What is the first aspect of sound that makes you feel like “that’s the kind of sound I want in my car”?
For some, it is the depth of the bass and for others it is the loudness of the music. But who doesn’t like clean and articulate sound – the kind that delivers all the lyrics of your favorite jams so clearly that none of the sweetness passes you by? Such sound is made possible only by dedicated high- and mid-frequency drivers, 4-inch speakers being the most common of these drivers.
Join us as we review 5 of the best 4” car speakers to help you give the system the uplift it needs.These speakers come from the best brands and have been rigorously tested to ascertain their performance abilities. Take a seat and let’s see what could be the next awesome addition to your stereo.
Table of Contents
Polk Audio DB401
RMS: 60 w
[Best for music clarity]
Our review process
Many car owners often overlook the role of smaller speakers in the audio system not knowing that these take care of the fine details that make music sweet and likeable. But we don’t want you to keep complaining about low quality music. We went out there with an aim of providing you with a proper guide on how to choose top performing 4 inch speakers.
Our review team employed their extensive skills and experiences to research the top performing 4” speakers this year. We investigated a wide variety of speakers from leading speaker brands. The following 5 proved to meet the requirements and expectations of most users.
1. Polk Audio DB401 - Our pick for the best 4” speaker 2020
Calling on all minimalists! Here’s a nice sound baby that could interest you. Polk Audio is known for expertly making high-performance speakers into minimalist designs. The DB401 is an incredibly efficient 4” speaker. It also boasts of bright metallic mounting hardware that adds a nice flair to your car’s interior.
What’s more to the DB401 other than an attractive minimalist look?
Cutting-edge sound imaging: Ever experienced an audio system that produces sound as though it was coming from a live stage? That’s the kind of audio the DB401 gives you thanks to the built-in 2-way crossovers that accurately stream sound to the appropriate drivers.
Bright music details under all circumstances: The speakers are made with premium-quality materials that hold up well to operational stress (extensive time, extreme heat, and so on). And with the Neodymium magnets that run the silk/polymer dome tweeters, expect nothing lesser than accurate high frequencies that refine your music to a better taste.
Exceptional versatility and installation flexibility: For installation flexibility, the DB401 has a multi-hole mounting pattern and a ¾-inch shallow depth that allows for simple drop-in installation. You can fit these speakers in merely any car.These marine-certified speakers can also be used in boats.
High sound output: With a sensitivity of 91dB and a power handling capacity of 45 watts RMS, sound output shouldn’t be a concern for you. Add to this the use of a low-mass double layer 25mm Kapton voice former and sign yourself up for loud, clean music all the way.
What we love
What we didn’t like
Our view: Polk Audio DB401 will rock ‘n roll in the face of extreme conditions without fading or suffering any sonic degradation. You can rely on it for reproduction of both warm and intense music genres
Enliven your car audio with one of Polk Audio’s best products – the DB401.
2. Pioneer TS-G1020S –2nd Runners Up
Pioneer TS-G1020S has been designed with powerful and lightweight components for improved sound reproduction and reduced distortion. Their shallow mounting depth allows easy installation in a variety of vehicles. Also, their two-way design enables them to handle 210 watts max power making them the perfect replacement for your factory 4" speakers.
Pioneer TS-G1020S Features and Benefits
Improved sound reproduction: Pioneer TS-G1020S features high-grade components that include Mica Injected Polypropylene cone surrounded by rubber-coated cloth, which ensures improved sensitivity and minimal distortion. The terephthalate dome tweeter delivers crisp highs while maintaining great sound output.
Progressive Flex Suspension System: On top of the great construction, Pioneer panted progressive flex suspension system is designed to eliminate excessive vibration, thus enhancing sound reproduction. It supports the voice coil, which is especially crucial at high volume levels. Also, it helps to minimize movement errors and reproduces clear sound.
