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When you want to add some kick to your car’s sound system, the best car subwoofers are a good place to start. It’s not easy weeding through the massive selection of speakers and subs, and that’s why we spent over 15 hours researching them. We narrowed the list down to some of the best car subwoofers on the market. Everything you see here packs a punch, at least enough to deliver an excellent audio experience. Almost all of the subwoofers we’ve chosen are plug-and-play, minus a couple of the open-air options. Even though they are relatively easy to install, it’s a bit more work because they don’t come in an enclosure. Wattage runs the gamut from about 150W up to 1500W. Pair one of the car subwoofers on this list with the best car stereo on the market for an audio experience on wheels that’s out of this world.
The top pick is the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D 1200W 12-inch car subwoofer, because it comes with two subs pre-installed inside a cabinet. It offers incredible sound for the price, and since they are enclosed it’s about as close to plug-and-play as you can get. It is the perfect companion to the best luxury cars on the road.
Read Full Review: MTX Terminator TNE212D 200 Watt Enclosure
The MTX Audio Terminator subwoofer is perfect for anyone that wants a punchy, capable audio experience for a reasonable price, with little to no additional buy-in. Besides two of the other subwoofers on this list, the Terminator comes pre-installed inside a vented enclosure. That means you don’t have to purchase an enclosure separately or mount the subwoofer somewhere inside the vehicle. It’s about as close to plug-and-play as you can get with a woofer of this caliber. The enclosure houses two 12” subwoofers, which have a 1200W total capacity; broken down into 800 peak power and 400 RMS. RMS or root mean square is how much continuous power the speakers can handle. Peak power refers to the maximum overhead the speakers can handle in short bursts.
It features a frequency response of 10 hertz to 150 hertz, which is on the low side compared to the other woofers on the list. That said, it’s not out of the range of accurate tones and audio. You shouldn’t see a quality loss from your source. It’s hard not to recommend the MTX Audio as you’re getting two woofers for the price of one. It doesn’t hurt that the Terminator-style enclosure looks great and offers some rugged protection for the speakers. It’s surrounded by 5/8-inch MDF and aviation grade black carpet. It is the best subwoofers for the car.
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Read Full Review: Pioneer TS SW2002D2 8 inch Shallow Mount Subwoofer
The Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 8-inch subwoofer is meant for free-air or mounted applications. You can install it in the rear deck of a vehicle or fasten it to the fiberboard between the back seats of a car and the trunk. If you want it inside an enclosure like the MTX Audio Terminator you’ll need to purchase an enclosure separately or make one. The TS-SW2002D2 can handle a max of 600 watts, peak power or 150-watts RMS. It features a frequency response of 20Hz to 200Hz, slightly higher than the MTX Audio Terminator.
Related: Find out why a satellite radio for car is one of the best things you can do for your vehicle.
It’s worth noting this sub has the same dimensions as most OEM stock speakers found in Hyundai, Dodge, Toyota and a few other model vehicles. You can swap out the stock units for this one with little to no modification needed. That makes it more desirable for anyone wanting to keep their vehicle set up as close to original as possible, without cutting any holes or mounting the speaker in a random place. It pairs well with the best satellite radio for car. Another quality option is the JL Audio W6v3 12-Inch Subwoofer, which has greater excursion capability and high power handling. It’s best used with amplifier power from 200- 600W and in a sealed enclosure, which is not provided with this subwoofer.
Read Full Review: Kenwood KSC SW11 Compact Enclosed Subwoofer
The first thing you’ll notice about the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is the slim and compact profile of the enclosure. Most enclosures are bulky which means the best place to store them is in the rear of the vehicle or trunk. Kenwoods enclosure will slide nicely under almost any seat.
Inside is an 8 ¼” x 5 ½” subwoofer that features a frequency response range of 35Hz to 125Hz, meaning it can deliver some impressive bass. A wired remote control comes attached to the unit, with a 16’ cord, plenty long enough to reach the front of any car or truck. Plus, a built-in amplifier provides 75 watts of RMS power with 150 watts maximum. It’s pretty much plug-and-play, ready to use right out of the box. You may also want to check out the best jump starter so you don’t get stranded with only your music.
