sounds, while harder materials like metals, ceramics, or graphite can deliver sharper high notes.
  • Basket Design: The basket, or frame, of the speaker needs to be rigid and robust to minimize vibrations and resonance that can distort the sound.
  • Weather Resistance: Build quality should also include resistance to environmental factors like temperature extremes and humidity. It will be pivotal in efficient heat management for the speaker and preventing any damage due to overheating.

Speaker Sensitivity

Speaker sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB) and indicates how loud a speaker will be for a given amount of power input.

High-sensitivity speakers are rated over 90dB and are ideal for use with low-powered car stereos (usually 15 watts RMS per channel or less). Low-sensitivity speakers are more suited for high-power systems, like those with aftermarket stereos or external amplifiers. While they require more power to reach higher volumes, they generally offer better sound quality when properly powered.

Listening Experience

The listening experience is perhaps the most subjective yet vital aspect to consider in this process. It encompasses how the sound resonates within your car and caters to your personal audio preferences.

Nevertheless, the objective tip would be to grab the speakers that bring out the clarity and detail in the music. Alongside this, a balanced sound is essential, where bass, midrange, and treble frequencies harmoniously coexist without one overpowering the others. The speakers should be able to reproduce a full spectrum of frequencies to ensure that both the highs and lows in music are well-represented.

Another critical aspect is how speakers perform at various volume levels. Good speakers can deliver consistent sound quality across the volume spectrum. Sound stage and imaging are also vital components of the listening experience, as they allow the speakers to create a sense of space and directionality in music for an immersive feeling.

In the end, the most important player in this factor will be your personal preference. Your predominant music genres should influence your choice of speakers. For example, if you're an enthusiast of genres like hip-hop or EDM, you might prefer speakers that deliver robust and powerful bass. Genres like classical or jazz may benefit more from speakers that emphasize clarity and intricate details.

Bass Performance

If you have an affinity for bass, you should opt for large speakers as they are more capable of producing deeper and more resonant bass. Their larger cones move more air to create stronger bass frequencies. Bass-heavy speakers will also generally require more power to produce deep bass. You may consider the subs that provide a lower range’s wide frequency response.

Do’s and Don’ts of How to Buy Car Speakers

You can keep track of the following do and don’t Graph to easily remember what to do to choose the best car speakers for you.

Infographic for Do’s and Don’t’s of Car Speaker Buying.
Infographic: Do’s and Don’t’s of Car Speaker Buying.

Practical Advice before Your Purchase

Making an informed decision on purchasing car speakers goes beyond the technical specifications. It's equally important to consider aspects like warranty, support, the reputation of the manufacturer, and user feedback.

  • Manufacturer's Reputation: Try to look into the manufacturer’s history and standing in the market. Established brands with a long-standing reputation are often more reliable for you to go with.
  • User Feedback: You should go through the reviews and feedback from users who bought the speakers and have the same car model or a similar system setup. This information can give you realistic insights into how the speakers might perform in your car.
  • Product Warranty and Support: You should make sure that the speakers come with a reasonable warranty period and be clear on what the warranty covers. It is also wise to inquire how easy it is to claim the warranty.
  • After-Sales Support: It is beneficial to consider speakers for manufacturers that offer robust after-sales support. The support could include customer service hotlines, online support, or a network of authorized service centers.

Final Words

There's no one-size-fits-all solution, as the world of car audio is as varied as the music we love to listen to. So, selecting the right car speakers is all about blending your personal taste and preference with your car’s capabilities.

You should take into account the speaker types, power requirements, build quality, and sensitivity, all while keeping practical considerations like brand reputation and user feedback in mind. Then, you should put your personal preference into position and trust the insights you have gathered to make an informed decision. We hope you will have fun during the process and do it with enthusiasm to choose the best car speakers for you.

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