If you’re a film buff or a music lover, you’ll know the importance of deep, loud bass, whether that’s a T. Rex roar in Jurassic Park or a T. Rex bassline from “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” That’s why subwoofers can be the most exciting purchase for anyone setting up their home audio system — subwoofers capture the most exciting moments in movies and reproduce the rich sound of songs. Every aspect of home technology has been touched by the smart home revolution, and that of course extends to subwoofers.
From Bluetooth to WiFi, newer subwoofer releases are increasingly integrating with smart-home technology. Before running down the best options in the market, it’s worth getting familiar with some terms you’re likely to encounter. Knowing the differences between active and passive or wireless and wired, for example, will help make your decision easier.
Active vs. Passive Subwoofer
Active and passive are two terms that come up a lot when it comes to speakers, and you can find both active and passive subwoofers. Active, or powered subwoofers have a built-in amplifier. This eliminates the need to connect them to an amplifier, reducing the amount of equipment you need to buy. Active subwoofers are also typically more powerful than passive. For smaller spaces, some prefer passive subwoofers, because of their reduced power and their smaller size. For the average consumer, active speakers will be easier to set up, which is why they’re the most popular choice.
Wireless vs. Wired Subwoofer
A wired subwoofer is pretty much what it sounds like, but the term “wireless subwoofer” can lead to some confusion. Wireless subwoofers connect to your speakers or TV without the need to run speaker wire across the room. This opens up greater possibilities for sub placement. However, wireless subwoofers still need to plug into a power source, so they aren’t wireless in the same way a Bluetooth speaker is.
We’ve rounded up some of the best subwoofers, including wireless options and subwoofers that are specifically designed for home theater setups.
1. Sony – Core Series 10-Inch Active Subwoofer
While you may have a hard time getting your hands on Sony’s most desired product, you can at least satisfy yourself with their great audio equipment (plus, those PS5 games will sound so much better with a sub when you finally can get your hands on one). This reasonably-priced sub is 10 inches, offering robust sound for your home setup. It’s an active speaker, and it has a 28-200 Hz range and 84 dB sensitivity. It’s a versatile option for either movies or music.
2. Klipsch 12-Inch 400W Powered Subwoofer
For something a little more powerful, this option from Klipsch is 12 inches and 200W RMS (continuous power). The 29hZ – 120hZ frequency response provides a rich range of sound with less distortion. You can also adjust the volume independently, ensuring you won’t overpower your speakers. If you choose to remove the cover, the copper-colored speaker will make an eye-catching addition to your audio setup.
3. Polk Audio 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer
Polk is a solid brand for anyone looking for affordable audio equipment, and this $200 10-inch subwoofer is a simple, reliable powered option to add to your home audio setup. It’s easy to set up, and the independent volume control and variable low-pass filter make it easier to fine-tune your audio settings for the best possible mix.
4. Monoprice 60-Watt Powered Subwoofer
BEST 8-INCH SUBWOOFER
Many of the options on this list are 10 and 12 inches, but maybe you’re looking for something a little more compact. This 8-inch sub will improve your TV or stereo system’s sound without making your teeth rattle. The fact that it’s powered and has a variety of input options make it easy to set up. You can make adjustments using the crossover filter to get the sound you want.
5. Roku Wireless Subwoofer 10-Inch 125W
BEST FOR STREAMING
Keeping your smart tech in the same family can help ensure it integrates more seamlessly, so if you have a Roku soundbar and Roku streaming stick, consider adding Roku’s wireless subwoofer to your setup. It has a sleek and unique design, owing to its integrated feet and matte black exterior. It’s wireless, making it easier to set up and place.
6. Sonos – Sub Wireless Subwoofer
While many subs are hidden out of view, this is one subwoofer that you’ll definitely want to leave out in the open. It comes in white or black, and the middle of the square unit has a cutout, giving it a distinct and futuristic look. The cutout isn’t just for looks, though. The innovative design uses force-canceling drivers to cut down on distortion and fuzz, giving you a rich bass sound without the distortion. The Sonos subwoofer is also a lot slimmer than other options, making placement easier in small spaces.
7. JBL – 10-Inch 150W Wireless Powered Subwoofer
BEST FOR JBL USERS
JBL remains a top brand for audio equipment, and if you’re looking for a reliable wireless speaker that isn’t too expensive, this sub-300 subwoofer is a worthwhile investment. It’s worth noting that this is designed as a companion for the JBL Link Bar — it’s not designed for other speakers. But if you have the Link Bar, this is a great add-on that will keep your home theater and audio setup streamlined.
8. SVS – 12-Inch 550W Powered Subwoofer
BEST FOR AUDIOPHILES
This premium option from SVS is a solid investment pick for audio obsessives or home theater perfectionists. The powerful 12-inch subwoofer delivers robust sound, and since it’s powered, it’s easy to quickly set up. You can also fine-tune settings on the subwoofer using the Bluetooth app, so you don’t have to tinker behind your media stand anytime you want to make small adjustments.