For many people, the most important aspect of any car stereo setup is the bass. Others prefer epic proportions, and some might go for volume over anything else. Whatever your sub-woofing needs, we've compiled a list of the 10 best subwoofers for cars.
We've sifted through the most popular car subwoofer purchases to find the best ones available on the current market. Below, we've translated those alien-like specifications into something that makes much more sense. Regardless of how much air pumping, trunk thumping, or sonic bass boom you fancy, we've got you covered.
We think you'll like: 6x9 Speakers
Table of Contents
- View The Best Subwoofer For Car Below
- Car Subwoofer Buying Guide
We'll explore some different aspects surrounding these thumping car speakers, including size, power, and their enclosure casings. These are things you should understand and consider before you decide on the best subwoofer for great bass in your car. So let's look at the 10 best power subs.
Looking for a smaller option? Try these top-rated 6.5 speakers.
View The Best Subwoofer For Car Below
1. Alpine SWR-12D2 Type-Rz
This top pick from Alpine is a bare subwoofer on the market that you will need to source or build an enclosure for. It measures 12 inches In diameter and given the idyllic box will seriously rattle your ride. Looking for bigger subs? Check out these 18" subwoofers.
The cone is composed of a pulp which has been treated with Kevlar for extra stiffness and durability. The surround is formed with trademarked Santoprene. It sits in a progressive cone spider cast aluminum frame mount. The dual 2-ohm voice coils are over-sized, high temperature and altogether great quality.
It has a great low-frequency response of between 24 and 200 kHz perfect for producing whopping great bass pulsations. Its power handling is from 300 to 1000 watts RMS power, 500 per coil its peak power is 3000 watts. It is sensitive ti within 84.7 decibels
Its Top-mount depth is 6-3/8 inches and the cut-out diameter 10-7/8 inches
Most customers have opted for reflex system design enclosures over solid sealed enclosure products to pair with this car audio subwoofer but both report satisfaction.
+ 1000 watts RMS power.
+ Solid and rugged system design.
+ Beastly bass.
Why We Liked It - As our editors choice, this one is a top pick subwoofer on the market ideal for serious bass-heads, We suggest a reflex case for sound quality as it is pretty hardcore.
2. MTX TNE212D
This listing is for a complete package which consists of an MTX loaded car subwoofer sound system along with a capable mono amplifier and an installation kit with all the essentials for mounting in your motor.
He manufacturing have made this an effortless install and taken care of the math and logistics to find the idyllic enclosure for housing the Terminator subwoofers so they can move with far less power guzzling.
They handle 200 watts RMS power each totaling 400 RMS power at 800-watt peaks. They have polypropylene dust caps for added durability and incredibly lightweight. They also incorporate a mechanical cooling processor (Spider Plateau Venting) which refreshes the air intake around the coil to compensate for heat build-up.
+ Full kit.
+ Cooling incorporated.
+ Dual 12”.
Why We Liked It - Having a full kit with all the SPL math sorted for you makes for a nice easy option they are also very rugged they use much stronger strength MDF than a lot of models on the market to cope with booming reverb.
3. BL CT-Bass Pro12
The JBL CT-Bass Pro12 Is already housed in its tailored companion enclosure, which has been optimized for efficiency and providing the clearest bass sounds. It is a reflex style enclosure with a patented Slipstream port for minimizing turbulence and preventing compromised audio quality.
Its construction features twelve-inch diameter polypropylene cone with a rubber surround that provides resonance dampening and over-sized dual-stacked magnets, for increased magnetic flux. The cones motions are controlled by the patented GT Bass Progressive Spider enabling high excursion listening.
Subwoofer coils are subject to heat accumulation when used at high volumes for long periods, JBL have tried to combat this with a vented pole piece which improves the power handling at low power compression
It has a built-in amplifier running 150 Watts RMS/450peak and remote controls for adjusting the bass accordingly.
+ Built-in cooling solution
+ Own amplifier.
+ 450 watts RMS peak.
Why We Liked It - It provides distortion-free bass at a high output the housing has been systematically optimized it sound incredible.
4. MTX Audio 5512-44 5500
Another 12” Bass speaker from MTX audio here, this time just the car audio subwoofer itself ready for custom installation. It is a dual 4 ohm woofer and features MTX's Spider plateau venting to keep the driver cool and ultimately noise free at loud levels. The venting help keeps warm air away from the voice coil so if free to boom.
