A 12 inch subwoofer is a great size to go with if you’re considering different options. It’s a good ratio of performance and efficiency with the power it’s fed, enough size to move some air around, and can deliver plenty of hard-hitting bass.
While it’s true that bigger subs can do a better job, there’s also a point of diminishing returns, and a 12” product often falls right in the sweet spot especially when matched with a good amplifier and enclosure.
There’s no doubt that 12 inch subs can deliver mind blowing audio and bass performance. Just keep in mind that options around cabinet and electronics will influence things a lot.
The following sub reviews offer fantastic value, great performance, and plenty of unique benefits. Our reviews are going to be going over the most important information about each one, then picking out the notable pros and cons that you should know before making a final decision and choosing the subwoofer that’s going to fit your vehicle (and expectations) the best.
There’s a fair bit to get into, but your decision doesn’t have to be hard, let’s talk about the options and help you find your new sub or subs!
- Comes installed in a unique enclosure
- Good value option
- 600w RMS
- Installed in a classic enclosure with MDF and carpet
- Embroidered Terminator logo
- Incredible value
- 1000w RMS
- Fantastic sound quality and volume
- The cone build is kevlar-enforced
- RMS rating of 250w
- 4 ohm impedance
- Easy to install
- Excellent sound
- Excellent volume
- Easy installation
Best 12 Inch Subwoofer Reviews
1. Dual Electronics BP1204
You’re paying a bit extra for the light show, so if you prefer a more standard looking subwoofer enclosure, there are other options. But if you enjoy the look of this and are looking for a very affordable place to get started, you can build a really nice system with this at the heart of it. Just add your favorite brand amplifier and go!
The first subwoofer we’re featuring here in our reviews is not for everyone. But, if you like the way it looks, it offers some pretty incredible value and a very unique style. Some people want something a little more subdued or simply don’t care about appearance since they’re not going to have their trunks open to show off their system with a flashy enclosure.
This is an awesome system that’s a notch above bare entry-level, and the unique enclosure with glowing lights and plexiglass almost makes it look more like a gaming computer than an enclosure.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that despite the aesthetics, this isn’t the most elite of subs out there in performance. It has good power handling and can take 600 Watts RMS from your amplifier, so it’s not a bit shy. And, it claims to hit hard bass frequencies as low as 30Hz (mind you, not at the loudest volume when you start getting that low.)
Overall, the specs are nice. If you like how it looks (or don’t mind them), you’ve been looking for a pair of 12” subwoofers that are already in the enclosure, and ready to roll, hook these up to your amplifier and you won’t be disappointed one bit.
- Both speakers come installed in a unique enclosure with plexiglass that shows off the glowing lights
- Quite a bit of power, size, and oomph for the price – this isn’t the best 12-inch sub, but this is a pretty good value option for a limited budget
- If you don’t care about the lights, you’re spending money on that when it could go towards better speakers or a better amplifier instead
- It’s not powerful enough to turn heads at a competition, despite attracting attention with the lights
2. MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D 12 inch Subwoofers
All that’s missing is an amplifier, and your favorite songs. It’s big, it’ll take up a good chunk of your trunk space, but it’s well worth the sacrifice if you’re looking to add some great bass to your car without breaking the bank.
If you saw that first option and want something a little more subtle, where every single penny is going towards extra power and performance, but you’re still looking for great value at a good entry-point… here it is. This is the 12 inch subwoofer set for you.
Part of the Terminator Series by MTX Audio, the TNE212D is a more traditional dual subwoofer enclosure size with a pair of very nice drivers installed. You just need to keep in mind for power handling to hook it up to an amplifier that can dish out 200-400w RMS at 2 ohms (800 Watts peak power handling), where you have a lot of good options. Also note that each sub has a single voice coil. Single voice coil designs are not as flexible to wire, so keep that in mind as you design your sub system.
The frequency rating is 37Hz on the low-end bass, which is more than others we’ve looked at. But, we always like to remind people in our reviews that performance at 37Hz at a good strong volume is always better than speakers that can hit 30Hz at a whisper quiet volume.
