2-Ohm vs 4-Ohm Subwoofer

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Updated October 17, 2022

Searching for the best speakers requires much soul-searching. First, you must constantly define your chief end and then figure out how to achieve it. One such question sound geeks inevitably come across is: do I use a subwoofer or not? The answer to this is a matter of personal preference because the best subwoofers open up a frequency range that is pivotal for creating specific sound environments.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The difference between 2-Ohm and 4-Ohm subwoofers is the amount of power they consume, which affects sound quality and volume.
  • 4-Ohm speakers have more electrical resistance, meaning they are quieter and produce a higher sound quality.
  • 2-Ohm speakers use more electricity, meaning they are louder but have poorer sound quality.

If you’re considering a subwoofer, the main question you need to ask is what electrical resistance suits your purposes. So, to help you figure this out, below, we’ll compare the differences between a 2-ohm vs 4-ohm subwoofer.

Insider Tip

For home theatres, the best placement for a subwoofer is in the front of the room.

However, many consumers also choose to go with soundbars for a home theatre setup. For more about soundbars, read our article comparing 2.1 soundbars vs 5.1 soundbars.

Differences Between 2 Ohm vs 4 Ohm Subs

So, how big of a difference does 2-Ohms make? The answer may surprise you.

An Ohm is a fundamental unit of measuring electrical resistance. Therefore, the amount of ohms indicates how much power a speaker can handle — the lower the Ohm rating, the lower the electrical resistance, meaning the speaker draws more power.

A subwoofer’s difference in resistance has significant consequences in terms of sound and volume.

If you finish this and are dying for more subwoofer material, you can also read our guide on 4-Ohm vs 8-Ohm subwoofers. And for those considering multiple bass units, we have one comparing 2 subwoofers vs 1.

Sound Quality

A 4-Ohm subwoofer means you have higher electrical resistance and use less power. The result is a quieter output but one with higher sound quality.

People often automatically assume that higher Ohms imply more power; this isn’t true. With a 2-Ohm speaker, you get a louder sound, but the sound quality will be lower.

The lower quality is because using more power puts pressure on the amp, distorting the sound.

Another fascinating variable affecting sound quality we can’t cover here, but do in a separate article, is between active vs passive speakers.

Volume Output

As stated above, a 4-ohm setup is softer in volume than 2-ohm speakers. So when considering the differences in ohm speakers, remember that the lower the Ohm subwoofer, the louder the sound. So, for those looking to fill a room, it may be best to consider going with a 2-ohm. But remember, this comes as a sacrifice to sound quality.

Warning

Always make sure that the amplifier and subwoofer impedance ratings are compatible. Mismatching impedances often cause catastrophic damage to sound equipment.

Power Consumption

4-Ohm speakers use much less energy than 2-Ohm subs. Because of this, they typically last longer.

STAT: Subwoofers produce frequencies between 10-200Hz. (source)

Affordability

On average, 4-Ohm speakers fall within the $20-$180 range, while 2-Ohm units cost between $50-$200.

2-Ohm vs 4-Ohm Subwoofer FAQs

How do you tell a subwoofer's impedance rating?

The easiest way to do this is to check the speaker's label.

What is a dual voice coil subwoofer?

A dual voice coil allows a speaker to have a stereo sound because it can play through two channels simultaneously.

Do speakers have higher volume in series or parallel?

Parallel wiring results in higher volume output.
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