LAST UPDATED: August 01, 2021

The Best Car Subwoofers (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice mtx MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D
Premium Pick jl JL Audio 10
Best Value Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 Dual 2 Ohm Subwoofer Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 Dual 2 Ohm Subwoofer

If you want to create the best car stereo system possible, there is one component that you absolutely need to purchase – a subwoofer. Whether you listen to jazz, rock, rap or whatever really, the addition of a quality subwoofer will bring a level of power and definition to your music that no speaker could ever reproduce. To help you find the best car subwoofer and take the quality of your audio system to the next level, we’ve compiled a list of 15 good-quality subwoofers – all different products with different price tags, so you’re sure to find at least one that’s just right for you.

The Best Car Subwoofer

If you want great-quality car subwoofers that come in a sealed enclosure but you’re working within a pretty limited budget, you need to check out MTX TNE212D car sound system. These subwoofers are ideal for anyone looking to add extra bass to their vehicle at an affordable price.

The cone is made of polypropylene while the surround is made of durable rubber. The 12-inch enclosure is dual (for both subs), sealed and solid, pretty easy to fit. They also look good – ruggedly constructed using 5/8” MDF and black carpet which is aviation-grade, they fit the interior of any vehicle. As for the sound itself, these subwoofer boxes produce loud, clean and even crisp bass, depending on what you’re listening to.

Key Features
  • 400 Watts RMS, 800 Watts peak power; 2 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 86.4 dB
  • Frequency response is 37-150 Hz
  • Dual 12-inch subwoofer enclosure
  • Polypropylene cone + rubber surround
Specification
  • Brand MTX
  • Model TNE212D
  • Weight 45.pounds
PROS

Great bass

Affordable

Durable black carpeting

CONS

Certain low frequencies may not respond well

If you’re looking for a quality car subwoofer with a fantastic cost-value balance, you’ve found it – the JL Audio 10W6v3 – D4 reproduces high-quality bass and excellent quality audio in general, providing powerful car music experience all around.

It’s made of a durable mineral-filled polypropylene cone, but it’s not super-heavy like many powerful subwoofers are which is reflected in the product’s excellent response and accuracy. It also helps its basket is made of a rigid cast-alloy which eliminates distortion. The end result is a deep, clean bass with a great transient response – it reproduces music in such detail you’ll feel like your favorite albums are brand new again. All in all, a fantastic subwoofer that performs exceptionally, is well-made and guaranteed to last for years to come.

Key Features
  • 600 Watts RMS; Dual 4 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 82.7 dB
  • Frequency response is ~22 ~ 200 Hz
  • Single 10-inch subwoofer
  • Mounting Depth: 6.89"
  • Mineral-polypropylene cone + cast-alloy basket
Specification
  • Brand JL Audio
  • Model 0699440921404
  • Weight 22.1 pounds
PROS

Produces extreme clarity of sound

Deep, vibrating bass

Compact and easy to fit

Sleek design

CONS

None

Rockford Fosgate P3SD-2 is a good-quality 150 Watts RMS subwoofer that comes at a very reasonable price. Because not all vehicles can accommodate deep subwoofers, this one is shallow, easy to fit even in depth-limited cars. Despite being shallow-mount, it delivers a fantastic bass punch and clear, loud audio in general.

Like many Rockford Fosgate subwoofers, this one too has a Kevlar re-inforced paper-pulp cone and a StampCast basket with venting. Its mounting depth is 2.66 inches (one of the most shallow subwoofers) and it’s very lightweight, which makes it ideal for most, if not all standard cars. As for the sound and bass, they’re top-notch, especially for a shallow sub and the price. The sound is loud and clear and the bass is punchy and quite deep.

