A set of the best 6.5 inch car speakers is arguably the most important component for a car's stereo. It can also be the most difficult to choose at times. They range in price, and more importantly quality. With endless choices from manufacturers around the world, finding a pair of the best car speakers is hard. But if you want to upgrade the sound of your car’s stereo, a set of the quality car speakers is necessary. A new set of aftermarket 6 1/2 inch components will improve the quality of music in your vehicle. A great pair of component speakers will allow you to increase the volume. More volume, but also more clarity of your music while decreasing the distortion. It'll even add a little bass to your system.
Here is a list of 2018's top rated and reviewed 6 1/2 inch component car speakers to help you choose the best products for your car's stereo:
|Our Rank||6.5" Component Speaker||Speaker Type||Power Handling||Frequency Response||Price|
|1||Hertz HSK 165XL||2 Way||RMS: 150 Watts|
Peak: 300 Watts
|40 - 22k Hz||$$$$|
|2||Focal PS165||2 Way||RMS: 80 Watts|
Peak: 160 Watts
|60 - 20k Hz||$$$|
|3||JL Audio ZR650-CSI||2 Way||RMS: 85 Watts|
Peak: 255 Watts
|48 - 25k Hz||$$$$|
|4||Rockford Fosgate T2652-S||2 Way||RMS: 100 Watts|
Peak: 200 Watts
|55 - 22k Hz||$$$|
|5||Image Dynamics XS-65||2 Way||RMS: 125 Watts|
Peak: 250 Watts
|55 - 25k Hz||$$$|
|6||JL Audio C5-653||2 Way||RMS: 75 Watts|
Peak: 225 Watts
|48 - 25k Hz||$$$|
|7||JBL GTO609C||2 Way||RMS: 90 Watts|
Peak: 270 Watts
|53 - 21k Hz||$$|
|8||Polk Audio DB6502||2 Way||RMS: 75 Watts|
Peak: 300 Watts
|35 - 23k Hz||$$|
|9||Kicker 40CSS654||2 Way||RMS: 100 Watts|
Peak: 300 Watts
|35 - 21k Hz||$$|
Component speakers are also referred to as “separates”. They have two separate speakers that emit different ranges of sounds. The woofer, or the larger speaker, emits the lower to mid range frequencies. The tweeter, the small speaker, covers the high range frequencies and noises. Separating the tweeter and woofer allows clearer sound with less distortion.
Finding, researching and purchasing car speakers that fit the needs of your vehicle is difficult. Sound preference, quality, style, features and price all vary. So what are our recommended 6 1/2 component car speakers for 2018? Our knowledge and first-hand experience with products combined with extensive research has led us to our own list of top 6.5 inch component speakers for your car.
On a budget? We've also assembled a top rated value speakers, check out our Best Value 6.5″ Component Speakers for our list of best 6.5″ components that won't drain the bank. Or, if you're looking for the ultimate car speakers, take a look through our Best High End 6.5″ Component Car Speakers. And before you choose a speaker for your system, consider learning about Component Car Speakers. Understand their features so that you can make an informed decision when you make your purchase.
How We Tested
In order to find the best 6 1/2 inch component car speakers on the market, CarAudioNow has combined several reviews across the industry with first-hand tests. There are many criteria that we take into consideration when rating and reviewing speakers, including:
- Style (Looks, Design)
- Power Ratings (Peak, RMS)
- Quality (Materials used, manufacturer, etc)
- Online Reviews (From multiple vendors such as Sonic Electronix, Crutchfield, Amazon and more)
The result from our combination of sources and testing is a list of the top rated and reviewed products. CarAudioNow also provides price comparisons from vendors to try to get you the best price for your products. But in the end, the best speaker is one that meets your specific needs and is compatible with your car.
Best 6 1/2 Inch Component Car Speakers List
Hertz HSK 165XL Quick Review
The Hertz HSK 165XL is CarAudioNow’s #1 choice for the 6.5 inch components on the market. It inherits the design, materials and performance of the MLK 165 but with a smaller price tag. The HSK 165 XL is a two-way system with the HT 28 tweeter and HV 165 XL woofer. The 165XL crossover features the same high grade materials as the woofer. It also allows you to configure the filter depending on installation location and personal taste.
