If you are on a constant quest for low frequencies in your car setup, a quality subwoofer is your ticket to audio satisfaction. The best subwoofer for car is much more than just a speaker that you toss in your trunk.
Adding bass to your car audio doesn’t mean that you will be drowning out the neighbors as you drive by — the low-end output of subwoofers is all about balance.
We collected information on the top subwoofers on the market, reviewing specifications, features, sound, ease of installation, price and more. Here are the ten best car subwoofers for your audio needs.
- Powered by a 300-watt amplifier
- Adjustable low pass crossover
- Includes remote base level control
- Polypropylene cone woofer
- Rubber tri-radius symmetrical surround
- Dual flat Conex spiders with loop stitched tinsel leads
- Embroidered logo
- Houses 2 subwoofers
- Frequency response: 10Hz – 150Hz
- Adjustable input sensitivity
- Low level RCA input
- 800-watt subwoofer
- 12-inch woofer
- Provides distortion-free bass
- Heavy-duty design
Best Subwoofer For Car Reviews Right Now
1. Rockford Fosgate P300 – Best Powered Subwoofer Car
At its most basic, car subwoofers are low-frequency speakers. To get sound to the sub, you’ll need to send them power, unless they comes with an on-board amplifier, such as the Rockford Fosgate P300 and other models included in this review. The P300 car subwoofer comes in a sealed enclosure, for tight and accurate bass sound.
The built-in 300 Watts peak amplifier means all you have to do is connect power and a sound source and you are good to go. With a sleek but not flimsy form factor, the P300 balances powerful performance with ease of installation.
This subwoofer’s enclosure is perfect for behind truck seats, or in the trunk of even the smallest cars. The enclosure is sturdily made of ⅝-inch MDF, and covered with industrial heat activated vinyl. Besides being a solidly-built all-in-one bass solution, the P300 also has an array of features to help step up your audio game.
Dial in optimal low-end with its built-in adjustable bass boost EQ. With the included remote bass level control, you can adjust on the go. At around $200, you won’t break the bank with the P300 either.
For true plug-and-play functionality, in a fully loaded and powered subwoofer, it’s hard to beat the Rockford Fosgate P300. If you are looking for a simple car subwoofer, you can be up and running with this subwoofer in no time and that’s why it got our nod for the best car subwoofer and first on our list. It’s not the absolute best car subwoofer like a JL Audio, but a great overall choice.
This car subwoofer also works well as an add-on to an existing system with a built-in subwoofer. Just connect it to your audio system’s subwoofer.
- All-in-one sealed enclosure means no need for a separate amplifier
- Big bass sound in a small package
- Installation is a breeze
- Good value
- A bit hefty for its size
- Users complained about longevity, with some only getting about 18 months’ use
- Some also complained of poor-quality enclosure build
2. Orion HCCA122 – Best Car Subwoofer For Deep Bass
Up until now, we’ve been looking at all-in-one subwoofer units. These excel in convenience, but often are lacking in power. If you want to feel the bass in your bones, and wake up the neighbors a few blocks away, you need a product that is on another level entirely.
The Orion HCCA line of car subwoofers are pricey and deceptively simple. One looks just like replacement speaker, but under the hood, there is enough handling peak power for 5000 watts. They feature enhanced voice coil cooling systems and use 4″ voice coils. Their 10″ model uses a 3″ voice coil, the 12″ model we’re reviewing here has a massive 4″ 2 ohm voice coil, and the 15″ model also has a 4″ 4 ohm voice coil. You’ll notice as you read about the voice coil of other car subwoofers in this article, they typically are featuring a 2″ voice coil. So, another indication of how serious this car subwoofer from Orion is that it has a voice coil that is double the size of other subwoofers’ voice coils.
The Orion is a product for the competitor and serious bass lovers. You’ll need a separate enclosure, and you’ll need to power it with an appropriately-rated amplifier. You might even need to tweak your electrical system, especially if you plan on running it at full blast more than just every now and then. Once set up and dialed-in, this subwoofer can be your own earthquake machine.
Unless you are a audio savant, don’t try installing this beast on your own, otherwise you risk voltage dropping. But if you are looking to win a car stereo competition, Orion subwoofers can be your ticket.
