What You Need to Know to Choose the Best Subwoofer for Car

People these days have been spending more time than ever to drive when traveling to and from work or to any other activity. And more than often we find ourselves relying on music as the only mean of entertainment while driving.

Especially for the music enthusiasts, equipping the vehicle’s audio system with a subwoofer is a deserving investment. This buying guide will thus provide you with all of what you need to know if you want to choose the best subwoofer for car.

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**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.​​​​​

Why Should You Have One?

subwoofer-in-car

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Realistic Music Enthusiast Experience

The design of the car subwoofer makes it dedicated to low-frequency sound augmentation. For this reason, the subwoofer has long been a key component for the car’s audio system to acquire the fullness of sound. And understanding the various quality of the subwoofer will help buyers to make a wise buying decision.

Specialization of Bass Range

The subwoofer does a great job in filtering the bass tone, which can be a challenge for the mid-range speaker. The car stereo cannot produce the full sound as well as the full-size amplifiers. But a subwoofer eliminates the imperceptible sounds and prevents the car from the extreme vibrations that can even shake it up and down.

Distortion Reduction

When the normal speaker cone vibrates as it goes beyond its capacity, the distortion occurs. This problem also associates with the bass range, which may pose an obstacle for the speaker when there are a more power and louder sound. However, a subwoofer, with a broader bass range, can minimize the distortion, allowing for stability against vibration.

Speaker Protection

Subwoofer prevents the speaker from damages when otherwise it cannot handle the high levels of the bass sound register. The maintenance for the crack and tear is thus less necessary. A quality subwoofer can handle the power range to the level that it even allows for precise low-frequency sound replication.

Interior Space Saving

As the bass is non-directional, the subwoofer can deliver the realistic sound experience even when it is installed in the trunk. To put it simply, it’s not like the sound comes from behind you. Instead, you will hear the sound all around you.

How Does It Work?

The components of a subwoofer include dust cap, diaphragm, voice coil, basket, spider, magnet suspension and connecting wire. The basket holds all the other components and the spider holds the voice coil, which connects to the basket.

The voice coil gets the electric charge from the connecting wire to the stereo system. And by back-and-forth movement, it creates the vibration. With the signals from the electric charge and the magnetic field from the magnet suspension, the vibration generates sound waves.

For the sound to be louder, the diaphragm, which moves like a piston, compresses and empties a great amount of air. As a result, the subwoofer helps the car’s audio system work optimally. Simply put, the subwoofer produces bass by moving the air. And every time it moves back and forth, it generates the displacement.

What Features to Consider When Buying a Subwoofer for Your Car?

buying-a-subwoofer

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  • Size - Considering the fact that the space inside the car is not readily available, opting for a suitable physical size of the subwoofer is important for the installation process. Also, if you buy a subwoofer with a mounting depth greater than the space you have in your vehicle, you may end up buying another subwoofer.
  • Enclosure - Sealed enclosure produces deeper bass, ported and bandpass enclosures produce a louder sound. Or else, you can go for a sub without the enclosure, which can be installed right inside the trunk. 
  • Voice Coil – Dual voice coils offer more wiring flexibility, single voice coil provides easy hookup options when wiring subwoofer parallelly or in series. And quad voice coil equals to two dual voice coil, which offers, even more, wiring capability.
  • Cone Material – Paper cones produce more natural sounding bass, but they are not as durable as the polypropylene. Some premium subwoofers equipped with titanium cones, which is supremely durable with competitive quality.
  • Power – The best subwoofer is not the one that is expensive, but it needs to have everything appropriate to the car. The power is thus not an exception. It’s crucial to choose a subwoofer having the RMS that matches with the amplifier.
  • Sensitivity – When it comes to a subwoofer, bigger does not mean better. Instead, using a proper type of enclosure and high sensitive rating can have even bigger impacts. Higher sensitivity rating means less power to produce better sound.
  • Frequency & Impedance – Frequency is the range of sound that the subwoofer can generate. Lower the range is, deeper the bass it can produce. Impedance is also an important feature while looking for a subwoofer. It refers to the electrical resistance of the subwoofer.

