Wireless Subwoofer vs a Wired Model

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Updated November 9, 2022

What specs do you consider when looking at the best speakers for your home theatre? Of course, many analyze a speaker’s size and wattage. But in this modern age of cord-cutting, many also try to find wireless options. At this point, all types of speakers offer wireless options, including some of the market’s best subwoofers. However, as with all decisions, opting for a wireless option comes with opportunity costs. So, to help you decide what’s best for your home, we’ll compare the benefits of wired vs wireless subwoofers.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A wireless subwoofer connects via Wi-Fi to a more extensive speaker system.
  • Wired speakers have a more reliable connection and often deliver more than wired subwoofers.
  • Wireless subwoofers reduce the number of necessary chords and are more convenient to set up.

For those determined to snip as many cables as possible, you can check out our guide to the top wireless speaker solutions. But we also have many other types of speaker material, such as a comparison of series vs parallel subwoofers.

Differences Between a Wireless vs Wired Subwoofer

What exactly does it mean to have a wireless subwoofer? Sometimes, you can’t take the term “wireless” literally because some wireless speakers still need to plug into a wall outlet. But others run on battery power and have no wires at all. However, the main appeal to wireless speakers is eliminating the need to plug the speaker into a stereo amplifier. Instead, the unit connects via a receiver to establish a wireless signal.

Insider Tip

If you want your wireless speaker to have more power, purchase one that allows you to plug it into a wall outlet.

On the other hand, wired options require a connection of speaker wires to the stereo amplifier.

Ultimately, both wireless and wired connections do the same thing: create bass frequencies to enhance a system’s audio quality. However, in comparing wired vs wireless speakers, there are some things to be aware of and advantages to either option.

Additionally, selecting a speaker type also depends on the listening environment. Check out our guide to the best boat speakers for information on maritime audio options.

Signal Strength

The main pitfall to wireless technology is that it connects via a wireless audio signal, other devices on the Wi-Fi might interfere with the connection. The connection shouldn’t be a problem if you have reliable Wi-Fi, but there will always be that risk.

Remember that even with a perfect wireless connection, wired speakers still have an advantage in connection strength. Because there’s still a slight, although largely unnoticeable, lag with wireless speakers.

Bass Power

There can be issues when it comes to powering wireless speakers. Especially with battery-powered subwoofers, the power source often can’t handle a larger driver for long. Because of this, many wireless options are less powerful than wired speakers, meaning they won’t produce the level of bass as one plugged into an external power supply.

Warning

Wired speakers demand that owners understand resistance levels and basic speaker wiring schemes. Failure to wire the amp/speaker correctly can damage the equipment.

Versatility

When you free your speakers from their wires, the possibilities for room placement grow significantly. As long as the signal is within range, you can hook up your speaker anywhere there’s an outlet.

The versatility and convenience of wireless speakers give them broad consumer appeal. There is also significantly less work involved during setup because you don’t have to worry about getting the stereo wiring right.

STAT: Turning a bass speaker above 50% of the max volume often reduces the sound quality. (source)

Wireless Subwoofer vs Wired FAQs

What is a true wireless subwoofer?

A true wireless speaker runs on battery power, meaning you don't need to plug the unit into an external power source.

Do wireless subwoofers cost more?

Subwoofers come with a built-in amplifier and an AV receiver. Unfortunately, these additional parts usually make wireless speakers more expensive.

How many subwoofers do I need?

Selecting the size and quantity of subwoofers depends mainly on the square footage of their room. In many cases, smaller rooms only require a small subwoofer.
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