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13 Best Car Subwoofers in 2023: Our Expert Reviews and Buying Guide

Music and driving – can you name a better combo? With the windows down and the wind in your hair, what’s better than your favorite tunes on the stereo?

Whether you’re a hip-hop hero or a rock god, you need a sound system to do justice to your musical selection.

And from Beethoven to the Beastie Boys, great music starts with the bass.

That’s why a subwoofer is such an important addition to your sound system. Even the best speakers can’t handle low frequencies as well as a subwoofer.

That means that the bass loses its punch or gets lost in distortion as you crank the volume.

In fact, if you’ve never listened to your favorite albums through a powerful sound system that gives the bass pride of place, you’ve never really heard them at all.

An aftermarket subwoofer will bring your tunes to life – huge bass will blow your mind, and blow the roof off your car. That’s one way to get the top down!

Subwoofers come in many shapes and sizes, from giant dual subs with built-in amps that will fit in the back of a truck to streamlined, under-seat subs. We’ve taken a look at ten of the best subwoofers on the market, for every scenario.

So to take your audio to the next level, we’re bringing you the low down of the lows. Here’s the best of the bass.

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The Best Car Subwoofers for Deep Bass in 2023

Best for Maximum Power
MTX Audio TNE212DV
MTX Audio TNE212DV
  • 1000 watts of RMS power
  • Delivers superior quality, crisp and soul touching sound
  • Wireless and easy-to-install
  • Built to last
View on Amazon →
Best Sealed Enclosure
Rockford Fosgate P300-12
Rockford Fosgate P300-12
  • Thumping bass
  • Built-in amp offering 300 watt RMS power
  • Premium construction
  • Easy to install
View on Amazon →
Best Durable
JBL GT-BassPro12
  • Solid sub, built in a die-cast aluminum basket
  • Fully adjustable with remote control included
  • Delivers super tight and natural sounding bass
View on Amazon →
Best Value For Dual Subs
MTX Audio TNE212D
MTX Audio TNE212D
  • Optimized system delivers top quality bass when paired with the perfect amp
  • Built with Industry-standard ⅝” MDF
  • Great value for money
View on Amazon →
Best Space-saving
Rockville RWS12CA
Rockville RWS12CA
  • RMS output of 300 watts
  • In-built amp, and sub delivers optimized sound
  • Compact and stylish design
View on Amazon →
Best Sub For Tight Spaces
Pioneer TS-SWX2502
Pioneer TS-SWX2502
  • Delivers 1,200 watts of max power when paired with wide range of amps
  • Tight and clear bass
  • Space-saving design
View on Amazon →
Best 10” For DIY Installation
Rockville RW10CA
Rockville RW10CA 10″
  • Super-streamlined subwoofer
  • Customizable clean sounding bass perfect for rap, hip hop, and EDM
  • Easy to install and space-saving design
View on Amazon →
Best Looking
Dual Electronics BP1204
Dual Electronics BP1204
  • Great looking space-age design
  • Ample power herein for cranking, heavy bass
  • Premium quality construction
View on Amazon →
Best Excellent Sound Quality
Pioneer TS-WX1210A
Pioneer TS-WX1210A
  • Offers tight, studio-accurate bass
  • 350 watt RMS power
  • Carpeted enclosure makes it non-slip and durable
View on Amazon →
Best Unenclosed
Pioneer TS-SW2502S4
Pioneer TS-SW2502S4
  • Fits easily into any vehicle
  • 1,200 watts max power
  • Ensures rich, deep bass and excellent sound quality
View on Amazon →

Let’s dive right into our hand-picked deep bass car subwoofer selection.

1. MTX Audio TNE212DV – Best For Maximum Power

MTX Audio TNE212DV’s dual subwoofers provide plenty of boom for their price. By combining two 500 watt RMS subwoofers into a single vented enclosure, MTX Audio has created a unit that offers impressive power.

MTX Audio TNE212DV
Feature Specification
Size 12″
Power Range 1000W RMS
Enclosure Type Ported
Additional costs Does not come with wiring or an amplifier

The MTX Audio TNE212DV is a single voice coil subwoofer with a dual vented (also known as ported) enclosure, making it easy to install. If you have DIY ambitions, this car subwoofer is definitely worth considering. However, it should be noted that the MTX Audio TNE212DV doesn’t come with wiring or an amplifier, so you’ll be shelling out extra for those additional costs.

