Best Powered Subwoofer for Car: Read Before Purchase!
Without a sub in your system, you are missing out on full, rich and solid sound. Whether you use a factory or aftermarket stereo, you can find a powered subwoofer that matches the system.
Why go for a Powered sub?
Leading car audio equipment brands have continued to advance their engineering technologies. The result is an increasingly expanding variety of powered subwoofer models to fit every user’s needs and preferences. This review represents the results of in-depth research by our team, a project that aimed at identifying and ranking the best performing powered subs on the market.
Powered car subwoofer
200 watts RMS; 800 watts MAX
300 watts RMS
150 watts RMS
350 watts RMS; 1300 watts MAX
600 watts RMS; 1100 watts MAX
200 watts RMS; 550 watts MAX
120 watts RMS; 240 watts MAX
400 watts RMS; 1200 watts MAX
1. Rockville RW10CA
Rockville RW10CA comes across as the most powerful 10-inch car sub. It beats the competition to impress you with effective bass performance and user-friendliness. You’ll love this sleek bass champion especially if your vehicle is running short of installation space. Rockville has proved that it’s possible to go big on sound while going small on size and price.
Features that make Rockville RW10CA the overall best powered car sub
Adding a little bass to the car sound system is simple with this powered sub. Many Rockville RW10CA reviews by users portray it as an inexpensive option that provides significant sound quality enhancement.
Place the RW10CA under the seat within minutes and start enjoying better audio while in the car.
2. Rockford Fosgate P300-12
If you’ve used Rockford Fosgate equipment before, you know of this brand’s keen focus on build quality. You’ll see this clearly upon setting your eyes on the P300-12. But this is only the icing on the cake. The 12-inch subwoofer inside has a set of formidable features, which assures you satisfactory audio performance.
Competition-crashing features of Rockford Fosgate P300-12
If you are looking for a powered sub with a small footprint to fit behind the back seat, you’ve just found it. The P300-12 has a small footprint and gives out full and clear sound.
Let Rockford Fosgate P300-12 make your daily commute/road tours livelier by adding lovely vibrations to your audio system’s output.
3. Kicker 11HS8
We’ve seen what a 12-inch and a 10-inch subwoofer can do. Now let’s see why Kicker’s 8-inch HS8 has managed to weather the competition to become the 3rd best powered car subwoofer in our ranking.
This sub has won a CES award for design innovation and superior engineering. This is a strong indication of competitiveness. As you’ll see shortly, it can bring your stereo to life and make your days more cheerful.
Top highlights of Kicker 11HS8
This award-winning Kicker will give you a level of bass that will add the sweet juice lacking in your car audio system’s performance.
With its proven capabilities, Kicker 11HS8 is a worthy investment in memorable in-car entertainment experiences.
4. Pioneer TS-WX1210A: Most affordable 12-inch powered car subwoofer
Many individuals – both experts and customers – consider Pioneer TS-WX1210A the best powered car subwoofer in terms of value for money. It flexes its power handling up to 1300 watts MAX while taking on lows are low as 20Hz. If tight bass is what you are after, this powered sub from Pioneer is an option you want to consider.
Unique features of TS-WX1210A
Some car subwoofers promise to deliver great bass but end up giving out discordant lows that sprawl all over the sound stage. Pioneer TS-WX1210A remains true to its promise – deep, tight bass.
Looking for ways to revitalize the output of your car audio system? Try Pioneer TS-WX1210A.
5. Dual Electronics BP1204
For some car subwoofers, hiding them away feels okay. For some, you want to see them regularly and probably show them off a little bit to your friends. The beautiful BP1204 belongs to the latter category. It does its thing while giving you a wondrous viewing experience thanks to its special illumiNITE design. What’s more to the cool-looking sub system?
Key highlights of Dual Electronics BP1204
When it comes to looks and durability, the BP1204 scores 10/10. The big subs give out big sound – great for anyone eyeing sound superiority on the road. If you have the budget and installation space, this might be the best powered car subwoofer you’ll ever find.
You have a chance to experience the unique value of the BP1204 - a powerful, cool-looking, and durable powered subwoofer.
6. Cerwin Vega VPAS10
The VPAS10 combines a 10-inch sub and a powerful amplifier in a compact design. It’s a good option if you are lacking the lows in your existing audio system. You obviously don’t expect it to annoy your neighbors or deliver bass like a trunk box. Nevertheless, it will fill the low end that your stock speakers cannot handle.
Attributes to check out
If you don’t mind sacrificing bass fidelity a little bit for loud lows, this compact 10-inch powered sub is a good bet. Granted, it fires powerful kicks that make the music fuller and livelier.
Upgrade your stereo with the high-performance Cerwin Vega VPAS10 powered subwoofer.
