12 Best Car Subwoofers in 2017
If you want a bit more bump in your ride, look no further than a sub. A great subwoofer can increase the bass in your car and make your neighbor’s windows rattle along with anything that is not secured in your vehicle. People may be able to hear you coming from a mile away if you buy the right sub.
Finding the best car subwoofer is not an easy task. It generally means your space is limited unless you have a hatch or want to take up half your trunk. With that in mind, we are going to focus on two sizes of subs for your car with subwoofers in the 10-inch to 12-inch range. While they can vary from 8-inches to over 30-inches, this is the common size range consumers tend to look for.
These are all referred to as “component” subwoofers as well. That means they come sans the box and require a pre-existing system or enclosure while offering you the ability to build your own system from the ground up.
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Where do you plan to install your big new subwoofers? That is the first question you need to ask yourself when looking for the best component sub. If you already have a box built to spec, you know what size you are aiming for, but true audiophiles will want to fine tune things. That means you will want to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for perfect thump, as there’s a bit more to getting solid bass than hooking up a few wires.
If you plan to build your own enclosure, go wild as long as you keep the tips from the pros in mind when it comes to volume, ports, and building material. Depth is another thing to consider as some of these subs extend beyond 6-inches. On the other hand, several manufacturers like Pioneer and JL Audio make subs with a thinner profile than can be installed in smaller boxes and tighter spaces including decks in some cases.
Dual or Single Coil?
This is a simple area and not something that will concern folks just wanting a simple sub for their car or truck. In a nutshell, the voice coil is the wire that takes current to the speaker. You know, that thin piece that most of us have broken at some time or another? A single-coil subwoofer will have one piece of that tiny wire wrapper around the “former” while a dual-coil subwoofer setup uses two wires.
What’s this mean for you? Well, it all boils to wiring options, which means more flexibility in your system. All the essential specs generally stay the same between both types, but the Ohms and wiring will vary. That extra connection also comes at an additional cost, so again, it is not necessarily something everyone will want or need. You can also find most models of the subwoofer in both dual and single-coil configurations.
When looking for the best car subwoofer, two numbers will hit you when it comes down to wattage. RMS aka Continuous and Peak or Max wattage. Continuous wattage refers to the amount of steady current an amplifier can supply to your speaker without any issues. Those would include distortion and damage to your sub. The peak is the maximum amount of juice the amp can muster in a burst, but not something that can be maintained.
If you already have an amp for your subs, you know what to look for when it comes to wattage. If you are new to audio world, you need to check the wattage of the speaker against your current amp or any you are looking to purchase. If you do not have enough juice, your new subs will not have any real thump.
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Punch is exactly what you will get from this subwoofer from Rockford Fosgate. The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 Punch series speakers are built for bass from their high-temp voice coils all the way down to nickel-plated push terminals. Even the cones on these beauties are in the upper echelon as they are specialized in a parabolic design and constructed from aluminum.
When it comes to wattage, you will want a big amp for these speakers as they can take a maximum of between 1,000 and 1,200 watts depending on the size you choose. That is far beyond what most folks want and what we would call future proof. You also have to consider the design on these subwoofers. If you are a running a box with no grills, they are going to look quite nice facing forward for the entire world to see.
These speakers come in 10” or 12” sizes with Dual 2-Ohm or 4-Ohm Impendence. The tech specs vary by model, but both sizes will provide an ample amount of bump in any vehicle on the road.
While we are on the subject of great looking speakers that provide a lot of thump we want to touch on Polk Audio. Their entry onto our list for the best car subwoofer is of the single-coil variety, and it has a very nifty trick up its sleeve as well. The Polk Audio db1040 is “marine certified” which means they can used in vehicles or even boats. That makes this particular subwoofer a great fit for off-roaders, jeeps, convertibles and other vehicles that tend to sport open tops in the summer.
This 10-inch sub has a frequency response of 28-200 Hz and can handle 270 watts continuously or 540 watts during peak performance. The composite cone will be tough and will absolutely shake some windows when properly installed in a sealed setup or ported setup. As for the 12” model, they don’t have quite as many fans but can dole out 720 watts at their peak or 360 watts continuously. There is even an 8” Dual Voice Coil variant of the Polk Audio DB series, which gives consumers a wide arrange of options if they need bass but are unsure of how much space they have to work with.
As we mentioned in our buying tips section, space can be a concern for consumers looking for big bass regardless of their budget – trunks are only so big. Well apparently nobody told JL Audio that. They have produced a series of Thin-Line subs that are very shallow but still provide bump. The JL Audio 12TW3-D4 is the 12” model with a top-mount depth of only 3 ½” which is extremely impressive. By comparison, those Fosgate’s have a depth of over 6.5”.
The JL Audio 12TW3-D4’s can be installed in more places than any other speaker on our list due to its height. It is still quite powerful however with 1,200 watts max power or 600 watts RMS continuously. The Dual 4-Ohm sub has a 2.5-inch voice coil while the connectors are Dual 10 AWG Compressions lugs. The 12” model is a bit hefty at around 15 pounds despite its depth; this is something to keep in mind depending on where you are thinking about mounting these subs. If you do need something a little smaller and lighter, the JL Audio 10tw3-d4 may be a better option with its 10” form factor.
JL Audio’s second entry on our list is not nearly as impressive as their first from a design standpoint. That doesn’t have anything to do with their overall power however as this 10” speaker can do 300 watts continuously or 600 watts during peak performance. It is rated at 4-Ohms and has a top-mount depth of close to 6”. That’s almost double the depth of the thin-line sub but standard for most speakers in this class that are not built to be compact.
This single-coil sub is what we would refer to as a workhorse. It may be a little plain in the design department, but it can out power better-looking speakers in its class. It will work great in a box whether it is sealed or ported as well, just keep the manufacturers recommended requirements in mind when building a box. Like many of the speakers considered for the best subwoofer for car use, W3v3-4 series is available in multiple sizes including 12” and 8” subwoofers.
When you think of popular brands in the subwoofer world, Infinity is not usually the first name to come to mind. Clarity and quality is what they are best known for, not necessarily bone crushing bass. If you still want the first two features with plenty of number three, the Infinity Reference 1262w is a fine choice. The 12-inch sub sports a dual voice coil setup with a maximum power of 1,200 watts so you will get plenty of thump to go along with the clarity the brand is known for.
These subs are a bit deep with a mounting depth a little over 6-inches, but sport vented pole pieces to increase cooling while improving power handling at the same time. If the big 12-inch model is a little too large for your tastes, the 10-inch Infinity Reference sub is almost as powerful with a peak rating of 1,100 watts.