by Joshua Thomas
Budget car speakers come in handy when you want to upgrade your vehicle's sound system without spending much. What's more, the best budget car speakers will not compromise the overall build quality of the speakers or the sound output.
Budget speakers are typically those that will retail for under $100 for each pair, and there is a wide variety of options in the market at this price range. Hence, it is vital to make an informed choice by considering important factors like the brand, power output, speaker type (coaxial or component), and the actual price range of the speakers.
To help make your budget speaker choice an easier one, we compile a list of some of the best models and provide a buying guide.
|1. Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime (Best Overall)
|2. Polk Audio DB522 (Best for Money)
|3. Pioneer TS-A1370F (Best Brand)
|4. Boss Audio Systems CH6530 (Best Cheap)
|5. Alpine SPS-510 (Best 2-Way)
|6. Kicker 43DSC504 (Best 5.25-Inch)
|7. Rockford Fosgate R169X3 Prime (Best 3-Way)
It is all about the sound quality with the Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime, which is why it is our best overall product. With this 5.25-inch speaker, you get an integrated tweeter crossover to ensure the best of every sound output.
Unlike budget speakers that will use foam and other less durable materials, this one has a rubber surround. The rubber surround is also more resistant to moisture and ensures lower sound distortion.
Rockford makes this budget car speaker with a durable polypropylene cone that also improves the sound output significantly. The silk-dome tweeter is flush mounted to ensure you get a better fit.
When it comes to the installation, you can be sure that you will have an easier time as the manufacturer provides the mounting hardware, instructions, and the grilles. The provided grilles also have a more pleasant look to ensure the speaker looks fantastic in your vehicle.
Although the bass is not very powerful, this is an easy problem to fix with a good amplifier and should not be a deal-breaker.
For marine certified speakers with an IP55 rating, the Polk Audio DB522 will give you the best value for money as it is hard to get better quality without spending more money. Their marine certification means they are tested for salt, fog, and humidity, making them ideal for use in all environments.
Besides the marine certification, these speakers will outperform the OEM speakers by delivering superior sound quality. And with the UV tolerant cone, you can be sure theses speakers do not discolor or degrade for a long time to come.
The drop-in installation ensures quick and easy installation. Many users will also love the more seamless and flush mounting thanks to the zero protrusion tweeters.
The grille seems to have some issues fitting some vehicles, but it should still work well with a little DIY inventiveness. Also, an amp should give the bass a nice boost if it is still not adequate for you.
Pioneer is among the oldest vehicle sound system manufacturers, and they are famous for making some of the best sounding car speakers. If you are looking for the best budget car sound system and prefer to buy from a top brand, the Pioneer TS-A1370F is an excellent choice.
Overall, this sturdy car speaker features a carbon mica reinforced injection-molded polypropylene cone that will deliver many years of excellent service. With superior quality construction, you also get low sound distortion even at the high output.
This 3-way speaker runs on Pioneer's open and smooth system. With this system, you get a smooth frequency response and a seamless transition between the woofer and tweeter for exceptional sound quality.
When it comes to installation, this speaker allows for a simple drop-in mount. Better yet, it will provide a custom OEM fit.
While the highs seem a little too strong, you should still be okay if you utilize your equalizer. The bass is also acceptable for budget 5.25-inch speakers.
Any motorists shopping for car speakers on a very tight budget will love the Boss Audio Systems CH6530 as they are as cheap as they can get without compromising the sound quality.
Despite being some of the most affordable car speakers out there, these are still highly durable 6.5-inch car speakers. They will feature a more resilient polyurethane cone that also offers excellent sound quality.
The rubber surround is also an excellent addition because, besides being durable, it can withstand more abuse without affecting the sound quality.
These speakers use the Piezoelectric tweeter, which is more resistant to overload. Also, you can use the tweeter with no crossover. And with the stamped basket design, you get a rigid and robust platform. This platform allows you to hear a clean, clear sound.
Although the screw quality seems quite lacking, this is hardly a concern for what you pay for the speaker.
With the 2-way Alpine SPS-510, you get a pair of super easy to install speakers that you can have in your car in no time, even if you do not have prior experience installing similar speakers.