Priced around $500 for one speaker only the Orion HCCA122 is a monster that will take your audio to uncharted depths. You have to be pretty serious to dabble with this one, as it may be too much for most people to handle.
Wow. The Orion HCCA122 is impressive and a formidable car subwoofer choice for someone who is serious about bass. Great for anyone looking to enter an audio competition, but for casual listeners and enthusiasts, it may be overkill.
Tread lightly and make sure you know what you are getting yourself into, and make sure you get these installed by a skilled professional.
- Scary bass with a polypropylene cone
- Professional-grade low frequency response and peak power handling
- Extremely high-quality build for function and durability
- Scary deep bass!!
- Possible voltage dropping if not calibrated properly
- Need for a second backup battery
3. MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – Best Traditional Enclosed System
Some car subwoofer units include speakers and an enclosure but require separate amplification. As you move up the food chain from all-in-one units, you may want to use a separate amp to dial in your ideal sound. In such case, the MTX Audio Terminator is a speaker and sealed box combo that can handle a ton of power.
Each speaker is 12 inches, and built out of polypropylene cone with a 2″ aluminum voice coil (for a total of 2 voice coils in the package). Each speaker also has 1200-watt maximum power and 800 watt peak power. The speakers are protected by a rubber surrounding, have two-inch aluminum voice coils and a 48-ounce magnet. Paired together, you get bass that is about as low as it goes.
As a sealed box unit, the sound is deep but not too muddy or “boomy”. As with any speaker-only setup, the amplifier that you pair with the subwoofer is going to be key to your sound.
Priced around $150 for two speakers in an enclosure, you get a quality build and solid bass sound for a bargain. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to buy an amplifier and wiring kit, unless you already have these.
Another big punch of bass, but more restrained than the Orion, the MTX Terminator is an excellent car subwoofer choice for those who want a traditional box enclosure design for the trunk. Don’t let the seemingly low price mislead you, though, you will have to make considerable additional investments to make sure your audio system is properly balanced.
If you are looking for an easier route to low-frequency audio, stick with a slim all-in-one unit.
- Well-built and meant to take a beating, high peak power handling
- Dual-subwoofers with their polypropylene cone really thump
- Reasonable price for the power
- Huge enclosure might not fit everywhere
- Installation takes skill
- Prone to overheating if pushed too far
4. Rockville RW10CA Subwoofer Review – Best Value Subwoofer
Slim or low-profile subwoofer models are designed to deliver powerful and responsive bass when space is at a premium. Space is one of the main concerns when choosing a subwoofer. The Rockville RW10CA delivers the sonically low frequencies that will keep your music thumping.
As a slim subwoofer, the Rockville RW10CA is meant to slip under a car seat, such as the front passenger side. Since it is only 2.7 inches thick, it’ll fit almost anywhere.
With a built-in amplifier, you can be assured that your car interior will not be a jumble of cables. Rockville has further streamlined installation so that all you need to do is wire the high-level input to one of your car’s existing speakers.
For performance, the RV10CA delivers bass boom, but it’s not going to rattle the neighborhood as you drive along.
Priced around $120, the Rockville RW10CA is an inexpensive single voice coil option for those seeking a compact all-in-one subwoofer.
Like the Rockford Fosgate P300, the Rockville RW10CA is an all-in-one solution for adding full bass sound to your car. It is a no-brainer choice for those who are space-conscious, but if you are looking to win a competition against a booming back trunk enclosure, this is not the unit for you.
Price is a major benefit here, but you sacrifice sound quality and power in the trade-off.
- Slim form factor means you can just slip it under the seat
- Will add a nice touch of bass to your system
- Designed for installation ease, good power handling
- Low price makes this single voice coil sub a good option for entry-level
- Lacks the bass oomph of other subwoofers
- Not built for durability
- Although its slim build is a benefit for installation, the sound is not the best when your subwoofer is under a seat
5. JBL GT-BassPro12 – Best Heavy-Duty All-in-One
For those looking for a more rugged enclosed subwoofer, the JBL GT-BassPro 12 provides all of the bells and whistles of an all-in-one subwoofer with a heavy-duty design. This is not a sleek speaker or one that hides its raw power.
