Car subwoofers can make or break a new car audio system. We remember the first time we drove away from getting our subwoofer installed, and we really haven’t been able to go back to being without at least one in our car. As we’ve completed our best car stereos, car amplifier and car speakers guides to help you with your quest for the perfect sound system, today we surveyed through the top rated subs for the money and picked the very best 10 to buy. However, which subwoofer is best for you is to be determined for a few reasons.
How to choose the best car subwoofer
- Money – There are some subs that are budget-friendly and priced at under $200 and less, while others can go a bit higher but provide some more quality and power. How much you have saved up will help determine which direction to go. Are you building your own car sound system? Plan accordingly.
- Woofer size – The most popular car subwoofer sizes are by far either 10″ or 12″ (you’ll hear car audio enthusiasts call them “tens” or “twelves” — such as: “Woah, you have two twelves in there? No wonder it bumps! I heard you down the street”). The difference between a 10″ and 12″ car subwoofer isn’t extremely noticeable; however, the bigger, the more power you’ll ultimately be getting. We used to have two 12″ subs in our car and boy was that a lot. To be honest, the bass basically overpowered the entire song (unless that’s what you’re into, go for it — we always have our moods when we all we want is that heart buzzing bass). We eventually moved it down to one 10″ and it still sounded great (and definitely bumped, mind you). Also be sure to check if the woofer actually fits your trunk — most will fit a 12″, but we know some cars that have smaller trunks where you’ll need a more compact sub.
- Watts of power? Well, we’ll be honest — the bigger isn’t always better. If you’re getting a subwoofer for your car, you’re already getting a lot of power and volume, so there definitely is threshold when it comes to “too much”. We’d recommend staying with 150 RMS (peak 300) per subwoofer. We included most subs with that average but others that go above it as well to give you some choices.
- Do you need it enclosed? When it comes to the best car subwoofers, some come without an enclosure (box to hold them in), while others are just the bare sub (we like this sealed or enclosed subs article here). The advantage of buying them bare is being able to make or buy your own enclosure to fit in (especially if you’re looking at adding two subs to your system, you can find an enclosure that fits two very nicely next to each other). We found some that are already enclosed for you while others that are the bare version to give you options.
The top 10 best car subwoofers
Rockford Fosgate P300-12
This is considered one of the best subwoofers for your car for a few reasons — it’s relatively affordable, brings you some awesome power, and is already enclosed to help for convenience and installation. Its 12″, has an internal 300 watt amplifier, a built-in 0 to 180 degree phase switch, some adjustable bass boost EQ, thermal and voltage protection and more. The vinyl coating adds the protection you need and there is just about everything from bass boost to phase switch – all that can take you to the optimum experience while listening to the music you love. The inputs are quite various and you can connect it to another system if you need to.
The bass intensity can be adjusted, so this subwoofer can play it loud or easy as you wish (we always messed with ours depending on what song or genre we were in the mood for). If you were in need of a simple, 12″ car subwoofer to add to your car right away, check out the Rockford Fosgate P300-12.
The Kicker brand name is one of the best car subwoofer names in the market, not only because of their quality gear but the decently affordable price tags they offer. This is one of their best 12 inch subs and it has a considerable amount of bass for your sound. If you are budget conscious, you can still boost the music sound in your car using this sub. It’s a 4-ohm sub, has one of the best builds out there with an injection-molded polypropylene cone and ribbed foam surround, 300 watts of peak power handling (50-150 watts RMS), and a great frequency response all the way down to 27 Hz.
Just keep in mind it comes solo without an enclosure, so you’ll have to buy that separately (especially if you want two — try to find a pair selling for a cheaper price). Apart from that, the sub work great, especially when you compare it to other brands with similar specs. The ratings don’t lie on the Kicker 10C124, either.
This subwoofer from Pioneer has an improved sound from the other models in their beloved TS series. The wood speaker and the significant sound quality produced are impressive. This is the best car subwoofer and it is worth giving a shot if you were in need of a smaller size at 8″. The highlighted specs also feature lower frequency response all the way down to 20 Hz, dual 2 Ohms impedance, 600 watts max (150 nominal), and a decent build with their MICA injection-molded resin to help with stability and overall accuracy portrayal of bass.
The cone structure is also MICA and what is great about this is the shallow build (about less than half mounting depth than other subs), so if you needed to save a little space, it may be the perfect solution. The sub delivers deep bass, which is easy to notice when you turn up the volume. We think the Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 is a great investment, especially if you grab two — you’ll be good to go for a long time and have more than enough power at your car’s fingertips.
Kenwood has that credibility of creating great sound systems and it does the same with this model as you can see by all the user reviews. This is a unique sub to take a look at, and before you scroll down since it doesn’t have the typically appearance the best car subs usually look like, check out the features. You have a high-quality aluminum enclosure (8 1/4″ by 5 1/8″), a built-in amp to offer 150 watts of max power, a convenient wired remote (you’ll use it, trust us), and a decent low-frequency down to 35 Hz.
The KSC-SW11 looks really small, but the sound quality is hugely dependable. It’s so compact, but the sound is surprisingly great. On the chassis, it is quite rigid and there are mounting brackets included in the purchase. Hence, it is pretty much a complete package especially if you want to grab a few to place under seats for some extra thump. The Kenwood KSC-S11 subwoofer is a favorite of many music lovers who want to save a lot of space and have the cash to invest in a top-of-the-line sub for their car.
Remember when we said that we would add some enclosed subs for your car to give you options? Here’s a solution that may be the right fit for you. I think the Kicker DCWR122 is an excellent subwoofer for any car if it can fit, especially if you’re looking for some extreme power (since it has two whopping 12″ subs inside of the box). The wattage and overall power starts to hike up there since you’re getting a 2-in-1: peak 2000 watts (1000 RMS), 2 Ohm impedance, frequency response of 25 to 500 Hz, their lovely Kicker build (ribbed Santoprene surround, polypropylene cone and brass spring-loaded push terminals), and of course some bracing in the box to help with installation.
It has full features and I did take time to read the reviews – most of them said it is good, especially for those seeking bass boost. Not to mention, the chassis is sturdy and it gives off intense sound. For an ultimate volume, this offers impressive quality with a simple design. The dynamic shape adds a focal point to this subwoofer and there is an additional bracket and support that lends an aesthetic feature. The Kicker DCWR122 is worth the money for sure — just make sure it fits in that trunk.
If you’re into aesthetics and wanted a budget-friendly, already-enclosed subwoofer for your car with two of them in there for power, check this one out. It pumps out a great music sound with a lighting system that is super attractive. It has 4 Ohm impedance, a frequency response down to 25 Hz, 1,100 watts of peak power (100-600 RMS), and woofers made of polypropylene like the other popular models within its class.
The switch allows the user to toggle control and there is a built-in circuit for safety protection. The chrome finish lends an elegant look to the sub (with some carpet finish to help with slipping). The baskets are made from steel plus quality foam that produces great sound – it is quite efficient. We have to say, we really like the blue neon. It’s recommended if the previous already-enclosed pair of subs was too much — the Dual BP1204 is a bit cheaper and offers some great power at the same time.
This is huge for a small budget. This is one of the best car subwoofers in the budget-friendly realm and it has great performance. This is a new model by Pioneer and the power seems to be improved from the previous generation. There is a cone woofer feature that offers accurate bass sound and when you carry the subwoofer, you will notice that it is lightweight. Even better, it offers great quality sound and high sensitivity that is definitely an awesome addition to any car.
The subwoofer is still impressive when the volume is at the maximum level, probably due to the high quality foam. It will entertain you during your daily routine for sure. With 1,100 watts of max power, a 6-layer copper voice coil, and composite IMPP cone makes the price scratch your head. However, it isn’t necessarily the quality of a popular Kicker model or their other higher priced subs, but the Pioneer TS-W254R will do the job if you weren’t looking for the most powerful and wanted something to merely complement your tunes.
This subwoofer for cars produces a clear sound at a pretty cheap price (the cheapest we were able to find that was worth looking at). If you weren’t feeling the previous Pioneer model and wanted to save even more money, here’s your pick. It offers a 10″ size and a black steel basket build (with a non-press paper cone and 4-layer dual voice coil). The wattage is surprisingly high at 500 watts RMS (1,000 max), while it also weights pretty lightly at 5 and a half lbs.
It is rugged and rigid with head turning features. Bounce with the bass as it offers powerful output in the clean-cut. The Pyle PLPW10D is great for not only those who may be in near some water, but who want to save some cash along with it.
As another one of the best car subwoofers, this Kicker 10C104 is attractive and comes highly recommended if you have the cash for a few of them. Its components come together to offer a great design, and it is sure to make your daily routine much more exciting. You have a 10″ size, 4 Ohm impedance, their solid ribbed foam surround and injection-molded cone, as well a 150 watts RMS (peak 300 watts) and a top-mount depth of 5″.
The price seems good, and for some it could be worth the investment. The round shape and seamless design is intriguing and elegant. If you have a pair, we think it is comparable to Kenwood or Dual’s. You will love the added bass sensation in the car. The Kicker 10C104 is one of the best subwoofers for cars that pumps up your low-ends without leaving a hole in your wallet.
Last but not least, we have another sub for your car that provides a great size for those needing to save space. As one of Pioneer’s best car subwoofers, it offers a high quality sound and has the fidelity and power to produce impressive and accurate bass. The versatile and seamless design can be installed on any corner of your vehicle without much effort. It’s a 10″ sub, gives us some tight sound, has a MICA injected-molded resin and carpeted, non-slip build, and 300 RMS watts of power. The impedance is 4 Ohms if you needed to know.
For someone who does not quite understand how to install subs, it provides a less complicated procedure than some others out there. The manual is pretty easy to read and you can potentially have a few of these in your car to make that bass really bump. Check out the Pioneer TSSWX2502 if you think it’ll be great for what you’re looking for.