Key Features
  • 150 Watts RMS, 300 Watts peak power; dual 2 Ohms
  • Sensitivity is 82 dB
  • Frequency Response is 38 – 250 Hz
  • Single 8-inch subwoofer
  • Mounting depth 2.66”
  • Kevlar re-inforced paper-pulp cone + StampCast basket
Specification
  • Brand Rockford Fosgate
  • Model P3SD2-8
  • Weight 8.8 pounds
PROS

Shallow and lightweight, easy to fit

Nice, punchy bass

Affordable

CONS

May not be loud enough

Powerful, budget-friendly and adjustable, this car subwoofer by Rockford Fosgate is a great way to quickly and effortlessly add bass to your vehicle audio system. It comes in a custom sealed enclosure, providing crisp, deep sound no matter the music you play.

This sub features Kevlar re-inforced paper-pulp cone and StampCast basket with venting. There is also a thermal and over-voltage protection which ensures absolute safety and efficiency. It’s powered by a class D, 300 Watts amplifier and comes with a remote bass level control. In other words, this is a well-crafted, convenient and surprisingly lightweight quality car music system that should last for years. It’s a great addition to any stereo system as it produces loud, clean bass.

Key Features
  • 300 Watts RMS, 600 Watts peak power
  • Frequency response is 35-150 Hz
  • Single 12-inch enclosed subwoofer
  • Class D amplifier
  • Kevlar re-inforced paper-pulp cone + StampCast basket
Specification
  • Brand Rockford Fosgate
  • Model P300-12
  • Weight 16 pounds
PROS

Clean, deep bass

Budget-friendly

Lightweight

CONS

Certain low frequencies may not respond well

If you want a subwoofer of superior power, this is it. With a RMS of 2500 Watts and peak power of a whopping 5000 Watts, the Orion HCCA122 is one of the most powerful car subwoofers out there. It also reproduces excellent, crisp-clear bass that will take your car audio system from “meh” to out-of-this-world good.

This subwoofer’s cone is made of durable polypropylene and features a rubber tri-radius surround. It’s an excellent quality subwoofer that is quite heavy as a result of its sturdy, durable construction. Nevertheless, it’s easy to fit within any vehicle’s trunk. The biggest selling point of this Orion’s model is its audio quality – thanks to its enhanced voice coil cooling system, the temperature is efficiently controlled and the audio is loud, crystal clear, with a deep, low bass.

Key Features
  • 2500 Watts RMS, 5000 Watts peak power; dual 2 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 84 dB
  • Frequency range is 21-100 hertz
  • Single 12-inch subwoofer
  • Polypropylene cone + rubber tri-radius surround
  • Mounting depth: 10-3/4"
Specification
  • Brand Orion
  • Model HCCA122
  • Weight 76 pounds
PROS

Extremely powerful subwoofer

Produces clear, loud, deep bass

Durable

CONS

Bulky and heavy

A good quality car subwoofer at a fair price, the CT Sounds Meso 8-inch sub is a great choice for anyone looking for a way to upgrade their car music system. With 800 Watts RMS or 1600 Watts peak power, this device is quite powerful and produces clear audio no matter the genre of the music.

Featuring double-stitched treated paper cone with foam surround which helps prolong the product’s longevity, this is a sturdy, well-made subwoofer capable of handling high-powered audio frequency. It also helps it incorporates grade Y35 magnet, which is one of the most powerful magnets out there. It’s a compact unit that produces a clean, low bass.

Key Features
  • 800 Watts RMS, 1600 Watts peak power; dual 4 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 82.80 dB
  • Frequency range is not specified
  • Single 8-inch subwoofer
  • Mounting depth 6.6"
  • Double stitched paper cone + foam surround
Specification
  • Brand CT Sounds
  • Model Meso 2.0 8
  • Weight 24.3 pounds
PROS

Good quality bass

Affordable

CONS

May not be loud or deep enough

Shallow subwoofers don’t necessarily mean low quality bass reproduction and this JL Audio’s 10TW3 – D4 model is a perfect example. Although small and shallow, this car subwoofer is quite powerful and capable of reproducing loud, clear audio, including low bass.

The cone is injection-molded and made of mica-filled polypropylene, so durable and built to last. As for the frame, it’s made of cast alloy which further helps prolong the device’s longevity. This thin line series subwoofer uses a DMA (Dynamic Motor Analysis) system which not only ensures reduced distortion but also leads to faithfully reproduced transients. The result is a surprisingly clean and tight bass for a shallow subwoofer.

