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.
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.