Before we dive into our search for the best subwoofer available under $200 today, let's quickly take a look at the role of a subwoofer in more detail:
A subwoofer has one primary function - bass - produced by filtering through low end frequencies smaller speakers have a harder time with.
A subwoofer is pretty crucial for a well rounded car audio system, and it is our aim with this guide to assist you in choosing the best budget subwoofer for your car, based on what your requirements and price range are.
Before we continue, it's important to note: subwoofers come in a variety of sizes and types, each with it's benefits and drawbacks.
A summary of the differences, and things to consider, can be found in our Guide To Car Subwoofers.
Dual 12" Enclosed
One of our picks as the best subwoofer in the 12-inch component category: Alpine's redesigned fifth-generation Type-R subwoofer, the SWR-12D4 features a Kevlar reinforced carbon fibre cone for maximum strength and durability.
It's dual 4 Ohm voice coils ensure you will always be able to pull maximum power from your amp, and given the huge power handling capabilities of this monster, the more juice you can feed it - the better, so make sure to choose your amp wisely!
What you'll get from this subwoofer is satisfyingly accurate response, big thumping bass, with low distortion to boot. If there was one word to describe this woofer it would be: loud! At a huge 1000 Watts RMS, this woofer is sure to satisfy your big booming bass cravings.
Alpine have been in the game long enough to know car audio, and as you would hope and expect at this price, they certainly do not disappoint with SWR-12D4. At CarAudioHQ.net, this would certainly be our number 1 pick at this size and price point.
This mid tier offering from another well respected brand, the JL Audio 12W0V3-4 consists of a well built frame, featuring a beefy 2 inch voice coil driving a mineral-filled, tough polypropylene cone woofer designed to withstand a reasonable pounding.
Another unique feature is an elevated frame cooling system, bringing air directly to the voice coil and providing rapid heat dissipation.
The cones extra long excursion capability, along with it's patented Dynamic Motor Analysis system, results in a consistent linear excursion over a wide power range, or simply put - excellent control. This results in a speaker that is capable of hitting truly deep notes, minus the typical resulting distortion.
What you also get is a subwoofer that is able to provide satisfyingly crisp and precise sound, but without overbearing or over the top bass.
The JL Audio 12W0V3-4 subwoofer is also optimized for use in a compact sealed enclosures as well as medium-sized ported enclosures.
In summary, this is a good choice of subwoofer if you prefer sound quality of bass over quantity, and is quite simply a great well rounded subwoofer that is extremely hard to match at it's price range.
Out first look at a enclosed sub set, and also one of the most popular selling subwoofers in general - the MTX Audio Terminator TNE212D unit comes with a dual set of 12" subwoofers enclosed in quality built 5/8" medium density fiberboard, finishing with a pretty nice looking "aviation grade" black carpet covering.
One fairly obvious advantage of such an enclosed unit is it's relatively straight forward installation - it can be mounted quickly and easily in most trunks and SUVs.
Each subwoofer can handle 400 watts RMS, with 800 watts peak power - not the most powerful of our reviewed subwoofers, but remembering we are talking about a pair here, there is definitely enough power to rattle your trunk and turn some heads if you are looking to do so.
Paired with a good amp (and not MTX recommended THUNDER500.1) the unit will really start to shine, providing smooth deep lows, and a nice punch.
Finally, at around $150, the unit is definitely reasonably priced for what you get, making a particularly great entry level unit.
And, based on the number of satisfied customers on sites like Amazon, there is not too much to complain about otherwise. Just do make sure they will fit in your trunk!
See the TNE212D in action here:
The classy looking Infinity Reference 1262w 12" subwoofer offers an accurate, hard-hitting bass performance for an incredibly reasonable price - being one of the cheapest subwoofers available on our list, at just $50.
How much can you expect from a $50 speaker? Prepared to be pleasantly surprised: Infinity subwoofers are focused primarily on sound reproduction, rather than simply window rattling, and if you are looking for genuine authentic sounding bass, this speaker will give you just that.
Paired with a suitable amp, the sub will provide a satisfying deep, full range, and can definitely pound.
Putting it simply - in our opinion you will not find a better 12" component subwoofer for this price.
One of the more popular subwoofers of it's size on Amazon, the Pyle PLPW8D 8" subwoofer (also available in all other standard sizes) is a nice and sleek looking speaker, housed in a durable black stamped steel basket, and featuring a 1.5", 4-layer high-temperature dual voice coil with a 40 oz. magnet.
As you'd expect, it's not a particularly loud speaker, but is still surprisingly good for an 8-inch, providing good punch and deep bass for it's size.
This size subwoofer is a great choice for someone looking for a cheap and easy replacement set for their factory installed speakers. As with many speakers of this size, care should be taken not to push it too hard as it can potentially blow.
All in all, a great choice if you're just looking for a no fuss, entry level replacement subwoofer for your factory set.
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