7 Best Powered Subwoofers – Reviews & Buying Guide
Powered car subwoofers are one of the best types of car woofers on the market.
They already have a pre-amplifier inside and can output a decent bass that can sometimes rival much more expensive dedicated bass systems.
Best, you do not have to worry about additional purchases like a dedicated amplifier. Moreover, a powered subwoofer is an ideal choice for owners of small cars that have a small boot.
Additionally, beginners who have never installed their own car audio system before will love setting up a powered woofer.
It has a number of audio outputs that is very easy to connect and fun to play with.
7 Best Powered Car Subwoofers – Reviews
1. Rockville SS8P (Excellent Price to Performance)
2. JBL GT-BassPro12 (Powerful and Clear Bass)
3. Kicker 11HS8 (A Compact Subwoofer Built to Last)
4. Cerwin-vega Mobile VPAS10 (Low-profile and Superior Bass Quality)
5. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 (Best Overall Subwoofer)
6. Dual Electronics SBP8A (Comes with Blue Front Lights)
7. Kenwood KSC-SW11 (Compact and Can Be Remotely Controlled)
1. Rockville SS8P
(Excellent Price to Performance)
2. JBL GT-BassPro12
(Powerful and Clear Bass)
3. Kicker 11HS8
(A Compact Subwoofer Built to Last)
4. Cerwin-vega Mobile VPAS10
(Low-profile and Superior Bass Quality)
5. Rockford Fosgate P300-12
(Best Overall Subwoofer)
6. Dual Electronics SBP8A
(Comes with Blue Front Lights)
7. Kenwood KSC-SW11
(Compact and Can Be Remotely Controlled)
1. Rockville SS8P – Excellent Price to Performance
Powered car subwoofers can sometimes be expensive. This is not the case with the Rockville SS8P as it is one of the most affordable powered subwoofers in this review.
Despite its relatively low price, it still packs a punch and has many features that make it a very desirable woofer. It is definitely the best powered car subwoofer under $200 that you can get.
Also, the amplifier inside this woofer has a big power handling of 400 Watts.
Taking into account the small cone size of 8-inch inside this unit, and the powerful 400 Watts amplifier, you can conclude that it will produce one of the most powerful bass in this review.
It even has many internal circuitry like overheat protection and short-circuits protection as a safety measure. You can play this powered subwoofer at high volumes in all safety.
We note the presence of many sound customization options at the back like low pass crossover filters, phase control, and bass boost EQ amongst others. Additionally, a remote knob is included for controlling the sound at a distance. Neat!
All in all, despite being the most budget-friendly model in this review, the Rockville SS8P has a well-rounded set of features that makes this powered subwoofer value for money.
2. JBL GT-BassPro12 – Powerful and Clear Bass
This powered car subwoofer is certainly not the most affordable model in this powered car subwoofer review.
However, it is one of the best amplified car subwoofers in terms of performance. Indeed, it produces a very powerful and deep bass with its 12-inch cone.
Furthermore, there are a lot of technologies like auto signaling that tells the roofer when to switch on and when to switch off for faster response times and a clearer bass sound.
This unit is not quite as portable but it is built like a tank. Very durable and long-lasting indeed.
The woofer is made from a die-cast aluminum basket that provides durability. It is definitely a car subwoofer that is meant for heavy duty playback at loud volumes.
What we really like about this model is its versatility. There are a lot of customization options at the back that allows the user to fine-tune their music.
This is a rare feature as other models usually only offer a very basic customization setting. Understandably so, this unit is much more expensive which justifies its price quite well.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for with the JBL GT-BassPro12 12-Inch. It is a worthwhile subwoofer that produces a deep and powerful bass that few models in this review can rival.
3. Kicker 11HS8 – A Compact Subwoofer Built to Last
The Kicker 11HS8 is one of the smallest powered subwoofers in this review. Its small and compact size makes it quite versatile and there is a number of installation scenarios that the user can perform with this model. The most common is definitely placing it under the seat.
