Have you ever wondered why subwoofers are considered as essential components of a good sound system?
Speakers may stand alone and give good sounds but subwoofers are always a worthy deal because at the end of the day, it is all about the bass.
The low frequency sounds called bass make the entire stereo system clearer and more accurate.
Car subwoofers have this negative reputation of making the car sounds too loud and annoying like in the drag race scenes of the Fast and the Furious. But don’t worry, car subwoofers are not all like these; you just have to choose the best one and that is exactly why you are here, reading this article.
Best car subwoofers
- Rockford Fosgate P300-12
- Pioneer TS-SWX2502
- Pioneer TS-SW2002D2
- Rockville RW10CA – Best compact subwoofer for small cars
- MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – Best compact high voltage subwoofer for big cars
- Dual Electronics BP1204
- Kenwood KSC-SW11
Choosing the best car subwoofer will be easier if you have something to base your choice from. As such, here are some of the best car subwoofers you could consider to narrow down your choice.
We based this list in terms of the positive public consensus about the product through reputable reviews and of course, the level of thought and functionality given to the product that makes it a standout car subwoofer.
1. Rockford Fosgate P300-12
It is one of the most well-made 10-inches subs out there. First off, it is mounted in a sealed enclosure box which we all know is the default enclosure box for high power subs.
This sub is quite big at 15×11 so you will need a larger space to position this one in your car. The best thing about this sub is its neat connection plate.
It features a plug and play system with easy to locate, labelled cables. Other than this, it also has an audio-on automatic sensing which will turn on the subwoofer without switching it on. But if it startles you, you can switch this off and just do the manual switch.
It also comes with a Protect LED technology which will turn red if a power override is detected. Lastly, it has the remote punch feature which you can plug so that you can control the bass while you are in the driver’s seat.
- Accurate, loud bass.
- Easy to install.
- Compatible with a lot of stereo unit heads.
- Plug and play.
- Needs a larger bracket to attach the enclosure box.
- Velcro strips for attaching are not that secure.
- Unstable wire main port.
- Big size.
2. Pioneer TS-SWX2502
It is perfect for any type of car but mostly for pickups which do not have trunks for it to be placed. It is slim and can be placed at 6” deep.
It has an oversized enclosure box but it seals the deal for it because it stabilizes the cone to produce big and loud bass. It also has a neat plug plate featuring angled push terminals for all wire connections to remain straight and easier to install and plug.
- No rattling issues.
- Car battery friendly.
- Slim and delivers good bass.
- Cheaper than most.
- Volume issues in sustained use.
- Output wear after a few months.
3. Pioneer TS-SW2002D2
Well there are two good things about this 8-inch sub from Pioneer: it is compact in size but definitely high powered. It is really a good catch given its weight class as it has high sensitivity rating and 150 RMS (600W peak power).
This is because it is designed to be compact sub enclosed in an oversized cone made with resin injected mica like its cousin which we just previously discussed. You will also love its wide frequency range of 20-200Hz.
- Good lows and mids.
- Easy installation.
- Sufficient power handling capacity.
- Minimal noise distortion for a compact, small sub.
- No protective grills.
- Voice coil wear after a few months.
4. Rockville RW10CA
Unlike most compact subs, this one has a built-in amplifier that delivers its function well. It is outstanding in giving a clean, deep bass. It does not take up much space and could be installed anywhere in the car without hassle.
As small as it may seem, it is packed with commendable features. For one, it has thermal protection to avoid short circuit and power overload.
Aside from this, its sensitivity is adjustable; something that cannot be found in other rival subs and like the Fosgate, it also has a remote turn-on.
- Decent sound punch at a relatively cheaper price.
- Easy installation and built-in amp.
- Decent bass and efficient high power handling capability.
- Thin and lightweight.
- Thin speaker wires.
- Needs deeper bass.
5. MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D
If you are aiming for home theater like bass for your car, this is basically the choice for you. Notwithstanding its use of high voltage power, it comes with a lot of outstanding features.
