May 3, 2019

The 10 Best Powered Subwoofer for Cars

If you don’t have a subwoofer attached to your car stereo, then you are missing out on the fun that comes with driving to thumping bass beats. Getting a good stereo for your car is half the battle won, the other half includes choosing the best subwoofer to enhance those low-frequency bass tones in the audio. Now, subwoofers come in various shapes, sizes, and watt power. They are available as passive subwoofers or powered subwoofers. Passive subwoofers are usually dependent on an external source for amplifying their audio signals while powered subwoofers have an in-built amplifier.

For the purpose of installing in the car, powered subwoofers are ideal as they are easy to install and require no external power source. So, if you are looking to buy subwoofers for your car, we recommend going for the powered variety. But, choosing from the long list of powered subwoofers can intimidate and thus, we will make it easy for you by listing down the best-powered subwoofer for cars.

Cerwin Vega, the well-known car accessories manufacturing company, has gained an unbeatable reputation in the car subwoofer market. Their Cerwin Vega Mobile VPAS10 is a 10-inch active powered subwoofer designed to fit in cars, in even the most compact ones. The subwoofer has MOSFET power supply with peak power of 160 W and RMS of 80 W, which is ideal for small cars. The subwoofer is high on security and features thermal overheating, overload and short circuit protection mechanism. Another great feature in the Cerwin Vega Mobile VPAS10 is its great frequency response of 75-150 Hz along with a remote bass control knob. The subwoofer is durable and is enclosed within an aluminum casing and a metal grille, keeping it secure from minor scratches and bumps in the car. The Cerwin Vega Mobile VPAS10 subwoofer is high on efficiency as it delivers low frequencies at low power inputs. It also includes auto on/off sensor, adjustable input sensitivity, and a phase switch. To sum it, the Cerwin Vega 10-inch powered subwoofer is a great buy if you are on a budget and are not looking for a great amount of power. This subwoofer does a decent job with your car stereo but cannot give you a resounding thump bass beats unlike other subwoofers in the same category.

Pros:

  •  The subwoofer comes with MOSFET power supply
  • It has a good frequency response of 75-150 Hz
  • The subwoofer is compact and features a lightweight body ideal for cars
  • In-built sensors for auto on/off
  • Extra secure inside an aluminum enclosure and an additional metal grille

Cons:

  • The subwoofer lacks in power with only 80 W RMS

Alpine Electronics’ PWE- S8 powered subwoofer is the epitome of style and great craftsmanship. The subwoofer is powered with quad coils and delivers a power of 120 W RMS with a peak performance of 240 W. This 8-inch subwoofer throws all the myths about “small subwoofers not delivering power”, out of the window. It is durable owing to its aluminum enclosure and metal mesh along with being easy to install in your car. It can easily fit under the car seats, in the car doors, or the trunk. The subwoofer is easy to access and play with all its controls being available together on one side of the subwoofer. It features a frequency response of 32-150 Hz and boasts of features like volume control, gain, phase, and LP crossover. All these features enclosed in a slim fit body come at an exorbitant price and might not capture the fancy of young car owners. But, saying that, the Alpine Electronic S8 powered subwoofer delivers on all it promises and it justified in demanding the high price.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight body easy to install even in small cars.
  • A great frequency response of 32-150 Hz along with loud and clean bass notes.
  • The controls for volume, gain, phase, crossover etc. are on one panel for easy access.
  • Speaker level inputs are provided with the subwoofer.
  • Durable and long lasting because of the aluminum casing.

Cons:

  •  The subwoofer is quite expensive and might not find many takers, especially young drivers.

The list of the best-powered subwoofer for cars is not complete without mentioning the Rockford Fosgate P300 subwoofer. This 12-inch subwoofer has a built-in class D amplifier giving it a powerful 300 W RMS boost. The subwoofer features a hard casing sealed enclosure making it very durable and unaffected by scratches, bumps, etc. This hard casing enclosure is good from a safety point of view but because of its heavy duty structure, it might be difficult to install it in small cars, though it's easy to fit it inside big cars, SUVs, etc. This Rockford Fosgate 300 W subwoofer comes equipped with built-in adjustable bass equalizer, thermal overload, and high voltage protection circuitry, along with an automatic sensor for switching on/off. This subwoofer is CEA-2031 certified with a frequency response of 35-150 Hz. The woofer features 12 AWG input terminals and a variable low-pass crossover. The Rockford Fosgate P300 is a great buy and should be on your list when you go scouting for the best-powered subwoofer for cars.

