A subwoofer works to reproduce audio in the same way as other speakers; however, subwoofers specifically focus on amplifying low-pitched frequencies. Standard woofers cannot reproduce bass and sub-bass frequencies in the same way.
Subwoofers add a strong bass sound to your audio experience and are critical for any person who wants an optimal sound system for movies, music, and gaming. Adding a larger subwoofer to your car audio system will add more depth to your audio and enhance your audio experience.
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Types of 15-inch Subwoofer Speakers
Benefits of Larger Subwoofers
Why buy a 15-inch subwoofer compared to a 12-inch or 10-inch subwoofer? 15-inch subwoofers offer a different sound experience compared to smaller subwoofers because they can more accurately and clearly project low-frequency sound.
The larger the subwoofer, the less movement required to reproduce lower frequencies, and this leads to better sound quality. If you have the capacity to add 15-inch subwoofers to your vehicle, then we highly recommend choosing this larger size over the more traditional 12-inch or 10-inch subwoofers for enhanced sound quality.
Choosing a High-Quality 15-inch Subwoofer
Power Output/Volume/Sound Quality
RMS measures the speaker’s ability to handle continuous power and is a better indicator of quality compared to a peak power rating. We recommend selecting a vehicle 15-inch subwoofer that has a 250-300 RMS rating at a minimum.
The frequency response is the subwoofer's ability to respond to various frequencies (low to high). Subwoofers specialize in reproducing low-frequency sounds. We recommend subwoofers that can reproduce sounds in the 20 to 200HZ frequency range.
The lower the impedance, the better the sound quality. We recommend choosing a subwoofer with a 2 ohms or 4 ohms impedance rating for superior sound quality. A rating of 6 ohms to 8 ohms is also acceptable. Anything above 8 ohms is going to be poorer sound quality.
Choose a subwoofer that has a high sensitivity rating for the greatest sound quality. The higher the sensitivity rating, the more accurate, clear, and loud the sound will be via the speaker.
Placement refers to where the subwoofers can be placed within the vehicle. Some subwoofers can only be placed in specific configurations, while others have greater flexibility. Some are designed to fit in particular car models, while others will need to be custom added to the vehicle and require additional tools/components.
Subwoofers come in sealed boxes and ported boxes primarily with bandpass enclosures also possible. Sealed boxes are more compact and self-sealed with clean sound but require additional power for volume. Ported boxes are louder and have more considerable "boom" for music with deep bass sounds but are harder to tune. Bandpass boxes are extra large and more roaring at specific intervals while quieter at others.
Wired or Wireless
Wireless subwoofers are easier to install and are typically part of pre-built packages while wired subwoofers offer greater customization options for audiophiles. Both can be an excellent choice for vehicle owners.
Cone Size & Subwoofer Dimensions
The cone size and subwoofer dimensions depend on your specific vehicle needs. Cone size should be approximately 850 square centimeters in a 15-inch subwoofer model.
An additional feature to consider with 15-inch subwoofers is the overall style and design. Many vehicle owners want to choose a speaker system that will blend in with the vehicle’s existing interior. This is highly subjective and personal, but something that you may want to consider when you look at different speaker options.
Most subwoofers come with limited warranties that are between 1 and 3 years.
6 Best 15-inch Subwoofers Reviewed
1. Skar Audio EVL-15
Our #1 Choice
20 Hz — 250 Hz
RMS 1,250 watts Peak Power 2,500 watts
Yes, 2 year limited warranty
The Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 15-inch subwoofers are an excellent choice for the vehicle owner who wants premium audio quality but wants something more affordable than the Orion HCCA152 model. These speakers are heavyweight and durable with superior internal bracing. The low sound frequencies come with additional vibration to create a bass that is felt as well as heard. The double-stack ferrite motor structure helps these speakers deliver powerful bass.
These round speakers have a luxurious look to them in all black with a shiny circular center and matte outer ring. These speakers include a heavyweight roll surround and a voice coil that is primed for high temperatures. A single damper with a two-layer spider keeps the speakers cool for continual bass play.
