Sound equipment companies are fiercely competitive when it comes to the aggressive promotion of the superiority of their designs and models over those of other Best Subwoofer brands. Each one proclaims that they’ve either been making this or that for decades, or that they’ve been developing an innovative new technology which promises to make each and every note sound that much clearer, stronger and better. Each one proclaims that it’s made with better materials or has some kind of design modification that makes it stand out from the rest. For the first-time buyer who’s already confused by some of the jargon, or doesn’t know how each part works in tandem with the others, this can make the final decision of buying a subwoofer extremely complicated—and for those who have been buying and replacing car system parts over time, it’s easy to get jaded when some brands are all talk and end up failing to delier as soon as you start playing some music.
This is made even more difficult by the fact that there are plenty of reviews floating around the internet, which while useful, can take some time to sift through. Sometimes all you want is just a simplified guide that will tell you what each bit does and how it can really have an effect on the sound without any of the sales talk. With the flashy ads and promos all proclaiming that theirs are the best ones out in the market today, how does the average car owner hope to be able to make a truly informed decision about which brand to trust and what subwoofer will ultimately be the best one for your car? Here’s a list of four of the best subwoofer brands you can find on the market today, and which models in particular are great examples of why they remain on the top of their game.
Consistently scoring near-perfect ratings in that behemoth of a retailer site, Amazon, JL Audio is praised by first-time buyers and audiophiles alike for the dedication to strong design and sleek exteriors. It is often known for delivering clear bass in a package that integrates seamlessly with a factory setup in a car, and this one is no exception. The 10W0V3-4 – JL Audio 10″ Single 4-Ohm W0V3 Series Subwoofer is easy to install in your speaker box, and it comes with an elevated cooling frame. This is important because overheating is really one of the biggest nemeses of subwoofer life, eventually creating crackly sound and interruptions—and in some cases, if heat management is really terrible, speakers can even go up in flames!
There’s no such danger of that happening with this JL Audio subwoofer, as air will be brought directly to the voice coil inside, allowing heat to escape rapidly and keeping sound transmission clean and bright on the mids to highs, while your deepest basslines are as smooth and as rich as you can wish for. This one also brings solid power handling to the table, being able to take 300 watts RMS, and a peak of up to 600 watts. The polypropylene cone is very durable as it’s mineral-filled, creating a dense cone that’s extra strong.
Ah, Rockford Fosgate—another behemoth in the car sound equipment industry. While some brands do offer incredibly clear mids and highs, many of them end up falling flat when it comes to bass projection, and that’s what Rockford Fosgate is known for. Their subwoofers produce bass so strong and so vibrant even when you take your volume all the way to its limits, that you can make your car windows shake with your speakers and wake up the neighborhood—granted, you’ll be waking them up with booming, excellent music that is undisturbed by fuzziness, muddiness or any of the little crackles and pops that inferior subwoofers will bring.
The bass response of a Rockford Fosgate is unparalleled without disturbing the projection of higher notes, and this one comes in a durable box of its own with a metal grill, allowing the smooth transmission of sound and saving you the headache of buying an enclosure. It also comes with its own removable power lug so you can manage the power, ground and remote, as well as separate adapter for speaker line or RCA. The 300 Watts RMS for power handling on this subwoofer makes it comparable to other more expensive models on the market.
Some people find it hard to believe that Kicker can really deliver on its promises of making such great subwoofers at what some feel are the best prices you can get anywhere—where else can you get a great one for under a hundred dollars anywhere? There’s always a fear that the company will cut corners on materials, design or other things, giving you a cheap subwoofer which you’ll have to replace in a matter of months. Fortunately, Kicker consistently lives up to its ideal of value for money, and the Kicker 10C124 Comp 12-Inch Subwoofer 4 SVC comes with a strong steel basket design, and a vented pole piece for the voice coil that will ensure durability.
The ribbed surround prevent outside vibrations from your car from creating internal sound distortion, and the cone of the subwoofer is injection-molded, creating a good surface area for sound projection, along with its 360 back-bracing. You can also expect power handling to peak with this at 500 Watts per subwoofer, so with a custom box for one of these subwoofers and not overpowering them, you’ll have a good setup for your car in no time, and without splashing out too much cash!
Alpine is known for providing various kinds of sound equipment, which while pricier than most, is incredibly durable and well-made, promising top-quality tech that will last for years to come. This subwoofer model has a feature that no other has—its cone is made with pulp treated with Kevlar. Yep, the same material known for making bulletproof clothing has been utilized to make this incredibly hardy cone that you can count on to keep projecting sound smoothly and consistently without being disrupted by outside interference, while maintaining its shape and design integrity over time, heat and pressure.
You can expect power handling of 1000 Watts per subwoofer at its maximum, making your bass thump like crazy when you play your music. Some users report that even operating it at 400 Watts RMS is much better than higher power handling on other subwoofers, and that it only starts to generate a small amount of heat at that point, which is easily managed by its vented cooling syste—even an underpowered Alpine subwoofer can knock out the competition. No distortion even at top volumes, and the projection of the mids on this one is clean and bright. The surround is Santoprene, meaning it will sound great even with lots of excursion.
A consistent bestseller wherever you go and always highly-rated, this offering from MTX gets off on the right foot by coming with its own vented enclosure made from hardy medium-density fiberboard, which eliminates the need for a pre-fab or custom box, while allowing proper management of heat and airflow from the subwoofer and the car. The enclosure also has dustcaps made of polypropylene, which are very light in weight but incredibly durable.
These have a spider enclosure venting system that really keeps heating to the bare minimum during extended playing time in your car, plus each subwoofer has power handling of 200 Watts RMS—so you can expect a total of 400 Watts from this model, as well as 800 Watts peak power. Feel like taking it to its limits? It can perform well even at the absolute maximum of 1200 Watts. It also helps that this one looks particularly sleek in any car you put it in, as the classic black exterior is wrapped in aircraft grade carpet that will protect it from any wear and tear. Hard-hitting bass at a solid price point is definitely an MTX signature.
If you’re looking for a subwoofer—maybe today, maybe in the near future when you’ve gotten your budget management together—this is a good starting point for you. Save yourself some cash, time and the headache of arguing with salespeople in the physical store by doing your own objective comparison of the ones we’ve featured here, and you’ll definitely be able to make the right choice for yourself. You are the best judge of what will fit in your car and work with your system—reviews and pitches are just there to help you make up your mind.