Key Features
  • 400 Watts RMS; dual 4 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 82.10 dB
  • Frequency response is ~24 ~ 200 Hz
  • 10-inch single subwoofer
  • Mounting depth: 3.25”
  • Mica-filled polypropylene cone + cast alloy frame
Specification
  • Brand JL Audio
  • Model 0699440921848
  • Weight 11. pounds
PROS

Shallow, lightweight subwoofer

Clean, tight bass

CONS

May not be loud enough

If you prefer enclosed subwoofers but don’t want to spend too much money, check out Pioneer’s TS-WX1210A model of 12 inches. Enclosed, with a built-in class D amplifier and a 350 Watts RMS or a whopping 1300 Watts peak power, this subwoofer speaker offers good value for the money.

The device features a cellulose fiber cone and urethane surround, with a frequency response 20 to 125 (sensitivity is 114 decibels). This translates to nice, clean bass that will vibrate and rattle if loud enough. The audio in general is very good, especially for the price of the subwoofer – clear, with a good output and pitch definition, no matter the music. The sub is sealed in a solid, albeit a bit thin enclosure with a gray carpet finish.

Key Features
  • 300 Watts RMS, 1300 peak power
  • Sensitivity is 114dB
  • Frequency Response is 20 – 125
  • 12-inch enclosed subwoofer
  • Built-in amplifier
  • Cellulose fiber cone + urethane surround
Specification
  • Brand Pioneer
  • Model TS-WX1210A
  • Weight 15 pounds
PROS

Clean bass

Budget-friendly (good cost-value)

Sealed enclosure

CONS

The bass may not be deep enough

If you have a limited car space, you need a small, lightweight subwoofer that can easily be added in tight spaces, such as under your or passenger’s car seat or anywhere else you find it convenient. The Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a perfect device for that – enclosed, compact and super-lightweight, this little subwoofer is easy to fit anywhere.

The speaker basket is made of steel, while the surround is made of rubber. As for the enclosure, it’s aluminum, measuring 8-1/4″ x 5-1/8″. This is a powered subwoofer, so naturally, you don’t need an external amplifier. Another plus is that it comes with a remote bass control so it’s super-easy to use. Considering the size of the sub, it provides a very nice, quality audio. The bass is decent (don’t expect to feel it though!), pretty deep and loud.

Key Features
  • 75 Watts RMS, 150 Watts peak power
  • Sensitivity is 110dB
  • Frequency Response is 35 – 150Hz
  • Compact subwoofer
  • Powered design
  • Steel basket + rubber surround
Specification
  • Brand Kenwood
  • Model 21549898
  • Weight 6.17 pounds
PROS

Small, lightweight, easy to fit anywhere

Adds nice bass to any car system

CONS

Not enough bass

Not loud enough

Compact, lightweight, self-powered and reproduces amazing deep bass? Check, check, check and definitely check. This low profile subwoofer by Rockville is one of the best slim subwoofers on the market, especially for this low price.

Although on the smaller and thinner side, this subwoofer manages to pack a number of great features, including thermal protection, overload and short protection circuit, adjustable input sensitivity, soft delayed remote turn-on and others. Plus, it has a built-in amplifier. Despite its convenient size (only 2.7” thick!), it reproduces clean, deep and loud bass that, believe it or not, will actually vibrate and shake your mirrors. The audio in general is surprisingly clear and tight, so it’s a fantastic cost-value subwoofer choice.

Key Features
  • 200 Watts RMS, 800 Watts peak power, 2 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 90dB
  • Frequency Response is 20Hz – 150Hz
  • 10-inch slim subwoofer
  • Built-in amplifier
Specification
  • Brand Rockville
  • Model RW10CA
  • Weight 14.25 pounds
PROS

Low profile, thin and lightweight, easy to fit

Clean, deep bass

Budget-friendly

CONS

None

Kicker 11HS8 is a compact, lightweight, self-powered subwoofer that is specially designed for small, tight spaces. Although ultra-compact, this device reproduces excellent audio quality, especially deep bass, so it’s an ideal option for anyone looking to bring their car sound system to the next level without taking up much space.

