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Best Compact Subwoofers for Cars 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks

Rockford Fosgate PS-8 Punch Single 8 Amplified Loaded Enclosure Subwoofer

If you are a music enthusiast, you are interested in more than just the words in a song. You want to hear every beat and sound. Unfortunately, not every speaker system can allow you that luxury. Certainly not the generic ones found in most cars.

The solution to this problem is a subwoofer, as it allows you to enjoy low-frequency sounds that normal speakers are not able to deliver. Unfortunately, most subwoofers are large and therefore, pose a problem when you want to fit them into a smaller car.

This is where compact subwoofers come in. Their slim profile ensures that they do not take up much space, thereby making them the ideal choice for smaller vehicles.

Nevertheless, different brands of compact subwoofers vary greatly in quality, which means that you need to take your time to find one that gives you the best bang for your buck.

The good news is that we have compiled a guide to the compact subwoofers with the best reviews. Read on to identify your ideal compact subwoofer.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

ModelPriceRMS powerEditor Rating
Rockville RW10CA
Rockville RW10CA(Best Overall)

Check Price
800 Watts4.95/5
Rockville SS8P
Rockville SS8P(Best Value)

Check Price
100 Watts4.70/5
Kicker 11HS8
KICKER 11HS8(Premium Choice)

Check Price
150 Watts4.35/5
Kenwood KCS-SW11
Kenwood KSC-SW11

Check Price
150 Watts4.10/5
JBL BassPro SL
BassPro SL - JBL 8

Check Price
125 Watts3.90/5

The 10 Best Compact Subwoofers for Cars — Reviews 2020

The following are 10 of the most appreciated compact subwoofers on the market today:

1. Rockville RW10CA — Best Overall

Rockville RW10CA

With a power-handling capability of up to 800 watts, the Rockville RW10CA is easily the most powerful, high-quality compact subwoofer on the market today.

This subwoofer features a 10-inch cone that is much larger than most car subwoofers out there. This enables it to displace a large volume of air quickly, allowing it to produce a powerful and much deeper bass devoid of sound distortions.

The RW10CA comes with myriad audio customization features to allow you to tailor the sounds to your liking. Lovers of bass should find this to be quite fulfilling.

This compact subwoofer also comes with built-in high-level inputs, which allows you to have an easier time installing the system because you do not have to remove the receiver.

Unfortunately, this subwoofer does not have as many outputs as you might find in other systems. But it does have all the basic ones.

The RW10CA is also quite durable, thanks to the thermal protection feature that works to minimize the potential for burnouts.

Pros
  • Powerful
  • Big 10-inch cone
  • Thermal protection
  • Audio customization options
Cons
  • Does not have as many outputs as some models

2. Rockville SS8P — Best Value

Rockville SS8P

Even though Rockville has a reputation for creating high-end products, it does seem that the company also has the interests of consumers with a tight budget in mind, if the SS8P is anything to go by. This is one of the best compact subwoofers for car for the money.

In terms of size, it comes in a 2.8-inch enclosure that can easily fit under your seat. Additionally, it is made from cast aluminum, which is a material that is renowned for staying cool. Therefore, you should have no worries about having the subwoofer on for extended periods, even when blasting at its full capacity.

The SS8P also comes with high-level inputs to make for an easier installation process. What’s more, these inputs still allow for installation even when you do not have preamp outputs. You also the ability to adjust the input sensitivities.

This compact subwoofer has a 100-watt RMS, as well as a peak power of up to 400 watts, which is quite good for its price. Rockville also went the extra mile to fit it with great controls to allow for easier operation.

The only drawback is that this system could do with a little more bass. Nonetheless, for its price, the bass quality is understandable.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Stays cool
  • Adjustable input sensitivity
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Could use more bass

3. Kicker 11HS8 — Premium Choice

KICKER 11HS8

The makers of the Kicker 11HS8 had tight spaces in mind when designing this subwoofer. Measuring at a little over 14 inches long and 3 inches thick, this system is the definition of a compact subwoofer. As such, you should not have a difficult time finding space in your car to fit it.

The Kicker 118S8 comes with a built-in 150-watt amplifier that does an excellent job of boosting the overall quality of your sounds, which is no wonder why it is such a popular product.

This subwoofer also allows remote bass control to fine-tune the bass. Moreover, it features both high- and low-level inputs that are compatible with almost any head unit out there; talk about user-friendliness!

Tompact subwoofer has quick-connect and Velcro-fastened straps that not only promote easy installation but also removal.

Even though you might find the cone in this system to be quite small, it is still able to deliver above-average sound quality.

Pros
  • Ideal size
  • Powerful built-in amplifier
  • Works with most head units
  • Allows for bass fine-tuning
Cons
  • Small cone

4. Kenwood KCS-SW11

Kenwood KSC-SW11

It should not come as a surprise that a compact subwoofer from Kenwood has made this list, as the company is renowned for making excellent car subwoofers. The KCS-SW11 is a testament to that.

What we especially love about this subwoofer is its durability. It has a die-cast aluminum frame that ensures that you get good service from this system for many years.

The KCS-SW11 features a compact, low-profile design that can comfortably fit into a small car. Moreover, it comes with the remote-control feature to allow you to tune the system without much hassle, regardless of where you have placed the subwoofer.

The build quality of this system is excellent. As mentioned, it is made from die-cast aluminum, which is one of the best heat-absorbing materials on the planet, thereby allowing you to use the subwoofer at loud volumes for extended periods.

Additionally, it has a front metal grill that provides additional protection to the diaphragm, thereby extending the woofer’s lifespan. What’s more, its design ensures that the sound you get is devoid of white noise.

The only issue that you might have with this subwoofer is its limited customization abilities. If you like tweaking your sounds, you might feel restrained. Nonetheless, the little tweaking that you can do with this system will still make for excellent sound.

Pros
  • Incredibly durable
  • Remote control
  • Noise-free sound
Cons
  • Limited tuning capabilities

5. JBL BassPro SL

BassPro SL - JBL 8

If this is your first time installing a subwoofer into your car, you might want to try out the JBL Bass Pro, as it is extremely beginner-friendly. For starters, the connectors at the back are clearly marked to allow for straightforward installation.

Moreover, this subwoofer comes with numerous outputs at the back to allow you to customize the bass to your liking.

This system also features an efficient design that works to dispel heat, thereby allowing it to remain cool even when it plays at a high volume for extended periods. This design, therefore, dramatically reduces the risk of a burnout.

It has an 8-inch cone, which some might consider small when compared to other models. Nonetheless, this cone is still capable of delivering deeper, higher quality sounds than most car subwoofers that you will come across.

The bass, however, could use upgrading. Nonetheless, for the price that you pay for this unit, it is not worth complaining about.

Pros
  • Beginner-friendly installation
  • Numerous outputs for fine-tuning
  • Durable
Cons
  • Bass could be better

6. Rockville USS10

Rockville USS10

One of the defining attributes of a quality subwoofer is the ability to produce high-quality sound while allowing you to make custom adjustments to suit your preferences. The USS10 by Rockville comes with a host of control options and features a great sound quality.

This subwoofer is 10 inches long and 2.9-inches wide, which is the ideal size for a car subwoofer.

You will also love the fact that it has an 800-watt power capacity that allows for some of the deepest bass you can get from a car subwoofer. It comes with a remote control to allow you to adjust the sound to your liking.

Both the inputs and outputs are on one side, which allows for easier and neater installation. Rockville also have an 8-inch size for this model in case you want something that is even more compact.

The installation instructions that come with the USS10, however, are not as straightforward as one would like them to be. Nonetheless, this should not be a problem as the design itself is meant to be beginner friendly.

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Powerful
  • Easy to install
  • Easy sound adjustment
Cons
  • Instructions could be better

7. Rockford Fosgate PS-8

Rockford Fosgate PS-8

This solid subwoofer features an extremely efficient design and has an outstanding build quality at its price range. Worth mentioning is a metal grill on its front face to protect it from the elements and a heavy-duty enclosure.

Despite its robustness, the Fosgate PS-8 has a low-profile, compact design that fits into small spaces. Additionally, it is all-inclusive, which means that you will not have to do extra wiring to make it work.

This compact subwoofer features a wide array of outputs, as well as tuning options to allow you to customize your sounds to fine-tune your music. It also comes with a quick-connect system to ensure that you do not have a difficult time connecting and disconnecting your cables, thereby making it extremely beginner friendly.

In spite of all its features, however, we find it to be a little pricey.

