The 10 Best Subwoofers

Updated May 19, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Subwoofers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Booming bass and a crisp, clear low end will make your home theater sound better than ever. Our comprehensive selection of subwoofers includes options in every price range that will add a greater resonance and dimension to your music, movie, or gaming experiences. We've ranked them here by frequency range, power, and build quality. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best subwoofer on Amazon.

10. Pioneer Andrew Jones SW-8MK2

The Pioneer Andrew Jones SW-8MK2 features crossover controls that allow for easy personalization, so you can perfectly tune your woofer for a music, movie, or game experience. You really can't beat its sound and build quality for the price.
  • low distortion on deep bass tones
  • can produce sounds as low as 38 hz
  • doesn't get very loud
Brand Pioneer
Model SW-8MK2
Weight 23.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Fluance 10-Inch DB10MA

The Fluance 10-Inch DB10MA brightens up rooms with a retro look, and kicks out a nice crisp bass sound that is perfectly matched to smaller areas. If you really like low rumbling bass, though, it's not the best choice. Its case comes in a walnut, black, or mahogany finish.
  • two-year parts and labor warranty
  • magnetic interference shielding
  • pointed feet can damage floors
Brand Fluance
Model DB10MA
Weight 29.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Yamaha Powered YST-SW216

The Yamaha Powered YST-SW216 has a front-firing, magnetically-shielded 10-inch woofer with a long-stroke driver and a frequency response range from 25-180 Hz. That means it can hit even the lowest notes and hold them for long periods of time.
  • user-controlled high-cut filter
  • mdf cabinet construction
  • only has 100 watts of power
Brand Yamaha
Model YSTSW216BL
Weight 27.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. BIC America 475 F12

The patented Venturi vent on the BIC America 475 F12 eliminates port noise to ensure a consistently rich sound, and its 475-watt peak amplifier enables thunderous movie experiences. This woofer has inputs for both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS.
  • adjustable volume and crossover
  • gold-plated terminals
  • impressive 5-year warranty
Brand BIC America
Model F12
Weight 20 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch

The Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch features handsome real wood veneer sheets on the exterior, offers a theater-quality audio experience, and is actually quite affordable. It has slotted venting for optimized bass response, and a long throw driver.
  • produces distortion-free sound
  • good for both music and movies
  • on the heavy side
Brand Polk Audio
Model AM8505-A
Weight 48.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

5. Sonos Sub

With a sleek housing, dual inward-facing, force-cancelling speakers, and wireless connectivity, the Sonos Sub gives your home entertainment area a clean and tidy look. It produces exceptionally deep bass tones with absolutely no cabinet rattle.
  • vertical or horizontal positioning
  • big sound from a compact unit
  • only works with sonos systems
Brand Sonos
Weight 39.4 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Audioengine Powered S8

If you are searching for an affordable option that looks as good as it sounds, the Audioengine Powered S8 is a fine choice. Its 8-inch woofer produces enough bass for small to medium-sized rooms, and the white enclosure with inverted pyramid feet is really stylish.
  • down-firing sub
  • rca mini-jack and lfe inputs
  • wide frequency response range
Brand Audioengine
Model S8W-115V
Weight 34.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0


If you hate the look of wires, or just don't want to deal with the hassle of hiding them, get the Bluetooth-capable ELAC S10EQ. It can be controlled via the ELAC Sub app and an integrated 12-band equalizer will automatically adjust the sound to your room's characteristics.
  • also has a full manual eq
  • packs a crisp bass punch
  • 10-inch passive radiator
Brand Elac
Model DS10EQ1-BK
Weight 34.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Klipsch R-12SW

Lovers of stomach rumbling, teeth rattling bass will definitely appreciate the Klipsch R-12SW. Its digital amp sends 400 watts of power to its front-facing sub while an integrated low-pass crossover perfectly blends it into your sound system.
  • lfe and line inputs
  • hits extremely hard
  • can produce very low frequencies
Brand Klipsch
Model R-12SW
Weight 38.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. SVS SB2000

The SVS SB2000 is available in a black ash or a piano gloss finish, so you shouldn't have any problem matching it to your current setup. The 12-inch speaker boasts 1,100 watts of peak power for high-volume, distortion-free sound, but draws minimal juice on standby mode.
  • completely sealed enclosure
  • nuanced bass tones
  • ideal for large rooms
Brand SVS
Model SB-2000 - Black Ash
Weight 49.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

The Various Uses For A Subwoofer

Subwoofers are used to deliver bass in audio applications such as music and sound effects. They have the ability to accurately reproduce low-frequency sounds, typically in the 20 to 200 Hertz range. Subwoofers usually contain one or two woofers, which are the devices capable of turning a low audio signal into a sound, housed inside of a loudspeaker.

