Best Car Subwoofer Reviews | A List of The Top Rated Subwoofers of 2017
Does your car audio sound appear to be lifeless, does it always fail to give you the audio sound which you always crave for? Well, if it does, then it is high time to give your vehicle a new car subwoofer and breathe some life into it. You can make your commute playlist sound like a real live concert as you move down the country side. Here in this segment we are going to discuss some points and tips regarding how to purchase the best car subwoofer and determining what the best car subwoofer for you is.
Car subwoofers are mainly large speakers having diameters ranging from 8 inches to 15 inches. The login which is followed here is that the larger the subwoofer the lower is the range of frequency. Experts say that anything in between 10 inches to 12 inches is considered to be an adequate subwoofer as it easily allows audio enthusiasts to reach 20 Hz basement. Determining the best car subwoofer is a combination of specs, build quality and more.
Also, having a sub woofer means that you would have to give focus on the power handling ratings as they need more power to function. Plus you would also have to consider the kind of enclosure you want it to be installed as for the simple reason that most vehicles lack pre-made mount for such additions. The kind of enclosure influences the bass as well as the audio quality which you want to experience. The best car subwoofer for guide:
How We Put Together Our Lists of Best Car Subwoofers
Before you read our list of top subwoofers, please be aware that the notion of “best car subwoofer” is heavily subjective and very opinionated. Everyone has their tastes and what’s best for one person may not apply to another when it comes to picking out subs for cars. For example, some car audio enthusiasts prefer their subwoofers to have a powerful street shaking bass while others judge the quality of the subwoofer by the sound clarity and overall sound quality they get from the speaker. With that being said, we put together a list that looks to satisfy each category whether it be bass power, sound clarity etc. The criteria of our listing was judged based on pricing, subwoofer design, subwoofer features, build quality of the subs, performance and manufacturer reputation. We put together to separate list which involves the 3 best subwoofer for the money and the 3 best cheap subwoofers.
The Top 3 Best High Quality Car Subwoofers
- Sizes: 8 inch 10 inch and 12 inch
- Ohms: Single 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 500-1500 Watts
- Manufacturer: JL Audio
- Pricing 82%
- Subwoofer Design 98%
- Subwoofer Features 96%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 95%
- Subwoofer Performance 95%
- Consumer Reviews 94%
- Manufacter Reputation 98%
- Sizes: 10 inch, 12 inch and 15 inch
- Ohms: Dual 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 450 – 700 Watts
- Manufacturer: Hertz Audio
- Pricing 91%
- Subwoofer Design 95%
- Subwoofer Features 96%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 91%
- Subwoofer Performance 93%
- Consumer Reviews 94%
- Manufacter Reputation 96%
- Sizes: 10 inch, 12 inch, 15 inch
- Ohms: Dual 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 750 Watts
- Manufacturer: Sundown Audio
- Pricing 89%
- Subwoofer Design 90%
- Subwoofer Features 91%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 92%
- Subwoofer Performance 94%
- Consumer Reviews 93%
- Manufacter Reputation 95%
The Top 3 Best Value Based Car Subwoofers
- Size: 8 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch and 15 subwoofer
- Ohms: Dual 2 Ohms
- Power Handling: 350-1000 Watts
- Manufacturer: Alpine
- Pricing 95%
- Subwoofer Design 86%
- Subwoofer Features 87%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 87%
- Subwoofer Performance 86%
- Consumer Reviews 91%
- Manufacter Reputation 90%
- Size: 8 inch, 10 inch, 12 inch and 15 inch subwoofer
- Ohms: dual 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 250-450Watts
- Manufacturer: Polk Audio
- Pricing 84%
- Subwoofer Design 85%
- Subwoofer Features 87%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 86%
- Subwoofer Performance 87%
- Consumer Reviews 88%
- Manufacter Reputation 91%
- Size: 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12 inch subwoofer
- Ohms: dual 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 500-1000 Watts
- Manufacturer: Rockford Fosgate
- Pricing 85%
- Subwoofer Design 97%
- Subwoofer Features 88%
- Subwoofer Build Quality 87%
- Subwoofer Performance 91%
- Consumer Reviews 88%
- Manufacter Reputation 88%
The 4 Types of Subwoofers
Subwoofers are not all manufactured the exact same and finding the best car subwoofer can be a tad bit confusing. Car subwoofers are categorized in 4 different categories which each having its own set of pros and cons. The 4 types are outlined below:
A personalized system
Personalized system involves building a dedicated subwoofer system. A personalized system involves component subs being mounted into a subwoofer box designed specifically for the component subs. In order to power the personalized system, you will need what’s called an amplifier. Component subs generally range from 8” to 15”. Component subs have various different specifications and all kinds of ratings. That being said, a personalized system offers numerous advantages such as being able to customize the sound system to your tailored wants and needs. The first step and in my opinion, the most exhilarating step is building your personalized system is picking out the right subwoofers. The best car subwoofer in the market are generally custom made systems.
