The best ceiling speakers are perfect for anyone looking to build a low-profile sound system. Relegating speakers to the ceiling is a good way to keep any entertainment center or home theater from looking cluttered, with wires poking out of every corner. Sure, installing them is no picnic, but the awesome home aesthetics dividends pay off almost instantly. Here’s a compilation of the best ceiling speakers available.
— Best Overall: Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II
— Best for Small Rooms: Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker
— Best High-End: Sonos Architectural 6.5-Inch Passive 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers
— Most Sustainable: Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker (Renewed)
— Best for Outdoors: Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8-inch Speakers
— Best for Surround Sound: Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5-inch 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker System
How We Picked the Best Ceiling Speakers
Ceiling speakers, in many cases, are associated with places you’d rather not be. School, the DMV, hospitals, and used car dealerships are just a few places these kinds of speakers are found. But there’s no debating how good ceiling sound is at nabbing your attention, which makes these speakers perfect for immersive audio in your home. Here are some of the things we took into consideration when picking out the best ceiling speakers.
Sound: Whether you’re buying a pair of gaming headphones or a soundbar for your television, the most important thing to consider is, “Is the sound that comes out of these speakers high quality?” After all, ceiling speakers, by and large, will require at least a modest investment. Quality is important, but so is volume. Sound should flood a room, especially if you’re looking for that immersion that feels like you’re in a movie theater. In general, bigger is better if you want to surround a room with sound. Two aspects of ceiling speakers to consider are the tweeter and the woofer. Tweeters, in general, are the drivers of high-frequency sound reproduction. Woofers work in concert (pun intended) with tweeters, handling the lower octaves of a speaker’s range. Both are crucial if immersive sound is your aim. Luckily, if a speaker’s tweeter is high quality, so is the woofer.
Build Quality: Unless you’re a starting forward for the Lakers, the ceiling isn’t a place you’re going to be looking at most of the time. That doesn’t mean you should buy a pair of speakers that are built shoddily. After all, if they look cheap, it’s likely that they are built cheaply. The best ceiling speakers blend in so well that you often forget that they’re even there. This compilation only includes ceiling speakers with paintable grilles so they can blend in with whatever color your ceiling may be.
Installation: No matter what pair of speakers you buy, installing them will likely require you to bust out a ladder and power tools. Still, these are speakers well within reach of civilians, so you shouldn’t need to be an expert carpenter or audio technician just to get them up and running. All installations will be at least a little tricky, but they shouldn’t be impossible. Also, as is the case with most expensive mounted devices, we really can’t stress the trite yet accurate adage “measure twice, cut once.” Speakers require a minimum of four inches behind them in the ceiling to operate safely and correctly. Ensure you have the space before splurging on one of the best ceiling speakers.
Best Ceiling Speakers: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II
Why They Made The Cut: If crisp, clear, immersive sound is your aim, always bet on Bose, and its Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II.
— Dimensions: 4.4 inches high x 10-inch diameter
— Weight: 4.6 pounds each
— Tweeter Size: 1 inch
— Woofer Size: 7 inch
— Complements other speakers well
— Barely noticeable
— Balanced room-wide stereo sound
— Occasionally tinny at very high volume
Looks are relative, but to many, the best speakers are the kind that practically disappear into the ceiling they’re mounted into. Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II are just that.
The grilles of these speakers are totally paintable, so you can camouflage them with the same color of your ceiling. Bose Stereo Everywhere tech provides some of the best balanced sound available from in-wall speakers, no matter where you are in a room, the stereo sound will come in crystal clear, with no drop offs. The sound isn’t just good, it’s horror-movie cliche good. “The sound is coming from inside the house.” Whether you’re watching an action movie or listening to jazzy tunes, it will feel like James Bond or Boz Scaggs is in the room with you. Dog-legged clamps and magnetically attached grilles make installation a little easier. Bose speakers are designed for Bose sound systems, but the great thing about them is how easily they integrate into established sound systems.
Best for Small Rooms: Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker
Why It Made The Cut: For smaller rooms, one Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker may be more than enough for your audio needs.
— Dimensions: 5.4 inches high x 11-inch diameter
— Weight: 7.5 pounds
— Tweeter Size: 1 inch
— Woofer Size: 8 inch
— Directs sound anywhere and everywhere
— Premium build quality
— Unmatched clarity
— Expensive for a single speaker
— Larger rooms may require a second speaker
Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speakers look expensive, and unsurprisingly, they are. But the company’s Controlled Dispersion Technology (CDT) is worth investing in.
The Controlled Dispersion Technology that the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker gets its moniker from comes from the way it directs high and mid-bass frequencies to the main listening area. The woofer can rotate 360 degrees, and further shift another 15 degrees in any direction. This, paired with Klipsch’s “horn-loaded technology,” increases acoustic output, while minimizing distortion by utilizing a horn’s flared form. This means even if you’re maxing out the volume listening to Metallica or watch “The Matrix,” Klipsch speakers won’t sound tinny or distorted. Sound practically floods a room these speakers are installed in, so long as the room isn’t that big. Larger rooms may require another speaker, but a single Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker is perfect for bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens in need of an audio upgrade.
