In this article, we'll compare the 8 best component speakers in 2023. While we have reviewed many car speakers in the past, we typically tend to focus on coaxial models for ease of installation and use.
Coaxial models generally tend to have a lower price tag, and putting together your own system from component speakers can be a little pricier. Not only that - it's a daunting thought for some, even though it really doesn't have to be.
Today we're going to have a little look at a range of component speaker systems on offer, to show you what you could hook together in harmony for full range sound, helping you create your own array suited to your preferences.
Buying the dedicated speakers separately gives you more control over how you want your sound. We hope that by the end of our reviews, you'll feel much more at ease with component speakers. Our complimentary buyer's guide should help you as well.
We open with a premium pair from JBL's fantastic high-fidelity GTO series, which is one of their most innovative lines. They feature large carbon-injected cones designed with PlusOne technology, giving them a greater surface area. They displace much more air than other 6.5-inch speakers in their class. This gives them superior bass-handling abilities.
They are equipped with JBL's patented UniPivot tweeters, enabling users to direct the sound to where they want it. The components used are high quality and well-made. They have a 60 RMS power rating each.
These component car speakers mount effortlessly with a mounting cutout diameter of 5-1/16 inches and a mounting depth of 2 inches. You can purchase them at a reasonable price - well below the hundred-dollar mark - making them a very affordable option.
Why We Liked It - These component car speakers produce high-fidelity sound. They are robust and make an excellent replacement set, giving you an audio upgrade for the factory speakers in your car. Get better sound, no matter where your drive takes you.
Crossover - Whether you want a two-way or a three-way speaker, you want the crossover in your component speakers to be versatile and adaptable to different setups. A good crossover will allow for flexibility in which frequencies you prefer to hear, which can give you a wide range of listening options depending on the bass focus or high end focus of your music.
Get super-smooth, natural sound with the Infinity Reference 6530CX. These speakers feature edge-driven tweeters for smooth, clear highs and well-rounded sound quality. The oversized woofers offer a larger surface area, enchanting the midrange and improving bass quality. Get the balanced sound you've been searching for.
This new, improved design has been optimized to fit a wide range of speaker locations. The included hardware covers almost every installation for the tweeters, making them the perfect replacement for your car factory speakers.
+ Get clear highs and deep bass.
+ New, improved design.
+ Perfect factory replacement.
Why We Liked It - These component car speakers are the perfect replacement for your factory model. So if you're looking for something with a little bit more power and improved sound, the Infinity Reference 6530CX is perfect for you.
3. Rockford Fosgate Power T2 6.5-Inch 2-Way Component Speaker
Get excellent sound quality sound with the Rockford Fosgate T2652-S. This 2-way component speaker kit comes with everything you need and more. Get started right away - you'll find two 6.5" woofers with grilles, two tweeters, and the mounting hardware you need all in the box.
This car speaker set is designed specially to deliver clear, crisp highs, so you can play your music loud and proud without worrying about distortion. The speakers can handle a great deal of power, with a 100 watts RMS power rating.
The high-quality crossover on this mid-range speaker ensures the tweeter and woofer blend spectacularly, creating both amazing low and high frequencies. You can get multiple wiring configurations. It's perfect for playing music, listening to the radio, and taking calls.
The flex-fit design of the speaker comes with multiple mounting options, allowing for easy adjustment for an effortless fit.
Unlike with other speakers, you'll get a one-year warranty if you purchase this speaker set. So if you want to take your car audio to the next level but need extra peace of mind, this is the best 6.5 component set for you.
Why We Liked It - We love that this Rockford Fosgate car audio speaker kit comes with everything you need to get started. Turn your car playlist into a concert-worthy sound with this speaker, and get crystal clear highs that passing cars will be envious to behold. If you are looking for one with more bass, check this one out: audio with booming bass.
Two-way or three-way - Two-way component speakers will most often feature a tweeter and a mid-range driver, while three-way speakers will add a woofer into the mix. The quality of the additional woofer will depend on the price of the component speaker, and the more you spend, the better bass focus you'll get from your speakers.
