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What is the Best In Ceiling Speaker? (2021) — Space-Saving Models for Your Home Theater

best in ceiling speakers

For a perfect and seamless setup, your best option is in-ceiling speakers. This type of speaker is embedded into the structure of your room. They are the most low-profile incognito option, but do they provide the same sound quality as larger speakers? To answer your question, our team has reviewed the best in-ceiling speakers.

Best for Build Quality
Klipsch CDT 5650 CII
Best Overall
Bose Virtually Invisible 791
Best Budget Option
Polk Audio RC80i
Klipsch CDT 5650 CII
Bose Virtually Invisible 791
Q Acoustics 3050i
As the premium choice for best in-ceiling speakers, the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II speakers offer amazing surround sound effects and have a high-end feel. They also feature the BASH Digital Amplifier and Klipsch Horn-Loaded TEchnology.
They are called virtually invisible as they blend in seamlessly into your ceiling and provide excellent sound quality. As one of the best ceiling speakers, the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 are easy to install and will elevate your home theater system.
The Polk Audio RC80i is our budget option that will still deliver on sound quality and high quality construction. The best in-ceiling speaker doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and the Polk RC80i is the perfect addition to your surround sound system at a budget price.
Best for Build Quality
Klipsch CDT 5650 CII
Klipsch CDT 5650 CII
As the premium choice for best in-ceiling speakers, the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II speakers offer amazing surround sound effects and have a high-end feel. They also feature the BASH Digital Amplifier and Klipsch Horn-Loaded TEchnology.
Best Overall
Bose Virtually Invisible 791
Bose Virtually Invisible 791
They are called virtually invisible as they blend in seamlessly into your ceiling and provide excellent sound quality. As one of the best ceiling speakers, the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 are easy to install and will elevate your home theater system.
Best Budget Option
Polk Audio RC80i
Q Acoustics 3050i
The Polk Audio RC80i is our budget option that will still deliver on sound quality and high quality construction. The best in-ceiling speaker doesn’t need to cost a fortune, and the Polk RC80i is the perfect addition to your surround sound system at a budget price.

Reviews of the Best In Ceiling Speakers

1. Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker

The Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speakers come with one woofer and two tweeters. They offer full range surround sound performance that other speakers don’t. If you like stereo sound, this is the way to go.

These easy to install speakers have Exclusive Stereo Everywhere Technology which will ensure optimal sound quality that covers the entire floor space. They will sit flush upon installation into your ceiling and won’t need to be painted to match your room as they come in white. However, you can paint them to match your wall or ceiling of a different color.

The magnetically attached grilles makes for an easy installation that won’t take more than a few minutes for each speaker

Pros

Cons

2. Klipsch CDT 5650 C II In-Ceiling System

You can’t have Klipsch speakers without the proprietary Horn-Loaded Technology. These Horn-Loaded speakers are designed to eliminate distortion and amplify the sound output.

The easy installation saves a ton of time compared to regular conventional speakers and the Controlled Dispersion Technology will direct the highs and mids straight at the listeners to create a listening position sweet spot with no effort at all. 

The treble and midbass in the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II have attenuation switches to optimize the output and for the bass to fill the room even with a separate subwoofer.

The speakers are highly efficient without compromising audio quality and can deliver great sound every time no matter the room size.

Pros

Cons

3. Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers

Next up is our budget option. Whenever our experts choose a more affordable design, they make sure it’s still high quality and will deliver exceptional stereo sound for your speaker system.

The beautiful Polk Audio RC80i low profile in-ceiling speakers are white but are 100% paintable with the color of your choice. They are also easy to install and are an amazing addition to your home theater system. Not only do the speakers optimize movies and music, but you will also notice clearer dialogue as well.

The woofer is balanced and the soft dome tweeter will reproduce the highs precisely to add more depth. The rubber seal allows for a better frequency response and is moisture protected, which makes these speakers excellent for bathrooms.

Pros

Cons

4. Herdio 4” HCS418 Ceiling In-Wall Speakers

While most ceiling speakers come with a 6.5 inch profile or more, these ones from Herdio have a tiny 4-inch footprint that makes them the most compact design our team has included on the list.

Even with such a small circumference, the Herdio HCS418 Ceiling In-Wall Speakers have 160 watts of power with a polypropylene cone and rubber edge seals to help keep out the moisture while delivering flawless sound.

The magnetic grille is removable to reveal a black driver with blue detailing. The speaker grilles are stain resistant and help the dark colored drivers fit into a white-schemed home.

Your purchase from Herdio comes with a 1-year warranty and a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee to put your minds at ease.

Pros

Cons

5. Amazon Basics 8” Round In-Ceiling Wall-Mounted Speakers

This next speaker option comes in a pair and is made for both in-ceiling and in-wall installation. The 8-inch composite woofer and 1-inch hi-fi tweeter will give you optimized sound for small to large rooms.

