In this article: We'll review and compare 9 of our best pick 8in, 10in, 12in and 15in subwoofers for your car, truck or SUV broken down by manufacturer series. We'll walk you through how to choose the subwoofer for your application and much more.

A subwoofer is a speaker that's designed to reproduce bass. Most car subwoofers will operate well at frequencies between 20 Hz and 200 Hz, with some models reaching higher into the mid-bass range (for example some 8” subwoofers).

Subs are typically installed in car stereos to round out the bass frequencies when other car speakers are dedicated to the remainder of the sound range. Many people will reserve the subwoofer purchase for last and will upgrade other speakers and the vehicle head unit first.

Other drivers are simply looking for loud, feel-it bass that rolls like thunder. When assembling a high-volume bass-heavy system, you’ll want to pay particular attention to buying high-quality subwoofers to eliminate rattle and distortion that completely ruin the effect of an oversized bass output system.

The typical reason you'll see someone add a subwoofer to a car or truck's stereo is to either:

  1. Round out the sound of their music. The majority of audio systems from the factory don't produce enough bass so adding a subwoofer will produce the low frequencies that a factory system doesn't. But it's not just factory systems that need a subwoofer to round out the sound, almost every high-output and well-rounded stereo has at least one subwoofer. Sound quality is the goal for this group and having just the right amount of bass is important.
  2. To feel the bass. This is for the people who want their windows to shake and to feel the bass in their chest. It's for people who love heavy bass music and want the people around them to hear what they're listening to. More is better for these folks, even if it's overkill.

Here Are Our Best Car Speakers of 2022

Best Overall Car Subwoofer Pick

JL Audio W7AE-3 Series

JL Audio W7AE-3 Series Subwoofers with front, side and angle views

JL Audio W7AE Series Subwoofer Review

The JL Audio W7-series of speakers debuted back in 2001 and has been regularly updated ever since. It has reigned atop our Best of lists for several years and you’ll likely notice the same thing from other reviewers that know their stuff. The newest version is the 10th Anniversary Edition which adds a slick, satin black finish to the frame and an anodized metal ring around the surround. You’ll also find unique commemorative logos on the cone and a tag on the inputs. The 10th Anniversary models are exact to the specifications of non-Anniversary subs though.

What makes this particular subwoofer our top pick is it’s ability to handle tons of power while producing clean, tight, accurate bass. This is possible due to a unique cone design that is built just like a car – providing rigidity that can handle the tremendous forces exerted on the assembly while remaining light and responsive. A special surround attachment allows the OverRoll surround to be removable too. The design positions the mounting screws out of sight for a cleaner, structurally superior, sound-enhancing mounting. The combination of exceptional attention to detail and the ability to get bass response above the size of the speaker makes these our top picks.

They are available in 8”, 10”, 12”, and 13.5” sizes and work with sealed or ported boxes.

The W7-series feature an expansive list of features that include:

  • Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA). A system that reduces sound distortion and provides an analysis of the sound dynamics.
  • W-Cone assembly. This is a two-skin-unit body design that can handle all kinds of wear and tear.
  • Elevated frame cooling design for enhanced ventilation.
  • Floating Cone Attach Method. This improves the surround stability.
  • OverRoll Surround system which improves air displacement and speaker efficiency.
  • Cross-Drilled Pole Piece for efficient cooling and superior linear performance.
  • Floating lead-wire design for reduced sound distortion and mechanical noise.

We have found this subwoofer to be perfect for adding bass to systems as well as getting hard-thumping impacts. Many people have found the 8” model to be the ideal compromise of power and bass output with size since it can be mounted in a compact enclosed box with great results. Check out our In-Depth Review of the JL Audio W7 10th Anniversary series for more information.

JL Audio 8W7AE-3
8W7AE-3

Subwoofer Size: 8″
Power Handling: 500 RMS DVC 3Ω

Price Comparison

JL Audio 10W7AE-3
10W7AE-3

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 750W RMS DVC 3Ω

Price Comparison

JL Audio 12W7AE-3
12W7AE-3

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 1000W RMS DVC 3Ω

Price Comparison

JL Audio 13W7AE-3
13W7AE-3

Subwoofer Size: 13″
Power Handling: 1500W RMS DVC 3Ω

Price Comparison

Best Shallow Car Subwoofer

The MPS Series subwoofer is our #1 Best Shallow Subwoofer!

