The 12 Best Home Subwoofers to Buy in 2018

Pump up the bass on your music and movie sound effects

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer

Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer

Amazon

4.9

From a name well-known to audiophiles, and deserving of their stellar reputation, Polk offers the PSW505, a single-powered home subwoofer that delivers chest thumping bass and dynamic performance in a sound that is deep, loud and clear. This subwoofer provides 300 watts of continuous power and 460 watts dynamic, with large hi-roll surrounds supporting a 12” throw. It has a frequency range of 23 – 160Hz.

There is an adjustable low-pass crossover, volume control and phase switch to enable smooth blending with speakers. And the subwoofer's slot load venting makes for a good bass response, reduces turbulence, noise, and distortion. As for it's eco-friendliness, the subwoofer automatically powers down after 15 minutes of inactivity to reduce energy consumption.

Read more reviews of the best home subwoofers under $100 available for purchase online.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer

ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer

Amazon

The ELAC S10 Debut Series 200 Watt Powered Subwoofer with 10” 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 28-150Hz, and it features continuously adjustable crossover at 50-150Hz. 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.

Best Value: Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy Series 12-Inch 300-Watt Subwoofer

Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy Series 12-Inch 300-Watt Subwoofer

Amazon

The Klipsch Synergy Sub-12 is a full-size subwoofer with a 12” cone, 300-watt BASH digital amp and a number of connectivity options. It has a frequency range of 24 – 120Hz and features a variable low pass filter, phase control and level adjustment, which makes it a perfect addition to any home stereo or theater system. You’ll find a large venting port, stereo RCA line level inputs and stereo speaker level inputs and outputs. The crossover continuously adjusts from 40 to 120Hz to give a broad range of frequencies.​

The low down authority of this subwoofer is deep, room-shaking, all the while being surprisingly taught, detailed and pitch accurate. The bass has notable oomph here, making it a real pleasure to the ears.

When paired up with a good set of speakers, the Klipsch Sub 12HG Synergy Series subwoofer delivers two of the 10 lowest octaves that can be detected by the human ear. You get an increased bass response, low distortion and warm, rich bass that you’ll feel and hear.

Best Smart Home Compatibility: Amazon Echo Sub

If you’re fully in the Amazon ecosystem (meaning you own a few Echoes or Echo Dots), the new Echo Sub subwoofer could be a great addition to your smart home. The Echo Sub is a down-firing six-inch woofer that pumps 100W of bass through the floor for accurate fullness and a notable feel. The real kicker here, though, is its ease of use with other Amazon Echo products. You can connect it in three easy steps via the Alexa app, and then it will pair and play nicely with whatever Alexa speaker you have. If you really want to step up the sound quality, Amazon recommends pairing it with two matching Echoes for full stereo sound complete with bass. One of Amazon’s principle criticisms — and the reason for larger smart speakers like the Apple Home Pod — is the fact that Amazon smart speakers have thin, quiet sound. Well, bolster your system with this and that complaint will be no more. 

Best Home Theater: BIC Acoustec PL-200 II Subwoofer

BIC Acoustec PL-200 Subwoofer

Amazon

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 1000 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.

Best Bass Response: Klipsch Reference R-112SW Subwoofer

Klipsch Reference R-112SW Subwoofer

Amazon

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. Amazon reviewers have been happy with this model and say that it works great for both music and movies, with a booming sound that never gets muddy. They also note that this model can be easily scratched, so be careful when unboxing it and moving it around the house if you decide to purchase it.

Best High End: SVS 16" 1500W Powered Subwoofer

SVS 16” 1500W Powered Subwoofer

 Amazon

The SVS 16” 1500W Powered Subwoofer isn’t cheap, but for bass this intense, it’s worth every penny. The subwoofer has style to spare with a glossy black piano finish, but beneath its sophisticated exterior, it’s hiding a monster. A peek inside the device reveals a huge 16-inch Ultra driver, an 8-inch, edge-wound voice coil and a continuous 1,500-watt Sledge amplifier — all which team up to create unbelievable sound with up to 5000 watts of total power. The SVS creates such a realistic soundscape that you’ll feel like you’re really there when watching movies or playing games. The frequency response covers from 16-460Hz, an incredibly versatile range with XLR balanced audio to accommodate any type of audio you can imagine. Music lovers will delight in the punchy, front-row quality it gives live recordings. 

Best Wireless: Sonos SUB

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 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.

Best Design: Samsung SWA-W700

Samsung SWA-W700

Samsung

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.

Best Large Output: BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Subwoofer

BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front-Firing Powered Subwoofer

Amazon

Continuous mid-range and high-frequency horns are the top choice of movie theater sound engineers, preferred for their ability to allow listeners to hear everything from the softest of whispers to the most booming of explosions in extreme detail. And the BIC's horn drivers are unrivaled in terms of clarity and range. With a BASH amp, known for excelling at fidelity, this subwoofer has an output capability of up to 116dB, which is equivalent to seeing a live rock performance. It has a frequency range of 25 – 200Hz. This subwoofer is described as “powerful and punchy.” It is an adjustable crossover, and the patented BIC “Venturi” vent cancels out port noise at higher volumes.

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

Klipsch R-110SW 10” 200 Watt Subwoofer

Amazon

This Klipsch subwoofer has an impressive frequency range of 27 – 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.

Best 10-Inch: Polk Audio PSW 10-Inch Woofer

Polk Audio - PSW Series 10" Active Subwoofer - Black

BestBuy

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.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 20 hours testing one of the top-rated home subwoofers available. To ensure the most well-rounded feedback, our testers connected this subwoofer to their own home audio systems and observed how it handled playing music, movies, and more. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using this home subwoofer, from its power to its footprint. We've outlined the major points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

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.

Test Results: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Best Overall)

4.9

What We Like

  • Easy setup

  • Excellent power

  • Great sound quality

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy

  • Large

“This home subwoofer brings my sound to a whole new level,” raved one of our testers. “I now get a lot more bass, and it sounds great with music and movies alike.” The easy setup was also a plus: “It was simple enough for non-audiophiles to complete,” said one reviewer. In fact, our testers’ main complaints about this subwoofer had little to do with its performance — they just pointed out it was heavy and larger than comparable units.