Are Coaxial Speakers Better Than Component: What’s The Difference?

Coaxial and component are two categories of speakers that can be used when installing or upgrading your car’s sound system. This segment will help you figure out the answer to your question: Are coaxial speakers better than component speakers? You’ll also find out the differences between the two types (and their sub-types). Let’s dive in.

While choosing the speakers that best suit your requirements, you need to consider 3 factors:

  • The quality of sound, that is, what you are expecting to experience.
  • The cost- as always an economic decision is the best decision, but sometimes not. We’ll see.
  • The time and complexity involved in the installation process.

What is a coaxial speaker?

The most common type of speaker is the coaxial speaker. They are virtually found in every Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)- factory-installed car stereo (newer models).

Coaxial speakers are also known as full-range speakers. They are designed to reproduce a larger range of audio frequencies from a single unit.

The OEM car audio system design typically prioritizes cost over quality. And since most OEM car audio uses the coaxial type, there is a generalizing tendency to classify the coaxial type as the degenerate one. But as we’ll see, that’s not always true.

These speakers can also be procured from aftermarket car audio suppliers. Replacing the factory-installed coaxial with a high-quality aftermarket coaxial is usually the most cost-effective and easy-to-install car audio upgrade available in the market.

Coaxial speakers are compact in nature. One in which all drivers are holistically inbuilt into one piece. The most common configuration is a woofer with a tweeter mounted on top of it. You can also find 3-way coaxial speakers which contain a woofer, a mid-range, and a tweeter. Apart from these two standard car speaker designs, there is also a 4-way speaker design. 4-way speakers come with an extra speaker driver known as a super tweeter.

What is a component speaker?

Component speakers are the less common ones. Component speakers, although less common, are favored by audiophiles. Audiophiles rely on them to build and enhance the performance capability of their car audio systems. Component speakers simply refer to assembling and installing a custom-designed audio system for one’s car. Let’s look into the parts of a component audio speaker.

The frequency range of human hearing is about 20 to 20,000 Hz. Each part/ component of the component speaker handles a specific sound frequency range, audible to the human ear.


The tweeters cover the high end of the audio spectrum from about 2,000 to 20,000 Hz. High-quality tweeters play an important role in filling out an audio soundscape. Female lead vocals singing at high scales or a lead guitar solo would be taken care of by the tweeters.


The middle range of the audible spectrum consists of sound frequencies that fall between 300 to 5,000 Hz.


The most popular part of the sound system is the woofer. Deep bass, which falls in the range of about 40 to 1,000 Hz, is handled by woofers.

There are also a few special component speakers that can provide extra capabilities to the system at the extremes of the audio spectrum. These include the super tweeters and the sub-woofers.


These speakers are capable of producing ultrasonic frequencies that are beyond the normal range of human hearing. That enables super tweeters to produce higher frequency sounds without any distortion.


Like super tweeters, the subwoofers are designed to provide higher quality sound at the other extreme end of the audio spectrum.

What are the main differences between Coaxial and Component?

In a nutshell, the main difference between coaxial and component speakers is simple.  Component speakers offer a wide variety of customization (as we saw above), which can improve the overall sound system over time.

In coaxial speakers, the individual drivers radiate sound from the same point/ axis (because of its compact nature). Component speakers have their drivers split into different parts. This allows you to configure them as you want through your equalizer, as well as separate the placement in order to optimize the outcome.

Component speakers give more control to the user over the system’s sound. That control is absent in the case of coaxial speakers. Coaxial speakers won’t give you much freedom to determine how your stereo upgrade performs and looks like after installation. However, as you’ll see later, coaxial is the practical option for at-home installations.

Are coaxial speakers better than component?

If you are very concerned about the minute differences in sound quality that you experience while driving, then go for component speakers. Otherwise, coaxial speakers should do the job. Most the factory car stereo comes with coaxial speakers. So, that’s your ‘by default’ choice.

Some experts opine that if you are really serious about the quality of music you experience inside your car, then definitely component speakers should be your choice. But that’s not true. High end coaxial speakers can serve the purpose of quality audio without the accompanying hassles for component speakers. What hassles? You’ll see later (installation process).

However, when it comes to customization benefits, components beat coaxials fair and square. But what’s the price you pay for this obsession?

Speaking about the downside of components, you need to know that components are more expensive. They will most likely cost you higher than coaxial. Moreover, without expertise, you might face problems in installing the component speakers. How so? Because it’s a complex process. You’ll see this in the next part (installation). When you are ready with your speakers, let’s get to work and dive into the installation process.

What points do I need to know about when installing each type?