Shallow mounting depth: Shallow mounting depth: With a top-mount depth of 1-3/4", you can fit these set of speakers in a variety of vehicles without modifications. These 10 cm speakers have ideal tweeter placement without a bulky external crossover which ensures that the audio emanates from the same location. Also, this speaker design ensures improved sound reproduction even in constrained areas.
What we love
What we didn’t like
Verdict: With Pioneer TS-G1020S, you don't just get the basics. It has been efficiently engineered to deliver balanced sound from a small speaker design. It is made to meet stringent quality requirements, and when it comes to sound output, it never seizes to impress its users.
The natural musicality of the TS-G1020S will take your listening experience to the next level.
3. Kicker 41DSC44 Best Budget Friendly 4 inch Car Speaker
Kicker almost always wins the cut-throat competition with other reputable car speaker brands. The 41DSC44 places itself among the best 4-inch car speakers of 2020 with its excellent sound in a thin profile design. The 41DSC44 carries an unbelievably low price tag, making it the most suitable option if you are on a tight budget.
More features about Kicker 41DSC44
Delivers solid sound: The 41DSC44 boasts of a 4” polypropylene woofer that’s supported by a ribbed polyester foam surround. This combination ensures that the speaker consistently gives out punchy and well-defined low frequencies.
Audio clarity like you have never witnessed: Highs are sent to dedicated ½-inch PEI dome tweeters. These drivers enable the speaker to reproduce high frequencies that are highly enriched with detail and depth. You’ll definitely be awed by the clarity of sound given by these speakers; it’s far much better than what factory speakers output.
High-sensitivity design; more sound output even when used with a low-powered stock radio: You might think of 30 watts continuous power as not quite high (though it’s still impressive for a set of speakers this size). The thrill is in the high sensitivity. Coming in at 88dB, these speakers are able to sound great even when paired with factory receivers.
Thin mounting profile: The 41DSC44’s thin design leaves plenty of space for window mechanism clearances. Tweeters are built with minimal protrusion, a structure that further enhances the thin mounting profile. Thus, the speakers give you clear and solid sound without getting in the way of other car functionalities.
What we love
What we didn’t like
Verdict: Kicker 41DSC44 has won the respect of many car audio enthusiasts for its great sonic performance and budget price. The pair may not be the hottest on the market but it’s a pretty awesome choice for the price.
If you need a quick but smart sound upgrade for your car stereo, don’t hesitate to try Kicker 41DSC44.
4. Infinity REF4002CFX – Best for music clarity
Infinity Reference speakers are highly rated for their unmatched sound clarity. The REF4002CFX comes with the best tweeters for production of detailed sound. The high quality materials used to make the cone and surround greatly enhance the speaker’s durability to ensure that it impresses you for a long time.
Features of Infinity REF4002CFX
Brings back all the music details lost by your old speakers: The REF4002CFX is designed with music clarity as the main priority. The textile dome tweeters are dedicated to producing amazing levels of detail. They come with a level control switch that allows you to regulate the brightness of sound to fit your listening taste.
Smooth and articulate highs graced with punchy lows: In addition to the highly durable rubber surround, the speaker sports a Plus One woofer cone that has a bigger surface area than other 4” speakers. This enlarged cone adds plenty of punch to your music without compromising the smooth and accurate highs.
Can work with any power supply: With a power range of 5 – 35 watts RMS and 105 w MAX, the REF4002CFX can work greatly with any system that has an external amp. Also, with their impressive sensitivity they can match a wide selection of factory head units.
Smart enough to get more power out of the system: Being 3-ohm speakers, they collude with the speaker wire to trick the system into thinking that they have 4-ohm impedance. The speakers thus get more power and use it to deliver stronger sound.
Verdict: For improved sound quality at a mid-range price, the REF4002CFX speakers are great and easy to get fitted. Get a taste of highly detailed music and you’ll live to love Infinity.
Check out Infinity REF4002CFX on Amazon today and discover what you’ve been missing from your car audio.
