Which in-ceiling speakers are best?

Have you ever wondered whether those speakers in an elevator or lobby are good enough for home use? The answer is yes. In-ceiling speakers are perfect for anyone who wants to listen to music without having bulky speakers taking up so much living space.

In-ceiling speakers don’t offer the same thumping bass or volume standing as bookshelf speakers, but they deliver impressive sound quality for their size. For example, the Yamaha 2-Way RMS Speakers offer excellent sound dispersion and superb mid-high reproduction.

What to know before you buy an in-ceiling speaker

Size

In-ceiling speakers come in two sizes: 6.5 inches or 8 inches. Naturally, 8-inch speakers are a bit more powerful and louder, but not by much, so it’s up to you to determine the right size for your room. Keep in mind that the enclosures on 8-inch speakers are noticeably larger than those on 6-inch speakers.

Components

Woofer cones are for reproducing deep sound, while tweeters are smaller and used for reproducing high frequencies and dispersing them across the room. The best in-ceiling speakers will have both, but they vary in size depending on the model. The larger the woofer, the more bass you’ll get. However, they don’t affect high-pitched sound effects.

Is an in-ceiling speaker right for you?

In-ceiling speakers are great if you want to clear the clutter, but if you want a speaker for playing loud music with booming bass or for a home theater setup, they’re far from ideal. In-ceiling speakers are designed for casual music listening in small spaces, such as offices or waiting rooms, but they don’t pack the punch you need for an immersive listening experience.   

What to look for in a quality in-ceiling speaker

Electrical resistance

In-ceiling speakers all have an impedance rating indicating how powerful an electrical current passing through them can be. Electrical resistance is measured in ohms, and a standard impedance rating for an in-ceiling speaker is between 8 and 6 ohms. Anything below an impedance rating of 6 requires more power from an amplifier to operate at its full capacity. Although not always the case, a lower impedance rating can output superior sound quality and more bass with a powerful enough amplifier connected to it.

Moisture-resistance

Many speakers are susceptible to damage from water and dust, so if that’s a concern for you, it’s best to get in-ceiling speakers with moisture-resistant and dust-resistant grilles and backs to prevent damage. Additionally, many speakers come with rubber seals or gaskets for keeping out moisture.

Mono vs. stereo speaker

The great thing about in-ceiling speakers is that they don’t take up space like other speakers. However, having two mono speakers in one room might not be practical, so you can opt to go with a single stereo speaker. Single stereo speakers have two tweeters to reproduce audio from the left and right channels.

Smart functions

Some in-ceiling speakers have smart functions that let users connect wirelessly and stream music over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Some can be controlled through amplifiers with built-in microphones that support voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa.

How much you can expect to spend on an in-ceiling speaker

If you’re looking for an in-ceiling speaker that delivers decent sound for a small space in your home or office, you can find one for $50-$100. However, if you want something with a little more power and a premium design, you can expect to spend up to $300 on a two-way speaker system.

In-ceiling speaker FAQ

Can speaker grilles be painted over?

A. Yes, nearly all in-ceiling speakers have grilles that can be painted to complement the color and style of your walls, ceiling or decor without sustaining any damage.

How many speakers do I need?

A. In-ceiling speakers are usually sold in a pack of two to be set up in stereo fashion as left and right speakers. However, you can set up four speakers in larger rooms for a surround-sound effect.

What’s the best in-ceiling speaker to buy?

Top in-ceiling speaker

Yamaha 2-Way RMS Speakers

Yamaha 2-Way RMS Speakers

What you need to know: These speakers have a unique design, deliver top-quality sound and are easy to install.

What you’ll love: They have a 1-inch tweeter for precise sound positioning for high frequencies and a moisture-resistant 8-inch cone woofer for reproducing excellent mid-low audio quality. They have a spiral-pattern acoustic baffle for equal sound dispersion and a paintable grille with magnets for easy installation.

What you should consider: They’re not as loud as some other in-ceiling speakers, and the tweeter can’t be manually positioned.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top in-ceiling speaker for the money

Pyle Dual 6.5-Inch Speaker System

Pyle Dual 6.5-Inch Speaker System

What you need to know: These speakers deliver exceptional sound for a small home or office space and are ideal for custom installations.

What you’ll love: They feature high-quality titanium dome tweeters, a high-temperature voice coil and high response rates for crisp sound reproduction. The maximum power output is 250 watts, and each speaker has an amplifier transformer switch for easy installation that can be mounted flush on walls or ceilings.

What you should consider: They don’t offer much bass, and some customers complained of poor-quality plastic casings.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Polk Audio 2-Way 8-Inch Speakers

Polk Audio 2-Way 8-Inch Speakers

What you need to know:  These timbre-matched overhead speakers are pricey but deliver excellent acoustics and impressive bass.

What you’ll love: These speakers boast an 8-inch dynamic woofer and a 1-inch adjustable tweeter for deep and rich music reproduction. They offer wide dispersion, thanks to a polymer cone and composite driver baskets, and feature rubber seal drives for keeping out moisture and dust.

What you should consider: Some customers had trouble removing the grilles, and the backs are larger than those on other models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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