For many drivers, the sound system of a vehicle is a major factor in the overall enjoyment of the driving experience. Fortunately, these systems can be upgraded with relative ease.
Whether you're looking to buy a new vehicle or want to upgrade your current vehicle, knowing/testing the speakers and overall sound system is something worth considering. Car audio is such an important part of vehicle design and is a popular hobby (and profession in some cases). It makes sense that there are plenty of brands that provide car speakers to the market.
In this article, we'll discuss the top car speaker brands to help you in your quest to find the optimal speakers for your vehicle. Though obviously subjective and prone to biases, I've done my best to list out these brands based on the following metrics (in no particular order):
- Company reputation
- Variety of speakers
- Performance of the speakers
- Price-performance ratio
- The company/brand must currently be in operation
With all that being said, let's list out the brands.
The Top 11 Best Car Speaker Brands Are:
- JL Audio
- Boss Audio Systems
- Polk Audio
- Rockford Fosgate
Let's get into each of these brands in greater detail and explain why they belong in the top 11 best car amplifier brands. For each brand, I'll share their country of origin, a bit of history, an example of a notable component speaker set and a subwoofer, and a link to their official website.
Focal is a French high-fidelity brand founded by Jacques Mahul in Saint-Etienne in 1979. They have been making loudspeakers for the most demanding scenarios and the toughest audiences from day one. For example, their Grande Utopia is regarded as the best hi-fi speaker in the world by music lovers.
Besides its reputation among audiophiles, Focal products are also the tool of choice in studios around the world because of their reliability and sound quality.
Moreover, they are the proud patent-holders of many innovations that changed the way speakers are manufactured worldwide. With such a mastery of speaker technology, it's no wonder Focal does so well in the car audio.
Focal car speakers (and car audio systems, more generally) have the power to transform lacklustre acoustic environments into beautiful sound stages. They can indeed take an automobile sound system from boring to exciting, offering some of the best HiFi car audio in the world.
The key to Focal's critical acclaim and superb performance is having control over the entire production process.
Applying this principle to car audio, every Focal car speaker leaving the plant is ready to make history, and if this is what you are looking for, you can't go wrong buying from Focal.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Focal ES 165KX3
One of the main innovations by Focal was the use of alternative materials during the production process. One of them was Kevlar. This kit features five speakers designed with Kevlar speaker cones. The resulting soundstage is not only realistic but also crystal-clear.
Besides the Kevlar-cone woofers, the inverted design of the tweeter domes adds precision, definition, and clarity to the high and ultra-high frequencies. As a result, you'll have maximum clarity across the audible frequency spectrum with little to no distortion.
Focal products are among the best money can buy for many audiophiles in the world, and this car speaker set is no exception to their impeccable reputation. If you're a music addict interested in car audio, these speakers will surely help you get your fix in a sonically superior way.
Kicker was born in the hands of two music lovers working inside a one-car garage in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Since the Original KICKER (the first full frequency-range speaker box designed specifically for cars and trucks) was introduced in 1973, Kicker Audio has grown to employ over 200 people in a 280,000-square-foot facility. Today, Kicker's products are sold in the USA through 1,200 dealers and exported to over 50 countries.
The passion of Kicker's team members has been a huge driving force behind the company's growth and its superb products, aimed at solving common car audio problems for discerning audiophiles.
Moreover, the power handling and cutting-edge innovations Kicker speakers are known for allowed this company to remain current and in high demand worldwide.
Installing Kicker speakers in your car could certainly be a turning point in the sound system. With high-end Kicker speakers, you'll get to commute with pristine audio. Music lovers and partygoers alike choose Kicker to enjoy music on the road; thus, considering them is certainly advisable.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Kicker Q-Class 41QSS674
The secret to this kit's critical success is the efficient crossover. Splitting the signal with a superior-quality crossover, the midrange drivers can deliver surgeon-grade precision on the mids.
The tweeters provide tonally-precise high frequencies, and the woofers provide the perfect amount of lows.
Just like the Focal kit, the main strength in this set is how musical they sound together. Achieving tonal balance while dividing the frequencies is not easy, and the Kicker combo pulls it off effortlessly.
For those wanting a harmonious set of car speakers that can take up to 100 watts of power, the Kicker Q-Class 41QSS674 is a worthy collection.
