If you are taking the Surround Sound route you don’t necessarily need to deal with a wire nest. Imagine walking into a room and having the Mission Impossible theme play on a cue with no visible speakers around. That’s the kind of feeling that makes in-wall speakers a must-have in your sound system. They mount flush into the walls and give you an engulfing audio experience without trying to trip you over. When we scouted the market for the best in-wall speakers, we came across several brands and prices. With our vast experience in judging audio and our recent dabbling in the best in-ceiling speakers, we picked the top 10 amongst them.
- 0.1 In-wall speakers vs freestanding speakers vs in-ceiling speakers?
- 0.2 Which are the best in-wall speakers, and what ate their features?
- 1 Top 10 Best In-Wall Speakers in 2017 – Chart
- 1.1 Polk Audio 265-LS White Rectangular High Performance In-Wall Speaker
- 1.2 Micca M-8S 8 Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker
- 1.3 Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall Speakers
- 1.4 Pyle PDIC60 In-Wall / In-Ceiling Dual 6.5-Inch Speaker System
- 1.5 82W Silver Ticket In-Wall In-Ceiling Speaker with Pivoting Tweeter
- 1.6 Klipsch PRO-4502-W 2-Way Professional Series 5.5″ In-Wall Speaker
- 1.7 Polk Audio 255C-RT In-wall / In-ceiling center channel speaker
- 1.8 Theater Solutions TS80W 8-Inch Kevlar In Wall Speakers
- 1.9 Yamaha Corporation of America NSIW470 3-Way Speaker
- 1.10 Bose Virtually Invisible 191 speakers
In-wall speakers vs freestanding speakers vs in-ceiling speakers?
The fame of in-wall speakers has grown steadily since the 1980s. With these speakers you can have a hassle-free setup, especially for a home-theater system. The wires and debris are stuck inside the walls and the room is free to be filled with sound. You need substantial investment to install them because you have to run wires through the walls. If you are willing to get through the initial trouble, prioritize the hi-fi in-wall speakers.
Freestanding speakers have been around a long time. You get them in all shapes and sizes. They can be wired or partially wireless. They can easily be bought to match the interiors of the house. But they take up precious space in your room. Plus having these speakers as the rear satellites of your Surround Sound seems like you are trying to use a sword for a needle’s work.
For best acoustics, the speakers should be placed just above the ear-level of the seating area. The ceilings are usually farther up than that. They do well as part of a PA system. But the in-wall speakers have the best bet of centering and imaging the audio correctly.
Which are the best in-wall speakers, and what ate their features?
The in-wall speakers are abundant in number compared to in-ceiling speakers. We looked into every nook and cranny of the spec and performance charts to find the best in-wall speakers based on:
- Audio: The main parameter of judging speaker is sound. We checked the audio quality against price and size constraints to see which ones provided the maximum value for our investment of time, space and effort.
- Construction: The form factor of the speaker is very important. This decides how it will look with your décor and how easily it will fit into your walls. We looked for quick-install setups and those speakers that can fit in anywhere. Paintable grilles were a main point of consideration.
- Budget: In-wall speakers are a luxury. You can go for wireless Bluetooth tower speakers or even 2.1 computer speakers. The point is how much you have evolved and how much you are willing to spend. The best in-room speakers will get you the max out of your money.
- Durability: In-wall speakers need to be resistant to physical shocks and moisture. They are much more accessible than in-ceiling speakers and hence more likely to get damaged by a stray ball or steam from the sauna. They are a pain to replace, so we chose those in-wall speakers that last.