The Hideaway sub is just over three inches high and around 14 inches long, meaning easy to fit behind a car seat or anywhere else you find it convenient. It comes sealed in an enclosure with a built-in amplifier (150 Watts), as well as a remote bass control which allows you to fine-tune bass levels quickly and easily. The audio quality is excellent, especially considering the compact nature of this tiny subwoofer. The bass itself is deep, clear and pretty loud – a surprising feature when it comes to small subs.

Key Features
  • RMS 150 Watts
  • Sensitivity is 95 dB
  • Frequency response is 25-120 Hz
  • Compact 8-inch subwoofer
  • Built-in amplifier
Specification
  • Brand Kicker
  • Model 11HS8
  • Weight 13.58 pounds
PROS

Compact and lightweight, easy to fit

Clean, deep bass

CONS

None

The Alpine SWR-8D2 car subwoofer is an affordable, good quality sub that can add bass to any car sound system. Using a number of useful features, this small and lightweight device manages to sound like much bigger and more expensive subs – if not better at times.

With a Kevlar reinforced pulp cone and injected molded Santoprene rubber surround, this subwoofer is sturdy and durable, supposed to last for years. Its power range is between 150 Watts to 350 Watts, while its frequency response is 30 Hz to 200 Hz, with 83.5 decibels sensitivity. This translates to clear audio no matter the music you play, and quite loud, deep bass and tight punch.

Key Features
  • 150-300 Watts RMS, 1000 Watts peak power; dual 2 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 83.5dB
  • Frequency response is 30-200 Hz
  • 8-inch single subwoofer
  • Mounting depth 4-1/2"
  • Kevlar reinforced pulp cone + Santoprene rubber surround
Specification
  • Brand Alpine
  • Model 12 pounds
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Affordable

Clean, deep bass

Lightweight

CONS

There are complaints about short lifespan

If you’re looking for a powerful but reasonably priced subwoofer that will bring that extra bass to your car or your boat, this is it. The Polk Audio ATV, Car & Marine subwoofer is durable, waterproof and delivers high-quality deep bass no matter what you’re listening to.

The device features Dynamic Balance technology and has a non-corrosive fiberglass reinforced ABS basket as well as a waterproof surround. The cone is made from polypropylene and incorporates weep holes for drainage. As for the outer side of the sub, it is salt, fog and UV-tested; in other words, this is an undoubtedly well-engineered subwoofer that can be used in cars, boats and other marine vehicles. As for the audio, it’s crystal clear, full-range, including the very low bass.

Key Features
  • 420 Watts RMS, 1260 Watts peak power; dual 4 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 87 dB
  • Frequency Response is 26Hz-200kHz
  • 12-inch single car and marine subwoofer
  • Top mounting depth 4.64”
  • Fiberglass reinforced ABS basket + waterproof surround
Specification
  • Brand Polk Audio
  • Model MM1242DVC
  • Weight 13.1 pounds
PROS

Clear, deep bass

Can be used in cars and boats

Lightweight

CONS

None

The JBL Stage 800BA Powered 8″ Subwoofer Enclosure provides impressive performance in a relatively compact package. It produces great bass considering its small size. The subwoofer includes a 100-watt RMS class D amplifier and won’t distort the audio even at high volume. The unit is constructed of lightweight polypropylene for punchy and clear bass and MDF to cut down on undesirable resonances.

The EQ delivers a 9dB boost, while the built-in amplifier is designed to draw less current and operate cooler due to its Class D classification. It includes the wiring harness and connectors, optional RBC wired remote, and oversized protection bars. In addition, it is subjected to rigorous testing to ensure its durability.

Key Features
  • 100 watts RMS 200 watts peak
  • Sensitivity is not specified
  • Frequency Response is 30Hz – 200Hz
  • 8-inch enclosed subwoofer
  • Built-in amplifier
Specification
  • Brand JBL
  • Model N/A
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Compact and easy to fit

Punchy, clear bass

CONS

May not be loud enough in a big vehicle

If you need an affordable way to improve your car sound system, check out this MTX 5510-44 subwoofer model. Although lightweight and budget-friendly, this sub delivers great audio quality, with low, deep bass that is sure to bring your basic music system to the next level.

The cone is made of polypropylene with rubber surround, so it’s your average subwoofer built – durable and sturdy. But this is also a self-cooling design that lowers the subwoofer’s temperature while it plays, allowing it to handle more power and produce louder, better quality bass. It also helps the device incorporates progressive suspension controls which help reduce distortion, resulting in clear audio no matter the genre of the music.

Key Features
  • 400 Watts RMS, 800 Watts peak power; dual 4 Ohm
  • Sensitivity is 90dB
  • Frequency response is 29-130 Hz
  • 10-inch single subwoofer
  • Polypropylene cone + with rubber surround
Specification
  • Brand MTX
  • Model 5510-44
  • Weight 9.8 pounds
PROS

Affordable

Clear, low bass

Lightweight

CONS

May not be loud enough/reproduce enough bass for some users

Best Car Subwoofer Buying Guide & FAQ

Bringing your car sound system to the next level definitely requires adding a quality subwoofer. Unfortunately (or luckily, depending on how you look at it!), with so many different products on the market, finding the right one for your car and budget can be really challenging. To help you decide which subwoofer is best-suited for your needs, we’ve put together this quick but handy crash course on buying subwoofers.

car subwoofer

Features to Look for in a Car Subwoofer

To get the right subwoofer, you need to know what makes one good (or bad, for that matter). Here are some of the most important things you should pay attention to when buying a car subwoofer.

  • Power

The more power a sub has, the louder, cleaner and deeper the bass will be. So, if you’re looking for a pounding, exploding bass, go for devices with very high power; if you only want a better car stereo system with slightly deeper bass, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on powerful woofers as those lower in power will do just fine. Pay attention to the devices RMS rating first and foremost; then and only then check out the peak power.

  • Sensitivity

Besides power, sensitivity is one of the most important things you should be looking at when buying subwoofers. The higher the sensitivity rating, the less power is necessary to produce quality sound. For instance, a sub that has a higher sensitivity range will use less power to achieve the same amount of sound like a model with a lower sensitivity rating. So, if you have a powerful amplifier, choose a sub with high sensitivity.

  • Frequency Range

The greater the frequency range of a subwoofer, the better it is at playing both highs and lows of the bass sequence, no matter the music you listen to. So, if possible, go for subs with greater frequency ranges as this determines how “low” it can produce a sound. Bear in mind though, that the frequency range is just a part of the puzzle  – many other things, including the type of the box the sub is housed in, affect the performance.

  • Voice Coils

If you’re new to the world of car subwoofers, single voice coil subs are a great choice. They’re easy to set up and are usually cheaper than dual voice coils while still offering a great quality bass sound. However, if you really want to upgrade your car audio system or you’re simply an audio enthusiast, go for dual voice coil subwoofers as they do provide better quality sound in general.

Benefits of Having a Subwoofer in Your Car

Whether you listen to rock, jazz, hip-hop, pop or even classical music, a good quality subwoofer can make all difference. Why? Well for one, basic car stereo speakers are too small to produce loud enough audio, and two, they lack the power required to generate those low-end frequencies (from 20Hz to 80Hz)  that make the music sound better and more real. In other words, no matter the brand and price of your car speakers, they will never be able to reproduce that deep, low, clean bass with a definition that even a basic, let alone a high-quality car subwoofer can.

Furthermore, subwoofers help reduce disturbance, leading to better quality audio in general, not just the low-end frequencies. The end result is an audio of much, much better quality – even your favorite albums that you’ve heard a hundred of times before will sound totally different, newer and fresher when played through a quality subwoofer.

Related Post: Best Subwoofer Boxes

car audio system

What Else You Should Know About Car Subwoofers

If you’re looking for the best car subwoofer, you’ll need:

  • An accurate and powerful amplifier, as it powers your sub and helps it achieve loud, clean audio;
  • A well-designed and built enclosure, as this can greatly affect how “low” your sub can go;
  • One subwoofer, as quality subs produce audio whose direction we cannot locate; however, if you’re buying cheaper subs of lower quality, you may need two.

Types of Enclosures: Sealed, Ported or Bandpass

The type of enclosure your subwoofer is housed in plays a huge role in how well it performs. There are three main types of enclosures, each of which will cover in this chapter so you can decide which one works best for your preferences.

  • Sealed enclosure

If tight, accurate bass, and rich, warm sound is your thing, then sealed box is the way to go. Sealed boxes provide airtight enclosures which allow subwoofers to perform fantastically well. They do, however, require more power than ported boxes, which is something to keep in mind.

  • Ported enclosure

Ported boxes use ports (hence the name) or vents to allow movement of air in and out of the enclosure to produce low and loud bass tones. They generate louder, more vibrating bass than sealed boxes which is ideal for hard-driving music, including rock, metal and rap. However, they are much larger than sealed enclosures, so keep that in mind when making the final choice.

  • Bandpass enclosure

Bandpass boxes are basically special types of ported boxes. Here, the sub is mounted inside a dual-chamber box and fires from the first one, sealed chamber, into the second, ported chamber, producing extra loud sound with a narrow frequency range. This enclosure is best suited for fans of more aggressive sounds, such as heavy metal, fast rap, etc.

Professional or DIY Installation

Most car subwoofers are easy to install. All you have to do is follow car audio installation instructions that come with the device. Normally, you’d need a few tools, such as screws, clamps, a screwdriver, amplifier, enclosure, polyester fiber, etc., depending on the type of your subwoofer. Generally speaking, if you have even beginner experience with electronics, installing a subwoofer yourself shouldn’t be that hard. However, if you’re a total beginner or maybe too worried you may break something, it’s probably a good idea to let the professional do it for you. Sure, you’ll pay more money than if you did it yourself, but at least you’ll be absolutely certain everything’s installed correctly. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Best Car Subwoofer FAQ:

Q: How much power do I need?

A: How much power you need depends on the subwoofer you purchase. While knowing the peak power of a woofer is good, what you need to pay attention to is the sub’s RMS rating as this is what you’ll run your sub at consistently. Know that the higher the power, the more explosive bass.

Q: If I put my subwoofer box in the trunk, will I be able to hear the bass?

A: If you purchase a quality car subwoofer (any device on our Top 15 list!), you’ll most definitely be able to hear the bass from the trunk of your car. This is because bass sounds, when clear and loud enough, go everywhere and through everything with ease.

Q: What’s polyester fiber stuffing, and how will it affect my subwoofer’s sound?

A: Polyester fiber or simply polyfill is usually used for stuffing the enclosure of a subwoofer because it allows it to produce better audio quality. How does it do that? Thanks to the air spring inside the enclosure which once stuffed with polyfill, starts an isothermal process which results in the less dense air. The enclosure then appears larger than it really is, changing or rather improving the sound.

Q: What are the benefits of hooking up two subwoofers to a mono amplifier?

A: By hooking up two subwoofers to a mono amplifier (single channel amp), you can push the woofers with more power at lower impedances. Most mono amplifiers have two sets of speaker terminals anyway, so it’s easy to install them.

stereo sound system

Our Top Pick

To provide you with different options and price tags, we tried to include various types of subwoofers in our Top 15 list. Whichever device you choose, we’re certain you’ll be pleased for years to come. But if you’re looking for our recommendation, it’s the JL Audio W6V3 – D4, 10-inch Dual 4-Ohm Car Subwoofer. Here’s why.

  • With 600 Watts RMS, this is a very powerful subwoofer, capable of producing super-clean, loud and vibrating bass, no matter the genre of the music;
  • It has a high sensitivity and frequency range which is reflected in superior quality audio;
  • It’s made of durable, quality materials, so guaranteed to last a very long time;
  • It’s lightweight and compact, super-easy to fit.

All in all, this is undoubtedly one of the best car subwoofers on the market currently.

Sources:

  1. Top 10 Car Audio Components – HowStuffWorks