Polk Audio Psw10 Subwoofer Review

Polk Audio Psw10 Subwoofer Review

Polk Audio Psw10 Subwoofer Review

Although subwoofers appear to look the same, the catch is, they do not sound the same as they are not all the same when it comes to quality.

While there are so many subwoofer models in the market, finding one that works for you may require some research. Whether you want to boost the audio quality of your TV or looking for something to stand-in as a home theater system, a high-performance subwoofer might provide you with the kind of sound you have in mind. 

Polk Audio is one of the many reputable manufacturers you can turn to for this!

Polk Audio Psw10 Subwoofer Review


93/100
our score
  • Compact design takes little space
  • Clear and detailed bass reproduction
  • Good value for money
  • A removable front grill elevates the appearance of the speaker
  • Great for movies and listening to music
  • 5-year warranty for woofer and 3-year for amp
  • Wattage consumption: 50 Watts

Last Updated: January 1, 2022

Polk Audio PSW10 Subwoofer at a Glance: Specs and Features

  • Dimensions of the product: 14.5 x 14 x 15 inches
  • Weight of the product: 26 pounds
  • Driver: 10" front-firing driver
  • Wattage consumption: 50 Watts
  • Frequency Range: 35Hz to 200Hz
  • Maximum Sound Range: 35dB
  • Connectivity: RCA
  • Warranty: 5-year for woofer and 3-year for amp

Polk Audio PSW10 Review

Ever since its inception into the business in 1972, Polk Audio has come a long way in terms of the quality of their products. The manufacturer boasts a vast catalog of impressive audio equipment with a reputation for releasing them at affordable prices.

Among their most popular offerings currently in the market is the Polk Audio PSW10. According to online reviews, it offers sound enthusiasts great quality and this becomes apparent the minute you plug in the subwoofer and turn up the bass. 

But before we jump to a conclusion, let’s take a closer look at this subwoofer in the following Polk Audio PSW10 review!

Polk Audio PSW10 Design and Construction

There is nothing outstanding about the design of the PSW10 speaker system. It has the basic look of a subwoofer, featuring a cubic shape with straight edges. The unit is relatively compact with dimensions of 14.5 x 14 x 15”. Thanks to an MDF board construction, the subwoofer looks and feels solid. 

At 26 pounds, the system is relatively heavy but you can find a nice corner in the room to place it. 

The face of the subwoofer comes with a metallic silver color, which is covered by a black mesh to protect the driver from dust and other debris. You also get to choose from either a black or cherry colored vinyl finish to match with your household furniture. 

Polk Audio PSW10 10

All the controls are positioned at the rear end of the unit, and these include everything from the volume controls, power button, and phase (0-180) degrees to low pass 80Hz-180Hz. The control button is toggle type and can be moved through On, Auto, and Off positions. 

In auto mode, the PSW10 will automatically power on when there is a signal or when you turn up the volume. It will also stay on for about 15 minutes if not used after which it will switch off to conserve power.

The only aspect I don’t like about the design of the subwoofer is that there is no magnetic shield. The lack of such may cause electrical interference when you place the PSW10 close to a TV or computer, which you will notice. 

Thankfully, the lack of a magnetic shield doesn’t adversely affect the overall audio quality of the subwoofer. Furthermore, you might pick out some color distortion or interference when you set up the unit near your CRT based TV or PC. Otherwise, if you have a DLP, LCD, or LCOS, the speaker magnets won’t have an effect!

With regard to connectivity, there are various output and input connections available at the back of the PSW10 unit. These include an RCA line-in L and R connectors, as well as stereo speaker inputs and outputs positioned below other controls. 

The last thing to mention about the design of the subwoofer is that it lacks a LIFE input. This might be a let down for some people but it shouldn’t necessarily be a deal-breaker as the issue can easily be bypassed with a quality receiver

Polk Audio PSW10 Performance and Sound Quality

I can describe the sound quality from the Polk Audio PSW10 as immersive! I watched a couple of movies and listened to my favorite playlist to test the performance of the speaker.

The bass produced by the PSW10 is detailed and clear without necessarily sounding overpowering! This is not the subwoofer to go for if you want a boomy bass output. 

It also means that it is better tailored for a smaller space and will probably deny you the full bass experience if you install it in a large room. 

When testing the speaker in moderate to small-sized rooms, the sound quality was relatively impressive, with the bass heard clearly throughout all the corners. 

However, when I switched to a large room, the bass notably lacked a punch and the overall sound was slightly underwhelming. 

Having said that, the Polk Audio PSW10 comes with a frequency range response of 35HZ to 200HZ. This is made possible by a 10” polymer-composite cone driver that offers a standard power output of 50 watts. 

I know how skimpy this power rating may sound but before you make up your mind, give the subwoofer a test and you might be surprised by what you hear. When watching movies and listening to music, the bass sound reproduction makes for an immersive sound experience.

Polk Audio PSW10 10

However, the unit tends to lose clarity as the frequencies get lower and lower. Overall, it will be ideal for most people! 

For gaming, the bass sounds better when there is gun-firing and explosions, so you’ll get the most out of the speaker if you are playing an action-packed game. The sound is generally natural with ample bass but not at the compromise of higher frequency sounds. 

If you want to add some mid-range reproduction to the PSW10, the results are simply awesome. I paired the unit with two mid-range tweeters and the outcome could not have sounded better. The higher frequency sounds are not drowned out by the strong bass. 

Polk Audio PSW10: Weighing The Pros & Cons 

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Solid MDF construction
  • Compact design takes little space
  • Clear and detailed bass reproduction
  • Good value for money
  • A removable front grill elevates the appearance of the speaker
  • Great for movies and listening to music
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • No LIFE input
  • No magnetic shielding

Conclusion

Polk Audio Psw10 Subwoofer Review


93/100
our score
  • Compact design takes little space
  • Clear and detailed bass reproduction
  • Good value for money
  • A removable front grill elevates the appearance of the speaker
  • Great for movies and listening to music
  • 5-year warranty for woofer and 3-year for amp
  • Wattage consumption: 50 Watts

Ultimately, there are so many things that make the Polk Audio PSW10 such a hit in the market. It is designed to be durable and has the looks to easily blend in with your home furniture. 

As far as the sound is concerned, this is a respectable subwoofer with a detailed bass output that will sound best in a smaller room.

The PSW10 is a great acquisition for those looking for an affordable way of enhancing the bass quality in their home audio system. Furthermore, included is an extended 5-year warranty on the woofer, as well as a 3-year warranty on the electronics, which is way more than the 1-year period that most products offer. 

All this to assure that you’re getting a great bang for the buck!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


Want to Blast Powerful Bass – Top 5 Best Compact Subwoofers

Want to Blast Powerful Bass - Top 5 Best Compact Subwoofers

In this time of the global pandemic, when theaters are closed and entertainment options have become awfully limited, what we have in our homes is often the only fun we get.

This would sound pretty grim if home entertainment systems haven't become truly monstrous over the last couple of years. These days, even the average family can afford a rock-solid home theater with all the 4K goodness the tech world has to offer.

The only things missing from this picture are the best compact subwoofers that can turn even the smallest room into an immersive cinema venue. Let's take a look at the five most popular units on the market and see which one deserves your money the most.

In a hurry? After 26 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this compact sub is, hands-down the best choice on the market. 

Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • Beautiful, streamlined design
  • Affordable price
  • Deep bass
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Rock-solid core specs
  • Compatible with a variety of speakers
88/100
our score

sourses
30

RESEARCHED SOURCES

700

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

72

hours researching

50

products compared

Last Updated: January 1, 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best compact subwoofers available for those who are interested in upgrading their sound setup in limited space. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best compact subwoofers currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Compact Subwoofers – Comparison Table 

Product

Size

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Sensitivity

Our Rating

Current Price

Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer

19.2 x 14 x 16.5 inches

200 Watts RMS/400 Watts Peak

29 hertz – 120 hertz +/- 3 dB

up to 116 dB

92/100

Definitive Technology ProSub 800

Definitive Technology ProSub 800

15.8 x 10.4 x 12.9 inches

300 Watts RMS/600 Watts Peak

20 Hz – 150 Hz

High Pass Crossover: Non Variable 6 dB/octave

Low Pass Crossover: 24 dB

90/100

Polk Audio PSW10 10" Powered Subwoofer

Polk Audio PSW10 10

16.2 x 14 x 14.4 inches

50 Watts RMS/150 Watts Peak

40 – 160 Hz

85 dB

88/100

Sonos Sub (Gen 3)

Sonos Sub (Gen 3)

15.28 x 6.18 x 15.80 inches

240 Watts peak

25 - 110 Hz

90 dB

88/100

BIC America F12 12-Inch

BIC America F12 12-Inch

17 x 14.8 x 17 inches

150 Watts RMS/475 Watts Peak

25Hz - 200Hz

90dB

80/100

Top 5 Best Compact Subwoofers Money Can Buy

So, these were our thoughts about the five subwoofers we tested in this roundup. Now, lets' break them down in more detail and see where do our ratings come from.

1. Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer
 - Best Compact Subwoofer Overall - 

best compact subwoofer on the market - Klipsch R-120 SW
Our Rating: 92/100

Klipsch is a company that has never been know for overly intricate or premium products. Well, not to the extent of some of its competitors in the form of Bose or other famous brands.

But, in this case, the simplicity works strongly in favor of this subwoofer. What this product sets out to do it does with ease and grace and easily tops even some much more expensive rivals.

The Design

As we mentioned in the introduction, Klipsch R-120SW is a product that looks and feels very simplistic. But, there is a lot of beauty to be found in such a design approach.

The streamlined case is pretty-much style-agnostic and fits all imaginable settings, and the materials feel give an impression they can sustain a lot of abuse before falling apart. The only thing that truly stands out is the copper-like grill, and we like it. Classy and functional in the same package.

Let's take a look now at the back of the cabinet where all the controls and ports are hidden. Here, things look pretty good and well-spaced. The only real complaint we have is that the connectivity options are limited to legacy RCA ports, which feel somewhat limiting in 2020.

The Performance

Fortunately, when it comes to sheer performance, Klipsch R-120SW doesn't make similar mistakes. Coming packed with a frequency range of 29Hz - 120Hz and power handling sitting firmly at 200W/400W (RMS power/peak power), the woofer has everything laid out for greatness.

And, when you power up the unit, you will see this promise fulfilled.

The inclusion of Injection Molden Graphite (IMG) in the cabinet effectively eliminates the distortion, and low pass crossover helps this subwoofer easily fit all sorts of sound system setups. What's most important, the sound you get is precise, loud, and punchy.

Pros

  • Good price-value ratio
  • Excellent power handling
  • Deep and punchy bass
  • Durable copper IMG woofer

Cons

  • Limited to RCA ports
best compact subwoofer in 2020 - #2 ProSub 800
Our Rating: 90/100

Definitive Technology is a brand that still has to work very hard to earn the reputation of some other competitors on the list.

But, the compact subwoofer market is becoming very competitive - new, exciting products are emerging with each passing second, and no brands are protected from this onslaught.

If we are to judge Definitive Technology by its very own ProSub 800, we can say this challenger will rattle a lot of cages.

The Design

At first glance, ProSub 800 looks horribly unsuspicious. The 8-inch speaker diameter sits firmly in the compact subwoofer market range, and the design is really nothing to write home about.

But, on the other hand, everything here feels familiar, reliable, and well-crafted. This impression is largely helped by the fact that the overall build quality is pretty good so the subwoofer packs surprisingly strong durability - especially when we take into consideration the price tag.

So, although the subwoofer doesn't score any major points in the visual department, the 8-inch body doesn't look bad either and holds up very well.

As for the connectivity options, the subwoofer has everything covered - the wide range of speaker level and line-level inputs and outputs makes sure you'll be able to hook up the product no matter what device you have at home.

The Performance

As we mentioned above, this 8-inch subwoofer is definitely not a visual stunner. But, the product more than makes up for this when it comes to the actual performance.

You see, with its 300 watts RMS and 600 Watts peak power, the speakers produce a teeth-shattering bass and all of that from a small 8-inch body that easily fits any kind of room or setting. The fact that these speakers are powered, and you don't have to use an additional amplifier comes as a cherry on top of the cake.

But, calling this 300 Watts subwoofer perfect would be a bit too far-fetched. For instance, the crossover adjustment lets a lot of mid-bass through the sub. Also, we have noticed some slight sound distortions in the long run.

Pros

  • Capable 20Hz – 150Hz response range
  • Excellent 300-Watt RMS power handling
  • Affordable price
  • Compact 8-inch dimension
  • Good connectivity options

Cons

  • Crossover adjustment is a bit sloppy
BIC America F12 - #3 contender for the title "Best Subwoofer Under 200"
Our Rating: 88/100

Polk Audio PSW 10-Inch is a true testament to all the wondrous things you can accomplish even if you are working on a meager budget.

Although Polk is no stranger to low-end market segments, clocking the subwoofer at a century-mark takes some guts.

Well, we are happy to report that Polk managed to pull off something wonderful here.

The Design 

The best way to describe the design of Polk Audio PSW10 is functional. Sure, the cabinet may give away a somewhat cheap impression (perfectly understandable), but we can't say the streamlined and clean-cut black surfaces are not entirely off-putting.

On the contrary, in this case, the subdued design works in favor of the subwoofer.

The build quality is not that shabby, either. The materials are far from the best on the market, but they are, for the most part, resonance-free, and what's even more important, well-put-together. So, expect to squeeze more than a couple of years of good use out of this one. 

The connectivity options are also good. The combination of RCA and spring terminals provides all the necessary line-level inputs and outputs you can wish for. Therefore, you will be able to easily hook up the subwoofer in the basic home theater setup.

The Performance

In terms of performance, we can easily sum the subwoofer up by saying that it does a more than admirable job in small and medium rooms but really fails to impress in larger spaces. But, that is something to expect with only 50 Watts of RMS and 100 Watts of peak power to play with.

The other limiting factor of this subwoofer comes in the form of a bass response range that covers the frequencies between 40Hz and 160Hz. We would like to see the lower end of this spectrum sitting closer to 20Hz.

But, the output you get is precise, consistent, and very accurate. So, you should get a kick out of it, as long as you know what you are buying.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Tight performance
  • Solid build quality
  • Standard connectivity options

Cons

  • Budget specs
  • 100 Watts peak power
Our Rating: 88/100

Are you tired of cumbersome cables spread around your room and want a beautiful wireless piece of tech that will blow the roof off your room?

Well, if that's the case, Sonos Sub Generation 3 might just be the perfect compact subwoofer for you. But, let us not get ahead of ourselves.

The Design 

Sonos Sub Generation 3 is an advanced piece of audio equipment, and the manufacturer made sure you get this impression at first glance.

With its trendy minimalistic design, sleek black cabinet, and curved sculptural shape, the subwoofer simply screams next-gen, and we adore it because of that. But, all these efforts would be in vain if the build quality wasn't on top of the game as well. Fortunately, that's not the case, and the product feels as sturdy as wireless subwoofers go.

Now, let us briefly cover the connectivity options.

Here, the manufacturer made the interesting choice to put all the eggs into the wireless basket. That is perfectly understandable since most of the modern home theater setups heavily rely on this form of connection. But, we would still like to have more options to choose from.

On the other hand, you do get seamless Alexa integration and an option to integrate the subwoofer into a smart home setup, which is pretty cool.

The Performance

In terms of the very performance, Sonos Sub Gen 3 does everything a compact powered speaker should be able to do and much more.

For instance, the frequency response range of this beauty goes as low as 25Hz, which is on par with the rest of the subwoofers in this range.

But, the manufacturer made sure to continue to build upon this solid foundation and threw in features like two-force canceling drivers and self-tuning software (it adjust the settings to the acoustics of the room), which elevates the performance even higher.

The result is an excellent sound quality without any traces of distortion.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Great-looking subwoofers
  • Smart home integration options
  • Self-regulating acoustics
  • Superb bass

Cons

  • Limited connectivity options
  • Barely an upgrade from Gen 2 subwoofer
best compact subwoofer #5 - Bic America F12
Our Rating: 80/100

And for the very end, we saved something different. On this list, we had 8-inch subwoofers, and we had 10-inch subwoofers.

