LAST UPDATED: January 17, 2020

The Best 12-Inch Subwoofers (Review) in 2021

Best Choice Rockford Fosgate 12-Inch Peak Subwoofer Rockford Fosgate 12-Inch Peak Subwoofer
Premium Pick Skar Audio 12" Car Subwoofer Skar Audio 12 Inch Car Subwoofer
Best Value BOSS Audio Systems 12 Inch Car Subwoofer BOSS Audio Systems 12 Inch Car Subwoofer

Music is medicine. It soothes the mind and boosts your mood, especially when you are driving. However, there are some things you need to do in order to enjoy high-quality music in your vehicle. One of the main things is equipping your sound system with a powerful subwoofer.

While subwoofers come in different sizes, the most popular is the 12-inch version. This is because it combines performance, power, and enough size to deliver hard-hitting bass. In this guide we review the best 12-inch subwoofers on the market and provide you with the necessary information to help you make an informed purchase.

The Best 12-Inch Subwoofer

If you are looking for a super-powerful sound and loud, air-moving bass, the Rockford Fosgate subwoofer should be your first option. It features a resistivity of just 4 ohms to ensure maximum bass output. Its RMS is 600 watts to ensure low-end bass production, while its max wattage is 1,200 watts to support a powerful stereo system without heating up. Additionally, this system features  dual 4-ohm voice coils, making it compatible with many amps on the market.

The advantage of this subwoofer is that its cone and surround are made of anodized aluminum with a spider venting design. This design ensures quality sound production while still dispatching heat and enhancing durability. It features a new hybrid stamp-cast basket for super strength and enhanced resonance while still ensuring it is lightweight. One downside is that this device is very expensive.

Key Features
  • 600 watts RMS and 1200 watts max power handling
  • Anodized aluminum cone and dust cap
  • Custom 10-AWG nickel plated push terminals
  • 4-ohm dual voice coil subwoofer
Specification
  • Brand Rockford Fosgate
  • Model P3D4-12
  • Weight 11.09 pounds
PROS

Lightweight model

Has a self-cooling system, making it highly durable

Provides deep bass and enhanced audio quality

Can withstand high power levels of up to 1,200 watts

Has CEA-2031 industrial standard certification

CONS

Pricey for some users

Low sensitivity

Needs a powerful amp for proper functionality

Not power-efficient.

For a pocket-friendly yet powerful subwoofer, consider this one from BOSS Audio Systems. This machine features a 4-ohm, 2-inch copper single voice coil for powerful sound production. With a high-efficiency injection cone design and rubber surround, this system produces not only unrivaled bass but also super quality sound. What’s more, its sensitivity is 94 dB, and it has a resonating frequency of 28 Hz to ensure high volume and deep bass production.

What makes this subwoofer outstanding is that it can support up to 1400 watts despite its reasonable price. It comes with a three-year warranty as proof of quality and durability. The subwoofer is sealed to produce a clear and punchy bass. Despite it being of outstanding quality, it is a single voice coil system and is therefore not compatible with many amplifiers.

Key Features
  • Its peak power handling is 1400 watts while its RMS power is 700 watts.
  • Single voice coil of 4 ohms
  • Has a sensitivity of 94 dB and a resonance of 28 Hz
  • Its cone material is custom-tooled, high-efficiency injection, while its surrounding is rubber.
Specification
  • Brand BOSS Audio Systems
  • Model CX122D
  • Weight 10.3 pounds
PROS

Can withstand a high power of 1,400 watts without heating

With a sensitivity of 94 dB, it can achieve a very loud volume.

Lightweight and very easy to install.

Features a sealed enclosure design for an enhanced bass production

CONS

Some users claim that it loses its efficiency over time.

It has a single voice coil and thus is not compatible with many amp models.

Some users claim it is not as sturdy as advertised.

For those who are looking for serious quality music, this subwoofer is one of the best on the market. It features RMS power of 1250 watts for enhanced bass production. Its maximum power is 2,500 watts, which can support high-powered car stereo systems without overheating or burning the coil. Additionally, it features a dual voice coil with a resistivity of just two ohms for quality and powerful low-end bass.

