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2-way vs 3-way speakers: Key differences

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Sound systems are often tricky to get right. To get the best audio experience possible, you need to have the proper equipment, good speakers, and a good set of woofers or subwoofers.

Before you start assembling your music system, what you need to understand about sound is that it comes in three phases, low, mid and high frequencies. The lows are considered the bass or the thumping sounds you hear; mids are the sounds that the human ear is most sensitive to and most of what you hear daily, and highs, as you can guess, cover the high frequencies. 

In this article, we’re talking about two-way and three-way speakers so that you know the differences between the two to make your decision. 

Also read: What is a Subwoofer? How is it different from woofers and speakers?

What are two-way speakers?

As the name suggests, two-way speakers are two speakers in one enclosure, with the smaller one usually delivering low frequencies or bass and the other bigger speaker delivering mids/highs. 

2-way vs 3-way speakers: Key differences

These speakers also have simpler crossover setups, meaning they’re easy to install, and users don’t have to fiddle around with wires figuring which one goes where. A crossover refers to a device that splits a single audio signal into lows, mids and highs and sends it to the required output device, in this case, speakers and subwoofers. 

The smaller bass driver is called a woofer, and the bigger driver is often referred to as a tweeter. The bookshelf speakers you most commonly see are two-way speakers.

CheaperNot enough details in the lows and mids.
Smaller in size and overall footprint
Simple crossover means they’re easy to set up.
Low power requirement.

Also read: Samsung Evo vs Qvo vs Pro: Which one do you need?

Three-way speakers

As you can probably guess, three-way speakers already consist of three separate drivers, each for lows, mids, and highs, respectively. Each of these drivers works in a specific audio range, giving three-way speakers a much fuller and better audio experience.

2-way vs 3-way speakers: Key differences

The downside is that three-way speakers are often bigger, bulkier, more expensive and require slightly complicated crossover setups. But, in exchange, you get a subwoofer, better sound and one unit will play just about any audio.

Better overall sound quality.They have a significantly larger footprint as compared to two-way speakers.
Richer lows and mids.More expensive than two-way speakers.
No need for additional subwoofers.Require a good crossover setup.


If you want the absolute best quality audio, it’s recommended that you go ahead with a three-way speaker system. However, for most people, a two-way speaker would do just fine. 

Two-way systems are also pretty common in-car music systems. Yes, you can install a three-way system and get higher quality sound, but you’ll be sacrificing space inside your car to do so. For home uses, you can pick whichever better suits your needs.

However, if you’re an audiophile who needs the absolute best, three-ways speakers are the way to go. 

Also read: AMOLED vs OLED: Which one is better?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: