The best 12-inch subwoofers combine a mix of sound and power to deliver resonant bass both inside and outside your vehicle. But like everything else with stereo equipment the right sound is a combination of art and science. It’s easy to overwhelm your car stereo with power, but there’s more to it than sheer volume. Likewise, an underpowered subwoofer or a poor-quality one will sound muddy. 

The recipe for a good sound includes the right head unit, a powerful amplifier, good car speakers, and a quality subwoofer for that huge low-end rumble. The most popular size subwoofer is the 12-inch variety if you can make them fit in your trunk. In this review, we’ll cover what’s important when considering a subwoofer and provide our recommendations on the best 12-inch subwoofers.  

Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12
Best for Bass: MTX Audio TNP212DV Terminator
Best for the Money: Skar Audio EVL-12 D2
Best Shallow-Mount: Kicker 44CWCS124
Best Under $100: Pioneer TS-W126M
Best All-in-One: Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch

How We Picked the Best 12-Inch Subwoofers

I’ve built a number of car stereos, including one I liked so well I used it in my home. To compile this list, I looked at 15 to 20 top-rated subwoofers and reviewed them based on sound quality, build quality, power, and price. 

Sheer power is secondary to sound quality and the quality of subwoofer components. Sound and build quality go hand-in-hand. In my experience, it’s better to get the best quality speakers you can afford, even at the expense of other components. 

Sound quality is subjective, but I look for range and clarity which is based on frequency range and sensitivity. Crisp sound and note separation at low frequencies are what get my attention. Especially if it’s sustained down to the low, low frequencies you feel more than hear. It’s easy to be loud but clarity holds people’s attention. 

That’s not to say power and volume aren’t important. They are unless you’re listening to polka music. You need both to push that low-frequency bass. But base should build the foundation of a good sound system, not drown out everything else.   

Best 12-Inch Subwoofers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12

Great Sound Quality. Rockford Fosgate

Why It Made The Cut: The Rockford Fostgate P3D2-12 is one of the best 12-inch subwoofers at any price. 

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: N/A
Mounting Depth: 6.66 inches
RMS Power: 600 to 1,200 watts
Frequency Response: 28 to 250 hertz

Pros:
— Loud and responsive with clear sound
— Durable solid, anodized aluminum cone
— FlexFit design allows ease of adjustability
— Attractive, high-quality components 

Cons:
— Frequency range is not as wide as other subwoofers

Rockford Fosgate is a premium name in car stereos and the P3D2 peak subwoofer provides a great bass sound for a reasonable price. 600 watts RMS of power, (how much continuous power a speaker or subwoofer can produce), and 1,200 watts of peak power mean it can handle anything from Chopin to 50 Cent. 

It offers great performance thanks to Rockford Fostgate’s VAST technology and its hybrid stamp-cast basket. VAST stands for Vertical Attach Surround Technique and increases a speaker’s effective cone area. That technology, coupled with a strong, lightweight anodized aluminum cone eliminates flex and provides an excellent bass response. It’s durable and lightweight, making it the ideal subwoofer for any application. And the sound quality makes it a great choice for any bass lover. For another option at home, try the best home Bluetooth speakers.

Best for Bass: MTX Audio TNP212DV Terminator

Versatile and Eye-Catching. MTX

Why It Made The Cut: The MTX TNP212DV offers thumping low-end bass in an attractive box for a reasonable price. 

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: 29.5 inches L x 13.5 inches W x 14 inches H
Mounting Depth: N/A
RMS Power: 1,000 to 2,000 watts
Frequency Response: 37 to 150 hertz

Pros:
— Strong low-end bass
— Durable polypropylene cones
— Attractive, well-crafted box
— Includes amplifier and bass control knob 

Cons:
— Large, bulky size

The MTX TNE212D combines a great subwoofer with an attractive exterior surround to deliver outstanding bass. This enclosure includes two 12-inch Terminator subwoofers with durable polypropylene dust caps which will handle constant use. The lightweight design ensures efficient movement using less power. 

Best of all, the easy setup makes it convenient to hook up to a factory system or even for home use. No matter how you use them, the MTX TNE212D will kick your sound up a notch and look good doing it. 

Best for the Money: Skar Audio EVL-12 D2

Rock the House. Skar Audio

Why It Made The Cut: The Skar Audio EVL-12 D2 has incredible power and deep bass sound for a great price. 

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: N/A
Mounting Depth: 7.75 inches
RMS Power: 1,250 to 2,500 watts
Frequency Response: 25 to 250 hertz

Pros:
— Deep, powerful bass
— 2,500 watts of peak power
— Efficient cooling system
— Durable build quality 

Cons:
— Sound quality deteriorates the louder you go

When it comes to power the Skar EVL-12 D2 is hard to top. It delivers a ton of bass with 1,250 watts of RMS power and an amazing 2,500 watts of peak power. But even more impressive, its frequency range goes down to the 25 hertz sub-basement and will shake any foundation.  

The only problem is sound quality. The louder the EVL-12 D2 goes, the muddier the sound gets. Additionally, some users have reported problems with the subwoofer after pushing it to peak power. But keep things near the RMS peak and it sounds great. The bass is deep and resonant and sounds great.  

Best Shallow-Mount: Kicker 44CWCS124

Display Worthy. Kicker

Why It Made The Cut: The Kicker 44CWCS124 is a great shallow mount subwoofer that offers a lot of depth in sound.  

