best car subwoofer for bass reviews

The Best Car Subwoofer 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. 

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

Best Subwoofer For Cars

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

Depending upon the power the subwoofer is outputting will depend on the amount of work to install it. Powerful subwoofers will require an amplifier, wiring kit and even a new alternator in some cases.

There are various styles and features that audio enthusiasts prefer but upgrading to a powerful subwoofer is a must for those who enjoy heavy bass.

The most common sized subs are 10 inch and 12 inch but deciding between the two is dependent on the space you have available. Below is a list of the best car subwoofers for deep bass that maintain high quality audio.

JL Audio 12W7AE-3 Single Subwoofer

Car Owners that are serious about their bass in their will know that JL Audio are the best subwoofer brand. The 12W7AE3 subwoofer by JL is the best car subwoofer for bass and it does so with a power range of 400-1,000 watts RMS and peak power handling of 2,000 watts.

The 12″ 3-ohm subwoofer is made from the highest quality polypropylene that is surrounded by polyester foam. Using a high quality amplifier to reach the full potential of this subwoofer will ensure maximum bass from the subwoofer.

If you ask any car audio enthusiasts, those that own it will say its the best car subwoofer in the world. There is no denying that its not cheap because its targeted at car owners that want the deepest bass without missing out on high quality audio.

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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. The specification includes a peak power of 5,000 watts and a RMS of 2,500 watts, which are very impressive ratings.

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 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.

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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 very powerful. Thanks to a dual 1,200 watt 12 inch sub enclosure, this subwoofer lives up to its name to provide the bass heads what they want.

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.

Each 12inch subwoofer can handle 200 watts RMS power, resulting in a power level of 400 watts RMS for the entire enclosure. This gives a total max power of 1,200 watts, peak power of 800 watts and 400 watt RMS.

As this is a dual subwoofer the width is slightly larger, so its important that you check the width of your trunk before buying. The overall dimensions of the MTX Audio is 14 x 29 x 13 inches.

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

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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 300 watt amplifier and is ready to go and provide big bass audio to your vehicle.

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 12db low pass crossover, remote bass level control, thermal and over voltage protection, built in bass boost equaliser and more features. It is excellent value for money and comes with the standard one years warranty for peace of mind.

The dimensions of the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch Car Subwoofer are 22 x 14 x 17.3 inches.

In terms of bass, it provides excellent value for the money and is a fraction of the cost compared to the JL Audio 12 Inch Sub. The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is the best cheap 12 inch sub for the money that will not dissapoint.

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JL Audio 10TW3-D4 Shallow Mount Subwoofer

Moving onto the best 10 inch subwoofers for bass bring us to the JL Audio 10TW3-D4. As its a JL Audio speaker, the bass power is huge with a Power Handling RMS of 100-400 watts and Peak Power Handling of 800 watts.

The reason for a shallow subwoofer is due to space. Installing a subwoofer to your vehicle requires adequate space which many sports cars or vehicles that carry object cannot easily achieve.

However, 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 present will never flex under heavy bass. They are the best shallow mount subs you can buy and they are pricey but very worthy for car audio enthusiasts.

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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 is a very popular car subwoofer across the US.

The dimensions of this shallow sub are 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7 (L x W X H) Inches.

The slim design does not affect the deep bass. This Rockville subwoofer pack 800 Watts Peak / 200 Watts RMS with a PWM MOSFET power supply.

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.

It provides a punchy and high quality bass as you would expect by JL Audio. The subwoofer itself has a peak power rating of 600 watts and matched with the built-in amplifier, there is 400 watts RMS.

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 do pay a premium for this.

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KICKER 10TC104 Car Subwoofer

The Kicker 10TC104 is a slim but tall 10 inch subwoofer capable of hitting 300 watt max power rating, 150 watts of RMS power, and an impedance of 4 ohms. The wood enclosure is strong structurally and will take a good beating when located in the trunk.

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.

This product falls inside the mid sized car subwoofer sizing with the dimensions of 22.8 x 16.8 x 8.8 inches. Yes, it will not be super powerful such as the likes of JL Audio alternatives, but it is sure the best cheap car subwoofer compared to many others at the same price.

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Subwoofers Buying Guide

The subwoofer market is very saturated which has its Pros and Cons. The Pros are that the prices are very competitive and manufacturers are going to the highest level to make theirs the best on the market. The Cons are that it can be very difficult to find the best subwoofers for the money.

A high quality subwoofer is often mated to a power car amplifier. Failing to properly give the subwoofer the correct amount of power can result in poor quality to both the subwoofer and coaxial car speakers that you have added.

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 location in the boot which are 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 audio mad car 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 large 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.


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.


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.

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 acheive 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. Finding the best car amplifier

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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