The 8 Best Home Subwoofers of 2020

Pump up the bass on your music and movie sound effects

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The Rundown
"With low distortion and warm, rich bass that you’ll feel and hear."
"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."
"Renders amazing low frequencies with a stunning sense of realism."
"Adds an understated, clean design to your living room sound setup."

The best home subwoofers supply top-quality bass sounds. The difference between a subwoofer and a speaker is the frequencies they project. While the average speaker plays between 20Hz to 20kHz, on the other hand, subwoofers amplify low toned sounds typically below 100Hz. Combining a subwoofer and one of the best surround sound speakers could create an outstanding at-home audio system! 

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 at Walmart, 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 at Amazon 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: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer

What We Like
  • Auto on/off

  • Affordable

  • Magnetic noise reduction shielding

What We Don't Like
  • Muddy low frequencies

  • Rattles at high volumes

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.

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 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 Large Output: Definitive Technology Prosub 1000 300W 10-Inch 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 percent 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.

The size of your living room or home theater space is the most important factor to consider when choosing a home subwoofer. If the subwoofer is too large or powerful enough for your space, you'll get muddy audio and a less than ideal listening experience.

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.

Best Wireless: Sonos SUB (Gen 3)

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.

Best 10-Inch: Polk Audio PSW10

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.

Runner-Up, 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” 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 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.

Final Verdict

If you're looking to add a little bass to your home theater setup, our top pick is the Polk Audio PSW505, fantastic sound quality, subtle design, and a reasonable price make it an excellent addition to just about any sound system.

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.