best car subwoofer for bass reviews

The Best Subwoofer For Car 2018

Subwoofers are speakers that are solely dedicated to recreating low frequencies. They are the simplest and cheapest method of increasing the bass significantly in your vehicle with the best subwoofers retaining sound quality.

The best subwoofer brand for bass is JL Audio and their 12W7AE-3 – JL Audio 12″ Single 3-Ohm Subwoofer is the best subwoofer for deep bass. It has the top performance and is developed by the best in the business but comes at a cost. 

You will need to ensure that your single din or double din head unit has the necessary outputs before buying an expensive subwoofer.

Best Car Subwoofer

Car SubwooferWatts RMSWatts Peak
JL Audio 12W7AE-3400-10002,000
Orion HCCA1222,5005,000
MTX Audio Terminator400800
Rockford Fosgate P300300600
JL Audio 10TW3-D4100-400800
Rockville RW10CA200800
JL Audio ACP110LG-TW1400600
Kicker 10TC10450-150300

Installation of a car subwoofer is fairly straight forward when you have the correct wiring kit and space to work with. Most people will place their subwoofer in the trunk but many people opt for a shallow subwoofer and place it under the front seats.

The most common sizes include a 10 or 12 inch subwoofer but you many will deliver hard hitting bass differently. Many car audio enthusiasts will stick to the big brands such as JL Audio but there are many cheaper alternatives.

We recommend that you pay attention to the RMS and not peak power as this will indicate the true power of the subwoofer. Below is a list of the best car subwoofers for deep bass that provide hard hitting bass without effecting the quality of the audio.

JL Audio 12W7AE-3 12 Inch Subwoofer

For those that are enthusiasts when it comes to their car audio, you will know that JL Audio are one of the best subwoofer brands. The 12W7AE3 subwoofer by JL is their flagship model that has been designed for performance.

Here are some of the notable features of the JL Audio 12W7AE3:

  • 400 – 1,000 watts RMS
  • 2,000 watts peak power
  • 86.2 dB sensitivity
  • 18 – 200 Hz frequency response
  • 12 inch 3 ohm subwoofer
  • Top mount depth of 9 1/2 inch

The 12″ subwoofer is made from the highest quality polypropylene that is surrounded by polyester foam. On top of this, it has a radially cross-drilled pole piece and plateau-reinforced spider attachment.

Overall, it is the best car subwoofer you can buy but it will come at a premium cost. It has been designed for audio enthusiasts that want to take their deep bass to the next level and improve sound quality without added distortion.

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Orion HCCA122 12″ Subwoofer


If power is what you are after, then the Orion HCC is ideal as its the most powerful car subwoofer in this article. These days, obtaining a large amount power is the easy part but maintaining quality deep bass is not as straightforward.

Below are some of the features of the Orion HCC subwoofer:

  • 2,500 watts RMS
  • 5,000 watts peak power
  • 84 dB sensitivity
  • 24 – 250 Hz frequency response
  • 12 inch 2-ohm subwoofer
  • 4 inch copper wound voice coil

The Orion HCCA122 is a polypropylene cone woofer with a rubber tri-radius symmetrical surround. The additional power and better quality audio comes from the new copper voice coil that increases the performance and temperature control.

It is a subwoofer that may be too powerful for some and will require a powerful car battery and a high quality amp. Overall, it is the best subwoofer for deep bass to the point the windows will be flexing and is really suited to “bass” enthusiasts. Many people refer to this subwoofer as a “mobile earthquake” due to the hard hitting bass.

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MTX Audio Terminator TNE212D Dual Subwoofer

Considering the name is “Terminator“, it is obvious that this subwoofer by MTX Audio is going to be a serious bit of kit. On top of this, it is a dual car subwoofer setup for the extra hard hitting deep bass.

Features of the MTX Audio Terminator TNE212D include:

  • 400 watts RMS
  • 1,200 watts peak power
  • 86.4 dB sensitivity
  • 37 – 150 Hz frequency response
  • Dual 12 inch 2 ohm subwoofers
  • 2 inch aluminum voice coil
  • 1 year warranty

The outer boxing is made using 5/8 inch MDF construction with aviation grade black carpet. This give the subwoofer an expensive feel as well as being rugged enough to be stored within a cars trunk. Most subwoofer brands will only use a 1/2 inch board that may not survive very long under heavy use.

The sealed enclosure subwoofer with dual 12 inch speakers has a single terminal cup that can be connected to any mainstream amplifier. This means you can hook up more powerful amplifiers in case your current one is not good enough.

Not only is the MTX TNE212D powerful but it is also very clever. It uses a technology called Spider Plateau Venting, which is a mechanical cooling process. What this means is the subwoofer can cool down via fresh air around the voice coil when heat builds up from extended use.

Overall, this is the best dual subwoofer on the market today that is highly rated (and popular) across the US.

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Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch Car Subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate P300 Review

If you are looking for a compact all in one car subwoofer package, the P300-12 is the one to go for. The 12 inch subwoofer is sealed enclosed and powered by a class D 300 watt amplifier and is ready to go and provide big bass audio to your vehicle.

Some of the notable specs of the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 include:

  • 300 watts RMS
  • 600 watts peak power
  • 35 – 150 Hz frequency response
  • 12 AWG input terminals
  • Remote bass level controls
  • 22 x 14 x 17.3 inch dimensions

Simply run power, ground and a signal from the stereo system and you will be introduced to the bass produced by the Rockford Fosgate Subwoofer. In my opinion, the subwoofer itself looks very classy with a sloping edge to compliment the shapes of most car trunks.

The P300-12 Punch has separate low and speaker level inputs, adjustable 12 dB low pass crossover, remote bass level control, thermal and over voltage protection, built in bass boost equalizer and more features.

The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is the best cheap 12 inch sub for the money that will not disappoint and also comes with a 1 year warranty for peace of mind.

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JL Audio 10TW3-D4 Shallow Mount Subwoofer


When it comes to 10 inch car subwoofers, JL Audio have another premium model, which is the 10TW3-D4 Shallow Mount Subwoofer. It is an injected molded, micra-filled polypropylene cone with a high-roll rubber surround and it looks great.

In terms of the features of the JL Audio 10TW3-D4, the include:

  • 100 – 400 watts RMS
  • 800 watts peak power
  • 82.1 dB sensitivity
  • 24 – 200 Hz frequency response
  • 10 inch dual 4-ohm subwoofer
  • Top mount depth of 3 1/4 inch
  • 1 year warranty

The 10TW3-D4 is a thin 10 inch sub that require very little air space that can be installed anywhere in the car from the trunk to the rear of a car seat.

As with the majority of JL Audio speakers, the polypropylene cone used will never flex under heavy bass. It is the best shallow mount subwoofer you can buy and even though the JL Audio 10TW3-D4 is expensive, it is worthwhile for any car audio enthusiast wanting a shallow design.

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Rockville RW10CA Shallow Car Subwoofer

Space can be very limited in smaller cars and you simply can’t store a subwoofer in the boot. The next step is to look for a subwoofer that can be stored underneath car seats or even connected to them. This will require a slim subwoofer that doesn’t become too obstructive for passengers.

The Rockville RW10CA fits this job perfectly and it features:

  • 200 watts RMS
  • 800 watts peak power
  • 90 dB sensitivity
  • 20 – 150 Hz frequency response
  • Available as a 8 or 10 inch subwoofer
  • 2 Ohm impedance
  • Built in subsonic filter
  • Dimensions are 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7 inches

You will not be able to achieve deep bass like the JL Audio Shallow Sub alternative but you will be able to save money. To reduce the wiring and components needed to setup the sub, it has a built-in amplifier to make it quite simply plugin and play. You will not be disappointed with what the RW10CA by rockville has to offer.

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JL Audio ACP110LG-TW1 Powered Subwoofer


The ACP110LG-TW1 by JL Audio is a powered subwoofer that uses a 400 watt class D amplifier to provide high quality and powerful bass. The amp and subwoofer are enclosed in a MDF box with V-Groove technology to ensure its protected.

Other features of the JL Audio ACP110LG-TW1 include:

  • 400 watts RMS
  • 600 watts peak power
  • 26 – 200 Hz frequency response
  • Single 10 inch TW1 Series subwoofer driver
  • Vented enclosure
  • 8 AWG input gauge
  • 2 year warranty

Overall, it is the best powered car subwoofer and comes with a 2 year guarantee for peace of mind. Compared with other powered subwoofers, it provides much more RMS power handling but you will have to pay a premium for this.

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KICKER 10TC104 Car Subwoofer


The Kicker 10TC104 is a slim but tall 10 inch subwoofer that uses a wood enclosure, which is strong structurally and will take a good beating when located in the trunk. It has the dimensions of 22.8 x 16.8 x 8.8 inches that will fit in most places around the car.

In terms of the features of the Kicker 10TC104, it includes:

  • 50 – 150 watts RMS
  • 300 watts peak power
  • 94 dB sensitivity
  • 30 – 500 Hz frequency response
  • 10 inch comp subwoofer
  • 4-ohm impedance

It is the best cheap subwoofer for bass without paying over the odds for similar powerful subwoofers. It does not come with an amplifier, so its recommended to run an amplifier with a power rating of 1000 watts and above.

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Subwoofers Buying Guide

The subwoofer market is very saturated with many statistics being thrown in the air. However, due to the saturation, this means that prices are very competitive and manufacturers are going to the highest level to make theirs the best on the market. However, the drawback of this is that it can be very difficult to find the best subwoofers for the money. This is where out recommendations above become very useful.

In order to achieve quality bass, you may need to find the best car amplifier for your specific subwoofer. Failing to give the subwoofer the correct amount of power can result in poor quality to both the subwoofer and coaxial car speakers that you have installed in your car.

