How To choose the best ceiling speaker option for your home

Finding the best ceiling speakers for your space can be a difficult subject to navigate at the best of times. With so much choice on the market, making the right decision is harder than ever. We hope that this Ultimate Ceiling Speaker Guide will be useful to answer any questions you may have and help you find the best ceiling speakers for your home. 

We have a large number of ceiling speakers to choose from on our website, which all have different pros and cons for different homes. This Ceiling Speaker guide will help you find the best solution for your space & make a more informed decision.

Already have an idea of where you want to start or a certain brand in mind? Feel free to jump to the relevant category below. 

Jump To...

We've also written a guide on everything you need to know before installing ceiling speakers which might be worth reading before you embark on your installation! 

Active or Passive Ceiling Speakers?

First things first, you need to decide whether you need Active or Passive ceiling speakers. Active ceiling speakers have an amplifier included in the unit, while Passive ceiling speakers require a separate amplifier to power them.

Active ceiling speakers

Reasons to consider active ceiling speakers: If you’re on a tight budget but still want that aesthetic feel, Active speakers can be a great compromise.

Not suitable for: As these speakers are an all-in-one unit (with the amplifier included), you may find there are certain limitations, such as reaching higher volumes and filling large rooms due to a lack of power. If you’re still limited by budget, a way to improve this would be to add more pairs to fill the room more evenly.

Passive ceiling speakers

Reasons to consider passive ceiling speakers: Passive ceiling speakers are generally a more popular choice as there’s more room in the driver for better technology as well as more power behind the speakers due to the amplifier being external. 

Not suitable for: Due to the need for an external amplifier, these may not be the best choice for those on a tighter budget, as the price can mount up quickly.

ceiling-speakers-extension ceiling-speaker-kitchen square-in-ceiling-speakers-kitchen

Do you need a budget mid or high-range ceiling speaker?

  • GOOD (Budget): If you’re on a budget but still want an aesthetic feel with sound throughout your home, these speakers are the best option. We tend to recommend these for smaller secondary areas like hallways and even bedrooms, as they’re best played at ambient/background volumes.
  • BETTER (Mid-Range): These speakers are the best solution for playing ambient to mid-level audio, and they’re a step up from budget, so they're great if you want more engaging sound. Though you may want to think about adding more than just one pair for medium- to-large-sized rooms.
  • BEST (High-Range): If you’re wanting immersive sound that can reach high volumes and yet remain composed, you’re better off going for a higher-range speaker. The speakers in this range are great for entertaining, as they won’t struggle to fill the room. If you're looking for a speaker that will push the sound further and offer more bass, then you may want to consider an 8-inch driver.

 

Which Are The Best Ceiling Speakers For You?

You should now have an idea whether you need an Active or Passive speaker solution and if you would be considering a budget, mid-range, or high-range option for your space. Now let's look at some popular options to help you choose the best solution for you.

Still unsure? Read our Complete Beginner's Guide to Ceiling Speakers to clear up the basics!

Best Passive Speakers


 Best All-Round Ceiling Speakers - Monitor Audio

monitor-audio-in-ceiling-speakers-lifetime-warranty Monitor_Audio_Creator_Series_Lifestyle

Reasons to consider Monitor Audio: Monitor Audio are our best-selling ceiling speakers. They have a fantastically wide range of choices within their Creator Series, with a variety of different options to suit every use case. We feel they offer the best value for money of any ceiling speaker brand on our site, and they’re also the easiest to understand too! They also provide a lifetime warranty on all of their products for peace of mind with every purchase, making them very hard to beat!

Not suitable for: These are premium performers, and they have a price tag to match. Despite offering lots of variety within their range, there may be better options for you out there if you’re on a tighter budget. That being said, the Monitor Audio C165 is available and is still a brilliant budget option that’s worth considering.

Best Monitor Audio Ceiling Speaker Options

Good - C1M (7") Better - C2M (7") Best - C3M (9")

 Solid, reliable performance at an affordable price point

 Features C-CAM mid-bass driver and 1” C-CAM tweeter with Uniform Dispersion Waveguide I for improved clarity, wide dispersion, and clear, lifelike high-fidelity sound.

 Maximised performance with best-in-class woofer size for speaker dimensions

 Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty included

 Excellent dispersion, immersive audio for movies and music, and additional features for more flexible speaker placement.

 Impressive acoustic performance with RST II mid-bass drivers and C-CAM tweeters with Uniform Dispersion (UD) Waveguide II.

 Maximised performance with best-in-class woofer size for speaker dimensions

 Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty included

 Premium model with an exceptionally large soundstage that delivers depth, detail, and bass in abundance. 

 3-way arrangement with RDT Bass III bass drivers, new Inverted Dual Concentric II coaxial mid-range driver and Uniform Dispersion (UD) Waveguide II

 9-inch drivers are great for pushing the sound further and wider around the room - so perfect if you’re looking to fit fewer speakers

 Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty included

SHOP MONITOR AUDIO

Want to find out more? Read our Monitor Audio Creator Series: Everything You Need To Know blog.