Pre-built Subwoofer system
Unlike the personalized subwoofer system mentioned above, Enclosed subwoofer systems already come with the boxed enclosure. The subs are already mounted inside the box which ultimately saves you the trouble of picking out an enclosure box. An amplifier is also required in order to run the enclosed subwoofer system. That said, the downside with an enclosed subwoofer system is the lack of freedom and customization. You are only limited to the what the pre-built system offers you. If a single woofer blows, the entire kit must be replaced most likely. That being said, there are dozens of pre-built enclosed subwoofers that sound amazing and amongst the best car subwoofer in the market.
A powered subwoofer is simply an all one in system that combines the subwoofer speaker, the enclosure and the amplifer in one pre built package. Unlike the enclosed subwoofer system, a powered subwoofer has an amplifier built into the enclosure. Due to their small and compact build, one of the advantages of powered subwoofers is how little space they take. In addition, installation is extremely simple as everything is already built. That being said, sound quality and the depth of bass is depleted on a powered sub due to its small size.
Vehicle Specific Subwoofer
A vehicle specific subwoofer is simply a woofer that is built to match the exact cars design. This specific subwoofer tailor made and designed based on the car, truck or suv it is being mounted in. The subwoofer blends in with the vehicle giving it an “out of the way” feel and is often times color coded the vehicles interior design. These subwoofers can be powered or passive (unpowered) and revolve around the three categories above. The advantage of having a vehicle specific subwoofer is that there is virtually no woofer taking up space in the vehicle as its literally a part of the car. That being said, often times sound quality takes a massive due to the size and the restrictions.
What To Look For when purchasing the best car subwoofer
The best car subwoofer is dependent on a lot of things. When it comes time to select and research individual subwoofers, there are many key factors to consider. Outlined below is a list of what to look for exactly:
One of the key specifications to look out for which ultimately determines how loud your subwoofer can boom is a subwoofer’s power handling. When comparing different subwoofers, pay close attention to the subwoofer’s RMS power handling/Power Ratings as they paint a realistic picture of how powerful the sub is. Also, it’s beyond crucial to match your car subwoofers power handling rating to the amp’s power rating output.
Sensitivity has a direct impact with power in terms of reaching high audio output. A subwoofer with a higher sensitivity range/rating will ultimately require less power to produce the same exact sound when compared with a subwoofer with a lower sensitivity range/rating.
The frequency specification and its range will give you a rough idea of how low your subwoofer’s volume is. That being said, there are numerous factors that can impact frequency range such the size of woofer, how big or small the box is etc.
Next most important thing that you have to consider is enclosure specification. Subwoofers need an enclosed box to get installed into the car. You can create your box of your own. This box can be installed at back seat. Depending on the enclosure box type you will hear different bass sounds. It is recommended to use sealed box so as to get accurate bass frequency. Choose enclosure box according to what kind of sound you are willing to hear. The best subwoofer can be useless if the enclosure is botched.
Number of voice coils
Over the past few years, duel voice coil subwoofers have become prominent in the subwoofer market. Duel voice coils or DVC will separate a subwoofer into two differed voice coil which means that each coil have a dedicate connection. This ultimately can make wiring easier and much more flexible.
