The Best 12-inch Subwoofers in 2016

A lot of people spend a large amount of time in their cars when they go from place to place and most of us like to listen to music while driving down the road. Yes, a lot of cars have a good standard stereo system, but it often lacks the depth and the boom that we all like in our home audio system. One thing that can help improve your car’s audio system is a subwoofer. It can dramatically help increase the tonal diversity of a sound system. You don’t always need to get a huge 15 inch or 18 inch subwoofer. Sometimes the smaller ones are easily enough so read on to find out what to look out for.

What are the Best 12-inch Subwoofers?

10 inch and 12 inch subwoofers are the most popular size of subwoofers among enthusiasts since they can easily reach the 20 Hz frequency without requiring that much power as the bigger subwoofers. This guide will give you an idea about what the most viable options for 12 inch car subwoofer there are in the market today, because with the right subwoofer, it would feel like you are listening to a live concert while you are driving.

Infinity 1200wInfinity Reference 1262w 12-Inch 1200-Watt

This has been rated as the best subwoofer at an affordable price. It is a simple subwoofer with more than enough power and a great range that could satisfy listeners. It has all the features that a subwoofer needs with the exception of the continuous power

It makes up for the power through its impressive sensitivity, and with the use of the right box, you can give it even more volume and an extra punch. It is priced according it its capabilities and one of the reasons why they are rated that much might be because people do not expect that much from it because of its affordability, they just get surprised with its power and overall performance once they get to use it.

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Pros

  • High sensitivity
  • Extensive frequency range
  • Valuable tips and specifications included from the manufacturer

Cons

  • With low power
  • Generic aesthetics

Features

This 12-inch subwoofer features dual 4 ohm voice coils which offer flexibility in its wiring and when these voice coils are wired parallel to each other, the subwoofer can present a 2 ohm mono load. When the voice coils are wired in a series with each other, they can present an 8 ohm mono load. In addition to that, each of the voice coils can be connected to different kinds of amplifier channel and each of these channels can see an ohm load.

It also has a high efficiency polypropylene woofer cone. It is a lightweight material that is the popular choice to ensure the maximum efficiency of the woofer. This will give a high output with modest use of amplifier power.

The Infinity Reference also has large roll of rubber surrounding it to provide an optimum cone edge suspension and absorb the distortion that can travel up to the edge of the cone and ensure a tight and clean bass. It’s unique in board motor structure helps reduce the overall mounting depth of the subwoofer without having to limit your options for what kind of enclosure to use.

The vented pole piece that was attached into it adds to the cooling of the motor structure to also increase the power handling. This subwoofer also use a progressive spider to provide a better control at the excursion limits than the linear spiders that are more commonly used. This results to a reduced distortion when it produces a high output level.

It has a frequency response of 23 to 400 Hz, a power range of 100- 300 watts RMS and 1, 200 watts of peak power. For a speaker of this size, that can be placed on the lower end of the spectrum, but it is more than enough to fill your car with sound. It sports a frequency of 93 dB and if efficiently uses the power that it has.

The 1262w, just like all other Infinity Subwoofer, makes every deep note on the music that you are listening to count. It does not matter what kind of music genre you are listening to, with this subwoofer, you will be able to hear a bass that is both satisfying and enjoyable. It is capable to give good mid-range notes and a fantastic depth. Because it has a low power rating, it does not get too boom when delivering notes that can either be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the user. Regardless of its capacity when it comes to depth, it’s still one of the best qualities it has. 

11S12L74 SubKicker Solo-Baric L7 Series 11S12L72

All in all, we can say that this 12-inch subwoofer from Kicker is the best choice you have. It is one of the most finely tuned subwoofers ever made that can give the most enjoyable music experience. This Kicker delivers with every thump and resounding note in the music with powerful precision. It also looks great no matter where you place it. This is an incredibly efficient speaker that can deliver with a concert quality bass. In any aspect, it can deliver and do everything better than most of the competition in the market.

Kicker went with a square shape with this 12-inch subwoofer, which is an uncommon choice but also works well and provides great effects. That minor change in the design, matched with the other features of this subwoofer make the 11S12L72 woofer from Kicker a possible competition for other 12-inch subwoofers in the market.

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Pros

  • Great, modern looking design
  • Incredible powerful
  • Accurate performance
  • Low nominal impedance

Cons

  • Low frequency range

Features

Kicker 11S12L72 touts a very impressive continuous average power of 100 to 750 watts RMS which is beyond any other subwoofer that belongs to its class. It does not matter what kind of enclosure you use with it, this speaker can still offer a kind of power that would make a booming statement. It has a sensitivity of 86.9 dB per watt but then its low impedance nicely compensates for that. With the frequency range of 20 to 100 Hz, the 11S12L72 has a crucial amount of reaches and tones that is high enough for it to stay in line with the other companion speakers.

This speaker’s range can be extended easily with the right enclosure. It also has an incredible accuracy and precision with its depth and it can retain its level of accuracy even when you play it in extreme volumes. It’s dual 2 ohm coils are wrapped around the Kicker’s unique one piece square cone that allows it to produce more substantial vibration then when the typical circular cone with the same size.

Its voice coils are also tolerant to extreme levels of heat to allow the subwoofer to perform consistently at high volumes without risking it to any damage. This Kicker subwoofer will still give you an immaculate performance whether you choose to add more power from the amp or whether you want to use parallel wiring to reduce its impedance. The low 2 ohm impedance also means that it can meet with an inconsequential amount of resistant when it is wired parallel. When it is wired in a series, it has 4 ohms of resistance which is half of what most of its competitors has.

Kicker built this subwoofer to deliver a top notch bass. It has an ultra-rigid aluminum basket that houses its one piece square cone which creates a speaker that can move more air than other subwoofer with round shape and same size. It has also been roughly built, and features an injection molded polypropylene cone that had a tough Santoprene rubber surround that it can dish out its monster bass out. Its unique shape and classy black finish makes a stylish statement. It also has a precision built motor structure that is tough enough not to yield to stress, it will give you a chest thumping performance and it won’t quit even when you push your system hard.

There is not a doubt about it; this Kicker subwoofer is one of the best out there. You simply won’t regret spending for a subwoofer this good.

Pioneer 2000wPioneer Champion Series PRO TS-W3003D4

This Pioneer Champion can deliver a big amount of efficiency and power that allows it to stand out among other subwoofers that belong to the same price range. It has the sturdiest design, and has a dual spider coil design with a rugged looking polypropylene cone that is surrounded by a dual layer of elastic polymer. It has punchy speakers that are lively although it has a short frequency range.

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Pros

  • Very efficient
  • Highly powerful
  • Great nominal impedance

Cons

  • Low frequency response

Features

This subwoofer from Pioneer’s Champion series is more than capable of a powerful sound constantly with a continuous power capacity of 100 to 600 watts RMS. Its 96 dB per watt sensitivity is equally impressive. With those two combined, you can say that this is one of the most efficient and powerful 12-inch subwoofers available in the market today. Even when you place it in a sealed box, it can still deliver you notes that are delightfully loud and hard.

This Champion subwoofer is a much focused one since it produces frequencies at a very short range of 20 to 80 Hz. Though it is still able to capture the most important frequency that most are looking for in a subwoofer, its abbreviated range restricts it from completely blending with normal speakers. Listeners will still be able to hear and feel the bass as clearly as possible due to the power that is within the speaker but it is at risk of overtaking the rest of the song if other speakers can’t keep up with it.

It has dual 4 ohm voice coils that can be run with a parallel wiring at 2 ohms and 8 ohms with series wiring. The parallel wiring is a more attractive option due to the reasonable impedance, but the high sensitivity of this subwoofer also makes the series wiring a viable choice. Its cone and coil are heavily reinforced that’s why it produces consistent and sturdy sound.

This Pioneer Champion subwoofer depends more on the sensitivity range that it has than with its low natural impedance. Its sensitivity is more than enough to keep the resource consumption of this subwoofer relatively low. With its very efficient coil and configuration, this Pioneer subwoofer thrives with average resistance and a moderate amount of power.

