I don’t know about you, but for me, a car is my absolute favorite place to really listen to music.
Cruising down the open road, wind in my hair, bass blaring… there’s nothing better after a long, stressful day. Or a short and fun one!
Sadly, many older cars don’t have the necessary speaker systems to really handle music, and even some of the newer ones are of poor quality.
As you’d expect, vehicle manufacturers tend to focus on the function of the car, not its radio.
Looking to upgrade your existing setup, or replace a broken one? Look no further! I’m here to help with five of my favorite sound systems for your car.
Each is under a hundred dollars but still packed full of power for the ultimate bass on a budget.
Care to learn a little more about what makes a good speaker system, as well as ensure you definitely get the right set for your car?
Consult the handy Buyer’s Guide I’ve put together, which has all of the information you need for an informed purchase.
But if you still have a question or two - don’t panic! I have you covered. There’s a set of FAQs at the end, which I’ve put together and answered based on the most common queries from other customers.
Fingers crossed yours is on there, too!
Craving Better Bass Face ASAP? Here’s My Top Pick:
Top 5 Best Affordable Car Speakers Under $100 With Good Bass
OUR TOP PICK
Easily offering the greatest value for money at such an affordable price, it was a no-brainer selecting these JBL Stage Series speakers as our number one choice.
At a standard 6x9 inches, this set of three-way coaxials is small yet mighty!
Both featuring injection molded polypropylene woofer cones, they are solid yet flexible, stable enough to handle consistent usage at higher volumes and take a far bigger beating than their paper counterparts.
Likewise, the PEI balanced dome tweeter and piezoelectric super tweeter pair up to made for an incredibly impressive range of highs, ensuring a higher sound quality than any factory speakers could dream of producing.
Capable of handling up to 70 watts RMS, they should be compatible with a wide range of stereo set ups; installation is simple, and you’ll be able to mount in pre-existing factory holes for an easy set up in minutes.
- Solid, stable polypropylene woofer cone
- Three-way coaxial, with double the tweeters for high-quality highs
- Also available in different sizes for further compatibility
- Sold as a pair, yet much cheaper than single speakers with less impressive specs!
- If installed without an enclosure they can fail to improve bass levels
Packaged in a slimmer frame that installs stress-free in even the sportiest of vehicles, these Kicker D-Series three-way speakers are plenty powerful, in spite of their lower than average price point.
Stiff polypropylene cones combined with a high sensitivity DS motor allow for increased volume regardless of stereo unit quality.
Promising to simply drop into just about any vehicle on the road, right out of the box, they install in seconds.
In addition to its naturally more svelte design, the internal PEI dome tweeters have minimal protrusion, making them less obvious than usual and contributing to the sleek, eyecatching design of these attractive units.
Offering additional direction accuracy and superior sound, the acoustic foam that surrounds both speakers not only curates a better quality, but also minimizes the interference from vibrations.
No rumbling noises here, just all your favorite songs!
- Polypropylene cones surrounded by UV-treated acoustic foam
- Incredibly simple to install
- Clear mid-range and crisp highs
- Zero-protrusion PEI dome tweeters
- Weaker bass in comparison to other speakers on our list
Framed in die-cast aluminum for the ultimate in durable construction, this pair of 2-ways from BOSS Audio is just as wonderful as you would expect from such a reputable manufacturer. Especially considering the cost!
With electroplate injection cones, you’ll find the highest quality of sound and consistent linear wave transmission comes naturally to you, especially with such a rigid protective casing. Absorbing any vibrations, you’ll just hear pure music.
Thanks to the mylar mid-range, you’ll notice an improved sound dispersion in comparison to components made of other materials; those directional high frequency waves are dispersed even farther, for a much bigger “sweet spot” when listening.
If that wasn’t enough, the domed tweeter is also capable of radiating sound wider, so it’s not just the mids and lows that are improved - you should also expect crisp, clear highs as well.
Two additional crossovers only heighten this quality!
