12 Inch Subwoofers for a Car

Best 12 Inch Car Subwoofers

On the hunt for the ultimate 12-inch subwoofer? Sifting through the myriad options in the realm of car audio can seem like a complex maze, with a multitude of factors to consider in order to find the perfect match for your car’s sound system.

Factory-installed car audio systems often deliver a standard performance but are unlikely to stir your soul. To truly elevate your audio experience, you’ll need a potent amplifier, high-quality speakers, and for those craving the resonating depths of pristine bass, a top-tier subwoofer.

The role of a subwoofer is to inject your audio with that sought-after, powerful bass foundation. Subwoofers come in various sizes, but the 12″ version reigns supreme in popularity.

The right 12-inch subwoofer can transform your vehicle’s audio landscape so significantly, it needs to be heard to be fully appreciated. This guide distills the technical complexities and presents a curated list of the best 12-inch subwoofers available for those aiming to find their own perfect bass companion.

Have a look at this review if you’re looking for a 15 inch-, 6-inch, powered subwoofer, or a bass tube for your car.

What are the Best 12 Inch Subwoofers for Deep Bass?

Time for a review of our best picks…

Pioneer TS-W126M – 12″ Subwoofer Under $100

Looking for a high-quality 12-inch subwoofer on a budget? If so, you might want to consider this Pioneer TS-W126M. Though it carries a relatively small price tag, it offers high value in terms of power, volume, and overall sound quality.

First, let’s talk about this Pioneer 12in subwoofer’s overall power capabilities. It’s capable of receiving 1,300 watts of peak power, and 350 watts of continuous power RMS. While this is not as powerful as some 12-inch subwoofers, it is still very respectable, and for under $100, you can’t complain.

The sub can be mounted inside either a sealed or ported box, allowing you to pick one of your choosing. And with a seamless IMPP cone design, it reduces overall distortion while increasing overall efficiency, and produces tight and accurate bass at the same time.

One of the sub’s true stand out points is its construction quality. Made out of tough polypropylene, it’s built to last, and you’ll be able to work this to the bone for long periods of time.

This subwoofer sports a sensitivity of 96 dB, which is just about ideal. Any higher and you’ll be dealing with unwanted distortion, but any lower and you’ll be wanting for power.

It should be noted that this subwoofer sports only a single voice coil, which will limit the overall power you can pump into it. However, despite the fact that, it still provides huge, full low-end that will shake your entire vehicle.

If you’re looking for a great 12-inch subwoofer on a budget, the Pioneer TS-W126M is the subwoofer for you. While it’s not quite as powerful as more high-end 12-inch subwoofers, it still provides more than enough power to get your car shaking.

Available for well under $100 and coming with a 1-year warranty, this Pioneer 12 inch sub is as good of a bang for your buck as you’re going to find.

  • Very powerful for its price
  • Excellent 95 dB sensitivity
  • Can be mounted inside ported and sealed enclosures
  • Very reasonably priced
  • Can distort at higher volumes

Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 – 12-Inch Subwoofer For Powerful Bass

Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 Review

If you truly value power and sound quality, you have to consider this Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 12″ sub. It’s an absolute beast and arguably the best subwoofer for powerful bass.

I believe SA-12 D2 REV.3 is the best Dual Voice Coil subwoofers on the market, and the way SA series subs are becoming the goto sub for SPL competitions, you can begin to get the picture.

Firstly, the Dual 4-ohm coil subwoofer has a mesmerising 750W RMS power handling, and many reviews say this is a conservative load. Either way, it is some power and lays the foundation for some serious bass output.

SA-12 D2 REV.3. Hugely powerful and capable of handling tons of wattage, it will have you automobile shaking like an earthquake.

The construction is impressive with a quality double layer nomex spider, an SPL competition grade paper cone, and a strong foam surround capable of handling the excursion and force generated by the motor structure.

The 2.5″ voice coils are made out of anodized aluminum, which helps dissipate the heat much faster so you can drive more power for longer without the risk of damaging your voice coil. In fact, this system allows the 2.5″ coil to exceed the thermal performance of many 3″ coil drivers on the market today!

