We can all imagine that infinite feeling when we’re riding through the night, windows rolled down, with the bass pumping loud. It’s a time of intimacy, a nostalgic youth, where our feelings and the beat of the music seem to intertwine and take us on a journey through space and time.
Imagine enhancing these moments by upgrading that mediocre sound system for a crystal clear experience to help elevate the senses of sound. Under seat subwoofers get you as close to being “one with the music” as you can get.
No matter what mood of music you want to use to amplify your emotions, under seat subwoofers can bring your favorite songs to life. From R&B to jazz, or classical to metal, you can literally feel the vibrations working their way through your body and into the universe.
While dual subs and 15-inch subwoofers eat up trunk space, under seat subwoofers are an upgrade without a downside. They’re usually to install and work without an additional amplifier. You can fit these slimline subs into the smallest cars in the world!
If you’re constantly having to rewind a track to listen to your favorite part of a song again so that you can “feel” it, you may want to invest in an under seat subwoofer.
Subwoofers can handle the low frequencies of any genre and pack a punch without distorting or disturbing the sound quality. That bass drop that you’re constantly waiting for in the song that “just gets you” will make itself known.
Experiencing your favorite songs in an entirely new way can be like listening to them for the very first time again. Feel the deep bass, resonating highs, and soothing treble with the best under-seat subwoofers.
Best Under Seat Subwoofers in 2023
So, with no further delay, here are the best under-seat subwoofers on the market.
1. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 – Best Easy Installation and Stand Alone Power Source
For overall output, Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is hard to beat. The 12-inch subwoofer size is an issue for some people, but the clarity of sound meets and exceeds expectations for all but the pickiest of customers.
Rockford Fosgate P300-12’s 12-inches seamlessly merge subwoofer sound with factory speaker settings. In addition, built-in amplifiers provide 300-watts of power.
The subwoofer box enclosure ensures the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is kept safe and that the sound is loud but crystal clear. When mounted according to directions, vibration is not an issue. Distortion is also not a significant factor, except at extreme volumes.
The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 has an adjustable 12 dB (decibel) octave low-pass crossover that merges the subwoofer with factory speakers. There is also an adjustable EQ (equalizer). A loop-sided design helps maximize sound output quality.
There are speaker-level signals to help merge the subwoofer and an OEM (original equipment) manufacturer) system. The structure is metal. Combining uncompromising sound quality with ruggedness creates a subwoofer that will provide great sounding music no matter where you take your vehicle.
Discover more in our in-depth review of Rockford Fosgate P300-12.
2. Kenwood KSC-SW11 – Best Compact with Superior Merging Capabilities
Kenwood is a renowned manufacturer of sound systems. The Kenwood KSC-SW11 is no exception, merging high functionality and small size. This 8-inch subwoofer immerses listeners in crystal clear sound and almost flawless melding with factory manufactured speakers.
- 150-watt RMS for exceptional sound
- 8-inch subwoofers produce great sound at a small size
- Surround sound is possible
- Bass is completely adjustable
Black in color to blend in with under your car seat, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 will fit under virtually any vehicle seat or work in the trunk with minimal intrusion. Listeners have complete control of settings and 75-watt RMS, with a maximum of 150-watt RMS means the sound quality will be stunning but not overwhelming.
This Kenwood KSC-SW11’s build is tank-like: Squat, solid, and hard. A metal casing protects it from the harsh environment under a vehicle seat or in a vehicle trunk. The subwoofer encasing is metal for added protection. It also has safeguards against overheating and short-circuiting. These multiple levels of security ensure that you will have this subwoofer for years to come.
These are also some of the most expensive under-seat subwoofers for this level of quality on the market. Customers are paying for the Kenwood name and a reputation for excellence among the best 8-inch subwoofers on the market. The Kenwood KSC-SW11 subwoofers are not starter subwoofers because of their price, but if you can afford them, they are a great product to start your sound system experience.
Kenwood’s KSC-SW11 is a good choice for someone with deep pockets that are looking for a small unit size with immersive but not over-bearing sound. If cost is an issue, the price is justified for those on a budget because, with proper care, this subwoofer will produce exceptional music for years to come.
