Understanding Different Car Speaker Sizes
Knowing the difference with car speaker sizes is important for anyone wanting to get the right fit. There are many different sizes, and like everything else in car audio, understanding the different speaker sizes can be a bit confusing.
So, if a manufacturer’s official speaker size isn’t the actual size in inches what exactly are car speaker sizes and what do they mean?
The sizes are roughly the stated size, but not exact. So it’s always a good idea to measure the space you intend to install the speakers and find out the exact size of the speaker before you buy them.
It’s better really to think of car speaker sizes as a category rather than a size, because each category is better known for producing different sounds and are commonly mounted in different places of a vehicle.
Therefore, it’s more about the sound you want, but of course the size does matter if you have a small car, so always be aware of everything before you buy them, and make sure you measure the car speaker size you’ll be replacing.
And don’t forget to know the depth of the speaker, because some speakers are quite deep and you might struggle to get them in tight places.
Many people get it wrong, so if you’re not sure, reading this Car Speaker Size Guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to get the sound you what you want in your drive.
Car Speaker Sizes – Understanding The Differences
4×6 Car Speakers
4×6 Car Speakers are some of the smaller speakers and are usually oval shaped. However, many 4×6 speakers come with a rectangle frame so it makes it easy to install them.
They’re some of the cheapest speakers you’ll find, but don’t confuse cheap with a poor sound quality, because you can get some good quality 4x6s, and are big upgrade from factory speakers.
To drive hard-hitting bass and clear mids and highs look for a 4×6 speaker with a wide frequency range. The best 4×6 car speakers will have a frequency range between around 50-20,000 Hz, and although the lows aren’t low enough for a basshead, it’s pretty standard for aftermarket speakers.
5.25 Car Speakers
5.25 Speakers are small speakers and are commonly used in back doors or on the back behind the seats. That said, because of the compact size, you shouldn’t have a problem installing them anywhere in your car.
They’re a perfect replacement for factory speakers, because the sound is much better and the size is similar to most factory speakers.
5.25 speakers are some of the cheapest on the market, and like 4×6 speakers, don’t confuse cheap with a poor sound quality, because they do drive clear mids and highs.
Because they’re mostly used with bigger speakers, they’re not really known for driving perfect sounds, although you can get some good quality 5.25 speakers
The frequency response with most 5.25 inch speakers isn’t low, although an average 50-22,000 Hz ensures the mids and highs are crisp, especially when working in tandem with a subwoofer and some bigger speakers.
5.25 Inch speakers are mostly used to accompany a bigger set of speakers in a full car stereo system set up, although if you have a small car and bass isn’t everything to you, they will be enough on their own as a factory upgrade.
5×7 Car Speakers
5×7 Car speakers are a similar standard to the 5.25 inch speakers, and are slightly bigger. The extra size allows them to generally be a bit more powerful than the 5.25 speakers.
These speakers are probably the least common speaker size, and they come with their own multiple installation ports, which makes installation easier. This also allows 5×7 speakers to fit easily into most 6×8 placements, so if you’re changing from 6×8, you should have no problems.
The bigger size allows for a wider frequency in most 5x7s, so you will be able to hit cleaner lows, although not enough for anyone who likes their bass to shake their car.
Whichever 5×7 car speakers you choose to get, it will be a big improvement on your factory speakers. The cheaper speakers, aren’t as durable but materials and specifications are much better than what you’d be used to if it is your first upgrade.
6X8 Car Speakers
6×8 speakers are a very common size speaker and are used mostly in front doors. They are a fantastic upgrade from your factory speaker and will drive a good all-round soundscape with little distortion.
The material used in most 6x8s makes the speaker more durable and also enhances the overall sound output. The better 6×8 speakers also offer a wider frequency range than most other car speaker sizes, and generally speaking they produce more depth and clarity to your car’s sound system.
6×8 speakers are well-known for producing rich and sharp music from lows to highs as well as any other size woofer.
The lows on a 6×8 is cleaner, and although it shouldn’t be a replacement for a subwoofer, the 6×8 speaker does offer some punchy bass.
For more information on the best 6×8 Car Speakers, click here…
6.5 Car Speakers
Many people ask if 6.5 is the same as 6 1/2 speakers, and yes they are, it’s a different way to say it.
Along with 6×9 speakers, 6.5 car speakers are the most popular size speaker. This is thanks to the durability and versatility of 6 1/2 speakers, and materials that produce crisp sounds from the highest highs to punchy low bass that most other size speakers can’t match on such a wide frequency level.
They offer a distinct performance advantage over most other sizes and there’s definitely an audible improvement in low frequency reproduction, which helps with cleaner bass.
6.5 speakers also generally have higher power handling capacities than other sizes. This enables them to drive more power through the system, which gives you louder volume than other size car speakers with similar power handling capabilities.
Most 6.5 car speakers are designed with stiff but lightweight cones, which ensures the bass is deeper without as much distortion as other sized car speakers. That’s not to say they’re perfect for bass, because if you really love your bass, you should invest in a good quality subwoofer.
A subwoofer and a pair of good quality 6.5 car speakers, however, will make for a fantastic listening experience.
And if you get some 6.5 component speakers with good quality materials for the woofer and tweeter, or maybe even a 3-way 6.5 car speaker it will be as good as anything in a full car stereo set up.
6 1/2 car speakers are also generally cheaper than 6×9 car speakers, without losing out on much of the sound quality. And of course, this is important to any audiophile that demands crisp sounds without breaking the bank.
6X9 Car Speakers
6×9 Car Speakers are very popular among car audio enthusiasts and are often coined an ‘all-in-one’ speaker as they’re known to perform well across a wide range of frequencies.
A set of good quality 6×9 speakers will definitely give you listening experience that has more volume capacity and delivers precisely what you expect from a speaker.
There’s a myth that 6×9 speakers don’t produce good quality bass, but that’s simply not true. However, as with any car speakers if you really love bass, you should get a separate subwoofer.
If you don’t want to spend extra but want as punchy bass as possible, then 6×9 car speakers should be the size you get as these speakers drive the best bass of any other size, and offer the best full-range sound without a separate sub or amplifier.
6×9 car speakers are commonly mounted in the rear deck, usually as a factory replacement, but that’s not to say they won’t fit in the doors. They are slightly bigger than other car speaker sizes, so if you are putting them in your car doors make sure they fit before you buy them.
For more info on the best 6×9 Car Speakers click here.
8 Inch Car Speakers
Most car speakers are around the 6 inch size, but if you want some serious mid-bass speakers, 8 inch drivers are to go for. In fact, 8 inch subwoofers are a popular size, especially for anyone limited on space. But if you get some 8 inch mid-bass speakers, you will really ramp up the soundstage in your car.
Many believe mid-bass aren’t necessary if you have a good mid-range and a subwoofer. And while this may be true for many people, a true audiophile will notice a big difference with a dedicated driver concentrating on the upper bass range from 80 Hz to 350 Hz.
The lower the frequency the more air a driver has to shift, and this is why subwoofers and mid-bass speakers are bigger. Of course, they are bulkier than your standard car door speakers, so not everyone will be able to install them, but an 8 inch car speaker will make a major impact.
Other Things You Should Know About Car Speakers
Coaxial Speakers and Component Speakers
There are two main types of speakers: coaxial and component speakers, and both of them offer different but quality soundscapes.
Coaxial speakers are more common and cheaper, but component speakers will give you a better all-round sound. This is due to the components being separate, whereas coaxial speaker components come in a single enclosure.
If it’s a 2-way speaker there will be two different drivers: a woofer and a tweeter. Whereas, if it’s a 3-way component speaker, there will be an extra mid-range speaker, and the crossover will be separate, too.
Many people ask which is best 2 way vs 3 way speakers and really it’s about the price you’re willing to pay. Remember, 3 way speakers have 1 extra speaker in them so if you see some the same price as a 2 way speaker, the materials in the 2 way will likely be better.
Whether they’re coaxial or component speakers both 2-way and 3-way will produce a fantastic listening experience if you get a good quality brand. There’s no “best” car speaker, per se, because they all offer something different, and a sound that’s best for you might be different to me. So, it’s important to know what sound you want before purchasing either a coaxial or component speaker.
For more on coaxial vs component speakers, check out this article as it goes into more depth on the topic.
Tweeters Are As Important As Other Components Of A Speaker
They might be the smallest speaker but a tweeter is just as critical as your woofer or even subwoofer. A good quality tweeter will not only produce ringing highs, but also free up you other speakers to produce the ranges they are designed to produce.
They vary between 1 and 3 inches and are there to push the frequencies above 6000 Hz, and on a coaxial speaker they protrude from the center of the speaker.
On a component speaker, however, tweeters are separate and can be mounted in a different location to your main speakers, which will offer you a more 3-dimensional soundscape than what’s possible with even the best coaxial speakers.
Tweeters can come with your speaker in a component set, or you can buy them separately. If you do the latter make sure you get the right size for both the place you intend to install them and make sure they’re not too big/small for the woofer it will be partnering with.
Speaker Material Defines The Sound
When it comes to getting the right speaker to drive the sounds you desire, you need to think about the materials used.
Speaker surrounds with rubber material rather than foam will be more durable and being exposed to external elements will last longer. Foam is more flexible, however, making it more efficient than rubber, so even though rubber is more expensive it’s not necessarily better for everyone.
For the woofer cone there’s an endless variety of materials used, such as paper, silk, polymers, plastic, aluminum, and aramid fiber.
Simply put, the harder the material, the more durable it will be, but they all produce different sounds. Surprisingly, paper isn’t the cheapest material, plastic is, and paper produces arguably the best sound.
However, paper is the least durable, and depending how the manufacturer has treated it, will determine the sound it produces.
The best woofer material changes from person to person, so make sure you research and know exactly which is best for you. You can start by checking out this article here.
What About Bass?
You can get some good car speakers for bass, but if you crave deep bass that will vibrate your car and make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you really do need a subwoofer.
Depending on the size of your car, because they do take up space, you should go for a subwoofer that is either 8, 10, 12 or 15 inch in size.
Yes, size does matter, and you will get more bass from the bigger subs, but don’t be fooled into thinking even an 8-inch sub won’t give you a lot of bass. And for some who like tighter bass a smaller subwoofer is better.
Getting The Right Car Speaker Size For Your Car
Every man and his car is a different scenario to the next, so there’s no best or one-size-fits-all car speaker size.
You have to consider the size of the location it’s replacing, the type of sounds you want to push, and of course your budget.
You also have to consider your experience because if it’s not a straight out-and-in job, you might struggle, or have to spend extra getting them professionally installed.
Whichever speakers you decide to get, however, you can be sure that all the above sizes will give you a much-improved listening experience from your factory speakers, even if you can only afford the cheapest ones.