There’re many types of speakers available in the market today. They all come with their own unique features, advantages, and shortcomings. Some of the best speakers available today are in-wall speakers and ceiling speakers. These speakers are ideal for installation either in the wall or the ceiling. When installed in the wall, the speaker directs sound in a front-firing manner. If installed in the ceiling, the speaker directs sound in a down-firing manner.
These speakers are especially ideal for installation in a room with limited space. You won’t have to rearrange your room to install them. Moreover, they make a room look neater and can be camouflaged to make them less visible. Read on through this article for detailed reviews on the best in-wall speakers and the best in ceiling speakers available today.
Quick Comparison Table
How We Shortlisted the Top 10 In-wall and Ceiling Speakers
While installing a sound system in the wall and ceiling is a great initiative, you’ll need to invest in top-quality speakers for the best sound experience. However, it’s quite challenging to distinguish between low performance and high-performance speakers when shopping. Luckily for you, we partnered with leading sound engineers to come up with a list of the best in ceiling speakers. Thus, you can rest assured that the speakers we have listed are top-quality for the best sound experience.
Top 10 In-wall and Ceiling Speakers
Here’re the leading speakers for in-wall/ceiling installation, including their top features, what we like about them, and what we dislike:
1. Polk Audio RC80i
We listed this speaker among the top in our list based on its great features. It comes as a set of two speakers for enhanced sound output. Let’s look at its top features.
- Easy to camouflage– One of the key features that stand out most in this speaker is that you can easily hide it upon installation. The grille and flange that come with the speaker are paintable. Thus, you can camouflage them by painting them with the same color as your ceiling.
- Easy to install- This speaker comes with cams that secure it in place without having to do any extra work. All you’ll need to do to install the speaker is cutting a hole on the ceiling, feeding the speaker wires, and attaching the speaker into the hole. Then secure it firmly in place by rotating the cams.
- Swivel mounted tweeter– The speaker features a 1-inch high-frequency driver that is swivel-mounted at an angle of 15 degrees. This kind of mounting allows the tweeter to aim high-frequencies in a balanced manner to all listening positions. As such, you’ll enjoy clear highs regardless of your sitting position. It’s actually capable of directing bass to off-axis areas of a room.
- Durable material– Another great feature of this speaker is that it’s made of long-lasting material. The metallic components are moisture and rust-resistant. You can use them in the ceiling environment without worrying about damage from moisture and deterioration from rust. This makes the speaker safe for use in outdoor eaves, saunas, kitchens, and bathrooms.
- Wide sound dispersion- The speaker cone is specially designed for wide sound dispersion. It’s capable of dispersing sound evenly throughout a room. Moreover, the drivers are designed for dynamic balance for well-balanced sound regardless of your listening position.
- Polymer-composite woofer cone
- Rubber surround
- Strong speaker basket
- Rubber seals for preventing moisture seepage
- Ring radiator tweeter
- Doesn’t hit deep lows
- Not the best for an audiophile
The Polk Audio RC80i speaker is most suitable for use as a ceiling speaker and for anyone who wants incredible stereo sound.
2. Acoustic Audio CS-IC83
The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 is yet another superb ceiling speaker and in-wall speaker. Read on to find out why we ranked it as the second-best speaker in our review.
- Flush mount design– These set of 5 speakers are designed for flush mounting into the ceiling or wall. Thus, they will easily blend into the mounting surface and output sound without attracting attention from the listeners. This makes it easier to conceal these speakers. Your guests will hear amazing sound even without knowing where it’s actually coming from.
- Wide sound dispersion– The speakers are specially designed to disperse sound widely. Thus, they’ll disperse sound throughout the room for enhanced sound experience. You’ll hear all the sound details regardless of where you’re seated in the room.
- Full-range sound– Each speaker in this set comes as a 3-way speaker system. Each speaker in the set has a 13mm dome tweeter, an 8-inch woofer cone, and a midrange driver. Thus, you’ll get full-range sound comprising of lows, midrange, and highs.
