As a car owner who loves music, you surely want your car to have the best audio system. Although you might already have the best car speakers installed, the audio system cannot sound best without having decent bass. Regular speakers don’t have the capability of delivering the kind of bass that any audiophile would want. So what should you do about it? It’s simple. Invest in a new car subwoofer. Subwoofers are a special type of speakers that are designed to reproduce low frequencies. Car subwoofers come in different sizes, with 8 inch subs being one of the best size. Eight-inch subwoofers are ideal in that they can easily fit in most car spaces. You can even install multiple 8 inch subs if space and budget allows. However, which is the best 8 inch subwoofer today? Read on to find out.
How We Wrote this Review
Not many car owners have an idea about the best eight-inch subwoofers available in the market. Some end up choosing overpriced subwoofers thinking they’re the best, only to end up being disappointed with the choices they made. The most expensive model is not always the best. At the same time, you shouldn’t buy the cheapest one at the expense of quality. As such, you need to make an informed choice. Thus, we decided to write this review with the aim of assisting potential buyers on the best eight-inch car subs available today. We’ve only considered the subwoofers that have the most desirable features. We gathered reviews from current users and also tested the subwoofers. All our reviews are nonpartisan. Thus, you can depend on the reviews below to stand a better chance of investing in the best performing 8 inch sub for your car.
A Review of Top Ten 8 Inch Subwoofer
Here’re the top ten eight-inch car subwoofers available today, including their top features, what we like most, what we dislike, and our verdict for each model:
1. Rockville SS8P Review
The Rockville SS8P stands out as one of the best subs available today. Its great features have made us list it at the top of our review. It’s designed as a solution for all bass needs and takes very little space. Rockville designed it with the customer in mind such that it’s easy to install it. Let’s look at its top features.
Its Top Features
- MOSFET power supply– The subwoofer features a MOSFET power supply. It’s advantageous in that it’s highly efficient and operates at low voltage without drawing a lot of current. Moreover, it allows high input impedance, thereby making it possible to have fast switching.
- Overload protection circuit with smart turn on– The circuit of the subwoofer is protected from overload. In case you overpower it accidentally, the circuit won’t burn out. Moreover, the circuit comes with a smart turn on feature. It senses when an audio signal is available and turns on the inbuilt up. In case a signal is unavailable, the amp is automatically turned off.
- Cast aluminum subwoofer enclosure– The subwoofer comes with a 2.8 inch thick enclosure, making it easy to fit beneath the car seat. Thus, you won’t have to worry about space. Moreover, the enclosure is made of cast aluminum. The cast aluminum material doesn’t heat up when placed against the hot car floor, making it possible to keep the interior subwoofer components cool.
- Easy installation– Rockville SS8P is designed for easy installation. The fact that it comes with an inbuilt amplifier, all housed within the enclosure, mean that you’ll have less wiring to do. It comes with high-level inputs that make it possible to use the subwoofer with a receiver that doesn’t have preamp outputs.
- Multiple control options– The subwoofer comes with a low pass filter to filter out high frequencies and only pass low frequencies within the set level. This allows for cleaner bass. It also comes with a subsonic filter to filter out frequencies that a human cannot hear.
- Remote bass boost
- Low-level RCA input
- Adjustable input sensitivity
- Thermal protection circuit
- Heavy-duty mounting feet
- Compact design and solid build
- Can’t be installed on the door
- Low bass output
The Rockville SS8P subwoofer stands out for its compactness. Thus, it’s ideal for anyone who’s looking for an 8” subwoofer than can fit in tight spaces.
2. Pioneer TS-SWX2002 Review
Pioneer is renowned for designing some of the best audio equipment. The Pioneer TS-SWX2002 has not been left behind based on its captivating features. Let’s look at some of the features that made it rank second in our review.
Its Top Features
- Scratch resistant and non-slip surface– The subwoofer is enclosed in a carpeted subwoofer box. The carpet is made of a scratch-resistant material such that it can get defaced easily. Moreover, the carpet material is non-slip such that it can’t slip from the set position even when pushing the subwoofer hard.
