Best 12-Inch Subwoofers: Add Some Bass to Your Music
Experience a rich booming sound in your car with any of our top picks for the best 12-inch subwoofer
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Have you ever played loud music in your car but couldn’t feel the deep, low bass in your chest? If yes, then what you need is a set of quality subwoofers that will fill your car with a bass-laden sound. We understand that there are plenty of subwoofers on the market, and it may be difficult to discover the best. You don’t have to go through all that trouble; we have rounded up some of the best 12-inch subwoofers that will give your audio system more depth and realism.
Single 4-ohm subwoofer with peak power handling of 1,200 watts and 600 watts RMS. It has a total weight of 20.4 pounds, A sensitivity of 85 decibels, and features an anodized aluminum cone design.
- Produces consistently good bass.
- High power handling.
- Loudest 12-inch subwoofer we found.
- Can dissipate heat.
- One-year parts and labor guarantee.
- CEA-2031 certified.
- The sound may be a bit too loud.
- Low sensitivity rating.
One of the more affordable 12-inch subwoofers for a car that still produces good low-end audio output.
- Good low-end performance that offers good volume.
- Good enough for general listening in a vehicle.
- Doesn't offer the performance of higher-end subwoofers that can drive a lot of air without issue.
Dual 2-ohm subwoofer with peak handling power of 1,200 watts and 400 watts RMS. It has a total weight of 45.1 pounds. It’s made from polypropylene cone, and the speakers are protected with a rubber surround.
- Comes as a set of two subwoofers with an enclosure. Well-built system.
- Good sound quality.
- Difficult to set up.
- Limited installation options.
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Why Buy A 12-Inch Subwoofer
- Improve your stereo speakers. Most factory stereo speakers don’t produce enough bass. Car stereo speakers are designed to be small so that they don’t take up a lot of space in a car door. Small speakers don’t have enough space to produce frequencies lower than 80 hertz, which are typical for the best bass. That’s why you need to boost them with a set of subwoofers that can pick up the lower frequencies.
- Reduce strain on your audio system. When you use a single stereo speaker to produce a full range of frequencies, the lower frequencies tend to suck up a lot of power and eventually weaken the entire audio system. A subwoofer has its own amplifier as its power source, and adding it to the audio system will reduce the strain on the entire audio system.
- Smooth sound. In most car audio systems, there is often an imbalance of sound between the tweeters, mid-drivers, and the stereo speakers, especially when playing music at high volumes. A subwoofer improves the quality of sound by opening a channel for lower frequencies that cause distortion in other devices.
- Speed control. Some genres of music have fast starts and stops in the instrumentals that factory speakers struggle with, which leads to skipped beats or smeared music. Most subwoofers have speed and transient response, where the fastest bass lines are received and delivered with ease and realism.
Types of Subwoofers
Bass tubes are subwoofers that are enclosed in a tube to save on space in a vehicle. These subwoofers don’t typically deliver a loud, distortion-free sound, but they are cheap and the easiest upgrade to your car’s audio system. Bass tube subwoofers can handle up to 800 watts of power and are available in sizes ranging from 6 to 12 inches.
Self-Amplified Bass Solutions
Self-amplified bass solutions are subwoofers that are fitted into an enclosure that’s powered by an in-line amplifier. These subwoofers also don’t deliver high-quality bass, but most are cheap and can be used as a quick upgrade. They save on space in a vehicle and are available in several sizes that fit almost all modern vehicles.
Standard Subwoofer Speakers
Standard subwoofer speakers come without an enclosure. You need to purchase either a sealed or ported enclosure to contain these speakers. They are available in sizes ranging from 6 to 15 inches and give the user more freedom when it comes to choosing where to install them. They are also the best performing subwoofers and deliver the best bass output.
Rockford Fosgate has more than 30 years of experience in the car audio market, and it makes audio equipment for motorcycles and marine equipment. James Fosgate founded Rockford in 1973. The company produces amp-component speakers, stereo speakers, subwoofers, and a variety of audio accessories. One of the best single 12-inch subwoofers from Rockford is theRockford Fosgate P3D4.
Planet Audio was birthed in 1997 by a team of car audio enthusiasts who believed that the industry could do well with audio products that are powerful and budget-friendly. With its headquarters in Oxnard, Calif., the company branched out to produce and sell subwoofers, speakers, and amplifiers on a global scale. One of the best budget 12-inch subwoofers from Planet Audio is thePlanet Audio AC12D.