What attracts users the most about this subwoofer is the deep, low, extremely responsive bass. It has a sensitivity of 85.1 dB to ensure extremely loud sound that will not get distorted. Again, the system has a frequency range of 25 Hz-250 Hz for enhanced sound quality. However, this machine is very expensive compared to others on this list.

Key Features
  • Peak power handling of 2,500 watts
  • RMS power is 1,250 watts
  • Features high-quality pressed paper cone
  • Frequency range is 25-250 Hz
  • Features dual 2-ohm voice coil 
Specification
  • Brand Skar Audio
  • Model EVL-12 D2
  • Weight 34.2 pounds
PROS

Can support powerful stereo of up to 2,500 watts.

Can deliver powerful bass for a long time without burning up

Can reproduce low tones easily thanks to its high quality coil

Features an enhanced cooling system

CONS

A little on the expensive side

May blow if overloaded for a long time

Sound is not extremely clear

To achieve a chest-thumping bass, try the Rockford Fosgate 800-watt subwoofer. With its 12-inch size, the subwoofer can fit in most cars, while its 400 watts RMS ensure enough bass for maximum music enjoyment. It features 10-AWG nickel-plated push terminals for longevity, and it can handle a maximum power of 800 watts. Additionally, it features a 4-ohm dual voice coil for powerful bass and clean sound.

What makes this woofer outstanding is the kevlar fiber-reinforced paper cone area and the high-density poly-foam surround, both of which help deliver high impact bass and loud, clear sound. What’s more, its proprietary spider plateau venting design ensures an enhanced cooling system to increase the lifespan of the subwoofer. Despite all these amazing features, this sub cannot support a high-powered stereo system.

Key Features
  • Features a 4-ohm anodized aluminum dual voice coil
  • Features 400 watts RMS and 800 watts of peak power
  • Protective PVC textured magnet cover
  • Custom 10-AWG nickel-plated push
Specification
  • Brand Rockford Fosgate
  • Model P2D4-12
  • Weight 15.59 pounds
PROS

Lightweight and durable

Enhanced cooling system

Stitched lead wire technique for improved performance and reliability

Flex fit frame allows for easy installation

CONS

Its RMS is not powerful enough for some users.

Its 800 max power cannot support high-end amps.

This is a high-quality subwoofer that produces earth-shaking bass without compromising on the quality of the sound. It features dual 4-ohm voice coils for high-quality bass and loud, clear sound. This machine can handle powerful amps of up to 1,500 watts without blowing up. Its large 60-ounce double-stacked magnet and vented pole yoke ensure increased power handling without failure.

A key feature of this subwoofer it its ability to produce air-moving bass and quality sound, which it can do thanks to the glass fiber and Mica-interlaced injection-molded polypropylene cone construction. To enhance the sound quality even more, its surround is made of indestructible butyl rubber. However, its sensitivity is very low—just 77 dB.

Key Features
  • Handles a maximum power of 1,500 watts.
  • 4-ohm dual voice coil
  • Injection-molded polypropylene cone construction
  • Features an oversized 60-ounce double-stacked magnet
Specification
  • Brand Pioneer
  • Model TS-A300D4
  • Weight 15.98 pounds
PROS

Reasonable price

Comes with a free Alphasonik Earbuds

Butyl rubber surround material ensures clear sound

Steel basket enhances durability and bass quality

CONS

Subwoofer is not sensitive enough (only 77 dB)

RMS of just 500 watts is not enough for some users

Drains the battery very fast.

Are you still looking for a booming bass without emptying your pockets? Well, the Kenwood 2000w subwoofer would work wonders. It features a 4-ohm single voice coil, 8 AWG push terminal, and an over-sized diaphragm for enough thumping bass and high-quality sound. Its heavy-duty polypropylene cone and tough rubber surround ensure reliable and clear sound. Additionally, this machine can handle a powerful amp of up to 2,000 watts without overheating.