- These subwoofers come installed in a classic enclosure with MDF and carpet, nothing fancy but it’s very sturdy and gets the job done
- Incredible value for everything you get, the price to quality ratio is off the charts here
- Make no mistake, these are still entry to mid-level subwoofers, it’s not going to rock the block like a competition-tier set, so if you’re in search of CRAZY levels of bass and volume, this isn’t it
3. American Bass USA XFL 1244 12-inch Subwoofer
If you’re looking for subs that will take everything your amplifier has to offer and deliver very loud volume, very hard-hitting bass, and when you wouldn’t mind annoying your neighbors every now and then, here is your ticket into the promised land of deep, hard bass.
Now it’s time to look at some heavier-hitters. We’ve looked at a few less expensive options that come complete with the enclosures, all wired up and ready to connect to your amplifier, but now let’s look at a standalone subwoofer. You’ll need to find an enclosure to pair up with this subwoofer, but if you’re willing to roll your sleeves up that extra little bit, and to spend a bit more here, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.
The American Bass brand is bringing a lot of serious muscle to the table with this offering. The cone build is kevlar-enforced, but we don’t recommend using it for target practice. With the ability to comfortably accept 1000w RMS from your amplifier, with 2000w max, you have a lot of options and can have the dual voice coils of this sub dancing around like crazy inside of it’s cast aluminum basket. The cone is also a robust Kevlar fiber reinforced one and no typical polypropylene here! In fact, this was one of our more fun reviews to write.
This sub needs just about 8 inches of depth in order to mount it and weighs nearly 40 pounds, so it’s got some serious weight to it. If you view the pre-made sets we’ve featured as being a bit like “toys” (especially the first one with the lights), then it’s safe to say that this subwoofer right here isn’t playing games. It will deliver some hard hitting bass frequencies and some would look at it as a contender for best 12-inch subwoofer.
- Great power handling; 1000w RMS delivers big sound across the board (we like writing reviews like this!)
- Fantastic sound quality and volume, this subwoofer has won awards in its class (dual voice coils, as well)
- Not necessarily the nicest looking subwoofer in the world, but that’s a nitpick
4. CT Sounds Bio 2.0 12-inch Subwoofer
You can expect really decent bass on a budget from these subs.
This is a very impressive sub from an up-and-coming brand that hasn’t been around for as long as some of the others on this list, but that have already been making big waves in the world of sound. We’ve written reviews on a number of their products, discussed options, and pairing with suggested amplifiers. One of the advantages in dealing with a brand that isn’t a multi billion dollar worldwide corporation is that it’s easy to get help when you need it, and there is some great value to be had because their operating costs are a lot lower than mega-corporations, and they’re able to be a lot more agile and to push things forward at a faster rate.
In other words, we don’t necessarily see a ton of innovation coming from some of the huge brands, it’s more about keeping things chugging along. This is why it’s exciting to see options like the Bio 2.0 from CT Sounds and we’re happy to do reviews on their brand. They’re not the best 12-inch subs out there like JL Audio, but they’re darn good.
This sub won’t break the bank or chew into your budget, but it will bring you the bass you’re searching for, a lot of it. You’ve got a ton of wiring options with the dual voice coils, so you can easily string this subwoofer together with additional subs in an enclosure, and you’ll have no problem finding an amplifier that can handle whatever configuration you’ve got in mind.
The high-quality magnet (and polypropylene cone) allows this sub to react quickly while maintaining a clear, clean sound. Power handling is good as it can handle a max of 500w with an RMS rating of 250w from your amplifier. Make no mistake, pair up a couple of these with a good amplifier, the correct subwoofer enclosure, turn up the volume, and you’re going to feel a lot of bass, depth, and audio quality.
- For the price, they’re hard to beat
- A huge step up from entry-level subwoofers, these give you a lot more bass than you could reasonably expect them to (good dual voice coils)
- Power handling of only 250w might not be enough to satisfy all of the bassheads out there
5. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 12-inch Subwoofer
You don’t need to buy a separate amp, it’s already built in. Getting yourself setup with a huge upgrade to your sound quality couldn’t get any easier than this.
Let’s change things up a bit and go a different route for this next recommendation in our set of reviews. If you know anything about car audio, you’ve heard of Rockford Fosgate. We’ve written a lot of reviews of the brand on our site and they have a lot of mind share with people who care about quality audio and bass. Their amplifier reputation has been legendary for decades for driving every bit of performance you could want. It’s a hard brand not to like as they provide lots of options and offer speakers and subs of every size.
This time around, they’re offering up a loaded subwoofer and amplifier, which means that the speaker itself comes pre-installed into an enclosure, which also has an amplifier built-in. Going this route means that you don’t have to worry about matching up your amplifier and your sub, nor building/buying an enclosure and having to measure it to make sure it’s the correct size. We weren’t able to discern if the cone is a normal polypropylene one and suspect it is. The heatsink is an extruded aluminium type but not sure if it’s anodized aluminium. Either way, the whole box the sub is in is nicely put together and with a nice durable coating.
Basically, Rockford Fosgate offers the P300-12 for people who want to boost their audio system’s bass capabilities as easily as possible, and quite affordably, too. It was great to get this product into our reviews here and you can see why.
Unlike some of the more compact underseat or free air subwoofer configurations we’ve featured in the past, this one still has a decent size to it, which means you’ll get deeper bass frequencies and better volume, and better overall sound, since the bigger enclosure gives you more control over the movement of air, and that’s what bass is all about.
Instead of all of the above, you’ll only need to run power to this enclosure, a ground wire, and a source cable to connect it to your stereo. Despite the ease of installation and the all-in-one nature of this product, it brings you excellent sound quality and volume that’s been fine-tuned to optimize all 3 of the pieces of equipment to make them work together (subwoofer, enclosure, amplifier), which isn’t always easy to do if you’re getting each piece on its own. It’s interesting to note that this sub has a single voice coil and while single voice coil subs can be tricky to wire, the beauty of this fully designed system means that it matters not!
Now, there is a ceiling to loaded subwoofers like this, and you do pay a bit of a premium in some cases, but for the average listener who wants to fill out their sound, and isn’t looking to compete in any bass competitions or to go too hard, this sub can absolutely bring the thunder without a bit of hesitation.
- You’ll just need to get a simple wiring kit to connect this loaded subwoofer to your car’s electrical system and audio source and you’re off to the races
- This sub makes higher-end audio accessible for everyone with an included amplifier
- Excellent sound, excellent volume, and it hits decently hard, all things considered
- If you love the hobby of car audio, the trial-and-error, and you enjoy the process of setting everything up and troubleshooting if it doesn’t work, you’ll want to pass on this one because most of the work has already been done for you
6. Pioneer Champion Series 12-inch Subwoofer
It’ll work great on its own, or as part of a duo in a double enclosure. This is a solid budget option, we don’t have any major complaints.
Here’s a budget subwoofer from Pioneer with some high-end specs behind it. If you just looked at the numbers, you’d think this was a real heavy hitter. It’s not the greatest sub out there, we’d probably take the Bio by CT Sounds above this for just a bit more money, even though the Bio doesn’t handle as much peak power (which really doesn’t matter).
The Pioneer peak or max wattage doesn’t tell the whole story, it’s not just how much power the subwoofer can accept, but what it does with that power. This indicative of the usual Pioneer quality that we’ve written about in other reviews and we’re not a bit surprised.
For a 12” subwoofer in an average car audio setup, 300w RMS from your amplifier is going to get the job done. If your amplifier choice can handle it, you may want to consider grabbing two of these for a stereo set. As always, get the volume, size, and other options right for your enclosure to get the best frequency response and every bit of performance available out of this sub and your amplifier.
Keep in mind that your wiring options are going to be more limited with this single voice coil, it just means you’ll have to plan things out better ahead of time since there isn’t as much leeway to change your plans once you’ve got things started.
- Gets the job done effectively at a low cost
- Pioneer is a big, reputable brand that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon
- Single voice coil (SVC) limits your options of amplifiers and upgrades down the road (dual voice coils are easier to work with), but as part of an entry-level setup, that’s not the end of the world
7. Planet Audio Anarchy AC12D 12-inch Subwoofer
This sub reviews easy and is a fantastic starting point for someone on a budget who wants options and enough cash leftover to buy a decent enclosure, and an amplifier, and doesn’t mind rolling up their sleeves and putting everything together themselves.
The dual voice coils subwoofer from Planet Audio gives you a lot of options and versatility. You can pair it up with a monoblock amplifier, with another identical sub, and even other styles of amplifiers. The DVC opens up a lot of doors, or you can keep things simple, too. It’s your call and you have options.
