10 Best Free Air Subwoofers of 2020

10 Best Free Air Subwoofers of 2020

Best Free Air Subwoofers

There are plenty of different subwoofers out on the market to take your car audio to the next level and free air subwoofers are another great addition. In the past, we’ve seen massive competition subwoofers and under-seat units. With free air subwoofers, you won’t have to build or buy an enclosure.

Opting for a free air subwoofer is going to save you a bit of trunk space. Instead of using the enclosure, you can just use the trunk itself. No need to fit or configure a giant, awkward looking, heavy box that takes up room.

Not only do the free air subwoofers take up less space, but they’re also going to be a cheaper option for you. It may be the best way to fill out your sound system’s profile. With the cheaper cost and less space, there is a noticeable downside in that they don’t produce as much punch as you might get with a regular subwoofer.

If this is something that is really important to you, then you might be best to skip on the free air subwoofer and go for one with an enclosure. But if you’re just looking for a solid upgrade to your sound system, then this is definitely an option for you.

Below, we’ve got some great examples of free air subwoofers for you to check out and make an educated decision on.

 

JBL CS1214

If you’re looking for a bargain deal in a sea of bargain deals, it won’t get much better than this. This subwoofer is a great entry sub for any people out there who just want a bit of extra bass or to see how a subwoofer would impact their car’s sound system.

This package comes with two subwoofers from the ever-reliable JBL, meaning you can set them both up as free air subs. You’ll be able to get a lot more movement and sound with two that you would with just one.

They’re pretty big, 12 inches each, so they’ll be making some serious impact on your sound system.

If you’re really enjoying the sound of these subs, you can put them in an enclosure later on. They sound great as free air subs but to really bring out their full potential need to have an enclosure.

These subs are quite powerful as well, 2000 Watts max and 250 Watts RMS. This means you’ll be getting clean, deep bass to listen to.

At the price that they’re offered at, this truly is a bargain deal.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Powerful subs that deliver clean bass
  • Enough power to overcome the fact they’re free air
  • An absolute bargain

Cons:

  • Need an enclosure to unleash their true potential


Kicker 10C104

With a name like Kicker, you know these guys must be ahead in the car audio business. Year after year of producing quality products means that these guys are making everything for everyone. From novice audiophiles to those who need their car’s audio system to be perfect, Kicker has something for just about everyone.

The 10C104 has amazing value for what it offers and gives you a sizeable upgrade without having to empty out your wallet.

It also goes better with an enclosure but if you’re deciding to leave it free air then this sub has more than enough to get the job done. But if one day you decide to hit the upgrade button, you can grab a second one and put them both in an enclosure for some body-rattling hard bass.

This sub is fantastic for a beginner, as it allows you to upgrade over time without having to spend a fortune. If you are happy with the sub as is, then you can leave it that way and still enjoy great audio quality.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great bass output for its price, amazing value
  • Built with the Kicker brand, durable and reliable

Cons:

  • The bass isn’t going to blow you away in an open-air setup

Pyle PLPW8D

We always appreciate those that are upfront and honest with us. If the shirt looks bad, say something. If the poem was awful, please speak up. We try and give you that same kind of honesty and feedback.

This sub is more about a bargain than it is about audio quality. You won’t find it on any awards list or being recognized for its outstanding quality. The quality is borders are being less than average but boy oh boy is it hard to pass up for its price.

If you’re someone serious about car audio, it’s best just to skip on to the next one because you will be more than disappointed by this sub. If you’re someone looking to try out what a subwoofer sounds like or add the smallest upgrade to your car, then this is the one for you.

It doesn’t have great components, it doesn’t really push air around, nor does it handle power very well. It does have a 400 Watts RMS rating which is surprising, but it’s not going to harness that power all too well.

There’s not really much else to say about this sub, so here are some everyday things that are more expensive than the PLPW8D:

  • A dinner out for two
  • Two movie tickets
  • A nice bottle of wine
  • A computer keyboard
  • Basically any “as seen on TV” items

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • The price, it’s so cheap it’s hard to pass up
  • It’s a basic subwoofer that adds basic improvement to your sound system

Cons:

  • Not well made
  • Doesn’t produce great sound

 

 

JBL S2-1224

Another JBL model, these industry giants come back with another great free air subwoofer that shows why they’ve been able to stick around for so long.

