7 Best In-Ceiling Speakers – Ultimate Reviews & Buying Guide

The way we build out our audio systems has improved substantially over the last several years. While the quality between each speaker is more or less very consistent, the next question that comes to mind is the aesthetics.

In ceiling speakers offer the performance of ground speakers without crowding your interior décor. For those of us that spend a lot of time in the kitchen, high quality sound doesn’t have to come at the cost of counter space. The same goes for minimalistic living room designs.

We’ve compiled a buying guide that will help you find the best in ceiling speakers.

Figuring Out Your Needs

It’s very easy to over optimize the number of speakers you buy and in doing so, it can run up a pretty hefty price. The first step is determining your own needs because the number of speakers you’ll need also depends on the size of your room.

This advice goes hand in hand with how you want to use the speakers as well. Many people like to use in ceiling speakers to complement their TV sound bar.


How Much Is Your Budget

With any investment, budget is always going to be up for discussion. Come up with a reasonable budget and in the case where your needs far exceed your budget, come prepared with a mentality of improving your audio system over time. Underspending is much better than overspending.

The Whole Experience Or The Partial Experience

It takes a lot of experience and expertise to properly draw out a plan for high quality multi-room sound systems. It’s important to sit down and determine whether your preference is wiring your entire house for the sound experience or simply one room or even several rooms. Figuring this part out will help you make better informed decisions about the aesthetics and placement of your speakers. For example, many people decide to opt in for in-wall speakers instead or even add a few in.

For the whole immersive experiences, we recommend consulting with an A/V designer to help you create a blueprint that fits your needs. While pricing varies from each designer, it’s worth investing in their knowledge and expertise as setup grows more complicated depending on your needs. Furthermore, they’ll be the go-to experts should you have any trouble-shooting questions.


For the partial experience, there’s not much homework you need to do other than to figure out which rooms you’ll be adding speakers to. The living room is by far the most common area but there are others that would also like sound added to their bathrooms or even kitchens. However, if you're just aiming for a mediocre experience it's not much better than just purchasing a set of standalone speakers or even these affordable bookshelf speakers.

The audio world is large and vast, so it’s better to understand all the options you have and maximizing it.


Editor Rating:

4.5/5

The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH is one of the best in ceiling surround speakers we have owned over the years. What’s nice about the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH is that it comes in a variety of bundles. You can either purchase it in packages of 2, 4, or even 6 speakers.

Something else that pleased us with the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH is the pricing. The pricing is by far one of the bestselling points that caught our attention. The Yamaha NS-IW280CWH is perfect for those who are unsure of what they want or unsure of where to add the speakers to.

Over the years, our audio system has evolved from a small budget sound system to a powerhouse entertainment center for our guests and family. Our humble beginnings started with the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH when we were first clueless and although we’ve added other expensive additions to our home, the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH still has its place. Whether you’re just starting out or at the end of your audio game, the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH perfectly caters to people of all experiences and needs.

Installation is easy, it goes well with many difference house layouts, and the sound quality is incredible. It really feels like we’re in an iMax theater when we turn these on with the rest of our speakers. They have more than enough bass to create even sound throughout the room at all difference levels of frequencies.

One thing that stood out to us over the years we’ve owned the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH, is that no matter how you look at it, these are still considered budget speakers. Although they are great ceiling speakers for the money, as we’ve had the opportunity to install better speakers, the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH fell off of our grace. Nonetheless, we still highly recommend them as we still use them in our smaller rooms.

Overall, we consider the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH to be one of our original starter speakers, and with that, we give it a 4.5 stars out of 5. It’s great for beginners and still gets the job well done as we’ve progressed to bigger and better speakers.

Things We Liked


  • Great looking
  • Good price
  • Immersive surround-sound experience
  • Gets the job done

Things We Didn't Like


  • Not as great compared to better speakers
  • Might need to buy more than 2

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

We consider the 82C Silver Ticket In-Ceiling Speaker to be a sister speaker to the Yamaha NS-IW280CWH. This was a second set of starter speakers we purchased when we got into the audio game.

The 82C Silver Ticket In-Ceiling Speaker is very easy to install and with its rubber edges and magnets, the sound it delivers is distortion free. The most appropriate word we can use for the sound quality is that it is silky smooth. The 82C Silver Ticket In-Ceiling Speaker is moisture resistant so they are perfect for bathrooms or kitchens where there’s a lot of heat and moisture.

