In-wall speakers (also known as wall-mount or architectural speakers) offer a clever, elegant solution for people who don’t want often large and unattractive speakers taking up space in the room, or would prefer not to have speaker wires running across the floor.
And while in the past they have also meant an often pretty substantial compromise in sound quality, the best in-wall speakers today can have really spectacular sound quality for movies and music – often, in fact, rivaling the very best separate floor-standing or stand-mounted audiophile speaker systems.
So if you are building a new house or an addition, or if you are going to remodel your room, you may want to consider a great set of wall-mounted speakers for your stereo or home theater system. As good as they are these days, you really can have the best of both worlds – sophisticated, discrete installation and superb sound.
- Who makes the best in-wall speakers?
- Do in-wall speakers sound good?
- Are wall-mount speakers easy to install?
- What are the best budget in-wall speakers?
- What are the best sounding in-wall speakers?
- What is an architectural speaker?
- What in-wall speakers do contractors and builders use?
The Best In-Wall Speakers in 2023 – The Cheat Sheet!
Before we get to the actual list of best wall-mount speakers, including brief reviews for each, I’m going to go into some detail about them, including the different types and what you should consider when making your selection and purchase. But if you want to skip all of that, here’s the quick list:
- Best Super-Budget In-Wall Speakers: Acoustic Audio by Goldwood R192 In Wall 5 Speaker Home Theater Set
- Best Budget In-Wall Speakers: Micca M-8C 2-Way 8 Inch in-Wall Speaker with 1-Inch Pivoting Silk Dome Tweeter
- Best Mid-Priced In-Wall Speakers: Polk Audio RC85i 2-way Premium In-Wall 8″ Speakers
- Best Premium In-Wall Speakers: Bose Virtually Invisible 791 In-Wall / in-Ceiling Speaker II – White
- Best Sounding In-Wall Speakers for Audiophiles and Videophiles – Budget: Yamaha NS-IW660 3-Way In-Wall Speaker System for Custom Install, White
- Best Sounding In-Wall Speakers for Audiophiles and Videophiles – Premium: Klipsch R-5650-S II In-Wall Speaker – Black (Each)
- The Contractor’s Choice: Monoprice Caliber Series 3-Way In-Wall Speakers
Do In-Wall Speakers Really Sound That Good?
In a word, yes – if you get the right ones! Actually, I guess that was seven words, and a dash, but you get the idea…
There are, to be sure, some fairly poor quality in-wall speakers on the market today, some of them are shockingly expensive but with sound quality that would make an AM transistor radio blush. But at the same time, there are some absolutely beautiful sounding wall-mounts, with designs and technology that really take advantage of the special acoustics of the room and the wall’s space behind them.
With high quality, high tech drivers and crossovers, in-wall speakers can reproduce music with such clarity, dynamic energy and ease, incredible resolution of detail, warmth, and musicality that they can, again, sound as good as separate speakers which (partially because you are paying for expensive cabinets or stands) might cost quite a bit more.
And if you position them correctly, and install them solidly, the best wall-mounted speakers can present immersively holographic surround sound imaging that even high-end separate home theater speakers can’t match, and will bring your music listening and your movie watching experiences to a whole new level.
What Kind of In-Wall Speakers Should You Get?
Well, good ones, of course, but we already covered that.
Seriously, though, you might be considering two basic types of in-wall speakers:
Active In-Wall Loudspeakers – a wireless speaker (usually Bluetooth) with its own amplifier, these aren’t actually truly wireless, since they usually require at least one wire for power
Passive In-Wall Loudspeakers – the most common type, these wall mount speakers don’t have their own amplifier, but instead, need a wire running through the wall from your stereo system or home theater receiver – no power cord, however
And while one of the most talked-about topics in home audio these days is Smart Home speakers, a voice-activated speaker in the wall doesn’t really make sense for various reasons, and so most people – from DIYers to professional architects and builders – opt to get the best standard passive in-wall speakers, and assume that any voice commands can be handled through phones and/or other smart devices.