Why They Made The Cut: A straightforward install and dependable sound-quality makes Sonos 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers easy to recommend.
— Dimensions: 4.8 inches high x 9.1-inch diameter
— Weight: 5 pounds each
— Tweeter Size: 1 inch
— Woofer Size: 6.5 inches
— Perfectly blends into ceiling
— Little to no distortion
— Mostly easy setup
— Very expensive
In many cases, the sound quality of ceiling speakers all depends on where you install them in any given space. The sound that comes out of the Sonos Architectural 6.5-inch 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers practically follows you, no matter where you are in the room.
At first glance, you may forget that the speakers are even there. They don’t look like speakers because they’re engineered to blend perfectly into ceilings, with grilles that can easily be painted. Despite there being two speakers in this package, the sound is designed to work as one, rather than two or more busy sources. Using the Sonos App (available on App Store and Google Play), you can adjust sound quickly and easily. Yes, this pair comes with a hefty price tag, but every purchase comes with six months free of Apple Music, providing plenty of audio possibilities to try out your new in-ceiling sound system.
Most Sustainable: Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker (Renewed)
Why It Made The Cut: A renewed Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker is an environmentally friendly way to upgrade your sound system.
— Dimensions: 3.4 inches high x 7.6-inch diameter
— Weight: 3.2 pounds each
— Tweeter Size: 1 inch
— Woofer Size: 6.5 inches
— Smooth and natural highs and lows
— Buying a renewed product saves a speaker from the landfill
— Will likely require professional installation
In many cases, adding ceiling speakers to your sound system is going to run you at least a couple hundred dollars. If you go with a renewed product like the Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker, you can save a bundle and feel good knowing you made a fairly green choice.
For a speaker in its price point, it looks surprisingly sleek and there’s plenty of function to go with that form. The 6.5-inch poly woofer and a one-inch soft dome tweeter work perfectly in tandem to provide rich, natural sound. The clean bass output makes this perfect for anyone looking for an impactful sound experience, whether you’re on your feet grooving, or on a couch watching a blockbuster. Renewed products, like all used and refurbished products are always a gamble, but Amazon guarantees them for 90 days. And when all is said and done, splurging on two speakers (smaller rooms may only need one), will run you less than a hundred dollars.
Best for Outdoors: Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8-inch Speakers
Why They Made The Cut: For outdoor sound systems Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way Premium In-Ceiling speakers can’t be beat.
— Dimensions: 3.2 inches high x 9.2-inch diameter
— Weight: 4.75 pounds each
— Tweeter Size: 1 inch
— Woofer Size: 8 inches
— Withstands damp and humid environments
— Balanced, life-like sound
— Good value
— Noticeably cheap build
Some rooms, like bathrooms, kitchens, and saunas, tend to have fluctuating humidity which can affect sound quality and in some cases, even ruin speakers. After all, moisture and humidity can lead to fungal growth, which will eat away at electronics, including a fancy pair of ceiling speakers. All this can be averted by using Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8-inch Speakers.
These ceiling speakers are built specifically to withstand damp and humid environments, whether you’re installing them in a bathroom or near a swamp. A rubber seal around these speakers is moisture-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the elements ruining them. The rubber seal has a secondary benefit: better bass response. Aside from that, these speakers are also fairly solid on sound quality, with an eight-inch woofer providing clean and detailed audio. Polk Audio In-Ceiling speakers are also a fairly good deal at their price point, especially if you don’t mind them looking a fair bit cheaper than the higher-end speakers in this compilation. Paintable grilles make these fairly concealable so it may be a non-issue, as long as you don’t look up.
Best for Surround Sound: Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5-inch 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker System
Why It Made The Cut: Don’t settle for two-way sound when you can flood a room with three-way sound with a Yamaha In-Ceiling Speaker System.
— Dimensions: 3.2 inches high x 7-inch diameter
— Weight: 4.35 pounds each
— Tweeter Size: 3/4 inch
— Woofer Size: 6.5 inches
— SoundMax tech optimizes audio
— Relatively inexpensive
— Easy to install
— Less-than optimal volume and clarity
Half the battle with ceiling speakers is getting sound to where you want it. For affordable surround-sound systems, Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5-inch 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker System is a solid choice.
The woofer has a 12-degree tilt, which helps it direct sound in any room. Yamaha’s SoundMax utilizes a unique crossover network technique to maximize dispersion and stereo imaging. This means you can maximize coverage while minimizing interference from other audio sources. These come with all the typical ceiling speaker accouterments, like a paintable grille to hide them. Plus, they’re among the easiest to install. That’s fairly impressive for a set this affordable. However, despite providing seriously natural sound, expect to make a couple compromises. With the smaller-than-average tweeters and woofers, you may have to adjust expectations when it comes to volume, bass, and clarity. At this price point, splurging on more than one set may still run cheaper than buying a single pair.
