Subwoofers are notoriously known for creating loud low tones, triggering sensitive car alarms even when there’s no need for them to go off, and producing annoying static noises inside the vehicle’s sound system. Beyond that, the majority of drivers don’t have a clue how subwoofers exactly work so, the motorists struggle to choose the right model.
Choosing the right subwoofer is essential for ensuring high audio quality. Here’s a buying guide for making a smart purchasing decision. You will find out what types of car subwoofers there are, how to choose a model that fits your vehicle. Also, we’ll review 15 popular products to let you know if they are any good.
What Is a Car Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a speaker that emits low-frequency sound waves. Standard speakers often fail to bring out bass tones – that’s where subwoofers come into play. A subwoofer is a reason you will be able to hear beats and guitar solos much better, creating a concert-hall listening experience.
To run and deliver normal performance, subwoofers create the movement of air. By generating a massive cone, they facilitate the distribution of low sound frequencies and accumulate the power needed to transmit basses. Thanks to subwoofers, you can hear low tones distinctly without any need to crank the track of volume beyond appropriate levels.
Types of Car Subwoofers
There are different car subwoofer modifications, so any driver will find something on the market. Understanding the difference between them might seem a bit tricky – the reality is, drawing a distinction between three main types of subwoofers is quite easy. Let’s examine them one by one.
This modification includes an enclosure of a subwoofer and an amplifier adds additional power to low tones. Powered subwoofers are quite expensive but provide a wholesome listening experience. To get the most out of this modification, you will need an external amplifier.
This is the most common type of subwoofers – the model includes the woofer alone. A car owner needs to mount a model inside a designated enclosure in the sound system. Driver subwoofers are usually compact – their size is 8-15 inches.
These models are designed to fit a specific type of cars – trucks, SUVs, smart cars, and others. Saving space is the main purpose of choosing a vehicle-specific subwoofer – other than that, such modification is not the best choice for drivers since it’s quite expensive and lacking in power.
How to Choose a Car Subwoofer?
When it comes to car subwoofers, unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all. A range of requirements will vary depending on the car owner’s personal preferences. On top of that, there are a handful of variables a buyer needs to take into account as he hits the market.
Here are the factors to consider when choosing a car subwoofer:
As mentioned before, creating a solid bass tone requires a lot of energy. In subwoofers, the energy value is expressed as wattage. The higher the wattage of a given model is, the more power to produce a big bass it has.
There are other values you have to be aware of – RMS and peak power. The first one has to do with the power of the subwoofer on a medium speaker volume. The latter, as the name suggests, is the loudest sound a subwoofer is capable of handling.
Sensitivity is another value that directly influences the power of a subwoofer. Even if the raw wattage is relatively low, high sensitivity can make up for it. When looking for a model, prefer the one with a lower sound pressure level.
Since car subwoofers are mounted inside a vehicle, it’s crucial that they don’t take too much room. The average size that allows for high sound power is 12”. The rule of thumb is that bigger subs emit the bass of higher intensity. Here you can find and choose TOP-rated car stereos and 3.5-inch speakers.
The sound quality is dependant on a material it has to penetrate to emit sound. If the surroundings of the subwoofer are made of urethane or paper, the odds of the unit to last long are quite low. Rubber cones, on the other hand, perform extremely well both in terms of power and durability.
A pre-mount is another characteristic that influences the quality of a subwoofer. If your unit has one, it will be housed securely, avoiding shaky sound and potential damage. Some sellers offer subwoofers with an enclosure and mounting brackets designed to facilitate the installation process.
Backseat or trunk placement is not the best configuration for subwoofers. The former lets air into the subwoofer reducing the tone quality. The latter creates a muffled sound. However, you can still get enjoyable listening experiences from mounting the sub this way.
15 Best Subwoofers Review
Although a subwoofer is not a must-have, it makes a huge difference compared to using in-vehicle speakers alone. If you are a music fan and play songs wherever you drive, investing in a subwoofer is a reasonable decision. After all, it’s not that expensive to get one, and the average durability of the unit can cover the entire lifespan of the vehicle.
To help you make a choice you will not regret, we are reviewing the most common subwoofer models on the market.
1. ROCKFORD FOSGATE Subwoofer
This model comes with a custom enclosure, is sealed and protected from air leaks. The package includes a 300 Watt amplifier that helps disperse the sound all over the interior. Rockford Fosgate subwoofer has a moderate size – it’s a 15” unit that is relatively easy to mount.
The bass levels are adjustable – you can tweak the power of the subwoofer to find the optimal sound quality. The subwoofer is controllable remotely.
|• Smooth bass tone|
• Compact unit
• Stylish design
|• Challenging installation process|
• Requires additional equipment to run
• No user manuals or installation guidelines
2. MTX Audio Terminator (12 inches)
Although the subwoofers are not in the premium pricing tier, the performance of the unit will not be a disappointment. Known for an extensive lifespan, power, and compatibility, this product is a worthwhile purchase for small-size vehicle owners.
The one is durable and collision-resistant. In case you decide to mount it in the trunk, there’s no need to worry about the unit colliding with something and falling apart. The package includes an amp and mounting brackets.
|• Low cost|
• High durability
• The unit does not overheat
|• Low sound clarity|
• Packaging issues
• Glitchy bass controller
3. PIONEER Shallow Mount SubwooferTX-SWX2502
The subwoofer model is among the most compact modifications you can find around. The cone is made from durable material and has a custom-designed surface to create a deeper bassline. Remote motion control is enabled – you can regulate the power of the subwoofer.
There’s an enclosure with a carpeted surface that makes the subwoofer considerably easier to install. Generally, the unit performs well for all types of music and fits almost any vehicle on the market.
|• Long battery life|
• Does not vibrate inside of the vehicle
• Reflects the sound of bass guitar and drums perfectly
|• The power level is below average due to the |
compact size of the unit
• Low durability
• The enclosure creates a shallow bass sound
4. KICKER Audio Subwoofer 44DCWC122
Although the subwoofer is only 12 inches in dimensions, the 1200 wattage creates a considerable power boost that some of the larger models are simply not able to provide. Other than a woofer itself, the package is a full bundle. There are amplifiers, enclosures, and a wiring kit.
The model is equipped with remote control tools. As there is all the needed equipment in the kit, mounting the subwoofer is a breeze. Also, a seller offers a five-year warranty for the woofer and a yearly one for an amplifier.
|• Solid, sturdy packaging|
• All the wiring for installation is included
in the package
• High peak power
|• The amplifier doesn’t fit the subwoofer well|
• Sound lacks clarity, there are distortions
• Wires need replacement shortly after
5. KENWOOD Enclosed Subwoofer KSC-SW11
The unit has a durable enclosure, fully made from aluminum. The unit is quite compact which makes mounting easier but draws from power and volume. You can control the subwoofer remotely. The unit comes with a small built-in amplifier. Although a 75-watt amplifier will not make a noticeable difference, it helps get rid of distortions in the bass line.
This Kenwood Subwoofer has speaker-level inputs – keep that in mind in case you want to replace amplifiers for the unit.
|• Creates a stereo sound|
• Helps fill in the void of the speakers
on low-range frequencies
• Fits well under a driver’s seat
|• Creates a sound distortion and is likely |
trequire a filter
• Low power that doesn’t compare to large
• The sound often muffles or washes out
6. ORION HCCA 12 2000 Subwoofer
The subwoofer offers 2000 Watt of power, a solid polypropylene cone surface that does not distort sound waves or lets the air in. Although the seller claims the unit to be lightweight, the reality is, you will need much space to comfortably accommodate it inside the vehicle.
Also, since the power of the unit is tremendous, be ready to blow the cone out and have to replace it after a while of continuous subwoofer use.
|• High wattage and power|
• Fast shipping and well-thought-out packaging
• Stylish design
|• Distracting LED lights|
• The cone is likely to get blow eventually
• Requires a lot of storage space
7. ROCKFORD FOSGATE P3SD2-8 Subwoofer
The subwoofer is really small – you can count on it to deliver a sound quality boost in a tight car space. The power level is not that impressive – you will not get any further than 300 Watt. The good news is, the subwoofer is protected by a sturdy aluminum cone.
The design of the unit is stylish and catches the eye immediately. You will definitely not want to hide the subwoofer away from others since it adds a futuristic vibe to the interior. Also, there’s a warranty – you can try the unit for one year and reach out to the seller for a refund in case you didn’t like the experience.
|• Stylish design and high durability|
• Fits well, no need to further customize it
• 1-year warranty
|• Low power level|
• Does not fit some speaker models
• Leaks air inside
8. JL AUDIO Subwoofer 600W
The subwoofer has no amplifier in the package but the seller recommends getting one to make the most out of the unit. On its own, JL Audio Subwoofer offers 600 Watt of power. The enclosure is fully sealed – you will not have to struggle with distortions or air leaks, as well as fear to damage the humidifier.
