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How to Buy Car Subwoofers

A subwoofer can add an integral aspect to a car audio system, as this special type of speaker reproduces the low frequencies that are responsible for bass. An audio system without a sub suffers from unclear bass and drum effects, even if higher frequency sounds can be heard.

What does a subwoofer do?

Woofers, or speakers designed to handle the lower end of frequencies, are necessary as part of a complete sound system.

  • Speakers work by moving air, and subwoofers are specifically made to move very large quantities. Distortion occurs when a frequency cannot be reproduced by a speaker, so speakers made to handle this air movement and power use are needed.
  • Subwoofers with built-in amplifiers allow adjustment of the bass and filtering of unwanted frequencies. A speaker without a built-in must be connected to a separate amplifier, but this can provide more control and flexibility.
  • In a surround-sound setup, multiple subs are sometimes used to create heightened sound and bass response. Different sizes are used in specific areas of the vehicle. Most consumers do not go this far, but enthusiasts may enjoy such an involved approach.

What kinds of subwoofers are there?

Although they all work to reproduce bass frequencies, there are multiple types of subs that offer their own experiences.

  • A sealed speaker requires more power but produces a precise sound in a compact form factor. Ported woofers are louder and require less power, although they are more complex to tune. Bandpass speakers are often very large but can be much louder when specifically tuned.
  • The watt rating of a speaker plays into how loud it can be. Speakers matched with separate amplifiers should be chosen carefully, as a higher watt rating may produce better sound quality at the same volume as a lower-wattage speaker.
  • The size of the speaker should also be considered. When consumers expand their vehicles sound system to beyond what is built in, the interior space is affected. For some, size does not matter if maximum bass is the goal.

What features do 12-inch Polk Audio subwoofers have?

For consumers looking to add bass power without creating a complex sound system, one 12-inch subwoofer may be enough.

  • 12-inch speakers can fit into most cars without modification. The space under the seat is one spot that can be used in vehicles with the space to accommodate them, though smaller sizes (like 10-speakers) are also widely available. One 12-inch or two 10-inch speakers are setups that produce similar results.
  • Polk speakers are sold as complete boxes or as simply the speaker on its own, making them as flexible or as simple as a consumer desires. The availability of distinct form factors, like square boxes or flat rectangles, means that most vehicles can house these subwoofers.
  • A marine certification designates that some speakers can be used in boats as well as in vehicles, though users should note that water can easily damage all sound equipment.

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