I am a music enthusiast and one of my favorite pastimes is cruising along in my luxury sedan with rich, great-sounding, bass-laden, low-end sounds emanating from my car. Don’t give the credit to the custom audio sound system in my car; my 12 inch subwoofer does the magic! With this article, I’ll let you in to the world of subwoofers and help you make a confident and informed decision when you want to purchase the best 12 inch subwoofer for your car.
Meanwhile, a 12 inch subwoofer (or sub) is simply a loudspeaker which produces low-pitched audio frequencies which are either bass or sub-bass; whose frequencies are typically lower than those produced by woofers. Subwoofers come in a variety of sizes either 8, 10, 12 or 15 inches but the 12 inch subwoofer in my car thrills me each and every time, so I’m glad to help you choose the best brand of it that you can also enjoy.
Our Top Rated Products
CT Sounds Strato
JL Audio 12W0V3-4
Best 12 Inch Subwoofer
CT Sounds Strato
Overall rating : 4.9 / 5
Of course, the CT Sounds Strato is the number one 12 inch subwoofer on my list. This remarkable sub is not only masterfully-crafted; it also has an incredibly powerful performance. It ticks all the boxes for music enthusiasts’ needs and has received a commendable amount of positive reviews.
It can be mounted either in a sealed or a ported enclosure. It features dual voice calls and has an impedance of 1 ohm. It also features a double-stitched paper cone for that nuanced sound that most users crave for. It is made with heavy-duty plastic which makes it have a high tensile strength and remarkable durability.
The CT Sounds Strato can comfortably take a whopping 800W Root Mean Square or RMS power and 1600W peak power! It has the capacity of delivering good low-end bass no matter how much you crave it.
Its massive 3″ diameter voice coil is made of 4 layers of Copper-clad Aluminium or CCA in place of copper so it can dissipate heat and cool faster. Its voice coils also make it a versatile sub irrespective of power consumption, size, or dimensions.
Overall rating : 4.85 / 5
Pioneer has held a fair share of the electronic and household appliances market for decades. The Pioneer TS-W126M stands out when you don’t want to spend a fortune acquiring a sub. However, being a low-budget sub does not in any way compromise the high-quality design and powerful performance that a Pioneer device can boast of.
This sub can be mounted inside either a ported or sealed box. Its seamless cone design increases its overall efficiency whilst reducing any associated distortion. Thanks to the ingenuity of Pioneer engineers, this sub is manufactured with tough polypropylene which makes it quite durable.
Truly, it may not be as powerful as some other subwoofer brands in the market, but it is still respectable. It has the capacity of receiving 1300W peak power and 350W continuous power. Its power rating gives it the ability to produce that deep, respectable bass that its users are proud of.
Its sensitivity of 96 dB is relatively fine since a higher sensitivity will make it prone to unwanted distortion while a lower one will create a need for more power. However, there’s a limit to the amount of power that it can take since it is designed with just one voice coil. This limitation does not mean that it won’t give you your money’s worth of good bass.
JL Audio 12W0V3-4
Overall rating : 4.8 / 5
Users are proud of the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 for being such a good-sounding sub at a mid-level price. Apart from being an affordable sub, it still boasts of good power and overall good tonal quality.
It can also be mounted inside either a ported or sealed box and can also be customized according to your needs. It has a sleek design and is made with a tough and durable polypropylene cone which maximizes its power as well as reduces distortion.
It can take up to 600W of peak power and 300W of RMS power, this gives it both power and control.
Its sensitivity is put at 85 dB which means that it needs more power to drive successfully. Given its low sensitivity, it certainly will not be easily prone to distortion or blow outs. It features a single voice coil, so there’s a limit to the amount of amplifier configurations that you can do. However, the fact that it is a 4-ohm device also means that it can accommodate a good number of amps.
Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch
Overall rating : 4.75 / 5
The Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch makes my list because of the awesome power that it provides. If you crave for a very powerful sub, you will never go wrong with it. Its performance will certainly compensate for the relatively higher amount of money spent on it.
It comes in a sealed casing and has the capacity to produce a remarkably punchy and deep low-end. It will always give your clear notes no matter the type of music you are listening to. It is made of industrial heat-activated vinyl and many users attest to its durability.