Even more basic wall-mounted Bluetooth wireless speakers are actually pretty unpopular – it may seem like a good idea, but really, since you’re having to run wires anyway for AC power, normal wired speakers are just as easy to install, are often less expensive, can provide better sound and a more reliable connection, and aren’t going to become outdated with new technology.
Indeed, very few companies even make wireless wall mount speakers for the home, but if you really want to go that way you might want to consider the excellent Pyle 8 Inch Bluetooth In-Wall Speakers, which have great sound and great tech for the money. Besides those, all of our recommendations in this buyer’s guide of best speakers for wall mounting will be normal wired speakers.
Selecting the Best In-Wall Speakers for Your Room
To make sure you make the best choice in selecting your new in-wall speakers, you should figure out a couple of things first:
- Do you want a home theater surround speaker system, or just a basic stereo pair?
- How much do you want to spend?
And, as you will see, these two questions are in fact closely related. You see, all of the recommendations in our list of best architectural speakers for wall mounting will work equally well as stereo pairs or as a whole set of surround sound speakers. So if you have a certain budget, say a thousand dollars total, you can spend more on each speaker if you are only buying two.
As to the question of which is better, well, many people would tell you that since you are building, or remodeling, or going through the trouble of installation anyway, you might as well go for it and set up not just front stereo speakers, but center, side and rear surround speakers as well. There is certainly some wisdom in this, since a good surround speaker system makes home theater absolutely thrilling, and offers amazing standard stereo reproduction as well. In fact, many music-only CDs, SACDs, and digital downloads come in not just stereo but also full surround sound mastering, so you might use all of the speakers even just for music listening.
At the same time, no matter how extensive your project is, each additional speaker will require more time and more effort, and running additional wiring, cutting additional holes, and doing additional finishing is not an insubstantial amount of work. And, of course, each additional speaker is an additional expense.
Still, all that said, we would always lean towards the power and glory of a good surround sound setup, especially when it comes unexpectedly from invisible speakers hidden in the walls!
So, Which Wall-Mount Speakers Should You Buy?
We have auditioned, installed, and even lived with lots of different wall mount speakers, and have heard some really amazing speakers and some that are, well, not so great…
And so we’ve put together a list of our favorite in-wall speakers, based on a few fundamental criteria:
- Sound quality – first and foremost
- Material quality
- Ease of installation
- Value for the money
There are other considerations as well, like future availability of replacement or matching supplemental speakers, the manufacturer’s customer service and support, and more, but those four are the biggies, and you can be sure that every choice on our list of best in-wall speakers will sound great, will be built to last, easy to install and offer great value for the money.
We will list our seven top choices in order of price, from least to most expensive, and offer a few words about each of them, with a special category – The Contractor’s Choice – at the bottom of the list.
At the end of this article, in the bonus section, we will list some hints and tips to make the installation of your new in-wall speakers as easy, safe, and effective as possible, But for now let’s get right into it, with our list of best wall mounted speakers on the market today.
In-Wall Speakers: The 7 Best Options on the Market Now 
Best Super-Budget In-Wall Speakers
- FRAMELESS FLUSH MOUNT IN CEILING SPEAKERS -...
- FULL RANGE 2-WAY SOUND - 5. 25" High Rigidity...
- FRAMELESS DESIGN - Paintable edge-to-edge...
- SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS - Any home audio receiver...
- WHAT'S IN THE BOX - 5 Acoustic Audio by...
With high-quality polypropylene woofers and mylar tweeters, these super-affordable Acoustic Audio in-wall speakers have components similar to much more expensive audiophile loudspeakers, and comparable sound quality as well, with a clarity and ease that makes everything sound better, as well as outstanding surround sound and stereo imaging.
With high efficiency, the R192 speakers work great with a wide range of amplifiers – even more, modest ones – and since the small woofers actually go surprisingly low into the deep bass end, you may not even need a separate subwoofer.
