You are here because you like clean sound at high volume. With your experience as a bass enthusiast, you are yet to know what enough bass means. While subs the sizes of 12 to 16 inches may provide plenty of volume, they are limited when it comes to low-end frequency handling. They don’t hit hard, and trying to stretch their potential with the EQ can actually blow them up. Life is too short for weak subs.
Just how deep can bass get?
And what is the impact of chasing after the low frequencies in your sound?
Well, smaller subs cannot answer these questions, which is why 18-inch subwoofers are essential for anyone intending to reap the benefits of a truly full-range system. Whether you are a professional musician, mobile DJ, or other music production expert, you surely need a reliable 18-inch sub. Some home theater and car audio lovers also like to set the bar high with regard to enjoying heavy punches in their music or movies. This review will help you get exactly what suits your needs.
How we chose the top six 18-inch subwoofers
Experiencing different audio equipment is our main job. Our team of very enthusiastic sound engineers, technicians, reviewers, and professional installers set to explore the 18-inch subwoofer territory. We conducted in-depth research on top performing subs from all competitive players on the market. The aim was to compile short, evidence-based reviews of subs that you can consider for your bass reproduction needs.
This project went deeper than desktop research and analysis of customer reviews. A lot of time was spent in the sound production lab testing and retesting different subs. After all the tests and analyses, we identified 6 top-class performers. All of them are from reputable brands. We’ve presented the summary of our reviews below. A short section on the factors to consider when choosing the best 18” subwoofer follows these subwoofer reviews.
Let’s get started. Shall we?
1. Rockville PBG18 18″ Passive 2000W Sub – Best Overall
The PBG18 is unmistakably one of the most powerful and reliable professional subwoofers. This sound champ adds awesome thump to your audio and steps you system up for the delivery of clear, articulate, deep bass. It marvels at filling the bottom of the musical spectrum. You’ll also love the way this sub projects the thrill and rattle of action scenes in your favorite movies.
RMS/PEAK Power: 1000w/2000wSensitivity: 98dBFrequency response: 35Hz – 4KHz
Features of Rockville PBG18
- High-end components: The Rockville brand speaks for itself, doesn’t it? As one of the leading subwoofer brands, Rockville is reputed with using high-quality parts for its audio products. Make no mistake when comparing the PBG18 with other 18-inch subs as it competes only with subs from other high-end brands. Expect the highest levels of power handling, sound quality, sensitivity, and longevity if you decide to use this subwoofer.
- MDF enclosure: Many brands use particle board to construct their sub enclosures. While this material is not badly of, it doesn’t make an efficient enclosure for high quality sonic performance. Rockville has invested more effort into the PBG18 enclosure, seeing that it has used high-density, non-resonant MDF. MDF is better quality wood that facilitates the production of higher quality sound. Besides, the material lasts longer than particle board.
- Premium-quality magnet and large voice coil: This pro audio sub uses a 100 oz. magnet and a 4” KSV voice coil. These components enable the sub to handle more power (up to 2000 watts). We also liked the high sensitivity rating of the sub. Push the PBG18 as much as you desire. It will not disappoint you. Borrowing the word of some of the professional DJs we interviewed, this Rockville sub rocks.
- Not just deep, but also musical sound: A great sub is not the one that rattles the ceiling without giving you music that you can enjoy. Rockville engineers have done a good job in balancing the frequency response of the PBG18. The sub hits deep tones while also delivering mid-lows effectively to ensure that you don’t miss the musical juices of your favorite jams.
- Ergonomic recessed handles: Portability is a critical concern for any big professional subwoofer. Rockville has designed this sub with ergonomic handles to make it easier for users who need to transport the unit frequently. Also, the sub is lighter than many other high-end 18-inch subs, which gives it a competitive advantage.
- Produces deep bass without distortion or sound muddying
- Sturdily built with high-quality MDF enclosure
- Lightweight for easy portability
- Significantly less expensive compared to competing brands
- Great for home theater as well as professional use
- Smaller size than other subs of its caliber
- Lacks the tight bass of a sealed subwoofer
If you are looking for a favorably-priced sub that will add sensible boom into your music while maintaining musical clarity, Rockville PBG18 is one of the best options to consider.
