We all know that your car is the best place to listen to music, so if you want that really good audio, consider upgrading with some bumping 6x9 speakers. They turn your car into a supersized mobile boombox, with high-fidelity speakers that serve up tuneage like it was meant to be heard. High-power 6x9 speakers fill out the middle and treble range with treble frequencies so hot they’ll fry an egg and mids rich as Sonny Rollins’ sax tone. Some even dish up powerful bass that will put the thump in a bass track.
The best 6x9 speakers vary in how they’re built and how much power they can play with. While some 6x9 speakers do a great job rigged to your built-in stereo, others will require an extra amplifier to deliver the volume and gain you want. Some will want to add 6x9 speakers to a car that’s already rigged up with a subwoofer, amp, and maybe even some bullet tweeters. In that case, the 6x9’s increase mid and high frequencies and add volume. Others might just be after an easy fix for a blown factory speaker in the car. Whether you’re looking for an affordable fix for a blown speaker, or an upgrade to the best (or loudest) sound-system you can pilot on four wheels, the best 6x9 speakers will do the job and elevate your car’s audio.
— Best Overall: Kicker 43DSC69304
— Best Budget: PIONEER TS-A6967S A-Series
— Best Without Amp: JBL Stage 9603 420W Max
— Best for Volume: Kenwood KFC 6996PS
— Best for Sound Quality: Infinity REF-9623ix
How We Picked The Best 6x9 Speakers
A 6x9 inch speaker requires a rigorous installation process. Consequently, we want to make sure that when you pick a pair of 6x9 speakers, you pick right. To assemble this list of powerful 6x9 speakers, we considered speakers from multiple manufacturers and took a deep dive into the specs, tallying up the various benefits and limitations of each. Along the way we looked for a few criteria that are important for any good 6x9 speaker:
Sensitivity is a metric that determines how well a speaker converts power to sound. It’s important in determining how compatible your speakers are with your car system, and whether that system delivers enough power for your speakers to run at good volumes. Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB). For the purpose of this list, a higher sensitivity or dB rating is better.
Power handling is important in any speaker set, but is even more important for speakers meant to live in a car or boat. Wattage is the metric used to determine a speaker’s power and loudness. RMS wattage (root mean square) determines the average power a speaker can handle. In other words, RMS wattage is the standard operating wattage of a speaker. Peak wattage, on the other hand, is the maximum power a speaker can handle before blowing. RMS wattage is a more important metric than peak, as most users shouldn’t run their system at its highest possible volume. However, if that is you, then take a look at peak power. For the purpose of this list, we highlighted RMS and peak power in each speaker's spec breakdown wherever possible and factored this metric in how we ranked our picks.
“Ways” is a peculiar term standard in car audio that tells how many drivers a speaker includes. To understand how some speakers have different “ways,” it’s important to know the difference between coaxial speakers and component speakers. Coaxial speakers include multiple drivers in one — a three-way coaxial would likely include a tweeter, super-tweeter, and woofer in one housing. On the other hand, component speakers refer to single-driver speakers that can be set up in a custom array. A coaxial speaker with five “ways” has five mini-speakers within it (five drivers). In general, coaxial speakers with more sub-speakers are superior to speakers with fewer drivers, so a five-way speaker from the same product line that offers a two-way speaker will usually do a better job. However, component systems composed of tuned arrays of component speakers will generally do a better job overall. For most of us, however, coaxial speakers with more drivers offer better sound that’s easier to install. While a component-based system has a higher ceiling of quality, it’s harder to set up well. This list mostly focuses on coaxial speakers.
The Best 6x9 Speakers: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Kicker 43DSC69304
Why It Made The Cut: This coaxial dome speaker uses a neodymium magnet and offers clean three-way sound with bass coverage that goes all the way down to 30 hertz (Hz).
— Wattage: 90 RMS, 360 peak
— Sensitivity: 92 decibels
— Channels: Three channels
— Great sound clarity with a high peak volume
— Fits most vehicles without modification
— Will work with factory head unit
— Good full-spectrum sound
— Less bass rumble than some want
— May need an amplifier for full potential
Whether you’re a car enthusiast looking for audio shimmer that will match the sparkle of your car’s new wrap, or simply a car owner looking for a replacement speaker for a fading audio system, the Kicker 43DSC69304 is a fantastic audio solution. These three-way coaxial speakers are shallow enough to fit most car enclosures stock and make for an easy installation that won’t require extensive tooling. They’re also sensitive enough to work with most audio systems.
With a 92-decibel sensitivity and an RMS wattage of 90, these magnetic 6x9’s will do a good job with most stock head units, though they likely won’t push the sound up toward their peak wattage or 360 without an amplifier. While they have an impressive sonic range of 30 Hz to 20,000 Hz (which covers most of most people’s audible range), their 30 Hz cutoff doesn’t deliver the bass booms that many people want out of car audio, especially without an aftermarket amplifier. Because of this many people who choose this system will want to add a subwoofer for true full-spectrum sound.