What’s amazing about this subwoofer is its super sensitivity features, which ensure loud and high-quality sound. This machine has an impressive RMS of 400 watts to ensure thumping bass  and super clear sound in your car. However, this machine is not enclosed, so you’ll have to buy a subwoofer enclosure.

Key Features
  • Handles peak power of 2,000 watts
  • RMS power of 400 watts
  • Cone construction features durable polypropylene
  • Surround is made of rubber
Specification
  • Brand Kenwood
  • Model KFCW3016PS
  • Weight 4.41 pounds
PROS

Lightweight

Installation is easy

Subwoofer can handle high power levels of up to 2,000 watts

Relatively inexpensive

CONS

There have been complaints about its durability

Bass is not hard enough for some

Best 12-Inch Subwoofer Buying Guide & FAQ

There are two main things that determine the quality of your music—the bass and the sound produced by the audio system. The bass should be booming, while the sound should be high-quality, loud, and clear. To enjoy that desired quality of music, you need to have the best subwoofer.

A good subwoofer is responsible for giving you bass-laden, quality sound. This means that buying a good subwoofer is so important that you have to get it right. Below is all the information you need to know before buying a subwoofer, and some of the frequently asked questions that consumers have about subwoofers.

Why Do You Need a 12-Inch Subwoofer

Apart from a powerful car stereo system and a quality amplifier, you also need quality speakers in order to get quality music. However, ordinary speakers cannot produce the desired bass and they are sometimes prone to overheating. If you pair them with a high-quality stereo system, they may distort the sound or even get destroyed. That is why you need to upgrade to a subwoofer.

Small subwoofers, like the 8-inch or 10-inch, are not enough to get that thumping bass that you desire. They are so small that they cannot move enough air to give you quality bass or even clear sound. The largest ones are also not ideal, since they cannot be installed in small spaces. You need something compact, yet powerful: the 12-inch subwoofer. Unlike bigger or smaller subwoofers, the12-inch subwoofer offers the perfect blend of quality bass, compact size, easy installation, and reproduction of very low frequencies.

Benefits

  • The 12-inch subwoofer offers the perfect balance between compact size and bass.
  • Most of these products are designed for stress-free installation.
  • Due to their compact size, they can be installed in small and medium spaces.
  • They can reproduce very low frequencies seamlessly.

Car power music audio system

Types of 12-Inch Subwoofer

To get the best bass and sound quality in your car, you need to have the best subwoofer that is compatible with your system and that suits your preference. While there are many types out there, it is virtually impossible to find one that combines all the best attributes. However, knowing the types of subwoofers will help you choose the one that will help you enjoy your music more.

  • Dual vs. Single Voice Coil Subwoofers

Voice coils are wires wrapped around the speaker and help connect the subwoofer to the amplifier, allowing it to be powered. When considering voice coils, there are two types of subwoofers: single and dual voice coil subwoofers.

Single voice coil subwoofers are inexpensive but they have a problem of not working with many amplifiers. Dual voice coil subwoofers, on the other hand, work with a variety of amplifiers, but they are typically expensive. You can find a good amplifier for either of these subwoofers, although it would be easier to find the best dual voice coil subwoofers.

  • Sealed vs. Ported Subwoofers

This is how the subwoofer is enclosed. Sealed subwoofers keep the air locked in tightly, producing a clear, punchy, and responsive sound. For this reason, the bass is controlled and very clear. However, they consume a lot of power.

On the other hand, ported subwoofers allow air to move in and out freely. These types of woofers are power-efficient. However, the bass and sound are not very clear. They are mostly used for rap or rock music.

  • Passive and Powered Subwoofers

Passive subwoofers are powered by an external amplifier, much like old loudspeakers. These types of subwoofers produce a more clean sound, and they are more flexible when it comes to the wiring configuration. They also consume a lot of power in order to magnify the low-frequency sound from the receiver.

Powered subwoofers are self-contained. They feature a compatible subwoofer and an amplifier encased in one setup. These types of subwoofers are easy to operate. However, the sound quality is not as good as their passive counterparts. Their advantage is that they do not require much power to operate.