For one, it comes with a pair of high powered subs which are attached within a sealed enclosure and a built-in amplifier. As a combo, they produce deeper bass and eliminate sound distortion even at high sound pitch.
The most outstanding feature of this sub is its spider plateau venting which puts the voice coil in a cooling process whereby air continually flows to avoid overheating. It is basically designed for big cars like SUVs, RVs and trucks.
- Built-in amplifier.
- Comes with two terminator subs.
- Outstanding black carpeting.
- Voice coil cooling.
- A-grade dust covers.
- Sensitive cones.
- Not car battery friendly.
- Lag issues in bass response.
6. Dual Electronics BP1204
If you want to add more dynamics to your car stereo system experience, give this sub a chance. For starters, it has a plexiglass enclosure window with radiating blue light that goes on through the music.
Aside from this, it is durable for its size with its brushed aluminum cones that deliver very loud bass. Its loud bass had some mixed reviews to be honest because it causes heavy vibrations while driving.
It does not only have a neat wire plate but comes with an acoustic chamber connected to the car’s computer box for you to fine tune the frequencies. It also comes with a remote control for no hassle function switching.
- Offers a sound and light show.
- Stylish and durable for its cheap price.
- Comes with a computer tuned acoustic chamber.
- Plexiglass enclosure.
- Brushed aluminum cones.
- Too loud bass that causes vibration.
- The lights can be distracting.
7. Kenwood KSC-SW11
This is yet again one of those compact subs that provide decent sound quality. It is power efficient and lightweight so it is basically easy to install. It has a built-in amp and overall is powered by 150W so it is car battery friendly.
Like the Fosgate and the Pioneer, it also features a remote bass control. As for thermal control, its aluminum enclosure box makes sure that the heat is regulated to avoid short circuits.
- Plug and play.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Aluminum enclosure box for durability.
- Insufficient volume issues.
- Insufficient bass issues.
- Built-in amp issues.
The winning product and why
For the winning product, we are choosing two: one for compact subs appropriate for smaller cars and one compact high voltage sub for bigger cars.
For compact sub fit for smaller cars, we are choosing the Rockville RW10CA and the MTX Audio Terminator Series for the compact high voltage sub for bigger cars.
The basis for these choices are very simple: you do not need complicated features to deliver the right bass.
Both of them also have the most dependable thermal regulators (based on reputable reviews), adjustable sensitivity ranges and remote bass control for easy use.
Other than that, in the list, they are the only two with efficient high power handling capability and with durable, dependable built-in amps.
Landing on the best car subwoofer is not an easy task. Like any investment, it should be calculated and well thought of. Without prior knowledge, you may end up with a choice mishap so here are the features that you must look for and weigh on before buying a car subwoofer.
First of all, there is no one type of car subwoofer and you must know which one to install depending on your preference or immediate need. There are four major types of car subwoofers: component, enclosed, powered and vehicle-specific.
The component type is ideal for car stereo customizing since it only comes with a speaker so it is up to you to choose the enclosure type and the amplifier. The enclosed type is already mounted inside a sound box but you will have to buy a separate amplifier for it.
The powered subwoofer already comes with an amplifier and a speaker but is ideal for small spaces only as it could not produce big bass sounds.
Lastly, the vehicle-specific subwoofers are created for spaces in the car where they are not typically placed like in the car door. This subwoofer can be installed discreetly as they don’t take up a lot of space but also cannot produce large bass.
The size of the car subwoofer has always been an issue. For this, you need to consider sensitivity, enclosure type and power.
If you want a subwoofer that will produce low and loud sounds with no problem in space, go for the big subs. But if space is an issue, go for the smaller ones. It is a common misconception that small subs do not deliver.
To be fair, given the proper power and appropriate enclosure, small subs may even have better performance than big subs.
#3. Power and sensitivity
We combined these two features in one concise discussion because they determine the effect of each other.
In terms of power, your attention must be focused on the RMS rating and not the peak power because it measures the actual power handling output .
