There’s no right or exact answer for getting the best 8-inch subwoofer. As with everything else in the car audio industry, a lot of it is down to personal taste, so doing some research to find the right fit for you is essential.
8-inch subwoofers aren’t as common as 10 or 12 inch subwoofers, but they do serve a good purpose, and they do pack a punch, too.
Bass waves are really long, so to produce the volume the driver has to work hard, and the smaller the subwoofer the harder it will have to work to produce it.
Let’s be realistic, however. 8-in subwoofers cannot compete with bigger subs, and most people that get one will either be short of space or adding it along with a bigger subwoofer in a full car audio stereo system.
And don’t think two 8-inch subwoofers will sound better than a 10” subwoofer, because it won’t necessarily. It will be a different type of bass – a bigger subwoofer will produce more depth to the bass, whereas 2 small subwoofers will give it more stereo.
It’s always a good idea to get the biggest subwoofer you can to suit the space you intend to fill, but don’t be fooled into thinking an 8-inch sub is no good for you. In a vehicle, the space you’re trying to fill is pretty limited, so demanding the power of a big 12-inch subwoofer isn’t necessary for most drivers.
So, if you’re struggling for space, or you’re content with the power and depth an 8 inch subwoofer will add to your soundscape, read my review below of the best 8 inch subwoofers for a car.
The Best 8 Inch Subwoofers For A Car
The subwoofers I have chosen are all good quality subwoofers. And I have tried to be varied by recommending the best budget subwoofers, the best compact and active subwoofers, and what I think are the best subwoofers for sound quality.
There are many other quality subs that didn’t make my list, but I believe you’ll find what you’re looking for no matter what suits your taste and budget.
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Best High-Performance Subwoofers
JBL Stage 82 – High-Performance 8-Inch Car Subwoofer
The first 8-inch subwoofer on my list is JBL’s latest Stage 82. It’s from their Stage brand, that are well-known for delivering clear bass at extreme power.
The subwoofer is available in 10 and 12 inch, but this 8in subwoofer is as good as you can get for the price entry, and the clarity of the bass is impressive.
The 4-Ohm subwoofer has an impressive RMS power rating of 200W RMS, and the speaker is carefully tuned to assure high sound pressure level (SPL) and low distortion.
The frequency response is a respectable 38Hz – 200Hz, which when applied with a full car audio stereo, makes for a crisp all-round soundscape, no matter what music you play.
The woofer cone is made of polypropylene. This lightweight and stiff material is popular in good quality subwoofers as it’s great for producing crisp bass, and is also known to last.
The cone has a hi-roll rubber surround, which helps with the performance of the speaker output, helping keep the bass tight.
The 8” subwoofer has also undergone the notoriously rigid HARMAN testing process which JBL claims would destroy lesser speakers. The testing involves freezing and baking under ultra-violet light, before shaking them for days at a time while on full power.
As 8-inch car subwoofer go, this JBL Stage 82 is powerful, and adds loud, crisp and clear bass to any soundscape.
Kicker CompRT 8” Subwoofer – Great Subwoofer For All Terrains And Limited Space
The next on my list is this KICKER CompRT 8-in Subwoofer, which is well known for its efficiency and tough weatherproof materials.
Coming in either a 2 Ohm or 4 Ohm impedance, this CompRT branded subwoofer from Kicker is as good as it gets for a small subwoofer.
With an impressive 300W RMS at both 2 and 4 Ohms, and a Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofer that allows for more versatility with your amplifier.
Designed with CompRT’s signature red stitching that bonds the Santoprene surround and polypropylene woofer cone, the driver looks as good as it sounds.
This subwoofer benefits from unique heat management system – Forced-Air Cooling that helps the sub run 20% cooler than similar subwoofers, and allows it to produce distortion-less bass for long periods of time.
