Best 12 Inch Subwoofers In 2020 [Reviews and Comparison]

Gear4Wheels may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. This comes at no additional cost to you, and all the prices and availability are accurate at the time of publishing.

What is the best 12 inch subwoofer?

A simple question, yet not so easy to answer.

There's a lot of subwoofers in the market and brands like Pyle, MTX, Boss and others flood the market with their top selling $49.95 subs that look, feel, and last like cheap toys.

To find the really good stuff is hard.

Why are they top sellers then? Well, because that's what almost everyone can afford.

Will they last as they should an pack the punch you look for? I doubt it.

I know it is hard, so I have tested a few dozens of the most popular 12" subs and I have reviewed my favorite seven that you can buy right now.

12 Inch Subwoofer Comparison Chart

IMAGE PRODUCT RMS Peak Power
1. Pioneer TS-A300D4 12 inch 1500
  • With great frequency range
  • Loud and precise performance
  • Excellent peak power
RMS: 500 Watts Peak Power: 1500 Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
Sundown Audio X-12 V.2 review 2. Sundown Audio X-12 V.2
  • Consistent, flat response at any volume level.
  • Outstanding quality materials and manufacture.
  • Produces great, loud and clear sound even when powered below the optimal range
RMS: 1500Watts Peak Power: 3000Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
JL Audio 12W6v3 review 3. JL Audio 12W6v3
  • Great dB output.
  • Quality of components and manufacture on the top of the industry.
  • Made in the USA
RMS: 600 Watts Peak Power: 1200Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch review 4. Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch
  • MASSIVE bass sound. Hits like a 15″
  • LOW price and GREAT value for money
  • EXCELLENT Customer Service from Rockford Fosgate
  • Dual Coils allow more installation options
RMS: 600Watts Peak Power: 1200Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
DS18 EXL-B12 review 5. DS18 EXL-B12
  • Brutal loudness.
  • Reduced price for a SPL sub with its specs
  • Wide range of frequencies
RMS: 1250Watts Peak Power: 2000Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
JL Audio 12W3v3-4 review 6. JL Audio 12W3v3-4
  • Great value for money.
  • Reasonable price.
  • Needs little power, most amplifiers will work nicely
  • Very reliable subwoofer
RMS: 500Watts Peak Power: 1000Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
Power Acoustik MOFO-124X review 7. Power Acoustik MOFO-124X
  • Price.
  • Super Loud.
  • Dual coils.
  • Badass looks
RMS: 1500Watts Peak Power: 2700Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
8. American Bass XFL1244
  • High output
  • Well built
RMS: 1000 Watts Peak Power: 2000 Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
9. Skar Audio EVL-12 D2
  • Durable
  • Efficient cooling system
  • Deep and precise bass
RMS: 1250 Watts Peak Power: 2500 Watts VIEW ON AMAZON
10. Kenwood KFC-W3016PS
  • Good design
  • Solid core performance
  • Low price
RMS: 400 Watts Peak Power: 2000 Watts VIEW ON AMAZON

Best 12 Inch Subwoofers of 2019 Reviews

The following list is ordered by our preference. Some spots are arguable depending on one's preference (more towards loudness and SPL or Sound Quality) but there's no doubt these 7 subs are the creme de la creme for this size

We've tried our very best to cover each key aspect from each sub and to list only what we've seen are the best 12" subs of the year.

1

Pioneer TS-A300D4 12 inch 1500

Pioneer has crafted a reputation for itself built around quality and performance. And like their products, that reputation is built to last. This subwoofer features a design capable of handling volumes much higher than its actual specifications as a preventative measure against failure to deliver a subwoofer that can stand up to the big dogs for a low price.

Specifications

  • RMS: 500 Watts 
  • Sensitivity: 77 dB
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz to 2.3 kHz
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms
  • Maximum peak power handling: 1500 Watts

EDITOR'S RATING:

With this subwoofer, Pioneer has crafted a product finely tuned that demonstrates how sound quality does not need to be sacrificed in the name of volume and power. 