Size of subwoofer
Some car sub woofers are available with the diameter ranging from 8” to 15”. Remember bigger subwoofer generates lower frequency range but the size of the woofer does not always matter. The biggest subwoofer is not necessarily the best car subwoofer. In car 10” and 12” woofers are most popular because of the fact that they can easily reach the 20Hz frequency which is suitable for human hearing.
The Best car subwoofer brands
In today’s market, there are hundreds of car subwoofer manufacturers that pump subwoofers (no pun intended). Choosing the right brand is crucial and unlike other industries, branding does in fact matter when shopping for a subwoofer and is crucial when determining the best subwoofer. My recommendation when purchasing a subwoofer is to formulate yourself a budget. Expect to pay anywhere from $30-$50 for Low Tier cheap subwoofers, $50-$70 for mid-tier subwoofers, $70-$150 for good-tier subwoofers and $150 for the highest quality subwoofer.
So to help you out in your task, we are going to break down some of the popular cheap subwoofers and high quality expensive car subwoofer brands into 4 categories which are not Good, good, very good, and Highest Quality. On that note, some manufacturers have different subwoofer lines which is why a company may appear on more than 1 of the list. Here is a breakdown of the subwoofer companies and what’s considered from worst to best car subwoofer:
Choosing The Right Amplifier for your subwoofer
No matter what the best car subwoofer you go with is, you need amp. It’s very crucial to select the proper amp as your amplifier is what’s responsible for powering the beautiful system you have made. Even cheap subwoofers must use the proper amp if you want the results. Choosing the right amplifier can be a tad bit tricky and the specs can be overwhelming at first. Amplifiers have 3 defining factors which are:
Amplifiers come in many different channel specifications. The amount of channels needed for your amplifier is determined by how many subwoofers you have. For example, if you have two cheap subwoofers speakers inside your enclosure then you should opt for two channel amplifier. Multiple channels in an amplifier will give you the option to expand and do more things with your sound system. However, a higher channel count often times means paying a higher price. That being said, todays amplifers are very powerful and can be hooked up to a single channel amp. Some of the best amplifiers in the market have built in controls that allow customization of the bass and its sound.
RMS Watts and Peak Watts
When breaking down a subwoofers power requirements and specification, the first thing to look at is RMS Watts and Peak Watts. RMS wattage outlines the amount of power a subwoofer can output and handle on a continuous basis. Similar to a powerlifters 1 rep max, Peak wattage is a measurement of the maximum output of the subwoofer before it breaks down and is damaged.
When analyzing RMS watts specification, its beyond crucial that the Amp’s RMS Watts specs match up with the subwoofer’s RMS watts specs. When shopping for an amplifier, you will notice that the manufacture list an RMS watts range. This range is an indication of what the bare minimum is and what the upmost maximum is in the amplifier. A key rule of thumb when comparing your subwoofer and amplifier’s RMS watts is to make sure the subwoofer’s maximum RMS watts is relatively close to your amplifier’s minimum RMS Watts. Believe me when I say this, it’s best to have an overpowered subwoofer than underpowered one no matter what the best subwoofer is.
In the scope of subwoofers and car audio, a measurement of electrical resistance is referred to as Impedance. A mismatch between an amplifier and subwoofer’s Impedance can lead to terrible sound quality or worse, an overheating system. That said, depending on your sound system, matching an amp and a subwoofers Impedance is fairly simple. Majority of the car subwoofers in today’s market are 2 ohms or 4 ohms. If we were to pick out an amp for 2 type R alpines that are 4 ohms a piece, we would want a power amp with an 8ohm impedance. Lastly, If you’re ever going to be installing a dual voice coil woofer with 2-ohms, the required amplifier impedance would be 4-ohm because each separate connection is 2-ohms.
How To Install a Sub Woofer
No matter what the best car subwoofer in the market is, it must be installed right if you want to get the most out of it. In this segment we are going to lay down the instructions needed to install subwoofers. Read closely:
Step 1: What are the things needed to install?
- A subwoofer box, a speaker and an amplifier
- You will need a wiring kit
- About 10 gauge, insulated wire of 20 feet for power supply and insulated wire of 3 feet for ground, 16-18 gauge and wire about 15 feet.
