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Best subwoofers in 2024

An often underappreciated and overlooked aspect of any audio setup is the subwoofer. However, the best subwoofer can seriously improve your listening experience and elevate audio to new heights you’ve never before experienced. Whether you’re into home theater or music production, have a huge record collection, or a smart home speaker system, a subwoofer is a critical part of the audio equation.



Taking care of the low-frequencies, a subwoofer doesn’t just amplify the bass, it allows your monitors to take care of the frequencies they’re designed for, the highs and mids. A well-calibrated subwoofer brings every sound to life with precision and clarity. However, you’ve got to be careful when choosing the best subwoofer for you, as in some instances, the wrong choice will cause more detriment than good. There’s nothing worse than a flabby low-end muddying your sound and making the overall audio unlistenable.


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I am an audiophile with over six years in the music equipment industry and, with most of these subwoofers, I’ve had hands-on experience. Engaging in daily conversations about audio and music gear has led me to discover additional selections, often recommended by fellow audio nerds who share a passion for all things sound-related.

At the end of the list, you’ll find frequently asked questions to address any queries you have while shopping for your next subwoofer. Hopefully, with the intention of clearing up common misconceptions and making your decision easier.


Best subwoofers: Our favorite sounds

SVS-SB-1000-Subwoofer

SVS SB-1000 Classic

1. Best overall subwoofer

The pinnacle for both home cinema and audio

Whether for music or cinema, the SVS SB-1000 Classic stands out as the ultimate all-rounder in the realm of subwoofers. With its articulate bass response, compact yet robust design, and convenient smartphone capabilities, it boasts a multitude of perks. All these features come at a remarkably reasonable price, making it a highly appealing choice with much to admire.

 

Pros

  • Crystal clear bass
  • Smartphone integrated
  • Compact and very sturdy
Cons

  • Some may prefer a larger driver

If you’re looking for the best subwoofer overall, there aren’t many better options than the SVS SB-1000 Classic. Coming out of Youngstown, Ohio, SVS has a brilliant reputation in the audio world and the SVS SB-1000 Classic sub is a prime example of what the company has to offer.


Capable of crystal clear yet powerful bass, this is a fantastic subwoofer for both music and home cinema applications. The SB-1000 Classic can go low, super low, with frequency capacities all the way down to 20Hz, which is lower than the human ear can even determine. With a 325-watt RMS pounding out of a 12-inch high-excursion SVS driver, it is capable of some stomach-churning low frequencies, particularly when utilized in small to medium spaces. You’ll truly feel every explosion, car chase and heartbeat in your favorite movie.

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As for music listening, the SB-1000 Classic can be fine-tuned using the DSP smartphone app, so you’ll manage to control the sub exactly as your tastes demand. Also, if you’re not in the largest space, the SB-1000 Classic is pretty compact compared to other options on the market, it can tuck away neatly in most living spaces.

Cambridge-Audio-SX120-Subwoofer

Cambridge Audio SX120

2. Best subwoofer for small spaces

A tiny subwoofer with a big bass response

If space is a premium, then check out the SX120 from Cambridge Audio. This option is perfect for individuals seeking bass enhancement, especially in an audio or Hi-Fi setup, while prioritizing great value for money. The SX120 is both detailed and powerful, and its cabinet excels at eliminating unwanted frequencies.

 

Pros

  • Powerful, yet detailed enhancement
  • Great value for money
  • Fantastic at cutting unwanted frequencies

When it comes to audio, the SX120 kicks things off with an eight-inch woofer, delivering a remarkably detailed and tight bass response. While it may not boast the deep growl of larger drivers, it complements dynamic music exceptionally well. It also throws the audio incredibly well and does an impressive job of encompassing you in whatever you are listening to.


As for construction, the rigid MDF cabinet does a commendable job of keeping any unwanted frequencies at bay by minimizing unwanted resonance. Although the SX120 cannot be controlled with a smartphone, the onboard controls are more than enough to help with compatibility in a plethora of different locations. With individual volume, crossover controls, phase switches, and frequency controls, you’ve got all the tinkering options you’ll ever need.

