When driving, having an excellent car audio system creates an enjoyable experience, as the right music can take your mind off of long drives, or hours stuck in traffic.
What is a Car Subwoofer?
A car subwoofer or ‘car sub’, is the speaker which produces the bass sounds, or low frequency sounds, of your favorite music. This frequency range is generally 20 to 200 Hertz. In order to get the most immersive sound possible you would pair up your subwoofer with a tweeter, which reproduces treble sounds, and woofers for the mid range sound. Always remember, that your vehicles subwoofer needs to be paired with an amplifier for the best possible sound.
Where to buy car subwoofers?
Once you realize how a subwoofer can add a deep, rich and palpable bass sound to your cars stereo, it’s time to begin to search for one, so we recommend that you first get a feel for subwoofers by doing research online, reading reviews and watching videos. Next, go out and visit an auto supply store, electronics store or department store in order to have actual hands on experience. Talk to an experienced salesperson, listen to the quality of subwoofers in person if possible before you make your choice. Once you have a solid idea of what it is you want, you are free to order from online auto supply web sites if you choose.
Why We Have Recommended These 3 Subwoofers?
Occupying our number one spot, is the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D dual subwoofers. First off, the price is good and the power and performance is excellent. This is a dual subwoofer system, meaning there are two subwoofers per 5/8 inch MDF enclosure, which make it perfect for music that has a strong bass. Specifications and features such as a frequency response is 37 to 150 Hz, a 2 inch aluminum voice coil, rubber surround, polypropylene cone, work together to create a powerful and high performance vehicle subwoofer.
The number two spot belongs to the 12 inch, component Kicker CVR124 car subwoofer, which has a sensitivity of 86.9 decibels, RMS power range of 400 watts, injection molded cone, frequency response of 25 to 500 Hz and dual voice coil. This unit is definitely built for the budget minded, as it offers high kick at a lower cost and can easily fit inside your trunk. This model will absolutely excel when paired with the perfect amplifier and is known to ‘kick’ the bassline until the windows rattle.
Finally, we round out our top three with the economically priced, component Skar Audio EVL-12 D2 12 inch Competition Car Subwoofer with 1250 watts of RMS power. The high flux double stack ferrite motor, which, when combined with the 3-inch, high temperature, 4-layer, black aluminum CCAW voice coil mean that you will have no problem on long road trips, as you will be able to maintain power without risk of overheating. Feel free to enjoy music that celebrates the bass line as you drive, with this easy to install, component subwoofer by Skar.
How to Choose a Subwoofer for your Car?
Once you have decided you want a subwoofer for your vehicle, it’s time to look into the important factors that go into purchasing one. After you have come to terms with what it is you want from your cars stereo system, it is time to get to the brass tacks and narrow down your choices. Below, we have listed a few considerations which are designed to make the search for the best 12 inch subwoofer a little easier.
What are You Willing to Pay? This is where research comes in handy. When you do your research, and narrow down your choices for a subwoofer, make sure you stay within a price range that you can actually afford. Subwoofers can run from about $60.00 into the hundreds of dollars, so by staying within your price range you are certain to only pay for the features you want and need, and not be coaxed in to purchasing any unnecessary and expensive features.
Consider Your Vehicle: The type of vehicle you drive will have a direct effect on the type of subwoofer you will choose. This is due to the amount of space available for proper installation. As subwoofers are usually installed in the trunk of the vehicle, it should be small enough to not get in the way of important storage items or your spare tire. For other individuals, it is important that the style of the subwoofer blends in with their vehicle’s interior.
What Type of Subwoofer is Right for You? This is where you have to figure in size and enclosure for your subwoofer. Component subwoofers mean you must choose the enclosure and amplifier, and enclosed subwoofers come already in an enclosure, you simply choose an external amplifier. Powered subwoofers contain a speaker and an amplifier, vehicle specific subwoofers.
Research the Specifications and Features: You want to narrow your speaker choice down to what subwoofer will give you the most bang for your buck, while not paying for extras that you have no interest in. Features to consider when researching a subwoofer are power, frequency range, sensitivity or enclosure. Pay attention to RMS power ratings, as it is the RMS power rating number which tells you how much power your speaker can deliver continuously without burning out. You can either have a sealed enclosure for your subwoofer, or a ported/vented enclosure. Enclosures have a direct effect on the performance of your subwoofer.