Pros:

  • The subwoofer’s closed-loop design helps in synchronization between the amplifier, enclosure, and woofer.
  • Adjustable built-in bass boost EQ
  • Different speaker level and low-level inputs
  • Powerful 300W RMS
  • Thermal protection and voltage control feature.

Cons:

  • The woofer measures 12-inch and is a little big for cars.
  • The subwoofer’s bulky and heavy exterior might pose challenges while installing in small cars.

Do not go by its looks, because this 8-inch low-profile subwoofer packs in a solid punch. The Planet Audio P8UAW subwoofer is perfect for installation in cars owing to its compact design. It is capable of 800 W peak power with 400 W RMS and its integrated amplifiers make every music genre sound great. This Planet Audio subwoofer has a good frequency response of 20-150 Hz and has additional features like volume control, phase switch, and high & low-level inputs. It also includes a soft delay remote on/off feature. The subwoofer can go on playing for hours but is prone to overheating and thus it has an in-built thermal overheating and short circuit prevention system, keeping you and your car secure. This stylish looking subwoofer has backlit blue LED lights which turn on when it’s playing and illuminate the Planet Audio Logo. This small and lightweight subwoofer will be a great addition to your car.

Pros:

  • 800 W peak power with 400 W RMS
  • The subwoofer comes with soft delay remote turn-on feature
  • It is equipped with thermal protection and short circuit prevention system
  • Compact and stylish looking subwoofer with blue LED backlight logo
  • Available at an affordable price

Cons:

  • The subwoofer gets overheated easily due to prolonged playing.

The Kicker 11HS8 powered subwoofer might just be the easiest subwoofer to install in a car. This 150 W compact subwoofer comes with Velcro straps for easy plug and play installation. These subwoofers are hassle-free and do not require a lot of wiring before they can play. This lightweight 8-inch subwoofer has an amazing low-frequency range of 50-120 Hz. It is unusual to have such low-frequency range for small subwoofers but the Kicker 11HS8 is just proving that it is possible. It includes other features like remote bass boost control and fine tuning, high and low-level inputs, automatic sensor on/off along with a wired remote control. This great looking and loaded with features subwoofer comes at a steep price tag and would not appeal to every car owner, especially when they can get similar features for a lesser price in another subwoofer.

Pros:

  • The subwoofer includes wired remote control for adjusting bass boost control and fine-tuning
  • It is one of the easiest subwoofers to install as it comes with Velcro straps.
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Great frequency response

Cons:

  • Expensive subwoofer in this range
  • Issues raised by consumers on Kicker’s built and durability.

Next on our list is the boss of all subwoofers- The BOSS Audio BASS1600 powered subwoofer. This subwoofer boasts of 1600 W of peak power supported by class A/B amplifiers. The 10-inch subwoofer is designed for cars and is easy to install. It is powered by MOSFET with Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) and features high, low-level inputs along with subsonic filters. It also includes soft turn on, phase switch, variable bass boost, and adjustable input sensitivity. It is high on security and safety standards with in-built protection against thermal overheating, short circuits and overload. The subwoofer also comes with blue LED lights to show the power status and are a great buy if you are a fan of powerful bass.

Pros:

  • Protection against thermal overheating, overload and short-circuit
  • MOSFET Power supply with Pulse Width Modulation
  • 1600 W of peak power
  • LED indicators for power status

Cons:

  • The metal enclosure gets overheated after long hours of continuous playing.