The price certainly had us skeptical but if it wants to be sold at a great price, who are we to argue against that? We would consider the 82C Silver Ticket In-Ceiling Speaker as one of our top ceiling speakers, especially if you’re on a tight budget. You get to experience the life of a beginner audiophile without the cost having to deeply plunge itself into your wallets.

One thing we had difficulty with was removing the dust cover our first time. Because we only installed these ceiling speakers mainly in our bathrooms and kitchen, we feel the need to constantly upkeep it. We’ve had to tug pretty hard on these a few times and we certainly can see that it can be easily damaged this way so it’s best to be cautious when trying to clean the speakers.

Overall, we recommend the 82C Silver Ticket In-Ceiling Speaker at 4.5 stars out of 5. Sure, they may not perform as well as other higher-end speakers, but strictly speaking about the experience from their purpose and affordable price, we certainly received more value than what we paid for.

Things We Liked


  • Low price
  • Great for rooms with moisture
  • Has more bass than other budget speakers
  • Great bang for your buck

Things We Didn't Like


  • Difficult to clean
  • Low quality budget speakers

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

The Polk Audio RC60i was one of many speakers we’ve purchased from reading ceiling speaker reviews. People had a lot of positive experiences with the Polk Audio RC60i so we decided to give it a try when we were looking for the best in ceiling speakers for music.

The Polk Audio RC60i certainly takes a higher position on the price spectrum, but nevertheless, we had a very positive experience. It is designed to be durable and moisture resistant so this went very well with our bathrooms. Its nonintrusive design sat very nicely and gave off a very soothing vibe when we were staring from our bathtubs.

Installation was very easy for us even without the technical background. We were very satisfied with their performance whenever we listened to music or even just caught up with the news. The sound is crisp, clear, and more than enough for our purposes.

We’ve placed a lot of our trust in Polk over the years and even more so when we were starting out with our audio hobby. We’ve never had any formal complaints about their products and although we loved the Polk Audio RC60i, there were a few things we noticed that could use some improvements on.

For one, we would love to see that Polk increase the sound quality of the Polk Audio RC60i. It’s one of the pricier budget ceiling speakers but wishful thinking can one day become true. Compared to some of the other Polk speakers we’ve owned, this certainly lacked the quality we were expecting from their brand.

Our experience tells us that the Polk Audio RC60i deserves a 4.5 stars out of 5. The Polk Audio RC60i definitely added some spark to our bathroom and delivers what its intended for.

Things We Liked


  • Great for bathrooms
  • Beautiful finished look
  • Reasonable price
  • Good budget ceiling speaker

Things We Didn't Like


  • Narrow sound area
  • Sound quality can be better

Editor Rating:

5/5

The Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 is one of the best sets of flawless recessed speakers we’ve owned in our audiophile career. Our journey started when we wanted the best in ceiling speakers and we have many positive things to say.

Saying that the Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 sounds great is certainly an understatement. When we first installed and used these in our living room, we were blown away by how great they sounded.

The bass it sends out is phenomenal and also has a lot of great highs as well. We own other ceiling speakers that are far more expensive than the Acoustic Audio CS-IC83, but we can say with confidence and accuracy that the Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 delivers equal quality for a substantially lower price.

The funniest experience we have for these speakers is that our first impression was that they were not all that great. As a result, we initially installed them in our hallways but after hearing them and hearing their quality, we moved them over to our living room. Certainly, the ceiling speaker reviews we’ve read were very accurate---our expectations were low but once we used them, we fell in love.

We did have a few issues with these speakers. One of the more annoying issues was that the cover falls off fairly easily. Other than this small setback, everything else is perfect.

If the wall covers didn’t fall out so easily, the Acoustic Audio CS-IC83 would have received 5 stars out of 5 from us. But because of those loose covers, we have to downgrade it to 4.5 stars out of 5. It is still a great set of speakers and we highly recommend them.

Things We Liked


  • A little pricier than other speakers
  • Great for any room in the house
  • Easy installation and setup
  • Great bass and sound

Things We Didn't Like


  • Covers are poorly designed
  • Harder to find

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

We consider the Polk Audio 70RT as the older sibling in the ceiling speaker family from Polk. The Polk Audio 70RT comes in a sleek black finish that seamlessly blends into your ceilings.

When we first got to know the Polk Audio 70RT, one feature that stood out was its ability to funnel its sounds throughout our room. We tested this in large rooms, small rooms, and even medium sized rooms and the results were always the same. No matter the size of the room, the sound experience was very consistent and we concluded that it funnels its sound incredibly well.

