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How To Pick Car Speakers

Whether you want them to hear you coming from down the block or you just want to tune out with a little talk radio, here's how to get the best speakers for you and your ride.


  • Step 1: Look for materials that ensure sound quality and durability. Woofers made from stiff, lightweight material like polypropylene stand up well; tweeters made from soft materials give a mellow, refined sound while those made of metal, ceramic, or graphite offer brighter high tones. And surround materials made of rubber are long lasting and perform well.
  • Step 2: Consider pivoting tweeters on full-range speakers if you are mounting them low on your door, for more realistic, deep sound. And think about detachable tweeters, available on either full-range or component systems, if you'll want to use them in another vehicle.
  • FACT: DB -- or decibel -- drag racers compete by establishing whose car audio system is loudest.
  • TIP: Check your car stereo's manual for the wattage and make sure it is in the wattage range of the speakers.
  • Step 3: Pair your speakers with your system based on power handling. For low-powered systems, you won't need speakers that handle lots of power. If you have a high-powered sound system with external amps, look for speakers that have a high maximum RMS power handling, measured in watts.
  • TIP: Woofers are responsible for the bass, while tweeters handle high frequencies.
  • Step 4: Match the speakers' sensitivity to your system. Most factory systems are low-powered and pair best with speakers with high sensitivity ratings, measured in decibels. High-powered systems pair best with low-sensitivity speakers.
  • Step 5: Choose from one of the two main aftermarket speaker categories: full-range speakers or component speakers. Full-range speakers combine the woofer and tweeter into a single, easy-to-install package. Component speakers have separate woofers, tweeters, and external crossovers installed separately, but will give you superior sound.

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