It’s the dream of every car owner to build the best stereo system in their car. Doing so requires having the best car stereo components. Car speakers are one of the main components of a car stereo system. The kind of speakers you have in your car hugely affects the overall quality of the sound you’ll get. Thus, it’s best to invest in the best speakers. However, most cars come with poor-sounding factory speakers. Factory speakers cannot give you a dream stereo system. The best option is investing in high-quality aftermarket speakers. Aftermarket speakers come in multiple variations in terms of design, model, and size. When it comes to size, 4 inch car speakers are some of the best sized speakers. They’re ideal for installing in almost all cars, even where interior space is limited. Read through this article for a review of the best 4 inch speakers you can find today.
How did we Write this Review?
Most car owners hardly know where to start when it comes to upgrading their car stereo. There’re many car owners who ask us for tips on how to upgrade their car stereo. We always advise them that building a great sound system demands installing high-quality speakers. We decided to review the best 4 inch speakers to make your work easier when making your choice. With this review, you won’t make mistakes when choosing replacement speakers for your car. We only included the best models you can find in the market today. Regardless of the kind of speaker you need for your car, you’ll surely find a matching one for you in this review. We wrote this review upon analyzing what existing users have experienced with their 4 inch speakers. We also gathered details from the manufacturers in order to assess and analyze their features. Upon extensive research and analysis, we came up with a list of 8 speakers. Read on for their review.
The Top Eight 4 Inch Speakers
While there’re dozens of 4 inch replacement speakers in the market, only 8 models made it on our list. Why is that so? You can only find out by going through each review and find the model that has the features you need.
1. Rockford Fosgate R14X2 Prime
Rockford, as a leading manufacturer of stereo equipment, is never left behind when it comes to making high-quality car speakers. Its R14X2 Prime is a new generation aftermarket speaker. Here’s why the Rockford Fosgate R14X2 Prime leads in our review:
Unique Features of Rockford Fosgate R14X2 Prime
- Inbuilt high-pass filter– The speaker comes with an integrated crossover for filtering low frequencies. It ensures that the tweeter driver is only fed with high-frequencies. As such, you’ll get clean highs.
- Double grilles– The last thing you’d want is your new speaker getting damaged by foreign objects. Luckily, this speaker comes with double grilles for enhanced protection. The grilles keep the cone protected from damage. The double grilles make it hard for foreign objects to reach the cone.
- Vacuum-formed woofer cone– Rockford R14X2 Prime consists of a vacuum-formed woofer cone. Vacuum forming ensures that the woofer driver is strong, yet thin. Vacuum forming allows for greater consistency in the performance of the entire driver layer such that the outermost cone area performs as great as the innermost cone area.
- Flush-mounted tweeter– The tweeter driver that comes with R14X2 Prime is flush-mounted on the speaker basket. Flush mounting the tweeter eliminates the ripple effect of high frequencies. As such, highs are less diffracted such that they sound better.
- Easy fit– This speaker is specially designed to fit in most cars. The tweeter doesn’t protrude outwards, making it more concealed to fit in most cars. You can install the speaker anywhere on your car without worrying about the tweeter getting damaged.
- Double grilles
- Easy to install
- Very affordable
- Full range speakers
- Comes with installation hardware
- Not the best for loud music
- Speakers wires not held well in place
The Rockford Fosgate R14X2 Prime is an ideal speaker for anyone who needs high-quality speakers on a budget. Although the speaker sounds great, it’s not the best for playing your music loudly.
2. Kicker 41DSC44
Kicker hardly disappoints when it comes to manufacturing car speakers. Its 41DSC44 model has many features to boast about, and that’s why it made it to our list. This speaker is specially designed to fit in most cars. Here’re its unique features and benefits.
Unique Features of Kicker 41DSC44
- Thin profile– A major benefit that comes with this speaker is its thin mounting profile. It’s designed in such a way that makes it easy to install in doors with tight window mechanisms. Thus, the speaker will not affect the clearance of a car window, especially when opening it all the way down.
- Minimal tweeter protrusion– The tweeter that comes with this speaker is designed in such a way that its protrusion is minimal. It’s visually appealing while at the same time it doesn’t prevent you from covering the speaker with the provided grille. Moreover, its minimal protrusion makes it possible to install the speaker in tight car spaces.
- High sensitivity– The sensitivity rating of this speaker is quite high. This makes it possible to drive it even with less powerful receivers. Thus, you’ll be able to power it with your factory receiver. With this speaker, there’ll be no need to invest in a new receiver, especially when you’re upgrading your car stereo under a tight budget.
