Every road trip needs the right soundtrack. When that perfect track gets going, the troubles melt away and life becomes beautiful again. A subwoofer brings out the best in any song with spine-tingling bass and clear sound.
With so many choices, it can become difficult to choose the correct subwoofer for your particular needs. A good choice is a 15-inch subwoofer, which is large and produces massive amounts of bass compared to its smaller siblings. In this guide, we look at some of the best 15-inch subwoofers available today to see what they offer.
The Best 15-Inch Subwoofer
The Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch follows in the footsteps of the other subwoofers in the Punch range by delivering crisp, clear bass. The VAST technology increases the surface area of the cone and improves the nominal efficiency and output for better low-frequency sound.
This subwoofer is part of the flagship range in the Punch Series and is built with durability and performance in mind. Instead of using the traditional plastic voice coil formers, it uses anodized aluminum, which acts as a heat-sink and offers great heat dissipation. The power handling conforms to the CEA-2031 industry standards, meaning it can be used continuously without its coils getting damaged.
- 600 watts RMS and 1200 watts max power handling
- Flex Fit Frame using slots instead of screws
- Custom 10-AWG nickel plated push terminals
- Anodized aluminum cone and dust cap
- Brand Rockford Fosgate
- Model P3D2-15
- Weight 11.46 pounds
Durable and can handle lots of heavy use
Can tolerate high power up to 1200 watts
Requires a powerful amplifier to get the best performance
When looking for a more affordable option, consider the New Rockville RVP15W8 subwoofers. Not only is the price pocket-friendly, but you also get a pair of subwoofers.
These subwoofers come with a fiber-reinforced paper cone and a paper composite dust cap that prevents dust from getting inside. It also has an inner protection in the form of accordion cloth that helps against strong internal waves. Each subwoofer has a single voice coil and has a peak power rating of 1000 watts.
- Peak power rating of 2000 watts and an RMS rating of 1000 watts per subwoofer.
- Dual nickel-plated banana plug terminals.
- Large 51-ounce magnet
- Single voice coil of 8 ohms
- Brand Rockville
- Model RVP15W8
- Weight 21.5 pounds
You get two for an affordable price
Can reach a high volume with a sensitivity of 94dB
Durable when used with the correct amplifier and enclosure
Need lots of space
Takes a few weeks of use to break them in
Doesn’t sound good with a ported enclosure
This subwoofer is made by Kicker, a reputable audio company. It features a unique square shape that differentiates it from anything else on the market. The reason for the square shape is because any square of a certain size will always have 27.33 percent more surface area than a circle of the same dimension. When it comes to sound, more surface area means it can move more air, and therefore more sound.
It comes with a dual voice coil that works at two or four ohms with peak input set at 2000 watts. It also has a sensitivity of 89.4 dB and can be used in either a vented or sealed enclosure.
- Unique square shape with a large surface area
- The vented bucket allows hot air to escape.
- Dual voice coils
- Can be wired for either 2 ohms or 4 ohms
- Brand Kicker
- Model S15L7
- Weight 35 pounds
Good sound at a good price
Coils aren’t the most durable
Can get distorted at low volumes
Requires a good amplifier to get the best sound
This subwoofer from Power Acoustik produces a clear, thumping bass at a reasonable price and is rated to handle a massive 3000 watts of maximum power and 1700 watts of RMS power. It is also lightweight with a UV-coated foam surround, a four-spline heat sink, and aluminum stiffeners.
The aluminum dust cap is connected to the voice coil former and the fins stop cone flex during high excursion. It also functions as a heat sink to optimize the airflow. For people who push their subwoofers to the limit, there is also a preassembled recone kit available in the event of the cone getting damaged.
- Aluminum reinforcement fins and dust cap
- UV-coated foam surround
- Chrome backplate
- Nickel-plated terminals
- Brand Power Acoustik
- Model MOFO-152X
- Weight 33 pounds
Recone kit available
Multi-layer voice coil
Very low distortion
Can be difficult to install
Concerns about its durability
Complaints that it can easily blow if used with high power
The Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 is renowned for producing great low-end sound and being able to handle extreme power continuously. It has a dual 2 ohm configuration which allows users to choose between impedances depending on how the system is wired. The reason for its responsive low-end performance is because it has a high roll foam surround incorporated into the design.