When you first hold the Polk Audio 70RT, you’ll know and feel the quality. It’s beautifully crafted, and the voices are much clearer than our other ceiling speakers. We’ve installed these everywhere in the house and deliver a much higher quality than other ceiling speakers we’ve used.

One thing to bear in mind that we ran into with the Polk Audio 70RT is that the size doesn’t matter. Our better ceiling speakers are typically larger, so when we saw how small and compact the Polk Audio 70RT was, we were skeptical and worried that we were going to receive a sub-par experience. However, we can say with confidence that the sound quality is phenomenal, and that you should not be intimidated or worried about its small size.

One issue we ran into with these ceiling speakers are their magnets. We purchased multiple sets of these speakers and in all the sets we’ve owned, the magnets that crowd the speaker pops off. We’ve noticed that they are attached using glue, so if you’re looking to remove these from the ceiling, be careful as they can easily become dislodged.

If you’re looking for one of the best ceiling speakers in the market, we highly recommend the Polk Audio 70RT. Our experience tells us that they deserve a 4.5 stars out of 5 for the quality and experience we’ve received.

Things We Liked


  • Small, compact, and almost invisible
  • High quality sound
  • Ideal for any room in the house
  • High quality materials

Things We Didn't Like


  • Magnets may fall off from ceiling removal
  • Pricier than other ceiling speakers

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

When we were in the market for high performance ceiling speakers, we were recommended the Klipsch R-1650-C. We were definitely impressed and foresee their usage in our home for many years to come.

If there’s one thing that the Klipsch R-1650-C does well, it’s the highs that it delivers. Not only does it cover a broad area, but the highs were clean and clear. There are very few ceiling speakers that we’ve used the last several years that deliver that level of experience, but the Klipsch R-1650-C makes it look easy.

The Klipsch R-1650-C was very easy to install and mount into our ceiling. The level of quality is very obvious when you first set these beauties in the ceiling. Their aluminum grille gives it healthy protection and is great for any rooms that has a lot of moisture.

To give you a good idea of its sound quality, we decided to install these in our game room and sauna room to measure its performance. Let us just say that we were blown away. Not only did they function without any issues, but the sound it delivered far exceeded our expectations.

Although the Klipsch R-1650-C was great for our sauna room and game room, it did not perform as expected when we watched movies. The bass is simply lacking compared to the other ceiling speakers we’ve used in the past. Despite that, we still recommend these speakers for anyone looking for high performance quality.

High performance, sleek, does extremely well in moisture prone rooms---these are some of the features we enjoy about the Klipsch R-1650-C. The Klipsch R-1650-C deserves a 4.5 stars out of 5 for its functionality and sound performance.

Things We Liked


  • Great for moisture prone rooms
  • Beautiful and minimalist design
  • Affordable
  • Easy installation

Things We Didn't Like


  • Bass quality not as great
  • Lacks in performance compared to higher-quality speakers

Editor Rating:

4.5/5

The Yamaha NSIW360C is one of our most recent purchases and was bought for the purposes of replacing our Yamaha NSIW280CWH speakers. The Yamaha NSIW360C is a step up from the Yamaha NSIW280CWH and contain a few noticeable differences.

One of the biggest differences is the power output. The Yamaha NSIW360C comes in two standards: 120 watts or 150 watts. The Yamaha NSIW280CWH, however, only comes in either 100 watts or 120 watts. You can always opt for the 120 watt Yamaha NSIW280CWH but we recommend the Yamaha NSIW360C 120 watts instead.

Similar to its younger sibling ceiling speaker, the Yamaha NSIW360C comes in different packages of 2 speakers, 4 speakers, or 6 speakers. We used this model and the previous model side by side together, and the sound quality is certainly better.

The surround-sound is more noticeable and contains a much more immersive experience. Installation, similar to its previous model, as always, is very easy and seamless. If you’re looking to upgrade from its old model, the transition is definitely worth it.

One minor setback that we experienced is that the Yamaha NSIW360C was very prone to malfunctions. When we first ordered it, one of the speakers didn’t work. In the end, we got it replaced without any issues, but we never had this experience with the old model.

We’ve been a big fan of Yamaha’s ceiling speakers and the Yamaha NSIW360C does not disappoint. We feel that it deserves a 4.5 stars out of 5. Had we not experienced that malfunction, 5 stars would have been plausible.

Things We Liked


  • Better surround sound than older model
  • Ideal for any audio system
  • Great budget speaker
  • Does well in large rooms

Things We Didn't Like


  • Prone to malfunction
  • Inferior compared to Polk speakers

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