Now, it's time to go to the far end of the compact subwoofer spectrum and see what's there in store for people with more room on disposal.

The Design 

When it comes to the design, BIC America F12 uses the old proverb "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." As we've seen from the compact subwoofer coming from Klipsch, that doesn't have to be all that bad. But, we can't deny that the mentioned subwoofer also looked far classier.

In this case, the materials, the design, and the build quality can be better described as functional. But, keeping in kind the price of these subwoofers, that isn't too bad.

Just don't expect to impress anyone with this one. It works as a part of your average home theater setup, and that's enough.

Fortunately, all imaginable connectivity options are there. All the line-level inputs for Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS are there, so you will be able to use the subwoofer in any setup that can cross your mind.

The Performance

Now, let's see how these subwoofers perform when you put them to use. Here, things sound very solid. The bass you get out of the speakers is deep and satisfying. The subwoofer is able to go as low as 25Hz (25Hz - 200Hz), and the crossover does a great job at picking up the lower tones.

But, we can't escape the feeling that the unit is still a bit underpowered. Namely, these compact subwoofers pack an excellent sensitivity of as much as 90dB, which is great. But, the 150-Watt RMS power handling simply doesn't provide enough juice to play with.

So, the bass is deep and precise but can come off a bit muted. For a subwoofer of this size, we expected a bit more.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Well-built compact subwoofers
  • Deep, satisfying bass
  • Crisp sound
  • Good sensitivity

Cons

  • Looks a bit boring
  • 150-Watt RMS

Things you should consider before buying a compact subwoofer

And now that we had a good opportunity to take a look at the top five products competing for the title of the best compact subwoofers on the market, let us quickly go through some criteria we used to sort them out.

Also, learning more about compact subwoofers will definitely help you find your ideal match even if you don't agree with our choices.

So, without further ado, here a couple of things to consider to find the absolute best subwoofer on the market.

Type of the subwoofer

All compact subwoofers can be roughly divided into two major groups:

  • Compact passive subwoofer - Passive subwoofers are powered by the external amp, much like all other passive speakers in your system. Keep in mind that if you are going to use one of these units for your home theater system, the amp should be placed between the subwoofer and the preamp outputs.
  • Compact powered subwoofer - This is the most common type of compact subwoofers you can find in the stores. Since it has a built-in amplifier, a compact powered subwoofer is very easy to connect and requires no additional equipment.

Power handling capabilities

The power handling capabilities of all commercially available subwoofers are described with two basic specs.

  • RMS power - Describes the power a subwoofer can handle continuously.
  • Peak power - Describes the power bursts a subwoofer can handle during limited periods of time.

As you can probably guess, the higher these numbers are, the better.

Efficiency/Sensitivity rating

Of course, as important as power is, the lewer of power your subwoofers can handle at any given moment is not what makes or breaks their sound quality.

The other spec you should take into serious consideration is the subwoofers' sensitivity, or in other words, the output level they are able to produce per power invested. The efficiency/sensitivity is measured in decibels (dB), and you should try to get as many of them as possible.

Low-frequency extension

Every subwoofer unit has a limit on how deep the bass tones can go. Of course, since deep tones are this product's bread and butter, you should try to go as low as possible. How low? Well, some of the commercially available units are able to hit the frequency of 20Hz, but you should get great performance even with 30 Hz at your disposal.

Connectivity options

By this, we don't mean exclusively about the connectivity with other speakers but different household devices, as well.

In terms of connectivity with other speakers, we have to mention that subwoofer on its own isn't capable of delivering stellar sound quality. The best way to use a subwoofer unit is in some surround sound system (two subwoofers plus five speakers).

But, in order to make sure you will be able to do this, you will need to carefully read the specifications or simply look for some of the speaker bundles.

As for the second consideration, you should do your best to cover as many ports as possible. Aside from standard mentions like Smart TVs, game consoles, and media streamers, you should also look for some more novel connectivity options like wireless Bluetooth connection.

Crossovers/Bass management

When setting up the sound system, you want your subwoofer to have a perfect overlap with other speakers. This can be easily accomplished with a proper subwoofer crossover.

Crossovers can be best described as electronic circuits that re-route the low frequencies to the subwoofers and leave higher frequencies to the main sound system. The best subwoofers have a default crossover frequency of 100Hz and an option to adjust the numbers according to your current needs.

Wired or wireless

This one depends entirely on your priorities and preferences. For instance, a complex sound system involves quite a lot of different units. Connecting all of them with cables can create quite a lot of mess, especially in the smaller rooms.

On the other hand, the wired connection is always far more reliable and effectively eliminates lost transfer and quality drops.

Best Compact Subwoofers - FAQ

What is the best compact subwoofer?

The opinions about this may be split, but as far as we are concerned, the title of the best compact subwoofer easily goes to Klipsch R-120SW. The speakers look nice, produce very satisfying bass, they are loud enough to cover your average room and don't cost a fortune. Throw all these things into the mix, and you will get one of the best if not the best subwoofer in this product range.

If you, on the other hand, are looking for a wireless variety, we have to give a shoutout to Sonos Sub (Gen 3). The bass is incredible, the sound crisp, and the design is a killer.

Are compact subwoofers good?

The short answer would be - yes. Due to their limited size, they will inevitably produce less noise than other, more substantial speakers you can find on the market. But, they are more than enough to blow off the roof of smaller and medium rooms, which makes them perfect for home theater systems.

If you can live with this, better picks will provide you get deep, booming bass and precise, crisp sound. What more could you ask for.

What is the smallest subwoofer?

These days, subwoofers are made in all shapes and sizes. However, if you want to get sufficiently deep bass and reasonable sound quality, you shouldn't go below the size of 8 inches. Well, not unless you are strictly limited by the available space.

In our opinion, the size of 10 inches provides the ideal bass-size balance.

What are the best sounding subwoofers?

If we are talking about the compact subwoofer range, we say Klipsch R-120SW. The subwoofer simply checks all the important marks and produces one deep, satisfying bass. Also, the sound quality is great, while the price is more than affordable. All in all, these speakers get nothing but recommendations from us.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this compact sub is, hands-down the best choice on the market. 

Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • Beautiful, streamlined design
  • Affordable price
  • Deep bass
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Rock-solid core specs
  • Compatible with a variety of speakers
88/100
our score

Final Words

We hope this short breakdown gave you some general idea of who's who in the world of compact subwoofer speakers. Fully enjoying the home theater requires a deep, punchy bass. But, the living rooms have only so much available space. The 5 speakers we presented above will be able to provide you with great bass, even on a smaller scale.

A beginner friendly guide on how to fix a blown subwoofer

A BEGINNER FRIENDLY GUIDE ON HOW TO FIX A BLOWN SUBWOOFER

A beginner friendly guide on how to fix a blown subwoofer 

When you realise that your subwoofer has blown shortly after you have purchased it,  it may feel like you got the short end of the stick! This is especially true for a brand new speaker that you just invested in and took the time and effort to set it up. Various factors may cause your speaker to blow and these can include inter alia too much volume or the amplifier clipping to underpowering.

Fortunately, a blown-up speaker does not render it obsolete! So, before you decide to dismantle or discard it, you might want to check whether your subwoofer can be fixed. Below is a simple guide on how to fix a subwoofer that beginners can follow.

How to Fix a Blown Subwoofer

Before you begin restoring your blown speaker, be sure to have the following tools at hand:

  • A screwdriver
  • Soldering iron
  • Air Compressor
  • Multimeter
  • Putty knife
  • Glue

Step 1- Assess the Voice Coil

Before you begin, you might want to examine every part of your subwoofer very carefully! You can start by checking the voice coil to see if it’s blown. The voice coil is a very important component that plays the role of amplifying the current running through the speaker. 

To assess the voice coil, you can use a very simple method which involves a multimeter. 

Step 1

Just connect the speaker terminals to the multimeter and see what happens. If the meter shows any resistance, it means the voice coil is still functioning; however, if there is no movement on the meter, then your coil is probably damaged. 

