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Published Oct. 14, 2021

A good amount of vehicles, both old and new, come with 6×9 speakers. Commonly designed as a small subwoofer that can handle the bass of an 8-inch speaker, these speakers can actually fit in more places thanks to an oval-style design. Time and abuse, however, have the tendency to kill speakers and on newer vehicles, the factory speakers may not sound how you had envisioned. But thanks to several decades of car audio modification, these problems can be easily solved by an incredibly high-quality aftermarket 6×9 speaker set with a dizzying amount of options. We took a look at the very best to guide you towards all the worthwhile options.

Best 6×9 Speakers Reviews & Recommendations

These Kicker D-Series 6×9 speakers are incredibly balanced in all directions with nearly no considerable cons. With a friendly 90-watt RMS, and 360-watt maximum power output, these work well with both factory audio systems or aftermarket amplifiers. Adding to the flexibility, these speakers are designed with a shallow construction that don’t take up much space, allowing easy installation into many different locations in a car.

Kicker is one of the biggest aftermarket speakers brands on the market and its reputation for clean sound, tight bass, and sturdy construction follows through to this pair of speakers. There are cons to this set, namely that the sturdy metal construction of these speakers means that they’re heavy and cumbersome even if their dimensions are relatively small. Based on our experience with Kicker speakers, we’ve had to trim the housing to get them to fit for some cars. Otherwise, this construction will result in a long-lasting, highly durable speaker that is backed by a good brand that honors its product.

Specs
  • 360-watt maximum power, 90-watt RMS
  • Thin construction
  • Three-way coaxial audio with polypropylene cone, acoustic foam surround and twin PEI domed tweeters
PROS

Crisp, clear sound

Thin enough to fit in most doors

90-watt RMS means it works for most factory audio systems

CONS

Bulky metal construction presents possible fitment issues in older vehicles

Low-wattage audio systems can result in disappointing bass

Could have more peak wattage for higher-end aftermarket stereos

Our best value choice easily goes to the Pioneer A-Series 6×9 speakers as with three tweeters, alongside the normal 6×9 cone, this speaker promises a wide range of high-quality sound for not much money. From what we can tell, Pioneer did not cheap out on the most important parts: the speakers. These Pioneers look a bit less sturdy than our best choice, but it is not to their disadvantage. In fact, the simplicity and lightness of the construction make it easier to install in more cars.

For substantially less than comparable speakers, the Pioneers report crisp sound across many different kinds of audio systems. Though it isn’t quite as shallow, durable, or aesthetically striking as more expensive options, this is a great option for a drop-in factory upgrade that will hide behind a speaker grill. It also has the extra 450-watt maximum power capacity that will make it great for a system with an amplifier.

Specs
  • 450-watt maximum power, 90-watt RMS
  • Four-way coaxial audio with three tweeters
  • Polypropylene cone with acoustic foam surround and twin PEI domed tweeters
PROS

Crisp, clear sound

Low cost

90-watt RMS means it works for most factory audio systems with 450-watt max output for higher-end systems

CONS

Plain-looking

Cheaper materials used on speakers and frame

Some quality issues

Premium Pick

There are a lot of strong options in the 6×9 speaker category and the Kenwood 6996PS speakers were no exception. Well-priced, high-quality, and with clear sound, these speakers made a real case for top honors but just fell short. Not for lack of trying, because these speakers boast an impressive 650-watt maximum energy output with 150-watt RMS, great for amplified and high-end aftermarket audio systems. The construction is up there with the best too.

Kenwood uses a signature diamond array to ensure rigidity and reduce sound distortion, an extra shallow design compared to previous Kenwood speakers, an acoustic sound harmonizer that only allows the correct frequencies to escape from the speaker, and a coaxial five-way design with four dedicated tweeters lets these speakers do their work cleanly and efficiently. Minor flaws do exist, primarily in aesthetics. These Kenwoods look classy, especially for the high wattage rating indicating an aftermarket focus. These are best used for vintage and reserved cars rather than highly modified ones.

Specs
  • 650-watt maximum power, 150-watt RMS
  • Five-way coaxial audio with four tweeters
  • Diamond array pattern cones
PROS

Extremely high quality

Impressive 650-watt peak power output, great for amplified audio setups

Well-priced

CONS

Reserved aesthetics

High 150-watt RMS makes this tough for factory radios to power

Honorable Mention

While our best options landed right in the middle of the price range, there is also a higher end of the speaker aftermarket that is worth looking at. JBL’s GTO series of speakers are renowned for their quality, sound, and ease of installation and it is the clear winner of the higher-end 6×9 speakers we looked at for this article. With 300 watts of maximum power and 100 watts RMS, the JBLs are designed primarily as an extremely high-quality and well-engineered drop-in replacement for cars with standard audio systems and for premium factory audio systems.

At a much higher price than most of the market, the JBL offers features not seen on other speakers, including claims that nearly 500 hours of environmental testing was done from -31 degrees Fahrenheit to 196 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 percent humidity to ensure that these speakers will last in any climate. JBL also claims its Plus One technology gives the cone 30 percent more surface area than other competitors for more air displacement and cleaner sound. With two Mylar-titanium tweeters, these speakers are a true three-way coaxial and intend to fulfill the promise of clear sound and crisp bass.

Specs
  • 300-watt maximum power, 100-watt RMS
  • Three-way coaxial audio with twin Mylar-titanium tweeters
  • Plus One cones
PROS

Extremely high-quality

Well-engineered and tested

100-watt RMS and 300-watt max power make it a perfect match for most factory-grade audio systems and well-balanced aftermarket systems

CONS

High cost, more than double of some offerings

Warranty trouble if not installed professionally

Low maximum wattage means this won’t be good for extreme aftermarket stereo systems

Best Brand Name

While our best value option exists at a reasonably low price point for its features, we noticed that there were even cheaper options that seemed to fulfill similar demands. Most were generic non-brand speakers, yet Blaupunkt is offering a pair of its GTX691 speakers for less than other brands. The specs look great but are primarily geared toward a good aftermarket stereo with an amplifier thanks to its 150-watt RMS rating and colossal 700-watt maximum power rating.