Simple to install frameless design and paintable magnetic grills make it quite easy to get professional-looking results, and the speakers really do kind of disappear into the walls, making the sense of space and realism in music and movies even more compelling.
A great architectural speaker for very little money, the Acoustic Audio R192 two-way 5.25-inch speakers are our choice for the best super-budget wall mount speaker in 2023.
Best Budget In-Wall Speakers
- UNCOMPROMISING AUDIO QUALITY - Micca Media...
- EASY TO INSTALL - The built-in mounting tabs...
- MODERN AND ELEGANT - Using a rimed grill...
- ENGINEERED FOR GREAT SOUND - The M-8C...
- SPECIFICATIONS - Frequency Response:...
A fairly significant step up in price – especially if you need five or seven for home theater – the Micca M-8C in-wall speakers offer a similarly significant increase in sound quality and are still quite inexpensive.
As well as having somewhat lighter and lower distortion drivers, the M-8C also greatly benefit from a truly excellent crossover, which makes the transition from woofer to tweeter as natural and unobtrusive as possible. The bigger 8-inch woofers put out a lot of basses, which is smooth, fast, and quite well extended, and the silk dome tweeters are sweet and musical and can be pivoted to greatly improve imaging, and to make placement easier and installation more flexible.
These Micca MC-8S speakers are super-easy to install, and even beginning DIYers can achieve beautiful professional results with minimum effort and just a few tools. And while you can use this single model all the way around – front, rear, side, and center, these are a part of a whole line of in-wall speakers, including a center channel model, all of which will offer the same basic sound signature and components, and therefore seamless and immersive stereo and surround sound imaging.
A smooth and musical speaker that is built to very high standards and is designed to be easy to install and easy to listen to, the Micca MC-8S is our choice for the best budget in-wall speakers for 2023.
Best Mid-Priced In-Wall Speakers
- HEAR SEAMLESS AUDIO QUALITY AND POLK'S...
- Pair with our RTI Series speakers for...
- EXPERIENCE MORE BALANCED & LIFELIKE SOUND –...
- THE RUBBER SEAL DRIVES better response and...
- OUT OF THE BOX & RECESSED INTO THE WALL - no...
With our choice for the best mid-priced in-wall speakers we are moving even more clearly into audiophile territory, and with a company that has been known and loved by audiophiles for many, many years – Polk Audio.
Polk has built a reputation on speakers that are extraordinarily smooth, sweet, and musical, and that achieve this warmth and musicality without ever sacrificing other important factors, like detail, dynamics, and imaging. And their enormously popular RC series of in-wall speakers is one of the best examples yet of this signature Polk sound.
The RC85i, in particular, offers exceptional imaging – really precise placement of voices and sounds in a wide and deep three-dimensional soundstage and ultra-fluid movement – as well as high levels of detail and micro-detail and really exciting musical energy, and the overall experience with movies and with music can be almost overwhelming.
Even though these Polk RC85i speakers need a larger cut-out, they are even easier to install than some other choices on our list of best in-wall speakers, and in fact, are easily manageable by even the most inexperienced DIYer. They are also suitable for not only standard indoor placement, but also high humidity installations like bathrooms, and for outdoor placement as well.
Really high-quality components and excellent build quality, ease of installation, and a great range of matching supplemental speakers make the Polk RC85i a great choice, but their sound quality makes them truly special and is perhaps the biggest reason why we’ve chosen them as the best mid-priced in-wall speakers for 2023.
Best Premium In-Wall Speakers
- The best Bose in-ceiling speaker has one 7"...
- High-quality, full-range performance that...
- Exclusive Stereo Everywhere speaker...
- A near-bezel-less construction blends...
- Standard dogleg clamps and magnetically...
