The 9 Best Home Subwoofers of 2021

Pump up the bass on your music and movie sound effects

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The Rundown
Renders amazing low frequencies with a stunning sense of realism.
With a peak of 1000 watts, allowing it to really shake the room.
If you're looking for a home theater subwoofer with tons of power, check out the Definitive Technology Prosub 1000.
A legitimately powerful subwoofer that delivers 600 watts of mind-blowing bass.
With a super simple one-button setup that won’t require overthinking to get it going.
Great for more compact spaces like apartments.
Adds an understated, clean design to your living room sound setup.
With an impressive frequency range of 27 – 150Hz.
Enough bass to rattle your bones and your neighbor's coffee mug.

If you're in the market to add a little extra bass to your home theater, our collection of the best home subwoofers are here to impress. These dedicated speakers are made specifically for reproducing lower sound frequencies. While a typical speaker is still more than capable of producing audible bass, a subwoofer specifically targets a lower frequency range that results in the trademark rumble you can feel.

When purchasing a new subwoofer, the size, placement, and power of the machine should be on your judgment checklist. When deciding on the size of your new subwoofer, the measurements that should be compared are not just the size of the room but to the other equipment in your audio system too. If your subwoofer is too big or too small, it will be off balance with other devices in your pre-existing arrangement. The Klipsch Reference R-112SW, due to its power and large size, is perfect for larger rooms with tower speakers present. Yet, a machine like the Polk Audio PSW 10-Inch Woofer stands at 12 inches, making it ideal for smaller sized speakers. The best home subwoofer will seamlessly fit into any audio system, or be able to create a great system.

Best Overall: ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer

What We Like
  • 200 Watts

  • Large frequency response

  • Automatic equalization

What We Don't Like
  • Not wireless

The ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer with 10-inch bass driver renders amazing low frequencies with a stunning sense of realism. It includes a BASH amp that operates at 200 watts of power RMS and 400 watts of power at peak. Frequency response is 28 to 150Hz, and it features continuously adjustable crossover at 50 to 150Hz. The subwoofer provides automatic equalization to the room environment. ELAC has even capitalized on the mobile app revolution, allowing traditional analog controls to be controlled through a smartphone with the ELAC SUB control app.

Wattage: 200 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Down-firing

Best Home Theater: BIC Acoustec PL-200 II Subwoofer

What We Like
  • 1000 Watts

  • Gold plated terminals

  • Solid construction

What We Don't Like
  • Not great for small spaces

  • No magnetic shielding

The BIC Acoustec PL-200 II Subwoofer allows you to experience movie theater sound quality, making action sequences seem more real, and allowing you to feel all the emotion of tear-jerking theme music. It has a rich, deep sound with a balanced, energetic bass and a good low-frequency response. Its 250 watts, with 1,000 watts at peak, allowing it to really shake the room. The BIC Acoustec is a great addition to any home theater system, and at less than $300, it’s still somewhat budget friendly.

Our tester was particularly surprised at how simple setting up this subwoofer was. They only needed to plug in power and connect it to the sub out port on their receiver to get things up and running.

Wattage: 1000 | Driver Size: 12-inch | Direction: Front-firing

"The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II is one of the best subwoofers for under $300 on the market right now."Benjamin Zeman, Product Tester

BIC Acoustec PL-200 II Subwoofer

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

Best Large Output: Definitive Technology Prosub 1000 300W 10-Inch Subwoofer

BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front-Firing Powered Subwoofer
What We Like
  • 18-150 Hz range

  • Auto on/off

  • three-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Not wireless

If you're looking for a home theater subwoofer with tons of power, check out the Definitive Technology Prosub 1000. This subwoofer delivers a whopping 300 watts of amplifier power to give you the deep, thundering bass range you need to create the ultimate cinematic audio experience. With a base response range of 18 to 150 Hz, you can customize your audio to fit what you're watching. 

The cabinet is made of non-resonant material and has permanently joined pieces to reduce rattle and preserve sound quality. It also features adjustable rubber feet to protect your flooring and keep your subwoofer steady on uneven surfaces. With a 10-inch front firing driver and radiator, this subwoofer creates a radiation area that is 39% larger than previous models. This unit has an automatic on/off function so you never have to worry about flipping a switch or unplugging it when not in use. Definitive Technology backs this subwoofer with a three year manufacturer's warranty to cover defective parts and DOA units.