4. CT Sounds Strato Pro Audio 6.5 Inch Component Speaker Set
This is a lower-priced set that sits comfortably over the hundred-dollar mark and comes with absolutely everything you need for a hassle-free installation.
The package features dual 6.5" mid-range drivers with woofer grilles for better audio dispersion, teamed with a pair of high-output aluminum silk dome tweeters that measure 25mm. They're a little larger than some, which means they cope with the higher frequency responses remarkably well, giving you the amazing sound quality you deserve.
The mid-range drivers are paper coned and nestled in a cloth edge surround to help dampen any unwanted resonance. They employ a 1" voice coil and a high-quality Y30 Ferrite magnet.
You also get a pair of ABS 2-way class crossover boxes which work as a passive frequency filter network and give you a little control over how much bass you want in the mix.
They are one of the easiest car audio systems to mount, and they feature spring terminals. This set makes for a marvelous upgrade to stock speakers, which won't set you back too heavily in terms of investment. So if you're looking for great-sounding speakers at an even greater price, check these out.
+ High-performance drivers.
+ Great crossover.
+ All the required wires.
Why We Liked It - These car speakers are easy to install and are a great value for money without skimping on sound quality. Plus, we love the brushed aluminum tweeters - they look awesome aesthetically. If you're looking for something that both sounds and looks amazing, these are the best 6.5 component speakers for you.
5. Rockford Fosgate T1650-S Power 6.50" Series Component Speaker System
Here at Music Critic, we're no strangers to a set of Rockford Fosgate speakers. We have, in fact, reviewed our fair share of coaxial sets in the past from their acclaimed Power series. They never disappoint, and these car speakers are no exception.
This superb set of component speakers can deliver higher output capabilities than others that match their dimensions.
They feature a Vertical Attach Surround Technique, or VAST surround, developed by the folks at Fosgate. This makes the speakers much more efficient and also allows for better response and audio dispersion, providing a more accurate sound.
The new surround gives the woofer an extra 25% area to radiate, making it 6.75 inches - the same size as a typical 6.5". In addition, these car speakers have a new flex-fit basket that mounts more easily and securely into an OEM opening.
They utilize an external crossover for more audio detail and a more natural-sounding balance between the high and low-end frequencies.
The treated cloth dome tweeters also have a high-tech mounting system to ensure a quick and simple mount. They have been designed with a cooling system that works while they're blasting out tunes, so they can withstand high temperatures much more adeptly than some. This makes them some of the best car speakers for long journeys.
Together they have a peak power rating of 240 watts per pair (RMS of 160 between them both).
+ Technologically advanced driver designs.
+ Great crossover.
+ High output and high temp handling.
Why We Liked It - These are one of the best 6.5 component speakers, making for a stunning example of innovative product development. They are optimized to cope extremely well while working at high output levels. They cost a little more than the models we have highlighted so far, but the manufacturing and design aspects involved speak volumes.
6. Infinity Reference 6500CX 6-1/2" (165mm) two-way car audio component loudspeaker system
If you are after a high-output set of component speakers for your car, you might find yourself enticed by this next set from Infinity's Reference series. They top the Primus set we reviewed previously, with a peak power handling of 540 watts per pair - a whopping 270 each.
These car speakers are very competitively priced at around one hundred bucks, but you get a lot for your cash. For starters, they feature two 6.5" rigid woofers with high-grade rubber surround. This keeps unwanted resonances from canceling the audio waves and causing distortion or muffling. They also come with two removable grilles.
These speakers also feature two ¾ inch patented uni-pivot tweeters with pivoting tweeter mounts and two alternate tweeter flush mounts. You can customize these. Since they can pivot, this means the sound is better dispersed, and the high-frequency audio is ultimately clearer, giving you the beautiful sound quality you've been craving.
You also get 2 component crossover boxes, universal mounting brackets, and all the hardware you need. Infinity has even thrown in some single-sided sticky foam to pad the backs of the speakers.
+ 540 watts peak power (pair).
+ Pivoting tweeters to direct sound.
+ Good crossover.
+ Good bass response.
