Last Updated on: October 7, 2022
You’ve just installed a new car subwoofer and you’re enjoying the crisp, clean but hard-hitting sound on your drive.
Sounds great, right?
Well, that’s why you’re looking for the best budget car subwoofer. And in this article, we’ve done the work for you. Here you’ll discover the 7 best car subwoofers you can get today. Without bringing your wallet to tears.
And if you’re looking for a quick recommendation. Our numero uno pick has to be the Skar Audio SDR-10 D4 10-Inch Car Subwoofer.
If you want to see why and discover what our other recommendations are, then continue reading.
Top 7 Best Budget Car Subwoofers
1. Skar Audio SDR-10 D4 10 inch—Best Overall
This car audio subwoofer from Skar Audio packs one helluva punch. Its diameter is 10 inches for maximum bass. And it’s got a mean RMS power of 600 watts. And a peak power rating of 1,200 watts.
So with the right amplifier, you can really make the Skar Audio SDR-10 bring the pain.
It also comes with a nice dual coil. And has an impedance of 4 Ohms.
But what you should pay attention to is the unique nature of its coil. The Skar Audio SDR-10 features a 2.5” high-temperature, 4-layer copper voice coil. And it’s attached to their signature red spider.
This means you can really turn the amp up for maximum bass. Without being afraid of overheating. Provided you keep it within the recommended range. Which in itself is pretty damn loud.
There’s a high-roll foam surround on the woofer. This helps it produce its riveting low-end bass response. And there’s more.
And its sensitivity is 82.5 dB. So you can get a bone-jarring sound with only a little power. And if you think this is all you’re getting from this sub. Think again.
It’s got a competition-grade pressed paper cone for clear sound with an advanced airflow cooling system to avoid overheating. A high-flux ferrite motor provides extreme power handling for long periods. As far as aesthetics is concerned, it looks fantastic!
- Hits hard even at fairly low tones. Because of its power handling capabilities and its high Xmax rating (13.5mm)
- Produces a very tight, punchy sound.
- Looks good. So it’s a nice aesthetic addition to your car audio system
- Compact—so it doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Depending on your preference, the sound quality might not be up to par
- Not the best response in the business. Though it is good enough (28 to 300 Hz)
It’s hard-hitting and can take a beating at high power ratings. If you’re looking for the best quality possible, without hurting your wallet, then consider the Skar Audio SDR-10 Car Subwoofer.
2. Pyle 12 Inch Car Audio Speaker Subwoofer—Best For Clean But Powerful Sound
The Pyle 12 Inch Car Audio Speaker Subwoofer has power! It can take a constant 800 watts (RMS). And it peaks at 1600 watts. With this, you can play your music as loud as you desire.
And it’s built strong. The Pyle 12” subwoofer features a “non-fatiguing suspension.” A rubber magnet boot with Pyle’s secret design. And a bumped and vented motor construction. So your equipment stays safe for extended use.
This sub comes with a non-press cone. That means it’s free enough to move fluidly.
So you can get loud music. Combine this with the specially treated foam surround. And you’ll be enjoying loud, deep bass in the comfort of your car.
But the Pyle 12” isn’t done yet. Not by a long shot. You also get dual 4 Ohm impedance from this sub. This combines with a sensitivity of 90 dB for some serious musical effects. Basically, they cut distortion, leaving you with nothing but crisp, clear sound.
And it can handle some high temperatures, too. That’s thanks to the 60 oz magnet. It’s also got dual voice coils to enhance performance. AND this subwoofer’s size is the standard for most vehicles. It has a 5.1” mounting depth. And a 12.2” overall diameter.
This makes it relatively easy to install.
- Gives a clean-cut, crisp sound
- Easy to install
- It’s built to last and take high temperatures
- It booms. But it’s only slightly above the factory-type car audio subwoofer in performance
- Without an amp, they sound like very poor mid-range speakers
If you want everyone in your car to feel your music—this might not be for you. But if you’re looking for a cheap car subwoofer…for something slightly better than a factory-type listening experience…the Pyle 12 Inch Car Audio Speaker Subwoofer is for you.
