Best Ceiling Speakers : Which is the Right One For You?

A full home surround sound system is an amazing addition every audiophile or movie buff would want in their living spaces. However, these multi-speaker setups tend to take up too much space. And let’s be real, not every one of us has the luxury of having a large enough living room or bedroom to accommodate multiple speakers and a big television.

But thanks to fast-evolving audio technology, you can find a way around this dilemma.

Instead of purchasing bulky floor and freestanding speakers, you can opt for in-ceiling and in-wall speakers instead. These discrete speakers can offer the same sound quality as their counterparts while saving you the trouble of constantly tripping on speaker wires and having to sacrifice sitting space just to accommodate your bulky sound system.

So, look no further. We’ve gathered the best ceiling speakers available in the market in a convenient list below. Take a look at their specs and features to know which appeals to your needs and budget the most.

And if you’re a newbie when it comes to audio equipment, you can read through our short buying guide below to make sure you have all the information to make a wise purchase.

Best Ceiling Speakers and In-Wall Speakers 2018

Device Name

Drive Size

Mounting Depth (mm)

Power Handling (watts)

6.5”

122 mm

100-Watts (max)
30-Watts (nominal)

8”

79 mm

100-Watts (max)
20-Watts (nominal)

8”

94 mm

350-Watts (max)
20-Watts (nominal)

6.5”

117 mm

250-Watts (max)

8”

91 mm


100-Watts (max)

8”

89 mm


250-Watts (max)

8”

121 mm


100-Watts (max)

6.5”

98 mm


80-Watts   (max)

8”

89 mm


100-Watts   (max)

8”

91 mm


100-Watts   (max)

Best Ceiling Speakers and In-Wall Speakers Reviews


Versatile and easy to install

If you don’t want to hire someone else to install your speakers, you might find the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH in-ceiling speaker a great choice.

This in-ceiling speaker is marketed as a versatile and easy-to-install equipment. You’ll only need a few basic tools to install it on your own. It also comes with a paintable frame and grill which you can keep as is or paint over to fit your room’s design scheme. 

Not only that, this speaker also features swiveling tweeters which enables it to produce high-frequency sounds and enable these sounds to be directed to a specific listening area for a customizable listening experience.

Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5" 3-Way In-Ceiling Speaker

Specifications


Frequency response: 65 Hz-28 kHz
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•    Speaker can produce loud sounds individually

•    Made of quality materials, has nice build

•    Works well for movie-watching

The  Cons

•    Can sound a bit too ‘bright’ during first uses


Best in-ceiling surround speakers

The Polk Audio RC801 in-ceiling speakers have created a fanbase of satisfied users over the years and it isn’t hard to see why.

These speakers produce lifelike overhead sound effects that move sound up and down, side to side and front to back. Thus, they are great additions to any home theatre setups.

Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling

However, they can also be enjoyed in more simple setups. Their 8” drive size woofers are more than enough to fill a room with rich sounds and solid base. Their built-in swiveling tweeter also enables the user to direct sound to a specific area in a room for better acoustics.

Specifications


Frequency response: 50 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•    Sounds great on low to medium volumes

•    Fast and easy to install

•    Produce clear and near-lifelike sounds

The  Cons

•    Speakers were nearer to 6” in reality


Best all-around in-ceiling speakers

If you’re looking for a set of speakers that you can use in a variety of setups and environment, these Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 in-ceiling speakers maybe the best ceiling speakers for you.

Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 In Ceiling

They’re built to last and withstand any environment with their high rigidity poly cones and butyl rubber surrounds. You can use them indoors as either in-ceiling or in-wall speakers and outdoors as part of your poolside or patio deck audio systems. They can also be used as part of industrial sound systems and marine audio systems.

The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 in-ceiling speakers are your heavy-duty audio companions.

Specifications


Frequency response: 40 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: 95 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•    Produces terrific sound

•    Produces both full bass sounds and high frequency sounds well

•    Delivers more than expected for the price

The  Cons

•    Needs back box when installing within walls or ceilings


Hassle-free installation, stereo sound

The Pyle PDIC60T is a two-way in-ceiling speaker which can also be used as an in-wall speaker. Its main selling point is its promise of delivering stereo sound and hassle-free installation.