- Shallow design– The subwoofer is enclosed in a shallow sub box. The shallow design makes it possible to fit the subwoofer in very tight car spaces. Moreover, the shallow enclosure allows the subwoofer to reproduce tight bass.
- Oversized cone structure– Another notable feature about this subwoofer is its oversized cone structure. The cone is designed in such a way that its surface area is wider without altering the external dimension. This allows for more bass reproduction from the same standard size.
- Highly rigid cone- The cone is made of a highly rigid material. Its enhanced rigidity is as a result of its MICA injected resin. The rigidity enhances the durability of the cone while still allowing for the reproduction of more accurate and tight bass.
- Dual spider– This subwoofer comes with a dual spider. The dual spider enhances the stability of the cone excursion and offers more control on the cone motion. Moreover, the dual spider enhances the linear movement of the cone, thereby enhancing the accuracy of the bass response.
- Tight bass
- Fits in tight spaces
- Comes with mounting hardware
- Sealed enclosure
- Shallow mount design
- Bass is not very loud
- Higher price range
Looking for an 8” subwoofer that can deliver tight, clean bass? If so, The Pioneer TS-SWX2002 is exactly what you need.
3. Planet Audio AC8D Review
Yet another great 8” sub is the Planet Audio AC8D. The subwoofer features the kind of performance you would want for your car music system. It comes with a power handling rating or 1200 watts peak power and 600 watts RMS, making it ideal for driving with lots of power from an external amplifier. Here’re the features that made us rank the subwoofer as the third on our list of review.
Its Top Features
- High temperature voice coil- The subwoofer features a voice coil that is capable of handling extreme temperature. Thus, it’s capable of optimum performance under heavy-duty usage. It’s not prone to fatigue and overheating issues. It remains efficient even when used for a prolonged playtime.
- Polypropylene cone- The cone of the subwoofer is made of a form of plastic material known as polypropylene. Polypropylene is extremely resilient, making it durable. It sounds great with maximum performance for a long time.
- Dual voice coil- Another notable feature of this subwoofer is its dual voice coil. The dual voice coil allows for more wiring options for optimized power output and enhanced power handling. Dual voice coil allow for the production of the best ohm load to enhance the efficiency in terms of reducing resistance, thus allowing the amp to feed the sub with more power.
- Foam surround– The surround of the sub is made of foam material. Foam material lasts long and is ideal for use in subwoofer drivers that require larger excursion. Foam material allows for enhanced excursion since it easily keeps the cone centered in place and its light nature doesn’t affect the cone movement. Moreover, foam is self-damping, making it ideal for reducing standing waves.
- Ideal for both ported and sealed enclosures– While some subwoofers are only ideal for use in one type of enclosure, the Planet Audio AC8D can be used in both ported and sealed enclosures. If you need tight bass from the subwoofer, then fit it in a sealed enclosure. If you need louder bass, then fit it in a ported enclosure.
- Customized trim ring
- Very affordable
- Fast to break-in during the first-time use
- Stamped basket
- Takes in a lot of power
- You have to buy or build an enclosure
- You need a separate amplifier
The affordability of the Planet Audio AC8D eight-inch sub makes it ideal for anyone looking for a high-performance subwoofer but is working with a tight budget.
4. Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2 Review
Skar Audio has designed a small but mighty subwoofer. The Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2 may look small, but it’s packed with a lot of power. It’s designed to enhance your listening experience by adding punchy bass in your car. Let’s look at some of the features that made us consider it in our review.
Its Top Features
- Great bass performance– The subwoofer is designed to deliver tight and accurate bass. As such, adding it to your car sound system will add depth. It’s designed to improve your overall listening experience.
- Superior power handling– Its power rating of 800 watts peak power and 400 watts RMS will guarantee you the best bass performance. Moreover, it comes with a triple stack ferrite magnet for enhanced performance and efficiency.
- Clean bass reproduction– The subwoofer is designed to reproduce clean bass regardless of the type of music. Thus, you won’t be left out in getting the cleanest bass reproduction from whichever music genre you play.
- Copper voice coil– The voice coil that comes with this subwoofer is made of copper for the best performance. Moreover, the copper voice coil used in this subwoofer is high-temperature. It ensures that the subwoofer withstands prolonged usage without impacting on its overall performance.