Top 5 Best Subwoofers to Equip Your Car With


CT Sound Bio – A cost-effective subwoofer with decent quality

Via Amazon.com

CT Sound Bio seems to be the best subwoofer that comes with a quite powerful system at a cost-effective price. The steel molded basket makes the audio output more stable and consistent.

Also, the copper wire connecting to the voice coil facilitates the function of the diaphragm, which helps to produce a strong and untamed sound. CT Sound Bio has many options for size, enclosure and voice coil.

Both sealed and vented enclosures are in high-quality, which fits the diverse preference. Additionally, CT Sound Bio has two options for the size, which are 10” and 12”. The voice coil is also available in both single and dual format.

Depending on the specific needs and want, it’s easy to choose from the collection of subwoofers of CT Sound Bio. Single or dual, 10” or 12”, sealed or vented, it has everything for you.

Pros
  • Diversity of options for size, enclosure and number of voice coils
  • Supreme affordability
  • Strong and sturdy basket
  • Good quality bass on a budget
  • Good and long-lasting reputation in the market
  • Many positive testimonials
  • True RMS ratings
Cons
  • Lack of clean bass
  • Not quite suitable for rock songs and hard beats
  • Low-range power

CT Sound Bio is a 150W subwoofer with maximum 300W power. And with the diversity in the options for its specs, this subwoofer is a great choice for those who want to have many choices to consider. And if you are looking for a cost-effective subwoofer with decent power, the CT Sound Bio is definitely on top of the priority.



Pioneer TSW311D4  - Innovative inside out

Via Amazon.com

Pioneer TSW311D4 is a 12-inch. Subwoofer with dual 4-ohm voice coils. A few notes about its material, this subwoofer comes with the composite seamless cone, high-quality elastic surround, and steel basket.

In a comparison with the CT Sound Bio, this one is definitely an upgrade. Its RMS is also higher with power handling goes up to 400 watts, and peak power handling is 1,400 watts. It’s fair to say that this subwoofer is a strong and durable audio equipment for any car.

What out stands the Pioneer from other brands is probably the cone. With the rigid dust cap, it can excellently prevent the wear and tear when the sound pressure is at the high levels. The spider assembly also adds to its value, which is leading in reproducing accurate bass.

The design of the spider helps it to reduce vibrations, which enhance the playback respond and allows for high linearity. The Pioneer TSW311D4 seems to rely mostly on its design and structure to acquire the favor from the customers.

Pros
  • Durable and sturdy structure
  • High-quality materials
  • Independent design of the spider for better overall performance
  • Strong and rigid cone
  • Stiff single-piece basket
  • Good cooling and ventilation system
  • Aesthetically appealing appearance
Cons
  • Hard plastic in the front, which may cause tears when playing loud sounds
  • Power rating is not always true

Pioneer TSW311D4 fits all genres of music, which is a great supplement for the car’s sound system. It is a strong subwoofer with a decent pricing. And with the dual 4-ohm voice coils, it allows for deep bass playback. It is the best subwoofer in terms of consistent performance and durability.



Rockford Fostage P3 – An iconic "Punch"

Via Amazon.com

The Rockford Fostage P3 is a 12-inch subwoofer. Belongs to the Punch P3 Series, it has the peak power handling of 1,200 watts. It has two options for the impedance – 2-ohm and 4-ohm, and the mounting depth goes up to 6.66 inches.

With the parabolic cone design and the large motor assemblies, this Rockford Fostage is capable of delivering loud, deep, and aggressive bass. And maybe because of its ability, the manufacturer named the series as Punch.

The Rockford Fostage P3 is equipped with many innovative components. Specifically, it has the anodized aluminum voice coil formers, which offers the excellence in heat dissipation. The power handling reaches the CEA-2031 standard, allowing for consistency in power handling.

Last but very not least, the innovativeness also presents in the FlexiFit basket, stitched tinsel leads, and the Vertical Attach Surround Technique. The design serves the ultimate purpose of delivering the optimum reliability and performance of the device.