Rockville PBG18 is a great deal for a reliable 18-inch sub that won’t hurt your pocket.
2. JBL EON618S 18″ Self-Powered Subwoofer – state-of-the-art technology
Let this self-powered sub give your system the much needed low frequency reinforcement. As part of JBL Professional’s EON600 series, JBL EON618S delivers top-grade bass performance thanks to its premium components and sound-efficient design. Upon unwrapping this sub and seeing its rugged Duraflex enclosure, you’ll know for sure that it’s up to some serious bass business.
RMS/PEAK Power: 500w/1000wSPL: 134dBFrequency response: 31Hz – 150Hz
Why is JBL EON618S the best self-powered 18-inch sub?
- State of the art waveguide technology: We were intrigued by the EON618S’s ability to maintain a consistent response throughout its coverage pattern. We found out that this extraordinary performance is due to JBL’s exceptional approach to wavelength design. By employing exclusive measurement techniques, JBL’s engineers designed the Image Control Waveguide to ensure high intelligibility and uniform coverage throughout the frequency coverage area.
- Fully professional design: JBL has used its decades of speaker-building experience to bring together cutting-edge acoustic science, cabinet construction and transducer design into a user-friendly high-end sub. All the design aspects of the EON618S are aimed at maximizing cabinet volume while minimizing its footprint for transportability. Undoubtedly, JBL was keen to meet the needs of current day working sound producers and musicians. The sub wins on the basis of flexibility, ease of use, and portability.
- Selectable crossover presets for flexibility: Although the JBL EON618S comes with an EON preset specifically tuned to work with EON600-series speakers, it can work with a wide range of PA systems thanks to its selectable crossover presets. Using the EON Connect app (available for Android and iOS), you can select from four different crossover points. Also, you can choose between 80Hz, 100Hz, and 120Hz tunings if you are using the sub with other full-range PA speakers.
- Bluetooth integration for convenient sound control: All your sound tweaking needs are taken care of by the Bluetooth v4.0 compliant interface on the sub. This iOS- and Android-supported interface gives you easy control over the sub’s DPS parameters, master volume and presets. In addition, you can save and recall user presets, so you can tune the sub’s sound delivery to specific favorite settings easily and quickly.
- Smooth and transparent sound for the entire audience
- Highly efficient Class-D amplification
- Exceptional application flexibility
- Bluetooth integration
- Rugged, stage-ready build
- M20 pole cup allows for easy mounting
- Transportation challenges due to its big and heavy enclosure
- Highly priced
Despite its few transportation challenges, the JBL EON618S has continually wowed users with its clean, earthshaking bass. If you are a serious music professional, choose this 18-inch sub and it’ll give your music production business a worthy boost.
Say goodbye to mediocre bass with JBL EON618S powered subwoofer.
3. Skar Audio ZVX-18v2 D2 18″ Car Subwoofer – Powerful bass performance
First off, the power handling of this 18” bass baby is mind blowing. 1600w RMS power is no joke, and you can expect the component parts of this sub to be of unbeatable quality. Skar Audio engineered this sub to stand up to any kind of bass production abuse. If you are a car audio bass fanatic, you don’t want to let the unique opportunity that Skar Audio offers you through this outstanding sub.
RMS/PEAK Power: 1600w/3200wSPL: 88.6dBFrequency response: 20-400 Hz
Key Features of Skar Audio ZVX-18v2
- Excellent bass production: For any loudspeaker, bass delivery heavily depends on the magnet, voice coil, speaker cone and surround. The Skar Audio design team has excelled in choosing superior quality components. A massive triple slug magnet works with a 3” high-temperature voice coil, competition-grade paper cone and high roll foam surround to give out excellent bass.
- Hits the bass with extreme power: The sub’s max power handling of 3200 watts makes it the bass production leader among big car subwoofers. At this level of power handling, the ZVX-18v2 delivers dynamic low-end frequencies effortlessly. It represents the best that Skar Audio can offer car audio enthusiasts.
