Car Subwoofer Series: The Best 12 Inch Subwoofer

Buying the right subwoofers for you and your vehicle can be a challenge. The budget you have, the brand you like, and the sound you want, can all be factors in deciding the right subwoofer. Subwoofers are very important when it comes to listening to music. They give your sound depth and provide a complete and full sound to your audio system.

Subwoofers come in different shapes and sizes (see more about 8 inch and 10 inch subwoofer). But if you are looking for the best 12-inch subwoofer in the market today, you have come to the right place. Below, you will find a list of the top 5, 12-inch subwoofers along with their amazing features and some pros and cons to help you decide on which one to pick and invest in. The brands we have on this list include Rockford, Power Acoustik, Pioneer, JL Audio, and Kenwood.

** Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews by click in "Reviews" column, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

However, before we jump right into the 12-inch subwoofer reviews, there are some important things you should know about subs. All these factors should be considered before you start shopping around for the best subwoofer for your car.

Subwoofer Types

There are three types of subwoofers: subwoofer drivers, powered subwoofers, and vehicle specific subwoofers. A subwoofer driver can be placed inside an enclosure for it to operate effectively and efficiently. These subwoofers need to have an amplifier so they can be powered up. The sizes can range from as little as 8 inches to as big as 15 inches. Powered subwoofers are next.


These subwoofers come with an amplifier and a subwoofer in the same enclosure. These subs are very space friendly, but they are limited in how much bass they can produce. Lastly, vehicle specific subwoofers are designed in saving location space for SUVs, cars, and trucks. But, if you are looking for the best bass, these are probably not the best way to go.

Subwoofer Features

Most subwoofers have these important features: power, sensitivity, voice coil numbers, and the size of the woofer. To find the perfect sub for you, you have to make sure that your choice of the sub has all these features and each feature meets your needs and preference.

The first feature in a subwoofer that you should look into is the power. Subwoofer power comes from RMS. When you are checking for power from a subwoofer, be sure your amplifier can keep you powered up. All subwoofers within the vehicle need an amp to work correctly.


Next is sensitivity. Subwoofers have a rating that involves higher sensitivity. This means it requires even less power than usual to create the same sound you would hear. Lower sensitivity models would not be able to handle this in the same way.

When it comes to voice coils, you have two choices: single or dual. Ultimately, double gives you more flexibility when you are wiring your sounds system together. The last feature involves the size of the woofer itself. Your sub must not be too big or too small for your car and sound needs. The size of the woofer should also be one of your basis when it comes to choosing what sub to buy.

Moreover, you should also consider other things such as the type of enclosure, rating for sensitivity, and power. If you want a powerful system with low music, then pick the biggest subwoofer you can find. But, do not leave out the smaller subwoofers. If they are installed appropriately and correctly, and with the proper enclosure, your small subwoofer might even be able to keep up with some of the bigger ones.

Subwoofer Enclosure Design

Subwoofers need speakers to work properly. They usually range from 8-inches to 21-inches. There are uncommon sizes of subwoofers, but these are usually not for public use. Some of these subwoofers can go up to 60-inches, and they have to be independently designed and operated.

Also, some subwoofers can get low as 4-inches. These are usually used in computer speakers or subwoofer cabinets at home. Enclosures are built to fit subwoofer sizes. These enclosures help give the desired sound, lower frequency ranges, and an allowable amount of distortion. Common subwoofers include 10-inches, 12-inches, 15-inches, and 18-inches. Any another type of subwoofers is less common.

As the subwoofer size goes up, so does the price. Also, subwoofer sizes can be better for different types of music. Depending on the brand, you can get a good idea of what subwoofers could work for you and your style. Some other items you might want to consider purchasing as well could include new wiring, new desk, new amplifier, and new speakers.

Look for products that fit each other appropriately. Some people try to save money during this process but do it right. Taking the time to research and review products will be worth your while in achieving the best sound.

Subwoofer Important Information

Subwoofers are a necessity for all vehicles. Out of the factory, speakers have been inserted in vehicles for decades, but subwoofers are usually not included. This has created great treble within the car, but a lack of bass output. "Insert Subwoofers Here". Subwoofers have been added over time but mostly by the owner of the vehicle themselves to create a fuller sound for everyone to hear.


Some subwoofer sounds stay within the vehicle; others have a subwoofer sound that even the neighbors can hear and will disturb the peace in a neighborhood. Depending on your preference, there are many types of subwoofers that you can look into.

Are you also looking for a subwoofer that looks like new every time you hope into the car? Does a sleek design matter to you and your product? Well, then decide on a subwoofer that looks the part. Design or “coolness factor,” goes a long way for people who want subs installed in their car. This might involve the color of the subs, the way they are manufactured, or the way they fit in an enclosure.

There are many choices on the market today, but remember that you definitely should have the sound in mind first because that is the most important. A blow sub and an awesome looking speaker will get you nowhere at all.