- High roll surround- The subwoofer features a high roll surround made of foam material. Its high roll nature enhances the overall surface area of the surround, thereby enhancing its performance without extending the size of the subwoofer. The foam material is highly responsive due to its light nature, making it easy for the cone to move.
- Dual 2-ohm voice coil
- Competition grade paper cone
- High-temperature voice coil
- Ideal for both sealed and ported enclosures
- Custom tooled basket
- May distort and rattle at high volume
- Voice coil bottoms out in the magnet at high volume
The Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2 is a great choice for a music enthusiast who appreciates clean, tight, and accurate bass from all music genres.
5. Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Review
The Alpine PWE-S8 subwoofer is designed as an easy and reliable way of adding power bass to the audio system of any car. By just looking at it, you’ll notice that it’s built with simplicity in mind. Let’s look at the features that make it one of the best 8 inch subs available today.
Its Top Features
- All-in-one bass solution– One of the most notable features about this subwoofer is its all-in-one design. It comes with an inbuilt amplifier to eliminate the need for adding an external car amp. It also comes with a sealed enclosure for tight bass.
- Extremely compact design- The subwoofer is built in a compact design. Its enclosure measures 13.5” in length, 9” in width, and 3” in depth. Thus, you’re guaranteed of fitting it in extremely tight spaces, especially beneath the car seat.
- Multiple control options- If you love having control over your sound system, then you’ll be amazed by the controls that come with this subwoofer. The subwoofer comes with a side panel that has controls for subwoofer gain, low pass crossover, phase, and power mode. Moreover, it comes with a remote subwoofer level control.
- Easy to install- Since the subwoofer comes with an inbuilt amplifier and an enclosure, it’s easy to install it. You’ll only hook up a power cable, speaker cables and you’re good to go. You won’t need an external amp, making it possible to connect it directly to the receiver.
- Cast metal enclosure- The enclosure is made of die-cast aluminum material. Cast iron is light yet durable. Thus, expect many years of service from the enclosure.
- Powered subwoofer
- High excursion
- Automatic turn-on feature
- Easy to access speaker cable inputs
- Higher price range
- Only supports a sealed enclosure
- Bass is not very heavy
If you’re looking for an all-in-one bass solution for your car sound system, then trust in the Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 subwoofer.
6. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 Review
Rockford Fosgate is known to design sound equipment, especially subwoofers that are high-performance. Consequently, its P3SD2-8 subwoofer has not been left behind in our review. Read on for its detailed review.
Its Top Features
- Shallow-mount design– The subwoofer has a mounting depth of 2.66 inches, making it possible to mount it on shallow spaces. You can mount it in a shallow subwoofer box for tight bass. As such, you can easily mount it in tight spaces.
- Optimized for vented and sealed enclosures– Another great feature about this subwoofer is that you can freely choose to mount it in either a vented or sealed enclosure. The choice you’ll make will depend on your personal preference.
- Push terminals– The subwoofer comes with push terminals for attaching the speaker cable. Push terminals make it easy to attach a speaker cable. Thus, you won’t have to do any soldering when attaching the speaker cable. You’ll only push the terminals and insert the cable, then release them to hold the cable tightly in place. Moreover, the terminals are nickel plated for enhanced resistance against corrosion.
- Anodized aluminum cone– The subwoofer cone is made of anodized aluminum material. Anodized aluminum is exceptionally durable and tear-resistant. Thus, expect the best bass reproduction from this subwoofer.
- Unique spider venting design– Yet another great feature that comes with this Rockford Fosgate subwoofer is its spider venting design. The venting design allows the motor to remain cool even during prolonged playtimes.
- Stamp-cast basket
- Slim design
- Reduced resonance
- Dual 2-ohm voice coil
- Cast aluminum trim ring
- Doesn’t come with an enclosure
- You need to add an external amplifier
- Not very powerful
The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 is a great deal for anyone looking for an entry-level subwoofer to add a sense of bass in their car music system.
7. Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO8 Review
Sound Storm Laboratories has loaded its LOPRO8 subwoofer model with great features that allow a user to have enhanced experience with regard to bass effects. It was worth our consideration based on its modest pricing and noteworthy features. Let’s look at some of its features.
Its Top Features
- Customizable bass output- You can adjust the bass using its bass boost feature to your liking. You won’t be limited to the kind of lows you’ll get as you can take advantage of the low pass filter to filter out higher frequencies.
- Subsonicfilter– The subwoofer comes with a subsonic filter whose function is to restrict lows below a specific setting. As such, you’ll get more performance from the subwoofer while still keeping it protected. The subsonic filter has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 50 Hz, thereby ensuring a great range of frequency modulation.
- Class A/B MOSFET amplifier– The subwoofer features a Class A/B MOSFET amplifier. This amplifier class has a special linear circuit that enhances the quality of bass output. The MOSFET amplifier design increases the efficiency of the subwoofer while.
- High and low-level inputs– We can’t fail to mention the high and low-level inputs that come with this subwoofer. The high-level inputs are used as speaker inputs whereas the low-level inputs accept pre-amp signals. Thus, you can hook up an external amp through the low-level input.
- Remote subwoofer level control- You can take advantage of the wired remote that allows you to control the subwoofer level based on the kind of output you need. Thus, you can easily control the volume and modulation level of the subwoofer.
- Built-in amplifier
- Overload, short, and thermal protection
- RCA inputs
- Switchable phase control
- Not ideal for loud bass
- May distort when pushed hard
- Gain response is not the best
The Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO8 car subwoofer is ideal for anyone who wants a complete set of a powered subwoofer at an affordable price.
8. Bazooka BT8014 BT Review
The Bazooka BT8014 BT subwoofer features in our review based on its unique design and unmatched performance. It’s one of a kind when compared to other subwoofers of the same level. It’s designed as a bass tube that adds bass in any car music system. Let’s look at the features that make it one of a kind.
Its Top Features
- Bass tube enclosure design– Getting decent bass involves the subwoofer cone moving a lot of air. Luckily, this subwoofer features a bass tube enclosure design. The cylindrical shape of the enclosure allows the cone movement to move maximum air pressure for enhanced bass reproduction. The cylindrical design also makes it possible for the sub to fire bass throughout the car.
- Fits almost anywhere– Another benefit of this subwoofer is that the tube enclosure design makes it possible to fit the subwoofer in extremely tight spaces. You’ll still have a lot of cargo space in your trunk if you choose to place the subwoofer in the trunk. Its bass performance is actually enhanced when placed in a corner of your car.
- Screw terminals– The subwoofer comes with oversized screw terminals. The screw terminals make it easier to connect the speaker cable. Moreover, the terminals are conveniently spaced to make it possible to connect heavy gauge speaker cable and plug connectors. The terminals are nickel-plated to resist corrosion.
- Ported enclosure- It’s also worth noting that the bass tube enclosure is ported. The ported design makes it possible to align the backward and forward motion of the air being moved by the cone. This way, the reproduced bass is concentrated through one output for louder and booming bass.
- Protective grill– The subwoofer comes with a protective and decorative grill. Besides having a decorative look, it keeps the subwoofer cone from damage by the items you might be tossing into the trunk.
- Acoustic damping fiber
- Easy to install
- Comes with wiring harness and installation hardware
- Compressed foam surround
- Custom Bazooka bass tube design
- Not ideal for anyone who wants earthshaking bass
- May crackle and rattle at high volume
- The mounting straps are challenging to tighten
Looking for a subwoofer that can deliver ample bass without shattering the car windows? If so, the Bazooka BT8014 BT won’t disappoint.
9. KICKER 11HS8 Review
KICKER’s legendary technology in designing sound equipment continues leading. Its 11HS8 subwoofer has not been left behind in our review. Let’s review the features that this subwoofer boasts about.
Its Top Features
- Compact performer– The subwoofer is specially designed for compactness. It’s slightly over 3” high and 14” long, making easy to fit under the seat of most cars and other tight spaces where most powered subs can hardly fit. It uses the Hideaway technology in its compact design.
- Input selector switches– The side panel comes with a phase switch, input level switch, and auto turn on switch. These input selector switches allows you to have more control over the subwoofer input.
