Audio quality is one thing everyone appreciates, particularly the intricate details of a particular song, or movie experience. While many people are okay with typical speakers, introducing subwoofers can take any audio sound experience to an altogether different level.
Selecting the right audio speakers can be extremely difficult, especially when you’re bombarded with so many options to choose from, and many of them are available with nearly the same features. So to help, I’m going to talk about the top 12 inch subwoofers that I have personally tested.
As a bit of a music enthusiast, myself, I fully understand the challenges you may face when searching out the ideal subwoofer. For that reason, I’ve assembled a listing of my favorite 12-inch subs that will help you select the best one for your specific needs.
Our favorite is the MTX Terminator because it has the perfect combination of price and features, making it an awesome choice for pretty much any requirement.
The other subs also excel in so many areas, so finding your perfect one will depend on your specific needs. Read on and we will tell you why these ten 12 inch subwoofers stand out from the sea of competitors.
Best 12 Inch Subwoofers for Your Money
Click the ‘More Details’ buttons above for detailed specifications for each product, or read our reviews of each of the top 10 vehicle 12 inch subwoofers available in 2018.
MTX Terminator – Best on the Market
I’ll start off with what I believe is the Best 12 inch sub being sold today – MTX Terminator
This is a very affordable way to solve the problem of a vehicle sound system that lacks good bass. The MTX subwoofer is designed as a great all-rounder and will fit most peoples requirements.
It’s designed to be portable, with sufficient protection to adjust to the motions experienced with a moving automobile and they sound great when installed in a vehicles trunk.
On top of that, they’re so light-weight, you’ll find they’re incredibly portable and simple to move.
One issue that big subs can suffer from is heating, especially if you are on a long car journey over many hours.
In order to eliminate this problem, these particular speakers are designed using Spider Plateau Venting. It’s a cooling down process that helps to keep the air around the voice coils, clean.
I’ve got no complaints at all concerning the quality of the bass. It’s really loud and has a presence that’s extremely impressive and it is designed to add a 2-ohm load onto any amp you connect to it.
I especially loved the look of this product. It’s classically simple and will easily fit in anywhere you want it to.
They were my own very first 12-inch subwoofers so if you’re just driving into this particular field, it’s a great product to get started with.
If you’re planning on replacing your current setup, I need to point out that this subwoofer is mostly for beginners in the audio game, entry level. It features excellent sound, however, if you have more experience you may want something a little more impressive.
Video Review and Installation Guide
- They’re very lightweight
- They feature polypropylene dust caps
- 1200 w maximum power load
- These subwoofers are entry-level
More DetailsBecause these were my intro to subwoofers, I have a very special fondness for them. Although, once I upgraded it, I found better sound quality, the MTX Terminator still provides decent bass that give a distinctive sound to your audio.
Rockford Fosgate – Best for Deep Bass
The Rockford Fosgate is best when it comes to deep bass and is a really refined product that is built to excite experienced bass lovers.
Very different from the MTX Terminator, it’s available in a conical design, which is meant to improve the longevity of the product.
Even when being used on full power the speaker will dissipate heat while keeping your subwoofer cool thanks to its exceptional power management capabilities. It features voice coils that are shielded and can easily withstand a hefty load for as long as you’d like. So you do not have to worry about overly stressing the sub and can play it for hours on long journeys.
Not only that, every single angle of this product is designed to withstand substantial usage for long periods of time. It held up for many years in one of our test rigs, before needing to be changed out.
I was able to complete the installation on my own, and quickly, so this should not pose a challenge for the vast majority of folk. It’s extremely simple to install and your screws, rather than securing the woofer into a set angle, may be altered whenever you need to.
Aside from defects caused in the manufacturing process, there’s no such design defect in the style of this product. I’d happily name it the top bass subwoofer I’ve used and tend to find this the case with most Rockford Fossgate speakers. Excellent quality.
- 4-ohm amp
- Power handling capabilities of 1200 watts
- The mounting is easily adjustable
- I don’t have any weaknesses to report about this product
More DetailsThis is a very impressive woofer. The single conical speaker was adequate enough to produce a lot more bass than normal. It is especially good for any heavy bass enthusiasts.
Pioneer TS W3003D4 – Best for Cars
Basically, we are able to use any woofer in a car, as long as it’s sturdy and transportable enough. However, there’s something about this particular sub that’s designed to be installed into a truck, SUV or car.
One of the most practical aspects of this woofer is it can be wired based on your specific needs. They can be wired together or separately, depending on your needs/setup, making them very flexible but also meaning you can upgrade the system at a later date.
The spider design improves its life span. This shields the woofers from being damaged during operation and over prolonged periods of use.
The actual bass is fine, it does the job well enough, its just not the best that I’ve ever tried.
Having said that, the overall maximum power capability for these subwoofers is really outstanding. It can easily handle as much as 2000 Watts of power and features a decent frequency response of 20 ~ 80 Hertz.
I personally believe that since it is available in a set, not only does it take up more room, but it is harder to setup as well. Just one woofer or a sub that’s within a single housing is much simpler to relocate or install.
However, having said all that, since you’d be installing them in a vehicle, it would likely be a long-term fixture. Therefore, that shouldn’t become too big an issue.
- It’s suitable for trucks, SUVs and cars
- Peak power levels of around 2000 watts
- Frequency range is very good at 20 ~ 80 Hz
- Excellent Spider Design
- It’s really not very portable
More DetailsWhile I’ve certainly had better, these really aren’t bad. It’s very affordable, can be installed in your vehicle and has pretty good bass sound.
It might not be so easy to transport like one of the single enclosure models or may be a conical woofer, however, it needs significantly less room too.
Dual Electronics – Best Under $100
The first time I saw this particular woofer I loved the electric black and blue color combination. It really adds some visual appeal to your space along with some great sounding bass.
Really, it is due to the awesome Illuminite light system these subwoofers are fitted with. It is packaged in a closed box along with 2 compartments.
If the effect gets a bit much and you just want to listen to some music, you can simply switch the lighting off, no problem.
I think you’ll find that the acoustics you get from these speakers is really very good. Especially for this price. The acoustic chamber is tuned by computer and adds a lot of depth to the audio output which thanks to the way the subs are designed, makes for very nice bass output.
The carpeted housing is sturdy and offers good protection to the subs. Additionally, because it’s a single enclosure, it’s much easier to transport compared Pioneer.
The volume capacity is fairly high when compared to some other subs within this price bracket. However, personally, I think peak power capability is less than a few of the alternatives that I have tested in this guide.
At most, these subwoofers will be able to handle 1100 Watts of power with a RMS capacity of 600 Watts.
- Durable and also well-protected
- Illuminite lighting which can be turned off
- Very affordable price tag
- The acoustic chamber is tuned by computer
- Power handling capabilities are low
More DetailsIt becomes evident pretty quickly that these are not exactly the best subs on the market. Having said that, I wouldn’t avoid a trial run either. It really works very well and provides excellent bass. Although, you have to be reasonable and understand that the sound quality correlates to the low cost.
If you would like to have great audio but are on a very tight budget, this subwoofer could be exactly what you need.
Soundstream T5 – Best Under $200
Personally, I find conical designed woofers much more appealing and this is definitely one more that offers a lot more than just visual appeal.
Its not all about aesthetics, sound and price are huge factors, so when you take into account the price tag for the Soundstream T5, it will likely jump onto everyones shortlist.
This subwoofer is built to last and from personal experience I have been pleasantly surprised that mine is still cranking out the bass a couple of years after I bought it. Even after all the moves it has been through.
It features a capacity to resist overheating because of the nicely molded polypropylene that’s built right into the paper cone.
Only a few woofers are able to handle 900 Watts RMS, so the actual RMS power managing capacity on this subwoofer, is, actually, greater than other far more pricey items.
Another positive for this subwoofer is that it has a broader frequency range which was an unexpected characteristic, but certainly a good one.
- 2-ohm subwoofer
- It can handle 900 watts RMS
- The lowest peak power management capability
More DetailsThis speaker was purchased specifically for a truck installation so whilst it might not crank out the bass to fill a good size room, it is awesome in a smaller, enclosed environment.
Pioneer TS-W311D4 – Best for the Money
I couldn’t help including one more Pioneer audio product and after trying these I have to say I was beyond pleased.
This particular woofer is available in just a single woofer and it’s in the shape of a cone within a basket. Which makes it convenient to transport and also easy to install.
There’s a particular stiffness within the design that contributes to the overall feel of quality and durability. That is mostly because of the single piece cone, drive cone and robust dust cap.
You can turn the volume all the way to 11 without worrying that the woofer is going to have an issue.
It’s built with the spider assembly that improves the already superior quality of your bass sound. To help add even more style, the assembly is set on the spider holder rather than inside a basket.
This cuts down on the vibrations that frequently interfere with your audio quality. This further improved via the use of a single basket design.
In order to improve the durability, it also has an ample amount of airflow for ventilation. This enables the woofer to cool down when played at high volume over a long period of time.
This really is yet another subwoofer that I found virtually no problems with. Excellent product from Pioneer, especially when you consider the low price.
Pioneer TS-W311D4 Video Review
- Ventilated subwoofers
- Sturdy single cone design
- Rigid structure
- Spider Assembly
- There simply are no weaknesses with this product
More DetailsWe really enjoyed this product. It will last a lot longer than just about any of the other speakers and it delivers flawless bass all the time.
Plus it sports a beautiful compact design, all at a price that is highly affordable.
Kenwood KFC-W3016PS – Best for the Price
This really is another of many special gems in Kenwood’s Performance line of speakers. It’s the 12″, 4-ohm sub, that sports a distinctive polypropylene cone.
This cone is reinforced by a rubberized surround to ensure the speakers cone excursion will be accommodated.
The maximum power load is about 400W RMS along with a high maximum power load of around 2000 Watts, this is a solid purchase if you want to create a party atmosphere on a long road trip.
Kenwood KFC features a nice Square array design that stops the cone warping, even when you crank up the bass.
An excellent lower frequency output is attained simply by boosting the cone area and keeping the area of the cutout consistent. This unique sub also comes with what they call their Stress-free spider, along with a dual venting system.
Collectively, they increase the durability of the speakers and also discharge the heat through the sides and back of the speaker in order to help keep it operating flawlessly for very long listening sessions.
The Kenwood KFC frequency range is about 27 ~ 300 Hertz with sensitivity being approximately 82 dB. This subwoofer is easily installed in the smallest spaces due to its small 1.25 cubit ft size, so perfect for any size vehicle.
We also suggest the 12″ BBox Single Sub Enclosure along with this particular woofer.
- Can handle a lot of power
- Wallet-friendly pricing
- Very good thermal and mechanical durability
- Solid, sturdy design
- Low sensitivity compared to some others
More DetailsI think the thing that makes these speakers great is that the quality of the bass holds up well if you’re far away from the vehicle. If you’re working within a tight budget this may just turn out to be the perfect subwoofer for you.
The smooth design will fit seamlessly into your vehicle, no matter what model.
Power Acoustik BAMF-122 – Best Car Audio
Just when you felt that a subwoofer couldn’t get much better, now Power Acoustik has launched their BAMF line of audio speakers that have proved us completely wrong.
Power Acoustik claim a highest power load handling of about 3500W and a RMS power load handling of around 1750 Watts. However, I was only able to squeeze out just 1000 Watts RMS during actual tests, so keep this in mind when considering this sub.
To improve power handling, 3″, 4 level voice coils are used which also reduces the temperature to a great extent. The actual voice coils are stitched-in which will prevent possible damage.
This particular subwoofer comes with an extra-large motor design that improves the magnetic strength of the subwoofer, much more than you would assume.
The actual cones are constructed from the pulp of Spruce trees and also have expanded foam surround so you get that absolutely perfect bass sound production, Ultra-violet protection, as well as chemical protection.
The framework is the non-magnetic and non-resonate type, which works to stop outside magnetic loss. High-temperature threshold adhesives provide added reassurance against thermal problems.
We also strongly suggest that you pick up the 12” BBox Single Sub Enclosure along with this particular subwoofer.
