In this article: We'll review our best shallow & slim subwoofer picks for your car or truck, or SUV with reviews, photos, features. We'll walk you through how to choose the subwoofer for your application and break them down by brand and series of subwoofers and of all sizes including 8″, 10″ and 12″ shallow subwoofers.
The best shallow mount subwoofers are designed to produce bass, while remaining compact. Like any other subwoofer, they cover the lower end range of frequencies that smaller car speakers struggle to reproduce (6.5″, 6″ x 9″, and etc). The difference between a traditional component car subwoofer and the subwoofers on this list really comes down to the mounting depth. Sometimes your subwoofer selection may be limited by the amount of space you have in your car or truck, which is why slim series subwoofers with a shallow depth were designed.
Bass can't always be added to your system through larger speakers like 6x9s. And even if you do have 6x9s, in almost every well-rounded car stereo you'll find at least one subwoofer. There really is no substitute. If you have a truck, sports car, or just a car with little room; you can still add bass to your stereo though. That's what these subwoofers are designed and engineered to do – fit in tight spaces. Apart from the depth of these subwoofers, they operate pretty much the same and produce the same bass as a normal subwoofer too. 10 years ago, we may have caveated this list with the fact that slim subwoofers don't typically perform to the standards of a high-performance stereo or a component sub. But a lot has changed in the past decade in shallow subwoofer technology that has brought their performance up to par while maintaining the incredibly thin profiles.
In addition to depth, subwoofers are broken down into different sizes (or diameters). The most common diameters of subwoofers on the market are 8″, 10″ and 12″. More recently, manufacturers have also introduced a 13″ diameter as well. Of all the measurements, the diameter of a subwoofer arguably has the most impact on the subwoofer's sound. It's pretty simple, the smaller the diameter, the less surface area the subwoofer has. The less surface area, the less efficient it is as producing lower frequencies. 12″ subwoofers are the most common subwoofer on the market for most automotive applications, followed by the 10″. If you're not sure which subwoofer size or type you need for your car or truck, consider reading through our article about choosing the right subwoofer.
Here Are Our Best Shallow & Slim Car Subwoofers of 2023
- Best Overall Shallow Subwoofer Pick: Rockford Fosgate Power T1S2 Series
- Best Slim Subwoofer for Trucks & Under Seats: JL Audio TW3 Series
- Best Low Cost Slim Subwoofer: Pioneer TS-A Shallow Series
- Runner Up, Best Low Cost Shallow Car Sub: MTX FPR Series
- Best for Rounded, Precision Bass: Focal Flax Evo P FSE Series
- Heavy Duty Shallow Subwoofer: Kicker CompRT Series
- Best Value Slim Car Subwoofer: Rockford Fosgate Punch P3 Series
- Best Slim Subwoofer Technology: JL Audio TW5v2 Series
Best Overall Shallow Subwoofer
Hertz Milli Pro Shallow Series
Hertz Milli Pro Shallow Series Subwoofer Review
In the late 2000s, we were installing Hertz products as a premier product choice for car stereos. Their Hi Energy series was among our top rated subwoofers for years. We were excited to finally see Hertz enter into the shallow subwoofer space with a competitive sub – the Milli Pro Shallow (MPS).
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.
- Superior build quality for enhanced durability
- Fantastic sound delivery
- Powerful sound output
- Eye-catching design
- Price is on the high end but worth it
Runner Up, Best Overall Shallow Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate Power T1S2 Series
Rockford Fosgate Power T1S2 Series Subwoofer Review
Meet the Rockford Fosgate Power T1S2. These shallow subs are far from cheap, but they are beautifully engineered and perform incredibly well. If you want to get high quality bass from a shallow enclosure you'll be hard-pressed to find a better series of slim subwoofer than these. The 10″ model needs a mounting depth of only 3″ yet handles 500 watts RMS!
Besides depth, heat can be an issue with subs. Especially those mounted in a sealed enclosure and tucked behind a seat. Rockford addressed this issue by using an aluminum diecast frame that incorporates integrated heat sink fins to help transfer heat more efficiently. For components, these subs are built around a single 2-ohm voice coil with dual Nomex progressive spiders. They're optimized for sealed enclosures so we wouldn't recommend a ported configuration. And the removable die cast aluminum trim ring adds a nice look if you want to show the off. From specs to tech, the T1S2 is hard to beat right now which is why they're at the top of our list.