It harbors an inverted apex surround which is narrower than their typical roll surround allowing a greater surface area for the core and enabling it to displace far more air. Inside of the motor structure is their integrated t-yoke heat-sink it absorbs heat from the voice coil and radiates it out from the back-plate and makes for an efficient thermal management technique. It also has easy to connect compression terminals for simplified installation.
+ Dual 4 Ohm.
+ Thermal management and spider plateau venting.
+ 400W RMS power.
Why We Liked It - The key system design aspects ensure delivers exceptional bass frequency responses.
5. Kicker 12-Inch 300W
Kicker is going above and beyond to proficiently produce some excellent speakers made with good quality components that provide an affordable option to the masses. This pair features their updated cooling solutions (perimeter venting) and spiraled tinsel-lead for extra longevity.
They are sold as a promising pair for around the $100 mark and make a great addition or replacement subwoofer set. They are 12 inches with an OHMS impedance of 4 ohms and are sufficiently versatile for sealed enclosure subs or vented enclosures.
They are manufactured with stiff injection molded cones that are braced in a 360-degree manner. They have a highly resilient steel basket and double stitched surrounds to withstand the most impacting bass-lines.
Each car audio subwoofer copes with 150 Watt RMS power 300 max for a total of 600 combined and put out a pretty impressive volume they are sensitive to 88.3 decibels.
+ Highly responsive.
+ Super durable.
Why We Liked It - Paired with good enclosure set-ups they are chest buzzing beasts, they provide deep resonant bass and are possibly the best car subwoofer for the money.
6. Pioneer TS-SW2002D2
Next up is an 8 inch shallow mount subwoofer from Pioneer it measures 10.5 inches and utilities an over-sized cone structure which provides greater cone and gasket surface at the same external dimension. This, in turn, allows it to capably move more air and produce louder and deeper bass than a typical shallow sub-mount.
This shallow mount subwoofer has been formed using pioneers flexible MICA injection molded resin for accurate reproduction of quaking bass. It has a frequency range of 20-200 kHz and a sensitivity of 86 decibels and all in all is a pretty powerful speaker, especially considering its top mount depth is just 2-5/8”.
Averaging at around sixty bucks, this shallow mount subwoofer provides excellent value for money as well as the opportunity for you to get creative with your own home builds.
+ Over-sized cone.
+ Top mount depth 2 & 5/8 in
Why We Liked It - This Pioneer shallow mount subwoofer competitively priced at the low end, but we feel this one is heavy, solid, and well made and will provide rattle-free, bass heavy sound.
7. Kenwood KSC-SW11 Compact
If you aren't looking to set any SPL records and are sensibly after a decent bass boost for your vehicle this product is probably more up your street. Kenwood's KSC-SW11 is a fantastically compact space saving solution. Its low profile is unbelievable it can be placed under seats or in tight spaces. It comes in a solid well constructed durable subwoofer enclosure and is powered with its own built-in amplifier. Kenwood's KSC-SW11 runs at 75Watts RMS power with a maximum of 150 Watts. It also comes with remote bass level control. It installs simply the device only needs connecting to your car battery, grounding, and wiring to your head unit
This one is a top-notch option it makes for one of the smallest powered bass boxes going the thumps of the power subs pack a punch despite their tiny size. Some people are even opting for 2 as they have such small footprints and are easy to hide. Now they aren't moving a tonne of air and are probably not much of a match for a high-end couple of 12's but they extend the low register and provide a decent bass sounds boost and it's by Kenwood so in terms of durability we are probably talking lifelong.
+ Compact footprint.
+ All in one car audio subwoofer system.
+ High quality construction.
+ Connect to car battery, grounding and wiring to head units
Why We Liked It - Kenwood's KSC-SW11 is a prefect option for those with limited space and also for those who aren't looking for anything overboard that requires mounting, and sucks their batteries dry whilst it wobbles the windows, but does appreciate a bit of bass in their travel playlist.
8. Dual Electronics BP1204
This set of car subwoofers to buy on Amazon is a high-performance pair of studio-level enclosed bandpass subwoofers. They are 12 inches in diameter an have a whopping 1,100 Watts of peak power between them both. Each is 600Watts RMS power at a level of around 4ohms impedance.
They have increased output capabilities thanks to their specialized tune port that include 2.5 voice coils and cones brushed with aluminum.
The computer-aided system design blueprints have been engineered for unrivaled optimization and unbelievable efficiency. The subwoofer enclosure is High-grade extra strength MDF and has a carpet for sound streamlining. They also have ventilated control circuitry which is all viewable through the stylish curved Plexiglas which provides a 'surreal viewing experience'.