Thnaks to the dual voice coils, this subwoofer possesses 2-ohm impedance, although you can wire the sub to 4 ohm in series or 1 ohm in parallel, giving you much more flexibility with your power handling. You can also buy the 4 ohm version and it can be wired down to 2 ohm or 8 ohms.

The 12 inch subwoofer is designed to be mounted inside of both sealed and ported enclosures, ensuring that you can use it to get the bass sound of your choice. Soundown offer the best Enclosure Suggestion: 1.75 ft^3 ported tuned to 30 Hz — F3 of 26 Hz, although it really depends on your personal preference.

For me, this Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 is one of the best 12 inch subwoofer on the market, especially in this price entry.

It’s loud, powerful, full, and everything else you could ever want from a subwoofer.  And if you’re serious about power and car shaking bass, then I think the price entry is very reasonable and you will definitely enjoy it.

  • Shakes your car
  • Tough and durable construction
  • Ridiculously powerful low bass
  • Includes a 2-year warranty
  • Needs a powerful amplifier

JL Audio 12W0V3-4 – Great Value for Money

JL Audio 12W0V3-4 Review

Are you looking for a subwoofer that offers high-end value at a mid-level price? If so, the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 is just the subwoofer you’re looking for.

While it’s very affordable, it’s not lacking in power, clarity, and overall tonal quality, and I make this my best 12-inch subwoofer for the money.

It can handle up to 300 watts of RMS power and 600 watts of peak power, making it both powerful and controlled. And while that might not be as powerful as other 12-inch subwoofers on the market, it does provide enough boom for most users’ tastes.

Designed to be mounted inside both ported and sealed enclosures, it can be customized to provide just the type of low end you’re looking for. The sub boasts a tough, durable cone that is made out of polypropylene and which is built to last over years of use, and dare I say it: abuse. You wouldn’t, would you?

Seriously, the construction and toughness this cone isn’t just about durability and longevity, as it helps to reduce distortion while maximizing sheer power.

With a sensitivity of around 85 dB, the sub takes a little more power to successfully drive. However, the fact that it’s not such a high sensitivity ensures that it won’t easily distort or blow.

The sub is a single voice coil, meaning that it’s limited when it comes to wiring series circuitry, but this should be of no concern as its a 4-ohm subwoofer and accommodates plenty of amps.

Overall, the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 is a great 12-inch subwoofer for those who want high-end sound quality at a reasonable price. And while there are better subs out there, if you want value for money, you’ll go a long way to beat this beast.

  • Lower than 30 Hz average response
  • Very durable
  • Works with both sealed and ported enclosures
  • High-end quality at a mid-level price
  • Not as powerful as some
  • Bass sounds muddy on uptempo music

Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch – Powered 12″ Subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch Review

If you’re looking for the absolute best powered subwoofer on the market today, you can’t go wrong with the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch. This subwoofer may cost a little more than others, but it’s well worth the price.

This 12 inch subwoofer and amp combo accommodates 300 watts of RMS power and is powered by a 300-watt built-in amplifier, meaning it’s ready to go right out of the box. Of course, this also means that it can’t be customized to sync up with other amplifiers, so powered subwoofers aren’t for everybody.

Coming in a sealed enclosure, it possesses a very deep and punchy low end, keeping notes separated and clear regardless of what type of music you’re listening to. Made out of tough, durable plastic, it can withstand quite a beating, and is made to last over years and years of use.

It possesses a 12 dB low pass crossover, allowing you to adjust it to best meet the bass specifications of your choice. ANd with a built-in adjustable bass EQ, built-in 0°/180° phase switch and Remote bass level control, you have easy control over the bassline you need for the music you’re playing.

Built with an auto turn-on/turn-off function, it is a high efficiency subwoofer with a quiet signal that won’t disturb audio quality. It also boasts a closed-loop design that ensures optimum performance between woofer, amplifier and enclosure with easy integration in aftermarket or OEM audio systems using RCA or speaker level signals

When buying a powered subwoofer it’s important to know the dimensions, especially if you drive a small-ish vehicle. This P300-12 Punch is 11” x 19.8” x 15″, so make sure you have the space for it.

