10 Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers (8, 10 & 12-inch Options)

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Just because you’re limited on space doesn’t mean that you need to miss out on immersive audio.

Shallow mount subwoofers are the perfect combination of compact size, lightweight design, and flexible installation options that makes using them a breeze.

They allow you to pump your favorite tunes while driving without taking up all your valuable trunk space or weighing down your vehicle.

If you’ve been curious about adding a little punchy bass to your car or truck, we have you covered with the best shallow mount subwoofers across all budgets.

These subs are durable, versatile, and powerful, allowing you to get the best bang for your buck.

Quick List: Top 10 Shallow Mount Subwoofers

  1. Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 10 inch Shallow Mount Sub
  2. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 Shallow SubwooferBest Overall
  3. Alpine Swr-t10 Shallow SubBest 10-Inch
  4. JBL Club WS1000 Shallow Mount Sub
  5. Kicker 43CWRT82Best 8-Inch
  6. Pioneer Alphasonik AS12DF Shallow SubwooferBest for Truck
  7. Rockford Fosgate R2 Shallow Mount SubBest Budget Option
  8. JL Audio 10tw3-d4 Shallow Sub
  9. Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F Shallow SubwooferBest 12-Inch
  10. Infinity Reference REF1200S Shallow Sub

Researching Shallow Mount Subwoofers

Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer

When researching the best shallow mount subwoofers, we put in hours of effort to find the absolute best options on the market. We focused our efforts on key areas, including durability, simplicity, quality of sound, and value for money.

You buy a shallow mount subwoofer because you want to capitalize on space, so we made sure to choose compact units that can be easily installed in smaller spaces. All our shallow mount subs are less than 4 inches in width and have flexible installation options that may include selectable impedance or different enclosure compatibility choices.

Durability was also a high priority because you don’t want to waste money on a subwoofer that is going to burn out in a year. All the subs on this list include sophisticated drivers that can handle the lower frequencies at high pressure, without overheating or compromising on sound quality.

We made sure to find shallow mount subwoofers across a variety of driver sizes from 8 to 12 inches, allowing you to match the size and volume capabilities to your vehicle. They also have a range of different impedance levels, compatible with most amplifiers on the market.

Lastly, we found shallow mount subwoofers for all budgets and include subs for cars and trucks.

If you decide an subwoofer that goes under your seat is more your style, i recommend taking a look at our article on the best underseat subwoofers.

The Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers in 2020

1. Pioneer TS-SW2502S4 10 inch Shallow Mount Sub

The TS-SW2502S4 by Pioneer is a solid choice if you’re not looking to spend big but want to add a little extra bass to your drives.

✔️ What we like: A reliable subwoofer that adds an extra dimension to your music.

What we don’t like: The necessity for modifications during installation.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Superior cone design
  • Hits extremely low frequencies
  • Installation flexibility

The TS-SW2502S4 is compact but powerful, with a 10-inch driver that can handle up to 300W RMS of amplification. With a mounting depth of less than 4 inches, it’s easy to slip this sub under your seat for a thumping bass that you can feel under your skin. It also allows you flexible options for installation, with compatibility with both ported and sealed enclosures and a 4 Ohm impedance that is compatible with many amplifiers.

We love the cone design of the Pioneer sub, which is optimized for powerful, punchy bass that avoids distortion. It has a Mica-injected resin construction that is both durable and firm, allowing it to handle high output from frequencies as low as 20Hz.

The cone itself is oversized, which creates a greater gasket surface area without changing the external dimension, which allows more powerful bass. The TS-SW2502S4 has a bass that is punchy and accurate, extending the frequencies of your car stereo without going overboard.

Our only criticism is that while the TS-SW2502S4 has a 10-inch driver, the total diameter is closer to 10.5 inches. Therefore, you will need to make some modifications during installation to fit this shallow mount subwoofer to the space.

If you’re looking for a reliable and affordable shallow mount subwoofer that can deliver decent sound across the lower frequencies, you can’t go wrong with the TS-SW2502S4 by Pioneer.

2. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 Shallow Subwoofer – Best Overall

The P3SD2-8 by Rockford Fosgate is our pick for the best overall shallow mount subwoofer, due to its simple but quality design and consistently good bass response.

✔️ What we like: Punchy and powerful bass from a flat, compact subwoofer.

