If you are aiming to create the best audio system for your car, there is one component that would make a big difference – the subwoofer. A subwoofer is designed to cover the lower-end range of frequencies as well as to reproduce bass. It does not matter whether you are listening to classical, rap, jazz, or rock. The incorporation of the best car subwoofer will take the quality of your vehicle’s audio system to the next level.
So, how do you choose the best car subwoofer? In this post, we will be discussing everything there is to know about subwoofers. We also have here the top 7 picks for the best ones, along with each product’s pros and cons. Not only that, we will also talk about its different types, its benefits, and the factors you must consider when choosing a good subwoofer.
TOP 7 BEST CAR SUBWOOFER REVIEWS
In this section, we will be discussing the top 7 picks for the best car subwoofer. For you to be able to narrow down your choices, you need to evaluate each product’s main features, pros, and cons carefully. Here is a summary of what you can expect in the products presented in the following reviews:
The MTX Audio Terminator TNE212D really lives up to its name, all thanks to the dual 1,200-watt 12-inch subwoofer enclosure. Its outer housing is constructed of 5/8-inch M.D.F. with aviation-grade carpet, which provides the subwoofer with a rugged but expensive feel. It also has a single terminal cup that you can connect to a more powerful amplifier.
Another great feature of the MTX Audio Terminator TNE212D is the power handling, which is rated at 1200 watts maximum, 800 watts peak, and R.M.S. of 400 watts. It is also internally wired to a 2-ohm final load and is equipped with a 2-inch aluminum voice coil. The subwoofers feature a rubber surround, a polypropylene cone, the MTX logo on the dust cap, and a frequency response rate of 37 to 150 Hz. Lastly, the brand offers a 1-year warranty on the subwoofers.
- It can be connected to any amplifier
- Made from 5/8-inch M.D.F. with aviation-grade black carpet
- Power handing was rated at 1200 watts maximum
- Might blow up due to overheating
- It may break down after just a few months
The Rockford Fosgate P300-10 might be perfect for you if you want to quickly add bass to your car audio system. This subwoofer enclosure can also alleviate the inconvenience of having a separate amplifier and subwoofer. It features a Punch 10-inch subwoofer in a custom-sealed enclosure and can be powered up by a 300-watt amplifier.
This product already includes everything that you need, so you only must run power and a signal from the source to activate this subwoofer. It is also constructed with a durable exterior, which can resist scrapes and bumps, especially if it is placed in the cargo area or trunk of your vehicle.
The Rockford Fosgate P300-10 Subwoofer Enclosure has a closed-loop design that ensures maximum performance between the amplifier, woofer, and enclosure. It also has separate speaker-level and low-level inputs. It has a detachable power and ground connector, an intelligent automatic turn-on and off function, and thermal and over-voltage protection.
Other great features include an adjustable 12dB/octave low pass crossover, the inclusion of a remote bass level control, a high output woofer, and a 5/8-inch M.D.F. It also has a built-in adjustable bass boost equalizer and large A.W.G. input terminals, and it is covered with industrial head-activated vinyl.
- It can be paired with a 300-watt amplifier
- Features an adjustable 12dB/octave crossover
- The brand offers a 1-year standard warranty
- The auto shut-off feature might not work properly
- The internal fuse may blow up even at the lowest volume
The Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway Car Subwoofer can fit almost anywhere while delivering the best performance that made the brand famous in the automotive industry. With its size of 3 inches tall, it can perfectly fit under the seats, as well as storage areas where you normally do not find powered subwoofers. It also has a built-in 150-watt amplifier that adds depth to your music.
This product has a frequency response rate of 25 to 120 Hz, variable phase control of 0 to 180 degrees, and a bass boost control of 0dB to +6 dB. It also has speaker-level inputs, an automatic turn-on switch, and a wired remote control.
Every purchase of the Kicker 11HS8 includes the following: a wiring harness, an in-line fuse holder, a 15 amp A.T.O. fuse, two 10 amp A.T.O. fuses, a remote bass level control, a metal bracket, 20-inch remote cable, 2 Velcro mounting straps, two 10 to 12-gauge crimp-on ring terminals, a 10 to 12-gauge butt connector, 4 flat washers, 4 mounting brackets, two 3/8-inch pan head screws, eight 3/4-inch flat head screws, four 1-3/8-inch flat head screws, a mounting template, and an owner’s manual.
