Most of the smart speakers we discuss these days are made to sit on counters, tables, or shelves (and sometimes to be carried around). However, there is another option for those who own their own homes: Ceiling speakers that are installed directly into the ceiling to give you built-in sound exactly where you want it.
If that option sounds interesting, read on to learn about ceiling speakers, what they can do, and why they’re a go-to solution for some smart homes.
Built-in speakers may sound like extra work, but they do have their advantages. Not everyone has room for a smart speaker where they would prefer to listen to music or podcasts. Others may not want a smart speaker set up in the same area they cook or where their children play. In cases like these, in-ceiling speakers stay out of the way while still providing the tunes people want.
Smart ceiling speakers are also much more customizable than traditional smart speakers. You don’t have to have a level surface nearby to use them. That means they can go anywhere you want to direct sound above or nearby — an ideal solution for certain dens, home theater setups, playrooms, game rooms, and more. They can also be more easily painted without sacrificing sound quality, so you can make sure that they match the surrounding surface and blend in with the decor.
What makes ceiling speakers smart? These more advanced versions offer Bluetooth support so you can play music on them directly from your smartphone and other mobile devices. That makes them much more versatile and easier to use while you’re busy with other house activities.
Some built-in ceiling speakers can also work with voice assistants. Klipsch, for example, has ceiling speakers designed to work with Amazon’s Echo Input module so that they can be enabled with the Alexa voice assistant. This field is still a work in progress, but we’ll be seeing many more voice assistant-compatible ceiling speakers in the future.
These speakers often come with seals that help prevent moisture entry. This feature is important in any area where there may be steam, like a bathroom or kitchen, because that could lead to mold issues over time. That also means that these sealed ceiling speakers can be used in some outdoor locations too, like patios or decks with enough room for a proper installation.
Yes, they can work for surround sound, but you will want high-quality speakers with excellent audio that are carefully positioned. Ceiling speakers can easily pair with each other and even produce sound in multiple rooms, so that isn’t usually a problem. Some homeowners decide to use two compatible ceiling speakers for their rear surround sound speakers and traditional speakers for the rest of the system.
Klipsch and Bose both make smart ceiling speakers and are well-known brands that utilize excellent audio technologies, so that’s the best place to start. However, there are a number of other brands that make ceiling speakers with smart features, offering additional options if you’d like to save money.
First, check that it has wireless smart features, at least Bluetooth connectivity. If you need protection against moisture, look for speakers that come with reliable seals designed for high-moisture environments. Some in-ceiling speakers come in packs, while others are sold as single units, so check that you are getting the number of speakers that you need. Models like Klipsch combine tweets and woofers in one speaker with technologies to enhance the sound, something you’ll want if you need high audio quality. If blending in with your home design is a priority, look for speakers with flush mounts and covers that can be easily painted.
There are a few challenges that ceiling speakers have, such as installation, and they aren’t easy to change. Other limitations include:
- Installation takes some work. These speakers need to be connected by wire to a power source, which means some tricky wiring work in the ceiling. They also need to be installed carefully to prevent any holes or gaps that could lead to moisture problems, drafts, or pest issues. It’s often best to hire a professional installer for these projects.
- Once installed, ceiling speakers can’t be repositioned. It’s important to know where to place them for the best sound results.
- Not every ceiling has the right shape and acoustics to fully benefit from built-in speakers.
- These speakers are typically permanent. You can unplug an Amazon Echo and take it with you when you move; in-ceiling speakers will stay behind.