Why do people go to theaters to watch the latest movie that has just been released?
There is something about sitting in those plush reclining chairs and munching on some popcorn and soda that adds to the entire experience of watching a movie in a theater.
However, if you think about it, all these things – except one – are also available in your home.
That one thing that makes a huge difference to your experience is the sound quality and a great way to enhance this sound at home is by investing in a good subwoofer.
However, not every subwoofer works as well as you would like it to, so how is it possible for you to choose the right one?
If you are currently facing such a dilemma, you are in the right place to get some insight into the best home theater subwoofers in 2020.
Best Home Theater Subwoofers (Comparison)
The 7 Best Home Subwoofers of 2020
1. Best Under $1000: Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer
- 12" high excursion spun-copper Imp woofer
- 29 hertz – 120 hertz +/- 3 dB
- 400 watt
What happens when you combine 400 watts of power from an all digital amplifier with a front-firing spun-copper IMG woofer? Meet the Klipsch R-120SW, a stylish new subwoofer with true-to-source accuracy that makes your audio system sound bigger and cleaner than ever.
- Highly Accurate Sound Reproduction
- Sturdy Design
- Customizable Performance Controls
- Bold Style Choice Not For All
The Klipsch R-120SW is a subwoofer for the movie purist. It does a film justice by lending its sonic clarity to sound instead of coloring it, giving you the ultimate listening experience in turn.
Every aspect of the subwoofer contributes to this goal. The cabinet’s high quality design reduces vibrations and excess movement to give accurate bass response. This means that the subwoofer works well in a multitude of room shapes and sizes, while retaining clarity in its reproduction of sound.
Features like the all digital amplifier and copper IMG woofer offer the efficiency needed for a clean sound with zero bass breakup right out of the box. For further customization, independently controllable gain, low pass, and phase controls give you the ability to tune the performance of the subwoofer to your room.
The R-120SW packs a punch at 400 watts (200W RMS), so unless you want your house to shake, there’s unlikely to be time that this will not be loud enough.
The pros highly outweigh the cons. The design is bold and stylish, but Klipsch has you covered with a slick black grill if you want a more subtle look. The Klipsch R-120SW executes at a level that is bound to impress even the most scrutinous film viewer, while remaining simple enough in its design to please the everyday user too.
2. Best Under $500: SVS PB-1000 Subwoofer
- High-excursion 10-inch driver produces ground-shaking output and subterranean low frequency extension without sacrificing detail and accuracy.
One of the best subwoofers on this list is the SVS PB-1000 Subwoofer and there are a number of reasons for that.
First and foremost, this is a ported subwoofer, which can be converted to a sealed one with the help of a plug that is provided with the kit. While the power output stands at 300 watts (RMS continuous), the peak power is over 700 watts.
It is a well-designed subwoofer, whose beauty lies in the fact that it blends in seamlessly with its surroundings without distracting you from the sound quality.
The SVS PB-1000 gives you a wide bass range without much turbulence or asymmetrical distortions, which makes the subwoofer ideal for music as well as movie experiences. Overall, this product can do the work of any high-end woofer without costing you as much.
- This is a great value product because of the features it offers at the price point.
- The subwoofers work very well with the home theater system, regardless of whether you are using them for music or movies.
- You can choose to seal the ports on the subwoofer if the need arises.
- The range of bass offered is very impressive.
- The size is relatively large when compared with some of the other 10-inch subwoofers.
- It isn’t the most powerful subwoofer on this list.
3. Best Under $300: Polk Audio PSW505 12″ Powered Subwoofer
- Heart-thumping music with deep, powerful bass – Polk's 12-inch Dynamic Balance Woofer sounds better because it is built better. Make your movies, music & sports experience thrilling
Moving on to the more budget-friendly options on the list, Polk Audio is a name that cannot be missed.
With the Polk Audio PSW505 12-inch Powered Subwoofer, you get what you pay for. It is a simple, well-designed subwoofer with no frills. The continuous power output is 300 watts, while it extends to 460 watts at the peak, which is significantly lower than the previous option.
This is a front-firing subwoofer with a 12-inch cone that provides you with decent sound quality without making too many wild promises.
The frequency range is solid, with 23 Hz at the bottom of the range and 160 Hz at the top.
The cost of the product, combined with an impressive warranty offered by the company, makes this a great option for people who don’t want to shell out too much money but get quality sound regardless.
- This subwoofer is very cost effective, as you get all the necessary features at a reasonable price point.
- The subwoofer offers a large frequency range and comes with a big 12-inch cone for an enhanced listening experience.