- Simple plug-and-play design– KICKER has designed this subwoofer as a powered plug-and-play bass machine. All you’ll need to do is to connect the speaker and power cable and enjoy playing your car music with enhanced bass.
- Nylon straps– The subwoofer comes with nylon straps for secure installation. You can fasten the subwoofer using the straps when installing it to avoid any rattling. The straps are easy to fasten and unfasten as needed.
- Advanced control options– The subwoofer comes with remote bass control to allow you to fine-tune the bass level to your liking. You can also adjust the low-pass filter as per the supported frequency response range. It also features a +6dB bass boost feature.
- Variable low pass filter
- Wired remote control
- Phase cancelling switch
- Low-level and high-level inputs
- Variable phase control
- Higher price range
- Tends to crackle and vibrate a lot when playing loud
- Gets overshadowed by road noise
If you’re the type of a car owner who likes keeping your music system hidden and leave your passengers guessing, then be assured that the Kicker 11HS8 is your best bet for its ultra-compactness.
10. DS18 SLC-8S Review
The DS18 is a cleverly designed subwoofer. Just by looking at it, you can tell it’s well-built for enhanced performance and durability. Want to know why we included this subwoofer in our review? If so, read on to find out.
Its Top Features
- Great power handling– The subwoofer comes with a power rating of 400 watts peak power and 200 watts RMS. It also boasts of an impedance of 4 ohms and a sensitivity of 84 decibels. With these ratings, you can pump it with a lot of power for enhanced bass output.
- Treated foam surround– It’s worth mentioning that the surround of this subwoofer is entirely made of treated foam material. It’s treated for enhanced strength and durability. Thus, expect many years of service from the surround.
- Non-fatiguing suspension- Another great feature of this subwoofer is its non-fatiguing suspension. As such, you can enjoy using the subwoofer for a prolonged period without the suspension suffering from fatigue.
- Superior bass– The subwoofer cone is made of non-pressed paper material and features a 38 OZ magnet. Moreover, the sub comes with a 4 layer aluminum voice coil. What you’ll get from these features is nothing but superior bass.
- Multiple placement options– The subwoofer has a mounting depth of just 3.85 inches. Thus, you can choose to install the subwoofer on the door or on the rear dashboard. Alternatively, you can add an enclosure and place the subwoofer in your trunk for enhanced bass response.
- Very affordable
- Steel basket
- Shallow mount
- Doesn’t come with an enclosure
- You need an external car amp
- Only ideal for entry-level bass needs
The DS18 SLC-8S subwoofer is a great deal for anyone seeking to invest in an affordable, yet performing entry-level car subwoofer.
Factors and Features to Consider When Choosing the Best 8 Inch Subwoofer
If you really need to enjoy the best bass response in your car, then you need to choose the right subwoofer. While there’re many eight-inch subwoofers to choose from, not all are made equal. As such, there’re certain factors and features you need to consider when choosing a sub for your car. Let’s look at these factors and features.
One of the most important factors to consider is the power rating of the subwoofer. Each subwoofer has a specific power rating that shouldn’t be exceeded. In most subwoofers, you’ll find a peak power rating and RMS rating. The RMS rating is more important in terms of the continuous power that a subwoofer can handle. Thus, judge the power of the subwoofer by its RMS rating rather than peak power. Also, note that powering a subwoofer beyond the recommended power rating can burn it out. Thus, you need to ensure that the external amplifier you’re using won’t overload the subwoofer. Avoid turning the volume all the way up to protect the subwoofer from distortion and damage. Also, avoid under-powering the subwoofer as you can damage easily damage it.
The subwoofer mounting depth determines the mounting location and the size of the subwoofer box. If the subwoofer depth is shallow, then you can easily install the subwoofer in most locations. If you’re working with tight space, then a subwoofer with shallow mounting depth would be your best bet. With a shallow depth, you can install the sub in a compact sub box. On the other hand, a wider mounting depth means that you’ll need a larger space to mount the subwoofer. A wider mounting depth will also require a larger subwoofer box.
