best ceiling speakers

If you’ve been looking to maximize the sound in your home, without having to take up a ton of valuable real estate then finding the best ceiling speakers is just the answer you’ve been looking for.

Like any audio equipment, however, it can be hard to figure out where the best lie since every manufacturer claims to bring only the best and brightest to the market. Instead of finding yourself fumbling with lemons and duds, take a look at our favorites.

Let’s hop right in, and then we’ll help you make sure that you’ve got the best ones for your home, no matter how you plan on using them or what your budget is.

Top 10 Best Ceiling Speakers Reviews

NameRatingHighlightCheck Price
Micca M-8CBest Buybuy from amazon
Polk Audio RC80iBest Quality
Pyle PDIC60TBest cheap ceiling speakersbuy from amazon
Acoustic Audio R191Best ceiling for surround soundbuy from amazon
Definitive Technology UEWA/Di 8RBest 8 Inch Ceiling Speakersbuy from amazon

1. Micca M-8C – Best Buy Ceiling speakers

Micca M-8C 8 Inch 2-Way In-Ceiling In-Wall Speaker

My rating:

buy from amazon

With the ability to be mounted tight to the wall and has a great 8” woofer which many people have found to be an excellent option for their home theater setups. Like many of our favorites, they can be used both in-ceiling and in-wall, depending on the usage you’re looking for.

They’re not the cheapest that we took a look at, but dollar for dollar these speakers perform great and with the right setup are able to create an impressive soundstage. They can also handle a hundred watts each, making them rather powerful overall.

They’ve got a pretty good range, from 40Hz to 20kHz and are decently sensitive at 90dB to the watt. The woofer itself is an 8” Mica-filled cone, with butyl rubber surroundings which lends them to a good sound overall.

The grill is low profile and paintable, meaning you can match them off with the walls. They’re not quite flush mounted, but they’re close which is a big deal for many people.

If you want to do an extensive setup in your home, but aren’t looking forward to the costs of higher-quality speakers then you should take a closer look.

Things we liked

Very affordable per speaker
Strong bass due to 8” woofer design
Paintable, almost flush mount
100W of power for good volume

Things we didn’t like

Not audiophile quality
Stationary tweeter

The Micca M-8C is a perfect speaker for those who want to have sound throughout their whole home without shattering the bank, the per-speaker cost is amazing considering the quality.

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2. Polk Audio RC80i – Best In Ceiling Speakers

Polk Audio RC80i 2-Way In-Ceiling/In-Wall Speakers

My rating:

buy from amazon

These 2-way speakers can be installed in either your ceiling or your walls, depending on how you want to go about things. The cost is pretty remarkable, especially considering the quality of sound which you’ll be able to get out of them.

Polk is renowned for their quality control and the ability to deliver a great experience at a decent price. These aren’t the cheapest speakers we looked at, but they offer exactly what you need for the most part.

They’re also remarkably versatile, with the right backing they can run from 20-100W RMS, providing plenty of volume for the average person without any real issues. They’re also the best bathroom ceiling speakers around thanks to their moisture proofing.

The specs aren’t super impressive, but they’re enough to get the job done. You’ll be looking at 35Hz to 20 kHz of range with the tweeter and woofer combined. There’s 15° of swivel on the tweeter, which is nice for overcoming acoustic challenges as well.

These are one of the best ceiling speakers for your home if you’re not planning on going with ultra-high-end options.

Things we liked

Revolving tweeters for optimal acoustic angles
Moisture-resistant for use in bathrooms and outdoors
Great quality for the price
Comes in sets of two
Runs 20-100W RMS

Things we didn’t like

Not the cheapest we took a look at
Provide a relatively narrow area for their sounds

For those looking to get great bang for their buck, but not on a super tight budget, the Polk Audio RC80i is perfect. Perfectionists may want to look at something more expensive, however.

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3. Yamaha NS-IW280CWH – Best Budget In Ceiling Speakers

Yamaha NS-IW280CWH 6.5

My rating:

buy from amazon

If you’re looking for cheap speakers and the Micca M-8C turns you off due to being a non-name brand, then you may be interested in these speakers from Yamaha. They’re similar in pricing per speaker and the options are a bit wider when it comes to buying them in bundles or differing wattages.

