Loudest bass reviews : best 15 inch subwoofer
For some of us, music is a way of living and our cars our greatest passion. The only way we can ever feel complete is when we are able to bridge these two cravings.
Well, I’m here to break some good news – you can get your music on the go without having to compromise anything.
The way you are going to pull off that deep, earth-shattering bass? Well, by installing the biggest, baddest woofers, the money can buy.So, let us take a look then at the best 15 inch subwoofers currently on the market!
In a hurry? The test winner after 32 hours of research:
Last Updated: December 1, 2019
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best 15-inch subwoofers available for those who are interested in improving their sound output & quality. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best 15-inch subwoofers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
How do we choose?
First of all, we all need to be aware that size doesn’t always translate to output quality.
On the contrary, there are too many no-name manufacturers who are trying to earn a cheap buck to ever let your guard down.
Let's go through some of the most important specs that you should always check when buying to make sure you'll get a good sub that's tailored to your needs.
Yeah, in order to deliver a blow, you need to have some serious firepower. That would make power a very easy spec to follow if not for the fact that every sub actually has two power ratings. So, here they are:
- RMS power – The power your sub can handle on a continuous basis. The amp should be able to pump out 75% to 150% of this power rating.
- Peak power – This is the amount of wattage the unit can cope with, but only in short bursts. Putting it through the sub continually… Well, you can guess.
Knowing the difference between these two ratings makes an absolute prerequisite for creating any semi-functional sound system.
Sensitivity is often described as subwoofer's second most crucial spec and for a good reason too. Why? Well, sensitivity describes the ability of a woofer to convert the power into output volume.
The loudest 15 inch subwoofer with a high sensitivity rating has an ability to produce earth-shattering bass, even with the limited amount of input power.
The sensitivity is measured in and described with decibels (dB).
Every sound we hear (and the ones we don't) has a place on a frequency scale. Therefore, the frequency range can be best described as the spec that indicates the sub's ability to reproduce the variety of sounds.
Of course, the wider this range goes, the better. But, since subwoofers are primarily used for playing bass, you should put your focus on the lower end of this spectrum.
The best 15 subwoofer should feature the frequency range that goes as deep as 20 to 30 Hz.
The type of the enclosure
The type of the enclosure looks like a feature that's more related to the physical appearance rather than the actual performance, but the look can be deceiving. The enclosure type actually has a massive impact on the quality of the output you are going to get.
Keeping that in mind, all of the good 15 inch subwoofers can be divided into two groups:
- Sealed enclosure – This enclosure doesn’t have any openings and produces very deep, accurate, and controlled sound.
- Ported enclosure - Unlike its cousin, this type of the enclosure features openings (ports) that allow for better airflow and, therefore, louder output. This loudness, however, often comes at the expense of accuracy, especially at the far ends of the sound spectrum.
Number of voice coils
This feature doesn’t exactly have an influence on the sub’s output quality but has a tremendous impact on its compatibility.
Namely, best 15 inch subs with dual voice coils are made for genuine audiophiles and can be used in both in series and parallel setups.
That makes them thousand times more versatile than single voice coil subwoofers that can be used only in the most basic, affordable sound systems.
Of course, dual voice coil subs are also a bit more expensive than their single voice coil alternatives but, if you ask me, this is the feature worth investing in.
Since you have decided to buy yourself a good 15 inch subwoofer, this feature means very little to you. After all, you are at the very top of the food chain.
But, if you want to pump your system even further, you will be glad to know that the ancillary woofers don’t need to be so big.
The market is filled with some pretty damn good 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch units as well.
This is yet another purely technical term that has virtually nothing to do with the overall output quality. But, if you want deep, strong bass, your system needs to be well-put-together, so we need to cover this stuff as well.
Impedance is the word that describes the level of resistance the sub brings into the electrical circuit. If you remember high school, you also know this feature is measured in Ohms.
What makes this spec so crucial, though?
Well, each amplifier is designed to perform with specific impedance in mind. While most of the units support 4-Ohm impedance, 2-Ohm and 8-Ohm units are definitely not uncommon.
So, if you want to get the best level of versatility, you should either get yourself a 4-Ohm sub, or the unit that allows you to switch between different impedance settings (more expensive option).
Best 15-inch subwoofers
Now that we've covered some of the essential features that make a good subwoofer, let's go through some of the strongest contenders in the 12-inch sub market.
1. Skar Audio EVL-15 D2
In one of my previous reviews, I briefly noticed that the company named Skar that calls its flagship line of products EVL has to have a coolness to challenge the industry leaders. And you know what, I was not wrong.