Thus, in choosing a subwoofer in consideration with power, make sure that it would be able to handle the amplifier’s output power. As for sensitivity, you just have to remember that subwoofers with higher sensitivity ratings will need less RMS rating.
As simple as it may seem, enclosure types have a direct effect on the sound production of car subwoofers.
There are two basic analogies to follow though, when it comes to enclosure types. First, sealed enclosures will give you the deepest, loudest and most accurate bass. Second, ported enclosure types will give you more volume.
This affects the flow of the current that powers the subwoofer. It is often measured in between 2 to 8 ohms. It is very important that the subwoofer’s impedance matches the amplifier’s power. The standard impedance rating is 4 ohms but with the advent of dual voice coil subwoofers, the 2ohms-8ohms combination is now more commonplace.
You may think that the music genre you prefer does not have an effect on your subwoofer choice. There is only one consideration to acknowledge here. If you are into hip-hop, techno, funk and rock, you will be needing two subwoofers to get the right bass. For other genres, one subwoofer will do.
What is a subwoofer?
We have practically covered this in the introduction but for the sake of discussion, a subwoofer is used as an auxiliary component to make the car stereo system or any stereo system better by producing low frequency sounds or called the bass. With the bass, we are able to hear the slightest of sounds and musical effects in a song.
Do I need a subwoofer in my car?
Cars come with a built-in stereo system but to make the road experience more realistic and with depth, subwoofers are necessary.
Other than that, car speakers are relatively small and you cannot expect them to deliver the right bass that will allow you to experience the music in its entirety.
We all know how tiring it is to drive to and fro sometimes and that is why it is more than necessary to have music in the car and it will be better if you have a subwoofer to elevate the car music quality for you.
What subwoofer size do I need for my car?
It depends on your preference actually. If you are more of a drive-by, windows rolled down and chill type who needs the music to focus on the road, a 10 inches sub will do. But if you have a diverse music type and a loud audiophile, you will have to install a 12 inches sub to cater to your versatile music choice. And if you want people to look at you while you drive down the street because of the super loud car music, go for the 15 inches sub.
Do you need an amp for a subwoofer?
Yes, you need an amplifier for a subwoofer and it depends on the type of car stereo system that you are trying to set-up.
You just have to consider the sub to amp impedance match so that you can achieve the right amplification you need.
You just need to remember that single voice coil subs need an impedance ranging from 1-8 ohms while double voice coil subs need an impedance ranging from 2-8 ohms.
How to install a subwoofer in a car
If you are planning to install a car subwoofer on your own, you have to be prepared with a lot of stuff. The first step is to buy a whole set of wiring kit composed of power wire, ground wire, speaker wires, RCA wires and blue remote wires.
You will also need crimp ring terminals to connect the wires and a plastic crimp connector for the remote wire. The second step is to set-up the subwoofers in a space where it could get enough ventilation, especially that the sound waves will produce heat.
Since the amplifier must be near the subwoofer, you will have to put them both somewhere spacious. This is the reason why the sub and the amp are commonly placed in the car’s trunk. But of course, you can go small for both sub and amp so that you can place them below the driver’s seat.
Third, deactivate the car batteries to diffuse all active electrical wires for your safety.
Fourth, route the power to the car’s engine and then run the power cable to the subwoofer wires.
Fifth, crimp all wires and connect it to the car stereo by plugging them into the RCA and then finally connecting the blue remote wire.
After this, you will have to proceed to the last step which is to connect the sub to the amplifier. For more information and visuals about this, you can check this video from Crutchfield.
It is not enough that you know that you need subwoofers for your cars. Consequently, knowing that cars must have subwoofers for its built-in stereo system is also not enough for you to impulsively buy one.
There are a lot of things to consider and you must first be knowledgeable about these before you could make the right choice. Your car sounds leave an impression to those who will carpool with you.
It creates a road experience and it also shows your music preference, hence, your personality. It is okay to be picky when it comes to these things and we hope that you are now ready, given these best subwoofers that we presented to you as well as the features that you need to know before buying one.