The Amazon Basics 8-inch Round In-Ceiling Speakers is a highly rated product that has a relatively low price tag while still producing the wide soundstage viewers crave. The frequency response is high with a broad range to relay all your audio content accurately.

The grilles can be removed and the entire system is very easy to install. The package also comes with painting masks if you wish to match your speakers to your interior with a fresh coat of paint.

Pros

Cons

In Ceiling Speakers Buyer’s Guide

Our experts will go into further detail about how we chose the best in-ceiling speakers. We broke down each important feature to look for and how it will benefit your overall listening experience in this part of our best in ceiling speakers review.

Design

The design of in-ceiling speakers need to be low-profile. We will get into the size and weight in more detail in just a bit. What color are the in-ceiling speakers? You wouldn’t want your other speakers to be of a certain color and have one speaker stand out like a sore thumb.

Most people want in-ceiling speakers that match their room color. If you are one of those people, then look for a design that has a paintable grille, like the Polk Audio RC80i.

Size and Weight

The size and weight are crucial to the installation of the in-ceiling speaker. For example, one that’s too large will be heavy and may not fit into ceilings that are low hanging or have other obstacles such as beams. 

Take into account insulation, especially if the in-ceiling speaker can be installed into the wall. The key is to look for in ceiling speakers that have a low enough profile to fit into the space between the roof and ceiling.

If your ceiling boards are thinner, then the weight of the speakers are vital. Ones that are too heavy will rip a hole in your roof. Most manufacturers account for this possibility and manufacture models that are lightweight but still produce excellent sound quality.

Not o mention, heavier in-ceiling speakers will also be tougher to install. Since there won’t be only one speaker to direct the sound in many degrees in any direction, the weight will double or triple. So keep in mind to look for lightweight options.

Sound Quality

Perhaps the most important consideration for buyers is the sound quality and audio performance offered by the speakers. Top notch ceiling speakers will give regular speakers a run for their money.

In general, ceiling speakers are not powered, which means you will need to purchase an external amplifier or receiver, but more on that in a bit. An amplifier or receiver can also help improve the dynamic balance of the audio for great sound.

The materials used to construct your new in ceiling speaker will affect how it relays high frequencies and low bass tones. The most common drivers in ceiling speakers are woofers and tweeters. The rigidity and flexibility of the materials used will affect how your best ceiling speakers perform.

For example, a soft dome tweeter or silk dome tweeter drivers will allow for more precise high notes. As for the bass, make sure the materials are rigid but still have enough give. Our experts use cerametallic spun copper woofers as an example. 

Does the size matter? In general, yes, larger speakers and drivers will provide louder and more powerful sound. Most speakers measure at a 6.5 inch size but some can go up to 8 inches just for more oomph. An 8 inch woofer will pack a lot more bass than one that’s smaller.

You will most likely find smaller inch tweeters and a larger inch woofer in ceiling speakers.

Speaking of materials, since your speakers are mounted in the ceiling, it’s very probable that moisture accumulated from the weather outside will damage the speakers over time. If you want to install your speakers somewhere that has a lot of moisture like the bathroom, then look for moisture resistant seals.

Another factor that affects the audio quality of your best in ceiling speaker is the design. Are your speakers 2-way or 3-way? A 2-way speaker features a tweeter and woofer for the highs and lows. However, they need to work together to make up for the lack of a midrange driver.

A 3-way speaker on the other hand, is the best value for money and highly recommended by our experts. This is because it features a separate driver dedicated to the midrange frequency spectrum. As you can imagine, this results in more accurate sound.

Our experts will remind you that just because you have a 3-way speaker, it doesn’t mean it will always outperform a 2-way. What’s also important to keep in mind is the build and the construction. A well-built 2-way speaker will be superior to a poorly constructed 3-way.

Next up is the technology encased in each speaker. For example, Klipsch speakers usually feature Horn-Loaded Technology, which optimizes the audio output to less distortion. Depending on the brand, the featured technology will vary, but having a speaker that has additional audio bonuses such as this will greatly improve your system

Amplifier

We mentioned this briefly above, but an in-ceiling speaker installation is usually not powered or not active, meaning it requires an additional amplifier or receiver. An amplifier or receiver cannot be installed into the wall, so it’s crucial to account for the extra space and cost.

Our experts say the key to finding a compatible amplifier is to pay attention to the power output. Not only should the amp or receiver be compatible with your in-ceiling speaker, it also needs to match all the other devices in your setup.

Number of Units

Do you want your in-ceiling speakers to come in a set or single units? Single units will end up costing more money if you purchase more than one to make up the entire system. Other options include sets complete with many units. They are most costly from a package point of view, but each individual speaker is usually more cost effective.

The key to identifying which to buy is to consider your room size. Think about the placement and where you will install each of the speakers to map out the locations. This way, you can decide on how much room you have to accommodate your new loudspeakers and how many units to purchase.