Before you go on your search for the best subwoofers, increase your knowledge with our subwoofer buying guide that is made simple for the everyday car enthusiasts.

Subwoofer Box Size

The subwoofer size is dependent upon the space you have to play around with. Some cars have space in the trunk which is screaming out for a custom audio install but some do not. The ways in which car enthusiasts are installing subwoofers into the construction of their cars is truly remarkable.

Through various car shows, I have seen car audio mad owners removing their spare wheel compartment and installing large subwoofers. The way in which you install your subwoofer is up to you but ensure you take some measurement before purchasing an expensive subwoofer.

subwoofer for car

Type of Enclosures

Some subwoofers will have an enclosure that is mounted, which has a huge effect on the type of audio that will be derived from it. Generally speaking, sealed boxes will provide you with the deepest, most accurate acoustics, while those that are ported in a bandpass enclosure will be able to be used to derive more volume.

If the space where you are installing the subwoofer is small, do not try and squeeze a large 12 inch subwoofer into the space. This will compromise the performance and be a pain to wire correctly.

Sensitivity

The power and sensitivity of the subwoofer work intricately with each other in order to deliver a high output. A subwoofer that has a higher level of sensitivity will require less power in order for its produce the same amount of quality sound as a subwoofer that has a lower sensitivity rate.

Subwoofer Power

When looking for the most powerful subwoofer, play close attention to the RMS power ratings as opposed to the peak power ratings. The RMS ratings measures the continuous power handling or output which is a significantly more realistic measure to determine the power supply compared to peak power.

Subwoofer Speaker Size

If your ultimate goal is to create a sound system that has the ability to play your music loud and at low frequencies, then you can simply go for the largest sized subwoofer.

However, just because a subwoofer may be smaller it can’t make enough power to match with the larger units. Technology is making electronics smaller and more powerful but the trade off is that they may cost more money for a smaller subwoofer with the same power as a large subwoofer.

Subwoofer For Car

Impedance

Impedance can be defined as resistance to the flow of electricity, which changes depending upon the frequency the subwoofer is generating. The majority of subwoofers have an impedance rating of 4 ohms. But, those with measurements of 2-ohm, 8-ohm, as well as dual voice coil subwoofers are becoming more popular.

The majority of top car amplifiers will require certain resistance to function to the optimal amount. Be sure that the heavy bass subwoofer is matched with a heavy bass amplifier for the best deep bass results in your car audio build. This is because as the subwoofer moves, so does the resistance values and mismatching amplifiers will cause performance issues to your car audio.

Types of Subwoofers

To make choosing a subwoofer even more tasking, there are three main types of subwoofer to choose from. Each subwoofer type has their own Pro’s and Con’s and they are as followed.

Subwoofer Driver

This is the subwoofer unit that is most popular and are often called passive subwoofers. They are mounted inside the enclosure of the subwoofer for them to operate properly. They require the power from an external amplifier, and can range from 8 inches to 15 inches in size.

Powered Subwoofer

These types of self offers are a combination of amplifier and a subwoofer situated within enclosure. Powered subwoofers do not require a lots of space in your vehicle, but they have limitations are limited in the amount of bass they deliver.

Vehicle Specific Subwoofers

These types of subwoofers are specifically designed in order to fit in the small spaces of a compact size cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Car Subwoofer

How to Match Subwoofers and Amplifiers

To get your subwoofer working to its optimal performance, you will need an amplifier if it doesn’t have one built in already. A subwoofers impedance is measured in ohms and an amplifier will output varying power dependent upon the impedance load the subwoofer has.

To get the perfect match you need to achieve the following:

  • Subwoofer OHMS that can handle the Amplifiers watts RMS
  • Amplifier Watts RMS into the Subwoofers OHMS.

Ensure that the amplifier you select is capable of supplying between 75% to 150% of the subwoofers total rating for the system.

If possible, I would always advise sticking to the same brand unless you are need of more power that the brand in question does not offer.

Conclusion

Introducing a car subwoofer with hard hitting bass can make a huge difference. Many cars suffer from lack of bass and this can fairly frustrating if you like to listen to music with deep bass. Most car owners will install either a 10 or 12 inch subwoofer to their car but the placement differs depending on space available.

Our car subwoofer recommendations cover everything from maximum power output, shallow mount and powered subwoofers. Therefore you should be able to find the best car subwoofer that fits your requirements.

What Are Your Thoughts?

  1. Great article. You have reviewed some good car subwoofers. I like the fact that you reviewed the pros and cons for every subwoofer and also that buying guide is great for newbies that want to buy a subwoofer.

  2. I appreciate mentioning the other cheap subwoofers but if you are serious about bass. Stick to the JL Audio products. They are expensive no doubt but that is the car audio game. Good selection in this article!

  3. The JL Audio 12W7AE-3 is just WOW. This is the most powerful subwoofer for bass in your car by a country mile. It shakes the mirrors, door mirrors and even the bonnet somehow. Excellent sub for anyone!

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