- Superior build quality for enhanced durability
- Fantastic sound delivery
- Powerful sound output
- Eye-catching design
- Price is on the high end but worth it
Best Slim Subwoofer for Trucks & Under Seats
JL Audio TW3 Series
JL Audio TW3 Shallow Series Subwoofer Review
I mentioned how much shallow series subwoofers have progressed over the years. The TW3 series from JL Audio is their flagship model. They are a great example of how much R&D has been put into these types of subs and why I can honestly say that performance should no longer be a concern. This super-thin subwoofer is packed with innovative engineering and technology to give consumers the ultimate sound with minimal space. They use a combination of rugged polypropylene cones to reduce cone flex and a rubber surrounding that provides long-lasting and efficient cone movement.
But the elephant in the room with these subwoofers is JL's Concentric Tube Suspension™ technology that's baked into a cast aluminum basket. Reducing depth without limiting excursion is one of the biggest challenges with shallow subwoofers. JL tackled this issue head on by incorporating an innovative design that places the spider along the outside of an enlarged voice coil. The combination of the spider placement and size of the voice coil allow the motor structure to sit inside of the voice coil rather than around it. This design allows the sub to sit at only 3 1/4″ tall but has the excursion that's actually higher than a JL Audio 12W3v3 traditional subwoofer. Pretty incredible. You can check out our full unbox and review of the JL 12TW3-D4 if you're interested in reading more about them.
If you're looking for the best tech and design on the market right now, these subs have it. And being a JL product, you can trust the product will perform incredibly well an last.
- High-quality, performance driven technology
- Stylish and durable construction
- Space saver with deep sound
- Substantial power handling
- Available in 2 different size options
- When is JL Audio ever.. cheap?
Best Low Cost Slim Subwoofer
Pioneer TS-A Shallow Series
Pioneer TS-A Shallow Series Subwoofer Review
Pioneer's TS-A Series is the latest version of Pioneer's Shallow Series lineup of subs. They were originally released in 2019 and before then, we had their TS-SW series present on our list. The TS-A is an improved version of the TS-SW and they're packed with innovative, patent-pending features that help it deliver powerful bass while maintaining a slim enough profile to fit into a broad range of vehicles. Features like an oversized cone surface to increase the surface area of the woofer without increasing the overall size give the subwoofer deeper bass at higher volumes. A reinforced cone structure prevents any sort of failure under heavy load and gives the sub a stiff and responsive reproduction of your music. All stuffed nicely into a compact frame that sits at 3 3/8″ tall.
Even though the TS-A may not have undergone a complete overhaul like JL Audio's TW3, they're a definite contender and perform very well at a great value.
- Three different size options to choose from
- Quite affordable
- Deep bass and great sound delivery for the price
- Low power handling compared to other subwoofers on the list
Runner Up, Best Low Cost Shallow Car Sub
MTX FPR Series
MTX 35 Series Shallow Subwoofer Review
In our opinion, the simplistic, sleek design of the MTF FPR series looks great when installed. Designed to be pushed to the limit with your heaviest, bassy-est songs, the MTX 35 Series Shallow Subwoofers were engineered to perform well in the toughest and tightest environments. The 35 Series feature a rigid polypropylene cone, surrounded by nitrile-butyl rubber surround that offers long-lasting durability without cracking or delaminating. They have what MTX calls an Inverted Apex Surround, which is basically a folding rubber surround design that takes up less space between the frame of the subwoofer and the cone. This allows for an increased surface area and increased volume displacement (more bass!). You can read more about this feature on MTX's website.
Combined these features with MTX’s unique Spider Plateau Venting design that keeps the subwoofer cool while pumping intense jam sessions and you have a high quality, high performing shallow subwoofer that'll last. Note that this subwoofer does require a sealed enclosure and should not be placed in a ported configuration.
- Two different options to choose from
- Great audio quality
- Really shallow mounting depth (less than 3.5″)
- Well-rounded bass without distortions
- Neat Inverted Apex Surround design that allows for a larger cone and more displacement than some competitors
- Lower sensitivity than other subwoofers
- The subwoofer is designed for sealed enclosures only (no ported enclosures)
Best Slim Subwoofer for Rounded, Precision Bass
Focal Flax Evo Slim FSE Series
Focal Flax Evo Slim FSE Series Subwoofer Review
The Focal Flax Evo Slim is one of our favorite slim car subwoofers, so we were thrilled when the new shallow-mount version was introduced. These are some of the most beautiful subs on the market and they are ideal for sound systems that don’t want to sacrifice clean and clear precision bass for a compact design. They are available in 8-inch and 10-inch sizes.
The first thing that you notice about these subs is their signature flax woofer cone. Flax is a natural fiber that creates a warm and natural sound that is perfect for adding depth and feeling to a car stereo system. Flax is a naturally lightweight material, and when encased in layers of glass, it creates the optimal combination of rigidity and sound reproduction capabilities. We detail more about the Flax material and Focal Flax products in our Focal PS 165 6.5” Speaker review if you’re interested in learning more about it.