Hertz Milli Pro Shallow Series

Hertz Mille Pro Shallow Series Subwoofer

Hertz Milli Pro Shallow Series Subwoofer Review

The Hertz Milli Pro Shallow (MPS) series of subwoofers combine the effortless beat of low frequency bass with a subwoofer that will fit in the smallest spaces. Hertz took the popular Mille Pro-series of subwoofers – already known for their compactness – and shrank them down even further. Then, they beefed up the features and technologies to ensure the slim subwoofer will produce deep bass frequencies and handle plenty of power. Owners of pickup trucks with rear bench seats will find that this sub is the ideal solution.

The combination of slim size and powerful performance earned the MPS an Expert Sound and Imaging Association “Best of 2022-23” award. The extremely compact design is courtesy of a smart suspension group design that contains the spider and coil. The design moves the magnet structure inward, reducing the depth of the speaker while providing 20% more linear excursion. The MPS subs don’t sacrifice power handling, either. The 10” sub has a continuous power rating of 500 watts, so it’ll benefit from a robust amplifier.

The Hertz-Audio Mille PRO Shallow subwoofer is available in 10” and 12” designs, with sub-models providing a choice of 2-ohm and 4-ohm resistance for each size.

Features of the Hertz-Audio Mille PRO Shallow include:

  • Ultra-shallow depth
  • Optimized for extremely compact sealed enclosure 12-14L (0.4-0.5CF)
  • Air Intercooling Revolution (A.I.R.) prevents air-compression-related limitations
  • Unrivalled mechanical excursion, +20% over traditional designs
  • Six-layer copper voice coil (38mm/1.5 in.) ensures high thermal capacity
  • Non-vented rear design allows reduced enclosure depth
  • Robust screw-less mesh grille included with black screws provided
  • Die-cast aluminum frame
  • Solid horizontal 8AWG spring-loaded terminals
  • 11. EID: Scan, Discover, Identify

 Trucks have never been more popular than they are these days, and we think the design of the Hertz Mille PRO Shallow makes them the top pick for adding big bass under your bench seat. They are also ideal in compact cars with shallow trunk space. Shallow speakers typically have significant drawbacks either to the power handling or the frequency response, so you’ll be startled to hear how accurate and punchy the bass is from this ultra-compact design. Check out our in-depth review of the Hertz Audio Milli PRO Shallow subwoofer to get all the details.

Hertz MPS 250 S2
MPS 250 S2

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 500W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Hertz MPS 250 S4
MPS 250 S4

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 500W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Hertz MPS 300 S2
MPS 300 S2

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 500W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Hertz MPS 300 S4 angle
MPS 300 S4

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 500W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Best Subwoofer for Sound Quality

Focal Flax Evo Series

Focal Flax Evo Series Subwoofers front, side, rear and angle view

Focal Flax Evo Series Subwoofer Review

The Focal Flax Evo series of speakers and subwoofers are among the most attractive designs we’ve ever seen. The speakers feature a unique flax fiber cone that gives the speakers a vintage European flair. But, if these were just great looking subs, they wouldn’t be on our list. The truth is that the engineers over at Focal spent a huge amount of time perfecting the audio quality to produce some of the cleanest, clearest sounding subwoofers on the market today.

The flax fiber core is sandwiched between layers of glass fiber to create an extremely light and rigid structure that responds naturally to the deep, low frequencies. Dual magnets provide additional excursion to capture the proper sounds properly and faithfully. The voice coil is mounted on a fiberglass pole to reduce overheating and improve auditory reproduction.

Focal sells the Flax Evo subwoofers in 8” and 10” designs. The new lineup also features the inclusion of shallow-mount chassis models in the same sizes.

The Focal Flax Evo series of speakers feature:

  • Flax fiber cone
  • Dual magnet design
  • Rubber surround
  • Coil on glass fiber stand

We love the way these speakers look almost as much as we love the sound. Bass notes are deep and have a natural warmth to them that no other speaker captures. Buyers who are looking for the purest bass will be thrilled with the Focal Flax Evo subwoofers. We’ve got an in-depth review of the Focal Flax Evo subwoofers if you want to know more.