Top 10 Best In-Wall Speakers in 2017 – Chart
|1. Polk Audio 265-LS White Rectangular High Performance In-Wall Speaker||PowerPort bass venting system||$$$||4.9|
|2. Micca M-8S 8 Inch 2-Way In-Wall Speaker||8″ poly woofer and a 1″ soft dome tweeter||$$||4.8|
|3. Polk Audio RC85i 2-Way In-Wall Speakers||8-inch dynamic-balance, mineral filled polymer-composite cone||$$$||4.7|
|4. Pyle PDIC60 In-Wall / In-Ceiling Dual 6.5-Inch Speaker System||Directable 1-Inch Titanium Dome Tweeter||$$||4.5|
|5. 82W Silver Ticket In-Wall In-Ceiling Speaker with Pivoting Tweeter||20mm silk dome tweeter produces silky-smooth sound||$$||4.5|
|6. Klipsch PRO-4502-W 2-Way Professional Series 5.5″ In-Wall Speaker||Titanium Dome Tweeters||$$||4.5|
|7. Polk Audio 255C-RT In-wall / In-ceiling center channel speaker||Exclusive wafer-thin Sheer-Grille||$$$||4.5|
|8. Theater Solutions TS80W 8-Inch Kevlar In Wall Speakers||Equipped with Silk/Titanium Dome Tweeters||$$||4.5|
|9. Yamaha Corporation of America NSIW470 3-Way Speaker||Crossover Type-3-way;Sensitivity-87 dB||$$$||4.4|
|10. Bose Virtually Invisible 191 speakers||Proprietary ported enclosure produces cleaner and deeper low-frequency performance||$$$||4.0|
Polk Audio turned out to be a major winner when we searched for the best in-ceiling speakers.So when we started rounding up the best in-wall speakers, we looked at Polk Audio offerings first. Sure enough, the 265-LS speakers turned up. We were impressed with the simplistic design that melds easily into white or contrast interiors. They cost a tad more than the 265-RT but they are worth the extra dough. The brilliant acoustics propel them straight to the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
The unassuming look of the Polk Audio 265-LS in-wall speakers is their biggest asset. They blend into their environment better than most other speakers we checked. These are rectangular peripherals which stand 20.9 inches tall, 8.9 inches broad and 3.5 inches deep. They come with a detachable grille that can cover the handsome-looking speaker cones. These are not exactly flush-mounted. They protrude out of the wall at least an inch. But we didn’t feel they looked out of place.
This in-wall speaker has a 6.5-inch bass driver and a 6.5-inch mid-bass driver. The tweeter handles 2kHz and above frequencies. It can be tilted up to 15 degrees for better sound imaging and focused high-frequency audio. There’s an optional Performance Enclosure. If you are investing in a full-fledged Surround sound system and your walls are not acoustically-inclined, these enclosures can help. They are cabinets designed to be mounted behind the speakers and create a well-reflecting surface. 265-LS has built-in switches to dampen the tweeter and bass performance. The wall-distance toggle switch flattens out the frequency response and reduces the mid-bass bump without compromising on bass extension.
Polk Audio 265-LS in-wall speakers differ from the 265-RT in their higher- frequency extension. They extend up to 33kHZ as compared to 28kHz of the 265-RT. The subtle differences make the 265-LS sound more dynamic.The soundstage and stereo imaging of 265-LSblew our minds. We immediately swapped our front speakers for these. They center the sound around you when you tilt the tweeters towards you.
The bass of this in-wall speaker isn’t so meaty as to replace a bookshelf or tower speaker. You will require a subwoofer to complete the audio response.But it stays agile with complicated tracks, never missing a beat in intricate bassy songs. 265-LS invests heavily in audio as well as aesthetics and makes a big bang for its price and size.
- Outstanding audio with good bass and treble extension
- Can handle complicated music
- Tweeter can be aimed at seating area
- Small-size and inconspicuous looks
While Polk Audio 265-LS will burn a hole through your pocket, there are a few options that give you decent Surround Sound performance for fewer greenbacks. Micca M-8S in-wall speaker has a similar aura as the more expensive in-wall speakers. This rectangular speaker looks suave for its meagre price. Many of the regular listeners found high value for the money they spent on these.With their talented audio profile, they travelled straight to the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
Micca M-8S in-wall speaker is much smaller in stature than the Polk Audio 265-LS. It is 14.13-inches in length and measures 10 inches across. The rectangular cutout required for this speaker takes up only 12.75” x 8.75” on the wall. If you have run wires through the wall, installing these speakers is child’s play. There are red and black terminals on the speakers that accept the wiring from the wall. After that it’s only a matter of nailing down 4 screws.
In spite of their low price, these in-wall speakers come with grilles to cover the speaker face. They hide a poly-mica woofer with copper-colored surrounds. There’s also a rotating tweeter that can be directed to concentrate on the seating area. Do note that these are uncovered at the back for easier connection. But if you want the audio to be contained in your room, we suggest you cover the backside. You can use plastic planters and create a nominal reflective surface at the back.
The M-8S in-wall speaker from Micca makes you reconsider the spending spree on high-end brands like Polk Audio. The expensive ones definitely sound richer and fuller. But in a Surround sound setup, Micca M-8S pumps out enough power to make a lasting impression.
The deep-end bass that underscores the music works well with all genres. It does not bleed into the midrange as is the tradition with cheaper speakers. As expected, these don’t match up with dedicated subwoofers. If you add a reflective surface at the back, you will see a marked improvement in bass. A silk dome tweeter tweets clear and crisp sound in the mid and higher frequencies. They only get moderately loud. At high volumes they do not show any traces of distortion.
- Well-crafted balanced audio
- Small footprint
- No distortion at high volume
- Volume only gets moderately loud
Polk Audio hits a home run with RC85i in-wall speakers. These 8-inch speakers are straight up affordable as compared to the 265-LS. For their given price, they come as a pair with grilles and the works. The construction makes them robust for use in all environments from bathroom to living room. They are easy to install on the walls and nearly vanish into their surroundings. The audio matches up with the expectations from the price. They are the best in-wall speakers at their price.
Design and Features
The trend with the in-wall speakers is to stick with white exteriors and rectangular shape. The Polk Audio RC85i is cut from the same cloth. Its clean outline goes along straight lines and curved corners. The borders are all white and so are the grilles that go on the speaker face. They come with a template that can be used to trace the cutout on the walls. They measure 14.125” x 10.0625” x 3.4375” and the cutouts required are smaller than this.
This in-wall speaker is fashioned out of moisture-resistant materials, so it can be installed in kitchen, bathrooms and sauna without a second thought. The grille and the flanges can be painted to go with the interiors of your room. Installation is made easier by rotating cams that fasten the speakers to the walls. As with their in-ceiling speakers, Polk Audio uses rubber surround in the RC85i speaker cones so as to strengthen it against the damage of time.
The Polk Audio RC85i in-wall speaker packs an 8-inch woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter. The latter can be directed to aim at the listening area in the room. RC85i uses infinite baffles to create a virtual enclosure around the driver and create a smooth bass response. Like RC80i in-ceiling speakers, RC85i are also timbre-matched to Polk Audio RTi series speakers.
RC85i makes a great in-wall speaker for everyday use. It has a realistic sound and can contribute heavily to a budget Surround sound system. It has a modest low-frequency performance. But the tweeter delivers good clarity in the midrange and high frequencies. A talented audio crossover device can route the low frequencies to the subwoofer in your setup and leave these speakers free to dazzle you with clean mids and highs.
- Good value for price
- Small footprint
- Robust quality
- Rotating cam levers need to be handled with care
Here’s a speaker that works like a charm irrelevant of its position. Be it ceilings or walls, Pyle PDIC60 in-wall speaker adorns them like circular studs. These are meant to stand out in a pretty way. And they give you a respite from the traditional block-like rectangular design of in-wall speakers. Sold as a pair, these speakers can make good front or rear speakers in a 5.1 or 7.1 Surround sound system.They sang their way right into the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
In a healthy move to incorporate both in-wall and in-ceiling acoustics, the Pyle PDIC60 speaker goes for a round shape with a concentric circle in the center. This subtle design makes it more noticeable on the ceiling or on the wall. So it’s a boon that its looks adorable on your walls.Each speaker in the pair is 9-inches in diameter and 2.375 inches deep. As usual the backside is open for quick connection. You can cover it with cling film if you are worried that debris and dust might settle on it.
There are two models of this in-wall speaker. The PDI60 sports a 6.5-inch driver whereas the PDI80 has an 8-inch driver. Both pack a 1-inch tweeter each. This titanium dome tweeter can be rotated to point in your direction in the room. This way you get the full blast of mid and high frequencies. The terminals that connect to the wiring in the wall are color-coded for prompt connection.
For its price, we weren’t expecting Pyle PDIC60 in-wall speakers to shine inbrilliance. But they caught our attention with a decent performance. They were consistent in details and clarity all through their frequency spectrum. The low-end is punchy but it has to be coupled with a powerful sub to match the sonic response of tower speakers. The peak power of 250W means that they get loud. With the right music framework, they will perform like an expensive in-wall speaker. We suggest that you go for Pyle PDIC60 if you are an entry-level enthusiast for wall speakers.
- Pretty design
- Natural audio with punchy bass
- Round in shape
- Easy to install
- Open back might have to be covered
While we are fretting over the price of in-wall speakers, Silver Ticket Products are trying to recreate the magic at a lower price. Their affordable 82W looks more valuable than it is. It is available in a number of driver sizes in in-wall and in-ceiling configurations. It has a wide frequency response and has good power handling capabilities. This is a flush-mounted speaker that anneals into it surroundings. The best in-wall speakers list is incomplete without its mention.
Design and Features
The rectangular 82W in-wall speaker spans 14.1 inches in height and 4.1 inches in width.These are sold individually and not as pair. If you are looking for both left and right channels, go for a pair. They are conservatively-priced anyway. The 82W version carries an 8-inch driver and a 1-inch dome tweeter. They come with white-colored grille which helps them disappear into the walls.
The architecture of this in-wall speaker is suited for installation in kitchens, bathrooms and saunas as well because it is moisture-resistant. The cones have rubber surrounds that do not deteriorate with time. The silk dome tweeter can be rotated to be aimed at the seating place. Installation was dumbed down to cakewalk with color-matched red and black terminals. The backside of the speaker is exposed to the dirt from the walls. You can use an ordinary plastic case to cover the back.
Given the plethora of in-wall speakers in the market, we did not expect big things from the 82W speaker. But we were pleasantly surprised by its performance.Lodging one on either side of our TV along with a subwoofer, we got the full blast of Spectre stunts.The rejuvenating sound is played with the same panache in all frequencies. They are clear and crisp even at high volumes. Bass does not distort as it gets real loud. The dynamic speaker can handle complicated music as well.It is an outright steal for its price.
- Easy to install
- Clear and dynamic audio
- Excellent customer service
Klipsch is a revered name in the headphone market. They also had an entry in the best in-ceiling speakers. So their in-wall speakers are not far behind. Their Po-4502 dual-woofer speaker is an attractive addition to your 5.1 or 7.1 speaker set. It performs the role of two speakers at half the size and weight.The best part? It has some flexible impedance and tweeter adjustments. This beautiful specimen can dazzle with and without grille. Its swagger deserves a place in the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
Klipsch Pro-4502 in-wall speaker is a sharp rectangular device. It measures 15.6 inches across, 8 inches in width and 4.1 inches deep. The speaker face is adorned by two 5.5-inch drivers and a 1-inch dome tweeter. Two tabs with controls project over the two speakers. There are six screws on the frame which can be used to secure it to the walls. There are no borders around the speakers, courtesy their edge-to-edge grille. So they meld right into the white walls. The grille is also paintable so you can make it match with the décor of your room.