- Mounting clamps– You’ll find it quite easy to install and lock the speakers securely in place with the help of lock mounting clamps. These clamps have enough pressure to lock the speakers firmly in place. Moreover, the speakers have a shallow mounting depth of just 3.7 inches.
- Durable housings– The speakers are made of durable housings that will keep the interior components secure in place. Thus, they won’t fall apart when playing music loudly. Moreover, the grilles that come with the speakers will offer them enhanced protection.
- The grilles and speaker housing are paintable
- Ideal for both in-wall/ceiling mounting
- Uses spring-loaded wire connections
- Cutout templates are provided
- An instruction manual is provided
- Challenging to install the grilles
- A little bit low on bass
The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 set of five speakers are most ideal for use in a home theater system or a whole house sound system.
3. Pyle PDIC1661RD
We haven’t left Pyle behind in our review due to their top-quality sound systems. The Pyle PDIC1661RD has numerous features to boast about including:
- Stereo sound– If you like stereo sound output, then you’ll surely want to consider this speaker. It comes as a pair of 2-way speakers. Each speaker features a polymer tweeter and woofer driver for rich stereo sound.
- Perfect integration– These speakers are designed for seamless integration into the existing décor. They’re barely visible and work effortlessly with a home theater system or any other sound system.
- Cutout templates– You’ll find it quite easy to install these speakers, thanks to the cutout template that comes with them. The template will make it easier to make a perfect hole for installing the speakers. They’ll save you from the challenge of making circular measurements.
- Shallow mounting depth– These speakers boast of having a mounting depth of just 2.8 inches. Thus, you can install them in narrow walls and tight ceilings. This makes them convenient for installation in most standard walls and ceilings.
- Spring terminals– The speaker terminals are spring-loaded, thereby making it easier and faster to connect speaker cables. There’s no soldering required and it’ll also be easy to remove and reinstall the speakers as needed.
- Greatly priced
- Stain-resistant grilles
- Flush mount speaker design
- Reinforced polypropylene cones
- ABS speaker construction
- Lacks sufficient midrange sound
- Not very powerful
If you’re looking for a speaker system that you can use for both ceiling and in-wall installation, then this is the speaker set to buy.
4. Micca M-8C
The Micca M-8C speaker is designed to deliver unbeatable sound and top-quality performance in a home audio setup. Let’s look at the reasons why this speaker made it in our review.
- Pivoting tweeter design- This speaker comes with a silk dome tweeter with a pivoting design. The tweeter is designed in such a way that it reproduces sufficient highs with clarity and detail. Moreover, it’s designed in such a way that it projects focused highs. The pivoting design allows the highs to be audible in a spacious listening room.
- High-performance crossover– Another top feature of this speaker is that it features perfect integration between the highs, midrange, and lows. This is made possible through the speaker’s 6dB crossover. Thus, it supports coherent transition between different sound frequencies.
- Poly-mica woofer cone– The speaker comes with an 8-inch woofer cone that allows for enhanced bass output. Besides, the cone material is rigid and highly damping. It also resists harsh weather elements, making it perfect for ceiling and in-wall speaker applications.
- Hassle-free installation– You can easily install the speaker, thanks to the template that comes with it. You can use the template to mark a matching mounting hole on the wall or ceiling. The speaker also comes with mounting tabs that make installation easier. The mounting tabs secure the speaker tightly in place.
- Paintable- The speaker comes with a grille that can be painted to match the color of the ceiling or wall. That way, you’ll easily hide the speaker to maintain the existing room décor.
- 2-way speaker system
- Inbuilt crossover
- Spring-loaded speaker terminals
- Decent sound reproduction
- Affordable price range
- Plastic mounting tabs
- Challenging to take off the grille once installed
If you’re looking for an affordable yet high-performance in-wall or ceiling speaker, then you should consider the Micca M-8C speaker.