What we don’t like: Modifications needed for installation.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Simple operation
  • Durable design
  • Compact

Compact is the name of the game with the Rockford Fosgate subwoofer. It features an 8-inch driver and a shallow mounting depth of less than 3.5 inches, allowing you to install it in all these hard to reach places. Dual 2 Ohm voice coils allow you greater flexibility over wiring and amplifier compatibility for a more streamlined installation process.

The addition of custom 10-AWG nickel-plated push terminals also contributes to an easier installation and improved signal for seamless operation. Our only criticism with installation is that the holes don’t match up with the factory holes in many vehicles so you will need to make some modifications.

However, you mustn’t be deceived into thinking that P3SD2-8 is just a small subwoofer. It’s powerful relative to its size, with the ability to handle 150W RMS amplification that can comfortably fill a smaller vehicle with punchy, thumping bass.

Its powerful capabilities come from its durable design that minimizes resonance, eliminates distortion, and allows powerful output at high pressure. The subwoofer features dual voice coils, anodized aluminum cones and dust caps, a spider venting design that regulates temperature, and a hybrid stamp-cast basket that maintains overall stability.

This design allows the flat and compact subwoofer to deliver powerful bass without compromising on quality. This sound is consistent with the brand, with the founder Jim Fosgate often referred to as “the inventor of the car audio amplifier”.

Rockford Fosgate hasn’t let you down with the P3SD2-8 shallow mount sub, remaining consistent with the durability and quality associated with the brand.

3. Alpine Swr-t10 Shallow Sub – Best 10-Inch

The Swr-t10 by Alpine is our pick for the best 10-inch shallow mount subwoofer, due to its superior design and construction that delivers powerful bass.

✔️ What we like: A very thin subwoofer that reproduces loud, clean bass.

What we don’t like: The price.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Superior suspension
  • FEA-optimization
  • Powerful volume

The Swr-t10 by Alpine is a Type-R shallow mount subwoofer with a powerful 10-inch driver that blows the competition out of the water. It can handle up to a staggering 1800W, which gives you the option for mind-blowing sound when paired with a high quality amplifier.

The sub itself is thin and compact, making installation a breeze, and with no break in time necessary, you can be enjoying high quality bass immediately.

It has superior design that is optimized for durability and high quality sound that doesn’t falter even at the highest outputs. It includes an aluminum cone with Santoprene rubber surround that provides stability and precision, with a heavy duty neodymium 35SH magnet that can reproduce powerful, throbbing bass. The subwoofer also includes High-Amplitude Multi-Roll (HAMR) suspension that is highly sophisticated and provides the best sound pressure level available at this price point.

Clean sound is a huge benefit of the Swr-t10, provided by its superior construction and FEA-optimization. The latter provides increased linearity, minimizes distortion, increases power handling and output, allowing the shallow mount subwoofer to reproduce smooth, detailed bass. The voice coil also includes a design that minimizes distortion as well as regulates temperature, with a heat sink and airflow management system that prevents overheating.

Our only criticism of the Swr-t10 shallow sub is the price, considering that it is one of the most expensive shallow mount subwoofers on this list. However, it’s worth making the investment for a sophisticated and durable 10-inch subwoofer that delivers balanced bass and powerful volume.

4. JBL Club WS1000 Shallow Mount Sub

The JBL Club WS1000 features user-friendly design and durability at a price that won’t hurt your wallet.

✔️ What we like: A durable and budget-friendly shallow mount subwoofer.

What we don’t like: Limited frequency response.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Intensive reliability testing
  • Selectable Smart Impedance
  • Value for money

One of our favorite things about JBL is the intensive testing that they put their subwoofers under before putting them on the market. This includes freezing, baking, shaking, blasting the unit with UV light, and running it at full tilt for days on end, ensuring that the subwoofer can withstand heavy use without letting you down.

This durability is also reflected in the lightweight but rigid polypropylene cone that supports higher output at lower frequencies. Our one criticism of the WS1000 is that the frequency response is limited, covering from 35 to 175Hz. This means that it misses out on the lower frequencies, which will be disappointing if you’re a lover of bass-heavy genres like hip hop.

Installation is a breeze with the WS1000, due to its shallow mount design and versatile wiring options. It includes a shallow mount of less than 4 inches in depth, allowing you to enjoy bass even in small vehicles that are limited in space. The 10-inch driver can handle up to 200W RMS of amplification, which is more than enough to fill a smaller space.

