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Compare home subwoofers side by side: what you need to know

Modern manufacturers offer various models of subwoofers that are suitable for home use. What pаrаmеters to consider when chоosing? Let's try to understand the difficulties that arise and try to compare some characteristics of the subwoofer аnd mаke an approximate “pоrtrait” of the subwoofer for a typical home theater.

Below we describe all necessary features consider which, you can choose the most suitable subwoofer for your home theatre.

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Audio amplifier

Audio amplifier - a device for amplifying electrical oscillations corresponding to the audible frequency range of a person (usually from 16 to 20 000 Hz, in special cases up to 200 kHz). The choice of the power amplifier is strictly related to the parameters used speakers. If the manufacturer of your chosen speaker system indicates the recommended amplifier power, then focus on it.

Subwoofers are divided into active and passive. Active subwoofers have a built-in amplifier. They often broaden the dynamic range of the speaker system and allow you to provide a higher level of the signal without distortion. Pаssіve amplifiers do not have a built-in amplifier. Represent one (or several) low-frequency heads, which is connected to an external amplifier. If you compare subwoofers – definitely active.


Nominal output power (RMS), W

RMS (Rated Maximum Sinusoidal) – the power at which an amplifier or speaker can work for one hour with a real music signal without physical damage. The greatest interest for the buyer is a nominal figure. It who characterizes the ability of the speaker to work without distortion for a long period, without succumbing to the influence of external factors (temperature, humidity, etc.).

Maximum output power (RMS), W

Maximum (limiting) output power is the power at which an amplifier or speaker can work for one hour with a real music signal without physical damage. The main thing is not to forget that power is only one of the parameters that are far from the most important for getting a good sound.

Audio performance

Sensitivity, dB

The sensitivity of the speaker is a very important parameter when choosing the power of the subwoofer, since, for example, a single speaker with a sensitivity of 92 dB / m and a power of 900W will create the same sound pressure as a speaker with a sensitivity of 95 dB / m and a power of 450W. As you can see, a lot depends on the sensitivity of the speaker. It turns out that with a difference of 3db/m, the power is twice as different.

Impedance, Ohm

Do not forget about the resistance of the speakers. Basically, there are 4, 6, 8-ohm speakers on the market, 2 and 16 ohms are less common. The growth of resistance coil dynamics leads to a significant increase in its sensitivity. So, in the transition from 4 to 8 ohms, the sensitivity will increase by 2-4 dB.

We must strive to apply the head at 8 ohms, and not at 4 ohms. If you still need 4 ohms - you can take two speakers of 8 ohms and turn them on in parallel – we gain sensitivity and improve the sound quality.

Frequency response, Hz

The frequency response is the limiting range of the reproducible frequencies of a subwoofer, which are divided into several octaves: low bass 20–40 Hz, average range 40–80 Hz and high bass range 80–160 Hz. The vast majority of subwoofers sound in the range of 40-200 Hz. The ideal frequency range for subwoofer speakers is 30–60 Hz.

The most outstanding models (for an ordinary apartment are completely unsuitable) reproduce frequencies from about 15 Hz, excellent models - from 20 Hz or a little more, good ones from about 30 Hz.

Crossover frequency, Hz

It is the crossover that allows you to "redirect" the bass from all 5 or 7 satellites of your home theater to the subwoofer for more correct reproduction in places of viewing. If the subwoofer has a separation frequency of 70 Hz, then the crossover, with a certain steepness of the cut, "separates" all sounds with frequencies that are more than 70 Hz. The best result is given by setting the crossover frequency in the range from 80 to 100 Hz.


Driver size

Subwoofers with 15-, 18-, and 20-inch drivers are more susceptible to noise and distortion compared to subwoofers with 10-, 12-, or 13-inch drivers. Driver size is always critical factors, whether a big or a small subwoofer. A big driver is very difficult to control but big subwoofers will always help you in search of maximum bass.

Port placement

If you place the subwoofer so that the port is facing the wall - the bass level will increase. The closer you move to the wall, the more bass your ears will perceive. You should never choose a place to watch/listen to just by the wall. If possible, move the sofa or chair back so that there is at least 50-60 cm from the wall to your head. You will get the most bang by sliding the subwoofer into a corner. The worst place for a subwoofer is the center of the room.



Any amplifier/receiver, as a rule, is equipped with a special RCA-output, which is designed to connect subwoofers. Some of them have two outputs but usually use one output, since the second one is most often designed to connect the second subwoofer. To connect a subwoofer, you need an RCA cable to connect it to one RCA input on your receiver.


The R-12SWi subwoofers provide incredible bass to fill the room without the need for a subwoofer cable. The R-12SWi gives you complete freedom to choose the best place for maximum performance. Connect a compact transmitter to a subwoofer, then place the R-12SWi wireless subwoofer anywhere you want, and plug it into a wall outlet – it’s easy.


The advantages of connecting Bi-Amping are obvious: the end stage, which amplifies mid or high frequencies, is completely isolated from the negative impact of bass channel impulses and vice versa. As a rule, the result turns out to be impressive: the sound transparency increases significantly, the volume of the scene and the accuracy of sound transmission are added. The only disadvantage of this method of connection is the high cost of most amplifiers.


Subwoofer phase

Smooth phase control is not so necessary (and at the same time difficult) an element that it is unprofitable to put it in cheap models. Only the DLS subwoofer has a smooth phase adjustment. Manufacturers are less and less likely to provide high-level inputs/outputs, probably counting on a modern equipment park that has a separate LFE output to the subwoofer.

Phase control operates in the range of 0 to 180 degrees. Adding delay to a subwoofer signal can sometimes help the subwoofer integrate better with the loudspeakers in the room.

Low-pass filter

The filter performs an important function. The fact is that almost all modern speakers, including a subwoofer, effectively reproduce only a certain fraction of frequencies. For example, the same woofer can reproduce well only low bass.


Body material

There are 4 main types of materials:

MDF is a form of compressed paper, has a high density and is easy to cut. The lack of fiberboard is hard work with it because of the tendency to exfoliate when it is held together. It absorbs moisture a lot and quickly.

Regular plywood is not dense enough and gives distortion of sound but still strong enough. It is an excellent material for building small subwoofers.

Fiberglass is a good choice if you want a subwoofer to be strong but light. Fiberglass is well cleaned and will not react to temperature and weather.

Standard Wood – perhaps the best choice for a powerful subwoofer because it has the highest density and weak resonance qualities.

Woofer Composition

As for plastic cones, they work very well, and their production uniformity is very high and inexpensive to produce. It has controlled decay, which results in smoother high-frequency descent. Paper cones, made partly of felt and wool, have a combination of stiffness, low mass, and loss inherent in the material, which often creates the best-probing cones. Sometimes rubber can be added to paper to increase its strength. Some people argue that plastic cones tend to not appear as fast or vivid as hard paper cones.

Enclosure type

There are three types of subwoofer performance: closed, bass-reflex and bandpass. Closed-type subwoofer differs in the simplest design. They do not leak sound from the radiating surface, have the ability to play deep and rich bass. Bass-reflex subwoofers are more suitable for large premises, as they have a high volume. Such models are capable of delivering bass much lower than a closed subwoofer, as the cone travel increases. Bandpass subwoofer combines the properties of the closed and bass-reflex type.

If we compare subwoofer for home, I advise you to choose closed subwoofers or bass-reflex.

The most suitable for home speakers will be considered a closed subwoofer with a power of 150W and a range of reproducible frequencies of 30 - 180Hz.