It also has a large, triple-stacked magnet and Skar’s signature damper with a two-layer spider connected with premium stitched lead wires. This subwoofer is engineered to take a beating and, unlike most of the rivals, it comes with a two-year warranty.
- High roll foam surround with competition-grade paper cone
- 3-inch high-temperature voice coil
- Peak power rating of 3000 watts
- RMS power rating of 1500 watts
- Brand Skar Audio
- Model ZVX-15 D2
- Weight 58 pounds
Fantastic low-frequency sound
Dual 2-ohm configuration
Needs time to break in
May produce a crackling noise at higher volumes
The Orion HCCA15 is a sound pressure woofer (SPL) designed to put out competition-level bass by having up to 4 inches of movement from its large cone. It’s designed to be loud and powerful with an incredible maximum power of 5000 watts and an RMS of 2000 watts. The polypropylene cone is durable and is surrounded by a tri-radius symmetrical surround for added strength. The unique PAARC cooling system also prevents the voice coil from overheating.
This subwoofer is very robust and can function optimally at most temperatures. Not only does it produce a loud, clear bass, but it also has incredible build quality and durability.
- 5000 watts of peak power
- 2000 watts of RMS power
- Dual 2 ohm and 4 ohm voice coil
- Strong rubber surround for added durability
- Brand Orion
- Model HCCA15
- Weight 83.8 pounds
Can handle high power
Fantastic low-frequency sound
Dual 2-ohm configuration
Can blow after a short time
Best 15-Inch Subwoofer Buying Guide & FAQ
The best subwoofers offer both thumping bass and clear, high-quality sound. There should be no distortion and the bass should be clear at both high and low frequencies. In particular, 15-inch subwoofers are known for delivering some of the most booming bass due to the large cone size. Of course, there is a huge difference in the sound quality, not to mention durability between good and bad subwoofers and, as with any other product, it’s worth getting the best.
When choosing a subwoofer that’s the best for your particular sound system, there are many factors to consider. The information below is a guide to making the correct choice when choosing the best subwoofer as well as some frequently asked questions that consumers ask.
Why You Need a 15-Inch Subwoofer
A car stereo system comprises many components such as the head unit, amplifiers, and speakers. Conventional speakers produce small amounts of bass and can blow if they are pushed too hard. A subwoofer is dedicated to making bass only and supplements the sounds from the other speakers.
Subwoofers come in different sizes including 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-inch. Each of them has its uses, but smaller subwoofers can’t deliver the best bass because they move less air than the larger ones. Generally, a 15-inch subwoofer will be louder and clearer than smaller ones but, of course, they take up more space. There also has to be a balance, and if the bass from the subwoofer is too loud, the bass might drown out the music. If you have space and are looking to get a subwoofer with the best bass, then a 15-inch is the way to go.
- Powerful, deep bass due to the large size
- A fantastic all-round listening experience
- Easy installation
Popular Types of 15-inch Subwoofers
There are various types of 15-inch subwoofers that have different functions and are compatible with various types of stereos. To get the best bass and clear sound, it’s best to find the one that best suits your needs. Here are some common types of 15-inch subwoofers and some information about each one.
- Component Subwoofers
Component subwoofers, also known as passive subwoofers, are just a woofer on its own. They require an enclosure to house it and an external amplifier to provide power. Component subwoofers are very popular with sound enthusiasts because they are highly customizable and can produce a loud, clear bass. The downside to a component subwoofer is that an enclosure has to be built for it.
The enclosures that house component subwoofers can either be sealed or have a port depending on the requirements and the genre of music the owner prefers. Sealed enclosures require more power but produce a clear, punchy sound. Ported enclosures are more power-efficient but some of the clarity is lost.
- Powered Subwoofers
A powered subwoofer is ideal for those who don’t want the stress of making a custom enclosure or running wires. Powered subwoofers come in large or small enclosures and have a built-in amplifier. They are generally easier to install and many of the smaller powered subwoofers can be tucked into small spaces (like under the seat) to save on trunk space.
The downside to many powered subwoofers is that the amplifier isn’t very powerful, and that can lead to distortion. Also, if either the amplifier or subwoofer gets damaged, the whole unit can be compromised. Powered subwoofers are generally purchased more for convenience than to get the loudest bass. Sound fanatics mainly prefer component subwoofers to powered subwoofers.
- Single and Dual Voice Coil Subwoofers
The voice coil creates sound waves from the input signal. It is wrapped around a cylinder called a former and when current from the amplifier flows through it, a magnetic field is created that reacts with the speaker magnet. This causes the cones to move and for the sound to be generated.
