What is a 4-way speaker? What are the differences between 2-way,3-way and, 4-way speakers

What is a 4-way speaker? What are the differences between 2-way, 3-way and, 4-way speakers?

While searching speakers online, you might notice the terms called “2-way”, “3-way,” or “4-way” in the product titles. So you might be wondering what is a 4-way speaker? What are the differences between these speakers?

2-way,3-way and, 4-way speakers
Screenshot taken from Amazon.com

Can you imagine a long drive without music? Not worth it!

Music makes life delightful. And having a spiffy set of speakers in your car would be more thrilling. Like “Peter Tork,” everyone loves to listen to music while driving.   

“I never listen to music in the house, I listen to music in the car.”

-Peter Tork

If you are thinking of having a new set of car speakers to make the car audio output impeccable, you should know a vast range of products available in the market.

But before purchasing, you will need to understand how the sound system works and the differences between different types of speakers. 

Luckily, here in this article, you will find all your answers, including what each type of speaker is, the advantages and disadvantages, what the differences are between 2-way, 3-way, and-4 way speakers, and which one is better for your car.

What is a 2-way speaker?

2-way speakers are also known as coaxial speakers with two separate frequency bands and made up of a woofer and a tweeter. 

Here the woofer generates the lower audio frequencies, approximately 500 Hz. On the other hand, the tweeter is responsible for the higher audio frequencies of about 500 – 19000 Hz, depending on the amplitude and on their size. 

These speakers are suitable for bass and explicit sounds at higher dimensions. 2-way speakers work superbly for anyone who loves jamming to music in the car.

What is a 2-way speaker
2-way speaker

Though the coaxial speakers consist of two components only, most car audio lovers find that 2-way speakers are good enough to boost the desired music level and keep away the external noise.


  • It comes with both woofer and tweeter
  • Can generate both high and low frequencies 
  • 2-way speakers are often affordable option depending on the brands 
  • Good enough for boosting music and keep away the external noises
  • Easier to install 


  • No mid-range component, so mid-range sound can be missing
  • 2-way speakers can not generate louder music compared to other speakers.

What is a 3-way speaker?

In 2-way speakers – mid-range frequencies were missing. So to fulfill this lacking 3-way speaker comes in handy. 

3-way speakers are also known as triaxial speakers that contain three individual components combined – a woofer, a tweeter, and a mid-range driver. 

So triaxial speakers with three different frequencies can generate more detailed, more accurate, and more explicit results compared to 2-way speakers.

What is a 3-way speaker
3-way speaker

Triaxial speakers can get you more comfortable with its three separate frequency natural sounds. If you are looking for an affordable car sound system option that can generate more accurate and natural sound, you can choose 3-way speakers for your car.


  • It comes with three components – woofer, mid-range, and tweeter
  • It can generate a wider frequency range
  • 3-way speakers divide the range between 3 speakers for better clarity
  • More accurate, detailed, and natural sound
  • Still an affordable option for detailed sound depending on the brands 
  • Easier to install


  • In some brands – (due to product design), the woofer is obturated by the mid-range and tweeter – which can cause an impact on sound quality
  • Because of three components, some brands have complex crossovers that can cause some distortion 

What is a 4 way speaker?

You may already know the drill. Every time “way” means components.

4-way speakers contain four components – a woofer, a mid-range, and two tweeters. It is also known as a quad-axial speaker. 

Having an additional tweeter, this speaker can generate a wider range of frequencies, making sound quality one step ahead than speakers with one tweeter. 

Unfortunately, maximum users think that these speakers sound almost similar to a 2-way or 3-way speaker until a particular level. 

Although its additional tweeter doesn’t do any extra job, but the woofer can do some magic – it makes the base better and can generate louder sound.

People who love to listen to pop music, classical music, or even rap while driving might like these speakers.

What is a 4 way speaker
4 way speaker

4-way speakers can save much of the time and space through the installation process as it has quite a simple wiring for all four components.

It would be more complex if you choose to have separate speakers for each frequency, it would require more space and time to install in your car.  


  • Have 4 components that can generate a wider range of frequencies 
  • Can produce louder volume and more bass than coaxial or triaxial speakers
  • Able to perform high frequencies  
  • Have simple wiring, easy to install


  • The extra tweeter doesn’t make any difference in sound quality
  • Expensive than 2-way or 3-way speakers 
  • Requires more power from the amplifier to work

What are the major differences between 2-way, 3-way and 4-way speakers?

As you already understand, the major difference between these three speakers is the number of components they have. 

Clearly, the function depends on its components. It means different components can produce different frequencies.

Woofer produces the lower, mid-range produces the mid-range frequencies, and the tweeter produces the higher range frequencies.

4-way speakers can generate the more comprehensive frequencies where 2-way speakers have limitations.

On the other hand, 3-way speakers cover the lack of mid-range frequencies as it has a mid-range drive, which helps produce more natural sound. But these speakers are good enough in producing louder sound compared to 4-way speakers. 

Learn how to make car speakers louder without an amplifier?

Differences between 2-way, 3-way and 4-way speakers
Differences between 2-way, 3-way and 4-way speakers

Which is the best option for me?

You can’t choose a speaker depending on the components they have.

Having multiple components together doesn’t mean the sound quality would be excellent. It would be best if you considered the differences in sound quality too. 

For example, a high-quality 2-way speaker can produce much better sound than a poorly built 4-way speaker.

It’s about the sound quality, not the frequency, what to expect from multiple frequencies with bad quality sound. 

Every speaker comes with a crossover that controls the drivers. The sound quality depends on how the crossover is designed and which materials are used to make the speakers.

Nevertheless, the speaker brand and the size of the speakers are also responsible for the sound quality they produce.  

Well, the choice depends on budget and music preference too. Having a set of 4-way speakers in the car will be suitable for someone who loves to listen to louder music while driving. Pop, rap, or even classic!

Also, if it’s about essential upgrading for music on occasion, then you can try 2-way speakers at best (investing in 4-way speaker will not be worthy enough as its the expensive one among the three)

What about a bit more sound range? You know the answer! It’s the 3-way speaker, and you can go for it. 

Finally, let your ears judge – then decide! 

Final Thoughts

So, in short, you need to consider multiple facts before you choose car speakers.

It doesn’t seem very easy, but it’s worth a try.

Nowadays, we don’t use car audio only to listen to music but also for receiving calls, navigation, or even listening to podcasts or lectures. So, we hope, with the help of the above considerations, it might be easier for you to choose. 

Please feel free to ask if you have any further questions regarding 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way speakers. Leave a comment below; let us know your thoughts on this. 

About Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith is an Audio consultant and part-time automotive content writer. She has an Audio engineering degree from a reputed university of Tampa, Florida. Being a great audio enthusiast, she works with her audio consultation startup and writing automotive content as a part-time writer.

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