Pros
  • Efficient design that minimizes sound distortion and heat
  • Heavy-duty enclosure
  • Variety of customization settings
Cons
  • A bit pricey

8. Kenwood KCS-PSW8

Kenwood KSC-PSW8

This subwoofer features a Class-D amplifier, thereby making it an extremely powerful system. When you combine that with the fact that it is made by Kenwood, you can expect a powerful punch with no compromise on sound quality.

Installing the KCS-PSW8 is also quite easy, as it only comes with two plugs. This subwoofer comes in a low profile to ensure that you do not have a hard time finding space for it in your car.

Additionally, it has a sensitivity rating of 81 dB, as well as a frequency response of 35 to 150 Hz, which is nothing to complain about for its price range.

The only issue we found was the limited options for remote control. You will have to make most adjustments on the unit itself, which can be quite inconvenient.

Pros
  • Powerful amp
  • Low profile design
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Limited options on remote control

9. Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO8

Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO8

The Sound Storm LOPRO8 subwoofer comes with a peak power capacity of 600 watts and an RMS power capacity of 400 watts, which makes it an extremely powerful system. Additionally, the built-in amplifier features significantly greater switching speeds, as well as a lower gate-to-drain capacitance than many other units on the market.

It also allows for numerous customizable settings to enable you to find the sound that is just right for you. However, it might take a while before you get good at using these settings.

This subwoofer comes with a three-year warranty, which is an indication that you will be getting a high-quality product.

Pros
  • Excellent power output
  • Great value
  • Extended warranty
Cons
  • Susceptible to overheating

10. Pioneer TS-SWX130DA

Pioneer TS-SWX2502

Pioneer has been a leading brand in the subwoofer market for decades, which means that you can expect great quality whenever you purchase its products.

The TS-SWX130DA is a quality subwoofer that one might pass over due to its relative low RMS power output of only 50 watts. However, most people should find it to be more than convenient for their needs.

It features a sealed enclosure that allows for deeper bass. Moreover, most people find the sound from sealed subwoofers to be more captivating than that of regular woofers.

You will also love the fact that it has a built-in Class D amplifier, as well as an aluminum cone, which make for a powerful, high-quality sound.

It comes in a compact size that should fit in any space that you can spare. It is also quite durable.

Pros
  • Good frequency output
  • Sealed enclosure
  • Small and compact
Cons
  • Low RMS power output

Buyer’s Guide

The following are factors that you should consider when looking for the ideal compact subwoofer for your car.

Size

Even though compact subwoofers are designed to fit into smaller vehicles, the amount of space available in a car varies among different models. Therefore, you want to ensure that the subwoofer you like can fit into your car.

It is therefore advisable to measure the dimensions of the available space in your car before buying a subwoofer.

Power Output

The amount of power that a subwoofer can produce determines the volume, and even the quality of the sound that it emits. Power output in subwoofers is defined by peak power and RMS power. Peak power is the maximum wattage that a system can handle in short bursts, while RMS is the maximum wattage that a subwoofer can handle for prolonged periods without distorting the sound.

Therefore, you want a subwoofer with a high RMS rating, as peak power does not mean much because it is not sustainable.

Frequency Range

This refers to the range of frequencies that a subwoofer can handle without distorting the sound. A good subwoofer should handle a frequency range of between 20 and 200 Hz.

Cone Size

The cone is the feature that produces the bass sound. Generally, larger cones produce deeper and more powerful bass sounds, as they displace more air. Therefore, if you are into deeper bass, you might want to look for a subwoofer with a large cone.

compact subwoofer
Credit: Needpix

Enclosure Type

Subwoofer enclosures can be sealed, ported, or bandpass. Sealed enclosures tend to have deeper and more accurate bass sounds. However, they also use up more power.

Ported enclosures have a vent that reinforces low bass response, which makes them ideal for forceful bass, such as that found in heavy rock music.

Bandpass enclosures, on the other hand, have a design that maximizes slam.

Conclusion

Compact subwoofers tremendously increase the sound quality and overall music experience in a car. However, you need to find the one that suits your preferences and budget well. Hopefully, our reviews above will help you find a good system for your car.

With that being said, we believe that the Rockville RW10CA is the best compact subwoofer on the market today, thanks to its superior design, power and performance. But it is the Rockville SS8P that will give you the most value for your money.


Featured image credit: Rockford Fosgate PS-8 Punch Single 8 Amplified Loaded Enclosure Subwoofer, Amazon

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