The Best Powered Subwoofers

Add Big Bass To Your Home Theater Listening Experience

The subwoofer is a critical component of the home theater system. Today's DVDs, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Discs contain low frequency information that add more impact to those explosions and other special effects, as well as revealing those lower musical tones.

For the best results, you need a subwoofer that delivers deep and accurate bass response in accordance with your room size, acoustical properties, and, of course, your own personal personal preferences (without angering your neighbors).

If you are considering adding a little punch to your system, consider the following powered subwoofer brands and models that may be just right for you.

SVS SB16 16-inch Powered Subwoofer
SVS SB16 16-inch Powered Subwoofer. Image provided by SVS

At a $1,999 suggested price, the SVS SB16 Ultra is definitely the most expensive subwoofer on this list, but if you looking for lots of power output and the lowest possible bass response, for a high-end home theater set in a large room, here is what you get.

Starting off with a traditional acoustics suspension sealed-box design weighing in at 122 pounds, the SVS SB16 houses a large 16-inch steel mesh driver which is additionally supported by a hefty amplifier that can pump out 1,500 continuous watts, and, for brief peaks, can output up to 5,000 watts.

In terms of bass response, it is rated to reach down below 20Hz, with will definitely rumble your room.

Also, to provide easier setup and control, you can opt use the settings available on the subwoofer's top front panel, remote control, or download the SVS Subwoofer Control and Bass Management Smartphone App. Your smartphone needs to be Bluetooth-enabled.

Connectivity options include both LFE and L/R audio line inputs, as well as L/R audio line outputs for connection of an additional subwoofer, if desired. For professional users, the SB16 also provides a set of Balanced XLR-style line inputs and outputs.

Having actually heard (and felt this subwoofer) at the 2017 CES, it is impressive - sitting about 8 feet away, I could definitely feel the bass, as well as feel the air moving my pant legs.

Yamaha NS-SW200PN Subwoofer With Twisted Flare Port
Yamaha NS-SW200PN Subwoofer With Twisted Flare Port. Image provided by Amazon

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The NS-SW200PN is a powered subwoofer that employs a bass reflex design to achieve low bass response. What this means is that in addition to standard subwoofer driver, air is also pushed out its cabinet via a port.

Using this method, does produce good lower bass, but can also result in a less accuracy and more unwanted noise or distortion.

As a result, Yamaha as designed a line of subwoofers, that employ Twisted Flare Ports, of which the NS-SW200PN is one example.

By channeling the air through a twisted design, the air flow is more diffused, resulting in a smoother, less noisy, bass output. Of course, the proof is in the listening, and it looks like Yamaha delivers.

In addition to the twisted flare port design, the SW200PN house a 130 watt amplifier, and supports a frequency response of 28-200Hz. Needed adjustments can be made via the controls on the top front panel.

Polk DSWPRO 550wi Wireless-ready Powered Subwoofer
Polk DSWPRO 550wi Wireless-ready Powered Subwoofer. Images provided by Amazon

When you think of subwoofers, you usually think about the bass, but not so much about additional features. However, in order to make that bass sound good, some practical features certainly help.

In addition to a 10-inch driver, slotted port, powerful amplifier and 38 to 125 Hz frequency response, the DSWPRO 550wi also includes flexible connectivity with both audio line and speaker in/out connections. In addition, wireless connectivity is supported via an optional transmitter/receiver kit.

Operational features are accessible via an included remote control, such as volume, mute, 4 position phase setting, and night mode (which softens the bass for late night listening).

There are also two features that make installation easier.

The first is the ability, via movable cabinet feet, to use the DSWP550wi with the driver and port facing downward or facing front (you need to purchase an optional grill if you want to cover the driver and port).

The second installation assistance feature is the built-in Polk Room Optimizer which provides 4 presets that equalize bass response for cabinet, corner, mid-wall, or mid-room subwoofer placement.

If you are looking for a subwoofer that has some additional perks that enhance placement and performance, consider the Polk audio DSWP550wi.

