Smart speakers are designed to sit in one place and fill that space with sound, and many of them do that very well. However, this arrangement does not work in all homes, so there are other options, such as placing ceiling speakers.
Today’s in-ceiling speakers are smarter than ever. You can connect them to your favorite mobile devices via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, allowing you to play music on demand in the places you want most.
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Some can even be effectively sealed, so you can play music in your bathroom or outside near your terrace. Here are our top picks and why they work so well.
The best sounding speaker
Klipsch CDT-5650-C II
If you’re worried about the audio quality of your in-ceiling speakers, you can put those worries to rest with this Klipsch speaker, which was designed for superior sound.
It features a 1-inch titanium tweeter and a 6.5-inch pivoting ceramic woofer that allows the sound direction to be tilted during installation for best effect.
The speaker even has tweeter and mid-bass attenuation switches, so you can adjust them to get the sound profile you want. The frame on this Klipsch model is sturdy, concealing as much of the speaker as possible for a near-flush installation.
Plus, the grille can be painted, so you can make sure it matches the color of your ceiling. Although it doesn’t have Bluetooth, you do have the option to add an Amazon Echo Input to add Alexa voice capabilities.
Amazon doesn’t sell the Echo Input right now, but it’s pretty easy to find. The only problem is that this is an expensive speaker as a single unit, and you’ll almost certainly want to buy more than one for a complete setup.
- Excelent sound
- grille that can be painted
- Tweeter/Mid-Bass Attenuation Switches
- You need an Amazon device to add Alexa capabilities
The best for bathrooms or outdoors
Polk Audio RC60i
Polk’s two-speaker array offers an extra-large 8-inch dynamic balance woofer and 0.75-inch tweeter for powerful sound, plus a design that allows the tweeter to be tilted for more careful audio control.
The two speakers in this package are timbre-matched during manufacturing, so they complement each other as much as possible. In addition, it has rubber sealing units that allow the speakers to be installed in bathrooms and similar areas without worrying about damage caused by moisture.
Like most ceiling speakers, the cover can also be painted to match. In addition to Bluetooth compatibility, these speakers can connect to a compatible subwoofer that you can place nearby for more authentic bass.
You can even buy multiple packages that include the right subwoofer, just make sure you get a version that works with Bluetooth.
- Built-in subwoofer for bass
- Large 8-inch woofer
- It’s expensive with the included subwoofer
Best for surround audio
Sonos In-Ceiling Speaker
Sonos is a popular brand of home entertainment systems, so it makes sense that many would be looking for compatible in-ceiling speakers, especially if you’ve owned some in your recent past.
If you have a Sonos amplifier, you can use it to wirelessly connect to these speakers, along with your other Sonos products, and have them all work together with automatic optimization.
This makes them ideal for adding to a Sonos surround sound setup. The polypropylene woofers and one-inch tweeters are perfect for working as rear speakers or daytime surround sound.
The downside is that you really need a sound amplifier for these speakers to work well, and if you don’t already have one, it can be an expensive investment.
- Automatically pairs with compatible Sonos devices
- Excellent choice for surround back sound
- Automatic optimization for your room
- Requires a Sonos amplifier for features to work
The best budget ceiling speakers
Pyle In-Ceiling Speaker
Pyle’s 8-inch extra-large speakers are made for direct sound and a shorter installation process than a four-pack.
They also have a recessed design to stay as hidden as possible, and a quick-connect spring system that makes them a bit more DIY-friendly than other options.
These speakers are also Bluetooth compatible, so you can play your tunes from almost any device or connect to compatible surround sound platforms.
The speaker package is also particularly affordable, so you can easily add more units without breaking the budget or save a lot of money by choosing a pair of speakers for any space you want.
- Recessed design
- 8-inch large design
- Sound quality is not the best
Are ceiling speakers any good?
They can be. Our Klipsch pick, in particular, has great sound design and can be angled for best effect. They’re also great for rear speakers in a surround audio setup.
Where is the best place for ceiling speakers?
It depends on the use to which they are put. They should generally be placed in open areas, not near alcoves or above hanging lamps. If you use them as rear speakers, you should place them behind your home seats and angled toward them if possible.
How can I get the best sound from my ceiling speakers?
Place them the same distance from nearby walls and at least two feet apart for two speakers. If you have four speakers, they should all be equidistant from each other.
How are ceiling speakers installed?
This is a case where we recommend a professional installer if possible. You’ll need to connect the speakers to the ceiling wiring for power, and working with the ceiling wiring is usually a pain.
Prepare to spend a lot of time in your crawl space with a flashlight, as well as craning your neck at the top of a ladder if you want this to be a DIY project.
You will also have to know the wiring well. Your speakers will come with manuals or online instructions for more specific information.