Buying Guides

Best In-Ceiling Speakers for Your Surround Sound System

Eric Chan

If your house doesn't have much space to store bookshelf speakers, the best in-ceiling speakers offer a great alternative. Not only do they save space, but these speakers also improve the stereo sound you need to watch movies, play music, or play video games.

What Is an In-Ceiling Speaker?

An in-ceiling speaker is designed to be installed on your ceiling for the best stereo surround sound quality. The best speakers are either 2-way speakers with one woofer and a dome tweeter or 3-way speakers with a woofer, a midrange, and a tweeter. Others will also come with two or more dome tweeters.

You need an in-ceiling speaker to declutter your entertainment area and install an overhead system to improve the sound quality. These speakers come in low-profile designs that will improve the appearance of your ceilings if you can blend the colors.

When looking for the best speakers on the market to use for your home theater system, you will need to consider your room's shape and size, your audio expectations, ease of installation, and the speaker design so it can disappear into the ceiling.

You will also need to calculate the number of speakers you need for your room and how the brand you want to buy from packages the speakers. For example, some will sell a unit with one speaker, while others will sell up to five speakers in one unit.

That said, we will review the best speakers you can buy today; these are easy to install, come with a low-profile design, and offer the best sound quality for your home theater. If you still need more information before buying, we will also discuss the most important factors you need to consider before buying any speaker. Read on also to see why an in-ceiling speaker is better for your home entertainment.

1. Best Overall: Polk Audio RC80i 2-way In-Ceiling 8" Round Speakers

Polk Audio RC80i 2-way Premium In-Ceiling 8" Round Speakers, Set of 2...
  • EXPERIENCE MORE BALANCED & LIFELIKE SOUND – Features an 8" Dynamic Balance woofer & a 1"...
  • THE RUBBER SEAL DRIVES better response and PREVENTS MOISTURE ACCESS, a key feature for USE...
  • OUT OF THE BOX & RECESSED INTO THE CEILING - no mess, no extra assembly - in 3 simple...
  • Polk's UNWAVERING COMMITMENT, RELIABILITY, AND CRAFTSMANSHIP, has made it one of the most...

These Polk Audio RC80i 2 in-ceiling speakers allow you to improve your existing home theater setup or build a new one. Taking minimal space on your ceiling, they will blend in with your house decor while providing the best Polk Audio quality.

It is a 2-way speaker consisting of an 8-inch woofer plus a 1-inch metallic soft dome with a 15-degree swiveling capability that makes it aimable to whichever direction you want the sound to concentrate. In addition, the unit will offer a wide frequency response of 50 to 20,000 Hz.

Additionally, the Polk Audio RC80i 2 speaker installation is low-profile, with a white finish, thus better if your ceiling is white. And they come with aluminum grills that you can paint over to match your ceiling color. You also won't have to worry about moisture as the Polk Audio speaker comes with a rubber seal that keeps moisture away while also driving a better response.

Overall, the Polk Audio RC80i 2 in-ceiling speaker is ideal for any room in your house, including the bathroom and kitchen, and comes at an affordable price. The installation process is also quite straightforward, and you won't require extra assembly out of the box.


  • Excellent build quality
  • The speaker comes with an aluminum grill and a rubber seal to prevent moisture and rust damage
  • They are easy to install and won't interfere with your ceiling decor
  • They offer a wide frequency response of 50 to 20,000 Hz
  • Affordable
  • Available in a smaller 6-inch woofer
  • They come in a white color that you can repaint to match your ceiling theme


  • They leave the back exposed

2. Acoustic Audio CS IC83 8" In-Ceiling Speakers

Acoustic Audio by Goldwood CS-IC83 8” 3-Way In Ceiling Home Theater...
  • FLUSH MOUNT IN CEILING SPEAKERS - Wide sound dispersion designed speakers easily integrate...
  • FULL RANGE 3-WAY SOUND - 8" High Rigidity Poly cone woofers with progressive spiders and...
  • EASY TO INSTALL - Pressure lock mounting system clamps tight to drywall, fits round...
  • SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS - Any home audio receiver or amp with raw speaker wire outputs, power...
  • WHAT'S IN THE BOX - 5 Acoustic Audio by Goldwood CS-IC83 speakers, removeable grills,...

