When you need something lighter and more convenient than 12” speakers, 10” ones are a great alternative. They offer the right balance of power, tone, and loudness that’s suitable for both practice and performance. But how do you pick the best one for your genre?
In this KillerGuitarRigs Guide, we’ve done a deep-dive into the 5 best 10-inch guitar speakers you can get today. Each one of these was tested by our team, and you’ll be able to find one suitable for the tone you’re looking for.
In our tests, we used the same guitar (Fender Stratocaster), speaker cabinet (Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 110), and amplifier (Orange AD30) to test each speaker. We used the same mic (Shure SM57) and tried several mic positions so we could fairly analyze the full depth and range of each speaker.
We judged them on their tonal accuracy, frequency range, and room feel. And we used both clean and distorted tones to get a full picture of their versatility.
Interested in guitar speakers?
Check out our full rundown of the best guitar speakers.
- Our Top Three Picks
- Eminence Ragin Cajun Patriot Series 10” 75-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker – Our Top Pick
- Celestion VT-Junior 10” 50-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker – Best Budget Option
- Celestion G10 Gold 10” 40-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker – KGR Editor’s Choice
- Eminence Legend 1058 10” 75-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker
- Celestion G10 Greenback 10” 30-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker
- 10 Inch Guitar Speakers – A Buyer’s Guide
- Final Thoughts
Our Top Three Picks
- The Eminence Ragin Cajun Patriot Series 10” is, in our opinion, the best speaker in the 10” range with an unmatched pristine tone and a very reasonable price.
- If you’re on a budget, the Celestion VT – Junior 10” is an excellent option with great performance and a vintage feel.
- And the Celestion G10 Gold 10” is a legendary alnico speaker with a powerful tone, the absolute best that money can buy.
The Ragin Cajun offers a pristine clean tone with a reliable build
The Eminence Ragin Cajun is the best 10” speaker model for low gain tones. We loved the balance between the lower and higher frequencies. The bottom-end of the tone resembles a 12” speaker, despite the smaller package. We also heard a chiming high-end occupying center stage. The mids are moderate – not too strong, but not too soft either.
As our tests predicted, the frequency response graph of the Ragin Cajun shows a significant spike around higher frequencies. The rest of the response is relatively flat aside from the lowest frequencies, which dip down significantly but are less significant for a guitar. We found that this response works very well for any clean tone – from bright and chimey to dark and woody.
The power rating of the Ragin Cajun is high at 75 watts; we were able to pair it with a more extensive range of amplifiers compared to most other 10″ speakers. The magnet type is ferrite, which adds to durability, corrosion resistance, and is lighter than ceramic.
We found the build quality to be excellent. Eminence has a reputation for testing its products thoroughly, and we saw that working well with this speaker. At a reasonable price of around $100, the Ragin Cajun offers incredible value for money. We found this speaker perfect for anyone looking to play clean or mildly distorted tones.
We were able to play a wide variety of music, from country to blues, with this beauty. The only aspect where we think these speakers leave something to be desired is the result after turning the gain all the way up. Judging by our tests, the Ragin Cajun was not designed for heavier genres like hard rock or metal, but it works well for crunch tones.
Verdict: The Eminence Ragin Cajun 10″ speaker offers everything you would need for a fair price. It delivers accurate tones with a lot of power in a durable build. It’s perfect for clean tones, and works well for crunch and overdrive tones. But it’s not the best for heavy metal as it begins to get muddy at high gain.
Celestion VT-Junior 10” 50-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker – Best Budget Option
The VT-Junior is remarkably affordable for the incredible quality it offers
The VT-Junior is a compact version of the Celestion V-Type, a speaker renowned for its diverse musicality. The remarkable success of the V-Type encouraged Celestion to develop a smaller size variant with the same outstanding qualities. Other than the comparable tone, the VT-Junior has the advantage of a more compact design compared to the V-type at the expense of power.
In our tests, the VT-Junior surprised us with clarity and vintage color. Even with its affordable price tag, we were amazed by its performance. This speaker couples its vintage character with a modern design and it’s easy to handle. The overall tone it delivers is throaty and full-bodied, which makes it suitable for a wide range of genres.
Checking the response, we observed a very general, all-purpose approach. The frequency response graph is more or less flat, with some tiny peaks associated with the higher frequencies. We also found extra headroom, with the response dipping less than expected around the highest and lowest frequencies of the human hearing range.
The VT-Junior’s power handling capacity is 50 watts, which is not the highest among 10″ speakers. Still, we found it sufficient for most purposes. There was enough air being blown directly at our faces to give us the necessary room feel while practicing.
We saw that Celestion has used a ceramic magnet, which is quite cost-effective, but the build quality is decent with a proper steel frame and Celestion’s renowned quality assurance.
Verdict: The Celestion VT-Junior is a cut above all other budget options in the 10″ range. It delivers a well-balanced tone that’s suitable for a variety of different styles. While it does lack power, it has its own vintage character, and it’s built well. If you need a 10” on a budget, the VT-Junior would fit well.
Celestion G10 Gold 10” 40-watt Replacement Guitar Speaker – KGR Editor’s Choice
The G10 Gold is a legendary speaker that lives up to its name
The Celestion G10 Gold is a premium 10″ speaker that has attained legendary status over decades of impeccable performance that is unmatched in this size range to this day. It’s built like a tank, weighing 6 pounds, and is unmistakably recognizable given the golden chassis.
In our tests, the G10 Gold stood out as the very best of all for everything, from classic clean to overridden rock and psychedelic fuzz. The speaker is extremely responsive and accurate; not a single touch on the guitar strings goes unnoticed. We could hear all the nuances of any style we played on this powerpack, beautifully preserved.
While checking the frequency response, we observed a very neutral trend, with the graph being primarily flat. However, we did notice a little bit of a bias for upper-mid-range frequencies. The frequency response also indicates significant headroom, with the curve staying above zero well beyond the human hearing range. And we found that it sits really well in a mix.
We found a lot of classic British qualities in the G10 Gold. This character, paired with the responsiveness and musicality from the high-end alnico magnet, makes this speaker the king of this range. The power handling is relatively low at 40 watts. So you’ll have to be careful with the amplifier you connect it to, especially when combining several units.
With such a premium price tag, we found the build quality and reliability to be everything we expected – rock solid. It looks and feels as exquisite as it should, and it’s likely one of the best guitar speakers we’ve reviewed.
Verdict: The Celestion G10 Gold is hands down the best 10″ guitar speaker we could find. It is known throughout the guitar player community for its tone and versatility. It comes at a premium price tag, but with its legendary sound and reliable build, we think it’s worth it. It’ll bring out every nuance of your guitar’s tone.
The Legend 1058 is an authentically American product with a unique character
The Eminence Legend 1058 is likely not as well known as other speakers on this list. Still, it proves itself a worthy contender, available at a competitive price point. We found the tone of the Legend 1058 resembles that of the Legend 1028K, but with more depth. Overall the speaker sounds fat with punchy lows and has a warm and smooth feel to it.
In our tests, we got a taste of the bluesy tone with a distinct vintage American feel. We also heard a bias in the response corresponding to the higher frequencies. The overall response is comparatively moderate and quite flat. To our ears, the resulting tone sounded rich, silky, and warm. We found this speaker is ideal for low-gain and even moderately overdriven styles.
We interpreted the frequency response graph and observed a bias towards the upper-mid frequencies. The graph clearly shows a significant spike in the region corresponding to the higher frequencies. The graph also showed us limited headroom outside the human hearing range, so be mindful of that. The bottom end did show a very slight boost in response, so it lends to the warmth.
We saw that the power rating of the Legend 1058 is pretty high for a 10″ speaker at 75 watts. The speaker was able to handle a variety of clean and crunch tones in our tests, but became a bit muddy when we cranked up the gain.
We found the build quality of the Legend 1058 speaker to be excellent, as with most Eminence products. The magnet type used for the speaker is ferrite, which adds to the reliability and corrosion resistance.
Verdict: With formidable performance and authentic American persona, the Eminence Legend 1058 is one of the best 10″ speakers on the market. It comes from a well-known brand and features a reliable build. While it’s not the best for high gain, it works particularly well for lower gain tones.
