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Best KICKER Subwoofers in 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Whether you’re a dedicated audiophile who wants to hear sound straight from the studio or a hardcore basshead who just wants their music to bang…

Or even a casual music listener who wants to take their road trip playlist to the next level…

You need an aftermarket KICKER subwoofer. Our factory stereos just can’t cut it in the low frequencies, which means if there’s any bass at all it’s a shadow of what it could be.

And KICKER’s high-quality subwoofers have built a strong following across the car audio world. They have premium subwoofers for competition-level sound and affordable options for easy-going upgraders.

An aftermarket sub can complement your car’s OEM (original manufacturer speakers). Or it can be the start of a full-blown car audio journey that brings the concert hall into the cab.

Either way, KICKER has subs that are affordable, durable, and easy to install. Let’s take a look at the best KICKER subwoofers on the market.

The Best KICKER Subwoofers in 2022

From mighty 12-inch dual subwoofers to 8-inch subs that’ll fit in your sedan, KICKER has a wide range to choose from. Let’s bring the bass with the best of KICKER subwoofers.

1. Kicker Dual 43DCWR122 – Best All-rounder For Sound, Range And Volume

KICKER has enclosed dual 12-inch speakers into a custom vented enclosure, packed with power and an incredible sensitivity for high performance.

Kicker Dual 43DCWR122
Pros
  • Good value for a big, powerful subwoofer
  • Whopping wattage of 1000 RMS
  • Impressive frequency range
Cons
  • Massively eats up your trunk space
  • Will require a hefty amplifier

With 1000 watts of peak power and 500 watts of RMS (root mean squared) power per sub, this system exceeds expectations, giving you a nominal 1000 watts of total RMS to work with. That’s extraordinary power that’s going to shake the bolts out of your vehicle.

The exceptional sensitivity is 98 dB (decibels) – indicating that it works efficiently with the power rating to provide seriously loud bass. A higher sensitivity means you don’t need to push the power to the limit, so you can expect a higher quality of bass sounds too. The wide frequency range, from 25 Hz to 500 Hz makes this a great all-rounder too, offering impressive lows without losing out on higher bass notes.

The subs themselves are competition grade with a durable injection molded polypropylene cone, and the vented (ported) enclosure is custom built for loud and deep bass. It’s finished with a plush, charcoal carpet and KICKER’s signature logo.

The enclosed build makes installation easy – just wire the sub into your amp and blast it! But it’s a beast of a system, eating up trunk space so double-check your dimensions.

Bottom Line An absolute beast of a system offering elite sound quality without compromising on all-out volume. View Latest Price on Amazon →

2. KICKER 11HS8 8″ – Best KICKER Sub for Small Spaces

KICKER’s neat little powered 8-inch sub is perfect for people who want bass without drawing too much attention to themselves.

KICKER 11HS8
Pros
  • Exceptionally affordable
  • Fits under or behind your seats
  • You won’t raise any eyebrows waiting at red lights!
  • Everything needed for installation
Cons
  • Limited power
  • Compact enclosure means sound quality isn’t the best

With a modest 150 watts of RMS power, you have a great bass upgrade from your OEM (original equipment manufacturer) kit, without the vibrations rocking the cars around you.

The super compact subwoofer is powered with a 150-watt amplifier and fully enclosed. It’s not the loudest sub around, but you can expect tight and accurate bass. The dimensions, 3 ⅞” x 9 ⅜” x 3 ⅛” make it easy to squeeze into any vehicle – under seats or even in vacant storage space.

Installation is made easy with the low and high-level inputs, ensuring compatibility with both factory and aftermarket speaker setups. The quick-connect power plug simplifies wiring too, just plug in and play.

The wired remote control lets you fine-tune your lows using bass boost and adjustable low pass crossover, while the smart auto turn-on feature senses the signal and means you can enjoy any genre without fiddling about.

Bottom Line Compact size, modest power and easy installation make this a particular winner for anyone who wants upgraded bass without the hassle. View Latest Price on Amazon →

3. KICKER 43CWR124 – Best Competition KICKER Subwoofer

KICKER’s giant 12-inch sub comes with extraordinary power and competition grade specifications. While this banging subwoofer might see you winning prizes, you won’t be winning friends as you breach the peace with this beast!

KICKER 43CWR124
Pros
  • Incredibly powerful
  • Crystal clear sound at all volumes
  • All premium materials
  • Distortion reduction in the technology
Cons
  • Astronomically expensive
  • Requires a premium custom enclosure to do it justice

This single sub has a whopping 500 watts of RMS power to play with, and 1000 watts of peak power ensures it can handle anything in short bursts. The 4-ohm dual voice coil setup means a higher impedance – with all that power you can afford the resistance, and this creates a crystal clear sound at all volumes.

Competition-grade materials feature all across this mighty sub: the all-polypropylene cone is stiff enough to reduce distortion to nil and highly durable, while the ribbed Santoprene surround and stamped steel basket protect the cone while it works.

The cone is fitted to the vented back brace with SoloKon technology – it’s self-cooling and has an additional distortion-reducing effect.

Of course, all this doesn’t come cheap. For the sub alone you’ll pay megabucks, and then you need to think about an amp and custom enclosure to do this baby justice. It’s optimized for both sealed or ported enclosures, so you can fine-tune the sound to your tastes.

Bottom Line It’s the biggest, baddest subwoofer on the list with an exceptional competition-level sound. Just be prepared for a price tag that needs pockets as deep as the bass on this thing. View Latest Price on Amazon →

4. Kicker 12-Inch 10C124 – Best KICKER Subwoofers For Free-Air Installation

This respectable duo of 12-inch subwoofers has modest power and respectable specs, but what stands out is the rare free-air install compatibility.

Kicker 10C124
Pros
  • Compatible with free-air designs if you choose
  • Decent amount of power
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Stylish design
Cons
  • High price tag
  • Requires an amplifier too

While 300 watts RMS isn’t all that impressive for a 12-inch subwoofer, these subs are compatible with a free air set-up as well as any enclosure. With free-air builds, you need a lot less power for the same sound.

Thanks to the super stiff injection-molded cone and the 360-degree back bracing, you can do away with the enclosure entirely. That means you have a wide range of installation options, including in your car’s door recesses.

An impressive 88.3 dB sensitivity means you can push the power without distortion going crazy, while the single 4-ohm impedance ensures a smooth power supply for clear sound.

Free-air installation is an old-school style these days, but these subs are built to dodge the disadvantages of free-air and provide premium sound quality in a funky style.

Bottom Line If you’re looking for free-air subwoofers then these super-stiff, exceptionally designed subs are the way to go. View Latest Price on Amazon →

5. Kicker 44DCWC102 – Best Enclosed KICKER subwoofer

Kicker’s dual 10-inch subs with a stylish custom enclosure that optimizes loudness and sound quality makes a great-value buy for anyone looking for bass in their trunk.

Kicker 44DCWC102
Pros
  • Exceptional sensitivity for loud and low-distortion bass
  • Custom vented enclosure
  • Great value
Cons
  • Despite being compact, it still only fits in your trunk
  • Requires an aftermarket amplifier too

Each 10-inch subwoofer has 300 watts of RMS power and 600 of peak power, giving you a total of 600 watts RMS and 1200 peak to work with. That’s a lot of power for 10-inch subs, and these sound unexpectedly loud.

Part of that is due to the custom vented enclosure. Built from a heavy MDF and finished with a cool black carpet, this enclosure is optimized for powerful and deep bass and comes factory-tuned to save you the trouble.

The spring-loaded speaker terminal protects your subs from all the bumps in the road, while the custom ports provide efficient power use and an accurate sound.

A really impressive 98.4 dB sensitivity ensures these subs get loud – much louder than you’d expect from a pretty compact unit. KICKER’s exceptional design proves once again to provide an unbeatable combination of size and sound.

Bottom Line A compact enclosure with smaller subs provides an unexpectedly huge sound and great quality bass – all for a solidly affordable price. View Latest Price on Amazon →

6. KICKER 43CVR102 – Best KICKER Subwoofer On A Budget

Kicker’s affordable 10-inch sub is built with the latest technology and premium materials – it sounds great, is impressively durable and best of all it doesn’t break the bank.

KICKER 43CVR102
Pros
  • Works well with compact custom sealed enclosures
  • Particularly affordable
  • Wide frequency range
Cons
  • Requires the investment of a quality subwoofer enclosure
  • Limited power

With 700 watts max power and 350 watts of RMS power, there’s more power squeezed into this sub than you might expect. The 2-ohm impedance ensures you get to feel every watt pulsing through this subwoofer’s output.

The frequency range from 30 Hz to 500 Hz doesn’t go as low as other subs, but 30 is close enough to the threshold of human hearing that you’ll feel the bass in your chest as much as hear it – and a top-end of 500 Hz makes this a great all-rounder.

It’s also exceptionally well-built, and should last many years blasting the bass: the voice coil is highly temperature resistant, the steel basket is solid and the innovative vented perimeter keeps it cool while it’s working hard.

It needs a decent amp to provide that power and you’ll need to find a custom enclosure too – but it can be a space saver, with a sealed enclosure working well at just 0.8 cubic feet.

Bottom Line An affordable subwoofer with impressive power for the size, and compact custom enclosure options too. View Latest Price on Amazon →

KICKER Subwoofer Buying Guide

From fully loaded powered subwoofers to solo subs, KICKER produces a lot of great quality subwoofers that can blow up your bass. So what do you go for?

There’s a lot to consider before you find the right subwoofer for your vehicle – here’s everything you should consider if you’re dead set on KICKER.

Who Is KICKER?

From humble origins hand-building speakers in the garage, KICKER has grown into a dominant car audio brand known for concert-level sound. Their subwoofers are impressively powerful and always built on the latest technology, optimizing sound quality and ensuring durability. Despite all this, they make some affordable subwoofers that come with amps and enclosures – making them a great choice for both audiophiles and audio-newbies alike.

Subwoofer Power

Power is an important gauge of what your subwoofer can handle and it plays a large role in how loud your sub can get without distortion taking over. Power is measured two ways – by peak power and by RMS power, which stands for root mean squared.

Peak power is the total amount of power your subwoofer can handle in short bursts, but RMS power is the more important metric because it tells you the continuous power your sub can take. KICKER has some seriously powerful subs – up to 600 watts of RMS.

Subwoofer Sizes

Size isn’t everything – but it helps. Smaller subs are more affordable and take up less space, sometimes offering an easy installation – but bigger subs simply pack more of a punch. Since KICKER’s range of subwoofers runs from the teeny 8-inch to mighty 15-inch giants, let’s take a look at subwoofer size.

  • 8” Subwoofers – Small 8-inch subwoofers like the KICKER 11HS8 are easier to squeeze into your vehicle and they offer an instant bass upgrade on your OEM (original equipment manufacturer) sound system. The best 8-inch subwoofers produce tight and accurate bass, but power is limited.
  • 10” SubwoofersTop quality 10-inch subwoofers are favored amongst audiophiles because they’re great all-rounders. We’ve got no less than three 10-inch KICKER subs on the list because while they retain the tightness of a smaller subwoofer you can crank them for bass that wakes the neighbors.
  • 12” SubwoofersElite 12-inch subs are also a popular option for car audio upgrades because they come with impressive power ratings allowing you to play it seriously loud. And while 12-inch subs with adequate enclosures start eating up trunk space, you don’t have to go crazy.
  • 15” Subwoofers – The best 15-inch subwoofers have more than enough power to blow your mind and the back window – but because they take up half your trunk and cost a fine fortune they’re less common in car audio setups outside of the extreme.

Active Or Passive KICKER Subwoofers?

Subwoofers need power – and lots of it. That means they need to be accompanied by an amplifier. Active subs (sometimes known as powered subs) come with a built-in amp, simplifying the installation process and often saving space. The best powered subs will have an amplifier that’s built to specifications that perfectly complement your subwoofer.

Meanwhile, passive subs don’t come with an amplifier and while weakly-powered subwoofers can be run off the OEM amp (most manufacturers claim a power rating of around 200 watts), the majority of subwoofers will require an additional aftermarket amp that’s suited to the specs of your sub.

But don’t be put off – this lets you customize your system to a chosen impedance, getting the best sound quality for your particular tastes.

Subwoofer Enclosures

To produce premium low frequency sounds, subwoofers need to be boxed in. A great subwoofer enclosure prevents sound from the rear of the cone from canceling out that of the front, and it prevents distortion by stabilizing the cone.

The style of enclosure can have a dramatic effect on both volume and quality of the bass. Enclosures tend to be sealed, ported, or the hybrid bandpass.

Sealed enclosures take up less space but because there’s less air to be moved they require more power to produce a similar volume. You can expect a sealed enclosure to be great for tight and accurate bass, but limited in loudness.

Ported, also known as vented, enclosures, like the one found in the Kicker Dual 43DCWR122, have vents to let air escape from the rear of the box. They’re more efficient with the power they have, and inevitably produce a louder sound.

Bandpass boxes feature a dual chamber that’s half sealed, half vented. While they produce great sounding bass and make the most of every watt of power, they’re difficult to build and end up expensive – that’s why you won’t find them featured in KICKER’s loaded sub selection.

Impedance

Impedance refers to the amount of resistance there is in the subwoofer to the current provided by the amp. This is measured in ohms, and you’ll usually find it at 2-ohm, 4-ohm, or occasionally 8-ohm on some speakers.

A lower impedance means less resistance, so more power getting into your subwoofer – and if you like loud bass above all else, then aim for a 2-ohm sub. However, impedance is reduced with less winding in the voice coil, and a lower impedance can sometimes mean a compromise on the quality of bass reproduction.

Sensitivity

The sensitivity of a subwoofer, measured in decibels (dB) is an indicator of how loud a subwoofer can get with the given power. Sensitivity runs from the low 80s to around 90 dB, and with a higher sensitivity your sub can get louder with less power. That means less distortion because you don’t have to turn it up.

Frequency Response

We’re here for bass, so let’s get low. The frequency response of a subwoofer tells you which frequency range it can reproduce. The bottom end of this range, typically between 20 Hz (hertz) and 35 Hz, should be your number one concern for deep bass.

However, a wider frequency response will mean that higher frequencies are also better reproduced – and if a sub is your only aftermarket addition, then a wide frequency response might offer more value to your system.

Installation

Installing an aftermarket subwoofer can be intimidating, but it’s an achievable DIY job for any car enthusiast. To simplify matters, a powered subwoofer that comes with its own enclosure is a great choice – and an 8-inch sub could be a great under seat subwoofer option. Otherwise, give up the trunk space and get the wire cutters at the ready.

What Are The Other Best Car Subwoofer Brands?

There are a lot of impressive car audio brands out there – so how do you know who to trust? While a brand name alone never persuades us of quality, there are a few subwoofer companies that consistently impress.

  • Skar Audio – Skar Audio is a relative newcomer to the car audio scene and there have been great Skar Audio car subwoofers coming out of Florida since 2012. Since then, Skar has built up a reputation for balancing quality and affordability.
  • KICKER – Kicker has been manufacturing car audio equipment for decades and they’ve made a name for themselves producing arena-like sound systems that can fit in the trunk.
  • Rockford Fosgate – Rockford Fosgate is a big player in the car audio world and just the brand name usually adds a few bucks to the price tag. Despite the brand-name bump, the top Rockford Fosgate subwoofers are some of the best around and well worthy of the price.
  • Rockville – Rockville subs are known for high-quality bass and an affordable price tag, and they’re a particularly good choice for newcomers to the car audio upgrade world. Their smaller powered subs are easy to install and come with excellent wiring guides.
  • MTX Audio – MTX Audio has a reputation for focussing on sound quality, which means their subwoofers are the loudest. But if clear, accurate bass is your thing then you can’t go wrong.

Final Thoughts…

KICKER might be every audiophile’s favorite car subwoofer brand, but that doesn’t mean they’re for elite music fans only.

Of course, if you want to go all out, then the KICKER 43CWR124 lets you do just that. With excess power and incredible specs, you get astonishingly loud bass that’s crystal clear. That’s one way to say “good morning” to the neighborhood.

But KICKER’s powered, enclosed subwoofers offer an affordable and easy-installation upgrade for anyone looking to bump the bass without breaking the bank. The KICKER 11HS8 8″ 150W Hideaway subwoofer squeezes decent power into a compact space.

There’s something for everyone with KICKER. So kick bland bass out of your car and upgrade to a KICKER subwoofer.

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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