- 15 feet long RCA cables
- Fuse of specs 50 amps
- Some basic tools
- 4 screws: small and wooden and some speaker wires.
For ground and power wiring, surely you will require thicker wires based on the power of the amplifier. The ones which are really powerful will require about aero wire gauge wire. Like I said earlier, the best subwoofer is garbage if the installation is botched.
This can be a tricky affair. You will want to select a speaker and an amplifier which puts out the most power without actually blowing each other. You should ensure that the RMS of both the amp as well as the sub-woofer to be as close as they can. When looking at the amp and the speaker do not look at the peak power. You should always try and run your speakers and amps on RMS ratings rather than on the peak ratings no matter what you think the best subwoofer and amplifer is.
The third step is perhaps the one irritating one and that is running the wires. The first thing would be to start wiring the battery. The thing to note here is to get the power of the battery and not use the fuse box. Start off by finding an opening in the vehicle’s firewall. This is mainly the metal wall underneath the hood of the vehicle- to be specific the one which is closest to the windshield. The other side of the firewall ought to be inside the vehicle. Simply run most of the power cables from the firewall and ensure that there is an ample wire to reach the battery.
Shred insulation off the wire to the end where the battery is and wire the in-line fuse to that end. You should ensure that the fuse is close to the battery as possible. Do not connect the wire to the battery. Ensure that, when you wire the fuse it is taped properly just to be avoid being short. Place the rest of the wire underneath the car carpeting or via a wire channel. While having the carpeting loose, simply place the 16-18 gauge wire with the RCA cables from the truck as close to the back side of the stereo head and leave some slack at either end.
The fourth step is wiring the music set up. You will have to remove the front of the center console or employ the tool to slide stereo out of the clips. There should be 2RCA connections and they should be run through the back of the center console and plugged into 2 connections behind the stereo. If you find that you do not comprise of these connections you can splice the wires into the rear speaker wires. A better option would be to go for a new stereo which has RCA as they are not that expensive.
The fifth step would be to run the 16-18 gauge wire at the back of mid console. The function of this wire is to tell the amp that the stereo has been turned on and that the amp must be too. You will have to connect the gauge wire and when the stereo comes on, the amp will too.
The sixth step is speaker is putting the speaker inside the box. This is pretty obvious. Place the speaker inside the box and make sure that flimsy thin gasket thing on it. If the box comprises of its very own connecting points outside, make sure they are wired to the speaker inside. Properly screw the speaker with within the box and employing the holes on the outside rim of the speaker.
wiring up the amp. Simply connect the power cable from the battery into the spot which has one of the following markings. Make sure that the amp that one of the following markings.
B , Batt, Pos, 12V, 12 v, Pwr, power. Connect the 16-18 gauge wire that the spot that says. Rem, remote, ant. Also connect the 3 foot, 1- gauge wire to the point marked.
B-, Neg, -12 v. Gd, ground. Connect the other end of the ground wire to a near bolt which connects to the body of the car. Connect the speaker wire to the positive and negative part of the speaker box. Also make cute that the positive of the speaker box is connected to the positive end of the speaker. Do the same with the negative.
Point number eight adding power. The final step is to go and connect the power cable to the battery. Ensure that a larger fuse is within fuse holder.
This completes the task of installing a sub woofer inside your vehicle. Simply test all the things and also check the quality of the sound. Hopefully this install guide made a bit of sense. Remember, the best car subwoofer will sound like the worst car subwoofer if it is not installed right.
If your still having problems, here is a great video that should make things a bit more clearer:
There you have it folks, a complete how-to guide of picking the right car subwoofer type, subwoofer brand, the correct amplifier and how to install them. Car audio is very opinionated and the best subwoofer for one individual can be different to another. You should have no problem finding the best car subwoofer now after reading this article. I hope this helped some of you folks who were a bit lost when choosing a subwoofer. Believe-me when I say this, adding a quality or even cheap subwoofers into your vehicle is like no other. The roaring base of your subwoofer as you cruise down the road is something everyone should experience! Hopefully you found the best car subwoofer that is tailored to your needs. Thanks for stopping by!