These Acoustic Audio ceiling speakers offer a wide frequency range of 40 to 20,000Hz and come in a 3-way speaker system that includes an 8-inch woofer, a Poly Mica midrange, and a 13mm soft dome tweeter for the best surround audio quality.

The in-ceiling speakers come with paintable grilles so you can match them to your ceiling decor. In addition, the speakers come with a rubber seal that prevents moisture damage. If you want the best low-profile in-ceiling speakers, you can opt for the model that also comes without a metallic frame. The speakers are easy to install with pressure lock mounting system clamps that allow tight fixing into drywall.

These in-ceiling speakers are ideal for good mids and highs, and they can also afford a decent bass output. In addition, they come as a set of five at an affordable price and include cutout templates to guide you with the installation process. The only dealbreaker here is that the speaker's connection uses push-down clips.


  • The unit comes with five speakers for the best surround system
  • They come with thin, paintable grilles, and you can also find an option without the metallic frames
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to install; the package also comes with cutout templates to guide you when installing
  • The three-way speaker design offers impeccable Fidelity and a wide frequency response of 40 to 20,000Hz
  • The speakers offer a decent bass output


  • Push-down clip connections are cumbersome
  • The grilles are not magnetic

3. Pyle PDIC80 8-inch 2-Way In-Ceiling Speakers

Pyle 8” Ceiling Wall Mount - Pair Of 2-Way Midbass Woofer Speaker...
  • 55Hz - 22kHz FREQUENCY RESPONSE: Pyle 8” speaker system has a directable 1” titanium...
  • 2-WAY MOUNT SPEAKER: The pair of 8” stereo sound speaker has two way of installation:...
  • FLUSH MOUNT DESIGN: A pair of flush mount design midbass speaker for simple and easy...
  • 300 WATTS PEAK: Pyle in-wall speaker system were carefully combined to reproduce sound...
  • EASY INSTALLATION: The product includes cut-out and overall templates for easy...

If you are looking for versatile speakers, these Pyle speakers can be installed into your ceilings and walls, thus the best in-ceiling speakers for a complete home theater system. They are 2-way speakers with an 8-inch midbass woofer plus a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter. The tweeter is also directable, so you can install it facing the direction you want most audio concentration.

These in-ceiling speakers have a high impedance of 4-8 ohm and can handle 300 watts of power to output a wide frequency response of 55Hz - 22kHz. The speaker also comes with a 70V transformer to reduce amp load and balance the impedance.

Available at a very affordable price and in white, these speakers will easily blend in with your interior decor. They are also easy to install, and they come with cutout templates to guide you when installing. They also come with paintable grills that are not magnetic.


  • Affordable
  • They are low-profile in-ceiling speakers that can also work when installed in-wall
  • Excellent speaker build with a rubber seal that prevents moisture
  • 2-way speaker design with a midbass woofer and 1-inch tweeter for excellent sound quality
  • They offer a wide frequency response of 55Hz - 22kHz 
  • The speakers have a high impedance of 4-8ohm
  • The in-ceiling speakers can handle 300 watts of power, and you have the option to also get a 70V transformer for better performance
  • Easy to install


  • The paintable grilles are not magnetic

4. Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker

Klipsch CDT-5650-C II In-Ceiling Speaker - White (Each)
  • 1” Titanium Tweeter
  • 6.5" Pivoting Cerametallic Woofer
  • Horn-loaded technology
  • Controlled Dispersion Technology (CDT)
  • Treble and midbass attenuation switches

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C II needs to be top of your list despite its steep price when looking for the best in-ceiling speakers. This single speaker is capable of the best sound quality to allow you to listen to music and even watch BluRay movies at the highest volumes.

It is a 2-way in-ceiling speaker with a 6.5-inch pivoting cerametallic woofer plus a 1-inch titanium tweeter. The woofer can shift 15 degrees in an ideal direction, while the tweeter will rotate 360 degrees to direct the sound to any direction you want. Unfortunately, each package comes with one speaker, so you may need to buy more than one for a complete audio setup at home.

The in-wall speaker also uses premium technology to offer the best sound quality. One of these technologies is the Controlled Dispersion Technology mechanism that, with the rotating design of each component, allows the speaker to disperse sound in different directions despite being fixed in one place. Then, the horn-loaded technology helps improve the overall audio quality.

