Are you a fan of good music and rich bass sounds, especially when driving? Then a car subwoofer is just the thing for you. Car subwoofers are special speaker cabinets that are designed to reproduce low-frequency sound waves called bass. In this article we have listed the best subwoofers for cars.
Subwoofers for the cars are usually like usual speaker boxes driven by a separate and external amplifier. Through this interaction, the enjoyment of music is extremely increased. The normal car speakers are usually not suitable for producing really deep bass. Their diaphragm area is too small, and the installation locations are too unfavorable.
A subwoofer for the car can easily remedy this deficiency, especially if it is a good device. Another positive side effect is also that the mid and high pitches improve. The bass reproduction is spared from the normal speakers by the subwoofer, and they can thus better perform what they are made for.
Best subwoofers for cars – Top 3 in 2022
A good subwoofer is undoubtedly a part of good music performance in the car. However, the range is very large and confusing, so it can be quite an effort to find a suitable model worth buying. You can see these top 5 lists of the best subwoofers for cars. Thus, you can find a recommendable model, regardless of whether a small subwoofer for the car or a large and powerful version is for you.
MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D
With plenty of room and a desire for real thunder without bumping into your bank account, the MTX Terminator Dual 12-inch subwoofer enclosure is just the ticket. The two subwoofers in this system can each process 200 watts RMS, for a total of 400 watts (RMS) and 800 watts (peak).
It comes with a Terminator mono block amplifier tuned specifically for subs. The subwoofers are mounted in a sealed 5/8-inch thick MDF enclosure, ensuring good bass reproduction. However, you will need plenty of room in the trunk or rear cargo space for this beast (14 inches x 29.625 inches x 13.5 inches).
The Terminator mono block amplifier is highly configurable and supports high and line-level inputs, high and low pass crossover filtering, and remote bass control (not included).
Indeed, there are more powerful subwoofer systems, but performance is not everything. Perfect for sealed enclosures, dual 12-inch subwoofers, and amplifiers, this rig will produce bass you won’t find anywhere else at this price.
Rockville RWS12CA Slim 1200 Watt 12-Inch
The Rockville RWS12CA combines a sleek subwoofer enclosure with a built-in monoblock amplifier and a 12-inch flat-mount subwoofer. This system measures 24 inches (length) x 15 inches (height) x 4.37 inches (top depth) x 6.65 inches (bottom depth). It pushes 300 watts (RMS) and 1,200 watts (peak).
The RWS12CA delivers powerful, cabin-filling bass in an easy-to-install form factor, at a price you won’t believe. The enclosure fits under most rear cab seats in a full-size truck. You can also easily stow it in the trunk of a car or the back of an SUV.
The RWS12CA works well with an aftermarket head unit that provides a line-level sound source and remote turn-on signal. It can also play high-end speaker lines to add to a factory system.
With an Auto Start Music Sense, the amplifier detects when the high-level speaker source is providing a signal and turns the amplifier on. Also included are a configurable low-pass crossover, +12 dB bass boost, and remote bass control.
If you already have sub-wiring, you can reduce the combined price by $10. Otherwise, the Rockville RWS12CA+ cable kit is a better value.
Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12 Punch P3
If you prefer a small subwoofer for the car that will drive passively and you can easily install in the tailgate, then this model from Rockford will be worthwhile for you. The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 is a very affordable car subwoofer with a max power handling of up to 1200 watts.
It measures 285 millimeters in diameter has a mounting depth of 169.3 millimeters. And has an anodized aluminum cone, 2-Ohm dual voice coil, dust caps, unique spider venting design that delivers a perfect sound image. The finishing is also impressive, for example, the Dual 10 AWG compression connectors, which ensures an excellent and low-resistance connection.
Overall, the passive subwoofer measures 14.5 x 14.5 x 10 inches with a weight of around 20 pounds. The scope of delivery includes all mounting materials as well as detailed installation instructions so that even a layman can install it without any problems.
The bottom line is that the price-performance ratio is perfect, and the finishing is also impressive. If you are looking for an inexpensive but powerful passive model, you can take the Fosgate P3D2-12 Punch P3 from Rockford without hesitation.
