Things to Know Before Buying a Car Speaker
Things to know Before Buying a Car Speaker
There are a lot of things to consider before buying a car speaker. We have listed the most important factors to consider before buying a car speaker. So, without any further delay, let’s dive into the top factors to look at, before purchasing the best car speakers.
11 factors to consider before buying a car speaker
- Type of speaker (component/coaxial/full range)
- Power handling rating of speakers
- Installation requirements (spacers, pods, etc.) to fit the speakers in the factory location.
- Speaker cones material type (paper, polypropylene, metal, etc.)
- Tweeter type
- Speaker impedance
- Quantity of speakers
- Speaker grilles
- Car Size
- Wires for connectivity
- Custom box for audio accessories.
Now for an explanation of each point above.
Number 1 – Price:
Always expect to pay more for better quality. This is because all drivers are constructed differently and require a different amount of power, so some speakers may need more amplifier power to sound as loud as others.
A speaker with a lower rating will require less power from the amp and usually be cheaper. There are exceptions where a high-quality speaker can be bought at a low price with all that said.
Number 2 – Brand :
If you want to go for a well-known brand name, look for Pioneer, JBL, Alpine & Focal brands. These are known as ‘Premium Brands’ because they make top-end products that cost more money but have better overall performance.
You can expect these higher-priced brands to have built better crossovers and tweeters, which provide cleaner, higher frequencies and have more giant magnets that give you more profound bass.
Number 3 – Type of speaker/Speaker Size :
So, either you are going for a component setup or a coaxial setup. And guess what? Nearly every car audio brand has different front door sizes. Oh NO! What kind of speakers should I buy? This is where it gets tricky. You should consider two things here:
Let’s get into number 1 first. For example, let’s say you wanted 6 x 9″ component speakers for your Toyota Camry because it has 6.5″ factory doors. Number 6 x 9″ speakers will fit perfectly in these 6.5″ factory Toyota Camry front doors without any problem. But if you want full-range sound (mid/tweeters in ALL 6 x 9″ size), they will not fit because 6.5″ factory doors are NOT big enough to house 6 x 9 mid/tweeters. Of course, you could get these speakers built into pods that mount onto speaker boxes, but then you run the risk of getting your car broken into. It’s a compromise, always.
Number 4 – Power Handling Rating:
The max power rating tells you how much amplifier power (in watts) is safe for your speakers to use without any damage. So if you buy a 200w RMS-rated speaker and put it on an amp that has over 200w, this is fine at safe levels. Most car speakers are the same in this regard because you can’t fit any speaker to an amp that doesn’t match its power rating.
However, there are some specs to consider here. Peak (or max) power handling ratings are sometimes different from RMS (average) power handling ratings because when playing loud music, your speakers will heat up and have a higher chance of being damaged if it’s overdriven for too long. While most car audio brands use Peak/Max Power Handling Ratings, others still put just the RMS value on their speakers – so keep an eye out for both.
Number 5 – Installation Requirements:
So this is where things get tricky. Some cars need spacers installed onto speaker boxes to sit flush with the door, whereas others don’t. So while many cars fit speakers without needing spacers.
It’s always worth checking before buying just in case because you could save yourself a heap of time and money. Spacers are pieces of metal that go on speaker boxes to make them smaller or bigger, depending on your car.
Number 6 – Material Type:
Speaker cones come in various materials like paper, polypropylene (plastic) & metal (alloy). Each material type has its pros & cons, which we’ll list here.
Paper/Paper Composite: Paper cone speakers are known for having deep bass but limited mid bass output, meaning they only sound good at low volumes. However, paper composite is better than paper alone because it helps increase the cone’s power handling and stiffness.
Metal: Many people prefer metal speaker cones because they offer a nice balance between mid bass, power handling, and deep bass.
Polypropylene Cone Materials: It is commonly used in-car audio speakers as it is a cost-effective alternative to paper or alloy. These deliver decent mid bass but lack low-end frequency response, so most have foam’ roll off’ crossovers built into tweeters which block higher frequencies from reaching the drivers.
Number 7 – Tweeter Type:
This is where you will see waterslide vs. regular stickers on tweeters.
Waterslides are better for two reasons:
- They never peel off .
- They block out any dirt that could get onto your tweeter dome, which increases its lifespan because most waterslides are made of soft material like foam or rubber.
Number 8 – Speaker Impedance :
This is the resistance value that your speakers put out for your amplifier to turn into power. Cars can handle speaker impedances of either 4 Ohms or 2 Ohms, sometimes you’ll see the term ‘2-Ohm Mono’ on some amplifiers, but don’t be intimidated by this. Most aftermarket car audio speakers are 4 Ohms, but if you buy some that aren’t, an amp won’t break just because it’s getting a low impedance load.
Number 9 – Quantity of Speakers :
Most cars only have one speaker in each door, referred to as a 4-speaker system, but some come with two speakers in each entry a 6-speaker system.
So if you go for 4-speaker systems, this is all you’ll need to buy to complete your upgrade. But if you go for the 6-speaker option, you will need to buy two extra tweeters + crossovers for them.
Number 10 – Speaker Grilles:
Not every speaker comes with a grille, because it looks better without. It also helps make the front stage look nicer, but if you get grilles. You can use them to cover your speakers without any modification, which is always good.
Don’t be surprised if some packages only come with one grille because it’s pretty standard for manufacturers to give out less than what is listed on their official product description.
Number 11 – Car Size:
This directly affects how many speakers your car can fit and the size of each speaker, so it might be worth checking out.
Once you know how big your car is, you can easily find a list of all suitable model/year/engine sizes that exceed that number and then just add speakers accordingly.
The last thing we will say is that everyone has their taste in sound reproduction. Therefore, the best advice anyone can give you when choosing speakers for your car is to do a lot of research and then take our advice with a grain of salt. Do consider adding subwoofers, amplifiers and extra batteries for a great sound experience.