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If you like to listen to music in your car with the bass rattling your windows, then the power and volume achieved through your car radio just won’t cut it. This is where subwoofers come in.
10-inch subwoofers in particular are a very common size to find in compact vehicles like your average car. What’s more, they’re also easy to install as they can be placed in enclosures with only minor modifications needed. But they can also be placed under seats, without taking up too much space or obstructing passenger space.
Subwoofers not only offer a decent amount of bass but a good response and a clear sound too. They certainly deliver more bass than 8-inch subwoofers and are best suited to drivers who listen to a lot of rock or country music.
But to really make the most out of a 10-inch subwoofer you need an amplifier to go along with it, especially if you listen to rap or hip hop music that generally has more bass. But how do you know which subwoofer to go for? As more people utilize subwoofers in their cars, more vehicle-specific subwoofers are being made and this can make finding the right one for you overwhelming.
Below, you’ll find the best 10-inch subwoofers on the market right now, as well as information on how subwoofers work and the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Best 10-inch Subwoofer
If you know a thing or two about subwoofers, you have most likely heard of Rockford Fosgate and you may have noticed that they’ve upped their game in recent years. They produce some of the highest quality subwoofers on the market, and the R2D4-10 may be their best subwoofer yet.
The woofer is made of a mica-injected polypropylene cone and is surrounded by poly-foam. This is then stamped-cast with stainless steel, thanks to their spider venting that keeps the subwoofer nice and cool. Their anodized aluminum voice coil formers also help to dissipate heat more effectively.
- Produces deep bass: You will not be disappointed by the deep, thumping bass this subwoofer produces.
- Well-constructed: This subwoofer is cleverly constructed and made of high-quality materials.
- Durable: Clever spider venting helps to make this subwoofer last longer and not fall victim to overheating.
- Easy to install: You’ll be enjoying this subwoofer in no time!
- No screws: Unfortunately, no screws are included with this subwoofer.
Since 1968, Infinity has produced a wide range of audio equipment, including subwoofers, speakers, and amplifiers. It’s safe to say they know what they’re talking about when it comes to manufacturing high-quality products, and their products really do stand the test of time.
The Ref1000S features a high-gloss polypropylene cone that provides hard-hitting bass and also has a large roll foam surround for accurate linear movement of the cone. This not only optimizes the performance of the subwoofer but makes it more durable too.
Its dual 4-ohm voice coils also make for more flexible wiring, giving you a sound system that’s easy to expand if you wish.
- Good sound quality: Even at high volumes this subwoofer has excellent sound quality.
- Selector switch: This switch lets you alternate between 2 ohms or 4ohm.
- Well-designed: The sleek design of this subwoofer contains all 10 inches perfectly.
- Durable: With the high-gloss polypropylene cone, you’ll be enjoying this subwoofer for years.
- Not a lot of RMS: The RMS in this subwoofer is lacking.
While this is one of the pricier subwoofers on this list, it’s definitely a worthy investment.
The Type S provides a satisfying bass and can handle a tremendous 1000 watts of RMS power (500 watts per coil). Its dual oversized 4-ohm voice coils also give you enough wiring flexibility to build a dynamic sound system that can accommodate additional components such as amps, head units, and subs.
This subwoofer is also versatile, suitable for both sealed and ported enclosures. However, I recommend using a powerful amplifier as this beast requires a lot of power.
- Powerful RMS: The Type S subwoofer can handle an impressive 1000 watts of RMS power.
- Impressive bass: You’re sure to hear and feel the bass with this subwoofer.
- Dual 4-ohm voice coils: These give you the freedom to modify the subwoofer.
- Versatile: The flexible mounting options help to make this subwoofer even more versatile.
- Occasional airy sounds: You may notice the subwoofer producing an airy sound occasionally.
My budget-friendly pick, the TSW261D4 is produced by Pioneer, a well-recognized brand that manufactures efficient, high-quality products.
What’s probably most impressive about this subwoofer is its 1200-watt dynamic peak power rating, and while it’s not recommended to push it to this level, the amount of power it can handle is extraordinary.
But while it can handle an immense amount of power, it also offers extremely low frequency reproduction. This is a subwoofer that is also committed to bass, effectively dipping into the subsonic frequencies that other subwoofers can only dream of.