7. Alpine PWE-S8
This one is really small, compact, and simplistic in design, but heavy. 13.5” L x 9” W x 3” D measurements tell you that it will fit anywhere you like. More importantly, this bass baby does introduce great lows into the atmosphere. Pushing the frequencies down to 30Hz, you can hope that its mid-bass will effectively accentuate the overall sound output.
Features of Alpine PWE-S8
The PWE-S8’s biggest advantage is that it can fit is small spaces – for example an SUV’s hatch and behind a truck’s seat. The power and speaker input connections are pretty straightforward. Furthermore, almost everything you need for its installation comes in the box.
Don’t let space limitations hinder you from enjoying the thrill of having plenty of bass in the car. Alpine PWE-S8 beats all these limitations.
8. MTX TNE212D
You’d like to go big on bass. If you have space to fit a sizeable sub box and amplifier, you might find the kind of bass you are looking for in the TNE212D. This MTX masterpiece is different from the other alternatives you’ve met in this review. Notably, it doesn’t have an inbuilt amp; the amp comes separately but as part of the package.
Features of MTX TNE212D
The TNE212D is an attractive choice for any audiophile. If installing audio equipment doesn’t scare you, this sub + amp combo has great potential to revolutionize your listening experience.
Make your friends envious of your car audio system by installing the heavy-pounding MTX TNE212D today!
Factors to consider when choosing the best powered car subwoofer
The main difference between a powered subwoofer and an unpowered subwoofer is the inclusion of an amplifier. This additional feature means you have to consider the peculiarities of installing and using a powered sub.
Power handling, frequency response range, and sensitivity are common considerations for both types of subs. We’ll go over the main things to remember about these three factors before looking at those factors that are unique to powered subs.
It’s an indication of how loud and powerful the sub’s bass can get. Experts seem to agree that anything above 150 watts RMS is an indication of good bass. If you are targeting bigger bass, go for subs with higher power handling ratings. Pioneer TS-WX1210A, for example, has a 350 watts RMS power rating. With this kind of power, you probably don’t need to turn the bass past 50%. Anything more would win you trophies in bass competitions.
Power handling capacity and sensitivity should be considered in the same context. You can’t think about one without bringing the other into the picture. Sensitivity reflects the speaker’s efficiency in using the available power. A higher sensitivity means the speaker can produce more sound with lesser power. It’s better to have a speaker with higher sensitivity and lower RMS power rating than one with low sensitivity and a higher RMS rating.
Subwoofers primarily enhance the lower-end frequencies. 20Hz is considered the lowest frequency a human ear can take. There are subs that go this low. Some reach 25Hz while others only get to around 30Hz. If you are looking for very deep bass, speakers with lower frequency limits around 20Hz will more likely than not prove impressive. On the other hand, speakers with frequency floors around 30Hz will give you better mid-bass such that you are fine even without woofers in the system.
The following additional considerations are even more important when selecting powered subs:
One of the main objectives of designing a powered sub is to make it easier to add a subwoofer in an existing audio system, regardless of the size of the car. In fact, many users who look for powered subs own cars that have some space limitations.
The most compact powered subs, including Rockville RW10CA and Alpine PWE-S8, can fit under the driver’s seat. Other powered subs come with big enclosures, which are better for bigger bass, but require bigger installation space – mostly in the trunk.
It’s inherent to check the dimensions of the enclosure to ensure that it’ll fit in the space available in your car.
You’ve to consider whether you can install the sub system alone, or you’ll need to pay for professional installation. The sophistication of the sub design and your electrical installation skills will determine which way you go.
For compact and simply designed powered subs like Alpine PWE-S8, installation is easy even for someone with beginner skills. Other bigger and more sophisticated models like MTX TNE212D and Dual Electronics BP1204 need experienced hands.
Sound customization controls
Due to the peculiar design of a powered sub (subwoofer and amp in one enclosure), the presence and/or accessibility of audio control features might not always be obvious.
On some models, these controls are integrated into the design of the amp. This means you need to have the sub within easy reach to access the controls. Some models, however, come with remote bass control to make it easy to dial in the bass as you wish from the comfort of the driver’s seat. If you go for the bigger powered subs, ensure that it has remote control capabilities since you’ll install it far away from a hand’s reach.
With a good understanding of the above 6 factors, you are set for a successful selection process for the best powered car subwoofer.
We selected Rockville RW10CA for the top position because…
It’s compact enough to fit in tight spaces. Most users who search for powered subs are trying to beat installation space limitations. This explains why the RW10CA is wildly popular among owners of small cars and SUVs.
It has convincing power capabilities. For such a small sub, 200 watts RMS and 800 watts MAX power handling is a great deal.
Finally, the sub’s relatively lower price makes it quite attractive to bass lovers who wish to add a little bass to their car’s factory audio system without spending too much.
What’s your top pick?