It boasts a realistic 32Hz on the low-end bass frequency, but you have to dig a bit to find the RMS wattage. This product can handle an RMS wattage of 900w from your amplifier, depending on how you’ve got it wired up. 900w is plenty, especially compared to some of the other options on this list, but you’ve also got to keep in mind that this is a budget subwoofer so you probably want to pull back a bit and not drive it at a hard 900w all the time, it’ll help increase the longevity. If you want something you can push that hard, consistently, you’ll probably want to look at some higher-end options like JL Audio.
Having said that, this sub sounds great for the price and features a polypropylene cone. More experienced bassheads will be able to notice where it falls short with some more nuanced listening, but for most people, you’ll feel the hard bass hitting and be more than happy with its DVC setup. Turn up the volume and enjoy.
- A subtle design that looks great in just about any enclosure
- Supports a lot of power for the price (nice dual 4 ohms voice coils)
- A good entry point
- If this isn’t your first subwoofer, you might walk away feeling unimpressed
- The big appeal with this one is how much volume you get for such a low price, but if that’s not a priority then it’s not your best option
Conclusion and Buyer’s Guide
We hope you enjoyed our reviews of the best subwoofers of the classic 12″ size in the market for your consideration. It can be hard knowing how to add a 12-inch subwoofer to your car audio system, keep it on budget, make and to sure you get the right size for your vehicle. And, there are a lot of considerations like an amplifier to use for your 12-inch subwoofer, what kind of enclosure to pick that houses your 12-inch subwoofer, and should you get a second 12-inch subwoofer and build a set.
You saw that we pay careful attention in calling out these details that will be important to you like voice coils. The voice coil configuration is important when it comes to designing and installing your system. You want dual voice coils to give your easier and more wiring options of your subwoofer. Voice coils do matter in a 12-inch subwoofer.
Subwoofer Power Handling
It’s also always important to note the power handling capabilities of your 12-inch subwoofer choice. The peak power handling of 600 Watts versus 1200 Watts for a 12-inch subwoofer will make a difference in how you design your system with amplification and how it will perform. You’ll see that more and well design quality subwoofers will support a peak power handling of 1200 Watts. This is the same for amps that you rather have one that can put out 1200 Watts rather one that can put out 600 Watts all things being equal. Even if you’re not planning on playing your music super loud, the point is that the less hard your equipment works and away from its maximums, the better it’s going to usually sound as well as lasting longer.
Subwoofer Electrical Design and Capabilities
Related power handling and wiring discussion wouldn’t be complete without also consideration of things like a 2 ohm or 4 ohm design. You’ll need to realize if your sub can handled being wired up with 4 ohms. Typically, you’ll see more subs at the 4 ohms level than at the 2 ohms. A 2 ohm speaker will do more with power received from an amplifier than a 4 ohm speaker.
Subwoofer Construction and Components
The components that are used in subwoofers will also play a significant role in both performance and longevity. Polypropylene cone material is very common in many subs and represents a good solid choice. Where you’ll see some manufacturers innovate here is the use of higher-end components to produce better performance. Instead of a polypropylene cone you may see a nylon fabric cone, a Kevlar fiber cone, or more exotic materials used. So, you can view a polypropylene cone as usually the markings of a midline 12-inch subwoofer brand or model.
That said, many fine and high-end manufacturers like JL Audio and Rockford Fosgate also use polypro cones and use sophisticated 12-inch subwoofer designs to make them sound awesome. So, don’t get stuck into thinking that material choice is everything. Again, choosing a company like JL Audio or Rockford Fosgate typically guarantees you great overall results.
Besides the cone, the magnet of the best 12-inch subwoofer, the housing, heat-sink and other components are important in how they’re put together, too. Here you will find anodized aluminum or other custom alloys that have weight, cost, cooling, and other properties. Anodized aluminum is simply aluminium that has been coated with a substance to further protect its surface. Paying attention to voice coils construction in a best 12-inch subwoofer is also useful. Things like how the voice coil is constructed and how also it is cooled is good to know.
We keep all of these factors in mind as we bring our reviews to you and are excited about what you will build. Good luck and let us know how your system with one of these best 12-inch subs turns out!