When it comes to killer car audio, bass is the name of the game. Without an aftermarket subwoofer, you might as well be listening to whispers and static. This has led manufacturers and sound engineers to invest countless hours and dollars into discovery the latest innovations. And with such progress and strong variety in the market, choosing the ideal subwoofer can be a difficult task.

As if that wasn’t enough, the shape of your unit is something you must choose as well. If you’ve been paying attention to current car audio trends, you’ll notice more and more people are asking how the shape affects their sound. From round to square, oval to hexagon, what are the differences between shapes? If you’ve been asking yourself the same thing, here’s all the information you need to make an informed decision next time you are purchasing an aftermarket woofer:

Square vs Round Subwoofers

On the surface, the shape of a subwoofer might appear to be based on pure aesthetics. Now, although unique shapes do add a unique beauty to custom audio, there’s more to subwoofer shape than sex appeal. A lot of audible factors are affected by the shape you choose. Let’s delve deeper into the differences.

Surface Area and Volume

The volume of a subwoofer is determined by the sound pressure created by the speaker. A cone with a larger surface area will be able to drive more air into movement in turn producing more powerful vibrations. If you put a 10-inch square subwoofer against a 10 inch round subwoofer, the square subwoofer will sound louder than the round one even though they are both specified to be 10″.

This is due to the the fact the square design has four corners adding to the cone’s surface area. This increase in surface area translates to larger volumes of air and effectively additional bass. However, these extra corners also mean that sound waves can be slightly distorted. For round subs, the absence of corners means greater sound quality with faster response and fidelity to the original sound.

Power Efficiency

As we’ve already established, the air displacement determines just how loud your sub can get. For a round shaped subwoofer to produce bass as loud as a square one, it will have to move the casing in and out at a much larger distance in the same amount of time. This means that round speakers are less efficient since they move a longer distance and take up more power to perform


Basically speaking, the larger a subwoofer is, the lower and more accurately it can produce lower frequencies. However, as the size goes up, the ability to properly replicate higher frequencies decreases significantly. This means that if we pit a 12 inch round sub with a 12-inch square sub, the round sub will be able to hit higher frequencies due to its smaller surface area.


Round subwoofers are without a doubt the most popular choice for car owners. In addition to producing high-quality sound, they are cheaper to buy than square woofers. Also they are more readily available which is a big bonus.

Aesthetics and Space

Believe it or not, some people actually choose their subwoofers solely based on looks. While it may not be a very shrewd choice to go with aesthetics alone, it’s a free country, and you can get whatever shape you want. A big factor to consider when making a purchase is the available space. If you are installing two subwoofers into one enclosure, square woofers will take up less space. The round design of circular woofers tends to waste more space since there are no corners to align.


While all these factors are affected by shape, the list continues to include response, size, housing and materials used. Each shape has its own benefits and demerits; and in the end the decision simply boils down to what you desire from your subwoofer. If you are looking for stronger bass for the space available and don’t mind paying a little extra cash, than a square subwoofer will do. However, those seeking to add an extra dimension to their sound system with a limited budget will be best suited with a round subwoofer.

It has been said a million times, there is no universal truth when it comes to car audio. Your needs are different from everyone else’s. The beauty of this is that you can be as creative as you want incorporating whatever size, shape, brand, power, configuration you want; it all depends on your car audio needs.

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