Hertz is well known for quality manufactured audio equipment. The HSK 165XL is one of the reasons why that reputation is upheld. This is a 5-star Component Set. It truly raises the bar for speaker performance and for the enthusiast – an excellent choice for a speaker set.
- Cool design and quality performance at a reasonable price tag
- Made from high-grade materials
- Configurable depending on personal taste and location of installation
- Anti-vibration rubber magnet cover
- No speaker grilles
- Tweeters can sound too bright
Focal PS165 Quick Review
Let the music speak for itself with the Focal Performance PS 165. They’re a 6 3/4″ (oversized 6/5″) speaker that combines all the latest tech into one incredible pair of speakers. The PS 165 features a lightweight, rigid Polyglass cone in a sturdy frame that creates accurate, rich sound.
The PS 165's tweeters feature high grade aluminum. They allow for 3 different mounting configs for installation. And for the enthusiasts, you have 3 different crossover selections to filter the high frequencies. Focal has packed all of their best technologies into the PS 165, and its performance shows it.
- Comes with all the latest tech and delivers excellent rich sound quality
- Allows for 3 different mounting configurations during installation
- Made with lightweight, sturdy material for prolonged durability
- Performs well under a broad range of equalizer and sound adjustments
- Pretty good tweeters
- Quite expensive
- Plastic mounting that crack if you don’t take extra care during installation
JL Audio ZR650-CSI Quick Review
JL Audio's Evolution ZR component speakers were engineered and built to perfection in Germany. The system's woofers and tweeters feature die-cast alloy baskets. They have Kurt Muller cones and suspensions and 1 inch aluminum tweeters. The ZR component tweeters are 1-inch aluminum domes with rubber-roll surrounds and produce incredible detail.
The ZR crossovers are bi-amp capable and built with premium parts. This includes U.S.-made Mills™ resistors mounted on an extruded aluminum heat sink, polypropylene capacitors, and segmented air-core inductors. The ZR crossovers feature five levels of tweeter attenuation, as well as four levels of mid-range presence. This allows for adjustment so you can customize the speakers' sound with up to 20 settings
- Speaker’s sound is customizable with up to 20 settings
- Great sound and build quality
- Feature’s top-of-the-range technology
- Engineered and built to perfection in Germany
- High price tag
Rockford Fosgate T2652-S Quick Review
Rockford Fosgate's T2652-S is a 6.5″ component system built for power. They feature carbon fiber and polypropylene injection molded cones that product accurate sound. The cones are surrounded by butyl rubber surround and mounted in a billet machined aluminum casing.
The 1″ tweeters is also built with high-grade aluminum and feature 3 mounting adjustments for all installs. Additionally, Rockford Fosgate's external crossovers that allow you to bi-amp the components and tweeters. This enables the speakers to deliver more power. There's no doubt about it, the T2652-S is a high-performing car speaker.
- Great power handling capability and excellent sound clarity
- Solid construction
- Aesthetically appealing
- Reasonable price tag
- Very strong magnet so you have to be careful with things around it
- Tweeters can sound too bright
- No screws to mount speakers, tweeters or crossover
Image Dynamics XS-65 Quick Review
The XS65 speakers are Image Dynamics' premier set of component speakers. Quality, detailed, performance – thats how the XS65 were engineered. They feature multi layer ceramic fiber and Rohacell composite cones with by parabolic rubber surrounds. They're housed in a fiberglass composite non-resonate frame for distortionless sound reproduction.
One of the features that set the XS65 apart is their tweeters. They feature a convenient convertible mounting system. This allows you to install them on top of the cone like a coaxial speaker. Or, if you chose, you can mount them separate like a traditional component. But regardless of how you install the tweeters, you're in for an great pair of car speakers.
- Seamless blending of the highs, mids, midbass and tweeter dynamics
- High sound focus, accuracy and clarity
- Convenient convertible mounting system for tweeters
- Price is a bit on the higher side
JL Audio C5-653 Quick Review
JL Audio’s C5 series 6 ½ inch component speakers have been on our top list for a while now. The latest C5-653 upholds its competitive performance and continues to prove to be a high performing, high quality set of speakers. I know what you’re thinking when you look at the price of this set. But it’s really worth it. The C5-653 is a 3-way system, which means they give you a separate pair of 4” midrange drivers along with the 6.5” woofer and ¾” tweeter. You’re actually getting 6 separate sets of speakers with this set! This is what gives this set it’s ability to create a defined, wide range of sound with incredible precision and quality.