 6.5” Ceiling Wall Mount Speakers

It produces full and rich sound with its titanium dome tweeters and impressive power handling capabilities. Each speaker has a maximum power of 250 watts.

This Pyle 6.5” in-ceiling speaker also has integrated wiring and an amplifier transformer switch which makes for quick and easy speaker connection. The speaker package includes a cut-out template to help you during installation. Not only that, they’re also very aesthetically-pleasing with a clean and sleek look.

Specifications


Frequency response: 65 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: ​unspecified
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•    Can work well without a separate subwoofer

•    Great as part of 3D video experience setup

•    Produces very good mid-range frequencies and treble

The  Cons

•    Distorted sound at higher volumes

•    Tweeters have limited tilt range


For music-centered audio setups

This next one is for music enthusiasts who want to take their listening experience up a notch.

Micca M-8C 8 Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling

The Micca M-8C promises smooth and natural vocals, robust bass output and abundant detail and clarity in the sounds it produces. It does all these through features such as its high excursion 8” poly woofer and dome tweeter with co-axial tilt. The tweeter uses a diffuser to improve sound direction aiming to accurately find that sound ‘sweet spot’ and to broaden the listening area covered as well.

Thus, this speaker creates a realistic sound stage without sacrificing sound resolution even in large areas. Not only that, the Micca M-8C can also be used alone without added boost from an external subwoofer: a great way to save up on precious floor space.

Specifications


Frequency response: 40 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Affordable

•   Produces crisp and clear sound in wide, open spaces

•   Has great bass and highs, without metallic sound found in some speakers

The  Cons

•    Doesn’t work well as a center channel speaker

•    Black grill is noticeable and not easy to hide


Powerful bass in a compact package

The Theater Solutions TS80C in-ceiling surround speakers are specifically designed to deliver powerful bass in a compact equipment.

 Theater Solutions TS80C 8-Inch In Ceiling

With a low range-friendly frequency response range, this Theater Solutions in-ceiling speaker promises to produce high quality and lush bass sounds. It is marketed as being the best surround sound in-ceiling speaker for playing movie scores and classical music. 

Its other features are its sophisticated design and moisture -resistant body which ensure great sound performance and equipment longevity. It also has paintable frames and grills so you can match it with your current room décor.

You can use the Theater Solutions TS80C speakers for a variety of applications like in home audio surround sound and for office and other commercial settings. 

Specifications


Frequency response: 30 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: ​92 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Great quality for the price point

•   Produces great sound

•   Made of high-quality material

The  Cons

•    Confusing installation instructions


Efficiently hidden and functional

The Polk Audio 80 F/X RT is an 8” surround speaker which promises to stay efficiently hidden yet functional after installation. 

As part of Polk’s Vanishing Series, you can easily hide this in-ceiling loudspeaker as its paint matches most house decors. Once installed, they will be ‘virtually indistinguishable’ from their surrounding area.

Polk Audio 80 F/X RT In-Ceiling

Despite this efficient camouflaging ability, the speaker’s sound can still be controlled through its custom audio controls. Thus, you can install this speaker in any position to achieve more lifelike sound effects.

It also has a dual offset ring radiator tweeter which extends frequency response to produce detailed and realistic sounds. Meanwhile, its dual bandpass bass ports make the Polk Audio 80 F/X RT loudspeakers efficient for small enclosures. 

Specifications


Frequency response: 50 Hz-25 kHz
Sensitivity: 87 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Works well with high ceilings

•   Easy to install

•   Matches well with existing ceili

•   Great mid-range sound


The  Cons

•    Doesn’t work well as a center channel speaker

•    Black grill is noticeable and not easy to hide


Best in-wall speakers

If you think in-wall speakers will be a better fit for your current audio setup, check out the JBL SP6II in-wall surround sound loudspeakers.

