Best Underseat Subwoofer of 2021 - Small And Low Profile
More often than not, when people talk about car subwoofers, they have these substantial drivers and giant enclosures in mind. You know, the stuff that will take up your entire trunk.
But what if I told you that there’s a way to add just enough bass to your car’s audio system with a dedicated subwoofer without even noticing that it’s there?
Yes, I’m talking about the best underseat subwoofer – slim and compact, yet powerful enough to produce that hard-hitting bass car audio enthusiasts are after.
Stick around, and I’ll show you the best hard-hitting car subs that the market has to offer!
In a hurry? The test winner after 30 hours of research:
Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Low-Profile Subwoofer
Why is it better?
Last Updated: September 1, 2021
By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best underseat subwoofers available for those who are interested in enhancing audio performance. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the current underseat subwoofers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.
- Best Underseat Subwoofer: Top 3 Table
- Best Underseat Subwoofers Reviews
- 1. Best Overall: Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Low Profile Subwoofer
- 2. Close Second: KICKER 11HS8 8" 150W Powered Subwoofer
- 3. Budget Pick: Rockville SS8P 400w 8" Slim Under-Seat Subwoofer
- 4. Worthy Mention #1: Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer
- 5. Worthy Mention #2: Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10-Inch Small Car Subwoofer
- Best Underseat Subwoofer Buyer’s Guide: Pay Attention To These Factors
- After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Best Underseat Subwoofer: Top 3 Table
20 – 150 Hz
25 – 120 Hz
20 – 150 Hz
Best Underseat Subwoofers Reviews
There’s a reason why you’re here today, and I’m willing to bet that it all comes down to one question:
What is the best low-profile subwoofer?
I figured we shouldn’t waste any more time, so here are my in-depth best under seat subwoofer reviews!
1. Best Overall: Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Low Profile Subwoofer
Our Rating: 89/100
I like to kick things off with the absolute best out of the bunch. That way, you have something to compare all other options with as you continue browsing.
In this case, it’s the Rockville RW10CA that landed on the top of my list of best under seat subwoofers.
Continue reading and find out why!
Measuring 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7 inches, this is a slim subwoofer designed for maximum space-saving, underseat installation It’s a powered sub, too, which means that this low-profile enclosure somehow manages to house both a built-in amp and a 10-inch driver.
The housing is made of aluminum, too, for an added boost in durability.
Another thing I liked a lot was that it comes with additional onboard electronics, including a power-sensitive input system, high and low-level input, a phase switch, a low pass filter, and a bass boost.
It has an RMS rating of 200 watts but goes up to 800 watts at peak power. These power-handling ratings are complemented by the sub’s 90-dB sensitivity for improved efficiency and higher output volumes.
Furthermore, it has a frequency range of 20 Hz to 150 Hz and a subsonic filter that takes care of frequencies that you wouldn’t be able to detect, anyway.
The sound it produces is clear, crisp, distortion-free, and the bass levels are quite impressive, considering its dimensions – you’ll feel it hit when you turn up the volume! At the same time, though, it blends in nicely and adds low-end balance to the system.
2. Close Second: KICKER 11HS8 8" 150W Powered Subwoofer
If you already did some research, chances are you stumbled across the KICKER 11HS8 – and noticed the not-so-affordable price tag. So, you’re probably wondering:
Are KICKER Hideaway subs good?
Well, let’s find out together!
As an active-powered subwoofer, the KICKER 11HS8 packs an 8-inch driver and a dedicated amplifier in its compact enclosure – which, by the way, measures 13.8 x 9.4 x 3.1 inches.
That’s where the Hideaway portion of its name comes from:
It’s designed to fit in the under seat area, entirely out of sight.
The enclosure itself is constructed out of aluminum, and that’s always a plus durability-wise.
Oh, and it comes with an included remote control, variable bass boost, and two different level inputs – high and low – for fine-tuning, too.