The JBL GT-BassPro12 features a built-in 150-watt peak power amplifier, 12-inch polypropylene cone speaker, and a proprietary Slipstream port that eliminates noise at high output. The open design and vented pole piece mean that the powered speaker’s motor stays cool (it’s a single voice coil design, not dual voice coils), which improves performance and reduces distortion even at the highest levels.
Priced around $200, the JBL GT-BassPro12 is a good option for those seeking an all-in-one speaker that pushes the low-end while providing rugged sharp looks.
JBL’s products are top notch, and the JBL GT-BassPro12 is no exception. If you want an all-in-one subwoofer that combines ease of installation with stellar performance and rugged features, JBL has the perfect solution for your car. It’s not the cheapest option on the market but is reasonably priced for its features and performance.
- Rugged build looks great
- Powerful sounds fill up your car, built-in amp and power handling figured out for you
- Easy to install
- Intuitive remote and auto on and off make operation a breeze
- Bass sound can be a bit underwhelming
- The unit is heavy and somewhat large
- Low Watt Amplifier
6. Kenwood KSC-SW11 – Best Compact Power
Much like the Rockville — best value-priced model on this list — the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is intended for consumers who want to add a little punch of bass without having an audio system that takes over all of their interior space and storage.
Although it adds some bass, do not expect this model to shatter windows or rumble enough to soak your bones with low frequencies. The built-in amplifier is only rated at 75 Watts rms power, so you already know the Kenwood is not a powerhouse in terms of peak power.
The Kenwood shines, however, as a sleek addition to an existing audio system. Its aluminum casing looks great, even if you are just going to toss it under the seat out of sight. Like most all-in-one units, installation is easy. Kenwood also provides a remote, so adjustments can be made on the fly.
Priced around $130, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a suitable entry-level option for those who want sound quality without bulk or gaudy visuals in their cars. It’ll add low-end, but you will not be floored by the bass sound.
Kenwood is clearly marketing this product to those who want a quick and simple way to accentuate their existing audio system. Certainly not for a peak power bass head, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 will round out your music and give it more depth, but those with stock premium audio might not notice too much of a difference from their existing setup.
- Super small form factor sealed enclosure takes up no space at all
- Durable aluminum case looks great
- Installation ease
- Low power lacks and real oomph
- Not much ability to customize settings
- Small speaker means low volume
7. Rockford-Fosgate PS-8 – Best Power Saver
Nicknamed the “Punch Single 8,” this is a full enclosed small form factor subwoofer. It has a 150-Watt Class D amplifier and an 8-inch shallow woofer. As an all-inclusive subwoofer system, all you have to do is hook up to a power source, ground the unit and tap into an audio signal and you will add some bass depth to your sound.
While user reviews are generally positive for the Rockford Fosgate PS-8, some have reservations about to cost versus performance ratio. It’s well-built and a good choice for those looking to save space, but the small speaker reduces the bass effect considerably.
Priced around $190, the Rockford-Fosgate PS-8 is a suitable entry-level option for those who want sound quality without bulk or gaudy visuals in their cars. It’ll add low-end, but you will not be floored by the bass sound.
Another solid small all-in-one subwoofer, the Rockford Fosgate PS-8 will add warmth to your tone, but you won’t be rattling any windows. Since it is only two inches tall, it fits nicely under most front driver or passenger seats.
- Great sealed enclosure solution for cars where space is at a premium
- Makes for a good addition to a well-balanced audio system
- Easy to install
- Pricey for the low power
- 8-inch speaker underwhelms
- Doesn’t come with RCA jacks
8. Kicker 10TC 104 – Best Truck Style Enclosure
Say you want a solid subwoofer in an carpeted enclosure that you can match to an amplifier, but you don’t have the room for a three-foot box in your trunk. A truck style enclosure is just what you’d need.
Kicker makes well-regarded products, and its line of best subwoofer for car are top notch. The 10TC104 lets you add 10-inch subwoofer power to your truck. A truck-style enclosure is not as sleek and portable as a slim all-in-one that could nestle under your passenger seat, but it is designed to fill a typical truck cab with bass resonance.
The Kicker is rated for up to 300 Watts – decent power handling, so make sure you pair it with amplifiers in the 50 to 300 Watts rms power range. It has a slanted enclosure, about eight inches deep at the base and 3 ½ deep at the top. It is constructed out of ¾ inch MDF and is wrapped in carpet.