Wattage: 750 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Rear-firing

Best Bass Response: Klipsch Reference R-112SW Subwoofer

What We Like
  • 600 Watts

  • Wireless

  • Modern copper design

What We Don't Like
  • Easily scratched

  • Heavy

The Klipsch Reference R-112SW is a legitimately powerful subwoofer that delivers 600 watts of mind-blowing bass in a beautiful case. The R-112SW has a simple yet refined design with spun copper sitting in the middle of the unit that can provide exceptionally low frequencies. This model’s biggest selling point outside of the powerful bass response is the fact that it’s wireless, so you can place the subwoofer wherever it sounds best in your desired room. With the unit measuring 18.2 x 15.5 x 17.4 inches and weighing nearly 50 pounds, that flexibility of placement will definitely come in handy.

Overall, this subwoofer works great for both music and movies, with a booming sound that never gets muddy. This model can also be easily scratched, so be careful when unboxing it and moving it around the house if you decide to purchase it.

Wattage: 150 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Front-firing

Best Wireless: Sonos SUB (Gen 3)

Sonos Sub
What We Like
  • Deep low-end range

  • Modern design

  • Force-canceling drivers

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot connect another subwoofer

When it comes to wireless sound systems, Sonos has really secured its place in the industry. You can hardly even talk about Bluetooth speakers without bringing up the company’s multi-room, speaker handoff systems. But when you’re looking at the Play:1s or Play:3s, you can easily forget that these smaller speakers, even if paired in stereo doubles, don’t offer much in the way of low end. That’s where the latest generation of Sonos’s SUB system comes into play. Much like a subwoofer in a standard wired system, this one will give you a really full, deep low end. Sonos has used the same logic of simplicity with this system as the rest of their speaker offerings, giving you a super simple one-button setup that won’t require overthinking to get it going.

The slim, stylish cabinet can either be displayed on the floor outside the system or slide inside a cabinet. There are force-canceling drivers positioned inside the cabinet face-to-face that allow for a full, unfettered bass response, so you don't have to worry about cabinet buzzing, rattling or any other artifacts to the sound. And just like the rest of the Sonos family, it can all be connected and controlled wirelessly to the rest of the system with the Sonos app.

Wattage: Unpublished (50-100 estimated) | Driver Size: Dual 6-inch | Direction: Down-firing

Best 10-Inch: Polk Audio PSW10

Polk Audio - PSW Series 10" Active Subwoofer - Black
100W peak power
  • Minimal distortion

  • Advanced laser interferometry analysis

  • Appealing design

  • Difficult to hide away

  • Lacks the full spectrum of more expensive models

The Polk Audio PSW 10-Inch Woofer model offers you a stellar bass response without the need to take up the space of the other 12-inch units on this list, which is great for more compact spaces like apartments. It offers 100W peak power handling with minimal distortion throughout most of that range. How does it offer that minimal distortion? Using the Klippel distortion analyzer. This Laser interferometry tech actually analyzes the distortion and cancels it out by optimizing the woofer’s motor structure and voice coil alignment. This gives you very little buzz in playback, which is important for such a loud, low-frequency device.

The flared, front-firing cone gives you great response right to the seating area, but it’s important to note that, unlike the other side-firing options on this list, you can’t really place it hidden away anywhere. The response offers 30 to 200Hz, so it covers basically all of the low ends but doesn't offer the full spectrum of depth that some of the more expensive models give you. Round this all out with a white cone in front of the black enclosure, and it gives you a pretty eye-catching look, too.

Wattage: 100 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Front-firing

Best Design: Samsung SWA-W700

What We Like
  • Deep bass response

  • Wireless connectivity

  • Built-in distortion canceling tech

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

Designed to work alongside the rest of the Samsung Sound+ series, this Samsung SWA subwoofer adds an understated, clean design to your living room sound setup. The ultra-deep 27 kHz bass response is technically lower than the human ear can actually hear, but it will add a little extra non-auditory rumble to the room as well, so the response on this unit will be plenty for your setup. The SWA-W700 also offers you the ability to connect wirelessly, so you can place the subwoofer anywhere in the room and aren’t tethered to the central entertainment center in your living room.

When connected to the Sound+ center speaker, it will actually automatically tune itself correctly to the system so there will be audible symmetry, too. There’s even some distortion-canceling tech built right in, so you won’t get that expected bass-level buzz and rattle so common in lower dollar system. Round that out with a unibody construction and the ability to expose a beautiful speaker cone by removing the grill, and you have a really great-looking system that you won’t want to hide away behind the cabinet.

Wattage: 25 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Front-firing

Best Wide Frequency Range: Klipsch R-110SW 10" 200 Watt Subwoofer

Klipsch R-110SW 10” 200 Watt Subwoofer
What We Like
  • All-digital amp

  • Wireless adapter support

  • Clear high and low ranges

What We Don't Like
  • No native wireless connectivity

This Klipsch subwoofer has an impressive frequency range of 27 to 150Hz. Compact and stylish, this front-firing subwoofer gives a tight musical bass reproduction for added depth to your favorite music and movies with minimal breakup and distortion. The integrated all-digital amp delivers a hard-hitting and powerful bass. The front slot ports allow for an energetic frequency even at low range, while the MDF Plinth's acoustic decoupling technique creates a powerful effect that minimizes ambient room noise.

