The 10 Best Car Subwoofers of 2020 Reviewed
The 10 Best Subwoofers for Your Car
In order for you to have the best bass possible in your car, one purchase you need to make sure you have is a great subwoofer be it an 12, 10, or 8 inch sub. In fact, it’s one of the best places to start if you’re looking at upgrading your car’s audio system.
It doesn’t matter if you listen to techno, classic rock, smooth jazz, or show tunes, all types of music can benefit from a solid bass.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of ten great sub-woofers for all types of users. Be sure to check out the list and find out which subwoofer will work for you.
Flexible and easy on the wallet, this subwoofer is a quick and easy way to add some much needed bass to your audio system. With a custom sealed enclosure, it’s going to consistently provide deep sound no matter the type of music.
It also comes with thermal and over-voltage protection, meaning this subwoofer is built for ultimate safety and efficiency. Even with all the protection and built-in durability, it’s surprisingly lightweight and is built for the years ahead. It doesn’t lose any sound either with its protection, producing a loud sound and clean bass. If you are looking for something without a kit, the Rockford Fosgate P2 12″ subwoofer is a worthy option.
300 Watts RMS, 600 Watts peak power
12-inch enclosed subwoofer
Class D amplifier
Frequency response 35-150 Hz
Brand: Rockford Fosgate
Weight: 16 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Clean, deep bass
- Good for those on a budget
- Easy installation
- Lower frequencies may not respond well
When searching for a subwoofer, many people make the mistake of going with the biggest, baddest subwoofer they can find to get their bass pumping. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, many people overlook lower-powered subwoofers that provide great sound quality.
The JL Audio 10 is a great bang for your buck subwoofer and you’re not going to be sacrificing any sound power despite paying less and not having as much power. IT’s also built with sturdy materials, such as a mineral-filled polypropylene cone. Installation is quite easy as well, since the subwoofer is quite compact and doesn’t require expert installation.
600 Watts RMS, Dual 4 Ohm
Frequency response 22-200 Hz
Mounting depth: 6.89”
Single 10-inch subwoofer
Brand: JL Audio
Weight: 22.1 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Amazing sound clarity and quality
- Deep bass
- Easy installation, easy to fit into any cars
- Sleek and slim design
- Nothing major
A good quality sub that’s both durable and affordable, it’s going to add clear bass to your sound system. Despite being small and lightweight, it adds plenty of sound to compete with the bigger subwoofers on the market.
This subwoofer was made with bassheads in mind, those that want great response without sacrificing any thumping power. Many users report that the subwoofer hits plenty hard despite its small frame.
It’s got a Kevlar reinforced pulp cone, built to last for years (no word on if it can withstand bullets or not). While not as powerful as your other subs, it has a frequency response of 30 Hz to 200Hz. It’s great for any music you put on, bringing everything together in a tight and sleek package.
150-300 Watts RMS, 1000 Watts peak power
Frequency response 30-200 Hz
8-inch single subwoofer
Kevlar reinforced pulp cone and Santoprene rubber surround
Weight: 12 pounds
Pros and Cons
Made for those on a budget
Smooth and clean bass
Lightweight and compact
Despite being built to last, some have complained about a short lifespan
With a bass that will fit almost anywhere, you can easily see how the Hideaway acquired its name. It’s perfect for under seats or storage areas where you may not usually find powered subs. It comes in at just over three inches tall, meaning this little sub is going to be packing a powerful punch.
The subwoofer offers big performance as it’s perfect for any music you decide to play. With a remote control brass knob, you can easily adjust the bass level on the go. All of this comes with an easy installation guide, meaning you won’t need to head to an expert to make sure you’re up and ready to go.
RMS 150 Watts
Frequency response 25-120 Hz
Compact 8-inch subwoofer
Variable phase control
Auto turn-on switch
Weight: 13.58 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Compact and lightweight
- Can fit just about anywhere in your car
- Clean, deep bass
- Easy installation
- Nothing major to write about
Oftentimes, people believe that by investing in a shallow subwoofer that they are going to be receiving low quality bass while riding around. This can be true in some models, but this subwoofer is a perfect example of just the opposite.
Even though it’s small, compact, and quite shallow, it packs quite a punch and easily produces crisp, loud audio. It can fit just about anywhere, meaning you get to keep your bass and your space.
Not only is it producing top quality sound, but it’s made of durable materials and made to last. The frame is made of cast alloy which elongates this subwoofer’s lifespan. The thin line series reduces distortion and leads to wonderful reproduced transients.