- Dynamic sound– Kicker 41DSC44 is designed as a 2-way driver system, featuring a tweeter and woofer driver. As such, the speaker reproduces dynamic sound for improved listening experience.
- Dedicated highs– The PEI dome tweeter driver that comes with this speaker is specially designed to reproduce dedicated highs. The ½ inch tweeter in each of the speaker pair hits crisp highs such that you’ll not miss out on instrumentals in your favorite tracks.
- Clear sound
- Loud enough
- Fits in most cars
- Ribbed foam surround
- Not the best for an audiophile
- May require a crossover for better lows
The Kicker 41DSC44 is ideal for car owners looking for a loud, clear, and low-powered 4 inch speaker. However, a crossover would be needed for enhanced lows.
3. JBL GT7-4
JBL GT7-4 series 4 inch speaker is designed to replace factory speakers without compromising on the sound in your car. It’s designed with the latest technologies, making it find a great spot in our review. Its unique features will surely make you consider it when upgrading your car stereo. Let’s have a look at its features.
- Foam surround– This JBL speaker is made of a foam surround. Foam is advantageous in that it’s lightweight, thereby enhancing the performance of the speaker. Foam material does not dry out over time, making it retain its original performance for a longer time.
- Plus One Technology– The speaker cone is made using Plus One cone technology. As such, the cone has a larger surface area, making it sound better than other speakers of its category. The larger surface area makes it reproduce louder and deeper mid and low frequencies.
- Enhanced musical character– The JBL GT7-4 series 4 inch speaker delivers enhanced musical character. With this speaker, you’ll get improved sound quality, including enhanced sound balance, enhanced tempo, and enhanced dynamics.
- Enhanced Low-frequency output– This speakers allows you to enjoy low-frequency output, thanks to it wide frequency response. Thus, car music enthusiasts who enjoy deeper lows are fully covered by this speaker. Expect nothing less than decent bass.
- Full-range response– With this speaker, you’ll be assured of enjoying full-range sound, thanks to its full-range frequency response. It has a tweeter that reproduces highs and a woofer cone that reproduces great lows and midrange. Thus, you won’t miss out on any music details.
- Stylish design
- Hassle-free installation
- Exceptional sound quality
- OEM-level reliability testing
- Tweeter cups, mounting adapter rings, and grilles are provided
- May cut off at high volume
- Crackling and rattling at high volume
Looking for a replacement speaker that won’t disappoint? The JBL GT7-4 4” speaker delivers enhanced sound quality. Although it’s not the best speaker for turning the volume all the way up, you’ll enjoy high-quality full-range response.
4. Infinity REF-4022cfx
Infinity has specially designed its REF-4022cfx 4-inch replacement speaker to deliver signature sound in car stereo systems. As such, we couldn’t hesitate to review this speaker for your own benefit. With that said, let’s look at the features that make this speaker stand out among other speakers of its category.
Unique Features of Infinity REF-4022cfx
- Smooth and accurate highs– The speaker comes with advanced edge-driven textile tweeters. This tweeter design ensures that highs are smooth and accurate. Moreover, this tweeter design ensures that the highs are loud enough without sounding harsh to the ears.
- Adjustable tweeter level– The tweeter comes with an adjustable level control. The control makes it possible to adjust and optimize the tweeter output level according to the installation location. For instance, you can install the speaker in the front door and set the output level lower or install it at the back door and set the output level higher.
- Enhanced clarity– The overall sound reproduced by the speaker comes with enhanced clarity. You’ll get full-range frequency response without any harshness in all frequencies. As such, you’ll get well-balanced sound without any frequency range overpowering the other.
- Works with most head units– You can easily power this speaker with a factory head unit. It also works great when connected to an aftermarket head unit. Moreover, you can maximize its potential by connecting it to an external amplifier.
- Tough woofer cone– The Infinity REF-4022cfx features a polypropylene woofer cone. This cone material is extremely tough, making it more durable than other cone materials. It can withstand extended usage without reduction in performance.
- Clear music details
- Hi-roll rubber surround
- Near-universal compatibility
- Large speaker cone surface area
- Comes with foam mounting tape
- Grilles are not provided
- May crackle on high bass boost and high gain
Anyone looking for speakers that will deliver well-balanced, full-range sound should not look any further but consider the Infinity REF-4022cfx 4-inch speaker in their shortlist.
5. Pioneer TS-F1034R
The pair of Pioneer 4″ Speakers is specially designed for affordability. Despite being extremely affordable, these speakers perform above par when compared to stock speakers. These speakers are actually the most affordable speakers in our list of review. Read through their features to find out why they made it on our list.