MTX RT8PT Active Subwoofer
Bass tube-style subwoofer cabinets are excellent choices for smaller cars that need a little extra bass, easy-to-store form factor. It can store a bass tube well in the trunk or rear storage space. They are usually equipped with an 8-inch or 6-inch subwoofer.
Placement is important: they sound best when pointed at a corner of the vehicle so that they can fully exploit the reflection of the audio waves. High-performance subwoofer in a vented tube enclosure. The RT8PT produces much more bass than expected due to its small size.
It supports both high and line-level inputs and offers a low pass filter so you can mix the bass output with your existing speakers. The MTX RT8PT package also features a flat-bottomed, angled subwoofer for stability and maximization.
The Rockville RW10CA subwoofer
The Rockville RW10CA will blow you away with the bass it produced from its 12.4 inches (L) x 13.4 inches (W) x 2.7 inches (H) enclosure! This unit fits behind most standard cab truck seats or aft or even under many vehicle seats.
Of course, you can fit this subwoofer in almost any position in rear storage with the included brackets.
However, the best thing about the RW10CA is that Rockville was able to cram the 10-inch subwoofer and amplifier into this small box and still produce so much bass. It offers 200 watts RMS and 800 watts of peak power.
So, you won’t be disappointed with the sound of this little box. It features an 18 decibel bass boost, a low pass filter, and remote control for bass. The RW10CA supports both high and line-level inputs and turns on automatically.
If you like the RW10CA but have a very small vehicle with limited mounting options, check out Rockville’s 8-inch, 600-watt RW8CA for low-profile units. The 12.4 “(x) x 11” (w) x 2.7 “(h) cabinet is 2.4 inches narrower than the RW10CA and therefore fits under even smaller car seats.
What is a subwoofer?
A subwoofer is basically just a big speaker. It is responsible for the low frequencies from 120 Hz. A subwoofer should always be used in combination with other speakers. It cannot be used as a stand-alone speaker.
How is a subwoofer constructed?
The subwoofer often consists of a cabinet and one or more drivers.
What are the sizes of car subwoofers?
Subwoofers are usually available from a chassis diameter of 20cm. However, they are also sold with a chassis of up to 46cm. The most common size is 30cm. The diameter affects the diaphragm area, and this, in turn, is responsible for the volume. For example, four 20cm drivers achieve the same volume as one 38cm driver.
Difference between Active and Passive subwoofers.
Basically, active speakers are more suitable for those who are already familiar with Hi-Fi or who are willing to put some work into configuring their system.
The active subwoofer has an amplifier (power amplifier) integrated. This is solely responsible for the subwoofer. However, for the subwoofer to communicate with the rest of the sound system, another 4-channel amplifier is required.
- More adjustment options for the sound
- Often more space-saving than a passive subwoofer
- More power for the individual speakers in the HiFi system
- More complex installation
- More complicated sound adjustment
- High-priced amplifier with extended adjustment possibilities required
Passive speakers are generally more suitable for beginners who do not want to spend a lot of time configuring your system.
The passive subwoofer does not have an integrated amplifier. It works like a conventional speaker and has only one diaphragm. The power comes from the amplifier. It is important to know that a passive speaker does not need an amplifier at all. It can be connected directly to the car radio in most cases. All that needs to be done is connect a crossover, which is always included, between the speaker and the radio. If you want a little more power, in contrast to the active subwoofer, a 2-channel amplifier is often sufficient.
- Easier mounting
- Easy sound adjustment
- No amplifier is necessary; if the amplifier is required, a cheap model is sufficient.
- Fewer sound adjustment options
- Less power for the single speaker in the Hi-Fi system
- Often larger than an active subwoofer
What to look for when buying the best subwoofers for cars?
Car subwoofers come in a wide range of qualities, prices and designs. However, it would be wrong to put the design in the foreground when buying a car subwoofer. In addition, subwoofers are very often installed invisibly in the car, so their appearance does not really matter.
The most important thing is the sound of the subwoofer. After all, it is primarily a matter of hearing and not seeing. Another important point is the dimensions of the bass box for the car. Particularly compact subwoofers are recommended. The space in the car is limited.
A good subwoofer for the car produces powerful and deep, dark bass despite a small cabinet. Subwoofers for the car are mainly available with speaker diameters ranging from 13 to 38 centimeters. So which subwoofer you should choose also depends a bit on the size of your car.