They’re a three way speaker, coming in with dual tweeters and a 6 ½” woofer. It lends the speakers well to mids and highs, but the lows are still going to be lacking since the range starts at 65Hz and scales its way up to 28kHz.

The two versions of wattage are 100W and 120W, both of which are great and just depend on the receiver you’re using’s power. On top of that, you do get a swivel tweeter with these, which makes them suitable for home theater systems and dedicated music listening rooms.

They’re also a bit smaller than the competition, being 6.5” instead of the average 8” speakers you’ll find when looking for ceiling speakers. Add in the easy install, and you’ll see why they were among the favorites we tried.

Things we liked

Affordable pricing
Can be bought in bundled sets to match your needs
5” size makes them a bit easier to place
Provides a lot of mids and highs

Things we didn’t like

Lack of bass compared to comparable speakers
Have a relatively narrow optimal sound band

For those who want name-brand speakers without the name-brand pricing, you’ll be well served with this model of speaker.

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4. Klipsch R-1800-C – Best Outdoor Ceiling Speakers

Klipsch R-1800-C In-ceiling Loudspeaker White

My rating:

buy from amazon

If you’re willing to stretch your budget a little bit, the Klipsch R-1800-C offer incredible value for the money without pushing you into the realm of super high prices.

They’re a solid two-way speaker with a 56Hz to 20kHz range. They’re recommended to be run with an 80W amp if you’re going there, which makes them suitable for a wide range of different home systems.

The biggest advantage we noted was that they were easily able to handle the majority of receivers without distorting until near max volume. At lower volumes and even when we got to near the distortion point, they sound crystal clear.

The design ends up being just about “room-filling”, although it lacks a little bit on the lower end of things. You may want to give them a pass if bass-heavy EDM or rap is your primary purpose.

It really is one of the best 8” ceiling speakers around. The best way to describe it would be to call it the bottom end of what is acceptable to most audiophiles, but the dedicated will want to pair it with a subwoofer.

Things we liked

Ultra clean mids and lows in a wide power band
Best ceiling speakers around for this price, period
Loud for being only 40W RMS
Easy, four screw installation

Things we didn’t like

Fairly expensive for extensive installations
Bass is rather weak 

The Klipsch R-1800-C is a bit more expensive than our favorite, but it’s audiophile acceptable and the quality is simply incredible for the price.

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5. Pyle PDIC60T – Best Cheap Ceiling Speakers

Pyle PDIC60T In-Wall / In-Ceiling Dual 6.5-Inch Speaker System

My rating:

buy from amazon

It’s not going to be winning any prizes from audiophiles, but the Pyle PDIC60T is perfect for commercial systems which run off a 70V amplifier. 70V distributed systems are a commercial standard, carrying voltage for incredible distances but not being used for much in the home.

They’re a bit ugly, to be honest, and if you’re going to use your in-ceiling speakers for music or home theaters you should really take a look at… basically any of the other ceiling speakers that are on our list.

But, commercial applications often require a 70V transformer system due to the distance being covered and for commercial music or loudspeakers reaching through a building, they’re great.

They’re two way speakers, with a tweeter and a woofer attached. They’ve also got a high temperature voice coil, adding to the longevity of the speakers which is pretty awesome for those who own the building. Replacing speakers in a commercial system is no small feat after all.

They can also punch out about 250W of peak power, making them some of the loudest that we took a look at, reinforcing their usage with larger systems. They’re definitely not the best ceiling speakers for home however.

Things we liked

70V transformer integrated model available
Incredibly easy installation process
Tweeters can be pointed within a limited range
Extremely durable due to high-quality materials used in design

Things we didn’t like

Nowhere near audiophile sound quality
Only suitable for commercial applications for the most part 

These aren’t audiophile speakers, but as a utilitarian choice for commercial settings, they’re a great merging of price, durability, and utility.

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6. JBL SP6CII 2-way – Best Ceiling Mount Speakers

JBL SP6CII 2-way, Round 6.5

My rating:

buy from amazon

If aesthetics are a big concern, and you’d prefer your speakers stay as hidden as possible then take a look at these 2-way speakers from JBL. They’re eight inches of awesome, and they’ll flush super tightly against the wall and are able to be painted to minimize their presence in the room.