JBL is one of those audio brands that need no introduction, even for those not into professional audio. Since its beginning in 1946, JBL has risen to success, providing speakers for the most demanding stages and studios in the world as well as home entertainment, headphones, DJ gear, and even Fender amplifiers.
Choosing JBL as the sound system for your car is not just choosing a brand but installing decades of sound wisdom from an industry giant to go with you everywhere you drive.
Indeed, JBL car speakers are so good that the only thing you'll be left wondering is how come you didn't install those earlier. Besides, you can always expect superb quality and reliability in any product bearing the JBL logo.
Notable car audio speaker(s): JBL 670GTi
This speaker set by JBL is the perfect setup for any car owner who enjoys listening to the radio, podcasts, and music. This is because the copper pole piece cap allows the human voice to stand out even from the muddiest mixes, reducing distortion and maximizing volume. In addition, the Kevlar cone offers ultra-rigidity to ensure a smooth frequency response in all scenarios.
Finally, the Nomex spider provides the ultimate support for the speakers. This means that whether you are accelerating forward or backward, the speaker's position is not affected.
Reducing distortion caused by speaker suspension allows louder performances while remaining crystal-clear in the entire frequency spectrum at all times. If you like your music loud, proud and distortion-free, you have to give this set a chance.
Founded in Japan in 1938 by Nozomu Matsumoto, Pioneer Electronics started as a radio and speaker repair shop. The brand released its first Hi-Fi speaker in 1953 (the famous PE-8) and was listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange Second Section in 1961.
After a plethora of innovations, Pioneer became the synonym for state-of-the-art DJ equipment and Hi-Fi audio. Pioneer's disembark in the car audio market revolutionized the way brands approach the niche. In other words, Pioneer raised the benchmark, and most brands echoed it.
A company like Pioneer, capable of developing the stereo, the power amp, and the speakers, possesses enough insight and knowledge to create the ultimate car-audio combo and take your music to the next level while on the road.
Whether you choose Pioneer for the entire car sound system or only for the speakers, the brand's products will hold their own, providing superb results.
Reinvent your driving experience, reinvent yourself, and listen to music on the road like you always wanted with Pioneer car speakers.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Pioneer TS-Z65CH
This impeccable speaker set can handle up to 330W of maximum power. This power will move air through 29 mm aluminum-alloy dome tweeters featuring Pioneer's own Vertex Drive System, which ensures a wider tonal spectrum than most brands can offer.
The low frequencies will excite a 6.5″ woofer featuring a cellulose fibre dual-layer cone and the company's own Twaron Aramid Fiber technology that ensures the speaker will not be affected by car movements.
Finally, the oversized magnet can handle power directed to low frequencies while retaining the distortion-free hi-res audio approach.
The Pioneer TS-Z65CH is a fantastic choice for those looking for a speaker combo that can revamp the entire sound system in their cars.
Founded in 1975, JL Audio was one of the first audio brands to release products directed specifically to the car and marine audio sectors. By 1988, the brand had become the dominant player in the car audio scene in South Florida.
Today, after a long history of innovation, the company offers state-of-the-art audio equipment for cars and has also expanded into home and mobile audio.
But what sets it apart from the competition is its heritage of working in the high-demand Florida area on some of the most outrageous rides (and audio systems) ever conceived.
Taking matters to the extreme gave JL Audio the reputation of being one of the best places to overhaul your car audio in the United States. Thus, installing JL Audio car speakers is earning a one-way ticket to the best way to enjoy audio on the road.
Notable car audio speaker(s): JL Audio C5-653
This is a 3-way speaker system capable of covering the entire frequency spectrum with superior precision.
JL Audio produced this set to achieve optimum dynamics and to cover as much sonic ground as possible.
Thus, the combination of the 6.5-inch woofers with Kurt Müller suspension and cone, the crystal clear top-flight, 4″ component driver reproducing the midrange and the silk-dome 0.75″ tweeter for precise, smooth high frequencies creates a soundstage that could convince the most demanding audiophile.
Mylar capacitors in the set's crossover ensure the ideal frequency bands of audio are sent accurately to each appropriate speaker to minimize distortion while maximizing volume and clarity.
Boss Audio Systems
When Sam Rabbani wanted to overhaul his car's audio system back in 1987, he couldn't find a brand that would manufacture well-made, great-sounding systems for his budget.