A subwoofer is a tight fit for most vehicles – it will not slide from side to side. According to online reviews, the difference in clarity and power that comes with installing the product is tremendous.
|• Custom packaging and durable enclosure|
• Fits most amplifiers like a glove
• Clean and clear sound
|• The package is not complete|
• Requires a lot of vehicle space
• No warranty
9. BELVA Subwoofer Bundle 1200 Watt
This one is a full package – there’s a subwoofer with an enclosure, an amplifier, and a full wiring kit. The model offers 1200 Watts of power, further enhanced by a built-in amplifier. The design of the package is sturdy and durable – there are thick wires and aluminum cones.
Belva Subwoofer comes with a range of wiring items – there are several 8-gauge subwoofers you can try out during the installation process. A vehicle owner will have no need to get additional equipment after acquiring the unit.
|• Solid cone and packaging|
• Easy to install and wire
• High sound quality
|• Easy to blow the cover|
• Uneven power distribution across multiple
• Sound distortions are present
10. JBL 12-Inch BassPro Subwoofer
JBL is another highly durable unit on the list, with an aluminum cover and a multi-layered protection cast. The model has an auto-correction port that eliminates sound distortions and produces clean tones. The subwoofer is equipped with signal sensing – it will turn off and on automatically.
There are speaker-level inputs, bast boosters, and enabled phase control. The subwoofer really brings out lower and middle-range tones.
|• One of the cheapest speakers on the market|
• Easy to control remotely
• Built-in slipstream port
|• Challenging installation process|
• Low wattage
• The sound comes out bulky
11. ROCKVILLE 8-inch W8K9D4 Subwoofer
The subwoofer allows car owners to crank the sound up to 2000 Watt. There’s a stable coil that doesn’t coil or freeze. The subwoofer has a stylish aluminum finish and black coil stitching. Additional bonuses involve high sensitivity, fast shipping, and a compact size that fits inside most vehicles.
The magnets of the subwoofer model are quite big- the good news is, they manage to push a ton of air in and out.
|• High sound quality|
• Adjustable power range
• Stylish design
|• Complicated setup|
• REquire an additional amplifier
• High probability of voice coil shutdowns
12. ROCKVILLE SS8P Subwoofer
This one is durable and manages to ‘keep its cool’ well. Not only you will be protected from freezing and overheating, but the unit also uses energy quite reasonably and does not drain the car battery. Although the default sensitivity is average, you can increase and reduce the value depending on personal preferences.
Also, there’s a bass boost, along with a filter to clear out sound distortions. The coil is well-protected from overloads thanks to a specialized circuit.
|• Easy installation|
• Fully customizable
• High durability
|• No dramatic sound power difference|
• No user manual
• No warranty
13. BOSS AUDIO SYSTEMS Subwoofer
The subwoofer is known for high durability and damage resistance. It falls into the category of expensive models – the difference it makes is worth it from every point of view. There’s a rubber-made coil that is capable to withstand high sound volumes and drive distortions away brilliantly.
|• 3-year warranty|
• Stylish design
• Durable rubber cone
|• You have to drill additional holes to install it|
• Few connection points
• REquires an amp for more power
14. MTX Audio Subwoofer
MTX Audio Subwoofer is a little weak in terms of power and design. It’s definitely not a top-tier model – however, it’s a good one to see if you would enjoy using subwoofers as a whole. After all, this one is pretty durable and cheap. Unfortunately, it takes a while to figure out the right installation approach. Also, the unit has no remote control.
|• Low cost|
• Moderate durability
|• Requires a double-channel amplifier|
• Outdated design
• Low peak load
15. POLK AUDIO Subwoofer
Although small, this model boasts of much power capacity. The unit is well-designed with a sturdy finish, and a metal-made enclosure. The car subwoofers make even more difference if you power it with a 500-Watt mono amplifier. Having said that, the unit enhances the quality of low tones efficiently enough on its own.
|• Compact size|
• Nice cost-quality ratio
• Easy to mount
|• Wires fail easily|
• Shipping mistakes are common
A car subwoofer is not a must-have for every vehicle owner. However, if you want a superior listening experience, getting one is essential and hi. This small device manages to show the full power of low tones and creates a high level of immersion into the track.
Although there are multiple available subwoofer modifications on the market, hopefully, you will have no issues finding the right model thanks this buying guide. Take your time to decide what your best subwoofer looks like and work, then hit the market to make the dream of fully enjoyable car rides come true.