After you have bought the speaker type which best suits your needs, you need to install the speakers. To install the new speakers in your car, you need to go through the following steps:

Pull out the old speakers: Switch off the car battery. Pull out the old stereo using a flathead and a screwdriver. Remove the speaker from the mount taking special care of the connections holding it together. In the case of coaxial speakers, you need to replicate the same connections to the new speakers. In the case of component speakers, it is going to be a little more complex. Depending on your vehicle, your connections will come in any of the three usual forms. These 3 forms will be discussed later.

Preparing to place the new speakers: You need to see if your speaker can fit within the stock mount on the car and if the screws line up. If they do, you’ll be able to make things easy.

If not, you’ll need to make sure that you have a mount that will fit in and replace the old mount with a new one. Most often it’s an easy process, so don’t get too worked up about it. If things get particularly tricky, all you may need is a drill or an impact driver but that’s about as far as you’ll need to go.

As mentioned earlier, wiring the new speakers in is going to depend on what type of connection is present there.

  1. Direct attachment to the loom is the most common in modern vehicles. In many cases, this will provide for a complete plug-and-play replacement. Thus, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to just tie into the loom and move on to the next step.
  • If not, you’ll have to make sure that you get the polarity correct for the connectors as other systems have connectors that hook onto spades on the back of the speaker. These can be removed with a pair of needle-nose pliers but you need to take special care in order to make sure you are aware of the polarity.
  •  Third, there are soldered connections which are a bit trickier and rare. In such a case, you must clip the wires as close to the solder as possible, then separate them so you know where they are. Or else you can use a soldering iron to heat the solder and remove the wires. We recommend just clipping them unless you’re planning on re-soldering the wires.

If you are unsure, read the speaker’s manual. It will help you to get the colored wires in their respective slots. Be very careful to make sure that everything aligns properly.

Adding the crossover

Don’t screw things back in just yet. If you’re installing component speakers, then you have one more piece of gear to take care of is the ‘crossover’. The crossover must go between the receiver and the speakers. This will ensure that the frequencies fed into your speakers feed properly.

This requires a little bit of electrical knowledge, but it’s easy enough. The real extra work comes in with separating the tweeter and making the holes and running the wires in order to ensure both – great sound and an aesthetic overall look.

There’s a reason coaxials are mostly recommended for at-home installations. You’ll be making permanent modifications to the interior of the vehicle to get everything just right if you’re installing component speakers.

You need to have a drill and a jig-saw to get it done, but the different placements will vary depending on taste and requirements. You need to make sure you know where you want things to end up before you start cutting.

Play to test: The next part of your at-home job is going to be to test your speakers. Turn the car on and power the radio up, but be ready to shut things down quickly if something goes wrong. If everything sounds good, turn the car off and disconnect the battery again.

Final touch: Now you’ll have to finally mount your speakers to successfully finish the job. If anything went wrong during the test, you’ll need to try again. Proceed cautiously.

Which type of speaker is better for a beginner?

Coaxial speakers are easy to install. That’s not the case for component speakers.

Coaxial speakers will generally cost you less than component speakers. If you aren’t an expert, you’ll need to pay extra for the installation and assembling of the components of component speakers. Also, the installation of a component system is time-consuming given the complexity of the process.

Component speakers are known as the speaker for the more serious music buff, and will almost guarantee a higher quality of audio (if they’re set up correctly). For others, a high-grade coaxial should suffice.

Component speakers may require some upgrades or customization to the interior of the car in order to get the best sound, which can be an undertaking for someone who’s just beginning or doesn’t want too much hassle.

There are high-end coaxial speakers which will provide a similar or even better quality audio experience. You just have to know what you’re looking for and then proceed with proper research. Also, as already mentioned, coaxial speakers are easier to install. Coaxial speakers will likely be less expensive than component speakers.


So as we saw, both kinds of speakers have their strengths. Our choice of the type of speaker will be reflective of our unique position regarding what we are looking for. Component speakers are definitely better if we are looking for a superior audio experience. The drives in these speakers will be feeding our eardrums from different directions. These speakers will give us more control regarding the sound system.

However, the component speakers are a complex system that comes with its own difficulties. Due to its complex system, it is difficult for home installation. Unless you already have expertise in the field, it is advised to call an expert. This will add to the already high price of the component system. Overall, component systems are more expensive than coaxial systems.

Also, some experts opine that the quality of a high-grade coaxial systems’ performance can definitely compete with that of component systems. The component speaker installation process is time-consuming and the installation process makes permanent changes to the car’s interior which can again have undesirable consequences unless you really know what you’re doing.

So, if you are an experienced and expert audiophile who knows what he’s doing, go for component speakers. Or else go for 3 drive (woofer, midrange, tweeter) coaxial.  The latter will still provide a quality audio experience without much risk.