The thing is, it took 15 inches for Skar to realize its full potential and show everyone it’s a force to be reckoned with.
Have no doubt, this is one top-notch audio product.
Speaking in terms of design, EVL-15 D2 retains all the elements I grew to love with the previous products I had an opportunity to try.
What that essentially means is that, once again, we are dealing with a very youthful, and aggressive looking piece of equipment.
I could live with the smaller branding, though. If you are trying to build a more subdued-looking system, the huge SKAR inscription will stick out like a sore thumb.
But, that's a minor gripe. What's much more important is that the materials and craftsmanship that were put into this product are excellent. That results in one pretty solid and durable product.
I was especially pleased with a premium paper cone coupled with a high roll foam surrounding.
If you are wondering about the more technical details, the sub uses the dual voice coils, each of which produces 2-Ohm impedance, so you shouldn't have any compatibility issues.
Still, in spite of all the impressive building blocks, it is the performance where EVL-15 D2 is allowed to truly shine.
First and foremost, the speaker features a combination of excellent power handling capabilities (RMS - 1250 Watts, peak power – 2500 Watts) and quite good sensitivity (86.2 dB), which allows the sub to produce incredibly loud, chest-thumping bass.
And with a frequency range of 20 Hz - 250 Hz you will be able to hit some incredibly low notes.
So you get the power and range. What about precision?
Well, it's definitely there. The 15-inch playing field entails very few compromises, and Skar used this fact to the fullest extent. The bass is tight and precise, even if you put the speaker to the very end of its range.
I tried playing a couple of different genres on different volumes, and the performance remained rock-solid and distortion-free.
2. Skar Audio Single 15" 1200W Loaded SDR Series Vented Subwoofer Enclosure
Now here we have yet another Skar product proving the company is definitely trying to position itself as the top dog of the 15 inch car subwoofer market.
As we've just seen, their contender from the EVL line up was nothing short of excellent. What kind of goods you get when you use this already solid concept and add one massive vented enclosure?
Let’s try to find out.
Well, since the enclosure is an obvious star of the show here, it would only make sense to start the dissection of this excellent piece of equipment with its excellent case.
Yeah, there’s really nothing wrong here.
First of all, the whole thing looks very good. The build seems very durable, and the black carpet lends the box pretty premium look.
Second, the inclusion of such a pre-wired enclosure makes life a whole lot easier for all the car enthusiasts who don't want to bother with building their system from the ground up.
As for the very subwoofer unit, everything rises to Skar’s high, self-imposed standards. The cone is extremely well-built, and the high-roll surround allows the unit to play some incredibly low frequencies without breaking a sweat.
Overall, this is one good-looking and very solid package that lays the foundation for a flawless performance. The only issue I have is, once again, the branding that could use a bit of self-restraint.
Performance-wise, the first thing that drew my attention was the relatively modest specs. Namely, the unit handles the peak power of 1200 Watts and RMS power of 600 Watts, which is roughly half of the numbers we've seen in the product I previously covered.
And then there is the fact that the unit features only one voice coil, which makes creating any kind of more complicated system a tough job.
Still, the reasonable sensitivity and excellent frequency range of 20 - 250 Hz do a lot of heavy lifting to make you forget these shortcomings and produce the real-life performance that, honestly, feels no different from the other products on this list.
The bass is satisfyingly deep and precise, and when you turn the dial to eleven, you will get that teeth-rattling noise you've expected, albeit at the sake of minor distortion. Overall, a great, if bit oversized product, you should definitely take into consideration.
3. Rockville W15K9D2 15"
Rockville is a company that is far from unknown, but it’s rarely considered as one of the top automotive audio equipment brands either.
In other words, they still have a lot to prove, and this product does its best to turn the tide and secure the company the top spot in the 15 car subwoofer market segment.
Packing the sub with astounding specs and the low price tag is a recipe for success, right? Well, yes and no.
At first glance, Rockville W15K9D2 15" looks very sturdy and well-built, which led me to the question: where does such a low price come from?
I mean, the voice coils are made from genuine aluminum, the paper cones feel very stiff, and foam surrounding makes a promise of powerful performance with very little distortion.
But, when I took a second look, I noticed that craftsmanship on this unit isn’t exactly great. And my woofer was not the only unit suffering from this problem. There are a lot of users who have reported similar issues.
All of that wouldn’t be that big of a problem if these issues didn't have an impact on the performance and overall durability of the unit.