- Customized build: Measuring 15.2 inches deep, and with an outer diameter of 18.2 inches, this sub is designed for use with customized box systems. It comes with premium quality mounting hardware. You have the freedom to choose the enclosure that you like. This is especially meaningful to car audio enthusiasts who plan to build a customized audio system.
- Advanced air flow cooling design: Some high-power subs heat up during extended performance periods due to the high levels of output power. Skar Audio is a step ahead in this regard. The company has designed the ZVX-18v2 with an effective cooling mechanism to ensure that the sub does it job uninterrupted by overheating issues.
- Produces beautiful, deep, low vibrations
- Exceptionally high power handling capacity
- Balanced frequency distribution
- You get to choose the enclosure you want
- Advanced cooling mechanism
- Requires mounting work
- CCAW voice coil wiring is less adaptable than DVC sub wires
If you’re keen on building your car audio system to achieve exceptional levels of bass performance, the ZVX-18v2 is an offer like no other.
Choose this subwoofer and start living your fantasies about big bass and awesome in-car entertainment.
4. Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP 18″ 1200W Powered Subwoofer
Electro-Voice ELX200 is the kind of powered subwoofer models that have a sophisticated, modern design engineered to meet the needs of the most demanding music lovers. This model is ideal for both installed and portable applications, so you’ll love it if you want something you can use at home and away. Let’s explore more about this award-winning sub.
RMS/PEAK Power: 600w/1200wSPL: 132dBFrequency Response: 47Hz -105Hz
What makes the ELX200 unique?
- High-efficiency class D amp: A powered subwoofer can only be as good as the amplifier behind its performance. For the ELX200, Electro-Voice judiciously chose to use a powerful class D amplifier. This amp drives the sub up to 1200 watts, a power level any experienced sound production expert would appreciate.
- Easy setup: Presets, crossovers, multiband EQ, and sound controls are common features of high-quality powered subs. The ELX200 has not been left behind. It comes with three presets (Club, Live, Music), system-match crossovers, store and recall setting, input level meters and control, among other features. Each of these features helps you to set up your music just the way you like it.
- Portability: As already stated, this sub model can fit both installed and portable applications. For portability concerns, Electro-Voice has used a compact and lightweight wood enclosure. In addition, the sub structure has a two-handle design and an integrated M20 threaded pole mount – these features make lifting and installation easier.
- Wireless monitoring and control: Enjoy intuitive system control and configuration with the sub’s Bluetooth-enabled QuickSmart Mobile technology. This technology enables the user to manage up to six ELX200 loudspeakers simultaneously, which is a great feature for music production professionals. Noteworthy, you’ll be able to get useful alerts about the performance of your sub, such as when it is overdriven.
- Ultra-efficient sound amplification
- Best-in-class sound processing
- Easy system monitoring and control via Bluetooth-enabled device
- Professional-grade hardware
- Highly portable design
- Great balance of performance and portability
- Relatively higher price
- Overheating issues
Something about the meticulous design of this sub makes it irresistible to serious sound professionals. If high efficiency, incredibly portable design, sound control and top-grade design are what you are looking for, you will find them in Electro-Voice ELX200.
Using this subwoofer is choosing to invest in high-quality and highly competitive bass performance. You will not regret this decision in the short- and long-term.
5. Seismic Audio Tremor 18-PW – Most affordable professional 18” Sub
Are you preparing for a gig but haven’t found a subwoofer that can meet the needs of the day? It is not easy to find a great quality powered sub, especially affordably. Seismic Audio has a solution – an 18” pro audio that delivers deep lows to give your music the round up you want.
500 Watts RMS; 1000 Watts Peak PowerFrequency Response: 40Hz – 300HzSensitivity: 98dB
Unique features of Seismic Audio Tremor 18-PW
- Built for every DJ: Core to the mission of the Seismic Audio brand is the belief that every musician should be able to access high-performance pro audio gear. Thus, the 18-PW model has an innovative design featuring reliable components that are not all that expensive.