Read Full Review: Rockville RW10CA Profile Powered Subwoofer
The Rockville RW10CA subwoofer comes inside a thin blue enclosure, just 2.7-inches thick. Adorned with a neon blue and black design, it looks like something straight out of a cyberpunk universe. It’s meant to find under car seats, of course, but you could place it virtually anywhere.
On the back of the unit you’ll find something that none of the other subs in the list have, several high-level inputs and convenient controls. For instance, there are auto-turn on and phase-shift switches, low-pass filter, bass boost and gain level knobs, and a variety of inputs. It’s partly due to the enclosure the sub comes installed in, but welcome nonetheless. It enables a considerable degree of sound personalization despite the rigid configuration. Just make sure you have the best radar gun with you so you don’t get a ticket while enjoying the sound. Or 8 of the best radar detectors.
Read Full Review: Skar Audio EVL 65 D2 Subwoofer
The Skar Audio EVL-65D2 is the smallest subwoofer on the list, yet still holds up in terms of power. With a 400-watt peak limit and 200 watts RMS, you’re looking at some exceptionally “hard-hitting” lows.
It is designed for open-air applications, so you’ll need to supply an amplifier but that also means you can install the sub just about anywhere inside the vehicle. That should be easy enough considering the 6.5-inch size, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. Despite being smaller, the Skar Audio EVL-65D2 packs a wallop, thanks to the 400W peak and dual voice coils. That makes it the ideal choice for anyone with limited space yet still wants the power and sound equivalent of a much larger subwoofer. Be sure to also check out Rockford Fosgate products, which is a reputable company known for its quality car stereo products for decades. For example, there’s the Punch P3D2 Subwoofer, a powerful option with 1200 watts of power handling. It uses anodized aluminum to help prevent overheating and has soft touch rubber over-mold to provide better grip. There’s also the Prime 6.50″ 3-Way Full-Range Speaker, which provide superb sound quality for a great price and features polypropylene cones, a silk dome Piezo tweeter, and midrange. You may also want to read about the best breathalyzer to have with you in your car.
Read Full Review: Planet Audio AC10D Voice Subwoofer
The Planet Audio Anarchy AC10D is a 10-inch subwoofer with dual voice coils. The coil allows the sub to produce the right ohm load during operation, which delivers maximum efficiency. Essentially, it lowers the electrical resistance increasing the power flowing to the speaker from the amp — which just means it’s making more effective use of the energy. At 1500 watts peak power, that’s important because it enables you to run the sub at max levels for longer and more accurately. You could also install additional subwoofers thanks to the improved load. You may also want to check out the best transmission jack for your garage.
With a resonance frequency of 39Hz and sensitivity of 87Db the sub will need a bit more energy to deliver its powerful lows. If you’re getting a sub this size, you probably have a powerful amp in place already. It will not interfere with the best CB radio either.
Subwoofers are a tricky read, at least on paper. When looking at a bunch of numbers and specifications, it can be challenging to discern which offers the best audio quality, and it’s even more difficult choosing the most bang for your buck. Something like the best car alarm is more straightforward.
Do you go with an open-air unit that you’ll have to install yourself, or choose something plug-and-play friendly that already comes mounted inside an enclosure?Of course, we chose the best from both worlds so that everyone has an option available to them. Open-air woofers and speakers are arguably the most custom-friendly because you can pretty much install them anywhere. They’re also excellent if you’re looking to replace stock speakers.
Enclosures tend to come with a built-in amp, however, which you’d have to buy separately when installing open-air subs. The tradeoff is that they’re generally not as compact, so you have to have the space for them inside your vehicle, whether that’s under a seat or inside the trunk. During our search for the best car subwoofers, we considered both variants, open-air and enclosed.
Everything on this list falls within a reasonable frequency response range, especially for the 5 to 12-inch sizes these woofers come in. That means they will provide more than enough bass to create a punchy audio experience, particularly within the confines of your vehicle. You may not be blasting away at the world around you, but you will certainly feel the power, as will your passengers.