What is Your Favorite Type of Music? The type of music you listen to most, will have a huge impact on the type of subwoofer and number of subwoofers to choose. For instance, if you are a fan of bass heavy music such as hip hop, synth and rock, chances are you’ll want to purchase a pair of subwoofers. Music that is not come with a heavy bassline, you will be fine with just one.
Top Rated 12 inch Subwoofer List
The 7 Best 12 inch Subwoofer Reviews 2018
No matter what style of music you prefer, if the bass is below par or worse, non-existent, then then you are not hearing the best possible sound. In order to hear the richness of your music, you will need an excellent subwoofer such as the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D. Considered by many to be one of the best entry level subwoofers out there yet has no problem out performing other brands in the same class. The MTX sealed sub enclosure has 5/8 inch MDF solid construction and durable aviation grade black carpeting. Frequency response is 37 to 150 Hz, and peak power is 800 watts total, RMS is 400 watts total.
This is a 12 inch, single, 2 inch aluminum voice coil, 4 Ohm, 200 watt subwoofer which offers high quality performance at a good price. It comes with spider plateau venting to cool the voice coil so no worries about overheating, an asymmetrical linear drive system which means that your Polypropylene Cone.
will always be moving in a linear manner so no distortion occurs. The designers included a rubber surround which increases the durability of the subwoofer and means it will offer your many years of service.
Summary- The MTX Terminator TNE212D is an enclosed subwoofer with 800 watts total peak power and 400 wats total RMS power is on the top of our list, and it is one that we most heartily endorse. It has a 2 inch aluminum voice coil, rubber surround, polypropylene cone, frequency response of 37-150Hz. The MTX comes in a sealed subwoofer enclosure, 5/8 inch MDF solid construction and durabale aviation grade black carpeting.
If you are looking for high performance, lots of power and excellent, The 12 inch Kicker CVR124 is known as one of the best car audio subwoofers in its class. This unit delivers not only high performance but also superior power handling and Kickers superb bass technology. The Kicker has a 4 Ohm dual voice coil, a rigid and spoked injection molded cone that is constructed with a 360 degree back bracing, along with a high temperature coil wire, durable steel basket with a coil cooling venting.
The surround is constructed of a ribbed Santoprene for extra strength along with double stitching for added toughness. Sensitivity is at 86.9 decibels, a RMS power range of 400 watts and peak power handling of 800 watts, impedance at 4 Ohm, frequency response, 25 to 500 Hz. Kickers own Solo-Baric technology ensures that this subwoofer will provide the absolute best performance among its class by being able to handle torrents of power.
Summary- The Kicker CVR124 is a fabulous, 12 inch high performance car audio subwoofer with a sensitivity of 86.9 decibels, peak power handling of 800 watts and RMS power range of 400 watts, impedance is 4Ohm and frequency response is 25 to 500 Hz. It has a rigid, injection molded cone supported with a 360 degree back bracing, and a tough, steel basket with coil cooling perimeter venting for heat dissipation. Ribbed Santoprene, double stitched surround. You’ll love this model if you are looking for a good matchup between performance and price.
Skar Audio EVL-12 D2 12″ Competition Car 12 inch subwoofer masters the art of low-end sound reproduction. This model is powered by a high flux double stack ferrite motor which pushes the power. This is a truly powerful subwoofer, with a RMS power of 1250 watts and a peak power of 2500. As always, please pay attention to the RMS power, as that refers to the peak performance on a continual basis, whereas if your subwoofer operated at peak power, it would burn out, overheating very quickly.
The 4 layer, 3 inch CCAW black aluminum voice coil ensures that you will have this power able to be on for a longer time as it is being cooled by a Skar’s own advanced air flow design.
This unit has a high roll foam surround and a sensitivity of 85.1 decibels. The EVL-12 D2 has a suspension design composed of a single damper and two layer spider that functions to connect to the coil former via stitched lead wires.
Summary- The Skar Audio EVL-12 D2 12″ Competition Car Subwoofer is quite powerful with a RMS of 1250 watts. Its 3 inch voice coil is a 4 layer, black aluminum CCAW coil, and frequency response is 30 to 300 Hz and sensitivity of 85.1 decibels. This is a very basic model feature wise, however, it packs a lot of punch when it comes to delivering up the bassline of your favorite songs.