Lastly, notice how much space you have in your vehicle. Some subwoofers are designed to fit under seats, in the trunk, or mounted within the car. Depending on what you need, there will be a subwoofer for you and your vehicle.

Please Don’t Blow It Up

After a subwoofer has been installed, many will want to blast their sound as high as it can go to test the product. There are ways to break in a subwoofer, but many time people just end up blowing their brand-new speakers. We see countless reviews how people are upset with a subwoofer brand because their speaker blew.


But, did they have it installed correctly? Did they use the correct wiring and amplifier? Were the subs install professional or on the side? Was there a proper enclosure to keep the speakers safe and to provide sound insulation? These are all questions that should be asked in the event of a blown subwoofer because it is usually not the products issue; it is the consumer’s mistake.

Subwoofers can be blown in two ways. The first way involves overpowering. This means that music is constantly being played at a high-enough level that the voice coil can’t hold the sound anymore, and it burns up completely.

Another way a sub can blow involves distortion, not power. This is often referred to as clipping. These clipping sounds such as hissing, crumbling, or crackling can destroy a sub no matter what the volume is set at. The reason involves a lack of cooling for the voice coil. The clipping signal continues to create the current flow to the voice coil, but no ventilation is present to ease the heat. This causes the subwoofer to overheat and the speaker to blow.

Another thing that can transpire with clipping involves waveforms forcing the cone and the coil to move infinitely fast in changing directions within the sub. This is not a normal process within the subs and the cone and the coil will ultimately die a gruesome death. This death comes from the under-powering of the subs. In turn, the clipping signal gets pushed instead of the volume of a song, leading to a blown subwoofer.

Electrical System Stress

A lot of times when people are installing subs on their own, they worry if they have the right electrical system to get them by. Capacitors can be used for hard hits from the bass if the lights in your vehicle dim. This allows more power to the electrical current of the subs, and less light use for your vehicle.

If your vehicle lights dim to the point of them turning off, your sound system might be overpowering your electrical system. This could lead to the damage of your vehicle’s battery and alternator, which would be an unwanted, costly fix.

Music Blasting Etiquette


Some people might think it is cool to blast your music around town, but you might not be setting yourself up for a very good first impression. Ultimately, enjoy your new subwoofer and the music you play on them. Share your music sound with others that are equally excited, but do not overwhelm neighbors and people down the street because of your new toy. Everyone deserves a little peace and quiet.

Now, we get it. You want to run free and let your music be an expression of who you are. But, not everyone is going to understand your wonderful bass boom. So, if you really want to turn loose, get out away from residential areas, and blast your sound in a deserted area, and enjoy the sound that follows. This will keep you jamming while the people within your neighborhood happy.

Top 5 Best 12-inch Subwoofers 2016 – My Favorites

Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Punch P3 DVC 4-Ohm

12-Inch 600-Watt RMS 1200-Watt Peak Subwoofer

best 12 inch subwoofer

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The Rockford Fosgate Subwoofers could be a great addition to your vehicle. These subwoofers feature a voice coil made from copper clad aluminum. The voice coils are even reinforced by a Nomex collar. The cone area is increased, and there is a basket that is designed to be flexed-fit to protect the subwoofers. The stamp-cast basket minimized weight and resistance. The cone is made from a thermalized anodized aluminum, which creates a solid support within the sub.

This product is considered to be of very high quality. These cables are so efficient that they can jump start a completely dead battery in a minute. It is a product which has received good reviews not only for its features but also for the very fair price in which it is available. It has earned a name as a good product with a very decent price to go with it.


  • Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty (1 year)
  • Deepest and Cleanest Bass
  • Great design and look
  • Balanced musical qualities
  • Perfect Upgrade Subs
  • Fantastic Customer Service from Rockford


  • Boxes must be built to specification (these are not universal)
  • Quality subs suffered around the turn of the century (making their track record, not as extensive)
  • Need a more expensive amplifier to keep up with these subs
  • 20-30 hours of break-in time before the subs sound good
  • Cones can start to separate over time
  • Seal can crack the speaker
  • Packaging does not protect subwoofer well-enough during delivery
  • Smell of rubber burning ensues if subs played for too long

Power Acoustik MOFO 12-Inch Competition Subwoofer

Dual 2-Ohm Voice Coils

best 12 inch subwoofer

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This 12-inch, 2700 watt subwoofers, made by Power Acoustic, are some of the best of the bunch. These subwoofers give you the best bang for your buck and can handle power very well. They are a powered, competitive subwoofer with a patented heatsink technology, to keep your subwoofers fresh and crisp through every musical play. It is made out of cloth paper composite, which is very flexible, yet durable.

You will be totally surprised by the way these subwoofers work for you. They will add the extra boom you need as you drive down the street, listening to your favorite songs in a whole new way. The surround is UV coated with foam. The subs can be placed in either a sealed or ported box. You will get more power out of the subs than you thought you would get when you bought it.

