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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Budget Subwoofers Reviewed

A subwoofer is an integral part of any sound system. We have reviewed and compared the best budget subwoofers on the market.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Budget Subwoofers Reviewed

A subwoofer is an integral part of any sound system. We have reviewed and compared the best budget subwoofers on the market.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Are you looking for a way to improve the sound of your home theater or add more to your music listening experience? Or maybe you're looking for a subwoofer to put into your car to give you more boom when listening to music. A quality budget subwoofer can be the perfect addition to your system.

Subwoofers are intended to produce low-frequency sounds, leading to what many recognize as the bass. However, these speakers can be rather expensive if you don’t know what to look for. Lucky for you, we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate some of the best budget subwoofers on the market.

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Product

Frequency

Power Output

Check Price

Yamaha 8' 100W Powered Subwoofer - Black...

Yamaha NS-SW050BL 

28 Hz- 200 Hz

50 Watts / 100 Watts

Sony SACS9 10-Inch Active Subwoofer

Sony SACS9

28 Hz – 200 Hz

115 Watts

Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 8' Dual 2-Ohm Punch...

Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8

30 Hz – 250 Hz

150 Watts RMS / 300 Watts Peak

Polk Audio PSW10 10' Powered Subwoofer - Featuring...

Polk Audio PSW10

40 Hz – 160 Hz

100 Watts

Rockville W10K6D4 V2 10' 2000w Car Audio Subwoofer...

Rockville W10K6D4 V2

2,000 Hz

500 RMS/1,000 Watts

Pioneer TS-SW2002D2

Pioneer TS-SW2002D2

20 Hz – 200 Hz

150 Watts RMS (600 Watts Peak)

Monoprice 60-Watt Powered Subwoofer - 8 Inch With...

Monoprice 

50 Hz - 250 Hz

60 Watts

Acoustic Audio PSW-15 Down Firing Powered...

Acoustic Audio PSW-15

22 Hz - 250 Hz

600 Watts

Types of Subwoofer Speakers

  • Powered
    Commonly known as active subwoofers, these contain a speaker and an amplifier that are a perfect match to give you the best listening experience possible. With both units housed as one, the power load is shifted away from the Audio/Video receiver and allows the amplifiers to power the mid-range and tweeter speakers.
  • Passive
    Passive subwoofers, on the other hand, require power from an external amplifier or A/V receiver. Passive units require more power, so it's important to make sure that your amplifier or receiver has enough power to give to sustain the bass effect.

Advantages of Budget Subwoofers

When considering which subwoofer to add to your home system, the budget often comes to mind. If you're looking for a unit to give you better sound, but you're not interested in dropping a stack of cash, then a low-budget subwoofer is best.

You not only get the same effect with one of these budget-conscious boxes, but you also don't have to worry about breaking the bank. These subwoofers also tend to be smaller in size, thus taking up less room in your home-theater or near the stereo.

When you pair the right subwoofer with your car stereo, turntable, or home theater, you’ll notice a significant change in your listening experience. With more vibe and more bass, the sound exiting the speakers is sure to leave you wanting more. You’ll notice a difference in music and a difference in the audio effects in movies, especially those action-packed films with dramatic soundtracks.


Buyers Guide: High Quality but Low Budget Subwoofers

Usage

Usage is one of the most important things to consider when you’ve looking for the best budget subwoofer on the market. Think about where you’ll be using the box or how you’d like to enhance the sounds in that space, and you’ll be able to make an informed buying decision.

Power Output & Handling/Volume/Sound Quality

It's essential to know how much power your current speaker and stereo system can handle when looking into subwoofers. Smaller boxes have better quality, but less volume power. Large boxes can make the music or sounds seem mushy. You’ll want to match a subwoofer with an amp that closely matches or slightly exceeds the sub’s RMS output.

Frequency Response/Range

The frequency range of a subwoofer is meant to allow you to hear the deepest tones of music or sound. The larger the diameter of a sub, the better they are reproducing the lowest sounds. The efficiency of a unit drops off as frequency limits approach zero, so try to go with something between 20 hertz and 100 hertz.

Impedance

Impedance levels of any subwoofer need to be considered. This is another comparison you'll need to make between the amplifier and speakers that you have to make sure that the subwoofers your purchasing don't require more power than necessary. Too much impedance and your subwoofer and speakers won't get enough power. Low impedance can cause your amplifier to work harder and overheat. Try to aim for a unit that's anywhere between 4 and 8 Ohms.

