Best Subwoofers for Cars: Upgrade Your Car Audio
A great subwoofer can provide you with a divine listening experience on the go
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
If you want to listen to great music in your car, you need a top-rated subwoofer. Car speakers have a difficult time producing low-frequency sounds because of their small size. Without these lower sounds, any type of music is not going to sound as good as it could otherwise. Even classical music has some pretty deep bass. The best, high-quality subwoofers are more than another speaker. They're your ticket to deep, rich music on the go. To help you pick the best subwoofer for your car, we put together this complete buying guide complete with car subwoofer reviews.
Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch
Benefits of a Subwoofer for Car
- Improve your car's sound system. The main benefit of a subwoofer is its ability to produce low-frequency sounds. Your usual, small car speakers often have difficulty making these sounds. No matter what kind of music you listen to, choosing a top of the line subwoofer can take your listening experience up a notch.
- Take it anywhere. Unlike other additions to your car’s sound system, a subwoofer can go practically anywhere. You can put one in your trunk, under your seat, or even just in the back seat. They don’t have the same space constraints as other sound components.
Types of Subwoofers for Cars
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.Learn more
Component subwoofers only come with the speaker itself. All other components must be bought separately. This is good for those who want to personalize their subwoofer and build it from the ground up. Many component subwoofers vary quite a bit from model to model. You can pretty much find whatever you're looking for in this category. You will need to choose and buy other equipment for them to work properly.
An enclosed car subwoofer is simply a speaker that comes already put into a box. With these subwoofers, you don't have to worry about selecting an enclosure separately. But, you might find yourself with fewer options than if you had chosen to build your system from the ground up. You will also still need an external amplifier to power the whole thing.
Also called powered subwoofers, these are just like enclosed subwoofers but with an amp built right into the box. These work wonderfully in tight spaces and don't require any extra work on your part. They are also simpler and easier to install since everything you need is included in one piece. You don’t have to worry about installing an amplifier separately. However, they are usually smaller and more compact. This can make them unable to deliver high-quality sounds. These systems work best for those who just want an add on to their stereo or who don't have enough room for a bigger system.
Rockville Audio manufacturers high-end sound equipment for cars, homes, and professionals. This company focuses on bringing you the best value for your money, so many of its products are cheaper than other companies’. It features a money back guarantee on all their products. It makes car subwoofers of all shapes and sizes, though its Rockville RWS12CA and Terminator are the most popular.
Pioneer makes all sorts of electronics for cars, including car audio systems, GPS systems, driver's assistance gadgets, and DVD receivers. It was founded in 1938 in Tokyo by a man who was passionate about sharing high-quality music with the world. This company is constantly striving for that next best thing with its team of engineers and designers. They make a variety of subwoofers, including its famous Pioneer TS-WX1210A.
Subwoofer for Car Pricing
- Under $100: These car subwoofers usually only include the speaker itself or produce low-quality sound. Typically, you aren’t going to find any high-quality subwoofers in this price range.
- $100 - $200: This is where most of the average subwoofers are. Many will come with an enclosure, but you can also find high-quality speakers at this price range without one.
- Over $200: Once you pass the $200 mark, you reach the zone of complete car subwoofer kits. Most of these kits come with everything you need to produce a high-quality bass in your car. If you aren't looking to personalize your system and just want a kit already put together, expect to spend about this much money.
When it comes to subwoofers, size really does matter. The larger the car subwoofer, the deeper the bass it can create. A 10-inch subwoofer is not going to sound as good as a 12-inch subwoofer. Of course, when getting a subwoofer for your car, space constraints are important to consider as well. A subwoofer that can't fit in your car isn't going to do you much good. For best results, we recommend purchasing a car subwoofer that is as big as your car can handle. Be sure to take measurements before you go shopping.
Root Mean Square Wattage
The watts RMS of a subwoofer describes how much power it can handle on a continuous basis. The more power a subwoofer can handle, the better quality sound it is going to produce.
Sound Pressure Level
The sound pressure level is how much power a subwoofer needs to produce a given volume. The higher the SPL number is, the less power that subwoofer needs. Those with a low SPL number need more power to produce loud sounds.
The enclosure, or subwoofer box, is exactly what it sounds like: the box the subwoofer sits in. The design of the enclosure affects the final sound quality more than you probably think it does. If you want a bass that is exceptionally deep, you should buy a subwoofer with a sealed enclosure. These produce a very deep sound, don't produce a huge amount of vibration, and are very accurate.
There are two main types of voice coils: single and dual. In most cases, a dual voice coil is a way to go. This type of voice coil increases the range of amplifiers you can buy and helps maximize the power from that amplifier. You’ll also have more choices later on if you decide to make changes to your system.
- Car Size: Subwoofers take up extra room in your car. Because of this, it is important to consider your car's size when purchasing one. A huge subwoofer is going to be hard to put in a small car. We recommend taking measurements of the space where you plan on putting your subwoofer before you begin shopping. Don't forget about the enclosure and amplifier as well.
- Placement: Some subwoofers only work when placed in certain locations. For example, some subwoofers must be placed in enclosed trunk space. Be sure to keep this in mind when shopping.
Best Subwoofer for Car Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best OverallRockford Fosgate P300-12 PunchCheck Latest Price
The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch is a compact 12-inch subwoofer built into a sturdy wedge-shaped enclosure made from ⅝-inch MDF fiberboard. The enclosure also houses the amplifier, which has a continuous power handling capacity of 300 watts and can push out 600 watts for peak performance. The speaker, amplifier, and enclosure are constructed with a closed-loop design for easy integration into aftermarket and OEM speaker systems. The design also promotes high sound efficiency, while minimizing current use to keep your car battery from draining.
The subwoofer cone is made from paper pulp cone, which is reinforced with Kevlar. The subwoofer is integrated with 2-inch voice coils that sport a frequency range of 35 to 150 hertz. Also built into the unit is an independent and adjustable bass equalizer and a remote bass level control to help the user adjust the low frequencies to their liking. Also, there’s an adjustable 12 decibels per octave, low pass crossover for optimal separation of frequencies that come from the car stereo. The unit is protected from thermal and over-voltage damage.
Despite the sturdy build, it has been noted that the enclosure is rather small, which lowers the quality of low frequencies produced. You may, therefore, notice that it's not great for playing some genres including hard rock bass lines. What’s more, besides being thermally protected, the wires may burn out in less than a year if you frequently play music at loud volumes.
Best ValueRockville RW10CACheck Latest Price
The Rockville RW10CA is the best subwoofer for the price. It is a powered subwoofer, which means it has an amplifier built directly into the enclosure. Because the amplifier is built directly into the enclosure, installation is easy. You don't have to worry about finding a lot of room for different pieces of equipment. If you have a small car or just don't want to dedicate lots of room to a subwoofer, this is the product for you.
All the equipment you need to install this subwoofer is included with it. This includes both the remote bass knob and the mounting equipment. You don't need to buy anything else to install or use this product. With higher level inputs, you don't have to worry about using remote wire from your receiver to turn the system on and off. The sensor can tell when your radio is on or off, allowing it to turn itself on remotely whenever you start your car.
Still, because of the small size, this subwoofer does not sound the best. It cannot produce the deep bass sounds that many other subwoofers achieve. Furthermore, it is also not very durable. This also has quite a bit to do with its smaller size. When you go over bumps or rough roads, this small subwoofer is going to get knocked around more than a larger one. To prevent damage, we recommend securing this subwoofer reasonably well so it doesn’t get knocked around as much.
Honorable MentionMTX TNE212DCheck Latest Price
This top-rated subwoofer includes a loaded MTX car subwoofer system and an amplifier installation kit. This should be everything you need to take your car's sound system to the next level. This subwoofer is a little more expensive than most. Still, the fact that it is a complete kit means that you won’t have to fiddle with purchasing anything else. Everything you need to upgrade the bass in your car is included.
For the best-sounding subwoofer, it is hard to beat this one. Unlike some other kits, this one is high-quality and well-put-together. It includes a large 12-inch sealed enclosure that produces great sound. The box is made out of medium density fiberboard. The enclosure is just a little thicker than most, increasing its durability.
The subwoofer inside the enclosure is made with polypropylene cones that are both durable and lightweight. This allows them to stand up to the rigors of most vehicles while also requiring less power to move around. The subwoofer can handle 200 watts, which should be enough for most purposes. Because an amplifier already comes with the system, you do not have to worry about finding an amplifier to match.
However, the wiring kit that comes with the subwoofer is not very high-quality. The wires are thin and in some cases could be a fire hazard. The amp also isn’t the best that money can buy. Compared to some amps you can purchase separately, it is low quality. It tends to have trouble powering off and on correctly and can easily get knocked lose if you go on a bumpy road.
- If you want to make the installation as easy as possible, we recommend choosing a powered subwoofer. With one of these, you won't have to worry about installing an amplifier as well.
- If you're looking for a very specific setup, we recommend choosing an amplifier, enclosure, and speaker separately.
- Make sure any amplifier you get is compatible with your subwoofer.
- Choose a place for your subwoofer and measure it before you start shopping. Then, you'll know exactly how much room you have.
- Remember, if a subwoofer doesn't come with an enclosure, you'll still have to buy one. This can increase the price quite a bit. You'll also need an amplifier to power the system. It is very difficult to find a complete system that produces quality sound at this price point. In general, you get what you pay for.
Q: How much does it cost to put a subwoofer in your car?
A: You should plan on spending at least $200 on a high-quality, average-sized subwoofer. This includes the subwoofer enclosure, speaker, and amplifier. It is possible to find small, compact subwoofers for less. These will not sound as good as the larger subwoofers, though, but they often work better for smaller cars. Depending on what you're looking for, you might have to spend more money on a subwoofer, especially if you want one with lots of power or a unique sound.
Q: How do I upgrade my car audio?
A: One if the easiest and most straightforward ways to upgrade your car's stereo is with a car subwoofer. Because car speakers are small, they have a hard time producing low-frequency sounds. A car subwoofer is designed to produce these sounds. Even if you don't necessarily listen to music with a lot of bass, a subwoofer can help produce those low-frequency sounds your car is probably missing.
Q: What subwoofer size should I get?
A: On average, bigger car subwoofers produce better sound. Of course, this isn't always the case. The exact sound produced also depends a lot on the quality of the subwoofer enclosure. Still, it is usually a good idea to purchase as big of a car subwoofer as your car can handle. It is impossible for a small subwoofer with a quality enclosure to produce the same sound as a big car subwoofer with a quality subwoofer enclosure.
For the best subwoofer available, choose the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch.
The Rockville RW10CA is also a good choice if you're low on space or on a budget.