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Buyers Guide & Information

Best 12 Inch Subwoofers Reviewed

Get high-quality sound in a larger-sized woofer for your home or car with these top-rated products.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best 12 Inch Subwoofers Reviewed

Get high-quality sound in a larger-sized woofer for your home or car with these top-rated products.

by PITeam

by PITeam

If you are in the market for a new 12-inch subwoofer, then you have come to the right place. In this guide, we will provide you with everything that you need to know before making your big purchase. A subwoofer is a device that is added to your car or home audio setup that produces the low frequencies needed to make great sound quality. A subwoofer produces the rumbling bass sounds that everyone likes to hear.

How Subwoofers Work

The deep bass sounds that are present in most types of music or movies need an outlet of a certain frequency to be heard by the user. This is where a subwoofer comes into play. Subwoofers are connected to the receiver, which sends low-frequency signals via electrical current to the subwoofer. The subwoofer amplifies the current and transmits it as sound in the air.


Types of 12-Inch Subwoofer Speakers

  • Passive
    An external amplifier powers this type. If you want to be able to hear a lot of bass, then make sure that your amplifier is capable of producing the amount of watts necessary.
  • Powered
    This type combines the subwoofer speaker and the amplifier in the same cabinet enclosure. These models are generally found in many home theater systems. You only need a power cord to operate them. 
  • Enclosed
    These models are enclosed within a cabinet. They are generally square and fit snugly into a car or shelf. They will often need an external amplifier to operate.
  • Component 
    This type of subwoofer is just the speaker itself. It will need to be placed in a subwoofer enclosure box to operate. It will also need to be powered by an external amplifier.

Benefits of 12-Inch Subwoofers

Enhancing your sound experience in your home or car can change the way you feel about that space. There are many benefits of adding a 12-inch subwoofer to your audio setup. One of the most important features about all around, high-quality sound is the ability to distinguish the low-frequency tones. Adding a 12-inch subwoofer will drastically change the amount of bass that you hear in your car.

Another positive feature of subwoofers is that they reduce the distortion in the sound system. If you use a standard speaker, the bass can sound distorted since it is not made to transmit low frequencies.


Choosing a High Quality 12-Inch Subwoofer

Power Output/Volume/Sound Quality

This factor is an important one when setting up an audio system. It is just as important when choosing a subwoofer. The more power a sub has, the more bass and sound it can produce. Depending on your setup, you also need to consider how loud a speaker can be turned up before it becomes distorted.

Frequency Response

If you are going to invest in a 12-inch subwoofer, you want to be sure that you get the best frequency range available. The frequency response of a sub is measured by how well it can produce a range of low-pitched sounds. A great subwoofer will have a range of 20 to 200 Hz. Anything lower than this and the human ear will have a difficult time hearing it.

Impedance

One critical factor to consider is the voice coil resistance in your sub. This is also known as the impedance. Lower impedance means that the amplifier will be better able to supply power to the sub. You should consider the amplifier power before wiring your subwoofers. Most subwoofers will be able to handle anywhere from 2 to 8 ohms.

Sensitivity

Every subwoofer speaker is capable of producing a certain level of sound. The higher the sensitivity rating of a sub, the louder it will be at a specific wattage. This is important to consider if you want your sub to produce high volumes such as in large rooms or for big parties.

Placement

Subwoofers come in all shapes and sizes, and placing them is vital in how well your audio setup will sound. Many subwoofers come in enclosures, where they can be placed on a shelf in your home theater system. For your car, subwoofers come in various sizes and are generally placed in the trunk.

Voice Coils

There are two types of models in this category, single and dual. In general, neither one is necessarily better than the other. The model that you choose will depend on how many watts your amplifier is capable of producing. You can either feed the wires into two subs or one.

Wired or Wireless/Ease of Installation

There are many different options when it comes to setting up your speaker system. Wireless speakers can be moved around to many different rooms. They are also easier to set up since they have fewer connection points. Wired speakers are ideal for audiophiles who want the truest sound possible. They are also easier to implement into a system and keep in place.

Cone Size and Dimensions

One thing to keep in mind is where you will be placing your subwoofers. You may have limited space in your car, or home and the cone size and dimensions will affect this placement. In this guide, we are focused on 12-inch subwoofers, so make sure you have the space allotted.

