In this article: We'll review 9 of our best pick 6 1/2 inch component speakers for your car, truck or vehicle with quick reviews, photos and price comparisons to help save you money.
- Best 6 1/2 Inch Component Car Speakers List
- Best Overall 6.5″ Speaker Pick: Focal PS 165 FXE
- Runner Up, Best Overal 6 1/2 Component Speaker: Hertz CK 165 F
- Best Hybrid 6.5″ Speaker: JL Audio C3-650
- Best High Resolution 6 1/2in Speaker: Sony XS-162ES
- Best 6.5″ Speaker for Bass: Rockford Fosgate T2652-S
- Best Factory Replacement 6.5″ Speaker: Infinity REF-6530cx
- Best All Weather 6 1/2 inch Speakers: Polk Audio DB6502
- How We Chose
- Common Speaker Terms & Ratings
- How to Install 6.5 Inch Component Car Speakers
Component speakers, also referred to as “separates” have two stand alone 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 sounds. Separating the tweeter and woofer allows clearer sound with less distortion. If you're looking for more information about components, consider checking out our article about component vs coaxial speakers.
Whether they're components or coaxials, having a set of the best 6.5 inch car speakers is arguably the most important aspect to your car's stereo. It can also be the most difficult to choose at times. They range in price, power, size 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 quality car speakers is necessary. A new set of aftermarket 6 1/2 inch components will improve the quality, increase the volume but also bring more clarity to your music while decreasing the distortion. It could even add a little bass to your system, but we'd recommend a 6×9 speaker or subwoofer for those looking for bass specifically.
In this list of best 6.5″ component car speakers, we compile our top picks based on our own experience and research. These speakers might not be ideal for every application, but are our representation of speakers that are from reputable brands and product high quality music with longevity. And if you're not 100% positive your car will fit one of these 6 1/2″ speakers, check out our car speaker fitment guide to confirm the speaker sizes for your year, make and model.
Looking for a different type of speaker? Check out these lists!
Best 6 1/2 Inch Component Car Speakers List
Best Overall 6.5″ Speaker Pick: Focal PS 165 FXE
Focal PS 165 FXE Review
Focal is serious about creating high-fidelity sound in the car audio marketplace. Their newest 6.5-inch component set is the PS 165 FXE, which incorporates the French company's iconic use of flax fibers and some of the highest-end technology in the business to produce the best sounding component speakers in the world. We know these have a high price tag, but it's for a reason. Ask anyone in the stereo industry – home and automotive – and they'll know Focal. We did a first look and feature overview of this the PS 165 FXE and loved what we saw and heard.
The woofer cone is made of a sandwiched flax fiber core with glass layers. Flax is a highly rigid, lightweight, and hollow material that allows these speakers to be among the most rigid and responsive with very low harmonic distortion. It’s one of the features that’s unique to Focal’s lineup of speakers, including the PS 165 FXE. Focal says that the unique properties of flax give the speaker the ability to produce a more natural sound with rich midrange and clear bass.
The cone surround is another innovative design using ‘tuned mass damper’ technology. This is the same tech used to stabilize skyscrapers in earthquake-prone areas, so it is more than capable of handling all kinds of abuse without fail. The combination of a rigid cone and a balanced surround provide excellent response and a pure sound.
A central ogive surround allows for the natural dissipation of unwanted noise and helps to provide the full and rich sound you expect from Focal.
Focal uses a unique “M” profile tweeter that offers a wide diffusion area. In other words, you don’t have to be as precise when trying to directionally install them to still benefit from a directional speaker. The angle-mount tweeters are easy to install and are specifically designed to provide off-axis listening typical of an in-car environment. The inverted dome design allows for harmonic balance and clean treble.
The bi-amplified design of these speakers allows you to configure your setup to take full advantage of the high-quality crossovers included in the kit. The crossovers direct the proper frequencies to the proper speakers, so you don’t have overlap and wasted energy when a speaker attempts to recreate a frequency that it can’t.
Focal rates these components at an RMS of 80 watts and a peak of 160 watts. The bi-amp design performs best when power is amplified. The aluminum and magnesium frame stabilizes and balances the speaker to prevent distortion.
|Model||PS 165 FXE|
|Power (RMS)||80 watts|
|Power (Peak)||160 watts|
|Frequency Response||55 – 28,000 Hz|
- Natural and warm sound unlike anything else on the market
- Audiophile grade stereo equipment
- Flax cone looks incredible
- Somewhat deep mounting distance may not work in some factory locations
Runner Up, Best Overal 6 1/2 Component Speaker: Hertz CK 165 F
Hertz CK 165 F Review
Proving that high-end sound doesn’t require a massive price tag like the Focals, this component set from Hertz provides crystal clear sound across a full range of frequencies. Not only are these speakers an excellent way to improve the sound quality in your car, they also feature a slim profile making it easy to install in a wide variety of cars. We’ve had a lot of experience with Hertz. All the way back to the early 2000s when the Hi Energy lineup was our pick for a quality, high performance speaker that wouldn’t completely break the bank. They’ve been featured on our lists for years. The CK 165 F is our latest recommendation from the lineup at Hertz.