The top of the line in-wall speakers from Bose has one of the most musical and magical sound signatures we’ve ever heard. With a very fast, light, and low distortion 7-inch woofer, the lows and mids are silky smooth, dark, and energetic, without any trace of edge or effort, and the dual 1-inch tweeters project remarkably sweet and extended high frequencies anywhere in the room.
Indeed, these wide dispersion tweeters, and the proprietary Bose Stereo Everywhere technology, not only ensure that all of the music, from the deepest bass to the highest highs, can be heard everywhere, but also that the intensely holographic soundstage and precise imaging that Bose is so well known for is fully formed not just at some perfect “sweet spot” at the center, but in various listening positions all throughout the room.
It is interesting to compare the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 speakers to the less expensive Polk RC85i above, in that while they have very similar sound signatures – dark, detailed, wide open, and with very low distortion and high dynamic range – and they both offer really best of class sound in their respective price categories – the Bose does have that added touch of realism and palpability which moves them into the pretty exclusive and elusive territory.
A splendid sounding in-wall speaker, with a sound that can easily take on even far more expensive models, and with an almost eerie combination of warmth and clarity that really none of them can match, the Bose Virtually Invisible 791 is a great choice for a high-end installed speaker. It is not only our clear choice for the best premium in-wall speaker in 2023, but one of our favorite sounding speakers overall, and very highly recommended.
Best Sounding In-Wall Speakers for Audiophiles and Videophiles – Budget
It can be easily said – and easily heard – that any of the above picks in our buyer’s guide for best architectural speakers could be considered a great choice for audiophile music listening, or for the true videophiles among us, and some of them are significantly less expensive than these Yamaha.
But there is something here, in these brilliant Yamaha NS-IW660 natural sound in-wall speakers that we end up missing with almost any other speaker, and though it can be pretty obvious, it isn’t necessarily that easy to describe. I guess if I had to pick a single word, to sum up, the Yamaha listening experience, it would be honesty.
These NS-IW660 speakers have among the flattest frequency response of any in-walls on the market today, with virtually no added coloration. They have similarly low levels of distortion, and incredibly fast and well-controlled transient response, and so they come incredibly close to presenting the music, dialog, and sounds exactly as the original recording engineers intended. They may sound bright, in direct comparison to say Bose or Polk, but what they really are is flat and honest.
You will hear things, like details in music and movies, that you never noticed before, even if you’ve heard the recording a hundred times. Voices become more realistic and human (if they are human, of course), spatial placement more precise and movement more clear and obvious, and everything has a presence and solidity that you have to hear to believe.
But these are not really high-end speakers, at least not as far as their price goes. In fact, while they aren’t exactly cheap, the Yamaha NS-IW660 speakers are amazingly affordable considering the level of realism and accuracy they achieve. They are our choice for best budger in-wall speakers for audiophiles and videophiles in 2023.
Best Sounding In-Wall Speakers for Audiophiles and Videophiles – Premium
- Dual 1” (2.54cm) Titanium diaphragm...
- 6.5” Cerametallic cone woofer
- Two vertically stacked Tractrix Horn-loaded...
- Horn-loaded technology increases acoustic...
- IR receiver knock out
It’s said that the law of diminishing returns is pretty air-tight in audio and that once you reach certain levels – of price, of performance, of accuracy – you aren’t going to get a much better-sounding product even if you spend a lot more. And while we here at Speakergy have borne witness to this rule over and over again, in testing gear and in our own systems, it doesn’t seem to apply to these Klipsch R-5650 II in-wall speakers.
Of course, it could be because they are more than three times as expensive as the excellent Yamaha 660s, just above, but as good as those affordable audiophile speakers are, the Klipsch is just that much better.
There is an intensity of musical energy, dynamics, and detail here that we are used to hearing only on very high-end audio systems, with carefully selected and carefully installed separate components hand-selected for their individual performance and their synergetic relationship with each other. But the thing is, these awesome Klipsch speakers seem to achieve those levels of realism, energy, and accuracy with pretty much any associated equipment, from moderately priced AV receivers to high-end audio and video systems.