Still, the bass is there, it’s just not rattling. It’s really the rest of the register that makes this system so excellent. These 6x9’s deliver great clarity across the middle and treble range, offering exceptional treatment on voices and melodic material. If you’re after a thumping audio system that will do justice to hip hop subwoofers, dubstep, or house music, the Kicker might not be your best bet. But for those looking for crystal-clear musicality from a speaker that’s easy to install, you can’t do much better than this three-way coaxial.
Best Budget: PIONEER TS-A6967S A-Series
Why It Made The Cut: This well-priced four-way speaker delivers an impressive frequency response and peak wattage that actually outshines some more expensive alternatives.
— Wattage: 90 RMS, 450 peak
— Sensitivity: 89 decibels
— Channels: Four channels
— Good sound quality for the price
— Wide frequency response of 35 Hz to 24,000 Hz
— Affordably priced
— Shallow design makes it easy to install and compatible with stock builds
— Won’t deliver that bass rattle
— Sounds a little more hollow than some premium alternatives
If you’re after some replacement speakers for your car’s aging stereo and want to add a little quality boost while you’re at it, the PIONEER TS-A6967S is perfect for the job. Priced very reasonably, this four-way system can still impress.
The Pioneer is shallow and sized to fit most cars without tweaking the interior (though we always recommend measuring before you buy). The system is also compatible with most cars’ head units and will sound good without an amplifier, though they may not achieve their peak. With a wide frequency response that delivers 35 Hz to 24 kHz this system covers the whole spectrum, even if it doesn’t offer the same thumping lows and bass rattle many may want.
All in all these 6x9’s from Pioneer can be a powerful quality boost to your car’s sound system. It makes for an excellent replacement system that’s relatively easy to install and doesn’t demand too high of an investment, even if unlocking their full potential might require an amplifier.
Best Without Amp: JBL Stage 9603 420W Max
Why It Made The Cut: With a 92-decibel sensitivity, these speakers sound good and deliver solid bass, even when connected to the built-in head unit on your car.
— Wattage: 70 RMS, 210 peak (420 per pair)
— Sensitivity: 92 decibels
— Channels: Three channels
— Nice full spectrum sound with good bass
— Sounds good even with stock head unit
— Easy to install
— Bass will be dependent on enclosure
— Somewhat bulky and hard to fit into some interiors
JBL has long been a notable name in audio gear, and the JBL Stage 9603 420W Max are a powerful pair of speakers that hold the company torch with pride. These moderately priced 6x9’s offer a strong replacement for your stock speakers and do a great job, even without an aftermarket amp.
With solid 92-decibel sensitivity coupled with a decent frequency response, the JBL Stage system is capable of being a great standalone with or without a subwoofer. They have better than average bass delivery with a stock head unit, even while they don’t go quite as deep, offering a 45 Hz to 20,000 Hz frequency response. As with all speakers, the bass delivery is better when the speakers are set up with a proper enclosure.
The JBL Stage is a great option for those who want a solid pair of coaxial speakers and don’t want to pair them with an aftermarket amp. In this regard, they’re a good choice for those who want an easy install, even if their somewhat bulkier build can make them more difficult to fit in some interiors. All in all, they are a strong option for middle grade sound.
Best for Volume: Kenwood KFC 6996PS
Why It Made The Cut: With a 650-watt peak, these five-way speakers deliver some impressive loudness, while their super tweeter ensures they’ve got good treatment of the treble range.
— Wattage: 150 RMS, 650 peak
— Sensitivity: 88 decibels
— Channels: Five channels
— These can handle a lot of power
— Solid sound quality
— Great treatment of mids and high frequency
— May require an amp for optimal wattage
The Kenwood KFC is a system that can get loud. With an impressive 650 peak wattage and 150 RMS, these speakers are primed for amplified, powerful sound systems. That’s not to say that they require an amplifier. Though they’re not quite as sensitive as some of the other top speakers on this list, the five-channel audio presents impressive realism across the whole spectrum that will sound good for treble voices, full-bodied mids, and moderate bass. With an amplifier brought into the equation, the Kenwood KFC will make your car feel as though it has a subwoofer installed.
Whether or not you're gunning for top volume, the KFCs are a great pick. With a diamond array pattern on the woofer, these are good at avoiding pesky distortion and tend to sound like a real upgrade from factories. Installation isn’t difficult, making for a great upgrade to the factory system in your car. If you’re looking for a powerful pair of coaxials you can’t go wrong here.
Best for Sound Quality: Infinity REF-9623ix
Why It Made The Cut: With frequency response that goes all the way up to 30 kHz, good sensitivity, and enough wattage to get loud, these reference grade speakers do a wonderful job at the middle-to-(very)-high register.