Flat-Profile Woofer Cone
The secret to these speakers is the unique flat profile of the mica-infused, semi-pressed paper cone. It provides plenty of rigidity for lower frequencies while requiring only one and three-quarter inches to mount. The cone is a good compromise between rigidity and lightness to give you excellent, warm sound.
The tweeter uses unique faceplate geometry to reproduce sound accurately in an off-axis environment common to your car. Like the Focals, this gives it a wider dispersion area. Hertz uses Finite Element Modeling to generate the perfect range of sounds to enhance your experience. It is a soft-dome fiber design measuring one inch in diameter.
The included crossovers make it simple to wire your speakers to get the ideal frequencies directed at the proper speaker. Low-loss capacitors and low resistance inductors use pure copper connections for the best sound and frequency response. The crossovers offer a tweeter balance switch for properly tuning the treble for your application. In our experience, this is necessary to prevent super harsh highs in most vehicles.
Hertz designs these speakers to handle plenty of power but adding a car amplifier is almost always needed to get the most out of them. Hertz rates the woofers at an RMS of 90 watts with a peak of 270 watts. The speakers are intended to cover frequencies ranging from 65 Hz to 22.5k Hz.
|Model||CK 165 F|
|Power (RMS)||90 watts|
|Power (Peak)||270 watts|
|Frequency Response||65 – 22,500 Hz|
- Excellent at providing good bass response
- Very good frequency response with low distortion at all volumes
- Clear tweeter audio that’s not too bright
- A little bass-heavy for some systems
- Cone material may not be as long-lasting as a poly or flax material
Best Hybrid 6.5″ Speaker: JL Audio C3-650
JL Audio C3-650 Review
A component system is ideal when you want to elevate the treble of your music and separate it from the midrange and bass frequencies. Coaxial speakers are more practical from an installation perspective and when keeping the high-frequency tones close to the midrange frequencies is necessary.
The unique feature of this system that we love, and one of the main reasons why it’s on this list is the ability to convert from a coaxial design to a component design with ease. The tweeter can easily be located on the center of the woofer or removed and placed elsewhere for the perfect tuning. When mounting the tweeter as a component, an included phase plug balances the sound and frequencies out.
JL Audio uses a tried-and-proven mica-injected polypropylene woofer cone that is rigid and lightweight to produce deep percussion notes accurately. The basket is specially designed to absorb vibration and prevent unwanted distortion.
Back in the 1990’s, JL Audio began experimenting with new dynamic modeling maps to produce a more enhanced listening experience. They called the technology Dynamic Motor Analysis, or DMA, and it produces a more stable and accurate frequency response. The process allows the sound engineers to significantly reduce distortion and improve overall performance, particularly when a speaker is driven hard and at higher volumes.
The C3-650 uses a patented extruded aluminum frame design that features air channels cast into the body direct air across the voice coil windings and into the spider cavity. The action of the spider helps to push air through the voice coil windings to keep everything cool.
|Size||6.5″ Convertible Component|
|Power (RMS)||75 watts|
|Power (Peak)||150 watts|
|Frequency Response||48 – 25,000 Hz|
- Convertible design is one of the most versatile systems you’ll find
- Accurate and powerful frequency response is ideal for an amplified system
- Low distortion characteristics
- Some reviewers have mentioned harsh highs, however this can be eliminated via tuning in most applications.
- May require additional components for mounting tweeters
Best High Resolution 6 1/2in Speaker: Sony XS-162ES
Sony XS-162ES Review
We recently did an in-depth review and installation of the recently released audiophile-grade speakers from Sony, upgrading a MK7.5 GTI stereo with all of the latest Sony equipment. The 162ES is the component version that uses the same cutting-edge technology and adds the flexibility of a remote tweeter. This line has become one of our favorites because it offers excellent performance at a reasonable price. They look great too.
Sony builds these speakers starting with an aramid fiber matrix that is filled with injected mica. The design allows for an incredibly lightweight surface that is also highly rigid. This material is known to produce more natural and deeper low frequencies while virtually eliminating distortion from unwanted vibrations.
A unique notched surround adds to the stability of the woofer cone and adds to the excursion abilities, giving the 162ES plenty of ability to power through even the most aggressive music with ease. A progressive rate height spider adds stability to the cone and ensures accurate woofer movement to further perfect the sound.
