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Can I Upgrade Car Speakers Without an Amplifier?

Replacing car speakers is often a daunting task for car audio novices. This is due to installing an amplifier together with the speakers because the car’s electrical system needs to handle the new car speakers’ power requirements.

Amplifiers can also help a car audio beginner make more informed decisions when choosing car speakers. But can we upgrade car speakers without an amplifier?

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In general, you can upgrade car speakers without an external amplifier because car audio has a built-in amplifier to power the car speakers. However, an external amplifier may be necessary in cases of powerful speakers with RMS significantly higher than radio output.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: Fortunately, not all car speakers require installing an external amplifier, although in many cases, it helps to receive the most from the speakers and improve music dynamic.

The speakers I like the most because of their phenomenal sound quality when powered by a car radio are the component system Focal 165 AS or their coaxial equivalent Focal 165 AC.

They are not the cheapest ones but are worth every dime spent, so if you want to give them a try, click the above links and check their latest price on Amazon.

In this article, I will provide a simple guide on replacing car speakers without installing an amplifier.

Do You Need an Amplifier for Aftermarket Speakers?

Most modern vehicles come with pre-installed car stereos from the factory. This means you will not require an external amplifier unless you go for really powerful systems.

Why Some Car Speakers Need an Amplifier?

Amplifiers are used to power the car speakers as well as provide enough power for car subwoofers.

In addition, the amplifier will increase the sound level and dynamic of the music, allowing speakers to show their real potential.

The main reason why car audio needs an amplifier is that car stereos do not have enough output power. Therefore they are unable to support the needs of large, strong speakers.

Upgrading car speakers with strong aftermarket ones is rather difficult while using a factory head unit and factory wiring harness unless you want to make further modifications to your car sound system.

Car amplifiers, unlike stereos, have the necessary power to drive car speakers as well as car subwoofers. The easiest way to upgrade car speakers without an amplifier is to choose the speakers that will work well with the stereo.

Another option is to install a new car stereo that supports car speaker level inputs and has built-in stronger amplifiers.

This will allow you to wire your car speakers directly with the car radio without the requirement of installing an external amplifier.

Should I Replace Factory Car Speakers Without Amplifier?

Depending on your car brand and model, the car speakers may be a high-end component or a low-quality stock speaker.

To replace car speakers without an amplifier, you must also consider whether to choose coaxial speakers or the component system.

Before starting the car stereo installation, you must find the best car audio component brands within your budget. Below in the article, I will show you the best options for good speakers that do not require an amplifier.

What Are the Advantages of Upgrading Car Speakers Without Amplifiers?

The main advantage is it makes upgrading car speakers more affordable. The downside is that replacing factory car speakers will not significantly improve the sound quality of your car’s music system because of the missing amplifier.

In powerful audio systems, an amplifier is the heart of car audio.

The car audio amplifiers are more powerful than the car speaker’s power handling capacity. Unfortunately, the car amplifiers also add a lot to the cost of upgrading car speakers, which makes car stereo installation costs as compared to just replacing car speakers without an amp.

How to Upgrade Car Speakers Without Amplifier?

Check the Sound System for Compatibility

Before buying or installing new car speakers, check your current car sound system to be sure that you can install new components without any problem, especially the size of the speakers must match the mounting locations.

You cannot match incompatible car audio parts like speakers with each other because the whole system will not work properly. In other words, you cannot place speakers of a different size than the factory locations unless, for example, you will decide to modify the door panels and cut the larger holes.

Select Your Favorite Replacement Speaker Set

Whether you want component car tweeters and woofers or a coaxial replacement speaker set, always consider your wishes about sound quality when making a car speaker purchase.

Confirm Speaker Size and Installation Tools

Before buying car speakers, make sure you know the right car speaker size for your car audio system. Also, check car speaker installation tools such as car power wire adapter, car amplifier cable, or RCA car cables.

If you need further help with installation, use a professional car stereo installer instead of installing new car speakers without an amp yourself.

Buy New Car Speakers.

After verifying that your car audio system is compatible with car speakers, you can buy new car speakers to replace the original ones.

If your old car speakers are blown or cracked, you should not wait but replace them asap to reduce the risk of further damage or trouble with your music system.

What to Do After Installing Car Speakers?

When installing car speakers without an amplifier, test the connection with the radio to make sure that your car stereo is already working with the new car speakers.

Can I Buy Speakers With With Built-in Amplifier?

The only speakers that are built-in with the amplifier are “active” or “powered.” This solution is more common in the car subwoofers, where an active subwoofer is made up of 3 basic parts:

  • a woofer itself
  • a built-in car amplifier
  • an electronic crossover

The electronic crossover separates the low tones, which will have a much fuller car audio experience than without the crossover.

The crossover in this setup allows you to control bass response. Since there is no car amplifier, no additional wiring is needed, the entire enclosure is connected directly to the stereo by regular car stereo RCA cables (white and red).

What Is the Difference Between Installing Built-in Amplifier Car Speakers and a Regular Amplified Car Speaker System?

The main difference is that there is no external car amplifier with an active subwoofer.

It means that your car subwoofer will work independently without connecting any other part of a car audio system like a receiver.

On the other hand, if you choose to install an amplified car speaker system, you will need an amplifier and additional wiring.

How Do I Know if I Need an Amp for My Car Speakers?

If you want to get better car audio sound and most of the speakers, you need to install car speakers with a car amplifier.

Few things help determine if your car needs an external amp:

  • Make sure all your car speakers have the same ohms rating as radio
  • Check the maximum number of watts recommended by the car speakers manufacturer for each pair of car speakers you plan to use in your car. You will see a label on the backplate or frame of your regular car stereo. 

Which Car Speakers Don’t Need Amp?

There are car speakers that do not require a car amplifier. These speakers will sound fine just by connection with the car stereo head unit. 

Really good brands of this car audio equipment include Kicker, JBL, Polk Audio, Sennheiser, and Sony, to name a few.

In addition to those companies, there are also car speaker packages available from other producers such as Alpine or Rockford Fosgate.

You may find many good speakers for your system, but because searching is usually time-consuming and can also be confusing, I have listed below the best picks that I used to have installed.

Best 6.5″ Car Speakers for Systems Without an Amplifier

6.5″ is the most popular speakers size in the car audio, and the absolute top ones that I recommend are the FOCAL 165 AC Access.

They are fantastic with an RMS of 60W, which means most stereos will power these speakers without an extra amplifier.

Another great pick in this category is the system Focal 165 AS. You must have noticed that Focal car speakers are the on the top of car sound system speaker brands in the World, and this is yet another of their fantastic car audio products.

If you are lower on budget, try the Infinity Kappa 60CSX 6-1/2″. It is also a great car speaker without an amplifier to choose from, among others in this category, and you will not be disappointed with the quality.


Listening to your favorite music while driving should be a relaxing experience. To ensure you get the best quality and enjoy it, install high sensitivity speakers that can handle being amplified by just using the radio without an external amplifier.