Why We Liked It - These are one of the best 6.5 component speakers for power. They deliver great sound, effectively balanced by their excellent crossover circuitry. They come with everything you need to mount them. Despite all their amazing features and overall sound quality, these speakers still rack up to less than one hundred dollars, making them a solid investment.
7. JBL GT7-6C 6.5" 2-Way GT7-Series Component Speaker System
This speaker set belongs to JBL's most popular series. Like the others available in the line, they are fabricated with the same high-quality polypropylene cones that benefit from the mathematically engineered PlusOne cone technology to increase their surface area and handle bass much more effectively.
The grilles are a little cheaper than the ones found on the premium line, but they differ very little in terms of their fantastic crossover and well-thought-out design. The drivers perform better on this low price set because of their higher power handling.
They actually have a peak handling of 300 watts per pair (around 100 RMS each), as opposed to the 60 RMS of the Premium series pair, which retail for about 40% more cash outlay.
They mount easily and have a good frequency response, providing full-range sound rich with well-defined highs and impactive lows.
+ Plus One cone tech.
+ Cheap high output option.
+ Great quality drivers.
Why We Liked It - These are some of the best sound speakers you could get your hands on. They are a higher output set of component speakers that won't break the bank. They mount easily and the crossover is pretty effective.
Last on our radar today is another Infinity set. These high-quality speakers feature the same high output peaks per pair of 540 watts as the Reference set we reviewed.
In direct comparison to one another, this set has a slightly higher price tag, but that's to be expected given the quality of the parts used. Not to mention, the crossover circuitry has seen an overhaul, meaning this is essentially an upgraded model.
These speakers are similarly built in terms of cone composition and driver design, but the crossover box on this pair is far superior and expertly engineered from premium parts.
The tweeters in this fantastic foursome are soft-domed, edge-driven, and made from high-end, woven fabric. The 5.6-inch woofers benefit from Plus One surface, increasing cone technology. They're also formed with carbon-injected glass fiber cones for great rigidity and optimal performance with bass registers. Both the woofer and tweeter designs work perfectly together in harmony.
+ Plus One cone tech.
+ Awesome car speaker upgrade.
+ Exceptional crossover circuitry.
+ Better mids than the Reference set.
Why We Liked It - These are an impressive set of high-output component speakers that deliver awesome audio quality at good levels. They are very robust, especially well built, and simple to install, with a price tag that won't set you back heavily.
Component Speakers Buyer's Guide
In this buyer's guide, we're going to tackle two essential questions pertaining to purchasing a great set of component speakers. But first, let's dish out the key differences between coaxial and component speakers to determine the benefits of the latter.
Component Vs. Coaxial?
This is a widely debated subject in car audio social circles. It's an argument that is difficult to settle because the answer comes down to your individual taste. So let's get down to brass tacks.
The fundamental difference between the two speaker types is that one is a combination of speaker drivers stacked together, and the other has the drivers split into different pieces.
Coaxial speakers are sometimes called full-range speakers. They're usually the type you have installed in your car as standard. They are generally 2-way class, and consist of a woofer-tweeter combo. They come configured and self-contained, and they install easily.
Component speakers have dedicated individual drivers and can be configured however you like via your equalizer. Separating the woofer and tweeter gives you more control over their placement, optimizing their sound. Optimal placement can require interior modifications to your vehicle, which can be a deciding factor and the nail in the coffin as far as some are concerned.
Having them split means they take a little longer to install, and wiring them to the correct channels can need a little more thought, care, and attention.
There are advantages to using component speakers, but whether or not they're better is tricky to conclude. As a general rule, component speakers sound arguably better and are considered superior by most audio enthusiasts. They tend to have better audio compared to a coaxial set priced in the same region. Component speakers also allow for much more customization in terms of equalization; their crossovers are usually more advanced, allowing listeners to adjust their audio to their preferences.
The speaker type you require is down to your amplifier and your car (if you simply won't modify it). Other things which weigh in are your end goals, preferences, skills, and lifestyle.
Coaxial is probably advisable if you're looking for an easy install and quick replacement. However, if you are a bass head looking to pump up the volume, or if you consider yourself an avid audiophile, then components are the only way to go, so long as you aren't put off by the installation challenges.
What to Look For in a Set of Component Speakers
These speakers should be at least 2-way class - typically, this will be a mid-range or budget bass woofer complimented by a high-frequency tweeter. Having a different electro-dynamic driver to deal with a dedicated set of frequencies means the electrical signal response can be more accurately picked and reproduced into sound waves.
The woofers should be made from a rigid yet flexible material and absolutely must have a surround of some sort to absorb resonances. Without this, they become muddy and will distort at higher volume levels.
The tweeters will usually be dome-style, maximizing their tiny stature. Tweeters have to deal with very high-frequency motion and are, therefore, at risk of overheating. This is usually countered with ferrofluid cooling and by using materials that are more heat resistant in the first place. Tweeters are sometimes suspension-mounted or pivoting. This is ideal, as it means the sound can be directed to the listener, allowing for the necessary freedom of motion they require to work at such high outputs.
Other than the general caliber of the materials used and the level of craftsmanship in its manufacturing, the key thing that will determine a set of component speakers for your car is your amplifier restrictions. Any modern set of speakers will make for a noticeable upgrade from your car's factory system. But the speakers, no matter the price or level of quality, will only be as good as the amplifier you have.
Think about how much power your speaker needs to be capable of producing. The set-up you're looking to have will be a limiting factor in terms of power consumption and power handling. Fortunately, we have reviewed a few different sets, all with a different power rating.
You will also need to know what impedance and ohms your amplifier channels can provide. We go into a little more detail in our Top 10 Best Car Amplifiers article, where we address channel requirements.
With speaker systems being a highly competitive market, you can grab yourself a good online deal if you know what you're looking for. It is, however, important to note you really do get what you pay for, and the models well above and far below the hundred-dollar threshold are miles apart.
How to Install a Set of Component Speakers in Your Car
Fortunately, the installation of component speakers in your car is not too taxing a task. The world wide web is a fountain of knowledge, and DIY is no exception. If you know enough about your amplifier and understand basic circuitry, you can essentially install most sets in a matter of minutes with a few simple tools and the right wires and splices.
If you're attempting an install the car speaker yourself, we recommend a quick online search. YouTube has hundreds of videos when it comes to technology installations. You may even be able to find the exact model you intend to purchase.
If you're looking to replace your car's factory stereo speakers with something a little more up-to-date, you're in luck. There is a multitude of component speakers on the market for you to choose from, all with different features.
Modern manufacturing has reduced the cost of production considerably in the last decade, which means you can get a lot more for your money without breaking the bank.
Opting for a set of component speakers over a coaxial set can dramatically improve your listening experience. They often allow for a better crossover adjustment. The benefits are certainly notable, and many companies are designing models that come with very convenient mounting methods, ensuring that installation is of minimal effort.
Finding the right set for you is, of course, limited by your amplifier and budget - the rest is essentially down to preference. Would you prefer a speaker set that highlights high frequencies, or would you prefer the emphasis to be on the bass frequencies? Do you need something with the power to perform at higher volumes or a set that will continue to work fine on long journeys? Remember, the best speaker for someone else might not be the best choice for you.
Ultimately, the decision is in the buyer's hands, but we hope today's best component speakers review and handy buyer's guide will have served as a useful tool to aid you in the search for a new set of component speakers for your car.
If you're unsure about mounting, we recommend seeking the advice or services of a professional for speaker installation. If this is not a viable route, then as we've mentioned above, there are a wealth of instructional videos online. Some are even specific to the exact model, such as the one we provided in our how-to-install section.
Did you Know?
The first car radio was installed in 1924 in NSW Australia. By 1946, there were over 9 million car radios in use, all with early tube transistor amplifiers and early speakers.
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Placement - If you're planning on installing your new component speakers in your car, it's worthwhile to think about the location in which you'll get the most out of them. Midrange speakers will be best off mounted on the doors or the dash, woofers will be best under the passenger seat, and tweeters should be mounted to a corner of the dashboard or the top of a door.