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An eight-inch driver operating at 80RMS isn’t going to be enough for large living spaces, or for those wanting a window-shaking cinematic experience. When you consider you’re getting all of these brilliant features for a tad over $300, it’s easy to see why the SX120 is a serious contender in the subwoofer world.

Yamaha-HS8S-Studio-Subwoofer

Yamaha HS8S Studio Subwoofer

3. Best subwoofer for the studio

Assured Yamaha durability and craftsmanship

Adding to the lineup of industry-standard studio monitors, Yamaha’s HS8S subwoofer is the real deal. Renowned for its impressive build quality, powerful and precise sound, and exceptional crossover capabilities, this subwoofer is a must-have for any music studio.

 

Pros

  • Adjustable crossover
  • Assured Yamaha quality
  • Can be used with other brands
Cons

  • Nuanced change for those not inclined

The familiar Yamaha HS series is truly an industry-standard in music studios across the world. Their HS monitors are the go-to choice for music producers of every caliber and the range’s iconic black and white design is instantly recognizable. Therefore, it’s no surprise to discover that the HS8S subwoofer is the best in the business if you’re after a sub for the studio.


With an eight-inch driver performing at a maximum capability of 150 watts, this thing offers all the power you’ll ever need when mixing and recording music. Like other products in the HS series, the HS8S produces an incredibly natural bass response. It’s articulate, tight and utilizes excellent crossover that retains high detail.

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Like any sub worth its salt, the HS8S does a fantastic job of keeping the low end out of your monitors, allowing them to perform accurately in the frequency range they’re designed for. Perfect for music mixing, it helps you pinpoint audio with precision, minus any interference from overpowering bass.

The adjustable crossover is also a fantastic feature for the studio. You can really get hands-on with the frequencies and the low cut and high cut control will allow you to tune the sub to specifically suit the acoustic properties of your studio. Considering all of these features, throwing a subwoofer into your studio setup is a solid recommendation — you won’t regret it.


SVS-PB16-Ultra-Subwoofer

SVS PB16-Ultra

4. Best premium subwoofer

The PB16-Ultra will twitch your curtains

The PB16-Ultra will give you that stomach-churning, rumbling bass if you so desire. This thing is powerful. With useful features like a controllable smartphone app, a huge 16-inch driver and a fantastically detailed sound, this is the best option if you’re looking to splash the cash. 

 

Pros

  • Unrelenting low-end
  • Incredibly wide frequency response
  • Super detailed sound
Cons

  • Overkill for a lot of needs

Don’t get it wrong, the SVS PB16-Ultra isn’t going to be suitable for everyone. With a maximum power of 5000 watts and capable of running at 1500 watts RMS, this subwoofer is ideal for those looking to splash some cash and have extremely powerful bass at home.

Firstly, the headroom of this subwoofer is outstanding. Through a culmination of the high SPL, maximum wattage, and a large 16-inch driver, the PB16-Ultra can go down to 11Hz at a very loud volume without a trace of distortion. This is ideal if you have a large home cinema room, or a Hi-Fi setup in a vast living space and want to fill that room with articulate bass.

The Bluetooth control app is very useful for tuning the sub to your specific space. The three-band parametric EQ allows deeper editing than most other subs, and you can stack the bands if you need an extra boost. As for build quality, the SVS PB16-Ultra exudes premium quality, culminating in the metallic grill instead of fabric which has been designed for minimum resonance. Although this quality doesn’t come cheap, costing well into four figures, if you’re looking to treat yourself, accept no substitutes.


Yamaha-DXS15-MKII-Subwoofer

Yamaha DXS15 MKII

5. Best subwoofer for venues

Bottom-heavy audio directed exactly where you need

The DXS15 MKII is a great subwoofer option if you’re looking to fill a venue with rumbling bass. This sub is very durable, fantastic at directing low-frequencies due to a cardioid mode directivity and is relatively compact to allow for hassle-free travel. 

 

Pros

  • Incredibly durable
  • Advanced DSP
  • Cardioid Mode offers fantastic dispersion
Cons

  • There are lighter options out there

A subwoofer for live music is slightly different from one for your home setup. It’s important to have the front-of-house audio projected towards the audience, whilst personal monitors provide the band with everything they need to hear. That’s precisely why the DXS15 MKII stands out as the top choice for venues; its cardioid dispersion offers exceptional directionality, significantly minimizing stage bleed.