 Best Ceiling Speakers To Pair With The Sonos Amp - Sonos

Reasons to consider Sonos: Not only do we love the Sonos Ceiling Speakers for their superb surround sound performance when paired with a compatible Sonos Home Cinema, but they also excel as in-ceiling speakers for open-plan living spaces, boasting top-notch performance, innovative features, and seamless integration into the Sonos home ecosystem. Ideal if you already have Sonos throughout your home.

Not suitable for: Those looking for full-functionality from a third-party amplifier. Unfortunately, you are slightly bound to the Sonos Amp with Sonos in-ceiling speakers. You can use a third-party amp. However, you will miss out on the ability to use the TruePlay Tuning feature.

Best Sonos Ceiling Speaker Options

Best - Sonos In-Ceiling Architectural Speakers by Sonance (6.5")

Exceptional all around speaker for multiple environments

 Sonos ecosystem ready

 TruePlay Tuning will allow the speakers to acoustically optimise for the room they’re in 

 A pivotable driver makes it ideal for installing on pitched roofs or for directing the sound.

Bound to the Sonos Amp if you want to use the TruePlay feature 

SHOP Sonos Ceiling Speakers

Want to learn more? Read our full Sonos In-Ceiling Speaker Review on our website!  


 Best Ceiling Speakers For Upgradeability - Bowers & Wilkins

bowers-wilkins-bathroom-speaker bowers-wilkins-ccm664sr

Reasons to consider Bowers & Wilkins: Bowers & Wilkins is a renowned audio brand that offers fantastic value for money. All ceiling speakers in the Bowers & Wilkins Performance 600 Series Ceiling Speakers are quick and simple to install, taking approximately 1 minute to fit due to the innovative universal cage. This is also installed in two separate parts, enabling the user to simply unscrew the ceiling speaker from the cage and upgrade it as and when they would like to, saving on the long-winded rewiring process.

Not suitable for: The universal cage means there’s a deep mounting depth, so it won’t be suitable for shallow ceiling voids.

Best Bowers & Wilkins Ceiling Speaker Options

Good - CCM665 (6.5") Better - CCM664 (6.5") Best - CCM683 (8")

 Boast similar components as the superior 664 models for a budget price

Benefits from low distortion

Fixed tweeter so audio can’t be directed - only really suitable for simple layouts.

 Offers a smoother and more detailed high-frequency performance

 Pivotable tweeter, ideal for awkward shaped rooms

 Adjustable EQ helps to optimise sound quality

8 inch driver to provide better bass

Offers low distortion, high-resolution drive unit technologies

 Pivotable tweeter, ideal for awkward shaped rooms

 Ideal for filling large open plan spaces

 No compromises to the sound when reaching high volumes

SHOP BOWErs & WILKINS


 Best Ceiling Speakers For Surround Sound & Dolby Atmos - KEF

square-in-ceiling-speakers kef-ci160qr-ceiling-speaker

Reasons to consider KEF: KEF utilises decades worth of experience to provide impressive speakers. Their infamous Uni-Q drivers match dispersion and aim to provide a superior stereo image compared to other brands. Due to this, these speakers are great if you have a unique layout and want everyone to experience the same sound, no matter where they are in the room.

Not suitable for: The grilles are a slightly cream colour and not the usual white you’d expect from a ceiling speaker grille. You’re still able to spray paint the grille for a seamless appearance, which is easy enough to do, though it’s just a good thing to keep in mind.

Looking to get the best from your home cinema? Read our Best Ceiling Speakers for Dolby Atmos (and why they matter) blog to find out more!   

Best KEF Ceiling Speaker Options

Good - CI130.2CR (5") Better - CI160QR (6.5") Best - CI200QR (8”)

Uni-Q driver array (disperses the sound widely and evenly throughout your room)

 Marine-grade treatment protects the speakers from moisture and UV light (IP64 certified)

Extremely shallow mounting depth

QR range guarantees deeper bass, and higher treble than the CR range

 Uni-Q driver array for wider listening range

 Tangerine waveguide technology to minimise distortion

 Moisture resistance along with UV protection

 Audiophile standard

 Uni-Q driver array for wider listening range

Tangerine waveguide technology to minimise distortion

QR range guarantees deeper bass, and higher treble than the CR range

 8inch woofer replicates sound you’d expect from a traditional standalone speaker.

SHOP KEF

Looking to get even more from your home cinema? Read our Best Ceiling Speakers for Dolby Atmos (and why they matter) blog to find out more!   

Best Active Speakers


 Best Budget Ceiling Speakers - Lithe Audio - Bluetooth/Wi-Fi

Reasons to consider Lithe Audio: This is the cheapest ceiling speaker solution we have, as it’s an active ceiling speaker ranging from £219.99 - £429.99 for a pair of speakers. There's also no need for an external amp, so this would be the total cost.

