What is a subwoofer? Simply, it's a speaker that picks up the lowest audio range, aka "the bass." They pick up that low, booming register of the music and provide a rich, rounded, and sometimes gut-vibrating sound.
High-quality subwoofers aren’t exactly cheap, with sound quality and durability often in direct relation to the cost. However, there are some powerful, well-made, and high-tech subwoofers for under $1,000, a relatively small price in the subwoofer world.
Read on for our review if you're looking for the best subwoofer under $1,000 for your home theater, party setting or studio.
Types of Subwoofer Speakers
Why Buy an Expensive Subwoofer?
A subwoofer is great for music and movie lovers who spend a lot of time enjoying media with a home theater set-up. If you're going to enjoy music, you may as well enjoy every part of it, down to the lowest range of sound. Speakers don't pick up those lower registers, so a subwoofer is needed to get the full experience.
Subwoofers can also allow you to play your music louder, without risking distortion. Basically, you can play the music as it was meant to be heard, especially when listening to house, R&B, and hip-hop genres. Another benefit of a subwoofer is that it can be placed anywhere, and isn’t sensitive to placement like speakers are. Fit it to the size and layout of the room.
Subwoofers under $1,000 offer everything you need, with extras such as Bluetooth compatibility. Any price near $1,000 isn't cheap, but it's worth spending that extra money for a quality subwoofer. A sub-par model can risk producing a sound that is of low quality and potentially irritating or distracting.
Choosing Top Quality Subwoofers for Under $1000
Power Output/Volume/Sound Quality
When it comes to subwoofers, the more power you have, the louder the sound you’ll have. (If you’re purchasing a subwoofer, we know that you’re really after that booming bass.) The power in subwoofers is measured with peak power (in decibels) and RMS power (root mean square).
The frequency response measures the level of change, if any, of sound from the input to the output.
Impedance refers to the resistance of the power from the amplifier to the speaker, so it doesn't blow the speaker. If the impedance is outside of the minimum and maximum ohm threshold of the amplifier, you risk busting the speaker.
The higher the sensitivity (in decibels, or dB), the louder your subwoofer will be. However, the higher the sensitivity, the more amps are required to power the sound. For a loud subwoofer experience, look for a sensitivity rating of at least 92 decibels.
Wired or Wireless
A wireless subwoofer will allow you to control it from your iPhone or device. It also means the placement of the subwoofer is more versatile as you don't need to worry about hiding cables.
Cone Size & Subwoofer Dimensions
The "cone" is the part at the front and center of the subwoofer, which moves in and out to displace air. A cone with a wide diameter and short travel distance requires less power but generally means a larger subwoofer unit. A small cone moving in and out over a more extensive distance means a smaller, more compact subwoofer. Figure out where you will be situating your sub.
If you're spending up to $1,000 on a subwoofer, you should be clear on the warranty, and look for a decent warranty period. Look for an extra-durable construction with an excellent track record of consistent reviews praising longevity.
5 Best Subwoofers Under $1000 Reviewed
1. Sonos Wireless
Our Top Pick
Default 80 Hz, down to 25 Hz
15.3 x 6.2 x 15.8 inches
Yes, 1 Year Warranty
The Sonos wireless subwoofer is a small, compact, and sleek-looking model. It offers versatile placement and can be laid flat or stood up on its side. You can really put it anywhere you’d like – they even advertise that under-the-couch is an option. Talk about some seat rumbling!
The Sonos subwoofer has been designed for excellent sound, without buzzing, thanks to two inward-facing speaker drivers. As the name suggests, this subwoofer is compatible with any Sonos sound system, but unfortunately, only Sonos sound systems. This is a super-highly rated home subwoofer with an impeccable track record for clear, clean, high-quality sound for music and TV.
This is the best subwoofer below $1,000 for you if you need something compact, wireless, and versatile, and you're already a Sonos user/owner. The sound is fantastic, so the higher price does pay off with a great listening experience.
The only downside to this subwoofer is that Sonos does not release a lot of the specifications that other subwoofer brands do. This will make it hard to compare in terms of sensitivity and power output. Overall though, we highly recommend this sub. See what some users have to say in this Reddit thread.
2. ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3030
Best DJ Subwoofer under $1000
25 - 150 Hz
19.19 x 17.63 x 17.63 inches
1000 watts peak power
Yes, 3 years for cabinet, 1 year for amplifier
The Elac Debut 2.0 Sub3030 is a powered subwoofer with a compact design that can be tucked anywhere in your room or club. It is controlled by using the SUB Control app 2.0 for iOS or Android devices.
If you download the SubEQ app on your phone, the subwoofer can adjust the EQ of the room automatically by using your phone's microphone. The ELAC features a 12" long-throw driver, which offers bass that is as loud, low, and high-quality as you'd want for a party or DJ setup.
You don't need to worry about annoying vibration as the cabinet is strengthened to keep buzzing and vibrations minimal if at all. The ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3030 is the best DJ subwoofer for under $1,000 for people who want a grunty, hearty bass.
On the Crutchfield website, one user review says, “This sub delivers more than enough grunt, and the bass it puts out is solid and muscular. It does a great job whether you're watching movies, series, or playing games. The sound isn't quite as deep or powerful as other subs I've owned, but is more than rich and detailed enough to increase the enjoyment of my movie nights.”
3. SVS PB-2000
Best Home Theater Subwoofer Under $1000
17 - 260 Hz
20.9 x 17.3 x 23.2 inches
1100 watts peak
2 ohms or 4 ohms
The SVS PB-2000 ported subwoofer is the best home theater subwoofer under $1,000 because it produces a sharp, realistic sound that accurately represents how the creator intended the sound to be heard.
