Choosing a winner in a Polk vs Klipsch battle is a really tough decision. They both belong to American brands that have been on the market for a long time and have a lot of decent subwoofers to choose from. They offer subwoofers for various applications, with woofers of different sizes, different features, and price tags. So everyone can find a suitable model for a car or home audio system. Both of these brands don’t use cheap paper woofers in order to cut the price as many other manufacturers do. They use only solid components even in their budget products.
In general, Polk Audio is a better choice for average customers as it’s known for offering affordable subs. Klipsch subwoofers are more suitable for audiophiles who value a high-fidelity sound.
Both manufacturers issue their subwoofers with removable cloth grills. They both make subs cabinets of high-quality MDF with vinyl or wood finish. Most subwoofers of both brands have a wide frequency response (29Hz – 120Hz, for example).
Most Klipsch subwoofers come with an all-digital amplifier that is known for high level of accuracy and delivers a highly efficient amplification. Thanks to that, even compact subs from this brand easily feel the room with a detailed and powerful bass. Klipsch’s exclusive Internal Flare technology uses special internal geometry that eliminates port noise providing pure, undistorted low frequencies.
Klipsch models usually have an auto power on feature and controls to adjust volume, low pass crossover (40Hz – 120Hz), and phase (0°/180°). These adjustment possibilities allow you to set the perfect amount of bass.
Polk subs have an on-point driver geometry that allows for accurate bass with extra depth. They also use a smart compression circuitry that limits distortion and makes low frequencies more pronounced. For a more impactful bass, they use downward-firing ports. Some models have a Klippel-optimized woofer for clear bass reproduction with better linearity. Polk's patented Power Port technology works for deeper bass response. Plus, the subs equipped with this feature deliver 3 dB less port noise than the subwoofers that don’t use this technology. Almost all the subs from this brand use Class D amplifiers that reach a high level of efficiency. Polk Audio subwoofers also come with a trademark power port that works perfectly in increasing the woofer’s efficiency and contributes to a more powerful bass.
In terms of controls, subs of this brand have such regulators: volume control, low-pass filter (90Hz – 120Hz), 3-way power switch (On, Auto, and Standby), and phase switch (0°/180°).
Apparently, Polk Audio tends to endow its subs with more features while Klipsch models are more simple. For instance, the Klipsch R-100SW has an advanced digital amplifier, volume and low pass crossover, and phase control. The Polk Audio PSW505 is supplied with more features. It uses a Dynamic Balance technology volume control, low pass filter, power switch, and phase toggle switch, Power Port technology, Class D amplifier, and Klippel-optimized driver.
This way, despite the fact that these 10-inch subs are from the same price range, the Polk Audio PSW505 wins here as it provides more features for the price.
This part of the Klipsch vs Polk comparison demonstrates the biggest difference between the brands. Klipsch subwoofers almost always have a higher rating of sensitivity than Polk Audio meaning that they are more power-efficient. This way, if we compare two 12-inch subs from these brands, the Klipsch R-12SW that has 116 dB level of sensitivity and the Polk Audio PSW505 that has a sensitivity rated at only 85 dB, we will clearly see how big the difference is.
Further to this comparison, the Klipsch R-12SW is what you should opt for if the sub sensitivity really matters for you.
For instance, 10-inch subwoofers from Klipsch, like the Klipsch R-100SW, usually have 300W of total output power. Polk Audio subs with a 10-inch woofer, like the Polk Audio HTS 10, most frequently have 200W of total output power.
This way, when buying the Klipsch R-100SW, you are less likely to need an additional power source to get a considerable amount of power from the sub.
Bringing together Polk Audio vs Klipsch in this part, it should be noted that they are quite similar. Still, Polk Audio is slightly better in this aspect. This way, the Polk Audio PSW108 has an 89 dB signal-to-noise ratio while the Klipsch Reference R-10SW has 80 dB.
This means that the Polk Audio PSW108 has a louder audio signal relative to the subwoofer noise.
Experienced bass lovers will immediately recognize a Klipsch subwoofer by its gold-colored woofer. Most models from this brand come with a front-firing spun-copper injection-molded woofer with a cast graphite diffuser (more expensive models come with a cerametallic woofer). Such woofers are very lightweight while still being rigid. This contributes to an exceptionally deep, clean bass and great low frequency response. As the manufacturer claims, such a woofer allows you to place the subwoofer where you like to without sacrificing the sound quality. Klipsch woofers also have a specific design that allows for distortion-less sound reproduction. The woofer usually has a rubber surround that ensures reliable protection.
Polk Audio subwoofers come with a front-firing Dynamic Balance woofer made of cellulose and polymer. Thanks to that, the sub is able to deliver sound with minimal distortion level. Polk woofers are also equipped with a turbulence-smoothing diffuser that sends the airflow from the woofer to the listening area eliminating distortion. The driver is surrounded by a high-roll foam that provides longer excursion and contributes to better sounding.
In general, Polk woofers are better for more balanced and purer bass, but Klipsch woofers are more durable and contribute to a more powerful bass. In this connection, comparing the Klipsch R-100SW with spun-copper IMG woofer and the Polk Audio PSW10 with cellulose/polymer woofer, the Klipsch R-100SW can be considered as a better model in this category.
The products from both brands have line level inputs that allow for compatibility with most models of receivers. More expensive models from Klipsch, designed for large spaces, come with a 2.4 GHz wireless Hi-Fi transmitter that has to be connected to the subwoofer or your receiver’s LFE output. Polk subs rarely come with a wireless connectivity option (except for those that come in one kit with a soundbar). However, they usually have more ports. For example, the Klipsch R-100SW has only a pair of line level inputs while the Polk Audio PSW10 is equipped with a pair of line level inputs, 2 speaker level outputs, and 2 speaker level inputs.
So, searching for a model with a lot of connectors, you should choose the Polk Audio PSW10.
Checking Klipsch vs Polk subwoofer price, it should be marked that Klipsch is older and a more reputable brand, so it offers subwoofers for a higher price in comparison with Polk Audio. On average, the difference is about $100 – $200.
So, if you are searching for an affordable 10-inch subwoofer, you are more likely to benefit from the Polk Audio PSW108 than from the Klipsch R-100SW.
Finishing this Klipsch vs Polk Audio battle, we can conclude that Klipsch offers more powerful subwoofers with better sensitivity and a more durable woofer. Polk Audio subwoofers have more features and connectivity options, a better signal-to-noise ratio, and have a more affordable price.