Active subwoofers that are designed to be integrated into the car are particularly easy to install. These are subwoofers with an integrated power amplifier. They are only connected to your car radio’s special subwoofer output and the 12-volt onboard voltage. The bass box for the car is ready for use, and the music pleasure can begin.
Which subwoofers are particularly suitable?
Finding the best car subwoofer is difficult, as the differences between the models are very large. So, not only do you have to decide with the different designs and between active and passive subwoofers, but you should also pay careful attention to the quality and, of course, the sound or bass. However, this makes the search for the ideal model very time-consuming. Alternatively, you can also follow our buying recommendation because we have already done the research work for you.
This way, you can make a quick and good buying decision without doing much research. For example, Pioneer’s TS-WX120A is highly recommended because the active subwoofer for mounting under the seat is compactly built, offers a clean sound, and is robustly manufactured. Alternatively, the TS-WX210A from Pioneer is highly recommended because it is very compact, provides a good sound, and offers a very good price-performance ratio.
The prices for car subwoofers range roughly between $100 and $900. Again, the most expensive does not automatically have to be the best. Every subwoofer test also rates cheaper car amplifiers sometimes very well.
The very first question you should ask yourself is where you want to install the subwoofer in the first place. There are several places in the car where you can set up the subwoofer.
Spare wheel subwoofers are made so that they fit into the spare wheel well of the trunk and thus virtually take up no space in the box.
Best car subwoofers buying advice
Before buying a subwoofer, you should get an overview of what is on offer and know the differences between active, passive, and various designs. Only then should you get into the price comparison and decide whether a cheap car subwoofer or just a high-end device comes into question about the best car subwoofer. In the end, you’ll have to compromise either way and weigh up between good sound and full bass.
Types of subwoofers
In addition to the difference between active and passive, a distinction is also made according to the type of housing. You can find out what differences there are here and what they mean here.
Closed subwoofer: The closed subwoofer (also called ‘sealed’) is characterized by the air being compressed with each bass in the housing. This requires more power, so this design must be much more powerful than the other designs. This means that the efficiency is not quite as good, but on the other hand, this design also makes the subwoofer very compact. In addition, the overall sound is very good, which is due to the almost linear frequency response. Closed subwoofers are recommended for all music genres with fewer vocals but a lot of basses.
Bass reflex subwoofer: This design (also called ‘ported’ or ‘vented’) is characterized by the fact that it is a mixture of closed and bandpass subwoofers. The cabinet here has a bass tube through which air can flow into the interior of the housing. As a result, the efficiency is very good, and high precision is achieved even with little power. However, the housing requires significantly more space and also, in the price comparison, these models usually perform worse compared to the closed subwoofer. This design is highly recommended for fast music with medium bass and more vocals.
Bandpass subwoofer: This is a model with an additional membrane in the cabinet. In addition, one (or more) bass reflex tube is installed. Compared to the other designs, the bass is by far the strongest here. This comes on its own in a small frequency range. You can use it well for all music genres. However, the model has weaknesses in vocals and also in sound. The only thing that matters here is a rich bass.
Sound vs bass
Before buying, you should weigh whether you place more value on a good sound or more value on a rich bass. As key figures here, it is worth looking at the power (watts RMS) and the efficiency in decibels. The more watts RMS, the more powerful the subwoofer and the stronger the bass. The Wrms figure is more important than the maximum power in watts (Wmax) since this can only be achieved for a short time.
The higher the efficiency, the better and cleaner the sound. Double voice coils can be helpful here because they make the sound clearer and more precise. We recommend choosing a model that offers at least 400 Wrms for a subwoofer with really rich bass. On the other hand, the dB should be high (at least 90dB) for a good sound—also, criteria such as the material of the membrane (paper, aluminum and so on). In addition, of course, the equipment or accessories of the car must harmonize with the subwoofer. If you buy a model with a power amplifier, you should also make various settings via controllers.
Impornat criteria for the best subwoofers for cars
We will shortly explain what you should look for when buying a subwoofer in addition to the type of enclosure and type.
