The best subwoofer allows for crisp and sharp sound at all frequency levels, from deep bass drums to popping vocal performances. Our evaluation focused on the number of watts, construction type, frequency range, and clarity of sound.
After more than 15 hours of research and testing, our top pick and best subwoofer goes to the Polk Audio PSW10 10″ Powered Subwoofer. Its rocking combination of bass depth/clarity, built-in amplification, and wide frequency range makes it a joy to listen to in small to mid-sized rooms.
Top 7 Best Subwoofers Compared
#1 Polk Audio PSW10 10″ Powered Subwoofer
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 10-inch subwoofer offers crisp, clear sound with excellent bass depth, featuring a built 50-watt RMS amp, Klippel distortion analyzer for lower frequency management, and 100-watt rating. This makes it an excellent choice for small to mid-sized rooms.
Read Full Review: Polk Audio PSW10 Review
- Best Value
- 100 watts of power
- Klippel distortion analyzer to optimize extreme sound levels
- Not ideal for larger studios
- So-so 3-year limited warranty
This subwoofer is compact, measuring 14.5” tall, 14” wide, and 15” deep. Bass-heavy sound is very deep with a lack of distortion at higher volumes, including a built-in amplifier to help achieve the highest bass pitch.It also uses a Klippel distortion analyzer to tune voice coil alignment, suspension, and motor structure at the lowest frequencies to produce better sound.
Continuously variable 80-160 Hz crossover and 40-160 Hz (-3dB) frequency response contribute to tones. It includes a 3-way power switch with auto, on and off modes to avoid having to switch the speakers on and off manually. Its tightly sealed enclosure also does a spectacular job of damping internal waves, which could produce unnecessary resonance. Once you sort your home audio, our best car subwoofer guide has more great options.
#2 Polk Audio PSW505 12″ Powered Subwoofer
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 12″ subwoofer delivers powerful and clear notes, sporting 460-watt power, and slotted load vents for clearer bass sound, and voice channel level adjustments for improved spoken clarity. This makes it a top choice for home studios or game rooms with heavy movie watching.
Read Full Review: Polk Audio PSW505 Review
- Slotted load venting
- Auto on/off switch
- Klippel distortion analyzer
- Lower power load by the amplifier
- Ugly appearance
This unit features continuously variable 60-120 Hz crossover and 25-125 Hz frequency response. This healthy frequency range exposes users to a wide range of audible frequencies from 20 Hz (hard bass) to 125 Hz (warm bass), making music and movie sounds enjoyable. A Klippel distortion analyzer also works to optimize performance at extreme noise levels, with even performance across all listening volumes.
Bass levels can be adjusted with a controllable low-pass crossover. A stiff MDF construction with 1-inch thick front baffle and slotted load vents also helps to limit bass distortion with punchy and clear treble. But if you want something bigger, check out the best floor standing speakers.
#3 BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer
Award: Best Bass
WHY WE LIKE IT: This subwoofer produces a full range of bass like a dynamo, hitting 475-watts with a frequency range between 25Hz to 200Hz, output of up to 116dB, and a compact size of 15 by 17 by 18 1/4 inches. This makes it ideal for audio professionals who want to experience high frequencies at rock band levels in home theaters.
Read Full Review: BIC America F12 Review
- 25Hz to 200Hz frequency
- 475 watts of peak power
- Above-average five-year parts and labor warranty
- Some users report overheating amplifier plate
- Flimsy construction
- So-so customer support
Sensitivity on this unit is also rated at 90 dB, which really bring out crisp low-end sound. Front-firing speakers also push the sound out into the room, not downwards towards the floor, which may create more optimal listening positions. Magnetic Shielding also protects nearby TVs and other electronics from having its data/picture disrupted by the subwoofer’s electromagnetic field.
Unit is somewhat larger and heavier (42 pounds) than our top picks, at 14.75 by 17.24 by 17 inches, making it a challenge to insert into some end cases. Its design is also polarizing, with a grainy black finish and platinum metallic drivers. This subwoofer comes with 5-year parts and labor warranty with an amplifier warranty of 3 years (parts and labor), one of the best warranties on our list. Speaking of quality audio, that’s what you need for the best internet radio.
#4 Sony SACS9 10-Inch Active Subwoofer
Award: Best for Small Living Rooms
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 10-inch subwoofer rocks the senses a 28-200 Hz frequency response range, 115 W output, and compact cabinet dimensions at 11.5 by 16 by 13.5 inches. This makes it a substantial addition for smaller living rooms and home theaters with tight spots to place your subwoofer in.
Read Full Review: Sony SACS9
- Crisp sound
- 28-200 Hz frequency response range
- Compact size
- Below average 2-year warranty
- Plain looking cabinet and boilerplate
Sound really pops off of this subwoofer, with its Mica Reinforced Cellular (MRC) fiber woofers and built-in amplifier with up to 115 W power output delivering consistent bass. Its construction also minimizes vibrations. Compare this to our best smart speaker.