Extra Features

Many subwoofers come with accessories, which is always a bonus. They may include features such as extra speaker wire, remotes, or elements that will enhance the bass of the subs. If you are searching for specific special features, check out the spec sheet of the sub you want to purchase.

Enclosure Type

There are generally two types of boxes that subwoofers will sit in. There is a sealed or ported/vented sub box. You can buy the box separately, or it may come with the speakers that you buy. The ported or vented sub box design typically handles distortion better than the sealed enclosure type.

Durability/Warranty

Most subwoofers come with a warranty package when you purchase them. You should check with the manufacturer to see what kind of warranty they offer. Subwoofers are also durable if you make sure to keep them clean. You should make sure the air can flow freely through the coils so that the speakers will last for a long time.


6 Best 12-Inch Subwoofers Reviewed

1. Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12

Best 12-Inch subwoofer

Frequency Response/Range

28-250 Hz

Sensitivity

85 dB

Mounting Depth

6.66 inches

Power Output

600 Watts RMS (1200 Watt Peak)

Impedance

4 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 1 year

There is a reason that we have named this the best 12-inch subwoofer. This model outshines its competitors in many different categories. We loved the innovation that Rockford put into this 12-inch model. The P3 unit is the best performing Rockford sub.

They come with a 4-ohm dual voice coil design that allows you to experience the best bass in your car. It also features 600 Watts RMS/1200 Watts max power output. This will give you plenty of sound output. 

The P3s come with 10-AWG custom nickel-plated terminals. They also have anodized aluminum cones and dust caps. The cone draws heat away from the coil, which will protect it in the long run. This model features a unique webbed design for cooling the motor. There is also a hybrid stamp cast basket that will increase resonance.

We loved the way the P3s sounded when set up. They produce that great thumping bass sound with no distortion. Most customers loved that these subs were great sounding, and they really packed a punch for their value. Many customers thought that these speakers were easily mounted in a sealed or ported box.

Pros

  • Aluminum cone for better heat distribution
  • Webbed design for venting
  • Works well in different sub boxes

Cons

  • May need some break-in time before going max volume

2. MTX Audio Terminator

Best Dual Model

Frequency Response/Range

37 - 150Hz

Sensitivity

86.4 dB

Mounting Depth

5.44 inches

Power Output

400 Watts RMS (1200 Watt Peak)

Impedance

2 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 2 year

This model comes in at the top of its category for being the best enclosed unit on the market. It also comes with dual subs in an enclosure, so there is no need to worry about mounting the speakers in a different box. They take care of that part for you. The enclosure comes lined with aviation grade carpet so that it will match with your car for a sleek look.

The Terminator subwoofers come with an impedance of 2 ohms. This model has a frequency response of 37 - 150 Hz. This model was designed with everything that you need included, so you don’t have to worry about building a system that is below standards.

It also comes with a optional amplifier to make the sound system produce the best bass possible. It features a spider webbing system to help with cooling. MTX designed it with a linear drive system.

Most customers loved the fact that these speakers produced a lot of pounding bass. They are also perfect for entry-level people that were just starting out in car audio. These speakers were easy to set up without much hassle of wiring.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Completely enclosed system that is ready to install
  • Great deep bass and mid-range

Cons

  • The grills are not as high quality as others

3. Klipsch R-120SW

Best Rated Model

Frequency Response/Range

29 - 120 Hz

Sensitivity

116 dB

Mounting Depth

19.2 inches

Power Output

200 Watts RMS (400 Watt Peak)

Impedance

8 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 5 years Woofer and 2 years Amp

Customers had nothing but good things to say about this best rated model. Klipsch has been a staple in the home audio realm for many years. They broke out all the stops for this brand new model. It features a front-firing, 12-inch woofer. The woofer features a copper spun IMG coil. The R-120SW also comes with an all-digital amplifier that can produce 400 Watts at peak power. It comes with controls for volume, low pass crossover, and phase control.

This model features line-level RCA outputs to increase receiver compatibility. The IMG cones allow for rigidity to produce a perfect deep bass tone and excellent mid-range. It also features a true-to-sound audio experience where you will be able to hear the sound as the engineers intended it. This model has many features to help you blend this subwoofer into your other speaker sets.

Customers loved that this model produced high quality and tight bass. They also enjoyed that it can be optimized to fit your set up perfectly. These speakers also looked really great when placed near a TV in your home. 

