Automotive

The 10 Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Cars

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Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Sead Fadilpasic
31 May, 2020 • Updated 11 days ago
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Listening to music makes driving more enjoyable but unfortunately, car speakers are seldom satisfactory especially for those that want the best possible sound.

There are ways to improve that and getting a surface-mounted speaker is a good start. You don’t have to use these just for music, they are a great addition no matter what you listen to, be that a radio show, news, or something similar.

There are various speakers on the market and all come in different sizes, prices, features, and qualities. Getting the right one is tricky and greatly depends on your needs but we’re here to help as we’ll explain what to look out for and what speakers are currently the best.

IN A HURRY? CHECK OUT OUR EDITOR’S CHOICE
Rockford R1675-S

You can read our Audiophile’s Guide to Buying Car Speakers to get more in-depth information.

Things to Consider

Before you decide to purchase a surface-mounted speaker, there are some things to look out for first. The priority of these things largely depends on your needs but we’ll list several that you must check before buying.

Also, depending on your car system, some speakers might not be compatible and well suited so make sure you check everything before making a purchase.

1. Power

Measured in Watts (W), power, to put it simply, indicates how much kick you’ll get out of your speakers and gives you a good estimate of what you can expect out of your speakers. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it and go as high as possible since that’s not the best idea, and you’re buying a speaker for your car, not your house.

It’s important to not give more power than your speaker can handle, as it can damage them. Also, you might see a term called RMS when buying a speaker. This indicates how much continuous power the speaker can handle and it’s usually a go-to rating to check when buying a speaker, especially if you’re not too knowledgeable.

2. Sensitivity

Along with power, sensitivity is something you should always check first. Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB) and refers to the speaker’s loudness.

The higher the sensitivity the louder the speaker, although that doesn’t mean you should just buy a speaker with higher sensitivity, as you should always check the power and how compatible the speaker will be in your car. For instance, you might not need a high sensitivity speaker if you have a high-powered system and vice-versa.

3. Size and Shape

This is pretty straightforward, but speakers come in different sizes and shapes, and depending on your car they might not fit or they might take too much space. Just make sure you check the dimensions and see if it will fit properly.

4. Price

As always, price is something to look out for. Higher quality speakers cost more and if you are on a budget you’ll need to find something cheaper.

Fortunately, there are some perfectly capable speakers on the market that don’t cost too much, and they are a great choice if you don’t need anything fancy. On the other hand, if you want better sound quality, be prepared to pay some extra.

QUICK OVERVIEW

The Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Cars


Products
Features
EDITOR’S PICK
3.9
30+
30+
  • Power: 80W, 40W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 92dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75
  • Power: 80W, 40W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 92dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75
MOST REVIEWED
4.4
750+
750+
  • Power: 180W, 30W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 93dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $125
  • Power: 180W, 30W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 93dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $125
TOP PICK
4.4
170+
170+
  • Power: 100W, 60W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $250
  • Power: 100W, 60W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $250
BUDGET PICK
4
210+
210+
  • Power: 5W
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25
  • Power: 5W
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25
BUDGET PICK
4.3
1,060+
1060+
  • Power: 100W, 50W RMS
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25
  • Power: 100W, 50W RMS
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25
EDITOR’S PICK
Rockford R1675-S
Quality and power

This speaker delivers a good sound quality and range, with some nice features.

3.9
30+
30+
  • Power: 80W, 40W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 92dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75

Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Car Under $25

VECTORCOM TRD550

VECTORCOM TRD550

Features

  • Power: 5W
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25

It’s hard to find a speaker at this low a price but here we are, and surprisingly it isn’t that bad of a sound. The sound is quite okay, nothing great of course but at this price it’s really adequate, and it does the job well especially if you don’t want to spend too much.

The speaker has a power of 5W and the volume can go high enough, although the sound can get a bit distorted if the volume is turned up high. 

The VECTORCOM TRD550 isn’t cumbersome so it should fit in most cars, although depending on your car, its rectangular shape might get you to make some rearrangements in your car. It has a 3.5mm jack plug and a cord length of 3 inches.

All things considered, an adequate speaker for its price that might just give you a boost you needed.

Pros
  • Very cheap
  • Okay sound for the price
  • Small size
Cons
  • Distorted sound at high volumes

Pyle PLMR51B

Pyle PLMR51B

Features

  • Power: 100W, 50W RMS
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25

This dual marine speaker from Pyle, is budget-friendly and offers great value. It has a power of 100W or 50W RMS, and the speaker has a circuit magnet for a full range audio and complete stereo speaker sound system.