Not suitable for: Due to the lack of power you’ll find with all-in-one units, you may struggle to reach high volumes and power large rooms, though a compromise would be adding an extra pair to boost the sound.

Best Lithe Ceiling Speaker Options

Lithe Audio Bluetooth Lithe Audio Wi-Fi Lithe Audio IP44

Great budget speaker

All-In-One solution

Connects via any Bluetooth device by BT 5.0

Not as powerful due to the amplifier being inbuilt

  Can’t be used within a multi-room system

Great budget speaker

All-In-One solution

Connects via Wi-Fi

Allows for multi-room audio

Not as powerful due to the amplifier being inbuilt

No Bluetooth

Great budget speaker

All-In-One solution

IP44 rated so perfect for bathrooms (Learn More)

Both BT and Wi-Fi available

Not as powerful due to the amplifier being inbuilt

SHOP LITHE AUDIO

Read our Lithe Audio Bluetooth Ceiling Speaker Review to find out more!


Best Ceiling Speakers For Outdoors

There are some really great options for high-quality outdoor speakers at each price point. Although we’ve only included wall-mounted speakers, there are some options for outdoor ceiling speakers too. We’d recommend the good speakers for small outdoor areas, the better for medium, and the best for large outdoor entertaining areas.

Best Outdoor Ceiling Speaker Options

Good - KEF VENTURA 6 Better - MONITOR AUDIO CLIMATE 60 Best - Sonos Outdoor Speakers 

 Compact speaker perfect for smaller outdoor spaces

 Wall-mounted speaker

 IP65 weatherproof rating - fully resistant to the elements

 High-performance C-CAM tweeter and driver technology

 Robust solid sealed, high density polypropylene enclosure - UV rated (IP55)

175º rotational bracket

IP66 weatherproof rating - resistant to all the elements, all year round

Speaker cable is hidden from view because of the clever, pivoting mount design

Crisp, detailed and bassy audio

SHOP OUTDOOR SPEAKERS


Best Single Stereo Options

sonance-c6r-sst-single-stereo-speaker-1-2

Reasons to consider single stereo speakers: In smaller spaces that can’t accommodate a speaker pair, as they feature a twin tweeter to ensure you’re not losing that detail between the left and right channels.

Not suitable for: Larger rooms. As music is produced with two channels in mind, it’s always better to have a dedicated left and right channel if space allows. We recommend fitting a ceiling speaker pair between 2 - 5 between the left and right channels.

Best Single Stereo Ceiling Speaker Options

Good - Monitor Audio C1M-T2X (7”)  Better - KEF CI160CRDS (6.5”) Best -  B&W CCM663 SR (6.5”)

 Impressive acoustic performance with RST II mid-bass drivers and C-CAM tweeters

 3 modes are available: Cinema Mode FX, Mono Wide Dispersion and Single Speaker Stereo

Sonically matched, meaning the tonal characteristics of the speaker doesn’t change as you move around the room.

Tangerine waveguide technology to minimise distortion


Provides accurate and natural sound

✓Two-position stereo/surround switch to enable your speaker to be used as a surround channel

High-performance components ensure a true-to-life sound is achieved

SHOP SINGLE STEREO


Best Amplifiers For Your Ceiling Speakers

Option 1. Sonos Amp

In this Ultimate Ceiling Speaker Guide, we recommend the Sonos Amp for ceiling speaker applications, as Sonos is the leader in its field and provides an extremely user-friendly interface. As well as this, Sonos can provide a seamless multi-room audio experience for everyone to enjoy. For the best experience, you can pair the Amp with the Sonos in-ceiling speakers - high-quality ceiling speakers that have a pivotable driver and TruePlay technology.

sonos-port-amplifier sonos-in-ceiling-speaker-by-sonance

SHOP SONOS AMP

SHOP SONOS CEILING SPEAKERS

Option 2 - Bluesound Powernode

The Bluesound Powernode is a great option if you're looking for an alternative to the Sonos Amp. Refreshed for 2021, the Powernode offers a clean, rich performance and is the perfect choice for powering your premium stereo speakers. It offers higher-quality audio performance when compared to the Sonos Amp, but doesn't deliver the same connectivity options. If you're an audiophile looking to dip into wireless streaming, the Powernode could be for you.

Bluesound Powernode Lifestyle blog Bluesound Powernode Lifestyle for Blog

SHOP BLUESOUND POWERNODE


Verdict

Depending on what you're looking to achieve, there are lots of different ceiling speakers that could be right for you. The most important part of picking a speaker is making sure it's going to be the correct speaker for the application in order to optimise your setup, as this will ensure you get the most for your money. If you're still not sure what's best for you and your project, please feel free to get in touch with us. We also offer a free floor plan service and will be pleased to help with any other queries surrounding ceiling speakers. Feel free to contact us on 08006771100 or info@smarthomesounds.co.uk.

SHOP CEILING SPEAKERS