Top sub picks for sound in 2019 : best 10 inch subwoofers
In the world of woofers, size matters.
So, no matter how hard you try to nail your smaller unit and produce that sweet deep bass, you simply won't be able to pack the punch you need to enjoy your favorite tunes.
But why wouldn't you simply move to a bigger piece of tech?
If real estate is not one of your primary concerns, you've come to the right place.Here, we'll take a look at the best 10 inch subwoofers currently floating the market.
In a hurry? The test winner after 19 hours of research:
Last Updated: December 1, 2019
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best 10-inch subwoofers available for those who are interested in improving their sound experience. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best 10-inch subwoofers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
First and foremost, you need to be aware that not all 10 inch subwoofers were made the same.
Although their size may allow them to deliver an earth-shattering blow, there are a lot of things going on under the hood that affect their ultimate performance.
Let's go through some of the key specifications that will help you to bring the right amount of boom into your ride.
Yeah, even the best woofer in the world can’t throw a decent punch without sufficient power.
But, you can’t simply pick an amp off the shelf and assume it’s going to magically work with your sub. Contemporary subwoofers have two major power—handling specifications:
- RMS watts – This spec stands for continuous power handling or, in other words, the amount of power the subwoofer can handle during prolonged periods of use.
- Peak wattage – Peak wattage indicates the number of watts your subs can handle in short bursts without getting damaged.
If your power amp has an indicated range, you have to make sure that the minimum power clocks at the 75% of your woofer's RMS watts. The maximum should never go above 150% of RMS watts. This guide gives a good overview of high wattage power amps, in case you were in the market for one.
It looks a tad bit complicated, but believe me, once you start doing the math regularly, it crawls under your skin.
Not the first word that crosses my mind when thinking about powerful car bass. But still – the quality your 10 inch subwoofer will produce ultimately boils down to the way it uses the power in continuous mode.
This spec is commonly known as sensitivity rating and makes one essential consideration, especially if you are putting the sub in the car.
You need to make sure that the basic equipment will be able to handle the power supply to the unit properly or it will get fried.
When it comes to subwoofers, the key to good sound quality lies in the ability to deliver low-frequency sounds in the best possible manner.
Now, the ability of the speaker to accurately reproduce the resonance across the sound spectrum is called a frequency range.
And since you want to put the focus on the low-end bass reproduction, you should look for the woofers with the lowest possible low end of the frequency range.
I’d say the best car subwoofer should dig down to a lower limit of 20 to 30 Hz.
The type of the enclosure
The type of the enclosure has a massive impact on the quality of the speakers, subwoofers included.
Just imagine playing your favorite songs through a tin can, and you'll see just what I'm talking about.
In terms of car speakers, this spec plays another major role – it has a huge effect on the speakers' portability. So be careful when making a pick.
As of now, a regular 10" subwoofer can have two major enclosure options:
- Sealed enclosure – This variety is, as the name suggests, completely sealed. What does that mean? Well, a deeper and more controlled bass, albeit at the expense of the overall volume.
- Ported enclosure – This casing features a couple of openings that ensure a certain degree of airflow. Because of that, they can reach higher volume, but their sound isn't as clear as the one we get from the sealed enclosures.
Number of voice coils
Essentially, most of the commercially available car subwoofers come in two varieties – packed with single or double voice coils.
So, what’s the catch with these coils?
Well, the woofers that come with dual coils allow far more options for configuring the system in series or parallel setups and make the most use of available power.
With single coil woofers this freedom is absent, but what to do – that is your regular best buy subwoofer.
As I already said, the size matters.
The best 10 inch subwoofer is capable of delivering more powerful sound than the same tier 6 inch subwoofer.
However, the size of the woofers is usually determined by the available space in your vehicle. So, if you don’t have too much room to play with know that 10-inch woofer represents a perfectly good mid-tier option.
On the other hand, if your vehicle is more spacious, know that you can upgrade to 12 or even 15 inches in diameter. Alpine subs have some pretty strong contenders in these two categories.
Finally, nominal impedance is the spec that describes the level of resistance (impedance) the speaker brings into the system once you put the music through it.
To spare you the unnecessary details, a 10 subwoofer hooked up in a stereo system will most likely require 4-ohm or 2-ohm impedance (ohm is the unit we use to measure electrical resistance).
Best 10-Inch Subwoofers
And now that we've covered the groundwork and learned something about the basic car subwoofer specs let me introduce you to some of the best subwoofers currently floating the market.
