Main photo credit: happycreator / Shutterstock.com
Despite their descriptive name, tweeters are not social media experts. Rather, they are tiny speakers designed to reproduce the high-frequency elements of your music, like a flute trill in a classical piece or the rhythmic high-hat cymbal in a pop song.
While many modern cars offer these diminutive speakers, they are often only included as part of upgraded sound system packages in low- and mid-priced models. You’re more likely to find tweeters as standard equipment in vehicles from luxury brands.
Whether you’re looking to add tweeters to a basic sound system or replace worn out units in a higher-end stereo, you have likely noticed there’s a vast range of options to choose from. In this article, we’ve narrowed things down to a short list of the 10 best options for aftermarket tweeters.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: Polk Audio DB1001
- 2. Best Tweeters for Audiophiles: Alpine SPR-10TW
- 3. Most Compact Size: JBL GTO 9 Series
- 4. Best Tweeter for High-power Applications: Pyle-Pro PDBT28
- 5. Rockville RT6
- 6. Rockford Fosgate Prime R1T-S
- 7. Kenwood KFC-ST01
- 8. Kicker KST250
- 9. DS18 PRO-TW220
- 10. Rockford Fosgate Punch P1T-S
- How do You Choose a set of Tweeters for Your Car?
- What do Crossovers Do?
- What Does Sensitivity Mean?
- How and Where Should I Install Tweeters?
1. Editor's Pick: Polk Audio DB1001
Polk Audio’s DB1001 is one of the best-rated products we found, with many positive reviews that back up Polk’s reputation as a maker of high-end audio gear. These tweeters earned the Editor’s Pick title for their excellent sound quality.
Rated for 6 to 60 watts nominal/RMS power, the DB1001 can handle peaks of up to 180 watts. One-inch silk/polymer domes and neodymium magnets deliver frequencies between 4 and 23 kHz, and an in-line crossover filters out lower-frequency sounds better left to your sound system’s drivers and subwoofers. Polk Audio also includes built-in overload protection circuitry.
Every pair comes with stainless steel mounting hardware for both surface and flush mounting applications, 38-inch speaker leads, and two 6-foot lengths of speaker wire each with an in-line crossover.
The DB1001’s 1-inch mounting depth allows flush-mounting in a variety of vehicles. They’re also certified for marine use if you’re looking for high-quality tweeters for a boat.
2. Best Tweeters for Audiophiles: Alpine SPR-10TW
The Alpine SPR-10TW is also a 1-inch tweeter but was designed more for high-end sound systems and listeners who are pickier about sound quality. Alpine says you’ll get the most out of this product if your sound system has an external amplifier. Silk speaker domes can handle nominal power anywhere between 5 and 150 watts, with 450 watts of peak power capability, so the SPR-10TW is well suited to high-powered sound systems.
An adjustable crossover allows you to choose from four settings to tailor the output of these tweeters to the rest of your sound system. Alpine also builds a physical EQ ring into the SPR-10TW to help disperse high-frequency sounds throughout your car’s cabin so that you can properly enjoy the wide 1,000-29,000 Hz frequency response.
Each tweeter has 29 inches of speaker wire attached, while the crossovers include 32-inch input and 12-inch output leads, giving you plenty of flexibility in terms of mounting locations for both pieces of hardware. The kit also comes with all you’ll need for seamless mounting in any location: swivel flush-mount housings and retention rings, stealth brackets, foam pads, and rings. It even includes a few zip ties and some double-sided tape to help you keep the installation tidy.
3. Most Compact Size: JBL GTO 9 Series
Measuring just three-quarters of an inch in diameter, the JBL GTO 9 Series tweeter is the smallest in our list. As a member of the GTO speaker family, the 9 Series boasts the fiberglass reinforced plastic frames, fabric diaphragms, and rubber surrounds used in larger versions.
These tweeters are rated for nominal power handling between 5 and 75 watts, so they’re compatible with many factory sound systems and lower-end aftermarket setups. Maximum power handling is 135 watts. JBL says the GTO 9 Series’ relatively low 3-ohm impedance makes this tweeter well-suited to sound systems with light-gauge wiring. However, these units are compatible with the common 4-ohm impedance ratings of stereo head units and amplifiers.
A maximum frequency response of 21 kHz is not as high as other tweeters, but a 94 dB sensitivity rating means you’ll hear these tweeters loud and clear even if your stereo isn’t especially powerful.
Oversized voice coils and vented magnets were designed for efficient cooling to maintain sound quality for long periods of high-volume listening.