If you’re looking for a great 12 inch subwoofer and amp combo, the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch is arguably the best powered subwoofer in this price range. So, if you want the full package, I highly recommend this beast. Just make sure your ears and car can handle it.

  • Comes with 300W beast of an amp
  • Comes in a sealed enclosure for nuanced sound
  • Easy installation
👎🏻 Cons
  • A little expensive
  • Powered subwoofers aren’t for everyone

CT Sounds Strato-12-D2 – Immense Power And Sound Quality

CT Sounds STrato 12" subwoofer

The next car subwoofer on my list is from the new kid on the block CT Sounds – the Houston-based car audio specialists who are making a name for themselves in the car audio industry.

Let’s just put this simply: the CT Sounds Strato-12-D2 is the best 12-inch subwoofer on the market today. Incredibly powerful and masterfully constructed, it’s designed not only to shake your car but last for years.

It’s capable of handling an incredible 1250W of RMS power as well as 2,500W of peak power, making it the most powerful subwoofer on my list by far. Whether you’re listening to rap, rock, country, or classical, this subwoofer will give you huge, well-rounded sound, and make heads turn from afar.

Sporting  a 3-inch, 4 Layer High-Temperature CCAW Voice Coil, allows for flexibility in impedance ranging from 1-ohm to 2 ohms. And with a 170 Oz Triple Stacked Y35 Grade Ferrite Magnet ensures the sound output of the subwoofer is loud and broad.

This 12in car subwoofer was engineered for hard hitting bass and Mega Foam Surround and 4% Carbon Fiber Reinforced Cone in a Die Cast Aluminum basket ensures the distribution of the bass is clean, deep and loud.

For me, the price is reasonable, although not for everyone. If you’re a true bass afficianodo, however, you’ll be happy to spend over $200 on a hugely powerful, well-constructed, subwoofer that will drive some unbelievably crisp bass at volumes, you won’t be able to handle for too long.

Paired up with the right amplifier and head unit, and this 12 inch subwoofer will turn your sound system into a complete monster, and as Sundown says ‘bass around the clock because you’ll be the loudest on the block.’ Enjoy!

  • Power like you wouldn’t believe
  • 1250W RMS
  • Detailed and punchy bass, even at loud volumes
  • A little expensive for some
  • You’ll have to invest in a powerful amplifier

Rockford Fosgate R1S4-12 – Shallow Mount 12in Sub

Rockford Fosgate R1S412 Review

Perhaps you’re tight on space looking for a shallow mount 12-inch subwoofer? If so, the Rockford R1S4-12 is the subwoofer for you. Mounting at 5.5 inches, it fits in most cars, big or small. And for its price (under $100), it offers superb sound quality to boot.

Let’s first talk about this subwoofer’s power handling capabilities. It possesses RMS power of 200 watts. While this isn’t as powerful as other woofers on my list, it’s still plenty powerful enough to shake your car.

The 4-ohm single voice coil sub is limited with power handling variations, but don’t be fooled by the price or the seemingly low RMS, because this 12″ subwoofer reproduces a well-rounded low end sound.

The construction is a fiber reinforced painted paper-pulp cone, and high durable compressed foam surround. Fixed inside a proprietary powder coated stamped steel frame and a fatigue resistant poly-cotton spider with integral woven leads, this woofer distributes some absolute wide and low bass.

>>Take a look at more Shallow Mount Subwoofers<<

And for thanks to the laser-etched aluminum dust cap, the clarity of this bass woofer isn’t too shabby either. If you own a small car and are tight for space, the Rockford R1S4-12 should be considered.

Shallow-mounted, it takes up very little space, yet still provides a controlled and nuanced, yet powerful sound. It will make a big impact to your soundscape, and at a very reasonable price, it’s quite the bargain as far as 12-inch subwoofers go.

  • Fits easily into most small vehicles
  • Very affordable
  • 200W RMS isn’t powerful for those who like extreme bass
  • Known to heat up quickly at high volumes

MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D – Dual 12 Inch Subwoofer

MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D Pre-Enclosed Subwoofer

Are you looking for the best dual 12-inch subwoofer that can be powered by an external amp? If so, the MTX Audio Terminator Series TNE212D is the subwoofer for you.