This unit rocks a smaller 8-inch woofer cone, but despite its small size it still manages to output a more than average sound quality.
Furthermore, a 150 Watts pre-amp is fitted in this model to power the whole thing. 150 Watts is more than enough for an 8-inch subwoofer and it will play loud, clear, and without any distortions.
Performance aside, the build quality is superb. This is definitely a woofer that was built to last and outperform other models in durability. The front even has a metal grille for added protection.
Due to its small size and lightweight, the Kicker 11HS8 can even be used as a portable powered car subwoofer and carried wherever you need a decent bass. It is definitely one of the best compact powered car subwoofer for the money.
4. Cerwin-vega Mobile VPAS10 – Low-profile and Superior Bass Quality
When it comes to tight spaces, the Cerwin-vega Mobile VPAS10 is a true winner. Indeed, this is a compact and low-profile 10-inch powered subwoofer that can be installed almost anywhere in the car.
Despite its relatively small size, it is still a powerful woofer that can produce a punchy bass. It is powered by a 450 Watts amplifier that is more than enough for most people.
Furthermore, the whole unit is encased in a cast aluminum body for better heat dissipation.
Clearly, the Cerwin-vega Mobile VPAS10 is meant to be installed in tight spaces and played at high volumes without the risk of overheating.
For those who need versatility, this model is highly customizable as the back of the unit has a lot of audio outputs and bass EQ settings.
Even if this unit is a little bit expensive, we can safely recommend this powered subwoofer. Especially to those who have tight spaces in their car and yet still need a decent bass quality. The 450 W amplifier is powerful and the woofer produces a deep bass that will satisfy anyone.
5. Rockford Fosgate P300-12 – Best Overall Subwoofer
The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 is one of the best powered car subwoofers on the market. This model comes with a 5/8 MDF case enclosure with a class D amplifier with a rating of 300 RMS.
It isn't the most powerful unit in this review, but it still manages to output a deep bass. The 12-inch cone in the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 displaces a lot of air allowing it to produce a deep sound that few car subwoofers can rival.
Furthermore, the 300 Watts class D amplifier does a good job powering up the unit and there are no overheating issues even when used for an extended period.
Another very interesting feature of this model is that it can be remotely controlled. This adds a lot of convenience to it. Moreover, there is a bass boost EQ panel to the side that allows you to customize the bass to your liking.
All in all, despite being a little expensive, the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 has an excellent build construction and produces a superb and powerful bass that is well worth the money.
Also, it is larger than competing models and require more installation space. So, we nominate it the the best powered subwoofer for trucks and other large vehicles that offer generous installation space.
6. Dual Electronics SBP8A – Comes with Blue Front Lights
The Dual Electronics SBP8A is one of the most typical and yet futuristic looking powered subwoofer in this review.
It is not a very powerful subwoofer with a power handling of only 160 Watts but it is more than enough for its small 8-inch cone.
This is an enclosed system that contains a 2-inch voice coil with a clear midrange frequency. Moreover, it has a low impedance of 2 ohms which means that you can use thin wires to connect to this subwoofer.
But one of the most striking features of the SBP8A is definitely its front acrylic window that when powered illuminates with a blue color. It is quite a stunning view and it will definitely amaze your friends.
But looks are not everything.
This unit still manages to pack a lot of customization options at the back. You can easily fine-tune your bass to your liking with this model.
Moreover, this woofer is more than a novelty item. It is a durable and solid unit that has been built to last and comes with a steel backplate to prevent enclosure vibrations during playback.
Despite having a smaller woofer cone, we find that there are many advantages to this unit. Mostly, it is meant for those who want to attract attention because this is a very flashy powered subwoofer.
7. Kenwood KSC-SW11 – Compact and Can Be Remotely Controlled
We have yet another compact and low-profile model. The Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a model made from an aluminum enclosure that absorbs and dissipate heat well.
Since this top-rated powered car subwoofer is meant to be installed under the seat or in a remote place, it can be remotely controlled for more ease-of-use.
