Would Using Home Theater Speakers in Car Work?


I’ve been trying to make small modifications to my friend’s car for a while now and finally got around to the stereo system. Rather than jump to break a bank on a whole new system, we decided to look into using an old set of home theater speakers that have been laying around for a while.

After asking a few friends and doing my own research, I found the answer I was looking for.

It is possible to connect home speakers to your car. However, it may not be the best option. You see, car speakers and in-home speakers are not built the same, and there are various reasons for the differences.

From the size to the materials they are made from, it’s important to understand the differences before trying to undergo this switch.

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Differences Between Car and Home Speakers

Before attempting to connect in-home speakers to your car, consider the most obvious differences between the conditions in your home and the conditions in your vehicle.

home speakers in car

Temperature 

  • At home, there should typically be consistent temperature control. If nothing else, there shouldn’t be too much exposure to extreme cold or heat.

Motion

  • Your home likely isn’t subject to rolling over rough terrain, taking sharp turns, or stopping and starting suddenly. These are all conditions that car speakers are built to withstand, and all conditions that in-home speakers would have great difficulty overcoming.

Car speakers are far more durable than in-home speakers, and they need to be. They are made from stronger materials, including internal components that are able to resist harsh temperatures as well as being jostled about as you drive. 

Very few in-home speakers can stand up to this kind of harsh treatment and environment as they are made to remain stationary and in relatively consistent temperatures.

The best kind of speaker that would be able to withstand such conditions, while also being able to operate as a typical car speaker would, are high-sensitivity theater speakers.

While it may sound great, these speakers are typically bulky box speakers that would take up a great amount of space in your car.

Impedance

  • Finally, you have to take into account the speaker’s impedance. Impedance ratings are the level of resistance that a speaker will give to the voltage and current run through it. Most car speakers’ impedance is about 4 ohms, while home speakers tend to be around 8 ohms. This means that a car’s speaker has a lower minimum frequency that can drop further in reaction to the current running through it.

To make it simple, car speakers are meant for smaller spaces, meaning they can easily fill a small space and have a quieter minimum volume. Speakers meant to fill a larger space may be able to fill a car’s small space, but it won’t be able to get as quiet as a car’s speaker even on its lowest setting.

How to Connect Home Speakers to Your Car’s Audio System

In case you have found speakers that you feel comfortable using in your car, and you still wish to connect them, here is a simple step-by-step guide to do so.

BE SURE TO TURN YOUR CAR OFF BEFORE PROCEEDING IN ANY OF THESE STEPS

Step 1

Open up your trunk and disconnect a single pair of speaker wires from the existing car speakers. Be sure to note which wire is positive and which wire is negative while removing these wires.

Step 2 (Non-RCA plug)

Take a look at the home speaker you wish to connect. This step assumes that your speakers will have wire attached.

If so, then all you have to do is connect the car’s positive wire to the positive wire from the head unit or the amplifier’s positive terminal. Then the same thing with the negative wires, but make sure do not mix the wires. Just repeat this same process for as many speakers as you wish to connect.

Step 3 (RCA plug)

If you did not find two exposed wires in step 2, then hopefully, you will see an RCA port on the back of your home speaker.

You will need to plug an RCA cable into this port first. Then you’ll need to cut the other end of the RCA cable, exposing its wires. Once it’s been cut, strip a half-inch of the insulation around the two inner wires.

If you do not want to mess with RCA wires by yourself, you can use a ready-made RCA to speaker adaptor wire, that will do the job for you. It is available on Amazon, so if your home speakers have RCA inputs, click this link and check the latest price.

Much like before, you’ll want to find the positive and negative RCA wires, then connect the positive RCA wire to the positive speaker wire from the head unit and the negative RCA wire to the negative speaker wire.

Like step 2, you may repeat this as many times as you wish to add a speaker.

After completing steps 2 or 3, whichever applies, turn your car on and listen to the audio coming from the speakers. If everything is working, you may want to wrap around any exposed wires before finishing up. If you do not hear any audio, you may need to double-check that positive is connected to positive and negative is connected to negative.

When You May Need to Replace Your Car Speakers with Home Speakers

Due to the possible cons of using home speakers in your car, you want to be absolutely sure of the switch. Sometimes it will simply be best if you are only trying to make a temporary switch.

You might want to replace your car speakers if you know that your home speakers are durable and can withstand extreme temperatures and are being jostled about.

You may still want to avoid this switch if your car speakers work fine. If there is nothing wrong with your current speakers, then making the switch could make things worse. However, if your speakers have burnt out or have simply stopped working, this could be a valid switch while saving up for a new car audio system.

Why it’s Best to Spend the Extra Money on Car Speakers?

Unless you just have an old set of in-home speakers lying around your home that you are not using, it would be worth the money to pick up new car speakers.

Using brand new home speakers will likely lead to them quickly failing due to heat or cold that it cannot handle. You will have wasted your money, and if you don’t still have your car’s audio system, you’ll also be without any audio system.

It is always best to invest in products that you know are of good enough quality to last as long as possible. If you are searching for new car speakers, check this article I wrote about JBL Stadium serie.

Things to Remember

While it is possible to replace your car’s speaker system with your in-home theatre speakers, you may want to consider other options.

The quality could either improve or deteriorate dramatically. Even if you get better quality sound, you’ll run the risk of poor-quality material that will lead to a faster burnout in your car.

Car speakers and home speakers are not exactly the same. They are made for different purposes, and it is difficult for one to fill in for the other.

It may be entirely possible to swap ones with the others. Just make sure your home speaker can handle your car’s conditions. If you’re looking for better audio quality overall, be sure to look into purchasing new speakers that are made for cars.

The most appropriate time to use in-home speakers in your car is only if you have them lying around and available. It is really not recommended to go out and buy a brand new set of home speakers for the sole purpose of replacing your car’s speakers with them.

Martin

Welcome to ImproveCarAudio! I am Martin, and I love to write about everything related to car sound systems. I strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about car audio through extensive research, as well as my experience with car audio installations.

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