Home

 › 

Vs.

 › 

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: Which Is Better?

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: Which Is Better?

Key Points

  • Impedance is the resistance to the flow of electrical current and is measured in ohms.
  • 6 ohm speakers offer less resistance to current flow and are easier for amplifiers to drive.
  • 8 ohm speakers require more voltage to produce the same power as 6 ohm speakers.
  • Matching the impedance of the speaker and amplifier is important for efficient power transfer and optimal performance.
  • 6 ohm speakers tend to be more efficient and produce higher volumes with less energy compared to 8 ohm speakers.
  • The choice between 6 ohm and 8 ohm speakers depends on the intended use, with 6 ohm speakers being suitable for low-power setups and 8 ohm speakers being the industry standard for home audio systems and studios.

Whether you’re a music fan or someone looking to set up a home cinema, considering whether to get a 6 ohm or an 8 ohm speaker will probably be necessary at some point. Impedance is one of the main things that people tend to look at when buying new speakers, even if it doesn’t mean anything when it comes to sound quality. 

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two impedances and give you a full analysis of which one is right for you. But, before we talk about what impedance is and why it matters, let’s do a quick overview of the key differences between these two speakers.

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: Side-by-Side Comparison

Aspect6 ohm8 ohm
ImpedanceLowerHigher
Current DrawDraws more currentDraws less current
Amplifier CompatibilityEasier for amplifiers to driveMight require a more powerful amplifier
SensitivityOften have higher sensibilityOften have lower sensibility
Versatile 6 Ohm Subwoofer
Eminence Professional Series LAB12 12" Pro Audio Speaker
$197.94
  • 400W at 6 ohm impedance
  • Pro audio subwoofer
  • Can be used as an automotive sub
  • For use in vented, sealed, and horn-loaded enclosures
  • Flush mount
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 08:23 am GMT

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: What’s the Difference?

So now we’re ready to delve into the main differences. However, if you’re not in the niche of high-end speakers, you might be asking yourself what impedance is. In short, impedance is the resistance to the flow of electrical current. It’s relevant because the way that speakers blast sound is by converting electrical current into sound waves. This leads to a few key differences which we’ll explore below.

Impedance

We measure impedance in ohm units. The higher this number is, the higher the impedance. If a speaker has a lower impedance, that means that it offers less resistance to the flow of electrical current, making it easier for amplifiers to drive. A higher impedance will indicate the contrary and an impedance of 8 ohm is considered standard for home audio speakers.

Impedance has nothing to do with sound quality. Yes, surprising as it may seem, this is a fact due to the physics of how sound works. Impedance is simply a measure of how much electrical current a speaker will draw to get to a certain volume, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the sound. So 6 ohm speakers aren’t fundamentally better or worse than 8 ohm speakers.

Speaker designers change the impedance of their products for many reasons, such as optimizing performance, allowing more compatibility with amplifiers, or tweaking a speaker’s sensitivity. What you need to know is that an 8 ohm impedance will require more voltage to produce the same power than a 6 ohm speaker. For instance, a car can deliver less voltage than your electrical outlets can at home, so car speakers generally have a lower impedance than home audio systems.

While impedance itself isn’t that important when choosing a speaker, you should know that 8 ohm is the industry standard, which matters because of the next point we’ll be talking about.

Amplifier Compatibility 

6 Ohm
You must match your speaker’s impedance with your amplifiers. Otherwise, you risk frying both.

Due to their electrical nature, speakers with different impedances can only be paired with compatible amplifiers. Basically, you have to match your amplifier, or at least fall within the recommended range set by the amplifier’s manufacturer. For example, an amplifier might be compatible with a range of 4-6 ohms, or a single value like 8 ohms. Watch out for this, as pairing a speaker that’s incompatible with your amplifier could fry both!

Also, matching their impedance makes sure that there is an efficient power transfer from the amplifier to the speaker, optimizing performance and avoiding long-term damage to either the speaker or the amplifier.  

What happens if you mismatch your amplifier and speaker? Nowadays, mostly nothing. Modern amplifiers have protection mechanisms set in place to ensure that impedance mismatching doesn’t cause any significant damage to either component. 

While there are other technical considerations, such as bi-amping or parallel wiring, they’re too specific to cover here. You should know that the most important thing is to match your speaker’s impedance with your amplifier’s recommended impedance.

Efficiency

Efficiency in speakers refers to how well they convert electrical current into sound. A high-efficiency speaker will produce more volume with less energy, and this tends to be the case with 6 ohm speakers. Low-efficiency speakers, such as 8 ohm models, will convert less electrical power into sound, and as such, will require more power input to produce the same volume. 