However, it does tend to distort pretty quickly as the power increases, which is a bit underwhelming when you consider how much power it can handle.
- Extremely powerful: Able to reach 1200 watts, it’s hard to find a more powerful 10-inch subwoofer.
- Durable: This subwoofer is built to last!
- Crisp sound: This subwoofer can achieve crisp sound on both low and high frequencies.
- Impressive bass: Overall, the bass is fantastic.
- Single voice coil: When other subwoofers have multiple voice coils, this is a little disappointing.
The MTX Magnum MB210SP is a monster of a subwoofer. In fact, it’s so huge and robust that it’s infamous among audio enthusiasts.
If big bass is what you’re after and you have enough space inside your vehicle to accommodate a subwoofer like this, then why not go for this one?
Its massive size may not be for everyone. However, despite its size, MTX has tried to make it as compact and self-contained as possible, with a sleek back so it doesn’t take up too much room.
Bundling 2 10-inch subwoofers in an enclosure and an 800 Watt mono-block amplifier, this is a complete amplified bass package that is simple to install.
- Two for the price of one: This subwoofer bundles 2 10-inch subwoofers, so you get more bang for your buck!
- Built-in amp: For further convenience, this subwoofer has an amp built-in.
- Good sound quality: There is a reason so many audio enthusiasts swear by this subwoofer, it has great sound quality.
- Large: While not for everyone, this massive subwoofer delivers on the bass front.
- Amp quality: While the built-in amp is appreciated, it could be better.
Measuring only 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7 inches (LxWxH), The Rockville RW10CA is slim, sleek, and will easily fit in most vehicles.
It is also an all-inclusive stereo that comes with an amp, speaker, and enclosure. With an RMS rating of 200 watts with a power peak of 800 watts and 2-ohm impedance, it may be modest compared to other subwoofers on this list, but still decent.
A durable subwoofer, its thermal protection circuit, and overload protection circuit keep it from overheating, and the overload protection circuit has a phase switch of 0 degrees to 180 degrees.
The bass is a little lacking but the other features this subwoofer offers (like a bass booster and a remote for bass control) do make up for this somewhat.
- Sleek design: The compact and slim design is sure to fit comfortably in your vehicle.
- Plenty of features: This subwoofer comes packed with features, like an enclosure, amp, bass booster, and remote control.
- Easy to install: This compact subwoofer is easy to install.
- Lacks bass: While this subwoofer does lack bass, this can be remedied by the bass booster.
JL is known for making stereos with excellent sound quality, and the 10W6v3-D4 is no exception. It produces a crisp and clean sound, with an impressive punch on the bass that is deep and rich.
This subwoofer is ideal for small, sealed enclosures with a mounting depth of 6.89 inches and is compact enough to fit in most cars.
With 600 watts peak RMS, it can handle a decent amount of power, and the two 4-ohm voice coils allow for flexible wiring.
To get the most out of this subwoofer, it’s best used with an amp rated 200 to 600 watts.
- Ideal for small enclosures: This subwoofer’s compact design means it will fit in most cars.
- Dual 4-ohm voice coils: These give you more versatility when it comes to wiring.
- No distortion: Say goodbye to distortion with this subwoofer!
- Not an SPL sub
Now that you have an idea of what’s out there, you may be wondering if there are any key features that you need to look out for when buying a subwoofer. Below, I’ve listed the main features to look out for.
Power handling: You’ll be looking at two different numbers when it comes to power handling: Peak Power and RMS Power. Both are denoted by watts.
You should always take your peak power number with a pinch of salt, as this is just the number given by manufacturers indicating the maximum amount of power the subwoofer can handle.
Sensitivity: The sensitivity of a subwoofer is shown in dB (decibels). This indicates how effectively the subwoofer converts power (watts) into volume (decibels).
A subwoofer with a higher sensitivity rating needs less power from an amplifier to produce sound than it would from a less sensitive subwoofer.
The number of voice coils: Most subwoofers only have a single voice coil, but if you want to have more flexible wiring options then a dual voice coil is a more suitable choice.
Single voice coils do make installation easier but again, you are limited in how you can wire up your system.
Enclosure: The size and type of enclosure you mount your subwoofer into will have a huge impact on the overall sound quality.