The MTX Audio TNE212DV is built in a stylish all-black design and is constructed with solid, durable materials including ⅝” MDF and aviation-grade carpet. This ensures that the car subwoofer can handle anything you can throw at it and the venting design allows for additional cooling, further extending its lifespan.

This powerful ported speaker, the MTX Audio TNE212DV, will sound great at loud volumes and provide spacious, booming bass. It’s particularly well-suited for heavy metal, hip hop, and rap, giving a textured sound where the bass truly comes to life.

Bottom Line DIY divas, look no further! The MTX Audio TNE212DV brings arena sound straight to your trunk. View Latest Price on Amazon →

2. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 – Best Sealed Enclosure

Rockford Fosgate is a premium audio brand known for its solid construction and exemplary sound. Their Rockford Fosgate P300-12 continues to uphold this reputation. Let’s take a closer look.

Rockford Fosgate P300-12
Feature Specification
Size 12″
Amp Power (RMS) 300 watt
Subwoofer Power (RMS) 300 watt
Enclosure Types Sealed
Construction Material ⅝” MDF
Price Premium
Additional Features Amplifier and accessories included

The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 comes with a built-in amp that offers 300 watt RMS power, which matches the power of the subwoofer. The amp and subwoofer are both contained in a sealed enclosure, and the streamlined design ensures optimal performance. Sealed subs generally require more power to reach high volumes, but the closed-loop design of the P300-12 helps to optimize its performance.

This innovative design is typical of Rockford Fosgate. While the P300-12 may not be a superpowered subwoofer, it’s capable of handling high volumes without struggle. The construction of the P300-12 is standardized but solid, using ⅝” MDF as the main material.

With a premium brand, you always have a premium price tag attached and the Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-12 isn’t going to leave you with much change. But with the added amplifier and accessories, you get plenty for your money.

As a premium brand, the Rockford Fosgate Punch P300-12 comes with a premium price tag. However, the inclusion of the amplifier and accessories make it a good value for the price. If you want to learn more about the P300-12, be sure to check out our full review.

Bottom Line The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is an exceptionally well-built sub and amp combo that’s optimized for sealed subs. It guarantees serious bass, making it ideal for EDM and dance music. View Latest Price on Amazon →

3. JBL GT-BassPro12 12-Inch – Best Durable Subwoofer

JBL’s stylish subwoofer with an in-built amp offers great value for money. The JBL GT-BassPro12 is a solid subwoofer, built with a die-cast aluminum basket to protect both the subwoofer and the sound quality. The cone of the JBL GT-BassPro12 is encased in protection bars to keep it in optimal order, giving the unit a meaty look that speaks of power. This is a design you’ll want to show off.

Feature Specification
Size 12″
Amp Power 150W RMS
Basket Material Die-cast aluminum
Enclosure Types Ported
Sound Quality Super tight and natural sounding bass
Airflow Optimized for durability
Accessories Remote level control, input level, low-pass, and bass-boost for customization

The polypropylene cone with rubber surround is a durable build, and thanks to optimized airflow JBL GT-BassPro12 should last a long time – you might even upgrade your car before this sub goes bust.

The polypropylene cone with rubber surround is a durable build, and thanks to optimized airflow, the JBL GT-BassPro12 should last a long time – you might even upgrade your car before this sub goes bust.

Powered by a 150-watt amp, the JBL GT-BassPro12 may not be the biggest sub, but JBL has pulled out all the stops in its design to ensure that nothing goes to waste. The result is a subwoofer that delivers beyond what you might expect.

The JBL GT-BassPro12 comes with a ported enclosure that utilizes JBL’s innovative Slipstream ports, which allow for optimal airflow and eliminate distortion even at the highest levels. This is a sub you can push to the limit. There are also a range of accessories and added features that bring this sub into the premium category – the remote level control gives you total control over the sound of your sub from the driver’s seat. Adjusting the input level, low-pass, and adding bass-boost allow for customized sound with the JBL GT-BassPro12.

Overall, the JBL GT-BassPro12 generates super tight and natural sounding bass – great for rap and hip-hop when you’re cruising.

Bottom Line JBL GT-BassPro12 is a well-built and durable car subwoofer that still packs a punch. View Latest Price on Amazon →

4. Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 – Best Subwoofer For Outrageously Loud Deep Bass

From the little to the very large, let me introduce Skar Audio’s whopping 15-inch subwoofer. With 2,500 watts of maximum power and a heavy 1,250 watts of RMS, Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 is a sub to blow the roof, the doors, and your mind.

Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 15' 2500 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Feature Specification
Size 15″
Peak Power 3000 Watts
RMS Power 1250 Watts
Impedance Dual 4Ω
Recommended Enclosure Ported
Sound quality Deep bass and outrageous volume

Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 sounds exceedingly good at the low end, with a sensitivity of 86.1 dB and a frequency range from 20 Hz – 250 Hz. Skar Audio EVL-15 D4’s a passive subwoofer, so you’ll need an amplifier, and it comes without an enclosure. For audiophiles that gives you the option of building a bandpass enclosure to further optimize the deep bass of this sub.

And the premium materials guarantee a top-quality sound and accurate bass. The paper cone is competition grade and the 3-inch voice coil can withstand the highest temperatures when you turn Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 to the max.

But Skar Audio EVL-15 D4’s big: the outer diameter of 15.45 inches and a mounting depth of 12.95-inches means that, with an added enclosure, you’re going to be clearing out the trunk for this one.

Bottom Line Skar Audio EVL-15 D4 is a big daddy sub with excessive power, and the option to customize it with any enclosure. View Latest Price on Amazon →

5. KICKER CWCD104 CompC Single 10 Inch – Best For Deep Bass On A Budget

KICKER CWCD104 CompC’s nifty little 10-inch sub features premium materials without a premium price tag.

Feature Specification
Size 12″
Peak Power 500W
RMS Power 250W
Recommended Enclosure Ported

With 250 watts of RMS power, KICKER CWCD104 CompC packs a punch – and since this sub gives you the choice of a sealed or vented enclosure, you can optimize it further for a sound that suits your system.

KICKER CWCD104 CompC hasn’t skimped on materials here – the cone is a durable injection molded polypropylene and the voice coil is particularly heat resistant. This sub will go the distance, providing you with deep bass all the way.

For smaller vehicles, the mounting depth of 4.81 inches gives you options, and choosing a sealed enclosure gives you even more compact sound as KICKER CWCD104 CompC works with just 1 cubic foot of air around it. However, a vented box with around 1.75 cubic feet will give you access to lower frequencies.

And the price is appealing. For a truly budget build, run KICKER CWCD104 CompC on your factory amp with free air rather than a custom enclosure – but for the deepest bass, splash out on some aftermarket upgrades.

Bottom Line Deep bass doesn’t have to mean deep pockets. This little KICKER CWCD104 CompC is a great upgrade on a limited budget. View Latest Price on Amazon →

6. MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – Best Value For Dual Subs

Upgrading to dual subs gives your system greater headroom, reduced distortion, and bigger sound. The only drawback is the cost. However, thanks to MTX’s TNE212D model, there is now a dual sub available for all budgets.

MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D
Feature Specification
Size 12″
Power Range 400W RMS
Enclosure Type Sealed
Build materials Industry-standard ⅝” MDF and aviation grade carpeting
Installation Comes with internal amp, ready to be wired into your system

How does the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D come so cheap? Well, you’re compromising on power. With 400W RMS power (split between the two subs), power is limited in this system. However, MTX has built a system that offers excellent value for money thanks to its optimized design, especially when paired with the right amp.

And MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D hasn’t skimped on build materials. Industry-standard ⅝” MDF and aviation grade carpeting combine on this sub. The enclosure is ported and ultimately the combination of sub and enclosure makes for a sizable unit. Make sure you’ve got ample trunk space before picking up this sub. If it fits, you’ll have no trouble installing MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – coming with an internal amp it’s ready to get wired into your system.

Despite the low price, the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D has not skimped on build materials. It features industry-standard ⅝” MDF and aviation grade carpeting, and the enclosure is ported. The combination of the sub and enclosure makes for a sizable unit, so make sure you’ve enough trunk space before purchasing. If it does fit, installation should be straightforward as the sub comes with an internal amp and is ready to be wired into your system.

Bottom Line A big unit offering big sound, the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D has pulled out all the stops to create a great value dual subwoofer. View Latest Price on Amazon →

7. Rockville RWS12CA – Best For Easy Installation

Rockville RWS12CA advertises 1200 watt max power for this 12” sub. However, the all-important measure for your system is the RMS power.