A couple of the features that stood out to us in the C5 series speakers are it’s sophisticated crossover networks and their patented cooling technology that was developed for the ZR series speakers (also on our list). The C5 3-way crossovers offer a 4-position tweeter range level, as well as a 3-position midrange level so that you can precisely tune the frequencies that your mids and highs omit. There aren’t too many speakers on the market that come with such a wide range of crossover settings. And the cooling technology actually works. So if you plan on cranking these speakers for long periods of time, you can count on them to outlast a number of other speakers on the market. And as always with JL Audio products, quality is at the top of their priorities so you know you’re getting a high-end product.
- Gives you 6 separate sets of speakers
- Ability to create a defined, wide range of sound with superior quality and precision
- High quality build and guaranteed durability
- No distortions
- Comes with cooling technology that actually works
- No protection on tweeters
- Sophisticated crossovers that are difficult to position
- Price is on the high end
JBL GTO609 Quick Review
If you're looking for a way to upgrade your factory system without spending a fortune the 6.5″ GTO609C component speakers from JBL could be a very attractive option. It's a complete system in a box – 2 tweeters, 2 woofers and 2 crossovers – plus mounting screws, speed clips and foam gaskets. All you need add is the labor (and depending on where you mount the speakers, some speaker wire.)
These speakers were designed from the outset for optimal performance with the stock head unit. That means impedance of 3 ohms, (lower than factory speakers – more power to generate the sound,) and power handling of 5 to 90 watts RMS.
The GTO609C woofers have notably good low frequency response, which is due to the larger than typical cones used. The system also has dedicated crossover networks that improve the clarity of high notes and with adjustable level control the tweeters may be configured to suit your car.
- Commendable power handling
- Very clear highs
- Manufactured with good quality materials
- Easy installation
- Complete component system upgrade
- Not the best in peak power handling
- May need back straps to hold the tweeters in place
Polk Audio DB6502 Quick Review
Rich, clean, full-range – these are some of the terms that are describing Polk's DB6502 speakers across the web. Based on their predecessors, the DB6501 (who happened to be on our list prior), they come from a line of great performers. What really stands out, in our opinion, about this set is their versatility. Polk made them to perform well in all environments. Whether you own a Jeep and like to play in the mud with the top off, or if you have a daily driver that just needs a great upgrade to the OEM speakers. They're an excellent performing set speakers that are perfect for almost any use case. Did we mention that they're also water resistant too? With waterproof inner and outer surrounds, they have an IP55 rating making it dirt and water resistant. A polypropylene UV tolerant cone also makes it a great choice for outdoor use. We'd recommend these speakers for boats and cars alike. And for price tag, the DB6502 is by far the best value on our list.
Couple key features worth noting:
- Water resistant – Marine IP55 certified
- Polypropylene UV tolerant cone
- Waterproof inner and outer sounds
- Non corrosive plastic speaker grilles included
- The speakers feature waterproof inner and outer surrounds
- Perfect for outdoor use and we recommend them for use on cars and boats alike
- Price tag is on the affordable end
- Great sound quality
- Might be a little more difficult to install than others
- Highs are a bit harsh
Kicker 43CSS654 Quick Review
We couldn’t leave a list of the best car speakers without a set of Kickers! The Kicker 43CSS654 is a newer, better version of the 40CSS654. The CS series is one of the most popular choices of speakers on the market. Our team has installed and personally owned a number of CS series speakers over the years, and we can tell you that they’re dependable, heavy-duty, and loud. They have the volume, and they also have the detail and clarity that you need in a set of speakers. The 43CSS654 is priced incredibly well for what you get too.
A few of the key features that we love about the 43CSS654 includes the heavy duty moto/magnet structure with EVC (Extended Voice Coil), and it’s UV treated surrounds. The heavy duty magnet structure with EVC gives these speakers a great coverage of bass and the lower end frequencies. And the UV-treated surrounds makes it great for all environments and dependable. Another great choice!