Power Acoustik BAMF-122 Video Review
- Large motor structure
- Features a superb balance of sound production
- Generates higher magnetic inertia
- Chemical and UV protection
- Could be considered expensive
More DetailsConcerned about the power load this subwoofer can handle? That’s not a problem at all here. This one is the clear winner with regards to managing the sound load, and works flawlessly in severe conditions.
Furthermore, the subs are durably constructed plus the really deep bass that it generates improves the musical experience.
Planet Audio AC12D – Best for Sealed Box
Planet Audio created the AC12D Anarchy woofer remembering the various enclosures that a subwoofer might be put into.
Recommended enclosure options is usually either a vented sealed box or a ported box. With dual 2”, 4-ohm lightweight aluminum voice coils, these speakers are awesome in terms of bass sound production.
It has a max power handling capacity of around 1800W and the RMS power capacity is 900W. This particular subwoofer is designed to truly rule your truck, SUV or car.
The well-designed polypropylene cone does a great job of enhancing the quality of your audio with a foam surround.
This is a subwoofer that can fit in just about any vehicle due to its small design and footprint.
- Small size
- Dual voice coils
- Reasonable price
- Low sensitivity could be an issue
More DetailsThis is a really good sub for a spacious vehicle. If you’re looking for something you won’t have to spend a fortune on, then the Planet Auto AC12D might be just what you’re looking for.
Another benefit of this product is that is very easily to install with its customisable trim ring.
BOSS Audio CXX12 – Best Subwoofer Speakers
I replaced the old subwoofers in my old truck with these. That was a good few years ago and I haven’t had one single issue with these speakers since.
You’ll want to give these subs some break-in time or the sound output won’t be great. At first, I wasn’t sure getting these speakers was a good idea, but as it turned out the sound was incredible. The way it fills the entire cab with deep, rich bass is something a lot of other speakers simply aren’t able to do.
For what you’ll pay for these, any negatives are easily overlooked. Then there’s the compact, portable design and the fact that they’re also super easy to install.
- Deep bass
- Outstanding sound at low frequency
- Easy Installation
- The audio cracks a little, but only when played at higher volumes
More DetailsSpeakers by BOSS are a much better alternative than those factory subs.
What really sets these apart is that the bass, which is so soothing when played low. At the price it sells for it’s one of the best options available on the market.
12 Inch Subwoofers Buying Guide
Have you ever stared in amazement at a movie on the big screen whilst being shaken by the booming sound of the music and effects?
It’s a specialized subwoofer that makes that happen. These devices were introduced in the 1960’s to enhance theater systems that were being installed in private homes.
However, folk often have a lot of questions as to what a subwoofer is, how it works and what the terminology means, so they can find the best option for their specific needs. So to help, I created this buyers guide to answer some frequently asked questions.
Subwoofer Parts Explained
What makes up a subwoofer? Why are they important? Does it matter if your sub does not have all the fancy bits? Take a look at this video explaining everything you need to know about subs and why all of the components are important if you want great sound.
So, what’s the purpose of subwoofers?
A subwoofer is a speaker that’s made to generate the lower pitch sound frequencies, also referred to as bass sound. The typical range of frequencies for a subwoofer is around 20 to 200 Hertz.
A subwoofer is made up of at least one woofer that is placed within the wooden speaker housing.
Those that are used inside private homes aren’t usually as potent or impactful as the ones found in movie theaters. If set up and utilized properly, a subwoofer speaker can be quite convenient and effective.
If you’d like to enhance the sound of your vehicle, you could put in a 12-inch subwoofer with an amp and you’ll be ready to have the party right inside your car!
A subwoofer is often a vital component in a home entertainment system which, apart from boosting the overall sound quality that is produced by this speaker, also enhances the visual appeal of the personal space.
What’s a Powered Subwoofer?
Subwoofers might serve numerous functions, acoustic suspension, bass reflex and a few more that help with the audio created by a home theater. A subwoofer will come in two categories, the powered variety or the passive subwoofer.
Active subwoofers, also known as Powered subs, have a built-in amp that’s contained within the audio system. The amp manages all power issues that are normally found within any common woofer.
A self-contained loudspeaker is constructed to fit the actual frequencies with the woofer since both are enclosed within the exact same box.
