There is nothing like the excitement of adding a new subwoofer to your vehicle to upgrade your audio experience. When researching options for subwoofers, you will notice there are a number of choices and common terms and descriptions that arise. For example, a common search will show subs of various sizes along with both active, or powered, and passive subwoofers. Understanding the differences in terminology will help you make the best choice for your particular needs. In this article, we will discuss what a powered subwoofer actually is and what are its advantages.

So, what is a powered subwoofer?

Subwoofers come in two varieties, either powered or passive. A passive subwoofer does not have an internal amplifier built in so an external amplifier is required. On the other hand, a powered subwoofer contains an internal amplifier to drive or power the subs. This is the clear distinction between the two choices.

What are the benefits of using a powered subwoofer?

When weighing your options between a passive versus a powered subwoofer, you will want to consider the benefits of the powered option:

  • Since powered subwoofers already have the speaker, enclosure, and amplifier configured, many choose powered subs for ease of installation. Simply plug and play and avoid additional wiring while saving time.
  • You will not have to purchase a separate amplifier with the subwoofer which can save money on equipment costs.
  • Powered subwoofers come in compact, lightweight sizes, making them easy to save space and/or remove to prevent theft (great for open air vehicles like Jeeps). 
  • You can easily use your powered subwoofer with most factory stereos or use them with aftermarket stereos.

When would purchasing a powered subwoofer not make sense?

Although powered subwoofers are convenient, affordable, and effective, they are not always the best option. Due to their compact size, they do contain smaller drivers and amplifiers. With that being said, if you are looking for heavy bass and a large amount of power from your subwoofers, powered subs may not fit the bill. You just won’t get the same thump from a passive enclosure with two 15” subwoofers powered by a separate amplifier then you will from a powered sub box. 

Additionally, you may already have a solid amplifier that you would like to continue using. In this case, a passive subwoofer would make more sense.

JL Audio MicroSub+ ACP108LG-W3v3

What brands make powered subwoofers?

Take a look at our extensive line-up of powered subwoofers to view all the different brands and manufacturers Some of the most reputable and popular brands provide great powered sub solutions. Our line-up ranges from entry-level brands like Boss all the way up to top of the line brands like JL Audio.

Are there powered subwoofers specifically fit for my vehicle make and model?

Yes, many manufacturers create powered subwoofers that specifically fit your vehicle make and model. Although many powered subs fit universally, you may want to search for products that are known to work well with your existing equipment. This simplifies the shopping process and will hone in your available options. 

To do so, you can use our handy vehicle selector tool to begin the search. Enter your make, model, and year to see which products are known to work and fit well in that vehicle.

To recap, selecting a powered subwoofer for your vehicle can really help elevate your car audio and commutes. When determining the best option, keep the above information in mind so you can make the right decision!