- The package includes everything you need for the installation
- Comes with a built-in 150-watt amplifier
- The frequency response rate is 25 to 120 Hz
- Did not last long for some buyers
- The bass is not deep enough for some users
Another great product on this list is the J.B.L. GT-BassPro12, which proposes an easy way to add high-output and low-distortion bass to your vehicle’s audio system. Its Slipstream port design makes way for a deep, bottom-end bass while the port noise is minimized. It also comes with an improved motor-structure venting that ensures thermal protection, as well as a progressive spider for superior mechanical reliability. It also is equipped with an amplifier that provides flexibility and outstanding power.
The J.B.L. GT-BassPro12 features a 12-inch polypropylene cone and a rubber surround that provides cone resonance damping, which translates into a powerful, tight, and natural-sounding bass. It also comes with a remote level control, allowing you to adjust the bass from the driver’s seat.
It is also equipped with dual-stacked magnets that increase magnetic flux, as well as speaker level and line level inputs that allow you to connect it with any audio system.
This subwoofer also features a very convenient automatic on-and-off function, which eliminates the need to use the remote level control. Lastly, it has oversized speaker protection bars that ensure the safety of the woofer cone while offering a muscular but sleek look.
- Comes with a built-in 150-watt amplifier
- The frequency response rate is 35 to 120 Hz
- Features an automatic on-and-off function
- It might blow up even at low volume
- Did not last long for some buyers
The Bazooka BTA6100 is specifically designed to be installed with ease while effectively upgrading your vehicle’s existing audio system. It features a built-in 100-watt dual amplifier combined with a dual voice coil woofer. The amplifiers can eliminate the high frequencies, thus offering you a crisp and clean bass. The result is a seamless electrical and audible integration of improved sound quality.
This subwoofer features the F.A.S.T. harnesses that make installation a lot easier. It is also a simple way to ensure your vehicle’s protection by making the installation a plug-in process. It also features the brand’s RBCM-100 Remote Bass Control Module, allowing you to manipulate the level of bass even from the driver’s seat. It also has an optional chrome-plated U.M.S. bracket that gives the subwoofer a flashy yet secure mounting.
- Provides a crisp and clean bass
- Features a remote bass control module
- Comes with a built-in 100-watt dual amplifier
- May rattle after installation
- The amplifier may be too weak for some
Another great offering by Rockford Fosgate is the P3D4-12 Subwoofer, which features innovative parabolic cone designs, oversized surrounds, and large motor components. It delivers a loud, deep, and aggressive bass, as well as a stunning appearance. It has extended power handling and would not cost you a fortune.
The Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Subwoofer features an anodized aluminum voice coil former that provides heat dissipation and keeps the unit cool, especially during high S.P.L. conditions. It also conforms to CEA-2031 industry standards, which makes it able to perform continuous power handling instead of instantaneous power handling.
Other features of the P3D4-12 include the custom 10-AWG nickel-plated push terminals, diamond cast aluminum trim ring, an extended pole piece, a bumped vented back plate, a high-temp voice coil that comes with a spun-laced collar, a protective P.V.C. textured magnet cover, a soft touch rubber over mold, and the Stampcast basket that is equipped with an integrated spider venting.
- Features the Vertical Attach Surround Technique
- Delivers a loud, deep, and aggressive bass
- Offers extended power handling
- Some buyers commented about the product’s poor performance
- Might shut down involuntarily
Another product offered by Kicker, the S15L7, makes this list of the best car subwoofer. As advertised by the brand, their distinctive subwoofers deliver rich and deep bass, as well as quality sound and overall indestructibility. The latest offering by Kicker is outstanding, delivering more decibels with its patented additional cone area.
This subwoofer, as a Solo-Baric unit, utilizes the brand’s most innovative technology and concepts. It also features the one-piece SoloKon that comes with full back bracing that provides optimum toughness and zero distortion. It also has a reliably stitched surround that minimizes cone flex. You can also guarantee a longer woofer life due to its heat-dissipating high-temperature coil wire.
- It is durable and has zero distortion
- Features the patented extra cone area
- Delivers deep and rich bass
- It might blow in as fast as 8 days
- Some had issues with the delivery of a damaged unit.
WHAT IS A CAR SUBWOOFER AND WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE IT
Essentially, a subwoofer is a speaker that is designed specifically to reproduce a great level of bass. This level is achieved through sitting at the low end of sound frequencies. A lot of modern speakers are struggling to achieve this lower end of sound frequencies, which is why subwoofers are generally larger.
With their size and ability to reproduce low frequency, subwoofers are popularly known for providing higher-quality audio than what you would normally expect from a regular speaker. If you are already used to subwoofers, you might find it hard to return to classic speakers. It might also make you wonder how you ever listened to your music without a subwoofer.