It is powered by a 300W inbuilt amp and can take 300W RMS power; why it will always give you that car-vibrating bass sound. Another of its good features is that you can customize it to sync with other amps. This makes it one of the best 12 inch subwoofers out there.
It features a 12 dB low pass crossover which means that you can adjust the bass to meet your needs. It also sports an intelligent auto on/off button so its quite user-friendly.
Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3
Overall rating : 4.7 / 5
The Sundown Audio SA-12 D2 REV.3 is your go-to subwoofer if you are an avid lover of powerful bass. It is equipped with one of the best dual subwoofer voice coils in stores and this is responsible for its ability to take loads of wattage and in turn, render car-quaking bass sounds.
Parent material is high-quality sound pressure level or SPL paper cone incorporating 2.5″ anodized aluminum voice coils. It can be mounted either in ported or sealed enclosures which enhance its bass boost. It is designed with dual voice coils which accentuates its powerful performance. You can get the 4 ohm version which can be wired down to either 2 ohms or 8 ohms. You can also wire it to 4 ohm (in series) or 1 ohm (in parallel).
This amazing sub can comfortably take 750W of RMS power which makes it the most powerful subwoofer on my list. It occupies this enviable position and no sub is up to its game just yet. This makes it one of the best 12 inch subwoofers out there
Types of Car Subwoofers
Apart from the differences in size and dimensions, subwoofers come as three distinct and popular types. Try to get the one that is most compatible with your audio system as that will guarantee the best bass experience and will check all the boxes that you consider. These three types are:
Powered Subwoofers: They are also commonly called active subwoofers. They usually come along with their own amplifiers which provide the needed extra power. The extra power capability is what makes them worth their onions as they will never fail to produce those booming, car-quaking bass sounds.
Component Subwoofers: Component subwoofers only come with a speaker. They however have the advantage of being customizable since you can choose your own component parts. Their major disadvantage however, is the fact that you have to purchase the amplifier and the enclosure separately.
Enclosed Subwoofers: These subwoofers are pre-mounted and they are the best bet for beginners as installation is easily. They are also great for use in less spacious cars.
Why You Need a 12 Inch Subwoofer for Your Car
Like I highlighted earlier, if you are a music enthusiast or someone that likes to listen to deep bass-laden sounds while driving, typically, your car audio system won’t give you that extra hit simply it wasn’t designed that way. With a subwoofer, you can also adjust your frequency tones. Other specific reasons why you will need a subwoofer include:
They make your speakers last longer: Playing deep bass sounds on your regular car speakers especially at high volumes will eventually wear your speakers out. Incorporating a subwoofer is a helpful and also interesting way of increasing the life span of your speakers as they are designed to enhance bass sounds at minimum stress to speakers. Given the size of a 12 inch subwoofer you will get better quality bass than what you can get from using either the 8 or 10 inch. It also has more space consideration than the 15 inch.
They prevent distortion: Your regular car speakers are more likely to produce a distorted bass range. The reason for this distortion is simply because regular car speakers are not designed to be able to carry the extra power that good, low-end bass requires, so they will simply underperform. 12 inch subs are designed to support enough power to meet your needs much more than the 8 or 10 inch and they will do so while retaining their space advantage over the 15 inch.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing the Best 12 Inch Subwoofer
Before deciding on the best 12 inch subwoofer for your car, you need to compare their specifications across various factors or variables so you will be able to make a confident and informed decision. I have done some of the work for you and I’m glad to present these major factors. They include:
1.Price: Your budget is the most important determinant of the brand or specification of 12 inch sub that you can purchase. More advanced and powerful subs will usually come at a higher price, so you have to make a balanced decision based on my review of the best 12 inch subs available in stores. My ultimate aim is to help you purchase one that will satisfy your craving for that extra bass without putting an undue strain on your finances.
2.Power Rating: The power rating of a 12 inch sub is another important determinant of its bass quality and overall performance. The higher the power rating of a particular brand, the higher the bass output you can get from it. However, you must note that some very powerful subs will require the installation of their own amplifiers to be able to work with such high power.