5. Rockford Fosgate Punch P142
Some cool design and sonic performance innovations make Rockford Fosgate Punch P142 superior to other speakers. From the Vertical Attach Surround Technique (VAST) and FlexFit basket design to the dome tweeters and mineral filled polypropylene cone, everything about this speaker is set to give you exceptional sound.
More about Rockford Fosgate Punch P142
Stronger performance and fuller sound: Rockford Fosgate uses the VAST technology that yields up to 25 percent more cone area. This increase in radiating area significantly boosts the speaker’s ability to produce stronger, fuller audio.
Clearer, extended high frequencies: Dome tweeters hold high frequencies so well even when the bass gets heavy. They enable the speaker to produce sound that accurately sieves the light frequencies. All these efforts are aimed at ensuring you enjoy the lyrics within your favorite jams just as well as you enjoy bass kicks.
Speaker can withstand powerful play for long hours: Not many speakers can match the P142’s resilience. It can play distortion-free music consistently for many hours thanks to the butyl rubber surround and highly responsive polypropylene cone.
Designed for easy installation: The speaker combines a number of smart technologies for seamless sound production and installation convenience. The concealed integrated crossover keeps connecting wires hidden in the basket and eases installation. Slots are used instead of screw holes to make it easier to fit the speaker in factory spaces.
Our say: Do you desire to have a speaker that can handle high-power play sessions for many hours without diminishing the sound quality? Rockford Fosgate Punch P142 is the speaker that best matches your needs.
Install the P142 4 inch speaker for impressive sound that sets your car apart from competition.
Guide for Choosing the Best 4 Inch Car Speakers
Once you know what your car stereo needs to perform better, purchasing the right speakers isn’t a complicated process. The main factors to consider are the amount of power that a speaker provides, its sensitivity, how it fits in the car’s sound system and whether it meets your listening tastes. Your budget definitely comes into play when purchasing any type of speakers.
Firstly, the speaker’s power will determine how loud it will produce sound. As with all speakers, the RMS rating is the most accurate measure of the speaker’s sound performance.
While checking this rating is quite simple for the majority of users, it’s easy to be confused by peak power/MAX rating that often overestimates the speaker’s power. Be keen to compare 4 inch speakers using RMS rating to ensure you get the best. And as usual, a higher RMS rating means more sound output all other factors held constant.
Sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB) and shows the speaker’s efficiency in using the available power. To get the best idea of a speaker’s sound output, consider its sensitivity in relation to its power handling and that of the entire system.
A speaker with a high sensitivity rating can work well with a low-powered system. So even though such a speaker may have a lower power handling capacity, its high sensitivity makes sure that it produces more sound with less energy.
On the other hand, if your car has a high-powered system, a speaker with a high power handling capacity will work just fine even if it has lower sensitivity.
Size of vehicle and other speakers in the car’s audio system
Different cars need varying numbers of speakers of different sizes to deliver the best sound. Bigger cars obviously need more speakers. If you have a big car that has bigger sized speakers like 6 X 8s, 6 X 9s or subs, you will most definitely need to install powerful 4” speakers on the doors for a fuller sound output.
Small cars may not have many differently sized speakers and subs because of space constraints. Therefore, installing a pair of high quality 4” coaxial speakers with a good amount of bass may be enough for a better listening experience.
What drivers does the speaker have?
Most 4-inch speakers are best suited for mids and highs. It is therefore important to make sure the speaker you choose has the right drivers for this purpose. The quality of the tweeter is especially crucial as it determines the clarity and overall quality of sound.
Everyone has unique needs but here are some general recommendations for 4” speakers:
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why should you consider installing 4-inch car speakers?
A: 4-inch car speakers are the right choice in two scenarios. First, an aftermarket 4-inch speaker makes a great replacement for stock speakers if you want to end up with more balanced audio. Also, many users consider them as inexpensive and worthwhile upgrades to factory speakers. It is for this reason that four-inch speakers are fairly common in many vehicles.
