The 7 Best Ceiling Speakers of 2021

Listen up: These are the top ceiling speakers for your house

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The Rundown
They offer a lot of benefits in terms of design and sound quality but come at a much cheaper price point than higher-end speakers.
Easiest Installation:
Polk Audio 70-RT at Amazon
Installation is relatively easy, thanks to a one-cut, drop-in feature that offers templates for finding the best fit.
Best Budget:
Pyle PDIC60 at Amazon
The Pyle PDIC60 speakers are about as cheap as you can go while still getting a decent ceiling speaker.
The audio is both crisp and accurate, with the highlights being the mids and lows, and a surprising amount of bass.
The 591 speakers seamlessly blend into the ceiling and offer the right combination of performance and looks.
The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 offer a frequency response of 40 to 20,000Hz, delivering a set of entry-level home theater ceiling speakers.
The easy installation pairs with an ultra-slim bezel that makes this Bose model drop right into the ceiling.

If you value sound quality in your home theater, you’ll want to invest in good speakers. Bookshelf speakers may offer a quicker installation and prevent you from having to cut drywall, but if you use a weekend to take on the task of installing ceiling speakers, they can save you floor space and prevent you from having to hide wires. A good set of ceiling speakers will supply rich, warm sound to your home theater system, blasting sound downwards to fill the room they are fastened in.

With speakers, not only is the sound quality important, but design features are essential, too. Features such as magnetic and paintable grilles can help make your finished room look better, while installation clamps and spring-loaded connections can help promote an easier, more secure installation. Our experts tested a number of ceiling speakers, and we’ve selected our top picks in different categories and price ranges.

Best Overall: Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8" Round Speakers

Polk Audio RC80i
What We Like
  • Moisture resistant

  • Comes as a pair

  • Adjustable tweeter

What We Don't Like
  • Connection clips instead of cylinders

  • Non-magnetic grilles

Manufactured out of moisture-resistant, durable material, the Polk Audio RC80i come as a pair. You can install them indoors or in a sauna or porch area, but they’re not ideal for outdoor use. We chose them as our top pick because they offer a lot of benefits in terms of design and sound quality, yet they come at a much cheaper price point than higher-end speakers. 

The 8-inch balanced dynamic subwoofer and 1-inch dome tweeter allow for a warm sound that fills an entire room. The adjustable tweeter comes on a 15-degree swiveling mount, so it's easy to make the sound hit exactly where you want. The installation comes right after a prepared hole is made in the ceiling, and the wires to connect the speaker in place—you need nothing more than a screwdriver to make the RC80i flush with the ceiling, and they come with a template to cut the proper-sized hole in your drywall. Their white coloring helps them blend in and makes them hardly noticeable on a white ceiling, but you can paint the grilles to match your ceiling if it’s a different color (although the grilles are not magnetic).

Our product tester, Erika Rawes, found the RC80i had exceptional sound comparable to speakers double their price, and Erika was impressed with how well they sounded with other speakers in the Polk series. She wasn’t as impressed with the connection ports, as they’re push-down spring clips instead of spring-loaded cylinders, and that type of connection tends to not be as secure over time.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Push-down spring clips | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable | Waterproof: Humidity resistant

Easiest Installation: Polk Audio 70-RT 3-Way in-Ceiling Speaker

Polk Audio 70RT
What We Like
  • Paintable grilles

  • Good mid tones and bass

  • Easy install

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than some other Polk options

The vanishing series built-in Polk Audio 70-RT comes as a single speaker outfitted with a super-thin grille that magnetically secures the speaker together, while protruding a mere 7mm from the ceiling. This makes for a speaker that’s barely noticeable from a distance. 

Installation is relatively easy, thanks to a one-cut, drop-in feature that offers templates for finding the best fit the first time you attempt to install the 70-RT speaker. The speaker sounds good overall due to a unique three-way driver system. This helps the 70-RT produce a powerful sound profile in spite of its small diameter. Also enhancing the audio is a ¾-inch polymer tweeter, a 2.5-inch balanced driver, and a 7-inch dynamic balance subwoofer, leading to a frequency response range of 34 to 27,000 Hz.