3. Rockville RW10CA 10″ – Best Great Sound, Slim, and Easy to Install
Rockville RW10CA subwoofer works well with just about any sound system. The Rockville 10-inch subwoofer is CEA compliant so you can be sure it meets up to expectations of power, and it’s exceptionally thin. You will be amazed by the richness of sound this subwoofer produces. Offering 200-watts RMS and peak power of 300-watts, the bass and sub-bass it creates are powerful.
While there’s a lot to enjoy about the Rockville RW10CA, one of its most enticing features is its slimness. The entire unit is just under 3-inches high. The slenderness of the component makes it difficult to imagine a seat it would not fit under comfortably. This Rockville RW10CA subwoofer possesses incredible longevity, as the materials used are all high quality and durable, matching any elite 10-inch subwoofer on the market.
With high-input automatic enabling technology and variable phase controls, the Rockville RW10CA 10-inch is not as big as other subwoofers, but it also will impress you with its sound, both in-depth and richness.
The only downside of Rockville RW10CA is that customers reported was the occasional vibration that could interfere with sound quality at extremes of volume.
The Rockville RW10CA also comes with:
- Thermal heat protection
- Overload trips
- Short-circuit protection
- Pinpoint controls
- A subsonic filter
Check out our review of the Rockville RW10CA 10″ subwoofer.
4. Pioneer TS-WX130DA – Best Tiny But Powerful
The Pioneer TS-WX130DA is a merger between reputation, functionality, and compactness. Pioneer is renowned for producing musical sound system components that are fairly priced and of superior quality. The company also understands subwoofers as good, if not better, than any other manufacturer.
At only 2 and 3/4-inches tall, the Pioneer TS-WX130DA Compact Active subwoofer can fit in tight spots under seats, behind truck seats, in the trunk or spare tire well, and even in a storage compartment. Even more impressive, this subwoofer pumps out bass and sub-bass so deep and rich that it sounds like it comes from a much larger component.
The Pioneer TS-WX130DA has a built-in class-D amplifier, which ensures the correct and the best output. Its RMS is limited at only 50-watts, but the total output gets as high as 160-watts. The subwoofer has a cone made of aluminum, and it supports a urethane surround sound system. Together, cone and surround sound create a dominant and immersive musical experience.
Pioneer TS-WX130DA’s output can be personalized via several customizable listening modes, enabling changes in the gain and frequency of output. Remote control operates dedicated controls, including for the phase and bass modes. The remote control also manages gain and low pass filters. When operated in deep mode, the output can get down to 20 Hz. In dynamic mode, output ranges from 40 to 160 Hz frequency response with 100 dB sensitivity. The drive is 8-inches.
To get to the point, the sound of the Pioneer TS-WX130DA active subwoofer is maxed takes an aggressive musical composition, and even then, distortion and vibration are not an issue.
5. Rockville RWS12CA – Best Subwoofer for Bass Lovers
This Rockville RWS12CA subwoofer is not for the faint of heart. If you like heavy metal, hard rock, electronic music, or hip hop, this is the subwoofer for you. While it is relatively small (12 inches,) it has a max RMS output of 400-watts, which is a lot by anyone’s standards.
Rockville RWS12CA has a durable enclosure and monoblock amplifier. It works as a complete system providing a rich, deep, and intense bass. A quick-connect Molex high-level input with Smart Turn On Circuitry means Rockville RWS12CA will integrate easily with any OEM (original equipment manufacturer) system and will do so with very little required reengineering.
While it sounds like a much larger system, this Rockville RWS12CA punches way above its weight class. It has a 12dB bass boost as well as 150mv to 5 volt gain control. In addition, the bass control is remote controlled, and the low pass crossover is adjustable. The Rockville RWS12CA specializes in high and low-level input that lets it seamlessly integrate with just about any factory system.
Another feature is Rockville RWS12CA’s slim profile, which makes it perfect for car trunks, behind pickup seats, or in storage areas making it really versatile to install. It comes in three subwoofer sizes stored in sub boxes. Rockville RWS12CA subwoofers are small, but the sound they provide will blow most listeners away. This system masters high-performance while maintaining an extraordinarily small footprint.
Technically, the Rockville RWS12CA has a peak power capacity of 1200-watts, and it boasts an ultra-stiff composite pulp cone with Kevlar reinforcement—which is shorthand for this thing is loud but provides consistent music quality.
Rockville RWS12CA subwoofer has heat sink type temperature protection as well as a reinforced case, so it can handle the roughest roads in America. The enclosure design is Super Slim Sealed MDF, so it can fit in most places and is always unobtrusive. In addition, there are basic protections against short circuits and power overload.