- Electroplate woofer cones
- Die-cast aluminum construction, rubber surround
- A range of sizes available to find your perfect fit
- Three year Platinum warranty
- Volume can be a little low, though this can be manually adjusted via the amp
Though they may be manufactured by a lesser known brand, don’t underestimate these affordable beauties from Skar Audio, a lovely pair of 2-way Elite Coaxials that are available in a wide range of sizes sure to suit your vehicle!
Engineered for sound perfection, the 1 inch, high fidelity silk dome tweeter has been accurately mounted on top of an extremely responsive, highly accurate mid-range. Such impressive components usually come at a far greater price.
By utilizing a 1.25 inch, high temperature copper voice coil, alongside a premium ferrite magnet, this pair of speakers has far more than the average driving force. It’s bigger, better and can run for longer than the majority of factory installs.
With a frequency response ranging from 45 Hz all the way up to 20,000 Hz, you’ll be able to pair these with absolutely any stereo system and should surely see an improvement in sound quality after doing so!
- Glass fiber woofer cone
- High grade silk dome tweeter
- Impressively high sensitivity and frequency response
- Plenty of sizes to pick between to find a perfect fit for your car
- Bass can cause unwanted vibration at higher frequencies, customer reviews suggest
Last, but by no means least, we have these FIVE WAY coaxials from Pioneer, who are renowned for their speaker prowess - their A-Series is no different.
They match a subwoofer and loudspeakers for seamless, smooth sound and high impact bass.
A carbon and MICA reinforced, injection molded polypropylene (IMPP) cone paired with the triple polyethylene hard dome tweeter delivers your music as it was intended to be heard. No tinny sound, no crackling, no distortion: just tunes!
Deeper than average, the woofer basket and oversized motor structure are created in order to deliver maximum bass whilst retaining that glorious sound quality. You’ll not just be able to hear the music, but feel every beat, too.
Thanks to Pioneer’s patented OPEN & SMOOTH technology, there is a seamless transition between the midwave and tweeters, which enables delivery of consistent, optimized frequency response no matter where you are in the car.
- High quality, well-made internal components
- 700 watts of maximum power delivery
- Extreme bass performance
- Combines with Pioneer’s CarSoundFit app for impressive audio upgrade
- One size fits all approach - may need to be adapted in order to fit within certain vehicles
Best Affordable Car Speakers Under $100 With Good Bass Buying Guide
Features To Consider:
Making sure your brand new speakers actually fit inside your car is the first order of business.
Either consult your manual or perform a swift Google to find out what dimensions you should be looking at for your vehicle in particular.
Some units are available in multiple sizes and shapes, whereas others come in a singular standard design. It’s worth measuring your existing units or finding the dimensions from your user’s manual before you buy, just in case.
Amazingly, the folks over at Crutchfield have developed an impressive Outfit My Car tool - all you have to do is pop in your car’s year, make and model and you’ll find not just where your speakers are, but what sizes fit inside those spaces!
You’ll notice that there are dozens of different materials used to form a speaker’s cone: this fundamental piece of equipment not only impacts sound quality, but also the amount of power it can handle and its overall lifespan.
For the best possible performance, you want a lightweight cone: in order to create sound waves, the speaker itself moves inside and out repeatedly. The heavier it is, the slower it will respond to and detect sound signals, so the lighter the better!
That being said, you’ll also want a cone that’s rigid, as those that aren’t solid enough for repetitive impact will begin to flutter. This is a term in the industry to refer to unwanted frequencies, which result in crackling, rustling and other annoying sounds.
Materials you’ll find include paper, polypropylene and kevlar. The former can sometimes be too flimsy for consistent use, whilst the latter are stronger and better able to resist flutter.
Kevlar in particular is great to dampen the sound of vibrations!
Defining the amount of sound a speaker is capable of producing in relation to how much power is supplied, a speaker’s sensitivity impacts sound quality.
Measured in decibels, they also indicate just how loud your music sesh is going to get.
