Many people have misconceptions about subwoofers. A common perception is that the subwoofer units are only meant to increase the sound intensity. However, modern-day subwoofers offer much more than that.
The quality of audio output delivered by a subwoofer depends on its size too. 12-inch subwoofers are the most popular models in this category. So, in this article, we shall introduce you to the best 12 inch subwoofers.
Brand-value is crucial when it comes to buying this car electronic device. Reliable brands with proven records are usually the best choice. If you are willing to buy a subwoofer manufactured by a new or lesser-known brand, you should analyze all the features carefully and avoid buying it just because it is cheaper.
Top 9 Best 12 inch Subwoofers 2021
1. Pioneer TSW126M
The Pioneer TSW126M 12″ Subwoofer with IMPP Cone is a high-quality 12-inch subwoofer from the house of Pioneer. Pioneer has established itself as an industry leader for acoustic equipment. Moreover, the company has proven itself in the car sound accessories domain as well.
Like other equipment manufactured by Pioneer, this unit has shown great results for users all across the world. Thus, people say that it is one of the best 12-inch subwoofers available today.
The subwoofer is designed to produce high-intensity sound output. With a specially designed voice coil, the system controls the rising intensity smoothly. Thus, the audio experience is always light on the ears. However, if you choose to increase the bass parameter, the unit provides an extreme bass output with a very high sound excursion.
The voice coil also has its separate voice coil cooling system. It helps in increasing the longevity of the system by allowing proper heat dispersion during every cycle. Moreover, the cooling system also functions to reproduce the sound quality of the original source, preventing any distortion during bass retouching.
Overall, it is a very reliable subwoofer to buy for your car. It can provide a maximum output intensity of 1200 Watts with sublime power handling capabilities.
2. Kicker CompVR 4
The Kicker 12″ 800 Watt CompVR 4 Ohm DVC Sub Woofer Car Power Subwoofer is a great subwoofer for cars that have a good mounting space available. The unit needs a minimum mounting depth of about 6.25 inches. It is a wireless subwoofer that can be installed easily and without the need for professional help.
The subwoofer can provide a maximum 800-watt power output. It has separate bass equalizers that help in adjusting bass parameters whenever needed. Moreover, it has an impedance capability of 4 Ohms as well. However, depending on the arrangement- series, or parallel- the audio impedance can be changed.
Generally, by making the connection in a series arrangement, you will ultimately get a maximum audio impedance of around 8 ohms from this unit. In a parallel set up, the same impedance can drop down to around 2 ohms.
Besides the great audio quality that you get from this unit, people also praise the value for money that it offers. Therefore, it is an all-around package and can cater to all your car audio needs.
3. CT SOUNDS Strato
You can also go for the CT SOUNDS 12 Inch Car Subwoofer if you want a reliable subwoofer for your car. It is a traditional subwoofer unit that comes with a 3-inch voice coil.
The voice coil helps in maintaining linearity in the audio output and prevents any vibrations that might be produced after the amplification. Moreover, it is a -ohm unit that works at an audio impedance of 2 Ohms when connected in series.
The most striking feature of this 12-inch subwoofer unit is the peak intensity output that it can produce. It can reportedly touch the 2400 Watts maximum power output continuously during regular use, without any glitches. This is a rare feature in a small powered subwoofer, like a 12-inch model, especially the one that has to be mounted with the car interiors.
One would think that to produce such high-intensity peak output, the power consumption would be high. Contrary to this belief, the CT SOUNDS 12 Inch Car Subwoofer helps in saving a lot of battery power, thereby increasing the battery life.
4. Rockford Fosgate P300
The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Powered Loaded 12-Inch Subwoofer Enclosure is yet another robust subwoofer that we have included in our review of the best 12-inch subwoofers.
It is one of the highest-rated models by Rockford in this category. This is because the unit is an all-in-one powered subwoofer that contains a specialized amplifier and a separate music box as well.
The 12-inch subwoofer also has a custom sealed enclosure. Its customizable nature helps in fitting the unit snugly along with the car interiors, without much manipulation. The installation process is quite simple and usually does not require any professional assistance.
Since it is an inclusive unit, you only need to take care of the power source and the signal pathway by connecting wires in the right places. All the other controls are present in the unit itself, and the adjustable parameters can be accessed through the buttons present on the panel.
Like all well-powered subwoofers, it has an adjustable bass equalizer and an octave low-pass crossover. Overall, it’s one of the finest subwoofers you will find in the market. It will be a great addition to your car.
5. SA-12 D2 REV.3- Sundown Audio
The SA-12 D2 REV.3- Sundown Audio 12″ 750W Dual 2-Ohm SA Series Subwoofer is the best 12-inch subwoofer for cars with limited space for the installation of accessories. The subwoofer has great customer reviews across various online shopping platforms. The market price of the unit is very affordable when compared to many of its competitors that have the same features.
