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When shopping for the best eight-inch subwoofer, you’re concerned about getting the best bass from your music or entertainment content. And more than likely, you’re not content with factory-issue speakers, whether in your home or your ride.
But there are a few factors you need to consider. In particular, if you’re shopping for a subwoofer to install in your car, you’ll want to make sure that it’s compatible and the right size. You want to ensure that they’re not drawing too much power, which could otherwise drain your car’s battery faster. And you’ll want to make sure that the installation process is straightforward if you’re attempting a DIY project.
Keep reading our best eight-inch subwoofer buying guide to learn more. And if you’re not sure what speaker configuration is right for you, start with our best speakers buying guide.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This device boasts a double four-ohm voice coil configuration, providing flexibility during wiring. It has a wide frequency response range and an advanced cooling system. An airflow system optimizes cooling.
The Skar Audio IX-8 D4 8-inch speaker will transform the soundscape in any vehicle. This device is designed to deliver thumping low tones. Built with premium parts, this device is designed to play during long all-day driving trips. It has a 2-inch high-temperature voice coil that provides durability. This unit has an advanced airflow system for cooling. However, the RMS power handling of 150W and max power handling of 300W are a bit low.
This device has a 30-oz ferrite motor for excellent power delivery. A dual 4 Ohm voice coil configuration offers flexibility during wiring. The device has a sensitivity of 82.6 dB and boasts an excellent frequency response range of 30 to 350 Hz, delivering excellent mids, lows, and highs. This system is compact enough to allow for hassle-free installation in a variety of vehicles. A stitched high roll foam surround provides excellent acoustics and safeguards internal components.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: An excellent 400W RMS powering system with a peak of 800W provides outstanding resonance. This device has a non-fatiguing suspension and boasts a double loop system that offers flexibility during installation.
This Pyle PLPW8D 8-inch speaker has an RMS power of 400W and a peak power of 800W, providing outstanding sound resonance. It boasts spring-loaded push-down speaker terminals that optimize conductivity and support hassle-free wiring. With a built-in 40-oz magnet, this sound system offers incredible audio performance. It has a sensitive rating of 89dB, providing clear beats. This unit comes with a user manual to assist during installation. However, this device won’t work well with a box-free installation.
Dual 4 Ohm voice coils can be wired as 4 or 8 Ohm, offering flexibility, while the 1.5-inch four-layer coil resists corrosion and rusting, offering lasting durability. This sound system has a treated foam surround that provides excellent acoustic qualities and offers durability. A non-fatiguing suspension keeps the internal components safe. This subwoofer has a non-pressed paper cone and black plastic basket that optimize performance. The system has a 3.7-inch mounting depth and has standard dimensions, fitting easily in most cars, boats, and RVs.
Award: BEST COMPATIBILITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This unit is suitable for installation in a wide variety of spaces, including sealed and vented sub boxes.
The Kicker CompC 44CWCD84 8-inch speaker provides music with a thump. It has a 4-ohm dual voice configuration setup that supports flexible wiring. With an efficient thermal heat management system, this device retains excellent performance even after continuous operation. The device features a power handling of 200W and 400W peak power. This sound system is recommended for installation in sub enclosures, so it’s compatible with a wide variety of vehicles. However, the bass from this system is a bit low for some users.
With a 3.88-inch mounting depth and 7-inch mounting diameter, this device is compatible with sub boxes with 0.5 to 1.2 cu. ft. of space and vented boxes with 0.66 to 1.2 cu. ft. of space. An injection-molded polypropylene cone delivers high-quality sounds with excellent bass. This device has a ribbed polyurethane surround to provide protection and damp vibrations. Spring-loaded speaker terminals simplify cabling. This unit has high-strength spiraled tinsel leads and high temperature voice coils.
Award: BEST SURROUND
WHY WE LIKE IT: With an excellent polyurethane polymer surround, this device provides excellent damping, optimizing the sound quality. It has 2-inch high-temperature aluminum loops for great sound productivity.
Featuring an RMS power handling of 200W and a peak power handling of 400W, this Blaupunkt GBW801 8-inch speaker provides remarkably loud sounds. This device features a 2-inch high-temperature aluminum voice coil for excellent audio delivery. A high-density foam surround prevents unpleasant vibrations and protects internal components. This sound system delivers powerful bass that will appeal to enthusiasts. However, unlike dual-coil systems, this unit’s single 4 ohm voice coil doesn’t offer flexibility during wiring.