4. Best Tweeter for High-power Applications: Pyle-Pro PDBT28
The Pyle-Pro PDBT28 tweeter is one of the most powerful speakers in this list with a 150-watt RMS power rating and 300 watts of peak power capability. Its 104 dB sensitivity rating is also among the highest here, so you will get lots of volume out of the PDBT28 no matter how much power your sound system makes. Frequency response is average among the tweeters listed here, ranging from 2 to 20 kHz. The impedance range is 4 to 8 ohms.
A 1-inch diameter follows the industry standard for tweeters in most vehicles, so you should have little trouble installing it in your cars’ existing tweeter openings. Pyle does not include speaker grilles, but the PDBT28 features a nicely finished aluminum frame.
Each tweeter features a 30-ounce magnet, a high-temperature ferrofluid voice coil, titanium diaphragm, and a mylar crossover capacitor. Pyle-Pro says all of those design features translate into reduced distortion so that you can take advantage of crisp, clear sound at the high volume levels this speaker was designed to deliver.
Note that the PDBT28 is sold individually.
5. Rockville RT6
In designing the RT6, Rockville focused on sound quality over big power and volume, so while the 60-watt continuous power rating is relatively modest, you can expect these tweeters to sound better than their affordable price suggests.
This 1-inch speaker has a silk dome, ferrofluid cooled voice coil, and neodymium magnet designed to deliver peak power handling of 240 watts. Frequency response ranges from 1.3 to 24 kHz and impedance is rated at 4 ohms.
While the speaker itself measures 1 inch in diameter, you’ll need a 2-inch opening for flush-mount applications. However, a 0.75-inch flush mounting depth makes it easy to install these tweeters in door and dashboard locations with limited clearance. Rockville also includes hardware for flat and angle surface-mount installation. The ABS housing material is built to prevent warpage no matter how hot it gets inside your car.
Each kit comes with mounting brackets, screws and washers, and double-sided tape so that you can install them straight out of the box.
6. Rockford Fosgate Prime R1T-S
Rockford Fosgate says its R1T-S tweeter’s mylar dome was designed to minimize distortion while dispersing your music’s high notes so that everyone in your car gets to enjoy clear sound. They’re designed to handle between 2 and 40 watts of RMS power, with peak power handling of up to 80 watts.
Sensitivity is lower than the average here, at just 72.5 dB, and the frequency response range is a bit narrower, at 2.5 kHz to 22 kHz. Impedance is rated at 4 ohms, and the kit includes high-pass crossovers that are built in, so you don’t have to worry about finding space for them.
The mounting depth is a bit less than an inch, but if that’s not shallow enough, Rockford Fosgate includes hardware for surface and angle mount installations. The nicely done black trim rings should look good in most vehicles. Each tweeter comes with 6 feet of speaker cable with quick-slide connectors.
7. Kenwood KFC-ST01
Kenwood is a well-known name in both home and car audio, and like many brands, the company makes products to appeal to a wide variety of price points. Case in point: the KFC-ST01 is aimed at buyers seeking something that provides better sound quality than its accessible price might suggest.
These 1-inch tweeters are rated for 2 to 40 watts continuous power, and a peak of 160 watts, at 4 ohms of impedance. Frequency response starts at a relatively high 5 kHz, and the 25 kHz top end is among the highest on this list. Sensitivity is middle-of-the-pack at 90 dB, and some buyers wished for the extra volume that comes with sensitivity ratings near or better than 100.
To keep things simple, Kenwood designed the KFC-ST01 for surface-mount applications only, which means you can’t use these to replace flush-mount factory tweeters. That said, if you’re buying these to augment a sound system that didn’t include tweeters, you won’t have to cut holes to install these Kenwood units.
These tweeters come with 6 inches of wire attached to each speaker, and the kit also includes two 80-inch (nearly 7 feet) lengths of wire in case your chosen mounting points are a particularly long way from the head unit or amplifier.
8. Kicker KST250
If you’re looking for a set of aftermarket tweeters to replace factory units while maintaining good sound quality, the Kicker KST250 is a good bet. Like nearly all of the other tweeters here, this one measures 1 inch in diameter, so it will be an easy fit in most vehicles. These speakers deliver your music’s highs via silk domes and neodymium magnets.
The KST250’s nominal power rating is 75 watts, but can handle peaks of up to 150 watts. Frequency response starts a bit higher than some of the other tweeters listed here, at 3.5 kHz, and tops out at 21 kHz, which is about average. The sensitivity rating is 94 dB.