JBL SP6II In-Wall/In-Ceiling

They’re great for both recreating cinematic sound for your home theater setup and just listening to music. This JBL loudspeaker promises to distribute sound smoothly and evenly in your living room or other open spaces through its Proprietary Elliptical Oblate SpheroidalTM waveguide technology and peak power handling of 80 watts per speaker. 

Not only that, this JBL loudspeaker delivers amazing bass with its 6.5” titanium-laminate low-frequency woofer while also delivering excellent and clear high-frequency sound through its swivel-mounted tweeter.

Lastly, its shallow mounting depth of 98 mm allows for more versatile installation options on the part of the user. 

Specifications


Frequency response: 38 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: 88 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Provide great frequency response and solid bass performance

•   Produces authentic sound overall

•   Excellent surround speaker for larger rooms

The  Cons

•   Not good as main speakers


Best all-around in-wall speaker

The Polk Audio RC85i in-wall speakers may be the all-around in-wall speakers in the market. They can be used in a variety of setups, whether for movie watching or listening to music, may it be set up inside your home or out on your patio.

Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall

This Polk Audio speaker is ideal for surround speakers for in-wall home theater setups but are also excellent for music systems. Not only that, its 8” woofer and tweeter combo also enable it to deliver amazing sound for sports games and video games.

Another perk of these speakers is that they are very easy to install. All you’ll need to do is to cut a hole where you’ll feed the speaker wires through and then simply placing the speakers where it will be safely secured by rotating cams.

Specifications


Frequency response: 50 Hz-25 kHz
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Great as rear surrounds in a large room setup

•   Installation was easy, clear instructions

•   Works as in-ceiling speakers as well

•   Good mid and high range sound

The  Cons

•   Grates cannot be removed easily

•   Look can a bit cleaner


Multi-functional in-wall speakers

This is the in-wall version of the Micca in-ceiling speaker mentioned above so they have, more or less, the same features and specifications except for a few things.

Micca M-8S 8 Inch 2-Way In-Wall

You’ll find this Micca in-wall speaker useful in a variety of applications and mounting locations. The Micca M-8S in-wall speakers are great as front or center speakers for home theaters, as surround speakers for surround sound setups and as background music speakers.

 Another difference between the two Micca speakers is their shape. The Micca in-ceiling speaker is round while the Micca in-wall speaker is rectangular in shape.

Specifications


Frequency response: 40 Hz-20 kHz
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Impedance: 8 ohms

The  Pros

•   Provide great rear sound fill

•   Great for the price

•   Good enough to be used as main speakers

The  Cons

•   Not so great overall tone

•   Produces some rattling noises     

Buying Guide

Now that you have an idea of which in-ceiling and in-wall speakers are considered the best right now, it’s time to narrow down your choices even more. Here are some considerations you should keep in mind when picking the best ceiling speakers for your home sound system.

           

In-ceiling vs in-wall speakers

These two speaker types may have functional and aesthetic differences, but they have very similar selling points.

In-ceiling speakers, meant to be installed recessed into ceilings, are a great choice for homeowners who want to declutter their living room but don’t want to sacrifice a complete audio setup. With in-ceiling speakers, you can say goodbye to unsightly audio wiring as this speaker’s wiring runs behind walls.

They are also called architectural speakers because they can blend well with most room décor due to their sleek and minimalistic look. They usually come in round shapes, though square-shaped models can also be bought. Don’t worry much though. In-ceiling speakers work like any other speaker and its shape won’t affect its sound much.

In-wall speakers offer the same appeal. More and more people are starting to prefer this type of speakers as the technology that makes them are now catching up with that of the classic floor and freestanding speakers. Structure-wise, in-wall speakers usually come in a rectangular shape as compared to their round in-ceiling counterparts.

Both types of discrete speakers are ideal for a multi-room sound system that needs a source of sound to fill a larger area.

Drive unit size

Another important factor you should consider when choosing the best ceiling or wall speaker is its drive size. The drive size, measured in inches, determine how loud the sounds a speaker can produce. As a rule, units with larger drives can produce louder music and lower frequencies as well than their smaller counterparts. Common drive sizes are 5”, 6.5” and 8”.