Sensitivity

The sensitivity of a sub is a measurement of how loud the speaker will get with the amount of power you hook it up to. The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder it will play. This measurement is not always an indication of quality, but rather the volume at which your amplifier needs to reach to get the most dynamic and clear sound possible.

Voice Coils

The voice coils of subwoofers can either come as single or dual coils. The dual voice coils offer the same amount of energy as a single coil but give you more wiring and matching options when trying to take advantage of your amplifier.

Wired or Wireless

Wired subwoofers tend to require a long cable that runs from one end of the room to the other to connect your box with the stereo receiver, while a wireless box connects to your receiver through a transmitter in the room.

Cone Size & Subwoofer Shape/Dimension

The cone of your subwoofer is designed to move as much air through the subwoofer as possible and create a high SPL low-frequency output. Big doesn't always mean better in this case, so you'll want to consider the construction, material, and cone excursion versus cone area when looking for a subwoofer.

Extra Features

No two subwoofers are made the same or come equipped with the same inputs/outputs. If additional features, including amps, cables, and excellent customer service is important to you, then you'll want to consider these as you look for a box that suits your needs.

Enclosure type

The enclosure box of your sub has a lot to do with the kind of sound you'll get. Sealed enclosures are usually smaller and have less boom, more punch, and require more amp power. Ported boxes give you equal boom and punch as it amplifies sounds, but the box tends to be bigger. A bandpass subwoofer gives you lower bass frequencies but needs to be tuned, and they tend to be the biggest in size.

Durability/Warranty

A subwoofer has a lot of fragile components, making its construction and exterior box that much more important. Thinner mesh and thin paper cones mean you run the risk of damage. You should also consider the warranty of a subwoofer and what components are covered if your subwoofer should be damaged.


8 Best Budget Subwoofers Reviewed

1. Yamaha NS-SW050BL

Best Budget Subwoofer (Top Sound Quality)

Dimensions

11.5” W x 11.5” H x 13.37” D

Frequency Response

28 Hz- 200 Hz

Mounting Depth

n/a

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

50 Watts / 100 Watts

Other Key Features

Unique flare port, Yamaha Technology, All Black, amp included

Warranty

Yes; 2-Year Limited Warranty

The Yamaha NS-SW050BL ranks at the top of our list of the best budget subwoofers for a variety of reasons. As a small unit, this subwoofer packs a punch and is the perfect addition to any home stereo or theater system. Because of the integration of Yamaha's high-performance bass technologies, you'll enjoy a crisp and clear sound. The Twisted Flare Port and Advanced YSTII give this subwoofer sensational sound while making use of high-quality discrete amp circuitry.

If you’re not interested in bulky equipment or a box that doesn’t match your décor, this is not something you’ll have to worry about with this box. The sleek and smooth black cube features a gently rounded front panel that’s designed to be unobtrusive in any room of your home.

We’d be doing an injustice if we didn’t discuss the sound quality of the Yamaha NS-SW050BL since it's at the top of our guide. If you're in the market for a budget-friendly cube that puts out a quality sound, then go with this model. Because of the twisted flare port, air flows more smoothly through, thus allowing this subwoofer to produce precise, deep, and realistic bass as you enjoy your collection of movies or music.

Pros

  • Yamaha Active Servo Technology
  • Clear and tight bass sound
  • Twist flare port for smooth airflow

Cons

  • No frequency controls

2. Sony SAC59

Best Cheap Powered Subwoofer

Dimensions

11 5/8” W x 13 5/8” H 15 ¾” D

Frequency Response

28 Hz – 200 Hz

Mounting Depth

n/a

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

115 watts

Other Key Features

RCA cord included, internal vibration control

Warranty

Yes; 2-Year Limited Warranty

The Sony SAC59 subwoofer is the best cheap powered subwoofer on our guide. We included this compact 10" unit because of its sound output and the fact that you don't need to try and match an external amplifier to get the perfect listening experience.

This unit also can suppress vibrations by acoustically absorbing the sound waves that generate from the back as well as damping the cabinet vibrations as well. The sleek, black box is perfect for any home theater or living room where you want to enhance your music or sound listening from all around the room.

The Sony SAC59 sub has the best frequency range that you want to look for in a subwoofer. With a 9.84 inch cone diaphragm, this unit can move large amounts of air, allowing you to experience the most profound sounds. The reinforcement of the low sounds in films can give you a great in-home theater experienced.

In addition to the cone diameter, it's construction also plays a significant role in how well it produces sound. Most cones use paper that continually flexes and can deteriorate over time, leading to a distorted sound. The Sony model's cone is made of Mica Reinforced Cellular fibers that are rigid and hold their shape, even when moving rapidly at high pressure and speed.

