To get the best bass response possible for your car’s sound system, you’ll need to add a separate sub-woofer. Installing a subwoofer will completely change your music-listening experience, giving it a bass punch that a standard system lacks.
There are many options to consider, with subs ranging from 8-15 inches in size. However, bigger is not always better. While a 10-inch subwoofer won’t give you an earth-shaking bass response, it will still provide a tight, clean, low-frequency. It also won’t take up tons of space like a bigger woofer will.
It can be confusing to find the perfect 10-inch sub for your car, as there is a wide array of available options. We did the hard work for you, though, and compiled a list of in-depth reviews to narrow them down. Hopefully, this will help you find the perfect subwoofer for your needs.
A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2020:
|BOSS Audio Systems |
|Rockford Fosgate |
|JL AUDIO W0V3 ||4-Ohm||4.50/5|
The 10 Best 10-inch Car Subwoofers:
1. PIONEER TS Shallow-Mount Subwoofer — Best Overall
Pioneer has long been the reigning king in the car-audio world, and this 10-inch subwoofer is another reason why. For the avid audiophile who is looking for quality and power, this speaker has a peak power rating of 1,200 watts at 4 ohms and an RMS rating of 300 watts. A mica injection-molded resin woofer makes it durable and powerful, with the ability to produce tight and accurate bass.
It has a unique, oversized cone structure that provides a greater surface area without changing its external dimension. The benefits are two-fold — the mounting depth is less than half of a typical 10-inch subwoofer, and the extra surface area allows the speaker to produce louder and tighter bass by pushing more air.
An important point to note is that the mounting diameter is larger than a standard 10-inch sub, so it won’t fit into a standard sub box. You may need to break out the jigsaw for installation.
2. BOSS Audio Systems CXX10 — Best Value
The Boss CXX10 is the best 10-inch car subwoofer on our list for the money. It has a peak power rating of 800 watts, which is plenty of boom for your buck. It features a stamped-metal basket and durable polypropylene cone. This strong cone material allows for easy movement of air to ensure maximum bass potential.
It has an exquisite metallic black finish that will look good in any car’s interior, giving it a premium look for an affordable price. The standard dimensions are easy to install into any prefabricated box, making it an affordable upgrade to your existing system.
3. Rockford Fosgate R2S-1X10 — Premium Choice
The Rockford Fosgate R2S has a hefty price tag, keeping it from our top two positions. But this high cost comes with high power and high quality. It comes preinstalled in a slim-line box to save you the hassle of building one. This shallow enclosure can easily fit into tight spaces and is covered in high-density carpeting. The box also features convenient quick-release compression terminals for easy installation.
It has an RMS rating of 200 watts, which won’t rattle your mirrors off but will provide a tight and pure bass response. For a similar price, there are higher power speakers available, but Rockford Fosgate is a trusted brand that will provide a long-lasting product.
4. JL AUDIO W0V3 Series Subwoofer
This woofer from JL Audio will give you plenty of bass in a small package. It has a peak power handling rating of 600 watts and an RMS rating of 300 watts — a respectable power capability for a 10-inch speaker. It has a durable cone made from mineral-filled polypropylene, mounted in a nitrile-butylene rubber surround that produces rich and deep bass. Overheating is no issue due to its elevated frame cooling basket design, which exposes the voice coil to a large amount of airflow.
JL Audio is known for its accurate RMS ratings, so you can be sure of the claimed power output. That, along with a reputation for high-quality audio and materials, make it a great addition to your system.
5. Rockville V2 Car Audio Subwoofer
This Rockville subwoofer has a massive peak power rating of 2,000 watts. Even its RMS rating of 500 watts is enough to get your windows shaking. It has a double-stacked 100-ounce high-quality magnet, made to push out maximum bass. A cast-aluminum basket and fiber-reinforced non-pressed paper cone make it durable and long-lasting.
It features a thick foam surround and polypropylene dust-cap to move more air and provide maximum bass response at an affordable price. Just make sure you have an amp that can provide the massive power that this sub needs to operate — it will blow out an underpowered amplifier in no time.
6. Planet Audio AC10D Car Subwoofer
This easy-mounting subwoofer from Planet Audio is an affordable option if you’re looking to dip your toe into the world of bass. It has a peak power rating of 1,500 watts, which is plenty of bass for your buck. It features a flexible foam surround for higher efficiency and excursion (how far the speaker cone travels from resting position).
A stamped die-cast basket and polypropylene cone make it durable and great sounding. This speaker also has a three-year warranty to provide peace of mind should something go wrong. But the low price has a few caveats: This subwoofer has below-average sound quality and if pushed too hard, will quickly become muddy and distorted.
7. Skar Audio IX-10 D2 Subwoofer
Skar Audio is known for sweet-sounding car audio components at affordable prices. If you’re looking for big bass at a low price, this speaker may be it. The Skar has a peak power rating of 300 watts and an RMS rating of 150 watts, which is not likely to be breaking any windows. It keeps things cool with an advanced airflow cooling design, and its high-strength pressed paper cone will react quickly to bass frequency. The cone is cushioned with a high-roll foam surround for enhanced movement.
The bass output on this speaker is mildly disappointing, even for a 10-inch sub. It will produce a muddy sound without adequate EQ and can distort easily. In fact, it also has a notorious reputation for distorting, even at the suggested power ratings.
8. Kicker Vented Thin Profile Subwoofer
This Kicker 10-inch subwoofer has a respectable peak power rating of 600 watts and an RMS rating of 300 watts. This is a decent amount of power for the price tag. It also comes fitted in a thin-line, carpeted enclosure that saves you the hassle of building or buying a custom one. The thin dimensions of the tapered box make it easy to fit behind or under the seat.
Kicker is a well-known brand for the audio enthusiast on a budget. However, the quality of parts will give you what you pay for. With mounting screws easily stripping and low-quality audio fidelity even at moderate volumes, the Kicker leaves much to be desired, even at the low price.
9. BOSS Audio Systems Elite Car Subwoofer
Boss Audio is a well-known car audio brand, and this speaker’s low price, paired with a good name behind it, is a winning combination. A stamped metal basket, polypropylene cone, and rubber surround give it the features of a high-end woofer at a fraction of the cost. This is topped off by an 800-watt peak power rating.
A subwoofer is prone to rattling if not constructed properly, and this speaker’s voice coil dust cover does just that. This is something that no amount of EQ adjustment can fix. The bass output is lacking when compared to other speakers in this price range, and any push in the gain will quickly result in distortion.
10. JBL Stage 1010 Car Audio Subwoofer
JBL is a well-respected player in the car audio world, and this speaker is aimed at the more budget-conscious consumer. It has an RMS rating of 225 watts and peaks at 900 watts, which is not bad considering its low price. It has a polypropylene cone and nitrile rubber surround to handle deep bass frequencies.
A well-known name doesn’t always equal good sound, though. This speaker offers a low output compared to others in its price range, and the bass is disappointingly lacking. It doesn’t come in a box, like many others, so you’ll need to build one, and it will distort if pushed even close to its peak rating. That said, JBL is a quality brand, and the customer service is beyond compare should you have any issues.
There are several important factors to consider when looking for a subwoofer, all of which will make a distinct difference in the final bass response of your sound system.
The debate over subwoofer size will forever rage on, but in the end, it all comes down to your unique personal preference. A 12- or 15-inch subwoofer is sure to give you high volume and deep bass output. On the other hand, all that bass can come with a definite lack of clarity and will often add a muddiness and boomy quality to your overall sound.
A 10-inch sub is the perfect in-between: It will give you the bass you want, while still putting out clarity and not noticeably affecting the rest of your speakers. They are also smaller, making them easy to install discreetly under or behind a car seat. They are generally more affordable, giving you plenty of bass while not emptying your pocket. Even with its small size, a 10-inch subwoofer can produce better sound quality and performance, provided that it’s placed correctly in your vehicle and adequately powered.
The type and size of enclosure that your subwoofer is mounted into will have a massive impact on the overall sound quality. A ported enclosure will allow optimal airflow while using less power and maximizing the volume output. A sealed enclosure will give a tighter, more precise sound but will need more power in order to produce optimal volume. Both are perfectly suitable potions, and the choice comes down to personal preference.
All subwoofers will have an RMS (continuous) and peak power rating. RMS is the more accurate representation of a speaker’s power. It denotes how much power your sub can handle continuously, while peak power is the most power that a sub can handle in short bursts. Be careful of manufacturers who only specify peak power output, as this is by no means an accurate power representation.
Subwoofer cones are made from either treated paper, synthetic materials like polypropylene, or a composite material (e.g., mica-injected polypropylene). Polypropylene and composites are stronger, more durable materials but are stiff and don’t allow for much air movement. While a paper cone is less durable, it responds faster and allows for more cone movement. Both options will give satisfactory sound, but a stiffer cone is more durable and will thus outlast a paper cone.
“Breaking-In” Your Subwoofer
A brand-new subwoofer must always go through a simple but important process of “breaking-in” before being pushed too hard. This will ensure that the speaker will be able to perform to optimum capability. The process is quick and simple: You need to subject the woofer to low-to-medium volume levels for three to four hours inside its enclosure. This will prevent the voice coils from overheating and extend the life of your subwoofer. Over-driving the speaker too soon could result in poor sound performance and premature failure.
Our top choice for a 10-inch subwoofer goes to the Pioneer TS-SW2502S4. This shallow-mount speaker has sufficient power to rattle windows and is built from durable, high-quality materials. Pioneer is a trusted name in the car audio world, so you can be sure of a great-sounding product.
We’ve found that the best 10-inch subwoofer for the money is the Boss CXX10. It’s an affordable speaker that still packs a punch, with a great name to back it up.
It can be a difficult process to find the right 10-inch subwoofer for your unique needs, as there are many brands and specifications to choose from. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have made the job easier for you to find the right subwoofer for your unique needs.
- A Quick Glance at the Winners of 2020:
- The 10 Best 10-inch Car Subwoofers:
- 1. PIONEER TS Shallow-Mount Subwoofer — Best Overall
- 2. BOSS Audio Systems CXX10 — Best Value
- 3. Rockford Fosgate R2S-1X10 — Premium Choice
- 4. JL AUDIO W0V3 Series Subwoofer
- 5. Rockville V2 Car Audio Subwoofer
- 6. Planet Audio AC10D Car Subwoofer
- 7. Skar Audio IX-10 D2 Subwoofer
- 8. Kicker Vented Thin Profile Subwoofer
- 9. BOSS Audio Systems Elite Car Subwoofer
- 10. JBL Stage 1010 Car Audio Subwoofer
- Buyers Guide