The Pioneer TS-W304R is a 12 inch subwoofer with solid build and a whole lot of power for its price tag. You get a whopping 1300 maximum power with 300 RMS maximum with this model, along with a new, stylized look so it will fit in a variety of vehicles. This unit allows you to use either a sealed or ported enclosure, and utilizes Pioneer’s own IMPP composite seamless cone woofer which is guaranteed to give you a deep and powerful bass sound while eliminating unpleasant distortion, just what you’d expect from Pioneer.
This subwoofer has a durable cone constructed from injection molded polypropylene which makes it rigid and tough while still being light. The voice coil has 6 layers which handles the 300 watts of RMS power quite well. The magnet cover is in place to protect the stamped basket, and the design features venting which cools the subwoofer down. Frequency response is 20 to 220 Hz, sensitivity is 95 decibels, and a foam surround.
Summary- The Pioneer TS-W304R is a 12 inch subwoofer that offers you a solid sound of 300 RMS at a good price. Especially designed to look nice in every vehicle, this unit has a IMPP composite seamless cone, frequency response of 20 to 220 Hz and a sensitivity of 95 decibels. 6 layer voice coil and a magnet cover with additional venting to keep the subwoofer cool. Overall, this is a solid contender for anyone who is looking for a subwoofer constructed by a well respected company.
Rockford Fosgates P3D2-12 is a nice model subwoofer for your vehicle. This is a 12 inch subwoofer which features an anodized aluminum cone, dustcaps and integrated spider venting. This spider venting is guaranteed to ensure that your subwoofer does not overhead during extended periods of usage. VAST technology increases the surface area of the cone to up to 25 percent, along with a FlexFit basket for extreme vehicle installations, which means that this stamp-cast basket provides you with durability while being light weight.
This unit comes with custom 10 AWG nickel plated push terminals, an extended pole piece, bumped and vented backplate, and a high temperature voice coil. The voice coil is constructed with a spun-laced Nomex reinforced collar, protective PVC magnet cover, and diamond cut cast, aluminum trim ring (grille optional). The parabolic cone design, large motor assemblies and large surrounds ensure that the ‘Punch’ subwoofers will continuously deliver the absolutely best in tough, solid sound that is powerful with a lot of edge.
Summary- Rockford Fosgates P3D2-12 is a 12 inch auto subwoofer with a custom 10 AWG nickel plated push terminal, dual linear spider, embedded 16 AWG tinsel leads, vented backplate, voice coil with spun-laced Nomex reinforced collar. The cone is anodized aluminum and has a dustcap, and the magnet has a protective, PVC cover. The trim ring is a diamond cust, cast aluminum and the grille is optional. This Rockford model is thoughtfully designed and constructed to deliver to you a ‘Punch’ bass sound for those who love their synth, hip hop or rock music.
If you are in the market for a nice, loud bass sound at a good price, built for smaller, tighter spaces, then the Rockville RVB12.1A might be what you are looking for. This unit has a RMS max power of 300 watts, in an active subwoofer enclosure along with a built-in amplifier. Installation is fast and easy, with the subwoofer and amplifier all in one Anti-Vibration Braced MDF Cabinet enclosure with aviation grade tweed carpet. The unit is designed with at 15 degree slope to the back so it can give you a nice, tight fit in the truck while not getting in the way of tools or your spare tire.
The side mounted aeroport is a nice feature that helps in producing a deep bass sound as it allows the bass sound waves to ‘load’ before they travel to the cars interior. One thing about this model, is that it strives to create a sound that listeners can actually ‘feel’. This unit has a nice adjustable bass boost equalizer, a 2 inch voice coil, inverted carbon graphite molded dust cap, Kevlar reinforced pulp cone, a frequency response of 30 to 150 Hz, and sensitivity of 93 decibels.
Summary- Rockville RBV12.1A Single 12 inch car subwoofer comes Anti-Vibration Braced MDF enclosure Cabinet, has an RMS of 300 watts, inverted carbon graphite molded dust cap, kevlar reinforced pulp cone, double laminated foam surround that is stitched to the cone, a frequency response of 30 to 150 Hz and a sensitivity of 93 decibels. Computer tuned bass reflex port, class AB amplifier, high speed MOSFET power supply. If you are in the market for an all-in-one model, then this is pretty much the unit you should look into, rich in features, style and able to fit in small areas.
