What Are The Best 3.5″ Speakers? (2020 Edition)
Do you look forward to driving in your car every single time? If not, maybe that’s because you don’t have a great set of speakers. With sweet sounds, you’ll truly enjoy the passion of your favorite artists, without missing a single tone or beat, once and for all.
Without a doubt, upgrading your stock car speakers will deliver a noticeable improvement to your sound, and it doesn’t have to break your bank account. Read on for our picks for the best 3.5″ speakers on the market in 2020.
- Best 3.5″ Car Speakers in 2020
- #1 – Rockford Fosgate Punch 3.5” Coaxial Speakers (P132)
- #2 – Kicker 3.5” 43DSC3504 2-Way Speakers
- #3 – Kenwood 3.5” Dual-Cone Speakers (KFC835C)
- #4 – Pioneer 3.5” 2-Way Speakers TS-A878
- #5 – Polk Audio db351
- #6 – Jbl gx302
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I get 3.5-inch speakers for my car?
- How do I choose a 3.5-inch speaker?
- Are 3.5-inch speakers universally compatible?
- Do I need an aftermarket amp, too?
- How do I find speakers with the best sound?
- Will they fit in car doors?
Best 3.5″ Car Speakers in 2020
#1 – Rockford Fosgate Punch 3.5” Coaxial Speakers (P132)
When it comes to car audio, Rockford has a hard-won reputation for producing quality kit at pocket-friendly prices. At the lowest end of their broad spread of sizes, these nifty 3.5” speakers punch above their weight. Power handling is impressive and build quality first-rate. Installation is a breeze and these car speakers even acquit themselves well on a boat.
- Fantastic construction and built to stay the distance
- Robust power handling for a smaller unit
- Wide frequency response range for a complete sound
- Underwhelming at lower frequencies
Rockford Fosgate’s P132s can handle 20 watts of RMS power giving you impressive grunt for a scaled-down speaker.
Frequency response and sensitivity are such that you’ll enjoy clarity across the sound spectrum. Bass response is slightly disappointing.
The molded cone and tweeter are rock solid and will withstand some serious punishment.
With an ICC (Integrated Concealed Crossover) design, setting up is a cinch and, with the crossover hidden away in the basket, you’ll get a slick, clean look. If you want your car audio to look great while still performing at its best, think seriously about a pair of P312s.
#2 – Kicker 3.5” 43DSC3504 2-Way Speakers
For a capable and affordable pair of 3.5” speakers from a brand you can trust, these Kicker are hard to beat. Their shallow-mount design makes them the ideal solution for vehicles with limited space inside. Power is potent for a little set of car speakers. Build quality is first-class and these car speakers should give you many years of happy service.
- Superb RMS and peak power
- Narrow mount depth so perfect for compact vehicles
- Extremely affordable given the quality
- Treble needs damping down
If you want to give your car’s stock system a serious tweak without breaking the bank, this pair of 3.5-inchers from Kicker makes a solid starting point.
With RMS power of 20 watts peak power, these speakers are at the upper end of what you’d expect from a unit in this class. Extended voice coil technology delivers outstanding rich sound quality across the whole range.
Although you won’t win any car audio comps, bass is acceptable for a compact set of car speakers.
Installation couldn’t be easier and the way in which the tweeters are designed to remain flush rather than protruding is a further space-saver.
#3 – Kenwood 3.5” Dual-Cone Speakers (KFC835C)
Kenwood is a heavyweight in the audio industry and these dual-cone 3.5-inchers will ensure you have fantastic sounds as the backdrop to a road trip. Despite a rugged build and a broad, balanced sound quality, these speakers are surprisingly affordable so give yourself a treat and rod test these Kenwood today.
- Dependable and long-lasting
- Capable performance across all frequencies
- Brand heritage and value for money rolled into one
- Installation can be awkward in some vehicles
If you’re looking to add some 3.5” speakers to your ride, you need to understand that you won’t get bone-shaking bass or a sound commensurate with a full woofer-laden system. The Kenwood can handle 20 watts of RMS power, though, so you can crank the volume up without any annoying distortion.
Kenwood places design uppermost without ever straying into form over function. While these understated speakers undeniably look the part, the crisp sound quality across all frequencies is their key selling point.
Highly sensitive speakers, you’ll get the volume you need without drawing down too much power for the double win.
Although these speakers are not the strongest when it comes to really low-end bass, if your preferred music is more in the upper frequency response ranges, these mini speakers will not disappoint.
#4 – Pioneer 3.5” 2-Way Speakers TS-A878
For a crisp and clear sound, this pair of Pioneer excels across the frequency response range. Bass is more than respectable for dinky 3.5” speakers. Carbon and graphite cones are solid and durable. Installation is super-simple. The TS-A878 are tailor-made for GMC, VW and Ford vehicles.
