Upgrading the sound system is one of the easiest and most rewarding upgrades you can do to your car. There are several ways to add watts to your wheels. You can go all-out and build an award-winning setup from scratch, or you can make relatively simple modifications to obtain a more pleasant listening experience in your otherwise factory-stock car.
Glance through an aftermarket parts catalog and you’ll quickly notice numerous components make up a sound system. We recommend starting by upgrading the speakers found in the front doors because they normally make the most difference. Get those up to snuff and then you can begin thinking about amplifiers, subwoofers, or any of the other speakers. Ready to crank it up? Check out the best car speakers available today.
Pioneer TS-A6996R ($150+ per pair)
The Pioneer TS-A6996R is the best aftermarket car speaker available. Part of Pioneer’s TS-A series line, it boasts a generous 650 peak wattage rating and delivers excellent audio quality, especially if you listen to music with a lot of bass or drums. Sound engineers conceived the TS-A6996R to produce sound in a consistent and realistic manner 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 GTO 860 ($150+ per pair)
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.
Infinity Kappa 62.11I ($100+ per pair)
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 61.11I 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 DB6502 ($120+ per pair)
Cheaper than a lot of other options on the market, Polk Audio’s DB6502 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.
Kenwood KFC-6965S ($31+ a pair)
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 without going overboard. It provides decent bass, 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.