Focal P 20 FE best 8" car subwoofer for best subwoofer list review article
P 20 FE

Subwoofer Size: 8
Power Handling: 250W RMS SVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Focal P 25 FE best 10" car subwoofer for best subwoofer list
P 25 FE

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 300W RMS SVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Focal P 30 F best 12 inch subwoofer for best subwoofer review list
P 30 F

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 400W RMS SVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Best Subwoofer for Clarity

JL Audio W6V3 Series

JL Audio W6v3 Series Subwoofers front, side and rear view

JL Audio W6V3 Series Subwoofer Review

JL Audio has spent decades building a reputation for top-quality subwoofer and speaker components. The JL Audio W6V3 series is available in 10” and 12” variations. Made with a durable, mineral-filled polypropylene cone, the W6v3 series delivers incredible strength without the added weight that can decrease a woofer’s response and accuracy. Combined with a rigid cast-alloy basket that all but eliminates flex and distortion, you find yourself with an incredibly crafted, reliable, and well-engineered series subwoofer.

What really sets these subwoofers apart is their ability to perform in tight enclosures. The 10” W6v3-D4 is engineered to pound in as little as .55 cubic feet of space in an enclosed box. That’s a 12.5” by 12.5” by 10.5” box. Almost anyone can squeeze that in. Their ability to produce bass with the quality and accuracy in such a limited amount of space is really impressive. And with capabilities up to 600 watts RMS, the W6V3 speakers are tough enough for almost any system.

The W6V3-series share many components with the flagship W7V3-series that are at the top of our list. Among the most key features, JL Audio applies Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA) to the W6V3 subwoofers. This allows for a finely tuned subwoofer that produces linear bass without distortion. Pole Vent Airflow Control and Raised Frame Cooling prevent overheating and allow for air to move correctly for increased durability. The W6V3-series also feature the same 4-ohm, dual voice coils and heavy-duty magnets as the flagship series. They're a top-notch sub, we personally run these in our own vehicles (and have even put them in boats) and absolutely love them.

The JL Audio W6v3 subwoofers include these features:

  • Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA). A system that reduces sound distortion and provides an analysis of the sound dynamics.
  • Mineral-filled polypropylene woofer cone provides excellent response.
  • Elevated frame cooling design for enhanced ventilation.
  • Satin black cast alloy basket

We really like the JL Audio W6v3 series for numerous projects where we want clean, clear bass and a speaker that can handle abuse. This is a great choice for buyers who have vehicles with limited space in the trunk for a massive sub box. If you want to know more about the W6v3 series, check out our in-depth review.

JL Audio 10W6v3-D4
10W6v3-D4

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 600W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

JL Audio 12W6v3-D4
12W6v3-D4

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 600W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Editor's Subwoofer Pick

Sony MobileES Series

Sony MobileES Subwoofers image banner for best car subwoofers

Sony Mobile ES Subwoofer Review

Originally unveiled in 2021, the Mobile ES lineup is Sony’s flagship automotive speaker lineup. Shortly after being released, we installed and tested their 10” subwoofer in a Volkswagen GTI and loved it’s performance. At the time they only had a 10” subwoofer available, but in May of 2022 Sony added 2 and 4 ohm 12” subs, making it a more well-rounded lineup of subwoofers and a great candidate for our list of best subwoofers. We love this lineup – from the looks to the innovative features that Sony incorporated.

The Mobile ES subs feature a lot of cool technology that you don’t see in other subwoofer lineups. Among them, Sony uses a proprietary Honecomb-stamped Aramid Fiber material for the woofer. It’s rigid and durable. And the woofer surround is a technology that Sony calls Separated Notch Edge surround (you can see what looks like a pattern of slits on the rubber surround). When combined with their progressive height rate spider, the Separated Notch Edge surround helps the woofer move further vertically (X-Max) which can help the cone push more volume with greater efficiency.