5. Yamaha NSIC800WH
Yamaha has integrated top-quality design features in this speaker for superior sound reproduction. The speaker comes with several innovative features to boast about. Let’s look at some of these features.
- Almost invisible– The speaker housing and the speaker grille is white in color. Their white color makes it possible to paint them in almost any color. You can paint them to resemble the color of the wall or ceiling. That way, they’ll look almost invisible.
- Non-slip mounting clamps– You’ll find it quite simple to install the speaker. Each speaker in the pair comes with large mounting clamps that have non-slip treads for a tight grip. Moreover, the provided cutout template makes it easier and faster to cut out a mounting hole.
- Dust and moisture resistant– The back of the speaker is covered for protection against dust and moisture. Thus, you can use them in your ceiling without worrying about moisture and dust damage.
- Slim-profile design– The speaker is quite slim such that it allows for flush-mounting in the wall or ceiling. As such, it won’t attract a lot of visual attention from your guests. It’ll easily blend into the wall or ceiling.
- Precise sound positioning– The cooled 1-inch soft-dome tweeter that comes with the speaker is swivel-mounted. It delivers pure highs with precise sound positioning for the best sound experience.
- High-performance polypropylene mica cone
- Grain-finished acoustic baffle
- Dome driver
- 2-way crossover
- Quick and easy to install
- Little bass output
- Not very loud
The Yamaha NSIC800WH speaker is ideal for installation in a living room, family room, dining room, or bedroom.
6. 5252W Silver Ticket
This Silver Ticket has been designed to complement the right and left channel speakers in a whole house audio system. It comes as a dual-speaker with multiple features to boast about. Here’re its top features.
- Extremely versatile– You can use this speaker in sound setups such as a whole house sound system, home theater system, and stereo sound system. It’s designed to enhance your music listening and movie watching experience. You can add it to a 7.1, 6.1, or 5.1 channel home theater setup as a center channel speaker.
- Solid construction– This dual speaker is solidly constructed for durability. It’s built with strong and sturdy materials that resist tear and wear. Thus, you’re assured of long-term user experience without deterioration.
- Moisture-resistant– The speaker is enclosed in such a way that moisture cannot easily penetrate into the interior components. Thus, the speaker is ideal for use in highly humid environments such as the bathroom, sauna, and outdoor eaves.
- 12 dB crossover– This 2-way speaker system comes with an inbuilt 12dB crossover for enhanced frequency response. The crossover distributes lows and midrange to the speaker cone and highs to the tweeter. Thus, you’ll get wide and accurate frequency response.
- High-performance speaker cone– Each speaker in the pair comes with a polypropylene cone and a rubber surround. These cone and surround materials, combined with a 10oz magnet, allow for distortion-free and clear audio reproduction.
- Greatly priced
- Silk dome tweeter
- Can be installed vertically or horizontally
- Accent trim edges
- Flip lever mounts
- Challenging to remove or reinstall the speaker grille
- Treble is slightly muffled
The 5252W Silver Ticket is one of the best in-ceiling speakers and is most suitable for use as a center-channel speaker in a whole house or home theater system.
7. Klipsch R-1650-C
With whole-house sound systems becoming a top choice for most homeowners today, Klipsch has designed this speaker to meet the demands for top-quality and powerful speakers. Here’re the features that made us include this speaker in our review.
- High-performance design– These speakers are designed for high-performance, thanks to their reliable and durable materials. They reproduce dynamic sound, making them a perfect choice for either surround or stereo sound.
- Rust protection– The speaker comes with an aluminum grille for enhanced protection. The grille keeps the speakers protected from rust in highly humid areas. As such, you can use them in the sauna, kitchen, or bathroom without deteriorating.
- Easy to camouflage– You can easily paint the speaker grille in a color that matches your ceiling or wall to make it blend with the existing décor. The grille comes in white color, making it easy to paint and keep the speaker concealed.
