Written By Nikola Petrovski
Published Dec. 20, 2019

If you’re thinking about upgrading the audio system in your car, speakers are one of the components you’ll need to replace. The best 5.25 speakers will improve the sound quality even if you don’t make any other significant upgrades in your setup.

A vehicle’s stock system includes speakers that are notably weak, so simply switching to a set of the best 5.25 car speakers will make a noticeable difference. Check out our buying guide below to find the best-sounding 5.25 car speakers on the market.

The Best 5.25 Speakers

Polk Audio’s db521 speakers are made with a silk/polymer dome tweeter, mica cone woofer, and durable rubber surrounds that protect them from heat and moisture. Since they are marine-certified, they can be exposed to wet conditions, making them usable on motorcycles and jeeps. They offer a great range of sound from lows to highs with lots of midrange presence that brings out vocals, guitars, keyboards, and more.

The sound doesn’t distort even at maximum volume, and they are well worth the price. They are also easy to install. However, they do not deliver decent bass at high volumes and are muddy with very little punch (a quality common with all 5.25 speakers). Some have complained that they don’t produce any better sound quality than OEM speakers. Also, the grill style may not be to everyone’s tastes.

Key Features
  • 135 watts each and RMS: 90 watts per pair 
  • 19 mm liquid-cooled silk/polymer composite dome tweeter
  • Marine-certified
  • Sensitivity: 93 dB
Specification
  • Brand Polk Audio
  • Model AA1521-A
  • Weight 1 pound
PROS

Durable in wet environments

Great range of sound

No distortion

CONS

Bass is lacking

May not improve on OEM speakers

The appeal of the grille style is subjective

These 4-ohm speakers feature a silk dome flush-mounted tweeter and integrated tweeter crossover with a rubber surround and vacuum polypropylene cone. They are well built and are great for the price. The small midrange and tweeter brighten up the sound better than a full-range speaker. Overall, for a 3-way speaker on a stock stereo, this set is hard to beat and is an excellent upgrade.

Even though most users hear a clear, clean sound from these speakers, some have complained that over a short period of time they start to pop and crack. They may also stop working within a few months of use. In addition, there have been some complaints that despite the description, they don’t properly fit certain vehicle makes and models.

Key Features
  • 4-ohm speaker
  • Silk dome flush mounted tweeter 
  • 62-20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 80 watts peak power
Specification
  • Brand Rockford Fosgate
  • Model R1525X2
  • Weight 3.35 pounds
PROS

Well-built

Great value for the price

Clear and clean audio

CONS

May start popping and crackling over time

May prematurely stop working

They don’t fit all models as described

These JBL speakers are capable of producing 270 watts of power. They feature carbon-injected cones to provide better low-frequency response and fiberglass-reinforced plastic frames in the woofer/midrange drivers to resist warping. They are crisp and clear, sound great, and are well built and durable.

Overall, the mids and highs are clear and bright, and these speakers are pretty efficient. However, they may sound a bit muddy in the low end. Another issue has to do with the installation instructions. They could be clearer in terms of what to use since the company provides several options. Also, it may be slightly difficult to fit these speakers into the stock location on some vehicles.

Key Features
  • 3-ohm voice coils
  • Frequency response up to 21kHz
  • 12dB/octave passive crossovers
  • Soft-dome tweeter design
Specification
  • Brand JBL
  • Model GTO509C
  • Weight 4.85 pounds
PROS

Crisp and clear sound

Frames are constructed to resist warping

Durable and well-built

CONS

Bass is a little muddy

Instructions are slightly confusing

May be challenging to install on some vehicles

These three-way coaxial speakers are easy to install and deliver 300 watts maximum power. The feature a rigid multilayer mica matrix cone structure for deeper bass as well as the brand’s “open & smooth” sound concept to provide a seamless transition and deliver uniform off-axis frequency response. These high-quality speakers provide great sound quality. The mid-tones are clean, lows are passable, and the highs are good. Overall, they’re a great upgrade from an OEM set.

While they produce a clean and crisp sound, these speakers may blow out after a short period of time. Also, they may not fit the models specified in the description. And, like most 5.25 speakers, if you want a bass that thumps you’ll need a subwoofer.

Key Features
  • Peak power 300 watts, RMS 50 watts 
  • 4 ohms
  • Frequency response is 40-36,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 87dB
Specification
  • Brand Pioneer
  • Model TS-A1370F
  • Weight 3.25 pounds
PROS

High quality

Crisp and clear sound

Uniform frequency response

CONS

Bass is lacking

May blow out prematurely

Do not fit all makes and models

Pyle’s three-way speakers feature a half-inch neodymium film dome tweeter and a blue poly injection cone that upgrade the look of your car or truck. The one-inch, high-temperature ASV voice coil boosts performance and efficiency. They look, feel, and sound great. They deliver a good midrange and high response for a really low price.