— Wattage: 100 RMS, 300 peak
— Sensitivity: 94 decibels
— Channels: Three channels
— Exceptional sound clarity
— Extra-wide 30 kHz treble response
— Amazing sound stage
— Bass is a little weak
Reference speakers aren’t just for the studio, the Infinity REF-9623ix is one of the best sounding speakers in car audio. With a frequency response of 46 Hz to 30 kHz, these Infinitys easily outpace anything else on this list in terms of treble coverage. But they’re not just sharp and crisp. With a 94-decibel sensitivity, a 100 RMS, and 300 peak wattage, they also get loud fast. Paired with an amp, they blare away, but they’ll also work great without.
The Infinity REF is a speaker set meant for audiophiles. Not only does it have shimmering treble delivery and exceptional clarity, but it also has one of the most impressive sound stage deliveries with lots of detail and space. The REF’s one downside is its lack of bass coverage. While there is bass there, it’s not thundering, making these best paired with a subwoofer for full, bassy sound. Otherwise, if you’re after reference grade, balanced sound, you can’t get much better than Infinity REF for full range 6x9 speakers.
Things To Consider Before Buying The Best 6x9 Speakers
6x9 speakers have the capability to reinvent your car’s audio or economically repair a blown factory set. Before you buy, there are a few subjects to consider.
6x9’s are middle and treble frequency speakers. Because of their size, they inherently don’t deliver tons of bass. Still, some do a better job than others. If you’ll be supplementing your 6x9s with a dedicated subwoofer, then it’s less important to find 6x9s with good bass delivery. However, if you won’t be including a subwoofer in your car’s audio build, then it might be a good idea to find 6x9s that do a good job with bass.
Since 6x9 speakers are so often used to replace blown speakers and connected to existing systems, many users decide not to install a separate amplifier to boost speaker power. Speakers with better sensitivity will do better without an amplifier as they convert wattage to sound more easily. Look for higher sensitivity ratings if you will be connecting your 6x9s to the stock head unit, or to your radio. However, if you want screaming sound, it might be a good idea to go ahead and install an amplifier.
While all 6x9 speakers are roughly… ahem, 6x9 inches (6.5 x 9.3), not all have the same depth. Some 6x9s are shallower than others, while others protrude more. It’s worth double checking that your 6x9s will fit your car before you buy them. Manufacturers post exact sizing on their websites.
Impedance measures the opposition to current in an electrical system. When head unit and speaker impedance is mismatched it can create distortion. Because of this, it’s important to make sure your speaker’s impedance is compatible with your system before you install it. You can do this by checking the speaker’s spec sheet and comparing it to your system’s specs.
Related: Best Car Speakers
Q. What is the purpose of 6x9 speakers?
6x9 speakers are great mid–treble frequency coaxial speakers that usually fit into the stock enclosures in your car. These speakers offer great treble, present middle frequencies, and sometimes do a decent job with bass.
Q. Do 6x9 speakers produce bass?
As coaxial speakers, the vast majority of 6x9 speakers include woofers. Some 6x9s do a great job with bass, others less so. Consider installing separate subwoofers if you’re looking for car audio with excellent bass.
Q. Do 6x9 speakers need an amp?
Many 6x9 speakers will do a great job hooked to your stock car head unit. That said, amps can help boost the power of your speakers. Some speakers with higher optimal RMS wattage will need an amp to produce decent sound. And, in general, most will sound better with an amp.
Q. What is the most powerful 6x9 speaker?
The most powerful 6x9 speaker we reviewed is the Kenwood KFC, which delivers 150 RMS wattage and a whopping 650 peak wattage.
Q. Are all 6x9 speakers the same size?
Most 6x9 speakers aren’t necessarily exactly 6 inches by 9 inches. Most are roughly 6.5 inches by 9.5 inches. They also often vary in depth, with some being shallower than others.
Q. Can you put 6x9 speakers in a car door?
Whether you can put 6x9 speakers in your car door depends on a few factors, including the depth of the car door and the size and depth of the 6x9 speaker. If everything fits, then you should have your 6x9 door speakers without a problem
Q. Which speaker is better, 6.5 or 6x9?
Since 6x9 speakers have conical cones with larger surface areas than the circular cones in 6.5-inch speakers, they can produce louder sound with better bass. Because of this, 6x9 speakers are often better than 6.5-inch speakers.
Final Thoughts on the Best 6x9 Speakers
The best 6x9 speakers can revolutionize your car audio, delivering impressive sound and powerful mid bass. Many will hook up to your car’s stock head unit, while others shine with added amplifiers. If you’re after excellent audio quality, take a look at the Infinity REF-9623ix, which has incredible frequency range and detail. If you want an easy install job, the JBL Stage 9603 is one of the best options out there for systems without a dedicated amp. However, for most users, we think the Kicker 43DSC69304 is the best overall 6x9 out there.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.