It does not have a very powerful amplifier as it is rated at only 150 Watts but it does not have to as the cone and whole design is efficient requiring less power than other models.
As expected from a company like Kenwood, the build quality of this powered subwoofer is simply superb.
It is built to last and can even be abused as it has excellent heat dissipation. It can withstand high volumes while producing a deep and punchy bass for an extended period with no problem.
If you need a small and compact powered subwoofer then this model is a worthy consideration.
Pros & Cons of a Powered Car Subwoofer
As with any electronic device, a powered car subwoofer has its advantages and disadvantages.
Knowing them will help you make a better purchase decision and allow you to find the best powered car subwoofer for the money.
Ease of use: While a conventional sound system might look intimidating and complex, it really is quite a simple device. Both the installation and usage is easy for absolute beginners.
Portability: Since everything is enclosed, a powered car subwoofer is highly portable. Additionally, they are also very easy to install and solidly built, so they can be carried anywhere with ease.
Versatility: Most car powered subwoofers are more versatile than other types of car subwoofers. Many models can be remote controlled and have powerful bass customization options.
Additionally, they come in different shapes and sizes to suit various needs. Some powered subwoofers are big and meant to be installed in the boot, while others are small and compact and installed under the seat.
Value for money: You do not have to spend additional money on purchasing a dedicated amplifier with a powered subwoofer. It already contains a pre-amp that is usually more than enough for most people.
Less Power: A powered car subwoofer usually tends to have a lower power handling than a dedicated system. This is because the amplifier used is small and needs to fit inside the enclosure that already contains other components like the cone.
Therefore, the bass that comes from such a system will feel smaller when compared with a dedicated system that can have a much higher power handling and bigger amplifier.
Price: The price is another big disadvantage of the powered subwoofer. It is usually more expensive than a dedicated system without necessarily being more performing than the latter.
How to Buy a Powered Car Subwoofer
Before purchasing a powered car subwoofer, here are some important factors that you need to take into account. They may stop you from making an expensive purchase.
The power handling gives you a good indication of the loudness of the woofer. In general, the higher the power handling, the louder you can expect the woofer to be.
However, power isn't everything.
For the best sound, the amplifier needs to be powerful and efficient enough for the subwoofer.
Since a powered subwoofer has to host both the woofer and the amplifier inside the enclosure, it can be big in size.
Ensure that the total height and width of the enclosure will fit inside your boot, especially if you have a small car.
The enclosure design affects the sound of the woofer. In general, a closed loop design tends to give the best bass effect.
Another option is to place the woofer under a seat for better bass reproduction. Of course, this is only possible for models that are compact and have a low-profile.
Each powered subwoofer comes with its own cone size. If you want a deep bass, it is always better to choose a size of 10-inch or above. For a punchier bass, 8-inches powered subwoofers are amazing.
Sensitivity is an important aspect of a woofer. The higher the sensitivity of the powered woofer, the more efficient you can assume the woofer to be as it responds to lower power to produce the same sound.
For more versatility, look for powered woofers that provide the ability to fine-tune the sound. They usually have the bass boost EQ and low pass filters at the back.
Moreover, many top-rated powered car subwoofers can even be remotely controlled for even more ease of use.
When installing the woofer, the impedance is another important factor. What the impedance shows is the type of audio wire you can use during installation.
A woofer with a rated 2 Ohms impedance can be connected with a much thinner wire than a woofer with an impedance of 8 Ohms.
As we’ve seen, powered car subwoofers already have a pre-amp and are easy to install.
If you want a car subwoofer that does not take a lot of space in your car boot and do not want to invest in an external amplifier, a powered woofer is your best choice.
The only caveat is that they cost a little bit more upfront. However, performance wise, many powered subwoofer models can sound just as good as a dedicated bass system.
In case you still haven’t found a good powered car subwoofer for your need, we recommend that you go through this powered car subwoofer review one more time.