- The company offers a 5-year warranty, which is on the higher side of the spectrum for subwoofers.
- The dynamic power offered by the subwoofer isn’t the best in the category.
- Some of the more exclusive features are missing from this subwoofer.
4. Best Value: Pioneer SW-8MKS 100W Subwoofer
- Powerful 100 Watt internal amplifier for controlled bass at any volume level high or low ; Maximum Input Power 100 W
No one likes to spend more money than they absolutely have to, so the Pioneer SW-8MKS 100W Powered Subwoofer may be a great option for those of you who are looking to snag a great deal.
The Pioneer variant comes with an inbuilt 100-watt amplifier that gives you a feel of the things that are happening on the screen of your home theater system.
With a frequency range that goes from 38 Hz on the lower end of the spectrum and 150 Hz on the upper end, you can expect good sound quality every time.
- For the price that you are paying, you get a phenomenal subwoofer unit that looks much more expensive.
- The range of frequencies is very impressive, especially for a good budget subwoofer.
- The size of the subwoofer is not very bulky or unwieldy so as to not act as an inconvenience.
- The matte black ash finish can be a little limiting, especially if wooden tones are more in line with your aesthetics.
- The power output is fairly limited, especially when compared to a lot of the more expensive options available for purchase.
5. Best Compact: Audioengine S8 White 8-inch Subwoofer
- The S8 Subwoofer delivers great bass performance and provides LOW, TIGHT AND SMOOTH BASS.
Out of all the subwoofers that you saw on this list, the Audioengine S8 White 8-inch Powered Subwoofer is possibly the most eye-catching one. Not only is it designed beautifully, the solid hand finish and high-quality build makes it stand apart, almost like a masterpiece of design.
In addition to this, the Audioengine subwoofer is an 8-inch, compact device that can fit in with any surroundings because of its small size.
The product comes with a front-ported MDF cabinet, low-frequency effect, both RCA and mini-jack inputs, along with auto-sleep power saving mode. You gain access to quick, accurate bass, without too many distortions that could ruin your listening experience.
An additional benefit of this subwoofer is that it is wireless. This means that you don’t have to worry about any of those tangled cables and wires ever again.
- The aesthetic appeal of this subwoofer is higher than most others because of the stylish design and high-quality build.
- There is a separate volume control, which isn’t available for a lot of subwoofers that are produced these days.
- The subwoofer is very compact and easy to set up for use.
- The subwoofer tends to rattle a little when you come to the lowest part of the bass range.
- The Audioengine subwoofer isn’t the most energy efficient option available in the market.
6. Best 12-Inch: BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Subwoofer
- Powered subwoofer with 12-inch injection molded long throw woofer; BASH designed amp
- Patented BIC "Venturi" vent eliminates port noise
If you are looking for good quality bass sound at an affordable price point, purchasing the BIC America F12 12-Inch is worth a shot.
With the help of the company’s patented BIC “Venturi” vent, a large amount of the port noise is removed, allowing you to make the most of deep bass. This is a great option for home theaters as the frequency range of 25 Hz to 200 Hz allows you to get a powerful feel of the audio.
This front-firing subwoofer has a power output of 475 watts, which is higher than most others on this list. This makes it ideal for even bigger events and gatherings. The adjustable crossover and volume control is an added bonus.
- This 12-inch subwoofer gives you great sound quality, especially when paired with a set of bookshelf speakers under $500.
- While the price of this product is higher than some of the others on this list, you get great value for your money, in addition to a 5-year warranty.
- This well-built subwoofer gives you very powerful bass output, fulfilling the main criteria of a good subwoofer.
- This may not be the ideal subwoofer for you if you are looking for a more compact option, as this can turn out to be quite bulky and inconvenient to move around.
- If used for a long period of time continuously, this subwoofer has a tendency to heat up and get quite hot.
7. Best 10-Inch: Polk Audio PSW10 10” Powered Subwoofer
- Powered subwoofer for extra bass & punch – a 10-inch dynamic balance woofer & a uniquely configured directed port provides accurate bass with added depth that brings your music and movies alive. A...
If you don’t have enough space in your house or apartment for a 12-inch subwoofer, a 10-inch variant – like the Polk Audio PSW10 10″ – can prove to be a good option.
Priced competitively so that it can fit almost all budgets, this is a 100-watt subwoofer that gives you a decent power output with minimal distortions to the sound with the help of the Klippel distortion analyzer.
The frequency range is between 30 Hz and 200 Hz, which is a decent amount for the price that you are paying.
The overall look of the product is quite simple yet riveting, and it can be integrated very seamlessly with existing systems.