A single coil subwoofer will only have one coil wrapped around the former with one side being the positive and the other side the negative terminal. With a dual coil subwoofer, there are two coils wrapped around the former with two positive and two negative terminals.
Both have their uses, but dual coil subwoofers offer more flexibility. They allow multiple subwoofers to be connected to one amplifier or for one subwoofer to have parallel connections to one amplifier.
What to Consider When Buying a 15-inch Subwoofer
There are many factors to consider when buying a 15-inch subwoofer. Obviously, the main considerations are price, space, and ease of installation. Since the subwoofer is just one part of the stereo system, there are also other factors to consider if they are expected to work together in harmony to produce the best sound.
Getting the right amplifier is critical to getting the best out of your subwoofer. With powered subwoofers, this isn’t an issue since the amplifier is built-in, but with component subwoofers it is essential.
There are many different types of amplifiers available depending on how many components will be connected to it as well as the power output required. The general rule is to match the capabilities of the subwoofer with that of the amplifier. This means that the RMS rating and ohms should be similar. It’s often worthwhile to get an amplifier that has higher ratings than the subwoofer so that other components like speakers can also run on the same amplifier.
- Power Rating
The power rating is how much power( in watts) the subwoofer can handle. Most subwoofers come with two different ratings: peak power and RMS (root mean square). The peak power rating refers to the most power the subwoofer can handle in short bursts without damage. The RMS rating refers to how much continuous power the subwoofer can handle. When looking for a subwoofer with the loudest, clearest bass, it’s advisable to get one with the highest RMS rating possible.
It’s worth paying attention to these ratings and using an amplifier to match. If there is too much power going to the subwoofer, there is the risk of it getting damaged by the stress. If the amplifier is underpowered, the signal becomes distorted and it can also damage the subwoofer.
- Build Quality
There are lots of different subwoofers on the market at different prices and varying quality levels. With subwoofers, expensive doesn’t always equate to good quality and inexpensive doesn’t always equate to bad quality. A subwoofer with good build quality will produce a thumping bass and last for a long time, while low-quality subwoofers will produce distortion and quite often blow fairly soon.
The best subwoofers have thick surrounds to protect the cone and at least some form of cooling system. Also, look out for the cone construction and magnet size. Good quality subwoofers will also come with at least some form of warranty.
Tips for Buying and Using 15-inch Subwoofers
When buying a 15-inch subwoofer, it’s advisable to remember that it is just one piece of your sound system and to get the best out of it, all the other pieces have to be compatible. Start off with checking if the head unit is compatible with the subwoofer. After that, it’s time to decide what type of subwoofer you want.
Some of the considerations are price, space, sound quality, and ease of installation. Component subwoofers generally need more space because of the big enclosure and also require an amplifier and more wiring. Powered subwoofers will require less space and already have a dedicated amplifier. If you are getting a component subwoofer, you have to consider what amplifier you need and if it will be compatible with your subwoofer.
- If you are planning to add a second subwoofer later, it’s worth doing the wiring in the initial setup and getting an amplifier that can handle both.
- The amplifier must provide at least 125 percent of the RMS rating of the subwoofer.
- Get a subwoofer and enclosure that suit the type of music you like.
Best 15-inch Subwoofer FAQ:
There’s no doubt that the crisp, clear bass of a subwoofer can enhance any sound system. With so much variety on the market, it gets hard to decide which one to get, especially when the line between real features and sales jargon is so blurred. The information below contains some of the more commonly asked questions with regards to 15-inch subwoofers.
Q: What amplifier should I use for a 15-inch subwoofer?
A: The RMS rating of the amplifier should be a minimum of 75 percent and a maximum of 150 percent of the subwoofer RMS rating.
Q: What does impedance mean?
A: Impedance measures electrical resistance. The lower the subwoofer’s impedance, the easier it is for the amplifier to power it.
Q: Is a dual voice coil subwoofer better than a single coil subwoofer?
A: Dual coil subwoofers are more flexible and offer more wiring options than single coil subwoofers.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick for the best 15-inch subwoofer goes to the Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch Subwoofer. It produces crisp, clear bass and can be used with both sealed and vented enclosures. It also has great build quality and is known for being durable despite its low weight. It also comes in 2 ohm and 4 ohm versions.