As mentioned already, the Hideaway’s design combines a built-in amp with an 8-inch driver. What you don’t know is that it’s rated at 150 watts RMS, which isn’t overly impressive – I hoped for a bit more power from a subwoofer at this price point.
Another spec that left me feeling a bit underwhelmed was its frequency range of 25 Hz to 120 Hz. Again, I was hoping for a broader range here.
I had my doubts about its performance, but once I powered it up, I realized something:
This one was never about producing heart-stopping bass or producing crazy-high volumes.
It was designed to add low-end balance and compliment your music, not overpower it – and it does so wonderfully. It rounds out the sound and fills out the lower end with its clean and punchy – yet crisp – bass.
3. Budget Pick: Rockville SS8P 400w 8" Slim Under-Seat Subwoofer
What if you can’t afford to spend big bucks on your car’s audio system?
Well, then the Rockville SS8P might be what you’re looking for – it’s slim, durable, active-powered, and, yes, pocket-friendly.
What more could you ask for from an underseat subwoofer?
If you ever caught yourself wondering what’s the smallest subwoofer for a car, you’ll be glad to know that the SS8P is one of the slimmest powered subwoofers I came across recently!
Seriously, it measures a mere 11.4 x 8.3 x 2.8 inches and weighs less than 10 pounds.
Both the 8-inch driver and the built-in amp come inside a cast aluminum enclosure, complete with several onboard sound customization options on the side panel. It even boasts additional safety features – thermal, overload, and short protection circuits!
The integrated amplifier’s power handling ratings are 100 watts RMS, and 400-watt peak power, which is then coupled with the subwoofer’s 90-dB sensitivity. And yes, despite the small 8-inch driver, this unit is capable of delivering powerful bass.
It hits deep, too, thanks to the frequency range of 20 Hz to 150 Hz, and an included subsonic filter that handles all those too-low-to-hear frequencies.
Plus, you get to control the sound and customize it to your liking – bass boost, adjustable input sensitivity, and phase control, to name a few.
Overall, I was beyond surprised to see how much clean, low-end bass a speaker this small could drop!
4. Worthy Mention #1: Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer
Our Rating: 80/100
If you’re in a situation where every inch counts, you have to focus on more than just the performance – a slim design is imperative.
Enter Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 – a compact subwoofer fitted inside a sturdy enclosure, with a sound so good you’ll have to check twice if it’s coming from an 8-inch driver!
The best part of the PWE-S8’s construction – besides a dedicated amplifier – is its sturdy housing:
Both the 8-inch woofer’s high-excursion cone and the built-in amplifier come fitted in a cast aluminum enclosure for maximum durability.
The side panel offers access to onboard electronics, including auto-sensing speaker inputs and RCA. You’ll also find additional customization options there – LP Crossover, Remote Sub Level, Phase, and Gain.
With its depth of three inches, this quad-coil subwoofer falls into the shallow-mount category. It’ll fit in the trunk, in an SUV’s hatch, or under the seat of your truck.
The subwoofer relies on the internal 120-watt amplifier, so you can pretty much guess its RMS rating – 120 watts, with peak power that goes up to 240 watts. The frequency covers a 32 to 150 Hz range.
Specs-wise, it’s nothing to call home about, but surprisingly enough, it delivers a powerful performance:
The bass is rich and punchy, with just enough depth – and it remains clear and distortion-free, too. The remote gain control knob is a huge plus here, giving you the option to fine-tune the bass output.
It’s expensive, but it can add powerful bass without taking up half your truck’s cabin space – so, pick your battles.
5. Worthy Mention #2: Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10-Inch Small Car Subwoofer
Our Rating: 81/100
Pioneer is one of the easily recognizable names in the car audio market, and the TS-SWX2502 is a perfect example of what the brand’s capable of achieving:
Shallow-mount, pre-loaded compact design paired with an oversized cone allows it to produce clean and accurate bass, even at lower volume levels.
You can’t ignore the fact that it comes pre-loaded in a fully carpeted enclosure, which is both non-slip and scratch-resistant, and measures 18.6 x 13.8 x 6 inches:
You can choose to install it in your car’s cabin, under seat area, or in the trunk – either way, it won’t take up a lot of space.
The secret of its compact design is in the rigid, oversized cone structure, and gasket surface, which allows it to move more air without interfering with the unit’s dimensions.
Plus, the inclusion of the dual spider ensures better cone motion control, stabilizing the cone’s excursion and linear movements for more accurate sound production.
The deep and accurate – and above all, dominant – bass it delivers, and overall sound clarity shouldn’t come as a surprise.
It has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 200 Hz, which is pretty much the gold standard for any subwoofer out there. You wouldn’t get a better frequency range from some much pricier options out there.
Power-wise, it has an RMS rating of 300 watts, with peak power going all the way up to 1200 watts, which is then paired with 89-dB sensitivity.
Granted, it won’t blow you away with its output volumes – but at this price point, this shouldn’t even be up for debate.
Best Underseat Subwoofer Buyer’s Guide: Pay Attention To These Factors
If you want bone-rattling, neighborhood-waking bass, you won’t find it in the under seat category.
Even the best among underseat subwoofers won’t be able to give you that level of bass performance. I mean, sure, they can get loud, and can pack a mighty punch – but you won’t be waking up any neighbors when you crank up the volume.
So, what makes a good under seat subwoofer, then?
The following three factors might give you some answers!
As all other subwoofers, underseat models rely on two different power-handling ratings:
- RMS Power – The unit’s continuous power, or RMS, is what you should take into account when trying to decide how powerful a subwoofer is. It shows you how much wattage can run through it without causing distortions or damage.
- Peak Power – This rating represents the maximum wattage that a subwoofer can handle, but only in short bursts.
If you’re getting an active-powered subwoofer, you don’t have to worry about pairing it with an adequate amplifier – the two already know how to work in sync.
In case you’re using an external amplifier, though, make sure that the two are compatible. Ideally, the amp should stay within 75 to 150-percent of the subwoofer’s power-handling capabilities.
Otherwise, you risk sound distortion – and permanent subwoofer damage, too.
You might be tempted to go with as big of a driver as possible, because, when it comes to the best subwoofer, size does matter.
Here’s a quick run-down of standard driver sizes and how they influence the subwoofer’s performance:
- 8-Inch Drivers – The smallest among subwoofers, 8-inch drivers are excellent options for improving the overall sound quality of your car’s audio system. They offer sound clarity and produce punchy and responsive bass. Plus, they’re easy to install in the under seat area – even in small cars. They won’t blow your mind with hard-hitting bass, but they’re good all-around performers.
- 10-Inch Drivers – A 10-inch subwoofer is always a safe bet for car audio systems, especially when installed in the underseat area. These models are well-rounded and can add balance to the sound system with excellent bass response and sound clarity. Plus, they undoubtedly offer more hard-hitting bass than their 8-inch counterparts, while remaining relatively compact.
However, don’t get carried away – space you have available is a deciding factor here, too.
You probably didn’t expect your vehicle to come up in the middle of an under seat subwoofer buying guide, but here’s the thing:
If you plan to install your subwoofer under seat, the type of car you drive will have an impact on your choice.
- Sedans – If you drive a this type of car, you have two options – an 8-inch, or a 10-inch subwoofer would be your best bet here. These won’t take up too much space, or compromise comfort.
- Trucks & SUVs – Being more spacious than other vehicle models, most pickups and SUVs can fit a 10-inch subwoofer under seat quite comfortably. Some might not even have a problem with a 12-inch unit – but be sure to measure everything first.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Rockville RW10CA 10" 800 Watt Low-Profile Subwoofer
Why is it better?
So, there you have it:
Even though each of these models adds a unique touch to your existing audio system, the Rockville RW10CA is the best underseat subwoofer money can buy.
It’s a compact subwoofer with just enough power to blow your mind, and an excellent bang for your buck, too!