One of the best features of the JBL sub is the inclusion of a Smart Impedance Switch that allows you to choose between 2 and 4 Ohm. This allows you flexibility with different installation configurations and the option to upgrade your amplifier

if needed with minimal adjustments. The WS1000 shallow mount sub performs well in both sealed and ported enclosures, further affording you control over your subwoofer experience.

5. Kicker 43CWRT82 – Best 8-Inch

The 43CWRT82 by Kicker is our pick for the best 8-inch shallow mount subwoofer, due to its combination of compact design and punchy, detailed bass.

✔️ What we like: A compact sub that can deliver powerful bass with minimal effort.

What we don’t like: Occasional rattling.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Durable construction
  • Flexible installation options
  • Large frequency response

If you’re looking for a very compact subwoofer, the 43CWRT82 will not disappoint. The 8-inch unit has a mounting depth of just 3 inches, making it one of the thinnest subwoofers available on the market. Despite its small size, it can handle frequencies from 30-500Hz at a staggering volume of up to 300W RMS, which you wouldn’t expect from looking at this pint-sized subwoofer.

Easy installation is one of the biggest selling points of the 34CWRT82. It includes a dual 2 Ohm voice coil that can be wired in 1 or 4 Ohm configurations, allowing you flexibility and the option to pair with a multitude of amplifiers. It’s also compatible with both ported and sealed enclosures, allowing you to find your perfect bass sound.

The Kicker subwoofer also features an exceptionally durable design that can go the distance. This includes a high temperature voice coil that can perform well even in heavy duty conditions, an injection-molded polypropylene cone that delivers powerful and accurate bass, and a stable rubber surround that is resistant to the elements.

It also features custom back and top plates that increase excursion when compared to other 8-inch subwoofers.

Our only complaint is that there is some occasional rattling at the lowest frequencies when using the sub at the highest volumes.

However, if you’re looking for a compact and versatile subwoofer that delivers powerful, punchy bass, you should add the 34CWRT82 shallow mount sub by Kicker to the top of your list.

6. Pioneer Alphasonik AS12DF Shallow Subwoofer – Best for Truck

The AS12DF by Alphasonik is our pick for the best shallow mount subwoofer for trucks, due to its combination of extremely durable design and powerful sound.

✔️ What we like: A powerful subwoofer that can fill your truck with punchy bass.

What we don’t like: You need to be careful with how hard you push the sub.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Durable enclosure
  • Superior cone design
  • Huge volume

The AS12DF is designed to go the distance and deliver punchy bass for years on end from its powerful 12-inch driver. It can handle an impressive 500W RMS of amplification, which is more than enough to get your truck walls shaking across the vast frequency range of 26 to 500Hz.

While it isn’t the most compact sub on this list, it still has a shallow mount design that allows it to take up minimal space while delivering thunderous bass. It can also be installed vertically or horizontally, allowing you to capitalize on space and maintain storage areas.

This subwoofer is competition-grade and has a durable design that allows it to handle high pressure with ease. It has a durable MDF enclosure that allows for down-firing playback, minimizes vibrations, and delivers the smoothest bass you could imagine. It also features a special bonding sealer that increases joint strength and bass reflex, allowing the sub to deliver high output for extended periods of time.

The subwoofer’s durable design is rounded out with a spun aluminum cone that has a high strength rubber EPDM Enhanced Surround and a copper wound Kapton voice coil. The voice coil has 4 Ohm impedance, making it compatible with many different amplifiers and wiring configurations.

However, you need to be careful when installing and using the AS12DF shallow sub that you don’t push it beyond your limits, because it is vulnerable to shorting or blowing. As long as you pair an appropriately powered amplifier, however, you shouldn’t run into any issues.

7. Rockford Fosgate R2 Shallow Mount Sub – Best Budget Option

The Rockford Fosgate R2 is our pick for the best budget shallow mount subwoofer, due to its durable design that won’t break the bank.

✔️ What we like: A budget-friendly subwoofer that can go the distance.

What we don’t like: Low maximum volume.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Value for money
  • Superior voice coil
  • Durable construction

At this price point, you’re not going to find a better shallow mount subwoofer than the R2, with its powerful 10-inch driver and slim, sturdy design. The mounting depth is less than 3.5 inches, making it easy to install under your seat or other compact spaces.

The elevated motor structure reduces the speaker depth, allowing for this thin structure without compromising on bass quality or power. Additionally, an impedance of 4 Ohm gives you full flexibility over installation and compatibility with whatever external amplifier that you have.