Peak power reaches 2500 watts with RMS power at 1000 watts. With an 86.2 dB sensitivity and 20 Hz — 250 Hz frequency response, these speakers offer powerful performance for vehicle owners. At just 2 ohms impedance, these speakers offer the highest quality sound production for speakers.
If you want the highest quality car speaker you can get without spending several hundred dollars, then you want the Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 subwoofers. These speakers are exactly what you need for high-quality bass audio in your car.
2. New Rockville RVP15W8
Best 15 subwoofer for the price
25Hz to 1.5 kHz
RMS: 500 watts, Peak Power: 1000 watts
Yes, limited one year warranty
The New Rockville RVP15W8 is an excellent choice for vehicle owners who want to save money and want an affordable subwoofer option. This 15-inch subwoofer comes with an RMS power handling of 500 watts per subwoofer (two are included in the package) and a peak power handling of 1000 watts per subwoofer. Together, these two speakers pack a powerful punch and work great in vehicles.
Cones are made out of reinforced fiber paper that is stiff for additional reverberation and sound projection. The steel basket helps create more amplified sound. The mounting depth is at 5.7" and the high SPL voice coil is prepared for high temperatures and perfect for vehicles.
Heavy materials make this a durable unit and are in line with more expensive subwoofer options. These speakers are easy to install and offer tight bass frequencies without excess noise or vibration.
Impedance is 8 ohms with these speakers, and the sound quality could be slightly better. The internal bracing is also not as strong as it could be. However, the reason to purchase these 15-inch subwoofers is to create a bigger sound at an affordable price. If you want a cheap 15-inch subwoofer option with good sound quality, the New Rockville RVP15W8 is your best choice.
best budget 15 inch subwoofer
30Hz — 3kHz
RMS 250 watts Peak Rating 800 watts
Yes, limited one-year warranty
The Pyle 15-inch subwoofer speakers are the best budget buy on our list of 15 inch subwoofers. These speakers offer the most affordable option for anyone who wants something they can use to upgrade their car stereo system instantly. The overall good sound quality has an RMS of 250 watts and a peak power rating of 800 watts.
The steel baskets are matched by a cloth edge suspension and a paper cone. As long as you have enough watts behind them, these speakers will sound loud and clear. However, this speaker is better at hitting the mid to high range bass frequencies rather than the lowest bass frequencies.
The impedance of 8 ohms is on the higher side of impedance ratings, but still within the acceptable limit. For a lower impedance rating, you would need to spend significantly more. The aesthetic design of these Pyle speakers is cheap, partially because of the materials used.
Installation can also be a bit tricky because of the build materials. There have been reports of the mounting holes on the speakers not lining up and requiring additional adjustments to fit correctly.
For the budget buy, we recommend the Pyle 15-inch subwoofer speakers. You won’t find anything with this kind of audio quality at this low of a price.
4. Orion HCCA152
Top of the Range
2500 watts RMS, 5000 watts Peak Power
Yes, limited one year warranty
The Orion HCCA152 is our top of the range premium 15-inch subwoofer pick. This speaker set hits every bell and whistle with an impressive 2500 watts RMS rating and 5000 watts peak power rating. The impedance is a low 2 ohms for strong and clear sound. The sealed enclosure helps it perform well, and car owners have reported "feeling" the music better than with other speakers. The battery isolator also helps build performance.
These speakers also have a dual voice coil for maximum connections, and each voice coil is coated in high-temperature resin to keep from overheating. This enhanced cooling system helps keep your speakers from blowing while continuing to deliver powerful bass.
Aesthetically, these are also the most attractive speakers on our list with premium build parts and clean smooth black materials. A pop of red creates a luxury look for car and audio enthusiasts.
This speaker also has a replacement cone kit from Orion, so if you happen to blow your subwoofer speaker, you can easily swap out the burned voice coil and insert a new one. This is an excellent bonus for car owners who want to hold on to their premium speakers as long as possible. It makes it a worthwhile investment to invest in Orion HCCA152 speakers.