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: N/A
Mounting Depth: 5.38 inches
RMS Power: 300 to 1,200 watts
Frequency Response: 27 to 500 hertz

Pros:
— Good sound quality
— Ribbed polyurethane surround reduces vibrations
— Attractive design
— Durable build quality 

Cons:
— Not as loud as other subwoofers 

Kicker 44CWCS124 Single Voice Coil Car Audio Subwoofers offer great sound quality in a shallow mount speaker. One of the things that make it stand out is a ribbed polyurethane surround which reduces vibrations and improves sound quality. The yellow stitching also stands out and offers some flash when on display.  

The CompC voice coil ensures smooth, distortion-free bass. Three hundred watts of RMS power and 1,200 watts of max power mean that this subwoofer can pump out the same sound as most other units. Best of all, it comes at a price that won’t hurt your budget. For additional sound quality, consider the best outdoor Bluetooth speakers.

Best Under $100: Pioneer TS-W126M

Good Value. PIONEER

Why It Made The Cut: The Pioneer TS-W126M is a powerful subwoofer at an amazing price. 

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: N/A
Mounting Depth: 5.31 inches
RMS Power: 350 to 1,300 watts
Frequency Response: 27 to 500 hertz

Pros:
Surprising power
Good sensitivity and full sound
Versatile mounting options
Good construction quality 

Cons:
Sound quality isn’t as good as other options 

There are not many subwoofers below $100 that are worth looking at. The exception is the Pioneer TS-W126M. Not only is it inexpensive but it offers plenty of power and sound quality. A peak power rating of 1,300 watts and 350 watts means this subwoofer can get plenty loud. It also sounds good although not quite as clear as more expensive options. But for less than $100 you can’t miss. 

The TS-W126M can be mounted inside either a sealed or ported box. The seamless IPP cone reduces distortion and increases efficiency giving a tight bass response. Like most of Pioneer’s products, it’s well made and built to last. So not only is it inexpensive, but it should provide a great sound for years to come.

Best All-in-One: Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch

Snap to Set Up. Rockford Fosgate

Why It Made The Cut: The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch our pick for the best “all in one” subwoofers that includes a surround and built-in amplifier.  

Specs:
Exterior Surround Dimensions: 11 x 19.8 x 15 inches
Mounting Depth: N/A
RMS Power: 300 to 1,300 watts
Frequency Response: 27 to 500 hertz

Pros:
— Easy installation
— 300-watt amp provides plenty of power
— Sealed enclosure provides great sound
— Good construction quality 

Cons:
— Bulky size 

If you’re looking for a great powered subwoofer, it’s hard to go wrong with the Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch. The 12-inch subwoofer and 300-watt amp combo pump out 300 watts of RMS power, and 1,300 watts of peak power. All you have to do is hook it up. This makes it an ideal setup for someone who is looking to add more bass to an existing car stereo or home system.   

The sealed enclosure provides a deep, resonant low end with clear sound across the range. The construction quality also stands out. Both the subwoofer and enclosure are solid, well made, and should last for a long time.

Things to Consider Before Buying a 12-inch Subwoofer

When buying a 12-inch subwoofer, the three most important considerations are price, size, and sound quality. Price and size are straightforward choices, but when evaluating sound quality you’ll want to consider the following: 

Power

Power is everything when you want to rattle windows and your fillings. When it comes to subwoofers there are two power ratings to keep in mind:   

— RMS power indicates how much power a subwoofer can handle continuously. Your subwoofer should be able to handle this level of power indefinitely. 

— Peak power is the maximum power a subwoofer can handle in short bursts. However, if you try to sustain peak power it will only wreck your speakers.   

Sensitivity

Like a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movie, power needs to be balanced with sensitivity.   Sensitivity is the ability to convert the power into sound and it’s measured in decibels (dB). A model with higher sensitivity requires less power to produce the same volume as one with lower sensitivity.

Frequency

The frequency indicates how wide the range of sounds your speakers can reproduce. Measured in hertz (Hz), the lower the frequency, the better the low-end sound for subwoofers. 

FAQs

Q: How much do 12-inch subwoofers cost? 

Most 12-inch subwoofers range in price from below $100 up to almost $1,000. A good quality subwoofer from one of the top manufacturers typically runs around $300. 

Q: What’s the hardest-hitting 12-inch subwoofer?

The Rockford Fosgate Punch, Skar Audio EVL, and Kicker are consistently ranked at the top of the list for hardest-hitting subwoofers.  

Q: Which 12-inch subwoofer has the most bass?

Both the Skar Audio SDR-1X12D2 and Rockford Fosgate P300-12 rank the highest at delivering the most bass and the deepest bass. 

Q: Are 2 12-inch subs too much for a car?

Two 12-inch subs are not too much for a car. The limiting factor is trunk space. Many car trunks are not large enough to handle two 12-inch subwoofers — either in terms of space or room for them to operate efficiently.    

Q: Is a 12-inch sub worth it? 

The benefits 12-inch subwoofers provide over smaller ones are that they handle more power, play louder, and handle more bass. Many people also think they sound better than smaller subs. 

Q: What is the best 12-inch subwoofer?

The subwoofers on this list consistently rank among the best. In terms of brands, it’s hard to go wrong with Rockford Fosgate, MTX Audio, Skar, Kicker, JL, or Pioneer. 

Final Thoughts

The Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12 is our overall pick for best 12-inch subwoofer, offering great sound quality and lots of bass for a reasonable price. For sheer power it’s hard to beat the MTX Audio TNP212DV Terminator which comes in an attractive box and is also easy on the wallet. Check out the Kicker 44CWCS124 if you need a shallow mount subwoofer that is still big on sound. Finally, the Pioneer TS-W126M is a great choice for under $100 while still offering good sound quality.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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