This monster 2 12 inch subs set is available for a very reasonable price and is capable of producing more volume than any sane person needs. Did I say sane? Of course, we’re all insane.

Anyway, this dual 12in subs comes equipped with two woofers, with a power handling of 200W RMS each. And while this isn’t as powerful as some single subs on my list, the dual sub offering makes for a whole new soundscape.

With a dual subwoofer, thanks to the available headroom the bass quality will increase, effortlessly thanks to the reduced compression, lower distortion and greater dynamic range.

The cones of the 2 12 inch subs are made of tough, durable polypropylene, ensuring durability. They’re available in sealed or vented enclosures, which are ruggedly constructed using 5/8″ MDF and aviation grade black carpet.

This dual 12″ subwoofer offers controlled, punchy, and nuanced bass. With both running, you’ll be able to lay louder and still drive clean bass without running out of driver excursion or amp power.

Of course, these dual 12in subwoofers aren’t for everyone. But if you have the space, and enjoy a greater dynamic range, reduced output compression, lower distortion, running them will give you cleaner, more accurate bass at extreme drive levels.

Don’t be put off by the RMS, this subwoofer and amp combo is loud enough and will make a huge impact in any sized vehicle. Just make sure yours is big enough.

  • Set of two subs and enclosure
  • Very reasonable price
  • Dual subs offer more dynamic bass
  • Not designed to for heavy commercial use
  • Size isn’t for everyone

Kicker 43CVR124  CompVR – DVC 12″ Subwoofer

Kicker 43CVR124 Review - Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer

If you’re looking for a powerful Dual Voice Coil 12-inch subwoofer at an affordable price, the Kicker CompVR is that. While it doesn’t provide quite the same quality of sound as a high-end woofer, it still makes a huge difference to your soundscape, for half the cost.

The CompVR 12-Inch Subwoofer is a 4Ω dual voice coil design, built for easy wiring. It’s recommedned RMS power of 400 watts, gives it enough power to handle and reproduce bass for all genres.

The Kicker CompVR comes in 2 or 4-ohm dual voice coils, and is constructed with Kicker’s famous red surround stitching that expertly binds the a ribbed santoprene surround to the polypropylene cone for added strength.

A stamped steel basket holds vibration at bay, and with the SoloKon™ marrying the woofer and back brace into one, you get a truly cohesive system that pushes out some strong, distortion-free bass.

>>Look at an in-depth review of Kicker CompVR Subs<<

The driver also boasts a perimeter venting, Spiralead™ tinsel-lead technology, and spring-loaded push terminal, which ensures the high performance  Kicker has made itself famous for.

Kicker uses an advanced heat management system, and perimeter venting allows air to circulate while the brand’s UniPlate™ system redirects even more heat away from the motor, ensuring you get a cool, reliable speaker that you can play loud for long periods, and lasts.

All in all, the Kicker 43CVR124 CompVR is a great subwoofer for those who are looking for maximum power on a budget. It can get extraordinarily loud, and provides a ridiculous amount of low end.

And while it might not be quite as nuanced as a high-end subwoofer, it’s nuanced all the same, and for the average person, it’s certainly good enough.

  • Loud
  • Great value for money
  • Sounds clear and concise, even at high volumes
  • Not as nuanced as high-end subwoofers

Hifonics BRW12D4 Brutus – Very Loud Car Audio Subwoofer

Hifonics Brutus 12" subwoofer

Known for their Subwoofers from the classical gods, American brand Hifonics has delivered another thunderous car audio classic but this time in the name of Julius Caesar’s assassin, Brutus – a subwoofer dedicated to low frequencies at high volumes.

Subwoofers are drivers dedicated solely to reproducing low frequencies, and this Hifonics Brutus 12” sub drives incredibly clear and tight bass for this price entry.

The 4-ohm 3” Dual Voice Coil subwoofer can handle an incredible 1000W RMS, and with a heavy gauge, powder-coated, aluminum die-cast basket, this car subwoofer really hits hard and clean.