Pros
  • Two options for dual voice coils
  • Excellent overheating prevention
  • Good bass response
  • Easy to install
  • Hassle-free bass adjustment
  • Good functionality of distortion reduction
  • Innovative design
Cons
  • Uncompetitive frequency and sensitivity
  • Limited capability to provide well-round and clear bass notes

The Rockford Fostage is the best subwoofer considering the availability of dual coil impedance options. And if what you need is a subwoofer that can play loudly and strongly, this one is a great choice. It is a powerful subwoofer without much distortion.



JBL GT-BassPro 12 – The "man of steel" of the industry

Via Amazon.com

Unlike many brands which prefer steel for the basket material, the JBL GT-BassPro 12 utilizes die-cast aluminum. This material is believed to deliver more solid sounds in almost all conditions. With the 12-inch size, this subwoofer is a large equipment with edgy design.

JBL GT-BassPro 12 is the best subwoofer regarding its the distortion-free quality. With the slipstream port, it does a great job in removing the noise and delivering the bass at a high output level.

It’d be a mistake if we ignore the system optimization inside this subwoofer. The enclosure and the slipstream port match perfectly with the amplifier. As a result, whether it is input level, bass boost, low bass or phase control, the JBL GT-BassPro 12 always provides the clear sounds.

The JBL GT-BassPro 12 also comes with signal-sensing to automatically turn on and off when the speaker sends the signal. This feature eliminates the need for the remote turn-on wire whenever the system utilizes the speaker level inputs.

Pros
  • Die-cast aluminum basket for more solid sounds
  • Automatic on/off
  • Superior mechanical reliability and power
  • High-output and low-distortion bass
  • High-quality slipstream port for deeper bass
  • High-class motor-structure ventilation
  • Progressive spider for more control over the motion of the cone
Cons
  • Can be a little bit bulky for some cars
  • Miss the bass sometimes

The JBL GT-BassPro 12 features a high-value subwoofer with high-quality materials and consistently powerful performance. This subwoofer best fits those with high demand for distortion-free bass at the high output levels. It is also a convenient subwoofer with the availability of the automatic on/off features.



MTX Audio TNP212D2  - A luxury but definitely worth it

Via Amazon.com

For some buyers, the MTX Audio TNP212D2 can be a luxury. But this subwoofer is truly worth its weight in gold. Many testimonials have praised it as a car’s audio equipment with incomparable listening experience.

The MTX Audio TNP212D2 consists of a dual 12-inch subwoofer enclosure and a mono block amplifier. The amplifier generates 150 watts x 1 at 4 ohms and 250 x 4 watts at 2 ohms. The subwoofer delivers 40 Hz – 400 Hz range for sound shaping, with 1,200 watts max power.

The two pieces of the MTX Audio TNP212D2 altogether ensures the optimum performance of sound delivery. Also, it offers a durable and consistent performance over time, saving a great deal for maintenance and repairing.

Despite being a sophisticated audio equipment, this subwoofer is very easy to install and connect any source, even the factory radio.

Pros
  • Eye-catching covering material
  • Easy to install and control
  • High power sound output
  • High-value bundle of 2 pieces
  • Accurate sound reproduction
  • No noticeable distortion or coloration
  • Excellent sound boosting feature
Cons
  • May require separate power amplifier
  • The speaker will blow when the voltage surpasses the recommended level

For those who are looking for a luxurious subwoofer, the MTX Audio TNP212D2 should be the choice. It has all the premium features that match with its pricing. Overall, this subwoofer is a high-value investment for your car’s audio system.

Final thoughts

Equipping your car with a quality subwoofer helps to protect the car’s audio system while delivering a better sound experience. However, the best subwoofer for car doesn’t need to be the most expensive one. Instead, it should be the one that best fits your vehicle, your requirements, and your budget.

The five recommendations above hopefully make your buying decision. But if you want my answer for the one should win, here you have it. If there is only one I can choose, I’ll definitely go for the Rockford Fostage P3D4 12.

The reason is simple, it is a high-value package with great affordability. I had it connected to my Precision Power P1000.1, and the sub seems to rattle my car. The bass controller is cool, which saves a lot of my effort when adjusting the bass. Overall, it is such a “punch” with a great price.

Anthony Ebden
 

He's an auto blogger. He worked as an auto mechanic for more than 5 years and his mission is to provide our readers with the best car maintenance tips, DIY guides and the most updated trends in the automotive industry.

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