Step 2- Check the Speaker Cone

If it happens that the voice coil is still in good shape, you might want to move on to the next component, which is the speaker cone. The cone is usually built on a suspension system, so it will be easy for you to assess. 

Try pushing the cone gently along the sides, and do this across the circumference of the speaker. The cone is supposed to sink in and back into place. But if it remains rigid, this is a sure sign that your speaker cone is damaged.

Step 2- Check the Speaker Cone

Step 3- Detach the Speaker from its Frame

Depending on the results you obtained from assessing the voice coil and speaker cone, you’ll now have a good idea of where the problem is. From here it will be much easier to start the restoration process. The first thing you’ll need to do is to separate the speaker from its enclosure.

To do this you need to use the screwdriver from your repair kit. Unscrew the mounting screws that are holding the speaker in place. While doing this also remove all the attached wires but be sure to note where each wire is going for easy re-fit once you have repaired the speaker. 

Note that the wrong placement of the wires might cause the speaker to produce scratchy sound. Also, be sure to store the mounting screws in one place so that you don’t end up misplacing any. If you feel like this is too much work, here you can take a look at this brand new speaker

Step 4- Remove the Speaker Surround

With the speaker completely separated from the frame and its wires detached, you will have to remove the surround from the speaker enclosure. To do this look for a sharp blade, such as a putty knife or tester edge to get through the glue that is binding the surround to the speaker frame.

Remove the surround gently,including all the glue from the frame. Be sure to be extra careful when doing this to avoid puncturing the edges of the frame as these are quite fragile. You don’t want to damage the speaker before you’ve even had a chance to fix it.

Step 5- Remove the Voice Coil and Speaker Cone

The next order of business is to remove both the speaker cone and voice coil. For this, you will need a sharp object just like the putty knife or tester edge you used in the previous step. Remove the voice coil, as well as the speaker cone, slowly from the subwoofer. 

Remember to cut the terminal wires gently and carefully as you take out the coil, cone, and spider. Be sure to keep all other components separately in place.

Step 6- Replacing the Voice Coil

The voice coil is a very essential element in the subwoofer and that’s why it should be prioritized. This is where the actual fixing takes place and you’ll want to prepare a new coil to replace the old one. But before you do this, start by removing any dust particles, dirt, and other debris in the area of the voice coil gap. 

An air compressor should come in quite handy when cleaning the coil. Take the new voice coil and fix it inside the gap; place a fresh spider around it. Apply enough glue to the cone and carefully place it at the center of the new voice coil. 

Let the subwoofer stand for at least 24 hours so that the glue fully dries!

Step 7- Fix the Speaker Frame

Now that the new coil is in place, the next thing you’ll need to do is put back the speaker’s enclosure. To do this, carefully apply some glue around the edges of the surround that will be in contact with the speaker frame. Attach the surround to the edges of the cone and speaker frame.

Once again, you’ll have to allow another 24 hours for the glue to dry completely!

Step 8- Reassemble and Fix Other Parts

The last step is to put all the other components in place so that the speaker is ready to work! Remember the wires we detached in step 3 must now be put back in place. 

Simply take the terminal wires on the new voice coil and attach them to where the old terminals were. Use the soldering iron to ensure that they are held in position. 

Try pushing the cone gently along the sides, and do this across the circumference of the speaker. The cone is supposed to sink in and back into place. But if it remains rigid, this is a sure sign that your speaker cone is damaged.

Step 8- Reassemble and Fix Other Parts

NB: If the new coil doesn’t come with pre-attached wires, try using smaller wires to connect to the terminal wires and punch some tiny holes into the new cone. Push the wires through the holes you’ve created to the coil while using your soldering iron to hold them in place. 

Finally, reattach all the other components separated earlier to their initial position. Fit your subwoofer into its enclosure and tighten it firmly together with the mounting screws. 

Connect your newly fixed subwoofer to the radio and enjoy the high-quality audio!

Conclusion

A subwoofer ensures that you have enough bass in your sound to balance the high-frequency tweeters. However, this will only be possible if it’s in good shape. If you have a blown subwoofer, don’t be keen to throw it away or replace it, it may still be salvageable!

The above guide should help restore your damaged subwoofer and turn it into a functional speaker. Just follow the steps mentioned above to get your subwoofer functioning again. It will save you the money you would have spent on taking it to a technician and it will also improve your DIY skills !!

GOOD LUCK!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


Best Subwoofer under $500- Affordable Home Theater Subwoofers

Best Subwoofer under 500

Best Subwoofer Under 500 - Affordable Home Theater Subwoofers

If you’re after the genuine “cinema experience,” you know that sound is an integral part of it. And that’s precisely why adding a quality subwoofer might be a smart move. It brings those low-end frequencies and makes a world of difference in overall sound quality, too.

A good subwoofer makes everything come to life, full of volume and depth.

What I’m trying to say is that the best subwoofer under $500 is an indispensable part of any audio setup. But how do you know which one’s the best? And what can you expect from a subwoofer in the $500 price range?

Stick around and find out!

In a hurry? The test winner after 32 hours of research:

SVS PB12-NSD Subwoofer
SVS PB12-NSD Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • Boasts a simple design where form follows function
  • A built-in 400-watt Sledge amplifier drives the 12-inch woofer
  • The frequency response dips down to 18 Hz
  • Delivers vibrant and articulate sound with pinpoint accuracy, transient speed, and unmatched sound quality
92/100
our score

sourses
28

RESEARCHED SOURCES

499

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

32

hours researching

28

products compared

Last Updated: January 1, 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best subwoofers under $500 available for those who are interested in enhancing the low tones & rumbling in their car or room. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best subwoofers under 500 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Top Subwoofers under $500 - Comparison Table

Product

 Driver
Size

Direction

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Our Rating

Current Price

Product SVS PB12-NSD

Product SVS PB12-NSD

12 inch

Front-Firing

400 watts

18 – 150 Hz

92/100

Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer

Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer

12 inch

Front-Firing

200 watts

29 – 120 Hz

88/100

Yamaha NS-SW300PN

BIC America F12

10 inch

Front-Firing

250 watts

25 – 200 Hz

87/100

Klipsch R-120SW

Klipsch R-120SW

12 inch

Down-firing

200 watts

29 – 120 Hz

86/100

Definitive Technology ProSub 1000

Definitive Technology ProSub 1000

10 inch

Front-firing

300 watts

18 – 150 Hz

80/100

How to Choose the Best Subwoofer under $500 for Home Theater: Buyer’s Guide

The real audio power of any home theater or surround sound system comes from the low-end punch. When you feel that rumble in your chest, know that that’s the deep bass doing its thing.

Ask anyone how to pick the best subwoofer, and they’ll probably tell you something along the lines of:

"Get Polk/Klipsch/Yamaha/JBL!"

“Go with the biggest, most powerful subwoofer you can afford.”

That sounds simple enough, right? But I’m afraid that the real answer is a bit more complicated than that.

So, I put together this buyer's guide to share some tips on how to pick the best subwoofer under $500 with you!

Here’s everything you need to know!

Subwoofer under $500


Size

The first thing you’ll have to consider when shopping for a subwoofer is the size – and for two important reasons:

Not only does the size of the subwoofer determine its ability to move more air but plays a role in its placement inside your home, as well.

You’ve probably heard it all before, but the consensus with subwoofers is that the larger the subwoofer driver’s surface area, the deeper the audio that it will produce. This aspect of its performance will be indicated by the subwoofer’s frequency response range, measured in Hertz.

And when you put it like that, it’s somewhat tempting to get the biggest size subwoofer you can get for under $500 and call it a day. But as I said, it’s a bit more complicated than that – and bigger doesn’t always mean better.

Instead, focus on getting what works for you size-wise – something that will fit right in with your existing surround sound system, and the space you have available.

For instance, if you have small satellites or bookshelf speakers, or you’re looking for a subwoofer for your bedroom, 8-inch or 10-inch drivers should be more than enough.

If you’re teaming your subwoofer up with a pair of large floor-standing speakers, and you need it to be able to fill a large, open space with deep bass, a 12-inch woofer should be a better match.

Power

Any discussion about subwoofers will typically revolve around two specifications – power ratings and driver sizes. And since I already talked about subwoofer sizes, it’s time to take a look at power.