Most often Powered subwoofer speakers are the most popular choice with consumers as they provide a lot more power and much better sound. In addition, the setup of most powered subwoofers features a single connection from your home entertainment system which allows greater personalization of audio.
This cable also links the output of your surround sound supply and cuts down on the strain of the loudspeaker significantly. Almost all home theater systems have a line output pre-amp unit specifically created for just a powered subwoofer.
What’s a Passive Audio Subwoofer?
A passive subwoofer is the complete opposite of a powered or active powered sub. To begin with, they don’t have the amp and also must be attached to another audio speaker for creating additional umph.
This kind of subwoofer is considered to be passive because they have to get their power from another supply, very much like the original audio system you’ll find at home.
Be sure that power provided by your amp is sufficient enough to support a subwoofer and generate the necessary bass effects without depleting the external units power supply.
You can simply connect the amp directly to the subwoofers using an audio wire or use the line output from the theater for the external sub.
Passive subs are often wall-mounted, custom-made, or any other compact setup would be an example of a passive subwoofer.
What does the term active subwoofer really mean?
Active sub is essentially a powered bass speaker, which is the complete opposite of a passive subwoofer system. Regarded as the most commonly found forms of speakers on the market, active Subwoofers do not need an outside connection.
The unit comes with a built-in amp that is positioned in the actual framework so that it produces much better quality of sound and a more pronounced bass effect.
Because the amp and subwoofer are enclosed within the exact same cabinet, there’s no need to have external power. This framework will work beautifully with a home entertainment and sound system.
Active subwoofers may also be placed in vehicles or closed areas for much better impact. It’s a single cable link which connects the loudspeaker to the woofer that saves you a great deal of power, plus it permits the best personalization of the audio settings.
If it’s louder, more and better bass you’re seeking you’ll want to get yourself an active subwoofer.
An active sub is usually the most cost effective route as well.
What is the actual difference between Subwoofers and Woofers?
There really isn’t a lot of difference when comparing the two. They’re both made to create low-frequency sounds.
Subs are usually products which cover a smaller bass range of about 20 ~ 200 Hertz, and the installation generally consists of multiple woofers which are placed in a big speaker enclosure. The woofer generates the low-frequency sound, while a subwoofer gives full attention to the smaller musical notes.
Subs target a small sector of the whole low-frequency range.
Subwoofers are usually far more efficient at moving massive quantities of air and deals well with extreme pressure in order to give off soundwaves at a reduced frequency and speed with no reduction in the high quality and level of the audio that is generated.
Vehicle owners typically add subwoofers to improve the sound quality of their speaker. Woofers, however, manage a larger range of lower frequency audio notes, and so the sound generated by a subwoofer may not be as impactful.
What’s a Subwoofer Box?
Quality of the audio and the bass sounds made by the subwoofer do not only rely on the amp or loudspeaker that is connected to the systems framework.
A solid, durable and properly built enclosure is normally your best option in order to get the ideal performance.
With no enclosure, any sound released in the rear of the loudspeaker cancels the low frequency sounds and bass. Different kinds of subwoofers are able to make different kinds of bass sounds dependent on the building materials that are used.
For example, closed boxes make a much deeper, thicker and sharper sound that’s not particularly booming, however, they create a powerful effect nevertheless.
- Ported boxes make a far more powerful bass and therefore are great for audio like heavy metal and rock tunes.
- Bandpass boxes provide optimum effect because the loudspeakers are placed within dual chambers. In this configuration one is sealed and the other has a port.
These enclosures are constructed with wood because that’s what provides optimum air resistance. It is also able to withstand high-pressure.
Down-firing -vs- Front-firing Subwoofers
Position of the woofers will also play a major role in defining the audio quality and overall quality of the audio output of the unit. The lower frequency audio notes are not as influenced by the pressure of the air.
You actually don’t always need to put the subs in the front of your speakers. Having said that, if you wish to put the unit close to the speaker, put the woofers in a front-firing location.
It is advisable to put the subwoofer on the side known as the down-firing side because the audio generated is a lot more distinct and clear. Plus, the lower frequency notes are dispersed all around the space.