JBL is a well known company whose products are used in recording studios, movie theaters and concert venues across the country. JBL also has an excellent handle on the car audio industry. The JBL CS Series CS1214 is a capable, affordably priced car subwoofer, its polypropylene woofer cone is designed to be light while delivering a good internal damping, with a solid palpable bassline. The polypropylene is rigid, and totally resistant to the elements and guarantees you a thumping bass, good enough to touch.
The progressive spider performs much better than any regular, linear spider could. As a result, you experience less distortion, even when you are pumping up the volume. Installation of this unit is quite simple due to its mounting depth. This subwoofer functions well in sealed, vented enclosures as well as infinite-baffle applications. The sensitivity for this sub is 90 decibels, frequency response is 35 Hz to 200 Hz, and RMS reaches a maximum of 250 watts.
Summary- The JBL CS Series CS1214 Subwoofer is powerful, offering 1000 peak maximum power and 250 watts of RMS. It comes with a big bass polypropylene woofer cone, rubber surround, progressive spider for the ultimate in control, and is very easy to install. This subwoofer will have no problem in sealed, vented enclosures or infinite-baffle applications. All in all, a nice, affordable subwoofer for someone looking for a subwoofer that is durable, powerful and long lasting.
How to install subwoofers in a car?
Below we have given you a basic idea of the installation process for your subwoofer. However, always remember that your products manual must take precedent when installing the subwoofer, as each subwoofer will have it’s own preferred installation method laid out by the designers of the subwoofer. For example, the installation process will vary whether you have an enclosed subwoofer, a component subwoofer or an all in one model (amplifier and subwoofer). We recommend that you have a professional install your subwoofer, especially if you do not feel comfortable with the installation process.
1. Before You Start: Remember to disconnect your cars battery before you do any electrical wiring of any kind on your vehicle. We have only posted a guide here, because each manual will have their own procedure. Remember, that speaker wiring is in close proximity of other wiring, such as your windshield wipers, climate controls, airbags, and door locks, and damaging any of these wires means that your systems may be damaged.
2. Gather Your Supplies: Remember, read your manual, as you may have to gather different supplies. for instance, if you need to purchase a separate amplifier, you’ll also need to get a amplifier wiring kit. This is just a generalized list. Get your subwoofer and amplifier ready. Next, gather your wiring supplies such as your wire stripper, electrical tape and wire cutters. Fastening tools include wrench, screwdrivers, needle nose pliers.
3. Position your Subwoofer: Most people place their subwoofer in their vehicles trunk. A good subwoofer is an investment for your car, so be sure to use brackets to secure the subwoofer so it does not take abuse as you drive. If you have a subwoofer with a built in amplifier, your instructions will most likely not involve laying a ground wire or audio cables.
4. Cables and Wiring: Again, please disconnect the car battery before you start the installation. Next, you will follow the directions in your manuals for connecting the amplifier and subwoofer. Once you run your cables as per the products manual, please make sure you secure them with zip ties. As always no cables or wiring should be near sharp parts, moving car parts, or kinked.
Take a look at your manual and you may notice that there is a need for a ground wire. More often than not, you will use your cars seat bolt for the grounding wire. Remove the bolt and put the wire in place, and re-secure the bolt.
Now that you have the amplifier and ground wire taken care of, it is time to connect the subwoofer to your vehicles stereo. Your vehicles audio system will have RCA ports for the audio cables, which are often located in the back of the stereo, so you may have to remove the stereo from the dash.
Next run your audio cables from your suboofer to the RCA ports.
If all is well and good, your subwoofer will be delivering you fantastic bass sound. However, if you notice any warning lights, this may mean that there is an issue with wiring. As a result, we strongly recommend that you take your vehicle to a certified mechanic who will inspect your wiring.
The Final Thought (Conclusion)
We hope you enjoyed our article centering on the Best 12 inch subwoofers, and found it informative as well. The addition of a high performance subwoofer to your cars stereo system is an inexpensive way to get more bang from your buck, and bounce from your stereo. Whether you opt for an all-in-one unit, a component or one made specifically for your particular vehicle, we guarantee that upgrading your cars audio system with a well chosen and researched subwoofer will improve your overall driving experience in a positive way.