Thanks to polypropylene polyurethane cones, this subwoofer produces a loud, clear sound. The system is quite durable, standing up well to regular use. It has heavy-duty parts that are suitable for playing at high volumes in high-pressure and high-temperature environments. A frequency response range of 45Hz to 2000 Hz ensures accurate sounds, while sensitivity of 88 dB provides excellent resonance. This device features standard dimensions and has standard connectors, providing compatibility with most vehicles and speaker systems.
Award: BEST DIAPHRAGM
WHY WE LIKE IT: A remarkably large Kevlar fiber-strengthened diaphragm delivers excellent bass. This system has the great power handling and comes with an integrated spider venting. The subwoofer comes with a trim ring for simple installation.
With a Kevlar fiber reinforced paper cone, the Rockford Fosgate P2D2-8 8-inch speaker delivers outstanding bass impact. This device has advanced VAST tech that provides a large cone area. It is compatible with a wide variety of vehicles, supporting installation in various sealed and vented enclosures. This device comes with a diamond-cut cast aluminum trim ring for hassle-free installation. Embedded 16 AWG tinsel leads simplify wiring. However, this system requires a considerable break-in period for optimum performance in some vehicles.
An optional grille insert facilitates air circulation. This device has a powerful sound system with a 500W maximum power handling, delivering clear sounds. A 49-oz magnet delivers outstanding sound production. This unit boasts a 2-ohm voice coil that provides outstanding sound performance. It is made with premium parts that stand up to heavy use at high volumes. A spun-laced Nomex reinforcement collar and protective PVC textured magnet cover safeguard the system. This device has an extended pole piece and bumped vented backplate.
Award: BEST TABLETOP SUB
WHY WE LIKE IT: A matte black finish and discrete amp circuitry provide an excellent appearance suitable for insulation in homes and offices. This device features a YTS II system that provides high dynamic power and low-noise performance.
Featuring a matte black finish, the Yamaha NS-SW050 speaker offers a stylish look that enables installation in a wide variety of commercial and domestic settings. It has a high-quality cone woofer built for clear, crisp bass. This device has an advanced Yamaha Active Servo Technology II (YST II) system that provides high dynamic power and low-noise performance. However, the 100W maximum power handling of this system is on the low side.
A discrete amp circuitry provides excellent ergonomics. This system has an on/off switch for simple performance, while control for volume supports hassle-free customization. A 5 ohm coil offers an accurate and deep bass response. The subwoofer dynamically compensates for the negative effects of speaker impedance, improving motion control. A twisted flare port diffuses the vortex of air created in the system and reduces extraneous noises for excellent auditory performance. This sound system has a mono RCA input to facilitate wide-ranging connectivity.
To understand what an 8-inch subwoofer is, you need to understand how sound systems are configured. While most people assume that regular speakers simply emit sound from a source, it’s more complex than that. Speakers often house multiple components — namely tweeters and woofers. The tweeter focuses on high frequencies (known as treble) while woofers reproduce medium frequencies.
For anyone who’s a serious audiophile, listening to music where certain frequencies are muddled is frustrating. Although standard speakers do produce some bass frequencies, it’s sometimes not enhanced. This means that the bass may sound muffled or less clear. For this reason, you can buy additional components independently which work to amplify specific frequencies.
So, if you buy a highly-rated subwoofer (casually referred to as a sub), you’re specifically focused on boosting low frequencies and amplifying bass clarity. If you’ve ever listened to loud music playing and felt like the bass was vibrating through your body, you can thank a subwoofer for that experience.
However, subwoofers aren’t a one-size-fits-all affair. Different subwoofers can work to amplify specific low frequencies. And as with anything else, if you’re trying to install a subwoofer in your car, you want to make sure you’re picking a compatible model. This means that it’s easy to install, actually fits in the car, and doesn’t represent such a power drain as to create battery issues.
Eight-inch car subwoofers are a fan favorite for car customization, similar to the best 6.5 speakers, because they’re small enough to easily be installed in tight spaces found in compact cars like hatchbacks. Meanwhile, it still provides decent sound quality and tends to be a fairly affordable subwoofer.
The biggest difference between an 8-inch sub and other speakers is the frequencies that they reproduce. A speaker is usually designed to reproduce high and mid frequencies thanks to built-in tweeters and woofers.
In contrast, subwoofers only focus on reproducing lower frequencies — the bass. This means that You can’t use them in place of speakers, but as a support to them. However, whether you’re shopping for car or entertainment system components, subwoofers are categorized by their size.