You can clearly see the build quality of this speaker by simply examining its components. It has spring-loaded cylinder connections, a thick body, and it’s exceptionally sturdy.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Spring-loaded cylinders | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable and magnetic | Waterproof: No

What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Reasonably good sound

  • Easy install

What We Don't Like
  • No magnetic grilles

Capable of wall or ceiling installation, the Pyle PDIC60 speakers are about as cheap as you can go while still getting a decent ceiling speaker. They come as a pair of 6.5-inch speakers, and deliver a two-way sound. We have tested these speakers, and we were impressed with what they offered for the price.

You won’t get upgrades such as magnetic grilles, and the sound isn’t as powerful as more expensive speakers, but they will still serve as an upgrade over most regular TV speakers. They’re also a good choice for a kitchen or other areas in the home. However, we would not recommend these for someone who wants speakers for a premium home movie theater.

The dual 6.5-inch speakers pair with a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter, and the direction of each tweeter can be adjusted to send sound to a specific area of the room. The bass that’s delivered from the Pyle isn’t bad, but it does tend to distort slightly when you crank the volume up to full blast, so it’s best to go with a separate, affordable subwoofer if you want full bass. When paired with a subwoofer, or when used as overhead speakers for music or TV in a room where you don’t need the loudest sound, these speakers have a lot of utility at a budget price.

The upgraded PDIC60T (view at Amazon) also include a 70-volt transformer to reduce load on an amp or receiver outputting to it and help balance impedance, and is available for about $5 more than the base model.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Push-down spring clips | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable | Waterproof: No

Best Sound: Klipsch CDT-5650-C

Klipsch CDT-5650-C
What We Like
  • Phenomenal sound

  • Gorgeous design

  • Quality build

What We Don't Like
  • Don't pair well with non-Klipsch speakers

This Klipsch series is a favorite among our reviewers, as the speakers have a steampunk vibe and they sound so good. The CDT-5650-ii does, however, come at a steep price, and it's only a single speaker. 

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C-II offers an easy installation process and a pure sound. It features a 1-inch titanium tweeter and 6.5-inch pivoting cerametallic woofer, incorporating a gimbal mechanism for directing the sound in the right direction.

Connecting the Klipsch to either a 5.1 or 7.1 channel home theater system will get you set up and ready to go with 50W of power (200W peak). The audio is both crisp and accurate, with the highlights being the mids and lows. There's also a surprising amount of bass, which is unexpected for in-ceiling speakers. 

The minimal sound distortion at high volumes is another surprising result, which makes the Klipsch ideal for watching Blu-ray or Netflix movies at a high enough volume to feel like you’re right in the action.

With the woofer capable of shifting 15 degrees in any direction and the 360-degree rotation of the tweeter, you'll have total flexibility with the Klipsch. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to buy at least two of them for stereo sound, as they don’t sound good paired with other non-Klipsch speakers.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Spring-loaded clips | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable and magnetic | Waterproof: No

Best Design: Bose Virtually Invisible 591

Bose 742898-0200
What We Like
  • Come as a pair

  • Blend into ceiling

  • Magnetic grilles

What We Don't Like
  • Not the loudest speakers

The Bose 591 speakers come as a pair, so you need only one package for stereo sound. The 591 speakers seamlessly blend into the ceiling and offer the right combination of performance and looks. The 5-inch woofer and two strategically positioned ¾-inch tweeters offer a clean sound. 

We’ve tested them, and we were impressed with the design in particular. They have paintable, magnetic grilles and they almost completely disappear into the ceiling when you install them. You can feel the build quality when you hold the speakers in your hand.

While they’re not the loudest speakers we’ve encountered, the sound does travel well. Bose’s Stereo Everywhere works to cover an entire room with stereo sound without any drop-offs. Installation is relatively easy, as they have the integrated dogleg clamps, so you’re not holding your arms up in the air for hours (although most ceiling speakers offer these clamps).

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Spring-loaded cylinders | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable and magnetic | Waterproof: No

Best Theater: Acoustic Audio CS-IC83

What We Like
  • Come as a set of five

  • Thin, paintable grilles

  • Good value

What We Don't Like
  • Push-down clip connections

The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 offer a frequency response of 40 to 20,000Hz, delivering a set of entry-level home theater ceiling speakers. These are 8-inch speakers, and they have a three-way system with a mid-range and tweeter configuration. The set features a poly cone woofer and 13mm soft dome tweeter.

Given the specs, you’ll likely get good mids and highs, and a decent amount of bass, but as with most ceiling speakers, you’ll want to add a separate subwoofer if you want booming bass. 

The paintable frame and grille offer both easy installation and the flexibility to change up the look to match your home’s paint coloring. The low-profile housing is designed to be easy to install with cutout templates for helping to discover the exact sizing that needs to be cut from the ceiling. They don’t have magnetic grilles, and the connections are push-down clips, but they otherwise appear to be well-built.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Push-down spring clips | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable | Waterproof: No

Best Splurge: Bose Virtually Invisible 791

Bose Virtually Invisible 791
What We Like
  • Come as a pair

  • Blend well into ceiling

  • Magnetic grilles

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The Bose 791 speakers are similar to the 591 pair but larger, coming in at 7 inches. The woofer pairs with two strategically positioned 1-inch tweeters, and these end up being louder and more powerful than the smaller Bose 591. They have Bose’s signature Stereo Everywhere technology for balancing the sound in an entire room. 

The easy installation pairs with an ultra-slim bezel that makes this Bose model drop right into the ceiling (via a precut hole) and is secured in its position with dogleg clamps. They have a detachable speaker grille that can be removed and painted to better fit your room's decor. As with the Bose 591, we appreciate the Bose 791's design and build quality.

Channels: L and R | Bluetooth: No | Physical Connection: Spring-loaded cylinders | Paintable/Magnetic Grills: Paintable and magnetic | Waterproof: No

Final Verdict

Polk’s RC80i (view at Amazon) offer a combination of sound quality and smart design, and the pair of speakers come at an affordable price. If you’re willing to spend more and you want pure and clean sound, Klipsch CDT-5650-C-II (view at Amazon) will not disappoint.

About Our Trusted Experts

Erika Rawes has been writing professionally for more than a decade, and she’s spent the last five years writing about consumer technology. Erika has reviewed roughly 150 gadgets, including computers, peripherals, A/V equipment, mobile devices, and smart home gadgets. Erika currently writes for Digital Trends and Lifewire.

FAQs

Will the distance of your speakers from the audio source affect your sound quality?

Yes—while it's not always possible, for the best audio quality, you'll want to keep the length of cable tethering your speakers to your receiver as short as possible. Although your sound quality won't suffer very much unless they're 25 feet or more from your receiver. For any wired speakers, you should use a 14-gauge cable, and potentially use a 12-gauge cable for any speakers extending past 25 feet from the receiver.

What are the best in-ceiling surround sound speakers?

Most of the ceiling speakers on this list are good options for a surround sound setup, but we particularly like the Klipsch CDT-5650-C-ii. You’ll get phenomenal sound if you pair the ceiling speakers with a Klipsch woofer, but it’ll cost you quite a bit of cash. If you want a more affordable option, Polk and Pyle are typically good brands to look at.

Does Best Buy do in-ceiling speaker installation?

Best Buy does offer wall and ceiling speaker installation through Geek Squad. You can consult with a Best Buy Home Expert for free to get an estimate of how much the installation will cost. Best Buy will do everything from mounting and securing the speaker, concealing the wire, organizing the cables, properly positioning the speakers, and showing you how to use them.

What to Look For in a Ceiling Speaker

Style

If you want your speakers to be as discreet as possible, it’s important to choose a style that matches the color of your room. Paintable grilles let you match the ceiling speaker’s color to that of your ceiling, while thin profile designs help the speaker blend into the ceiling.

Installation

This isn’t as big of an issue if you’re paying for professional installation, but if you’re putting these ceiling speakers in yourself, you want to choose a model that has simple instructions and provides for easy mounting, with dogleg clamps and a template for cutting a hole. The last thing you want to do is accidentally cut too large of a hole for your speakers, so make sure to pay attention to how easy (or difficult) installation is on the speakers you’re interested in.

Sound Quality

When you’re choosing ceiling speakers, you’re probably going to have to balance price and sound quality. The question is, how much are you willing to pay for a great sound? You can choose stereo sound and go with just a pair of speakers, or go with a full surround sound setup with five speakers and a woofer. Also, pay attention to metrics such as frequency response, which indicates the range of tones the speaker can produce.

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