Power

Boasting impressive stats across the board, this Pioneer subwoofer offers an optimal continuous power level of 500 Watts, but can handle the occasional peak up to 1500 Watts. Due in part to its over-engineering, the subwoofer can handle these peaks without a problem.

However, a relative minority of customers reported blown speakers when trying to operate within what they claim are the defined parameters of operation. While it is difficult to determine whether these issues are caused by user negligence or defective units, it is worthwhile taking note of. 

The inclusion of an oversized double stacked magnet coming in at 60 ounces and vented pole yoke supposedly allows for increased power usage, so the speaker should be able to handle it’s designated power range with ease. Still, we do not recommend trying to test out how far it can go, as you might blow it.

The frequency response range is incredibly large, going all the way up to 2.3 kHz. Such a high range means this sub can handle all sorts of sounds and genres, making it a more dynamic subwoofer than the traditionally bass focused speaker.

Design

The cone is constructed from fiberglass and mica interlace molded polypropylene, giving it a weight just shy of 16 pounds. It also features a rubber surround.

The suspension system and motor structure are over-engineered to result in a cohesive listening experience even at high volumes, and that over-engineered nature is stressed throughout the design.

Impedance

The sub features a 4 Ohm dual voice coil (DVC), creating powerful stereo sound from just this one speaker. 

Conclusion

Overall, this subwoofer features impressive specifications at a very fair price compared to other subs in its class, as it typically goes for less than $100. While the product has been designed to support its listed power range levels and then some, we can not ignore the complaints about malfunctions. These complaints still only make up a small fraction of reports, so the subwoofer still comes highly recommended for anyone on a budget. It also comes with a pair of earbuds, which is a nice little bonus.

Pros

Cons

2

Sundown Audio X-12 V.2

Still on the high-end range, we find Sundown’s X-12 V.2 Subwoofer. (Available in both 4Ohm and 2Ohm impedance).

For the price, it could happily contend vs the JL W7 in terms of performance and overall quality, and it's actually got more power.

So let’s have a look at its specs to know what’s going on on the battle for #1.

Specifications

  • RMS: 1500Watts
  • Peak Power: 3000Watts
  • Sensitivity: 84.4 db
  • Frequency response: 20-150 Hz
  • Impedance: 2 or 4 ohms

Review

The X V.2 series stands out of the crowd due to its amazing linear suspension.

This subs are designed to produce the lowest distortion possible.

In ranges (40-80hz) where other subs would distort, thanks to this design, the V.2 series do not produce noise.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Sundown Audio X-12 V.2 review

This does however have an impact in higher frequencies where the V.2 lacks depth of sound.

When we open the package, the immediate feel is of a tough, well manufactured component.

All the materials feel prime quality and once we test the subwoofer we realize it is not only feels but actually such quality.

This is really a great competition subwoofer given its power and Xmax.

You can watch its amazing power yourself on this video (turn your volume down before 0:30. You've been warned)

Impedance

Available on both 2ohm DVC and 4ohm DVC, that's enough wiring options.

The unit we tested was the V.2 D4 which is dual 4ohms, and we had it wired down to 2 ohms in parallel. 

Conclusion

All in all a great subwoofer for those interested on getting the loudest, deepest bass possible without having to go one size bigger (perhaps for lack of space or a more adjusted budget)

A vented box is totally advised with this subwoofer.

Lastly, as we always recommend, for a subwoofer this powerful upgrading to a good car battery for car audio is always advised

Recommended Amplifier:

For this subwoofer we would recommend going for the SCV-2000D – Sundown Audio Monoblock 2000W RMS Amplifier, which is the same amp that the manufacturer recommends.

However, if we want to power this sub to the max, the SCV-3000D would be what be looking for.

That will come at a cost tho, given that not only that amp is very costly but also it may require us to change the alternator as 3000watts RMS would be over what a regular factory alternator on a passenger car can feed.

Pros

Cons

3

And closing the premium segment of this list of the best 12 inch subwoofers we find another JL Audio sub and it is more than understandable! If the best sub is the W7, the W6 is just one step below in overall performance. (But a few in price so check it out!).

The w6 won’t bang as loud as the w7 but from our experience (and it matches what we’ve heard everywhere else) the sound quality is slightly better, so they really are worth the 3rd spot. Let’s have a quick look at the specs before we dive into the review.

Specifications

  • RMS: 600 Watts
  • Peak Power: 1200Watts
  • Sensitivity: 85.4 db
  • Frequency response: 10 - 500hz
  • Impedance: 4 ohms DVC

Review

This subs have been in the market for a long while so they’ve proved what they can and can’t do.

They’ve achieved a great balance between sound quality and loudness.

EDITOR'S RATING:

JL Audio 12W6v3 review

It does carry a little boomines on the highest notes (not where a sub is meant to work anyway) and that's the only thing that diminshes its Sound Quality output, that we would qualify as excellent.

Power and Sensitivity

JL once more gives us a RMS range. In this case, the optimum spot lies at 400W where the max recommended RMS is 600w. 

JL 12W6v3 specifications
Impedance.

This subwoofer uses dual coils rated at 4ohms impedance, which allows us to wire it either at 2 ohms (parallel) or at 8 ohms (series)

Conclusion

This is the perfect sub for those who prefer to spend more in the subwoofer than in the amplifier, not really looking for the very loudest bass but more for a balance with good sound quality.

With just 400-600w RMS, the output is great although nothing like the Sundown X12 or the DS18.

Recommended Amplifier:

For this subwoofer we would recommend going for the JX500/1D – JL Audio Monoblock 500W RMS Class D Amplifier.

At 4 ohms impedance this amplifier will deliever 500Watts RMS which is more than enough to power this subwoofer.

Pros

Cons

4

Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch

Jumping to more affordable subwoofers, we find the P3 Punch. Rockford Fosgate faced some rough times around the early 2000’s, when they started manufacturing in China. A substantial drop in quality made them lose a lot of customers.

Luckily for us, they’ve learnt from that mistake and they are back with really good subwoofers. The P3 has been around for a while and it belongs to RF’s highest line of products. 

Specifications

  • RMS: 600Watts
  • Peak Power: 1200Watts
  • Sensitivity: 85 dB
  • Frequency response: 28-250 Hz
  • Impedance: Dual 4 ohm

Review

The first thing we notice on the Rockford Fosgate P3 is how heavy it is. Double coils have of course this effect. The aluminium case feels very resistant, with the gap in the middle and everything.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch review

The alluminum allow case offers increased resistance and greater heat dissipation.

After prolonged usage we have not experienced any heating (at all, practically) this clearly shows the greater efficiency of using dual coils.The looks are sick in this subs so that’s a thing to consider. For the price we very hardly find something that beats the P3 Punch.

We like the 12 inch version even more than the 10 inch model of the Punch P3.

Power and Sensitivity

With 600W RMS we wouldn't truly call it a competition grade subwoofer as RF does, although we have to recognize its bass output is really loud. 

Impedance.

This sub is available on both dual 2ohms and dual 4ohms impedances. The specs on this review are from the dual 4ohms version, which is the one we tested. 

Conclusion

For the price, we can't find a better subwoofer. It's got the quality, it's got the looks, it's got the boom. Definitely a great choice if you plan to run a dual sub setup.

Recommended Amplifier:

For this subwoofer we recommend going for the Rockford Fosgate Prime 1,200-Watt Class-D 1-Channel Amplifier.

 For just one sub that’s a great amplifier and the combination won’t break the bank.To help you clarify better whether this is a good buy for you or not, check this pros and cons table.

Pros

Cons

5

DS18 EXL-B12

This affordable, high excursion competition subwoofer will be the delight of bass lovers. It won't break the bank, and comes packed with power.

It isn't however the kind of sub that will fit everyone's need so read our review before you make a decision.

Specifications

  • RMS: 1250Watts
  • Peak Power: 2000Watts
  • Sensitivity: 88dB
  • Frequency response: 35-700Hz
  • Impedance: Dual 4 ohms

Review

With a base sensitivity of 88db (If you think that's impressive, check the 15 inch version of this same subwoofer) and some good 1250w RMS, this sub is really loud.