There are several durable design features that set the Rockford Fosgate R2 apart from the competition. These include an anodized aluminum voice coil that has excellent power handling and a Mica-injected polypropylene cone that minimizes distortion.

It can guarantee you long term use without damage as well, due to a stamp cast basket that has integrated spider venting. This allows the R2 to deliver powerful sound without the risk of overheating or damage. Furthermore, the inclusion of stitched tinsel leads further reduces the likelihood of the fuses shorting or burning out during heavy use.

Our only concern with the R2 shallow subwoofer is that the maximum volume is relatively low, and the subwoofer can only handle up to 200W RMS of amplification. This isn’t a sub that’s going to shake your walls with the strength of its sound, but it’s a solid budget option with high quality design.

8. JL Audio 10tw3-d4 Shallow Sub

The JL Audio 10tw3-d4 is a great premium option that combines superior audio design with excellent musical sound quality.

✔️ What we like: A compact and durable subwoofer that delivers musical bass.

What we don’t like: Modifications needed for installation.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Superior cone design
  • Concentric tube suspension technology
  • Ultra-thin design

At this price point, you expect high quality design, which is exactly what the JL subwoofer delivers. The subwoofer includes a premium, high performance polypropylene cone that withstands resonance without flexing and a durable rubber surround that can handle large quantities of air and reproduce incredibly powerful bass up to 400W RMS.

We particularly like the concentric tube suspension design, which features a large coil with the magnet inside. There’s no need for a top plate in this design, which leads to a more compressed depth and huge magnet response despite the compact subwoofer size.

The 10-inch subwoofer is a winner with its ultra-compact shallow mount design that is less than 3.5 inches and allows easy installation even in small hatchbacks and minis. The sub is designed for a sealed enclosure which optimizes the powerful sound and allows you to enjoy the highly musical bass that the JL unit can deliver.

Our only criticism is that the subwoofer has a diameter of slightly more than 10 inches, meaning that you will need to make some modifications during installation.

However, if you’re looking for a shallow mount subwoofer that can give you premium design and audiophile-quality sound, you’ve found it in the 10tw3-d4 by JL Audio.

9. Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F Shallow Subwoofer – Best 12-Inch

The KFC-XW1200F by Kenwood Excelon is our pick for the best 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer, due to its superior audio design and durability.

✔️ What we like: A well-designed subwoofer that will give you years of use.

What we don’t like: Some distortion at the lowest frequencies

👌 Standout Features:

  • Superior cone design
  • Large frequency response
  • Durable

One of the biggest selling points of the KFC-XW1200F is its superior cone design that stands apart from other 12-inch subwoofers. The carbon fiber cone allows the driver to maintain rigidity, strength, lightness, and highly accurate sound.

Furthermore, the honeycomb pattern allows rapid response under pressure without flexing, further increasing the accuracy of the bass. The Kenwood Excelon subwoofer can comfortably handle a frequency response from 30 to 700Hz, with up to 350W RMS of amplification.

This shallow mount sub is reasonably compact and lightweight, with a mounting depth of under 4 inches and weight of under 14 pounds. This allows you to install it in smaller spaces without using up all your trunk storage or weighing down your vehicle.

Installation is also simplified with silver-plated push terminals that have excellent signal transfer and 4 Ohm impedance that allows for different wiring configurations. You can install this sub in either a sealed or ported enclosure and the durable design that includes butyl rubber surround and cast aluminum basket provides stability and strength.

Some users have complained of distortion at the lower frequencies, but this seems to be due to using lower quality amps. If you’re prepared to invest in a better quality amplifier, you can enjoy the powerful and punchy bass that the KFC-XW1200F by Kenwood Excelon offers.

10. Infinity Reference REF1200S Shallow Sub

At less than $100, the Infinity Reference REF1200S is an absolute steal with its durable design and intuitive features.

✔️ What we like: A durable and user-friendly subwoofer at a budget price point.

What we don’t like: Limited frequency response.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Value for money
  • Selectable impedance
  • Intense reliability testing

If you’re a newbie to subwoofers, you’ll rejoice at the simple and versatile installation options with the REF1200S. The 12-inch subwoofer has a slim design with a shallow mount of less than 3.5 inches, which is ideal if you’re driving a smaller vehicle. It works best in a sealed enclosure but gives you the option to install in a ported or vented enclosure if that’s more your style.