All this power needs to be maintained for it to perform as heat could be a concern, but thanks to the vented aluminum former holding the voice coil it allows the heat to be extracted.

The Hifonics 12” subwoofer also boasts a heavy duty aluminum die-cast basket, which enables back venting. This also helps with dissipating heat, which means the woofer can reproduce more power handling, increased reliability and ultimately very loud and distortion-free bass.

The pressure treated double stitched ribbed foam surround and the dual poly cotton spider helps keep the piston motion of the subwoofer linear and distortion free, resulting in arguably the cleanest bass of any subwoofer at this price entry.

There are better subwoofers for a car on the market, but there are much worse. For this price entry, you’re going to get an extremely loud, well-constructed piece of equipment that will allow you to pound your bass without fear of damaging your sub.

  • Loud and clean bass
  • Durable, built to last
  • Not as nuanced as high-end subwoofers

Hertz SS 12 D2 – SPL Competition Grade 12-Inch Subwoofer

Hertz SPL SS D2 - SPL competition 12" subwoofer

Last but certainly far from the least on my list is the Hertz SS 12 D2 12-inch subwoofer. And like many other Hertz audio products this beast is built for SPL standards.

To win any SPL (Sound Pressure Level) Bass War competitions you have to have something that can outblast and outsculpt the sound level of any other subwoofer there, and Hertz does a great job at regularly producing winners.

This 3-inch Dual Voice Coil, developed in 4-layer configuration on a support with venting holes allows for an incredible 1000W RMS. How competitive!

Something so powerful should heat up quite excessively, no? Well to win SPL Bass Wars you have to be constant and Hertz utilizes the innovative DVC and supports it with venting holes that allows the SS 12 D2 to manage the power handling impressively.

To maintain heat dissipation absolutely the basket has been designed for optimal thermal dissipation and high mechanical resistance.

The suspension system is reinforced with progressive double-layer spiders, which is necessary for the huge ferrite engine, and it keeps the performance constant, especially in the heavy use typical of Bass Wars events.

The non-pressed paper / cotton fiber cone makes for a perfect platform to push low bass at extreme volumes, of which will be of little use to people who value their ears.

Of course, with all this exquisite soundscape comes at a cost, and this Hertz SS 12 D2 is the most expensive subwoofer on my list. But it’s also probably the best 12” subwoofer, just go to an SPL event and find out.

  • Loud and Clear
  • SPL Competition standard
  • Durable – will last a long time
  • Expensive
  • Will have to spend more to get a powerful amplifier

JBL GT-BassPro12 12-Inch Car Audio Powered Subwoofer System

JBL GT-BassPro12 12-Inch Car Audio Powered Subwoofer System - 1

Experience the power of JBL’s GT-BassPro12, a 12-Inch Car Audio Powered Subwoofer System that delivers deep, rich bass and transforms your car audio experience.

The system features a robust 12-Inch (305mm) woofer with a die-cast aluminum basket, ensuring solid, high-quality sound under all conditions. At its heart is JBL’s patented Slipstream port design, which eliminates port noise and enables distortion-free bass even at high output levels. This unique design minimizes turbulence and enhances the bass output for an unmatched audio experience.

The JBL GT-BassPro12 features a 12″ (305mm) polypropylene cone, providing robust and responsive bass. A built-in 150-watt amplifier powers the system, ensuring powerful audio performance.

The remote level control offers convenient adjustment, while the progressive spider enhances the sub’s mechanical stability. The vented polepiece improves power handling by reducing heat, furthering the lifespan of the subwoofer.

To ensure optimal performance, the GT-BassPro12 has been meticulously designed with system optimization. The amplifier is precisely matched with the woofer, enclosure, and the Slipstream port, bringing you exceptional performance and excellent value.

Adding to its convenience is the signal-sensing turn-on feature, which automatically turns the subwoofer on and off when the head unit sends an audio signal. Customizing the sound to your preference is effortless with the GT-BassPro12.

The system also boasts a user-friendly input level, low-pass, bass-boost, and phase controls, allowing you to achieve the desired sound for an optimal listening experience.


