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Subwoofers can maximize your listening experience in your car. They are the key to getting low frequencies and great bass. They allow you to customize your music and the sound in your car. When you add them to your music system in your vehicle, you’ll immediately notice a difference in sound quality and experience.
Some subwoofers cost over $50, but you don’t have to break the bank to find a subwoofer that will give you what you need. It is possible to get a great quality subwoofer for under $40 – even under $20. Having great music that comes from your vehicle stereo can get costly, so it’s a good idea to save money where you can. Subwoofers can be high-quality without the high price, freeing up money for other parts of your stereo system. However, it’s important to watch for important specifications before making a purchase.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
The power of the RMS is the first specification you want to look for. The higher the RMS power, the more sound that the subwoofer will be able to handle. You may also be interested in making sure it has a higher peak power so that you know you won’t blow it out by increasing the volume too high.
Next, look at sensitivity. The higher the sensitivity, the better. A high sensitivity rating for subwoofers means that it will be able to turn the amplifier power into sound more efficiently. When the subwoofer has higher sensitivity, it won’t need as much energy to give you the sound you want. This means higher sensitivity equals cleaner and deeper sound.
Impedance is another important specification if you already have an amp. The subwoofers listed here have 4 and 8 Ohms of impedance. You’ll want to make sure that your amp and subwoofers are compatible. You also want to make sure that your amp will not overpower the RMS rating of the subwoofer. Make sure that your amplifier gives no more than 150% of the power of the RMS rating to minimize the risk of blowing the subwoofer.
Make sure to pay attention to the size of the subwoofer to make sure it’ll fit your enclosure. If you have a car with a small trunk, chances are you’re going to want to go smaller. Often, smaller subs give a deeper sound than the larger ones.
Also, think about how you’re going to house your subwoofers. You can either build or buy sealed or ported/vented enclosures, depending on the type of sound you want from them. Ported or vented enclosures will give you loud booms from your bass that vibrate your vehicle. Sealed enclosures will give you cleaner, more accurate sounds from the bass. Think about what type of music you listen to and what kind of sound or experience you’d like before buying your enclosure.
Break it in
No matter how much you spend, you’ll blow your new subwoofers out immediately if you don’t break them in before going for that deep, loud bass you want. It’s important to use it at low to medium volume levels for at least 3 continuous hours. If you skip this step, you risk lowering the sound quality or blowing the subwoofer altogether.
Immediately jumping into loud music doesn’t give your subwoofer enough time to loosen up, which means you’ll risk damage to the coils or a ripped suspension. Even if you only spend less than $20 on the subwoofer, that $20 will go immediately down the drain without a good break-in period.
The Top 5 Cheap Subwoofers
This 8-Ohm subwoofer offers 100 watts RMS and 200 watts peak power. While the power may seem low, it has a high sensitivity rating of 96 dB, which makes it worthwhile. They come with bumped and vented motor structure, treated purple cloth edge suspension, and bumped yoke plate for extended excursion.
The 1.5 high-temperature aluminum voice coil continues to make these subwoofers a great deal. It offers a great sound quality and a smooth output, even after continued use. This subwoofer comes at a great price, but low RMS and peak power. If you listen to your music at full volume, you may want to find subwoofers with higher power ratings.
- High sensitivity rating
- High-temperature aluminum voice coil
- Great sound quality and smooth output after continued use
- Lower RMS and peak power
- Extra attention to installation as wire connections require soldering
Pyramid’s WH10 subwoofer is an 8-Ohm, 10-inch subwoofer that has 150 watts RMS and 300 watts peak power. This is a step up from their WH88, but with slightly lower sensitivity at 89.3 dB. They have cloth edge suspension and 1.5-inch Kapton Bobbin voice coils.
The sound quality is great for the low price. However, the bass is not as deep as some might expect, lending to more of a woofer quality rather than a subwoofer one. If you’re looking for a cheap fix and not interested in extremely deep frequencies, these may be a good option for you.
These may be a quick, cheap option to either replace broken subwoofers or add to a starter system.
- Great sound quality
- Great as a starter system
- Lower RMS and peak power
- Lower sensitivity
- May not achieve deep bass frequencies
JBL’s GT5 10-inch single-voice 4-Ohms subwoofers have the highest price on the list, but they also offer the highest peak power at an awesome 1100 watts. With this high of a peak power, combined with RMS at 250 watts and sensitivity at 91 dB, the extra price may be worth it.
They give 30-500 Hz frequency response and have a fully-vented motor structure with rubber-coated tinsel leads. The craftsmanship may be lower than some would expect as there may need to be some repairing of the cone before installation.
These subwoofers are a bit more expensive and may require extra work. If you’re worried about blowing your subwoofers, the high peak power of these should prevent that.
- High RMS
- Extremely high peak power
- High sensitivity
- Higher price
- May need to repair cone due to lower craftsmanship
These 8-inch 4-Ohm subwoofers offer great RMS power at 300 watts and peak power at 600 watts. Their sensitivity rates at 83 dB, resonant frequency is 46 Hz. They have a polypropylene cone and rubber surround and the company offers a 3-year Platinum Dealer Warranty. These have an added style to them with a nice metallic black finish.
While you may need to be careful with the volume, these subwoofers come at a great value and price.
- High RMS power
- High peak power
- Warranty option
- Metallic black finish
- Lower sensitivity rate
- RMS and peak power may not hold true at maximum rate
Sound Storm’s SS10 10-inch 4-Ohm subwoofers come at an unbeatable price. They provide great sound quality, with RMS power at 300 watts, peak power at 600 watts, resonant frequency at 32.3 Hz, and sensitivity at 88 dB. They include a black fiber injection code and foam surround and work great in a 1.15 cubic-foot sealed enclosure. The company also offers a 3-year Platinum Dealer Warranty. The poly-injected cone gives them better flexibility so that they’ll last and the foam surround keeps the cone centered.
Their voice coils are made from high-temperature aluminum, so they resist corrosion, are nonmagnetic and perform great under high tension and compression. These are the best priced and highest quality subwoofers you’ll find. They have high RMS and peak powers and coils that resist corrosion. They’ll be the best investment to add to your system.
- Lowest price
- High RMS power
- High peak power
- Poly-injected cone
- High-temperature aluminum coils
- Lower sensitivity
Which subwoofer is the best fit for your needs?
At the end of the day, as long as you treat your subwoofer right, break it in, and ensure that it is installed correctly with compatible parts, you can still get great sound quality without spending too much money. Just because they are cheap does not mean that they are low quality. Pay attention to the specifications and think about the type of sound you’re hoping to get. Some subwoofers can’t handle higher volumes, but still give an amazingly deep and clean sound if you’re not interested in the entire neighborhood hearing your music.
Some subwoofers will handle higher volumes and give you a loud, deep bass that you can hear a mile away. Keep in mind that louder volumes will always distort the music. Distortion can damage your subwoofer, so overdoing it will make matters worse, no matter what you spend. It’s always a good idea to look for subwoofers that offer a warranty, but at the lower prices, you’re not risking too much without it. Remember, subwoofers are a great place to save money so that you have extra money for the rest of your system.
As long as you pay attention to the specifications you need and take care of your subwoofers correctly, you can get great quality music from the subwoofers that are under $40.