At 2.69 inches, the shallow mounting depth makes it ideal for any car, motorcycle and even those of you that enjoy marine life. But the shallow mount shouldn’t be taken as a lack in volume, because this little sub ensures the bass you get is as bouncy as any 8 subwoofer on the market.
Massive Audio GTX84 – Best 8-Inch Subwoofer For Overall Sound Quality And Bass
The next 8 inch subwoofer on my list is a powerful little beast. I say little, but compared with any other 8” sub, this looks like a bully.
With 6.5” depth, this subwoofer isn’t designed for anyone whose space is a premium, but if you like your bass loud and clear, the power this sub produces is incredible.
With 2 inch voice coil and 400W RMS this Dual Voice Coil 4 Ohm car subwoofer from Massive is big on sound, and is well known for winning competitions.
The subwoofer is built around the heavy gauge steel basket and the double stacked high flux Y30 120oz Strontium ferrite magnets, which ensures the longevity of the performance of this sub.
The design looks as powerful as it is thanks to the red stitching that’s sewn through a UV treated non-pressed paper cone onto an EROM foam surround.
The DVC allows you more options with your amplifier power and impedance, and some set ups give this subwoofer some incredible power. So powerful in fact, that it’s hard to believe you’re only listening to an 8” subwoofer.
The bass on this high-performing subwoofer is loud and is probably the best performing on my list. Installed in the right enclosure and paired with a good quality amplifier, your passengers could be forgiven for thinking you have a 10 or 12 inch subwoofer.
Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 – The Best Shallow Mount 8-Inch Subwoofer For Bass
Rockford Fosgate is a market leader in the car audio space, and the company has produced some fantastic products for many decades. And this P3SD2-8 is arguably the best passive 8-inch subwoofer.
The Rockford Fosgate P3S series are well-known for delivering punch and this 2-Ohm DVC subwoofer drives some crisp and tight bass with impressive clarity, and thanks to its shallow depth it produces deep bass to fill out pretty much any sized car.
The continuous power handling is 150W RMS at 2 Ohms, and thanks to the DVC it gives you more wiring flexibility for every application.
The anodized aluminum cone drives some crisp and deep bass, thanks to the shallowness of the cone and the driver itself.
Rockford Fosgate’s VAST Surround helps increase the subwoofer’s effectiveness even further. It all creates a fantastic platform for producing clear bass, and with the sub optimised for sealed and vented subwoofer enclosures it will produce quality bass for any genre of music.
It’s not just the sound quality where this subwoofer exceeds, but the durability impresses, too. Thanks to Rockford Fosgate’s unique spider venting design and its anodized dustcap, which help in the cooling of the 8” subwoofer, the driver produces impressive bass at high performance for longer periods.
This subwoofer is impressive, especially if you like deep and crisp bass. And no matter what car you have, it will add some depth to your listening experience.
Best Budget Subwoofers
Boss Audio Systems P80DVC – Best Budget 8-Inch Subwoofer For Powerful Bass
Boss Audio Systems are well-known for making some good quality audio equipment on a budget, and the power this 8-inch subwoofer produces at under $50 maintains their brand.
The 4-Ohm Voice Coil Subwoofer drives a highly impressive 500W RMS, and with a Resonant Frequency of 42 Hz the bass this cheap subwoofer pumps out is surprisingly clear.
The cone is paper treated, which makes it more rigid and able to handle the power the sub can produce. And with the foam surround, this subwoofer really does surprise with loud bass for a budget 8 subwoofer.
Boss Audio Systems recommends to pair this sub with a ported enclosure. This will take up a bit more space than a sealed box, but the results will be chest thumping bass, that can’t be said for all 8-inch subwoofers.
With dimensions 8.3” x 8.3” x 4.3” it’s not the shallowest of subwoofers, but if you’re going to get this sub, space shouldn’t be your concern.
There are better subwoofers on my list, but for the price this is arguably the best budget subwoofer on the market. And at 500W RMS, one of the most powerful, but make sure you pair it up with a good quality monoblock amplifier to get the very best out of it.