It also comes at a bargain price, meaning you can have great sounding music without having to reach down into your savings to do so

This sub is built with great components, meaning it’s going to be durable and produce fantastic sound on a regular basis. This is thanks largely in part to its 275 Watts RMS and up to 1100 Watts peak power.

Its diameter is 12 inches and its deep enough to provide you with better sounds than you might be getting with a shallow mount.

As always though, to unleash this sub’s full ability you’re going to want to put it in an enclosure. It will still produce sweet sounds no matter what music you’re listening to but in order to take full advantage, you’re going to want to purchase an enclosure for your ride.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Plenty of power to bring lots of bass to your system
  • An absolute bargain when you factor in the price

Cons:

  • Does not hit as hard as some may like it to

 

Wet Sounds XS-10FA-S4V2

We can’t go this far without giving our aquatic friends something to read which is why we picked out this version from Wet Sounds. Marine subs (that work and can withstand the pounding) are hard to come by, but this version goes beyond expectations.

These subs pack plenty of power, rated at 300 Watts RMS which means you’re going to be pumping plenty of bass as you roll across the waves. They also come equipped with a fantastic frequency response range, going low enough to handle just about any type of music.

Not only that, but these subs look great with a silver protective grill that will go well with just about any boat you decide to take out on the open seas.

This sub is by far the most durable out there, built to withstand even the toughest of aquatic conditions without a drop in quality. Its design will make sure no water pools up around the subwoofer, keeping it as dry as possible while you crash over the waves.

We can’t recommend this sub high enough for an immediate boat upgrade, so make sure and give this one a look before summertime comes rolling around again.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Extremely durable, meant to last
  • Great frequency range, hits the lows quite well

Cons:

  • Durability doesn’t come without a price and these are expensive

 

Infinity Reference REF1200S

Now that we’ve gotten past the riffraff, it’s time to focus on this quality speaker from Infinity. You’re going to get great sound and plenty of clean bass. It is more than enough for your car’s audio system and you’re bound to notice a difference immediately.

This sub is pretty light, weighing around eight pounds and is meant for a shallow mount. Don’t let the size fool you as this sub still packs a punch.

It’s not going to be the loudest or boldest sub out there, but you’re still going to get plenty of quality bass coming from its direction. It’s a 12-inch sub giving you plenty of surface area even if it doesn’t have quite the amount of depth you may want.

This sub is meant for those who have a bit of extra space in the trunk but it can still fit in plenty of tight spaces. But if you want the best sound quality, then you’re going to want to make sure you have plenty of room in your trunk. The more air that can move around, the louder and better your bass is going to be.

All in all, it’s a quality sub for those that have more space in their trunk.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Easy to set up in just about any vehicle, but works best with more space
  • Easily upgradable, meant for the future

Cons:

  • Not as hard-hitting as other subs

 

Pioneer TS

Pioneer is an easily recognizable name that has been producing quality products for years and years. You know you’re going to be getting a durable product that will last you for years to come and will produce great sound.

With that name recognition, however, it does come with a little bit of a price jump. That’s largely because of the amount of power that’s packed into this 8-inch sub. With more power comes more solid, deep bass that will announce your presence any time you ride through the neighborhood.

The TS is made with quality components and a sleek design, easily making it one of the best-looking subs out on the market. Due to its size, it can fit into plenty of tight spaces but as with all free air systems, works better with the more space it has.

As usual, it needs an enclosure in order to unleash its full potential but it’s the perfect sub for those who consider themselves more than beginner audiophiles. You won’t regret making the purchase, even if it does cost you a little extra.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Sleek, smooth design and quality components
  • Durable and easily up-gradable

Cons:

  • The price
  • Doesn’t hit the lows as well as you might think

Infinity Kappa

We’re back again with another Infinity and for good reason. This 8-inch sub packs plenty of power despite its small size. This is meant to be a subwoofer that bridges the gap between beginner and intermediate. So if you’re someone who’s paid attention to car audio for a while but don’t want to empty your bank account, this is a good option.

This sub packs plenty of power and is rated 400 Watts RMS with peak power of 1600 Watts. It’s got plenty of depth despite being a shallow mount subwoofer.

With the extra depth and build design, it makes it an optimal choice for any free air system. Obviously, it would work better with an enclosure, but you’re still going to get plenty of punch and great bass with it being a free air sub.

