If you are looking to set up or add to a home theater system, or sound system and you are seriously committed, please read on. Sometimes in-wall speakers are the only solid way to go, so today we are busting out the 10 best in-wall speakers in 2021.
Not only do they add a touch of professional style to your in-home theater set-ups but they allow for a more immersive over-all sound experience. Mounting directly into wall or ceiling can aid surround sound set-ups and make them much more spatially accurate sound reproduction.
They are a great solution for smaller space as they have no footprint within the room itself. If you're tired of untidy wires then they are are also advantageous.
Table of Contents
- View The Best In-Wall Speaker Below
- In-Wall Speakers Buyers Guide
We review a lot of different speaker types In our articles, all primarily function in the same manner. As we always stress the enclosure is a very important part, an in-wall speaker effectively takes your wall space as its enclosure o each needs to be designed with this in mind.
As the design features are paramount, join us as we review a small selection of what's available on the current market and sift through just what they can do.
In our usual article format we have provided a buyers guide which will attempt to assist in answering some of your niggling questions.
View The Best In-Wall Speaker Below
Correct positioning - Positioning your in-wall speakers is a more permanent decision than sticking your hi-fi speakers on stands. So it's vital that you get it right, not just for cosmetic reasons, but to get the best sound quality, too. Place your left and right speakers in a wall around 10ft from your chair, ideally around 10ft from each other. To maintain a good stereo image, don't place the speakers any less than 5ft from each other.
1. Micca M-8S
We begin our best in wall speaker reviews with this majestic 8-inch model from Micca. It is a 2-way class speaker that consists of a high excursion 8” poly woofer and a tiny 1” soft dome tweeter. Each is extremely well designed and incorporate carefully selected components, together they provide a very flexible combination. They cope well with a fairly wide-ranged frequency response and provide everything from ambient background audio to high impact multi-channel home theater system demands.
The Woofer is capable of robust bass output, the silk dome tweeter benefits from a pivoting design so its direction can be easily adjusted for optimal listening.
They are well constructed and feature an advanced, 12dB crossover network to deal with the midrange regions to provide a full and balanced sound. They are easy to install because of their built-in mounting tabs, and they even come with a template to mark the wall for cutting into drywall. They are available in a range of styles to suit different tastes.
They handle peak power of 100 watts and have a mounting depth of 3 5/8” they are sold separately and are compatible with the M-6S speakers for mix and matching.
+ Capable crossover circuitry.
+ Low price.
+ Dedicated woofer and tweeter setup.
Why We Liked It - When you are mounting a speaker in your wall it's a big commitment we like that these come in a range of styles so you can pick something that doesn't clash with the decor.
2. Polk Audio RC65i
Another fantastic 2 way class speaker choice could be this premium pair from Polk audio. Polk audio make some pristine audio products and these are a great option.
Although a little smaller than the first at 6.5” speakers, they serve up a superb sound. They are ideal for internal or external mounting as the core electrical components been expertly crafted and housed utilizing state of the art durable, moisture-resistant materials.
The polymer composite cone is mineral filled and sat in a rubber surround, it produces audio with dynamic balance. The dedicated tweeter is a traditional soft dome and is swivel mounted like its competition above.
It has a wide dispersion design and can fill bigger spaces. It has easy rotational cams to aid in a quick installation.
+ No extra assembly.
+ Wide dispersion.
+ Water resistant.
Why We Liked It - This is a great poolside or patio option, they are an affordably priced pair with an optional grille to paint.
3. JBL SP6II
If you are shopping preferably for a pair of matching in-wall speakers, another reasonably priced duo worth considering is this pair of SP6II from JBL. They are 2-way loudspeakers and their versatile mounting system means that they can be fitted in the wall or ceiling with relative ease.
They deliver punchy, tight bass with their 6.5” titanium laminated cone woofers. The 1” tweeters are also titanium laminate as well, they provide between them a wide frequency response with excellent clarity in the highs and deep lows. They have a peak RMS of 80 watts combined.
They have a complementary template to aid in cutting your mount holes. They feature dog-ear brackets and come with click-fit grilles, which can be painted to compliment their surroundings.