The DXS15 MKII is also incredibly loud, much louder than you’d expect from a 15-inch driver. With a maximum SPL of 135dB, this is a 3dB improvement from the previous iteration, so Yamaha is going in the right direction if you’re craving loudness. Sure, there’s an 18-inch option in Yamaha’s range, but this will do most small to medium-sized venues. With its custom-designed 2.5-inch voice coil magnets, clarity is the name of the game — no flabby low-end in sight.


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By using a plywood cabinet, Yamaha aimed to make sure the DXS15 MKII would survive a few knocks whilst on the road. Coating it with an extremely durable Polyurea coating makes this sub almost indestructible, although it still shouldn’t be used as a drink holder at your venue. A wooden cabinet also affects the tone, but in the best way possible, as the DXS15 MKII sounds beautifully rich. Yamaha has done a commendable job of marrying tone, reliability, and practicality.

Klipsch-R-100SW-Subwoofer

Klipsch R-100SW

6. Best subwoofer for smaller budgets

American speaker heritage

The Klipsch R-100SW delivers more than you’d expect for its modest price. Anything under $200 for a Klipsch product is already a win, and with its tight, articulate bass and stylish copper aesthetic, the R-100SW easily claims the title of the best budget-friendly subwoofer.

 

Pros

  • Very light and transportable
  • Lovely copper aesthetic
  • Punches well above its price tag
Cons

  • Better suited to home theater

It may surprise some folk out there that Klipsch has claimed the crown of the best affordable subwoofer. After all, the American brand, which has a history spanning back to 1946, sells super high-end Hi-Fi speakers that can cost upwards of $50,000. Thankfully, for those of us on a budget, Klipsch doesn’t neglect the affordable end either.

Sporting a beautiful 10-inch front-firing driver with a spun-copper IMG woofer, the R-100SW reference quality sub will cost you under $200. The driver utilizes Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) cones, which aren’t just impressive on paper, in reality, it assists in a smooth, enduring low-frequency projection whilst keeping distortion to an all-time low. For the price, the


Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer cones are exceptionally light while being extremely rigid — providing a remarkable low-frequency response, with minimal cone breakup and distortion to give you the deepest, cleanest bass possible. Although this attractive sub truly looks best when paired with Klipsch monitors, it is capable of performing equally well with other brands. The low pass crossover and phase controls will allow you to tune the sub to best complement whatever setup you currently have.

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The R-100SW leans more towards enhancing your home cinema experience than being a go-to for Hi-Fi music. Sure, there are pricier options for the purest tones, but they might dig deeper into your pockets compared to the R-100SW’s wallet-friendly tag.

RCF-SUB-708-AS-II-Subwoofer

RCF SUB 708-AS II

7. Best subwoofer for DJ clubs

Low-end punch for DJ centric clubs

RCF has been a primary player in the PA world since its inception in 1949. Known for producing high-quality speakers for venues, stadiums and even cars, the SUB 708-AS II continues its prestigious legacy of producing venue-ready equipment. This powerful sub is ideal if you’re a DJ or own a DJ venue and need some low-end oomph. 
 

Pros

  • 18″ woofer can handle serious low frequencies
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Size to weight to SPL output ratio is ergonomical

Since 1949, the Italian brand RCF has been outfitting venues of all sizes with PA systems. With decades of experience, RCF is well-versed in the art of crafting speakers that can immerse concert-goers in sound. The SUB 708-AS II follows RCF’s tried and tested formula and if you’re a DJ looking for a sub that can handle super-low techno kick drums, you’ve found your solution.


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With an 18-inch driver, a three-inch voice coil, and 1400 watts of output, the 708-AS II is capable of handling some serious low-frequencies. It’s housed in a bass reflex enclosure that uses a vent in the speaker cabinet to utilize the sound from the rear of the diaphragm. This design choice significantly boosts the speaker’s efficiency, particularly at low frequencies, making it a perfect complement to the 708-AS II.