- This is a well-designed subwoofer that will blend in quite easily with most home theater systems that are under production currently.
- The subwoofer minimizes the distortion in the sound with the help of the Klippel distortion analyzer.
- It comes with a sleek, detachable grille on the front side of the speaker.
- This front-firing subwoofer cannot be hidden from view if you want the best possible sound output.
- This product will not give you the advanced level of bass that you can get from some of the better-designed options mentioned before.
How Do You Choose the Right Subwoofer for Your Home Theater?
There are a number of factors that need to be brought into consideration when you are buying a subwoofer for your home theater. First and foremost, it is important to understand that there isn’t just one subwoofer that would fulfill everyone’s requirements.
The basic criteria are different for different people.
For example, one person may be more concerned about the cost of the subwoofer, while the bass may be the primary consideration for another person.
In order to make it easier for you to choose the right subwoofer for your home theater, we have put together some different points of consideration that need to be given some thought before you zero in on one product.
One of the first factors that you should keep in mind when purchasing a subwoofer for your home audio system is the size of the subwoofer itself. If you have space constraints or don’t want a bulky subwoofer to act as an eyesore with your sleek home theater system, it is recommended that you opt for a smaller subwoofer that has a more inconspicuous look to it.
On the other hand, if you are looking for something more powerful – yes, strength may be linked to size in some case – then you might want to choose a subwoofer that is larger in size – maybe 12 inches or more.
The wattage on the subwoofer is indicative of the power that the device has, which also translates to how loud the subwoofer will be when you attach it to your home theater system. Having said that, there are other parameters that also come into play here. For example, there will be a big difference between the sound quality of a 1,000-watt subwoofer and a 100-watt subwoofer, even if they are being played at the same volume.
The difference manifests itself in the form of clarity, the bass and a large number of other ways. Therefore, more power may suit people with more complex needs, while people who aren’t too particular about sound quality may get by with lower power as well.
Bass is synonymous with a subwoofer as this is a type of woofer that is dedicated to the reproduction of a series of low-pitched audio frequencies. These frequencies are also known as bass and sub-bass.
The type of subwoofer that you choose for your home theater also depends on the type of bass you are comfortable with. For most homes, people prefer that the bass isn’t too high or it can be counterproductive to having a good watching experience. If the rooms are larger, you might need a higher bass level.
Wired vs Wireless
While most conventional subwoofers were wired and had to be plugged into the home theater system to work, this is slowly changing as wireless connectivity takes over the world. A large number of the newer subwoofers come with transmitter kits that can be plugged in the outputs of your home theater receiver.
This means you don’t need to worry about taking care of long cables and wires that can be a nuisance to keep track of, especially when you already have tons of other cables to take care of.
There is no right or wrong decision when it comes to choosing between wired and wireless subwoofers, as it depends entirely on requirements.
Sealed vs Ported
There are two different types of subwoofers when it comes to construction. The first type is a sealed subwoofer, which is basically a cabinet that is completely enclosed. This means there is no place for air to go into or come out of the subwoofer.
The other type of subwoofers is the ported subwoofer, which has openings – one or more – through which air can flow in and out.
In case of sealed subwoofers, you are able to get a little more clarity of sound, but the output is decidedly tighter. With ported subwoofers, you can get louder sounds but at the expense of some clarity.
While the former works well in smaller rooms, the latter may be more suitable for larger areas.
Another distinction that needs to be made is between passive and powered subwoofers. The first type – passive subwoofers – needs an external amplifier for them to work, while the powered subwoofers already have an in-built amplifier. This means that the latter can simply be plugged into the mains and will be ready for use.
It is important to note that passive subwoofers aren’t very common anymore, as most newer versions tend to be powered.
If you are looking for a good quality subwoofer to work with your home theater, make sure that it is a powered one so that you don’t have to take on the unnecessary stress of dealing with additional wires or devices.
Enhance Your Home Theater Experience!
After looking at our picks for the best subwoofers for home theater systems and going through the buying guide that talks about the different factors that make up a good subwoofer, you will find yourself in a better position to choose the one that meets your requirements in the best possible manner.
It is highly unlikely that one option will be ideal for all people, so it is very important that you gauge your needs before looking at some of our best options.
The right subwoofer can make a huge difference to your home theater experience, and if you have any doubts about whether or not you’re looking at the right option for your needs, you can always come back to this guide and let it act as a refresher for you.
Just remember, enhance your home theater by picking the right subwoofer to work with it.
If you haven’t got a good one yet, take a look at these 7.1 home theater systems today, you might just fall in love.
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Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.