So, how much power do you genuinely need from a subwoofer? And more importantly, how much can you expect to get out of subwoofers under $500?

If you’re sticking to the price range under $500, you’ll notice that a lot of the options you’ll come across will be powered subwoofers – units that come with amplifiers already built-in. You can surely get a good product in this price range - you just need to be careful when picking. 

But in terms of sheer power, I’m afraid that there’s no cut-and-dry answer I could give you:

The higher the amplifier’s power ratings, the more impactful and powerful the bass. Still, this is far from being the only factor that determines the subwoofer’s performance.

Bass – unlike higher-end frequencies – requires a lot of energy. So, yes, you should try and get as much power as you can for the money.

However, avoid going over the $500 budget limit for the sake of getting slightly higher numbers on the power-handling ratings. Oh, and ignore peak power altogether:

Peak power of 700 watts might sound flashy on paper but very rarely plays a role in the real-life performance of the subwoofer; on the other hand, it affects the price significantly.

Here are a few more things to pay attention to when browsing the market in search of the best subwoofers under $500:

• Frequency range, especially its lower limit, which should dip as close to 20 Hz – the lowest frequency our ears can detect – as possible.

• Don’t go for the boom, because that’s not what a good subwoofer sounds like – the idea is to get a realistic and accurate reproduction of the lower end, and not just poor-quality thumping noise.

• Placement is crucial for a subwoofer. Even the best subwoofers under $500 will sound lousy if you don’t find the right spot for them.

Best Subwoofer under $500 Reviews

So, what are your options when it comes to the best subwoofers under $500 for watching movies, listening to music, and maybe playing an occasional game?

Well, I have a few suggestions that won’t break that $500 budget limit –keep on reading and you’ll see what I have in store for you!

1. SVS PB12-NSD
- BEST OVERALL Subwoofer - 

SVS PB12-NSD
Our Rating: 92/100

I powered it up, and a thought crossed my mind almost instantly:

“Oh, so that’s what’s been missing in my life!”

It was then and there than I knew that I had to introduce you to the SVS PB12-NSD because it’s the best powered subwoofer in its price range. (No wonder it was highly recommended everywhere)

It’s a well-balanced powerhouse that will blend into any room – and any existing system – making for a perfect low-frequency foundation to music, gaming, and watching movies.

The Design

It’s probably silly of me to expect from a subwoofer to look nice, but I couldn’t help but notice that the only stylish touch on the entire SVS subwoofer was the curved metal grille. Other than the black ash woodgrain finish, that’s about it in terms of design.

I’m not complaining, though, because the PB12-NSD is all about form following function, from the massive, 21 x 17 x 22 inch cabinet – which, by the way, weighs a jaw-dropping 66 pounds – down to the smallest details.

The front panel houses both the 12-inch woofer and the high-flow, four-inch bass port. And in the back, I found flexible – although basic – setup options and a few essential digital bass management features, including adjustable crossover, gain, and phase control knobs.

I learned to love this no-nonsense approach to design, though, because I found that it more than made up for it in functionality.

The Performance

Everything about this subwoofer is geared toward bringing you a "real cinema experience" – and for a price less than $500, too. At the core of its room-filling bass performance is a built-in amp rated at 400 watts of continuous power.

When they designed this baby, they decided to forego a BASH amplifier in favor of the so-called Sledge. I don’t mind the switch, because it still pushes out insane amounts of bass. It will give you all the bass you ever wanted – and then some. Simply said, it performs like higher-priced subs.

Seriously, you’re going to feel like there’s a herd of elephants running through the room. (I've even tested playing these types of sounds - imagine that audio experience!)

The frequency response range of 18 to 150 Hz is nothing short of impressive, either.

From the deep bass of music to the rumble of movie scenes, this SVS subwoofer delivered a sound that was rich and articulate, with pinpoint precision – and well-synchronized with the rest of the system, too.

More importantly, the bass sounds tuneful and defined – and it never failed to make my whole body vibrate, head to toe. When you listen to it, you'll know!

Pros

  • Powerful, built-in 400-watt amp drives the 12-inch woofer
  • Features basic digital bass management features
  • Impressive “response floor” of 18 Hz
  • Accurate, tuneful, room-filling sound

Cons

  • Weighs a mammoth 66 pounds

2. Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer - Budget Pick

Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer
Our Rating: 88/100

Although the R-12SW is now considered an older and relatively outdated option on Amazon, there’s one thing about it that will never go out of style – high-quality audio. It delivers earth-shattering lows, and it still holds the title of one of the most popular and capable Klipsch subwoofers in the Reference line.

Plus, if you’re searching for a subwoofer that can pack plenty of punch but won’t break the bank, you can never go wrong with Klipsch!

The Design

The 16 x 14 x 18.5 cabinet, boasting the signature black-and-copper look, is finished off with black, brushed polymer veneers, which give it a sleek and subtle vibe. I do think that it would be a shame to leave the grille on, though.

Once removed, it uncovers a jaw-dropping 12-inch, spun-copper woofer driver – the large, shiny cone instantly grabs your attention with its dominating presence.

Half the time, I wasn’t even able – or willing – to look away!

The back panel looks a bit barren, although it still covers all the standard necessities of a high-caliber subwoofer. That’s where the bass port is located, as well.

You’ll find a low-pass and volume level knobs and a phase switch for fine-tuning the sound to your liking, and a power switch with automatic signal sensing. In terms of connectivity, it offers compatibility with most receivers with its line/LFE inputs.

The Performance

The reason why the R-12SW doesn’t seem to go out of style is, of course, its unmatched performance:

The audio it delivers is every bit as breathtaking as its design.

Rigid, yet lightweight, the driver is backed up by an all-digital amplifier rated at 200 watts RMS. The two work together to provide a low-frequency punch that’s clean, tight, and concise at all listening levels. Great quality.

“More boom, less effort,” as Klipsch would put it.

It moves insane amounts of air and sounds massive, going deep and loud enough to blow your mind.

The frequency response range goes down to 29 Hz, which is decent enough, but much like the rest of the Reference line, it struggles with a somewhat low “response ceiling” of 120 Hz. I don’t think that this will be a problem, though – it still blends in with the high and mid-range sounds nicely. 

Pros

  • Large, front-firing, 12-inch spun-copper woofer
  • All-digital 200-watt amplifier
  • Controls for volume, low-pass, and phase on the back panel
  • Compatibility with most receivers
  • Excellent price
  • Great value

Cons

  • A new and updated version is available
  • The subwoofer is a bit hefty

3.Yamaha NS-SW300PN Subwoofer

Yamaha NS-SW300PN 20-160 Hz 250W Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 87/100

You don’t get to be a world-renowned company without having a solid product line-up. The secret to their success, I believe, is in their willingness to embrace – and develop – new technologies and systems.

That’s why I have so much respect for Yamaha – and its products, too.

The Yamaha NS-SW300PN subwoofer is a good case in point here, as it incorporates some innovative – and, might I add, surprisingly useful – technologies in its design.

The Design 

Much like the rest of the NS-SW series devices, it boasts an elegant-looking, high-gloss, piano black finish and the signature curved front panel. That’s where you’ll find a power switch and a volume control knob.

Another recognizable part of its design is the side-firing Twisted Flare Port, specific to Yamaha subwoofers. It’s there to ensure smooth and efficient airflow, which should lead to more accurate, distortion-free bass.

Under the grille – which, by the way, isn’t removable – sits a 10-inch woofer, which utilizes square, rather than round, wire to improve the driver’s efficiency further.

On the back, you’ll find input and output options, as well as extensive controls, including the Bass Action Selector System – an equalizer switch that lets you choose between two modes, Music or Movies.

The NS-SW300PN is a relatively compact subwoofer, measuring 13.75 x 14.4 x 16.5 inches, but still, the weight of 39.7 pounds gives it a rather hefty feel.

The Performance

You’re often told that a subwoofer has to be large to produce low bass frequencies. However, Yamaha manages to extract much more bass from its compact stature than one might expect, thanks to one smart trick – the Advanced YST II circuit. 