Pros

  • IMG cone for great bass
  • Has controls to optimize compatibility
  • Durable and under warranty

Cons

  • Better suited for home instead of car audio

4. Skar Audio EVL-12

Best Budget 12-Inch Subwoofer

Frequency Response/Range

25 - 250 Hz

Sensitivity

85.1 dB

Mounting Depth

7.75 inches

Power Output

1250 Watts RMS (2500 Watt Peak)

Impedance

2 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 2 years Limited

There are many ways to shop on a budget when you are making a big purchase. A good subwoofer system can be found reasonably priced depending on what you are looking for. This model is perfect for people looking for the best budget model that will still pack a punch in your car. These 12-inch units pack a powerful 2500 peak Watts of sound. They also feature 3-inch dual 2-ohm voice coils.

This model comes with competition-grade paper cones. The EVLs feature premium suspension made of two-layer spider webbing. It keeps the voice coils cool. It also features low and responsive bass production. This model features a high roll foam surround to enhance the audio experience in your car.

Many customers liked that these subwoofers were the best budget model on the market. They produced loud and responsive bass all at a friendly package price and are great for entry-level car audio. Many customers also expressed that the EVLs were really nice after they were broke in for a week or so.

Pros

  • Best budget valued subs
  • Competition grade paper cones
  • Two-layer spider webbing

Cons

  • Some customers said it won’t support 1600 Watts

5. SVS PB-2000

Top of the Range

Frequency Response/Range

17 - 260 Hz

Sensitivity

81 dB

Mounting Depth

16 inches

Power Output

500 Watts RMS (1100+ Watt Peak)

Impedance

4 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 5 Year

Many people will want to choose the top of the range speakers for their home or car audio setup. This is where the SVS comes in to bring you the best in audio equipment. The SVS 1200 range is perfect for true audiophiles.

This model features a 12-inch driver that produces the best chest-thumping bass possible. The RMS wattage performance is around 500 Watts, but you can crank these up to nearly 1100 Watts. This model also produces perfect sound because of the ported cabinet.

The cabinet ensures that the front-firing bass port is heard throughout the car or room. The effortless power produces some of the best theater and movie quality sounds available. It also comes with Advanced Digital Signal Processing that enhances the seamless blending of all of the speakers in your setup.

All of the customers loved this set of subwoofers. There are minimal bad reviews about this model. We liked the fact that it performed really well when it came to sound quality and bass level.

Pros

  • Best quality speaker on the market
  • Capable of producing up to 1100 Watts
  • Produces perfect low-frequency ranges

Cons

  • May be a little pricey for some consumers

6. Polk Audio PSW505

Best 12-Inch Subwoofer for Deep Bass

Frequency Response/Range

23 - 160 Hz

Sensitivity

85 dB

Mounting Depth

18.3 inches

Power Output

300 Watts RMS (460 Watt Peak)

Impedance

2 ohms

Warranty

Yes, 3 & 5 years

One of the most essential factors in purchasing a new model for your home or car audio system is the rumbling bass sound that everyone wants to hear. That is why the Polk Audio model is ideal for those deep bass sounds. It creates a suitable environment for low frequencies. It has a 12-inch dynamic driver to produce mid-range sounds.

Polk has created a great subwoofer that genuinely reproduces the exact nuances of every song or sound. This model also can produce sound at an optimal 460 Watts. It also features the ability to minimize the distortion that some heavier subs produce at high volumes.

It comes with a detachable front grille as well as an LFE at the back to prevent noisy signal aversion. It also features a phase toggle switch to help integrate all of your speakers together seamlessly. Most customers enjoyed that this speaker produced the deepest bass sounds. It shines in bringing out the low-frequency responses.

We really enjoyed how punchy the bass seemed when we plugged in these Polk Audio subs. We also liked that the bass performed well at high volumes, so this sub will work well in a large room or noisy party.

Pros

  • Best bass performance
  • Phase toggle switch for integration
  • Very little distortion

Cons

  • Might be a little large for some users

Sealed vs Ported Enclosure

There are a couple of different kinds of subwoofers that you will need to take a look at when you decide to make a purchase. The first type is called sealed enclosure systems. This model generally holds the speakers in place in a sealed and completely enclosed box. It usually is better for compact form factors.