The JBL GT-BassPro12 12-Inch Car Audio Powered Subwoofer System sets a new standard for car audio with its innovative design and superb performance. Whether you’re a music enthusiast looking to upgrade your car audio or simply a fan of deep, resonant bass, this subwoofer system is designed to impress.

  • Slick design, will fit in almost any vehicle
  • Crystal clear bass
  • Powerful
  • Powered subwoofer isn’t for everyone
  • A bit pricey

Buyer’s Guide

Difference Between a Passive and Powered Subwoofer

Subwoofers are operated in one of two different ways: passive and powered.

First, let’s talk about passive subwoofers. Passive subwoofers contain enclosed woofers which must be powered via an external amplifier. Typically, passive subwoofers provide a cleaner sound and are more flexible in terms of overall wiring configurations.

Powered subwoofers contain enclosed woofers that power the subwoofer themselves. While these subwoofers are a little easier to understand and operate, they typically don’t provide the same level of sound quality provided by passive subwoofers.

Sealed vs. Ported Enclosure

Typically, subwoofers are installed in either a ported or sealed subwoofer box.

Sealed Enclosure for Subwoofer
Subwoofer Enclosure

Let’s begin by talking about sealed subwoofers. Sealed subwoofers typically offer clearer and more controlled bass. They keep air locked in tight, allowing sound to be nuanced, punchy, and responsive. However, they also require a great deal more power to operate.

Ported Enclosure for Subwoofer
Ported or Vented Enclosure for Subwoofer

Ported subwoofers allow air to move in and out freely. This has both its benefits and drawbacks. While ported subwoofers don’t require as much power to operate, they don’t offer quite as clear a sound as you’ll find with a sealed subwoofer. Whereas sealed subwoofers are best used for classical and jazz music, ported subwoofers are best used for rap, rock, and other raw-sound music.

Single vs. Dual Subwoofer Voice Coils

Voice coils are the wires wrapped around a subwoofers speaker cone. These voice coils connect to amplifiers, allowing the subwoofers to be powered and operated. In general, there are two different types of voice coils: single and dual.

Let’s begin by talking about single voice coils. Single voice coils are typically less expensive, but also don’t work with as great a number of amplifiers. This can present a problem if you don’t have the correct amplifier on hand. However, there are plenty of amplifiers available which accommodate single voice coils.

Dual voice coils are more expensive but are also capable of more wiring configurations. This allows them to connect to a greater diversity of amps than single voice coils. This will make it easier to find an amp when you need to buy one.

Wiring Dual Voice Coils

Parallel and series subwoofer wiring
Parallel and Series Subwoofer Wiring

Power Handling

When it comes to subwoofer power handling, there are two different types of power to consider: RMS (root mean square) and Peak. RMS power refers to how much power a subwoofer can handle consistently over time. When choosing a subwoofer, this is the most important number to consider. The higher a subwoofer’s RMS, the louder and more powerful it can consistently be over time.

Peak power refers to the maximum amount of power subwoofer can handle in small bursts. This will be higher than the RMS, but is not as important to know as the RMS. Finding a subwoofer that can handle the power provided by its amp is an absolute necessity.


Subwoofer sensitivity refers to how much power a subwoofer needs in order to produce volume. The higher a subwoofer’s sensitivity, the more volume you can get out of less power. Ideal subwoofer sensitivities range from around 80 dB to 99 dB.

You would think that the more sensitive a subwoofer is, the better. However, this is not always the case. Some subwoofers are so sensitive that they become easily muffled and distorted. In general, you’re going to want to look for a subwoofer that has a sensitivity of around 90 dB. This is the ideal sensitivity.

Matching Subwoofer’s Impedance with Amplifier’s Impedance

The most complex part of buying a subwoofer is matching it with the correct amplifier. In order to do so, you must take both device’s impedance into account. First, it’s necessary to find your subwoofer’s RMS wattage. After you’ve found this, you must find an amp which can supply between 125% and 200% of the total RMS wattage on the subwoofer.

The second thing to look for is ohms. Most mono amps are capable of 2 ohm loads. Although, most 2 or 4 channel amps are not 2 ohm capable when bridged. You can’t connect low impedance than it can an amplifier.