This Kicker tweeter’s 4-ohm impedance is suited to standard car stereo wiring. Each speaker comes with 6 inches of speaker wire attached, plus a five-foot length of speaker wire with an in-line 12 dB crossover.
Kicker includes hardware for flush mounting, which requires a relatively shallow 9/16-inch clearance. If flush mount installation isn’t possible, these tweeters also come with hardware for surface and angle mounting, including two sizes of mounting nuts, front and back angle rings, and screws to secure the housings to the vehicle.
9. DS18 PRO-TW220
DS18 is not shy about what it designed the PRO-TW220 tweeters to do: play your music’s high-frequency sounds loudly. These 1-inch units are rated for an impressive 225 watts RMS and a max power capacity of 350 watts, making them one of the most powerful units in our list. A sensitivity rating of 106 dB is also the highest of any tweeter here, which backs up DS18’s volume claim.
The PRO-TW220’s frequency response range is 2.2 kHz to 19 kHz. That’s a narrower range than many of the other tweeters we’ve listed, which suggests DS18 sacrificed some high-end sound reproduction capability in favor of big volume.
The PRO-TW220 is a 1-inch tweeter, but its aluminum frame and diaphragm add a lot of bulk. According to DS18’s specifications, you’ll need a 2.75-inch cutout for flush mounting and nearly 2.3 inches of space behind the mounting surface. There’s no option for surface or angle mounting. On the other hand, the PRO-TW220’s crossovers are built into the tweeters themselves, which eliminates the worry of finding a place to mount external units.
10. Rockford Fosgate Punch P1T-S
The Punch P1T-S is the second Rockford Fosgate product to make our list of aftermarket tweeters. These 1-inch units are rated to handle 60 watts continuous, and 120 watts maximum. Frequency response is mid-pack here, ranging from 3.5 kHz to 22 kHz, and the same goes for the 90 dB sensitivity rating. The speaker domes are made of polyetherimide, a polymer that Rockford Fosgate says generates superior audio imaging.
These tweeters are one of just two here that have an adjustable crossover; the others are the more expensive Alpines we named as our best pick for audiophiles. The crossover has three settings to let you tailor the sound to your preferences and/or the acoustics of your vehicle.
Rockford Fosgate includes hardware for the flush-, surface- and angle-mount options you expect from a well-designed aftermarket tweeter kit. The two angle-mount housings set the tweeters to 10 and 30 degrees from the horizontal. The flush-mount bracket fits a 1.75-inch hole.
The kit also includes wiring, mounting screws, and zip ties.
How do You Choose a set of Tweeters for Your Car?
First, figure out how powerful your car’s stereo is. As with any speakers, tweeters are rated according to how much power (measured in watts) they can handle, as generated by your car’s stereo head unit or a separate amplifier. Most factory car stereo systems are relatively low power, but a premium OEM or aftermarket sound system will crank out higher wattage, especially if it has a stand-alone amp.
Every speaker will have two power handling ratings. The RMS, or continuous rating tells you what kind of power the tweeters can handle for extended periods. You’ll also see a peak rating that indicates how many watts the speakers can take for short bursts. As a general rule, the speaker’s RMS/continuous rating should be a little higher than the stereo’s output.
What do Crossovers Do?
Crossover is a term you’ll see mentioned in the specifications for many speakers. A crossover is an electronic circuit that, in the case of a tweeter, filters out the low-frequency elements of the audio signal. That way, the tweeter is left to do what it does best, which is reproduce high-frequency sounds.
What Does Sensitivity Mean?
A speaker’s sensitivity is defined as how efficient it is at turning the wattage from the stereo into volume. Generally speaking, a high sensitivity rating means more volume at a given wattage. Every 3 dB increase in sensitivity means your speakers need half as much wattage to generate the same volume.
How and Where Should I Install Tweeters?
The best place to put tweeters in your car is as close to ear level as possible. If they’re mounted too low, the delicate high-end sounds can be absorbed by the soft surfaces of your car’s carpeting, seats, and even your clothes. Many cars that come with tweeters from the factory place them near the front of the upper door panel or in the dash.
You may choose to flush-mount your tweeters, which means they’re set into a hole in the door or dash panel. Many factory tweeters are mounted this way, and most aftermarket units will fit in the same holes. This will result in the cleanest install because the wiring will be hidden away.
If your car didn’t come with tweeters (or you’re adding a second set), it will probably be easier to surface-mount them. It is possible to drill holes for aftermarket tweeters, but you’ll want to do so carefully to avoid damaging any other components located in the doors or behind the dashboard.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.