The idea is that you can use lower-impedance, higher-efficiency speakers in cases when power efficiency is crucial, such as in setups where minimizing power consumption is crucial. A perfect example of this would be a car, where the speakers are generally low impedance and high efficiency. So, in that case, you’d prefer 6 ohm speakers over 8 ohm speakers, as the first will produce higher volumes with less energy.

In cases of high-powered audio setups where ample power is available, such as studio equipment, efficiency isn’t the primary concern, so an 8 ohm speaker will be best. This partly is why 8 ohm speakers are standard: they tend to fit just fine in situations where efficiency isn’t a concern, like home cinemas.

The key thing to note here is that higher impedance levels, such as 8 ohms, tend to be less efficient, and lower impedance levels like 6 ohms tend to be more efficient. This is vital because it can help you determine whether you’ll want 6 ohms or 8 ohms, depending on what you plan on using the speaker for. If you want to play music in the living room, then 8 ohms will suit you best. If one of your car speakers just broke, then 6 ohms will be best.

Cost

6 Ohm
Bose is one of the leading speaker brands out there, and one of the most expensive.

You might be expecting to read that an 8 ohm speaker costs more than a 6 ohm speaker, but that is actually far from the case. Impedance alone is not a significant driver of the cost of a speaker. Other factors, like what brand you’re buying or how good the quality of the materials is, are the main ones. 

Build quality, the complexity of the design, and the quality of the electronics can also make the difference between a studio-quality speaker and a mediocre-quality speaker. So, in general, 6 ohm speakers aren’t necessarily cheaper than 8 ohm speakers.

Up
Pyle PDIW87 In-Wall or In-Ceiling Speakers
$96.89
  • 50Hz to 20kHz frequency range
  • 400 watts of power
  • 4-8 ohm impedance
  • Flush mount installation
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/16/2024 08:52 am GMT

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: 5 Must-Know Facts

  • 6 ohm speakers will produce more variable volumes, and 8 ohm speakers will produce more stable, round sounds.
  • 6 ohm and 8 ohm speakers do not differ in sound quality, but 6 ohm speakers can generally go louder.
  • 8 ohm speakers are standard due to their broad compatibility with almost all amplifiers.
  • Cost is not dependent on the impedance of a speaker. 
  • 6 ohm speakers will be better suited for low-energy applications like cars, and 8 ohm speakers will be better for higher-energy applications such as studio recording.

6 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

The choice between buying a 6 ohm speaker and an 8 ohm speaker will ultimately depend on what you plan on using it for. If you need a speaker for a low-power setup like a car’s audio system, then you’ll need a low-impedance speaker which will be more efficient, utilizing less power and achieving high volumes.

If you need a more standard solution for a home audio system or studio, then 8 ohm will probably be the best choice. This is basically because 8 ohm is the industry standard, so in most cases, it will be your go-to even if you aren’t looking for that impedance specifically. This type of speaker will draw less current, requiring a more powerful amplifier. This won’t be a hassle, however, as this impedance is very versatile and compatible with a wide array of amplifiers. 

Also, don’t forget that the brand you choose will primarily determine your speaker’s cost, not the impedance rating.

  1. Eminence Professional Series LAB12 12" Pro Audio Speaker
    $197.94
    • 400W at 6 ohm impedance
    • Pro audio subwoofer
    • Can be used as an automotive sub
    • For use in vented, sealed, and horn-loaded enclosures
    • Flush mount
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 08:23 am GMT
  2. Pyle PDIW87 In-Wall or In-Ceiling Speakers
    $96.89
    • 50Hz to 20kHz frequency range
    • 400 watts of power
    • 4-8 ohm impedance
    • Flush mount installation
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/16/2024 08:52 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What does impedance mean for a speaker?

It measures a speaker’s resistance to electrical current. It is important due to compatibility issues with amplifiers. It also determines how efficient the speaker will be in terms of how much power it requires to achieve a certain volume.

Does higher impedance mean better sound quality?

No. There is no direct correlation between impedance and sound quality. It has a lot more to do with technical specifications.

Can I use an 8 Ohm amplifier with a 6 Ohm speaker?

It depends on the supported impedance range of your amplifier. In general, it’s best to have the impedances match, as it will ensure that you’ll not fry any component.

Are 6 ohm speakers more efficient?

Generally, yes. Lower impedance correlates with efficiency, which means the speaker will require less energy to produce the same volume levels.

Does impedance influence the cost of a speaker?

Generally, no. Other factors such as brand, the quality of the materials, and technical features tend to weigh in more.

To top