- Versatile back panel: The sub’s back panel harbors 2 I/O left and right combo jacks and banana-clip outputs. In addition, you’ll find a low-pass filter and separate bass volume and balance controls. These rear panel features provide ways for different sound systems. Therefore, you can use the sub with a variety of audio systems, which is an important consideration if you are a musician who’s always on travel.
- Heavy-duty, protective hardware: Plan your gigs without worrying about your sub’s structural integrity. Seismic Audio has installed heavy-duty metal corners, a fully-metallic front grill and thick, highly durable rubber feet to make the sub as durable and easily portable as possible. Besides, the accompanying pole mounts aids in the setup of the sub when you want to have it elevated.
- Recessed handles for easy transport: Ergonomic handles are fitted on either side of the loudspeaker. Their recessed placement ensures that you don’t get challenges lifting the subwoofer, and that it maintains a tight alignment and profile when multiple cabinets are placed side to side.
- Handles tight punch well for long
- Decent sound
- Priced fairly for an enclosed powered sub
- The enclosure looks and feels well built
- You can use it to power smaller satellite speakers
- The sub tends to clip when pushed higher
- Too big and heavy for some users
Let not the simplistic design of this sub mislead you into thinking that it is not a performer. The sub competes well with the other units we’ve included in this review, which means you can rely on it for your music production needs.
You’ve finally found a great powered sub at an affordable price. Consider using it and make significant savings on your purchase.
6. CT SOUNDS Tropo 18 D4 Car Subwoofer – Best price for 18-inch car subwoofer
At number 6 of our best performing 18-inch subwoofer reviews is the famous CT Sounds. Named Tropo 18 D4, this subwoofer showcases CT Sounds’ massive efforts in improving the Tropo series subwoofers. Most notably, the sub comes with a large voice coil, which means better high-power performance. Let’s not spoil the surprise for you. Dive right into the exclusive attributes of the sub explained below.
600 Watts RMS; 1200 Watts Peak PowerFS: 26.092HzSensitivity: 89dB
Why purchase CT Sounds Tropo 18 D4?
- DVC design: Despite the sub’s average power handling and smaller size, it is exceptionally versatile thanks to its 3-inch voice coils. When voice coils of this size are combined with a great quality magnet, they make for powerful sound production. CT Sounds knows this better than any other brand, and that’s why they have coupled the DVC design with a Y35-graded triple stacked ferrite magnet. The kind of bass production this combination yields is only limited by imagination.
- Durable basket: Use this sub anywhere – indoors and outdoors – and it will hold up well in all kinds of performance environments. The sub’s strong and stupendous arm-styled basket is specially made to endure prolonged exposure to heat, sunlight, moisture, etc. Besides, the basket can handle high-power audio frequency even at the highest rated inputs.
- Edge protection using automotive-grade material: CT Sounds has left nothing to chance to protect the sub’s structure and more sensitive parts. Rubber surrounds ensure that the sub sustains clean bass reproduction while also enhancing the durability of the entire unit.
- Incredible price: This sub is the most favorably priced model among the top performers we’ve reviewed. At this price, CT Sounds is giving you a chance to experience great SPL at a heavily discounted cost. Thus, it should be delighting for you to know that a low budget won’t limit you as you search for the best 18-inch subwoofer for your car.
- Surprisingly deep bass performance for a sub of its size
- Lightweight and well sized to fit in the trunk of many cars
- Durable protective rubber material
- Handles high-powered sound production well
- Highly versatile
- Very affordable price
- Cannot give out loud bass
- Requires an external amplifier
We were impressed with the way this sub takes on anything that is thrown to it – from bass heavy r&b and rap to jazz and gospel songs. It is definitely one of the best deals for an 18-inch subs.
Check out CT Sounds Tropo 18 if you are searching for a budget 18-inch sub whose reliability has been tested and proven.
Factors to consider when selecting the best 18-inch subwoofer
The ability to blast music is means unlimited fun for the majority of bass fans. What’s not fun is finding a big subwoofer that delivers this value sustainably and affordably. The selection process can even be stressful especially if you aren’t sure about what considerations to make to ensure that you end up with the best sub for your system and listening needs. It is noteworthy that not all big subs perform better than smaller subs. The reasons for this relate to crucial performance factors of which you must be privy when you go out shopping.