Thus, he set out on the complicated mission of making car audio that sounded amazing yet wouldn't break anyone's bank.
The aspect that sets Boss Audio Systems apart from the competition is that the company works with design, acoustic, electronic, and in-house mechanical engineers to develop state-of-the-art, groundbreaking ideas from scratch to production.
The complete control over production allowed the brand to establish itself as the best-sounding alternative to the most expensive options in the market.
Those looking for optimum price/quality balance might find in Boss Audio Systems a lifelong partner to all things audio. In fact, BAS gets my top “budget-friendly” car speaker brand award for what it's worth.
The quality of Boss Audio Systems car speakers is the reason why you should install them in your car. They are the best at their price point, without the shadow of a doubt.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Boss Audio CH6930
Instead of working with a set of speakers to produce the entire frequency spectrum, Boss Audio went for full-range, three-way coaxial speakers with the CH6930.
This 6×9″ pair can handle up to 200 watts RMS and boasts an impressive frequency response that goes from 50 Hz all the way to 20 kHz.
This covers almost all of the frequencies the human ear is capable of hearing. Add a subwoofer, and you'll have everything covered!
For more info on car audio bass response, check out my article How To Increase Bass Response In Your Car's Audio System.
This pair is ideal for those who want to install a new stereo system in their cars without modifying much of the existing structure and spending a moderate amount. If this sounds like the speakers you are after for your ride, think about giving them a chance.
Since Polk Audio's founding in 1972 in San Diego, California, the brand has developed a strong reputation as an affordable, high-performance audio brand for entertainment.
Initially, the team provided the audio equipment for a local bluegrass convention, but the organizers revealed they didn't have the funds to pay for the equipment after it was ready.
Hence, Klopfer designed Polk Audio's logo, and Gross helped with the marketing; a new legend was born.
Polk Audio has become a car audio favourite for audiophiles on the move with a limited budget. Thus, if you have an ear for hi-fi audio but a tight budget, consider installing Polk Audio speakers; they are arguably the best-sounding in their price line.
Polk Audio car speakers are indeed one of the top price-to-performance brands of car audio speakers in the United States. Their speakers are so good you won't even look at the price tag, although when you do, you won't believe it either.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Polk Audio DB 6502
This combo includes all you need to overhaul the audio system of any car. Like the first brands in the list, the DB6502 features a pair of 2-way woofers with tweeters to handle the ultra-high frequencies and provide overall clarity while fighting distortion.
The 6.5″ woofers and 0.75″ tweeters can handle up to 100 watts RMS and have a marine certification. This is a combo aimed at the music lover who wants his or her car to sound amazing without breaking the bank or making any modifications to the original car audio setup during installation.
Alpine Electronics, Inc. is a subsidiary of Alps Electric. It is through Alpine that its parent company manufactures and sells navigation systems as well as car audio.
A distinctive quality that sets Alpine apart from the competition is that in the year 2006, 76% of the company's revenue was generated through OEM sales.
Huge worldwide car brands like Honda, Dodge, and even Jaguar trust Alpine products enough to offer them as a factory standard for their customers.
Alpine speakers are well-made and sound remarkably accurate. Whether they're part of the stock system in your new Jaguar or the new upgrade for your work-in-progress, Alpine car speakers are designed to deliver the best. By buying Alpine, you are buying quality at its best at a price you can afford.
After decades of restless innovation and growth, Alpine offers many options that suit most budgets and tastes. If you are in the market for new speakers or a new system, you have to check Alpine out.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Alpine X-S65C
As part of the X-Series of speakers, this combo represents the premium quality of Alpine products.
To begin with, the 120 watts of power handling make it suitable for most scenarios. Although the speakers might be pumping hard, the system is labelled as Hi-Res Audio.
Hence, you can expect incredible depth, resolution, and dynamics that could satisfy more than one audiophile.
The new materials used in the tweeter (carbon-graphite) and cone (nanofiber) make the speakers more reliable and better-sounding than traditional materials.
This is an affordable, easy-to-install solution for those who want to experience what it feels like to listen to Hi-Res audio while driving.
Founded in 1946 in Japan, Kenwood merged with JVC in October 2011 to create the JVCKenwood corporation.