Do a quick search, and you will find a lot of users complaining about their speakers short-circuiting and malfunctioning.
Of course, all these complaints were covered with a warranty, but still – it’s something you should know.
On the brighter side, you do get dual 2-Ohm voice coils, so you shouldn't have too much of a problem building a compatible system.
Performance-wise, this unit holds much, much better, and the sealed enclosing does show a tangible, real-life difference. The bass lines are tight, precise, and right on-point, no matter where you are on the frequency scale.
Also, the unit’s power-coping capabilities are nothing short of impressive. With RMS power handling clocking at 1250 Watts and peak power going up to 5000 Watts, you will have no problem creating a roof-blasting output.
Well, unless the build issues drop in to spoil the party.
The thing I would like to see refined in some of the next iterations is the frequency range of 33 Hz - 1.5K kHz. But, you need to make some tradeoffs to reach such a low price point.
4. American Bass TNT1544 15 inch Dual 4
American Bass is a company that exists in a similar place as Rockville. They are both very famous names in the world of audio equipment, but they lack that extra push to climb to the very top.
And, for the most part, they are using similar solutions to this common problem – releasing a line of a reasonably priced products marked with more than reasonable specs.
We’ve just seen how well this strategy worked for Rockville. Let’s see what American Bass has to say on the topic.
Well, at first glance, the products are eerily similar. The biggest exception is that TNT1544 features that classy, subdued American Bass design language I grew to love over the past couple of years. The unit looks far more expensive than it is and doesn't feel out of place, even in an expensive limo.
But, beyond that you get your standard bland of solid, yet affordable components (hard paper cone and quality surround), and sloppy craftsmanship that does a pretty poor job utilizing all these building blocks to the fullest extent.
Don't get me wrong; when the unit works, it works like a charm and produces quite satisfying deep bass. The problem is that various issues start showing after just a couple of months of use, and you don't always have enough patience to bother with the warranty.
But, presuming the unit is a top shape, which is not that unlikely, you will get your standard dual voice coil 4-Ohm setup that will allow the unit to fit any setup that can cross your mind.
Once you finally run the music through your setup, though, you will be surprised with a very good and accurate performance. I was very pleased to see how the sub handles some of the funky tunes that were very fast and bass-heavy.
This should not be too big of a surprise, since TNT1544 features some very solid core specs. For instance, RMS power handling goes all the way up to 1500 Watts. The peak power handling goes even further to 3000 Watts.
The sensitivity isn't that bad either – with 89.5 decibels, you will be able to produce a pretty strong output regardless of the power input.
It is a shame, though, that you will start to notice slight distortion once you start pushing the sub to its limits.
4. Kicker S15L7 4-ohm 15" Car Audio Subwoofer
And now it’s time for something completely different. I mean how often you have the opportunity to see a square-shaped 15-inch subwoofer with power to blow off the roof of your car?
Personally, I can’t come up with too many examples.
So, this bad boy definitely has something going on in terms of diversification. Is that enough, though, to help this product stay afloat in the incredibly competitive 15-inch market segment?
So, let’s quickly address a huge elephant in the room so we can move on to the other important topics. As I already briefly mentioned, this unit features a unique, and honestly pretty kickass square design that will put a smile on every retro-monger with the itch for the 80s.
Even if you are not one of them and simply want something different this is the sub for you.
The materials are not bad, either. The surround feels very durable and provides excellent protection to the cone, while solid pole piece and high-temp coil wire are there to extend the unit’s lifespan as much as possible.
Finally, the dual voice coils that produce the total impedance of 4 Ohms make sure you will be able to fit the unit in all sorts of different setups.
So far, so god.
Unfortunately, it is the performance where this handsome product a slight dip in quality. It’s not bad or anything - it just struggles to keep up the pace with the excellent design.
So, what we have here?
First and foremost excellent RMS power handling capability that in combination with reasonably strong sensitivity of 88.6 db produces a very loud, earth-shattering output. So, if the loudness is your goal, take this unit into serious consideration.
But, taking into consideration that this is a unit with ported enclosure, and that frequency response covers the narrow range of 18 - 100 Hz, you have to ask yourself just how much quality you’ll be able to squeeze out of it.
I, personally, had a fine-tuned blast with some mid-range songs. However, as soon as I went above 68 Hz threshold I witnessed a noticeable drop in precision.
5. Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch P3
No subwoofer roundup, regardless of the size, would ever be complete without at least one mention coming from Rockford Fosgate’s backyard. And, as you can see, this list is no exception. No matter how harsh the completion may be, RF will always manage to stay at the very top of the market.