A ported enclosure ensures optimal airflow while maximizing the volume output and using less power. A sealed enclosure produces a tighter, more precise sound but achieving the optimal volume will require more power. Both are suitable options, and what is best for you will come down to personal preference.
Power output: As we have discussed, all subwoofers will have an RMS (continuous) and peak power rating. The RMS is the more accurate representation of a subwoofer’s power, as it will tell you how much your subwoofer can handle continuously.
When looking for a subwoofer, pay attention to if the manufacturer mentions both RMS and peak power rating. If they only specify peak power output, beware as this is not an accurate power representation.
Construction: Subwoofer cones can be made from several different materials such as treated paper, synthetic materials like polypropylene, or a composite material like mica-injected polypropylene.
Polypropylene and composites are stronger and more durable, but are also stiff, inflexible, and prohibit air movement. Meanwhile, a paper cone is less durable but responds quickly and is more flexible. So while both options will produce the same quality of sound, a stiffer cone will outlast a paper cone.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are 10-inch subwoofers better than 12-inch subwoofers?
10-inch subwoofers are the smallest ‘true’ subwoofer and are certainly an upgrade to 8-inch subwoofers. They handle more power, are louder, and you don’t have to compromise as much. With a 10-inch subwoofer, you’ll have to install a box or enclosure somewhere but you’ll achieve a hard-hitting bass and reach impressive volumes.
But the ability to reach loud volumes and playing loud are two different things. Most 10-inch subwoofers will rattle the trunk, but if that’s not what you’re going for you can curb this by keeping the bass low. For a crisp, punchy, tight bass you can’t go wrong with a 10-inch subwoofer in a sealed enclosure.
Meanwhile, 12-inch subwoofers are the largest subwoofers offered across all product lines. While 15-inch subwoofers are considered standard nowadays, not all brands make 15-inch subwoofers, and there isn’t the same market for 15-inch woofers as there are for 12-inch woofers.
A 12-inch subwoofer can do everything a 10-inch subwoofer can do though. But a 10-inch subwoofer can’t do what a 12-inch subwoofer can do and that’s important to consider.
12-inch subwoofers can handle more power, play louder, pack a lot more boom, and some people prefer how 12-inch subwoofers sound. However, they are pricier than 10-inch woofers and require a bigger amplifier. They also require more space, for both the mounting diameter and overall enclosure size.
If subwoofers are new to you, and you don’t listen to bass-heavy music like hip-hop, then a 10-inch subwoofer should be fine.
Do I need to break in my subwoofer?
Whenever you get a new subwoofer you should always break it in first. This process is crucial, but simple, and ensures you don’t push your subwoofer too hard the first time you use it. Breaking in the subwoofer ensures that the subwoofer will be able to perform to the best of its capability.
All you need to do is subject the woofer to low/medium volume levels for three to four hours inside its enclosure. This prevents the voice coils from overheating, and also makes sure your subwoofer will last longer. Overdriving the speaker too soon will lead to poor sound performance, and reduce its longevity.
What enclosure should I get?
This all depends on what kind of bass you’re looking for.
For deep, precise bass, I recommend a sealed box. For loud, aggressive bass, then I would recommend a ported box. For bass that’s booming and in your face, then a bandpass box will achieve the results you’re after.
Free-air systems, on the other hand, save space and feature flat frequency response. However, they can’t handle a lot of power when compared to other enclosures.
Does the material of subwoofer cones make a difference in sound quality?
Yes, it does. As we’ve discussed, subwoofer cones are usually made from either treated paper, synthetics, or composites. While paper isn’t the most durable, it is lightweight and responds faster than other materials.
However, no materials are worse than the other and you’re sure to get a great experience with any of them. It all comes down to what drawbacks you can tolerate.
Which shape is best for a subwoofer?
It all depends on your personal taste and what you prefer.
Square subwoofers do an incredible job of reproducing bass and also look very stylish. Meanwhile, triangular subwoofers also do a good job of reproducing bass and can fit into smaller spaces. Round subwoofers are the more traditional shape and are effective in reproducing bass. They also produce a more precise sound.
What’s the best subwoofer for a truck?
I recommend 10-inch subwoofers for trucks.
They are usually shallow mount subwoofers that are made specifically for vehicles. They require 4 inches or less of mounting clearance and can easily be mounted in rear decks, along the sides of trucks, or in small, compact boxes behind seats.