The G10 Greenback has a solid reputation that delivers on almost all fronts
The Celestion G10 Greenback is well known for its classic British tone and outstanding performance. We found that most satisfied customers of the 10 Greenback use the speaker for low-gain playing styles and achieve desired clarity and nuance. Any guitar enthusiast has likely heard of the Greenback’s legendary history, including players like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
The G10 Greenback was very responsive in our tests and captured every aspect of our guitar play, from the softer notes to the palm muting and chugging. We heard a chiming high-end that does not overpower the slight low-end bite. Overall we’d say the tone is warm with a distinct sparkle to it. In our opinion, this speaker is best suited for blues, classic rock, and country music. At higher gain settings, we found it does lose some clarity but it was still usable.
The frequency response graph of the Greenback presented some unique qualities to us. There are two plateaus in the graph, one stretching all the way from the lower end to the upper mids and the other going from the upper mids to the highs. This indicates a balanced approach, though the upper-mid to high-end plateau is slightly more elevated than the rest of the curve.
We found the build quality of the Greenback to be fabulous. It felt sturdy and durable. However, the ceramic magnet may not be as desirable at this price point. We thought the power handling of the Greenback leaves much to be desired at only 30 watts; it might take some adjustment and consideration to make it work with more powerful setups.
Verdict: The Celestion G10 Greenback lives up to its name as far as clean tones go. The build is reliable, and the speaker has enough unique character to set your guitar tone apart. However, the speaker does fall short as far as high-gain performance and power handling are concerned.
10 Inch Guitar Speakers – A Buyer’s Guide
Here are some things to keep in mind before you choose your next 10” guitar speaker:
The power handling or wattage of a speaker is an essential specification. An amp with a higher power rating than a speaker cannot be connected to the speaker without risking damage to it. Power handling measures how many watts a speaker can handle safely.
Some brands give power ratings based on how much input the speaker can take over a long period. In contrast, other brands provide power ratings that the speaker can survive but not sustain (peak power). It is essential to understand the power rating of the speaker you’re using and connect a suitable amplifier. When using combo speakers like 2×10”, you have to adjust power delivery accordingly.
Impedance is another specification that must be considered for safely handling your gear. You not only have to match the speaker impedance with the amplifier’s impedance, but you also have to consider how many speakers you are connecting and in what order. Series and parallel connections differ in their impedance, so you have to calculate accordingly.
Once you’ve made sure that the speaker you’ve considered will work with your existing gear, you have to think about the tone you’re going for. Each speaker imparts its own characteristics and delivers unique tones, so consider the style of music you’re going for.
If possible, listen to it in person. If it is a recording, look for a clean recording with no distortion and then a processed one to see how it handles both these use cases. In the end, guitar tone is subjective, so there is no right or wrong choice – it all depends on what sounds good to you.
In many cases, you can dial out harshness or muddiness from your speakers using your amplifier or pedals as well.
Finally, we have an aspect that may or may not be significant given the circumstances but often confuses buyers with choices. Guitar speakers can come with a variety of magnet types:
- Ceramic is the most common magnet type. It is cost-effective but lacks the unique character of other magnet types.
- Alnico is the most sought-after magnet type. It is known for incredible note definition and tonality but it’s the most expensive magnet type so it’s quite rare.
- Neodymium is an alternative to alnico. It is stronger than any other magnet type, meaning you can get away with smaller and lighter magnets that provide the same output. These magnets can be optimized to resemble alnico magnets in sound, but they’re less durable.
- Ferrite magnets are a very durable and corrosion-resistant guitar magnet type. They are heavier than neodymium magnets but still lighter than ceramic and alnico. They deliver powerful sound but are moderately expensive.
Modern speakers have come a long way, so magnet types are becoming less important as technology improves. But for classic vintage tones from the golden era of rock and blues, alnico is still considered one of the best.
If you have room for more than one 10″ guitar speaker, you could try using two different speakers to mix their tonal characters. This can take some experimentation to get desired results, but it can help you explore a whole new range of tones. You can take inspiration from fellow musicians or legendary guitarists who have already come up with great combos, and build your own for a truly signature tone.
In summary, the Eminence Ragin Cajun is our top pick as it delivers a powerful tone and a reliable build. The Celestion VT-Junior is the best budget option, as it offers incredible value for money and still outperforms several other speakers. And for those who need the absolute best, there’s the Celestion G10 Gold, our Editor’s Choice. The 10” speaker range has a lot of renowned speakers used by famous players, and each one delivers its unique strengths.