How To Remove Ceiling Speakers (Step-By-Step Guide)

Norvan Martin
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If you are moving or redecorating, you may be faced with the challenge of removing ceiling speakers that you may not have even installed yourself.

Ceiling speakers (in-ceiling speakers) are an excellent choice if you want to save some space in your sitting room or entertainment area.

They not only add elegance to your space but also help you achieve surround sound audio.

As mentioned, removing ceiling speakers is easy if you know what you are doing. In fact, you can successfully complete the task in a few steps.

Here is all you need to know when it comes to removing ceiling speakers:

1. Switch Off the Power

Before you start removing your ceiling speakers, you need to locate the circuit breaker panel connected in the room or the panel for the house if the room itself does not have one.

After finding it, you should switch off the power connected to the speakers. This normally means you will need to turn off the breaker entirely like this:

Switch Off Power Connected To The Speakers

Again, if you are not sure which switch connects to that specific room, you will have to shut down the power to the entire house. Doing this eliminates the risk of getting an electric shock. Yikes!

2. Get A Ladder

After switching off the power, take a ladder and place it under the ceiling speakers. Of course, this will help you to reach the speakers easily, without the risk of damaging your ceiling.

remove ceiling speaker with ladder

You may want to ask a friend to hold the ladder for you if the ceiling is too high.

3. Remove The Speaker Grill

Most speaker grilles are not held in place by glue or anything like that, they are just tightly fit into the enclosure and so you should be able to remove it with an awl. So in this case, you have to use the awl to remove the speaker grill.

awl to remove ceiling speakers

To do this, you need to use the awl to hook to one of the holes on your speaker’s grill cover, starting with any corner that seems appropriate.

If you don’t have an awl on hand, you can easily find the one shown above on amazon  here.

An even quicker option is to use a metal paperclip as an alternative. Of course, you would need to extend one arm of the paperclip and bend it so that it can hook in the awl holes in the grill.paperclip to remove speaker grill

You will need to pull the awl in a gentle manner to remove that section of the speaker grill from the ceiling, but you need to be careful not to destroy it or your ceiling.

Repeat the previous procedure on all the corners of the grill, until it’s completely removed from the speaker.

While doing this, you should avoid placing the awl in the center hole of the grill. This way, you will avoid breaking it or inflicting damage to your speakers.

Once the grill is loose enough, you can use your hand to gently remove it completely from the speaker enclosure.

remove ceiling speaker grill

You should be careful when doing this and ensure that you are safely perched on the ladder as you don’t want to thug too hard and lose your footing.

Keep in mind that the speakers may only need a few repairs, so don’t damage it.

If you are still not clear, we have a section on removing speaker grills below.

4. Remove The Screws or Bolts

After removing the grill, you have to find all the screws or bolts attaching the speaker to the ceiling and remove them.

If the grill is screwed down, use your screwdriver to remove the screws. Of course, the screwdriver that you use will depend on the type of screw type that the ceiling speaker uses.

In-ceiling speakers normally use Philips head screws which are relatively easy to take out, using a regular Phillips screwdriver. So, if your ceiling speakers use star screws, then use a Phillips head screwdriver and if the screw has a single split, use a flathead screwdriver, and so on.

remove ceiling speaker screws

However, you may need to use a 1/2-inch or a 1/4-inch socket wrench to remove the bolts.

5. Remove Retention Clips

Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove any retention clips securing your speaker to the ceiling.

Not all ceiling clips have retention clips. How do you know? Well, retention clips are little clips (normally plastic) that hold the speaker in place so that it fits singly into the cutout.

You will need to use the flathead to pry them away and remove the speaker. Be careful not to break any of the clips!

6. Pull Out The Speaker Carefully

Once you finish taking off the retention clips, you need to slightly pull the speaker out from the ceiling and unplug the cables at the back.

You need to be careful when pulling the speaker, to avoid cutting the audio cables.

ceiling speaker wires

After removing all the screws, retention clips, and audio cables attached to the speaker, you can now remove it completely from the ceiling.

7. Detach Speaker Wires

You will need to detach any wires attached to the speaker. Most wires are normally connected with speaker wire connectors and are easy to remove. If the ceiling speaker is connected to a receiver or amplifier, ensure the device is off first. 

If you find it difficult to remove these connectors, then you may need to cut the wires at an appropriate point. If you do this, you will need to get some good speaker wire connectors to reattach them later on.

After mastering all the steps mentioned above, you can repeat this process to remove all the other speakers from your ceiling.

Safety When Removing Ceiling Speakers

To avoid any unwanted incidents while removing your ceiling speakers, always double-check the electrical circuit to ensure that it is switched off.

Just turning on a lightbulb in the room, for example, is a good way to check.

Don’t forget that you need to be very careful when doing this, to ensure that no one gets hurt.

Observe all other safety protocols when dealing with electricity including wearing proper shoes, wearing proper gloves, and so on.

