We often come across people who complain about not finding the right speakers to match their décor. There are also complaints about how speakers can take up floor space that could have been used otherwise. To top that off, are scattered wires causing you distress? There is a one-stop solution for you all – the best in-ceiling speakers!
Ceiling speakers, also called in-ceiling speakers, are speakers that you can fit right into your ceilings (no-brainer there). These speakers are also called in-wall speakers. A ceiling speaker is extremely low profile and can easily be concealed from plain sight. But by no means is the sound quality and power low profile. In this piece, we will help you find the best in-ceiling speakers out there on the market!
Roundup of the Best Ceiling Speakers
|Overall Best Ceiling Speakers||Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8″ Round Speakers|
|Best Budget Ceiling Speaker||Klipsch R-1650-C In-Ceiling Speaker|
|Best Ceiling Speaker for Home Theater Systems||Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker|
|Best High-End Ceiling Speakers||Sonos Architecure In-Ceiling Speakers|
|Best 8-Inch Ceiling Speaker System||Acoustic Audio by Goldwood CSic84 8″ In Ceiling Five Speakers Set|
|Best Surround Sound Ceiling Speaker||Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 3-way In|
How to Find the Best Ceiling Speakers on the Market?
Much like any other speakers, you need to keep certain factors in mind when buying the right in-ceiling speaker for yourself. These are:
Installing ceiling speakers is the hardest part of using them. Some ceiling speakers come with the necessary tools that you need to install into your ceilings. Some of the bigger brands try to ensure that the installation process is as easy as possible for their speakers.
Another way to install ceiling speaker is by using magnetic grills. It is one of the easiest ways to install ceiling speakers onto your ceilings. Some speakers come with dogleg clamps which again are a great tool for ceiling speaker installation.
Sound quality is an obvious and most important consideration when we talk about speakers. The case is no different when we are talking about ceiling speakers. The woofer and tweeters on a speaker decide the level of clarity and power it possesses, so one should pay extra attention to them.
Many in-ceiling speakers these days come with remote controls for adjusting different frequencies. These should be given preference over speakers that have a single audio tone. You can us the best songs for testing speakers to evaluate the sound quality of these speakers.
Unlike normal floor or desktop speakers, changing ceiling speakers is not an easy task. Therefore, the build quality and level of sturdiness of a ceiling speaker are of the utmost importance. By build quality, we don’t just mean the exterior but the interior as well. Making sure that the tweeters, woofers as well as wires are of top quality is key.
Once the quality control is over on the inside, we move to the exterior of the speakers. It is best to go for ceiling speakers made using robust materials that are also rust and/or water-resistant.
The whole point of having in-ceiling speakers is to have them disappear into your ceilings. Therefore, such speakers mostly have a very low-key design. One difference that you may find is the shape of the speakers. You may find square or round speakers as options.
Also, there are some speakers that have paint-able grills. This allows your speakers to completely camouflage with your room’s interior decoration.
This should be a consideration for those people who find themselves unable to position their ceiling speakers in their desired location. Some in-ceiling speakers come with the “swivel” setting wherein you are able to turn or tilt the tweeter or woofer of your speaker in your desired direction.
For those that are lucky enough to place their speaker exactly where they want, this feature might be an unnecessary add-on. They should go for fixed speakers as they will cost them less than speakers that are adjustable.
Location is a very important aspect to be kept in mind when buying in-ceiling speakers. Location does not only refer to your speaker position or your listening position. It also refers to indoor and outdoor ceiling speakers.
Ceiling speakers made for indoors may not be able to withstand the hot and humid conditions outdoors. People often choose to install ceiling speakers at their pool -sides or porch areas. There are specific ceiling speakers for this.
Similarly, if you wish to install these speakers in your bathroom or kitchen, you may want to choose those variants that are water-resistant or rust-resistant.
There are many kinds of ceiling speakers that you may come across. Some might boast a great surround sound ability. Others might be the perfect pairing for an already existing home theater system. Some might be best for people that enjoy a thumping base whereas others might be suitable for those that like more mellow sound profiles.
