There’s something about listening to music in the car that’s just better than listening to music anywhere else. It might be the freeing feeling of cruising down the highway blasting hip hop, or the solace you take in your favorite folk song when you’re stuck in traffic. Either way, upgrading your car’s sound system is a great way to maximize the enjoyment you get from driving and listening to music.
One of the first things people look to install when upgrading a sound system is the subwoofer, and it’s not hard to see why. Many speakers don’t do bass justice, and getting a separate subwoofer can make your favorite songs sound as big as they deserve. If you want bass that is loud enough to make your teeth vibrate in your skull, a subwoofer can deliver on that booming feeling. But you don’t need an unrelenting desire to rattle the windows of every building you drive by to buy a subwoofer. A subwoofer is simply a great way to make the bass in your favorite songs sound fuller and richer.
Many people choose to install their subwoofer in the trunk of the car, while others choose to place it under the driver’s seat. The size of the sub is one factor that affects placement, and you’ll also want to consider how easy it is to wire the sub to your sound system and how many additional components you’ll need. We’ve prioritized units that are easy to install, such as enclosed subs. These are the ones to get.
1. KICKER – CompC Subwoofer
Kicker makes some great affordable subs for cars, including this option, which consists of both the subwoofer and the enclosure, making setup easier and limiting the amount of extra gear you’d need to buy. It’s compact enough to be placed under or behind a seat, while the 10″ sub offers robust bass to your car’s audio system.
2. Kenwood – Road Series 12″ Subwoofer
This subwoofer from Kenwood consists of just the sub, without the enclosure, so you’ll need to add that in addition to the sub. This can be a good option if you’d like to customize your audio setup. The 12″ sub is a robust yet inexpensive option. As for technical specs, the sub has 85dB sensitivity and a 36-300Hz frequency response.
JBL BassPro Compact Subwoofer
BEST ACTIVE SUBWOOFER
Most of the options on this list are passive, requiring the addition of an amplifier. If you’d prefer an easier all-in-one setup, consider this powered subwoofer from audio leader JBL. It’s a thin, compact option that’s designed to fit under the seat, which is great if you’d rather keep your trunk space free. The 8″ size won’t rattle your windows, but it’ll certainly improve the audio of a stock system.
JBL – GX Series 12″ Subwoofer
JBL is one of the most reputed premium audio brands, and this subwoofer is a great option for anyone who wants to upgrade their car’s audio. It can sustain 1000W of peak power, or 250W RMS (continuous power). The 90dB sensitivity allows this 12″ speaker to produce more precise sound.
KICKER – CompR Dual 10″ Subwoofers with Enclosure
BEST DUAL SUBWOOFERS
Double the subwoofers, double the fun. This option from Kicker includes two 10″ subwoofers, plus the included enclosure, giving you big, booming bass. You don’t need a ton of space to accommodate these subwoofers, though; the enclosure is only 14″ tall, making it easy to place the sub anywhere in your trunk or cabin.
BOSS Audio – Elite 8″ Subwoofer
If you want a truly affordable option, this pick from BOSS will set you back roughly two Jacksons. It doesn’t come with an enclosure, so you’ll need to add that on when setting up your car’s audio system. At 8″, it’s on the smaller side, making it a good option if you want to improve your bass without installing anything too loud.
Sound Ordnance Powered 8″ Subwoofer
A powered subwoofer can be a good option, because you don’t need to add an amplifier to set it up. This option from Sound Ordnance is a compact, 8″ powered subwoofer that you can place in your car’s trunk or under your seat if desired. You can customize it to get the sound you desire, including adjusting the low-pass filter and phase control.
MTX Terminator Subwoofer
This unit includes the housing and the subwoofer itself. There are two speakers, and the maximum power is 1,200 watts. Since everything is included, it’s quick to set up out of the box. Each speaker is 12″, providing big, booming sound for your car. The frequency response is 10Hz to 150Hz
Rockville Active Powered Car Subwoofer Sub
This slim option from Rockville has 800 watts of peak power. It’s slim enough to fit under a car seat, and the subwoofer comes with mounting hardware. The subwoofer has several controls so you can fine-tune your sound.