For both styles, the most important thing to check before buying is the speaker’s sensitivity, or its ability to use energy to create sound. A system with a lower power output will need a more sensitive speaker to compensate. Also look at how many ohms of impedance and how many watts of RMS (continuous power) the speaker can handle, to give you a sense for whether it’ll work with the other components of your speaker system.
Here are, in our humble opinion, the best 6×8 speakers on the market:
Best 6×8 Component Speakers:
Remarkably well-priced for a component speaker, the Kicker DS68 may just make your car your new favorite listening room. They polypropylene woofers have polyester foam surrounds that can withstand a lot of shaking without impacting the sound and will fit in most 5X7 door mounts, in addition to 6X8. The titanium tweeters have a bright energy that does wonders for instrumental details and can be mounted flush or at an angle with the included brackets. The kit also includes two sophisticated external crossovers that give the music a smooth feel across the frequency range. These are among the best 6×8 component speakers for the money.
Best 6×8 Car Speakers that Can be Both Component & Coaxial:
JL Audio C3-570 Evolution
If you can’t decide whether you want to get component or coaxial speakers, the JL Audio convertible Evolution system lets you do both. It can also be installed in either 6X8 or 5X7 openings, making it exceptionally versatile. However you install it, this speaker has a clean, powerful sound profile, outperforming other speakers especially in response in the extended frequencies. Best of all, for the truly demanding audiophile is the extent to which the crossovers allow you to customize the sound, offering four levels of tweeter attenuation and three levels of mid-range adjustment.
Best Coaxial 6×8 Speakers:
New Kicker DS68
New Kicker speakers are built for reliability and performance. The DS68 uses a ½” balanced-dome tweeter for realistic detail in the high frequencies, with a polypropylene woofer that uses a foam surround to make sure the car’s vibrations have no effect on the sound. With a sensitivity of 90 dB, they can give you a lot of sound without sucking up too much power. The improved bass response from these little speakers is impressive, especially if you’re upgrading from factory speakers, but they really shine in the mid- and high-range, giving your music the presence you’d expect from a much pricier speaker. These are among the best 6×8 speakers on the market.
Another Choice for the Best Coaxial 6×8 Speakers:
These sport series speakers from Kenwood can give your car audio a serious upgrade—a much bigger improvement than the price tag might suggest. The polypropylene woofers are strong and clear in the midrange, with a balanced-dome tweeter for the treble that gives you a smooth, bright response. The output is impressive for a speaker that’s rated at 30 watts RMS, maintaining the clear, realistic sound even when you crank the volume. They’re also easy to install, even for a newcomer to the car audio world, and come complete with speaker grilles, wiring, and everything else you’ll need to get them up and running. These are likely the best 6×8 speakers for the money.
Coaxial versus Component Speakers
The choice between a coaxial and a component speaker is largely a matter of personal taste, based on both your listening habits and the limitations of your vehicle. Both of these speaker types typically contain a cone driver for the low-range and a tweeter for the high, with mid-range frequencies distributed accordingly by the speaker’s crossover circuit. The difference between the two is that the coaxial speaker includes both the drivers in the same compact housing, meaning you’ll only be installing one speaker unit in each door. In component speakers, the tweeter is a separate unit, giving you four total pieces of hardware to install—typically the cones in the doors, and the tweeters elsewhere in the car.
It follows logically, then, that the primary advantage of a coaxial speaker is that it’s much easier to install. They’re also often also a better value, giving you better speaker components for less money, which could mean it’s the better choice for you, if you’re on a budget. Because coaxial speakers are a less complicated design, you can generally get speakers made of higher-quality materials for the same money as a lower-end component. The main sound advantage of a component speaker system is that it gives you better sound imaging—in other words, having the sound come at you from more than one location gives it a more enveloping soundscape and a more realistic ambiance. This will ultimately improve the sound of your music, though remember that quality of materials is key—a good coaxial speaker will sound more natural than a cheap component, however carefully you place the pieces. The best 6×8 component speakers, however, generally trump the coaxial speakers.
Most people who go with component speakers mount the tweeter on the dash or the door. It can also be installed on the sail or kick panel if necessary. Cars very rarely come from the factory with tweeter mounts so wherever you put it, you’ll likely need to modify the panel. The ideal placement for a tweeter will put it at ear level, but if this isn’t possible, you can angle the mount either up or down accordingly. Tweeters can be flush or surface mounted; flush mounting means it’s installed inside the door (so “flush” with your panel) while surface mounting puts it on top of the panel, making it more visibly an external component. Ask your local mechanic which will work best for your vehicle. You should also place the tweeters within a foot of the woofers to avoid having the sound reach your ear at different times.
As you can see, a lot more goes into this process than simply fitting a speaker into the door opening, but remember that even installing a coaxial speaker involves removing pieces of the door, and unless you’re the handy type you’ll likely be having a mechanic install your speakers for you. The more important consideration is whether the potentially pricey modifications to your car’s interior are worth the increase to your music’s quality. If you’re a serious sound geek, the answer is undoubtedly a resounding yes, and if you listen to jazz or classical on a regular basis, the best 6×8 component speakers are almost certainly worth your time and effort. Ultimately, of course, it’s all about loving the sound that hits your ears, and any of the speakers above will give you hours of pleasurable listening.