One of its biggest draws is selectable impedance, which allows you to choose between 2 or 4 Ohm. This allows compatibility with multiple amplifiers and the option to change impedance if you upgrade, which is perfect if you see room to grow in your car audio journey.

It’s also a very durable subwoofer that will give you bang for your buck. The flat driver includes a rigid rubber surround that provides stability and a large port at the rear of the voice coil that allows temperature regulation.

The Infinity Reference subwoofer is also subjected to intense quality testing that includes being shaken, baked, frozen, played at full power for days on end, and blasted with UV lights. The resulting product is a budget-friendly shallow mount subwoofer that is guaranteed to give you years of seamless use.

Our only criticism is that the frequency response is a bit limited when compared to other 12-inch subwoofers. However, considering the price the Infinity Reference REF1200S shallow sub is an absolute steal.

A Guide to Choosing a Shallow Mount Subwoofer

Great quality shallow mount subwoofers

How easy is installation?

When looking for a shallow mount subwoofer, you want a unit that can fit your space and be installed with minimal effort.

All the subs on this list have less than 4 inches of mounting depth, but you should assess your vehicle to see exactly what kind of space you have to work with. With extremely limited space, you should lean more towards a sub with 3 inches of width, allowing adequate space for ventilation and storage in your car or truck.

Subwoofers on this list are generally compatible with either vented or sealed enclosures, while others already include the enclosure.

It’s also particularly important to consider impedance. Impedance is super important because you need to match your subwoofer to your amplifier to improve efficiency and avoid shorting or damage to your sound system. The subs on this list range from 2 to 4 Ohm impedance, but some also include selectable impedance. This superior feature allows you to change according to your amplifier and upgrade more easily if needed.

Lastly, the inclusion of high quality push terminals can improve signal sensing and increase the overall performance of your subwoofer when integrated into your audio system.

How durable is the subwoofer?

If you love blasting your favorite tunes, it’s essential that you invest in a highly durable subwoofer that can withstand high output at low pressure. You don’t want to throw down money on a unit that will give up on you in months, so we chose subs that have durable design.

This could include reinforced structure like a high quality cone and rubber surround to stabilize the driver and maintain accurate bass under pressure. It’s essential that you choose a subwoofer with temperature regulating design and venting that will prevent overheating and help your sub operate at full tilt.

Some of the brands on this list also subject their subwoofers to extremely intense testing conditions that are designed to ensure that the sub can withstand external pressures, heavy duty use, and perform well under all conditions. These are worth investing in for the peace of mind that your subwoofer will never give out on you.

What kind of sound are you looking for?

It’s worth asking yourself what kind of volume and quality of bass is most suited to your needs.

There are subwoofers on this list that range from 8 to 12 inches, allowing you to accommodate everything from small cars to decent-sized trucks. You will need to pair your shallow mount subwoofer with an external amplifier if you’re looking to get some decent volume, with units on this list able to handle from 200 to 1800W RMS.

Therefore, if you’re looking for that wall-shaking bass, you should consider choosing the largest sub with the greatest amplification capabilities that can fit in your space. However, if quality of sound is more of a priority, many of the units have more of a focus on accurate, detailed bass with a definite musical quality.

What’s your budget?

Your budget is one of the first things that you will think about when searching for a shallow mount subwoofer. There are units on this list ranging from under $100 to more than $300, so you should ask yourself how much you are willing and able to spend.

If you are a newbie to subwoofers or just looking to add a little extra sound, you’ll do fine with a budget subwoofer. However, if you’re thinking in the long term and want that superior sound, choosing a mid-range or premium subwoofer will benefit you more.

The Perfect Shallow Mount Subwoofers for All Budgets

Subwoofers are an essential addition to any audio system, allowing you to feel throbbing bass under your skin and experience a 3D audio sensation.

You shouldn’t forget about a subwoofer in your vehicle either, because once you experience the immersive audio, your drives will never be the same again.

However, if you’re a little limited on space, a shallow mount subwoofer can be the perfect compromise between size and sound.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best shallow mount subwoofers for all budgets, so you can get more bass for your buck!

Avatar for Author at The Sound Junky

I have spent enough time around musical instruments & musicians to pass on some useful information. When I'm not rocking out to a sick beat on my stereo, you will find me sitting on a bean bag with a guitar trying to emulate the prowess of the great Mr Eric Clapton.