MTX Audio is a brand name under the Mitek Corporation and an American manufacturer of sound equipment for home audio, car audio, and marine audio. MTX Audio was founded by Loyd Ivey in 1979 and has its headquarters in Winslow, Illinois. MTX was the first inventor of a mobile audio enclosure. The company’s best-selling item is theMTX Audio Terminator.
Pioneer is a multinational company that specializes in designing digital entertainment equipment. Nozomu Matsumoto founded Pioneer in 1938, and it played a major role in the development of the first-ever automotive compact disc player. The company is based in Japan. If you would like to try out one of Pioneer’s top subwoofers, go for thePioneer TS-SW2002D2.
12-Inch Subwoofer Pricing
- Below $100: Budget around this much if you would like a simple subwoofer that will add just the right amount of bass to your music. It’s not hard to find some cheap, quality speakers from apex brands, so don’t shy away from including them in your search filter.
- $100-$200: Expect to find both single and dual subwoofers at this price point. Your buying decision will largely be affected by how much space you have in your car. The subwoofers here are made of top-notch materials and typically offer you great bass and durability.
- Above $200: This price range offers dual subwoofers that come in an enclosure and typically have dual voice coils. The products are from high-end manufactures, so you can expect to find some chic products from top brand names to add a spark of elegance to your car’s interior.
Power Handling Capacity
Ensure that you match your amplifier's power output to the subwoofers power handling capacity. That’s the only way you can avoid smoking coils and overheating. Pay more attention to the RMS power rating, as it shows the speaker's continuous power handling capability. Moreover, manufacturers often exaggerate peak power outputs, and some subwoofers don’t live up to the hype.
Single Vs. Dual Voice Coils
Voice coils connect the subwoofer to the amplifier where it draws its power. Single voice coils are cheap, but there are some amplifiers that can’t accommodate them. You will probably have to buy a new amplifier to connect with your single voice coil subwoofer. Double voice coils are expensive but connect to a greater number of amplifiers than single voice coils.
- Enclosure Type: Subwoofers are typically installed in a sealed or a ported enclosure. Ported enclosures give you a louder volume and keep the subwoofer aerated to prevent overheating. A sealed enclosure offers a clearer, deeper and controlled base.
- Frequency Range: A subwoofer’s frequency range indicates how low it can play and consequently, how good its bass output is. A subwoofer with a frequency response of anything less than 80 hertz will give you a good bass.
- Sensitivity: A subwoofer requires a certain amount of power to produce volume, and that’s its sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity, the louder the volume you can get from less power. The ideal sensitivity for a subwoofer is between 80 and 99 decibels.
Best 12-Inch Subwoofer Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- If you would like to turn your car into the best listening area, place your subwoofer between two speakers. The low frequencies will blend in between the high frequencies and give you a well-balanced sound.
- If you are going for a full audio upgrade with new car stereo, speakers, amplifiers, and a subwoofer, and you suspect that your vehicle won’t handle it, you can add a second battery/capacitor or upgrade the alternator to power the new system.
- Consider hiring a professional to tune your subwoofer’s amplifier so that you can get the best quality of bass. You should also be there as the audio expert tunes it to ensure that the volume is right for you.
Q: How do I take care of the distortion coming from my subs?
A: If you are positive that the distortion is coming from the subwoofer, lower the amplifier’s gain. If that translates to your speakers overpowering your subwoofers, then you should consider buying bigger subwoofers with better sound quality.
Q: Why do my lights dim after I connect the subwoofer to the amplifier?
A: The source of the problem may not be with the subwoofer but your amplifier. The amplifier may not be installed correctly and consequently not drawing enough power from the vehicle’s electrical system. A simple solution is to upgrade your amplifiers wiring system and ensure that the power and ground wire are long and, if possible, of the same size.
Q: Will I still hear the bass if I place the subwoofer in my trunk?
A: Yes. Provided that your trunk isn’t insulated or soundproofed, a bass typically moves through the materials separating the front seats and the trunk. But if you feel that you will be missing out on all the great bass, you could drill a few holes in your rear deck and cover the holes with a thin fabric to create more room for the sound waves to travel.
We chose theRockford Fosgate P3D4 as our best 12-inch subwoofer since it produces great bass consistently, and it’s made of the best materials that make the subwoofer durable and resistant to damage.
The BOSS Audio Systems CXX12 is for anyone on a budget but needs a good quality subwoofer.
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