Is there such a thing as the best in-wall speakers for the money? It seems there are very few subjects in the world of audio that promote such differing opinions. The pluses and minus points of in-wall speakers are a minefield of debate.
Are they any good? Or a waste of space? They spread the sound; however, they are a nuisance to fit, and if they go wrong, it’s a lot more work to fix them. But, they don’t clutter up the room as conventional speakers do.
It is true their reputation has not been helped in the past by an influx of very poor quality product. Some of it, though by no means all of it, just a load of plastic rubbish. Is it fair then to judge today’s improved product by the standards of the past? After all, the bookshelf, desk, and floor speaker market has its share of very poor products.
Poor speakers are bad, whether they are on the wall or on the bookshelf. Maybe it’s time to lay the ghost to rest and have a closer look at a few products. It’s not worth an argument, “All in all, it’s just another speaker in the wall” (sorry). So, let’s see if we can find the Best InWall Speakers and the market and the perfect ones for you…
Top 10 Best In-Wall Speakers To Buy In 2021 Reviews
1 Polk Audio RC85i 2-way Premium In-Wall 8″ Speakers
Polk has a big reputation in some quarters for producing quality speakers. They not only produce the standard bookshelf and free-standing ranges. As a company, they are also well-respected for the other areas in which they operate. Outdoor, Marine, and Automobile speakers are also on the agenda. They know what they are doing. Let’s take a look at what they offer for speakers in the wall.
These are a pair of speakers that deliver Polk’s usual quality sound reproduction. They can be positioned anywhere in the room, but are best suited to a plasterboard or drywall. They use the space in the wall to generate a rich, warm sound.
Featuring an 8-inch woofer with Polk’s dynamic balance system and a one-inch tweeter, the polymer cone and composite driver create a wide and even reproduction of sound. They have been given rubber seals which prevent any moisture problems, and are therefore suitable for a kitchen or even a sauna. And can also be used outside but must be in a covered space.
They fit discreetly into the wall and are recessed, so they are not obtrusive at all. The grilles can be repainted to suit the decor in the room if you wish. They are easy to fit, and Polk supplies a template and manual. Everything you require for fitting is included. You will need a depth of about 3.5 inches to ensure they fit in the wall smoothly. They are 10 inches by 14 inches and require a cutout of approximately 8.5 by 12.75 inches.
They are great for putting your music into an extra room or just adding to the sound potentials for a home cinema system. From such a small package of just 8 inches comes a lot of typical Polk volume and sound. These come at a very affordable price for the pair and could be considered as the best in-wall speakers for the money.
- Easy fitting and all fitting requirements included.
- Expansive wide sound reproduction.
- Quite a large set of speakers.
2 Polk Audio 255c-RT In-Wall Center Channel Speaker
Back to Polk for another in-wall speaker, this time the 255c. This is a model seemingly designed for the home movie experience. The sound it delivers is certainly going to enhance any existing cinema or music system. It delivers a top of the range sound.
The 255c has a strong build with quality component parts. It is again quite a large speaker measuring 14.8 inches by 9.8 by9.3 inches and weighs six and a half pounds – it is no lightweight system, but then Polk does not do lightweight. The speaker needs depth in the cavity of the wall of 3.3 inches. To fit, you will need to make a fitting hole of 13.1 by 7.6 inches.
This unit is designed by Polk to be the center speaker of a system. Ideally, then it will be placed centrally in your room. It has a 5.25” woofer with polypropylene cone. Also a 1-inch silk/polymer dome tweeter on a swivel mount.
It is designed with Polk’s PowerPort and Dynamic Balance sound systems. This 2-way speaker will be suitable for most surround sound systems. The dual-band design bass ports deliver a smooth low-frequency response. The 255c has a decent frequency response of 30Hz to 27,000Hz. They have a power rating of 150 watts at peak.
There is a fine mesh metal speaker grille, which is only 7mm from the speaker. It is magnetically fastened to the unit and can be removed easily. It can also be painted to suit your decor if required. Without the grille, the speaker has an impressive site of the inner workings on view, if this is your preference?
It is easy to install, and Polk provides you with a template for the hole and instructions. Though you will need to buy the extra attachments if required.