For older or factory-installed car stereos wielding less power (usually between 10 and 15 watts RMS) you’ll want as high a sensitivity for your new speakers as possible - more than 90 dB is recommended for the best possible sound.
Those with a more impressive high-end, post-factory stereo or external amps should stick to lower sensitivity ratings. Don’t worry, this won’t impact on how loud you can get, it just means you’ll get crystal clear sound quality with the proper power.
Speaking of, power handling refers to the amount of wattage your speakers will be able to cope against - again, low power stereos don’t need speakers with a lot of power, but those with better equipment should try and match in amps output.
Put simply, you want to think specifically about maximum RMS powerhandling, and not peak power - RMS is a realistic measurement of the level of continuous power a speaker withstands throughout usage, rather than at random times.
Therefore, if your speaker happens to be rated at 60 watts RMS or less, it’ll serve your stereo system far better than a speaker rated between 20 and 80 watts RMS. IF this all sounds a little too complicated, see if a tech-savvy friend can help you out.
Ease of Installation
Whilst putting any new speaker in your car can be tricky, some designs are harder than others to install.
Try and opt for one that’s within your abilities, or be sure that a helpful friend or family member will be around to give you a hand!
Full range speakers are great, as they combine all of the speaker’s internal elements within one basket.
At their most basic, you’ll find they feature a woofer for added bass and a ‘tweeter’ that is mounted atop it to hit those highs.
Component speakers, on the other hand, make use of state-of-the-art designs to produce superior sound. The average component unit will boast entirely separate woofers and tweeters, allowing them to be mounted higher in your car.
You’ll also find some models with what’s known as ‘external crossovers’, which are essentially a network of components that guarantees precise transference of frequencies between the rest of the speaker, for a realistic sound with added depth.
Of course, most manufacturers are going to claim their speakers are easy to install - why wouldn’t they? For a real insight into the difficulty level, check customer reviews, as these will offer honest feedback on the process.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I improve the quality of my car speakers?
Bar simply upgrading to a better set of speakers - those factory models are never going to do your music justice - there are a couple of tips and tricks you can try for attaining a better sound:
- If you aren’t going to rip out your sound system altogether, you could just add in some new components, though it’s probably going to cost you more to add in some amps, an equalizer or other upgrades than it would to start fresh!
- When you listen to music through an AUX cord, the sound quality is directly impacted - see if you can find a cable that connects to your stereo via USB, as this is much more adept at converting audio from one device to another
- Listen to licensed music and always try to purchase the most up to date versions; older song files that were produced more than a couple of years ago are far more compressed than is required, causing a serious drop in quality
Are two way or four way car speakers better?
That depends on the quality of the speakers themselves! Coaxials, otherwise known as 2-way, 3-way or 4-way speakers, are simply differentiated by the number of drivers they each contain.
For instance, a 2-way speaker will usually feature two drivers (also known as frequency bands) - these are a woofer, for lows, and a tweeter, for highs. 4-way speakers also have these things, plus two additional drivers, for deeper sounds.
However, a speaker containing more drivers won’t necessarily perform better than one with less; they could each out-produce one another, it just depends on the quality of the components and materials used.
Rather than focusing on the number of components present, instead look closer at the quality of each individual driver. Provided they are constructed well enough, there’s no reason to say you can’t get the same impressive sound from a 2 or 4 way.
How do I increase the bass on my car speakers?
Again, the easiest way to achieve this is to upgrade your stereo system and speakers with greater capabilities, but if you don’t have the cash to drop on new equipment right now, there’s a few things you can try!
Bear in mind that these suggestions may have an impact on sound quality - experiment to find what works best for you.
- Have a look at your system’s tone control settings - these are either inbuilt buttons/knobs/sliders on your actual stereo or internal settings you need to access via a menu (if you can’t figure it out, check the manual!) - and try adjusting the treble or bass to see if that helps
- It could be less expensive to buy a separate subwoofer amp than it would be to swap out your stereo or speakers; if you do go for this option, you want speaker-level inputs, because line-level are notorious for introducing unwanting crackles and other distortion