The 5.5-inch woven synthetic woofers have a silver surround that looks fashionable for a speaker. The dome tweeter in the middle only enhances the appearance. There’s a knob to choose between 4Ohm and 8Ohm input impedance. You can also alter the frequency response of the tweeter.It can be paired with Klipsch Pro-4650 in-wall speakers for a 7.1 system.
The Pro-4502 in-wall speakers from Klipsch are not their top pick. But the typical Klipsch quality of sound prevails. The dual subwoofers dole out bass in oodles and it create a nice background for the mids and highs. The soundstage is setup like their legendary RF-52 speakers. The clarity is crystal quality through the midranges and highs. They have decent bass and treble extensions with frequency response ranging from75 Hz to 22kHz.This speaker is a relatively cheap option against the Polk Audio speakers.
- Dual 5.5 inch speaker
- Switchable input impedance
- Edge-to-edge grille
While we discussed a number of in-wall satellite speakers, the Polk Audio 255C-RT center channel was marinating in its own dexterity. This high-end single channel has Polk’s creative talent with music. If you are planning to dish out the greenbacks for a complete 5.1 or 7.1 system, then 255C-RT could make as good a center-piece as Queen Elizabeth. This is a vanishing speaker with the grille operating on full stealth mode. This is a hard-to-miss entry on the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
We are yet to a see a sleeker architecture than that of the Polk Audio 255C-RT in-wall speaker. Its flat face mounts flush on the walls and makes itself unostentatious. It is 9.3125 inches high and 14.8125 inches wide and requires marginally smaller cutouts than that. 255C-RT is installed horizontally so that its two 5.25-inch woofer/mid drivers can create a centered stereo image. A 1-inch tweeter is situated between the two drivers.
The paintable grille of this in-wall speaker protrudes only 7mm out of the wall. If you paint it the color of the wall it is installed on, 255C-RT will be hard to spot because of its thin borders. A cardboard template to make a cutout on the drywall is included. The seamless look demands the same amount of money as the other Polk Audio speakers. That’s why the Klipsch ranked higher in our order of best in-wall speakers list. Klipsch is cheaper and has better value on money, audio-wise.
Given its petite stature, the sound of Polk Audio 255C-RT in-wall speaker is well-dispersed. Its soundstage has the width and depth that we expect from bigger speakers. The two 5.25-inch dual band pass bass ports are capable of creating a powerful bass performance. It cannot be boisterous as a dedicated subwoofer but it has the chops to cover all frequencies on its own.If you have a Polk RTi series setup already, then consider buying the 255C-RT, as it is timbre-matched to existing RTi speakers. Only issue is that the sound of the speaker leaks through the walls to adjoining rooms.
- Wide soundstage
- Good bass performance
- Vanishing design
- Sound leaks to other rooms through the walls
The Theater Solutions TS80W in-wall speakers combine solid looks and sound in a reasonably-priced package. You will be blown away by the audio quality at such humble price. And they sell as a pair too.The excellent power-handling gears them up for loud volumes that can easily fill a mid-sized room. If you are creating an entry-level Surround sound setup, the TS80W can give you Polk Audio-like sound on half the budget. Sound-wise, it is a catch for the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
The design of the Theater Solutions TS80W in-wall speaker remains in line with the trend of rectangular shape. There’s a broad border to it, so it catches more attention on the wall than other speakers on this list. The grille on its face can be painted to blend with the interior design on your rooms. The whole construction is rust- and moisture-resistant. So you can place them in wet rooms like kitchen or bathrooms.
You can install this in-wall speaker into the wall using its Swing-out dog leg mounting system. There are 6 legs that affix it to its background. However, some folks have complained that these legs are prone to breaking while setting up. Since we are well-versed in the art of installing in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, we did not find any issue. The 8-inch driver cone has woven Kevlar surrounds. It is accompanied by a 1-inch Titanium dome tweeter. The tweeter can be rotated tofire the audio towards the listeners in the room.
