What is a Car Subwoofer?

A subwoofer for car is a device that augments low-frequency waves of a music signal and allows reproducing low bass sounds that aren’t generated by the original car audio system. Subwoofers are used to create a highly realistic and deep sound, they allow for creating a specialized bass range, prevent distortion, and make loud music not so damaging to a human ear.

Types of Car Subwoofers

There are two kinds of devices:

  • Passive subwoofers are charged from the outside, just like all the rest of the vehicle’s audio system. Since powerful bass should be powered sufficiently to sustain the effects without draining the amplifier. The amount of required power depends on the specifications of the speaker and available space (together with your own preferences).
  • Powered subwoofers help to make up for the power and characteristics that an amplifier or a receiver lacks. It’s self-contained, which means its configurations are already optimized, and it perfectly matches the amplifier. A powered subwoofer required a line output from the original received – it takes a load off from the amp.

Compare the Best Car Subwoofers

Item/Characteristics

 

 

Size of speaker

Max. output power

Voice coil

Overall size

Materials

Weight

Price/Quality ratio

Pyle PLPW15D

BUY NOW AMAZON 15 in 2000 Wt 2.5-inch Single 4-ohm 16 x 16.2 x 7.2 in Black steel base, non-pressed paper cone 2.86 Pounds Cheap and non-efficient

Rockville RVW1800P8

BUY NOW AMAZON 18 in 1800 Wt 3-inch 4-Layer CCAW High SPL

9 x 19 x 19 in

Rolled steel base, Paper Composite Cone

Foam surround

23.6 pounds

Very good

Planet Audio AC10D

BUY NOW AMAZON 10 in 1500 Wt 2-In Aluminum 11 x 11 x 5.3 in Polypropylene cone and  steel frame, foam surround 8.4 pounds Cheap with mediocre quality

Car Subwoofer | BOSS Audio CXX8

BUY NOW AMAZON 8 in

600 Wt

2 In Copper

9 x 9 x 4.3 in

Polypropylene cone, rubber surround 4.6 pounds Cheap with mediocre quality

CS1214 1000-watt

BUY NOW AMAZON 12 in 1000Wt _ 15 x 17 x 14 inches Polypropylene cone, rubber surround 5 pounds Optimum

Pioneer TS-W3003D4

BUY NOW AMAZON 12 in 2000 Wt Dual 4ff

12 x 12 x 6.9 in

Basalt fiber  cone, rubber surround, steel frame 20 pounds Pricey, but the price is justified

Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12

   BUY NOW AMAZON 12 in 1200Wt 2.5 In Copper Clad Aluminum

14.5 x 14.5 x 10 in

Anodized aluminum cone, rubber surround 20.9 pounds Optimum

Power Acoustik MOFO-154X

  BUY NOW AMAZON  15 in   3000 W 2.5″ Dual 4-Ohm 4-Layer Voice Coil 18.25 x 18.25 x 11.25 in Paper cone, aluminum frame, nickel connections, polyether foam 32 pounds Optimum

MTX Audio TN12-04 12″ Single 4 ohm Terminator Series Subwoofer

  BUY NOW AMAZON  12 in  Peat, Warm 400 w 4 Ohm coil  14.2 x 14.2 x 8 inches Aluminum frame, rubber sealing 8 pounds Cheap but low-quality

Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer

  BUY NOW AMAZON  8 in 240 W Quad-coil 13.4 x 9.1 x 2.8 inches Aluminum & plastic frame, cone, and coil – N/A 10 pounds Overpriced

Aspects to Consider for Making a Purchase

There are many factors to take into account when you’re in search of an ideal subwoofer for your car. Mind the following:

Power

The higher output power is, the louder subwoofer gets. If you want to have your car pound, buy a subwoofer with 1000+ Wt output. Please note that the subwoofer and the amplifier should match by power characteristics. Otherwise, they might break or distort the sound.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity defines how much power you get from a speaker at some certain output. As a rule, most speakers have an average sensitivity of 88 dB – this is enough to enjoy high-quality sound. The sensitivity under 84 dB is considered to be poor. 92 dB is a perfect level that should be sought after.