Pyle PLPW8D Power Series – Very Cheap And Powerful 8-Inch Subwoofer
If you’re looking for a cheap subwoofer that doesn’t lack in power this Pyle Power Series subwoofer is perfect for you, and if you want it for a boat.
At under $30 you might think this sub lacks in bass reproduction, but with 400W RMS you can reimagine your soundscape with some heavy bass without breaking the bank.
The Dual Voice Coil 4-Ohm sub offers more variety with more powerful amplifiers, and installed in a good quality subwoofer box, this driver pushes out some impressive bass at incredible volume.
The cone is non-pressed paper cone and black plastic basket, and the treated foam surround ensures the bass is as clean as you can get with something so powerful.
The driver is designed with non-fatiguing suspension to keep equipment safe, making this durable subwoofer ideal for life on a boat.
At under $30, you might be wondering what’s wrong. This subwoofer is known for getting a little hot all too easy, but as long as you don’t expect too much for too long, the high sound resonance this sub produces will not disappoint you.
Planet Audio AC8D – Cheap 8-Inch Car Subwoofer With Extreme RMS Power
The last of my budget subwoofers comes from Planet Audio, and it drives some power for anyone who appreciates their bass loud.
If the 600W RMS the power handling of this 8-inch subwoofer isn’t impressive enough, the 96dB sensitivity this speaker can handle excels any other subwoofer on my list.
Added with it being a Dual Voice Coil (DVC), you have more options with your amplifier power and impedance, so you can really push this subwoofer to its limit.
Planet Audio’s voice coils are well-known for withstanding high temperatures, too, so pushing it for long periods of time won’t affect the performance of this car sub.
The cone is made from Polypropylene, which is designed for its durability and resilience, and will help protect it from moisture, and adds to the sub’s durability.
And of course, polypropylene speaker cones have good inherent damping, which will allow for a better bond between the subwoofer and amplifier, ultimately producing cleaner and more efficient bass.
For under $50 this a very powerful and cheap subwoofer, so you might be wondering where Planet Audio has skipped on materials.
The sub looks decent quality for the price entry, but there are several negative reviews, such as blowing pretty quickly. However, the sub has a highly positive rating from well over 3000 reviews.
For well under $50, you won’t get a high-performing subwoofer for life, so bear that in mind and as with all budget subwoofers, enjoy them as an introduction to deeper and more resounding bass.
The Best Powered Subwoofers
Rockville RockGhost – Best Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer For Limited Space
The Rockville RockGhost Powered 8-inch Subwoofer is a full on beast that produces clean and powerful bass thanks to its inbuilt amplifier.
And for anyone who really needs to save space, this hidden subwoofer fits perfectly inside any 15”, 16” or 17” spare wheel.
According to the manufacturer, keeping the subwoofer tucked inside your spare wheel, the sound transmits evenly throughout your car avoids any unwanted vibration, and transmits the sound evenly throughout your car.
The Single Voice Coil (SVC) subwoofer runs at 200W RMS, which isn’t the most powerful sub on my list, but for anyone who’s tight on space, it’s powerful enough and will add crisp bass to your car stereo system.
The inbuilt mono amplifier benefits from MOFSET power supply, has a Low Pass Filter: 50Hz – 150Hz. The Frequency response is 20 Hz – 250 Hz, which is good, but you’d also expect from any decent monoblock amplifier.
What I like about this amp is the wired remote, Bass Boost: 0 – 12dB @ 45Hz, and 20 Hz Subsonic Filter which gives you more control of the bass and helps the subwoofer transition with ease into different frequencies.
There are better 8in subwoofers on my list, but for anyone with limited space, and who doesn’t want to splash out on an external amp, this sub is good and will add some clean bass to your drive.
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 – The Best Powered Under Seat Subwoofer
If you’re tight on space, want the full package, not have to buy and external amplifier, and pump out some impressive bass, this PWE-S8 Alpine Restyle Compact Powered 8-inch Subwoofer could be a good choice.