1. Rockford Fosgate P3D4-10 Punch
It takes a lot of nerves to call your product Punch. Even if we are talking about the best 10 inch subwoofer in the world, it has to deliver one darn good performance to live up to the hype.
Well, the people from Rockford Fosgate made it happen – P3D4-10 is a woofer able to deliver punch if there ever was one.
On first glance, P3D4-10 looks pretty by the numbers. Still, behind this traditional design, there are a lot of good things going on.
The whole unit is neatly wrapped into anodized aluminum cones and dust caps neatly placed along the unique spider venting system. All that helps the sub to achieve pretty stronger volume.
Speaking in more technical terms, this venting system also helps the unit to keep the motor cool. Far cooler than the previous versions of the product.
The other perk of this setup are the properties of the aluminum. While hot voice coil can melt adhesive bonds and cause a major breakdown, this aluminum voice coil does its best to dissipate thermal build-up.
Taking a look at the compact dimensions (mounting depth of 6.18" and cutout diameter: 9.13") as well as more than the manageable weight of 81 oz. we can say that this woofer has all the blocks in place for a fantastic performance.
And for the most part, these high hopes were met. Sure, the openings in the cone produce the sound that may not be among the most defined in the world. But, the woofer more than compensates this slight drawback with the thunderous bass notes that will rattle your bones when dialed up to eleven.
The thing I liked the most, though was the RMS rating of 500 watts combined with 1000 watts of peak power. Combine that with the dual 4-ohm impedance, and you'll get a system that can handle an extraordinary amount of power and produce intense bass without breaking a sweat.
However, there is one thing I would like to see improved in one of the future iterations. With the deepest frequency response of 27Hz and sensitivity rating of only 86dB, the woofer doesn’t go as deep as I would like.Still – a rock-solid performance that easily cleans the floor with much-praised competitors like Kicker Comp R10.
2. PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch
Being a shallow mount subwoofer, it’s not hard to figure out that TS-SW2502S4 has some inherent limitations.
But, whenever I had an opportunity to play with Pioneer I had some of the best times in my life. This occasion is no different.
This has to be probably the best shallow mount subwoofer I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting my hard bass through.
So yeah, let’s first address the elephant in the room. This woofer features a very shallow cone (mounting cone scores the depth of only 3-1/8"), which means less space, which then translates to lower power.
However, if you are forced to make this compromise, you will be glad to know that we are talking about one well-made and darn good looking piece of tech that features surprisingly strong sound quality.
It is also worth mentioning that this time we talk about the Mica-injected resin cone graced with the full enclosure. This high-quality setup may not be able to release the loudest noise you’ve ever heard, but it certainly makes every bass line as sharp as a razor.
So, it should be clear by now that shallow cone somewhat compromises the woofer’s output. Just how much?
Well, not too drastically as a matter of fact. The RMS power range clocks roughly between 100 and 300 watts which is definitely on the lower end of the 10-inch subwoofer spectrum. But it's far from horrible, and definitely on par with some smaller diameter sizes.
On the other hand, the peak power rating definitely goes above the average and makes up for this compromise. This bad boy is capable of handling occasional watt spikes that go all the way up to 1500.
The other specs are also rock-solid.
The frequency response ranges between 20 and 125 Hz and sensitivity clocks at 91dB. So, yeah, you’re able to go very deep. I would say that in spite of that bass lines sound somewhat muffled at the absolute lowest end of the spectrum, but I won't. At this price point, there is very little to complain about.
3. MTX Magnum MB210SP Dual 10" Enclosure/Amp Combo
Our Rating: 85/100
If you want a bang, you better bring the big guns. And in the world of big guns, you can't find a meaner piece of iron than good old Magnum.
So, as you can see, we once again have a product that makes big, loud promises. And once again, I'm happy to say that the promises were delivered.
Yes, it doesn't take more than a look at this unit to see what I'm talking about. MB210SP is a full-blown dual subwoofer enclosed beast that makes enough room for some powerful and steady performance.
The downside of this whole idea is the sheer size of this behemoth. With the dimensions of 32.5 x 15.75 x 16.25 inches, you'll need a smaller monster truck to get enough room to install this thing.
Just kidding – it’s not that bad, but the dimensions of this system are definitely something to take into account.
Moving on - the dual 10-inch woofers are neatly wrapped into a well-made vented enclosure that allows for some very decent performances.