Frequency Range

The typical frequency range of a subwoofer for car is 20-200 Hz. For professional sounding, you can limit the frequency to below 100 Hz with a crossover. The sounds under 20 Hz frequency are usually not discerned by the human ear, so there’s no point in exceeding those limits – don’t overpay for what you won’t really need.

Voice Coils

To make sure that voice coil won’t burn during work, it’s better to choose a coil with 100 Watts RMS per channel. The smaller voice coil is, the less control you have over sound – so a 4” coil would be better than a 3” coil. When deciding between single and dual coil systems, pay attention to compatibility first.

Giving Power to the Subwoofer

The vast majority of car subwoofers are passive, which means they should be powered by an external amplifier. Make sure that they have all the necessary ports for being connected with an amplifier. Powered subwoofers usually combine the features of the amplifier and speaker and are powered directly. According to powered car subwoofer reviews, they’re simply more expensive and are easier in installation.

Sealed vs Ported

Sealed subwoofers have smaller size – they can be installed with minimum impact on the car space. They are perfect for critical music applications due to producing high-quality sound. Besides, the music becomes deeper and seems to be filling in space totally. However, sealed speakers perform poorer on actions, so it’s not suitable for watching movies in a car if you have screens.
Ported subwoofers are larger and more efficient in producing low sounds and speech, they aren’t the best solution for music lovers.

Bandpass

Whenever you choose a subwoofer, mind that it should be placed in a bandpass that will take space, too. The vast majority of models don’t have boxes included – a bandpass is hand-made and customized by the driver.

How We Selected Car Subwoofers?

When creating this list, we read passive and powered car subwoofer reviews to get the idea of overall user experience. Top 10 car subwoofer models we chose were tested: we connected them with original car audio systems and compared their power, clarity of sound, bass line, and distortion. In the result, we filtered out the worthiest seven options.

Top-10 Car Subwoofers

These devices ensure profound sounding and have proved to be reliable and efficient in different car models.

Pyle 15 in. car subwoofer.

Pyle PLPW15D 15-Inch 2000 Watt Dual 4 Ohm Subwoofer

Review:

One of the best car subwoofers under 100$, Pyle PLPW15D is a versatile solution that can add bass to your ride! It’s compatible with all enclosures (open air, vented, sealed), and looks compact and stylish. The loud and clear sound is ensured thanks to a dual voice coil and foam surrounding the device. It’s connected to the original amplifier via speaker terminals.

Our opinion:

A nice economical solution, but it won’t produce too loud sounds without damaging itself.

PROS

  • the motor construction is ventilated efficiently;
  • goes with any type of enclosure;
  • nice price/quality ratio;
  • ideal for a punchy bass.

CONS

  • can quickly burn down, when used at maximum strength.
Top-rated Rockville 18-in subwoofer.

Rockville RVW1800P8 1800w 18″ Raw DJ Subwoofer 8 Ohm Sub Woofer 107OZ Magnet

Review:

This 18-inch car subwoofer boosts sounds of all frequencies, being equally effective for mid- and high-tones: if you’re going piecemeal, that’s the best way to save money without losing quality. You can quickly connect it to the original amplifier, and users create their own enclosures without problems. The dual spider system ensures a wide range of sounds and a deep bass, while its high sensitivity makes you hear every little note.

Our opinion:

If you have a 4 Ohm amplifier, this model will bring you the best price/quality ratio – it’s the best car subwoofer for deep bass, durable and strong.

PROS

  • very efficient and reproduces a wide range of frequencies;
  • high rating – the device is recommended by professional DJs and advanced drivers;
  • long-lasting.

CONS

  • works with 4 Ohm amplifiers only.
Compact Planet Audio subwoofer.

