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Best Overall: Polk Audio RC80i at Amazon
"With an eight-inch balanced dynamic subwoofer and one-inch dome tweeter for a warm sound that fills an entire room."
Best Installation: Polk Audio 70RT at Amazon
"With a Perfect Fit template for finding the best fit the first time you attempt to install."
Best Budget: Pyle PDIC60 at Amazon
"Delivering a two-way sound that's an incredible value for the price."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Klipsch CDT-5650-C at Amazon
"Delivering a surprising amount of bass for in-ceiling speakers."
Best Design: Bose 742898-0200 at Amazon
"An ideal combination of performance and looks."
Best Theater: Acoustic Audio R191 at Amazon
"A versatile set that takes the home theater experience to an entirely new level."
Best Splurge: Bose Virtually Invisible 791 at Amazon
"A system that works to blanket the entire room with balanced audio performance."
Manufactured out of moisture-resistant, durable material, the Polk Audio RC80i is a terrific choice for ceiling speakers (added bonus: you can even install them in a sauna or pool area). The eight-inch balanced dynamic subwoofer and one-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 super easy installation comes right after a prepared hole is made in the ceiling and, with the wires to connect the speaker in place, you need nothing more than a screwdriver to make the RC80i flush with the ceiling. Their white coloring easily helps them blend in and makes them hardly noticeable on a white ceiling, but you’ll never question the sound.
The vanishing series built-in Polk Audio 70RT speakers are outfitted with Polk’s wafer-thin Sheer-grille that magnetically secures the speaker together while protruding a mere 7mm from the ceiling. Installation is easy, thanks to a one-cut, drop-in feature that offers Perfect Fit templates for finding the best fit the first time you attempt to install the 70RT speaker. Past its outstanding fit, the Polk sounds great because of a unique three-way driver that helps deliver full-size speaker performance in a compact package. Also enhancing the audio is a ¾-inch polymer tweeter, a 2.5-balanced driver and a seven-inch dynamic balance subwoofer.
Capable of both wall and ceiling installation, the Pyle PDIC60 speakers deliver a two-way sound that's an incredible value for the price. The 6.5-inch design and 8-ohm impedance help boost the sound of the Pyle to a level that makes it ideal for a home theater system. The dual 6.5-inch speaker pairs with a one-inch titanium dome tweeter that’s rated at 250 watts of power and comes complete with a flush mount for the ceiling, as well as a one-inch high-temp voice coil. 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 gets surprisingly low, but really thumps when you crank the volume. It’s loud in a way that will have friends questioning where the music is really coming from. The design helps the Pyle blend into a ceiling elegantly or allows you to paint the speaker grille to customize its look to match your decor.
The upgraded PDIC60T also includes 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.
Offering an easy installation and premium sound, the Klipsch CDT-5650-C is a close second for the best ceiling speakers. Featuring a one-inch titanium tweeter and 6.5-inch pivoting cerametallic woofer, the high-performing sound incorporates 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 50 watts of power (200 watts peak) for a sound that has no problem getting quite loud. 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 (and that’s a great thing).
Seamlessly blending into the ceiling, the Bose 742898-0200 speakers are an ideal combination of performance and looks. The five-inch woofer and two strategically positioned ¾-inch tweeters offer a high-quality sound that is hardly matched by competitive in-ceiling speakers. Boosting the audio performance of Bose’s unique and exclusive Stereo Everywhere works to cover an entire room with stereo sound without any drop-offs. Beyond the sound is the visual appeal of Bose’s design. The near-bezel-less design and construction enables the speaker virtually disappear once installed into the ceiling. Available in white, the Bose speaker system adds an easily-paintable grille for matching any home decor and maintaining the invisible look and feel no matter your ceiling color. Additionally, installation is a snap, thanks to the integrated dogleg clamps and magnetically attached grille that drops right into a pre-cut ceiling hole with ease.
Offering power between 20 to 200 watts per speaker, the Acoustic Audio R191 delivers a versatile set that takes the home theater experience to an entirely new level. The polypropylene 5.25-inch woofers, 12mm soft dome tweeter and 8ohms of impedance pool together to make the R191 sound crisp and clean. The paintable frame and grille offer both easy installation and the flexibility to change up the look to match your home’s 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. The R191 has an all-weather design that works both indoors and outdoors.
The Bose Virtually Invisible 791 offers a high-quality sound that is hard to beat. The lone seven-inch woofer pairs with two strategically positioned one-inch tweeters for incredible sound. And there's also Bose’s signature Stereo Everywhere technology for balancing the sound in an entire room. Unlike competitors that can only focus their ceiling speakers in one direction, the Bose system works to blanket an entire room with balanced audio performance. And the result is both rich and clear low-end frequencies and strong high-end frequencies. The easy installation pairs with an ultra-slim bezel that makes the Bose model drop right into the ceiling (via a precut hole) and is secured in its position with dogleg clamps, drawing as little attention as possible. The detachable speaker grille can be removed and painted to better fit a room decor.
Coloring - 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. There are black speakers, white speakers, and some that have frames and grilles that can be painted to match the color of any room. It’s important to take aesthetics into account, so make sure you choose an attractive set of speakers that you’ll be happy with for years to come.
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. The last thing you want to do is accidentally cut a too-large hole for your speakers, so make sure to pay attention to how easy (or difficult) installation is on the speakers you are 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 great sound? Keep in mind that once ceiling speakers are installed, you won’t want to swap them out for a while, unlike stand speakers that are easier to access. As a result, you should purchase a model that will provide you with the sound quality you want for a long time.