The Rockville RW10CA powered subwoofer is a 10-inch box of pure bass power. At 800 W, the subwoofer delivers on sound quality and power. Its compact design and body make it suitable for installation in the car. The subwoofer has MOSFET power supply and an auto on/off intelligent sensor which switches off in case no music signal is received. The striking feature about Rockville RW10CA is that it has all its control features placed on one side of the subwoofer for easy access. It comes with a wired remote control and has a frequency response of 20-150 Hz. It also includes other add-on features like high and low-level inputs, thermal overload and short circuit protection, and volume control. The most appealing feature of this compact subwoofer is that it comes along with mounting hardware which makes installing it in a car even easier.

Pros:

  • Rockville RW10CA is a lightweight and easy to install subwoofer.
  • The subwoofer comes with mounting hardware
  • It boasts of clean bass tones with great sound clarity
  • 800 W peak power
  • Low-frequency response and sensitivity
  • Affordable price
  • Sturdy and durable enclosure

Cons:

  •  The subwoofer is susceptible to distortion at high volumes
  • The bass lacks depth
  • Prone to overheating

Dual Electronics’ BAK1500 powered subwoofer is another great product on this list. This slim fit and low-profile subwoofer is easy to install in a car. This 10-inch subwoofer is pre-fitted with a Class A/B amplifier and gives out peak power of 1500 W. The subwoofer includes an aluminum cone surrounded by rubber and a stainless-steel protective cap. It features a knob for adjusting the bass boost controls and for fine-tuning along with frequency response of 25-120 Hz. BAK1500’s linear circuitry helps in reducing distortion and enhancing audio quality. As with most of the subwoofers, the BAK150 also comes equipped with thermal, overload and short circuit protection keeping you and your car safe. The subwoofer looks stylish with LED lights showing power and protection status.

Pros:

  • Slim fit subwoofer and easy to install in the car.
  • Backlit LED lights for power and protect status display
  • 1500 W of full blast peak power
  • Thermal, Overload and Short circuit protection
  • A good frequency response of 25-120 Hz.

Cons:

  • The subwoofer gets overheated after use
  • No wired remote for controlling bass boost and fine-tuning.

The Kenwood KSC-SW11 powered subwoofer is a great subwoofer to start with. This 8-inch lightweight subwoofer can easily be the first subwoofer you can experiment with before moving on to a better and more expensive subwoofer. The Kenwood KSC- SW11 comes with mounting hardware that makes it easy to install. It features an aluminum body making it durable against scratches and bumps. This subwoofer boasts of 150 W of peak power and 75W RMS making it suitable for small cars. It comes with a wired remote control for volume controls and bass boost EQ. The frequency response is 35 to 125 Hz and the subwoofer features variable low-pass crossover and phase control. The sound quality from the subwoofer is good, and the volume is loud considering its size. If you are looking for a cheap subwoofer which does not have many fancy features but delivers, then the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a nice buy.

Pros:

  • Available at an affordable price
  • Compact size and easy to install
  • Aluminum casing with a durable body
  • Installation hardware and casing included with the subwoofer

Cons:

  • Only 75 W of RMS power
  • No protection against thermal, overload or short circuit
  • Not compatible for all car stereos

The Pyle PLBASS8 is an 8-inch mid-range powered subwoofer which has a low-profile design and fits well in a car with little fuss. This subwoofer comes equipped with high and low-level inputs, green and red LED power status indicator, and a thermal overload protection mechanism. It includes a phase-shift switch and a remote to adjust the bass boost level. The low-pass filter in the subwoofer ensures that the signal quality is unaffected by subsonic. At 600 W peak power and 300 W RMS, the Pyle PLBASS8 active powered subwoofer is a great contender for the best-powered subwoofer for cars.

Pros:

  • The subwoofer is easy to install.
  • Thermal overload and voltage protection circuitry is in place
  • Remote controlled adjustable bass boot level
  • Affordable Price
  • Compact and lightweight
  • 600 W peak power with 300 W RMS

Cons:

  • The sound quality is not as great as with other subwoofers.
  • Prone to over-heating and short circuits.

So, these make up our list for the 10 best-powered subwoofer for cars. This list will help you in zooming in to the best-powered subwoofer which meets all your requirements and doesn’t hurt your wallet. All the above-discussed subwoofers are easily available online on Amazon and other online retail sites.