The tweeter and woofer combine for some greatness here: the speakers have a range of 40Hz to 20kHz and the titanium laminates both sound great and have some really impressive longevity. There’s not a lot to fault with the specs here.

On top of being great for staying hidden after installation, these speakers are also some of the best small ceiling speakers around. Their 6.5” profile adds to the minimal effect on a room’s look and still punches out great sound quality.

Whether for a home theater setup or a dedicated music room, these speakers perform well through the full spectrum of sound, even delivering considerable bass for those interested.

They’re a bit pricey, however, so you may want to opt for something a bit cheaper if you’re on a tighter budget or looking to fill the whole house. For the right person, they’re a dream come true, however.

Things we liked

Small profile and flush mounting makes them awesome for “hidden” speakers
Great sound through the full range
Easy installation
Swivel mounted tweeters to aim properly

Things we didn’t like

Rather expensive per speaker
Bass is a little bit “loose” depending on installation

If you want great sound and a tight fit to the walls in a paintable frame, then you’re going to love these JBL speakers. You pay for the extra quality, however.

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7. Polk Audio 70RT – Best Atmos Ceiling Speakers

Polk Audio 70RT (Ea) 3-way In-ceiling Speaker

My rating:

buy from amazon

These great speakers from Polk have an extremely thin profile, coming out only 7mm, but we didn’t feel the price jump could really be justified.

In addition to looking great, the range on these is incredible at 34Hz to 27kHz and they’re actually designed specifically with bad acoustics in the flooring in mind. They’ll dampen things in the 4kHz to 5kHz band, where a lot of distortion tends to happen.

As far as sound… they’re Polk. They’ve got a reputation and these ones live up to it, but easy installation and unique magnetic mounting system of the grills was our reviewer’s main focus with the 70RT. They come off easily for maintenance and help keep things super tight to the ceiling.

They’re a bit large, however, and the magnets don’t seem to be on there too tight. They’re heavy duty and durable, however, and the magnet issues could likely be fixed with just a bit of glue if they do fail.

We don’t know if the extra cost is justified, but we knew it’d be foolish to leaves these off of the list. They mount incredibly tight and offer some of the best sounds around.

Things we liked

Magnetic cover for grills with super low profile
Easy installation with Polk clamping
Crystal clear sound and considerable volume
Great for home theater installation

Things we didn’t like

Large installation cuts needed
Magnets around the speaker seem a little bit shaky 

If aesthetics are your primary concern, but you also want to get great sound quality, then these are the ones you’ve been looking for.

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8. Acoustic Audio R191 – Best In Ceiling Speakers for Surround Sound

Acoustic Audio R191 In Ceiling

My rating:

buy from amazon

Look, we’re not going to kid you and pretend these are great speakers, but coming in with the best price per speaker while still being passable is a pretty impressive achievement.

The first thing we noticed about these speakers is that they’re pretty tiny overall. They mount pretty neatly and the grills are low impact on the look of your ceiling. While they’re not going to be matching Bose or Polk in quality we were surprised at just how solid they were, and quality control looks pretty good since there’s five in the pack.

The sound quality is good, but it’s nowhere near great. You can’t move the tweeters and there’s no real “bass” to speak of.

Overall, the specifications are about right for the price: a tweeter and a woofer with a combined range of 45Hz to 22kHz. It’ll eliminate some of the highs, and it’s not going super low, but you really can’t expect a lot at this price.

They’re not bad, they’re just a bit better than mediocre. Considering the price for the entire set, however, they have their niche all figured out.

Things we liked

Extremely inexpensive
Low-impact on the look of your wall or roof
Work well in a wide band
Easy installation

Things we didn’t like

Mediocre sound quality
Not capable of extreme volume 

If you just want to get set up on a tight budget, then you’ll be happy with these Acoustic Audio speakers, audiophiles and true theater experience seekers need not apply, however.

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9. Definitive Technology UEWA/Di 8R – Best 8 Inch Ceiling Speakers

Definitive Technology UEWA/Di 8R Round In-ceiling Speaker

My rating:

buy from amazon

If you’re looking for the best of the best and insist on an 8-inch ceiling speaker, then you’ll quickly fall in love with the UEWA/Di 8R. This is a high-quality ceiling speaker and takes advantage of tough materials and a movable tweeter to let you make the best of things.