If you’re interested in reading more about the Mobile ES subwoofers, you can check out our full writeup of the Mobile ES subwoofers. You won’t be disappointed!

Sony XS-W104ES
XS-W104ES

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 500W RMS 4Ω

Price Comparison

Sony XS-W122ES Side Angle
XS-W122ES

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 500W RMS 2Ω

Price Comparison

Sony XS-W124ES Side Angle
XS-W124ES

Subwoofer Size: 12
Power Handling: 500W RMS 4Ω

Price Comparison

Best Value Car Subwoofer

Alpine 2nd Gen R Series

Alpine R Series Next Gen Subwoofers

Alpine 2nd Gen R Series Subwoofer Review

The Alpine R-Series of subwoofers continues to improve on the original design. Recently, Alpine updated the R-Series by adding to the already impressive features. Like the previous generation of R-series subs and speakers, the new model offers tremendous bass response for thumping sound systems at a reasonable price. There are a number of options available that include four ohm and 2-ohm dual voice coil designs for multiple-sub setups. To get the most from these subwoofers, you should include a substantial amplifier.

The unique HAMR surround helps these subwoofers generate huge bass by improving the excursion of the woofer cone. The cone is made from a Kevlar-reinforced pulp fiber material that is durable and lightweight to generate the deepest frequencies. The frame is specially designed to provide structural support and prevent resonance. A massive dust cap made from a poly-ceramic material further improves the depth of the low frequency response.

The Next Generation Alpine R-Series feature:

  • More powerful motors
  • Larger double-stacked magnets
  • An improved HAMR surround that allows for 20 degrees of excursion
  • A new Faraday ring to reduce distortion
  • Kevlar-coated woofer cone
  • Polypropylene and ceramic dust cap

Power handling is rated at 750 watts with a peak of over 2,000. Frequency response is exclusively in the low range measuring from 20 Hz to 200 Hz. Subwoofers are available in 8”, 10”, and 12” sizes. The 10” and 12” subs are available in a preloaded box. Our in-depth review will give you even more information about the Alpine R-series Next Generation subwoofers.

Alpine R2-W8D2 front
R2-W8D2

Subwoofer Size: 8″
Power Handling: 350W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Alpine R2-W8D4 front
R2-W8D4

Subwoofer Size: 8″
Power Handling: 350W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Alpine R2-W10D2 front
R2-W10D2

Subwoofer Size: 10
Power Handling: 750W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Alpine R2-W10D4 front
R2-W10D4

Subwoofer Size: 10
Power Handling: 750W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Alpine R2-W12D2 front
R2-W12D2

Subwoofer Size: 12
Power Handling: 750W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Alpine R2-W12D4 front
R2-W12D4

Subwoofer Size: 12
Power Handling: 750W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Best Subwoofer for Harsh Environments

Polk Audio MM Series

Polk Audio MM Series Subwoofers front, angle and rear view

Polk Audio MM Series Subwoofer Review

The Polk Audio Mobile Monitor series of subwoofers are practically indestructible. They are also some of the lightest subwoofers on this list, an advantage for adding big bass to your boat, ATV, or Jeep. Polk Audio uses a variety of techniques to ensure these subwoofers can handle dirt, dust, spray, and still produce big bass. The subs feature an ABS basket to prevent rust and reduce weight and a special titanium-coated woofer cone that ensures tight, accurate bass while preventing UV damage and water spray that will defeat lesser subs.

Polk didn’t forget about sound when they built these marine-certified subwoofers though. The subs were engineered to produce recording studio-quality bass with superior accuracy and impact. A high excursion bump stack motor design with a ventilated pole piece and oversized voice coils ensures excellent sound quality. Waterproof Santoprene surrounds ensure the speakers will survive in the harshest conditions while sounding fantastic.

Polk Audio MM1 subwoofers are available in 8”, 10”, and 12” sizes with options for single or dual voice coils. The MM1 subwoofers are Ultra Marine Certified and carry an IP56 rating.

The Polk Audio MM1 subwoofers feature:

  • Ultra-Marine Certification and IP56 rating for dust, water, and UV protection.
  • Titanium-plated composite woofer cone construction provides low weight and protection from the elements.
  • Dynamic Balance technology
  • Fiberglass-reinforced ABS basket is rust-proof and strong enough to handle lots of power.
  • High-excursion bump stack motor structure
  • Glass fiber formers
  • High-temp Conex spider
  • Vented pole and basket design
  • Santoprene surrounds

We think this is an ideal subwoofer for boats and it is also an excellent choice for speaker setups in the bed of pickup trucks or on Gators and other UTVs. Not only is it one of the toughest subwoofers you’ll find, but it also has a particular thump to it that is uniquely Polk Audio. This is a subwoofer you can feel on the water, on the trail, or in your car. We have an in-depth review that fully explores every feature of the Polk Audio MM1 subwoofers.

Polk Audio MM842DVC
MM842DVC

Subwoofer Size: 8″
Power Handling: 300W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Polk Audio MM1042DVC
MM1042DVC

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 400W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Polk Audio MM1242DVC
MM1242DVC

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 420W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Go All Out

Rockford Fosgate Power T1 Series

Rockford Fosgate Power T1 Series Subwoofers front, angle, side, rear views

Rockford Fosgate Power T1 Series Series Subwoofer Review

The T1 subwoofers take advantage of Rockford Fosgate’s VAST technology that enables each speaker to perform as though it is 25% larger. In the intro of this article, I mentioned there's people who want to feel the bass, not just hear it. To those people, I say look no further.

Rockford Fosgate set out to build a truly tough speaker with the T1-series. A Kevlar-reinforced paper cone, symmetrical dual progressive roll tear resistant poly-cotton spiders, and a rigid die-cast aluminum frame give the T1 unbelievable strength. You’ll hear these subwoofers from blocks away because of the dedication Rockford Fosgate put to producing the hardest hitting subwoofer possible.

The Rockford Fosgate Power T1-series subwoofers are available in 8”, 10”, 12”, and 15” subwoofers. There are also slimline subwoofers in the Power T1 family ideal for compact sealed boxes in smaller spaces.

Some of the interesting features of the Rockford Fosgate Power T1 subwoofers are:

  • Symmetrical dual progressive roll tear resistant poly-cotton spiders
  • High-temp voice coil with spun-laced Nomex® re-enforcement collar
  • Anodized aluminum heat sinking dust cap
  • Kevlar fiber reinforced paper cone
  • Rigid die-cast aluminum basket
  • Optimized pole piece and spider venting
  • Anodized aluminum voice coil former / copper clad aluminum wire

Rockford Fosgate's Power T1 subwoofers are epically loud and produce a tight response that adds to the impact of each beat. When you are simply set on going all out, the Power T1 will get the job done for you with ease. We put together an in-depth review of the Power T1 subwoofers to give you even more detail about these legendary subwoofers.

Rockford Fosgate T1D210 front angle view for best car subwoofers page
T1D210

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 600W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Rockford Fosgate T1D410 10in car subwoofer front angle
T1D410

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 600W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Rockford Fosgate T1D212 12in dvc subwoofer
T1D212

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 800W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Rockford Fosgate T1D412 12inch subwoofer
T1D412

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 800W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Rockford Fosgate T1D215 best 15in car subwoofer
T1D215

Subwoofer Size: 15″
Power Handling: 1000W RMS DVC 2Ω

Price Comparison

Rockford Fosgate T1D415 15in subwoofer
T1D415

Subwoofer Size: 15″
Power Handling: 1000W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Best Low Cost Subwoofer

MTX 55 Series

MTX Audio 55 Series Subwoofers front, angle, side and rear views

MTX 55 Series Series Subwoofer Review

Earth pounding bass doesn’t have to cost a fortune and your system can still sound good when you use the MTX 55 series subwoofers. MTX combined some of the most effective technologies from their higher-priced subwoofers to create the 55 series. MTX says these speakers are commonly used in applications where maximum bass is desired and we agree with that sentiment. The 55’s use an oversized woofer surround with a unique shape that allows the sub to hit harder and louder than comparably sized subs.

The inverted apex surround is narrower which allows for the larger cone. The subs take advantage of a progressive spider to control the movement of the speaker while the cone itself is engineered to force air to the voice coils and motor structure to reduce heat. A ribbed T-Yoke provides excellent structural strength to the basket while also functioning as a heat sink to help maintain proper operating temperatures.

The MTX 55 subwoofers are available in 10”, 12”, and 15” sizes with options for two ohm or 4-ohm dual voice coil models to match with your favorite amplifier.

The MTX 55 feature:

  • Inverted apex surround
  • Progressive suspension
  • Radial ribbed T-Yoke
  • Spider plateau venting

These subwoofers are better than the price tag suggests. While they aren’t as clean and tight sounding as some of the higher priced options out there, they are plenty loud and will get your ride rocking. Look at our in-depth review for more information.

MTX 5510-44
5510-44

Subwoofer Size: 10″
Power Handling: 400 RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

MTX 5512-44
5512-44

Subwoofer Size: 12″
Power Handling: 400W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

MTX 5515-44
5515-44

Subwoofer Size: 15″
Power Handling: 400W RMS DVC 4Ω

Price Comparison

Looking for a different type of subwoofer? Check out these list!

About Our Lists

We consider a number of factors when assembling our top lists. Extensive research and first hand testing is what ultimately drives our top picks but they're our recommendation of subwoofers that are from reputable brands, produce high-quality bass, are built with quality components and will last. We maintain our lists frequently, and work hard to keep them up-to-date with the latest products on the market.

It is important to note that a top-of-the-line subwoofer may not perform at it's potential without other matching components such as a car amplifier, car speakers, high quality head unit or a proper subwoofer enclosure. If you are building your stereo system piece-by-piece, it is often a good idea to save the subwoofer for last. When you are sure the rest of your components are what you want, then select a subwoofer to complement the system. Be sure that the power handling of the subwoofer will align well with the power output of your chosen amplifier too. Failure to do so could result in a failure of the amplifier or subwoofer. We've compiled a list of best monoblock subwoofer amplifiers to help you narrow your choice for a power source too!

And if you'd rather buy an all-in-one powered subwoofer that has an amplifier and subwoofer enclosure in one package, take a look at all of CarAudioNow's Best Powered Subwoofers.

What Size Do I Need?

Most people will find this article typing things like “what's the best 12 inch subwoofer”, or “best 10″ subwoofer”. Subwoofers come in a variety of sizes though. Different sized subwoofers have different sized woofers, which will typically determine things like frequency range, and how well it will reproduce the different ranges of bass. The most common automotive subwoofer sizes are 8″, 10″ and 12″ however, more recently, manufacturers like JL Audio have introduced 13″ subwoofers. 15″ subwoofers are also available but much less common and we'd really only recommend them for performance applications. The bigger the subwoofer is, the more efficient it is as producing lower frequencies and vice versa. We've written an article to help you choose the right subwoofer size if you'd like to read more up on it.

Subwoofer diameter isn't the only important aspect of size though. Some vehicles require a subwoofer to fit in a tight, shallow space. In these cases, we've got you covered with a list of our best pick shallow mount subwoofers.

Choosing the Right Subwoofer

Just like when choosing a home subwoofer, when choosing the car subwoofer to fit your needs, you have to ask yourself, “What kind of bass am I looking for?” The best subwoofer isn’t always the biggest. Different sizes of subwoofers respond and produce different sound to different music. Finding the right match for your music preferences is key. Let’s talk about the different sizes of subwoofers and what kind of sound they emit.

  • 8″ Subwoofers – The smaller the woofer the faster, more responsive and punchier it is. An 8″ woofer can keep up with faster paced music. Heavy rock, double bass and fast paced electronic are great candidates for an 8″ sub. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy soft and light bass. An 8 inch subwoofer is one that compliments a system rather than overwhelming it. If you like very heavy and loud bass, this might not be the ideal choice for you.
  • 10″ Subwoofers – 10’s are very common. They are the most well-rounded and safest choice for a subwoofer on the market. The 10″ can keep up with fast paced music while creating a respectable amount of bass. They are good for fast paced music, and also good with heavier bass music. Rap, rock, club music, you name it. The 10″ subwoofer will cover it all. But if you’re looking for big bass, you may have to double up with the 10″ to get the volume you want.
  • 12″ Subwoofers – If you listen to a wide variety of music but enjoy heavy bass, a 12″ subwoofer is for you. The 12″ sub is the most common in the marketplace today. This is because they are so universal. They're great for pretty much all types of music, produce a heavy bass and cover a deeper range of frequencies. They won’t keep up with fast paced music such as heavy rock or metal as well as the 10″. But, it will sound great for all varieties of music, especially rap, electronic, club and pop.
  • 15″ Subwoofers – 15″ subwoofers aren't a common size sub. They're not a great solution to the everyday music listener either. But, if you are looking for ear bleeding bass then you are in the right category.