EDITOR'S RATING:

DS18 EXL-B12 review

However, this sub has a tendency to get hot. It is designed with a ported box in mind, and installing it on a sealed enclosure will be a quick and sure way to fry it quickly.

A slight downside is that DS18 Subs, whilst designed and engineered in the United States, are manufactured either in China or Korea (vary depends models) and that has an impact on the durability of the component.

Impedance.

This subwoofer is available on both dual 2 ohms and dual 4 ohms impedances.

On both 15 and 12 inch, we tried the 2 ohm impedance version which has a slightly better db output.

Conclusion:

This is the sub you are looking for if you don't have a very big budget (like the one you need for the Sundown X-12) and are aiming at the highest SPL possible. 

Recommended Amplifier:

Our recommended amplifier for this subwoofer is the JX1000/1D – JL Audio Monoblock 1000W RMS Class D Amplifier.

Yes, we know we recommend this amp often and there are a lot of reasons why. In this particular case, we recommend wiring both coils from the sub in parallel to get 2ohms.

For that impedance, the JX1000 will produce 1000Watt RMS and 2000watt peak. 

Pros

Cons

6

JL Audio 12W3v3-4

If JL’s W7 and W6 made into the top of the charts, the w3 couldn’t be too far below.

Another great subwoofer, this time in a much more affordable range that also works at much lower wattage, meaning we won’t need an amplifier as big as we would with its higher-end brothers. Let’s check it out.

Specifications

  • RMS: 500Watts
  • Peak Power: 1000Watts
  • Sensitivity: 87.15 dB
  • Frequency response: 22-200 Hz
  • Impedance: 4 ohm

Review

So the first thing we see is that this subwoofer is very little power hungry.

It is ideal for running a dual setup (two subs) with one 1000w amp.

They give however fantastic loud sound.

EDITOR'S RATING:

JL Audio 12W3v3-4 review

They don’t excel at really low subs (even if the frequency response goes down to 22hz, we start noticing underperformance before that) and for those looking for something more impressive, we would advice going for a W6.

Power and Sensitivity

In the following chart we see the recommended range of power for this subwoofer, as provided by JL Audio.

JL 12W3v3 Specifications
Impedance.

This subwoofer is available on single 4 ohms or 2ohm impedance.

Nice and simple, not too many wiring options but for the price and quality we couldn't expect dual voice coils.

Conclusion:

This is a great subwoofer for those with a limited budget who want to do a one-off purchase and be served for a long time.

You won’t need to upgrade your system nor replace the speaker if you treat it good, give it a good break in and configure the amp-sub setup right.

Recommended Amplifier:

Our recommended amplifier for this subwoofer is the JL Audio JX500.

It won’t break the bank, it will power the 4ohm version of the W3 at the exact optimal RMS rate it should be (300watt).

If you want to experience a bit more overall power (in the risky area though), go for the 2ohm version of the W3.

Pros

Cons

7

Power Acoustik MOFO-124X

This is a sub that is getting very popular on the car audio scene. It’s got great specs and superb looks at a very low price so we do understand why that increase in popularity.

Want to see what we mean? keep reading.

Specifications

  • RMS: 1500Watts
  • Peak Power: 2700Watts
  • Sensitivity: 85.4dB
  • Frequency response: 20-2k hz
  • Impedance: Dual 4 ohms

Review

So for the little money that this costs, we find a subwoofer that is crazy powerful and offers multiple wiring possibilities thanks the double coils.

As always, this also means you really need to know what you are doing when wiring this sub or take it into a professional car audio place to have it installed.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Power Acoustik MOFO-124X review
Power and Sensitivity

This are really powerful subs.

The ventilation in this subwoofer is really good, and when enclosed in a vented box, it shouldn’t give heating issues itself.

Now think of the wattage it needs because you may have heating issues with your amplifier if it isn’t a high quality one.

Bear in mind the price that you pay.