Besides the ease of installation, these 2-way car speakers have a durable poly-micacone woofer that produces a crystal clear sound and packs a nice bass. For the tweeter, you get a 3/4-inch silk dome tweeter that will also deliver exceptional sound quality.
Because these speakers will use a rubber surround instead of foam, they can take more beating for long with minimal wear and tear while still maintaining excellent sound quality.
Although these speakers could be a little louder, they are still as loud as you would expect from a 170-watt pair of coaxial speakers. Lack of covers should also not be a big deal as their absence does not affect sound quality.
The 5.25-inch Kicker 43DSC504 is the perfect replacement for your factory speakers. Besides being the right size, they will also work with most car sound systems.
These top-notch speakers also offer high sensitivity of up to 90 dB. And with their lightweight foam surround, you can be sure that you will be getting more efficient speakers for excellent sound quality.
Durability is also guaranteed as these speakers feature a more rigid overall construction and with polypropylene cone.
The mounting holes do not seem to line up nicely for some vehicles, but you should not have any issues doing a little DIY modification for a perfect fit. While the lows are also a bit lacking, everything else, including the bass, is fantastic for a pair of budget speakers.
If you prefer the convenience and sound quality of a 3-way speaker, the full-range Rockford Fosgate R169X3 Prime should serve you well.
These speakers will include a built-in tweeter crossover to ensure that the outputs are distinct and clear enough. Better yet, it also uses a more efficient silk dome Piezo tweeter.
The cones also do not disappoint as they are rigid and durable polypropylene. The speakers are built on a stamped steel base and with a rubber surround to give them a long service life.
When you buy these speakers, you get the grilles to enhance the overall appearance and mounting hardware to ensure you have what you need for installation.
While this speaker might not have a mighty bass, what you get is still enough if you listen to music at moderate levels. Also, the fit is not the best but is still acceptable for a budget speaker set.
One of the first things you need to do when shopping for budget car speakers is deciding the type you want. Here you typically need to pick between the coaxial and component types as each has its merits and shortcomings.
The coaxial speakers are those that have all the speaker components contained in one unit. These speakers are the most common and often more cost-effective. Additionally, the single-unit structure means they do not take up a lot of room and are great for those who do not have a lot of space.
On the other hand, you get separate drivers for tweeters and mid-bass, with the component speakers. Therefore, you can mount these individual components at different places in the vehicle.
Also, component speakers produce better sound quality since they have crossovers that ensure the different drivers handle frequencies much better. However, component speakers take up more room and are generally pricier.
When buying new speakers for your vehicle, it is vital to make sure that they can fit it perfectly. If the speakers are not compatible with your car, they can be unusable, or you may need to make expensive adjustments to use them.
You need to check the speakers' size and shape and compare this with the mounting hole on your vehicle to determine if they will fit.
Besides the physical fit, you also need to make sure that the speakers are compatible with your vehicle's stereo system. Hence, you need to understand your stereo system well before shopping for speakers.
Another critical decision that you will need to make when shopping for the best cheap car speaker involves choosing between the 2-way and 3-way speakers.
The 2-way speakers like the Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime are co-axial speakers that include a woofer and tweeter. These speakers are easier to install and are hence the best choice for those that prefer DIY installation.
The 3-way speakers like the Boss Audio Systems CH6530, on the other hand, consist of a woofer, tweeter, and a mid-range component. They often offer a high-frequency range but can be a little complicated to install.
Read More: 2-way vs. 3-way Car Speakers
The power handling capability is crucial as it determines how powerful a speaker will be and other things like the maximum sound output and quality.
When it comes to power handling, you will need to consider both the RMS, which is the continuous power the speaker can handle and the peak or maximum power.
You can expect to get anything from 80 to 300 watts for these budget speakers for the peak power. When it comes to RMS, anything between 40 and 150 watts is okay.
Because you do not want to buy new speakers within a short time, you also need to consider the build material to ensure you get something highly durable.
The good news is many budget speaker models still use high-quality materials that will not break or degrade quickly.
For maximum speaker durability, look for something made with rubber surround instead of foam and a woofer made of a rigid material like metal-coated synthetic fabric. Also note that besides durability, high-quality materials can also improve the sound quality significantly.