+ Dual 12” band pass subwoofers.
+ Carpeted subwoofer enclosure with reinforced construction
+ Built-in crossover for installation simplicity.
Why We Liked It - This one provides studio accurate bass response, the built in crossover means it will be easy to add to existing speaker systems. These ones are as great looking as they are sounding.
9. Pioneer TS-W254R
A single solitary 10-inch solid-built subwoofer from pioneer hits penultimate position in our subwoofer review. This Pioneer TS-W254R component subwoofer employs a 6-layer copper voice coils and a composite cone that has been injection molded for seamless parts. The unbelievably low price and great quality of the components selected is a real testament to Pioneers capabilities it really makes for a great addition to their already popular champion series subwoofers.
Pioneer recommends a 1.23 cubic foot box with a port or vent. As car subwoofers to buy on Amazon go these are on par with some very expensive models, they provide excellent bass performance it racks up a titanic 1100 watts peak RMS so its no surprise as to why it's a best seller. The Pioneer TS-W254R component subwoofer has high power handling and features Pioneers first lass features
+ 10 inch.
+ Seamless cone.
+ 1,100 W Peak RMS.
Why We Liked It - This Pioneer TS-W254R component subwoofer provides some mean mega bass sounds it wont set you back too much we think sticking to the recommended subwoofer enclosure suggestion will provide the best sound from this subwoofer on the market right now. It genuinely is one of the best 10 inch car subwoofers to buy online.
10. Kicker DCWR122
Last on our list but by no means least is a 12-inch dual subwoofer enclosure from Kicker, a company that is taking the subwoofer industry by storm.
The enclosure its self is a front-facing reflex design with a tuned port, it has been factory built and tuned and is of a high-quality level of construction. The tuning of the enclosure provides an even better bass response. It is high density carpeted MDF. The size has been specially calibrated for optimal use and it is a re-manufactured product benefiting from a host of improvements.
It houses 2 x 12-inch subwoofers each capable of 1,000 Watts at an OHMS impedance of 2 ohms totaling a tremendous 2,000 Watt peak RMS. It has solid brass terminals and makes for an easy install.
+ 2,000 Watts peak.
+ All in one option.
+ Easy install.
Why We Liked It - It is an affordably priced dual subwoofer option which offers simple installation no need for calculations or customization. It offers optimal savage bass pulsations effectively out of the box.
Car Subwoofer Buying Guide
Before we conclude our reviews we are going to take a moment to go through some of the key information related to subwoofer purchases in an effort to wheedle out what is important to know before you buy.
What is a Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is a very low frequency producing speaker, containing one or more woofers sometimes called a loudspeaker once housed. They are specifically designed for handling bass sounds and sub-bass frequencies. They are used in many set-ups from desktop computer speakers, home cinemas, home studio speaker set-ups, concerts, festivals, and raves.
While standard speaker sets will cover a broad range of audio output, any setup will have an instantly noticeable difference with the inclusion of a subwoofer handling the lower, thumping ranges.
They are built to capably withstand the sound pressure level (SPL) of low end sounds played at high decibels and were originally created to save traditional speakers from lower, louder damaging frequency pressures.
They move large volumes of air and often require a lot of power. It is fairly simple to generate high volume bass over a small bandwidth and many cheap car subwoofers to buy do exactly this, creating studio level sub-bass is a little trickier and requires more powerful amplification or a larger bass driver/several small ones.
Subwoofers all function in a very similar simple way but the styles and specifications differ and it can sometimes be difficult to pick apart the pros and cons of each.
How Do Subwoofers Work?
Most commonly subwoofers are electromagnetically driven. They house a stiff cone driven by a single voice coil centered in a magnetic field.
The single voice coil is attached dot the back of the speaker cone and it moves when current flows through it pushing and pulling on the driver cone which moves in and out like a piston, creating waves as it is in motion.
Typically they are circular as with the majority of speakers this is an ideal shape for funneling directional sound where you want it. It also produces a cleaner sound far less distorted than other shapes which some companies developed In the early 2000s.
Other shape options were initially explored for car use because ultimately a car is not well suited for typical loudspeakers. A decent loudspeaker actually requires a fair amount of space to function to the best of its abilities. Bass cabinets (bass bins) that house loudspeakers for concerts are sometimes larger than the trunk of a car.
The displacement volume is what reproduces loud low frequencies and without space, the displacement is not as impactive as it could be.