These are inexpensive subs, meaning the overall quality of materials won’t be the same as you would find in some hi-end subs.

With a good break-in you'll gradually experience better output. As always, here's a video so you can check them out.

Impedance.

This subwoofer is available on DVC (Dual Voice Coils) with 4 ohms impedance each and on 2ohms DVC too.

The unit we tested was a 4ohms one so we've based our review on that particular model.

Conclusion:

The MOFO-124x is the right subwoofer for multiple subs setup, given its low price and the dual coils, when using multiple subs you can get something as little as 0.5 ohms, which will be easier and cheaper to find a good amplifier to feed the high wattage this subs need.

Recommended Amplifier:

We recommend to pair this subwoofer with the Hifonics ZRX2416.1D Zeus Mono Class-D it gives 1600watts @ 2ohms, so if we wire this sub paraller, it would be a perfect match. 

Hifonics amplifiers got some bad reputation in the past, but from our experience so far with their newer models we are quite pleased with their performance.

Pros

Cons

7

8

American Bass XFL1244

This subwoofer from American Bass is one intense speaker. Coming in at 38 pounds, this sub really is a force to be reckoned with. Clearly, quality was the main goal when coming up with this behemoth.

Specifications

  • RMS: 1000 Watts
  • Peak Power: 2000 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB
  • Frequency response: ?
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms

These subwoofers do not mess around. Rated for a continuous usage level at 1000 Watts, these speakers really go for maximum power. Speaking of maximum power, spikes of up to 2000 Watts can be handled without a problem. 

These subs are incredibly loud, with many customers reporting that one subwoofer is all you need to blast your tunes as loud as you would like. 

EDITOR'S RATING:

Design


Constructed out of die cast aluminum with a carbon-kevlar reinforced nonpress paper cone, American Bass built this subwoofer to be very, very solid, which is why the thing weighs close to 40 pounds. The surround is made from multilayer high density foam.


Complete with triple stacked 220 ounce magnets, it is absolutely clear that no corners were cut whatsoever when delivering this product. 


Impedance


With a 4 Ohm dual voice coil, this subwoofer allows for dynamic and interesting sound. Customers report crystal clear audio over a variety of genres, but like all subwoofers they get the most out of anything with a real deep bass.

Strangely enough, we could not find any mention of the frequency range for this subwoofer in any of the listings put out by American Bass or retailers. So while we cannot vouch for that specification, everything else is certainly top notch.

And because it is top notch means you’ll be paying a top notch price. These speakers are very expensive and the price fluctuates with the market. Currently they go for a little less than $300 a pop, but the overall price range may extend anywhere from $200 to $400. 


Conclusion


Customers report feeling incredibly satisfied with this subwoofer, so if the price tag doesn’t scare you away perhaps this is the ticket for the baddest bass in the neighborhood. Just be careful not to get a noise complaint.

Pros

Cons

7

9

Skar Audio EVL-12 D2

Skar has created a really powerful speaker here, and while that power capability may win over some, the areas it lacks leave others unsatisfied. Still, in purest terms of producing a deep and loud bass sound, most find themselves happy with this subwoofer. 

Specifications

  • RMS: 1250 Watts
  • Peak Power: 2500 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 85 dB
  • Frequency response: 25 Hz to 250 Hz
  • Impedance: 2 Ohms

EDITOR'S RATING:

Power


This Skar subwoofer can handle a very high continuous power usage at 1250 Watts. For most, this will be more than enough power to get the bass you are looking for from a subwoofer. A maximum peak performance handling of 2500 Watts will definitely be enough for those power spikes when you need them. 

Unfortunately, the more than adequate nature of its power scope does not apply to other areas of operation. The unit has a very mediocre frequency response range of only 25 Hz to 250 Hz, delivering a less dynamic bass sound. 

In fact, the most frequent complaint from customers is that the sound quality does not meet their expectations. Deep bass sounds have no problem registering due to its power output and range, but overall sound quality begins to suffer when looking at the broader picture.