3. Rockville Punisher 10D2 10 inch—Best For Handling Extreme Power
If you’re looking for a monster. You’ve found it. The Rockville Punisher 10D2 has a CEA-rated RMS power handling of 1250 watts. But it can handle more. Up to 5000 watts peak—according to the company.
It’s a dual 2-Ohm subwoofer. 10 inches in size. In other words, you get an exceptionally loud unit. And you get it at less power. It has a black 3”, 4-layer aluminum voice coil. It’s made in the US. And it’s got a double-stacked 246 Oz magnet.
And get this: this coil is stable at up to 250 degrees celsius! Combine this with its non-pressed paper cone. And just imagine how hard this thing can hit! But don’t worry about the sound quality.
The sub comes with a thick foam surround. So you get minimum distortion. Maximum pound. And superb sound quality.
But the Rockville Punisher 10D2 is sturdy-built to enable it to take a beating over time. And then some more. Its black stitching reinforces the cone to give it a long life. It has an ultra-thick, 0.9 mm PolyPropene (PP) Dustcap.
And as I’ve mentioned, it can take very high temperatures. But it doesn’t even heat up fast. An oversized aluminum heatsink. Together with extra-thick T-yoke and washers. Keep the voice coils cool. So you can play at high power for long periods.
It has a frequency response of 32.749 – 500 Hz with a mounting depth of 6.69 inches and a sensitivity of 82.6 dB.
- This sub is a monster. You’ll enjoy bassy notes without compromising on sound quality.
- It’s built to handle high power ratings and temperatures.
- Low temperature to handle high power for extended periods.
- It doesn’t fit in standard 10” speaker boxes. So you’ll have to shave your box.
- Though it can handle a lot of power. The 5000-watt peak rating from the manufacturer might be a stretch.
Your music won’t shake the earth—it’ll shatter it. Especially if you get two matching pairs of Rockville Punisher 10D2 to work together (careful though, you might break something in your car!).
4. Skar Audio VD-10 D4 10”—Best Value For Money
They pound. And if you wire them right, you also get a crisp, clean sound.
It’s a shallow mount (4.41”). But the Skar Audio VD-10 delivers a fantastic bass response. That’s because of its 10-inch size. Its frequency response ranges from 30 – 350 Hz. And it’s pressed paper cone stitched to premium foam surround.
But this is all only the beginning. The Skar Audio VD-10 comes with a 2” high-temperature copper voice coil. And It’s got an advanced airflow cooling system. So you never worry about overheating. And you can enjoy hard-hitting bass all day long.
It gets very loud, too. Given it’s a dual 4 Ohm subwoofer. With a high sensitivity of 85.1 dB.
And its power handling is a decent RMS of 500 watts. And a peak power of 800 watts. There’s more: the sound is clean and accurate. It’s made with an ultra-responsive motor design. The 66 oz ferrite motor delivers responsive power to the voice coil.
This allows the subwoofer to hit every single note of your music with laser precision.
- Produces loud, banging, and clean acoustics.
- They have a cooling system. So you can push the sub for an extended period.
- The shallow mounting allows it to fit snuggly in your enclosure.
- It hits hard. If you’re looking for something that’ll shake your car, then this is not it.
Don’t go cheap with your box and amp if you want to get the best out of the Skar Audio VD-10. With good, pure power, you’ll feel the bass deep in your bones.
5. Kicker 44CWCD84 CompC 8 Inch—Best For Small Spaces
The Kicker 44CWCD84 is small. But don’t underestimate it. With a diameter of 8 inches, these subs still make you feel the thrum in your music.
They feature 4-Ohm dual voice coils to get the most out of your power amp. Its RMS power tops at 200 watts. And peak power at 400 watts.
The Kicker 44CWCD84 also has a reliable design and performance. It has an injection-molded polypropylene cone.
This cone is extremely rigid, yet lightweight. So it keeps the cone sturdy at high sound pressure levels.
You get perimeter thermal venting—to keep your equipment cool. And an assortment of other features that make this sub worth having. Like a ribbed polyurethane surround for deep, loud bass. Yellow surround stitching for great durability and aesthetics.
There’s more. High-strength tinsel leads…stamped steel basket…and a high-temperature voice coil make it one of the longer-lasting budget car subwoofers.