In the end, it boils down to your personal choice.
How can we ever forget our dear friend ‘money’. Your budget will decide the number of additional features you may be able to afford on your ceiling speakers. Users might have to pay extra for features such as adjustability, magnetic grids, paint-able grids, etc. Do not compromise by trying to save money. It might end up costing you more in the end.
Top 6 Ceiling Speakers for Floor Space, Home Theater Systems, Entire Room, and More
Now that we know what all needs to be kept in mind when buying in-ceiling speakers, let us now take a look at some of the best in-ceiling speakers on the market!
1. Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8″ Round Speakers
Overall Best Ceiling Speakers
- 8-inch dynamic woofer for a robust bass
- Rubber seal for a better response and to tackle humidity, moisture, etc.
- Extremely easy installation, does not require additional assembly
- Grilles are paint-able to match your décor
- Has an aim-able tweeter to adjust the focal point of audio
- Mid-range frequency isn’t as enhanced as bass
- Has an exposed back
Polk Audio is one of the leading brands when it comes to in-ceiling style speakers. One of their most popular models is the Polk Audio RC80i, which is also our pick for the best overall in-ceiling speaker! The Polk Audio RC80i can be added to your existing home theater system or can even be used individually.
The Polk Audio RC80i are timbre-matched speakers which means that all the speakers in the set have the same tonal qualities and sound profiles. They are sure to give you an even aural experience from all sides.
The speakers have an 8-inch dynamic balance woofer which is the reason behind an enhanced bass-rich experience. The 1-inch soft dome tweeter comes mounted on a swivel mount which can be moved up to 15 degrees in either direction from a more focused audio experience. The woofer and tweeter allow the speakers to have a wide frequency response range from 50 – 20,000 Hz.
Design and Features
Much like most other speakers of their kind, the Polk Audio RC80i has a very low-key design so that they can blend into your ceiling. The grille is paintable to match your decor or wall color, or you could leave it as is, as the white grille goes well with any wall color.
Also, one of the major plus points of the RC80i is that this speaker comes with a rubber seal and a heat and moisture-resistant coating that have a two-fold benefit. Firstly, it helps get a better audio response and secondly stops any moisture from entering into the speaker. Thanks to this and the other robust materials used for making this speaker, it is perfectly suitable to be used at poolsides, bathrooms, or kitchen areas.
Ease of Installation
It is very easy to install. The speakers come fully assembled. They come with stencils to make it easy for you to make the hole to fit the speaker into. Simply connect your wires, push the in-ceiling speaker into the hole, screw it up and you’re done!
To conclude, the Polk Audio RC80i is the perfect choice if you are looking to install a music system throughout your house. The design is low profile, the setup is easy, the audio quality is amazing and they aren’t extremely expensive for in-ceiling style speakers. If not a home theater, pair them with 20-100W receivers at 8 Ohms for the perfect aural experience.
View on Amazon: Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8″ Round Speakers
2. Klipsch R-1650-C In-Ceiling Speaker
Best Budget Ceiling Speaker
- Most pocket-friendly in-ceiling speaker
- Rust and moisture resistant grille
- Very clear high frequencies
- Easy installation
- Very durable and robust
- Bass isn’t very punchy
- Tweeter cannot swivel; it is stationery
Most definitely the best budget in-ceiling speaker is the Klipsch R-1650-C! At under $50 a single speaker (not sold as a set), these are just the perfect choice for someone who is not too sure about splurging a lot of money on ceiling-style speakers.
The Klipsch R-1650-C has a 6.5-inch polymer cone woofer combined with a large motor structure. The bass is present but it isn’t very punchy for someone that prefers to have an enhanced bass. The 1-inch polymer dome tweeter does not have a swivel option but produces a very smooth sound on the higher end of the frequency response range!
Design and Installation
The Klipsch R-1650-C also has a low-key design with a paint-able aluminum grille. The speakers have an additional rust-resistant coating where the chances of moisture entering are high. For the price at which this in-ceiling speaker is available, the overall build is very sturdy. You can easily use it in areas with high moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens.