Unique Features of Pioneer TS-F1034R
- Great mid and highs¬- These speakers perform superbly when it comes to mid-range and high frequencies. Their tweeters reproduce crisp highs and whereas the woofer cones reproduce smooth mid-range. Thus, you’ll clearly hear the instrumentals and treble in your favorite music.
- Dual cone– A major unique feature about these speakers is their dual cone. The dual cone design provides for a larger surface area cone. Thus, they deliver more punchy sound than other speakers of their size and category.
- Super affordable– These speakers are built for affordability. As such, you can’t have any excuse of sticking to your dull stock speakers. You’re guaranteed of superb performance and quality despite their extremely low pricing.
- Low-powered– The Pioneer TS-F1034R have a power rating of 20 watts RMS. This means that they’re a low-powered set of speakers. What’s the benefit of choosing low-powered speakers? The main benefit is that they won’t demand a lot of power to drive them such that you can drive them with enough power from a basic stock receiver.
- Straightforward installation– By investing in these speakers, you won’t have to worry about the installation process. They’re easy to install such that you can install them on your own without having to visit a car stereo installation center.
- Easy to install
- Very affordable
- Crystal clear vocals
- Two-way driver system with dual cone
- Not the best for bass
- May distort when turning the volume all the way up
- May distort when installed in a depth of more than 2 inches
Looking for decent and high performance speakers without spending too much? If so, the Pioneer TS-F1034R would be your most ideal choice.
6. Polk Audio DB401
The Polk Audio DB401 replacement speaker is specially designed to allow listeners to hear the best of their music. The speaker is designed using the latest technologies for enhanced sound reproduction. While it’s the most expensive speaker in our review list, it has great features that make it worth its price. Here’re some of its greatest features.
Unique Features of Polk Audio DB401
- Laser imaging technology– The speaker is made using the latest laser imagining technology. This technology allows for determination of the best combination of materials to make the speaker sound best. This technology also allows for a design that eliminates distortion.
- Sharp music details– When listening to your favorite music, you obviously want to hear all details. Luckily, with this speakers, you’ll enjoy sharp music details. You’ll be able to differentiate different music details with ease, making your listening experience more enjoyable.
- Loud and clean– At times, you may want to turn your volume up for louder music. The Polk Audio DB401 allows for playing loud music. Moreover, you’ll enjoy clean music at high volume.
- Smooth frequency response– This 2-way speaker allows for full-range sound, with smooth frequency response. As such, you’ll enjoy smooth balance between different frequencies without any of the frequencies overpowering the other.
- Polymer/mica composite woofer– The woofer driver that comes with this speaker is made using a composite of a polymer film and mica. The result is a stronger woofer driver. This allows for enhanced performance and longevity of the woofer driver.
- Stylish grilles
- Inbuilt crossover
- Silk/polymer dome tweeters
- Seamless sound reproduction
- Comes with stainless steel mounting hardware
- High price range
- Bass is decent but not deep
- May pop when turning the bass boost up
Anyone who doesn’t mind spending a little bit more for high-quality speakers should invest in the Polk Audio DB401 replacement speaker. It’s pricing is worth its features.
7. Alpine S-S40
Alpine has been manufacturing car speakers for some decades now. The S-S40 model is among Alpine’s latest car speakers. If you’ve been struggling with stock speakers, this will be a perfect replacement to make enhance your car music. Here’s why this speaker is worth your consideration when upgrading your car stereo.
Unique Features of Alpine S-S40
- Mounting adapter– Installing replacement car speakers can be made quite easy when using a mounting adapter. Luckily, this speaker comes with an extended mounting adapter plate. The adapter plate will allow you to install the speaker in the existing speaker hole without having to cut out a new hole.
- Carbon fiber reinforced cone– The speaker cone that comes with this speaker is made of a plastic material. The material is further reinforced with carbon fiber. This allows for enhanced cone stiffness while still ensuring that it remains lightweight for enhanced performance
- High amplitude surround– This speaker features a high amplitude surround. The surround is designed as a multi-roll rubber surround, making it have a larger surface area. This design makes it deliver cleaner sound with reduced distortion
- Precise highs– The silk dome tweeters that come with this speaker reproduce precise highs. You’ll easily note all details in the high frequencies, thereby giving you a chance to enjoy the rich character of instrumentals.
- Coaxial speaker system– Alpine S-S40 is designed as a 2-way coaxial speaker. It features a tweeter and a woofer cone. The tweeter delivers highs whereas the woofer cone delivers treble and lows. Thus, you’ll enjoy full-range sound.
- Large voice coil
- High power handling
- Wide frequency response
- Accurate and efficient performance
- Comes with a mounting adapter plate
- Doesn’t come with grilles
- The tweeter protrudes outwards
- You may have to add an external amplifier
Alpine S-S40 makes a perfect buy for anyone seeking speakers that can be pushed hard with an external amplifier without distorting.
8. Kenwood KFC-1095PS
The brand name Kenwood stands out in almost all car audio equipment. Kenwood has not been left behind when it comes to designing 4 inch speakers. Its KFC-1095PS model is specially designed to add sonic bang to any car stereo. Let’s look at the features that made us consider reviewing it here:
Unique Features of Kenwood KFC-1095PS
- 3-way speaker– It’s worth noting that this is the only 3-way speaker we have reviewed here. As such, you’ll get a wider frequency range with this speaker than other speakers of its category in our review. It features a tweeter, a super tweeter, and a woofer cone for enhanced full-range sound.
- Startling highs– Expect nothing less than startling highs from this speaker, thanks to the ceramic super tweeter and acoustic sound harmonizer that comes with it. It’s able to hit the highest frequencies that regular tweeters can’t. Thus, you’ll enjoy enhanced details from the instrumentals in your music.
- Articulate lows– The woofer driver that comes with this speaker is specially designed to reproduce articulate lows. You’ll enjoy enhanced lows with reduced distortion.
- Water-resistant cone– Another key feature of this speaker is its water-resistant cone. As such, you can use the speaker in highly humid environments without worrying about its performance. It keeps water and humidity away from the interior components, thereby enhancing the longevity of the speaker.
- Radial rib pattern– The speaker cone is made of a paper material with a radial rib pattern. This design pattern enhances the strength of the cone. It also allows the speaker to deliver more responsive lows.
- Outstanding highs
- Water-resistant cone
- Acoustic sound harmonizer
- Grilles and grille putty are provided
- Mounting hardware and speaker wire are provided
- Bass is not booming
- You may need an amp to drive them
- You may not win a car music competition with them
The Kenwood KFC-1095PS 4-inch speaker is the best option for music lovers who like listening to truly full-range sound, thanks to its 3-way driver system.
What You Need To Know When Buying the Best 4 Inch Speakers
When upgrading your car stereo, you’ll need to replace the stock speakers. 4-inch replacement speakers are a perfect size for replacing stock speakers in almost all cars. Their compact size makes them easy to fit in most cars. As you can see in the above review, different 4-inch speakers may come with different features. Thus, you need to know certain things when choosing the best 4 inch speakers. Here’s is what you need to know when making your final decision:
Certain materials are always better than others when it comes to making speakers. Thus, ensure the speaker you’re choosing is made of high-quality materials. Top-quality materials will guarantee you longevity of the speaker. Most importantly, ensure the speaker cone and surround are made of durable materials to ensure the speaker doesn’t tear easily. The speaker materials should be able to withstand prolonged usage. The speaker design should also integrate latest technologies for enhanced sound reproduction.
Speaker Power Rating
The power rating of the speakers you’ll choose for your car stereo will largely determine how powerful they’ll sound. If you want more powerful speakers, then go for speakers with a higher RMS power rating. Speakers with higher RMS rating will demand more power from your head unit, but they will surely reproduce deeper sound. If their power rating is higher, you’ll also need a powerful head unit or else invest in an external amp. If you want to stick to your stock head unit, then you may have to invest in less powerful speakers.
The sensitivity of the speakers you’ll choose will determine its compatibility with different head units. For instance, a speaker with a high sensitivity rating doesn’t demand a lot of power from the receiver. Thus, it can be easily powered by a stock head unit. On the contrary, if the speaker has a high sensitivity rating, then it’ll need more power and this means powering it with a powerful aftermarket receiver or an external car amp.
You’ll need to consider whether the speaker comes with mounting hardware such as mounting screws, adapter rings, and speaker wire. Replacement speakers that come with mounting hardware make it easier and hassle-free to install. For instance, if a replacement speaker comes with a mounting adapter ring or plate, it’ll be easier to install it in most speaker holes without having to cut out new speaker holes. It’ll also help when the speaker comes with all mounting hardware rather than having to buy them separately.
When choosing replacement speakers for your car audio system, always go for the highest quality speaker within your budget. However, your budget should not be the main determining factor. The main determining factor should be a speaker that has all the key features you need. With this review on the best 4 inch speakers in mind, you’ll rest assured of finding a replacement speaker that has everything you need. Moreover, we have reviewed speakers in a wide price range. Thus, there’s a speaker here ideal for everyone.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.