Things to Consider Before Buying Ceiling Speakers
Really good sound equipment is almost always considered an add-on, even with things like fancy televisions, video game systems, and computers. Still, those who own a dedicated soundbar or a fancy set of noise-canceling headphones can attest to the audible difference between okay sound and amazing sound. However, ceiling speakers require not only a fairly hefty investment, but some actual handiwork. In many cases, a great soundbar or surround-sound system may not only be less expensive, but easier to install. Granted, if you’ve caught the home theater bug, nothing will match the kind of immersive sound that ceiling speakers provide. Plus, unlike conventional speakers that tend to stand out, these are made to blend in. You won’t see them, but you will hear, and in the best cases, feel the sound, just like you would in a real-life $15 a ticket movie theater. Also, the word “ceiling” is relative here. You may be able to get similar immersive quality out of your speakers if you mount them on the walls behind where you typically sit.
Looking at a ceiling speaker one wonders, “How does this thing work? Where does it get its power?” The answer to both of these questions is from a multi-room amplifier, such as the Sonos Amp. Amplifiers work as a hub for your ceiling speakers as well as other sound devices in your home to integrate them into televisions, computers, and other devices. You will also need the right cable to connect your speakers to your amp. The industry standard is 16/2 speaker wire, though it never hurts to check which cable size the speakers you bought require. Also, if your speaker is far away from your amp (upwards of 75 feet), you may consider investing in a thicker gauge. Sound traveling far distances tends to deteriorate otherwise. Of course, if you’re going to make space for these speakers in your drywall, you will also need some power tools and a ladder. Luckily, all speakers come with a cutout for the exact size hole you’ll need to make, so the carpentry expertise needed to install this will be kept to a minimum. Also, as previously stated, before you even consider buying a pair of ceiling speakers, it’s good to check if your ceiling can even handle them. They will require at least four inches of space behind the speakers to work properly.
Trust the Experts
Can you install ceiling speakers yourself? Of course. Should you? The answer isn’t so clear cut. The trouble with ceiling speakers is that much of their magic wholly depends on where you mount them in any given room. And whether you’re installing them in a small home theater or in a sprawling living room, there are plenty of variables that can affect the quality of your listening experience. Does that mean you should leave it all up to your friendly neighborhood audio technician? Perhaps. If you don’t mind doing the handiwork yourself, you could likely just consult them for advice on where to place ceiling speakers in any given room. It would be a real bummer to spend the time, money, and elbow grease in installing ceiling speakers that don’t provide the experience you’re looking for.
If you’re planning on adding ceiling speakers to your entire house, consider that you don’t need to splurge in every room. Save the fancy speaker models for rooms that require it. The living room, game room, and theater room will easily take full advantage of a pricier model like the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker. But do you really need the best audio in your kitchen? Feel free to mount more affordable speakers in rooms that get less audio action. Also, remember that rooms with fluctuating humidity require speakers that can handle it, like the Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8-inch Speakers. Mold is no fun, even in a house-wide sound system.
Q: What are the best ceiling speakers?
Our pick for the best overall ceiling speakers is the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II but the Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker is unmatched for smaller rooms.
Q: Do ceiling speakers sound good?
Ceiling speakers sound very good, and provide immersive audio especially when integrated into a home theater.
Q: What is the best brand for ceiling speakers?
In general, the best ceiling speakers are made by dependable names in audio like the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker or the Sonos Architectural 6.5-Inch Passive 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers.
Q: How much do ceiling speakers cost?
Ceiling speakers roughly cost from one to several hundred dollars each, and usually available in pairs or alone. Buying a renewed model, like the Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker is a good way to make the investment a little more affordable.
Q: How many speakers do I need in my ceiling?
It depends on the size of the room. Smaller rooms could get by using a single speaker, but larger rooms may require up to three.
Q: How many watts do I need for ceiling speakers?
The larger the room, the more wattage you will need to fill it with sound. Efficient speakers may require as little as 25 watts per speaker.
Q: What should I look for when buying in-ceiling speakers?
It’s wise to consider buying a speaker with aim-able tweeters so that once you mount them, you can ensure that sound will be heard all around a room with little to no dead-zones.
Final Thoughts on Ceiling Speakers
Ceiling speakers are a must-have if you’re going for the true theater experience. The very idea of drilling a hole in the ceiling is daunting, but not half as daunting as dropping hundreds of dollars on a system, once you include the amp needed to utilize them. For the best in-ceiling sound, bet on Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II, which offers a reliable, practically invisible pair. Buying one, two, or three renewed Micca M-6C 6-Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speakers is a green option that will save you some green too. For outdoor sound systems or any room where the humidity is in flux, Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8-inch Speakers are a dependable option.
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.