If you’ve been looking around for any type of car audio component, you’ve probably heard of Kicker. They’re one of the biggest names in the industry, without a doubt.
But maybe you’ve been trying to choose between other options, too. You’ve seen releases from Rockford Fosgate, Kenwood, Pioneer, JBL, and Skar Audio, and now you may be wondering…
Is Kicker a good brand?
In this article, We’ll be dissecting the INS and OUTS of this car audio brand, so you can figure out if kicker car audio components can be the right fit for your needs.
Are you ready? Well, get ready and read on, then!
What Is The Story Behind Kicker?
Kicker is one of the oldest and trusted names in the car audio space. The company has been in business for quite a long time and has carved out a name for itself as a serious contender in the industry.
In 1973. Kicker’s Livin’ Loud legacy has began as a two-man operation, hand-building professional-speaker systems in a car garage. With minimal resources and an intense love for music, Steve Irby – Kicker’s founder – invented the mobile-stereo enclosure, which was the first full frequency-range speaker box designed specifically for cars and trucks. From that historic moment, delivering concert-like audio quality across a wide volume range with refined bass and crystal clear sound has always been the KICKER way.
Throughout the years, Kicker released everything from marine audio components to powersports and motorcycle audio components and maintained a level of quality throughout. The same goes for its selection of car audio components.
The Honest Rundown: So… Is Kicker a Good Brand?
Kicker is by no means a bad company. Their products are relatively good all things considered, however, they’re a bit overpriced compared to the competition.
Kicker offers a wide range of speakers and subs for just about every application. Their speakers and subs are very well-made for the most part and can take serious beating but are generally a little bit overpriced for what you’re getting.
Kicker subs pack an incredible punch and can take serious beating. So, if you’re looking for something to get loud and to take a beating then kicker subs are a good option to consider. They don’t sound super great but they are very loud. Even their entry-level comp line of subwoofers is nothing to scoff at, and is loud for how cheap they are.
The reason why some Kicker subs sound really loud but not great sound quality wise is because of their square design. I mean think about it. Kicker square subs have relatively more cone area and their cones are slightly heavy compared to equivalent subs.
The extra surface area leads to more SPL, but the added weight and the low resonant pulp-backed IMPP that some of these subs use lead to imperfect response. Nevertheless, since high SPL and deep bass is what these subs are intended for, they’re great at it.
As far as amplifiers are concerned, Kicker makes solid amplifiers that pack in serious power, and do their rating fairly efficiently. But, again, a little overpriced compared to rivals.
Why We Think Kicker Is A Good Brand
What makes Kicker a good car audio brand is a layered question. To unfold the layers, let’s look at a few fundamental qualities that make a car audio brand worth your while.
In fact, the build quality of products, price-to-performance ratio, specifications to price ratio, variety of choice, and customer service are a few areas that lay the foundation of a good car audio brand.
So, where does Kicker stand on these graphs? Let’s discuss it in detail.
Kicker has mastered the art of making quality products throughout the years. So, it’s safe to say that Kicker products are the Toyota Camry of car audio.
I mean, think about it, people buy a Camry because it’s well known for reliability, and comes from a brand that the average consumer knows and trusts. Are there cheaper cars? sure. Are there faster cars? of course. More comfortable cars? bigger? smaller? you get the idea.
Kicker makes quality products that will meet the owners expectations for many years to come, likely longer than they will own their car.
The price to performance ratio is not so great when it comes to Kicker products. However, this only holds true if you buy them at retail price.
Wide selection of components
You’d be surprised at the variety of car audio gear that Kicker offers for different budgets. The company’s catalog is deep and ranges from entry-level products to powerful gear designed to live up to the Kicker’s slogan “living loud”.
What Are Kicker’s Strengths and Weaknesses?
Kicker is undoubtedly an excellent manufacturer of car audio equipment. It is one of the industry leaders and competes neck to neck with the other tech giants like Rockford Fosgate and Kenwood. But just like everything else, there are some pros and cons of Kicker products too. Let’s take a quick look at them.
- Build quality: There’s no denying that Kicker makes top-notch products with best-in-class durability. Their car audio components are built with premium materials and sport sturdy designs that reduce the risk of accidental damages. For this reason, their components can take some serious abuse and keep going strong.
- Variety of choice: Kicker offers a wide variety of products for different applications. The downside, however, is that the price-to-performance ratio of their components is not great compared to the competition.
- Steep price tags: The main downside to Kickers is their steep price tags. They’re great products if you can get them at a discounted price and not retail price.
- Lack of SQ: Generally speaking, Kicker has always been notorious for leaning more towards output oriented products than towards SQ ones. For this reason, one of the biggest complaint about Kicker is the sound quality of their products, which simply doesn’t match the SQ of a lot of brands. In fact, it takes moving up a few rungs on the ladder and getting a decent and well-tuned box with good clean power to make Kickers sound good.
What Do People Say About Kicker?
What the public generally likes about kicker is the quality of their gear. We believe that most people who hate on Kicker’s products have no idea what they are talking about or what they are doing.
I mean, if someone buys any type of car audio equipment and blows it up due to a faulty install or tuning, it’s not the brands fault.
We would agree to some extent with some some SPL guys who don’t like Kicker products because the brand doesn’t make dedicated SPL products like they used to, and we strongly believe that this is where most of the “hate” started and then it got parroted by inexperienced car audio enthusiasts.
Kicker offers a wide range of product lines designed for different applications and tastes, although I can understand being frustrated if you bought the wrong product for your application (don’t use a sealed box if you want loud bass, and don’t buy titanium dome tweeters if you hate sharp highs … etc) or don’t know how to tune an amp and continuously blow speakers because you didn’t set the gain properly, but most people chalk up poor choice in speakers/poor installation to “crappy product.” The same goes for every brand.
Bottom Line: So Is Kicker Any Good?
Kicker is definitely an excellent car audio manufacturer. But, don’t get me wrong though,
I’m not saying that Kicker takes the top spot for accessibility, it still comes with its own drawbacks that still make the competition outclass them in certain aspects like price-to-performance ratio.
While they still come with their own problems, especially their price tags, I can still assure you that an investment with their medium-range and top-of-the-line products is still very worth it!
If there’s one thing that nearly everyone agrees on, it’s that Kicker makes pretty reliable and predictably high-quality audio gear, albeit usually at a price premium.
We believe that you can get similar performance for less with some other brands though.
Overall, you will get great component that will last for many years to come if you choose to buy from Kicker.