The lower frequency reach of the TS80W in-wall speaker goes to 32 Hz. The frequency response extends all the way to 20kHz. So the low-end is present at lower volumes compared to Klipsch 4502 which starts off at 75Hz. Given its 4-pound weight mark, we did not anticipate the loud volume and fullness of sound. But it delivered like a pro. The bass is powerful and steals the show when it comes to action scenes and staccato rat-tat-tat of machine guns.Vocals have startling clarity, much better than speakers thrice its price.It anneals into a middle-of-the-road sound system easily. It just wouldn’t match up with the very high-end systems when it comes to playing intricate music.
- Outstanding sound for the price
- Quick install dog-legs
- Kevlar-reinforced cone surrounds
- Can be more robust
Yamaha has moments of genius intermittently and they come up with extraordinary products in these periods. The NSIW470 in-wall speaker is one such peripheral.It is available in two models with different wattages. Depending on the area you want to power up with its music, you can go for one of the two versions. The price difference is only about $15. The subdued looks of the speaker conceal a proficient audio capability. We couldn’t help but put it on the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
The Yamaha NSIW470 in-wall speakers are not as low-profile as some of the other speakers on this list like Klipsch Pro-4502-W. The grille and borders are visible when installed in their original color. However, if you were to paint it correctly, it would combine very gracefully with its background. This is a three-way speaker which holds a 6.5-inch cone speaker, one 2” midrange driver and a 1-inch tweeter. Both tweeter and midrange driver can be swiveled and provide wide dispersion because of the free movement.
In spite of being 3-way, this in-wall speaker only measures 11.9” x 8.9” x3.8”. The only hard part of the installation process is wiring through the walls. Setting up the speaker is a breeze. The architecture is robust, even at the modest price. So you will not find the need to replace them any time soon.
We were sold at the fact that a 3-way speaker with appreciable audio was available at a reasonable price. The NSIW470 in-wall speaker performs well over a wide tonal range. Its audio disperses well with the movement of midrange driver and tweeter. There’s a restricted boost in the midbass region. The result is meaty bass that does not encroach upon the midrange. The sound is balanced in its elements. No one frequency region dominates the others.
We did miss the subwoofer with this speaker. But that again depends on what genre of music you play the most and how much of a basshead you are. Bass-heavy genres like EDM, Rap etc. would definitely need a woofer behind them.
- 3-way speaker with balanced audio
- Looks beautiful when spray painted
- Midrange driver and tweeter can be swiveled
- Can have more bass
Bose has always been the audiophile’s pet when it comes to speakers and headphones. So we checked out their 191 speaker when the in-wall speakers debate was kicked up. We were not as overwhelmed by them as we were with their best Bluetooth headphones. But these speakers are definitely special with performance enclosures included in the pack. For their potential, they deserve a place in the best in-wall speakers list.
Design and Features
The Bose 191 in-wall speakers arenot remotely in the business of blending in. They have the rectangular face with grille. But you can see the Bose name from a little distance. A proprietary enclosure in included at the back of the speaker. This way, it is independent of the acoustic properties of the wall it is installed in. The more exciting part is that it comes with both rectangular and circular grille frames. Regardless, the speaker isn’t unduly heavy. Because of the back design, it requires a smaller cutout than usual. They have a smaller footprint on the wall than most in-wall speakers. So the ladies in the house will approve.
The audio is concocted by two inward-facing 2.5-inch drivers. These are full-range drivers that use Bose’s Articulated Array speaker placement for good soundstage and stereo imaging. They can be coupled with amplifier in 10-100W range with 4 or 8 Ohm impedance.
What could be a great design only loses its sheen with the audio. The Bose 191 in-wall speakers are not as spectacular as you would expect from their marketing and brand name. They sound decent for their size. The audio is balanced but you can feel the need for a subwoofer clearly. If you are highly concerned about the way your newly refurbished room looks, then these could save your life. Their enclosure will also limit the leakage of sound to other rooms.
- Comes with an enclosure at back
- Comes with rectangular and round grille frames
- Two full-range drivers
- Lean bass