Installing your own car stereo is a great project for DIY car enthusiasts. Even if you’d prefer to leave it to the experts to do the actual work, getting new speakers can be a great way to make your drives more enjoyable.
Either way, though, you’ll need to learn about car speaker sizes. To make the best decision on what type of stereo is the right fit for you, you’ll need to know more about what sizes your car can support and the attributes of the different sizes.
Check out some speaker size charts for some surface-level information, but follow along if you want more in-depth knowledge. We’ll give you the background knowledge you need, a breakdown of all the most common car speaker sizes, and a guide to understanding what sizes your car will support.
What Do Speaker Sizes Really Mean?
While it wouldn’t necessarily be accurate to say that car speaker sizes are approximations, it’s not always precise as, for example, TV screen sizes. A 48” TV will be exactly 48” from corner to corner. But a 5-inch speaker isn’t going to have a cone with a diameter of exactly 5 inches.
The measurements are more about the frame holding the speaker and the frame’s hole alignment. The dimensions of the actual speaker itself will vary based on the manufacturer and the aspects of the car for which it is designed.
That can also be true of the frames themselves, as some cars will have unconventional layouts and may not have room for the speaker frame to be an even rectangle.
What Size Speakers Are in My Car?
There are several strategies for determining the default speaker size in your car’s speaker ports. If you’re the handy type who likes fiddling with your car, you should be able to measure your specific speaker yourself easily.
Simply remove the panel covering the speaker, unscrew the speaker, and grab some measuring tape. Measure the distance between opposite screw holes and a few other details like mounting depth and height.
It’s also possible to look up a database online that will provide standard speaker sizes for your make and model.
Bear in mind that there will be multiple speaker sizes that can fit in most speaker ports, as you can get a custom frame to help with the adjustment. However, if you want a dramatically different size, you’ll likely need to modify your vehicle.
What Are the Different Sizes of Speakers?
Different speakers will, of course, have different properties. Let’s do a rundown of the most common dimensions, one by one.
Typically the smallest standard car speaker size, 3.5-inch speakers are built to be compact. If you have a particularly small car with a speaker port very close to your ears, you’ll definitely want to look for smaller speakers.
Another perk of 3.5-inch speakers is that they can fit into any speaker port, no matter what your car was originally fitted for. These speakers are generally limited to mid-to-high range sound and don’t carry much low-frequency sound. If you’re emphasizing bass, 3.5-inch speakers likely aren’t the right choice for you.
Another set of particularly small speakers, the 4-inch variety is a small step up from the 3.5-inch style. These are low-power speakers, able to be utilized without demanding a significant amount of power. Further, they can typically be utilized with factory receivers and should fit in any speaker port without modification.
These are another example of speakers that thrive in the high-to-mid frequencies; they are ideal for people who enjoy treble and clarity. But are still sub optimal for bass enthusiasts.
4 x 6-Inch Speakers
One of the most common speaker sizes is 4 x 6 inches. If this is your choice, you’ll have a wide variety of options to choose from; be sure to balance performance and cost. These 4 x 6-inch speakers are some of the best all-around speakers that you can get without breaking the bank.
They deliver reliable, balanced sound quality and fit into most standard speaker ports. They have a small woofer cone, so bass is limited, but they have excellent high-to-mid frequency performance, and you can add an additional subwoofer or a standalone amplifier as well.
We’re starting to get closer to mid-sized speakers now, but 5-inch car speakers are still on the small side. These are one of the most popular speaker sizes amongst Japanese cars but can be relatively common among other makes as well.
5-inch speakers are still best in the mid-to-high frequencies but have a pretty solid sound range overall. However, they don’t stand up well to
The 5.25-inch speakers are a particularly versatile set. They offer an excellent balance of performance and convenience. They are still small enough to fit in most speaker ports but are approaching mid-tier size. While they don’t necessarily have the best bass, it is much better than, for example, 3.5-inch speakers.
Meanwhile, custom 5.25-inch speakers tend to deliver excellent sound quality and overall range, particularly compared to typical factory speakers.
5 x 7-Inch Speakers
5 x 7-inch speakers are very similar to 5.25-inch, with a bit more size. However, this size is far less common. A lot of popular cars won’t necessarily fit 5 x 7-inch speakers. However, these are excellent mid-size speakers with a balanced sound range.
If your car does support a 5 x 7-inch speaker, however, it can be an excellent option. They’re relatively easy to install and provide very solid sound quality with very little distortion.
Now we’re starting to get into the speaker sizes that thrive with loud, bass-heavy music. 6-inch speakers have excellent shock capabilities, which allow them to stand up to much higher volume than smaller speakers.
After-market 6-inch speakers, in particular, provide excellent bass and solid all-around sound range, while still being lightweight and easy to install. If you’re just looking for the most balanced speakers possible. 6-inch speakers should be in contention.
The number one most common car speaker size is 6.5-inches. Most car makers design sound system ports for 6.5-inch speakers. They are common because this is a standard size but also because they feature some of the most balanced sound range.
Many factory 6.5-inch speakers may have distorted sound. If this sounds like your car, you’re a great candidate for an aftermarket installation. But if you have 6.5-inch speaker ports, you have no need to change your size when replacing your stereo, unless you want a heavy bass speaker set. If so, you’ll want one of the sizes below.
6.75-inch speakers thrive in the mid and low range sound frequencies. These are among the smallest speakers to provide strong bass, so if you’re looking for high-quality low-end sound without having to make significant modifications to your speaker port, a 6.75-inch speaker could be just the choice for you.
As we get into this larger size range, these car speakers will demand more power to run. Further, as the bass gets stronger, the high-frequency range tends to not be as strong. So if your emphasis is on clarity, you should look at a smaller speaker.
6 x 8-Inch Speakers
6 x 8-inch speakers are the most common size amongst larger car stereos. They’re typically installed in the front door and have a relatively balanced sound range that is weighted towards the low end.
The biggest downside is that, while they are a common size, if your car isn’t already fitted for 6 x 8-inch speakers you’ll likely have to modify your speaker port to accommodate them. They also demand a significant amount of power and tend to cost a bit more than average speakers. But if you have a real emphasis on sound quality, that investment could be worth it.
6 x 9-Inch Speakers
These are some of the most popular speakers among true bass enthusiasts. 6 x 9-inch speakers provide incredible quality in the low-frequency range without the need to invest in an additional subwoofer.
Many speaker enthusiasts may wonder, “why do 6×9 speakers look different?” They are made with a unique proportion that allows for performance in the lower range. Typically 6 x 9-inch speakers fit best on the rear dash. They make great supplemental speakers, but some will also want to modify their front door speaker ports to really boost the bass.
The 6 x 9-inch speaker is typically the largest standard speaker size. But some people will want to go above and beyond. 8-inch car speakers are ideal if you’re looking to turn your car into a concert venue on wheels. They have excellent bass, higher sound quality, and can handle an extremely loud volume.
That said, they’ll almost always require modification on your car in order to accommodate them. Plus, you’ll need a very powerful amp, as, for all their performance, 8-inch speakers require a significant amount of power to do the job. And they are, of course, heavier and more expensive than their more common counterparts.