A subwoofer’s housing can handle the air pressure produced by low-frequency signals without distorting the resulting audio. There are two main categories of subwoofers, namely passive and active. Passive subwoofers retrieve power from an external amplifier, while active ones have an in-unit amplifier.

In a home entertainment room, subwoofers can boost the main speaker's bass capabilities. Most loudspeakers made for home use cannot accurately reproduce low-frequency sounds like pipe organ music or large bass drums, but these often appear in the scoring of movies and television shows. A subwoofer can aid standard speakers, and prevent low-frequency sounds from harming them. Models made for home use are typically small because people want to store them in a cabinet and out of sight.

Unlike home subwoofers, which are made small enough to hide, car subwoofers are designed to go in the trunk due to the space limitations of a vehicle. The confined space of a car is also what makes a subwoofer especially important for drivers who like to listen to bass-heavy music because the pressure of the low-frequency sound can cause damage to the interior of the vehicle. Subwoofers can help absorb some of that pressure. In terms of commercial use, movie theaters often have permanent subwoofers. There are several models designed with the high audio quality demands of a movie theater in mind. These usually reduce outside noise interference for an immersive listening experience.

Historic Moments Of The Subwoofer

El Cerrito, CA native, Raymon Dones, received the first subwoofer patent in 1964. His model not only reproduced low-frequency sounds without distortion, but it also offered a surround sound effect so listeners could not determine from which part of a room the audio was coming. This subwoofer was called the Octavium and was utilized by famous musicians like the Grateful Dead and the Pointer Sisters.

Physicist Arnold Nudell and airline pilot Cary Christie developed a second primitive subwoofer in 1966. The duo’s creation was a separate bass speaker designed to work in conjunction with the Servo Static 1 loudspeaker, made by New Technology Enterprises. Christie and Nudell marketed their subwoofer at $1,795. This price was significantly higher than that of any model available at the time, which earned the creators criticism in some publications. Christie and Nudell ultimately managed to find investors to make more units. Christie and Nudell formed the company Infinity and named their subwoofer the SS-1.

The 1960s saw the emergence of several influential subwoofers. Ken Kreisel and Jonas Miller of the Miller & Kreisel Sound Corporation in Los Angeles received several complaints from customers about their popular electrostatic speakers failing to produce quality bass sound. The pair designed a woofer that could reproduce frequencies that were too low for the speaker. Steely Dan was the first band to use a subwoofer in the recording of an album.

Recording engineer Roger Nichols offered up a subwoofer he designed for the band’s recording of the Pretzel Logic album. Audiences who watched the 1974 film “Earthquake” in theaters experienced the low-frequency sounds of the film through the revolutionary Sensurround system, which included large subwoofers and 500-watt amplifiers. The dramatic and quality sound of the film is one of the things that made it a box office hit.

Three Iconic Bass Players

John Entwistle of the iconic rock band The Who transformed the image of the bass guitar from a background item to a flashy, star player of any group. He captivated fans with his bass solo in the 1965 song “My Generation” and earned the nickname “Thunderfingers.” Entwistle built his first bass guitar and had it fretted to imitate a Hofner violin bass. The result was a nine-inch fingerboard with nearly zero frets. He attached the control knobs with glue and used a drum material for the scratch plate.

Bootsy Collins played bass for James Brown in the 1970s and has since then worked with Snoop Dogg and Parliament-Funkadelic, to name a few. Collins was known for his trademark Space Bass, which had a mahogany body, maple neck, mirror pick guard and white finish. The guitar can be seen on the cover of the album “Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band.”

Collins still plays a version of the Space Bass, but his current model is star-shaped. Traben Bass Company of Clearwater, Florida developed a signature Collins guitar called the “Bootzilla” and several other companies also designed instruments in honor of the artist.

Carol Kaye is a session musician who has worked on albums with several famous artists including Phil Spector and Brian Wilson. She has played bass in over 10,000 songs, some of which became huge hits like Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” as well as Sonny and Cher’s “The Beat Goes On.” Kaye is known for effortlessly switching between genres.

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Last updated on May 19, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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