You should ask someone to assist you if you don’t think you can handle the task alone.

How To Remove In Ceiling Subwoofers?

If you have a subwoofer with your in ceiling speakers, then please note that removing in-ceiling subwoofers can be a bit more challenging.

Here’s how you should do it:

Firstly subwoofers are normally larger and heavier than regular speakers As such if it is installed in the attic, don’t try to walk across the attic while balancing on ceiling trusses while carrying the device. Instead, use a stable structure such as plywood to walk on.

How To Remove In Ceiling Subwoofers

Now normally, the sub will be attached directly to the trusses of the roof. To remove it, all you will need to do is to remove the screws.

Once you do that, gently place the device on the plywood and not on the trusses.

How To Remove Passive Ceiling Speaker Amplifier

Passive ceiling speakers are normally connected to an amplifier that may be placed in the ceiling or on the wall. Some active ceiling speakers also have external amplifiers. While you won’t find an amp in all cases, many ceiling speakers need an amp

passive ceiling speakers

These amps are held in place in many ways such as screws, glue, and so on. Depending on how it’s held in place, take your time to carefully remove the device after powering it down and removing all connections. 

How To Remove Round Ceiling Speakers?

Most ceiling speakers are round so the question ‘how to remove round ceiling speakers’ and ‘how to remove ceiling speakers’ are almost the same.

remove ceiling speakers

The good news is, the procedure is basically the same for round ceiling speakers, except for removing the speaker grill, which can be a bit tricky. We further this below.

How To Remove Ceiling Speaker Grills

Have you also wondered how to remove ceiling speaker grills? If we are answering the question ‘how to remove ceiling speakers’, we might as well answer this one too. S

peaker grills are speaker covers made of some type of mesh. In most cases, the cover is either hard plastic or metal. In a few cases, it could also be tightly held fabric.

In most cases, these coverings are either held by magnetic tape or pressure fit.

remove in ceiling speaker grill

To remove the ones held by pressure fit, you will need a device small enough to fit between the tight space between the speaker covering and the speaker itself, but without damaging the speaker.

This device will, of course, serve as a hook as you pry open the corners. To start, choose an area to place the hook device and work your way all around the speakers little at a time.

Don’t put at it too much or bend the device too far as you will run the risk of damaging the grill or the speaker, making it really difficult to reinstall. By the time you reach the full way around, the grill will be completely free.

Installing New Ceiling Speakers

After removing the ceiling speaker, you may find that it is badly damaged and you need a new one. Otherwise, you may find that the damage is recoverable and choose to repair it.

removing a ceiling speaker technician

In either case, you will now need to install the ceiling speakers back in place. Here are a few steps to guide you while going through the procedure:

  • The first thing you need to do when installing ceiling speakers is to make sure that they can fit perfectly in the hole. If you are installing the same speaker, then you are fine. However, if you are purchasing a new speaker, make sure you take your measurements!
  • Pull the audio wires from the ceiling and strip each of them to about half an inch, to expose the copper stands inside.
  • Connect the speaker wires to the audio wires in the ceiling. This should be done using suitable speaker wire connectors.
  • Insert the speaker back into the ceiling. Test it to ensure it’s working before going to the next step.
  • Use screws or bolts to tighten the speaker to the ceiling and place the grill over it.
  • For extra spunk, you can paint the grill to match the room’s décor and continue enjoying a seamless audio experience.

Are Ceiling Speakers Standard Size?

The most common sizes of ceiling speakers are either 6.5 or 8 inches. The size refers to the size of the cone, not the overall size of the speaker. The 6.5-inch makes for a convenient and versatile speaker and is ideal for small to medium-sized spaces.

Is It Easy To Remove In-Ceiling Speakers?

It can be very challenging to change the speakers if they blow up and need replacement.

Because of the challenge, many people refuse to remove their damaged ceiling speakers themselves and instead hire a professional audio technician.

However, if you are like most people, you simply don’t have the budget for that and instead prefer to do it yourself.

Well, have no fear, because that’s what this guide is for.

With careful attention to detail as well as a little effort and time, you can easily remove your ceiling speakers and significantly reduce the service cost. We will show you how to remove those ceiling speakers like an expert, even without having any prior experience. But first, let’s look at the tools that you need to get the job done.

Removing ceiling speakers is not difficult. To remove your ceiling speakers, you need the following tools:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Awl
  • Ladder
  • 1/2-inch or 1/4-inch socket wrench (if the speaker is held down by bolts)
  • speaker wire connectors

Bottom Line:

So that’s it, the quick answer to ‘How To Remove Ceiling Speakers’. While it’s simpler to hire a technician to remove ceiling speakers, it’s always good to handle the task yourself. As you have seen from this tutorial, removing ceiling speakers is not difficult.

This will not only save you a lot of money, but it will also allow you to complete the task on your own time. With the above-mentioned steps, you will find that it’s not as hard as you might think.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin