Reviews of The Best Car Subwoofers

A subwoofer is a speaker that’s designed to reproduce very low bass frequencies. It fills in the deep, rich bass that’s missing from most car speakers. So, whether you like listening to bass-heavy or treble-heavy, soft or loud music, a quality subwoofer can truly improve your overall listening experience. It can make the difference between a good-sounding and a great-sounding stereo system. So, if you usually listen to bass-heavy music and wanting to satisfy your craving for powerful bass, then there’s no substitute for a subwoofer.

However, the sheer number of subwoofers – of different sizes, shapes and types – available online or in the electronic stores is enough to make your mind spin. Moreover, choosing the best car subwoofer depends on many factors, including your musical tastes, budget, and how much space is available in your vehicle.

Here at StereoChamp.com we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We’ve put together this resource – a one-stop-shop, all-inclusive guide to help you make an informed buying decision and find the best car subwoofer that best suits your needs and fits within your budget.

We have compiled a list of the best car subwoofers to help you make your decision!

Ultimate Guide to The Best Car Subwoofers

This is not by any means a comprehensive list. There’ are tons and tons of great car subwoofers out there. However, we did want to give you a few good options. The subwoofers we listed here represent different price points, types and designs. With any luck, you’ll find something that meets your musical taste and fist within your budget.

Reviews of The Best Car Subwoofers

MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D Review

MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D ReviewThe MTX TNE212D is one of the best dual 12 inch subwoofer box on the market. All things considered. And, assuming you have enough available space in your vehicle, it’s one of the highest quality, yet reasonably priced dual 12″ subwoofer box you can buy.

The TNE212D is one of the best dual 12-Inch Sub enclosures under $200, which is very reasonable for anyone looking for a perfect combination of performance and value. This unit combines two powerful, hard hitting 12 inch subwoofers – rated at 200 watts each – in a sealed enclosure, which is 400 watts RMS (Root Mean Square) for the entire enclosure.

The Terminator 12 inch subwoofers used in the enclosure use polypropylene dustcaps that are durable allowing them to withstand harsh conditions and are lightweight allowing them to be very responsive and efficiently move using less power. Additionally, these subs also feature MTX’s Spider Plateau Venting, which is a new technology that allows the subwoofer to continually refresh the air around the voice coil, in order to keep the mechanical inner-workings of the woofer well-ventilated. This mechanical cooling process allows the woofer to perform substantially better and to last longer than woofers relying on traditional cooling techniques.

The MTX TNE212D features a simple, yet modern design. The enclosure is made using extra-strength 5/8″ MDF. Medium Density Fiberboard (also known as MDF) is the preferred material for subwoofer enclosures as it offers great vibration resistance. MDF made enclosures are strong enough to contain the massive lows generated by the subwoofers without problems.

In addition, the enclosure is well constructed. It’s wrapped in black aircraft grade carpet material that can withstand tear and wear. The classic black color will blend easily with any interior design, while the embroidered Terminator and large MTX Audio logos on the dustcaps are eye catching and bold.

In terms of cons, it’s really difficult to think of any. If anything, I’d say that you must break these subs in. Simply keep playing them at low volumes for a couple of days until the subs are no long stiff. Furthemore, make sure they are properly powered. A mono block amplifier rated for 500 watts RMS at 2 ohms for example would be a good match for these subs.

All in all, the TNE212D provides great and clear heart thumping bass. It’s a great deal for the buck.

Pioneer TS-W304R Component Subwoofer Review

Pioneer TS-W304R 12-Inch Component Subwoofer ReviewIf you’re building a fully customized stereo system and you want to keep the costs low, then Pioneer’s Champion Series subs are a great option to consider. They are some of the best selling component subwoofers on the market. They seem to be well-liked, and that’s no coincidence. These component subwoofers are designed to give you an impressive bass performance without breaking your bank account.

The TS-W304R 12-Inch subwoofer can handle up to 300 watts of power on continuous basis. It features a rugged cone made from IMPP (Injection Molded Polypropylene) for a powerful, distortion-free bass and rigidity.

The sub’s seamless cone design increases efficiency and keeps distortion to a minimum, while its foam surround helps keep the cone under control so this sub sounds great in either sealed or ported enclosures.

Despite being meant to provide a decent clean bass and to add a little bump to your ride, the TS-W304R can truly make a night and day difference if properly powered and housed in a well-built subwoofer box. To drive this subwoofer, we recommend a mono amplifier rated between 200 and 400 watts RMS at 4 ohms.

The TS-W304R is a great subwoofer for anyone who’s on budget and wanted some bass. Lastly, you can’t beat the price. If you shop on Amazon, you can snag it for under $50. Don’t let the price fool you. This subwoofer rocks.

Pioneer TS-SWX2502 Shallow Mount Sub Review

Pioneer TS-SWX2502 Shallow Mount SubwooferThe TS-SWX2502 is one of the best slim subwoofers on the market. It’s a well-built shallow mount pre-loaded enclosure that will fit under the rear seats of most vehicles.

The enclosure houses Pioneer’s TS-SW2502S4 shallow 10 inch subwoofer, which features an oversized cone structure that allows for a relatively larger cone and gasket surface without changing its standard external dimension. This large cone surface allows the subwoofer to move more air, which results in a louder, yet deeper bass. The performance of the subwoofer is further enhanced by the dual spider design which allows for more cone motion control and supports the subwoofer’s linear movement for accurate bass response.

Thanks to its innovative, and compact space-saving design, the TS-SWX2502 can be installed almost in any vehicle on the road. The enclosure is wrapped in a highly durable black carpet, creating a non-slip and scratch-resistant enclosure surface.

If I had to pick some criticisms for the TS-SWX2502, I’d have to say that you won’t get as much ground-shaking bass as a regular sub by any means, but it sounds pretty decent for how compact it is. That said, if you’re looking for a reasonably price compact, space-saving subwoofer that’s designed to fill in the deep, rich bass that’s missing from most factory stereo systems, then the TS-SWX2502 is a great choice.

Kicker Hideaway Compact Powered Sub Review

Kicker Hideaway Compact Powered Sub ReviewLooking for an “easy off-the-shelf” powered subwoofer that will save you the hassle of buying a component subwoofer, building a box, buying an amp , wiring and matching the amplifier to the subwoofer? Well, look no further because Kicker has got you covered!

As cars get smaller, there’s less and less room for a traditional suboofer system. Kicker came up with one of the best powered subwoofer out there – Kicker Hideaway – It’s designed to fit almost anywhere. At just over 3 inch tall, the Hideaway™ will fit under your vehicle’s seat or in storage areas where many powered and regular subwoofers don’t usually fit. Additionally, and since this is an all-in-one unit, there’s only one piece of equipment to find a place for and install.

The Kicker Hideaway combines a relatively powerful integrated 150-watt RMS amplifier and a 8 inch subwoofer to add thumping bass to any car stereo system from the tightest location. It comes with a remote control bass knob that will let you easily adjust the bass level on the fly. The Kicker Hideaway also comes with Velcro®-fastened nylon straps for secure installation.

The Kicker Hideaway comes also with an adjustable low-pass crossover, a variable +6dB bass boost, phase-cancelling switch for max output and two automatic turn-on options. It also features low- and high-level inputs for integration with nearly any factory or aftermarket headunit.

If I had to nitpick the Kicker Hideaway, I’d have to say that It’s a little bit lacking in terms of bass compared to large traditional subwoofers.

Kicker Hideaway Specifications
  • Woofer Size   : 8 inches
  • Built-in amplifier – RMS   : 150 watts
  • Frequency response   : 25 – 120 Hz
  • KickEQ boost           : variable to +6dB @ 40Hz
  • Warranty   : 1 year

Dual BP1204 Bandpass Subwoofer Review

Dual BP1204 Bandpass Subwoofer ReviewDual is a brand that we haven’t discussed much on our site. However, Dual makes some pretty awesome subwoofers as well, and this one has a lot of points for design and aesthetics. It features an illuminate lighting system that will make your vehicle look as great as it sounds.  The enclosure features a 12-volt input for powering the LED blue lights, as well as an on/off toggle switch so you can turn the lights on or off. Furthermore, this dual-chambered enclosure also features Plexiglas viewing windows, mirrored chambers, nailed and glued MDF construction with added bracing and carpet covering.

So, if you’re looking for a hard-hitting subwoofer with an eye-catching look and design at an economical price, then Dual the BP1204 Bandpass subwoofer is a great option to consider.

The Dual BP1204 combines two hard-hitting 12″ subwoofers rated at 300 watts RMS each, totaling 600 watts for the entire enclosure. These low Q optimized subwoofers feature polypropylene cones with brushed chrome finish, plus stamped steel baskets and treated foam surrounds for stability and long lasting.

Dual BP1204 Specifications
  • Size       : Dual 12″
  • Power Handling
    • RMS  : 600 watts
    • Peak : 1,100 watts
  • Frequency Response   : 25 – 200 Hz
  • Impedance    : 4 ohm
  • Sensitivity     : 89 dB
  • Warranty     : 1 year

Infinity Reference Subwoofer Review

Infinity Reference 860w 8-Inch
Infinity Reference 1062w 10-Inch
Infinity Reference 1260w 12-Inch

Infinity Reference Series subwoofers ReviewInfinity Reference subwoofers have a lot of fans in the car audio world. These entry level subwoofers seem to hit the sweet spot for a lot of guy probably because they are more of a middle-high price range. You can get one of these subs for about $50-$100. They come in 8″,10″ and 12 inches, and in single and dual voice coils.

Despite their low price tag, Infinity Reference component speakers seem to be very well-made. They feature high-efficiency polypropylene cones that are accurate and hard-hitting (Polypropylene made cones are very efficient. Polypropylene is a lightweight material that allows for high sound output with modest amplifier power) Infinity Reference subs also feature durable large-roll rubber surrounds which provide optimum cone-edge suspension and absorb distortions that may travel up the cone edge, ensuring clean, tight bass.

Infinity Reference Series subwoofers can be mounted in either sealed, vented or pre-fabricated band-pass enclosures. Infinite-baffle mounting is also a possible mounting option, however, power handling will be greatly compromised because the lack of an enclosed volume of air will prevent the subwoofer’s cone from exceeding its limit. That’s the reason why we don’t recommend infinite-baffle mounting for Reference Series subwoofers.

A subwoofer enclosure should be choosed depending on the type of music you listen to, how much amplifier power you will use for the subwoofer and how much space inside the vehicle you can devote to a subwoofer enclosure.

So, if you want your subwoofer to be able to handle more power, mount it in a sealed enclosure. Sealed enclosures provide more accurate sonic reproduction than other enclosure types. Otherwise, If you’re using a small amp, a vented box will provide more bass output from less power.

Kenwood KSC-SW11 Powered Sub Review

Kenwood KSC-SW11 ReviewKenwood KSC-SW11 is one of the best powered subwoofers out there. This tiny powerhouse will easily will fit under the seat in most vehicles or on the wall behind the passenger seat. If you’re looking for an affordable and easy way to add some bass to your factory stereo system without taking up a lot of space, then look no further because the KSC-SW11 is the perfect subwoofer for you.

The KSC-SW11 is designed with compactness and performance in mind. Despite its small size, the KSC-SW11 provides clean, tight bass. It will fill in enough bass to balance the music for the average Joe, but don’t expect booming bass out of this compact powered subwoofer.

In terms of drawbacks, It’s really difficult to think of any. If anything I’d say that this isn’t by anymeans a subwoofer to opt for if big bass is high on your list. However, don’t let the size of this sub fool you. Granted, you won’t get much booming bass as you would with a big subwoofer but the KSC-SW11 will really round your OEM sound and will provide some decent low end thump when rocking out in your car.

Rockford Fosgate Punch Series Subs Review

Rockford Fosgate Punch P3D4-10
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3D4-12
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3D4-15

Rockford Fosgate Punch P3D4-12 If you frequent any of the popular auto audio forums, you’ll notice that the name Rockford Fosgate comes up quite a bit. Rockford Fosgate is one the most authoritative brands in this industry. They were founded in 1973, and they’ve been making quality audio components ever since. Rockford Fosgate subs are some of the best car subwoofers you can buy.

Rockford Fosgate offers a vast selection of car subwoofers. They actually have 3 different series’ of subwoofers : Prime, Punch and Power. So, whether you’re looking for an entry-level or a robust booming bass subwoofer, Rockford Fosgate has got you covered.

In This review we’ll take a close look at one of Rockford’s most popular component subwoofers from the top performance level of the Punch series – the P3D4-12.

The P3D4-12 is one of the top rated car subwoofers that Rockford Fosgate has to offer. It’s the product of combining quality materials with Rockford’s exclusive and innovative acoustic technologies.

The P3D4-12 is a 12 inch dual voice coil woofer rated at 4 ohms. It features a rigid anodized aluminum cone that holds its shape through heavy play, while staying light and responsive. And to further enhance bass output, Rockford Fosgate uses a new technique to attach the oversized rubber surround to the cone, which results in a relatively bigger cone.

Types of Car Subwoofers

Car subwoofers come in four varieties : component subs, enclosed subs, powered subs and vehicle-specific subs. We’re not going to get into the debate about which subwoofer type is better; each type has its own pros and cons, and it really boils down to personal preference.

Look at the statements below, and determine which subwoofer type best matches your needs.

Component subwoofers

A component subwoofer is just the speaker itself — nothing less, nothing more — it will need to be housed in an enclosure (also known as a sub box) in order to operate properly. You can choose from a variety of enclosure types or have one made to your specifications. Additionally, you’ll need to power the subwoofer with an external amplifier. Component subwoofers range in size from 8 inches to 15 inches. They are an ideal solution to those who want to build a truly personalized stereo system.

