Difference Between Woofer and Subwoofer - Learn How To Differentiate Them In Less Than 5 Minutes!

Even though there are many different speaker-related posts on our main blog, some people still aren’t quite familiar with the general difference between woofer and subwoofer.

They might seem nearly identical to someone who doesn’t work with them daily. But, a keener eye will notice quite a few differences between the two. 

They are most notably found in their size, price range, sound reproduction capabilities, number of integrated drivers, and power supply needs.

Once you finish reading this article, we guarantee you’ll become an expert in differentiating woofers and subwoofers!

subwoofer cabinet

Before we explain the main differences between woofers and subwoofers, it’s imperative that we quickly dissect them:

Woofers are your usual speakers, generally found in most places that feature radio music, such as cafes and restaurants. They were also unavoidable objects used in old cars, being the only alternative until recently, when subwoofers were slowly but surely taking over as the main sound source.

On the other hand, subwoofers are more profound woofers, strictly designed to manifest low-pitched audio frequencies. Most of us usually refer to them as bass.

As you can probably tell by now, subwoofers are more desirable than their predecessors, given that the presence of bass greatly enhances the listening experience of various sounds.

With all of that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at some of their key differences, starting with:

Price Range

Even though subwoofers are far better than woofers - there are still lots of people that seek and buy standard woofers nowadays.

Most new woofers can be found with a starting price of roughly $100, which can skyrocket to $350 if certain criteria are met (general features and capabilities of a woofer affect the price correspondingly).

Contrary to the woofers, most subwoofers won’t have a price tag lower than $150. People are quite intrigued when they hear that the difference in low-end price tags between woofers and subwoofers is quite low.

Unfortunately, those subwoofers that cost roughly $150 have short lifespans and will force you to repair them every once in a while.

If you wish to buy a reliable subwoofer, then be prepared to give anywhere from $400 to $1200 for a brand-new subwoofer.

Size Comparison

Subwoofer sizes comparison

Given that woofers are far more affordable - it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their size isn’t that big. Most woofers have a size that ranges anywhere between 3 to 8 inches.

Conversely, subwoofers can go from 8 to 20 inches, making them far bigger than woofers. The main difference here is that subwoofers need to be placed in a specific type of box, primarily serving as a protection mechanism.

Furthermore, those enclosures also regulate the output volume of the subwoofer. Lastly, the amplifier is present within that box, which is necessary for amplifying the sound level.

A common rule of thumb is that the surface area of the subwoofer directly affects the maximum bass output - a larger surface area results in a deeper bass.

When you combine all of that - most subwoofers are strictly stationary, especially those that are quite large, whereas woofers can be moved freely without difficulty.

Power Supply

If you mismatch your speakers and amp, the first thing you’ll notice is distorted and poor audio quality. What’s more, if you connect high-impedance speakers to a low-power amp, the speakers will be barely able to work, and you’ll overheat the amp. 

If you don’t match the amplifier with your speakers, you won’t be able to get that peak audio quality you’re looking for.

So, before buying a set of new speakers, look at the specifications and note down the impedance. Before buying them, see if your amp can handle the speakers.

Sound Reproduction

When it comes to woofers - a frequency range between 40 Hz and 1000 Hz is to be expected, regardless of their size. Only a short number of special woofers are capable of reaching 2500 Hz, but most of them are quite pricey, given that they only produce sound.

Subwoofers again take the winning spot here, as they have a frequency range of 20 Hz to 120 Hz. It’s important to point out that high-end subwoofers can reach up to 200 Hz.

Drivers

Subwoofer Drivers

Lastly, we can successfully differentiate woofers and subwoofers by the number of drivers present within them.

Woofers can contain 2 to 4 drivers:

  • 2-way woofers - a tweeter and a woofer
  • 3-way woofers - a tweeter, woofer, and a midrange driver
  • 4-way woofers - they contain everything that was previously mentioned, alongside an additional super-tweeter.

Most subwoofers only possess one driver. A small number contains more than one, but those are only custom-made for special occasions.


Conclusion

Monitors

Although woofers produce lower-quality sounds - they are far more affordable than most subwoofers. The price tag isn’t the only difference between woofer and subwoofer - stuff like their size, power demands, and the number of drivers all vary greatly.

In short, compared to woofers - subwoofers are larger, far more pricey, require more power, have one driver, and produce bass.

With that in mind, we have reached the end of the article. We hope that you have enjoyed today's topic, and if you are interested in buying a subwoofer, then we highly recommend that you click on the link here!

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! 


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