Ported -vs- Sealed Subwoofers
The sealed enclosures tend to be air-tight and provide a strong precise, crystal clear bass. Also referred to as acoustic suspensions setup. This type of enclosure does not allow any sort of air to move through.
However, in terms of effectiveness, a sealed, boxed subwoofer won’t be as good as a ported sub. The sealed subwoofers need additional power in order to generate the very same quality of bass sounds versus the ported types.
A ported framework offers distinctive vents which strengthen your bass. Ported subs don’t have the hard driving punch that most sealed enclosures are going to offer you. Both ported and sealed systems give you high-quality audio, sealed subs are perfect for enjoying jazz music, classical along with the traditional acoustic music.
With regard to rock, EMD and hip-hop fanatics, any ported subwoofer style will be a very suitable choice.
Wireless -vs- Wired Woofer Kits
Woofers that come standard in automobiles are sometimes wireless, while the ones that are installed along with home theater systems really should be wired. Any wired subwoofer will require that you have an extra cable in order to connect the speaker into your receiver.
What are Bass Reflex Subwoofers?
Bass reflex subwoofers are also referred to as a vented box or ported subwoofer. They’re known for a porthole cut directly into the actual cabinet portion of the housing. Using this opening a piece of a pipe is then attached.
Reflex ports are a special characteristic included in a bass reflex sub that allows the creation of the lowest possible audio frequencies with no reduction in the quality of your bass sound.
Inside the bass reflex speaker, the back of the subwoofer cone is sent through the open port which consequently reinforces the bass output from the unit.
These slots placed in both the front as well as the back of the speaker cabinet. They will vary in both diameter and depth based on the range and scale of the loudspeaker.
A bass reflex audio speaker curves the lower frequencies and adds some much-needed power and punch to your sound effect.
What Is a Subwoofer Pre-out?
In plain terms, pre-out refers to a type of system in which audio waves send only audio data along to your subwoofers. It is an line-level output that does not have any kind of power amplification.
The subwoofer needs to have an amp. Your pre-out ports fixed in the rear of your enclosure only receive audio signals that are the output signal and it’s hooked up to the powered speaker.
After the sub is linked all of the higher frequency notes will be slashed, leaving behind only bass signals. If you’re dealing with passive speakers, you’d need a good external amp to produce the actual audio.
Pre-outs generate balanced line-out variations of the exact same audio generated by the audio speaker.
What is Watts RMS?
Root mean square, also known as RMS, is really a power rating that is used to accurately measure the amount of energy that the amp can create and a loudspeaker is equipped for.
Typically useful for gauging current or voltage, it’s a measurement which tests the scale of audio generated within a subwoofer.
Audio energy is calculated in watts. How much electricity that’s received through the speaker.
Watt RMS in subs relates to the maximum point the voltage will probably get to while in waveform. Basically, the watt RMS is the ongoing audio or energy any woofer can generate.
Measuring RMS is usually more accurate in comparison with other measurements. It is used to measure the highest possible sound power the unit is equipped for without causing damage to your speaker or causing distortion in the audio generated.
What Is the Difference between RMS and Peak Watts?
Peak and RMS Watt is actually the most used units of measure when assessing the power of an audio speaker.
Root mean square (RMS) signifies the ongoing power any loudspeaker will be able to handle and peak watt signifies the highest possible power a loudspeaker is able to make use of in short jolts.
It’s essentially the highest possible level of power that a woofer can deal with for a short instant without causing damage to the speakers or enclosure. You’ll want to take a look at both, the peak power and the power of the woofer prior to buying.
How Many Watts Do You Need for a Car Subwoofer?
Automobile audio speakers tend to be smaller and need a small subwoofer normally 8 to 10” wide that will produce enough sound and not damage the audio speaker or the quality of your music.
For your vehicle, the highest power range necessary for a sub is around 450 ~ 900 watts when you install 2 subwoofers with each having an RMS watt rating of 300.
For the audiophile as I am, purchasing the right kind of speakers, including subwoofers is super primal important.
When you go to the audio store, be on the lookout for these important areas and you’re sure to select the best 12″ subwoofer speaker for your needs.