That, in turn, allowed the subwoofer’s frequency range to drop as low as 20 Hertz – and go up to 160 Hz – which is an insane frequency response range for a subwoofer of its size.

That’s all backed by an integrated, high-efficiency, PWM digital amplifier rated at 250 watts RMS, and a dual feedback circuit that further reduces distortion.

The result, as you can probably imagine, is tight and full low-end reproduction with lots of definition to it, and exceptional overall audio clarity. The position of the B.A.S.S. switch made a considerable difference here, too.

Pros

  • Built-in 250-watt amplifier with low standby power consumption
  • Advanced YST II circuit delivers bigger bass without affecting the compact design
  • Front control panel with volume level knob and power button

Cons

  • The B.A.S.S. is hidden in the back

4. Klipsch R-120SW - Great Affordable Subwoofer Pick

Klipsch R-120SW - Great Affordable pick
Our Rating: 86/100

Another Klipsch subwoofer I had the opportunity of testing when putting together this round-up of the best subwoofers under $500 was the Klipsch R-120SW.

Much like its older brother, the R-12SW, this home theater subwoofer is engineered to deliver a serious punch – way above its weight range – and at a very competitive price, too.

If you have some budgetary constraints and you’d like to know more, be sure to read the rest of this review!

The Design 

The R-120SW seems very neutral-looking until you remove the grille and uncover a large, 12-inch, spun-copper IMG woofer sitting smack in the middle of the front panel. At times, it almost feels like it’s staring you down. By the way, this model is the only one on today's roundup that is firing down. 

The fact that it measures 16.5 x 14 x 19.2 inches and weighs 30 pounds only further increases that feeling that the subwoofer is dominating the room. It boasts reinforced MDF construction, which – other than the reduced costs – ensures the reduction of vibrations:

Fewer vibrations mean less audible coloration and an overall improvement in audio accuracy.

The back panel’s layout is pretty clean-looking but includes a rear-firing bass reflex port, and a complete set of subwoofer controls and connections for easy integration into an existing surround sound system.

The included low-pass and gain control knobs, and the phase switch, allow you to play around with the settings and fine-tune it for optimal sound performance.

The Performance

Every part of its design, no matter how seemingly unimportant, points toward one purpose – and that’s bringing wall-shaking, bone-rattling bass to your favorite movie scenes and songs.

With 200 watts of power coming from the built-in, all-digital amplifier – 400 watts if we’re talking peak performance – and a frequency response range of 29 to 120 Hertz, it’s punching way above its weight.

It adds a staggering amount of hard-hitting, deep bass to the sound in all applications. However, the home theater is where it truly shines, bringing insanely loud, thundering bass, and at the same time, excellent synchronization with the rest of the system.

Movies virtually come to life with this one.

It’s a tad bit more expensive than the previously discussed R-12SW, but it still offers a competitive price-to-value ratio.

Pros

  • Boasts a 12-inch, copper-spun, injection-molded graphite woofer
  • Integrated, all-digital amp with a 200-watt RMS rating
  • Essential controls and connections on the back panel
  • An excellent choice for home theaters

Cons

  • All the controls are in the back

5. Definitive Technology ProSubwoofer 1000 - Stay Away

Definitive Technology ProSub 1000 - Stay Away
Our Rating: 80/100

I’ve had a few people bring up the Polk Audio PSW108 in random conversations about pocket-friendly subwoofer options, which sparked quite a bit of curiosity on my part. And let me tell you something: 

What an underwhelming experience that was! 

It’s not that there’s something inherently inferior and unsatisfactory about it – it does a decent enough job. Still, it’s not nearly as impressive or impactful as others made it out to be, and that’s what kept bugging me about it.

The Design 

First off, this was not a love at first sight. I did, however, learn to appreciate the cabinet's monocoque construction, fused by polymer adhesive.

The ProSub 1000 certainly has a solid, hefty feel to it, but considering that it measures 12 x 17.8 x 14.4 inches, and weighs a little over 30 pounds, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The subwoofer is fitted with a 10-inch, front-firing woofer – covered by a detachable grille – and side-mounted volume control. Upon closure inspection, I discovered that there’s a 10-inch down-firing low bass radiator on the bottom of the cabinet, too.

The back panel is home to high-level outputs and inputs, and a single LFE output port. Also, there’s a variable low-pass crossover knob, selectable from 40 to 150 Hertz.

The Performance

The force behind the ProSub 1000 is an integrated Infinite Power Source MOSFET amplifier, rated at 300 watts RMS. Another notable mention here is the frequency response, which covers a range from 18 Hz to 150 Hz.

After putting these specs to the test in a home theater and gaming setting, I can say that it got a lot it right.

But while it did make an impact, it didn’t leave an impression:

It veered out of control on several occasions, compromising some of the tightness and clarity along the way. Furthermore, I never got it to produce that bone-rattling, crazy loud bass. All it did was fill out the lower end that my speakers weren’t able to reproduce – nothing more, nothing less.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not bashing Definitive Technology here. Still, this one failed to deliver on quite a few promises, and, to be honest, there are far better options available under $500 than the ProSub 1000.

Pros

  • Infinite Power Source MOSFET 300-watt amplifier
  • Impressive frequency response range
  • Side-mounted volume level control
  • Height-adjustable feet with rubber tips

Cons

  • Doesn’t include low-level inputs and outputs
  • Lack of fine-tuning options
  • Veered out of control on multiple occasions
  • Bad warranty

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

SVS PB12-NSD Sub.
SVS PB12-NSD

Why it is better?

  • Boasts a simple design where form follows function
  • A built-in 400-watt Sledge amplifier drives the 12-inch woofer
  • The frequency response dips down to 18 Hz
  • Delivers vibrant and articulate sound with pinpoint accuracy, transient speed, and unmatched sound quality
92/100
our score

Conclusion

With the best subwoofer under $500, you’re entering a price range where a lot can be expected both in terms of performance and design. And while my true vote goes to the SVS PB12-NSD due to its unmatched sound quality and overall performance, you’re free to pick whichever one you like the most.

Each subwoofer on this list would make a worthy addition to your audio setup.

Still, if you’re interested in something a bit more budget-friendly, go check out my round-up of the best subwoofers under $200!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide! 


Best Subwoofer under $200 – Cheap Home Theater Subs for Cinema & Music

best subwoofer under 200 - buying guide

Best 2.1 Speakers with Subwoofers - For PC, TV and Music

The complexities and richness often remain hidden lower in the frequency range, where your average speakers can’t reach them. 

That’s where a subwoofer comes in, filling out the lower end, enriching the mid-range, and balancing out the highs in your favorite songs – and adding some roar and rumble to movie scenes, too. 

Even if you don’t have a large budget to work with, a subwoofer is still a must-have: 

Speakers are there to enable you to hear your music. Subwoofers, however, are there to make sure that you experience it, too. 

So, let’s find you the best subwoofer under 200, shall we?

In a hurry? After 27 Hours of Research, We Recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this sub is, hands-down the best choice under 200 dollars. 

Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • Sleek and elegant design with a black finish and a slightly rounded front panel
  • The innovative Twisted Flare Port makes airflow around port’s edges smooth 
  • Active subwoofer with a built-in amplifier and Advanced YST II tuning
  • Excellent frequency response range with 25-Hz lower limit 
  • Produces tight-sounding, accurate, stable, and deep bass with no booming effects
88/100
our score

sourses
24

RESEARCHED SOURCES

556

REVIEWS CONSIDERED

27

hours researching

41

products compared

Last Updated: January 1, 2022

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding best subwoofers under 200 available for those who are interested in ramping the quality of their sound up without breaking the bank. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the best subwoofers under 200 currently available on the market. The FAQ has also been updated.