The majority of our reviewers simply loved them. They’ve got all the bells and whistles to make them stand out from the crowd, including magnetic covers which slide on and off with ease.

They’re one of the best around. Sound, design, volume… we could go on but they pretty much speak for themselves as soon as they’re installed.

The specs back up our reviewers impressions. The range sits right at 26Hz to 30kHz and they’re really well balanced for surround sound. They even have adjustable crossover for those who are looking to get into some serious audio.

The only real issue is the cost.

Things we liked

Amazing sound quality
Magnetic grills for easy maintenance
Extremely easy installation
Adjustable tweeters to counter acoustic problems

Things we didn’t like

Quite expensive per speaker cost
Still, need a subwoofer for the best experience

These are the best 8” speakers that we were able to find, hands down, and probably the top of the curve before the diminishing returns render more expensive models only for the touchiest audiophiles.

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10. Klipsch CDT-5800-C II – Best In Ceiling Speakers 2016

Klipsch CDT-5800-C II In-Ceiling Speaker

My rating:

buy from amazon

These are the best of the best Klipsch ceiling speakers. What does that mean? It means that for the audiophile with an expansive budget they’re just the best around but, frankly, many people aren’t going to notice the difference.

Whether or not you’re willing to invest exponentially more in a speaker like this is going to depend largely on your taste. They can handle a huge amount of power and the response curve is basically… well, things are clear all the way from low to max with the receivers we tested out.

The best part of all? These speakers have actual bass. This makes them suitable for those who want high-end audio coming entirely from the walls and ceilings. They can take a beating too, only a couple of the receivers we tested with them could even get them to distort.

The numbers back us up too: you’re looking at 49Hz to 23kHz with 50W RMS. The titanium tweeter is a nice touch as well, the extra material making it stand out due to the longevity and receptivity of the rare metal.

Things we liked

Extreme sound clarity through the whole volume range
Super high build-quality
Elegant installation
Pivoting tweeter for optimal placement

Things we didn’t like

Very expensive
Literally nothing else

The difference is big, but whether or not it’s big enough to justify the cost increase is going to depend on just who you are.

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What Are Ceiling Speakers?

Ceiling speakers, simply put, are intended to be mounted in the ceiling in order to provide you with high-quality sound without taking up floor space.

They first gained popularity in the 1980’s, but the technology hadn’t quite caught up yet to deliver a good, full-range sound so using them as a replacement for full-range speakers wasn’t yet a good option.

Indeed, many of the early models actually consisted of car audio speakers being built directly into the wall, often with the same range of audiophile components included such as tweeters and subwoofers. Ceiling speakers were also done on occasion, but the prohibitive weight of older open-back designs meant this was always a custom job.

Once they began being produced they acquired a rather sour reputation in the mouths of many audiophiles, but the technology has been improving and with some careful consideration, you’ll be surprised at how much quality you can get.

How In-Ceiling Speakers Work

how to install ceiling speakers

In-ceiling speakers are almost always installed in, well, the ceiling. Other than that they’re a usual speaker, sometimes featuring multiple drivers and other times just trying to make up a full-room sound.

The best are designed to be tilted in order to provide a sound much closer to standard stereo. While the sound quality can often be great even with cheap speakers it will sound “off” to those who are used to standard stereo sound.

Unlike in-wall speakers, in-ceiling models are pretty much always designed with an open back. That means you may need to keep an eye out if you have blown-in insulation in the attic and you’re installing them in a room on the top floor.

The lack of boxes and the open configuration of most attics also makes them much easier to install than other types of architectural speakers.

Are In-Wall or In-Ceiling Speakers Better?

In-wall setups are better than in-ceiling models for the most part, but the logistics of installing them make them a lesser option for the majority of people. The biggest difference has to do with placement: optimal placement of speakers is at ear level.

There are also boxed models of in-wall speakers available, which provide a pretty good overall sound in addition to having good placement. You just need to make sure they’re not a gimmick and instead are actually made of acoustic material.