           

Power handling

Knowing a speaker’s power specification (measured in watts) can help you determine the maximum amplifier power that a speaker can handle and vice versa. Matching a speaker to the proper amplifier is important as to not overpower or underpower your speaker. Make sure that your speaker’s power doesn’t exceed the maximum power handling of the amplifier you will pair it with.

Sensitivity and frequency response
A speaker’s sensitivity rating, measured in dB, pertains to how it uses the power received from an amplifier. Higher sensitivity ratings mean that you can play louder music without straining your amp too much.


Meanwhile, frequency response (Hz) will tell you the range of sound a speaker can produce. For comparison, humans can hear sounds in the 20 to 20,000 Hz range.

Mounting Depth

The mounting depth, measured in mm and sometimes in inches as well, gives you an idea of how much space your speaker requires for it to fit in your ceiling or wall.

OTHER FEATURES:

Swivelling tweeters: This feature allows the user to angle a speaker’s sound towards a preferred area. Not all in-ceiling and in-wall speakers have this feature.

                       

High/mid frequency adjustment controls: This feature allows users to adjust the sound of the speaker even after they are already installed inside the ceiling or walls.


Moisture-resistance: This is a useful feature if you want to place your speakers in a humid area like the kitchen, the bathroom or outside on the patio. The moisture-resistance will help your speakers stay dry and prevent damage caused by moisture ensuring your speaker’s longevity.


Stereo single speakers: This type of in-ceiling and in-wall speaker plays both channels (right and left) through a single woofer with two angled tweeters. Thus, they are ideal for placement in narrow or awkward spaces where two speakers won’t fit.


Speaker Setup

 How you’ll arrange your chosen in-ceiling and in-wall speakers in your existing or planned home audio system will matter just as much as the quality of these speakers.

Most homeowners prefer to recreate the surround sound system that is often found in movie theatres in the comfort of their own homes. The surround sound setup is a technique of sound reproduction in which additional audio channels (speakers) are arranged to literally surround the listener.

There are many types of audio setups that are proven to be effective in reproducing the surround sound found in theatres. Here are some of them:

Source: Webopedia

5.1: This setup requires five speakers and a subwoofer to deliver that cinematic sound in your living room.

7.1: This setup adds two more audio channels to the 5.1’s setup. The 7.1 setup uses the standard front, center and subwoofer speaker configuration.

In the image shown below, you can replace the freestanding speakers with either in-ceiling or in-wall speakers.

setup-ceiling-speakers

setup-ceiling-speakers

7.1 Source: Denon.com

9.1: This setup is basically the 7.1 but with the addition of two front height audio channels (speakers). If you want to hear a realistic recreation of how the helicopters in Apocalypse Now travel and other similar iconic movie scenes, you better aim for this setup. Among the three setups, this is the most ‘immersive’ so far.

setup-ceiling-speakers1

9.1 setup-ceiling-speakers

9.1 Source: Marasetupntz.com

If you plan on setting up your new speakers yourself, you’re going to need some additional tools and accessories.

Wires: Be sure to only use wire that’s approved for in-wall runs when installing your in-ceiling and in-wall speakers.  Professionals recommend using UL-rated wire which is classified as either CL2 or CL3.  You can find some here.

Back boxes: This will help contain the sound of your in-ceiling speakers to where you want it. They also help improve your speaker’s bass. Find some back boxes here.

In-wall volume control: Installing an in-wall volume control dial will make volume easier to control and get right. You can find volume control models here.

Final words

There’s a wide variety of in-ceiling and in-wall speakers in the market now there’s surely one that’ll fit perfectly with your needs.

It can be difficult to wade through tons of reviews and models and specs. So, we hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the best ceiling speakers to complete your home audio system.

(Last Updated On: June 22, 2018)
john andrews
 

HI, John Andrew here. I’ve been an audiophile since I was a little kid. I’m an original member of myaudiolover . It emerged as a way for me to share my passion and knowledge for audio technology. If you’re looking for tips, techniques, and insights about audio-tech, that can enable your productions that professional edge, then MyAudioLover is the place for you!

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