Speaker Sizes

What are the speaker sizes in my car?

Speaker size guide

Driving long distances can be hectic. One needs some company. In the absence of human company, drivers choose to turn on some soothing music. Original equipment manufacturer speakers may have dismal performances. Some drivers prefer aftermarket speakers which offer better sound balance and quality. What speaker size fits the vehicle considering the multiple options available in the car accessory market? Are there special installation tips for these speakers?

When dealing with speaker sizes, drivers come across different figures. Drivers confuse these figures as the diameters and thicknesses of the speakers. However, the dimensions have different meanings. Although the measurements are close to the diameters in some cases, they represent hole alignment distances or frame sizes.

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Speaker size terminology and definitions

How do you read a speaker size?

Take the speaker's widest point, which is usually its diameter. Write down the measurement so you don't forget it later. If your speaker isn't circular, make note of the widest points on each side to ensure that you have all of the information.

What is the diameter of a speaker?

The most typical speaker sizes vary between 6.5" and 8," although bigger speakers exist. The cone should be larger than the medium, yet not so big as to generate excessive high-frequency distortion.

Are bigger car speakers better?

The speaker's frequency response is the distance between bass, mids, and treble tones that can be produced without distortion. Strained noises are less prominent with bigger speakers. Smaller speakers offer the appearance of complete sound whereas larger ones deliver in reality. Full, natural, and realistic sounds emanate from such speakers.

What is the difference between a tweeter, woofer and subwoofer?

A woofer is a speaker that produces low-frequency sounds.
A subwoofer is a speaker intended for even lower-frequency sounds of a narrow frequency range.
A tweeter, in contrast, is a speaker designed to produce high-frequency sounds.

Do tweeters improve sound quality?

When it comes to enhancing audio, most individuals aren't thinking of tweeters. Tweeters, on the other hand, have an essential role. The quality that you hear coming out of your stereo is directly influenced by the shape and substance used to create tweeters.

What are the different types of speakers in a car?

Car speakers come in two varieties: component speakers and full range (or coaxial) speakers. To generate sound, either of these types of speakers uses a variety of drivers. The conversion of electrical energy into sound waves is performed by drivers. (

Do OEM speakers have standard sizes?

It is a question that most drivers struggle with. Will the factory speaker bear the exact dimensions as the multiple aftermarket alternatives, or does it have significant variations? Factory-standard speakers are designed for form and function. The car manufacturer optimizes the size of the speaker to fit the interior design finish of the vehicle. As a result, the speakers have unique sizes, with remarkable differences against standard aftermarket speakers. It explains why these speakers are found in unique locations within the vehicle. It is no surprise to find the speakers hidden under a grille, door panel or underneath the interior roof covers. It implies that the audio engineer fixing the new speakers has to perform extra duties to trace and unmount factory-type speakers.

In short, it is rare for the original equipment manufacturer speakers to bear exact semblance with standard aftermarket speakers.

Types of speakers

There are two main types of car speakers.

  • Coaxial
  • Component-type speakers

Coaxial speakers have the woofer, crossover and tweeter built into one assembly. Component speakers do not have a single assembly. Instead, the woofer, tweeter and crossover components are mounted separately. The sound quality of component speakers is superior to that of coaxial speakers.

Understanding aftermarket speaker sizes

The enthusiasm to purchase a new sound system for your vehicle takes you on a journey. Aftermarket alternatives have unique features that improve sound quality and installation procedures. Different manufacturers specify speakers by their sizes. Say 3.5 inch, 5 inches or 6-inch speakers. While this gives the perception that the speakers have the same sizes and outputs, the reality is different. The sizes relate to the diagonal speaker measurements or the distance between holes. It does not entirely describe the radial sizes of the speaker's cone. Never assume that speakers bearing similar dimensions have the exact same sizes and performance levels.

The installation positions for speakers have standard-size openings. The holes of the speaker fit on these openings. OEM speakers are installed in different locations, which may be difficult to access. During the installation of aftermarket alternatives, mechanics modify the speaker mountings to ensure they are tightly secured. These modifications range from fitting speaker spacers to more complex operations like metal surface cuts and welding.

Some new speakers come with speaker brackets. These are vital if the new units do not fit well into the existing speaker mounting holes. That is, the space between mounting holes could be smaller or larger than required. Alternatively, drivers can use speaker installation straps to secure the audio devices in place. The straps are easy to install and cheap to replace should they break.

Why Speaker Size Matters

We've mentioned that speakers are available in different sizes and designs. Drivers looking to install speakers in tight spaces will often purchase small-sized speakers. The popular size is the 3.5-inch option. These small-sized speakers have at least two screw mounting tabs. Due to their small sizes, the speakers have dismal sound quality. They have high treble but low bass levels. Often, these speakers do not have enclosures and remain exposed.

The next speaker size in line is the 4-inch speakers. They have a better sound quality and handle better power than their 3.5-inch counterparts. Although they are larger than 3.5-inch speakers, they feature smaller cones. It limits their bass handling capabilities. Some brands come with adapter plates which are vital for installation in different locations on the dashboard.

The 5.25-inch speakers have superior performances than the former types described. They are common factory-type speakers with several installation locations. When replacing them, car owners can opt for better-performing aftermarket alternatives and fit them at the front or rear door speaker compartments or below the rear deck. These speakers have good quality woofer cones and tweeters. They are suitable for midrange and midbass sound qualities.

6.5-inch subwoofers offer modest sound qualities. They are designed to handle high power outputs and improve the response of car speakers. They offer good quality bass sounds.

There are 4*6, 5*7, 6*8 and 6*9 inch speakers to suit the sound quality needs of different drivers. The 4*6 inch speakers have dismal performances due to their installation style, that limits their bass capabilities. The 5*7 inch speaker option is popular with sedans and hatchbacks and is installed in different vehicle parts. The speakers are found in compartments in the doors and rear panels. These speakers produce modest sound qualities. However, it is rare to find aftermarket alternatives for this category. They are only found in select car brands.

The 6*8 and 6*9 speakers are among the large-sized speakers drivers can purchase for their vehicles. The size ensures maximized cone sizes. These speakers have unique enclosures that improve the sound quality generated by the audio system. The large-sized speakers are suitable for recreational cars. They are easy to customize, and drivers can choose enclosures of their liking for installation in cars lacking speaker installation compartments. Drivers with enough installation spaces can go for 4*10 inch speakers having oval shapes.

Final words

When selecting an aftermarket speaker, ensure you have the correct dimensions. Check the speaker height and compare it against the available speaker mounting depth. Check the hole patterns of the aftermarket speakers. If factory and aftermarket holes do not align, use an adapter ring or modify the mountings. Finally, check the speaker covers. Leave some allowance between the tweeter and the grilles and some suitable space between the speaker magnet and the base mounting for quality sound delivery.