A great feature of this speaker is that it’s waterproof, with having the ability to withstand heavy water splashes and other outdoor conditions. This makes it a great choice for some vehicles like off road cars or even motorcycles. It is also made to be weather resistant.

Due to its size, complete wirings, and mounting hardware, it’s easy to instal and should fit pretty much anywhere. The Pyle PLMR51B has a stylish look but the sound isn’t the best if the volume is too high. Still for the price it isn’t that bad and it’s hard to complain much when the speaker is less than $20.

Pros
  • Great value
  • Waterproof and weather resistant
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Average sound at higher volumes

JVC CS-J620

JVC CS-J620

Features

  • Power: 300W, 30W RMS each
  • Sensitivity: 92 dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $25

Another affordable speaker, this 2-way JVC speaker has a power of 300W or 30W RMS (each speaker). The 2-way speaker features a mica cone and hybrid surround, and it’s built onto a steel stamped frame.

All of this along with a tweeter ensures a good sound range that should be adequate for most users, although it kinda falls flat on bass sound. The sensitivity is 92 dB.

The JVC CS-J620 is small and has a shallow 1-26/32 inch frame, to ensure that the installation is very simple and easy. Furthermore, it has a pre-arranged hole pattern to reduce the chance of you having to modify the speaker to fit in.

Good news is that you’ll also get the mounting screws and tabs with the purchase if you need to do some modifications.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Solid sound
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Low end sound isn’t great

Pyle PLMR652W

Pyle PLMR652W

Features

  • Power: 600W, 300W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

These 6.5 Inch marine speakers from Pyle are another good choice for off roads vehicles and motorcycles. They are completely waterproof and have a rating of IP-X4, which means they could withstand heavy water splashes and other similar conditions.

They are weather resistant too, due to them being made out of durable materials with an engineered ABS housing construction, dual Polypropylene cone, cloth surround, molded ABS machined basket and grill to combat sun damage.

The Pyle PLMR652W have a full range stereo sound reproduction with a power output of 300W RMS or 600W peak. The sensitivity is 90 dB. The size of the speakers makes them easy to instal and they look quite good too.

While these speakers are made for boats in mind they are perfectly capable of providing a good sound in cars too.

Pros
  • Good value
  • Water and weatherproof
  • Nice design and easy installation
Cons
  • Sound not loud enough in some cases

Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Car Under $50

Rockford Fosgate R165X3

Rockford Fosgate R165X3

Features

  • Power: 90W, 45W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $50

A very good speaker from Rockford Fosgate, the R165X3 offers a very good sound while still being reasonably priced. This 6.50 inch 3-way full-range speaker has a power of 90W or 45W RMS.

The Rockford Fosgate R165X3 features polypropylene cones, a silk dome Piezo tweeter, and midrange. An integrated high-pass crossover is also included and the sensitivity of the speaker is 91dB.

The standard size and the fact that it comes with grilles and mounting hardware, make this speaker a breeze to instal. As mentioned this speaker is capable of producing a really good sound, although the bass could have been better.

Still, it should satisfy most users and overall this is a very good speaker that’s still quite affordable.

Pros
  • Good sound
  • Nicely made
  • Very good value
Cons
  • Bass sound not the best

Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Car Under $75

Herdio HS-61B

Herdio HS-61B

Features

  • Power: 100W
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75

The Herdio HS-61B are heavy duty speakers made for boats, motorcycles and off-road cars and other similar vehicles.

As such they are waterproof, have rust proof speaker grills, and heavy duty engineered plastic cabinet to ensure that they can withstand the outdoor conditions. Their maximum power is 100W per speaker so they are capable of giving a good loud sound. 

The speakers are quite small making them a great choice if your space is limited, and they are easy to instal too. With the speakers you’ll also get the mounting brackets.

The sound is generally good, although you might need an amp to get the most out of them, depending on your needs.

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Very compact
Cons
  • Needs an amp to get the most out of them

Rockford R1675-S

Rockford R1675-S

Features

  • Power: 80W, 40W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 92dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75

This product from Rockford Fosgate is a 2-way component speaker system that delivers a good performance. It’s equipped with mica injected polypropylene woofer cone with foam surround, and the whole system includes two woofers, two tweeters, and two woofer grilles.