Planet Audio AC10D 1500 Watt, 10 Inch, Dual 4 Ohm Voice Coil Car Subwoofer

Review:

If you need the best budget car subwoofer, Planet Audio has the solution that won’t cost you a fortune. It’s created to function in the ported or sealed enclosure and features a trim ring for convenient installation. Thanks to the pole-vent, this subwoofer can be installed near the rear wall. Its dimensions are already adjusted for optimal volume displacement.

Our opinion:

A cheap, simple model for beginners only. Don’t turn up the sound at the full volume.

PROS

  • Low impedance (4 Ohm) makes up for a clear and distinct sound.
  • Compact dimensions;
  • Aluminum voice coil is long-lasting and resists corrosion;
  • surrounding foam reduces distortion.

CONS

  • continuous power handling 750 Wt isn’t much enough for some users;
  • it isn’t long-lasting.
8-inches BOSS Subwoofer.

Car Subwoofer | BOSS Audio CXX8 600 Watt, 8 Inch, 4 Ohm Single Voice Coil

Review:

Another mini car subwoofer is offered by BOSS Audio: this subwoofer is installed in sealed and ported enclosures of medium size. As far as the model has pole-vent, a minimal clearance from the back floor is required. 19 mm MDF will be optimal for installation. Polypropylene cone is long-lasting, and butyl rubber surround is resistant to bad weather and wearing. The aluminum voice coil is non-magnetic, doesn’t ignite and resists to corrosion. That’s the best cheap car subwoofer for superb low sounds.

 

PROS

  • cheap;
  • compact and lightweight;
  • made of high-quality materials.

CONS

  • 1 subwoofer isn’t enough to ensure a truly powerful and deep sounding – it’s better to order 3 items or more;
  • a battery is required;
  • since it’s a small car subwoofer, average power output is 400 Wt only, while peak 800 Wt puts you at the risk of burning your car’s audio system.
JBL 1000 Wt subwoofer.

JBL CS1214 1000-watt, 12″ car audio subwoofer (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

Review:

Efficient and reliable, JBL 12 inch car subwoofer is optimal for those who need a trade-off between power and space. While being pretty compact, JBL car subwoofer produces deep bass sounds and can be installed near the rear wall of your vehicle. Users praise it for the exceptional quality of materials and durability.

Our opinion:

The model has an optimal price-quality ratio but, unfortunately, it was discontinued by the manufacturer.

PROS

  • compact and non-expensive;
  • low 4 Ohm impedance for clear and effective sound.

CONS

  • sounds not pretty good in a ported box;
  • a battery is required;
  • several subwoofers should be bought for a truly fascinating experience.

Pioneer TS-W3003D4 Champion Series Pro Subwoofer with Dual 4 ff Voice Coils

Review:

One of the most prominent solutions in this list, Pioneer car subwoofer produces a very strong bass sound, and two subwoofers are enough to fill your vehicle with loud clear music – 2000 Wt power output is simply outstanding for such a small model like this. Besides, it doesn’t require much enclosure space to produce pure sound without distortion. According to car audio subwoofer reviews, Pioneer’s subwoofers are long-lasting and can work close to the maximum power outage for several hours in a row.

Our opinion:

Ready to pay for exceptional quality? Consider this model – it is worth every dollar.

PROS

  • produces a very strong and deep sound;
  • this top car subwoofer has a very high maximum power output.

CONS

  • the spider assembly may get detached after intense use.
Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.

Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Punch P3 DVC 4-Ohm 12-Inch 600-Watt RMS 1200-Watt Peak Subwoofer

Review:

Rockford Fosgate company has elaborated the best car subwoofer for deep bass: it features oversized surrounds and a powerful motor assembly, as well as a special parabolic cone. PUNCH is the name of the model that totally justifies itself: it allows reaching an aggressive bass and hearing high-frequency sounds. Proprietary spider venting ensures efficient cooling and reduces distortion. Stitched tinsel leads add to durability even in case of heavy-duty performance.