Regardless of the music you listen to, even if it’s the heaviest of metal or the smoothest of jazz, good quality bass is always necessary, especially if you want to enjoy your music. Without great bass, music tends to feel a little flat and dull.
When subwoofers are combined with high-quality speakers and a powerful amplifier, you can evolve every listening experience into something magical. This might be a little difficult to explain, but this is something that you must experience for you to truly understand
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF CAR SUBWOOFERS
Subwoofers are not exactly manufactured the exact same way, which would make choosing the best one to be a bit confusing. Here are the four different types of subwoofers:
Personalized subwoofer system
A personalized audio system will require you to build a dedicated subwoofer system. In simple terms, a personalized system involves component subs that are mounted into a subwoofer box, which are specifically designed to complement the component subs. For you to be able to power up a personalized subwoofer system, all you need is an amplifier.
The component subs, which generally range from 8-inch to 15-inch, have different ratings and specifications. With this, a personalized subwoofer system offers flexibility, such as being able to customize the audio system to tailor your wants and needs. Interestingly, the best car subwoofers are generally custom-made.
Pre-built subwoofer system
Pre-built subwoofer systems, which can also be called enclosed subwoofer systems, already come with a boxed enclosure. The component subs are pre-mounted inside the box, therefore, saving you the inconvenience of picking out an enclosure box. Like the previous type, a pre-built subwoofer system would require an amplifier for you to power it up.
A downside, in my opinion, is the lack of customization, as you will be limited to what the enclosed subwoofer system can offer you. In addition, if one woofer blows, you are likely to replace the whole unit. That said, there still are a lot of high-quality pre-built enclosed subwoofer systems that work great on cars.
A powered subwoofer system is simply an all-in-one system that combines the enclosure, the subwoofer speaker, and the amplifier in one pre-built unit. Unlike the previous type of subwoofer system, a powered subwoofer already has an amplifier built into the enclosure.
One of the advantages of having a powered subwoofer is its small and compact build. You might be surprised at how little space they require. To add, installing a powered subwoofer is extremely easy because everything is already built. However, the depth and the sound quality might be depleted due to its small size.
Vehicle specific subwoofer
A vehicle-specific subwoofer is a woofer that is built to match a specific car design. It is tailor-made and is designed based on the vehicle it is being mounted in. They can either be powered or unpowered and even revolve around the first three types mentioned above. One great advantage of having a vehicle-specific subwoofer is that it takes no space, as it is literally a part of the vehicle. However, sound quality may not be the best due to its size and other restrictions.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT SIZES OF CAR SUBWOOFERS
Just like when you are choosing a subwoofer for home use, choosing a subwoofer for your car will not be any different. The first thing that you should do is ask yourself what kind of bass you are looking for.
The biggest subwoofers are not always the best, as there are a lot of different sizes that respond and produce a different sound for every type of music. With this, finding the right subwoofer size is important. Here are the 4 different sizes of subwoofers and the kind of sound they produce:
If you are not yet aware, the smaller the subwoofer is, the faster and more responsive it is. This size of subwoofer will be able to keep up with fast-paced music. If you are fond of listening to electronic and heavy rock, an 8-inch subwoofer might be perfect for you. It is also proven to be an enjoyable choice for people who love soft and light bass.
An 8-inch subwoofer is something that works perfectly with an audio system instead of overwhelming it. With that said, this size of subwoofer might not be ideal for you if you like music with heavy and loud bass.
This size of a subwoofer is the most common among the rest. They are also considered one of the most well-rounded and safest choices for a subwoofer. As with the 8-inch subwoofer, a 10-inch subwoofer can keep up with fast-paced music but will be able to produce a respectable amount of bass. While they work great for fast-paced music, they also are great with heavier bass music.
If you are a fan of club music, rap, or rock, you might want to consider this size of subwoofer. However, if you are looking for a bigger bass, you might have to double up the 10-inch subwoofer to attain the sound level you prefer.
A 12-inch subwoofer might be perfect for you if you are fond of listening to different types of music but also enjoy heavy bass. Like the 10-inch subwoofer, the 12-inch subwoofer is also considered a common size of subwoofer on the market today. The reason is that they are universal, as they work great on almost all types of music.
They can produce heavy bass and, at the same time, cover a deeper range of frequencies. While they normally do not keep up with fast-paced music such as metal or heavy rock, it has been proven that they sound great for other varieties of music, including rap, electronic, pop, and club.
Unlike the previous subwoofer sizes, the 15-inch subwoofer is not at all common. They are also proven to not be a great choice for the everyday music listener. However, if you want to make your ears bleed, you might want to consider the 15-inch subwoofer.