Best Subwoofers Under $200 – Comparison Table 

Product

 Driver
Size

Direction

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Our Rating

Current Price

YAMAHA 10" 100W POWERED SUBWOOFER

YAMAHA 10

10 inch

Front-Firing

50/100 watts

25 – 180 Hz

88/100

Polk Audio PSW10

Polk Audio PSW10

10 inch

Front-Firing

50/100 watts

40 – 160 Hz

84/100

BIC America F12

BIC America F12

12 inch

Front-Firing

150/475 watts

25 – 200 Hz

85/100

Acoustic Audio PSW-12

BIC America F12

12 inch

Down-firing

250/500 watts

45 Hz to
20 kHz

86/100

Polk Audio PSW108 10"

BIC America F12

10 inch

Front-firing

50/100 watts

40 – 160 Hz

80/100

Best Subwoofers under $200 Reviews

All subwoofers – regardless of their price tag – look pretty much the same: 

Some might be more compact, and others will boast a massive enclosure, but generally speaking, more often than not, you’ll end up with a cube or box of some sort. 

But as you’re about to see in my reviews of the best subwoofers under $200, they rarely ever sound the same. 

Not all subwoofers can produce the same bass sound levels – but I picked out a few that are bound to impress you!

1. Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer 
- BEST OVERALL -

best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 90/100

Okay, who here hasn’t heard of Yamaha before?

Yeah, I didn’t think I’d see a lot of raised hands.

The brand has a worldwide reputation for producing reliable audio equipment at nearly unbeatable prices. And if you hope to spend as little as possible, one of its masterpieces in the budget-tier category – the Yamaha NS-SW100 – should be your top contender.

Seriously, though, to my knowledge, this Yamaha 10-inch subwoofer is one of the best performing subwoofers you can get for the money – less than $200, to be exact.

The Design

If you feel like you’ve seen this particular design before, don’t worry – it’s not all in your head. The NS-SW100 is pretty much the bigger brother of the already famous – and inexpensive – NS-SW050, with the two sharing nearly identical design features. 

It’s reasonably compact at 16.2x13.9x13.9 inches, but surprisingly enough, it still weighs a little over 26 pounds.

It’s one of the rare subwoofers that avoid looking like a plain black box, too, and has a rather sleek and elegant vibe, with a slanted, gently rounded form of the front surface. 

The most notable difference design-wise is in the size of the front-firing subwoofer, which, in NS-SW100, measures 10 inches. 

Other than that, though, you’ll find the same high-performance, bass-oriented features, like the signature Twisted Flare Port. It utilizes a flared, twisting shape to smooth out the airflow around the port’s edges and keep the sound accurate, clear, and distortion-free.

The Performance

So, we’ve already established that it won’t exactly win any awards in terms of innovative design. What about its performance, though? 

The NS-SW100 is an active subwoofer, boasting a 50-watt amplifier with discrete amp circuitry. It doesn’t sound like much when you put it like that, but it makes a lasting impact. 

With the addition of Yamaha’s Advanced YST II tuning, the subwoofer dynamically compensates for the adverse effects of the speaker’s impedance. That helps the driver to maintain perfect linearity and tight control, and reproduce deep bass to the best of its ability.

You can expect crisp and tight, ultra-clear, and distortion-free bass – even at high volume levels.

Another highlight is the frequency response range, which dips as low as 25 Hz and goes all the way up to 180 Hz. The deep-hitting bass delivers quite a boom in mid-sized rooms.

Pros

  • Compact and elegant design
  • Delivers exceptional bass levels and sound quality
  • Employs advanced YST II tuning to produce precise, distortion-free sound
  • The subwoofer features an innovative Twisted Flare Port

Cons

  • Lacks additional input options
  • Only volume level is adjustable

2. Polk Audio PSW10 Subwoofer - Budget Pick

budget pick is Polk Audio PSW10
Our Rating: 84/100

Polk Audio has always been one of those brands that offered quality at affordable prices, so much so that they’re still considered a reliable entry-level option for homeowners. 

So, if you’re looking for subwoofers under $200 to kick your home theater setup up a notch, or add some depth to your stereo system, I’d recommend checking out the Polk Audio PSW10. There are but a few powered 10-inch subwoofers that cost less than $100 – and this is one of them.

You’ll get a chance to read about another one of Polk Audio’s subwoofers later on, but here’s the thing: 

Although they have nearly identical features and performance specs, this one’s a far better deal price-wise. 

The Design

There’s not much to talk about looks-wise – most subwoofers are nothing but square boxes, anyway. This one features a washed wood finish with a metallic silver front panel – a common design choice among Polk Audio’s budget-tier models.

Under the grille of this front-firing subwoofer, you’ll find a 10-inch Dynamic Balance subwoofer driver with a bass port next to it. 

It boasts a solidly built cabinet, constructed out of MDF – medium-density fiberboard – and weighs a hefty 26 pounds. That said, the subwoofer is still relatively compact, measuring 14.5x14x15 inches. 

All of PSW10’s controls are located on the back panel, where you’ll discover the volume and variable low-pass crossover controls and a phase switch. 

The subwoofer also comes with a three-position power switch, as well as speaker-level outputs and inputs, and RCA line-level inputs. 

The Performance

The PSW10 is an active subwoofer that costs less than $200 bucks, so you can’t exactly expect its built-in amp to boast insane amounts of power. On that note, you’re looking at a 50-watt amplifier with 100 watts of peak power.

Despite its rather skimpy power ratings, you shouldn’t dismiss it entirely before giving it a chance to show you what it can or cannot do: 

I mean, sure, there’s nothing earth-shattering about its performance, but it still delivers enough bass to complement your existing speakers by adding a low-end touch. 

The frequency response range goes from 40 to 160 Hz and does sometimes come off as muddy when pushed to the lower-end limits of its range. However, it still adds enough depth and has a tight and accurate low-end presence.

Pros

  • Solidly built cabinet in terms of used materials
  • Fills out the lower end with subtle contributions to sound quality
  • Power switch, volume level, low-pass crossover, and phase controls on the back
  • Has an optional auto On/Off function

Cons

  • The subwoofer isn’t magnetically shielded
  • Fairly skimpy power ratings

3. BIC America F12 12-Inch 475 - Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer

BIC America F12 Subwoofer
Our Rating: 85/100

BIC America has been in the audio equipment business for half a century now. It has built a solid reputation for itself by manufacturing high-quality products at pocket-friendly prices. 

The BIC America F12 only continues the tradition, proving, once again, that BIC America’s subwoofers deserve a spot in your home theater or any budget-tier sound system. 

And yes, this one does come in at a little over $200 – but if you read the rest of my review, you’ll understand why I still decided to include it in my round-up of the best subwoofers under $200!

The Design 

The BIC America F12 is, for all intents and purposes, a black, rectangular box – but there’s something undeniably classic and minimalistic about its cube-shaped cabinet. The sturdy MDF enclosure prevents resonance and is finished in black laminate, with a removable mesh grille covering the front panel. 

The exciting part is hidden under the grille, of course – a 12-inch, injection-molded, long-throw subwoofer driver with a metallic cone center. If you're looking for the bass reflex port, it's hidden in the back panel, along with all the subwoofer controls.

You’ll find volume and crossover frequency controls, stereo input and output terminals, an RCA connector, and a three-position power button and indicator, with included automatic signal sensing. 

Did I mention how massive this subwoofer is? 

Not only does the entire subwoofer measure 17x14.75x17.25 inches but weighs a mind-boggling 42.7 pounds, too!

The Performance

Is it as loud as it big, though? 

The F12 is a powered subwoofer, fitted with a high-current, BASH amplifier rated at 150 watts RMS, and with a dynamic peak power of 475 watts. It ended up being way louder than one might expect based on power ratings alone, due to the relatively high, 90-dB sensitivity. 

It delivered consistent volume, excellent frequency separation, and hard-hitting, deep bass. Plus, there wasn’t any muddiness or noticeable distortions at a higher level, either. 

This subwoofer delivers outstanding low-end performance, too, boasting a frequency response range of 25 to 200 Hz. 

What gives it an edge over the competitors and makes it special, though, is that it exhibits far more clarity and articulation than most other subwoofers I’ve tested. And that’s even when it’s pushed to the lower limits of its range. 

Not only can you hear each low-end tone clearly but feel it, too. 

Pros

  • Sturdy construction and a 12-inch, long-throw subwoofer driver
  • Delivers exceptional depth, articulation, and clarity of sound
  • The patented BIC Venturi vent helps eliminate a lot of port noises
  • Built-in BASH 150-watt amplifier

Cons

  • Extremely heavy for a stand-alone subwoofer

4. Acoustic Audio PSW-12 500 Watt 12-Inch Down Firing Powered Subwoofer

Down Firing Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 86/100

When I first went over the Acoustic Audio PSW-12’s advertised specs, I couldn’t help but notice how ridiculously cheap it was for what it had to offer. 

Five hundred watts of peak power pushed out by a built-in amplifier for way less than $200? Sign me up anytime! 

It all sounds pretty amazing on paper, but I know better than to trust product descriptions blindly. When things seem a bit too good to be true, they most often are – so, I took this subwoofer for a real-life test drive. 

The Design 

There isn’t much to talk about design-wise – not that that’s a bad thing. What I’m saying is that, from afar, it looks like a black, ash-colored box sitting on top of four plastic feet. There’s a touch of elegance to its simplicity, though. 

The reason why there’s not much else going on is that what you’re looking at is a down-firing subwoofer:

Turn it upside down, and you’ll discover a 12-inch, long-throw subwoofer driver, which utilizes a high-rigidity, PVA-treated cone.  

The cabinet itself, although simple in appearance, has a standard MDF construction and measures 13.8×13.4×14.6 inches. It boasts internal bracing for added stability, as well as advanced RFL bass reflex. 

The Performance

I already mentioned that the speaker’s 500 watts of power made my jaw drop, but then I ran into a “red flag” of sorts – that was only the subwoofer’s peak power, while the RMS rating was nowhere to be found. 

I later figured out that it features a 250-watt RMS rating, though. The fact that it comes with a digital-drive, integrated amplifier – and a highly efficient one, boasting sensitivity of 98 dB – is nothing short of impressive. 

Furthermore, with a frequency response range of 24 to 250 Hz, it dives almost as deep as your hearing will go. To call its bass response deep would be an understatement: 

In terms of quality, it’s very dynamic, accurate, and full-bodied, yet oh-so-smooth. The sound doesn’t come off as an annoying “boom,” but instead fills out the lower-end with deep, distortion-free sound, picking up where the remainder of your system left off. 

It's easily one of the most recommended subwoofers under $200 for home theaters!

Pros

  • Elegant, simple design with a black finish
  • Down-firing subwoofer with a 12-inch, long-throw driver 
  • Highly-efficient integrated amplifier 
  • Dual RCA inputs and raw wire inputs and outputs
  • Phase control switch, along with gain and crossover level control knobs on the back
  • Signal-sensing auto On/Off feature 
  • The subwoofer can be mounted 
  • One of the best subwoofers under $200 for home theaters 

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a protective grille

5. Polk Audio PSW108 10" - The "STAY AWAY" Pick

Polk Audio PSW108 10" Subwoofer
Our Rating: 80/100

I’ve had a few people bring up the Polk Audio PSW108 in random conversations about pocket-friendly subwoofer options, which sparked quite a bit of curiosity on my part. And let me tell you something: 

What an underwhelming experience that was! 

It’s not that there’s something inherently inferior and unsatisfactory about it – it does a decent enough job. Still, it’s not nearly as impressive or impactful as others made it out to be, and that’s what kept bugging me about it.

The Design 

The whole thing measures 14x16.1x14.4 inches and weighs over 26 pounds. It’s constructed out of non-resonant MDF with additional internal bracing, though, so it gets bonus points for build quality. 

It’s not much to look at – an all-black box with a grille attached to it. Come to think of it; the grille is probably the only thing that could distinguish it as a subwoofer. 

I’m not sure what others saw in it.

Remove the grille, though, and you’ll uncover a front-firing, 10-inch Dynamic Balance woofer coupled with a specially configured bass port. 

I’ll give it to Polk Audio for making the PSW108 easy to integrate into your existing system: 

The back panel includes several line-level and speaker-level inputs and outputs, a continuously variable low-pass filter, a dedicated volume level control knob, and a phase switch. Plus, it has an automatic On/Off switch, too.

The Performance

The PSW108 doesn’t offer much in terms of power. Its built-in amplifier clocks in at 100 watts of dynamic energy, with its RMS rating being a mere 50 watts. 

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: 

If you have to keep your bass at a reasonable level due to apartment building regulations, for example, you’ll learn to appreciate its subtle contributions to the overall sound. 

The frequency response is somewhat limited, sticking to a 40 to 160 Hz range. It still fills out the lower end nicely, and gives some balance to the high end, though.

And sure, maybe I’m judging it in comparison to other similarly-priced subwoofers – but either way, I don’t feel like you’re getting enough bang for your buck here. So, my initial verdict remains the same:

Stay away from the Polk Audio PSW108. 

Pros

  • Non-resonant MDF construction with internal bracing
  • Helps to add some balance to the overall sound
  • Easy to integrate into the existing system 
  • Comes with an automatic On/Off function 

Cons

  • It’s somewhat heavy and bulky for what it is
  • The power ratings are less than stellar, even for subwoofers under $200

Subwoofers under $200 – Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Which powered subwoofer is the best?

A: Oh, come on – you already know that my vote goes to the Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer! Sure, there are more powerful options available for a few more bucks. However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find subwoofers under $200 that can compete with its sound quality and design. 

It delivers exceptional bass performance, boasts advanced technology that improves overall sound clarity – and it’s one of the few subwoofers under $200 that doesn’t have that dull-looking, boring black box design.

Q: What is the best budget subwoofer?

A: All the subwoofer speakers I’ve shown you today fall into the budget-friendly category, so I’m pretty sure that, whichever one you pick, you’ll be pretty happy with the price-to-value ratio. However, there’s budget-friendly – and then there’s flat out cheap. 

And if you’re after the latter, the Polk Audio PSW10 fits the bill. It not only falls under the $200 price mark but goes well below it, too, clocking in at a mere 100 bucks. How’s that for a budget subwoofer?

Q: Which subwoofers are good for home theater?

A: In terms of home theater sound setups, my vote goes to Acoustic Audio PSW-12. This subwoofer delivers an unmatched sound and is capable of getting super loud when you need it to, thanks to the 250-watt amplifier. 

Plus, the subwoofer driver is a 12-inch one, too, so it certainly moves enough air to lend that “oomph” effect to your favorite movies.


Q: Are wireless subwoofers any good?

A: With the majority of modern gadgets boasting wireless functionality, it’s no wonder that you’re considering getting a wireless subwoofer, as well. And while a portable, wire-free – and arguably more stylish – setup certainly sounds good in theory, the reality of it is less than ideal: 

Wireless subwoofers are prone to sound interferences, tend to be underpowered compared to their wired counterparts, and their performance is typically regarded as “lower quality” by most audiophiles.

It’s all about finding what works for you and your budget – whether it means getting a wireless or a wired subwoofer.

After it's all said and done, we recommend:

best subwoofer under 200 - Yamaha 10-inch powered subwoofer

After all the tests and comparison, this sub is, hands-down the best choice under 200 dollars. 

Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer

Why it is better?

  • Sleek and elegant design with a black finish and a slightly rounded front panel
  • The innovative Twisted Flare Port makes airflow around port’s edges smooth 
  • Active subwoofer with a built-in amplifier and Advanced YST II tuning
  • Excellent frequency response range with 25-Hz lower limit 
  • Produces tight-sounding, accurate, stable, and deep bass with no booming effects
  • Perfect subwoofer for medium-sized rooms
88/100
our score

Conclusion

I would say that you have quite a few reliable options worth considering here, all priced at – or under – the $200 mark. If anything, it goes to show that a subwoofer doesn’t necessarily have to eat through your budget. 

And if you do have less than $200 to spend on a new subwoofer, the Yamaha 10" 100W Powered Subwoofer is a highly recommended option. It’s easily the best subwoofer under $200, and a perfect fit for any room. 

If you’d like to go bigger and louder than that, though, the best 15-inch subwoofers might be right up your alley!


Barry Allen

About the author:

Barry Allen

I grew up to be a self-proclaimed stuck-up audiophile, and I – partially – blame Pinnacle Speakers for it.


The whole point of me starting this website was to keep the tradition going. Although the means have changed, the mission remains the same: Bringing „sterling sound“ as they once put it into home theaters and sound systems worldwide!