For installation, instead of a stencil, the speaker comes with a template for you to mark out the perimeter with. The installation, similar to the RC80i, is rather simple and shouldn’t be a problem.
To conclude, the Klipsch R-1650-C speaker is an absolute steal. The build is extremely durable and is sure to serve you for a long time. The only drawbacks as such are the lack of power and punchiness and the lack of the option to direct the audio in the direction you desire. So, if money is a concern, you will not find a better in-ceiling speaker!
View on Amazon: Klipsch R-1650-C In-Ceiling Speaker
3. Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker
Best Ceiling Speaker for Home Theater Systems
- Exceptional sound quality; horn-loaded technology
- Pivoting 1″ tweeter and 6.5″ woofer
- Treble and mid-bass attenuation switches
- Uses Controlled Dispersion Technology
- Extremely durable
- Very expensive speaker
Ceiling speaker systems can be a great addition to an existing home theater speaker system. They make for a great choice as rear or front channels in a 5.1 or a 7.1 surround sound system. People often set up their complete sound system using in-ceiling speakers.
Out of all the speakers we tested, there isn’t any better for a home theater than the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II. The same brand again? Yes. Klipsch has a number of speakers that are all capable of being called the best!
Elegant Design & Very Durable
The design of the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II is very elegant and low-profile which is exactly what you want from an in-ceiling speaker. The aluminum grille is magnetic and can be painted to match your surroundings.
The 1-inch tweeter is a titanium tweeter and the 6.5-inch woofer is an anodized aluminum woofer not only to keep things durable and robust but also to enhance the overall richness of your audio experience, getting the best full-range performance!
Controlled Dispersion Technology- Best Sound Quality
The Klipsch CDT 5650 C II speaker uses a proprietary ‘Controlled Dispersion Technology’ (CDT). This system allows both the tweeter and the woofer to be independently directed to the desired listening area. The 1-inch titanium tweeter is combined with a swiveling 100 degrees Tractrix Horn. The woofer can both be swiveled for 15 degrees as well as be rotated a complete 360 degrees. The high and mid-bass frequencies can be experienced much more clearly and accurately, thanks to the CDT system that the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II possesses.
To further give your audio experience a personalized touch, the speaker comes with attenuation switches for your treble and mid-bass frequency. The switches are located on the front side of the speaker so it can be attuned even after installation.
To conclude, the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II is the perfect speaker to be added to your home theaters thanks to the great sound quality it possesses. You can make a complete home theater system out of these speakers as well. The Klipsch CDT 5650 C II has so much clarity and power that you can even use it as a central channel speaker for your home theater. Yes, the price is on the higher side but this piece of equipment is sure worth the money!
View on Amazon: Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker
4. Sonos Architecure In-Ceiling Speakers
Best High-End Ceiling Speakers
- Crystal-clear sound quality
- Paintable round or square grilles
- Trueplay enabled when connected with Sonos Amp
- Can be connected to other Sonos speakers over WiFi
- Very durable set of speakers
- Very expensive speakers
Not everyone is concerned about the budget. Sometimes when you want something, you simply don’t care about spending more. For those of you, we bring the almighty but expensive, Sonos Architecture In Ceiling Speakers. These in-ceiling-style speakers sound absolutely sublime. The acoustics are crystal clear and the bass announces itself to the crowd! Let us see what sets this set of speakers aside.
TruePlay Enabled with Sonos Amp
One of the most standout features of this might expensive speaker set is Trueplay; you can use it after connecting the speakers to a Sonos Amp. So what is Trueplay? It’s Sonos’ software that tries to give you the best possible sound experience based on the dimensions, layout and construction of the room you plan to put these speakers in, by auto-tuning the equalizer.
One must walk around their room waving around their device. The speaker emits a peculiar tone for a minute or so. Using that, the amp will auto-tune and give you the best possible audio balance. This only works if you connect the speaker to a Sonos Amp.