6. Rockville SS8P – Best Window Rattling Loud With Little Distortion
The Rockville SS8P is billed as a subwoofer that fits in the space your spare tire usually fits, but the reality is it is ideal for just about any confined space in your vehicle. That could be under or behind a seat, in a storage compartment, or where you store your spare tire.
As with most of Rockville’s products, the Rockville SS8P subwoofer is long on deep, rich bass with an 800-watt peak and 200-watt RMS output. It sits in an aluminum casing and comes with frequency response, Bass Boost, and a subsonic filter. Its rugged construction reduces vibrations, which are further reduced by rubber mounts.
Additionally, the Rockville SS8P subwoofer has a built-in PWM MOSFET power supply amplifier, making it a great example of a loud powered subwoofer, and works on a soft delayed remote. The reputation of the Rockville SS8P is that it is an extremely loud subwoofer that produces a crisp sound with very little feedback or distortion. Installation is fluid with a plug-and-play configuration, including high-level input, remote turn on, and RCA input.
Another enticing aspect of the Rockville SS8P is that it has several security and safety features. If mounted in the spare tire well, it is completely hidden from view. The subwoofer also comes with thermal, short circuit, and overload protection circuits that allow for extensive play in variable conditions with no fear of breakdown or safety hazards.
7. KICKER 11HS8 – Best High-quality Sound and Rugged
Kicker subwoofers provide impeccable output and sound while handling a rough ride with ease. This KICKER 11HS8 subwoofer is made for rough road conditions. It has an aluminum encasement as well as a metal support structure to address jostling. That does not mean it is a space hog; with a slim overall profile, tight space installation is easy to configure and implement.
An KICKER 11HS8 8-inch subwoofer will never have as much power as 15-inch subwoofer, but the 150-watt output is still on the low side, high-quality output with little or no distortion is assured, even when the KICKER 11HS8 subwoofer is being pushed to its limits.
Built-in amplifiers convert low signals into ample signals to preserve sound quality, and the result is remarkable carry and clarity. KICKER 11HS8 8-inch subwoofers provide deep and rich sound without distortion or reduced sound quality.
A power amplifier ensures that listeners can play slow songs at the desired volume. Sound dispersion is also not an issue.
KICKER 11HS8 has a power amplifier that ensures listeners can play slow songs at the desired volume. Sound dispersion is also not an issue. One-touch controllable bass and a front panel with several control options make adjusting music a breeze, while there are built-in level signals to ensure excellent output no matter the type of music.
8. Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Subwoofer – Best Beating
Alpine Electronics is known for producing high-quality sound system components, and these subwoofers are no exception. The Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 subwoofer provides stunning amplified bass and has about the sturdiest construction of anything on this list.
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 are perfect subwoofers for under a seat or in a trunk and should be the go-to choice for anyone driving a vehicle that takes a beating on rough roads or off-road. The unit’s 9 inches tall by 3 inches deep dimensions might seem small, but those mask a bass powerhouse.
As mentioned, the Alpine Electronics PWE-S8’s construction is about as rugged as any on the market. The enclosure is aluminum and will protect the subwoofers through rough rides while providing low feedback and smooth sound.
This Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 subwoofer comes in a metal case for protection. The design provides durability and exceptional sound, with little or no interruption of sound quality, even in extreme conditions. The built-in subwoofer amplifiers are 120 watts, and it’s a D-rated amp, which ensures high excursion and strong output. Side-panel subwoofers provide several options, including low crossover and phase control. Each feature lets you blend the subwoofers with factory-issue speakers.
In addition, the Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 offers auto-turn-on technology, meaning less wiring in the installation process and a 15-foot cable included in the installation kit gives the driver total control through the wired remote level knob. The subwoofer installation is streamlined and easy to understand.
The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Right Under Seat Subwoofer
The bottom line you should be aware of going into your hunt for the best quality subwoofers within your budget is that you are not alone. Virtually no one except someone really into the technical nature of sound systems knows exactly what they are looking for right off the bat.
Here is some general advice to help you make an informed decision.
Any of these subwoofers would be a great addition to your vehicle and vehicle’s sound system. Each one has special features that set it apart. The best way of figuring out which subwoofer works for you is to review those special features and jot down those that you find are important.
