Let’s set the scene.
You’re driving in your car: maybe you’re on a road trip with your closest friends, or maybe you’re heading home after a stressful day at the office. Your favorite feel-good song comes on, and all you want to do is feel the cathartic release that comes with singing terribly at the top of your lungs as you coast along the highway, waiting for the beat to drop.
You crank the volume up as it gets closer, and right at the moment before it drops… the sound quality peaks, causing the music to crackle and distort. Is there anything more disappointing?
Although your car sound system is probably fine for short journeys and quieter use, once you reach a certain level of volume, the music has a tinny, distorted quality that can ruin even the best songs.
Whether you’re belting out Beyonce, singing along with Celine Dion, or rapping to Kendrick Lamar, a pair of 6.5-inch car speakers is going to vastly improve your sound.
We’ve reviewed some of the best 6.5 car speakers, with a particular focus on bass quality for any those all-important beat drops.
We considered power ratings, performance and quality, price, and style to compile a list of the 5 of the best car speakers so you don’t have to!
Skip to our Top Pick if you already know the basics and you’re in a hurry, or scroll down to our Buyer’s Guide to read more information about what makes a good speaker.
OUR TOP PICK
The JBL GTO629 6.5 speaker is slightly larger than other models in the same size range which allows it to move more of the surrounding air resulting in a deep, thrumming bass sound that is perfect for anyone’s musical needs.
This coaxial speaker features patented Plus One carbon-injected woofer-cone technology, which sounds like a bit of a mouthful but simply means that low-frequencies are produced more efficiently and with the higher quality that has come to be expected from larger speakers.
With a mounting depth of 2 inches, the speaker is easy to install and is built to last thanks to its carbon composite, non-magnetic frames that enhance the durability and integrity of the speaker. It has an RMS rating of 60 to ensure high-quality sound and the maximum speaker output power of 180 Watts prevent early burning out.
You can make the most of your music thanks to the dual-level, UniPivot twitter which allows you to direct it towards your ears for optimal listening, regardless of where you mount them in the car. You can also adjust the volume to suit the speaker placement in line with your own personal music preferences and tastes to create a more natural sound.
Although it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other speakers featured in this list, the JBL GTO629 is worth every penny as it’s packed full of features that will vastly improve your listening experience.
- Great mid-bass range
- Carbon-injected cone
- UniPivot Tweeter
- 60 RMS
- Slightly more expensive
The Rockford Fosgate Prime R165X3 is a coaxial, 3-way, full range speaker meaning it offers a higher audio quality than some of the 2-way speakers included in this article.
They’re an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their factory speakers, and they’re available at an extremely affordable price.
They have a slightly lower 45 RMS rating with a 90 watts maximum, so their placement within your car will play a big part in the bass quality they can produce.
They are easy to install with a mounting depth of 2.15 inches, and grilles and mounting hardware is included with the speakers in addition to integrated high-pass crossovers.
If you’re looking for a budget option to improve upon your car’s existing speaker system, then look no further than the Rockford R165X3. It may not meet the standards of a certified audiophile, but it can certainly produce good-quality sounding bass if installed correctly offering good value for money.
- Very affordable
- 3-way, full-range speaker
- Easy to install
- 45 RMS
- Minor design faults
This set of speakers has a lot to offer for such an affordable price… are you starting to notice a theme here yet? It’s a popular choice for anyone looking to upgrade from factory sound speakers due to its reliability in terms of durability and performance.
The mid-woofer cone is made from polypropylene with a polyester foam speaker surround as well as a stamped steel frame basket.
Additionally, these speakers rely on a heavy-duty motor/magnet structure which is rare to find in other models in this price range.
The Kicker CSC65 6.5 2-way speakers offer EVC (Extended Voice Call) technology for added clarity and quality of sound without the need for factory grilles.
You can also enjoy high-frequency music ramped up to full volume thanks to the neodymium tweeter magnets.
- 100 Watts speaker output power (50 watts per speaker)
- EVC technology
- UV-treated polyester woofer
- Designed to fit most cars
- Screws need to be purchased separately for installation
Alpine is a respected car-audio brand that manufactures well-performing speakers at reasonable prices. It may not be the cheapest option on this list, but the Alpine SPE-6000 is still an affordable choice that doesn’t compromise on quality.
The woofer cone is mica-injected polypropylene and has a rubber surround which boosts your music without causing higher notes to have a shrill, piercing quality to them, and with an RMS of 60, these speakers can be further enhanced by an amplifier system.
These speakers produce great mid-high range frequencies, but with a sensitivity of 88.5 dB they are not the loudest speakers, and it’s recommended that you purchase a separate subwoofer to improve the lower-frequency of the bass.
These 2-way Alpine speakers combine affordability, style, and an impressive sound which makes them a great choice for any first-time car speaker shoppers.
- Reasonably priced
- Mica-injected polypropylene woofer cones
- Soft dome tweeters
- 60 RMS
- A subwoofer is recommended for powerful bass
- Not the loudest speakers
We’ve chosen to round off this list of the best 5 car speakers on a high note, and the Pioneer TS-A1680F provides just that thanks to their IMPP (Injection Molded Polypropylene) woofer cone which is reinforced with carbon and mica with an elastic polymer surround material.
Another coaxial car speaker, the TS-A1680F works exceptionally well with the subwoofer and you can feel the beat pumping throughout the car with its high-impact, well-balanced bass sound.
It has an 80 RMS rating for powerful sound and the 350 watts max power output means you won’t burn out your speakers easily.
Pioneer also offers a CarSoundFit app that you can download to your smartphone to experience a simulation of what your music would sound like in your car, which is a great way to test out the quality before forking out for this slightly higher-priced model.
- 4-way speaker
- 80 RMS
- IMPP woofer cone is extra durable
- High-power handling
- Some customer reports of receiving the wrong model
- Not suitable for certain cars due to the large diameter
Best 6.5 Car Speakers for Bass Buying Guide
Volume frequency and power output
If you like to blast your music as you drive then you’ll probably be paying close attention to the frequency range of your speakers, as this is what determines how exceptional the sound quality is.
RMS stands for Root Mean Square whereas PPO refers to the Peak Power Output.
Confusingly, some brands only advertise the PPO in their product specifications, but it’s the RMS rating that indicates the volume of the speakers as well as the amount of constant power the speakers can sustain without any impairment to the sound quality.
High output tweeter car speakers tend to have in-built cooling methods in order to reduce the risk of overheating, as this can affect the sound quality and shorten the lifespan of your speakers.
(All about that) Bass
In order to produce a really great bass quality, you’ll need speakers with both a subwoofer and an amplifier, as these are the two main components that affect the bass.
Subwoofers are designed to help produce low-frequency sounds in heavy-bass music, especially when it comes to car speakers as their small design struggles to produce lower frequencies alone.
An amplifier is essential for any car speaker as it increases the power of the signal. Either built-in to your speakers or installed separately, the amplifier is what converts the low-voltage signals into more amplified sound.
Coaxial speakers vs. component speakers
The difference between a coaxial speaker and a component speaker is that a coaxial speaker incorporates the woofer, tweeter, and crossover in a single speaker, whereas the component speakers feature these three components individually.
Component speakers work best at delivering both ultra-high and ultra-low frequencies, but coaxial speakers have a more complicated system. Their built-in subwoofer is essential as it enables low-mid range frequencies, allowing the speaker to focus on high-frequencies alone.
Although coaxial speakers are more compact, they still deliver powerful, high-quality sound without taking up so much space in your car.
Any audio-enthusiast would agree that when it comes to audio quality, component speakers are much more reliable at producing premium sound. However, they can be difficult to install due to the individual components as these require separate mounting, and the improved quality comes with a higher price tag.
Shape and Size
Due to the limited space in which they inhibit, car speakers are designed to be smaller than your average speaker, with the average size being 6-6.5 inches.
Most speaker models come in regular size as well as a shallow version which is an extra compact design. They are typically circular in shape but can also be oval with a size of 6 x 9 inches.
When choosing your speaker size, it’s important to think about the intended location for your speakers and its available mounting depth. If your speakers do not fit they may need to be modified, in which case it’s worth hiring a professional to install them in your car.
Most 6.5 inch speakers will be less expensive than a larger 6.9 speaker, although this may vary depending on the brand and model. Component speakers are more expensive compared to coaxial speakers, but they also outperform them in a number of ways so the extra cost is accounted for.
It’s also worth taking the durability of the speaker into account when deciding which model to purchase, as this will influence how long you have before you’ll need to replace them.
For example, lower-end car speakers have a cone made of paper which is a material prone to damage and will require replacing sooner than a set of car speakers that were built to last.
You get what you pay for when it comes to car speakers, so if you’re looking for that extra high-quality sound for your music then expect to pay a higher price.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many speakers should I put in my car?
Most speakers come in a pair and can be installed as two speakers, but to get more of a surround sound effect you can install 4 speakers in your car.
Is a dome tweeter or a cone tweeter better?
Typically a dome tweeter is the better option as it will ensure better dispersion than you’d get using a cone tweeter.
However, it’s worth researching the different material options as this will alter the quality of the sound.
What’s the most important factor to consider for good bass?
The amplifier and the RMS rating both contribute to the quality of the bass, as the amplifier boosts the speaker’s sound while the RMS rating indicates the level of power your speakers can handle so you’ll want to look out for a higher rating.