Our opinion:

Though overpriced, this subwoofer is perfect for aggressive bass and deep sounding.

PROS

  • one of the most powerful subwoofers of its size on the market;
  • low 4 Ohm impedance;
  • ensures brilliant performance even at the volume of 60%.

CONS

  • pretty expensive.
Power Acoustik MOFO-154X

Power Acoustik MOFO-154X

Review:

MOFO woofers are made of poly/paper sandwich cone with a dustcap and metal stiffeners, which eliminates distortion of the cone during low bass and high tones. Besides, the innovative dustcap also cools the coil, while the aluminum basket and high bottom octave output make this woofer loud when you need it. Polyether foam improves sound while nickel wire terminals ensure flawless connection. This average-priced model pounds as a high-quality subwoofer should be. 

Our opinion:

The best quality/price value you can get. Install a couple of these subwoofers, and you’ll enjoy great sounds without distortion.

PROS

  • average price;
  • quality materials and thought-through construction.

CONS

  • 15-inches size means the subwoofer takes pretty much space.
MTX Audio TN12-04 12

MTX Audio TN12-04 12″ Single 4 ohm Terminator Series Subwoofer

Review:

The model from MTX Audio boasts the Asymmetrical Linear Drive System for the subwoofer to stay loud without overheating. The construction includes a flat progressive spider and extended poles for smooth piston like drive. The spider plateau venting cools the coil while rubber surrounding prolongs subwoofer’s life. It’s not the best cheap car subwoofer – reliability leaves a lot to be desired.

Our opinion:

This cheap subwoofer won’t make much difference in sound – numerous negative reviews prove that it breaks quite often, or doesn’t do what’s said on the label. MTX should rather be viewed as a home subwoofer.

PROS

  • cheap;
  • compact.

CONS

  • weak;
  • break often.
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8

Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer

Review:

Want a very lightweight and compact solution? The 8-inch subwoofer from Alpine can easily fit any trunk or space behind the seat. It has 240 W maximum output and features Auto-sensing Speaker Level inputs, remote sub level, and so on. The manufacturer gives a 1-year warranty.

Our opinion:

 The product works well, but it’s a bit too overpriced – paying over $200 for a mini car subwoofer doesn’t make sense unless you really need a compact sub.

PROS

  • compact and lightweight;
  • works well and lasts long.

CONS

  • too expensive for such a low output level.

Interesting Facts

The structure of a subwoofer.

  1. To find the best car subwoofer for your vehicle, take your favorite CD or DVD, and try it on the spot when visiting a car audio store.
  2. Even if you don’t hear some high or low frequencies produced by your subwoofer, you may feel them as vibration.
  3. When your body starts resonating with bass and low sound’s frequency, your pressure rises.
  4. In 1974, large subwoofers in one cinema resonated so strongly that the roof cracked under the pressure.
  5. A voice coil 28 mm high is perfect for those who don’t want their subwoofer to take much space but need a clear sound.

How to Install and Set A Car Subwoofer?

How to install car amplifier and subwoofer? It’s not such a complicated process as it seems, but you will need to prepare all necessary instruments and equipment beforehand.

What you will need?

Buying a subwoofer only won’t be enough, you need to prepare:

  • a subwoofer box;
  • an amplifier;
  • RCA cables (at least two);
  • a speaker wire;
  • small wood screws;
  • insulates wires;
  • the in-line fuse of at least 50 amps;

Alternatively, you can buy a wiring kit with all necessary screws, wires, and cables.

Choose an amplifier and a speaker

This is a very important step: you will need to figure out an amplifier that won’t blow the subwoofer up. There are many car subwoofer reviews that claim “My new subwoofer blew within the first week/month” – that mostly happens because of the inconsistency between the amplifier and the subwoofer. Make sure that the amp and the subwoofer match by impedance. Besides, the RMS values of both should be as close to each other as possible (that’s maximum power output the devices can tolerate). Don’t be surprised, if you connect a 600 Wt amplifier with a 2000 Wt subwoofer, and some of it breaks down. As for the size, 12 inch is a good compromise between the durability and the quality of sound.