Connects to Other Sonos Devices
For those of you that already use Sonos devices, getting the Sonos In-Ceiling Speakers makes even more sense. You can connect multiple Sonos speakers over wifi to create a home sound environment. Imagine having the same background music ringing throughout the house. You could use this to prank guests by playing spooky sounds throughout the house. Evil, really.
To conclude, this pricey set of Sonos Architecure In-Ceiling Speakers can be a great choice if you do not mind splurging a bit of extra money. Especially, if you already own a Sonos Amp or other Sonos equipment, this is the best choice of speakers for you. They have more than decent sound quality, they look amazing and deliver performance that one should demand from something that costs a good chunk!
View on Amazon: Sonos Architecure In-Ceiling Speakers
5. Acoustic Audio by Goldwood CSic84 8″ In Ceiling Five Speakers Set
Best 8-Inch Ceiling Speaker System
- Frame-less design, blends speaker completely into ceiling
- Great choice for a 5.1 home theater system
- Amazing 3 Way cross-over sound
- Spring-loaded wire terminals for easier installation
- Extreme value for money
- Bass lacks punchiness
The award for the “Best 8-inch Ceiling Speaker” goes to not one but 5 five speakers – the Acoustic Audio CSic84 set of five speakers! We call them the best for the simple reason that they are the absolute definition of value for money! Let us take a detailed look!
The Acoustic Audio CSic84 speakers have a frame-less design. The grille is magnetic and attaches to the speakers end to end. This grille is paint-able and once painted over, you cannot tell where the speaker is placed, thanks to the frame-less design! Also, these speakers come with a pressure mounting lock mechanism that clamps the speakers tightly into the drywall!
Full Range 3-Way Cross-Over Sound
The Acoustic Audio CSic84 speaker set comprises carefully selected components that constitute a 3-Way Cross-Over Sound system! These components comprise 8″ high rigidity Polypropylene cone woofers with progressive spiders and butyl rubber surrounds, Mylar mid-ranges and 0.5″ Mylar tweeters. The speakers have a tremendous frequency response range from 40 – 20,000 Hz , thanks to this system, maintain great levels of clarity throughout!
To conclude, the Acoustic Audio CSic84 speaker system is a great choice for when you are seeking to install multiple in-ceiling speakers at the same time! It is a great choice for a home theater or a surround sound system. All you need is an amp or receiver capable of a peak power of 350 Watts per channel, and you’re good to go!
6. Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 3-way In-ceiling Speaker
Best Surround Sound Ceiling Speaker
- 3-way design and advanced dual tweeter technology
- Swiveling tweeters and tilt-able woofer
- Great stereo sound effect
- Value for money
- Paint-able grille to match room décor
- Audio fidelity is not accurate
- Lower frequencies aren’t powerful
Surround sound is very important when it comes to audio systems. One of the best in-ceiling speakers we came across with regards to the surround-sound effect was the Yamaha NS IW280CWH! What makes it stand out?
Swiveling Woofer and Tweeters
The Yamaha NS IW280CWH has a 6.5″ woofer and a dual 3/4″ tweeters, that can both be swiveled in the desired direction for wider dispersion and a more accurate audio experience! The dual tweeters use SoundMax technology which enhances the sound notes at higher frequencies. The woofer and dual tweeters form the perfect 3-way sound system.
Value for Money
Priced very reasonably, the Yamaha NS IW280CWH is an absolute steal, especially keeping in mind the SoundMax technology for clearer trebles and an over-all 3-way sound system!
To conclude, the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 3-way In-ceiling Speaker can be a great choice if you’re looking for good-quality surround sound at a reasonable price. The speaker has incredible sound dispersion thanks to the tilt-able woofer and tweeters! Some of the best surround sound systems use these speakers to deliver a phenomenal sound experience. The bass is a little mellow for our personal liking but it can easily be overlooked when looking at the other positives that come with this speaker!
View on Amazon: Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker
How to Ceiling Mount Speakers?
Firstly, we recommend you let a trained professional take care of mounting your ceiling speakers lest you end up damaging any of your expensive equipment. But if regardless you wish to take on that job by yourself, here is what you need to do!