- Coaxially-mounted tweeter– You’ll be amazed by the kind of highs that this speaker produces, thanks to its 1-inch coaxially-mounted dome tweeter. This tweeter design allows for the reproduction of clear and smooth highs. Moreover, it’s mounted in such a way that it distributes highs widely. All listeners will enjoy clear highs regardless of their listening position.
- Cardboard installation template– The speaker comes with a cardboard template that makes it easier to install the speaker. You’ll easily mark your wall or ceiling using the template to cut out the right size of a mounting hole.
- Versatile application
- Large motor structure
- Polymer cone woofer
- 2-way speaker system
- Great sensitivity rating
- Minimal depth in highs
- Challenging to tighten the screws when mounting
The Klipsch R-1650-C is a perfect choice for anyone who wants a speaker that can be used as either surround sound speakers in a home theater system or stereo speakers in a whole house sound system.
8. Monoprice 6816
Are you planning to expand your listening space for more sound output throughout your home? This is exactly what this speaker is made for. Read on to find out why it’s worth your consideration.
- Titanium silk tweeter– The speakers come with titanium dome silk tweeters. The tweeters project highs widely, combined with detailed and clear dialog and vocals. Thus, you’ll enjoy your music and movies with enhanced clarity.
- Multiple applications– If you like investing in versatile devices, then these speakers match your needs. They can be used in a home theater system, whole house audio system, or as surround speakers. You won’t be limited in how you can use them upon installing them in your wall.
- 3-way speaker system– Each speaker in the pair comes with an 8-inch woofer, 4-inch midrange driver, and a 1-inch tweeter. The woofer reproduces lows, the midrange driver reproduces midrange frequencies, and the tweeter reproduces highs. Thus, you’re assured of getting full-range sound response.
- Rigid cone materials– The woofer and midrange drivers are made of Kevlar fiber material. This material is extremely lightweight, yet strong and rigid. Thus, the speaker reproduced natural sound with minimal distortion.
- Inbuilt crossover– Another top feature that comes with this speaker is its inbuilt crossover. Additionally, there’s a dedicated adjustable crossover switch for enhanced control over the frequency response.
- Well defined dialog and vocals
- Oversized magnets
- High power handling
- Metallic grille
- You have to remove the grille every time to access the crossover switch
If you’re looking for an in-wall speaker or a ceiling speaker that will give you full-range sound, then consider this Monoprice 6816 speaker.
9. JBL 8128
JBL has been around for some decades now. Thus, it’s a brand you can trust when it comes to speakers for in-wall or ceiling installation. Let’s look at the detailed review of the JBL 8128 speaker.
- Hi-Fi sound– One of the most outstanding features of this speaker is that it’s specially designed for reproducing high fidelity sound. This makes it perfect for entertaining guests, visitors, and clients with high-quality sound in a commercial setting. Moreover, they’re perfect for a 2.0 channel stereo sound set up.
- Contemporary design– These speakers are stylish with a contemporary design. Thus, they can fit in almost any interior space. Besides, they’ll enhance any décor, something which is very important in a commercial setting to leave a positive first impression to visitors and clients.
- High sensitivity– These speakers boast of having a high sensitivity rating of 97 dB. They’re capable of delivering high audio levels with minimal amplifier power. Thus, a good basic amplifier would be powerful enough to drive them.
- 6-watt transformer– Another unique feature of this speaker is that it comes with a 6-watt transformer that is ideal for use on distributed input lines with either 70 or 100 voltage. The transformer steps down the speaker line voltage to a standard speaker level for enhanced sound reproduction.
- Sturdy mounting– The speaker comes with four strategically positioned mounts. That way, the speaker mounts firmly into place to prevent vibrations
- Dual cone driver
- Full-range speaker system
- Tough speaker grille
- Clean sound output
- Higher price range
The JBL 8128 is one of the best in ceiling speakers for installation in commercial premises such as waiting areas, reception, restaurants, and such other commercial establishments.
10. Bose 742898-0200
Just like its name suggests, this Bose speaker is specially engineered for enhanced sound performance with minimal visibility. This makes it a perfect choice for installation in the wall or ceiling. Let’s see why it made it in our list of review.
- Two tweeters– The speaker comes with two 0.75-inch tweeters. The tweeters are strategically positioned to disperse highs throughout a room. Thus, you don’t have to struggle aiming the speaker towards a specific listening position.
- Superior acoustic design– Another notable benefit that comes with this speaker is its superior acoustic design. It’s designed in such a way that it delivers full-range sound, combined with even sound coverage. Thus, everyone in the room will enjoy similar, high-quality sound without missing out on any details.
- Compact design– This speaker is compact and small, yet powerful. Its small size makes it ideal for installation in narrow walls. Moreover, its small size makes it easier to conceal it for reduced visibility and easier blending into the existing décor.
- Patented Boss Stereo Everywhere Technology– Boss has included its exclusive Stereo Everywhere Technology in the design of this speaker. This technology allows for balanced stereo sound production over a wide area. It ensures sound is dispersed throughout the room rather than across a single sweet-spot.
- High-excursion woofer cone– The speaker comes with a 5-inch woofer. Its high-excursion design allows for wide stereo sound regardless of the music genre. The cone also performs superbly in hitting deep low frequencies, especially when reproducing sound effects in movies. Thus, this speaker is perfect for a rear-channel speaker in a home theater sound system.
- Spring post speaker terminals
- Clamp screws for secure mounting
- Magnetic grilles
- Extremely pricey
- Doesn’t come with a cutout template
Considering the price range of this speaker, it’s not ideal for anyone with a tight budget. It’s quite pricey and only suitable for anyone who wouldn’t mind spending a lot of money on a single speaker.
The Key Features to Consider When Buying In-wall Speakers and Ceiling Speakers
As you can see, these speakers are not made equal. Thus, there’re certain features you should consider to stand higher chances of buying the right speaker. Let’s discuss these features in detail.
If you want to mount a speaker in your wall or ceiling, then you should consider an in-wall speaker with a smaller mounting depth. This is especially important for thinner walls and ceilings. After all, you wouldn’t want the speaker to protrude either in front or behind the wall as it would destroy the entire purpose of an in-wall speaker.
Ease of Installation
When choosing a speaker for in-wall or ceiling installation, you wouldn’t want to struggle with the installation processes. Thus, you should consider a speaker that will make the entire installation process simpler and quicker. In this regard, consider a speaker that comes with a cutout template to assist you in cutting out a mounting hole of the right size. Also, choose a speaker that comes with mounting hardware to make it easier to secure it tightly in place. You should also consider a speaker that allows for easy speaker wire connection without the need for soldering.
Another important factor to consider is the frequency response of the speaker. A speaker that covers a wider frequency range means that you’ll be able to hear more sound details. Also, consider a speaker that is capable of delivering full-range sound to ensure you don’t miss out on important sound details.
The size of the speaker also matters. A larger woofer cone is capable of delivering more powerful sound than a smaller speaker of similar quality. However, a larger speaker might be more challenging to conceal than a small one.
Ease of Concealment
Remember to consider how easy it is to conceal the speaker. The best speaker for installation in the wall or ceiling is one that can easily blend into the wall and existing décor. For instance, it should have a paintable grill to make it easier to conceal by painting it with a color similar to that of the wall or ceiling.
If you always dream about having a whole house or home theater sound system in your home but lack enough space for standing speakers, or you want to maintain minimalist décor in the entertainment room, then you should consider installing in-wall/ceiling speakers. These speakers are ideal for installation in rooms with limited space. They’re capable of filling a room with sound without taking up any floor space. Moreover, they’re ideal for installation in bathrooms, kitchens, and saunas. Hopefully, you’ll find the best in ceiling speakers from our list.
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.