Single voice coil subwoofers can only match with amps that have the exact same number of ohms.

For instance, a single voice coil subwoofer with 2 ohms can only match with an amp that has 2 ohms.

Dual voice coil subwoofer you can wiring in series or in parallel.

So, for instance, a dual voice coil subwoofer with 4 ohms in series wiring: 4+4 = 8 ohm; in parallel wiring: (4*4)/(4+4) = 2 ohm. It should, however, be noted that it’s best synced up with an amplifier that possesses less ohms. The lower the number of ohms, the greater the power overall.


If you’re looking for big, rounded, full sound, a subwoofer is an absolute necessity. The most popular sized subwoofer available is the 12-incher. While you could go bigger or smaller, you’ll be sacrificing either power or money.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right 12-inch subwoofer. But, if you take all of these things into consideration, you should be able to find a subwoofer that fits your sound system perfectly.

If you’re looking for a 10-Inch subwoofer or an 8-inch subwoofer check these reviews out…

Back to the subs table

42 thoughts on “12 Inch Subwoofers for a Car”

    • Hi Matt,
      In short, sealed subwoofer box has best SQ, needed less space and more power from the amplifier. A ported box has less SQ, louder for a certain range of bass but needs to use a sub-sonic or infra-sonic filter.

  1. Hey Andrew, great article and reviews. Im actually going to be getting a the CT Sounds Strato 12″ and was wondering what you thought the best amp for that guy might be?

  2. At best this list is a good guide for the average Joe but not for a serious audiophile or bass head. There are soo many better subs then the Sundown 12 listed, it’s not even the best 12 Sundown makes and at 750 rms it’s way far from one of the highest handling subs. There are countless subs from 8″ and up that the rms is double or close to double. People need to start somewhere, though, and this list does give a good range of choices.

    • Yes, this list for the average listeners who don’t tune amp with an oscilloscope, alternator upgrade and so on…)

  3. If you are planning on running two ct sound stratos and the peak power is 2400 watts you only need one 2400 watt amp? I’m new to this.

  4. Yes,I wanted to buy either MTX terminator or kicker 12″ subs in box of two witch is better. KICKER IS 44DCWC122 AND MTX ISTNE212D, AND CAN I HOOK UP JBLGTO-501E2 AMP TO THESE !!!!

  5. I used to love car audio back in the day and left it back in the early 2000’s. However, I am just starting to put together a system again and really found your guide helpful! I had definitely forgotten some of these main facts. I just purchased a RF Power T1000.1BD AMP and am trying to find the right sub(s) to match. This time I am def looking to add a second battery which has been fun researching. Thanks stud!

  6. Hey! Quick question. I have a pioneer GM-D8601 class D mono 1600 watts amp. Can I run 2 pioneer TSW126M 12″ on it?

    • Hi,

      Yes, you can. Wire the subs in parallel = 2 ohm load = 750 Watt. Amp at 2 ohm = 500 Watt.

      Low power on a subs doesn’t hurt at all. But cranking the gain on a low power amp trying to get the volume out of a sub -> clipping -> that will blow a sub.

  7. Hey do you think that a bandpass box would be louder than a ported or sealed box?
    I’ve heard some loud subs from both boxes but the loudest ones I’ve heard were in bandpass boxes. They were so loud shaking street signs shaking other cars around it.
    My friend even had 2 10 inch kickers in a bandpass box and you can hear him coming from a block away. I personally don’t like kickers cause they are overpriced and overrated.
    But I really want a bass that the whole neighborhood can hear.

    • They are very loud and you can make bad subs sound amazing. Bandpass boxes take up a lot of space and more complicated in build. Some subs don’t sound good or perform well in ported or bandpass style enclosures.