Sound and performance
You get the ideal sound experience with passive woofers in bandpass enclosures. However, since this type takes up a lot of space and is quite expensive, good compromises can be made with other types of enclosures, depending on the style of music. As a general rule, the more power, the richer the sound of the speaker.
In addition to large woofers and small, flat speakers, there are now enclosures that you can place in the spare wheel well. When buying a subwoofer, the design is important to ensure enough room for it in the boot.
To enjoy the perfect sound experience in your car, there are accessories besides a good subwoofer, such as a car radio with Bluetooth function. You can also buy the car subwoofer as a set, which already includes a matching cable set. You can also read our another guide on techniques to become a safer driver.
Subwoofer for optimal sound on the road
Using a suitable car subwoofer, you can enjoy your favourite music in perfect sound even when on the road. In your car subwoofer test, pay particular attention to the type of enclosure and the subwoofer’s design so that you can ultimately install a bass box that fits in the car and completely meets your needs. Good car subwoofers are characterized by high precision and reproduce sound optimally in all frequency ranges. Also to be considered are the correct wiring and the optimal fit of the bass box for the car, which we present to you in our best subwoofers for cars comparison as a practical and easy-to-implement guide.
FAQ: The most frequently asked questions and answers
We explain what you need to look out for in the bass box as your car hi-fi accessory of choice and answer relevant questions on the subject of subwoofers or sound systems for cars.
How do you install a subwoofer?
It’s not that difficult to lay a subwoofer cable, connect it to the car speakers and install the subwoofer if you know how. The most important thing is which system (active/passive) you have.
Experienced screwdrivers should ideally install passive systems. We explain how to connect common and frequently sold active systems correctly.
First, attach the subwoofer to the side panel in the boot, if possible. Then run the RCA and remote cables from the subwoofer to the radio. The remote cable is usually plugged into the ISO connector on the car radio. Connect the cables to the radio and the subwoofer or amplifier. Run the subwoofer’s power cable up to the car’s battery. There is usually an opening for cables under the steering wheel. If not, you will have to drill a hole. Then connect the fuse approx—20 cm from the battery. Finally, attach the fuse to the bulkhead with cable ties if necessary.
First, connect the positive cable to the subwoofer if you have not already done so (B+). Then connect the negative side (ground) to the ground point of the boot (see vehicle documents). Connect the ground cable to the subwoofer (GND). Finally, wire the positive cable to the positive terminal of the battery. Set the subwoofer to the lowest bass value or volume level before starting it. In the last step, start the car and set the volume and bass to your desired level.
What do I need for installation?
To install any car subwoofer, flat or large, active or passive, you will need these tools:
- Screwdriver – slot (cable)
- Screwdriver or ratchet (usually size 10)
- Cable set
Can I use the subwoofer in the living room?
In principle, a car subwoofer can also be used in the living room. However, you must pay attention to the OHM number and that the amplifier in the living room has enough power (watts). Otherwise, the sound will not be good. However, there are also special subwoofers in small and large sizes for audio and hi-fi use at home that are cheaper than good and inexpensive car subwoofers yet do not sacrifice quality.
Popular manufacturers and brands
Various brands and manufacturers produce car subwoofers. These brands usually also produce matching accessories for a car subwoofer. To help you find the best car subwoofer for you, we have listed the most popular brands here.
More driving pleasure with a great bass box for the car
The offer of subwoofers is huge, and you will also find cheap subwoofers. However, as we have seen, you can get an extremely reputable device with guaranteed quality for as little as 200 Euros.
If you are a music freak – and who isn’t – you should buy a subwoofer for your car. Listening to music only with simple speakers is simply no fun. Subwoofers and cars are inseparable. Treat yourself to the ultimate sound experience with a good subwoofer.
The installation of these bass boxes for the car usually causes no problems. I can say from experience that once you get a taste for it, you will never want to listen to your music any other way than with a subwoofer—no matter what kind of music you prefer. A good and quality subwoofer for your car is an asset in any case.
You won’t want to remember how you could listen to music before without a car bass speaker. But invest your money wisely and don’t save in the wrong place. Even with a smaller budget, you can afford a super subwoofer. The important thing is to get the right information beforehand. Then nothing will stand in the way of the ultimate sound pleasure. Dare and stand by your music!
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