The second scenario is when you are making a complete upgrade of your entire car audio system. You have already installed some good subs and now want to extend the high frequencies. 4-inch speakers with tweeters and super tweeters will enable your system to deliver higher-end frequencies more efficiently.
Q. Coaxial versus component 4-inch car speakers: which is better?
A: The decision of whether to go for component or coaxial 4-inch car speakers rests on many factors including your installation skills/budget. Coaxial speakers are relatively easier to install compared to component speakers. You can quickly set up coaxial speakers with minimal technical skills.
The installation process for component 4-inch speakers is a little trickier. Each of the drivers needs to be controlled separately, so it will take more time and effort to wire a component speaker. That said, however, you could be planning to overhaul your system for better sound performance. In this case, it is better to go with component speakers. Components give you a richer acoustic experience than coaxials. Therefore, they are a longer-term solution for better sound quality.
Q. Are tweeters a must-have when purchasing 4-inch car speakers?
A: Tweeters enable the audio system to give better highs and cleaner overall sound. If you love listening to music genres that don’t have heavy bass, you know that high-frequency drivers are critical elements of the audio system. Consider installing 4-inch speakers that have tweeters and super tweeters.
You should not worry yourself with looking for speakers with tweeters and supertweeters if you just want a simple upgrade for stock speakers. There are many good, inexpensive 4-inch speakers without tweeters that will bring significant improvement to the sound your system delivers.
Q. Will my new 4-inch speaker fit in factory speaker spaces?
A: For many vehicle models, it is possible to interchange 4-inch speakers without any space challenges. There are high chances that the frame of your new speakers will fit exactly where stock speakers were screwed. But it doesn’t hurt to measure the dimensions of the space left by factory speakers before you go out shopping for new speakers. And if you intend to fix the new 4-inch speakers on the car’s doors, make sure there is enough space for the speaker. Most 4-inch car speakers have an installation depth of about 3 inches. Ensure that the door has sufficient space so that the newly-installed speaker will not be in the way of the car window.
Q. What is the best 4-inch car speaker for bass?
A: Generally, well-selected 3-way 4-inch speakers will reproduce low frequencies better compared to most 2-way speakers. In a 3-way system, the woofer is specifically dedicated to low-frequency signals while mid-range drivers take care of the rest of the frequencies. As a result, the 3-way system delivers deeper, more pronounced bass.
It is important to remember that a car speaker with more drivers doesn’t automatically become the better sounding speaker. Each car is different, and it’s not unusual to find a 3-way speaker sounding better than a 4-way speaker in a particular type of car. Thus, the best 4-inch speaker for your car is the one that fits perfectly in your car and fulfills your listening needs.
Q. Will my new 4-inch car speakers require an amplifier?
A: No, if you have a head unit that can power the speaker, and yes, if the stereo’s or head unit’s power handling falls short of the speakers’ power requirement. Powerful head units like Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX and Sony XAV-AX100 are among the most versatile head units on the market. Many speakers with power ratings ranging from 50 watts to about 220 watts will do well with these head units without requiring a standalone amplifier. The power handling capacity of the speakers you choose will determine whether or not you need to install an amplifier.
Our pick is Polk Audio DB401
Polk Audio DB401 seems to be the favorite of many customers, according to the customer reviews we analyzed. Users love not only how the speakers look but also their exceptional performance. If you want to step up your car’s or boat’s audio system, these speakers will give it a significant upgrade.
Polk Audio engineers have spared nothing to make sure that you get a high-performance, space-efficient, and durable 4” speaker. The speakers are extraordinarily efficient in producing smooth frequencies, sharp details, and distortion-free music at loud volumes thanks to laser imaging technology. Furthermore, the speakers are versatile and can withstand unforgiving heat and moisture conditions. If you have a boat, you have no excuse for not having an incredible music system while you can install these marine-certified speakers.
Considering the unique value Polk Audio BD401 offers, its current price is nothing but fair. Get these stylish speakers today and enjoy flawless entertainment all the time.