Enclosed subwoofers

Enclosed subs are pre-mounted into a box designed to accommodate the sub. This type of subwoofers will save you the hassle of looking for the right enclosure for your subwoofer. However,  you’ll still need to choose an external amp to power the sub. The downside, however, is that you’ll be limited on the number of subwoofer types and enclosure-type choices you have. Enclosed subs are a great option for anyone who’s looking for an easy “off-the-shelf” sub/box combo.

Powered subwoofers

A powered subwoofer is your answer if you’re looking for a space-saving bass system. A powered sub combines an amplifier and a subwoofer in a compact enclosure. And since both the amp and the subwoofer are combined in one enclosure, there’s only one piece of equipment to find a place for and install.

While powered subs can be very effective bass producers, their smaller woofers and amps may not provide all the sound power you want, particularly if ground-pounding bass is high on your priority list. On the other hand, their relatively simple installation and compact size make them a great add-on to factory stereo systems.

Vehicle-specific subwoofers

If you’re on the lookout for a car subwoofer that will blend in with your vehicle’s interior, and can be easily mounted, no muss no fuss, then a vehicle specific subwoofer is your answer. A vehicle-specific subwoofer is a car subwoofer mounted inside a pre-fabricated enclosure made specifically for a particular make and model vehicle. They are often color-matched to the vehicle’s interior. However, like the powered subs we just talked about, the main con with vehicle specific subs is that they may not be the best choice for those of you seeking really big, loud bass, but they’ll more than suffice for most listening needs without taking up too much space.

How to Choose the Best Car Subwoofer?

You don’t have to take my word for granted regarding the top 10 best car subwoofers we reviewed above. You can find your best car subwoofer that suits your needs perfectly by using the criteria we used for making our own list.

Once you figure out what kind of subwoofer you’d like to buy, comparing specs can be helpful in making your decision. Here are some of the most common factors you should take into account.

  • Power Handling (RMS vs Peak) — power handling is one of the most important factors that you should take into consideration when you’re looking for a subwoofer for your car. If you want to feel the music as much as you hear it, then there’s no substitute for a subwoofer which can handle plenty of power, particularly on continuous basis. That said, pay close attention to the RMS power handling rating instead of Peak rating. RMS (Root Mean Square) is the most accurate measure of a subwoofer power handling capability. It measures how much power a speaker can handle on a continuous basis, while the peak rating only tells the amount of power a speaker can handle on very short period of time. Make sure you match the sub’s power handling to your amp’s power output.
  • Sensitivity Rating —  Sensitivity goes hand-in-hand with power to achieve high sound output. Long story short, the higher the sensitivity, the less power is required to produce the same amount of sound as a model with a lower sensitivity rating. In other words, a subwoofer with high sensitivity requires less power to deliver big, loud sound.
  • Frequency Range —  gives you a general idea of how low a subwoofer can play. Bear in mind that many things could also affect the performance of a particular subwoofer including the box it’s mounted in.
  • Woofer Size — Subwoofers come in varying sizes. They range in size from 8 inches to 15 inches. Theoretically larger subwoofers play quite louder than smaller subs. However, other variables such as sensitivity, enclosure type, and power handling capabilty will affect the performance greatly. So, if your main goal is to build a stereo system plays loud and produces ground shaking bass, and you’ve plenty of available space in your vehicle, opt for a large subwoofer. Having said that, don’t under-estimate smaller subs. A well-powered and well-positioned subwoofer can put out plenty of sound.
  • Enclosure type — The type of enclosure a sub is mounted in plays a major role in how a subwoofer sounds. As a general rule of thumb,  sealed subwoofer boxes produce the deepest, most accurate sound, while ported and bandpass enclosures produce louder sounds.
  • Build Materials — When you are dropping upwards of $200 bucks on a subwoofer, you want to make sure it’s reliable and will stand the test of time. Therefore, consider subwoofers built with high quality materials that can withstand extended play without falling apart. For example, we like seeing subs with rubber surrounds or at least foam surrounds. We highly recommend avoiding subs with cheap materials such as urethane. Cheap materials will affect not only the bass quality that the subwoofer puts out, but also its life span.
  • Impedance — It refers to the resistance offered by an electric circuit to the current flow — it’s measured in ohms. A subwoofer rated at 4-ohm impedance will produce less sound output than a 2-ohm subwoofer, given similar input wattage, because the resistance is higher. Most subwoofers on the market are rated at 4 ohms impedance, but 2-ohm, 8-ohm subs are getting popular. Your subwoofer and amplifier impedance must be matched for proper car audio system operation.