Adding a subwoofer to your car or truck can transform your listening experience. Subwoofers are larger speakers that are specifically designed to produce low frequencies. They are often mounted in custom-designed boxes to match exact dimensions. The speaker uses the air volume inside the enclosure to enhance the sound output.
While subwoofers and their enclosures can take up a lot of space, many car audio manufacturers have designed shallow mount subwoofers that require minimal mounting depth and can be installed in tight locations, such as under a seat or behind a truck seat. They are also designed to utilize minimal enclosure space, with many requiring less than 1 cubic foot of space to produce amazing bass sounds.
Depending on your favorite music and your vehicle type, there is a wide range of shallow mount subwoofers that will work for you. Below we’ve highlighted eight of the best shallow mount subwoofer options on the market. Each has a unique feature set that will greatly improve your listening experience.
From hard-hitting metal to sub-bass in hip hop, upgrading to an aftermarket speaker will enhance your listening experience. Our list of the best shallow mount car speakers includes 8” to 12” speakers that can meet the needs of almost any audio installation.
Top Shallow Mount Subwoofers of 2023
- Produce clean and clear bass audio
- Optimized for sealed and vented enclosures
- One-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Holds CEA-2031 industry standards for power handling
- Cleaner and more accurate bass sound
- Fit easily behind a truck seat or in extremely tight locations
- Built to last
- Produce great quality sound for years without breaking down
- Handles 250 watts RMS and 1000 watts peak power
- Tested at peak power for days to ensure they will last
- Fits in tiny spaces and enclosures
- Provides ample volume and bass response
- 86.7 dB is more than enough for deep and rich bass music
- Advanced cooling design to ensure the speaker is always running efficiently
- Delivers amazing bass while reducing the wattage needed
- Ideal for builds that have limited space
- Simplistic look
- Designed to fit in tight places (under seats or behind the seat) but put out extreme bass
- Extreme low-end response down to 20 Hz
- The high sensitivity of 93 dB
- Sleek and stylish
- Works well in sealed, ported, and bandpass enclosures
- 250 watts RMS and 1000 watts peak power handling
- Produces highest quality sound even at extreme volumes
- Enjoy bass response down to 28 Hz
- Works great in both ported and sealed enclosures
Let’s get down to bass-y business.
1. Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 – Best Overall Pick
If you’re in search of a subwoofer that will enhance your driving listening experience, the Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 is our top recommendation.
|Dimensions||12 x 12 x 5.4 inches|
|Mounting Depth||3.4 Inches|
The Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 is a 10-inch shallow mount subwoofer with a mounting depth of just 3.4 inches. It’s ideal for builds with limited space, thanks to its elevated motor structure, which allows it to function in reduced depth enclosures.
The R2SD4-10 has a power handling capacity of 200 watts RMS and is optimized for sealed enclosures. It delivers clean and clear bass, making it suitable for audiophiles who prefer a tight sound over booming bass.
The subwoofer is available in 2-ohm or 4-ohm impedance, providing greater flexibility during installation and wiring to your amplifier. The superior build quality includes a mica injected polypropylene cone.
The Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-10 offers an excellent audio performance, making it suitable for most audiophiles. However, if you are looking to break SPL records, you may need a subwoofer that can handle more wattage.
2. Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 – Best for Small Enclosures
If you’re looking for great bass in your car or truck but have limited space, you’ll need to find a subwoofer that can fit in a small enclosure. The Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 8 inch shallow mount subwoofer is an excellent option for this purpose.
|Dimensions||9.8 x 9.8 x 5.3 inches|
|RMS Power||250 watts|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz to 1.4 kHz|
The Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 is an 8-inch subwoofer that’s recommended for use in enclosures between .15 and .5 cubic feet. It’s designed to be used in sealed enclosures and is able to fit in tight spaces such as behind a truck seat.
Many vehicle owners choose to use the Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 as a replacement for factory speakers. It can be installed in various locations such as doors or under seats. Although this may result in a loss of sound quality, it still provides an improvement over OEM speakers.