SVS PC-2000 Cylindrical Subwoofer
SVS PC-2000 Cylindrical Subwoofer. Images provided by Amazon

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The SVS PC-2000 definitely looks different. Instead of the traditional box design we are all used to, this sub has a distinctive vertical cylindrical shape. Inside that cylinder is a downfiring 12-inch driver, rear mounted port, and power 500-watt amplifier.

While the drive pushes air downward, out of the bottom of cylinder, ther air coming off the rear of the driver is directed upwards towards the top interior of the cabinet, then redirected down an internal tube and out a horizontal port mounted on the rear of the subwoofer.

This design yields a low frequency response that goes from below 20Hz up to 260Hz.

Both dedicated LFE and L/R audio line inputs enable connection from home theater receivers that have either type of subwoofer preamp output option.

Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch Powered Subwoofer
Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch Powered Subwoofer. Image provided by Amazon

The Polk PSW10 is a modest powered subwoofer that is great for entry level systems and/or small rooms.

This compact subwoofer delivers 50 Watts of continuous power, good clarity, tightness, and a lower bass response than you might find on more expensive subs.

The PSW10 has a 10-inch woofer cone, a front mounted port to extend lower frequency response, a frequency response of 35 to 200Hz, and an 80Hz to 160Hz adjustable crossover. Input connections include both Line Level and standard speaker connections. The PSW10 also features an Auto On/Off function.

As an additional note, the PSW10 has been in Polk Audio's line-up for about 10 years, and is still going strong.

Klipsch SW-450 Powered Subwoofer
Klipsch SW-450 Powered Subwoofer. Images provided by Amazon

Klipsch is well known for both their their excellent horn-loaded loudspeakers, as well as their extensive, and popular subwoofer line-up.

The Klipsch subwoofer spotlighted on this list is their SW-450. Although not their highest-end subwoofer, for its modest price, and relatively compact size, it is an excellent bass complement for both modest and midrange home theater setups.

The SW-450 features a downfiring 10-inch driver, supported by a rear mounted port, which combined, produce a low frequency response range from 28 to 120Hz.

The built-in amplifier is rated to output 200 watts of continuous power and up to 450 watts for short peaks.

Connectivity includes both L/R audio line outputs and L/R standard speaker connections. All controls are mounted on the rear of the subwoofer cabinet.

Fluance DB10 10-inch Powered Subwoofer
Fluance DB10 10-inch Powered Subwoofer. Images provided by Amazon

There are definitely a lot of subwoofers to consider for your home theater, but sometimes just going with solid basics is the best solution.

The Fluance DB10 is one such subwoofer that definitely meets that criteria. Featuring a traditional box design, the DB10 has a 10-inch front firing driver and port, additionally support by a 45 watt amplifier (peak power available 120w), which makes this sub a good fit for small rooms.

Low frequency response ranges from 38 to 180Hz.

Connection options include an LFE input and a set of traditional speaker terminals that are provided only if your home theater receiver doesn't have a subwoofer preamp output.

Controls are provided for output level, crossover (so you can match the mid-bass point of the subwoofer with the low end frequency response of your other speakers), and a phase control (matches the in/out motion of the driver to the in/out motion of your other speakers).

If you are looking for an affordable subwoofer that won't overwhelm the rest of your system and your room, but still provide the right touch of bass, the Fluance DB10 might just right for you.

Monoprice Premium Select 114567 Powered Subwoofer
Monoprice Premium Select 114567 Powered Subwoofer. Images provided by Amazon

If you are looking for a really inexpensive subwoofer that still sounds good, check out the Monoprice Premium Select 114567.

Inside its traditional, but compact, box cabinet is housed a front firing 8-inch driver, supported by two ports that provides a bass response down to about 40Hz. Although this isn't particularly low for a home theater subwoofer, considering its low price point, this the 114567 is suitable for a modest, small room, home theater setup.

The amplifier can put out about 100 watts of continuous power, and up to 200 watts for short peaks.

Connectivity incudes dedicated LFE, L/R line inputs, as well as standard speaker level terminals.

Level, crossover, phase, and auto/standby settings are also provided via the rear panel.


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