Whether you’re trying to swap out your dash speakers, or you just want to add more for a fuller sound, 3.5” speakers are a must for anyone who wants their car audio to be taken to the next level.
That being said, the best 3.5 inch speakers aren’t all that easy to find. Not only do you have a myriad of options, but there are some outright bad picks that promise great audio and then underdeliver by a lot.
To avoid that, we’ve rounded up a few options for you. They’re all from reputable brands and are all tried and tested products that perform admirably.
From the most wallet-friendly to the most premium one, you can’t go wrong with any one of them. It’s all about picking the ones that fit your budget best, so let’s take a look at our contenders.
1. Skar Audio TX35: Best Cheap 3.5-Inch Car Speakers
Skar Audio is a household name in the budget car audio world, and the TX35 are a great pick if you don’t want to spend a lot of money. They check pretty much all the boxes for a great experience, and they actually don’t have anything holding them back.
First things first, these are two-way coaxial speakers, which means you get a tweeter and a woofer.
At this price, this isn’t something we should be complaining about, but if you are nitpicky in regards to the sound, you’ll probably notice that the midrange is slightly lacking.
On the other hand, the highs are very crisp and sound great, and there is powerful bass coming from the woofer, too. The 0.8” silk dome tweeter does a great job, better than we’d expect at this price.
And to make things even better, the 1” high-temperature copper voice coil and the ferrite magnet result in a pretty powerful sound overall.
The other thing we liked about the TX35 is the actual build. They come with a 1.625” mounting depth, which makes them pretty easy to install, and they’re built really well.
There are no weak points, and if you set them up right, these are a pair that will easily last you for years.
And of course, we shouldn’t forget the design.
These don’t really try to be flashy and attract attention. Instead, they’re very subtle looking, with an all-black design that fits right in any design.
And that subtleness is what makes them so good because they impress you with sound quality instead of looks.
At the end of the day, at this price, we can hardly complain about the lack of midrange.
And this is especially true considering that the lows and highs are excellent, just as they’re supposed to, and the design and build are great.
If you’re looking to save a bit of money by not going for a premium pick, you should certainly consider these as an option.
- Very affordable price
- Good build quality
- Subtle, yet nice design
- Lacking midrange
- Not too powerful
When it comes to big brands in the audio industry, Pioneer are certainly among the leading ones.
That is why their TS-A878 is on our list as one of the best 3.5-inch speakers because, for a reasonable price, you’re getting audio quality that punches way above its weight in many ways.
That being said, they do have one flaw that not everyone can work with.
First things first, these sound pretty good. The tweeter is a 1” PEI dome, which results in some very accurate, very smooth highs.
Also, the cone is a carbon-graphite blended IMPP composite. If you aren’t big into materials, what you should know is that this kind of woofer results in a powerful and very punchy bass.
You’d be surprised at how good speakers this small can sound, especially in terms of the low end.
Now, these are two-way speakers, so you don’t have a dedicated midrange, but everything does sound pretty full and complete. This is surprising for such speakers, but we love it because it makes them an even better value.
As far as power goes, you’ve got a maximum power of 60 watts, but the 15-watt nominal power should be pretty decent.
On one hand, they aren’t too powerful, but on the other hand, they don’t really require a powerful amp, so you can use them in any car without spending extra money.
When it comes to the design, though, things aren’t all that nice.
Yes, you get a pretty simple design that fits with any vehicle, but on the other hand, Pioneer has added two wires that go to the actual tweeter.
While they might be functional, they’re just plain ugly, and these are speakers that you’ll want to cover up in some way.
If you don’t really mind the aesthetics and that wire that’s coming out of the speakers, these are actually a great set of speakers for the money, even though they aren’t cheap.
- Great sound, even despite the lack of midrange
- Excellent construction
- Reputable manufacturer
- Design is plain ugly
3. Infinity REF3022CFX: Best 3.5-Inch Car Speakers For Value
One thing that most car speakers have in common is that they tend to overdo the bass. Yes, for some it might sound better, but if you want to hear the music like the artist wanted you to, you’ll need something that’s with a slightly more neutral sound.
And for that, Infinity’s Reference Series REF3022CFX are an excellent choice.
First things first, these are two-way speakers, so you get a tweeter and a woofer.
In most cases, this would result in a sound that lacks midrange, but that’s not the case with the REF3022CFX. The highs are very clear and crisp, and the bass is powerful and punchy but in no way overpowering, which is great.