Like most of the speakers on this list, the Pyles deliver very poor low-frequency response. They should be paired with a small amplifier with a crossover and, ideally, a subwoofer. Also, they are a little bulky, and the mid and tweeter stick out further than they do on some competitor brands.

Key Features
  • Frequency response: 100Hz – 20Khz
  • 4 ohm
  • 100W RMS and 200W peak
  • Sensitivity: 89dB
Specification
  • Brand Pyle
  • Model PL53BL
  • Weight 3.46 pounds
PROS

Very cheap

Good midrange and high response

Stylish blue cone

CONS

Inferior bass response

A little bulky

The infinity 5-¼-inch component speakers feature a three-quarter-inch edge-driven soft dome tweeter designed to handle more power than w-shaped domes. They also have a glass fiber woofer with Plus One+ technology and a hi-roll rubber surround. The tweeters are smooth, sharp, and detailed and deliver clean highs. The midrange is warm and natural. Everything they reproduce is very accurate, even at high volumes.

Despite the sound these speakers deliver, the construction is a little lacking. There have been some complaints that the speakers are fragile, cheaply made, and may be broken out of the box. Also, they don’t have much low-end response, an issue that is common with nearly all 5.25 speakers.

Key Features
  • 5-85 watts RMS (255 watts peak power)
  • 2 ohm
  • Sensitivity: 93 dB
  • Frequency response: 55-35,000 Hz
Specification
  • Brand Infinity
  • Model 50.11CS
  • Weight 6.35 pounds
PROS

Smooth and sharp sound

Clean highs and warm midrange

Soft-dome tweeter for more power

CONS

Fragile and cheaply constructed

Maybe broken upon delivery

Poor low-end response

Best 5.25 Speakers Buying Guide & FAQ

If you’re searching for the best 5.25 speakers, the last thing you should do is grab the first set you see on a store’s shelves. There are several things you need to consider before making the investment. In this buying guide, we lay out all the advantages of using 5.25 speakers as well as the two types that are available.

We also detail some of the features you should look for before making a purchase. And just to make sure you get the most out of your sound system, we include several tips as well as some frequently asked questions that will help you make an informed buying decision.

Benefits of 5.25 Speakers

Perhaps you want a new set of 5.25 speakers because the ones you have been blown out. Or maybe you simply want the ability to turn up the volume on your stereo without speaker distortion. Upgrading the sound system in your car, SUV, or truck does not have to be complex. Making a simple change, such as replacing the stock car speakers, can greatly improve the listening experience while you drive.

New speakers will undoubtedly boost the sound quality in your set up. Plus, they’re generally easy to install if you have basic mechanical skills. As long as you match the right product with your make and model, it shouldn’t take too much time or effort to install a new pair of 5.25 speakers.

Another advantage of purchasing 5.25 speakers is that you don’t have to spend a lot of them. They come in a wide range of price points, so whether you’re looking for the best 5.25 speakers for the money or a more premium, high-quality brand, there is a large selection available in stores and online.

  • The best 5.25 speakers sound better than your factory speakers and decrease distortion at high volumes.
  • If you have a smaller vehicle such as a compact car, these speakers will easily fit in the door or other areas and will not take up a lot of space.
  • 5.25 speakers are fairly affordable, depending on the brand you purchase, and you can find some models that are quite inexpensive.
  • Many brands feature stylish designs that can add some pop to your vehicle’s interior.

Different Kinds of 5.25 Speakers

In your search for the best 5.25 speakers, you will come across two types. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but ultimately it’s up to you based on the requirements of your sound system and the performance you want to achieve. Read more about the two types of 5.25 speakers below.

  • Component

Component speakers are also called separates, and they are known for delivering superior sound reproduction. When upgrading your audio system with component speakers, you also need a pair of subwoofers, crossovers, and tweeters. Component speakers are small and separate different frequencies. They produce more bass from the woofer and powerful high and mid frequencies.

This type of speaker is also efficient at sound imaging, which leads to higher-quality audio. This is accomplished through the use of separate tweeters. Most component car speaker systems will include two woofers, two tweeters, and two crossovers. Some also include a subwoofer. Component speakers are ideal if you want to customize your entire audio setup.