All of this ensures a good sound range without any distorted effects. The speaker has a power of 80W or 40W RMS and a sensitivity of 92 dB. 

Although the Rockford R1675-S is a bit bigger than the previous entries in the article, it still shouldn’t be a problem to find some space and instal it, and the grilles and mounting hardware are included.

The speaker is also equipped with an in-line 6dB tweeter crossover filter, a high-temperature voice coil, and a stamped steel frame.

Pros
  • Nicely built
  • Good sound range
  • Solid features
Cons
  • Tweeter installation/replacement can be tricky

Pioneer TS-A1680F

Pioneer TS-A1680F

Features

  • Power: 350W, 80W RMS per pair
  • Sensitivity: 88dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $75

A pretty powerful speaker from Pioneer, the TS-A1680F is an A-series 4-way car speaker with a power of 350W, or 80W RMS per pair.

It’s equipped with a carbon and mica reinforced IMPP woofer cone, an elastic polymer surround material and a twin 11mm PET hard dome tweeter. All of this ensures that the speaker gives out a dynamic sound with a pretty good range. The sensitivity is 88dB.

Installation is pretty straightforward and easy, and the speakers standard size shouldn’t cause any issues with finding a place to fit it. Also, included with the speaker are multi-fit installation adapters that expand flexibility and improve acoustic performance.

A good performance and an easy installation makes this speaker a good choice for anyone who wants to improve their car sound.

Pros
  • Pretty powerful
  • Good performance
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Included mounting brackets might need tweaking

Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Car Under $125

JBL GTO629

JBL GTO629

Features

  • Power: 180W, 30W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 93dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $125

The GTO629 speaker from JBL features carbon-injected plus one cones and these are larger than others in their size class, and this equals more quality bass.

It’s also equipped with a patented UniPivot tweeter that allows you to aim the sound at your ears, which generally translates into a more rich and lifelike sound. Furthermore, a dual-level tweeter volume adjustment is a great help if the speaker placement isn’t the best.

It’s power is 180W or 60W RMS, and the sensitivity is 93dB. An interesting thing to note is that this speaker has lower impedance (3 Ohms) than standard speakers, which allows it to safely draw more power from your car stereo.

There is also a 12dB high-quality crossover that directs the highs and lows to the appropriate speakers for the best sound possible.

Pros
  • Rich sound
  • Good features
  • Low-impedance
Cons
  • Bass depth could have been better

Best Surface-Mounted Speakers for Car Under $250

JL Audio C2-650X

JL Audio C2-650X

Features

  • Power: 100W, 60W RMS
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $250

An older model but C2-650XA is a truly great and powerful 2-way speaker from JL Audio. This product features an injection-molded mica-filled polypropylene woofer with butyl rubber surround.

These can handle high power with no distortion so you can really crank up the bass. The silk dome tweeters are also there to ensure a good and smooth higher tone. The speaker has a power of 100W or 60W RMS, and a sensitivity of 91 dB. 

The speaker has built-in crossovers to help with the smooth play. Installation is simple and quite easy, as you might expect from a high-end speaker, although for some users it did get a bit tricky, depending on their car.

In addition, you’ll get a pair of grilles for custom installations as well. All in all, an awesome speaker that provides great performance, albeit a bit expensive.

Pros
  • Powerful and nicely built
  • Great sound
  • Solid features
Cons
  • Pricey

Conclusion

These speakers we picked are some of the best you can find, although there are dozens of more but we picked a few budget-friendly, mid-range, and high-end speakers, for diversity.

Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with some of these manufacturers, just make sure you do research before you decide to purchase anything. 

If you are in a hurry check out our Editor’s Choice which is a good mid-range speaker that’s still relatively affordable, or if you are tight on cash, you can check the Budget Pick.

Whatever the case, we hoped you enjoyed this article and that it helped you in some way, and if you liked it, feel free to share it. Happy shopping!

*All prices mentioned above are at the time of publishing.

Sead Fadilpasic Avatar
Written by
Sead Fadilpasic
Sead is a seasoned tech journalist, based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his 15+ years of experience, he's done hundreds of product reviews, broke and fixed more gadgets than people usually use in a lifetime. When he's not writing for MuchNeeded, he spends his time raising his daughter, playing guitar and occasionally hitting the gym.