Customers have rated this Pioneer subwoofer as a best value speaker because at price that won’t leave you penniless; you can already enjoy a great sound quality. It also has a rugged look and a sturdy construction, allowing a great sound trip no matter where you go with it on your car.

GT5-12D by JBLJBL GTO1214D Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

JBL, which is made by Harman International, is one of the best subwoofer brands in the market nowadays. Their car subwoofer is very sensitive and also features a great power handling performance which would allow the speaker to push a lot of air without damaging the sub. This subwoofer has been rated as highly efficient. It can handle high power and perform with an accurate low-end bass that will fill in the silent gaps during your travel.

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Pros

  • Great sensitivity rating
  • Has one of the highest power handling rating
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Does not reach as deep as other car subwoofer

Features

They say that the JBL GTO car subwoofer has a near perfect audio quality. It produces an accurate and a full sound even when you try to push the power handling capacity of this subwoofer to its limit. One of its best features is its high sensitivity rating which is 93 dB. It has 350 watts of continuous power handling which others may find as a fault on this subwoofer. However, the peak power handling which reaches up to 1, 400 peak power makes up for it. This subwoofer also works well with whatever enclosure you use it with. This subwoofer has a nominal impedance of 2 or 4 ohms, a frequency response of 23 Hz to 400Hz.

Rockford P2D4Rockford Fosgate P2D4-12 Punch

Rockford has always been known to deliver a great kick and punch. Its Kevlar fiber reinforced paper cone can offer a great bass impact that you can feel. This subwoofer can perform better with a sealed or a vented enclosure. This subwoofer also features an innovative parabolic cone design, an oversized surround and a large motor assembly. It also delivers a deep punch and a loud and aggressive bass. It has a stunning aesthetic that will make you want to show it off.

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Pros

  • Big, punchy bass
  • Clear sound

Cons

  • Some finds its 800 watts power peak lacking

Features

This 12 inch Rockford subwoofer features a flex fit basket design and it is one of the best rated among customers in Amazon. It was built with custom nickel plated terminal and a cast aluminum trim ring which is made with a diamond cut. Its dual linear spider is imbedded with 16 AWG tinsel lead and it has a PVC textured magnet cover to protect the integrity and the design of this subwoofer.

Its voice coils are made of anodized aluminum to provide superior heat dissipation. Aluminum acts as a heat sink so that it can immediately dissipate any thermal build up on the voice coil which helps the subwoofer cool fast in any condition.

It has dual 4 ohm impedance, 400 watts RMS of continuous power handling and 800 watts of peak power. A subwoofer with a powerful bass that does not even reach $100 value, sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it?

HFX12D4HIFONICS HFX12D4 12″

This subwoofer looks highly classy, but make no mistake, it can actually produce a ground shaking bass that will make you feel like there is a live concert going on inside your car. It boasts amazing specifications, great features and awesome look – all that and more at a very affordable price that you might make you want to buy two of them.

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Pros

  • Great price
  • Stylish design
  • Sounds great in a car

Cons

  • Does not hit lows that well
  • Not for ported boxes

Features

This 12-inch subwoofer from the HF Series has a peak power of 800 watts and a continuous power of 400 watts RMS. It was constructed with the use of an injected poly light rigid cone and one inch NBR reinforced rubber surrounding for a more enhanced excursion. This sub was also equipped with dual 4ohm voice coils along with a large air cooled magnet assembly. Adding a bit more of bump in your car will help enhance the audio system of your care with this Hifonics subwoofer.

This sub also has an integrated one piece polycotton spider, a spade styled speaker terminals and a heat dispersing ported back plate to avoid overheating, especially during extended periods of music jamming. It has 87.25 dB of sensitivity with ultra-ridged chrome stamped steel basket. This subwoofer can operate well in a ported or sealed enclosure.

JL 12 inch subwooferJL Audio 12WXv2-4 WXv2

This one was built for a hard hitting and a long lasting performance. It also has a state of the art construction and cooling technology that allow this subwoofer to give you a lively and lifelike bass. It was also designed to deliver a one or two punch of precise response with an extended cone excursion.