If you want the top of the line 15-inch subwoofer option, we recommend choosing the Orion HCCA152.
5. Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15
Quality Mid-Range Model
600 watts RMS, 1200 watts peak power
Yes, one year limited warranty
The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 15-inch subwoofers are a great premium option in the mid-tier price range. These speakers have a streamlined modern look that offers elegance to any audio system. The copper-clad aluminum voice coil keeps connections strong, and the flex fit basket design makes installation a breeze.
You can quickly readjust after the speaker is already mounted to get the perfect fit for your vehicle. The powerful 600 watts RMS rating and 1200 watts peak power rating ensures that your speakers won't slow down.
These speakers also have VAST surround. VAST, also known as Vertical Attach Surround Technique, is a proprietary technology that belongs to Rockford. VAST can increase up to 25% the radiating cone area of each speaker by changing the way that the speaker connects to the basket.
Increasing cone surface area gives the speakers more exceptional performance and is something unique to this particular speaker model. Many audiophiles insist on purchasing Fosgate speakers now because of this technological improvement over other brands.
If you want a mid-tier price range speaker with premium sound quality, you want the Rockford Fosgate P3D2 15-inch subwoofer.
6. Kicker Comp 43C154
Best Model For Vented Enclosure
25 — 500 Hz
500 RMS, 1000 Peak Power
Yes, one year limited warranty
The Kicker Comp 43C154 speakers offer a vented enclosure that some car owners might want. This ported option is easy to add externally to car audio systems and also highly portable. These speakers are easier to move between vehicles compared to sealed subwoofers.
The vented option also increases the sound volume. These speakers are a great value providing reliable audio quality at an affordable price. Aesthetically, the all-black style will fit with any car interior.
The low impedance rating of 4 ohms brings superior sound quality compared to speakers with 6 ohms and 8 ohms ratings. These speakers also have excellent sound sensitivity at 90.3 dB. The steel basket is sturdy and kicks back intense sound perfect for large vehicles. Double stitching keeps premium parts connected and leads to increased durability.
This speaker set will require an amplifier (unless your built-in car stereo system has an amplifier in this range) between 180 and 375 watts with an RMS of 4 ohms. We recommend purchasing a speaker grille to protect your speakers since one is not included. Kicker sells an accessory grille option you can purchase.
If you want a vented enclosure 15-inch subwoofer that is affordable, the Kicker Comp 43C154 is perfect for you.
15-inch vs. 12-inch Subwoofers
Subwoofers come in many sizes, but two of the most popular subwoofer sizes are the 15-inch subwoofer and the 12-inch subwoofer. A 15-inch subwoofer does not need to create as much movement to reproduce lower frequencies compared to a 12-inch subwoofer and therefore will offer better sound quality.
Particularly for homeowners who want deep bass frequencies when watching movies, playing video games, and listening to music, the 15-inch subwoofer is the best choice. Drivers who want to enjoy the best bass sounds will also want to purchase a 15-inch subwoofer for the clarity available at lower frequencies compared to a 12-inch subwoofer.
The exception would be particularly small vehicles where there may not be enough room to place 15-inch subwoofers easily in comparison to a 12-inch model.
Single vs. Dual Voice Coils
A single voice coil (SVC) and a dual voice coil (DVC) are the two car subwoofer options. The primary difference between the two options is that the DVC offers more connections and more wiring options for car owners.
This can make DVC subwoofers more expensive than SVC subwoofers, but it also means that the sound quality is likely to sound better. The only reason for this improved and enhanced sound quality, however, is the additional connectivity found with DVC subwoofers.
If you purchase an SVC subwoofer that can properly connect to your existing audio system, then the sound quality will be the same as a DVC subwoofer in this scenario. It's all about the connections and having the best possible wired connection.
Each subwoofer has its specific instructions for installation. However, there are a few basic installation requirements. The first is finding a place to mount your subwoofer. Subwoofers get hot as they are used and need to be in a place with ventilation.