And the midrange is pretty good, with pretty good separation in terms of vocals and instruments. Overall, we have no complaints about the sound quality, and these definitely punch above their class.
In terms of power, they sit at 75 watts maximum power.
This might not sound like too much, but with a well-balanced speaker like the REF3022CFX, that’s not a problem at all. They do get loud if you want them to, and they won’t require you to have a powerful amp either, which is great.
To add to this, the build quality is great, too. They are made to last, which isn’t the case with many of their competitors, and once you see them, everything just screams quality.
The tweeter also looks really nice, with an interesting design that we would honestly leave out on the open, and not cover with a grille. Of course, that might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but still.
Whether you’re looking to replace your factory speakers, and don’t want a pair that changes the sound dramatically in order to sound more powerful, Infinity’s reference series REF3022CFX is a great pick that you’ll love.
And when you look at the price, too, they become an even better option.
- Well balanced and neutral sound
- Beautiful design that looks nice without a grille
- Excellent build quality
- Not exactly cheap
- 75 watts isn’t too powerful
Rockford is a household name when it comes to higher-end speakers that sound great.
Yes, they may be expensive, but you’re paying a slight premium for the brand, and you’re also getting quality sound and a beautiful design that you won’t want to cover up with a grille.
Let’s discuss the sound first. These are two-way full-range speakers that come with a tweeter and a woofer, so you don’t have a midrange speaker.
However, Rockford did their magic, and that’s not something you’ll feel when listening to music on the Fosgate P132.
To add to this, both the highs and the lows are very good, clear and crisp, just as they should be. That mineral-filled polypropylene cone is a bit overpowering, so non-bassheads might not love it.
If you want a neutral sound, there are certainly better options. The PEI dome tweeter has a built-in crossover as well, which is neat.
Rockford also made sure the Fosgate P132 are extremely easy to mount, too, because they’ve implemented their FlexFit basket, which gives you slots instead of holes that only fit a single screw.
If you have a non-specific layout of screws, or you want to move these slightly, this is certainly an option because you get the added versatility. You can get a better fit, that’s for sure.
In terms of the design, Rockford did pay attention here, and that’s more than obvious. You have an all-black design that’s subtle and modern and looks stunning.
When you factor in everything, the Fosgate P132 is a good premium pick.
The only downside is power because you’re looking at 20 watts RMS, but if you appreciate high-quality sound and an overall great build, including the design, it’s more than worth it.
And yes, they might be higher priced than the rest of the competition, but again – factor in all you’re getting, and that price quickly becomes something you can work with.
- Beautiful all-black design
- Great sound quality with a full and rich sound
- Versatile mounting
- Power could be better
- Certainly not the cheapest pick out there
5. JL Audio C2-350x: Best 3.5-Inch Coaxial Car Speakers
The first thing you’ll think when you look at JL Audio’s C2 Series speakers, the C2-350x, is probably “Wow, they’re very, very expensive”. They cost three times as some of the other options on our list, and for some that will be enough to stop looking into them.
But honestly, it shouldn’t, because this is an excellent set of speakers from a reputable brand that sounds great, and is very much worth its asking price.
When it comes to the sound, JL Audio did a great job here. You get a 3.5-inch woofer that has mineral-filled polypropylene cones, as well as a 0.75-inch tweeter with silk dome diaphragms.
This is a great combination for a two-way coaxial speaker because when tuned well, it helps mitigate the issue that is a lacking dedicated midrange.
Even with just these two, the speakers sound very full and rich, and not like something is missing. As JL Audio themselves put it, they sound clean and dynamic, which is just what you want from a good pair of speakers.
Installation is pretty easy because they use slots that you can easily move around. This is the easy way of getting a great fit from your speakers, especially if you’ve had issues with other options.
While we’re talking build, these are built like a tank, and there is no way of them getting damaged easily. They also look pretty neat, with an all-black design that doesn’t stand out – instead, it blends in and disappears in your dashboard.
Now, the part you’ve been waiting for – the price. Yes, the C2-350x are undoubtedly expensive.
But you’re getting great build quality, a beautiful design, and a sound that’s better than almost anything else up to this price point.
And to add to this, they come from one of the most reputable car audio brands out there, which only adds to the value. Overall, yes, they’re very much worth it.
- Great design that’s both beautiful, and easy to install
- Excellent sound quality overall
- Very well built