Smart speakers are designed to sit in one spot and fill that space with sound — and many of them are very good at it. However, this arrangement doesn’t work in every smart home, which is why there are other options — like placing speakers in your ceiling.
Today’s in-ceiling speakers are smarter than ever. They can connect to mobile devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing you to play music on demand in the spots you want it most. Some smart speakers can even be effectively sealed, so you can pump tunes into your bathroom or outside near your deck! Here are our top picks and why they work so well.
Klipsch CDT-5650-C II
Best overall sound
- Excellent sound
- Paintable grill
- Attenuating switches for tweeter/mid-bass
- Needs an Amazon device to add Alexa capabilities
If you’re worried about the audio quality of ceiling speakers, you can set those concerns to rest with this Klipsch speaker, which was designed for superior sound. It features a 1-inch titanium tweeter and a 6.5-inch pivoting cerametallic woofer that allows you to angle the direction of the sound during installation for the best effect. The speaker even has tweeter and mid-bass attenuating switches, so you can tweak them to get the sound profile that you want.
The frame for this Klipsch speaker is sturdy, and you can hide as much of the speaker as possible for a nearly flush installation. Plus, the grill is paintable, so you can make absolutely sure it matches your ceiling color. While it doesn’t have Bluetooth, you do have the option to add an Amazon Echo Input to add Alexa voice capabilities. Amazon doesn’t sell the Input right now, but it’s still very easy to find. The one issue is that this is an expensive speaker as a single unit, and you will almost certainly want to buy more than one for a full setup.
Polk Audio RC60i 2-pack with subwoofer
Best for bathrooms or outdoors
- Subwoofer included for bass
- Large 8-inch woofer
- Pricey with the subwoofer thrown in
Polk’s set of two speakers offer an especially large 8-inch dynamic balance woofer and a 0.75-inch tweeter for strong sound, plus a design that allows you to angle the tweeter to more carefully control sound. Both speakers in the pack are timbre-matched during manufacturing, so they complement each other as much as possible. It also has rubber seal drives that allow the speakers to be installed in bathrooms and similar areas without worrying about moisture damage. Like most ceiling speakers, the cover can also be painted to match.
In addition to Bluetooth compatibility, these speakers can also connect to a compatible subwoofer that you can position nearby for more authentic bass. You can even purchase various bundles that include the right subwoofer — just make sure you get a version that works with Bluetooth.
Sonos In-Ceiling Speakers 2-pack
- Pairs automatically with compatible Sonos devices
- Excellent pick for rear surround sound
- Automatic optimization for your room
- Requires a Sonos amp for features to work
Sonos is a popular brand for home entertainment systems, so it makes sense many would be looking for compatible ceiling speakers. If you have a Sonos amp, you can use it to wirelessly connect to these speakers, along with your other Sonos products, and have them all work together with automatic optimization. That makes them perfect for adding to a Sonos surround sound setup. The polypropylene woofers and one-inch tweets are perfect for either rear speaker work or ambient sound during the day.
The downside is that you really need a Sonos amp for these speakers to work well, and if you don’t already have one, that can be a pricey investment.
Pyle In-Ceiling Speaker 2-pack
Best budget-friendly speakers
- Flush design
- Large 8-inch design
- Sound quality isn't the best
Pyle’s extra-large 8-inch speakers are made for direct sound and a shorter installation process than a four-pack. They also have a flush design to stay as hidden as possible, and a quick-connect spring system that makes these a bit more DIY friendly than other options. Bluetooth compatibility is built into these speakers as well, so you can play your tunes from almost any device or connect them to compatible surround sound platforms. The speaker pack is also particularly affordable, so you can easily add more speakers without going over budget or save a lot of money when choosing a pair of speakers for any space you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
They can be. Our Klipsch pick in particular has a great sound design and can be angled for best effect. They also make great picks for rear speakers in a surround sound setup.
That really depends on how you use them. Generally, they should be placed in open areas — not near alcoves or above hanging lights. If you are using them as rear speakers, then they should be placed behind your home entertainment seating and angled at your seating if possible.
Position them at an equal distance from nearby walls and at least six feet from each other for two speakers. Four speakers should all be equidistant from each other.
This is a case where we recommend a professional installer if at all possible. You will need to connect your speakers to the wiring in your ceiling for power, and working with ceiling wiring is often a pain. Get ready to spend some serious time in your crawlspace with a flashlight, as well as craning your neck at the top of a ladder, if you want this to be a DIY project. You'll also need to know your wiring well. Your speakers will come with manuals or online instructions for more specific information.
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