400 Watts RMS
Dual 4 Ohm
Frequency response 24-200 Hz
10-inch single subwoofer
Mica-filled polypropylene cone and cast alloy frame
Brand: JL Audio
Weight: 11 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Shallow, lightweight subwoofer
- Clean and clear bass
- Very durable materials, built to last
- Odd size
- Doesn’t perfectly fit in a 10-inch hole, installation can be tricky
This sub comes with a lot of power, maxing out at an outstanding 1600 Watts. It also comes loaded with a three-inch voice coil. It will be able to handle high-powered frequencies while avoiding any and all issues with distortion.
CT is known for their high quality subs, and the Meso isn’t any different. You’ll just have to decide where you’re going to install the beast, as its placement has a direct role on quality bass production.
Installation on this sub can be a bit tricky, as you’ll have to hook it up to a separate amp in order to draw power. This means you’re likely going to have to purchase additional parts in order to make sure the sub works.
But overall, it’s a great sub that can work with any setup.
800 Watts RMS, 1600 Watts peak power
Frequency range is not specified
Single 8-inch subwoofer
Double stitched paper cone and foam surround
Brand: CT Sounds
Model: Meso 2.08
Weight: 24 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Great sound at a great price
- Built to last long
- Comes in a variety of sizes, can be installed in any setup
- Consistent sound quality
- May not be loud or deep enough
- May need to purchase amp or enclosure depending on your setup
- Quite heavy
Built for those who have limited space, the Kenwood sub truly is quite compact. Unlike other subwoofers, you might be surprised to know that this sub is rectangular shaped. This shape allows it to fit in a variety of enclosures and spaces around your car.
With its flexibility, the Kenwood does sacrifice a little in terms of bass quality. Many users reported the bass not sounding quite as loud or clear as they would have liked. That being said, it does function with any type of music.
You won’t need an external amplifier to get this sub going, as its powered. It also comes with a remote bass control, meaning you can adjust the bass on the go.
Overall, this sub is built for those with limited space and a budget. You’re going to receive crisp sound from the sub, but just don’t expect to feel it as much as you would with others on this list.
75 Watts RMS, 150 Watts peak power
Frequency response 35-150 Hz
Steel basket and rubber surround
Weight: 6.17 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Small and lightweight
- Can fit just about anywhere
- Adds a nice bass to any car system
- Easy and quick installation
- Not loud enough
- Not enough bass, it’s not going to rattle you
Definitely the sub with the coolest name so far, this sub is top quality and comes in a sealed enclosure. It’s also quite affordable and adds plenty of extra bass to your vehicle. Users have raved about it’s simple setup and quality. It’s a sub for beginners and those trying to do a little DIY on their car. You can get the full kit with the amp, subs, and enclosure as well.
It’s a 12-inch subwoofer and provides tons of bass. In terms of value, you’re not going to find a much better sub than this. While it doesn’t have a ton of wattage, it does come with an enclosed box. The design helps limit distortion so you can jam out with plenty of clear bass along the way.
As an extra bonus, it is definitely the best-looking subwoofer you’ll find out there. It’s got a stylish build that just looks cool. It’s quite durable as well, as the speakers don’t tear easily and can take plenty of use.
400 Watts RMS, 800 Watts peak power
Frequency response 37-150 Hz
Dual 12-inch subwoofer enclosure
Polypropylene cone and rubber surround
Weight: 45 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Easy setup, perfect for beginners
- Stylish look
- Durable materials
- Very affordable
- The frequency response isn’t low enough
- Limited places to install
- Very heavy
Polk has been in the game for quite some time and they prove their worth with this great sub. It offers fantastic performance despite using lightweight materials. Many lightweight subs lose their power, but Polk has done their work and made sure you’re not losing any sound quality.
On the plus side, this subwoofer was built to stand the test of time. The materials are specially engineered to give you the best sound quality without risking distortion or failing on you during heavy bass usage.
The sub has earned the Advanced Ultra-Marine certification, so you know it will be delivering you top quality bass under the toughest conditions. It has waterproof surrounds, stainless steel mounting hardware, and even has weep holes for proper drainage. While we wouldn’t recommend driving into a hurricane, you could still be pumping music with the winds going wild around you.
420 Watts RMS, 1260 peak power
12-inch subwoofer with dual 4-Ohm voice coils
Certified for marine use
Frequency response 26-2000 Hz
Fiberglass reinforced ABS basket and waterproof surround
Brand: Polk Audio
Weight: 13.1 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Clear and deep bass
- Can be used in cars or boats with the marine certification
- One of the most durable subs on the market
- Installation can be a bit tricky for beginner users
Rockford is another long-standing member of the subwoofer community, putting out quality subs for quite some time. You know you’re going to be getting high-quality performance with these subs each time.
They deliver plenty of bass, despite being shallow-mount subwoofers. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in bass quality and power. It will easily hang with its larger subwoofer brethren. This is all thanks to its advanced materials and top quality engineering. With an anodized aluminum cone and dust cap, it’s built to last without sacrificing any power or bass under maximum load.
It also fits in just about any space, meaning if you’ve got a compact vehicle you can fit it anywhere. The sub comes in at just under three inches deep, meaning it’s going to fit in places where many other subs would not. You can either build a customer enclosure and find a suitable box to make it work.
150 Watts RM, 300 Watts peak power
Frequency response 38-250 Hz
SIngle 8-inch subwoofer
Kevlar reinforced paper-pulp cone and StampCast basket
Brand: Rockford Fosgate
Weight: 8.8 pounds
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight, can fit just about anywhere
- Punchy bass with plenty of sound
- Affordable, perfect for those on a budget
- Advanced materials mean it’s quite durable
- May not be loud enough
- Installation can be difficult for beginners
Subwoofer Buyers Guide
Now that you’ve gone about reading various types of subwoofers on the market, how do you go about choosing one? Can you simply just throw a dart at a board and hope for the best one? What are the best amplifiers to pair with your subs?
It can be hard to find the right subwoofer for you. Heck, it was hard to make this list! With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which route to go. Just like searching for a restaurant on a Friday night with indecisive friends, finding the perfect one can be complicated and challenging.
To help you out, we’ve created this quick guide that will help point you in the right direction. Best of luck on the adventure!
Top Features to Look For
Reading the above list, you might have seen some words you recognize and others that sound completely foreign to you. For a beginner, that can be intimidating because you might not be sure what the difference between a good or bad number is for certain properties.
When you’re looking for a subwoofer, be sure to look at the following properties first.
This one is pretty easy, so we decided to start here. It’s a pretty simple equation: the more power a sub has, the cleaner and deeper the bass is going to be. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!
So, if you’re in the market for a bass that will register on the Richter scale, you’re going to want to find a bass with plenty of power. The higher the power the more powerful the bass.
But if you don’t want to set off every car alarm in your neighborhood and prefer a better car stereo system with just a slightly deeper bass, then you can opt for a woofer with slightly less power.
You’ll find the information on the RMS ratings and check out the peak power last. The RMS (root-mean-square) is the average power you’re going to be getting from your woofer. Peak power is obviously the height of its powers.
After power, the most important thing to check out is the woofer’s sensitivity. If your subwoofer has a high sensitivity rating, that means less power is necessary to produce high quality sound. This is good for your battery and overall woofer life.
For example, a sub with a high sensitivity range is going to use less power in order to achieve the same amount of sound than a model with a lower sensitivity rating. Those with higher sensitivity ratings tend to be more expensive, but they offer better power saving options without sacrificing quality.
So if you have a powerful amp, be sure to buy a subwoofer with high sensitivity. It’s going to be the best long-term option for your vehicle.
Still keeping up? Good, because now we’re on to frequency range. Essentially, the greater frequency range a subwoofer has, the better it is at playing all of those high and low sounds that come from the bass sequence.
This means it’s better suited to handle whatever music you decide to play. If you’ve got a wide range of music or one of those Spotify lists that has your friends say “what in the world are we listening to”, then you should opt for a subwoofer with a great frequency range.
Those with a greater range will be more likely to produce those low sounds from the bass, lowering distortion and keeping sound quality consistent and clear.
Keep in mind though that many things can affect the performance of your sub. While your sub may have a great frequency range, certain things like the enclosure and location can have a huge impact on performance.
When looking at subs, you’re likely to see two options when it comes to voice coils: single voice coil and dual voice coils. But what are these voice coils anyway?
It’s quite complicated to explain, as voice coils are electromagnets that help pass energy through the entire subwoofer and are what make the speaker head vibrate.
Cutting off the science lesson, single voice coils are usually preferred by beginners while dual voice coils, often written as DVC, tend to be looked on more favorably on by advanced car engineers.
That being said, DVC subwoofers provide better sound quality overall but can be harder to install.
Why should you have a subwoofer anyway?
Simply put, if you’re a music enthusiast and there’s nothing you love better than riding around listening to your favorite tunes, then a subwoofer is a must for vehicle’s audio system. They’re going to increase the quality and make you truly feel the music.
Your basic car speakers simply aren’t powerful enough to provide you with top quality music. Have you ever tried on a really nice pair of headphones, like Beats or top-of-the-line Sony models? The output is worlds better than your average pair of headphones you picked up for $20.
Getting into the more technical side, your basic car speakers are simply too small to produce enough audio. They have trouble generating those low-end frequencies, making the music sound better, deeper, and more real.
Even if the car salesman is bragging about the car’s audio system, no car can match the power that comes with an installed subwoofer. Even your most basic subwoofers are going to provide better sound quality than the majority of top-end car audio systems.
Plus, subwoofers help greatly reduce disturbance and distortion, greatly improving sound quality in general.
If you want to give it a try, head to your local electronics store or car audio workshop and give it a try. Bring some of your favorite songs, even those you’ve heard millions of times to experience the sound quality difference.
What You Need for a Subwoofer
For your sub to get power, you’re going to need an amplifier to help your sub achieve those loud and clean sounds your heart so desires. You’ll also need a well-designed enclosure which will affect how long your sub can go.
When it comes to the number of subwoofers, the majority of people usually go with just one. If you decide to buy cheaper or lower quality subs, you might need two. That’s why it’s best to stick with one, high-quality sub.
Let’s Talk About Enclosures
Throughout the course of the list, you’ve seen us talk about enclosures. An enclosure is going to play a big role in the overall performance.
If you’re looking for a tight bass and rich sound, then you’re going to want to go for the sealed enclosure. A sealed enclosure is a small box that is airtight, allowing subwoofers to perform extremely well. They require a bit more power than ported boxes, something to keep in mind for the long run.
These enclosures use ports (duh) or vents in order to allow maximum air flow in and out of the enclosure. This will help produce those low bass tones, meaning they’re great for subwoofers with a great frequency range.
They’re great for the thumping music, like classic rock, techno, heavy metal and rap.
Ported enclosures are significantly larger than your sealed enclosures, meaning they may not be ideal for every vehicle depending on space and available room.
By far the least common of all enclosures, bandpass boxes and specially made types of ported boxes. With this type of enclosure, the sub is mounted in a dual-chamber box to produce an extra loud sound accompanied with a narrow frequency range.
It’s best suited for those who enjoy the aggressive sounds like heavy metal, rap, or certain types of electronic music. Just make sure not to bang your head too hard while driving.
Should You Go Professional the DIY Route?
To DIY or not to DIY, that is the question. Many car enthusiasts, whether they are beginners or experts, enjoy going the DIY route. There’s just something about being able to make your own upgrades and changes.
The good news is the majority of subwoofers are quite easy to install. Many come with a detailed instruction manual and if not, you can find plenty of YouTube videos walking you through the process.
Just like building Ikea furniture, you’re going to need a few basic tools such as screws and a screwdriver. Depending on your setup, you may also need an amplifier, enclosure, and other materials to round out your work.
If you’re someone with basic experience and you’re pretty good with your hands, then you can take a crack at it. If you’re unsure and/or afraid you’ll break something or damage your subwoofer, then it might be best to take it to a professional. Yes, you’ll pay more money but you get to have peace of mind that it will be installed correctly.
The best thing to do is check out a few videos ahead of time and see if it’s something you can do. If nothing else, you can learn something along the way!
Below, we have a list of common questions that usually come up. Take a look and see if you’re having any lingering questions in your hand.
More power equals more bass, so how much power do I need?
Well, that all depends on you. If you want a super powerful bass, you’re going to need plenty of power. Peak power is important, but you should be checking out the subwoofer’s RMS rating since that is what it’s going to be operating at on a consistent basis.
Where do I put my subwoofer?
Honestly, that’s up to you again. Many people opt to put it under the driver or passenger-side seat while others put it in the trunk. If you’re worried about not hearing those sweet, sweet thumping bass noises while it’s in the trunk, you should toss those worries out the window.
Are the materials to the subwoofer important?
Yes! The materials used to make the subwoofer are quite important. You may have seen some being fitted with Kevlar or certain types of foam. These materials go a long way in keeping the subwoofer safe and making sure it doesn’t wear over time. When you are powering your subs with a massive class D amp, you want to make sure they can take it!
Do some subwoofers work better with certain types of music?
While all subwoofers will say they work well with any type of music, there are some that definitely work better with various genres.
If you’re a rap or rock fan, you’re going to get a subwoofer with ported enclosure to get the most out of your music. If you’re someone that listens to a little bit of everything, make sure you find a sub with a great frequency range to catch all the highs and lows of music.
Finding the right subwoofer can be hard, but much of it depends on you, the type of car you have, your taste in music, and your budget. While we’re not going to tell you to drop tons of money on a subwoofer, you want to make sure you’re investing in a high-quality sub. If not, you won’t be greeted with those great bass sounds and deeper music feel.
Just make sure to check through the power, frequency range, and materials that go into your sub. You want something to play your music and last for the long haul!