Anyone that understands what good sound should be like will tell you that car speaker brand is as important as everything else you consider when choosing your speakers.
That said, you will hardly ever go wrong if you buy your car speakers from top brands like Pioneer, JBL, Kenwood, and Rockford Fosgate.
Despite being top-tier brands, these companies still have budget models as they try to cater to all kinds of consumers.
A car speaker is a speaker that produces sound in an automotive application. There are three main types of car speakers: coaxial, component, and full-range.
Coaxial speakers have all of the components in one package. Coaxial speakers have two drivers inside them - one for the high frequencies and one for the low frequencies.
Component speakers have separate components for the high frequencies, which are usually tweeters, and the low frequencies. The speaker cone in a component speaker is attached to a specialized crossover network that separates the sound into different frequencies.
Full-range speakers have two sets of drivers: one woofer and one tweeter.  Full-range speakers do not require a crossover to separate out the different frequency ranges because both drivers play all of the sounds at their own range of frequencies. Many full-range car speakers use capacitors to help with power handling issues above 4kHz, where most human ears won't be able to hear any difference from lower quality drivers.(Hertz)
A speaker's impedance measures how much a speaker resists an electric current. (Ohms) Speakers with lower impedance require less energy from the amplifier to play at the same volume. A low-impedance speaker is more efficient and usually sounds better because it requires less power from the amplifier to play at the same volume.
The size of a speaker is called its "diameter" and is measured in inches. Speakers are available in different sizes, all with varying sound quality. (Speaker Size) The larger the speaker's diameter, the more power it can handle, which means that it can play louder. Bigger speakers also produce more bass.(Speakers)
The sensitivity of a speaker measures how loud it plays at one watt of power, measured from 1 meter away. (dB) Speakers with high sensitivities are louder than speakers with low sensitivities at the same power level because more of their electrical energy is turned into sound.
If you are not yet confident in your ability to take apart a car sound system or re-connect everything properly at the end, take this project to an auto glass repair shop or stereo installation store instead for help.
It's easiest to replace speakers at the same size they came with. If you don't have the speaker's specs, consult your car owner's manual or download a copy of it from online. It will tell you what kind of speaker is in each location and how much power it takes, which will help you find compatible replacements. You can also look up the model number of your factory speaker or take it to an auto-parts store and ask what kind of speaker would fit in its place.
You will need to disconnect the electrical wiring on each speaker before you can remove it. Look for a connector that is either round or has one flat side, then push in the little release tab on that connector. After that, just pull on the wire to remove it.
Having disconnected all of them, you can now also disconnect any nuts holding the speakers in place, and gently remove each speaker from its compartment after taking out whatever was behind it (e.g. insulation foam).
You will want to disconnect the wiring connected to the factory speaker's power source (also known as a "speaker wire"). You can do this by taking off the connector on each end and pulling the wires apart, or cutting them if there is not a connector at all. Be sure not to damage any nearby wires with tools when doing this; you might damage other speakers in some vehicles if you aren't careful. If your car has tweeters or midrange speakers that share a crossover with the front speakers, then continue reading:
An additional cabinet usually found next to the front speakers is the speaker crossover. This cabinet contains an active electronic filter that partitions low, mid, and high frequencies between your front speakers based on the capabilities of each one. Some crossovers also allow you to adjust parameters like slope (i.e., how much sound will be directed towards certain speakers) or gain (e.g., how loud it can get). If this is present, disconnect its wiring harnesses as you did with the factory speaker's power source wiring in step 3 above; then remove it from its place by taking out any screws holding it in and gently pulling it out.
You will need to disconnect the speaker wiring connectors from your new speakers. Look for a connector that is either round or has one flat side, then push in the little release tab on that connector. After that, just pull on the wire to remove it. You can now also use this opportunity to replace any old speaker components with new ones (e.g., by using heat-shrink tubing) if you are unhappy with their current condition.
If your new speakers have grommets and/or foam insulation protecting their mounts and plates, gently pick them out so as not to damage them. Some might be held in place by adhesive or glue, so you might have to use a little force to remove them. Note: If you are unable to find grommets and/or insulation material near the mounts and plates of your new speakers, don't worry about it. It's not essential for installation.
After removing any grommets and insulation that were blocking access to the mounting screws (if applicable), simply screw your new speakers into place using the same screws and locations as before. This ensures that they will fit properly without having to adjust anything later on. Some vehicles require specific types of screws for this step; if you don't have the appropriate type of screw, you can use a suitable one and attach it with epoxy (e.g., Loctite® glue for nuts and bolts).
After screwing your new speakers into place, simply reattach their wiring connectors to them using pliers if necessary. If you are not sure how this is done, refer to the user manual that came with your speakers or consult an automotive professional. You can now also replace any grommets or insulation material that might have been blocking the connector ports on each end of the wiring harnesses; then connect them back to their power source location(s) as shown in step 2 above.
Before running any new speaker wiring in your car, be sure to reattach the negative (-) battery terminal to the appropriate spot on the vehicle chassis (i.e., where it belongs). This will ensure that any wires you add do not accidentally short against the vehicle's metal chassis and cause a serious electrical problem. If you don't know where this location is, consult a professional.
Connect the positive (+) speaker wires from your new speakers to the power source wiring harnesses on your vehicle's factory radio using heat shrink tubing where necessary. For example, the power (+) wire from your car battery goes to a fuse or relay, and some of that power is then sent out through smaller wires to the factory radio which turns it into a lower voltage needed for its internal speakers. Then, when you turn the radio on, it sends out that lower voltage through the factory speaker wiring harnesses to power your vehicle's speakers. If you are not sure how this is done, consult a professional.
Connect the negative (-) speaker wires from your new speakers to the other end of your car's factory speaker wiring harnesses using heat shrink tubing where necessary. For example, when you turn on your vehicle's power, it sends voltage through these smaller wires; and when that happens, any grounded (i.e., connected to ground) wire becomes hot and emits a current of electricity through the air which can be picked up and turned into sound by your car's speakers. If you are not sure how this is done, consult a professional.
Cover all exposed speaker wires with heat shrink tubing where necessary to avoid any possible short circuits. If you are not sure how this is done, consult a professional.
Finally, re-attach the trunk or hatch lid or door to your vehicle in its original location and secure it with the appropriate screws (if applicable). You can now sit down in your car and enjoy the sound of your new speakers. Congratulations!
The Benefits of Upgrading Your Car's Speakers
Rockford Fosgate R165X3 Prime 6.5" Full-Range 3-Way Coaxial Speaker (Pair), black - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
JVC CS-J620 300W 6.5" CS Series 2-Way Coaxial Car Speakers, Set of 2 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
BOSS Audio Systems CH6930 Car Speakers - 400 Watts of Power Per Pair, 200 Watts Each, 6 x - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
JBL Stage 9603 420W Max (140W RMS) 6" x 9" 4 ohms Stage Series 3-Way Coaxial Car Audio - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay
BOSS Audio Systems CH6530 Car Speakers - 300 Watts of Power Per Pair and 150 Watts Each, - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Infinity REF6522IX 6.5" 180W Reference Series Coaxial Car Speakers With Edge-driven - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Pioneer TS-A1670F 6.5" 320 Watts Max 3-Way Car Speakers Pair Carbon and Mica Reinforced - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Kenwood KFC-1665S + KFC-6965S 6.5" 300W 2-Way Plus (2) 6x9 400W 3-Way Car Speakers - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
KICKER CSC65 CS Series 6.5 Inch 300 Watt 4 Ohm 2-Way Car Audio Coaxial Speakers System - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Rockford Fosgate P1683 Punch 6"x8" 3-Way Full Range Speaker (Pair) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
the Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay
the Polk Audio DB522 - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay
the Boss Audio Systems CH6530 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
the 2-way Alpine SPS-510 - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay
The 5.25-inch Kicker 43DSC504 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Rockford Fosgate R169X3 Prime - Walmart, Etsy, eBay
Even if you are shopping for the best budget car speakers, there are still plenty of options to pick from out there, and our detailed review should help you narrow down your choices.
There is something for everyone on our list, but the Rockford Fosgate R1525X2 Prime takes our top overall spot as it offers superior sound and has an exceptional build quality.
But, if you are looking for the cheapest option without compromising the quality of the speakers, the Boss Audio Systems CH6530 is an excellent choice.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.