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Our editors rate and review products objectively based on the features offered to consumers, the price and delivery options, how a product compares with other products in its category, and other factors.
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Subwoofer Shopping Guide
The bass is one of those things that makes music complete. Without the right bass tones, your favorite music will be underwhelming. Without bass, songs sound empty and lacking. That is why you need the best subwoofer to put in your home and get the most out of your tunes.
The best subwoofers can handle a wide range of sounds while creating ample bass tones. Of course, there are a lot of subwoofers out there which can make your decision difficult. How do you choose the right subwoofer? Before buying, make sure to take into account the following features and considerations:
What is the subwoofer’s size?
The first thing is to figure out what size subwoofer you need. In general, the larger the surface area, the deeper tones it can play, which is indicated by the Hz measure. Bigger is not always better though - you need something that works with your already existing set up.
If you have a wide open room, then a larger 12”-14” subwoofer is a good choice. For smaller shelf setups, an 8” sub should do the trick nicely. Your subwoofer should fit with your other installations and not take up too much space.
Is the subwoofer sealed or ported?
Next, you need to figure out the kind of subwoofer you want. There are two major kinds of subwoofer models: sealed and ported.
Sealed subwoofers are usually smaller in cabinet size and have a single bass driver enclosed in a sealed cabinet. Sealed subwoofers are compact and are most often used in car stereo systems. Since they are sealed, they can move air more quickly and match your loudspeaker output. The result is punchier and tighter bass tones.
Ported subwoofers have a bass driver and one or more holes to allow air to escape. The increased airflow allows ported subwoofers to reach lower tones and produce more volume.
Ported subwoofers are usually the go-to decision for home stereo setups. The higher volume and greater fidelity bass tones are perfect for home theaters and playing music in your house.
What is its wattage?
The best subwoofer also needs to be powerful. Subwoofer power is rated in watts, where, in general, the higher the wattage, the louder the subwoofer. High-end subwoofers can draw in up to 4,000W of power while running at max capacity.
The power of the subwoofer you should get depends on your setup. If you are just running off a factory radio, you should not need more than 200W of subwoofer power. If you are running amplified speakers with around 50-100W RMS per channel, you should settle for a 500-1,000W speaker. You should not need anything above 1,000W unless you are running an extremely powerful receiver and set of speakers.
Keep in mind that a subwoofer does not have to play at its max capacity. A 1,000W subwoofer can play as loud as a 100W woofer. You can always control the volume to the desired level. Also, a more powerful subwoofer will likely need its own dedicated power line. Big 4,000W amps can easily trip a breaker by drawing too much power.
Does it have EQ functionality?
Most subwoofers out there have EQ settings that allow you to tweak the specifics of the sound. EQ processing plays test tones through the speaker then automatically adjusts levels based on the specific room’s acoustic properties. EQ functionality is good if you are going to use your subwoofer for a lot of things like movies, music, video, and more.
EQ systems are a nice touch but they can’t make a bad subwoofer a good one. You should not have to rely on the EQ to get a good sound but it’s a nice feature to look for in a subwoofer.
The best subwoofer will have a good combination of size, power, price, and settings. Sealed subwoofers are good for more compact locations like your car while ported subs are good for open spaces. It is important to make sure your sub meshes with the other equipment in your setup and does not take up too much space.
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you find the subwoofer that's right for you.
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We leverage user data to understand decision-making and put the best products in front of each user. We tailor our comparisons to what matters to our user's needs, specific or broad. We keep our content up to date, we are constantly looking for new merchants and products to compare, and we are quick to remove any that are outdated or no longer meeting our standards. Our rankings change day-to-day based on our proprietary algorithms, that crunch data to identify top-performing products and tailor recommendations to exactly what our readers are looking for.
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