Connect the wires

Start from powering the subwoofer: it’s crucial to provide the power from the battery instead of the fuse box (otherwise, you will be hearing an annoying engine noise coming via speakers). Besides, the fuse can blow.

Find a gap in the vehicle’s firewall (the metal wall under the hood) – its other side is located inside your car. Put power cable through this hole leaving some length for getting to the battery. Take some insulation off the wire and connect it to the battery after taping it (to avoid being hit with electricity). The rest of this wire should be led to the trunk of the car to connect it to the stereo head unit.

Wire the audio system

Put the system out of the console, or apply tools to slide it out of clips. Use RCA connections. Leave it for the next step – wiring the remote. Then connect 16-18 gauge wires correspondingly – this way, the amplifier will be automatically switched on and off.

Install the speaker in a box

How to hook up a subwoofer in a car? Put it in the box, and if it has its own connectors outside, don’t forget to fix them in the speaker, too. Now put the speaker in the box with the help of the holes on the exterior rim. Install the subwoofer in the car.

Wire up the amplifier

When all wires are in their place, you can connect the amplifier. Start from the power cable, then connect the 16-18 gauge cables, and the rest of the wiring. Don’t mix up “+” and “-“. The last step is connecting the power cable to the battery (the big fuse should be in fuse holder).

Now you know how to set up a subwoofer in a car without attending a machine shop. Make sure you follow all instructions strictly and don’t forget about any cable in this complicated system. Video tutorials and instructions can come in very handy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Much Power Do I Need?

A: As a rule, every speaker has its own technical specifications where the optimal amount of input power is specified. Make sure that the input of subwoofers and the amplifier matches.

Q: If I Put My Subwoofer Box In The Trunk, Will I Be Able To Hear The Bass?

A: Yes, low frequency sound can make your car pound – a strong subwoofer will spread the signals evenly ensuring that the driver and passengers can hear every sound.

Q: What’s Polyester Fiber Stuffing, And How Will It Affect My Subwoofer’s Sound?

A: polyester fiberfill is the material used for the enclosure of the bandpass: it triggers the isothermal process. When the air passes through the Polyfill, it gets dissipated by the fibers and gets less dense – it protects subwoofer construction against damage. However, it can slightly distort or damp the sound.

Q: What Are The Benefits Of Hooking Up Two Subwoofers To A Mono Amplifier?

A: By wiring two subwoofers to one mono-amp you get maximum from the amplifier, and enjoy strong sound. Although you have only one channel, the sound is delivered to both speakers – it strengthens the signal and helps to get a really loud sound.
However, this should be done carefully: make sure that each subwoofer for car matches by power input/output and impedance with the amplifier. Otherwise, you will burn devices.

Our recommendations

After analyzing seven top-rated subwoofer models offered online, we’ve decided that it’s impossible to find some certain leader – the choice of the device should be based on multiple factors, including the size of your car and speaker, your own musical preferences, and your budget. Sometimes smaller cone doesn’t mean worse quality – several minor subwoofers installed on different spots make up for voluminous, deep sounding. If you want to enjoy an aggressive bass, a bigger subwoofer will be ideal. Search for a trade-off between your possibilities and the desired quality of sound.

Such subwoofer speakers for car as Planet Audio’s and BOSS’s won’t hurt your budget – they are under $50, but they won’t ensure a perfect driving experience either. The practice shows that cheap subwoofers that cost $20-40 don’t live up to users’ expectations – they’re weak and break often.

 Deep-pocketed customers should opt for Pioneer’s subwoofers – this is the most reliable and powerful solution on the market so far, though it costs over $300. The most optimal choice is Power Acoustik MOFO – it has the average price (around $150) and ensures brilliant sound.

Keep in mind that the amp and the subwoofer should match by impedance and other characteristics – otherwise, you will quickly burn the electronics in your vehicle.

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