This subwoofer supports a wireless adapter kit for those who want to go wireless or easily change the placement in any room. At 200 watts of continuous power and the ability to handle bursts up to 450 watts, it is powerful enough to allow you to hear and feel even the subtlest of effects. Audiophiles who enjoy a wide range of music, anything from classical​ to jazz, to hard rock, will appreciate the frequency range of the Klipsch. It delivers the highs, the lows and everything in between with ease.

Wattage: 450 | Driver Size: 10-inch | Direction: Front-firing

Best Budget: Monoprice 12-Inch 150 Watt Subwoofer

Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy Series 12-Inch 300-Watt Subwoofer
What We Like
  • Under $150

  • 50-250 Hz range

  • Auto on/off

What We Don't Like
  • Not wireless

The Monoprice 12-inch 150 watt subwoofer delivers plenty of power and thumping bass with a price point that is more manageable than some on this list. This subwoofer retails under $150, so if you're working on a budget to set up your home theater audio system, it could be the perfect choice. The 12-inch front-firing driver is supplemented with a 3.5-inch port underneath the cabinet to create very low bass frequencies and a more cinematic listening experience. 

This subwoofer has a bass response range of 50 to 250 Hz so you can customize the lower ranges to fit what you're watching or listening to. The cabinet itself is made of black, simulated wood for a classic finish and is built with impedance matching circuitry to prevent power loss to front speakers when used. This subwoofer can deliver up to 121.6 decibels of sound, giving you enough bass to rattle your bones and your neighbor's coffee mug. It also features an automatic on/off cycle to conserve energy when not in use.

Wattage: 150 | Driver Size: 12-inch | Direction: Front-firing

Final Verdict

If you're looking to add a little bass to your home theater setup, our top pick is the ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer (view at Amazon). Its 10-inch bass driver renders amazing low frequencies with a stunning sense of realism, and you can even control it via smartphone app.

About Our Trusted Experts

Patrick Hyde lives in Seattle where he works as a digital marketer and freelance copywriter. His areas of expertise include audio equipment such as headphones and earbuds.

Benjamin Zeman is a business consultant, musician and writer based in southern Vermont. He is an expert in audio equipment, including subwoofers.

FAQs

Do you need a subwoofer?
Your home audio setup doesn't require a subwoofer to sound good, but having one will add a surprising amount of depth to your audio experience. There are plenty of soundbars and speakers that can sound amazing without a subwoofer. 

Can't you just crank up the bass on your regular speakers?
Sure you could, but doing this is going to make the rest of the audio you're listening to completely incoherent. Woofers and subwoofers operate within different frequencies that are audible and inaudible respectively, by just turning up your bass, you're likely going to do more harm than good both to your equipment and your eardrums by completely drowning out every other audible frequency. 

Subwoofers make the bass in your audio playback more noticeable by broadcasting in a lower frequency band, which is where that rumble comes from each time there's an explosion or you're listening to Barry White. Having a broader range of frequencies really gives you the best overall listening experience without putting unnecessary strain on your equipment.

Where is the best place to put your subwoofer?
The cool thing about subwoofers is that they are meant to be felt more than heard. This means that there really isn't a bad place to put them in your home theater setup. Typically the best answer for this is "anywhere that's out of the way" as subwoofers tend to occupy a pretty significant footprint wherever they are. Joking aside you can usually tuck them away in a corner of your living room, behind some furniture, or even covered with a decorative tapestry. There's very little you can do to hamper the performance of your subwoofer as long as it's in the immediate vicinity of your audio playback.

BIC Acoustec PL-200 II Subwoofer

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

What to Look for in a Home Subwoofer

Size

In general, subwoofers with larger surface areas play deeper sound. But you’ll also want to consider the size of your other speakers to ensure that the overall sound profile is balanced. An 8-inch or 10-inch subwoofer is suitable for basic bookshelf speakers, but if you have tower speakers, look for one that’s 12 inches (or more).

Placement

You’ll need to choose between a front-firing and down-firing subwoofer—and which one is best for your space depends on where you’ll put it. If it’ll sit near your other speakers, we recommend a front-firing subwoofer, but if it’ll be positioned in a corner or on a side wall, go for a down-firing one.

Power

Subwoofers have built-in amplifiers that are optimized to collaborate with the drivers. This yields maximum performance, so you generally don’t need much power to deliver booming bass. Still, the larger the room, the more powerful subwoofer you’ll need.

BIC Acoustec PL-200 II

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

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