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools for Installation
The list is given below:
- Pencil and Markers
- Spirit Level
- Measuring Tape
- Utility Knife
- Pair of Pliers
- Box Cutter
- Hand Jab Saw
- Safety Goggles
Step 2: Prepare the Installation Area
Most in-ceiling speakers come with a template in the box to help with the installation process. Tape out the template to the wall, before using the pencil to mark it. Using the tape makes the marking process easier.
Once marked, use a box cutter to score the ceiling or drywall where you have marked your template.
Step 3: Cut Out the Hole for Installing Your Speakers
Once done, using your jab or keyhole saw, cut out the whole. Try to stay inside the marked area rather than going outside of it, and finesse it using the box cutter.
Make sure to use safety equipment. There is a good chance of having debris or sawdust go into your eyes!
Step 4: Install the In-Ceiling Speaker
- Remove the grill that has come with the speaker.
- Attach the ceiling wire with the conductor wires of the speaker.
- Fit the speaker slowly into the hole, cut out earlier.
- Tighten and secure the speakers in place using a screwdriver and the screws along the outside perimeter of the speakers.
- Adjust the direction of your swivel speakers before putting back the grill.
- Paint the grill to match your room décor.
And there, you are done! A lot of work, isn’t it?
Frequently Asked Questions About Ceiling Speakers
Let us address some of the most frequently asked questions about ceiling speakers!
The answer is yes. Ceiling speakers are a great addition to your surround sound systems! Ceiling speakers are most commonly used as rear channels of a surround sound system. Have a set of speakers already? Pair them up with ceiling speakers and you won’t have to buy a new surround sound system.
Secondly, you have a lot of freedom of placement when it comes to in-ceiling speakers! You can place them according to your seating arrangement rather than having to place your seating in accordance to your sound system.
Lastly, they give you a highly immersive home theater experience. All movie theaters and cinemas use ceiling speakers for the very same reason – they are highly immersive and help give the audience a more complete aural experience! We recommend the Yamaha NS IW280CWH and Bose Virtually Invisible 791 for the best surround sound experience!
Ceiling speaker installation comes at a good cost. One should keep in mind that this is more of a one-time expense than a recurring expense! You will not be changing your ceiling speakers very often. With that being said, the main installation cost is the labor cost. People usually summon “audio installers” to take care of such needs as they:
– Help in securing the ceiling speakers where you need them to be set up.
– Fix the wiring of your speaker set. You needn’t call upon an electrician unless the state of your wiring is really poor.
– Set up the mounts or create the space in the ceiling where your speaker needs to be put.
– Connect any additional hardware such as amplifiers, home theater systems, receivers, etc. to your ceiling speaker.
– Procure any additional or essential materials you may need for your speakers’ installation, in case you don’t have them handy.
Based on their level of experience, an audio installer can charge you $40 – $120 per hour of labor! It is also important to keep in mind how many speakers you plan on getting installed. You will need 2-3 hours’ worth of labor for setting up a 2-4 speaker set. So the approximate cost of the same will range between $80 to $360.
Most in-ceiling speakers are passive in nature, i.e., they are powered by external amplifiers and do not come fitted with their own amplifiers or receivers. The opposite kind are called active speakers that have a built in amplifier. Most floor standing speakers are active speakers. A ceiling speaker needs to be connected to an audio cable via an amplifier to receive power!
Yes, a ceiling speaker can be a great addition to your sound systems. If they weren’t any good, they wouldn’t really be made. You benefit by not only having to not compromise on your floor space or decor mismatch, but also by the fact that ceiling speakers are extremely immersive. Their freedom to be placed anywhere makes them a great choice for home theater systems and surround sound systems!
In-ceiling speakers are like assassins. You can’t see them but they can surprise you! We have departed as much ceiling speaker knowledge as we could have. Now, it is for you to choose which speaker is the right one for you!
Our pick for the best out of the best would be the Polka Audio RC80i speakers, closely followed by the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II! Which one is your pick? Feel free to share your feedback and let us know in the comments below if you have any queries or suggestions!