The problem with in-wall speakers is that… well, there’s usually stuff on walls. There’s also stuff in walls, including studs, which can make it hard to get everything placed just right.

Overall, we recommend the following: use in-wall speakers if you’re able to install them as you construct a room, but go with high-quality ceiling speakers if you’re unsure of the structural qualities of walls and how to work with them.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Ceiling Speakers

When it comes to pros and cons when you’re considering in-ceiling speakers, the following list should help you figure out whether they’re the best match for you, or if you’ll be better off with a decent set of tower speakers.

Pros 

  • The biggest advantage offered by in-ceiling speakers is that they don’t take up any space on the floor or walls. Most ceilings have a remarkably open design, with fans and sometimes bullet lighting being the only possible obstacles.
  • The installation is easier than with in-wall speakers.
  • In addition to the speakers being concealed behind grates, you won’t have to worry about exposed wires. This is a major bonus for those with small children and animals in the home.
  • They’re also well-suited for surround sound, such as in home theaters, although the headspace may end up being a bit different from what you’re used to.
  • You can create variable setups throughout your home, provided you know what you’re doing with the wiring. 

Cons 

  • Volume is often reduced from what would be apparent from the technical specifications due to listener distance.
  • Installation of in-ceiling speakers is more involved than most speaker types, although it pales in comparison to the logistics involved with in-wall speakers.
  • There’s always going to be a big difference from standard speakers in the sound due to the acoustics. There’s no real way to get around it.

How To Choose The Best Ceiling Speakers

Ceiling speakers are a little bit different than other types since you’re going to need to account for the different acoustics. A slightly higher amount of volume is needed as well since you’re likely to be more distant from the speakers than with a floor-based set.

The usual speaker specifications are all in play, just keep in mind that they’re going to sound a little bit different thanks to their placement.

Volume and Power

Insert speakers into the hole

 

You’ll want to step things up a bit from what you think you need, just don’t overdo it if you don’t want a system which is going to be tremendously overpowering even low in the response curve of the volume control.

Depending on how high your ceiling is, you’re probably looking at an overall loss of about 5-10W so you don’t need to get crazy with it. Do some research on proper speaker placement before you get too attached to any individual set since the placement can also help to compensate.

For most setups, 50-100W continuous is more than enough, although you may opt for something a little bit smaller for more confined spaces like the bathroom or bedrooms.

Drivers

The amount of drivers in these speakers isn’t too big of a concern since in-ceiling speakers are rarely component speakers unless they’re custom-made.

It is a good idea to make sure you’ve got two drivers though, a separate tweeter can often make all of the difference, allowing you to overcome some of the challenges inherent to this type of speaker.

If you’re unaware of how to look them up, then you’re going to need to look for “2-way” speakers. Anything higher is usually a bit of a gimmick.

The Set’s Contents

The set itself is going to be a big determining factor for most people. While a five-set may do well for a home theater, you might also be interested in equipping multiple rooms in a home for the best results.

You may also strongly want to consider adding a freestanding subwoofer to your setup as well since the bass which comes from ceiling speakers generally isn’t great.

Keep this in mind while you’re looking to get a set, and also make sure that you can add more speakers as time goes on if you’re planning on expanding your sound system beyond just one room.

There are subwoofers available for in-ceiling installation, but unfortunately, anything worth using is going to end up being quite expensive so it becomes a cost vs. efficiency situation.

You’ll need to take this into account when you’re trying to figure out the price. If you have to buy a bunch of speakers at $100 each or get a set of five for $200, the latter is the budget-conscious choice.

Look for accessories like receivers as well when you’re calculating the set’s total value, as opposed to its dollar value.

Moisture Resistance

Moisture resistance is a big factor for many people: one of the most common applications for in-ceiling speakers is bathrooms and porches. If you’re planning on either one of these, then you’re going to need to take a good look at the rated moisture resistance or weatherproofing of the speaker in question.

If you’re looking to make it part of a unified sound system, then it’s recommended that you stick with the same brand even if the main speakers aren’t waterproof. Each brand has their own “voice” for the most part, and it can be a jarring change if you’ve got music playing through the whole home.