+ Pair of surround speakers
+ Suitable for wall & ceiling mounting.
Why We Liked It - They are another fantastic pair of speakers designed to be mountable in ceilings as well as walls. They are competitively low priced and a great choice for left and right surround speakers.
Stiff front baffle - Unlike freestanding speakers, most in-wall speakers are built with a front baffle made from thin molded plastic. The thin plastic vibrates a lot, adding unwanted resonances to the sound. Try to find an in-wall speaker with a front baffle made from MDF or even metal to avoid this. The extra weight means the baffle resonates less, and it will even help dampen wall vibrations.
4. Yamaha NS-IW760
An alternate 6.5-inch cone woofer option would be this new low profile design from Yamaha it actually incorporates 2 directional woofers, sat either side of a dedicated central tweeter. This set up makes it perfect for us with a system for panned left and right stereo sound.
It provides a lush sound the crossover bridges the mid-range frequencies seamlessly. Its streamlined design means it is compact and requires less of mounting depth.
They run at a peak of 130 watts, mount with simplicity, and come with a cardboard template to stencil the wall for cutting. The frame and grilles can be painted to blend into their environment. The sound is clear and fairly well balanced, highs are bright the bass could be better but as a central channel piece coupled with a subwoofer, these guys shine.
+ Ideal left/center/right speaker.
+ Fantastic mid-range.
+ Wide response.
+ Low profile.
+ 3-way classification.
Why We Liked It - This speaker makes for the ideal front central sound bar when mounted horizontally, for any home sound system. It is exceptionally well made and comes in just below the hundred dollar mark, so it certainly gets the stamp of approval in our eyes.
5. Klipsch R-5502-W II
Next up a slightly pricier option from the formidable fabricators at Klipsch. It is a 3-way class speaker set-up in a similar manner to the Yamaha we considered above. Harboring high-end components and boasting sound boosting, Horn-loaded technology it makes for an amazing addition to any system as a left/central/right speaker.
It features dual 5.25” ceramic cone woofers and a 90 x 90 degrees square Tractrix Horn with a 1” titanium diaphragm compression driver. The revolutionary horn-loaded tech produces a larger acoustic output with significantly reduced distortion risk.
It is again a slimline shape, low-profile with zero footprints to take up valuable space. It provides high definition audio and is constructed from long-lasting premium caliber parts. It is easy to install and the grilles attach magnetically and can be painted.
+ 3-way class L/C/R set-up.
+ Next level quality.
+ Crisp audio.
+ Straightforward set-up.
+ Magnetic grilles.
Why We Liked It - In terms of quality this 3-way L/C/R is pretty hard to beat, they really sound natural and the highs are audibly pristine. They mount extremely close to the wall, with next to no profile and the magnetic grilles couldn't be simpler to attach.
6. Polk Audio 255C-RT
Over to a 3-way class, central channel speaker that is suitable for mounting in your ceiling as well as in your walls. They are part of Polks esteemed Vanishing Series and packed with Polks dynamic balance technology components from the RT series.
The advanced design techniques rely heavily on data collected from laser imaging research done at John Hopkins University. The vibrating surfaces of tweeter where examined on a microscopic level to observe the resonances developed as the cones move. The resonances are primarily responsible for all high-end distortion. Under laboratory scrutiny the folks at Polk were able to engineer the perfect combination of materials and optimal geometry, to counter unwanted resonances completely.
The speaker features a wafer-thin, magnetically secured, sheer grille that hardly protrudes from its surround. They have highly efficient dual bandpass bass ports so the low registers will be clear and capably handled they work with 10-150 watts.
They have a simple one-cut, drop in the installation process.
+ 3-way class.
+ Advanced calibration.
+ Can be ceiling mounted.
+ Part of a superb home system set-up series.
Why We Liked It - It is a well thought out design the internal components used are of a superb quality, the grille could be better for its asking price but overall the sound is pretty impeccable.
7. Acoustic Audio R191
Now many of our speaker reviews have been for individual speakers or pairs if you are looking for a home cinema set up you might be a little more interested in this set of 5.