But, has the behemoth managed to keep the contenders at bay once again, or has the 15-inch market segment proved to be too harsh even for this renowned manufacturer.
We’ll find out soon enough.
In terms of design P3D2-15, Punch P3 has Rockford Fosgate written all over its body. What does that mean? Well, for the most part, streamlined and classy look combined with quality components.
In this case, these components come in the form of a high-quality anodized cone, stitched tinsel leads, and anodized aluminum voice coil former.
Beyond these basic parts, though, this unit also packs some very nice additions that do a great job of raising its overall value. The one I found most impressive is VAST (Vertical Attach Surround Technique) – a cone extension technology that increases the nominal output.
The close second place goes to Flex Fit basket that makes mounting so easy. I would like to see this solution implemented in more units like this.
Unfortunately, in a manner not characteristic for the manufacturer, the internal components are very loosely connected and tend to fall apart if you are continually putting out shattering bass.
On the other hand, the opportunities to produce that teeth-rattling bass will not come so often, since the sub scores some pretty restrained specs.
Namely, the unit successfully handles only 600 RMS Watts and 1200 Watts of peak power. Don't get me wrong; these numbers are pretty solid in their own terms and produce thunderous output.
But, this is a 15-inch subwoofer range, where excess power is the name of the game. P3D2-15 Punch P3 ironically doesn’t deliver the same punch as competitors.
The sound quality, on the other hand, is very tight, precise, and crystal clear. You do start the notice the loss of quality once you go below the 41 Hz threshold.
Overall, a solid effort, but not solid enough.
6. Pyle 15 Inch 8OHM Woofer
Finally, we have a unit meant for all the music lovers who want to enjoy their passion without having to spend a small fortune and are ready to put their trust into a cheap 15 subwoofer.
Yes, this sub is incredibly affordable which means only one thing. Compromises needed to be made to carve out such a handsome price tag.
Is there enough left to make a worthwhile purchase?
Well, the first impression is definitely good. The design language may be a bit boring and uninspired, but all the necessary components are there, and they rock very solid quality. For instance, the cone is made from very durable black paper, and stamped steel baskets don't look bad either.
To make things even better, all this is out together in a very satisfying manner. Of course, the sub is, by no means, a work of art, but it doesn't look like it's going to fall apart if you pump it to eleven.
And taking into consideration that was not always the case on this list, this is no small feat. I could live, though, with better-placed screw holes. This layout makes mounting unnecessary hard.
Finally, you get the impedance of 8-Ohms, which is not that common but can be worked in a number of systems.
When it comes to performance, Pyle 15 Inch 8OHM feels equally as satisfying. The RMS handling of 1000 Watts and peak power handling of 2000 Watts combined with a pretty strong sensitivity of 92dB allow the sub to blast a pretty strong bass.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of noise I was able to create with such an affordable piece of tech. The lower end of the frequency spectrum of 30Hz is there to provide additional versatility.
Of course, the sound quality is all over the board, and you will notice a drop in quality when you go too high or too low. But honestly, at this price point, that is something I could definitely live with.Overall, the best 15 inch subwoofer for the money you are asked to pay. But, being the best cheap 15 inch subwoofer is still better than nothing.
Best 15-inch Subwoofers - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where in the car should I put a subwoofer?
A: Wherever you want. But, the usual places where you can fit a 15 in subwoofer due to its size are in the front of the front passenger seat, between the rear seats, in the trunk, or on the back shelf.
Q: What is better single or dual voice coil subwoofer?
A: The latter option. Dual voice coils simply allow you more setup options.
Q: Which sub will sound the loudest?
A: The one that most efficiently transforms power into output. This property is called “sensitivity” and is described in decibels. The more power you have, though, the better.
Q: Which sub will sound the deepest?
A: The one with the widest frequency range. In the case of the 15 inch subs, the lower end of this spectrum should be placed somewhere between 20 and 30 Hz.
Q: Should I get an enclosed subwoofer?A: It all depends on your personal preference. The enclosed subwoofers make building a system considerably more straightforward, but they also take a lot of freedom out of your hands. And in the case of 15-inch subs, they feature some seriously clunky dimensions.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Finally, it is time to proclaim the winner of this roundup, and like always, choosing one was incredibly hard. All of the units I've covered have at least something cool working to their benefit. It is hard to deny, though, that Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 makes the least compromises along the way. Because of that, I found it the best 15-inch subwoofer you can currently buy.