Best 15-Inch Subwoofers: Enjoy Deep Powerful Uninterrupted Bass Tones

If you’ve got the room, these 15-inch subs have got the boom.

byMark Webb| UPDATED Sep 14, 2022 11:52 AM
Best 15-Inch Subwoofers: Enjoy Deep Powerful Uninterrupted Bass Tones
Our top picks for the best quality 15-inch subwoofers. Deposit Photos
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When it comes to bass, packing a 15-inch subwoofer in your trunk is the nuclear option. It’s possible to find bigger, more powerful speakers, but 15 inches is about the limit. In terms of size and peak output, that’s about all your car can handle. Even then, your car’s electrical system might need an upgrade to manage the power.  

Most people are happy with one 8-, 10-, or 12-inch subwoofer. If you want to go wild, a pair of subs will really rattle the frame of your car. But 15-inch subs are for people who like to live dangerously — and are on a first-name basis with their local auto glass store manager. 

Here is where I’m tempted to add one of those disclaimers that say, “not suitable for children, pregnant women, or people with heart conditions.” That’s probably a bit dramatic, but consider yourself warned because I’m about to list off the best 15-inch subwoofers.

Best Overall

Rockford Fosgate P3D4-15

Summary
Can’t be beaten for durability, price, and amazing all-round sound quality. It will pump out powerful, resonant bass all day long.
Pros
  • Dominates on a wide range of frequencies
  • Incredibly crisp, clear bass sound
  • Deceptively powerful — hits hard and accurately.
Cons
  • Takes up a lot of trunk space 
  • Sound can get muddy and distorted if you don’t have enough mounting space
Best Value

American Bass E1544 15" 2400 Watt Elite Series DVC Subwoofer

Summary
With 1,200 watts of RMS power and a 2,400-watt peak, nothing hits harder for under $200. The sound quality is also surprisingly good.
Pros
  • Low price
  • Incredible power and full bass sound
  • Durable and will handle abuse while dishing out punishing bass
Cons
  • May be too powerful for some vehicles 
  • Requires a lot of juice to run
Honorable Mention

Skar Audio EVL-15 D2

Summary
Incredibly crisp, loud, and responsive bass with a 1,250-watt RMS rating. It will rattle brick two blocks away and drown out anything within 50 feet.
Pros
  • Bass that will levitate you and rattle your bones 
  • Excellent build quality 
  • You’ll quit before it does
Cons
  • Your car will need a serious electrical upgrade
  • Burning smell when breaking in
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.

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Summary List

Our Methodology

If I could only give one piece of advice on audio equipment, it’s this: Buy good quality speakers that will handle your stereo’s power output. This is especially true for subwoofers. The formula for a great subwoofer is power, sensitivity, and frequency response. Using that criteria and my experience, I put together a list of 15-inch subwoofers. Then I narrowed it down, factoring in owner and expert opinions. The result is a list of the best 15-inch subwoofers that satisfy The Drive’s standards for gear and product reviews and that I’d recommend to my own mother — that is, if my mother listened to something more hardcore than Abba’s “Dancing Queen.”      

Best 12-Inch Subwoofer Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 600 watts
  • Frequency Response: 21 to 200 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 86 dB

Pros

  • Dominates on a wide range of frequencies
  • Incredibly crisp, clear bass sound
  • Deceptively powerful — hits hard and accurately

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of trunk space
  • Sound can get muddy and distorted if you don’t have enough mounting space

It’s really, really, really hard to beat Rockford Fosgate’s combination of sound quality, build quality, and price. There are louder, more powerful subwoofers. Some subwoofers are cheaper, sound better, or offer superior build quality. However, no other subwoofer provides those attributes in one package, which is why the P3D4-15 Punch is the best overall pick. The 600-watt RMS power rating is a bit puny compared to other subs on this list. But hear me out, or better, listen to this sub. If you want to get low, the P3D4-15 will take you to the 21-hertz sub-basement. More importantly, it sounds incredible doing it. If you value sound quality over sound volume and want full, resonant base, this is your speaker. A large part of that sound quality is due to Rockford Fosgate’s proprietary VAST technology and dual 4-ohm voice coils. VAST increases the effective cone area of the speaker. Combined with the voice coils, it makes this subwoofer very responsive. The P3D4-15 Punch has two drawbacks, both related to size. It needs a sealed enclosure with at least 1.58 cubic feet of volume or a vented one larger than 2.66 cubic feet of volume. Otherwise, it will sound muddy. Those dimensions, plus the 7.58-inch mounting depth, take up a lot of trunk space.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 1,200 watts
  • Frequency Response: 15 to 250 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB

Pros

  • Low price
  • Incredible power and full bass sound
  • Durable and will handle abuse while dishing out punishing bass

Cons

  • May be too powerful for some vehicles
  • Requires a lot of juice to run

I can sum up American Bass’ E1544 in five words: great bass for under $200. It’s loud as well, with 1,200 watts RMS. People will hear you and feel you coming before they actually see you. The only problem is it may be too powerful for some vehicles. It will rattle the fillings out of your head and drain your battery unless you beef up your car’s charging system. With a heavy, durable stamped basket and Kevlar-coated non-press paper cone, it will stand up to serious abuse. It seriously slams, pumping out great-sounding bass, which is why the American Bass E1544 Elite Series is the best subwoofer you can buy for under $200.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 1,250 watts
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 250 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 86 dB

Pros

  • Bass that will levitate you and rattle your bones
  • Excellent build quality
  • You’ll quit before it does

Cons

  • Your car will need a serious electrical upgrade
  • Burning smell when breaking in

You can make a case for putting the Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 at the top of this list. The Rockford Fosgate wins on sound quality. However, if sheer power and volume are your top priority, the EVL-15 runs the tables. The 1,250 watts RMS and 2,500 watts peak power are impressive and help the Skar deliver clean, full-sounding bass. But to get there, you need serious juice from your car’s electrical system. Also, you’ll want to bolt this monster down, or you’ll have the wrong kind of bump in your trunk. The build quality is also impressive. Starting with a competition-grade paper cone and high roll foam surround, the EVL-15 includes a three-inch high-temperature voice coil and premium suspension. It’s made to last, providing you follow the break-in process. Speaking of breaking in this sub, some reviews indicate Skar subwoofers have a burn-off smell when new, but it’s minor. But once the break-in period is over, get ready to unleash some impressive sound.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 2,000 watts
  • Frequency Response: 27 to 250 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB

Pros

  • Undisputed king of power with 2,000 watts RMS
  • Excellent build quality
  • Clear low, thundering bass

Cons

  • Hefty price tag compared to other subwoofers
  • Will seriously tap your car’s electrical system

2,000 watts RMS power — you read that right. The Sundown Audio X15 puts out 2,000 watts of RMS power and will levitate your passengers above their seats. When it comes to subwoofers, there’s power, and then there’s shock and awe. Your car’s electrical system will also be shocked by this subwoofer. It needs serious power. We’re talking about a bigger battery and a heavy-duty alternator to start. Otherwise, you’ll have a subwoofer that looks impressive but drains your battery and sounds weak. Make no mistake — it is an impressive and imposing speaker. It’s also heavy. At 75 pounds, it’s almost like carrying a body in your trunk. Between the weight and the power requirements, it’s better suited for a large SUV or truck instead of a passenger car. But once you get it hooked up right, you won’t care about the weight. You’ll be too busy hanging on for dear life while this beast dishes out ground-pounding bass.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 600 watts
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 250 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 86 dB

Pros

  • Easy hookup and installation
  • Excellent bass sound quality
  • Attractive sealed enclosure

Cons

  • Bulky size
  • Doesn’t play well with cheap amplifiers

Enclosures can be tricky. Too little volume and your subwoofer will sound like it’s underwater. Additionally, some speakers sound better in sealed enclosures while others prefer a vented one. That’s why the Skar Audio Single 15” is a deal. Not only do you get Skar’s combination of power, sound quality, and reasonable price, but you get a well-made, stylish enclosure. The bass power and volume are impressive, especially for a subwoofer with 600 watts RMS rating. But it’s all in how you use the power, and like any Skar Audio sub, this one is money. It will rattle buildings with pitch-perfect bass as you go by. A few people complained that these subwoofers are easily blown or take up too much space. Let’s get something straight — if you’re complaining about trunk space, maybe a 15-inch sub isn’t for you. As for blowing these speakers, the issue seems to occur when the Skar is paired with a cheap, low-quality amplifier. You’re already saving money on the subwoofer. Invest in a good amplifier, then sit back and enjoy the wave of sound.

Specs

  • Manufacturer: 1,000 watts
  • Frequency Response: 18 to 100 hertz
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB

Pros

  • Deep, low, thundering bass sound
  • Durable build quality
  • Efficient cooling setup

Cons

  • Muddy sound quality at high volumes

Speakers are supposed to be round, right? If so, then don’t tell Kicker. The Solo-Baric L7S is square, and it’s awesome. The build quality is good as well. The sub features Kicker’s patented ribbed surround for protection and to eliminate distortion. The injection-molded SoloKon cone design makes the woofer stronger, more reliable, and incredibly responsive to all types of music. Kicker claims the square shape provides more cone surface area, which means more air handling and more powerful bass. It does sound powerful, and the titanium reinforced cone is extremely rigid, providing a crisp, detailed response, but it tends to get a bit muddled in the upper range. As subwoofers go, there are better, less expensive ones out there. That’s not saying the Solo-Baric L7S is bad. If you are a Kicker fan or want a high-quality sub that’s different, you still can’t go wrong with it.

Our Verdict 

If you want a good 15-inch subwoofer, there’s a wealth of options. But for our money, the best one is either the Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch or Skar Audio EVL-15 D2. Which one depends on your priorities. If budget is a concern, check out the American Bass E1544 Elite Series. But any of the subwoofers on this list are well made and will provide loud, clear, thumping bass. 

What to Consider When Buying a 15-Inch Subwoofer

15-inch subwoofers take up a lot of space, so it’s important to measure the area you’re working with. You’ll need measurements for the speaker and the enclosure. The other thing to consider is how much power you’ll need. If you go over 1,000 watts RMS, you’ll need to make sure your car’s electrical system can handle the demand. 

When shopping for a subwoofer, the things to consider are power, sensitivity, and frequency response.  

Power 

Measured in watts, power indicates how much sound volume a speaker produces. Most manufacturers provide two ratings for power:   

  • RMS Power: The maximum constant or average power a speaker can sustain. 
  • Peak Power: The absolute limit a speaker can handle in short bursts.  

The higher the watt output, the louder the sound volume.  

Sensitivity

If you’re comparing two speakers with similar power outputs, and one sounds louder than the other, check the sensitivity ratings. A speaker’s sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB) and indicates how efficiently it converts power into sound volume.  

Frequency Response

The dynamic range of sounds a speaker can produce is the frequency response. Measured in hertz (Hz), the wider the range, the more dynamic range of sound a speaker produces. For subwoofers, the lower the Hz, the deeper, richer, more rumbly the bass sound. A good 15-inch sub produces sound in the 25 to 250 Hz range.  

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Which is better: a 12- or 15-inch subwoofer?

A: Properly set up, 15-inch subwoofers can hit harder and produce more powerful bass than 12-inch subs. Additionally, they will handle more power with less distortion.

Q: Should I get a 12 or 15-inch subwoofer?

A: The answer depends on what you’re looking for and how much space you have.  A 15-inch subwoofer produces more power and usually has a lower frequency range. A 12-inch sub will usually provide a crisper response and more clarity.

Q: What is a 15-inch subwoofer good for?

A: Power! A 15-inch subwoofer puts out the most power and adds serious boom to your car’s stereo.

Q: Are a pair of 12-inch subwoofers louder than one 15-inch subwoofer?

A: It depends on the total RMS watt output. A pair of 12-inch subwoofers provide more surface area and displacement than one 15-inch subwoofer. However, if the 15-inch sub has a higher total RMS watt output than the two 12-inch subs combined, it will sound louder.

Q: What hits harder: a sealed or ported enclosure?

A: Ported enclosures provide more output than sealed enclosures because they displace air volume more efficiently. This means the ported enclosure will be louder and hit harder.