They are 2-way class designs, with a recommended power of between 20 and 200 watts each. They combine a 5.25” woofer with a 12mm soft dome tweeter and low impedance crossover circuitry to provide great full range sound. Hooked together they give real depth and impressive volumes with crisp clarity.
They benefit from a weatherproofed component construction which is good news if you are shopping for a boat. They are also making them suitable candidates for spa or sauna use as well as patios, pergolas or poolside bars.
They have low profile housings, with an overall size of around 7.625” and a mounting depth of 3” per speaker. Like the others, we have looked at these also come with a handy template to help with holes.
+ Set of 5.
+ Great value for money.
+ Ideal for yachts.
Why We Liked It - They are unbelievably low-priced for a set of 5, they are a go to for anyone installing a sound system in their boat.
8. Monoprice Caliber 106816
Fresh from the Caliber line by Monoprice is this affordably priced pair of in-wall speakers. They are a well-constructed 3-way class duo. The 8” DuPont woofers feature advanced cone designs with woven Kevlar fibers incorporated into them. The Kevlar is lightweight but rigid the ideal blend for clean bass reproduction as it ha significantly less distortion. They also have over-sized magnets produce punchier bass with a larger impact.
The designated 1” tweeters are pivoting and also of a composite nature, resulting in a titanium silk membrane that helps reduce the risk of overheating. This allows it to cope with ultra-high frequencies with more precision for much sweeter sounding highs that are well defined.
The crossover switch is adjustable. They have a maximum power handling capacity of 200 watts per pair.
+ 3-way class.
+ Pair of speakers.
+ 200 watt capacity.
+ Distortion free bass.
+ Adjustable crossover point.
Why We Liked It - They're a high-power pair that come in under the hundred dollar mark, bass is high impact and the crossover can be adjusted.
9. Polk Audio 265RT
Another exciting easy mount model from Polk Audio is this single speaker option. Designed with Polks patented power port bass venting system it makes for an awesome audio solution.
They have a broad frequency response and their rectangular shape houses dual 6.5” composite polymer cones in rubber surrounds and a silk polymer tweeter. The drivers for each are designed for high-performance handling.
They are of a robust build and the magnetic grilles fit extremely close to the wall and work perfectly when joined by the other Polk speakers in the range. Their simple installation design incorporates twist clamps attachments to grab the drywall.
As a stand-alone, the bass is not their strong point, but if you coupled with the Polk audio Sub-woofer from this series it really comes together well.
+ 3-way classified speakers.
+ High performance handling.
+ Simple to install.
+ Very robust build.
Why We Liked It - They are very well designed, we have really been impressed with Polks Vanishing series, put together they provide a well arranged surround sound system that we think would satisfy even the biggest self confessed audio snobs out there.
10. 652W Silver Ticket
We have saved our lowest priced option for the last slot on our top ten list this week, a top-selling 2-way class choice from Silver Ticket.
It is a versatile 6.5” speaker that handle 80 watts of power rather admirably. It is suitable for 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 home systems.
It features a mica injected woofer cone, teamed with a teeny tweeter (20mm) to handle the upper-frequency registers. The woofer is seated in a high-grade rubber surround, the tweeter pivots for directional sound and the overall quality of the components used is genuinely impressive given its bargain price-tag.
The general sound is rich has a great natural depth they are loud but not noisy. The impedance is not as low as some of the more expensive ones we have taken a gander at but are quietly surprised with this product.
They can be installed horizontally or vertically, they mount with a user-friendly, flip-lever quick-mount system and are sold individually with a free hole cut-out template and paint masks for those who want to paint the grilles.
+ Dedicated woofer and tweeter set-up.
+ Cheapest option we have reviewed.
+ 80 watts.
Why We Liked It - It provides a great option for those on more of a shoestring budget, it implements all the necessary requirements for optimized crossover resulting in a full range sound for very little investment, buying 2 of these guys certainly wont set you back.
Smaller woofers - Larger woofers are tempting when you want a big bassy sound, but they aren't always practical. In-wall speakers often come with an option of an 8" woofer and 1" tweeter, and the reality is, the crossover between those sizes doesn't always perform well. You end up with the wrong frequencies going to the wrong drivers and a degraded sound. Stick to woofers under 8" to maintain clarity.