To sum up, choosing the right size of a subwoofer will require you to consider several things, such as the type of music you are fond of listening to, as well as the confinements of the location. 8-inch subwoofers are great for leveling out, while the 15-inch subwoofer will just wake up your neighbors. With this, your best bet might just be between the 10-inch and the 12-inch subwoofer.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CAR SUBWOOFER IN THE MARKET
You might be wasting your time looking for a subwoofer if you do not know what makes a subwoofer unique. Here are some of the factors you must consider when choosing a good subwoofer:
You need to consider the R.M.S. whenever you are looking at the rate of power handling of a subwoofer. This is not necessarily the maximum output a woofer can provide. Instead, this rating is what you can expect to power your subwoofer continuously and without any issues. If you want an audio system that explodes with bass, you might want to look for a subwoofer that offers a high-power rating.
It is noteworthy that you make sure that the amplifier will match the subwoofer’s power handling. If not, they may not work at all together.
If the subwoofer has a high range of sensitivity, less power is required for the subwoofer to achieve the sound level of a subwoofer with lower sensitivity. With this, you might want to consider getting a subwoofer with high sensitivity if you already have a powerful amplifier that complements the subwoofer 1 to achieve maximum power and sound.
Frequency range refers to how low a subwoofer can produce sound. It means that the greater the range, the more suited the car subwoofer would be when playing the lows and highs of the music you will be listening to.
Beginners opt to choose a single voice call subwoofer, as it is the easiest to install while offering an amazing quality of bass sound. However, more experienced users find a dual voice coil more suitable for them.
Speaker Design and Materials
The woofer can easily indicate the responsiveness and the overall quality of the speaker. If lightweight materials were used, the more effective the subwoofer would be. Polypropylene is a very common material used for building the cone, along with carbon and Kevlar. For higher-end subwoofers, titanium and aluminum are used.
The surround is also an important factor as it can affect the sound directly. Lightweight and durable materials are commonly used to allow the woofer to move with minimum energy. With this, the material speaks clearly of its performance and how long it will last. Surrounds of higher-end subwoofers are made with rubber, while foam and cloth are found on less expensive ones.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY INSTALL A CAR SUBWOOFER
For you to make the most out of your subwoofer, it must be installed the right way the first time. In this section, we are going to have a rundown of the steps on how to install subwoofers:
- Gather all the materials you need to install the subwoofer, which includes the subwoofer box, a speaker, an amplifier, a wiring kit, a power supply, 15-feet long R.C.A. cables, a fuse of specs 50 amps, basic tools, and 4 screws. It should be noted that for power and ground wiring, the wires should match the power of the amplifier.
- Ensure that both R.M.S.s of the amplifier and the speaker match. You may want to try them out first based on R.M.S. ratings instead of peak ratings.
- You may start wiring the battery. To do this, it should be noted that you should get the power of the batter instead of the fuse box. Run the power cables from the firewall and make sure that there is enough wire to reach the battery. Shred the insulation from the wire to the end where the battery is located and wire the in-line fuse to that end. In addition, make sure that the wire is taped properly to the fuse to avoid short circuits. While the carpet is loose, you can place the 16 to 18-gauge wire with the R.C.A. cables.
- Now, you may wire the music setup. You should remove the front of the console or simply employ the tool to slide the stereo away. By now, there should be two R.C.A. connections present, running through the back of the center console and plugged-in connections just behind the stereo.
- Run the 16 to 18-gauge wire at the back of the center console. This wire is to give the amplifier the signal that the stereo has been turned on and that the amplifier should be as well. To do this, you just need to connect the gauge wire, and when you turn the stereo on, the amplifier will too.
- Place the speaker inside the box. However, if the box already has its own connecting points, just ensure that they are wired to the speaker inside as well. Screw the speaker properly with the box.
- Connect the power cable coming from the battery to the amplifier with the corresponding markings.
- This final step is to connect the power cable to the battery. Make sure that a larger fuse is within the fuse holder.
This concludes the task of installing a subwoofer in your car. You just need to test all the connections, as well as the quality of the sound. Always remember that even the best car subwoofer will sound bad if it is not installed properly.
Choosing the best car subwoofer has never been easier with this detailed guide. We have here the top picks of the best ones available, as well as their pros and cons.
In addition, a comprehensive buying guide, which includes the types, sizes, and factors to consider, has been laid out for you to know exactly what you need before you buy your car a subwoofer.
Lastly, you will find step-by-step instructions on how to properly install a subwoofer in your car.