This section serves the purpose of highlighting the important factors to consider when evaluating 18-inch subs and comparing different offers on the market.
It has been said repetitively that a subwoofer is only as good as the power behind it. And when it comes to consuming power, 18-inch subs are really greedy. You don’t want to have a great sub but without adequate power for it.
In most cases, power deficiency is the cause of distortion and unappealing boominess in large sound drivers. Controlling the essential sound reproduction components such as the cone and surround is not easy due to the large surface area of these components. For this reason, poorly engineered and inadequately powered subs struggle to control the underlying pistonic movement and can never produce accurate bass.
In addition to considering RMS power handling, assess the sub’s magnet and voice coil. Bigger, higher quality magnets and thicker voice coils enhance better control over the driver. Thus, the sub is able to deliver big, quality lows without distortion and muddiness.
Powered vs. unpowered subwoofer
Powered subs come with their own amplifiers. For example, Electro-Voice ELX200 uses an inbuilt 1200w class D amplifier. This sub doesn’t require you to hook it up with another sub. Besides, you can wire the sub with other smaller speakers in your system to power them.
Passive subs, on the other hand, don’t have in-built amp and rely on external amplification.Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and your preferences determine the better option. If you already have a powerful amplifier in your audio system, you may be good to go with an unpowered sub. On the other hand, if you don’t want to buy a sub and an amp separately, you might find a powered sub more attractive.
Low frequency Extension
The frequency response of a sub is considered among the most crucial factors of performance. A sub that handles more low frequencies can deliver deeper bass. The numbers to look out for are the lower end of the frequency response. For example, the frequency response of Rockville PBG18, our top pick, is 35Hz – 4KHz. This sub can handle frequencies as low as 35Hz. Sound pressure level (SPL) is related closely with frequency extension. Greater SPL is better in the production of low-end sound, so you want to be keen on this rating when comparing subwoofers.
Go for brands with a reputation of cutting-edge engineering. Purchasing an 18-inch sub is considerably a serious investment in your sound systems, and you don’t want to start looking for a replacement for your new but unrewarding sub. Top brand subs are designed to win the deep bass extension without giving up speed in transients and accuracy in frequency response. This quality of engineering is not achievable without huge investments in research and development, and you can be sure that only the big brands have the budget for R&D.
Top subwoofer brands are also known for their use of premium parts in the design of their products. Such high-quality parts not only promise serious sound performance but also enhance the durability of the products.
Size and weight of the subwoofer
18-inch subs weigh differently and come with different enclosure. These two aspects affect whether and how you will use your chosen subwoofer. If you are searching for a car subwoofer, consider the desired placement location of your sub, making sure that it will fit in your car. If you are a sound production professional, you might need to transport your speakers to different event locations. Think about portability aspects in the design of the unit.
Hopefully, you can now make your own comparisons between different 18-inch subs and settle on the one that best fits your needs.
Our pick for the Best 18-inch Subwoofer for 2023 is Rockville PBG18
Rockville is a leading subwoofer brand and it has designed the PBG18 for those desiring the real experience of a hard-hitting sub. We were eager to test the sub’s exceptionally high power handling, and we loved the intensity with which this bass monster rounds up the low frequencies in various sound.
What’s more interesting is the sub’s ability to balance punch and sound clarity. We had noted that most users mentioned this in their reviews, and we got to experience it loud and clear in our labs. The PBG18 will maintain great musical touch in your sound to ensure that you do not lose the sweet mid-frequency juices that make listening to music enjoyable.
Besides, the sub enclosure is sturdily built to last long, just like other Rockville products. All this value comes at an unbelievably affordable price. Certainly, Rockville PBG18 is a great deal at its current price.
Do you have any thoughts or questions about 18-inch subwoofers? Please feel free to drop your question or thoughts in the comment section below and we will be more than happy to talk to you.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.