You can get diverse levels of amplification when you turn on the subwoofer. The variations occur due to the difference in audio impedance as per the wire arrangement method. Generally, with a 4-ohm resistance circuit, a 2000 mono amplification can be obtained, which is more than enough. The 1-ohm arrangement can also be used for running at the 1000 RMS parameter smoothly.
The frequency response derived from the SA-12 D2 REV.3- Sundown Audio 12″ 750W Dual 2-Ohm SA Series Subwoofer is impressive. The driver of the subwoofer is small, which helps it fit better in the car’s speaker enclosure. The small driver ensures a faster response time.
The frequency response of the SA-12 D2 REV.3- Sundown Audio 12″ 750W Dual 2-Ohm SA Series Subwoofer is a highlight because its spectrum is very wide. Where other subwoofers are unable to detect sounds, it can detect and retouch these low-frequency sounds to give a very attractive audio output.
6. Skar Audio SDR-12 D2
The Skar Audio SDR-12 D2 12″ 1200 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer is a one-of-a-kind 12-inch car subwoofer. It is designed to work on the low-scale notes and significantly improves the bass quality in the lower spectrum.
Since the frequency range of this powered subwoofer is high, the response is better and the sound output that you obtain is always excellent. The voice coil of the subwoofer is highly resistant to thermal degradation. It has four separate layers of a resistant material that provides complete insulation to the unit from overheating.
A high roll foam forms the surround of this powered subwoofer system. It is called SDR-12. It is due to this foam that the unit becomes capable of producing a better low bass response every time.
The subwoofer is designed to operate at high-power inputs for an extended period. Most powered subwoofers and their voice coils give way when a high-power input is supplied for longer durations.
However, the wires and other materials used in making this system are very durable. This is the reason why this powered subwoofer lasts long, and you will not have to get it repaired every now and then. Overall, it is a high-quality product with excellent cooling response and diverse power operation capabilities.
7. American Bass Elite Series
The AMERICAN BASS American Bass Elite Series 12 Woofer 1200 RMS 2400 is another great option that provides the benefits of an XFL subwoofer but at a considerably lower price.
You must have seen a cast basket design in the traditional XFL subwoofers. While this subwoofer performs equally well, it has an updated stamped basket design that helps in providing better reverb for the sound output.
The subwoofer has a stacked magnet that helps in giving a frequency response up to 150 Hertz without any vibrations. The high-density foam that surrounds the central system also helps in creating better audio effects. The foam is created with modern technology that involves double instead of single stitching around the subwoofer.
The voice coil of the system contains four distinct layers that lend durability to the whole system. Moreover, aluminum is used for making several wires, which increases the thermal resistivity manifold. The subwoofer can handle a maximum power of 2400 watts. So, you can obtain a very high-intensity sound output from this powered subwoofer.
The only problem with this subwoofer unit is that it requires a mounting depth of around nine inches. Obtaining such depth inside the car is usually not possible, especially in older car models. Therefore, you need to seek help from mechanics and other professionals to modify the interiors and get the unit fixed.
8. AudioPipe TXX-BDC4-12D
The AudioPipe TXX-BDC4-12D 12 Inch 2,200 Watt High-Performance Powerful Dual 2 Ohm DVC Vehicle Car Audio Subwoofer Speaker System is one of the few non-enclosed and non-powered subwoofers that have shown great performance in cars.
It weighs around 35 pounds and requires a minimum input of 12 volts to function. It is difficult to get a power source that supplies 12 volts continuously because, if the car battery has to supply such high input power, it will drain very quickly and the car will break down frequently.
This subwoofer has a unique 12-inch composite audio cone that helps in providing adjustable bass functions. Besides the audio cone, it also has a 220-ounce magnet which makes the output more clear and crisp. The voice coil is durable and has four distinct layers.
The subwoofer can give a peak sound intensity of 2200 watts. It has separate mechanisms for controlling sound output at such a high wattage. This helps in maintaining the clarity in the sound and there is no jittering as such, even at such high intensities.
Overall, it is the best 12-inch subwoofer without an enclosure and is available in a very affordable price range. Custom panels and custom modes are also available with this unit and can be used to directly obtain a varying bass output. These modes make it easier for people who do not know how to adjust the equalizer. However, you must read the manual carefully to understand how to access these modes with switches.
9. Alphasonik AS12DF
If you are looking for a high-end subwoofer for a tight interior space, the Alphasonik AS12DF 12″ 1500 Watts 4-Ohm Down Fire Shallow Mount Flat Enclosed Subwoofer is your best option.
It offers all the advanced features that one expects from a car subwoofer. It has a slim and thin frame so that it can be easily accommodated inside the car. You can get it installed either on the side panels of the car or get it loaded on the front surface.