  8. Hey Andrew,

    I’ve been looking for new skar 12 inch subwoofer and an amp to replace my current 8” setup. I currently have 2 SUNDOWN AUDIO X Series v.3 8” (800-watts) -DVC-4OHM. With an Skar Audio SKv2-1500.1D Monoblock Amplifier. Do you recommend them, or what 12” sub and amp combo you recommend? I want the subs to hit hard, loud, and be somewhat clear

    • Hi Anthony,

      The 12’s is a big advantage over the 8’s. You have many options to get louder:

      • Sundown x12
      • Sundown zv5
      • Wolfram Ag series
      • Digital designs 712
      • Orion HCCA
      • Resilent sounds platinum…
  9. I’m looking to build a system. I’ve heard some good things about the Dayton Audio HO-series 12” sub in a ported box tuned somewhere near 30-33hz and a 700+ watt RMS amp. Its matching my stock 280watt RMS system. Would that sub be good for SQ? Or is it overkill? I really want a responsive system that can hit the lows and gives clear sound without having to break the bank. Any suggestions or should I pull the trigger on that setup? Its going in the trunk of a Lexus IS350.

    • Dayton’s are a very popular choice for SQ. They have very low distortion and musically accurate.

      Take a look at Infinity Kappa, Image Dynamics, Morel. More expensive: JL Audio W6, Audiofrog.

  10. Hey Andrew, I have a quick question. I’m looking into getting some subs for my truck. In your opinion, would it be better to have 2 10’s in a shallow box under my back seat, or a perfectly cube box with a deep 12” in it that I would just sit on top of one side of my back seat ? Let’s say a 2’x2’x2’ box just for ease of typing’s sake.

    • Hi Dylan,

      It depends on the subs and how much mounting depth and airspace you have. A pair of shallows usually sound pretty good.

  11. Hey, I am thinking about getting the sa12 and was wondering what the best midrange/budget amp would be, preferably with a bass knob for easy control.

    • Hi Matt,

      Audiopipe 1500
      Sundown SFB-1500
      CT Sounds CT-1500

      Want to see its full potential? I would at least get an amp that puts out over 1000 Watts. Sundown subs are way underrated.

  12. Hey Andrew, I’m looking for a new 12′ sub to run solo off my Pioneer GM-A5702 1000w (480w RMS) 2 CH amp bridged @ 4 ohms. Is there an ideal RMS I should look for? I’m eyeballing the 600-800 range.

  13. Hey I have a arc audio 12 in a bomb box what’s the best amp I can get for it and I’m also looking in getting a new system what do you think would be best for a 2013 dodge charger I want it really loud and do you think 15 inch would be better?

    • It depends what sound you’re looking for really. And of course, how many channels you want too. Take a look at these 4-channel amps or these 5-channel amps for a closer look. A 15 inch will definitely be louder as it will push more air, but the 12 inch will likely have a crisper sound. Again, it’s all about personal preference, but both a 15 and 12 are good options!

  14. Hi. I am new to the buying and owning of both subs and amplifiers in car audio world. At that, I have been a by standing fan of both. I recently bought a 12 inch JL 300w. Always been told JL is the best. I’d like to know what size amplifiers shall I consider?

    • Skar Audio are quite new to the market and some people don’t like them, but they are good, and the link is a good skar 12 inch subwoofer. They’re also reasonably priced, tbf. There are better subs on the market but there are worse, too. WHichever one you get, make sure you get the right enclosure for it.

  15. Hi Whats the best amp to get for the MTX terminator TNE212D 1,200 watts to
    Get the strongest pump ? I can’t quite understand how to pick the proper amp referring to the 150-200%.

  16. Best 12” subwoofer for strictly SQ?… I mean, clean deep and musically accurate SQ. The real deal, if you will…. Not just loud shaking bass…. U know what I mean. I need sound quality first and foremost. Which is the best in your opinion?

  17. Hello I have a Audiopipe 1200 watt 2 channel 4ohm that was running some kenwood elxcelon 12 when they first came out in 2015. Sounds great a little too much sound and not so clear. I ran them hard for about 3 years before they finally burst and shorted out. I was wondering what I should go for speaker wise. In the $150 range. Looking for something that sounds a little more clear. Any thoughts?

  18. I have a 2019 subaru STI. I currently have a small factory style 10″ sub that sits in the small pocket of space on the side of the trunk I love this because it’s out of the way and let me still use most of the space in my trunk. What sub could I use that hits pretty good and doesn’t require a lot of air space to function?


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