The subwoofer and amplifier are housed together in a slick looking die cast aluminum enclosure, and all together it takes up just 13.5” x 9” x 3” in space, so can fit snug behind or under your car seat.
With an impressive 120W RMS, and 32Hz-150Hz frequency response, the quad-coil subwoofer drives some punchy and accurate bass to your soundscape no matter where you install it.
The amplifier is Class D and has a Frequency Response from 25 Hz – 150 Hz, and an adjustable cut off frequency (50 Hz – 150 HZ) gives the subwoofer the freedom to pump out the bass with impressive clarity for an 8 inch subwoofer.
The amplifier is located at a handy side panel of the subwoofer enclosure, which also gives you easy access to the all-important Phase, Gain, LP Crossover and Remote Sub Level controls, all of which allows you to sculpt the bass you desire.
If you want everything together that will tuck nicely away, this is the best under seat subwoofer for your car. It can literally go anywhere, so if space is a premium and you want some loud and punchy bass, look no further.
Pioneer TS-WX130DA – Compact Active 8-Inch Subwoofer
If you want an excellent sounding, and arguably the best underseat subwoofer that’s easy to install and will fit pretty much anywhere, then this Pioneer TS-WX130DA 8-inch sub is perfect.
The active subwoofer is ideal for those with a small car or if space is a premium. The RMS is only 50W, but to be honest, it’s more than enough for anyone who values their cochleae, and the volume will fill bigger cars.
The aluminum cone specially designed acoustic suspension enclosure allows for some deep yet precise bass.
The Class D amplifier is easily accessible through a side panel of the subwoofer box, and thanks to the Digital Bass Control, it gives you easy access and more control.
The 20 Hz – 200 Hz frequency response is impressive. And although it performs better at lower frequencies, the Deep or Dynamic listening modes intelligently enhances different frequencies.
And if you’re one that demands pristine bass for every occasion the Gain, LPF, Phase, Bass Mode is all accessible on the wired remote, allows you to easily sculpt the sound you desire.
If you like your bass extremely loud this subwoofer might not be for you. However, if space is a premium and you don’t want to worry about adding an external amplifier, then this Pioneer Compact 8-in Subwoofer will add some depth to your soundscape.
Best 8 Inch Subwoofer – Buyer’s Guide
When you’re looking to buy a subwoofer, the debate will likely hinge on size and power. And of course, they’re both important, but don’t think the lower powered subs, and 8 inch subwoofers in general won’t add a spark to your car stereo system, because they will.
It’s all about your taste, and how loud and deep you like your bass, but for anyone new to car audio and subwoofers in general, here’s a few tips and things to look out for before buying the best 8-inch subwoofer for you.
Break In Your New Subwoofer
When you first install a subwoofer in your car, you might be underwhelmed by the power, so it needs to go through a few hours of continuous playing before it really starts to perform to its potential.
This means subjecting the subwoofer to no more than low-to-medium volume levels for about 4 hours. Once this has been done, your subwoofer’s suspension will be loosened, which will help prevent your voice coil from overheating and allowing it to perform to its potential.
Overdriving your sub before it has been broken in might result in poor performance or even permanent damage, so it is important to break it in enough before expecting too much from it.
Every subwoofer has a power handling measured in watts (W). There’s Peak Power, which is a gimmick used by manufacturers to make their subwoofers sound more powerful.
Peak Power represents the power handling a subwoofer can handle in sudden bursts, but when you’re out looking for the best subwoofer for your car, you should really ignore this.
Instead look for continuous power (RMS), which I have remarked upon for every sub on my review. As you might imagine, continuous power is the power handling a subwoofer can handle over a continued period of time. This, therefore, represents a truer level of the power handling any car audio product can handle.
Passive subwoofers will come with an impedance rating so you will be able to match them with an external amplifier.