Pros

  • Vibration controls
  • Mica reinforced cellular cone
  • Small and stylish

Cons

  • Not suitable for large rooms

3. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8

Best Car Subwoofer for the Money

Dimensions

9.8” x 9.8” x 5.3”

Frequency Response

30 Hz – 250 Hz

Mounting Depth

2.66”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

150 Watts RMS / 300 Watts Peak

Other Key Features

Amp included etc.

Warranty

Yes; 1 -year warranty

The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 is a quality car subwoofer that can produce loud sounds in a small space. Thanks to a unique design with advanced materials and engineering, Rockford uses anodized aluminum for the cone and dust cap, gives you a light sub that can handle high volumes. With 2-ohm voice coils, you can easily wire multiple subs or get the most out of a more powerful amp.

This model is a wired model and needs to be correctly wired to your amplifier and speakers. If you're unsure of how to hook up your system for the best listening experience, be sure to read through the owner's manual. You'll also want to make sure that you use the RCA cord that's included with the unit.

With the dual-voice coils setup, you can take advantage of a more powerful amplifier unit in your vehicle. This will give you a surround sound experience like you’ve never known before. This can also lower the impedance of your subwoofer, putting out powerful and booming sounds that are clear and crisp.

Pros

  • Rigid and strong cone
  • Shallow mounting depth
  • Dual coil set-up

Cons

  • Best for enclosed systems

4. Polk Audio PSW10

Best Value for Money Model

Dimensions

16.2” x 14”x 14.4”

Frequency Response

40 Hz – 160 Hz

Mounting Depth

n/a

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

100 watts

Other Key Features

Audio Inputs, Speaker inputs, Built-in Amp

Warranty

Yes; 3-Year Warranty

The Polk Audio PSW10 is on our list as the best value for the money model because it’s the perfect 10-inch woofer to add to your home theater system. With a sturdy design, this subwoofer will remain stable to reduce vibrations and handle the highest volume levels. You'll enjoy a smooth blending of the lowest and deepest sounds that can make your music and movie-watching experience that much better. With a specially tuned and directed port, this cube makes efficient use of airflow and vibrations. 

If you’re looking for a subwoofer unit that’s stylish and durable, the Polk Audio is the right model for you. With a silver and black color palette, this cube goes perfectly with the modern home décor. It’s even got a wood side panels that make it the perfect accessory to your living room or home theater. The frequency response of this unit makes it more suitable for smaller rooms. With walls nearby, you’ll hear and feel the deep sounds vibrating off of your walls, engulfing you in your music or any movie you choose.

It’s compact size also adds to the fact that this cube will fit just right for those you have smaller apartment living rooms or small entertainment living rooms. Putting this unit in a larger room may not result in the sounds you'd expect, so stick to using it in a place suitable for its size.

Pros

  • Direct port
  • Clear sound at high volume
  • Easy to integrate into the current system

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger rooms

5. Rockville W10K6D4 V2

Cheapest Car Audio Model

Dimensions

13.7” H x 13.7” W x 12.7” D

Frequency Response

2,000 Hz

Mounting Depth

5.29”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

500 RMS/1,000 watts

Other Key Features

4-layer voice coils, polypropylene dust cap

Warranty

Yes or no, if yes, how long

With a Rockville W series subwoofer, you know that you’ll be getting a great sub and sound without breaking the bank. Even though this is the cheapest car audio model on our list of the best budget subwoofers, this model packs a powerful punch. If you can’t or don’t want to spend the money on a huge system for your car, then this is the right model for you.

Made out of cast aluminum and red-stitched cone reinforcements, this speaker is going to last you for many years to come. Rockville also used the highest-grade black glue to handle the high temperatures that come with more power. The Rockville W10K6D4 V2 subwoofer packs a powerful punch and gives you more thump to your music. With a max power output of 1,000 watts, this subwoofer enhances your music listening experience, and you'll be able to hear deep sounds and beats like never before. 

This model requires wiring, but you'll need to make sure that the amplifier you use or already have installed can match the power needed to operate this speaker properly. With such a powerful subwoofer, you'll want to avoid blowing out your speakers in your car.