The next step is to determine whether or not you have a powered (wired) subwoofer or a wireless subwoofer. If you have a powered subwoofer, you need to run the signal cables correctly. In both scenarios, you will need to run a power wire. Setting up the wires is the most challenging part of the subwoofer installation.
We recommend reading your installation instructions carefully. Once you have everything wired correctly, you are ready to test the system.
Correct Placement & Adjustments
Your subwoofer should be placed in an area where it will not get too hot and where you can easily access it. To adjust your subwoofer for the best sound quality, we recommend resetting the equalizer and adjusting the crossover point.
To reset the equalizer, we recommend first turning the controls to “0” and then listening to your favorite music without using the subwoofer. Now, turn on the subwoofer and begin to increase the volume. When you find the spot that you like, it's time to start adjusting the equalizer controls again.
You can move off the "0" set point slowly in either direction and find what sounds best for you. This will set the equalizer to your personal preference for all future listening.
To adjust the crossover point, lower your subwoofer’s crossover point by finding it on the amp. If your subwoofer doesn’t have a crossover point, you might want to change the position of your subwoofer. Make sure that your subwoofer is pointed towards you rather than away from you. This helps to give the bass a surround sound quality.
Common Subwoofer Issues & Fixes
A common subwoofer issue that we see is when cables degrade, and the connection isn't as secure as it needs to be. This can cause static problems and even make it impossible to turn the subwoofer on. The easiest fix for this issue is to buy new cable connectors for your subwoofer. Taking your subwoofer into an audio or electronics store is the best way to make sure you purchase the correct cables.
Another common problem with subwoofers is when a subwoofer is blown. This can happen when there is too much of a signal being sent to the speakers from the amplifier and it “blows” the speaker. Unfortunately, fixing a subwoofer when it has been completely blown is difficult.
You will need to bring your speaker to a repair shop, but often the repairs are as costly as buying a new set of speakers (particularly true if your speakers were a budget set). In most cases, we recommend purchasing a new set of speakers. Make sure with your new set that you have the correct amplifier to speaker match-up to avoid blowing your new speakers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are compact subs still effective in bass production?
Yes, compact subwoofers are still useful in bass production. Compact subwoofers are also easier to install and are the best option for vehicle owners with little installation knowledge.
Will putting my subwoofer in the trunk affect the bass?
No, it won't affect the bass if you place your subwoofer in the trunk unless your trunk is full. When there is less air space in the trunk, the sound doesn't transfer as well and won't have the same volume effect.
Do I need to have an audio amp to power my 15-inch subwoofer?
This depends on the type of 15-inch subwoofer that you purchase. If you are buying a subwoofer that does not include an internal audio amp and you do not have an existing audio amp in your car, then you will need to purchase an audio amp.
Does the material of subwoofer cones make a difference in sound quality?
There are many different types of subwoofer materials, including paper, polypropylene, metal, kevlar, carbon fiber, ceramic, and fiberglass. There isn’t one cone material that is best for subwoofers because it depends on the way that the components come together. Each brand and style is different.
Which shape is best? Round, square, or triangular?
Round and square subwoofers are more popular than triangular subwoofers. Round subwoofers require more air and more power to create the same sound as a square subwoofer, so if you want the most efficient and loudest speaker, then choose the square subwoofer.
If the 15-inch triangular subwoofer is larger (has greater surface area) than a comparable 15-inch round subwoofer, it will have higher sound volume. Most shapes are relative in sound quality at the same size (15-inch), but we recommend 15-inch square subwoofers for audiophiles.
Where is a good place to buy these products?
The best place to buy 15-inch subwoofers is via Amazon.com. We recommend choosing from Pyle, New Rockville, Skar, Kicker, Orion, Rockford, and JL Audio.
Each vehicle has its own needs, and each individual has different aesthetic tastes as well as a different budget. If you are looking for the best 15-inch subwoofer that money can buy and want powerful, clear bass performance, then you want the Orion HCCA15.
These speakers offer the best that money can buy for vehicle audio performance and can turn any car into a music machine perfect for bass-heavy songs. The best cheaper alternative to this pick is the Skar Audio EVL-15 D2.
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