Design


The subwoofer’s cone is made from competition grade paper and has a high roll foam surround. Some may be dissatisfied with the perceived lesser quality that this construction offers, but while it might not be the fanciest sub it can get the job done without anything unnecessary. The foam surround helps to enhance the responsiveness of the speakers, adding towards a rich and deep bass.

Still coming in at 33.4 pounds, the solid weight of the speaker alludes to a higher quality design than the materials suggest. The 3 inch voice coil and air flow design keep the subwoofer cool, meaning that it is less likely to burn out and can be played for hours at a time.


Impedance


With a dual 2 Ohm voice coil, this speaker mitigates another area of excellence to really focus on its power aspect. 


Conclusion


It is clear that Skar’s primary goal with this subwoofer was to create a deep power bass at the expense of dynamic sound. This results in a lot of happy customers who are more than satisfied with the sound they get from the sub’s $200 price tag.


The high power capabilities and cooling design result in a speaker that tends to last without blowing or burning out. So if your only concern is a deep bass speaker that can handle some power, this is a great speaker for you. But if you are looking for a rich and dynamic sound, perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere.

Pros

Cons

7

10

Kenwood KFC-W3016PS

Kenwood is all about reliability, and their decades of experience has resulted in a subwoofer that doesn’t try to do anything fancy but still gets the job done

Specifications

  • RMS: 400 Watts
  • Peak Power: 2000 Watts
  • Sensitivity: 82 dB
  • Frequency response: 27 Hz to 300 Hz
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms

EDITOR'S RATING:

Power


With an RMS of 400 Watts, this subwoofer is certainly on the lower side of our list when it comes to power. However, it is still rated for a peak handling level of 2000 Watts, way over what would be reasonable for continuous use. 

Due to its lower RMS, about 10 percent of customers report blowing the speakers with too much power. While the majority of users give the product a high rating, it is worth noting the significant portion of unhappy customers. When complete with the right setup, most customers are more than satisfied with this sub.


Design


The cone is constructed out of polypropylene with a rubber surround, which gives the unit a total weight of only 4.4 pounds! The subwoofer’s lightweight and plastic design has rubbed some customers the wrong way as it appears to be of poor quality. However, the unit can deliver outstanding results so long as it is not pushed beyond its parameters.


Impedance

Kenwood has outfitted this subwoofer with a single 4 Ohm voice coil, with an 8 AWG push terminal. While not quite as powerful or boasting as some of the other options on our list, it still results in high quality sound and decent volume. 


Conclusion


Overall, this subwoofer offers a lower level of power and performance than other options in the 12 inch class, but it still delivers on quality so long as it is paired with the right setup. Many users are unsatisfied with its performance, so if you are looking for the best of the best, this Kenwood subwoofer probably isn’t for you.

That being said, this sub will not break the bank, coming in at a little over $100. While this product isn’t quite suitable for extreme bass blasting, you can get quite the performance out of this little guy. Stay well clear of its outlined limits and you should be just fine.

Pros

Cons

Final Verdict

 Usually, 12" subs offer a good balance between sound quality and loudness.

They lean more towards SPL (because of the size) and are great for electronic music (house, trance, electro etc) and RnB, Hip Hop, and other similar styles.

For faster-paced music such as rock or drumN'bass, we recommend going for a smaller sub. You can check then our reviewed 8 inch subwoofers and 10 inch subwoofers.

We’ve installed quite a few sound systems in cars, ranging from extreme low budget to $7000 car audio systems (Don’t worry, you don’t need that much to get good sound!) and found that 12 inch subs will satisfy almost every car owner’s bass needs. If you really are looking for even more bass, then have a look at my recommendations on 15 inch subs.

Proper installation of such systems is a critical aspect on how good the music will actually sound so do not forget to check our installation tips for subs.

We’ve based our selection of subwoofers from personal testings, references from trusted audio systems installers and thousands of amazon reviews.

So this was our take on the best 12 inch subwoofer 2017.

If you liked this article, share it with your friends and remember, you can leave a comment below if you have any question about this list or subwoofers or car audio in general.

We're here to help so don't be shy to ask!

Leave a Comment