Pros

  • Dual 4-Ohm Voice Coil Impedance
  • Cast Aluminum Basket
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Requires more powerful amp

6. Pioneer TS-SW2002D2

Top Rated Compact Model

Dimensions

7” H x 7” W x 7” D

Frequency Response

20 Hz – 200 Hz

Mounting Depth

2 5/8”

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

150 watts RMS (600 watts peak)

Other Key Features

Small, oversized cone structure

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

The Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 is the perfect compact subwoofer if you’re looking for a unit for your vehicle. As part of Pioneer’s line of shallow subwoofers, this model will deliver big bass, rivaling the bigger, full-size subwoofers on the market. As the top-rated compact model, this unit is the best that money can buy when it comes to budget subwoofers. With standard power starting at 150 watts, this small unit can reach a max of 600 watts, guaranteeing an excellent music experience with rich sounds and deep bass.

Pioneer has built a sub with a cone structure that is highly rigid and made with MICA-injected molded resin. This creates a rigid and durable cone that produces accurate bass. It's also constructed to have a greater surface area than most full-sized models, giving you more volume by moving more air.

This subwoofer is meant to be installed in your vehicle. If you're not sure how to construct a box for it to sit in or how to fit it to your system, take a peek at the dimensions and then view some online tutorials for how to best set this subwoofer up so you can enjoy the best bass with your music.

Pros

  • Shallow mounting depth
  • 600 watts max
  • Large cone surface

Cons

  • Low impedance

7. Monoprice 108248

Best Budget Home Theater Subwoofer

Dimensions

13.75” H x 11.75” W x 11.75” D

Frequency Response

50Hz to 250 Hz

Mounting Depth

2 ¾ “

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

60 Watts

Other Key Features

Multiple inputs, right/left Line Level inputs

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

Capable of producing 60 watts of output power, the Monoprice subwoofer is the best budget home theater subwoofer. The 8-inch unit has a frequency range of 50 to 250 Hz but is equipped with a low-pass crossover filter that can reduce the frequency down to 50 to 150 Hz. This can easily be adjusted with the gain and frequency knobs located on the control panel.

The sleek black wood cabinet unit houses the subwoofer, driver, and a 2 3/4-inch sound port at the front. A thin black mesh cloth covers the speak grills, finishing off the simple look. You can easily make this subwoofer blend into your home theater set-up since it looks like a simple piece of furniture. The Monoprice is a compact unit, thus making it perfect for smaller spaces or smaller home theaters. It's also very economical and can hook up to any sound system and amplifier 5.1 or higher.

This model is perfect if you’re looking for something that can match amplifier impedance automatically. You won’t have to worry about overpowering your amplifier or speakers should there be too much power flowing through this unit.

Pros

  • Supplies own power
  • Matches impedance
  • Auto-On function

Cons

  • No built-in amplifier
  • Less bass

8. Acoustic Audio PSW-15

Best 15-Inch Model for the Money

Dimensions

14.6” H x 16.5” W x 18.5” D

Frequency Response

22Hz-250Hz

Mounting Depth

n/a

Power Output, (RMS & Peak Rating)

600 watts

Other Key Features

Amp included, low-level inputs/outputs

Warranty

Yes; Lifetime Warranty

If you’re looking for a subwoofer that will blend perfectly with your home’s interior design and compliments your theater system, the Acoustic Audio PSW-15 is the perfect unit for you. With an outer shell made of sleek ash-wood with four-pegged legs to steady the piece and eliminate vibration. With a lifetime warranty, you can rest assured that this unit will give you peak sound performance for years to come.

The built-in amplifier and down-firing power pairs nicely with 600-watts of power, making it the best 15-inch model for the money. With such a powerful unit, this box is perfect for your surround sound system in one room or hook it up to a multi-room sound system and enjoy excellent acoustics throughout the entire house. You can use this subwoofer with your in-wall sound systems or in-ceiling home entertainment speakers.

You’ll enjoy crisp, clean sounds with the high-efficiency amplifier and long excursion cone for a deep and accurate response. The construction of this unit is geometrically sound and utilizes the best enclosure construction you can find for the price.

The Acoustic Audio PSW-15 comes with a back panel full of extra features. You'll be able to easily hook this unit up to different speakers using the hi-level output ports or hook it up to an additional amplifier with the hi-level inputs. You can also adjust the low-pass frequency crossover, and the unit comes with a signal sensing auto shut off function.

Pros

  • High-level input and output ports
  • Built-in digital drive amplifier
  • Down-firing

Cons

  • Larger in size

High End vs Budget Subwoofers

A great listening experience is all anyone is really after. If you’re debating behind a high-end subwoofer and one on a budget, you’ll want to consider the components that come with the unit, whether or not you need external cords or an additional amplifier.

Adding a subwoofer can extend the clarity and dynamic at which you experience your music. While you might be getting decent sound with your current speakers alone, adding either a high-end or budget subwoofer moves the sound through the room as you've never experienced before.