The other model is a ported enclosure model. It has a vented design that has better airflow. This type is generally better at displacing sound, so it is great for larger rooms.


12-Inch vs 10-Inch Subwoofer

The size of the driver does not always matter when it comes to buying a new subwoofer. The larger drivers may produce more sound and louder, but they do not always sound better than a smaller one. Usually, a 12-inch subwoofer will have a bit more bass response and clarity than a 10-inch model. You also need to decide how much space you will have in your car.


Subwoofer Installation

Now that you have your new purchase, you are going to want to know how to set it up. The first step is to ensure that you have a location to place the subwoofer. If it is going to be in your car, then you will want to place it at the back. This will give you the best sound. You need to put the speakers into an enclosure system unless it comes with one.

Then, you will need to place the enclosure system into the car. The subwoofers will also need to be powered by an amplifier. If you plan to place your speakers in your home theater, it will be much easier. You simply place the speakers near your sound source and plug it in.


Subwoofer Adjustments for Optimal Sound

Once you get your subwoofers in the correct place, you will want to make sure that all of the key features are set up to make the sound perfect. After placement, the next important adjustment will be the connections. Make sure that all cables are properly connected.

The next adjustments that should be made are the crossover, volume, phase, and equalizer. These adjustments should be made according to your speaker setup. The crossover should be adjusted between 40 - 120 Hz depending on the size of your speaker. The phase is a toggle switch that will be adjusted according to your other speakers.


Common Subwoofer Issues and Fixes

Although your model should be durable, there can be some problems that arise. For example, if you are getting too much feedback, you will need to adjust the frequency to a lower setting. Another common problem is that there may be interference from other devices. This can be a common problem if other devices are plugged in nearby. Simply adjust the cable connections to fix it.

If the speakers don’t match the subwoofer, then you should make sure that the watts and impedance lineup before plugging them in together.


Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better 2 ohms or 4 ohms sub?

Ohms are the measure of electrical resistance in a subwoofer. In general, 4-ohm subs will require much less energy to operate. This means that they will last longer. Therefore, 4-ohm subs may reduce less sound, but the sound is thought to be of better quality.

What are the top 12-inch subwoofer brands?

Polk Audio, SVS, and Klipsch are some of the top reviewed brands on the market. They provide the best customer service with the highest quality materials. They also generally have the best sounding subs on the market.

How do I take care of the distortion coming from my subs?

You can do two things to fix this problem. You can check all of the connections on all of the devices to make sure that the connections are stable. If the problem persists, you can buy a distortion isolator and plug it into your sub.

Will I still hear the bass if I place the subwoofers in my trunk?

Yes. The best place to put your subs is in your trunk or in the back of your vehicle. The bass will carry better throughout the car with this positioning.

What are the benefits of using multiple subwoofers?

Multiple subs allow for more bass and better distribution of sound. It also allows you to split the ohms through two different channels.

Are compact subs still effective in bass production?

Yes. Compact subs are highly effective in producing bass. They may be slightly smaller, but they are often 4-ohm speakers that provide great bass.

Do I need to have an audio amp to power my 12-inch subwoofer?

If you have a passive subwoofer, then you will need an amp to power the subwoofer. If you have an active speaker, then you will not need an amp.

Does the material of subwoofer cones make a difference in sound quality?

In some cases, the cone material can improve or hinder the sound quality. Some highly advanced materials, such as webbing and fiber, can increase the sound quality. Most cones are powered by bass drivers, which may be more important for sound.

Which shape is best? Round, square, or triangular?

Most speakers that are not already in an enclosure are round. They are placed in a square enclosure box. Most of the setups are in square or round enclosures, and these are known to be the best for space-saving and effective at producing sound.

Where is a good place to buy these products?

You can buy subwoofers on Amazon and each brand’s own website. We recommend Amazon for their fast shipping and reliable customer service.


Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed the various points of subwoofers and how they can be set up in your car or home audio setup. We have also reviewed the top six best 12-inch subwoofers on the market. As one final note, we would like to recommend one of these subs that we think is perfect for anyone's car or home.

In our opinion, the best model in this roundup is the Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12. It shines in the area of bass production, frequency response, and overall high-quality features. If you are in the market for a new 12-inch sub, take a look at the Rockford model!

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