Non-circular shapes allow for bigger cone areas in limited mounting space situations but at the sacrifice of sound quality. The louder you go the more the sound will distort.
Another key factor with subwoofers is the room they are in and it's natural acoustics, which you can probably guess a car isn't half as suited for as an auditorium or theater.
Sizes: 10-Inch Subwoofers Vs 12-inch Subwoofers
The range of sizes goes from 8-inch subwoofers to 21-inch subwoofers for typical commercial use. When it comes to using in cars audio, by far the most common is the tens or twelves, with outer measurements respectively in inches. The best car subwoofers aren't always the biggest, there will only be minor differences within the actual audio outputs in the different sizes, this usually being more dependent on power, but as you increase the size of the bass cars speakers itself you will, of course, increase its output.
One key factor to bear in mind when picking the size of your speaker set up is to make sure the boot of your car is large enough for any power subs you want to be installed, and you must bear in mind, enclosures will also take up further space.
Type Of Enclosures
Some subwoofer car accessories you buy housed in an enclosure already other car accessories are solely the subwoofer to add to your own build or replace previous woofers.
The enclosure style can actually have more of an impact on the performance of the subwoofer than the diameter size difference. Speaker enclosures in general (all types) need to be able to successfully separate the sound waves projects forwards from those at the rear because otherwise, the two cancel one another as they will be out of phase and produce a terrible bass response. This is especially true for low-end frequencies and so the right enclosure is all the more important for subwoofers.
Usually, the drive of a subwoofer is placed hidden inside of a bandpass cabinet a tuned box that can resonate efficiently this is what we see in typical home set-ups. The majority of powered car subwoofers adopt a reflex design over a closed box design.
Bass reflex type of enclosures is sometimes called ported enclosures or vented box or even reflex port. Ported enclosures employ a hole with a section of tubing or pipe the two work in harmony like a pipe-organ. If they are built with accurate volume calculations they can be louder than a sealed enclosure.
The math, for those interested, is explained in this Youtube video
The equation is based on the Thiele/Small parameters and also takes into consideration Hoffman's Iron Law. The fundamentals of the equation take into account projected area of the diaphragm of the driver, the mass of the parts, compliance of the drivers suspension, Its mechanical resistance, The voice inductance, the volume of air and much much more.
Passive Vs Active?
Passive subwoofers contain a subwoofer driver which is powered by an external amplifier, they typically have internal passive crossovers. Active ones have a dedicated subwoofer amplifier built-in.
What is the RMS Power Rating?
RMS stands for Root, Mean Square is a statistical measurement of voltage or current. The RMS power rating with powered car subwoofers is to give an indication as to the highest possible measure of continual power which the speaker can handle.
How to Install A Subwoofer In A Car?
How to install your subwoofer depends on whether you bought a bare subwoofer or one already enclosed. As installs go they are relatively simple, thanks to the popularity of the SPL wars they are copious amounts of DIY instructional video's available online.
If you are still unsure you can seek a professional, there are millions of garages or mechanics worldwide capable of putting in all the connections and making sure everything is neat and working.
As you have probably concluded yourself there is far more involved with choosing the right subwoofer for your car than perhaps first gleaned. If you are struggling to make sense of the logistics behind your own type of enclosures opt for something already contained. If you are building your own seek some advice, fortunately, today the popularity of the SPL wars has led to a whole subculture of extreme car 'suping' so there is a wealth of material on the subject available online you can learn from others mistakes and benefit from their trial and error knowledge. There are some amazing low-cost car accessories out there to give your car a sufficient bass boost.
It is important to remember that less is sometimes more as far as audio quality is concerned. The next important factor is the enclosure really is key the most expensive speaker from some of the best car subwoofer brands, in the wrong enclosure will sound awful and vice versa, so size and money aren't factors that weigh in too heavily here. We hope we have provided you with sufficient food for thought and a few fantastic options to consider for purchase.
Although the human ear only detects a certain range of frequencies using sub bass tracks and amplifiers at loud volumes can have irreparable effects on your hearing so we ought to warn you about the dangers within an enclosed space such as your car you are at risk of Tinnitus as well as low frequency hearing loss altogether the sensitive hairs in your ears die over the course of your life as they are exposed to individual frequencies overexposure reduces the longevity if you listen to a lot of basses ultimately you will lose your lower range of hearing earlier than most people begin to.
Did You Know?
Sub woofers are part of speaker amplifications long history and some of the biggest were originally created in the 60/70's for adding extra tension in movie theaters for jump scares
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