The Kicker is loud, has decent sound quality, and brings the bass to smaller spaces. Its heavy-duty construction ensure that it is long-lasting, as long as you pair it with the right amplifier. Users discuss how they easily blow out the speaker with a 600 Watts rms power amplifier, which is understandable as that is too much power for this unit.
- Perfect fit for a truck cab
- Reasonable amount of bass. Not too boomy, but better than other low-priced options
- Low price
- 10 – inch speaker pushes less power than a 12 – inch
- Vented box can dilute bass frequencies
- Pair it with the right amp power, 200 watts rms or 400 watts rms would be a sweet spot, not 600 watts peak power
9. Polk Audio db1040 – Best Budget Option Speaker / Marine Style
If you have an enclosure, but just want to swap in some low-end performance, a single voice subwoofer such as the Polk Audio db1040 is a good choice. This 10-inch black dynamic balance polymer composite cone speaker can handle up to 270 Wats continuously, but is rated 540 Watts peak performance. With this Polk speaker, you can expect deep, precise, gut-shaking bass.
Polk Audio manufactures some of the best car components on the market, and the db1040 is no exception. User reviews liken the sound quality to a club-like experience. The sound booms, but you don’t lose the clarity and crispness of other tones. Match it with a sealed box and you’ll get distortion-free high-quality bass.
Priced around $60 for one 10-inch speakers. You’ll likely want to get a pair of these, and a sealed enclosure. You will also need a separate amplifier and wiring in order to get your sound bouncing.
For those looking to upgrade their existing subwoofer enclosure’s speakers, or for those who are looking to build a new setup from ground zero, you can’t do much better than Polk Audio’s products.
- Excellent sound and responsiveness
- Thick bass, lows without sounding distorted
- Waterproof construction is great for boats, but also good for other applications
- Affordable Price
- Requires some level of know-how or professional installation
- Better options available at higher price points.
10. JL Audio 12W7AE-3 – Best Luxury Replacement Subwoofer
If you’ve made the plunge to get the best car bass experience, you may wonder where you can find the apex of bass sound. JL Audio’s single 12-inch subwoofer may be the pinnacle of boom, frequency range, and excellent sound quality.
You may look at it and remark, “it’s just a speaker,” but this deceptively simple-looking item is the key to low-frequency. Entrance to this hallowed hall of booming sound is not cheap, and you better make sure you have the right setup to take advantage of all the drippy, pulsing beat that this beast can push.
Let’s get the scary part out of the way first. The JL Audio 12W7AE-3 costs $800. That’s just for one speaker. Does it provide $800 worth of performance? Here are the specs: It has a peak power rating of 2,000 Watts, but optimal range is between 400 Watts RMS and 1,000 Watts RMS power. But, numbers don’t speak the full story. For example, the voice coil technology and how JL Audio cools the voice coil is just one brief glimpse into how JL Audio is just a stellar brand. How they manufacture the voice coil and spider assembly and ensure enhance cooling for the voice coil beyond the typical method other brands use to just place big holes in the side of the frame gives you an idea of how innovative of a company they are.
It has a solid cast-alloy basket, so it is one heavy speaker at 25 pounds. This heft lends to its sound and ability to handle the most thunderous bass imaginable. It’s also noteworthy to mention that JL Audio doesn’t get caught up in using exotic materials like other manufacturers. While the stiffness-to-mass ratios mentioned sound impressive on paper, once you manufacture with these materials, it’s a different story.
This speaker is considered to be the best subwoofer for car on the market. If it weren’t for its prohibitive price, we’d crown it a must buy. For the serious audio freak, it is a sight and sound to behold.
This JL Audio speaker rocks. It is insanely durable, too. This isn’t just a simple polypropylene cone and 22 watts rms power handling. Users report abusing these things for years, without any sound degradation. The JL 12W7AE makes a good case for quality over quantity.
Many reviews of other speakers talk about how many years (or months) it took before the speakers had to be replaced. With the JL Audio, you pay a lot up front, but likely won’t ever need to buy a replacement. Welcome to one of the true best subwoofers from JL Audio.