To make this power work for you and your vehicle, make sure that you have an amplifier that can handle more wattage than the manufacturer recommends. This will help you keep a high sound over time, and your amp and subs will not have to overwork, which ultimately leads to a burnout of the electrical system


  • 90 Day Warranty
  • Subs free up trunk space
  • The product is solidly built
  • Car will rattle, due to the enormous bass
  • Subs are not made of cheap material but are cost effective
  • Blue rubber screw covers are an excellent addition to an already great design


  • Non-returnable subwoofer
  • Item is heavy at 25 pounds
  • There is no wireless remote
  • Overpowering could lead to a blown speaker
  • Sound quality lacks
  • Poor packaging at times
  • Wattage is not durable over time
  • Customer service is not always diligent

Pioneer Ts-w3003d4 12" 2,000-watt

Champion Series pro Subwoofer

best 12 inch subwoofer

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Pioneer has come out with another quality subwoofer. This 12-inch, 2000 watt beast is a fantastic option for you consider. These subwoofers weigh 20 pounds and have a product dimension of 12 by 12 by 6.9 inches. One 12 volt battery is needed to run and power these subs. With the Pioneer product, one neat feature involves expansions. Subwoofers like these can expand your sound.

You have options such as an HD Radio Built-in, Bluetooth capabilities, iPod cable, optional Satellite Ratio, and an iPod Dock. With these subs, make sure that you have proper power and appropriate enclosure space to keep the subs running at their peak level.


  • 600 Watt RMS
  • Bass slams harder and is deeper than most subs
  • Output is increased with these subs
  • No distortion
  • Fantastic Value
  • Magnets and Coils are exposed for better heat ventilation
  • If you max the speakers without bass boost, they will not overheat
  • Subs have a frequency range of 20 to 80 Hz


  • Spider assembly can come unglued
  • The face is made of cheap quality
  • No warranty
  • Voice coil is not stabilized in the subs
  • Volume has modest levels

12W0V3-4 - JL Audio 12" Single 4-Ohm

W0V3 Series Subwoofer

best 12 inch subwoofer

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These subwoofers from JL Audio are some of the best of the best. This product will not let you down. They are mineral-filled with a polypropylene cone for great durability over the lifetime of your product. These subwoofers have a great role surround that has great excursion within. With an elevated frame for cooling, air will get to the voice coil, so they will not overheat.

The JL Subwoofers were designed for a sealed enclosure or ported enclosure. The dimensions of this product are as follows: 14 by 14 by 8 inches. At 8.82 pounds, this is a lightweight subwoofer. For sensitivity, these subwoofers go to 85.64 dB. They have an optimized motor system to keep the sound running and running. A metallic frame finish gives this product a great, new look.


  • No subs are better for the money
  • Thump pretty hard
  • Quality and clear subwoofers
  • Quick shipping (4 to 5 business days)
  • Great online shopping / Fantastic website
  • Speakers will not be damaged through the mail
  • Raw materials that are excellent
  • Accurate bass notes
  • Offer free shipping


  • Sound might not live up to other subs over time
  • Box Packaging can be damaged
  • Ported enclosures are not good with these subs
  • Warranty is less than a year

Kenwood KFC-W3016PS 12-Inch 2000W Subwoofer

best 12 inch subwoofer

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The last subs that we will talk about are the Kenwood 2000W Subwoofers. These audio subwoofers have an RMS ranking of 400 watts. They have a textured cone made from polypropylene that has a surround that is rubber. The surround is elastic, allowing for flexibility and durability. At the height of 8 inches and a width of 14.5 inches, these subwoofers will fit in any vehicle. Multi-color options are depending on your preference.

Over time, Kenwood has put in decades and decades of hard work, in building a series of subs that have been reliable and powerful. The bass in your vehicle will never sound better. With a one-year limited warranty, you will be covered as you enjoy your new subs. These are very light-weight subs at 4.4 pounds. One 12 volt battery is needed to run these subs. For enclosures, look to find a box that is a bit smaller for a compact sub.


  • Great price and quality
  • Subs hit the deep notes
  • Free of distortion
  • Sleek design


  • Connection spots are not universal for the correct grill
  • Wrong enclosure could lead to poor sound by the subs
  • Warranty must be purchased
  • Warranty is less than a year

After much review and research, the best subwoofer of the bunch is the Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Punch P3 DVC 4-Ohm 12-Inch 600-Watt RMS 1200-Watt Peak Subwoofer. With a great warranty and fantastic sound, these subs were ranked the best out of any others in our article. Their customer service is prime in the way they treat every customer with respect and dignity. Also, Rockford has a long history of successful subwoofers, so you will know that they are creating these devices the right way. Looking for a subwoofer that has a long track record gives you a sense of the quality and success that each device brings to the vehicle and its driver.

Ultimately, you have the decision to make on what subwoofers will work best for you. Decide on a price and equipment that will make your vehicle better. Then, take your ride for a spin and let the bass do the rest of the work.

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