Focal uses a unique dual-layer motor structure and an integrated motor to produce solid bass frequencies without distortion. An oversized 1.5-inch voice coil rests on a glass fiber stand to enhance ventilation and provide low-temperature operation even with lots of power.
Focal’s FSE lineup reduces the depth of the Flax Evo 10-inch subwoofer from 5 9/16 inches to 3 9/16 inches, with only a small difference in power handling and only a 3mm difference in the x max on the 10in and 1mm on the 8in sub. Pretty impressive. These are the ideal subwoofer for compact sealed or ported boxes in small spaces like trucks or compact coupes.
- The flax woofer cone looks as good as it performs
- Highly detailed bass frequency production with warm, natural sound
- Very high-quality construction
- Sacrifices about 20 watts of power handling capabilities compared to the full-size subwoofer
- Somewhat higher cost compared to competitor products
- Focal doesn't offer a 12″ version
Heavy Duty Shallow Subwoofer
Kicker CompRT Series
Kicker CompRT Shallow Series Subwoofer Review
Kicker has been a well-know brand in the automotive stereo industry since 1973. Their CompRT shallow mount subwoofers have been on our list for a while now and they recently refreshed the design for 2021. The RT designation signifies shallow mount design, and they are available in sizes ranging from 6.75 up to 12″. The 10″ CompRT has a mounting depth of 3.4375″ (3 7/16″) which is competitive with the other options on our list. They are sold as “all-weather” too so could conceivably use this on a bike, Razr or Can-Am.
Among some of the features on these subs is Kicker's proprietary heat management system. More recently, they've improved the forced air cooling system that allows it to operate up to 25% cooler (according to Kicker). What's also worth pointing out is the stout, heavy duty components and design. When you look at one of these in person, you get a better sense but you can really tell that one of Kicker's primary focus was rigidity and durability with this sub. You'll also notice their signature red cone stitching on the outside which give it a great look if you want to showcase them somewhere.
- Good, consistent bass delivery
- Two size options to choose from
- Great subwoofer technology with modern features
- Quality construction and high-level performance output
- Can be placed in ported or sealed enclosures
- Less punchier bass than others on our list
Best Value Slim Car Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3 Series
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3 Shallow Series Subwoofer Review
Rockford Fosgate’s Punch entry level lineup of speakers, amps and subwoofers is among the most recognizable line of products in the industry. Over the past 15 (or more) years, they've made a name for themselves as being an incredible bang for your buck. Rockford's P3S Shallow Series Subwoofers were designed to match the performance of their component P3 woofers, just in a smaller package. A large undertaking considering these slim subs only have a depth of 3 9/16″. Rockford uses a thin anodized aluminum cone and dust cap that is light enough give the woofer an efficient response, but rigid enough to maintain its shape during high powered, heavy bass. Combine these features with their M-Roll Santoprene™ surround, and you get a long lasting high output subwoofer that sounds and feels like a standard component subwoofer. Even though these might be an entry level series of subs, we feel they definitely hold their own on our list, especially for the price.
- 3 different size options available
- Stylish design and compact construction
- Price is on the lower end
- Relatively low power handling
- Certain components are not as durable as others and can break down earlier
Best Slim Subwoofer Technology
JL Audio TW5v2 Series
JL Audio TW5v2 Slim Series Subwoofer Review
The TW5v2 slim subwoofer series is designed to give you the ultimate bass sound experience from the shallowest mounting depths. It's JL Audio's flagship shallow subwoofer right now. Don't let the position of this sub on our list confuse its capability, quality and output. This is among the best subs on the market by far.
If you read our TW3 overview earlier on our list, the TW5 features many, if not all of the same features as the TW3 including the Concentric Tube Suspension™ technology that allows the motor design to fit inside the voice coil to reduce depth while maintaining excursion. You can read up more about their technology on JL Audio's product page.
Comparing between the TW5v2 and TW3
The biggest differences between the TW3 and TW5v2 subwoofers falls into a few areas.
- Power handling: The TW5v2 can handle more power than the TW3
- Voice coils: The TW5v2 is a single voice coil available in 2 or 4-ohms while the TW3 is a dual voice coil subwoofer that comes in dual 4 or 8-ohms.
- Cone: The TW5v2 has a different cone design than the TW3. The TW5 is mica-filled while the TW3 is polypropylene. And it also features FCAM which is JL's patented method of adhering/connecting the cone to the spider. FCAM is arguably better than that used by the TW3.
- Size: The TW5v2 is ONLY available in a 13.5″ diameter while the TW3 comes in either 10″ or 12″ diameters.