The subwoofer has a sealed enclosure from which the bass notes are produced. Moreover, it is a classic down-firing subwoofer that transmits the sound towards the ground. From the floor, the reflected sound reaches the ears. This is how it offers a better surround sound effect than front-facing subwoofers. The only shortcoming of these down-firing subwoofers is the attenuation of the sound when it strikes the ground.
The audio cone of this subwoofer is made with aluminum that not only makes it durable but also helps in better bass note production. At the maximum intensity, the bass of this subwoofer is deep, heart-pounding, and loaded with a variety of notes.
You get to use several custom modes to obtain different variants of the same audio track. If you know how to use the adjustable equalizers, you can get the desired bass notes yourself.
The enclosure of this subwoofer unit is made with MDF wood. This kind of wood is ideal for car subwoofers. Not only does this transmit the enhanced bass soundtracks effectively but it also helps in reducing the vibrations that might distort the audio, even if you have already used the subwoofer parameters.
So, if you have a speaker that does not offer much when it comes to sound clarity, go for the Alphasonik AS12DF 12″ 1500 Watts 4-Ohm Down Fire Shallow Mount Flat Enclosed Subwoofer.
Factors To Consider
1. Size And Power Requirements
You should inquire about the input power that the subwoofer will draw before buying a system. This is because the car battery should be strong enough to support the subwoofer. In many cases, the owners bought a subwoofer that needed higher input voltage and the car batteries got damaged very soon.
Generally, an 8-inch subwoofer is considered a safe choice that works smoothly with almost all car models. However, since we are talking about 12-inch subwoofers in this article, you must know about their input requirements. A 12-inch subwoofer offers better bass quality than an 8-inch unit. For the enhanced bass quality, it uses a little more battery power too.
So, a 12-inch subwoofer is the most practical choice not just for the bass quality, but the ability of a 12-inch subwoofer to adjust even the lowest amplitude sounds is perfect for a car. If you have space constraints in your car, you can seek help from a professional to get the system installed.
2. Frequency Range
The frequency range of any powered subwoofer determines the frequency of sounds that it can reproduce. So, the higher the frequency response range of a powered subwoofer, the wider is the spectrum in which it can successfully retouch sounds for a better audio experience.
In all the 12-inch subwoofers that we have discussed till now, the frequency response is excellent. It is the reason why these are emerging as the best sellers in the market today.
In general, the subwoofers that can reproduce very-low-frequency audios are highly expensive. However, as per general trends and requirements, the best 12-inch subwoofer for a car is the one that can at least reproduce sounds that have a frequency as low as 35 Hz.
There are two subwoofer variants that you will find in the market. One is the Front-facing model and the other is the Down-firing type. Both the subwoofer types have distinct advantages. The Front-facing subwoofers are mounted on the interior panel, such that the sound radiates either from the sides or from the front.
The use of a Down-firing type of powered subwoofers is not very common, at least among car owners. The Down-firing subwoofers radiate the output audio downwards and towards the ground. The problem with Down-firing subwoofers is that a major component of the bass is transmitted along the floor. So, bass quality suffers additional impedance and thus some distortion is always expected.
4. Enclosure Type
When you are looking to install a subwoofer in your car, the enclosure and the materials used in preparing it is of prime importance. Usually, subwoofers are used for adjusting the bass in soundtracks using the in-built equalizers.
However, the bass gets increased and enhanced only when the enclosure of the subwoofer is of ideal size. The enclosure houses the speaker. So, no matter how good the cross loop of the unit is, the output will not sound good because the speakers are not enclosed properly.
While many different kinds of enclosures are used for powered subwoofers today, there are two basic designs that you should look for in a subwoofer. First is the bass reflex enclosure.
A simple bass reflex enclosure has an additional turned port attached to it. The turned port provides an extended bass response with which the bass automatically gets increased. The bass reflex enclosures are highly power-efficient.
The second type of enclosures is called acoustic suspension subwoofers. These subwoofers usually have a sealed box. It is the sealed box from which an enhanced bass response is produced.
The bass quality is impeccable and gives a much better experience than raw and unedited audio. However, the acoustic suspension subwoofers draw much more power from the car’s battery than the bass reflex enclosure subwoofers.
5. Frequency Crossover
As stated before, many of the 12-inch subwoofers that we have discussed till now have a closed-loop crossover. The crossover influences the output directly. The crossover determines the rate at which bass notes will be added to the audio track in every output cycle.
So, if the crossover frequency is low, the addition of new bass notes will also be affected. The base adjustment will not be proper. However, very high crossovers should not be used because the sound will lose its innate properties. In general, the low-pass crossover filters are considered the best for car subwoofers.
Some subwoofers also have a modern AV receiver. The receiver can allocate a suitable crossover to the equalizer so that the optimum bass quality is obtained without any user interference. However, having a dedicated AV receiver for this purpose makes the subwoofer system quite expensive.