The Klipsch CDT-5650-C II speaker boasts the best construction using premium materials, and it also comes with attenuation switches for treble and mid-bass control. It is easy to install and blends nicely with your house interiors. As mentioned, the only dealbreaker is the steep price, considering the package comes with only one speaker.


  • It is the best in-ceiling speaker for a premium sound surround system
  • Uses premium technologies for better sound quality
  • Bith the woofer and tweeter are pivoting, which allows them to disperse sound in different directions
  • Blends nicely with house interiors
  • Built using premium materials, so it is durable
  • From a reputable brand
  • Easy to install


  • It comes at a steep price compared to other in-ceiling speakers that have more than one speaker in each package
  • You will need to buy more than one speaker for the best sound performance

5. Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker

Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker II - White
  • The best Bose in-ceiling speaker has one 7" woofer and two strategically positioned 1"...
  • High-quality, full-range performance that most other installed speakers can't match
  • Exclusive Stereo Everywhere speaker performance covers the room with balanced stereo...
  • A near-bezel-less construction blends elegantly into the room's design; easily paintable...
  • Standard dogleg clamps and magnetically attached grilles make installation fast and easy

Unlike the Klipsch CDT 5650 C II speaker and other in-ceiling speakers on this list, the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Ceiling Speaker comes with one 7-inch speaker woofer plus two 1-inch tweeters to offer better sound quality than most speakers.

The speaker comes from one of the most reputable brands in the world and is a bit pricey. But, the price notwithstanding, this speaker uses superior technology to make it one of the best in-ceiling speakers your money can buy. Firstly, it uses Bose's signature Stereo Everywhere Technology to balance the sound quality once installed.

Then, the speaker build is made to be long-lasting, and it is also easy to install. It will offer one of the most low-profile looks on your ceiling with the ultra-slim bezel design, and it will stay in place thanks to the dogleg clamps it comes with. If your ceiling comes in another color other than the white of this speaker, you can remove the magnetic grilles and repaint them to blend in. Despite the high price, these speakers are sold in pairs.


  • The speaker is from a reputable brand
  • The speakers are sold in pairs
  • The ultra-slim bezel construction blends in nicely with your ceiling
  • The speakers are easy to install
  • They come with a unique design that features a 7-inch woofer and two 1-inch tweeters
  • They come with paintable and magnetic grilles
  • They are easy to install


  • The speakers are pricey
  • Not the best bass performance for the price

What Are the Advantages of the Best In-Ceiling Speakers?

If you love enjoying your home theater to the fullest, then you might need to consider installing the best in-ceiling speakers because of these reasons;

1. They are not messy

Ever fallen victim to having to live with unsightly cables in front of you? You will eliminate the site of cables if you invest in good in-ceiling speakers. However, it is best to remember you might still need to have the best woofer to amplify your bass, and it will most likely come with a connection cable.

2. They save space

Maybe you live in a rented apartment, or you lead a minimalist lifestyle; the thing is, when you don't want clutter, you can look for alternative ways to have equipment like speakers still. Therefore, installing speakers in the ceiling gives you more floor or shelf space to use with other things.

3. They make it easy to arrange your room layout

When speakers rely on a shelf or TV stand, your whole entertainment system also relies on an available power source. Thus, you find your options limited when deciding where to put the speakers or how to arrange the seats. But, when you install speakers in the ceiling, it will be easier to play around with your room layout.

4. They make a better surround sound system

If you already have a set of normal speakers such as a woofer plus rear channel speakers that don't make up an ideal surround sound system, installing in-ceiling speakers as rear channels would be a better solution. The best in-ceiling speakers offer a great surround sound system so you can be immersed in your entertainment, be it watching Blu-ray movies or listening to your favorite songs.

Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best In-Ceiling Speakers

While in-ceiling speakers save space and are less bulky, choosing the best for you is not an easy task, especially if you do not know a lot about speakers. There is a lot of information to digest while you still need to get value for money. If you are not sure which in-ceiling speakers are ideal for you, here are some factors you can use to choose between different models.

a) Your budget

In-ceiling speakers come with different price tags depending on the construction features, size, and sound performance. Luckily, you will find speakers for any budget. You can get the most basic speakers at a low budget, while other speakers with rotating woofers and tweeters or a vanishing design will come at a higher price.

b) Construction

As you continue buying in-ceiling speakers, one fact remains; you will not be keen on replacing or repairing the speakers once you install them. Seeing how the installation can be a permanent solution, it is best to look at the materials used to construct the speakers.