Rockville RWS12CA Slim
Feature Specification
Size 12″
Power Range 300W RMS
Enclosure Types Sealed
Vented Enclosure Included
Amplifier Included
Easy Installation Wiring kit provided
Fit Under Seats Yes

Nevertheless, the Rockville RWS12CA has an RMS output of 300 watts, meaning it performs exceptionally well. You won’t be disappointed when you turn this baby up a notch. The vented enclosure, in-built amp, and sub are all built to work together for optimized performance, making for easy installation. Rockville RWS12CA has even included a wiring kit, so you can get to work right away.

The compact design of Rockville RWS12CA sets it apart from other vented subs. However, be aware that this sub is slightly larger than the dimensions suggest due to its tapered design.

Thanks to its build, you can fit Rockville RWS12CA under your seats, but its stylish design may make you want to display it. The aviation-grade carpet has been embossed with an embroidered logo, making this one stylish sub.

Bottom Line Installation of the Rockville RWS12CA subwoofer will be a breeze. This subwoofer is known for its decent sound quality. View Latest Price on Amazon →

8. Pioneer TS-SWX2502 – Best Sub For Tight Spaces

The Pioneer TS-SWX2502’s 10″ build is a streamlined subwoofer, perfect for smaller vehicles or tight spaces. Its compact size allows it to easily fit into a variety of locations, making it a versatile option for those with limited space.

Pioneer TS-SWX2502
Feature Specification
Size 10″
Power Range 300W RMS
Enclosure Types Sealed
Frequency Range 20 Hz to 200 Hz
Cone material MICA injection-molded resin
Bass response Tight and clean

With 300 watts of RMS power, you can pair the Pioneer TS-SWX2502 with a wide range of amps. Its 1,200 watts of max power gives you breathing room at the peak. The subwoofer also has a wide frequency range of 20 Hz to 200 Hz, giving you access to great-sounding lows.

Pioneer has designed a creatively compact enclosure for the TS-SWX2502, which means you have a space-saving design and no-hassle installation. The use of MICA injection-molded resin as the cone material gives the subwoofer a durable design that can handle the heat when you turn it up. With the dual spider stabilizing cone movement, you can anticipate tight and clean bass thanks to Pioneer’s focus on an accurate bass response.

Bottom Line Thanks to its frequency and stabilizing movement, the Pioneer TS-SWX2502 is a great all-rounder for a wide range of musical genres. View Latest Price on Amazon →

9. Rockville RW10CA 10″ – Best 10” For DIY Installation

This super-streamlined Rockville RW10CA subwoofer is easy to install. It fits snugly even into the smallest vehicles, thanks to its in-built amp.

Rockville RW10CA 10
Feature Specification
Size 10″
Power Range 200W RMS
Enclosure Types Sealed
Low profile Enclosure is only 2.7” deep
Sound quality Tight, clean-sounding bass that is perfect for rap, hip hop, and EDM
Efficiency 3rd party approved for power rating, MOSFET power supply, sealed enclosure design

Like the Rockville RW10CA’s 12” model, this slim and low profile subwoofer has an enclosure that is only 2.7” deep, allowing it to fit easily under your seat. However, there is a compromise in power. With 800 watt peak power and 200 watt RMS, the RW10CA is not as powerful as other subs on the market or even other 10” subwoofers.

Despite its limited power, the RW10CA is 3rd party approved for its power rating, meaning that not a single watt is wasted when you turn it up. Its MOSFET power supply is exceptionally efficient and the sealed enclosure design saves space, resulting in a tight, clean-sounding bass that is perfect for rap, hip hop, and EDM.

However, the sealed design of the RW10CA tends to require more power for high volumes, so you may be underwhelmed when you crank it up. Rockville has included a range of controls, such as a low pass crossover filter and subsonic filters, to allow you to customize the sound to your liking. If you like the sound of this product, find out more!

Bottom Line Rockville RW10CA is a streamlined 10” subwoofer that’s perfect for small vehicles. View Latest Price on Amazon →

10. Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 15″ – Best Deep Bass Subwoofer For Maximum Power

Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 is competition-level 15-inch subwoofer that has huge power ratings and low impedance – a winning combination for deep bass and outrageous volume.

Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 15' 3000 Watt Max Power Dual 1 Ohm SPL Car Subwoofer
Feature Specification
Size 15″
Peak Power 3000 Watts
Impedance Dual 1Ω
Recommended Enclosure Ported
Sound quality Deep bass and outrageous volume

With 3,000 watts of max power and 1,500 watts of RMS, Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 can handle anything you can throw at it. You’ll need a decently sized aftermarket amp to provide it, too. Dual voice coils give you wiring flexibility here.

The wide frequency range means Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 can produce midtones well – but since we’re here for deep bass, we only care about the bottom end. And Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 provides a frequency response down to 25 Hz (hertz).

Everything about Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 is premium grade, from the 1-ohm impedance to the competition grade materials used in construction, not least the pressed paper cone.

Just get ready to spend big and put some space aside for this hefty Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 subwoofer. It doesn’t come cheap, and the 11.30″ mounting depth takes up some serious room. But this is the Godzilla of deep bass subwoofers – and it produces the lows to do justice to Godzilla’s legendary roar.

Bottom Line If you want to go mad with power, Skar Audio ZVX-15v2 D1 is the subwoofer for you! View Latest Price on Amazon →

11. Dual Electronics BP1204 – Best Looking Subwoofer

For a subwoofer that wouldn’t be out of place in an art gallery, look no further. Dual Electronics BP1204 boasts a space-age design with curved viewing windows and backlit cones, creating a visual spectacle.

Dual Electronics BP1204
Feature Specification
Size 12 x 2″
Power Range 600W RMS
Enclosure Types Bandpass
Materials Solid MDF enclosure with top-of-the-range carpeting and reinforced enclosure chambers

But it’s not all about style for these Dual Electronics BP1204 12″ subs. They also pack 600 watts of RMS power at 4 ohms, providing ample power for cranking out heavy bass.

With a wide frequency range that goes down to 30Hz, and 2.5″ voice coils for efficient output, these subs can deliver impressive sound. In addition, they are robustly built with all-premium materials. The enclosure is made of solid MDF and features top-of-the-range carpeting to eliminate enclosure movement and optimize sound. The enclosure chambers have also been reinforced to ensure that these subs can handle every bump in the road.

Bottom Line Dual Electronics BP1204 is a style combined with substantial bass. View Latest Price on Amazon →

12. Pioneer TS-WX1210A – Best Sealed Enclosure Subwoofer

One for the audiophiles, the Pioneer TS-WX1210A is a powerful 12” subwoofer that offers the best of both worlds with volume and tight, studio-accurate bass. However, it comes with a premium price tag.

Pioneer TS-WX1210A
Feature Specification
Size 12″
Power (RMS) 350W RMS
Enclosure Types Sealed
Frequency response range 20-125Hz
Amplifier type Class-D
Enclosure material Fully carpeted

With 350 watt RMS power, the Pioneer TS-WX1210A has ample wattage to crank up the volume. Its frequency response range of 20-125Hz allows it to handle both the lows and highs in your music. In addition, the subwoofer has a premium Class-D amp that is optimized for its output, resulting in exceptional sound.

The enclosure of the Pioneer TS-WX1210A is fully carpeted, making it non-slip and durable. It can also be installed with the subwoofer firing in multiple directions, such as front, rear, or standing, providing additional flexibility during installation. However, it’s important to consider the available space when installing this large subwoofer.

Bottom Line For crisp, true-to-life bass Pioneer TS-WX1210A is a powerful choice. View Latest Price on Amazon →

13. Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 – Best Unenclosed Subwoofer

The Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 is a powerful subwoofer that is also slim in design. It is suitable for use in any vehicle and will fit well in a variety of spaces.

Pioneer TS-SW2502S4
Feature Specification
Size 10″
Power (RMS) 300W RMS
Enclosure Types Not included (can use sealed or vented enclosure)
Voice Coil Single 4 ohm
Material Mica injection resin
Depth Less than half the depth of typical 10” subs

The Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 is a powerful and high-quality subwoofer that is less than half the depth of typical 10” subs. It boasts a max power of 1,200 watts and an RMS of 300 watts, which is more than sufficient for a strong sound. The single 4 ohm voice coil ensures rich, deep bass and excellent sound quality, thanks in part to the use of premium materials such as mica injection resin.

One notable feature of the Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 is that it doesn’t come with an enclosure. This means that you have the option of choosing either a sealed or vented enclosure, depending on your specific sound system and vehicle. However, for optimal lows, it’s recommended to use a vented enclosure with the Pioneer TS-SW2502S4.