Subs with an 18-inch driver are usually gigantic and incredibly heavy. However, RCF hasn’t added any unnecessary bulk and the 708-AS II is surprisingly ergonomic. This isn’t at the expense of durability either. Using birch plywood coated in a textured black finish, these mountable subs are built to survive even the roughest of clubs. Even the grille, which has been integrated with a transparent acoustic foam, will protect the internals from dust. There’s a lot to love about the 708-AS II, but rather unsurprisingly, a sub this size isn’t suitable for home use unless you live with quadruple-glazed windows.


The bottom line: What’s the best subwoofer?

The SVS SB-1000 Classic is the top choice for the best subwoofer overall. It comes from SVS, a reputable audio brand based in Youngstown, Ohio. This subwoofer impresses with clear and powerful bass, making it great for both music and home cinema. It can reach ultra-low frequencies down to 20Hz, providing a genuine audio experience. With a 325-watt RMS power and a 12-inch high-excursion SVS driver, it excels in smaller to medium spaces, allowing you to feel every detail in your favorite movies. Fine-tune your music listening with the DSP smartphone app, and its compact design makes it a practical choice for various living spaces.

SVS-SB-1000-Subwoofer

SVS SB-1000 Classic

Editor’s Choice

The Klipsch R-100SW earns the title of the best affordable subwoofer, surprising some given Klipsch’s history of high-end speakers. Priced under $200, it features a 10-inch front-firing driver with a spun-copper IMG woofer, delivering enduring low-frequency projection with minimal distortion. Primarily enhancing home cinema, it’s budget-friendly compared to pricier options for those seeking pure tones. The low pass crossover and phase controls allow customization to complement any setup.


How we chose the best subwoofers

With more than six years in the music tech industry, my personal expertise allows me to work with the Pocket-lint editors and reviewers to curate the best subwoofers available today. Our selections stem from hands-on product experiences because nothing beats firsthand knowledge. We also considered various specifications when making our selections, such as sound quality, frequency range, price, driver size, SPL, wattage and durability.

Do you need a subwoofer?

Chances are, if you’re reading this guide you’ll probably be asking yourself, do I need a subwoofer in my audio setup? Although a subwoofer isn’t imperative, as your monitors will handle low frequencies, if you’re looking for the best audio experience possible, a subwoofer is a fantastic way to achieve that.

What does a subwoofer do?

Starting at the beginning, let’s take a look at the basics and get a few things straight. What does a subwoofer do? So, a subwoofer is an external speaker that takes care of the low frequencies. Its primary objective is to handle the bass from any audio you happen to be listening to. In particular, a subwoofer will handle frequencies between 20-200Hz, although more specialist subwoofers can even handle lower frequencies.


A subwoofer is a great addition to an audio setup, particularly if you want the most immersive home cinematic experience possible. The extended low frequencies it offers contribute to complete immersion in the movie you’re watching, accentuating the audio and bringing an extra layer of depth to your entertainment. It will allow you to feel every explosion and rumbling, just like being in the cinema.

A subwoofer can also really help if you’re looking for the most high-fidelity musical experience. Much like for home cinema, a sub will help you hear every nuance in the music, it will also allow you to feel the bass in a much more visceral way. Since the subwoofer takes care of the low-frequencies, it frees up your monitors to excel at the mid and high frequencies they are designed for.


Are there any disadvantages to a subwoofer?

There aren’t many considerable disadvantages to adding a subwoofer to your audio setup. If you’re looking to keep your signal chain as simple as possible, adding a sub is another product in the chain, somewhat complicating your setup a bit more. Also, if you happen to go for an unsuitable, low-quality subwoofer, it can murk your audio experience by adding flabby bass into the mix. If you stick to the products on our list, you’ll not run into these issues.

Should you place a subwoofer in the corner of a room?

Generally speaking, you should try to avoid placing your subwoofer in the corner. Although placing a sub in the corner of your room may seem quite convenient, it will boost and exaggerate the low frequencies and create extra bass. This may be tempting, especially if your sub is on the smaller side, but you’ll likely overpower the other frequencies and the extra bass you’ll hear will become boomy and murky. If possible, try and keep your sub 10 to 12-inches away from the corner. This way you’ll reduce any unnecessary bass build up, and you’ll have the cleanest audio possible.

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