In-Wall Speakers Buyers Guide
What to look for in an In-Wall Speaker?
Unless you happen to be particularly savvy with audio-electronics you will probably want to opt for something with easy installation.
Fortunately, modern consumerism dictates that the majority of products available, come with the convenience of simplified mounting. It is important to note some will have built-in wires others just connections for the wires themselves.
Essentially all speakers are transducers that work using a magnetic field and magnets, they feature onboard processing that takes electrical signals, which disrupt the field and make the fixed magnets attract and repel.
This produces an in/out motion in the speakers, low-frequency sounds move the cones of the speakers less often but with a bigger impact, higher frequency sounds pulsate much more rapidly.
The speaker, therefore, needs a minimum of 2 different cone types to deal with the very different ends of the frequency spectrum as well as a good crossover to deal effectively with everything in between.
So ideally you need a 2-way classification or 3-way classification speaker. If you have a home set up you will likely be looking for specific speaker types for the various channel placements.
A 3-way speaker is generally considered best for your central speaker (L/C/R), then you may way a specific left and right on top, a dedicated bass or sub-bass woofer and so on so it is important to think about your speaker amplifier and set-up before you browse the market.
What is an In-Wall Speaker?
At the risk of sounding completely condescending, an in-wall speaker is exactly what it sounds like. It is a speaker which has been designed to be mounted straight into the walls of your home or office.
Of course, this does mean that they require an adequate hole in the wall to nestle into. Cutting into a wall is a calculated risk, many in-wall models will come with a handy template to draw around before you cut. They must be mounted on drywall or false walls and you must have some knowledge of where load-bearing supports are located in your home as well as pipes and other electrical wirings.
What is the best sounding In-Wall speaker?
In our humble opinion, the Polk Audio Vanishing Series set would be pretty hard to beat. Each of the speakers is designed with a specific placement in mind and so they work best in conjunction with one another. They have mean power handling and benefit from some high en development techniques to provide seamless sound that is high impact, full range and exceptionally well-defined.
If you are not looking to break the bank then we would suggest the Yamaha, although it has been designed to be a designated L/C/R central channel speaker, it would work reasonably well as a stand-alone in-wall speaker until you could fund further expansion.
Which In-Wall Speaker for Ceiling?
Of those, we have reviewed today the ones which have been specifically designed with ceiling installation in mind are the 255C-RT model from Polk Audios Vanishing Series or the JBL pair of 2-way loudspeakers.
Some of the other lightweight models would probably be worth a consideration, they might not have attachment methods tailored to ceiling mounting but could be modified easily enough, if you know what you are doing.
Many of the speakers we have reviewed today are part of a series with speakers individually catering to specific channel placement as part of a surround set-up. If you take a nose through their respective series some may have a model better suited to ceiling mounting. You have to be careful as the effects of gravity are more of a concern with a ceiling mounted speaker. The manufacturers have usually considered this within a models design specifications, and its mounting methods.
Mounting speakers directly into your wall needn't be too daunting a task. The majority of in-wall speakers have been designed to mount simply, and many come with templates to make cutting a breeze.
Having a hidden home set-up needn't break the bank these days given the rapid advancement of the modern electronics industry. Plenty of low priced options are pleasantly surprised when placed optimally in a set-up for their respective capabilities and working in harmony as a part of a whole.
If you are an audiophile you will likely prefer the premium models we have reviewed over their low-cost counterparts. All of the speakers we have looked at today make for great additions or upgrades to your set-up. If you are starting from scratch and are still a little clueless as to where to begin, we suggest looking at an entire series along with its amplifier that has a grand total that fits comfortably within your budget.
Getting yourself a stud-finder to assist you in your wall mounting could save you a lot of time and stress, but if you are really unsure, hire a professional.
Did You Know?
The most commonly used type of modern speaker is a dynamic speaker, which was invented in 1925 by Edward W. Kellogg and Chester W. Rice. Although cutting edge advancements have been made to circuitry since its conception, very little has changed in terms of it's basic principles.
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