  • Coaxial or Full Range

Coaxial speakers tend to be less expensive, and this is the type you will typically find in most factory audio systems. Unlike component speakers, all the elements are combined in one unit. Typically, the speakers will have a tweeter that is mounted on the woofer cone. They usually have built-in crossovers.

Coaxial speakers aren’t as good at stereo imaging compared to component speakers. While they can handle all frequencies, interference is possible because the sound drivers are very close to one another. They are also less customizable than component speakers, giving you fewer options when it comes to performance and style.

Features to Look for in 5.25 Speakers

While many 5.25 speakers have similar features, they’re not all the same. Some brands are better than others due to their build quality and power handling. When you’re looking for the best 5.25 speakers, make sure to read all the specs to make sure the product provides all the features you need to produce clear and crisp sound.

  • RMS or Power Handling

Many brands promote the peak power of their products, which is the maximum amount of power a speaker can tolerate before blowing out. However, the rating you should really pay attention to is the RMS. This is the amount of power a speaker can handle continuously. While it may be able to tolerate the watts promised in peak power, it will be unable to sustain it. For a full sound range, the RMS and peak power should be rather close, such as 100 watts RMS and 200 watts peak. It’s also vital that the speakers can tolerate the power produced by the stock stereo or external amplifier.

  • Configuration

While searching for the best 5.25-inch speakers, you should also look at the speaker configuration. You can purchase two-way, three-way, or four-way speakers.  A three-way speaker is better for midrange, while a two-way speaker provides more well-rounded performance by delivering decent low and high frequencies. A three-way speaker has a tweeter, a midrange, and a woofer. A two-way speaker has a tweeter and woofer and sometimes includes a crossover to block certain frequencies. If you want to focus on increased performance in the highs, choose a four-way speaker.

  • Sensitivity

The sensitivity rating on a speaker refers to the amount of volume it produces in relation to the power.  The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder the speaker will play a particular wattage amount. A typical speaker will have a sensitivity rating of 88 dB, and anything under 84 dB is poor sensitivity. The best is 92 dB or above. It’s usually better to select a speaker with a higher sensitivity rating.  However, for an audio company to increase a product’s sensitivity, it may have to lighten the cone in a woofer, which can increase distortion. To thwart undesirable peaks in a speaker’s response, sensitivity often has to be reduced. It all comes down to balance.

  • Build Quality

When shopping for the best 5.25 speakers, you don’t want to sacrifice quality for price. You may be tempted to buy a cheap set of speakers because you’re on a budget, but you also want them to be long-lasting. The easiest way to determine that a product is good quality is by looking at the frame and woofer cone material. Also, check to see if it features a big magnet and whether it has resistant material for the surrounds. All of these elements will contribute to the overall sound quality. For example, a woofer cone may be constructed of mica, clay, polypropylene, fiber polymer, or metal-coated synthetic fabrics.

Tips for Buying and Using 5.25 Speakers

While 5.25 speakers are relatively easy to install, not every speaker is compatible with every audio system. There are several things you need to take into consideration before you upgrade your setup. One of the most important things to keep in mind is power handling. If you don’t use the proper amount of power, you can damage your speakers, and that will cost you more money in the long run.

In addition, don’t expect your speakers to function at their optimal performance straight out of the box. It can take a little while for them to break in before they deliver the sound quality you desire. Read on for some more tips about using your new 5.25 speakers.

  • Do not underpower or overpower your speakers because that will lead to distortion and can damage them.
  • If you’re using a stock stereo without an external amplifier, you can get by with low RMS-rated speakers.
  • Make sure to break in your new speakers; it can take several hours for them to exhibit their full power.
  • If you’re using a stock stereo, you will likely be able to wire the system using the factory wires; however, you will need to rewire the system if you plan on adding an external amplifier.

Best 5.25 Speakers FAQ:

5.25 speakers are a good alternative to OEM speakers. With just a little bit of money and elbow grease, you can improve the quality of your audio system. However, you may still have some questions about them, such as the most popular brands and which ones are best for boosting the bass.

Q: What are the best speaker brands? 

There are several well-established audio brands that produce high-quality speakers, such as JBL, Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, Pyle, Polk Audio, Alpine, Infinity, Kicker, and Kenwood.

Q: What car speakers have the best bass?

5.25 speakers don’t generally produce much bass due to their size; however, you can increase the bass by pairing the speakers with a subwoofer. 

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is the Polk Audio 5.25-Inch Coaxial Speakers. This company has been producing affordable speakers since 1972, and these, in particular, are rated for wet weather protection, making them a good option for a variety of vehicles including motorcycles and jeeps. They provide a wide range of sound, are easy to install, and don’t distort even at maximum volume.

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