6. Custom Modes
Several car subwoofers also have pre-installed custom modes. These custom modes can be turned on and used to get a pre-adjusted sound quality filter. It is a useful feature because it saves time and gives you a lot of options to choose from. This customization can be done by the users themselves, too.
However, if you do not know how to adjust the equalizer to get the optimum bass level, you can easily switch between the custom modes and get a suitable adjustment. In many of the products that we have mentioned in our review, a built-in equalizer was also present that could customize the subwoofer function to provide a better bass level.
The most advanced form of customization in this regard is available in the top-tier powered subwoofers. These subwoofers have a separate microphone through which an ideal audio track can be transmitted to the unit. Memory can be created and subsequently, the subwoofer will automatically adjust all soundtracks according to the input that it has received.
7. Control Switches
Always check the available controls and switches on the subwoofer panel before finalizing one for your car. Modern-day powered subwoofers come with remote control options as well. A subwoofer with more switches will ensure that accessibility to audio adjustment features is easier. So, always explore the control options before making a decision.
8. Integrated Action
The performance of a subwoofer is not entirely dependent on the components of its system. It eventually depends on its integration with the speakers attached to the car’s audio accessory unit. If a particular speaker does not work well with the subwoofer, the result will not be satisfactory. So, consult experts or experienced buyers if you are doubtful about the proper integration of the subwoofer with the speakers.
Best 12 inch Subwoofers – Conclusion
So in this article, we told you about the best 12-inch subwoofers that you can install in your car. Twelve-inch subwoofers are usually very big for smaller car models. Space has to be created along with the interior panels for mounting these subwoofers.
However, even though you may require some professional help for installation, they are the best kind of subwoofers for cars. This is because the amplification and bass enhancement that you get with a 12-inch subwoofer cannot be obtained with an 8-inch subwoofer, which is otherwise easier to install.
We looked at several factors that one needs to consider before finalizing a 12-inch subwoofer for their car. The products that we have mentioned in the list were reviewed on all these parameters, and are thus some of the most reliable systems available in the market. So, get yourself a good subwoofer and enjoy your long car rides with some wonderful music.
Should I Get A 10 Or 12-inch Subwoofer?
The main purpose of using a subwoofer is to increase the clarity of the audio output. Besides, subwoofers also add a punch to the sound output, which makes it more interesting. While both 10 and 12-inch subwoofers perform the same operations, there are slight differences in the structure and functioning of both. In simple words, 12-inch subwoofers are capable of adding better bass notes to the audio output, and if you are very particular about the audio adjustment features, a 12-inch subwoofer will be ideal for your car. Otherwise, if you have a space constraint, you have no other option but to go for a 10-inch subwoofer.
What Makes A Subwoofer Hit Harder?
A subwoofer is not meant to hit hard, and that is the reason you should consider all the important factors that we have discussed before deciding on the unit that you want to buy. In most cases, when people say that their subwoofer ‘hits hard’ or produces very loud sounds, they are talking about the distortions which are present in the final output. These distortions are perceived as vibrations, which make us feel that the subwoofer is throwing the output forcefully. A clean subwoofer will always give a smoother audio output that will attract your attention only because of the clarity of the notes that it produces.
How Long Can A Subwoofer Last?
Again, many different factors influence the durability of a subwoofer unit. From the materials to the power requirements of the subwoofer, everything is important in determining how long the system will last. In several cases, it has been seen that even though the subwoofer was of very high-quality, the installation was not done properly. Thus, the unit got degraded much before its time and broke down within a few months of fixing. So, many variables influence the longevity of a subwoofer.
Why Does My Subwoofer Keep Blowing?
If your subwoofer gets ‘blown’ very frequently, you should check the connections of the unit with the car battery. When the input signal received by the amplifier is much higher than the expected value, the output gets distorted and we feel as if the subwoofer is blowing out air vigorously. This phenomenon is called clipping, and can even damage the amplifier and subwoofer.
Is It Worth Repairing A Subwoofer?
While many agencies claim that they can repair your subwoofers efficiently, the truth is that you will never get the same performance from your subwoofer once it stops working. Another reason why it will be better to buy a new subwoofer is that the subwoofer unit today is much more affordable than they were ten years ago. Subwoofers with advanced features are available at very cheap prices. So, you should go for a new model rather than wasting money on its repairs.
How Do I Get More Bass Out Of My Subwoofer?
The amount of bass that you can extract out of your subwoofer primarily depends on the equalizers and the crossovers present in the system. However, you can improve the bass quality by regular maintenance of your subwoofer. This includes taking care of the low-pass filter and subsonic filter. Any external object that might create distortion should be removed. Also, you can call an expert, and get the output signal of the subwoofer flattened.