Now let us look at some important features which a good subwoofer should have and what we, as a consumer, should gauge before we buy the best-powered subwoofer for our car.

Features to check in a powered subwoofer

The market has a variety of subwoofers for sale, all with different features and sizes. So, which one is the best? The answer to this lies in knowing what features are important in a good subwoofer. To help you with this, we are listing the most important things to look and review in a subwoofer before buying one.

Size

The size of a subwoofer plays an important part when it comes to deciding which one is the best for your car. Because of the limited space available in a car, a smaller subwoofer is preferred over a big one for the ease of installation. But, the power and performance of a subwoofer is proportional to its size. So a smaller subwoofer would not give the same level of performance as compared to a bigger subwoofer. Subwoofers come in four sizes, 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, and 15-inch. If you are looking to fit the subwoofer in your car, it is recommended that you do not opt for anything above 12-Inch as then it would pose difficulties in installation. An 8-inch subwoofer would be much lighter and easy to fit but might not deliver a punch. An alternative option is to install two 8-inch subwoofers to get the required depth. Or else, opting for a 10-inch subwoofer is the best choice. The 10-inch subwoofers provide a great balance between compact fit and bass depth. They deliver a deep and punchy bass while also easily fitting in the car. Most of the subwoofers reviewed above fall in the 8 to 10-inch bracket and thus are ideal for installing under the seat. So, the idea is to buy a compact sized subwoofer for the car and if the small-sized subwoofer does not deliver the bass punch, then you can always install two small subwoofers.

Enclosure

Enclosures are a very important aspect to look at while buying an under seat subwoofer. They not only define the sound that will be produced by the subwoofer but are also responsible for its safety. A good sturdy enclosure will ensure that the subwoofer is immune to slight bumps and scratches. Enclosures are mainly of two types- Sealed Enclosures and Ported Enclosures. Sealed enclosures keep the subwoofers in an airtight compartment which results in great sound clarity but falls back on depth. On the other hand, ported enclosures feature a heavy-duty wall or compartment around the subwoofer and also feature space to allow free air passage. This free air-passage helps in achieving greater bass depth but the sound gets distorted due to background noise. The choice between ported or sealed enclosures for the car is simple. For installing subwoofers in a car, we would look for something which is compact and provides great sound quality, and sealed enclosures fit the bill. As for ported enclosures, they are heavy, difficult to install and are more expensive than the sealed enclosures. Thus, opting for sealed enclosure subwoofers is the smarter choice.

Power

Power refers to the Watts that the subwoofer can deliver. Usually, a higher watt power is associated with better performance. But, when it comes to car subwoofers, it is not ideal to go for subwoofers with high watt power. If possible, we should buy subwoofers with RMS watt of equal or less than 800. RMS watt is the level of power that the subwoofer will deliver on an ongoing basis while peak power is the maximum power that the subwoofer can achieve. So, a subwoofer might have a peak power of 1000 W and RMS watt of 600 W. RMS watt is always less than the peak power watts. Along with watts power, one should also check the frequency response of the subwoofer. Lower the frequency response, better is the subwoofer as it can capture even the lowest bass frequencies and accentuate them. A subwoofer’s main job is to amplify the bass in an audio and frequency response plays a big part in that. Sensitivity rating is another important feature where it tells us the measure of sound or decibel that a listener will hear with the amount of power being generated. This means that a sensitive rating translates into power consumption and an efficient subwoofer. Thus, check the sensitivity rating and frequency response of a subwoofer before buying.

Price

Price of a subwoofer is sometimes the clincher when it comes to buying one. People go for the more affordable one rather than the expensive one. It is important to see if the price for a subwoofer is high only because of some features which you do not need like a stylish look, LED lights, etc. But if the price is high owing to higher watts and better sound quality, then it should be considered. Thus, do not always buy the most-cheapest subwoofer and understand the reason behind the high price of a subwoofer.

Hope these tips help you when you go searching for the best-powered subwoofer for your car. Buying a good car stereo is half the work done and the other half is complete when you compliment it with a powerful subwoofer. There is nothing like feeling the bass beats every time you take the car for a spin.

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