The 9 Best In-Wall Speakers of 2021

Great speakers that take up the least amount of space possible

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The Rundown
Nearly everything...makes it a top-notch choice, including the audio clarity that is second-to-none in the in-wall speaker space.
Offers big sound in a not-so-big-package.
Offers a full range of performance that’s unmatched by other in-wall speakers.
Will produce a natural midrange sound that’s just music to your ears.
Best Budget:
Pyle PDIC60 at Amazon
With a sound that far exceeds its price tag, these in-wall circular speakers make for an incredible value.
Best Installation:
Polk Audio 265-LS at Amazon
One of the best combinations of easy installation and audio performance on the market today.
Whether it’s movie or television dialogue, the sound is crystal clear and musical audio is spectacular.
Easily pairs great design with great sound while protruding just 7mm from the wall.
The DR Series 8R speaker is easy to install and has a grille that vanishes into your ceiling.

The best in-wall speakers should have surround sound capabilities, enclosed for superior bass response, and have resistance to moisture and water. It's also important to consider ease of installation, especially before you start cutting into drywall. A high-quality premium wall speaker should also be able to handle damp and humid indoor environments. Crisp music, including clear dialogue and easy installation, are added bonuses.

If you don't want to make a semi-permanent alteration to your home you should also take a look at our list of the best speakers. There's plenty of options for every price range. For all others, read on to see our list of the best in-wall speakers.

Best Overall: Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way Premium In-Wall 8″ Speakers

Polk Audio RC85i
What We Like
  • Good design

  • Great audio quality

  • Moisture-resistant construction

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report issue with housing durability

Polk Audio’s hitting a grand slam with the RC85i two-way in-wall speaker. It has a one-inch dynamic-balanced soft dome tweeter and eight-inch woofer, and the 15-inch swivel mount on the tweeter can be directed toward or aimed in the direction of any listening area in a room for the best possible sound. The design is just as good as the audio (although that's not saying much for the in-wall ceiling category; it's just a white grille exterior and rectangular shape). The included template makes cutting a hole in the wall super easy even for weekend warriors who don’t install speakers for a living.

The moisture-resistant construction of the RC85i makes it ideal for use both indoors and outdoors, including bathrooms or saunas where moisture can easily make its way through the speaker’s grille. Fortunately, nearly everything about the RC85i makes it a top-notch choice, including the audio clarity that is second-to-none in the in-wall speaker space. Available for both 5.1 and 7.1 sound systems, we're confident saying that once you have these Polk speakers installed, you’ll never want to leave home.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 100 watts | Waterproof: Moisture-resistant

What We Like
  • Compact design

  • Easy installation

  • Crisp, full sound

  • Matches well with walls

What We Don't Like
  • Bass could be beefier

Providing easy installation courtesy of a precut template, Yamaha’s NS-IW660 offers big sound in a not-so-big-package. Inside each speaker are three main drivers, a 6.5-inch Kevlar cone woofer for lower frequencies, a 1.6-inch aluminum mid-range frequency driver and a one-inch titanium tweeter to handle all the high frequencies. The combination of all three parts lends itself to a crisp, full sound that’s ideal for smaller rooms.

The tweeter and midrange drivers are built on an adjustable swivel allowing homeowners to “point” the high-frequency sounds in the right direction or listening position. With each speaker packing between 50-150 watts of power, there’s little question that they pack a punch that’ll delight enhance every Netflix binging session. The white mesh cover is painted to already match existing white walls, but it's removable for easy painting to match any color in your home.

Channels: 3-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 150 watts | Waterproof: No

Best Splurge: Bose Virtually Invisible 891

Bose Virtually Invisible 891 In-Wall Speaker (Pair) - White
What We Like
  • Subtle design that blends into room

  • Reputable audio brand

  • Loud and high-quality audio

What We Don't Like
  • Fairly expensive

If the price tag doesn’t scare you off, the Bose Virtually Invisible 891 in-wall speakers will reward you with some incredible high-quality audio. Courtesy of a seven-inch subwoofer and two strategically positioned one-inch tweeters, the Bose offers a full range of performance that’s unmatched by other in-wall speakers. The addition of unique audio enhancements such as Bose’s exclusive Stereo Everywhere allows for the stereo sound to be pushed over a wider area than competitive in-wall speakers.

The result is a sound that can fill up every inch of a medium-sized room. Beyond the sound, the design is equally impressive by blending into walls with a bezel that’s almost not there. While the Bose comes out of the box in white, you can easily paint the grilles to match any decor or color of your choosing. Fortunately, the impressive sound and excellent design are rounded out by an easy installation process with standard dogleg clamps that help the 891 fit neatly into the wall. 