Ohms are the measure of impedance, and a larger Ohm rating equals a greater load impedance. A higher impedance load will result in less amplifier output, so an amplifier will output more power at 2 ohms than at 4 ohms.
The Impedance of your amplifier and subwoofer should be matched equally. For example, if you have a 2 Ohm subwoofer, your amplifier will have to be a match for it.
Single voice coil subwoofers can only match with amps that have the exact same number of ohms.
A Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofer will allow you more flexibility in wiring and Impedance rating. For example, a 4 Ohm DVC subwoofer wired in a series circuit, will give your subwoofer a 2 Ohm impedance.
Frequency Response describes what pitches a subwoofer is able to effectively put out. And with subwoofers covering the bass of your soundscape, these should be low frequencies, usually from about 20 Hz – 250 Hz. However, as 8-inch subwoofers are smaller in size, the range of frequency handling might not be as broad as bigger subs.
Sensitivity is the connection between power and volume and is measured in decibels (dB). The higher the sensitivity, the better your subwoofer will be at converting power into sound.
Any sensitivity above 80dB is regarded as good, and usually the higher the better. There’s a notable difference between 80 and 90dB, and any like for like driver that has a higher sensitivity will produce cleaner bass.
But don’t think the more sensitive a subwoofer is, the better it is, because this isn’t always the case. Some subwoofers are so sensitive that they become easily muffled and distorted. In general, you should look for a subwoofer that has a sensitivity of around 90 dB, but do look to its other components before making a decision.
Subwoofer Component Materials
The surround, which protects the cone and keeps it in place, should be durable and flexible. In most cases, three materials are typically used for this component:
Foam – This material helps to keep the cone nice and centered. Also, these tend to last a long time without the need to replace them.
Urethane – These have a nice flex to them and are known for their high durability level.
Santoprene – If you need a long lifespan, Santoprene surrounds tend to last the longest. They are also very flexible and do a good job of staying intact in temperature extremes.
When shopping for the best 8-inch subwoofer, you’ll come across basket types, which include stamped, cast, or hybrid. The basket of the sub supports the structure for the cone and the coils, so it’s an essential component, and each type adds to the dimension of the bass.
Stamped Basket – Strongest and won’t bend. Generally, produce more resonant sounding bass.
Cast Basket – Much less rigid construction and can bend with enough force. Manages excessive heat better, helping produce better bass for longer periods.
Hybrid – A mix of both cast and stamped basket material, bringing the advantages of both materials.
The spider of the subwoofer sits directly beneath the cone, and its purpose is to keep the cone centred while it moves.
Usually, the spider is crafted and coated with resin so that it stiffens and takes on any shock-absorbing. They come in a variety of materials, such as cotton, treated paper, nomex, conex, or a poly-cotton blend.
However, what most affects the spider’s functionality is the frequency of the spider’s cardboard-like corrugations. The amount of corrugation can affect the sound of the subwoofer, and too many can cause spider sag, which might affect the performance of your subwoofer.
The spider comes into some extreme heat, so if you get a sub with a cotton spider, make sure it has been treated with flame retardant chemicals. Most good quality, modern subwoofers have been, so it shouldn’t really be a concern.
Getting The Best 8 Inch Subwoofer For You
There are many factors in getting the best 8 inch subwoofer for your car, but pretty much any aftermarket subwoofer will improve the fidelity of your car audio.
Remember, your vehicle isn’t as big as your house or a club, so getting the biggest subwoofer isn’t as critical, to most people. It’s not going to shake your car mirrors, but for most people, that’s ok.
Of course, 10, 12 and 15 inch subwoofers drive better and deeper bass – they’re bigger. But you will be pleasantly surprised by the depth of bass an 8 inch subwoofer can produce.
Whether you’re tight on space, want a smaller sub to add to your car stereo system, or even looking for a budget subwoofer, an 8 inch sub will do the trick. And don’t forget, two will make for a fantastic surround sound without taking up loads of space.