8” vs 10” vs 12” vs 15” Subwoofer: Which One to Choose?

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You probably think that bigger is better, right? When it comes to speakers this assumption is wrong.

 You’ll be surprised at how much more you enjoy your music if you pair it with the right type of speaker and subwoofer. And it may not be the size you thought you needed.

Your output is determined by the subwoofer your system has. It will only match the original recording if your subwoofer has the features to reproduce the original sounds correctly.

 And each genre of music has unique features. Therefore, a small speaker may be able to let your favorite piece of music sound better than the large subwoofer you’ve been using.

How do you know what to use? This article will help you find the best solution.

Sizes rundown

Let’s start with a list of what you can choose from. Each unit is ideally used in a certain setup and for specific genres.

Let’s match your requirements with the right system.

8” Subs

If you love mellowing out with classical music or soulful jazz, the smaller subs will work best.

 Why? Because you need a smaller cone that can instantly respond to the fast notes of the music.

But don’t think you’ll be bored listening to your 8” subs.

Quality units will still produce quality sounds for punk or alternative music too. Choose one of these to get the best experience:

JL Audio 8W7AE-3_ 8''
  • Kicker Solo-Baric L7: Note its square design that may require customized installation
  • Sundown Audio X-8 V.2: It features some of the highest RMS at 750W
  • JL Audio 8W7AE-3: You’ll benefit from JL Audio’s famous quality and the unit even looks good in black and silver

With an 8” subwoofer, you can expect a frequency range from 25-200Hz.

Another reason for purchasing 8” subwoofers is that they fit in most factory-created crevices in your car. If you don’t have to customize your vehicle or home sound system, you save a lot of money. Therefore, this category is an excellent option if you have a limited budget.


  • Small
  • Affordable
  • Fits into most factory-produced systems


  • Bass sounds will be mediocre
  • Lacks power

10” Subs

These subwoofers are for the country music fanatics or to listen to some regular rock.

You’ll feel the power of the song, but the size will still respond to the small nuances of the music that you first fell in love with.

Try out these and you’re guaranteed excellent clarity:

Kicker 11 PES10C_ 10''
  • Rockford Fosgate P300-10: This one may be mistaken for a 12” sub because of its extreme power
  • Kicker 11 PES10C: This one only has a frequency response of 50-200Hz but you’ll love how easy it is to install. This is because it only needs a power line and signal, nothing else
  • JL Audio 10W6v3: This sub has a peak power of 1200W

What are your most important preferences? Remember you won’t enjoy the super low bass notes yet, but some brands’ 10” subs can manage 25Hz frequency response.


  • ​Fast response
  • Fits into most factory-produced systems


  • Can’t produce bass sounds well

12” Subs

If you’re unsure of what you need or if you simply love listening to any type of music, it’s safe to purchase a 12” subwoofer.

 Its response is adequate to let you experience the fast tempos of rock while offering you at least some power to feel the lower sounds too.

When you pick any sub, you must first decide what’s most important to you. One unit may give you the decibels you’re after, while another gives you a wider frequency range.

Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch_ 10''

With the 12” subs this is an especially important factor to have clarity on. The 12” ranges are designed to offer a little bit of everything, but don’t buy something that doesn’t excel in what you find important.

It may sound amazing in both categories, but once you’ve installed it and listen to the music you’re used to you’ll pick up on its shortcomings. This is why it’s important to consider each sub’s unique features.

Which of these will you consider?

  • Sundown Audio X-12 V.2: It has an impressive frequency response of 20-150Hz. Because of its abilities it won’t distort lower notes where others of the same size do. But if it’s high pitched notes you love then this unit may fall short
  • L Audio 12W7AE-3: Wow. This one’s frequency response of 18-200Hz is impressive so get ready to enjoy your bass notes. Note that its impedance coil is 3 ohms which is unique. If you prefer 2 or 4 ohms this may not be your perfect choice
  • Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch: This is a durable subwoofer that won’t give problems of overheating. You’ll enjoy a frequency response of 28-250 Hz. This is not the best range on the market, but will suffice for most types of music
  • DS18 EXL-B12: If it’s the higher frequencies you love this is the 12” sub for you. It has a frequency response of 35-700Hz. Here you have to guard against overheating though

Remember, a 12” subwoofer will probably be too big for most factory setups. You’ll spend more on customizing your car but you’ll get a better experience in the end. You have to decide what’s most important and what your budget allows.


  • Most genres sound good
  • You get power and clarity


  • Needs customized installation

15” subs

If you need to feel your music as much as you want to listen to it, a 15” subwoofer is the equipment you want.

Your rap music will sound excellent, or if you want to follow the bass riffs on harder rock.

A few options you can consider:

Skar Audio ZVX-15v2_ 15''
  • Rockford Fosgate T1D215 Power T1: Its peak power is 2000W. You’ll love the high volumes and it won’t overheat thanks to quality materials and the unique design
  • Orion HCCA152: If you’re looking for power this is it, because its peak power is 5000W. This means you’ll require a battery specifically to drive this unit. Its frequency response is impressive at 21-100Hz
  • Skar Audio ZVX-15v2: This unit gives you a wide range of options so you can enjoy more types of music. Its frequency response is 25-400Hz

Once again a 15” sub requires customized installation and in some cases adjustments to your car’s alternator and battery setup. Make sure your sound system doesn’t drain your car’s power.


  • Detail of music may be lost
  • More distortion (can be a pro or a con depending on your preferences)


  • Slow response
  • Heavy unit
  • Needs customization
  • Requires more power

Let’s wrap it up

Do you see what you need yet? Start your process by deciding what you want your sub to do.


Search for the sub that will fulfil that purpose. It doesn’t help picking the most impressive unit if it’s only going to frustrate you with distorting the sounds you love. Now you know exactly in which category to find your ideal unit. Happy shopping!