The tweeters are 1-inch synthetic fabric tweeters that are audiophile-grade. They produce frequencies beyond that of the human ear, so you’ll get every possible frequency from your music. You’ll particularly notice how clean and crisp the tweeters are when playing music with fine instrumentation.
Sony is using a newly designed five-beam frame with the ES series that’s engineered to eliminate flex. Like many other features on this speaker, this helps to prevent unwanted distortion. The unique frame adds a ton of strength without adding bulk, so these speakers will still fit in most factory stock locations without modification.
|Power (RMS)||90 watts|
|Power (Peak)||270 watts|
|Frequency Response||40 – 40,000 Hz|
- Among the best sounding speakers on the market at the price point
- Very low distortion even with maximum amplification and volume
- More compact than some designs
- Instructions for hooking up the crossover network are poorly explained
- Requires amplification to get the most from the speakers
Best 6.5″ Speaker for Bass: Rockford Fosgate T2652-S
Rockford Fosgate T2652-S Quick Review
Rockford Fosgate's T2652-S is our top pick 6 1/2 component speaker for bass. Now, 6.5in speakers aren't exactly known for bass reproduction, but this component set features Rockford’s legendary VAST technology which allows the woofer cone to be up to 25% larger than other speakers. The larger the cone, the more efficient it covers lower frequencies and bass. Numerous other fun features set these carbon fiber poly cone woofers apart too, including the machined aluminum phase plug that improves dispersion while looking cool.
Tweeters are aluminum-dome and are somewhat oversized from factory component tweeters. The component kit includes a crossover network to allow bi-amplification. The entire package is supported from a billet aluminum frame that resists distortion while reducing weight.
|Power (RMS)||100 watts|
|Power (Peak)||200 watts|
|Frequency Response||55 – 22,000 Hz|
- Excellent option for bass response
- Phase plug design is unique and very cool
- Tweeters can be too bright
- May require modification to install in some vehicles
- Crossovers are somewhat bulky
Best Factory Replacement 6.5″ Speaker: Infinity REF-6530cx
Infinity REF-6530cx Quick Review
The Reference-series from Infinity are among the most popular choices on our list for replacing factory components. They offer an unbelievably good sound for a mid-price speaker while offering excellent, natural treble that isn’t washed out or harsh. On top of all that, they have a high-end appearance that steps up any interior space if you're planning on showing them off.
These speakers feature a polypropylene woofer cone and a high-roll surround that allows tremendous excursion while keeping the cone stable. Edge-driven tweeters are responsible for the unmistakable Reference sound. True 3-ohm speakers mean you’ll get the most out of a factory head unit while making them ideal for a custom installation as well.
|Power (RMS)||90 watts|
|Power (Peak)||270 watts|
|Frequency Response||53 – 21,000 Hz|
- Excellent sound quality for the price
- Natural sounding tweeters
- Great factory speaker upgrade or replacement choice
- Not as broad of a frequency response as some options
Best All Weather 6 1/2 inch Speakers: Polk Audio DB6502
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. Superseding their prior model, the DB6501 (who happened to be on our list prior), they come from a line of great performing components. What really stands out about this set in our opinion 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 of speakers that are perfect for almost any application.
Did we mention that they're also water resistant too? With waterproof inner and outer surrounds, they have an IP55 rating, making them both 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 one of the best value speakers 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
|Power (RMS)||100 watts|
|Power (Peak)||300 watts|
|Frequency Response||35 – 23,000 Hz|
- 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
How We Chose
We're constantly updating our list of the best 6 1/2 inch component car speakers. In our search, we combine reviews across the industry with first-hand tests and opinions in order to assemble our list. There are some key elements that we take into consideration when we rate and review speakers. This includes:
- Style (Looks, Design) – Who doesn't like a good looking speaker?
- Power Ratings (Peak, RMS) – RMS power is a critical component.
- Price – We look for the best price to feature ratio.
- Quality – Materials used, manufacturer reputation, etc.
- Online Reviews – From multiple vendors such as Sonic Electronix, Crutchfield, Amazon and others.
The result from our research, testing and opinion is the latest list of top rated and reviewed 6.5 components for your car or truck (we also assembled a list of best marine speakers separately). We also like to provide price comparisons from vendors to try to get you the best price for your products. Our price comparisons typically update every 24 hours so what you see might not be exactly what it is at the vendor, but it should be pretty close! In the end though the best car speaker is one that meets your specific needs, this includes compatibility with your car.
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.
To help you compare these three key speaker ratings for the products in our comparison, we've assembled a few charts:
Power Handling (Watts)
Frequency Range (Hz)
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.
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 to better understand their features so that you can make an informed decision when you make your purchase.