For example, is a heat sink important because you play music that is heavy on bass? Or, is your vehicle’s electrical system kind of sketchy, which makes short-circuit and surge protection critical? Perhaps you only care about bone-crushing sound, or maybe the most important thing about the subwoofer you choose is that it fits under your seats.
Every vehicle listener is different. You know your vehicle, your budget, and what you like. Figure out what subwoofer has what you need, and that is your best value.
You can ignore most peak power claims as quality vehicle subwoofers rarely max out. You want to have a high RMS, however, because its audio output has very little distortion, no matter how loud you play it. The minimal RMS you should look at is 150-watt, but 300-watt is much better but for smaller subs you’ll have to compromise.
All subwoofers need an amplifier too – but top rated powered subwoofers come with one included.
Insert your own “size matters” joke. Then consider that with this list, size is not as important because of the high quality of the components used. The size range that works for most SUVs, normal-sized vehicles, and trucks are usually 8″ and 10″ subwoofers, and occasionally 12″ subwoofers will be squeezed in.
There are great 15″ subwoofers out there, but these rarely fit in smaller vehicles. If you’re worried about space and you don’t want to sacrifice it under the seat, check out a shallow-mount subwoofer instead.
Manufacturers of under-seat subwoofers will know industry standards for any vehicle seat height. With this in mind, you can rest assured that most under-seat subwoofers will be the proper size for your vehicle. If you want to be extra sure and do some measurements before purchasing, that’s up to you, but not strictly necessary.
As long as you have a strong power supply and adequate enclosure, size shouldn’t be a problem.
The enclosure protects your subwoofer from the impact and wear and tear of being driven around attached to the floorboard of a vehicle. The right enclosure will enhance the sound quality of the subwoofer while protecting it, and there are great sub boxes for loud bass out there. Generally, the rule is:
- For clarity, rich and deep sound, go with a sealed box
- For high volume, you want “bandpass” and “ported” boxes
When you decide which is most important to you, it’ll be easy to pick the right kinds of enclosure you want. If you choose a high volume, “bandpass” and “ported” enclosures will both get you what you need, so you can look at other factors of the subwoofer to make your final decision.
It was mentioned above that with sound systems, you get what you pay for in almost every case. That does not mean, however, that you cannot find a good deal.
Every subwoofer on this list is affordable. There are more expensive units out there, certainly, but none that will give you as much bang for your buck.
The best kinds of subwoofers have the best of both worlds; high-quality manufacturing and affordable pricing. Though some higher-quality models might come with a higher price tag, they might be worth your while. Other more expensive models might only have higher pricing for unnecessary add-ons.
While those may seem cool, you may find they detract from the overall quality and aren’t worth the extra cash.
You need to make sure your subwoofer is protected. You also need to make sure it has the protection needed to keep you and your passengers safe. The best casing for a subwoofer is metal, especially if you drive a truck. You should also insist upon thermal and circuit protection to make sure your subwoofer has a loud, long life.
Ironically, you wanted a subwoofer for this. Stop and think about the type of music you listen to mostly. Then, match that up to the subwoofer that best meets that criteria. If you are unsure, go to a store that sells sound systems and sound system components and sample a few.
Given the advice above, how do you make the final decision regarding the subwoofer that is best for you? The answer to that question depends on the answers you have for each of those Buyer’s Guide categories. That sounds pretty obvious, but take a second and think about it, and then ask yourself these questions.
What is the priority list for your criteria? For some, power is the name of the game. For others, depth of sound is critical. For drivers of trucks or Jeeps, longevity is probably high up there. What is your priority list?
Once you have that list, how important is each priority? Figure out what your deal killers and must-haves are. If you must have the loudest bass in the area, that will factor highly into your decision-making process. If a thundering bass is a priority, but the overall sound quality is more important, well, that will narrow your choices down even more.
The subwoofers on this list are the best designed for the average music listener. Each subwoofer has exceptional sound, is durable, and will not break your bank.
Under seat subs take up even less space than many shallow mount subwoofers and they’re a great choice for anyone with a smaller vehicle who still wants bigger sound. They’re the first step on an audio upgrade journey, and work alongside your OEM speakers without an aftermarket amplifier.
The key to getting a great subwoofer that lives up to your expectations is to match what you need with what is available on this list. Do that, and you will not be sorry you buy the best under-seat subwoofer for your money.