Bottom Line The Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 is a powerful 10” subwoofer that provides many options for installation. However, the lack of an enclosure makes it difficult to optimize. View Latest Price on Amazon →

Find The Perfect Car Subwoofer: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

You’ve seen the best of the best – these are the premium car subwoofers on the market for taking your sound system to the next level. However, even two of the best car subwoofers have very different uses. Are you going to be blasting Lady Gaga’s pop bangers, or are you looking to bring Vivaldi to life?

Car Subwoofer

Let’s take a deep dive into all things deep bass – you’ll never have to settle for underwhelming bass again.

What is a Car Subwoofer and How Does it Enhance Your Sound System?

A car subwoofer is a specific type of speaker, designed to boost the lowest frequencies. Regular speakers struggle to transmit these frequencies, meaning you lose the multidimensionality of sound without a subwoofer.

Although subwoofers have a reputation for producing banging basslines in dance music – and it’s true they can create a rave in your backseat – they also improve music from many genres.

Guitars, organs, and even deep vocals will sound richer and have more depth with a premium subwoofer added into your system.

Subwoofers take the sound in your car to another level. Whilst the best speakers will give you audible bass, a subwoofer turns it into a full-body experience – you’ll feel every beat.

For car manufacturers, car stereos are an afterthought. The sound system that comes with your car might be okay for fuzzy radio, but it hasn’t been designed with sound quality in mind.

Low-quality speakers don’t just sound worse. They’re actually susceptible to damage when you try to run frequencies of sound that they’re not built to handle.

Without a subwoofer, when you start cranking up the volume you can damage your speakers. A subwoofer is an integral component when you’re taking your sound to the next level.

What’s Deep Bass?

Deep bass means something different to everyone, depending on your favorite music and where you like to hear it. But in terms of frequency, we’re talking about sound in the 16 Hz to 80 Hz realm – around the cutoff for what the human ear can hear.

These frequencies are felt as much as they are heard, vibrating through your body. Deep bass brings your music to life – and if you don’t have deep bass in your car audio system, you’re missing out on a whole new level of music.

Types of Car Subwoofers

Subwoofers can be of several types, each with their own unique characteristics and capabilities.

Shallow Mounted Subwoofers

Shallow mounted subs are subwoofers that have been redesigned to take up less space, making them easier to fit in your vehicle. The traditional subwoofer design requires a wide cone with a magnet mounted at its base. Shallow mounted subs can cut the required depth of this cone by over half.

Shallow mounted subs are designed in various ways to reduce the depth of the system and, nowadays, they produce great sound quality that’s almost on a par with traditional subwoofers. Given the space restrictions for an aftermarket car sound system, shallow mounted subs are a great choice for your vehicle.

Competition Subwoofers

There are no strict classification criteria for a competition-grade subwoofer. However, when we talk about competition subs, we’re discussing the biggest, meanest, and most powerful sound systems around. This could mean its RMS power packs a serious punch at over 1500 watts, or that there’s a voice coil in excess of 2.5”. Sometimes it just means the sub is built from quality composite cones that enhance the sound.

When it comes to competition subwoofers, we’ve lined up the best of the best. But don’t get too hung up on hunting for a competition subwoofer. If the sub’s specs are up to scratch, then it can probably compete with the best.

Which is the Better Choice: Active or Passive Subwoofers?

For car audio systems, an active sub is usually a better choice as it’s easier to install and they have a better bass response. Passive subs, on the other hand, are more compact than active subs but tend to produce a less impactful sound than their active counterparts.

The difference is that active subwoofers have a built-in amplifier, while passive subwoofers require an additional, external amp.

Subwoofer Enclosure Types

As well as the various variables that impact your sub’s performance, set-up is equally important. There are three main options to consider: sealed, ported, and bandpass.

1. Sealed Enclosure

The sealed enclosure is an airtight container that creates an optimal environment for the subwoofer to perform. It produces a tight, accurate bass sound, but some may find it to be clinical and lacking soul. Keep in mind that sealed enclosures also require more power to produce an equivalent volume compared to other types of enclosures.

2. Ported Enclosure

On the other hand, a ported enclosure allows for airflow through vents or ports around the box. This type of enclosure requires less power to produce an equivalent sound, and it produces a bigger, boomier bass. However, it’s typically larger in size to accommodate the airflow. Additionally, the airflow helps to cool the subwoofer, extending its lifespan.