The build quality of the Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 is impressive. The cone is made of glass fiber and mica-reinforced polypropylene which gives a high-quality look and feel. The speaker also features dual 2-ohm voice coils that can be wired in different configurations.
3. Infinity Reference REF1200S – Most Reliable
Infinity Reference designs premium speakers and audio components. The REF1200S 12 inch is no exception. Its impeccable design and beauty are matched by its reliability.
|Dimensions||12 x 12 x 5 inches|
|Frequency Response||27Hz -175Hz|
Infinity Reference speakers undergo rigorous reliability testing, including exposure to various real-world conditions such as freezing temperatures, extreme heat, and UV exposure. They are also tested at peak power for days to ensure long-lasting performance. Investing in the Infinity Reference REF1200S guarantees a speaker that has been thoroughly tested.
The Infinity Reference REF1200S is a 12” shallow mount subwoofer that can fit in compact spaces. For smaller vehicles, it is recommended to use a sealed box with a volume of .75 cubic feet. If there is room for a ported enclosure, the speaker will need 1.75 cubic feet of space. Both enclosures provide clear audio and strong basslines.
Additionally, the Infinity Reference REF1200S offers selectable impedance, allowing the user to run the audio system at 2 or 4 ohms and optimize the amplifier’s wattage.
4. Skar Audio VD-12 D2 12” – Best Budget
The Skar Audio VD-12 D2 dual 2 ohm subwoofer is a budget-friendly option. Despite its affordability, Skar Audio has designed a speaker that performs well and delivers ample volume and bass response.
|Dimensions||14 x 14 x 8 inches|
|Peak Power||800 Watts|
|RMS Power||500 Watts|
|Frequency Response||25 – 300 Hz|
The Skar Audio VD-12 D2 is a speaker for enthusiasts who want to use a lot of power. It can handle 500 watts RMS, allowing for the use of bigger amplifiers in your build. At a peak power of 800 watts, the speaker can produce ample volume. It also has a sensitivity rating of 86.7 dB, which is more than enough for deep and rich bass music.
The Skar Audio VD-12 D2 is solid and well-constructed. The speaker is powered by a heavy 68 oz ferrite magnet and protected by a durable cast aluminum frame. It also has an advanced cooling design to ensure efficient performance, even in smaller enclosures.
There are plenty of installation options for the Skar Audio VD-12 D2. It can be used in ported, vented, or sealed enclosures. Although the minimum enclosure volume is one cubic foot, the 12-inch speaker can still be fit into tight locations.
5. Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F – Best Low-Powered
The Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F offers a solution for enjoying amazing bass while reducing the wattage needed.
|Dimensions||13.4 x 13 x 5.2 inches|
|Frequency Response||30 – 700 Hz|
The Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F subwoofer has a wide range of RMS, making it efficient even with as little as 50 watts RMS. This means you don’t have to invest in a larger amplifier. It can also handle up to 350 watts RMS if you want to increase the volume and bass response.
This speaker is ideal for builds with limited space. It has one of the shallowest mounting depths and requires only .8 cubic feet of space when used in a sealed or ported enclosure. It can fit almost anywhere in your vehicle with the right enclosure design.
The Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F boasts a carbon-glass fiber cone surrounded by butyl rubber, a 4-ohm voice coil, and a cast aluminum basket for top-notch build quality.
The only downside is its simplistic look compared to other competitors. If you plan to have the speaker exposed, you may want to invest in nice speaker grilles to enhance its appearance.
6. Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 12″ – Best Subwoofer for High Volumes
Vehicles with limited space can still enjoy deep bass sounds. The Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 shallow mount subwoofer is designed to fit in tight places while producing extreme bass. The subwoofer has a mounting depth of less than 4 inches, making installation easy in any vehicle.
|Dimensions||14.5 x 14.5 x 5.5 inches|
|RMS Power||400 watts|
Pioneer suggests a ported enclosure for the TS-SW3002S4 subwoofer, but it only requires less than 1 cubic foot of space. This makes it easy to fit in tight spots such as under seats or behind the seat in a pickup truck. Despite its small size, it’s still one of the larger subwoofers on the market.
The design and build of the Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 subwoofer are exceptional. The oversized and reinforced cone is crafted with injection-molded resin, making it durable and rigid. This allows for accurate bass notes at high volumes, making it perfect for audiophiles who want clean bass.
The TS-SW3002S4 subwoofer excels in its bass response. With an RMS power of 400 watts, it can handle high volume without blowing. This subwoofer is perfect for casual listeners who want to enjoy deep and loud bass music such as hip hop, pop, or EDM. It’s also great for those who want to enjoy the subtler shades of bass in their music.
7. JBL Club WS1200 – Best for Flexible Installation
The JBL Club WS1200 250 RMS speaker offers selectable impedance. You can choose between 2 or 4 ohms depending on your amplifier and system’s needs. This allows for a wide range of options during subwoofer installation.
|Dimensions||14.96 x 14.96 x 5.71 inches|
|Frequency Response||27 – 175Hz|
The JBL Club WS1200 system allows for easy upgrades in the future. Whether you want to add another subwoofer or change the amplifier, the correct impedance won’t be a concern. Simply adjust the speaker to match the requirements of your upgrade.
In terms of design, the JBL Club WS1200 speaker is sleek and stylish. It can fit in small enclosures and works well in sealed, ported, and bandpass enclosures. You can also install these subwoofers in a free-air configuration to save space, but it’s important to note that amplification must be reduced to 125 watts RMS and some bass may be lost as a result.
8. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-12 – Best Premium Choice
The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2 12” shallow mount subwoofer is well designed and solidly built. It features an aluminum cone that can withstand heavy use and act as a heat sink for the speaker. Specialized venting also helps prevent overpowering and overheating.
|Dimensions||7.5 x 13.3 x 15.5 inches|
|Subwoofer Size||12 Inch|
|Voice Coil||Dual 2-Ohm|
|Cutout Diameter||11.22 in|
|Power Handling||400 Watts RMS / 800 Watts Max|
The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2 subwoofer boasts several standout design features, including a hybrid StamCast basket that reduces resonance, a Santoprene rubber surround, and the Vertical Attach Surround Technique (VAST) cone. Together, these technologies make the P3SD2 one of the best-designed subs on the market.
The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2’s patented technologies result in exceptional sound quality even at high volumes. With bass response down to 28 Hz and peak power of up to 1200 watts, this sub will shake your car while you listen to your favorite music.
While the P3SD2 is slightly larger than some other options, it can still be installed in most vehicles. Its mount depth is under 7 inches and the recommended sealed box volume is between .75 and 1.25 cubic feet. For a ported enclosure, you will need 1.79 cubic feet of space.
The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Right Shallow Mount Subwoofer
Choosing a shallow mount subwoofer doesn’t have to be complicated. Consider the following factors:
- Subwoofer size
- Amplifier power
- The size of your vehicle
- Your music preferences
Subwoofers come in various sizes. You can choose one that fits your vehicle and music preferences.
8-inch subwoofers are great for punchy bass sounds. They have a small footprint, allowing them to respond quickly to music. They can be mounted in most vehicles and require smaller enclosures than larger subwoofers. However, they are more of a complement to the system and will not overpower other speakers.
A 10” subwoofer is small enough to fit in most vehicles and offers deeper and richer bass response. It’s perfect for music genres such as rock, metal and rap.
A 12” subwoofer is suitable for deep basslines in popular music like rap and EDM. It can cover deeper frequencies than a 10” or 8” subwoofer. However, it reduces the “punchiness” of the sound. If you prefer heavy rock or punk music, a 10” or 8” subwoofer may be a better option.
A 15” subwoofer is ideal for high-end car sound systems as it offers exceptional bass response and depth. However, it requires a larger subwoofer enclosure and high amplifier wattage for peak performance. Make sure you have enough space in your trunk for this large subwoofer.
Build Quality and Materials
When purchasing a subwoofer, it’s important to consider the build quality and materials. Budget-friendly options may seem appealing, but they often require more frequent repairs or replacements compared to premium subwoofers.
Subwoofers can have paper, aluminum, rubber, or synthetic polymer cones, such as polypropylene. Paper cones are the least expensive, but can still produce good sound if well-designed. Premium subwoofers often have aluminum or mica injected polypropylene cones, which are more durable and resistant to moisture.
Different brands may have their own patented materials and construction methods. To ensure a premium build, consider well-known brands and pay attention to the design of the cone.
When adding a subwoofer to your audio system, you’ll need an amplifier to power it. It’s important to match the power rating, sensitivity, and impedance of the subwoofer with the amplifier to ensure optimal performance.
To ensure your subwoofer can handle high volumes, make sure to match the Root Mean Square (RMS) power of the speaker and amplifier. Using an amp with too little power or overpowering a speaker can cause damage to your equipment.
Peak power is the maximum power a speaker can handle for a short period. Exceeding this can result in a blown subwoofer. Be cautious of subwoofers with high peak power claims compared to the RMS. To avoid damaging your speaker, run it near the RMS value instead of the peak power rating.
The sensitivity of a speaker affects the volume and sound quality. Premium subwoofers have high sensitivity ratings and require less RMS power to function efficiently, resulting in better sound from the speaker with a smaller amplifier.
To ensure proper performance, it is important to match the impedance of your speakers with the impedance of your amplifier. Impedance is the resistance of electric current in your audio system and is measured in ohms. Common impedance ratings for speakers and amplifiers include 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 ohms. A mismatch in impedance can lead to damage to both the speakers and amplifier.
Some speakers feature selectable impedance, which allows for flexibility in matching with different amplifier impedance levels. Subwoofers with selectable impedance are particularly useful for those looking to upgrade their system or who have complex audio wiring.
Single vs Dual Voice Coils
Subwoofers come in single and dual voice coil models. Dual coil models offer more flexibility during wiring and installation and produce excellent bass response, but they come at a higher price. Single coil subwoofers are a more affordable option, making them ideal for those upgrading their car’s audio system on a budget. While they have fewer configuration options, they still provide good bass response and clarity.
Shallow mount subwoofers offer multiple mounting and installation options. They are designed to take up minimal space, with many fitting in spaces under 4 inches wide.
The type of enclosure required for a shallow mount subwoofer depends on the model. Some subwoofers need a sealed or ported enclosure, while others, known as free-air subwoofers, don’t require an enclosure. The choice of enclosure can greatly impact the overall sound quality, so it’s important to choose the right one for your subwoofer.
Sealed enclosures are designed with a smaller profile and are suitable for shallow mount subwoofers. These enclosures should have a volume of 0.15 to 1 cubic feet. Sealed subs offer precise bass response and require a more powerful amplifier. They are ideal for those who prefer tighter bass and accurate sound.
Ported enclosures, also known as vented enclosures, offer louder bass with less power. However, they require more space and a more complex installation due to their size and the need for skillful construction. They are capable of hitting lower frequencies than sealed subs and are ideal for hard-driving music like heavy metal and hard rock.
Bandpass enclosures are a type of sealed enclosure that includes an acoustic filter. They are more efficient than sealed or ported enclosures and can be made in various sizes. However, they are challenging to construct and typically require professional installation. If you want deep bass, a bandpass enclosure is an option to consider.
Free-air subwoofers can be installed in tight spaces, but they tend to provide less powerful bass and clear audio compared to those installed in enclosures. They may be a good option if you want to use them as a replacement for your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) speakers but be aware of the possible sound quality compromise.
Shallow mount subwoofers are an excellent option for those looking for bigger sound. Despite their compact size, they offer a significant upgrade in sound quality and powerful bass output. Additionally, their shallow depth makes them easy to install in any vehicle.
Having a subwoofer is crucial for any aftermarket car audio system. Adding one subwoofer to your existing setup is an easy way to enhance the sound quality in your car or truck.
We’ve listed 8 of the best shallow mount subwoofers for your vehicle, including under-seat and trunk-mounted options. These subwoofers provide ample bass and superior sound quality for all your favorite tunes.