Last updated on October 1st, 2020 at 10:16 pm
In this article: We'll review 9 of our best pick 6 1/2 inch component speakers for your car, truck or vehicle.
- Best Pick: Hertz MPK 165.3 PRO
- Best Quality Pick: Focal PS165FX
- Best Adjustable Crossover: JL Audio ZR650-CSI
- Rockford Fosgate T2652-S Speakers
- Image Dynamics XS-65 Speakers
- Best 3-Way Speaker Pick: JL Audio C5-653
- Best for Bass: JBL Stadium GTO600
- Best All-Weather Pick: Polk Audio DB6502
- Best Budget Pick: Kicker 46CSS654
Having a set of the best 6.5 inch car speakers can arguably the most important component 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 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 could even add a little bass to your system.
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 2019? 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. And if you're not 100% positive your car will fit a 6 1/2″ speaker, check out our car speaker fitment guide to confirm the speaker sizes for your year, make and model.
Unsure what speaker size your car has? Search for your make and model using our Speaker Fitment Guide to find out if the speakers on this list match the speaker size of your car!
Best 6 1/2 Inch Component Car Speakers List
Hertz MPK 165.3 PRO Quick Review
Hertz MPK 165.3 PRO 6.5″ component car speaker system has all of the latest and greatest features that Hertz has to offer. It's true audio enthusiast system through and through and takes the number one spot on our list. What we've always liked about the Hertz line of products is their dedication to the use of premium materials and speaker components. When you hold a Hertz, you can feel the rigidity and sturdiness of the speaker with its heavy magnet and hefty voice coil. The construction is incredibly precise. In terms of features, the MPK 165.3 PRO can handle 110 watts RMS (220 watts peak). It's innovative V-cone design, combined with the Boundary Free rubber surround and basket design really makes it stand out visually, but it's not just for looks. If you look at the specs, it really does outperform a ton of speakers too. It's second in line on the nominal power handling, provides the lowest range in terms of frequency to give a more full-range surround and its sensitivity ranks pretty high too. At first glance, being apart of the Mille series from Hertz and looking at the design, we thought this speaker was a $700 – $800 speaker but were pleasantly surprised to find it's pricing below $500. For the enthusiast, this is a great value speaker for the price and won't disappoint.
- Innovative design
- Made from high-grade materials
- Configurable depending on personal taste and location of installation
- Good low-frequency range
- Price tag
Focal PS165FX Quick Review
The Focal PS 165FX features new technology by Focal that is aimed at giving you a speaker with more natural and dynamic sound. Focal is known to continuously develop technologies that enable its engineers to deliver high-quality speakers across the industry. With the Focal PS 165FX, the developers infused the speaker with a lightweight cone made of hollow flax fibers that are woven and placed in between ultra-thin glass membranes. The cone is hung by a reliable Butyl surround and the flax design guarantees superior strength as well as incredible resistance to unwanted resonances.
The Focal PS 165FX features a specially designed phase plug that ensures frequency dispersion issues are a thing of the past. The unit combines these innovative woofers with Focal’s renowned inverted magnesium alloy dome tweeters to delivery outstanding natural audio whenever you need it. The inverted tweeters somehow act like small woofers by dispersing high frequencies in a wide pattern and thus producing rich, crisp audio. The tweeters are equipped with the poron suspension for enhanced durability.
To adjust your speaker's output, the PS 165FX component speaker system provides crossovers that are bi-ampable – meaning you can use different amps to customize your woofer’s and tweeter’s sound output. The crossovers offer 2-position tweeter level and midrange control, allowing you to tweak the sound quality of the system to your liking.
- Innovative technology
- High power handling
- No distortions
- Bi-amp system
- Accurate and natural sound output
- Reliable construction material for long life
- Huge magnets – require more space to install
- Price is on the high end
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 GTO600C Quick Review
When it came time to update their 6.5” component speaker systems, JBL designed the newest Stadium series system to really perform. This is a speaker-in-a-box package that includes nearly everything necessary for a factory-type installation in almost any car or truck. JBL included two 6.5” woofers, two tweeters, and a gap switchable crossover. JBL also stuffed all the screws, clips, gaskets, and speaker grills in there.
The sound engineers at JBL swapped out the old models composite woofer material for a brand new glass fiber material that is lighter and stronger than the previous model. The glass fiber material allows for a broader reproduction of sounds and enhances bass “feel.” The new glass fiber woofer material and enhanced tweeters allow the GTO 600C to reproduce sounds ranging from 45 to 25,000 Hertz, a big jump in both directions from the previous model. Crystal clear highs and throbbing lows are distortion-free, even at high volume. JBL-exclusive Plus One+ technology and a high roll rubber surround ensure long-lasting speaker performance.
JBL increased the performance of these speakers by upping the speaker’s ability to handle power. A 10 watt increase up to 100 watts of RMS power gives the GTO 600C the ability to really pump some tunes at high volume with less distortion and better sound. While 10 watts doesn’t seem like much, the listening experience is substantially improved.
JBL also reduced the impedance of the speakers down to 2.5 ohms which allows these speakers to work really well with a factory head unit and factory wiring without modification. In fact, JBL markets these speakers as an affordable factory upgrade.
The newly-designed speaker grills are much more elegant than the industrial-looking grills used on the previous series. A JBL salesperson said the new speakers are like upgrading from a Corvette to a Ferrari, that’s how nice the new grills look.
- Deep bass response for low frequencies
- Sophisticated design
- Oversized magnet for quicker response
- Low impedance
- Some buyers report that the tweeters are too harsh
- The crossover size can be challenging in some installations
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 46CSS454 Quick Review
The Kicker 46CSS454 component system is the ideal way owners can upgrade their factory systems without breaking the bank. The newest version of Kicker’s components features an upgraded independent voice coil and titanium tweeters for clear highs and booming bass response. The component speakers are treated to prevent ultraviolet light from degrading the polypropylene woofer material.
Previous versions of the 46CSS454 component systems includes a redesigned crossover to address customer complaints. Customers had encountered difficulty installing the crossover due to the large size. The new crossover is slimmer and smaller overall to ease installation in most cars without making modifications. The 46CSS454 system tweeters are easily adapted to nearly any car or truck and can be installed using surface mounts, flush mount, and angled using included mounting hardware.
The 46CSS454 system includes two 6.5” speakers, two tweeters, the redesigned crossover, and all the miscellaneous odds and ends necessary for a clean, factory-looking installation. Detailed instructions ensure that the home installer can achieve professional results, and when things don’t work out right, Kicker’s tech support is available to help figure out why.
Beyond the shockingly low price, the Kicker 46CSS454 system will blow minds with the quality of sound reproduction. Kicker sound engineers spent hundreds of hours listening to the system and tweaking it to get the best possible sound while keeping the cost low. The Kicker system may not seem to be quite as robust as many high priced units considering the low retail price, but the average car owner will have a hard time telling the difference between the Kicker 46CSS454 and much more expensive options. Kicker upgraded the neodymium magnets to improve performance and speaker longevity.
- Easy installation with smaller crossovers
- 100W of continuous power and a 12dB crossover provides big sound for the price
- Boring metal speaker grills
- 4 ohm resistance only
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)
- High (x100)
- High (x100)
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.
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.