If it’s hard to hear bass notes clearly in your car you need a quality subwoofer. The problem is that tires and engine together generate a lot of low frequency rumble. No matter how good your component speakers are, they’ll struggle to overcome this noise. It’s just physics.
A subwoofer is a larger single speaker that delivers better bass to your ears. It also frees-up the component speakers to handle just the mid-range frequencies. As with component speakers, there are many different subwoofers to choose from, and their features, and prices vary widely. That can make it very hard to pick the best subwoofer for your car.
We’ve put together our subwoofer buying guides to solve this problem. On these pages we explain the role of speaker size in music reproduction. (Bigger isn’t necessarily better.) We’ll also address the difference between powered and passive subwoofers, and we’ll point out things to consider you may not have thought of.
A powered subwoofer has an amplifier built-in. That means the speaker sits in a larger enclosure, which may have implications for where to mount it. Our guide to the best powered car subwoofers details their size, along with other useful points like quick disconnects and the availability of Bluetooth or a remote control.
A passive subwoofer needs a separate amplifier. By eliminating the enclosure, this makes the unit more compact, and so creates more options for installation. Our Best Car Subwoofers guide lists the most highly-regarded speakers and takes you through the tricky business of deciding which size will suit you best.
When space is at a premium – perhaps you’re going for an under-seat installation – a shallow mount subwoofer might be the answer. As the name suggests, these need less depth than regular subwoofers and might be easier to install. Read our guide to the best shallow mount subwoofers to find out more about this option.
A subwoofer will give your music more rumble and impact, but there’s a lot more to consider before parting with your money. Our guides will give you what you need to make the right decision.