Some people are happy with fairly modest subwoofers because they aren’t looking for much more than to fill out the low-end and feel a little extra bump in their music… but we are not those people.
If you’re someone who isn’t happy with just a little extra bass, or having to listen to your music at a reasonable volume, then you’re in the right place. There’s nothing reasonable or practical about any of the following subwoofers and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
If your idea of a good time is to cruise down the road with absolutely devastating bass that rattles your entire existence, or to park up at a show and rattle the eardrums of anyone who dares to get close, then you’re in for a very good time with the following selection of the best car competition subwoofers.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea, these aren’t only for people who want to enter competitions, and popping in one of these is just one piece of the puzzle if you do decide to compete. These subs are for anyone who wants super loud, super high-quality bass and doesn’t mind investing in the type of audio gear that is required to take full advantage of everything that these subs can do.
Editor’s Choice Competiton Sub
1. Orion HCCA154 :
What else can we really say about this monster of a subwoofer from Orion? It’s serious business. This isn’t “your first sub”, this is for people who have been around the block a few times and just haven’t been able to scratch that itch for bass.
This subwoofer gets very loud, very deep, and it’s going to take up the better part of your truck. We have a hunch that you’re happy to give up the space for something like this.
Let’s start this off with a subwoofer that is, by all definitions, absolutely bonkers. This monster subwoofer doesn’t doesn’t just turn heads, it shatters them. It’s difficult to appreciate just how beefy this 15 inch, 90 pound subwoofer really is until you see it in person.
The Orion HCCA154 is not for the faint of heart, none of the subs on this list are. Picture an extra large pizza, and that’s how big this thing is. This is a building block for an insane car audio setup, but even if you’re only planning on using one subwoofer, this one will still be the craziest subwoofer that 99.9% of people that get into your car have ever heard.
This sub can handle 2000w RMS and 4000w max. You’re going to need a solid amplifier in place to power this beastly subwoofer, but thankfully there are a ton of powerful monoblocks that are suitable choices, and they aren’t as expensive as you might think… but anyone looking for a competition-grade 15” subwoofer probably isn’t worried about being as frugal as possible, so make sure you get yourself a proper amplifier and don’t cut corners in that department.
It’s wired up with dual 4 ohm voice coils, so make sure your amp is compatible, and make sure you wire it in correctly – you don’t want to risk damaging this thing!
2. DS18 HOOL12.2D Hooligan
The Hooligan is like the schoolyard bully of subwoofers, it’s not here to make friends. It’s here to disturb the peace. The Hooligan can handle 4000w RMS and 6000w max power, and it does it with a bad attitude.
If the Orion 15” sounds like overkill for the car audio installation that you’ve got in mind, but you still want some SERIOUS bass that can get LOUD, DEEP, and can suck up an incredible amount of power, we hope you get a chance to hear this subwoofer from DS18. The Hooligan series is no joke. It’s available in dual 1, dual 2, and dual 4 ohm configurations so make sure you’re ordering the one that suits your amplifier and wiring plans.
You’ll want to ensure you wire it in a way that gives you optimal power from your amp, because at 4000w RMS this subwoofer is very hungry. The max that this subwoofer is rated for is 6000w. It’s super heavy, and will require an enclosure with reinforcements and supports.
If we told you that this subwoofer wasn’t capable of causing serious havoc on your block, and that you’ll be making some enemies out of your neighbors if you don’t turn it down when you’re getting home at night, we would be liars. Not only will everyone else on the road be able to hear your music, even people with subwoofers of their own will have their bass drowned out with yours. This is not a subwoofer for shy people. That’s probably why they call it the Hooligan.
3. Skar Audio ZVX-12v2 :
The ZXV-12 from Skar Audio can hang with the best of them, and hold its own in terms of both SQ and SPL. It may not be the loudest sub on this list, but it sounds fantastic, it bumps at a serious level, and you won’t have to take out a second mortgage to afford it.
Granted, there are some even less expensive options coming up, but this one fills in the middle-ground perfect for people who want something that’s clearly on the next level but also isn’t totally overkill, either.
What we love about this subwoofer from Skar Audio is that it makes competition gear more accessible for consumers who want something way above average, but don’t want to spend a fortune on it. In this case, you can even grab a couple of these, or if you’re still looking for something larger, they also have some excellent 15” and even 18” models available.
Whichever size you go with, Skar Audio’s got you covered when your goal is loud, deep, heavy-hitting bass. For this price, and for how well it’s made, this sub has no business getting as loud and staying as clear as it does.
Value isn’t everyone’s top priority when it comes to choosing gear, but this subwoofer offers a ridiculous level of value. It’s far above the entry-level types of subs, and it can hang with the best of them, even if it’s a conscious step down from some of the very top-tier options we’ve looked at.
With an RMS rating of 1500w (max 3000w), it’s not as demanding as some of the other subs we’ve looked at, but it can still hurl around some serious air. It weighs in right around 50lbs, so you’ll need a strong enclosure, and this also speaks to the build quality. Sometimes, when you see impressive subwoofers at lower prices, it’s because they’ve cut-corners in one way or another, but that’s not the case here.
4. Pioneer TSW311D4 :
A budget-minded option for someone who wants an impressive subwoofer, without coming near the point of diminishing returns.
It’s all value here, but it comes at the cost of performance. This is a humble subwoofer, and it’ll serve you well as long as your expectations are in check.
We often view Pioneer as a brand that delivers great quality in the entry to mid tiers, but can also hit it out of the park in their high-end product lines. In this case, this subwoofer falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. It’s far above the entry-level 12 inch subwoofers out there, but it’s also a notch or two below some of the heavy-hitter we’ve featured today.
We’re included this one to serve as an option for someone who wants to straddle the upper-echelon of bass, but is just putting together their first or second system, doesn’t want to have to overhaul their electrical system to power it, and is okay with not having the absolute best.
This is still a more-than-capable subwoofer, but it would be dishonest to pretend that it’s on the same tier as something like the Hooligan or the Orion that we featured above. If the Pioneer TSW311 is in your budget, you won’t be disappointed with the bass it delivers, but if you’re looking for incredible sound quality and earth-shaking bass, this isn’t going to be on the same level as the others.
5. Power Acoustik MOFO :
A good way to fill in the low-end of your sound system without breaking the bank, especially if you want some size and power, the MOFO is a good option.
You’ll need to buy or build an enclosure for it, and you’ll be thrilled with the overall performance and value you get from this sub. We don’t mean to make it sound like it’s a full-on budget option, this sub can definitely hang and you get a lot for the price.
This subwoofer is here specifically for people who see something like the Pioneer TSW311, but wish they could push a lot more power to it. As such, it’s going to get louder, it’s going to hit harder, but it’s not necessarily going to have better overall sound quality if you’re listening at more reasonable volumes.
Between the MOFO and the Pioneer, we are featuring two more entry-level choices when we’re talking about “competition subwoofers”, even if these last couple are more meant for personal use rather than trying to impress enthusiasts or to break SPL records.
This is the lightest subwoofer we’ve looked at today, coming in at just over 25 pounds. Weight doesn’t always tell the whole story, but it does start to paint the picture. When you’re getting a big 12 inch subwoofer that can handle 1350w RMS at such a lower price, obviously there are going to have to be certain sacrifices in other areas. Alternatively, taking the Pioneer for example again, the sacrifice in that case comes to the RMS rating being only 400w.
With this one, you get quite a lot more wattage, but you lose out a bit in clarity and overall sound quality. There’s always going to be a trade-off whether it’s cost, power, build quality, audio quality, something else, or a combination of those to varying degrees.