- 100W power handling and 9dB sensitivity rating makes them some of the loudest car speakers out there
- Great sound quality for the price
- UV-treated surrounds make the speakers great for use in many environments
- Can be a pain to install in some cases
Best Car Speakers: Common Speaker Terms & Ratings
When choosing the Best 6 1/2″ Component Car Speakers, CarAudioNow takes several criteria into consideration. Lets define a few common criteria and terms that are used when rating a speaker:
Power Handling: Power handling is the measurement a manufacture gives to rate how much power a speaker can handle and operate at. It is given by two measurements, RMS and Peak (or MAX). RMS Power rating is the amount of power the speaker handles continuously. The Peak Power rating is the amount of power a speaker can handle in short bursts. When comparing speakers, RMS Power is the more relevant and important rating to look at.
Sensitivity: Speaker sensitivity rating is a measurement of the amount of sound the speaker will emit from the power it’s given. The higher the sensitivity, the more efficient the speaker is with the power it’s given. For lower powered systems, you want a higher sensitivity rating. For a higher powered system, you want a lower sensitivity rating. Lower sensitivity rated speakers are meant to handle higher power.
Frequency Range: Frequency range is the frequencies that the speaker emits sound at. It's typically measured in Hz. The ranges show from a low frequency to high, for example: 20 – 22,000 (22k) Hz. This measure how low and high the speaker can emit sound at.
Speaker Design & Materials
Woofer: The speaker woofer determines the responsiveness, and quality of the speaker. The stiffer and lightweight the material used, the more effective the speaker is. Polypropylene is a common material used for the cone. In addition, woven fabrics such as kevlar are used in higher quality speakers. Aluminum and titanium are also used in higher end speakers.
Woofer Surrounding: The woofer surround also is an important aspect of the speaker system. It can effect the sound as well. Durable, lightweight, and free moving materials are used to allow the woofer to move with as little energy possible. The material is essential for a long lasting speaker too. As speakers get older and used, humidity levels and wear-and-tear can crack and break the woofer surround. Rubber surrounding is typically the most long lasting an high performing. Foam an cloth surroundings are found on less expensive car speakers, with lower performance and shorter life spans.
Crossovers: When you purchase a component car speaker set, a crossover is typically a part of the package. External crossovers are typically used to lessen the amount of distortion a speaker has. They do this by separating the frequency inputs. Signals can cross through coated wiring and cause distortion. So an external crossover system will limit this.
You know you want the best 6.5 component car speakers, the only question is, how to fit them?
The thought of installing a car speakers can be quite intimidating. They're built into doors, sometimes the dashboard and maybe the rear parcel shelf. How do you get the old ones out and replacements in without damaging all that trim? And if you're upgrading to a component system, you'll need a way of mounting new tweeters high in the doors.
Fact is, car speaker installation is easier than it looks. All you need are a few simple tools and a little knowledge. We'll provide that know-how here, hopefully inspiring you to tackle this not-too-difficult project. The subsections that follow address:
- Vehicle-to-vehicle differences
- Parts needed
- Tools needed
- Replacing door speakers
- Adding tweeters
- Dash-mounted speakers
- Speakers in the parcel shelf
It would be great if car manufacturers could standardize they way they build doors and install speakers, but they don't. Every vehicle is different. As a result we can only provide generic advice on installing a component system or those 6.5 component speakers you've picked from our “Best Car Speakers” list. We will however address the most common place manufacturers like to place speakers: the doors, and also the parcel shelf and dash.
In addition to the speakers, consider buying two other items:
- A vehicle-specific wiring harness. This connects the speakers to the dedicated plastic plug on the end of the wiring loom in the car. The alternative is to cut the wires and make crimped or soldered connections.
- Speaker brackets or speaker adapters. These are for when either your new speakers are a different size to those already in the vehicle, or the mounting holes don't line up. How will you know if you need them? Well the 6.5 component is such a common size you may not need them at all, but it may be that you can't tell for sure until the door trim is off.
The biggest challenge you will face is removing interior trim without damaging it. For that you need a set of special “pry” tools. These look like a flat-bladed paint scraper with a slot cut down the middle. Some are bent midway down, making them good for reaching into tight spaces up near the door hinge. Fortunately they're inexpensive and you can pick them up at your favorite low cost tools store.
Having alerted you to that requirement, here's a list of what you will probably need:
- Pry tools – flat and angled
- Cross-head (Phillips) screwdrivers (or bits for your drill)
- Small sockets – metric and inch
- Crimp tools (if you're not going the dedicated wiring harness route) or a solder gun and heat shrink sleeving.
- Craft knife (for cutting through foam or sealant.)