Channels: 3-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes| Output Wattage: 0 watts | Waterproof: No

Best Sound: Polk Audio 265-RT 3-way In-Wall Speaker

What We Like
  • Good frequency response

  • Easy installation for amateurs

  • Natural midrange sound

  • Subtle design

What We Don't Like
  • Can't handle bigger rooms

  • Some issues with customer support

Powered by a 1.75-inch silk dome tweeter and two 6.5-inch polymer drivers, the Polk Audio 265-RT has a frequency response between 35Hz to 25kHz. The installation process is straightforward even for amateur installers who wants to give it a go without the help of a professional. Once installed, the 265-RT will produce a natural midrange sound that’s just music to your ears. Surprisingly dynamic for the price, the 265-RT is far more versatile than its cost would give away with one speaker more than enough to fill a small to medium-sized room with powerful audio.

It's different from some of the other Polk speakers on this roundup because it's designed more home theater systems rather than general listening or bathrooms. It'll work with 3.1, 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 channel systems.

Channels: 3-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 200 watts | Waterproof: No

Best Budget: Pyle PDIC60

Pyle PDIC60
What We Like
  • Very affordable price

  • Loud volume at peak power

  • Supports mid and high frequencies

  • Fairly easy install

What We Don't Like
  • Audio isn't as good as competitors

  • Some durability issues

With a sound that far exceeds its price tag, the Pyle PDIC60 in-wall circular speakers make for an incredible value. Aided by a 6.5-inch driver and a one-inch tweeter, the titanium dome tweeter can be angled or rotated to point in any direction to direct the sound exactly where you want it to go. This allows listeners to get the full effect of both the mid and high frequencies which, suffice to say, are quite good.

The peak power of 250 watts offers very loud volume and ultimately blurs the line between what separates budget speakers from more expensive options. Installation is handled easily with a wall cutout sized to the specific dimensions for each individual PDIC speaker. Mounting flush on both ceilings and walls, the PDIC60 isn't the newest version available (that's the PWRC83), but it remains incredibly versatile whether you’re watching a movie, listening to music or just binging Netflix releases.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: 3.5mm | Output Wattage: 100 watts | Waterproof: Moisture-resistant

Best Installation: Polk Audio 265-LS

What We Like
  • Solid audio performance

  • Fits easily into ceiling/wall

  • Easy installation

What We Don't Like
  • Bass is underpowered

  • May require separate subwoofer

Polk’s Audio 265-LS three-way speaker is one of the best combinations of easy installation and audio performance on the market today. Offering full-range dynamic audio, the simplified installation of the Polk helps the speaker box nearly disappear into the wall and effortlessly match your decor. Powered by a 6.5-inch bass driver and 6.5-inch woofer, the bass won’t knock you out of your chair or off your sofa, but you’ll still enjoy the terrific audio quality and, if you pair it with a larger subwoofer, it’ll become something truly magical.

The installation is just as good and many online reviews point to the 265-LS as being one of the easiest to install. Just cut the hole in the wall for the speaker via the included template, slide the speaker in and tighten the screws. There’s no mount required and no extra work.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 250 watts | Waterproof: No

What We Like
  • Great audio quality

  • Room-filling sound

  • Easy installation process

What We Don't Like
  • Higher range audio can be lackluster

Featuring a sealed back cover that protects against dust and moisture, the Yamaha NSIC800WH is made provide long-lasting sound. The two-channel speaker offers an eight-inch polypropylene mica cone woofer and a one-inch fluid-coiled soft dome tweeter that swivels in the appropriate direction, so the sound is best directed toward the listener. The audio may be great, but it’s the Yamaha design that’s really noteworthy as the grain-finished acoustic baffle aids sound in naturally dispersing throughout a room.

Once placed into a wall after a very easy installation process, the fringe grille is nearly invisible to the eye and appears almost flush against the wall. Capable of 140 watts of power, the design does hide the raw power of the Yamaha speaker with excellent mid to low range frequency response and highs that are equally powerful. Whether it’s movie or television dialogue, the sound is crystal clear and musical audio is spectacular.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 100 watts | Waterproof: Moisture-resistant

Best Design: Polk Audio 255C-RT In-Wall Center Channel Speaker

Polk Audio - Vanishing Series RT 5.25" In-Wall Center-Channel Speaker - White
What We Like
  • Great design vanishes into wall

  • Works with 5.1 and 7.1 systems

  • Powerful bass and great sound

What We Don't Like
  • On the pricier side

If you value design over all else when it comes to in-wall speakers, look no further than the Polk Audio 255C-RT. The design nearly vanishes when you install them into the wall and, with paintable grilles, you can easily match the speaker to the room. The internal components are all away from the edges of the speaker, so they can fit in between wall studs easier than ever. Capable of being used with both a 5.1 or 7.1 stereo system, the dual 5.25-inch woofer-mid drivers match with the one-inch tweeter creating a more powerful bass response than expected.