This subwoofer unit is pretty heavy and takes up a fair bit of space, so make sure you have a place to put it before you lay down the cash. The SVS PB-2000 is impressive in the sense that it can reach an extremely low 17Hz. This is an excellent subwoofer for you if you're looking to improve your home theater media experience.
This sub is advertised as being able to bring the DVD into the room, and SVS is not kidding!! Make sure you don’t have a shelf of valuable knick-knacks nearby because they might just rattling off the shelf during some thunderous action scenes.
The only downside is you will need to be happy to set it up in a permanent spot, as it's too heavy to move around often.
4. JBL EON618S
Best PA Subwoofer Under $1000
42.5 - 150 Hz
22.9 x 26.3 x 25.4 inches
1000 watts peak
Yes – 5 Year Warranty
When it comes to bringing the bass to your PA system, the JBL EON618S is the best PA subwoofer under $1,000 thanks to the large-yet-lightweight construction and smooth sound for large audiences. This model can be controlled via Bluetooth so you can adjust the volume EQ and save your presets.
The subwoofer is designed with the traveling musician in mind. Not only is this JBL subwoofer extremely portable, but it also has two ergonomic handles for easy maneuvering. There are integrated hardware mounts that make it ideal for storage, and you can even fly with this sub when needed.
JBL says that the EON618S is “the loudest, lowest, cleanest subwoofer in its class.”
That’s easy to see with its high sensitivity of 134 decibels. If you want to shake the dance floor, this is the one to get. For the best possible overall sound, let me suggest that you pair this sub with the JBL EON615 Portable 15” Speaker.
5. Klipsch R-115SW
Best Powered Subwoofer under $1000
18 - 125 Hz
21.5 x 19.5 x 22.3 inches
Yes 2 years on electronics, 5 years on woofer and cabinet
Last but not least, the best powered subwoofer under $1,000 is the Klipsch R-115SW. This black and copper-colored subwoofer is designed for robust, no-nonsense bass that the listener can feel as much as hear. It's great for home theater systems for people who want a gut-trembling movie and music experience. It's also attractive to look at and will make a great addition to any room.
With the purchase of Klipsch’s WA2 – Wireless Kit (sold separately), you can make this subwoofer completely wireless, which will allow you to place it wherever you want to. You can also mix the subwoofer's low-frequency tones with other Klipsch speakers and create your customized level of bass with the low pass crossover and phase control.
Klipsch user James from North Carolina says, “Makes the furniture, floors, and windows rattle when I want. Awesome for movies with explosions. Glad I went with this over a smaller unit.”
Other users have reported loving this subwoofer so much that they bought two to cover their large entertainment room.
Additional Subwoofer Characteristics
Speakers vs Subwoofers
The key difference between a speaker and a subwoofer is the sound it produces in terms of "high and low." A subwoofer picks up those super-low frequencies a standard speaker does not. By using a speaker and a subwoofer, you are experiencing the full range of the music or movie as it was designed to be heard.
Correct Placement & Adjustments
The best placement for a subwoofer is generally the front corner of the room (so that it's in front of your usual sitting area). If this produces an unsatisfactory sound, move the subwoofer to the corner, while staying closer to the front of the room.
The frequency crossover is essential as it will give the sound a seamless, lag-free coherence. The general rule is to set the crossover at 10 Hz above the speaker's lowest tolerance. The most recommended crossover frequency for setting up subwoofers is 80 Hz.
Common Subwoofer Issues & Fixes
According to Techwalla, subwoofer issues are typically due to one of two reasons: improper settings or broken receivers. Many times, people will realize that their subwoofer doesn't work anymore once they have changed the system that it was initially connected to. The fix is as simple as visiting your user manual and matching it to the new system.
Other common issues can be addressed in this video below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need an enclosure for my car subwoofer?
Yes, an enclosure is crucial for achieving superior bass and overall sound.
What is the difference between 2-ohm vs. 4-ohm subwoofers?
2-ohm subwoofers generally provide a louder sound than 4-ohm subwoofers as they have a lower resistance, but can also produce a lower-quality sound. Whereas 4-ohm subwoofers may not be as loud or powerful but can provide cleaner sound. 4-ohm subwoofers are thought to be more durable than 2-ohm subwoofers because they use less power.
How do I match subwoofers and amplifiers?
You have to figure out the total RMS power, the final impedance, and the type of amplifier you have. This video can help walk you through the process:
Do all subwoofers need an amp?
Yes, all subwoofers need an amplifier. However, some come with an amplifier built into it, while others must be connected to an external amplifier.
What are the benefits of using multiple subwoofers?
Having multiple subwoofers can improve the quality of the sound in a room by distributing the sound throughout the space. Sometimes a single subwoofer can create "room resonance," which compromises the sound quality. Multiple subwoofers can actually cancel out room resonance for an overall better sound experience from various listening places around the room.
How do I improve bass in subwoofers?
Finding the absolute best bass for your home will take a little bit of time and tinkering on your part because the process is completely customized. The most important thing is to find the correct placement for your room and use. Then, you will have to learn to adjust your subwoofer and receiver for crossover, volume, phase, and equalizer. Many of the models we've looked at have apps that can help you achieve the best sound in this process.
What brands are the most reliable and provide the best warranty terms/customer service?
SVS provides a great 5-year warranty on their subwoofers, and we love their top of the line subwoofers. However, you can't go wrong with any of the brands that we've mentioned above.
Where is the best place to buy subwoofers?
Check out Amazon.com for the best deals on subwoofers.
By now, we know that there are many high-quality subwoofers for $1,000 on the market, offering superior sound experiences for different purposes. Our top pick is the Sonos Wireless for its sleek design, versatile placement options, and undeniable sound quality.
Now you are equipped with everything you need to know to continue your search for the very best subwoofer under $1,000 for your listening needs.
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