When looking for the best materials, choose the ones that guarantee protection; a moisture-resistant and rust-resistant speaker can be installed in most rooms, including bathrooms and kitchens. Also, some speakers come with paintable frames so they can blend with the room's interior. Make sure the frames can come off for easy repainting.

c) Speaker design

While these speakers save more space in your rooms, you still want to maintain a tidy room; thus, it is important to look for speakers that vanish into the ceiling. 

A low-profile design will not be so conspicuous on the ceiling, and in most cases, it will complement the look and theme of your interiors.

d) Ease of Installation

Installing these speakers will require you to drill holes into the ceiling. In some cases, it is best to take the help of an expert to drill the holes, so you don't compromise the house's integrity.

Suppose you would like to do the installation by yourself. In that case, it is better to look for speakers that come with tab systems or included templates which are specialized systems that guide you through the installation process.

It is also better to buy from a brand that makes replacing the speakers easier; some brands advise how to use the same holes to install new speakers if the old ones need replacing.

e) Adjustable positioning

Suppose you need to change the room's seating arrangement and layout often. An important feature to consider when buying in-ceiling speakers is the ability of both the woofer ad the tweeters to rotate or swivel so you can adjust their direction for more centralized sound. Note, though, while most tweeters can swivel, only a select number of brands offer adjustable woofers, and they cost way more than other basic speakers.

That said, the adjustable position is not mandatory if you don't intend to change your listening position or when you are on a tight budget.

f) Sets or single units

These speakers can be sold as single units or in sets of two or more speakers. For example, the Klipsch CDT-5650-C II, the Polk Audio RC80i 2, and the Acoustic Audio CS IC83 speakers are sold in sets of one, two, and five speakers, respectively.

When deciding how many speakers you need for your home theater, you will need to consider how large your room is and how strong a surround sound system you need. Additionally, understand that more speakers do not always mean the best sound quality. In some instances, you may get sets of two or more speakers underperforming against one single speaker.

g) Sound performance

Sound performance is the most important feature of any in-ceiling speaker you buy. After considering all other factors such as design, construction, sets of speakers, and installation, the speaker's performance is where you may need to spend more time researching before you buy.

One feature of any speaker you need to understand is the bass performance. Even with the most expensive models, you will not always get a speaker that can offer great bass output without a dedicated woofer to use with. Then, you can also look for speakers that have built-in controls so you can adjust the mids and the highs to your preference.

Other times, sound performance is also determined by the materials used to construct the speakers. For instance, while rubber seals help prevent moisture, they also enable better sound transfer. Thus, it is best to also pay attention to the body and how the materials used to construct the speakers improve audio balance and clarity.

h) Personal preferences

As you buy the speakers, you might also consider your personal preferences, such as shape and color. For example, while most speakers are round, you could find models that offer other shapes like squares-shaped speakers.

You may also consider getting speakers with paintable grills that are either magnetic or that can be screwed for a tight installation.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best In-Ceiling Speakers

a) Are they worth it?

As long as it can meet your needs for sound quality, an in-ceiling speaker is a worthy addition to your stereo sound system. In addition, the speakers are affordable, easy to install, and help save space.

b) Is an in-ceiling speaker good for music?

Any in-ceiling speaker that produces an excellent bass, such as the Polk Audio speaker on this review, is ideal for playing music. An in-ceiling speaker is also ideal for playing movies and video games where the stereo sound will fully immerse you in the action.

c) How many speakers will I need to install?

It is always better to have more speakers than you need rather than having fewer speakers than enough for a complete ceiling surround sound system.

That said, the number of speakers you will need depends on the shape and size of your room and your quality sound expectations. It would be best to pair your speakers in front and behind your seating position for the best stereo sound.

d) How are ceiling speakers powered?

An in-ceiling speaker may not need to be plugged into a power source. This kind of speaker is called a passive in-ceiling speaker. Instead of connecting to a power source, it connects to an amp or receiver which powers it on. You can also find an active in-ceiling speaker that needs to connect to a power source to start working.

e) How many watts should an in-ceiling speaker be?

The best in-ceiling speaker can handle anywhere between 20 watts to peaks of 300 watts.

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