- Surprisingly punchy bass for small speakers
- Easy to fit so get up and running straight out the box
- Dome tweeters deliver superb high-range frequencies
- Don’t fit all vehicles so do your compatibility research
You need to keep your expectations reasonable when you’re looking at 3.5” speakers. You should be looking to uprate the car’s stock system rather than imagining you’ll get window-shattering basslines.
That said, this pair of Pioneer handle a wide range of frequencies with a sensitivity of 88 decibels. Mid-range and high-range sounds come out with wonderful clarity and, though it’s not in subwoofer league, you’ll get more than sufficient bass from these babies.
Power handling is 15 watts RMS maxing out at 60 watts peak power.
The Pioneer are marketed at owners of Ford, VW and GMC rides. They will fit some other vehicles but do your due diligence to avoid disappointment.
#5 – Polk Audio db351
Polk Audio makes excellent sound products, and this Polk Audio db351 speaker set is no different. These offer excellent fidelity with a superb blend of highs and lows.
- Excellent weather resistance
- Polk Audio patented Dynamic Balance
- High sensitivity and precise sound fidelity
- Bass blockers can cause distortion
- Tweeters stick out a bit more than usual
The patented Dynamic Balance provides the least amount of resonance, giving you smoother play across the board.
They’re designed to withstand some heavy environmental factors, including hotter temps and sun damage. They’re also set up well against the rain, increasing options from just cars to boats and other vehicles. They’re already a great sound investment, but extra weather resistance ensures your investment is sound.
Installation is easy, but the tweeter sticks out a little. It’s not an issue with sound but can be an aesthetic issue. The bass blockers could cause some distortion, but overall, it’s a smooth sound.
#6 – Jbl gx302
The JBL GX302 speakers are an excellent option if you don’t always have a reliable power connection. Their unique combination of ohm impedance and an RMS of 25 watts helps ensure a powerful sound in a variety of circumstances.
- Good mid-range sound
- No aftermarket amp needed
- Suitable for low power
- Can overload more easily
- May require more modifications for some cars.
The lower impedance does cause lower resistance, putting you at greater risk of blowing out, but it does have a robust and well-rounded sound overall. If you’re upgrading from a factory or other cheap speakers, it does significantly improve the overall experience.
They won’t need an aftermarket amp, but when combined with further high-end equipment, it can be excellent. The polarity isn’t marked clearly, so pay attention when installing. They may require a few more modifications for some types of cars, but it would be worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get 3.5-inch speakers for my car?
An aftermarket speaker can improve your car’s sound quality by broadening the range of sounds. A full range 3.5 speaker is an affordable upgrade to more expensive equipment, but can vastly improve the harshness of your stock speakers.
How do I choose a 3.5-inch speaker?
For most purposes, full-range speakers are an excellent choice for beginners or if you don’t have an ample budget because they’re easier to install, but component speakers can also be a good choice for higher-end installations or sound enthusiasts.
Full range, also known as coaxial, speakers have all the sound components included in one device, making them cheaper and more straightforward during installation. Component speakers give you more control over the different sound elements but are far more time-consuming.
Choose based on your ability level and your commitment to sound. If possible, hear the difference in real life, and if you can’t tell much, you should go with an easier installation.
Are 3.5-inch speakers universally compatible?
Nothing’s worse than getting something cool, and finding out it doesn’t fit. You should check online to find out if the speakers you want are compatible with the form of your car’s stock speakers. You can also measure the dimensions directly.
It’s possible to install incompatible speakers, but you’ll have to be comfortable modifying the hole yourself. If that isn’t up your alley, get a compatible speaker. There should be plenty of speakers out there that you can use to get the sound you want.
Do I need an aftermarket amp, too?
Many 3.5 inch speakers will work with your car’s current system. However, many sound enthusiasts upgrade the amps too to help prevent distortion and provide a stronger sound. Match the power rating of your speakers to your amp.
How do I find speakers with the best sound?
Aside from hearing the speaker in person, a speaker with a large cone area can provide sensitivity and better low frequency response output. Ensure you have high-quality tweeters and a sturdy woofer for a full sound range.
Will they fit in car doors?
They can certainly be good options for car doors, but they aren’t a sure thing. Some have big magnets that don’t fit the depth of the standard car door. The positioning of some speakers might make it challenging to roll the window down fully.
Before throwing a set of speakers into your car doors, you need to plan for the dimensions of the speakers and other peripherals such as the windows. You can always modify the door itself, but this should be left to a professional to handle those types of modifications.