Free Air Vs Enclosed Subwoofer
Eight-inch car subwoofers come as either free air or enclosed. A free air subwoofer is one that doesn’t have a subwoofer box. You can mount it on the door if space allows or on the back dashboard. On the other hand, an enclosed subwoofer is the one that comes with an enclosure. The size of the enclosure will determine the placement. An 8 inch subwoofer with a compact enclosure can easily fit under most car seats. The one that comes with a larger enclosure would need to be installed in the trunk. Here, your choice will be based on the kind of bass you need. Generally, an enclosed sub delivers tighter bass than a free air subwoofer. However, a free air sub takes less space than an enclosed one.
Number of Voice Coils
Subwoofers come with either one or more voice coils. You can find a subwoofer with dual or four voice coils. While the number of voice coils doesn’t determine the performance of a subwoofer, it determines the kind of wiring options you’ll have when connecting multiple subs. With a single voice coil, you’ll be limited with wiring options. Single voice coil subwoofers can only be wired in series when connecting multiple subwoofers. On the other hand, dual voice coil subwoofers can be wired either in series or in parallel.
Powered vs Passive
Another important factor to consider when buying an eight-inch car sub is whether it’s powered or passive. A powered sub is the one that comes with its own amplifier, which is usually housed in the same enclosure as the subwoofer. A powered subwoofer makes it possible to connect it directly to a receiver. This way, you won’t have to rely on an external amplifier. On the other hand, a passive subwoofer doesn’t come with its own amplifier, thus you’ll need to connect it to an external amplifier.
If you’ll opt for a powered subwoofer, ensure it has sufficient control options. The more the controls, the better. It should at least have controls for bass boost and gain. Controls for phase switch, input level switch, remote control, and auto turn on would be an added advantage.
A subwoofer comprises of multiple components. If you need a subwoofer that will serve you for many years to come, then consider the one whose components are made of durable materials. For instance, ensure the cone and surround are made of a material that doesn’t tear easily. At the same time, it should be light. Also, ensure the subwoofer has a properly vented design for enhanced cooling of the coil. Proper ventilation ensures the coil doesn’t overheat when using the subwoofer for a prolonged period. Another factor to consider is the subwoofer terminals. The terminals should be coated with a material that resists corrosion. You should also consider a subwoofer that comes with a grille to keep the cone protected from damage.
Ease of Installation
It’s also important to consider the ease of installing a subwoofer. It’ll help to choose a subwoofer that comes with mounting hardware, especially if it doesn’t have an enclosure. Buying installation hardware separately can be quite challenging. Also, consider a subwoofer whose terminals make it easy to attach the speaker cable. Screw terminals and push terminals are ideal for anyone who keeps on removing the subwoofer to create space, especially in the trunk. Terminals that require soldering are only ideal for anyone who won’t be moving the subwoofer frequently.
FAQ on the Best 8 Inch Subwoofer
Is an 8 inch subwoofer good?
Yes. An 8 inch car sub is a good size for a starter. The size is ideal for anyone who needs a subwoofer than can fit in tight car spaces. If you choose from the best subs available today, it’ll assist you in achieving deeper bass in your car sound system.
Is an eight inch sub small?
While an eight inch sub may look small, it’s a great standard size. It can still deliver deeper bass than regular speakers. Thus, don’t assume it won’t deliver decent bass due to its small size.
Is an 8 inch car subwoofer the smallest?
Yes. This is the smallest subwoofer size available today.
How do I know that a subwoofer is eight inches in size?
When buying a subwoofer, you’ll find that it has a description of its dimensions. Basically, the size of an eight inch sub is measured in diameter.
What’s the mounting depth of an eight inch sub?
Different subwoofers have different mounting depths. The mounting depth is measured in height from the bottom of the subwoofer magnet to the top of the basket.
So which is the best 8 inch subwoofer to buy today? Well, as you can see from our review, each subwoofer we’ve reviewed comes with some unique features and a few shortcomings. Your choice should be the subwoofer that has all the features you want. Also, consider your budget by buying an eight-inch subwoofer that is within your budget and has all the desirable features you need. However, don’t compromise quality over cost. After all, you need an eight-inch car sub that will serve you for many years to come.
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.