Setup and Placement

Our experts highly recommend a swivel mount that keeps each speaker in place. This will allow you to angle the speakers to find the best trajectory for the audio.

This is also useful because the acoustics of your room may not allow you to place the speakers wherever you wish. There may be a beam in the way or studs in the wall, so the adjustable mount will compensate for the unideal location with different angles.

Some units have a separate sub and moveable tweeters, each package is a little different. Look at your room layout to determine what the best is for you. If you are able to place the speakers exactly where you want, then you won’t be needing a swivel mount, but it’s a nice feature to have.

Installation

The installation of your  home theater ceiling speakers needs to be easy, simple and straightforward. Although the setup will be more difficult than traditional speakers, ceiling speakers that come with their own installation kits and are optimized for easy connection are the best.

There are many models out there that come with tabs and easy installation systems to make the process easier. However, it is a big undertaking so our team recommends getting an expert onboard if you are not confident in taking on the installation process yourself.

If you don’t have the tools, hiring someone to complete your home theater is also better. Just to give you an idea, the tools you may need are jab saws, pliers, a measuring tape, a carpenter’s level, and more. These aren’t usually tools we have laying around the house, which is why enlisting an expert is a better and safer choice.

Some examples of in ceiling speakers that are easy to install include the Polk Audio RC80i, the Yamaha NS IW280CWH, the Micca M 8C, and the other ones on our top list.

Material and Durability

We also briefly mentioned the importance of the material and durability for amazing sound. Since in-ceiling installation speakers are more of a permanent fixture, so the build quality is of immense importance. The build quality and durability is ensured by the materials used both inside and out.

Some are very robust and have speakers that feature rust-resistant and moisture-resistant materials, which is what our experts recommend just for peace of mind. This matters a lot for in-ceiling speakers since they are susceptible to the outside weather to some extent.

 

Where you intend to install these speakers will also influence the materials you should look into. For example, if you want to enjoy surround sound while in the bath, then moisture-proof materials are the key. The same goes for kitchen installation or installation outdoors in an undercover area. 

You may need to pay a bit more, but the overall quality of the materials will ensure longevity and even better sound quality. Some in-ceiling speaker models that are very well-constructed include ones from Polk Audio, the Yamaha NS IW280CWH, the Micca M 8C, among others.

Price

Speaking of the price, you want the best value for money at the lowest cost. That may not always be possible for an in-ceiling speaker, because they require better materials and a sleeker design compared to a regular bookshelf speaker or tower speaker. 

Other factors that may impact the price include everything we touched upon in our buyer’s guide. You want to be able to paint the grille a different color? Then get ready for a higher cost. A speaker that has swivel mounts that are easy to install will also cost you extra.

The outfitted technology in each speaker will also hike up the price tag as will the build materials and the number of units. Also remember if you have passive speakers, meaning ones that are not powered or active, then you are required to purchase an external amplifier or receiver, which will only add to your budget.

The type of speaker you opt for will also influence the price. For example, 2-way speakers are usually more affordable than 3-way options, but don’t generally have the same performance standards. If you want better quality sound with clarity and balance, then 3-way options are the best choice but are also more costly.

FAQ

Who makes the best in ceiling speakers?

Bose makes the best in-ceiling speakers. They are known for impeccable sound accuracy and have a sleek design that’s easy to install. Other models that also make a great ceiling speaker are Polk Audio, the Micca M 8C, the Yamaha NS series, among others. 

Do ceiling speakers sound good?

Yes, ceiling speakers sound good. Due to their elevated placement that can span the entire room, you will experience more in-depth sound from 6.5 inch to 8-inch speakers. Polk Audio has amazing ceiling speakers with proprietary technology to bring listeners a realistic experience.

How many speakers do I need in ceiling?

How many speakers you need in-ceiling depends on the size of your room. Smaller rooms may only be able to accommodate 1 to 2 speakers while larger rooms can feature a set of 4, 6 or even 8! Look at your setup to determine how many in-ceiling speakers you need.

Do ceiling speakers need enclosures?

Yes, ceiling speakers need enclosures in most cases. They also need a backbox to protect not only the speaker but the integrity of your ceiling. This will prolong the lifespan of your speakers and save you money in the long run without needing to replace them anytime soon.

Our Top Pick For an In Ceiling Speaker: Bose Virtually Invisible 791

Our experts’ top pick for best in ceiling speakers is the Bose Virtually Invisible 791. These invisible speakers have a low profile that will blend into your ceiling seamlessly. While the model comes in a neutral white color, you can paint the grille to match your interiors[1].

As for the sound, the ceiling speakers include Exclusive Stereo Everywhere technology, which covers the room with immersive sound. The speakers have a high quality build with full-range performance to bring you a realistic and dynamic soundstage. It’s also a great value for your money and offers you a sturdy build for longevity for a reasonable price.

Looking for ways to improve the sound of your television? Connect your TV to computer speakers by following our guide here. Enjoy better sound quality now! 

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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