Bluetooth Capabilities

Bluetooth Wireless Streaming 6.5

Whether you have a receiver with Bluetooth technology attached or just find a set of speakers which will allow you to use Bluetooth, it’s a great idea for whole-home solutions.

It’s particularly useful if you’re planning on DJing at special occasions, or just want to have music flowing through your whole home from your phone.

On the other hand, for home theater sets it may not be quite as necessary since generally the audio will be attached to the projector or TV that you’re using.

Positional Tweeters

Being able to position tweeters allows you to overcome some of the acoustic challenges which face in-ceiling speakers. It’s not a total wash if you’re not able to snag them, but you can position all of them towards the center of a room if you think that the acoustics aren’t going to be acceptable coming straight down.

Remember that positioning is still going to be key, no matter what set you go with.

Profile

While we don’t think that the profile should be the first thing that you look at. If it comes down to two quite similar sets of specifications, pick the better-looking one. After all, they’re probably going to be there for quite some time.

Flush mounts are usually the most aesthetically pleasing, but there’s a wide variety of different ones out there. Some are definitely going to be more pleasant to use than others.

The Bottom Line

There are a few hard lines to draw when it comes to in-ceiling speakers. Expect to pay more than you would with a floor-based speaker for a similar sound, and know that you’re not going to be able to achieve the same 3D soundscape you would with in-wall or tower setups.

The space saved and convenient installation, however, makes them a standout for those who are looking to minimize the floor-space taken up by their sound systems.

If you want something totally ideal, then you’re going to need to check out the following:

  • At least 50W of peak power, especially in rooms with high ceilings.
  • A good looking speaker or flush mounting to limit or eliminate the amount of speaker protruding into the room.
  • Moisture resistance for any speaker which is going to be placed outdoors or in a bathroom.
  • A set which can cover your needs with as few purchases as possible.
  • The ability to expand the set easily if you change your plans in the future.
  • Easy installation, just to lower the already minimal installation process.

If you’re willing to spend some extra money for the best, then you’ll also want the following:

  • Rotational tweeters to angle for the best acoustics possible.
  • Bluetooth capabilities built directly into the speakers or a receiver attached to them.

Tips to Maintain In-Ceiling Speakers

Maintaining your in-ceiling speakers is just a little bit different than your average model.

The biggest difference is dust collection in the netting, and it becomes especially problematic with blow-in insulation. The simplest answer to this is to buy an in-ceiling speaker enclosure to keep dust to a minimum.

You can also just remove the insulation above them with standard sheet insulation, but it’s much simpler to use an enclosure.

The fronts are also harder to access for periodic maintenance since you’ll need to remove the enclosure as well for most speakers, but just pay attention to how you put it in in the first place.

Other than that, general maintenance is pretty simple:

  • Clean the fronts regularly to keep wear and tear down on the rubber.
  • Running the wires through a voltage stabilizer will help to avoid any electrical problems.
  • Check them when they’re running for a while to make sure they’re not getting too hot. This is especially important if they’re underneath insulation.
  • Make sure you know what you’re doing when you clean A little know-how goes a long, long way.

Cleaning Your Speakers

Depending on how dusty your home is, you’re going to want to undertake cleaning a couple of times a year.

The following tips should keep you in good hands:

  • Grills should be cleaned according to their material type. Just be careful when you’re removing them since not all of them are removable. If they’re not removable, then avoid using any liquids.
  • Compressed air and a brush are your best friends for the cones. Even cones made of durable materials can be surprisingly delicate. Make sure you don’t create any deformities in the surface or, even worse, create a hole.
  • Use a lint roller for any kind of cloth grill, but these are quite rare with in-ceiling speakers.

Above all else: if you’re unsure of something then look it up.

What Are The Best Ceiling Speakers?

Making sure you have the best in-ceiling speakers is easy once you have your heart set on them. You don’t need to be a genius once you know the basics.

For our money, we recommend the Polk Audio RC80i. They’ve been one of the best ceiling speakers since 2017 and will remain so beyond. Their outstanding sound and impressive power put it above the rest without pushing it into ridiculous prices.

The more budget-conscious may want to go with the Micca M8C, to get the most bang for their buck, however, particularly if you need a lot of them.

Regardless of what you do, make sure to leave us a comment below if you have any questions, and we’ll get right back to you.

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