- Hole saw of the size needed to cut openings for tweeters, preferably with the finest tooth pitch you can find. (Obviously, not applicable if you're installing co-axial speakers.)
Replacing Door Speakers
Most modern cars have the speakers mounted in the doors. You may still find a few with them in the dash and others in the rear parcel shelf. Here we'll concentrate on those in the doors, and add some tips for dealing with those other locations. To start with we'll assume you're replacing the OEM co-axial speakers. In the section after this we'll address how to add tweeters, if you're going the component route.
1. Park where you've got room to open both doors fully, then disconnect the battery.
2. Study the door trim to find any securing screws. Remove any that are visible, others may be hidden under removable trim pieces, perhaps under the armrest.
3. Remove the window controls. Most cars have switches in the arm rest and this panel can usually be popped up (being careful not to scratch any surfaces.) Then disconnect the wiring. If there's any possibility of mixing the wires, wrap masking tape round them and mark it up appropriately.
If your car has crank windows the handle has to come off. It may be held in place by a screw but more often there's a spring clip between the handle and door trim. Your pry tools should be good for removing this.
4. Most cars have a “sail panel” covering where the door mirror mounts. This will likely need to come off before the door trim will lift away. Unless you see screws holding it in place use your pry tool to reach down the sides and pop it out.
5. Remove the door trim. Start by sliding your pry tool between door and trim panel at the bottom corner. Slide the tool sideways until you find a retaining clip. Jiggle the tool to put the clip in the center slot, and pop the panel up. Slide to the next clip and repeat. Keep doing this until you can slide the tool the entire way around the perimeter of the door panel. (Not every panel is held on by retaining clips. You may find that after removing a few screws it will just lift up and off.)
Once the panel is free, carefully lift it away, watching for any cables going to the door release. If these get in the way just disconnect them cables. Sometimes it's enough to just turn the panel 90° and lean it on the door.
6. Now the speakers are exposed, undo the retaining screws. If they are original the vehicle manufacturer may have used foam adhesive or sealant to help hold them in place: cut through that with your craft knife. Lift the speaker out and slide off the wiring connectors. There's almost always a fat and a thin terminal: the fat one is positive.
7. Test fit the new speakers to see if the screw holes line up. If they don't you'll need to use a speaker adapter. Install that in the door before hooking up the new speakers.
(If you're installing a combination car speaker set, drop down to the tweeter section below now.)
8. Make the electrical connections. If a purpose-made harness isn't available either crimp or solder and heat-shrink the wires. If you're concerned about whether you got the polarity right, reconnect the battery and play some music through them. You'll soon tell if they sound right or not!
9. Tuck the wires away in the door making sure they won't rattle, then mount the new speakers in place.
10. Refit the door panel. Sometimes it takes a good thump to seat the retaining clips. Reconnect switch controls and put that panel back in place. Install any screws you took out and put any other pieces of trim back. Then go to the other side of the vehicle and do it all over again!
Start by following steps 1 through 7 of the door speaker instructions above. Then do the following:
- Decide where you'll mount the tweeters. They should be as high and as far forward as possible to create the best soundstage, but make sure they won't interfere with the window operation.
- Mark the location on the inner side of the door trim panel and on any metal you'll need to cut in the door itself. Use the hole saw to cut the two openings. File sharp edges smooth and use touch-up paint on the bare metal.
- Install the mounting hardware supplied with the tweeters. (This will include a grille for the opening you've cut in the door.)
- Connect the wires from the audio system into the crossover. Hook the speakers up to the output side.
- Mount the external crossover box inside the door. You'll need a way of making this secure so it doesn't come loose and start rattling.
From this point the test and reassembly points are the same as in the door speaker section above. Resume at Point 8.
If you're lucky these will be covered by removable grilles. Take out any retaining screws or just pop the grilles out with your pry tool for access to the mounting screws. If you're unlucky the only way to reach these is from beneath the dash. That's a much harder project, unless there's a way to remove the entire upper panel.
Speakers In the Parcel Shelf
These are usually accessible through the trunk or liftgate. The biggest challenge may be contorting yourself into the shape needed to work on them. As with the door speakers, be sure to make good electrical connections.
Ready to Start?
A speaker upgrade is an easy way to improve your automotive audio experience. Read our reviews to learn which we consider the best car speakers. In just a few hours you'll be enjoying music as the artists intended.