To sum up, when choosing a sub for your car or vehicle, you need consider a number of things. To start, the level of music you want to listen to, type of music, and confinements of the location. 8″ subwoofers are great for leveling out a sound system while a 15″ will wake the neighbors. Your safest bet is the 10″ or 12″ subwoofer.

Remember, all of the top-rated subwoofers require an awesome amplifier. Check out all of the Best Car Amplifiers, and the Best Subwoofer Amplifiers for information on choosing an amplifier that'll meet the specs of your subwoofer.

What to Look For

Car subwoofers are essentially oversized speakers. They require much more space, power, material – pretty much more of everything. When adding a car subwoofer to your car stereo, you will need to make sure to pay close attention to specific things when researching to make sure you have both the right subwoofer, and the right components to power and house your subwoofer. Below is a list of criteria we recommend considering when you’re choosing a subwoofer for your car:

Speaker Design and Materials

The best subwoofers will add a whole new level of audio to your car. They help round out your system, supporting your speakers where needed – in the low frequencies. Here’s a couple of things to note about your speaker’s design and materials when comparing:

Woofer: The subwoofer’s woofer can easily determine the responsiveness, and overall quality of the speaker. The stiffer and more lightweight the material used, the more effective the subwoofer is. Polypropylene is a very common material used for the cone, as well as woven fabrics such as carbon and kevlar. Aluminum and titanium are also used in higher end subwoofer woofers.

Woofer Surrounding: The woofer surround also is an important aspect of the speaker system and effect the sound as well. Durable, lightweight, and free moving materials are used to allow the woofer to move with as little energy possible. The material is essential for a long lasting and performing speaker too. As speakers get older and used, humidity levels and wear-and-tear can crack and even break the surrounding of the woofer. Forms of Rubber surrounding are typically the most long lasting an high performing material. Foam and cloth surroundings are found on less expensive component speakers, with lower performance and shorter life spans.

Power Handling

There are multiple power handling ratings for subwoofers and speakers, the two most important to note are RMS (Continuous) Power Handling, and sensitivity. RMS Power Handling tells you what your speaker can handle continuously. Note that many providers used to sell customers on the ‘Peak’ handling since this is a much higher number than the RMS. But Peak is only the measure of what the speaker can handle in short bursts. RMS is the more important

Sensitivity is another highly important measure to look at when comparing and finding the right subwoofer. It’s the measurement of the amount of sound that a speaker will emit with the power it’s given. Essentially this is you measure of efficiency. The higher the sensitivity, the more efficient the subwoofer is.

Enclosure Specs

Many of the criteria we’ve been discussing is pretty standard across all car speakers. But here’s a measure that’s pretty unique to subwoofers – Enclosure Specs. Car speakers don’t really need to consider this because you’re typically mounting a speaker in a door, or on a bracket the car. But a subwoofer needs to have an enclosure dedicated to it. There are pre-made enclosures everywhere, or you can even build your own enclosure to customize it to the contours of your vehicle, but in any case you’ll need to match the specs of your enclosure as best as you can to the specs of the recommended manufacturer enclosure specs.

There are two type of enclosures, and typically the manufacturer will provide recommended specs for both: Sealed Enclosures and Ported Enclosures. A sealed enclosure is a box that is fully concealed. These boxes are great for precise and clean bass with little distortion. Sealed enclosures are the standard when it comes to well-defined bass. Ported enclosures have a hole in the box to port sound. These enclosures are excellent for outdoor settings and provide louder, but sometimes less defined bass.