This sub also has a mounting depth of 3.88 inches. And according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You should use sealed sub boxes between 0.5 and 1.2 cubic feet. Or vented sub boxes between 0.66 and 1.2 cubic feet.
- Built to last.
- Great for fitting into small spaces.
- You can play loud and get deep rich bass for an extended period.
- You’ll have to drill new mounting holes to mount the speaker
This is your best bet if you have a small space but want a speaker that lasts and booms. You’ll get plenty of bass from the Kicker 44CWCD84.
6. PIONEER 8 Inch Slim—Best For Crispy Lows In Small Spaces
The Pioneer 8 Inch Slim Sub cranks out great crispy bass. It’s got a size of 8 inches, so it fits in small spaces. But don’t let that fool you. The Pioneer 8” slim can hit hard.
It’s got an RMS power rating of 250 watts. And a peak power rating of 700 watts. You also get a frequency response of 20 Hz – 1.4 kHz. So you can enjoy a large range of crispy lows from your music. The Pioneer 8” slim is a 2-Ohm budget subwoofer.
This means you can get the most out of your amps. And drive this sub to some really impressive volumes.
It’s best for small enclosures. The manufacturer recommends one of 0.15 to 0.5 cubic feet. Its mounting depth is 2-5/8 inches. So it’ll fit right in wherever you install it.
And it’s easy to install, too. You’ll be done in just 30 minutes. You won’t need to drill any new holes. Just mark your positive and negative terminals from your original speaker. Then spin the woofer slightly and line it up with the options on the budget subwoofer.
- It’s small, but it gives a very crisp sound.
- It’s very easy to install.
- It’s a 2-Ohm subwoofer. So it gets loud with little power.
- The speaker doesn’t come with a grill.
For a subwoofer of this size, the Pioneer 8 Inch Slim Sub handles relatively high power. Expect clean, accurate bass—for a relatively low cost.
7. Planet Audio AC8D 8 Inch Car Subwoofer—Best Budget Option
Just check these out. It has a dual 4-Ohm voice coil. This doesn’t produce more bass than single voice coil budget car subwoofers.
But it does something better. It produces the right “Ohm load” for maximum efficiency of your amplifier.
This means you create less resistance for higher amp power. And more power means you can run the Planet Audio AC8D at peak performance. So you can get loud, deep bass for extended periods.
But this is only the beginning. The cone is made out of Polypropylene. This means you not only get great sound. But you get a sub that lasts. Planet Audio makes its voice coils with materials that can withstand high temperatures. So you can play loud for long periods without worrying about overheating.
Look at this, too. The surround foam is very flexible. So the subwoofer has better excursion—translating to great bass. It also uses a stamped basket which creates a solid and rigid platform. This allows you to hear clear and clean music.
There’s more. It’s got high sensitivity. At 85 dB—you’ll get pounding bass without too much power. Its mounting depth is 4 inches.
- Sounds clear and hits lows very well.
- Built to last and handle high temperatures.
- They look good—so they’re a great aesthetic addition to your car.
- The rings of the subwoofer aren’t attached until you screw them down yourself.
Wow. For an inexpensive subwoofer, the Planet Audio AC8D packs a lot of great features! So, this is your best bet if you’re strapped for cash but still want loud, accurate bass.
Pro Auto Thought: You might want to try some of the best flip-out car stereos to match any of these subwoofers. Proceed to our post here and tell us what you would buy — Best Flip Out Car Stereo.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably noticed there are a few features I talked about again and again. These features are incredibly important to get the kind of musical experience you’re looking for.
So let’s talk a bit more about them. So you’ll be armed with the information you need to get the perfect sub for you.
A subwoofer’s size plays a role in how loud and how low it can go. It’s a guide to the overall bass output telling you the amount of boom you can expect. Generally, the bigger the subwoofer, the better the bass.
So if you’re looking for low, loud music. And you have enough space in your vehicle. The biggest, best-budget subwoofer you can find is the way to go. Most subs today fall in between a range of 10 to 15 inches.
But some go as low as 8. And as high as 20. And as I’ve hinted above. The space you have available is a concern when choosing a sub.
Smaller woofers mount under a seat or behind a panel. But larger ones require more space. So be sure to double-check to know how much you have.