- Price: The TW5v2 is almost twice the price as a 10TW3. Enough said.
The reason we placed the TW5v2 ‘lower' on our list here is because of two things: price and size. The price really is unattainable for the average stereo enthusiast. And the 13.5″ diameter is not a universal size that most stereo enthusiasts or installers use. You'll need to buy a JL enclosure or make a custom one. Otherwise, this is probably the ultimate shallow subwoofer.
- Require extremely shallow mounting depth (Less than 3 inches)
- Powerful, deep, and accurate bass delivery
- Great performance and clear sound
- Quality construction for better durability
- Can handle power up to 600 watts
- Good looking subwoofers
- Only offered in a 13.5″ size at the moment
- Price isn’t too friendly
Looking for a different type of subwoofer? Check out these list!
When choosing the best shallow subwoofer that will fit your needs, you have to ask yourself, “What kind of bass am I looking for?” Sometimes the best shallow subwoofer isn’t the biggest. Different sizes of shallow subwoofers respond and produce different sound to different music and 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 like heavy rock, double bass and fast paced electronic. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy soft and light bass. An 8″ subwoofer is one that compliments a system rather than overwhelms.
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 such as rap and club music. But if you’re looking for big bass, you may have to double up with the 10″ to achieve what you are looking for. Click Here To View Our 10″ Subwoofers.
12″ Subwoofers – If you listen to a big variety of music but enjoy heavy bass then a 12″ subwoofer is for you. The 12″ sub is the most common in the marketplace today, mainly because they are so universal to any music that is listened to, produce a heavy bass and cover a deeper range of frequencies. It won’t keep up with fast paced music such as heavy rock or metal as well as the 10″, it will sound great for all varieties of music, especially rap, electronic, club and pop.
15″ Subwoofers – If you are looking for ear bleeding bass then you are in the right category.
So to sum up, when choosing the best shallow subwoofer to fit your application you need to take into consideration the level of music you want to listen to, the type of music, as well as the 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.
All of the top rated shallow subwoofers require an amplifier. Check out all of the Best Reviewed Amplifiers, and more information on how to choose an amplifier to meet the specs of your Best Thin Subwoofer.
About this List
In this list of best shallow subwoofers, we compile our top picks based on our own experience, research and first hand tests of products. The products on this list, and all of our lists for that matter, are our own representation of best performing, high quality and long lasting products from reputable brands. Our goal is to provide you with trustworthy recommendations that you can have confidence in purchasing any one of the products we recommend. But it's also worth noting that not every speaker is ideal for every application so we try to point those scenarios out as well.
Slim car subwoofers offer a variety of benefits, including: Space-saving design: They take up less space in your car, allowing for more storage and making them ideal for tight quarters like under or behind seats. Improved sound quality: They provide deep, powerful bass without the bulk of a traditional sized subwoofer. Easy installation: Installation is typically easier with slim subwoofers since most designs are only 3-5″ deep. Improved aesthetics: Their sleek and low-profile design will give you car's interior a visual upgrade.
Installing a slim car subwoofer requires some technical knowledge and basic tools, but definitely feasible for the average DIYer. To install a shallow subwoofer, first choose the location you'd like to install it, such as the trunk or behind a seat. Then, choose or build your enclosure that will fit the space. A sealed or vented enclosure will affect the sound quality so be sure to choose the design based on your needs.
With your subwoofer installed in your enclosure, hook it up to a car amplifier to give it power using speaker wire and connect the amplifier to the car stereo via RCA cables, or to an in-line signal convert. Finally, power on the subwoofer and tune your amplifier based on the specs of the sub.
Choosing between one or two subwoofers depends on your personal preferences along with the other components that make up your car's system, such as speakers. A single slim subwoofer can provide enough bass for most cars, but adding additional subwoofers can result in even more powerful and dynamic sound. Multiple subwoofers can also be used to achieve a more balanced and evenly distributed bass response. We recommend you consider things like your budget, the size of your car, and the type of music you listen before deciding how many subwoofers to use.
The main difference between a slim car subwoofer and a regular car subwoofer is the size and the design. Shallow subwoofers are designed to be compact and low-profile in order to fit in cars with limited space or for those who prefer a sleek, less obtrusive look. As a result, the design of a slim sub can be entirely different from a traditional subwoofer design – from the frame, cone and surround to the spider and motor. Although modern slim subwoofers do much more than just compact the components of a subwoofer, there is still a slight performance difference between traditional and slim subwoofer designs.
Regular car subwoofers are larger and have a more traditional design, which can result in deeper and more powerful bass, but they may take up more space and in some cases might not fit at all.