While not as loud as a dedicated subwoofer, the 255C-RT easily pairs great design with great sound while protruding just 7mm from the wall. The bass ports and angled woofer all help lower frequencies, while the highs and mids create a dynamic sound that makes for fantastic detail whether it’s music or movies.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 75 watts | Waterproof: No

Easiest Installation: Definitive Technology DT Series 8R Ceiling Speaker

What We Like
  • Easy installation

  • High quality sound

  • Paintable bezels

What We Don't Like
  • On the more costly side

The Definitive Technology DT Series 8R ceiling speaker is an easy-to-install round ceiling speaker. It consists of 8-inch composite mineral-filled olyproylene driver cones, an annealed aluminum tweeter dome, and improved sound dispersion through the room. It's optimized for high-quality sound and its grilles and bezels can be painted to match your decor. Like most of the other speakers on this roundup, these will require a separate receiver to use since they don't support Bluetooth.

Audio quality is solid, with good clarity and excellent bass. It won't match some of the more premium options in terms of room-filling sound, but the bass response and the high-frequency response is still great.

Channels: 2-way | Bluetooth: No | Paintable Enclosure: Yes | Output Wattage: 100 watts | Waterproof: Moisture-resistant

Final Verdict

The best in-wall speaker to get is the Polk Audio RC85i (view on Amazon). It's a premium, high-quality speaker that can handle all kinds of audio in just about any setting. Music and dialogue comes across clearly with rich, room-filling sound. The speaker is also moisture-resistant, so it can handle humid and damp environments like bathrooms or saunas. Also worthy of mention is the Yamaha NS-IW660 (view on Amazon). It offers loud sound in a fairly small package. Even better, it's easy to install.

FAQs

Where should I place my speakers?
This can be a little different depending on if you're using a 5.1, 7.1, or a 9.1 setup. However, there are a couple of evergreen rules to follow regardless of how many speakers you're using (though these may be limited for in-wall speakers depending on how flexible your layout is). This will obviously depend on your room layout, but you should try and have your speakers equidistant from each other with surround speakers placed in the corners around your listening area. You should also try to keep your speakers free of obstructions and if you can safely mount them on a wall, even better.

Will the distance of my speakers from the receiver affect my 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 using a 12-gauge cable for any speakers extending past 25 feet from the receiver.

How many subwoofers do I need?
This all depends on the size of your room, more subwoofers give you a better bass quality and offer you more flexible placement when looking for the best spot for optimal sound quality. However, having more than a single subwoofer in a small listening area may be overkill. 

What to Look for in Wall Speakers

Moisture resistance

If you plan on installing in-wall speakers throughout your house, choose moisture-resistant speakers for the bathroom and kitchen. If you live in a humid area, and you want to install in-wall speakers in any rooms that aren’t air-conditioned, choose moisture-resistant speakers for those rooms as well. Most of the speakers on this list aren't rated for waterproofing, meaning you won't see IP68 or any of the standards you're normally used to. That said, many are made of moisture-resistant material that can allow you to use them in the bathroom even if they can't withstand full soaking.

Enclosed speakers

Most in-wall speakers lack enclosures since they’re meant to be installed inside walls. In-wall speakers that do have enclosures offer a superior bass response, but make sure that there’s actually space inside the wall to install them without poking through into the next room. Many of these speakers come with paintable grille covers, letting you paint them to match your wall or ceiling. The bezels can also be painted over, especially with the "vanishing" speakers that are designed to seamlessly blend into a wall or ceiling.

Surround sound tweeters

When buying in-wall speakers for a home theater, look for side and rear speakers that include multiple tweeters that fire in different directions. This enhances the surround sound effect, and it’s especially great for larger rooms that have multiple rows of seating. Several of the speakers on this roundup can be hooked up to home theater systems, working with 5.1 and 7.1 stereo systems. Since Bluetooth isn't supported on most of these options without a separate receiver, you'll want to consider what receiver you're hooking these speakers up to as well.

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