Everything you lose with the weaker sound is counterbalanced by the fact you have a pair of capable and precise blasters.
I am especially pleased how large port at the front graces the unit with the added amount of SPL (Standard Pressure Level). A true blessing when listening to intense Rap music.
All these building blocks from the previous section produce what I like to call darn good performance.
Sure, the specs may not look good too extraordinary on the paper. You get the 400W RMS power and 800W peak power, which is not something too unusual for this category and price range.
But, add into equation included amplifier and multiply the number of woofers by two and you’ll get a better picture of what this bad boy can do.
The sound quality doesn’t disappoint either. The woofers are capable of achieving the earth-shattering booming while putting one quite consistent performance that starts to distort only as you go way, way down the frequency scale.
4. Rockford Fosgate P300-10 Punch Single 10" 300 Watt Amplified Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate is a company with a pretty strong reputation and a long line of quality products.
Heck, we had the opportunity to see that even on this very list.
So, this unit definitely has some serious power behind is back. The question is, is that brand power channeled in the right direction.
Judging by the package, it most certainly is.
You see, P300-10 is made from all the quality components we came to expect from this manufacturer. This time, though, they are built into beautiful, and quite substantial sealed enclosing that was designed to eliminate all the limitations of deep and shallow mounted car woofers.
Obviously, that means that this upgrade (I really hesitate to call it small) takes eats up a lot of real estate.
Still, this colossal casket comes with a couple of unique perks.
First, the enclosure is very tight, which, in combination with its size, allows for very precise and powerful performance.
Second, you get the benefit of the built-in amplifier.
So, everything is set for a powerful teeth-rattling performance. How this black beauty performs in real life?
Well, when P300 -10 works, it puts on a stellar performance. When it reaches its limits, you either have to roll with it or move on to another product.
For instance, the built-in amplifier features a 300-watt continuous power output that, in combination with solid hardware I covered above creates a punchy, loud, and incredibly precise performance.
Seriously, even when you play some bass intensive tunes, the speaker will have no problem creating accurate reproduction.
Of course, only if bass frequencies are not at the lower end of the spectrum. Yes, with a pretty modest frequency range of 35Hz to 150Hz, it’s easy to see that P300-10 is not exactly a king of versatility.
So there you have it, an expensive piece of tech with a limited range and stellar performance within its self-imposed boundaries.
Would you be happier with a woofer that dares to touch lower frequencies even at the expense of muddled sound is entirely up to you.
5. JBL S2-1024SS SERIES II
Our Rating: 84/100
JBL is a manufacturer that doesn’t need too much introduction. They are singlehandedly ruling the wearable and Bluetooth audio landscape.
In terms of car audio equipment, though, they still have a lot to prove. This enclosed subwoofer is definitely a step in the right direction.
When we take a look at JBL S2-1024SS, we can see two things.
First, it's a pretty average looking trunk woofer with nothing new to add into the conversation. Second, the thing is enormous. Seriously, with the dimensions of 22-1/2" w x 15-3/16" H x 12-7/16" D (the back of the unit is sloped) expect to see a good part of your storage space devoured.
Still, the enclosure looks very elegant, subdued and tight, and the cone of the woofer is made of high-quality polypropylene, so precise performance is all but guaranteed.
The area where JBL scored big time in terms of design is definitely the option to choose between 2-ohm and 4-ohm impedance.
To my knowledge, this is the only trunk woofer that allows you the novelty to choose between the two systems, and the whole matter is as streamlined as you can imagine. Just press the switch, and you're done.
Well played JBL, well played.
In terms of the performance, S2-1024SS rises up to the standards we associate with the name JBL. Sure, with the RMS of 250 watts we can say that more would be better, but even so, you get enough power for more than satisfying performance.
Also, the peak power rating clocks at 1000 watts so brace for the incredibly loud and teeth-rattling bursts of joy.
The frequency range is decent (30 Hz-175 Hz) and at 92dB sensitivity doesn’t lag too far behind.
All this amounts to the performance that has no problem accurately reproducing the sounds all across the available spectrum but still feels somewhat underpowered and limited at lower frequencies.
In other words, you may be able to deliver an energetic punch, but not a devastating blow. With such a big unit in play, we expected a bit more juice.
6. 10W0V3-4 - JL Audio 10" Single 4-Ohm W0V3 Series Subwoofer
Saying that JL Audio comes to this race from the position of underdog would be ridiculous. I have always felt, however, they have never reached their full potential.
Well, judging by 10W0V3-4, the old giant can expect some much, much brighter days.
If one thing can be said about JL, that would be that the company always used only the quality components for their speakers. This subwoofer stays true to this practice but unfortunately makes some compromises to reach the low price point.
First, we have the mineral-filled, polypropylene cone woofer that features excellent durability as well as allows the seamless cooling by bringing the air directly to the voice coil.
Oh yeah, I mentioned the "voice coil." It's not a mistake. The unit features only a single voice coil which drastically reduces the number of configuration options. A real bummer.
But, there’s the second thing I would like to point out about this package – its extraordinary design.
You have a modern sports car? This subwoofer will fit it like a well-tailored glove.
The only major gripe I have with all this is the compromised durability. This subwoofer is definitely not a long-term investment. Taking into account the quality of the components, I’ll put the blame on craftsmanship.
When it comes to performance, 10W0V3-4 doesn’t appear bad, either.
This time, we get the more than solid RMS of 300 watts, and power handling peak that clocks at around 600 watts. More than enough for a powerful, punchy performance.
The fact that you get the 4-ohm impedance doesn’t hurt this picture either.
All these things allow 10W0V3-4 to produce way more sound than it has the right to. The performance is powerful and booming, and the sound is pretty spot-on. Of course, taking into consideration we are talking about the ported enclosure.
As a matter of fact, if we put aside the inherent limitations of the woofers of this size and setup, this is probably the most balanced and crispiest bass I have heard in this price range.
7. Rockford Fosgate R2SD2-10 Prime
Our Rating: 80/100
Every manufacturer makes occasional missteps.
Now, I would hesitate to call R2SD2-10 a full-blown misfire, but this 10-inch woofer definitely proves that not everything Rockford Fosgate touches turns to gold.
Judging by its looks, Rockford Fosgate R2SD2-10 Prime is one pretty by the numbers shallow mounted subwoofer that doesn’t try to do anything revolutionary.
And this time the appearance is not deceiving.
The choice of the materials is ok, and the injection-molded cone makes a promise of deep bass. But these are things we are pretty used to seeing, even at this admittedly low price point.
I would like to point out, though, that in spite of its apparent entry-level appeal features 2-ohm dual voice coil design that will allow you a lot of freedom when building the system.
Also, the pretty modest mounting depth of 3.417” makes sure that you'll be able to squeeze the woofer in some tight places where bigger units would be out of the question.
When it comes to the actual performance, R2SD2-10 performs just like a regular entry-level unit. It has some bright moments but generally lacks the punch to compete with more expensive units.
So, in spite of the decent foundations (200 watts RMS and 400 watts peak power), the woofer produces the sound I that's pretty weak. It doesn't lack quality, but it severely lacks loudness.
Also, the frequency range isn’t that great either. With the lower end of the spectrum locked at 45Hz, you should be aware that you won't be able to play some overly demanding bass lines.
The sensitivity is pretty strong, though, and clocks at 87dB.
Overall, this small woofer does its job pretty decent, which is perfectly fine for what you are asked to pay.
The loudness may be subpar, but taking into consideration the woofer's price, dimensions, and configuration options, you can easily use it as an ancillary unit.
Best 10-inch Subwoofers - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is better - single or dual voice coil subwoofer?
A: It really depends on your personal needs and preferences. But generally speaking, dual voice coils allow you to put your subwoofers in the serial and parallel setup, which gives you far more freedom when building your system. However, dual voice coil options are often a bit more expensive.
Q: Where in the car should I put a subwoofer?
A: Once again, it really depends on the system you are trying to build and the number of woofers you have. As a rule of thumb, the smaller subwoofers are usually placed in front of the front passenger seat, on the back shelf or between rear seats. Due to their size, bigger enclosed units need to be placed in the trunk.
Q: Which sound woofer will sound the loudest?
A: The loudness of subwoofer is determined by a number of different factors. Still, if you want some simple general guidelines, you should check the type of the enclosure (ported enclosures produces louder noise) and the sensitivity rating of the speaker.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
All the products I covered above have their unique pros and cons and suit different tastes, so finding the winner was hard. But, putting aside all the personal preferences, it is hard to deny that Rockford Fosgate P3D4-10 Punch simply packs the best specs and puts on the most consistent performance to be ignored. Hat’s off to the winner.