Considering the content of the speaker, it is set at a very cost-effective price point. Must be considered as the best in-wall center channel speaker.
- Nice unobtrusive design and fitting.
- Good powerful sounds with a good frequency range.
- You will need to buy some extra parts to fit.
3 Klipsch R-5650-W II In-Wall Speaker
Klipsch needs little introduction as manufacturers of high-quality speaker systems, and this in-wall speaker is a worthy addition to their range. It has a 6.5-inch woofer that provides a big bottom end and comfortable mids and a one-inch titanium dome tweeter.
The sound from the tweeter is delivered through the Klipsch Tractrix horn at the top of the unit. The woofer has that familiar copper spun finish well-known in Klipsch designs. Both component parts produce a powerful, clear sound.
The tweeter is movable and can be pivoted up to 15 degrees. This allows you to direct the sound to most parts of the room to give you the best sound experience possible. There are treble and mid-bass controls for the sound. Also to reduce any potential distortion an IR receiver knockout.
It is well-built with a rugged look and weighs just over seven pounds. It is also quite a large unit at 14,3 by 9.3 inches. This means you will need a cutout size of 13 inches by 8 with a depth of at least 3.3 inches. There are brackets supplied for fitting.
This speaker has an impressive frequency range of 40Hz to 23,000Hz and can handle up to 200 watts peak. That equates to about 100RMS. Very powerful for an in-wall design. They have a slimline speaker grille that can be painted to suit your home decor if required.
Each speaker is sold as a separate unit, and you will need to buy the kit for installation. It is a stylish system and is surely one of the best in-wall speakers for home theater you can buy. It is a little more expensive than some other systems, but it is quality with a great sound.
- Powerful sound with a good frequency range.
- Great Klipsch visual design
- Quite expensive and you will have to buy a fitting kit.
4 Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker
We wonder if the clue to the design is in the name? Bose has decided to answer some of the critics of in-wall speakers. They have designed a speaker system you can virtually hide. You could, of course, just leave it at is it is and not paint the grilles. Or even leave the grilles off altogether if you like to watch the speakers at work. Whichever is your choice, it is an easy adjustment as the grilles are magnetically attached.
This is Bose, so we don’t need to go too far into the quality of the build. Excellent as it always is. They have decided to make a statement with these speakers, though. Each speaker measures 13 by 9.4 inches.
And you will need to check to see if you have enough depth in your cavity wall. These will require a depth of at least 3.5 inches. We say at least because there are dogleg clamp mounts to be included in the fitting process. The hole to be cut for fitting is 7.75 by 11,5 inches. The fitting will have to be carefully performed as each speaker weighs 5.22 pounds.
Big and powerfully built matches the sound output. A peak rating of 200 watts, with Bose themselves recommending an average of 100 watts for continual use. To drive the sound, they have a 7-inch woofer that constructed from a metal-based composite material. Bose uses this design as it produces excellent quality and keeps distortion to a minimum.
An interesting design feature is the double tweeter idea located at the top. The tweeters are angled in different directions. The idea is to spread the high-frequency sounds around the room. They also have the composite as their principal design material.
You cannot argue with the results. The sound is wide and fills the room, and gives the impression that there are more than two speakers at work here. It is a typical Bose performance level of high-quality sound.
…but they may well be the best in wall home theater speakers on the market. Or, for that matter, the best in-wall speakers for just about every audio need.
- Great design and build.
- Excellent performance level with its extra tweeter.
- Some will be put off by the cost.
5 JBL SP6II In-Wall/In-Ceiling Home Theater Surround Sound Loudspeaker
Another speaker company with a big reputation. They have been creating high-quality audio equipment since 1946. No long introductions neede, straight to the speaker itself.
It has a nice design that is not ostentatious and so will fit neatly into any home decor. You can use it with the grille off or on. If you leave it on, then the grille design resembles an aircon vent. Perhaps that was the design idea. You can paint the grille if you so wish to fit your decor.
The sound design is a 2-way system that concentrates on high and low frequencies. This can sometimes mean the mids are ignored. Not in this case. The mids are clear and not crowded out, especially by what is a prominent bass.