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Pros

  • Clean and powerful sounds
  • Great bass
  • Awesome design

Cons

  • Some users may have had problems with the product’s longevity

Features

This subwoofer utilizes a polypropylene cone that is surrounded with foam to offer powerful bass with reliable reproduction. It was engineered with a heavy duty 4 ohm voice coil that can resist breakdown even under the most extreme conditions. Its rear gasket provides an improved sealing for you enclosures. This subwoofer works well with a ported or a sealed enclosure and a mono amplifier that is rated between 150 to 300 watts is more recommended to drive this single subwoofer. It has a power range of 50 to 200 watts RMS, a frequency response of 22 to 250 Hz, sensitivity of 87.17 dB and top mount depth of 5-5/16 inches.

Pyramid WH12 12-InchPyramid WH12 12-Inch

A solid, good looking subwoofer that won’t leave you with a zero balance in your bank account. You can even buy three of these for $100 and break the ground with the amazing sound and solid bass that it can produce.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Good enough bass and sound quality

Cons

  • Lacks low end definition

Features

This subwoofer has always been underrated, and maybe a part of why it has received positive feedbacks is because most users get surprised with the great bass and sound quality that it can produce at such affordable price. This speaker is responsive with the range of 38 to 5,000 hertz and it has a sensitivity of 94 dB. It creates a good and loud tone that is around the 50Hz range. With its price, I can say that this subwoofer has been decently built.

Kenwood KFC-W3013PSKenwood kfc-1665s

The beauty of all Kenwood subwoofers is that they offer subwoofers that can significantly improve the sound of your vehicle’s audio system without breaking your bank.

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Pros

  • Decent sound and bass
  • Very affordable price
  • Produce great MIDs and highs

Cons

  • Not enough bass for some users
  • Lacks continuous power range

Features

These two-way speakers are built with polypropylene cone which helps enrich the music with all the midrange and the midbass details. It has a one inch balanced dome tweeters that will make the high notes on your music soar. With this subwoofer, you can simply sit back and enjoy the kind of music that you were meant to hear, a music with a lot of emotion and clarity. It has a power range of 2 to 30 watts RMS, a power peak of 300 watts, frequency response of 32 to 22, 000 Hz, impedance of 4 ohms and sensitivity of 92 dB.

Boss CX122Boss Audio CX122 Chaos Exxtreme

One look at this subwoofer and you will know why it’s called the Chaos Extreme. It has a great design that will make you want to show it off to your friends. What’s even better is that it also gives your music the boom and the clarity that you want to hear.

Pros

  • Well built
  • Great power and depth
  • Great for the price

Cons

  • Some users had a problem with product quality

Features

A sealed type of enclosure is more recommended for this subwoofer since it will help this sub produce a tight and solid bass. This is a single voiced subwoofer that can be powered even more when you match it with the right amplifier. Single voice coil subwoofers are ideal for a low to medium power application. It operates with 700 watts RMS of continuous power handling, 1,400 watts of peak power, 82 dB sensitivity and 4 ohms of impedance.

If you are a true music lover, then let me tell you, you are yet to appreciate your playlist. You will only truly feel the magic of a song with the power of a good quality subwoofer by your side. Whether you are missing the impact or depth on your car’s audio system, any of the 12-inch subwoofers above can give you satisfying results immediately.

Do you really need a car subwoofer?

There are people who are still not convinced that a car subwoofer would give them a better musical experience that they are going to need, especially when they are going on a road trip. You should know that every vehicle’s audio system differs in acoustical landscape, which can make achieving a great sound experience a bit of a challenge. But if you really want to have the best car audio that you possibly can, then you really need a subwoofer.

The music’s low end bass is the most difficult frequency range to reproduce accurately for a speaker. For example, a frequency of 20 Hz has a wavelength of about 56 feet and your car’s small speakers are simply not built to produce such wavelength. It actually does not matter what type of car you own, adding a subwoofer to its audio system is the best way for you to enjoy the music on your playlist even more.