This speaker is still made with a stamped metal construction and uses a polypropylene cone, just like our best-rated speaker. It is a four-way coaxial with Mylar tweeters and an aluminum voice coil for a full range of sound. How Blaupunkt managed to pack so much perceived quality into such a low-buck speaker is a mystery, but quality issues have appeared for some. Out of all the truly cheap offerings, this is the most solid.

Specs
  • 700-watt maximum power, 150-watt RMS
  • Four-way coaxial audio with mylar tweeters and an aluminum voice coil
  • Polypropylene cone and stamped metal construction
PROS

Uses good materials

Extremely low cost

150-watt RMS and 700-watt max power makes this good for a quality aftermarket stereo

CONS

Plain-looking

Some quality issues

High RMS and max wattage means it won’t be great for standard stereo systems

How We Selected the Best 6×9 Car Speakers 

We took a look at a few dozen products for our list here and prioritized sound quality, coaxial inputs, and cost. A secondary consideration was the style of the speaker as while aesthetics are subjective, we made sure to provide a few different aesthetic options. We avoided products with poor user testimonials, that were too expensive compared to most of the market, and lacked coaxial inputs.

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Buying Guide/What to Look For 

Speakers and audio systems are one of the oldest and most popular forms of upgrading and modifying cars. For some, it is an expressive way of projecting personality and, for others, it’s an upgrade for their everyday driver that makes the daily commute a bit easier. What you’re looking for beyond everything else is audio quality and clarity, and if the speakers are well-assembled. Luckily, these two are linked strongly together, so a speaker that sounds great is usually high quality and will therefore last a long time. 

What to Consider When Buying 6×9 Speakers

Types

Coaxial 2-Way

Coaxial two-way 6×9 speakers are simply 6×9 speakers with an extra tweeter or treble speaker. Coaxial just means that the speakers are built in the same axis, or in the same assembly. Most of the cheapest options on the market will be two-way speakers thanks to the simplicity and low cost of the product. They won’t look flashy or have much consideration for aesthetics in general, but they will deliver balanced sound thanks to the main 6×9 cone and small tweeter combination that can fill a wide range of frequencies.

Coaxial 3, 4, 5-Way

Coaxial three, four, and five-way 6×9 speakers are the same as two-way, just with an extra tweeter or three. The mid and high end of the 6×9 speaker market will vary between the three variants and it isn’t entirely price-dependent. Some five-way speakers will be cheaper than some three-way speakers. It’s more about the choice of the manufacturer when it comes to sound design and cost. More speakers can theoretically fill more frequencies, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Single Way or Subwoofer

A single way 6×9 is technically considered a subwoofer. A subwoofer is designed to reproduce low frequencies like bass frequencies or low-mids. This style of 6×9 is specialized and usually meant for custom audio installs, or as replacements for very specific vehicles with premium audio systems that use a 6×9 subwoofer. You do not want to use these as door speakers because there are no tweeters to fill the higher frequencies, and these are only recommended as dedicated subwoofers.

Key Features

Audio Quality

A clear, crisp audio profile is crucial to any speaker. In fact, that is the entire point of a good speaker. This is difficult to test over the internet, but name brands and recognition stand for a lot in the audio business, as well as doing the correct setup for any speaker install you might undertake. Often, local electronics stores will have the most common kinds of 6×9 speakers in stock and mounted on a testing panel. From there, you can come back and get the best deals here.

Shallowness and Size

Being able to install the speakers where you need them to go is important towards keeping the interior of your car stock looking and rattle-free. If a speaker is too thick and protrudes from the door or mounting surface too much, it can cause interference issues that may lead to rattles, squeaks, and potentially speaker damaging rubbing. Finding the shallowest, most compact frame for any speaker is a crucial consideration, especially for smaller, older cars.

Wattage 

This is just as important as audio quality. Those ratings from earlier with the maximum wattage and RMS wattage play a huge part in the kind of speaker you need to purchase. Standard audio systems will be happier with a lower wattage speaker. If you go too high, the speaker may not work correctly. Aftermarket or upgraded systems will be able to run more wattage.

Tips and Tricks

As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and 6×9 speakers. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.

  • RMS is the normal wattage number that the speaker will generally run at. You need to know the wattage of your audio system and deduct the RMS of each speaker from that total to decide what kind of speakers to buy.
  • You usually get what you pay for with speakers and that money goes an unusually long way.
  • Having a good head unit or amplifier is just as important as having good speakers. Without the right gear, you’ll never be able to dial in the sound.

FAQs

Q: Is more wattage better?

No, it can often be to your detriment. You need to match the wattage rating to your car

Q: Are more coaxial speakers better?

Generally, anything above three is a good amount to have for a door speaker. It never hurts to have more.

Q: Do I need an amplifier to run 6×9 speakers?

Not all of the time. They come in a variety of cars from the factory and most speakers are designed as a drop-in replacement. If you want to run a higher wattage 6×9, then an amplifier might be something to consider.

Final Thoughts

We chose the Kicker 43DSC69304 D-Series 6×9 speakers as our best choice thanks to an excellent blend of good pricing, performance, sound, and build quality. You get a lot of speaker for your money and these will easily satisfy most people’s needs.

Those of us who don’t feel like spending too much should look at the PIONEER TS-A6967S A-Series, a great speaker for a good chunk less than our best pick. It doesn’t pack as many features, tech, or looks but it will do the job well for less money.

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