Driving the sound is a 6.5-inch woofer with a titanium laminate cone. It is set in a rubber surround to help to reduce any potential distortion. Rubber surrounds also make the speaker durable and prolongs its use. High frequencies are handled by the one-inch tweeter, which is also titanium laminate. It has been designed with a built-in swivel. This lets you change the direction of the sound.
The frequency range is good at 38Hz to 20,000Hz, and the system will handle 80 watts. Both speakers have crossovers built-in, which are set at 2800Hz.
They are a reasonable size at 7.1 by 9.7 inches, which are also the size of the cutout needed. The cutout and speak size are almost identical. Care will be needed in the fitting. Another potential problem is the depth needed for fitting. There is no set depth for plasterboard or drywall, it seems, given the variations that exist. But some do not go up to the 4-inch gap you will need.
Another potential problem is the weight. Each speaker weighs ten pounds, which is reasonably heavy, and so needs a good secure fit.
A very cost-effective price point makes these an attractive option.
- Good build quality.
- Decent sounds at a very affordable price.
- There could be some fitting problems.
6 Monoprice 3-Way Fiber In-Wall Speakers
Established in 2002 in the US, Monoprice offers a very wide range of electrical, audio, and other items for sale. This pair of speakers is a good example of their affordable products.
They are built reasonably well and at a decent size with their overall dimensions of 14.1 by 10.0 by 3.9 inches. You will need to cut an area 12.8 by 8.7 by 3.6 inches to fit them. It has a white frame and grille. The grille is attached with magnetic clips. Being white it will fit into any room. However, depending on your color scheme, you might want to paint it, which is an option.
One problem that could arise is in the fitting. The space to fit them will have to be at least 3.9 inches. Some walls will not allow that amount of depth, so it is worth checking first. When fitted, the speakers with the grille in place will fit flush against the wall.
They come with decent quality speakers. They feature a three-way system rather than the common 2-way. For this, they have an 8-inch fiber woofer with a Kevlar cone and extra-large magnets. The Kevlar cone goes some way to reducing distortion at high output. It also delivers a clean bass sound.
The high frequencies are handled by a dome tweeter with a Titanium Silk membrane. The addition is a 4-inch driver that works for the mid frequencies. The tweeters are on pivots to allow you to adjust the sound direction. Each speaker weighs a hefty 17 pounds. This is due to the oversized magnets in the woofer.
This is a powerful system with a peak of 200 watts and 100 watts RMS. The frequency response is 50Hz to 20kHz, which is not as wide as some of its competitors. The quality of the components used to enable the speakers to produce a powerful sound.
They are a budget system, so the overall sound and build quality are not as good as more expensive options. However, for the money, they represent excellent value.
- Budget system.
- Very powerful performance level.
- Build quality is not as high as some.
7 Klipsch R-5502-W II In-Wall Speaker
Back to Klipsch again for another in-wall offering. One thing that can be said about Klipsch is that their designs certainly catch the eye. This speaker is no exception. Designed so that it can be fitted either vertically or horizontally, it has a great design and a quality build.
The build is robust, as you would expect from Klipsch. It measures 3.5 inches by 8 by 17.8 inches and weighs 6.5 pounds. However, it is remarkably light considering its size. It is designed so that it can fit a variety of functions. Of course, it can be used just for music systems. For home cinema, it can be either the left, right or central speaker.
It has two 5,25 inch woofers that dominate the appearance. One is at the top of the unit if it is vertical, the other at the bottom. They have that traditional spun copper design that instantly means Klipsch, and have ceramic cones. In the center of the speaker is the Tractrix horn that houses the tweeter, which is one inch with a titanium diaphragm. The horn will rotate through ninety degrees to allow you to accurately pinpoint your sound projection.
The horn-loaded tweeter is a familiar sight with Klipsch speakers. It can raise the level of the acoustic output, but and at the same time, it will reduce the potential for distortion. The speaker has a power rating of 130 watts at peak. That is 75 watts RMS.
If it were us, we would leave the front grilles off. But if you want to use them, they have a magnetic fitting. You can either leave them in their original white color or they can be painted to suit the decor around them.
They are easy to fit but will need a depth of very nearly 4 inches. It is worthwhile ensuring space exists where you want to place them.
The sound is excellent, with a frequency range of 46Hz to 20kHz. Being a 3-ways system, it has crossovers at 1300Hz and 2200Hz.
This is a great speaker that has such a great variety of potential uses. We think it could not only be the best home theater in-wall speakers. It could also be considered to be the Best In-Wall Speakers
- Very good build quality with magnetic grilles.
- Rotating horn technology.
- Quite expensive.
8 Yamaha NS-IW760 6.5″ 2-Way In-Wall Speaker
We suppose we shouldn’t be surprised if there is music involved to find Yamaha. The world’s largest manufacturer of musical instruments, makers of audio products, of course, they will be here. Music is their thing. They even have crossed tuning forks as a logo.
We have seen three speaker setups in speakers before. But you don’t often see two woofers in the configuration. That is what we have here. Two 6.5 inch woofers placed either side of a tweeter in the middle in a 3-way system. They have polypropylene cones, and the speaker has a rubber surround.
Actually, they are rated at just 130 watts, so they are not very loud at all. But then ask if the sound is clear. Oh yes. No distortion here as you start to push the drivers. The panning effect works very well in providing a stereo effect. In between the woofers is a one-inch soft dome tweeter handling the high frequencies. The crossovers are well-placed to allow the mids to be clear and defined.
They have a nice design but are quite large, measuring 23.5 inches by 7.7 by 3.2 inches in depth, and weigh 5,1 pounds. Fitting is very easy, and Yamaha supplies a template for cutting into the wall.
The depth is quite shallow, and 3.5 inches is all you need for fitting, so there should not be a problem in that area. But they are wide and to get the best performance needs to be fitted horizontally. The grille may be painted to match your decor, as can the frame.
Despite there being two woofers, there is not a thundering bass. In fact, it is rather understated, and some may want more. For us, it was a nice balance. But it is the mids where these speakers really shine.
Great value and an attractive design, these speakers produce a great sound at an affordable price. They can serve a home cinema system as either left, right, or center speaker.
- Great sounds with a widespread.
- Affordable price with Yamaha quality.
- Quite a wide fitting area.
9 Leviton AEI65 Architectural Edition Powered By JBL
Like the founders of so many successful businesses in the US, Isidor Leviton arrived from Russia in 1906. The original business had nothing to do with audio and speaker cabinet design, and today it is only a part of their manufacturing activity.
The Leviton AE165 is a pair of speakers that are designed primarily for home cinema use. They measure 12.3 inches by 10 by 8.8 inches, and each weighs nine pounds. And have a two-way design that gives you 100 watts of peak power.
Featuring a 6.5-inch woofer and one-inch dome tweeter manufactured by JBL, which ensures great sound quality. They are both titanium laminated to provide a clear and precise sound reproduction even at volume. Also, they are fitted with rubber surrounds to absorb vibration and to provide good performance over the frequency ranges. And have a frequency range of 38Hz to 20Khz.
They have been well-designed with an SSP (Straight Signal Path) crossover that reduces the risk of distortion. Other important designs are the swivel mounting system for the tweeter and good sound dispersion.
The baffles and grilles are both able to be painted to suit your decor. Fitting is easy, and they have dog-ear mounting brackets.
A good sounding pair of speakers with a nice rich, warm bass sound. Affordable and must be a contender for the best sounding in-wall speakers for the money.
- Good sound performance from the JBL speakers.
- Easy fitting.
- Not a particularly attractive design with grilles removed.
10 82W Silver Ticket in-Wall Speaker
Silver Ticket was set up in the 1980s to provide quality home cinema products at great prices. They do a very impressive range of wall and ceiling-mounted speakers.
The 82W is an example, and if looks and styling were anything to go by, this is a winner. We must say, at first glance, it looked like an iPad with speakers. It is a 2-way system for placing in a wall and has an eight-inch polypropylene cone woofer. It has a large 30-ounce magnet, and a rubber surround to reduce vibration and potential distortion.
The tweeter is on a pivot that will rotate 15 degrees to give you good sound placement. It has a 20mm silk dome.
This speaker has a frequency range of 50Hz to 20kHz and a peak power performance of 120 watts. That equates to a decent 60 watts RMS. The speaker is moisture resistant, so it can be used in a sauna or kitchen. It could also be used externally, providing it was under shelter and in no direct contact with the weather.
Although there have been some issues with the installation clips. It has a comfortable size of 14.1 inches by 10 by 4.1 inches depth. You will need to check the depth of a wall as it is deeper than the average. It weighs just 7 pounds. Suitable for 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 home cinema systems, it is a high-quality, affordable alternative.
A quality sound speaker that is good value for money.
- Attractive design with easy fitting.
- Good sound at an affordable price.
- The installation clips can be a little vulnerable.
Best In-Wall Speakers Buyers Guide
Considerations When Buying an In-wall Speaker System
As we said in our introduction, the reputation of in-wall speakers was damaged by the quality of the original products. Some would say damaged irreparably. In the rush to get a product on the market, quality suffered. Quite often these days, when discussing them, you will hear some unkind comments. The best of which is they are awful. The worst we’ll ignore.
There are though some inherent disadvantages to in-wall speakers. Once you’ve set them in the wall, there’s no moving them, unless you want a big empty hole in the wall. If you get the angle of sound wrong to where you want to sit, there is a problem. The only solution then is to move where you sit unless there is rotation built-in.
If you move house, are you taking them with you, and what about if you want to upgrade the speakers? Just a few of the more obvious problems.
But There Are Advantages Too…
No wires all over the place or big boxes in the room or on bookshelves. Nothing cluttering up the place.
Freestanding speakers will interact with walls and floors. Installing into a wall prevents interaction with the floor or the wall it is in.
One of the important elements in speaker construction is the baffle, the material at the front that holds the speaker. In a floor-mounted or bookshelf speaker, it can only be as large as the cabinet. What about if the baffle is the wall? Placing the speaker in the wall increases the size of the baffle and increases the bass by up to 6dB — a significant amount.
We can go on about the ifs and buts forever, but there is little point. The answer is, how good are they? How do they sound, and what do they look like when fitted? Of course, the first question is, what are they for?
What Do You Need Them For?
If it is as a stand-alone one-off speaker, then you will need a good all-round frequency range. You will also possibly prefer a pair of speakers, though not always the case. If it is in support of a current system, what are you short of?
Do you need more bottom end or a bit more top, maybe? That will govern which unit you might buy. Some produce extra bass. Most in-wall speakers will anyway on the basis we have just mentioned, but how much do you want?
Home cinema systems tend to need more bass, and if that is the requirement, that is what you should look for. Music, on the other hand, can need a low, high, and mid-frequency boost. You will need a speaker with a wide frequency range.
Do You Want To See It?
With virtually all the speakers we looked at, you have the option to paint the grilles to fit in with your color scheme. Some are finished in white and look nice anyway. Maybe you want the workings on display. If so, it has got to look good inside.
It is interesting, though, that every manufacturer wants to hide them away. Let’s disguise and hide them in all the wall seems to be the design ethos. We think they look good on the wall. Not so much with the grilles on. Then they look like an extension to an aircon system sometimes. But with the grilles off? There are some great designs with the grilles off that look good.
As always, you should have an idea of how much you want to spend. There isn’t the need to spend a fortune. There are some good products at affordable prices by respected manufacturers.
If you are brave enough and skilled enough, you can do it yourself. If there is a doubt, let someone do it who knows what they are doing. We didn’t see an in-wall speaker large enough to fill a four feet hole.
In trying to find the best quality in-wall speakers on the market, our mind has been changed. We were dubious about them, but not now. There are some good products out there.
There are plenty of superb speaker choices available at the moment. So it may be worth checking out our reviews of the Best In Ceiling Speakers, the Best Powered Speakers, the Best Studio Monitor Speakers, the Best Party Speakers, and the Best Wireless TV Speakers.
So, What Are The Best In-Wall Speakers?
Well, not being particularly clever with our hands, which many will sympathize with, it needs to be easy to fit. They need to be shallow and not too deep to allow an easy fit and not too heavy. Decent sound is important, of course, it is, but we would like a system where the mids are taken care of. That is where most of the important stuff sit after all.
We have therefore decided that the best In-Wall Speakers are the…
Good sound, and with a great look as well. The best inwall speaker system.