In terms of power handling, this the Kappa does an excellent job, outperforming just about every other sub on this list. It really is the perfect middleman sub for those looking to upgrade their system without committing to a more expensive setup.

It also has great frequency range, going low enough for all of you rap and hip hop lovers out there. It’s not as loud as other subs, instead going for quality over volume. You can take that either way, depending on how important it is to you.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great sound quality with some fantastic features
  • Packs a punch despite being small

Cons:

  • May not be deep enough for some free air installations

 

Kicker CompC CWCD154

If you’re looking to invest in a bigger sub (and hey, bigger is always better), then this Kicker model is right for you. At a whopping 15 inches and 600 Watts RMS rating, this sub can pack a ton of power and a ton of bass.

We know we sound like a broken record saying that all subs work best with an enclosure and this sub is no different. But…you almost don’t need an enclosure with this one to feel the bass rattling through your soul and shaking your windows.

It has a fantastic frequency range, extending to the lows quite well and being able to handle just about whatever music you throw at it.

Top-quality components went into this sub and it’s been built to withstand all the elements and give you great-sounding music throughout the entire day.

If you’re someone that’s looking for a big upgrade, then this is the way to go. As far as we’re concerned, it’s going to give you the biggest bass that you can find on the free air submarket.

It does come at a higher price though, but certainly not a level that will scare you away for good.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Incredibly deep bass
  • Thrives without an enclosure

Cons:

  • Price is a bit steep

 

Lanzar DCTOA15D

Wrapping up our list, we’ll finish with a brand that may not be well known to those who are not familiar with car audio systems.

This Lanzar model is a budget, with great sound for a solid price. Rated at 200 Watts RMS, this sub brings enough to give you a punchy bass without any distortion. It’s not the best rating in the world, but it is more than enough to get the job done.

It has a fantastic frequency range, allowing you to play just about anything you want without missing a beat. It can stretch all the way to the lows while being versatile enough to hit the highs well.

The sub was made with solid components as well, meaning it’s going to be plenty durable and not damage its inside components with consistent use. It’s also 15 inches, meaning you’re going to need plenty of space in order to house this monster.

It does lack the power to really rattle your car like you might want it to, but it’s still a fantastic deal with great sound quality that makes for a fine sub.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • It’s an absolute bargain for its size
  • Fantastic frequency range

Cons:

  • Installation is difficult

 

what to know before buying free air subs

Things to Consider When Buying a Free Air Subwoofer

While your budget and car will have a huge influence on which free air subwoofer you go for, what are some other things you need to be considering before making a purchase? We’ve outlined a few things to have in mind in order for you to make the smartest, best choice possible.

Power

Since your sub is not going to be enclosed, you want to make sure you have plenty of power in order to give you a punchy bass despite the unfavorable setup.

It’s important to remember that peak power isn’t the most important thing here. You need to be looking at the RMS rating, as this is the average power you can expect your subs to perform at. The sub’s maximum power is going to have little influence over your sound quality and production as a whole.

Sturdiness

You think pumping all of that bass day in and day out is easy? It most certainly is not! You need a sub that’s going to stand the test of time, meaning it’s going to be extra reliable and sturdy even if you’re using it every day.

Make sure you check out reviews to see which subs are reliable and have stood the test of time.

Frequency Range

You’re going to find a whole range of frequency ranges when you’re out shopping. Those with wider frequency ranges are going to be better at playing all types of music while those with low ranges are going to have better bases.

There’s not right or wrong answer here, it all depends on what your music preferences are and what you’re going to be listening to while cruising around.

Voice Coils

The more voice coils, the more wiring you’ll have to do. While it might be tempting to go with one voice coil for an easier setup, dual voice coils offer a bit more flexibility and tend to last longer than single voice coils.

 

Final Thoughts On Free Air Subs

All in all, you’re going to want a sub that best suits your music and your needs. It can be easy to get caught up on one sub, order it, and find out later that it doesn’t fit in your car nor is it compatible with your setup.

Make sure you take the time to research all your options and find out which free air subwoofer will work best for you. If you have the room and the budget, you may find superior sound quality with some of the enclosed subs we reviewed in our 10 Best Subs of 202o article.

 

Bryce

Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *