The best aftermarket car speakers are not just for music aficionados — they’re for anyone who loves to listen to their favorite music while on the road. Sound engineers design aftermarket car speakers to handle the punchy bass and crisp highs of today’s popular music, and they probably offer a drastic upgrade over your car’s standard speakers.
Not only do some of the best car speakers make your music sound like the musicians are performing live in your car, but they also look nice once installed. Our list includes the best aftermarket car speakers for all music lovers and budgets.
The Pioneer TS-6900PRO is one of the best aftermarket car speakers available. Part of Pioneer’s TS line, its peak wattage checks in at 600 and it delivers excellent audio quality, especially if you listen to music with a lot of bass or drums. Sound engineers conceived the TS-6900PRO to produce consistent and realistic sound that will make you feel like you’re sitting a foot away from the band. It’s a relatively compact unit, too, so it won’t take up a huge amount of space in your car.
JBL is one of the most trusted names in the world of sound systems, so it comes as little surprise that it makes one the best aftermarket car speakers. The GTO 860 delivers accurate sound thanks in part to a woofer cone made out of fiberglass. Its design prevents overheating, and it’s one of the loudest speakers on the market, so you can crank up the volume as high as your eardrums can handle. Stuff a pair of GTOs in your front doors and you’ll turn your car’s stereo into a home theater system.
Aftermarket speakers deliver a different sound depending on the type of car they’re installed in. You’ll get more echo in a spacious model like the Chrysler Pacifica than in a relatively compact car like the Porsche 718 Boxster. The Kappa 62IX features adjustable tweeters so you can aim sound precisely where you want it. It’s a solution that gives you some control over what your setup delivers. This speaker is compact so it fits in just about every model, and it looks good enough that you can leave it bare without ruining your car’s looks. Did we mention it sounds good, too?
Polk DB6501 ($100+ per pair)
Cheaper than a lot of other options on the market, Polk Audio’s DB6501 provides crystal clear sound with minimal distortion. The speaker’s design is relatively basic so we recommend hiding the pair under your car’s stock speaker grille, unless you like the bare-essentials look. The trade-off is that it’s water- and dirt-resistant and, consequently, marine-certified. The DB6502 speaker is a good option if you want to upgrade the sound system in an off-roader like the Jeep Wrangler that routinely gets muddy.
Although it unfortunately shares its name with a fast-food restaurant, Kenwood’s KFC-6965S is the best way to upgrade your sound system if you’re on a tight budget. It’s a relatively basic speaker that covers all the bases and all the basses without going overboard. It provides decent sound, even when it’s not powered by a subwoofer, and high-quality treble. While it’s a very good option for motorists who want to upgrade or replace their door speakers, we’d start with a more upscale model (like the few listed above) if we were building an entire sound system from scratch.