In cars, subwoofers usually range from eight to 15 inches. While an 8-inch sub typically offers better performance than the factory speaker installed in a car, they aren’t generally going to be as strong as the best 10-inch subwoofer.
Subwoofers are separate components from your speakers. But, they operate similarly to the woofers in them. Subwoofers are connected to your car’s built-in amplifier and can receive audio signals. Like woofers, they have a voice coil that works to create a magnetic field when it’s pulled or pushed against the magnetic gap in the cone.
Subwoofers can only support low frequencies, particularly between 20 to 100 hertz (Hz). And depending on your audio quality and bass preferences, you can prioritize subwoofers that are focused on the lower end of that range.
Subwoofers are traditionally divided into a powered subwoofer or passive subwoofer category. Powered means that it doesn’t have to be connected to an amplifier to work. However, passive (unpowered) subs tend to be the preferred option. And just like speakers and the other sound components, if you’re installing a subwoofer in your car, it needs to be connected to a power source like an amplifier.
Just like with aftermarket speaker installs, you need to pay attention to the power rating. Usually outlined as a wattage rating, look for a root mean square (RMS) figure. This outlines how much power your subwoofer can consistently handle when in use. But it will also determine if your sub is compatible with your car’s amp (amplifier).
As a general guide, you don’t want your subwoofer to draw more power than your amp can provide. So, if you’re not performing a complete sound system replacement in your car, you’ll want to look for a subwoofer with an RMS rating that’s slightly lower than your amplifier’s output.
Whether you’re a road warrior or simply care about the quality of sound, a good car sound system can make a huge difference. If driving down the road to a thumping bass is your style, adding a subwoofer to your car’s sound system might be just what you need.
Like other car sound system components, a good eight-inch subwoofer will last for years if you treat it right. Usually, you can expect to get at least five years of use before it’s time for an upgrade. But in some cases, people have managed to make their eight-inch subwoofers last a decade or more.
But as with anything else, user behavior and subwoofer compatibility will dictate how much mileage an individual experiences. The most significant issues which can reduce your subwoofer’s life span include RMS incompatibility and poor installation.
If the subwoofer’s RMS is higher than your car’s amp, you’ll experience inconsistent performance. While you won’t damage a subwoofer this way, you probably won’t enjoy listening to music in your car either.
Additionally, not installing your subwoofers properly means there’s more of a chance that components might get jostled while you’re driving. This means that over time, your sub might get damaged — leading to more frequent replacements. Similarly, picking a sub that’s too big to be correctly installed will have the same outcome.
And while you might love those deep bass notes, playing music too loud can cause your subs to wear faster.
A good eight-inch subwoofer can do wonders for your music listening experience. Hands down, the RMS rating compared to your car’s amplifier output is the most critical factor you need to consider. But other factors will also come into play.
Before you fall in love with a subwoofer, check to ensure that it’s compatible with your amp. Keep in mind that while you might see a peak power wattage rate listed, the more important figure is the root mean square or RMS.
The RMS represents the amount of power being drawn consistently while your sub is operating. Also listed in watts, this figure will usually be significantly lower than the peak wattage rate. For best results, try to pick a sub with an RMS that’s slightly lower than your amplifier’s output.
Another way to ensure that you’re picking a compatible subwoofer for your car is to pay attention to the sensitivity rating. A higher sensitivity rating means that your sub can draw less power to play the same level of booming sound when compared to a sub with a lower sensitivity rating.
In general, if you’re focused on bass output, you want a sub that is anywhere from 20 to 100 Hz. But if you’re a serious bass head who wants to hear the deepest bass notes, you want to stay on the lower end of that range between 20 to 30 Hz. Keep in mind that you might have to spend more to get more of those lower bass notes.
Eight-inch subwoofers are usually ideal for small and compact cars. But it’s always important to check that the subwoofer is compatible with your car before you buy it, take it home, and realize that it’s not.
This is a question that will impact two factors — ease of installation and sound quality. Consider where you plan on installing your subwoofer first. But know that a sealed box subwoofer will offer deeper bass sound output while ported enclosures offer higher volume levels.
Voice coils are a critical component that allows your subwoofer to work. But with car subwoofers, you can find single and dual voice coil subwoofers. Single voice coil subwoofers can be found for an affordable price and are great if you’re working on a budget or also want a quick and easy install process. You’ll still get a quality subwoofer, just less drama at the cash register.
Dual voice coils allow for more customization — making them ideal for serious audio enthusiasts who need to control every aspect of their sound system.