3. Bandpass Enclosure

A bandpass enclosure is a hybrid of the sealed and ported options. It has a dual-chamber enclosure with one sealed side and one vented side. This narrows the frequency range in which the sub operates, and it channels soundwaves from the vented side for enormous lows that are ideal for rap and reggae.

4. Free-air

Lastly, there is the option of a free-air enclosure, which is essentially no enclosure at all. The subwoofer is installed in the framework of the car, such as the trunk, and separates it from the speakers. This is an easy option to install, but it can negatively impact the frequency and can’t handle too much power.

Overall, choosing the right subwoofer enclosure can significantly impact the performance of your system. Consider the sound quality and power needs that are most important to you before making a decision.

Size Matters

Subwoofers come in a range of sizes, from 8” right up to a hefty 15”. Now I know you’re all looking for the biggest sound you can get, but when it comes to bass, size isn’t everything. While bigger subs might offer a bigger sound, they also offer a different sound quality. Let’s take a look at the sizes and see what’s right for you.

8” Subwoofers

These 8″ subwoofers are known for their punchy and responsive sound. They offer tight and accurate bass that can handle a wide range of frequencies. Although they may not provide the most intense bass experience, they are popular among audiophiles for their subtle and refined listening experience.

Best For: Heavy rock and high-BPM electronic music.

10” Subwoofers

If you have eclectic music tastes and space is a concern, 10” subwoofers may be the best option for you. They are versatile and can keep up with punchy tunes while also providing a big sound for rap and club music.

Best For: Club music, rap, and classical.

12” Subwoofers

Like their 10” counterparts, 12” subwoofers offer great all-around sound with the ability to hit the lows hard. These are a popular choice for those who are not trying to save on space, as a single 12” subwoofer can provide impressive bass. However, you may lose out on some frequencies that could limit your overall sound.

Best For: Everything from rock to pop to club.

15” Subwoofers

15” subwoofers are not as common in in-car audio setups, but they offer an all-out bass experience that will blow your mind. However, this may come at the cost of losing some of the higher frequencies in your music.

Best For: Bass to blow your socks off!

The Key Factors to Consider When Selecting a Car Subwoofer

Here are the key features of any car subwoofer.

Power Handling

Power handling is the amount of power that a subwoofer can handle at higher volumes without overheating and distorting the sound. The unit of power measurement is the watt.

When you are looking for powerful bass, more power is necessary. Power is measured in subwoofers by Peak Power and RMS (root mean squared).

RMS measures the amount of power your subwoofer can handle consistently, while peak power is for spikes in the frequencies of the music. Because lows appear throughout the music, RMS power is more important as an indicator of a subwoofer’s capabilities.

Frequency Range

The frequency range of a car subwoofer determines the range of sound you’ll get from the speaker, from the lowest lows to the highs. While the highs are not as important in a subwoofer, as it’s only used to bring bass to life, a greater frequency range typically leads to higher sound quality. For the highest end, a range of around 100 Hz should be sufficient.


Sensitivity is a measure of how loud a subwoofer can go with a certain amount of power. A subwoofer with higher sensitivity will require less power at a certain volume, making it more efficient and putting less strain on your system. If you want to blast your music, maximizing sensitivity is key. A sensitivity of over 90dB should sound great in your car.


Impedance – measured in ohms – refers to the resistance that a subwoofer puts up to the power provided by an amplifier. A lower impedance will mean less resistance, so with the same power supply, it will be louder.

However, the volume comes at a cost in sound quality. A higher impedance subwoofer will require more power to produce a similar volume – but the sound will be cleaner. What does that mean for deep bass? Frequency shouldn’t be affected too much – but a higher impedance sub will sound better, all other things being equal.

If your brain’s resisting the concept of impedance, we’ve broken down the difference between 2-ohm and 4-ohm speakers.

Construction Materials

The best subwoofers are made with premium materials, from high-quality pressed paper cones to anodized aluminum voice coil formers that dissipate heat as fast as it can build up. If your subwoofer comes with an enclosure, you’ll want to ensure it’s built from durable plastic or MDF.

Low Pass Filter

For the deepest bass, you want to skip the higher frequencies and focus only on the lows. A low pass filter on your subwoofer will allow you to tweak the sound of your sub to perfection, letting only those deepest rumbling bass tones through.

Low pass filters vary in the range they’ll allow – some offer a cutoff from 50 Hz to 150 Hz, but if you have aftermarket speakers for the mids and highs, you might want to look out for a low pass filter that goes down to 30 Hz. So deep it hertz!

Subwoofer Protections

If you plan on putting a sub through its paces at the highest volumes, you can expect to build up some heat. And meanwhile, an older vehicle’s faulty electrics could cause a power surge or other fault. For a long-lasting sub that can take everything you throw at it, look out for some included protection systems.

Thermal protection, short circuit protection, and overload protection might not seem important at first, but they’ll save your sub from getting fried if something goes wrong.

Single or Dual Voice Coils: Which One is Best?

Subwoofers can also come with single or dual voice coils. Single voice coil subs are simpler to set up and install, while dual voice coils offer more flexibility in complex sound systems. They allow for more options for wiring into your speakers and can avoid the need for long chains of speakers, which can degrade sound quality.

What Are The Top Picks for Car Subwoofer Brands?

Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, and Alpine are all well-known brands with a reputation for producing high-quality car subwoofers. Some other popular car audio brands include MTX Audio, Rockville, Dual Electronics, KICKER, JL Audio, Infinity Reference, Kenwood, JBL, and Skar Audio. If you choose a brand from this list, you can be confident in the quality and reliability of your car subwoofer.

Installation of Car Subwoofer

Installation of a car subwoofer can be a rewarding DIY project for those looking to enhance their car sound system. With a few tools and simple instructions, the process is straightforward and can save you money. It also provides an opportunity to learn about optimizing your sound system.

However, the installation process can become more complicated depending on where you are placing the subwoofer in your car. It’s important to plan out your audio system in advance before beginning the installation. If you are unsure about complicated wiring, it may be best to call in a professional for assistance.

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The Car Subwoofer FAQs

Bass can be a baffling business. You want to find the right answer for your aftermarket audio. So, let’s take a look at the common questions.

Which Subwoofer Is Best For Bass In Car?

The MTX Audio TNE212DV Dual 12″ Subwoofer offers some serious power. It has twin 500W RMS subs that will guarantee you powerful bass.

What Is The Hardest Hitting Car Subwoofer?

The Rockville RWS12CA Slim 1200 Watt 12, the MTX Audio TNE212DV Dual 12″ Subwoofer, and the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 are the hardest-hitting car subwoofers.

These 12” subs go about as big as you can get in a car audio system.

Which Brand Makes The Best Subwoofer?

Rockford Fosgate, Pioneer, and MTX Audio make powerful and reliable subwoofers.

Which Subwoofer Enclosure Is Best For Deep Bass?

While every good enclosure has its advantages, a well-built bandpass enclosure will provide the best combination of accurate, powerful sound and exceptional reproduction of the lowest frequencies for seriously deep bass.

What Size Subwoofer Is Best For Bass?

The bigger the sub, the better the bass. So, a 15” subwoofer will be the best for bass. However, these sizeable subs won’t fit into many car audio setups. Settling for a 12” sub makes sense and you’ll be guaranteed a solid sound.

How Many Watts Is Good For A Car Subwoofer?

Around 300 watts is considered good for a car subwoofer when you’re talking about RMS power, the most important metric for subwoofer power. With 300 watts you’ll have ample power for a big sound. However, systems that stretch up to 1000 watts will offer harder-hitting bass.

Are Shallow Subs Any Good?

As subwoofer technology has progressed, shallow subs are now well-built and can compete with regular subwoofers in terms of power and sound. They are also easier to fit into tight spaces, such as the back of a vehicle.

One example of a powerful shallow-mounted sub is Pioneer’s TS-SWX2502. It has 300 watts of RMS power and can pack a serious punch.

Wrapping Up

A car subwoofer is an integral part of any aftermarket sound system. Whether you go for 10” or 12”, vented or sealed, a subwoofer is going to take your car’s audio to the next level. With a premium car subwoofer, the back seats will sound like the front row at the arena. So, do justice to your favorite artists, and get the bass jumping, just like it was in the studio.

And, thanks to in-built amps and easy wiring kits, you can get your sub installed without any hassle. DIY installation is a great way to get to know your sound system’s inner workings – the path to audiophile heaven.

From hip hop to rock ‘n’ roll and even mellow jazz, the bass brings your music to life. When you feel the wind in your hair, and the bass pulsing through your body – that’s living.

When it comes to aftermarket audio systems, don’t let car subwoofers be an afterthought.

Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

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