If you are music lover, then there really is no substitute for the music quality that a good subwoofer can provide. When you install a subwoofer in your car, you will immediately notice an impact on the sound quality that is just beyond comparison from a normal stereo system. Anyone who likes listening to music while they are travelling will benefit from a subwoofer since they play a big role in making every song you play sound the way it was really meant to.

What to consider when choosing a car subwoofer?

Car subwoofers are a bit large as compared to the standard speakers but they also differ in terms of diameter. The bigger the subwoofer is, the lower the frequency range. Keep in mind however that size is not always equal to an accurate reproduction of a frequency range. When you are planning to add a subwoofer to your car’s stereo system, you also have to pay close attention to different factors that would help determine how well a subwoofer works, factors like its power handling ratings, output and efficiency.

You should also consider the type of enclosure that you want your subwoofer to have and to install since most automobiles don’t even have a premade mount that a subwoofer needs. This is important since the type of enclosure that you will choose helps determine the type of bass that you are going to hear.

Here are the other criteria that you should also consider when choosing a subwoofer:

The Overall Audio Quality

A great subwoofer don’t just surprise you with a big bass, it should also be able to enhance the overall audio performance. When you listen to every music that you have on your playlist, they should sound round and full but the other frequencies there should also not sound like they were overpowered since listening to music is not as fun if you cannot hear the vocals over that booming bass.

Since subwoofers are designed for the bass frequencies specifically, the thunder of the bass, the punch that you get from the kick drum, the overall fullness of the audio’s body and the frequency response should be as low as possible. Some of the best subwoofers in the market can reach 20 Hz, which is the lowest frequency that a human can hear. The higher frequency responses are not really that important because your car’s speakers can perform better with that.

Subwoofer Enclosure System,

Enclosure Specifications

You can easily install car speakers on mounting brackets, but with subwoofers, you are going to require an enclosure box. You can either build your own box; you should just customize it to the contours of your back seat or your trunk, or you can also just buy pre-made enclosures. There are different types of enclosures and they can help determine the type of bass that you are going to hear.

A sealed enclosure box is the kind that is ideal for a clear, highly accurate, low end bass without any distortion. This is the best kind of enclosure if you want to hear a well-defined bass line with a round at the low end. A sealed enclosure will provide you with the most accurate audio because the interior air pressure and the outer atmosphere stabilize the subwoofer while it moves the air. The stabilization would mean that the subwoofer will move as little as possible for it to create sound waves that could lead to the distortion of the audio. A sealed enclosure offers more power with fewer cubic feet.

A ported or a vented enclosure is the one that you should get if you want a punch and thunderous low end audio. Your playlist will sound heavy and thick with the help of a ported enclosure since it has a hole or a port that would allow the woofer to freely move so that it can literally punch the air. This kind of enclosure would require less power but it sounds bigger than a sealed enclosure. Its low end is distorted which is just what some music genre needs.

We also have tube enclosures, they are cylindrical instead of boxed. The main advantage that they have against the other types of enclosure is their portability since they are considerably more compact and lightweight than sealed or ported enclosures. In terms of audio quality, they are closer to sealed enclosures, however, they would require specific mounting for you to get most of the sound out of the speaker.

Power Handling Performance

The most important power handling factor, which is why this is what you should look at to first, is the sensitivity of a subwoofer because it can measure how efficient it is. The sensitivity rating can be indicated in a decibel output at 1 meter from your subwoofer with the use of 1 watt of power. It should be noted that the needed amount of power to be able to produce the same volume decreased by half in every 3 dB of increase in sensitivity.

The next important feature here is the continuous power handling rating since this one shows how much power your subwoofer can handle in a continuous amount of time without any damage or distortion. The peak power handling is the one that indicates the maximum amount of power that a subwoofer can handle but only on short bursts. The best care subwoofer can handle a lot of power very efficiently.

Voice Coils

They serve as the source of sound for subwoofers. They are directly wired to the amplifier and are responsible for the cone’s movement which makes music happen. Subwoofers that have dual voice coils can reduce the impedance which can affect its overall performance.

Nominal Impedance

This one is measured in Ohms and it is the resistance found within the subwoofer’s circuit. The lower the resistance that the subwoofer faces in the flow of an alternating current, the higher the potential output it produces.