Many drivers enjoy listening to music or audiobooks while on the road.
But what if your car doesn’t have a great sound system and you do not have the budget to invest in the new car audio speakers? Can you use home speakers in your vehicle instead? Let’s find out!
Using home speakers in a car is possible but not advisable because of their higher impedance. Also, home speakers are not made to withstand higher temperatures, moisture, and vibration like car audio speakers.
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Tip: Home speakers have a higher (8 Ohm) impedance rating than car speakers (4 Ohm), so they may require a different amplifier or connection method in order to work effectively.
For example, connecting home speakers directly to your car stereo’s speaker wires may not provide enough power to reach their full potential. It could even damage the speakers or car stereo over time.
In the article below, I will go into more detail about the different options for connecting home speakers to your car and tips and tricks for optimizing sound quality.
Differences Between Car and Home Speakers
Before attempting to connect in-home speakers to your car, consider the most apparent differences between the conditions in your home and your vehicle.
#1. Home speakers have a higher nominal impedance
This means home speakers, because of their power rating, require less power from your stereo head unit to produce the same volume as car speakers.
Impedance means how much load the speaker places on the amplifier. The lower impedance, the easier it is for the amplifier to drive the speaker.
In most cases, at home you can find 8 ohms speakers. In contrast, car speakers typically have an impedance of 4 ohms, so if you use home speakers in your car designed for a 4 ohms amplifier may not be able to run them at all.
#2. Home theater speakers cannot withstand high temperatures.
The temperature in your car can get pretty hot in the summer and relatively cold in the winter.
Unfortunately, your home speakers are not built to withstand these extreme temperatures. As a result, they may become damaged if used in your car.
#3. Home speakers do not handle vibration.
Your car vibrates a lot more than your home, affecting the speakers. Home audio speakers are designed for a stable position without any movements, and, in such conditions, they play well.
But as soon as you put them in the car and start driving, the vibrations will start to slowly damage the drivers and the whole internal installation.
#4. Home speakers are not dust resistant or weatherproof.
The speakers in your car have to be able to withstand a lot of dust, dirt, moisture, and even high humidity.
Home speakers are not built to withstand these conditions. They may become damaged if used in your car, especially in vehicles with open roofs where speakers can be exposed to direct sunlight and rain.
#5 They are large.
Although speakers from home theater systems are made in different sizes, they are much larger and heavier than car speakers.
Many of them may not fit within the small space in the car. Home speakers have been developed to be used in open home areas, and even the small room is much larger than any vehicle cabin.
Also, their weight can be a problem because you may not have enough space to mount them in your car, so a trunk would be the best place they will fit. But, putting speakers in the trunk is not ideal because it will affect the sound quality and make the cargo space useless.
Now you know more about the main differences between car and home speakers. So, if you still want to use home speakers in your vehicle, there are a few things you need to do to make it work.
How to Connect Home Speakers in Your Car?
Connecting the home audio speakers with a car amplifier is no different than connecting regular car speakers, and you do not need any special tools to do it right.
#1. Check if the speakers you have use a 4-ohm or 8-ohm impedance rating. The easy way to do it is to read the label on the back of the speaker.
If they use a 4-ohm impedance rating, you will be able to use them without any problems. However, if they work with 8-ohm or higher impedance, you may need to use a different class amplifier.
#2. Match the polarity of the amplifier and the speaker wires. You can do this by using a multimeter to check which wire is positive and which one is negative.
Once you know the polarity, connect the wires accordingly. Otherwise, the speakers will play in reversed polarity and that causes sound cancellation.
#3. Connect the amp’s positive wire to the positive terminal on the speaker, and connect the negative wire to the negative terminal. Do this for all of the speakers you’re planning on using.
#4. Make sure that all of the connections are tight and secure.
#5. Test your speakers to see if they’re working correctly. If they are, then you’re all set! If not, you may need to check your connections and amplifier settings.
As you can see, it’s not too difficult to use home speakers in a car environment if you take the time to do it right.
Remember to use the proper impedance rating for your car’s amplifier and ensure all connections are secure. With a little effort, you can enjoy your favorite music in your car just like you do at home!
Do I Need an Amplifier for Home Speakers?
The amplifier as the main power source is recommended for most, if not all, car audio systems, and the same rule applies to home speakers.
Although modern car stereos have functions that should help reduce distortion, their built-in amps do not produce much power, so to make clean and loud sounds, you need to have an external amplifier.
Furthermore, it will also help to protect your speakers from being damaged by the high power output of the amplifier.
So, if you’re looking for the best sound quality possible, I strongly recommend using an amplifier even for 8-ohm home theater speakers.
Because of the higher than car speakers impedance, home speakers do not need anything extra to be installed in the car, the standard quality amplifier will be enough, and it is best if you would have it built in A/B class.
An excellent example of the AB class amplifier is the Skar Audio RP-75.4AB (link to Amazon). It has all features you may need for a basic connection and 4x75W RMS power at 4 ohms.
Of course, when connected to 8 ohm speakers, its power output will be reduced by approx. 40%, but still around 45W RMS per channel, is a reasonable amount of power for most bookshelf speakers.
When to Replace Your Car Speakers With Home Speakers
To have home speakers used in the car, you have to think about the pros but also about cons of this setup.
On the one hand, you’re getting better sound quality because home speakers are designed to produce a wider frequency range and provide more detail than car speakers, especially if you are using high-sensitivity theater speakers.
On the other hand, home speakers are not as durable as car speakers, and they’re not designed to withstand the conditions in the car as well as car speakers. Therefore, getting them the same or similar sound quality may be difficult.
So, if you’re looking for an upgrade from your stock car speakers and you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of durability, then using home speakers in your car is a great option.
In the end, shelf speakers may play in the car better than many stock car speakers, but this should not be a permanent solution.
I used to have a large pair filling my entire trunk, but I had no other option while waiting for the ordered speakers to arrive.
It was way before Amazon, so there was no way I could get ordered items within the same day. Still, I did not want to drive in silence, so I put my home speakers in the car and was driving with a loaded trunk for a couple of weeks.
Is It Worth Buying New Car Speakers?
Unless you have an old set of in-home speakers lying around your home that you are not using, it would be better to pick up new aftermarket speakers. Trust me. You do not want to buy new home speakers just to be used in a car.
The new car speakers are cheaper and easier to install, and you will get better sound quality because they’re designed specifically for use in cars.
So, unless you have a great set of home speakers that you’re not using right now and want to use in the vehicle, I recommend picking up new car speakers instead.
It is always best to invest in products you know are of high quality to last as long as possible. If you are searching for new car speakers, check out this article about the JBL Stadium series.
While replacing speakers in any system with your in-home theatre speakers is possible, you may consider other options.
The quality could improve or deteriorate dramatically because car and home speakers are different.
They are made for different purposes, and it is difficult for one to fill in for the other also because of slightly different frequency responses.
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 not recommended to go out and buy a brand new set of home speakers to replace your car’s speakers with them.