3.Power Handling: The power handling of a 12 inch sub is the determinant of how many watts it can accommodate. The best options will have power handling up to 1000W but you must be careful in their use as some users have reported the burning out of their speakers from so much power. If you really crave so much bass, It is necessary that you also install durable and reliable speakers to keep that much power under check.
4.Voice Coils: Voice coils are basically the wires that are wrapped around the speaker cone of a subwoofer and connect the amplifiers. The voice coil specification of a particular 12 inch sub is a determinant of its overall performance both in terms of heat dissipation and versatility/flexibility in terms of connection and wiring options. Popular brands come with either single or dual voice coils; and the more the number of voice coils available, the higher the better the overall rating of the brand and of course, the higher its relative price.
5.Installation: Interestingly, you should also consider the ease of installation of a particular 12 inch sub. You need to carefully study the attached instruction/user manual to see if you understand it. Enclosed subs are pre-mounted and can be more easily installed than Component subs which may need the services of a tech and would attract some extra costs.
6.User Reviews: You need to read the reviews of other users of a particular brand or model to note the personal experiences of other users and then make a decision that is based on unbiased and sincere ratings as well as the pros/cons of a particular sub. Of course, my review here is unbiased and will provide a good starting point for you.
Key Things You Should Know About Subwoofer Maintenance
Subwoofers provide quality entertainment for music enthusiasts like me who don’t like driving without music because music keeps me alert an also relaxes my nerves against the stress and fatigue associated with especially long-distance driving. So, to make this feeling sustainable, I’m going to highlight some important tips on subwoofer maintenance through answering some common questions asked by users.
What typical problems do subwoofers pose?
Generally speaking, most subwoofer problems come in the form of distorted sound, low sound production or no sound at all. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors but the most common ones are exposure to weather elements like moisture or temperature fluctuations. They can also arise from mere wear and tear after years of usage. Technical expertise of a car audio tech is advised to correctly detect the problem and solve it.
What parts cause the most common problems?
Many users have reported that the cone, the voice coils and the fuse are the parts of the sub that cause the most common problems. These parts are better replaced to solve the problem permanently so you need to check the warranty period of any brand or model before purchasing it. You also need to enquire about the availability of spare parts. Wiring problems between the subwoofer and the driver are also common and will definitely lead to loss of sound. An experienced car audio tech will help you detect and rectify this problem.
Why do Subwoofers blow out?
Most drivers that love that deep bass-laden sound while cruising along the roads are often guilty of playing their music at high volumes to maximize the thrill. Doing this will often lead to a distortion of the sound and in extreme cases, will result to a disconnection of the speaker coil and the speaker cone in which case they are said to have ‘blown out’.
You can easily detect a blown out subwoofer by gently pressing the speaker cone with your fingers. If it feels rigid and locked, then it has blown out. You can use a digital voltmeter to check the voltage of the sub. If the margin of deviation is wide from the recommended voltage; or if there are voltage fluctuations, then you need to replace your sub.
Sealed or Ported Enclosure?
When it comes to subwoofer enclosures, they can be either sealed or ported. Sealed subs are designed to produce clearer bass sounds that can also be better controlled. They have the capacity to lock in air thus producing that amazing, nuanced and punchy bass. The only downside in their use is the extra power requirement that they have.
Ported subs on the other hand, allow the free inflow and outflow of air. They may not be able to produce very clear bass compared to the sealed types but they compensate for this drawback by not requiring much power to operate.
Single or Dual Subwoofer Voice Coils?
Single voice calls are generally less expensive. However, their major drawback is that they don’t work with certain amplifiers. Dual voice coils are more expensive since they are more compatible for a variety of wiring configurations and can be connected to much more types of amplifiers.
When it comes to choosing the best 12 inch subwoofer for your car, it comes down to a few things. If you have no constraints on your budget, and if your top priority like mine is top performance, then the you are better off with my winner – the No. 1 on my list – the CT Sounds Strato. This amazing 12 inch subwoofer has a sleek and masterfully-crafted design. It will also give you that car-quaking bass production, any time, any day. It may be a bit pricey but it makes up for that with its top class performance and durability.
However, my verdict does not imply that the other subs on my list are not worth buying. Each of them is good in its own right for the highlighted features - either price, design, compact size or functionality. So, read through my list again and make an informed and confident choice and you won’t be wrong.