There's no doubt that you get what you pay for when it comes to subwoofer systems. Some high-end subwoofers are better for your car, while others are better for your home theater. If you're looking to get a little more bass and sound with your music at home, then a subwoofer on the lower end of the scale will give you just what you need.


Does Subwoofer Size Matter When on A Budget?

  • 8” subs
    As the smallest subwoofer, an 8-inch has the quickest response and bass punch. However, a better response and deeper bass doesn’t mean you’ll get much power when it comes to volume. These are typically best for home systems with bookshelf speakers or compact satellites.
  • 10” subs
    The next size up will still give you plenty of bang for your buck. The larger the speaker, the deeper the sounds, but it’s important to remember that this size still may be too small if you’re looking for a system that can reach a high volume.
  • 12” subs
    For the best bass punch and heightened dynamic listening experience, a 12-inch box is perfect for either in the car or at home. This will pair nicely with large floor-standing speakers in a big open living room or give you exactly what you're craving in the vehicle.
  • 15” subs
    Large subwoofers are usually best for those large living spaces such as big open basement entertainment rooms or home theaters. At 15-inch box moves more air and produces more bass. These are also usually found in the back of cars that you hear coming from down the block.

Subwoofer Installation

When installing a subwoofer, it’s always best to read the manual and make sure you have all the necessary parts for the subwoofer you’ve purchased. You’ll want to make sure that if you’re pairing a subwoofer with an amp, that they are compatible and won’t blow each other out.

For Cars:

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve purchased the right size box and speaker unit for your vehicle as well as all the wires and units with RCA cables to hook up your speakers correctly. Make sure you don’t run the RCA cables next to the power cable, as this can cause noise interference while listening to the radio. If you’re still unsure how to install your subwoofer, video tutorial guides can be a big help to make sure that you install everything correctly.

For Home:

In your home space, you’ll want to take the size of the room into consideration and pair the right sized subwoofer with the speakers and amplifier. Too much power coming through your speakers can flood a small space, while a unit that is too small can drown in a larger room.

Subwoofers should be strategically placed opposite your tower or bookshelf speakers so that the quality of sounds floods the room evenly. Complete installation of your subwoofer depends on the model and unit you purchase, but there are online tutorials to help guide you should you need assistance.


Common Subwoofer Issues & Fix

The purpose of subwoofers is to create more bass and lower frequencies to your audio or music. One of the most common issues you might experience is the loss of the bass effect while playing your sounds files or other forms of music.

This is usually a symptom of either improper settings or broken receivers. You can quickly troubleshoot the problem by tuning or adjusting your subwoofer and your audio system to make sure they are working cohesively. If it's a broken receive, you'll need to replace it with a new one.

It's always best to check with the manufacturer or read the manual of your subwoofer if you're having other issues with the quality of sound. You can also prevent problems by regularly cleaning dust and dirt from the subwoofer and speakers to ensure clear and crisp sound can escape.

Open exposures on the wire is also another common problem but can be fixed easily. Check for vulnerabilities often and repair them immediately to prevent further damage to your subwoofer and the internal components.


Frequently Asked Questions

How important is a subwoofer for my home theater system?

This depends on your preference for a more enhanced listening experience. Adding a subwoofer and extra speakers will create that surround-sound system that you’ve always wanted. It can also make you feel engulfed in all your favorite action-packed movies. If this is what you’re after, then a simple budget subwoofer is right for you.

Is a front-firing or down-firing powered subwoofer best?

There is not significant noise advantage to a front-firing or down-firing subwoofer, so it really comes down to personal preference. In order to find the best subwoofer for you and your ears, you might try a couple of different ones to get a feel for the differences in sound. Stick to what you like and go with a unit that sounds best to you.

Is a 100-watt subwoofer good enough?

The watt measurement of a subwoofer is not always the key indicator of a subwoofer's power. However, if you're looking for a simple unit, then yes, a 100-watt unit will do just fine, but thanks to advances in technology, there are plenty of 300- and 500-watt subwoofers on the market that are fairly inexpensive.

What are the best cheap subwoofer brands?

There are several different brands on the market, with some of our favorites, including Yamaha, Polk, and Sony. But if you're looking for any of the best budget subwoofers, stick to our guide, and you can't go wrong with any of the brands mentioned.


Conclusion

At the end of the day, a budget subwoofer will provide all of the same listening power and pleasure that the average music-listener or movie-viewer is after, especially in your home. Try pairing one of our best budget subwoofers, like the Yamaha NS-SW050BL, with your speakers and amplifier to create dynamic and enhanced sounds for many years to come.

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