#5 Bic Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer
Award: Best Warranty
WHY WE LIKE IT: This subwoofer is a solid budget subwoofer, with 250 watts of continuous power, 1000W peak for short massive bursts of bass, and a respectable 22Hz – 200Hz frequency range. This makes it a good choice for action movie watching in home theaters that could amplify those gunshots and train explosions with short, powerful bursts.
Read Full Review: Bic Acoustech PL-200 II Review
- 250 watts continuous power
- Solid 22Hz – 200Hz frequency range
- Excellent 5-year electronics and 8-year parts warranty
- On the bulkier side
- Flat response from 20 Hz to 70 Hz
- Poor for smaller rooms
Its peak power rating of 1000W is the highest on our list, making it an action movie dynamo. A 110dB sensitivity rating maximizes loudness with every 1 watt, compared to averaged sensitivity measurements for 88 dB. With a front-ported design, it is best to place it a minimum of 6 feet away, making it better for 400 square foot plus home movie theaters. Perfect for the best satellite radio for home.
The Bic Acoustech’s warranty is the best on the list, with a 5-year warranty on the amplifier and an 8-year warranty on the speakers. For reference, the BIC America carries 5-year parts and labor warranty/3 year amplifier warranty, and the Sony SACS9 carries a 2-year warranty.
#6 Acoustic Audio PSW-10 400 Watt 10-Inch Down Firing Powered Subwoofer
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 10-inch amplifier encourages serious head nodding with 400 watts of peak power, a generous 25Hz-250Hz frequency response, and a built-in digital amplifier. All of the features make it a solid choice for home theaters and larger bedrooms with in-wall and in-ceiling setups.
Read Full Review: Acoustic Audio PSW10 Review
- Built-in digital amplifier
- 400 watts of peak power
- Generous 25Hz-250Hz frequency response
- Black ash wood may turn off some users
- Some users dispute 400w peak
- Distorts at moderate to loud volumes
Its built-in digital amplifier works like a charm, allowing for customized sound using adjustable independent gain/level control and low pass frequency control. Bottom slotted bass ports and a high rigidity PVA treated con also help optimize the bass response, really helps those movie sound effects to pop off the screen.
The unit is also stable even with max volume levels, with gray batting in its ported enclosure to reduce internal sound waves and keep it level while maintaining the same sound quality across different frequencies. You may also like 10 of the best Bluetooth speakers.
#7 Klipsch R-100SW 10″ Subwoofer
Award: Best Amplifier
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 10-inch subwoofer delivers decent performance across the board, lead by an all-digital amplifier, 300 watts of peak power, and Injection Molded Graphite woofer cones for super crisp bass. This makes it an excellent choice in watching action movies with its cacophony of explosions and special sound effects.
Read Full Review: Klipsch R-100SW 10″ Subwoofer
- Digital amplifier
- Excellent for action movie watching
- Some users reported defective amps
- Higher than the average cost
- Polarizing design
This unit measures 14.5″ x 12.5″ x 16.4″, making it a solid addition under home theater end cases or as a standalone beside a media center. It is also designed as a
front-firing unit, which pushes sound waves out towards the room rather than the floor for better distribution. Frequency response is solid, running 32 Hz to 120 Hz. For your TV, check out the best soundbar and for outside audio, read about the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers.
How We Decided
Choosing the best subwoofer will produce enjoyable crisp sound and deep bass for years to come, allowing you to fully experience breathtaking movie sound effects or a symphony orchestra in ways you never thought possible.
In determining the best subwoofer to buy, you should consider its watt rating, size, optimal location, range frequency, and bass tones. The larger the subwoofer, the louder it is, with 10 to 12-inch subwoofers hitting the sweet spot with low-end notes and deep bass. Size and optimal location also matter, with some rooms and placements better optimized for acoustic ability than others.
Watt rating is important, with higher watts and a sealed case typically producing better quality bass than a ported case. Other features, such as our recommended frequency range of 20 Hz to 120Hz, which is more than capable of replicating all types of sound, from explosions in movies (20-40 Hz) to a hardcore rap bass track (80Hz).
Best Subwoofer Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
The more watts your subwoofer has, the louder it plays. Note, this doesn’t magically bypass volume controls. In the end, a lower watt subwoofer may perform better than a higher watt subwoofer in a large room. Consider watts based on exceptionally large room sizes where every square inch needs to be met with sound.
- Size and Optimal Location
Cabinets and under end tables are typically the most popular destinations for subwoofers, where 10 to 12-inch tall ones can reasonably fit in. Be sure to measure your cabinet space and consider other areas based on how well the bass responds relative to your listening position. It may turn out a 15-inch subwoofer in the corner beats a 12-inch subwoofer in a cabinet.
What subwoofer size should I get?
In short, the larger the subwoofer, the louder it is. 10 to 12-inch subwoofers deliver the right balance of treble and bass, with suited for repetitive and non-repetitive beats with much more noticeable bass than 6 to 8-inch units. 15 and 18-inch subwoofers are more capable of deeper notes with a much rawer and higher output. You should also factor in the optimal listening position. A larger subwoofer tucked away in your living room corner could beat a smaller subwoofer sitting in your cabinet.