This refers to the intensity of power a subwoofer can handle without getting damaged. The more powerful the sub, the louder, deeper, and more transparent the sound.
And this brings us to the concepts of RMS and peak power. These are different ways to quantify the power handling of a sub. And they’re both important.
The RMS describes how much power a sub can handle daily. Without sound quality getting compromised or the sub blowing up. The higher the RMS, the higher the bass.
The peak power is the highest amount of power a sub can handle in a short period. The wires will overheat if you subject a unit to constant peak power and the voice coils get damaged. Note that the peak power value is always higher than the RMS value.
When shopping for a sub, pay more attention to the RMS than the peak power. That’ll tell you the level of power your sub can actually handle. Be careful, though! Most subwoofer manufacturers prefer to put the peak power center stage as a marketing tactic.
Avoid falling for that if you want your subwoofer to last for years!
Now, what RMS should you look out for during your search? Around 200 W and above will give you some good, moderate-volume bass. You’ll definitely want to consider something with an RMS of 1000 W and above. These do not come cheap, though.
This is measured in Ohms and it’s the electrical resistance of the subwoofer. This tells you the amount of power your sub can turn into sound.
If there’s low resistance to incoming power, you get a louder sound. If there’s high resistance, the sound is dimmer. Hence, a 2 Ohm subwoofer will be louder than a 4 Ohm subwoofer because the former allows more power to pass through.
One caveat is that the lower the resistance, the poorer the sound quality. Consider this when trying to choose between a 2 and a 4 Ohm subwoofer!
This is the range of sound a subwoofer can let out. It tells how high or how low the subwoofer will play in simpler terms.
It’s best to look for a sub with a low-frequency range. A good range is around 20-200 Hz.
But note this. The kind of sound you get really depends on your enclosure type. Seeing as they alter the sounds you hear. So the sub’s frequency range might not tell you how it’ll actually sound when you listen to it.
This measures how much power your subwoofer needs to make a sound. And it tells how loud the subwoofer will be for a specific amount of power. Some also call it the sound pressure level (SPL). And the SI unit is decibels (dB).
A high SPL subwoofer won’t need as much power as a low SPL sub to produce a certain volume. So a sub with high sensitivity will play loud on little power. And a sub with low sensitivity will need more power to achieve the same volume.
So if you have a small amp — or no amp at all — consider going for a high-sensitivity subwoofer.
Pro Auto Thought: Sometimes the size of your car’s subs affects the fullness of bass sounds. Many audio enthusiasts debate about this but we would rather want you to read our article and let you decide if this theory is true or false — Best 6.5 Inch Subwoofer.
Here’s a short 4-minute video that explains the science of subwoofer sensitivity:
Single Vs. Dual Voice Coil
The voice coil is important to how a subwoofer produces sound. It affects the resistance of the sub. And plays a part in determining how much power the unit lets through.
There are two types: the single and dual voice coil. A single voice coil leads to more resistance than a dual voice coil.
Here’s why: The voice coil type determines how flexible the system’s wiring will be. A single voice coil sub has one wire coming out of it. And a dual voice coil sub has two sets. For the latter, this gives the advantage of more wiring configurations.
And gives the car subwoofer better power handling capabilities.
The caveat is that dual voice coil subwoofers are a little more complicated to set up. If you’re new to car subwoofers, this is an important factor to consider.
Non-powered Vs. Powered
In terms of power, subwoofers come in 2 types: powered and non-powered.
A non-powered sub cannot produce sound on its own. Because it needs an external amplifier to work. These kinds of subwoofers aren’t very common.
On the other side of the spectrum is the powered car subwoofer. They have their own in-built amplifier. And they’re simple to work with and install because of this.
And there we have it. The clear winner of this review is the Skar Audio SDR-10 D4. This sub has everything you could need. A 10” size woofer. A 4 Ohm dual voice coil. High sensitivity and low-frequency range. It can also handle a good amount of power — with an RMS of 600 watts.
This makes the speaker well-rounded compared to the other selections on this list. And as I’ve made clear in the buying guide above, it meets all the set requirements for a good budget speaker.
But if you’re a little tight on cash. And still want the best value you can get. The Pyle 12” subwoofer is what you should go for.