And it is one thing to hear thrillingly palpable, present, and convincing music or movie soundtracks when you are staring at huge loudspeakers, but to hear the same kind of realism just emerge from the walls, from speakers you can’t even see, well, that can take the whole experience to an even higher level, and the absolutely superb imaging and presence, among other qualities, can be almost overwhelming.
That a speaker as expensive as the Klipsch R-5650 can get an astonishing 4.9 customer review rating on Amazon is a very good indication of just how special these speakers are, and why we have pegged them as our top choice. They are not just staggeringly accurate, and spookily palpable, in their musical reproduction, but highly expressive, subtle, and beautifully musical as well. An easy choice for best in-wall speakers overall for the serious audiophile and/or videophile, and a superb speaker in every way.
The Contractor’s Choice
- DuPont Kevlar fiber cone drivers delivery...
- Immerse yourself in airy detailed clarity...
- Enjoy caliber speakers as main home theater...
- No logo grills add to the minimal look and...
- Buy confidently with a 30-day money-back...
We end our survey of best in-wall speakers with a bit of a specialized category, which answers what can be a good and valuable question to ask:
What in-wall speakers do contractors and builders choose?
And, for a lot of reasons, these Monoprice wall mount speakers are an incredibly popular choice among builders, architects, contractors, and interior designers.
For one thing, they are very easy to install, and consistently so throughout the lineup, and the high-quality materials and rigid frames make sure there are no problems or surprises. This, of course, is a huge plus for any DIYer as well.
Monoprice Caliber speakers also are available as a very complete line, with speakers for any space and any application, and that variety of products – not to mention their consistent quality – make designing not just spaces but different kinds of sound systems quite easy.
Calibers are also known among professionals as a very, very durable product, which won’t easily blow even with less than cautious use, and which in any case should last for years and years.
And, also along the lines of customer satisfaction, Monoprice speakers have beautiful sound quality – not too bass-heavy, even with their excellent in-wall subwoofer, not too bright, not too heavy, but a nice, balanced, neutral sound which appeals to a huge range of clients.
This neutral and accurate sound is also what appeals to most audiophiles and videophiles, and in fact, Monoprice speakers, with their superb imaging, great dynamic range, low distortion, and clear, open sound, are extremely high fidelity, and always make for an engaging and satisfying listen – and with all kinds of music or movies.
An affordable but excellent choice for people who want easy installation, great sound, high quality and real long-term durability, and a very easy speaker to live with – it is easy to understand why Monoprice is so popular among contractors and building professionals.
Final Thoughts: Are In-Wall Speakers Difficult to Install?
Actually, they’re surprisingly easy!
If you have done even a few DIY projects around the house, and aren’t terrified of power tools or wiring, installing in-wall speakers is a relatively easy and very rewarding job.
And while this is not the place to provide an in-depth guide to installing wall-mount speakers, I would at least like to mention a few important tips and considerations that can save you time, money, and hassle:
- Confirm that it’s possible to install wall-mount speakers before you begin – specifically check building codes and requirements.
- Confirm before starting that you can actually run wires through the walls where you need them, and that there is enough space for the speakers.
- Also make certain that you have enough speaker wire and all of the tools and hardware you need before you start – there’s nothing worse than having to interrupt a job half done, especially if there are now big holes in your walls!
- Make sure that you have not only enough wire, but the correct wire. This applies to both electrical wire and to speaker wire, which for in-wall and in-ceiling installations should be UL-rated CL2 or CL3.
- Check the physical layout for best aesthetics and best sound coverage, and determine the exact position of the speakers before any work is done.
- It is a really good idea to mount a speaker terminal station in the wall, especially one that is very clearly marked. My favorite is the Fosman 7.2 Home Theater Wall Plate, which also accommodates HDMI and subwoofer connections, and I use it with the excellent Mediabridge Banana Plugs.