As a result, the Corporation ventured into creating the communications system for Istanbul Airport, became a communication sponsor in Moto-GP, and launched many innovative, revolutionary products.
Nowadays, the JVCKenwood Corporation is an example of what Japanese precision can provide to the audio world when mixed with passion and the right leadership.
Installing Kenwood speakers in your car means adding decades of excellence to the sound you'll hear. Thus, your car's audio capabilities will be transformed with superior sonic accuracy and realism.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Kenwood Excelon XR-1603HR
Kenwood's eXcelon line embodies the peak of the company's car audio efforts.
For starters, the system is certified as a Hi-Res product; hence, it can play audio above CD standards.
Secondly, the high rigidity of the glass fibre diaphragm is as lightweight as it is tough, which provides more dynamics to the resulting sound.
Finally, the 1″ soft-dome tweeters add clarity to the resulting sound, providing the listener with an experience that is as close to a live setting as possible.
For those in search of a top-of-the-crop speaker system for their car, this is a must-check before making any decisions.
Meir Mordechai founded Morel Audio in 1975. The company was born from a need; Meir wanted a pair of speakers to make music sound in the most natural way possible. In other words, he was in the search for the most musical components to create the ultimate listening experience.
Nowadays, Morel embodies the fantasy every audiophile has: state-of-the-art audio quality on the go.
For this, Morel finishes every product by hand and puts them through a tough 7-step quality-control process. As a result, every car speaker bought from the brand carries the spirit, leverage, and tradition that started in the 70s.
Morel is a leader in the car speaker industry, offering a new standard of quality and craftsmanship. If you are searching for the best car speakers in the market, you will surely be close to perfection by buying from Morel.
Morel will open the door to a new dimension of sound for your ears. When looking for boutique-grade speakers for your car, this brand's diverse catalogue can satisfy even the most demanding needs.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Morel Supremo 602
Supremo is Morel's flagship system. The company invested 45 years in creating the perfect car audio sound system, and the Supremo might very well be it. To make it happen, Morel relies on four elements: a pair of woofers and a pair of tweeters.
The first is made of a powerful combination of neodymium magnets and Morel's EVC motor topology technology. Plus, the company's own carbon-fiber-and-Rohacell cone and the 3″ Hexatech aluminum voice coil make it one of the most advanced speakers you can install in any car today.
The tweeters (Supremo Piccolo), on the other hand, have a reputation for being open and detailed, letting the highest frequencies of the spectrum shine brilliantly.
If you are looking for “the best money can buy” speaker system for your car, this has to make it to the final list.
Mr. Jim Fosgate was in his garage in 1973 when he had an epiphany: he realized the true nature of human hearing. He found out that the curve of the perceived sound and the curve of the actual sound differ.
Moreover, he proved that the lower frequencies sounded completely different when played at low volume. Thus, he created the Frequency Energizer, which was later to become the Punch EQ.
Since that time, Rockford Fosgate became a synonym with oversized power and punch.
Indeed, its long career in marine audio systems gave the company a chance to experiment with larger-than-life amplifiers and speakers that could take extreme sonic pressure and remain intact.
Nowadays, the leverage of decades of hard work has paid off, and those who are in search of power, clarity, rumbling lows, and cutting-edge technology for their car will find Rockford Fosgate's speaker catalogue thrilling.
If you like your music loud, you have to know that no other speaker brand sounds better at extreme volume levels. Trust your power in the hands of experts; install Rockford Fosgate speakers in your car.
Notable car audio speaker(s): Rockford Fosgate T-4652-S
This 6-piece combo offers consumers all the performance power of the brand's flagship model but adds a simple crossover to distribute frequencies between tweeters and woofers, avoiding distortion and unwanted responses.
The woofer part of the combo is made of woven LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) fibre that allows a wider frequency response while remaining punchy in the low frequencies.
The tweeter pair is made of the same material and takes care of the ultra-high frequencies, providing outstanding overall clarity to the resulting audio.
Finally, the asymmetrical 12dB Butterworth crossover brings audiophile quality to the mix.
For those who want to be loud and proud while retaining the undistorted quality of their music, this speaker system might be exactly what they were looking for.
With so many loudspeakers on the market, purchasing the best speaker(s) for your applications can be rather daunting. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Loudspeaker Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next speaker acquisition.