Car subwoofers are a critical component to having a well-rounded sound in your vehicle. Their ability to provide the low and deep sound range help bring balance to the mid and high frequencies of your other car speakers. 

Here are 5 fast facts about car subwoofers that can help you better understand their importance and functionality:

1. Car Subwoofers Come in Multiple Sizes

The most common car subwoofers are 8”, 10”, 12”, and 15”. As the size of the subwoofer increases, the sound typically gets louder and offers more bass. As an example, an 8” sub will not be able to handle as much power, and therefore will produce less bass. This is because their cones have a smaller surface area; however, they may provide slightly better clarity. 

Love listening to bass-heavy genres like Hip-Hop or EDM? In that case, you will likely want a 12” or 15” subwoofer for the deepest bass possible.

Kicker CompRT TCWRT122

2. There are Multiple Package Variations to Choose From

Car subwoofers can be purchased by themselves, enclosed, powered or even vehicle specific. Let’s take a quick look at each:

  • Component Subwoofers: A component sub comes without any enclosure and is just the speaker or subwoofer itself. This is a good option for someone looking to custom install or create their own box.
  • Loaded Subwoofer Enclosures: These subs come fully enclosed in a custom fit box for easy and quick installation. Keep in mind enclosed subwoofers require an amp for power.
  • Loaded & Powered Subwoofer Enclosures: Powered subs not only have the sub and enclosure but also an amplifier for power. These are easy to install and can provide a great solution for your needs. There also some unique options in this category including under-seat subwoofers and even spare tire enclosures. These compact solutions are perfect for someone who wants to add a little bass, but lacks the space in their vehicle to install a full-sized subwoofer box.
  • Vehicle Specific Subwoofer Boxes: Vehicle specific subs are custom made to fit your specific vehicle. One of the most popular manufacturers for these types of enclosures is JL Audio. They have a wide range of vehicle compatibility for their Stealth Box line. These are produced for easy installation, but they can get very costly in most cases.

3. Car Subwoofers Have Different Impedances

The impedance of your subwoofer is something that is important to be aware of when you are wiring them to an amplifier. Most subwoofers are going to have an impedance of single 2 or 4 ohms or dual 2 or 4 ohms. The difference between single or dual is explained further in this article; however, in short, “dual” means it has 2 voice coils and these subwoofers can be wired to two different impedances. A dual 2-ohm subwoofer can either be wired in 1 or 4 ohms while a dual 4-ohm subwoofer can be either wired in 2 or 8 ohms. 

Belva Vented Sub Box 1SV12G

4. Match Your Subwoofer to a Correct Size Enclosure

If you are purchasing a component subwoofer, it is important to note that subwoofer boxes are NOT universal. In a subwoofer’s manual, it should note the correct box size that your subwoofer will require. It should provide at least a minimum and a maximum box volume that your subwoofer will require. You can then use that information to purchase the perfect box for your subwoofer. 

The reason behind this is the amount of air space that your subwoofer will require to produce the best sound possible. A bigger subwoofer with a larger surface area and a larger box with more air space means more low-end bass. If you want to install a subwoofer into a smaller, more compact enclosure, then it will require a slim subwoofer like the Kicker CompVT CVT122. Check out all of our shallow mount subwoofers we offer.

Alpine Type-R SWR-10D2

5. The Quality of Materials Matter

If you have ever heard the crackly, staticky, popping sound coming from your subwoofer, you felt the pain and anguish of a blown speaker. This unfortunate situation occurs when you push the subwoofer too far and more than the cone was designed to handle.

When this happens, the speaker cone usually tears or separates and in most cases needs to be replaced. There may be an option to re-cone a subwoofer but that should be handled by a professional. This is one area where budget subwoofers seem to break down. This happens much more frequently in a low-end subwoofers made of cheaper materials. Mid-range and high-end will often times use high-quality materials for their cones like polypropylene and even kevlar. Materials like this will help provide longevity to your subwoofer.

Hopefully, these 5 facts about car subwoofers have helped you understand the basic usage and functionality of these speakers. There is nothing like a great sounding subwoofer, so choosing the correct configuration and properly maintaining yours can lead to years of enjoyment. If you still have questions regarding subwoofers or other car audio components, be sure to contact us today!