What to Look for When Buying 12-Inch Subwoofer

To enjoy the best quality music in your car, you must have the correct combination of musical equipment. One of the main devices you should have is the right subwoofer with the right features. This is because a good subwoofer produces not only air-moving bass, but also quality sound. While size, budget, and ease of installation are some of the considerations, you also need to consider the following to get the best sound.

  • Power Handling Capabilities

Power handling refers to how much power the subwoofer can handle consistently over time. It is indicated on the speaker as RMS (root mean square). The higher the RMS, the more powerful and loud the bass of the subwoofer will be.

However, the deeper the bass of the subwoofer, the more power it consumes. Make sure your audio system currency is compatible with that of the sub. A subwoofer with lower currency requirements than your audio system will overheat or burn the coil, while if you choose one with more power than your system can handle, it won’t produce enough sound.

  • Voice Coils

The voice coil is indicated as either DVC (double voice coil) or SVC (single voice coil) on your subwoofer. The number of voice coils you buy is based purely your preference. For example, if you want to attach other devices to your stereo system, a DVC would be a better choice.

If you are looking for a powerful subwoofer, the real consideration should be the ohm load on the coil. Ohms measure the electrical resistivity of a device. Assuming a constant power supply, the lower the ohm count, the more powerful the subwoofer.

  • Sensitivity 

This is the amount of power your device needs in order to produce volume. In other words, it is the amount of sound it can produce per watt. It is indicated as dB on your subwoofer. The dB rating on subs ranges from 80dB to 99dB.

It is important to note that that subwoofers do not need to be very sensitive to avoid muffling and distortion of the sound.  For quality sound, the ideal sensitivity of a subwoofer should be around 90dB.

Tips for Buying and Using 12-Inch Subwoofers

Subwoofers appear in different sizes, shapes, and models. The first thing to consider is the type of subwoofer you want. For example, consider whether you need the subwoofer, amplifier, and enclosure system separately, or if you want all of them in one setup. Then you will choose between a powered or a passive sub.

You should know that it is not only the subwoofer that determines the quality of the sound. There are other considerations, such as compatibility with your audio system and also the power of your amp. To get quality sound, ensure your system is compatible with your subwoofer and the power supply is enough to sustain the system requirements.

  • Ensure the subwoofer that you buy is compatible with your stereo system.
  • Ensure your amp can supply between 125 and 200 percent of the total RMS on your subwoofer.
  • If you are buying a high-power sub, make sure it has a motor cooling system to ensure it does not heat up.

auto sound competition

Best 12-Inch Subwoofer FAQ:

The first step of improving the sound for music lovers is to get a quality stereo system that includes a subwoofer. However, for some people, it is hard to choose the best subwoofer because there are so many types. This is mainly due to the technicality of the terms used in electronic systems. Here we answer some of the most commonly asked questions regarding subwoofers.

Q: What are shallow mount subwoofers?

A: A shallow mount is just like an ordinary subwoofer, but in a smaller package. It is shallow and lightweight compared to regular subwoofers, which are deep and heavy. This property ensures it can be installed in small spaces.

Q: How can I know my subwoofer will deliver air-moving bass?

A: If you need a subwoofer with a hard-hitting bass without compromising on the sound quality, check its power handling capabilities, the material of the cone, and the surrounding. Polypropylene cone and rubber surrounding coupled with high power handling capacity deliver the best sound and bass.

Q: What is the best amplifier for a 12-inch subwoofer?

A: Before buying an amp, check the RMS rating of your subwoofer. The amp you buy should have a rating of between 75 and 150 percent of the RMS power rating on your subwoofer.

Q: Can I install a subwoofer on my own?

A: The ease of installing a subwoofer depends on its type. Powered subwoofers are easy to install as long as you follow the instructions in the manual provided, while passive ones may need a professional installer for a clean installation.

Our Top Pick

The Rockford Fosgate 12-Inch1200-Watt Peak Subwoofer is our pick for the best overall subwoofer. It is very reliable for clear loud sound and superior quality bass production. It is also very efficient in reproducing very low frequencies, and its maximum power handling is very impressive.