- Amazing sound
- Luxury build. The speaker exudes a high-end feel, because it is made from the best quality materials
- Durable, so it will last through whatever you can put it through, good peak power handling
- Insanely expensive
- Heavy, and while this add structure to your sound, it also may require a sturdier enclosure
The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide To Car Subwoofers
Subwoofers provide the bass component to your audio system. Sure, your stock speakers all carry a bass sound, and you can dial in more or less bass from your equalizer, but bass that moves and shakes can only come from a subwoofer.
Many typical stock car systems provide a small subwoofer, often installed under the rear window area in most sedan or coupes and in the back ceiling of SUVs. These speakers drive low-frequencies, providing not so much sound but a feeling.
For those looking to ramp up their audio, an aftermarket subwoofer can be added in a few different ways. First is simply swapping out stock subwoofer speakers for another brand. But, speakers don’t work on their own. If your system is low-powered, you may need to revisit your entire system to ensure that you have a properly rated amplifier. These speakers can range in price from $30 to a few hundred dollars each.
Several of the best car models are meant to be installed under a car seat, for example, while others are a bit bulkier and need to be placed in a trunk area. These all-in-one units are great as gateway subwoofers for those who want to add some bass without becoming a neighborhood nuisance.
All-in-one units are easy to install, and typically do not cause issues with your existing power supplies. You are unlikely to win a car stereo sound-off contest with these products, but for personal listening enjoyment, convenience and price, these options are hard to beat. Prices for all-in-one systems range from $100 to $300.
If you want to add serious meat to your sound, you’re going to need to look for a more powerful system. This will require investing in a powerful amp and appropriately-rated subwoofer system for the best car bass experience. If you are ratcheting up the bass, it’s best to ditch your factory enclosure for a sealed or vented enclosure box.
Many opt for a dual-speaker subwoofer system as it provides twice as much thunder. There are many speaker choices, from inexpensive simple subs to ones that can cost close to a $2,000 for just the subwoofer speakers.
Within the professional-grade subwoofer space, there are many additional choices depending on your vehicle type and need. Some enclosures are large, intended as units for trunks.
If you are opting for premium audio, and want to pair a receiver with an amplifier and high-powered speaker system, it’s a good idea to invest in quality installation (and high-end car subwoofer brands like JL Audio). The power requirements (such as 200 watts rms power, 300 watts rms power, or 600 watts rms power) of some amplifiers and subwoofers can tax a car’s battery and alternator.
So, Which Subwoofer is the Right for You?
The best car subwoofers provide a sound dimension that is often omitted in everyday life. We spend a lot of time in our cars, and for many their ride to or from work is their time to soak up their favorite tunes. If you want the best car bass presence — and once you experience this effect, all other audio systems will sound thin — you luckily have several options.
If cost and convenience are important, opt for an all-in-one unit such as the Rockford Fosgate P300. It is sturdy, has a sealed-enclosure construction and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. This all-in-one unit hits all of the marks for a good bass sound, and you can likely hook it up yourself.
For the more adventurous who may be looking for something much more powerful, MTX’s Terminator is a steal for $150. Pair it with a 300-Watt amplifier and you’ll have a booming back trunk that’ll be the envy of other audiophiles. A 600 Watt peak power amplifier might even be better as a 600 Watts peak power amplifier will work not as hard as a 300 Watt peak power amp. Just like anything else, however, you will get what you pay.
A brand like JL Audio is going to give you a high quality car subwoofer with amazing bass reproduction, incredible audio quality, rubber surround material, dual voice coils, and high quality polypropylene cone (not cheaper pulp cone material). As you can see from some of these typical features of a JL Audio car subwoofer, you just get a lot more. A quality poly cone and using dual voice coil usage are examples of JL Audio striving to offer you superior bass reproduction.
Obviously, you will pay more. But, when you get things like rubber surround material, dual voice coil, you need to think about both the additional enjoyment you will get and also the additional durability of the product versus other car subwoofers in the market. So, some good things to consider when considering moving up to a product of the caliber of a JL Audio.
I hope this guide helped you choose the best subwoofer for car. If you need something smaller, read our guide on the best shallow mount subwoofers. Also, another useful car gadget is a radar detector. Read these radar detector reviews to learn more about these devices which can save you money on speeding tickets.
Other subwoofers to consider: