Limited space no longer has to limit your sound thanks to under-seat subwoofers for cars! Small, compact, and streamlined to fit neatly - you guessed it - under the seat of your car, subwoofers are designed specifically to handle lower-frequency sounds.
Out of sight, out of mind does not apply here, as under-seat subwoofers pack a powerful punch despite being towed away underneath your seat, and will complete any sound system by producing a heavier, more intense sounding bass.
If that sounds great to you but you have no idea where to begin your subwoofer search, our buyer’s guide explains some of the key things to look out for when purchasing an under-seat subwoofer.
If you’re ready to crank up the volume and want to find out which is the best under-seat subwoofer in a hurry, then carry on reading to find out which model is our Top Pick!
OUR TOP PICK
Pioneer is a brand well-known in the audio industry for producing good-quality subwoofers, which is why this isn’t the only model you’ll find on this list. The Pioneer TS-WX210A is, however, the superior performing under-seat subwoofer, which is why we’ve chosen it as our top pick!
Although both Pioneer models included here have a maximum power output of 150 Watts, the TS-WX210A has a better frequency response range of 40 Hz to 150 Hz, proving that the extra money is worth it if it’s within your budget and you’re looking for a more professional-quality sound.
The 101 dB sensitivity means you can turn the volume up and, thanks to the cabinet-reinforcing aluminum die-cast heat sink, your music will remain free from distortion so there’s nothing to disrupt that eagerly-awaited moment when the beat drops.
Another way it improves upon the TS-WX130EA is by including a wired remote control to easily adjust settings and for LPF tuning. Paired with the fact that its slimline design ensures it can fit attractively in the smallest of spaces, this Pioneer combines convenience and functionality to produce high-quality audio, which makes it the best under-seat subwoofer.
- 4 Ohms impedance
- Wired remote control
- Frequency response between 40 Hz - 150 Hz
- Amplified subwoofer
- IMPP composite cone woofer
- Slightly more expensive option
Kenwood is one of the most well-known brands in the car audio industry, and like many of the other products it manufactures, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 active under-seat subwoofer reliably provides great-quality sounding music and it will enhance any sound system.
It can deliver up to 150 watts at maximum output power and it has an RMS power of 75 watts. It also features a built-in amplifier to boost performance and has an active subwoofer enclosure for tighter sounding bass.
The wired remote controls allow you to adjust the volume, frequency, and phase to suit your sound system and well as featuring speaker level input options.
Manufactured with an aluminum die-cast frame, this compact subwoofer fits easily in the space under your seat and is guaranteed to improve the existing factory performance of your car’s sound system.
- Wired remote control
- Speaker level input option
- Less powerful than some models
If you were enticed by our top pick but can’t justify the higher price point, then the Pioneer TS-WX130EA is a great example of the high standards found in their Class-D amplified subwoofer range.
Not only is it easy to install yourself, but the built-in amplifier control settings on this subwoofer allow you to adjust the bass output to suit your personal tastes. You can mount the TS-WX130EA either underneath the front seats or, alternatively, they can be installed in the boot.
Despite its compact size, this flat active subwoofer has a frequency response of 40 Hz to 200 Hz and the sealed enclosure produces strong, authentic bass that thrums in the air around you, although the quality is best at a medium-level volume.
You can connect the TS-WX130EA with your aftermarket or the original factory fitted sound system as it is compatible with speaker line input (high) or RCA line input (low) frequencies. Either way, this subwoofer provides powerful, high-quality performance at an affordable price and it will easily upgrade your existing sound system.
- CLass-D technology makes it easier to install
- Excellent value for money
- Controls are located on the subwoofer which can be difficult to access
Another Kenwood subwoofer that found its way onto this list is the KSC-PSW8, which is from their high-end range of subwoofers and packs an impressively powerful performance.
The quality of sound is enhanced by a 20cm woofer cone and this subwoofer has a strong 250 Watts peak power capacity for those songs that hit differently when played at full volume.
This Kenwood subwoofer is compatible with both RCA line input and high-level connection and it guarantees distortion-free music even at high frequencies.
It also features an automatic switch-on function as well as fully customizable settings using a cable remote control to adjust the frequency and bass levels for optimal sound.
- 250 Watts maximum speaker output
- 20cm woofer cone
- RCA line input and high-level connection
- Automatic switch-on
- Expensive option
To keep things interesting, we’re rounding off this list with a different but definitely not to be discounted brand, Alpine. Their SWE815 active subwoofer might be the most affordable model we’ve included but it still has a lot to offer.
For example, the 150 Watts power output won’t leave you lacking and the 91 dB sensitivity rating won’t have you straining to hear the music.
The Alpine SWE815 doesn’t sacrifice space for quality either and it produces great-quality sound despite its compact size, especially in smaller car spaces.
The quality of the bass is also impressive considering how small this subwoofer is and it’s great value for money considering the low price. It also features a wired remote control for easy settings adjustment.
- 4 ohms
- Space-saving and compact design
- Wired remote control
- Won’t achieve ground-shaking, thumping bass
Best Underseat Subwoofers Review Buying Guide
Powered vs. Passive
Powered subwoofers eliminate the need for a separate amplifier as they have one built into their system. This is perfect for smaller cars as it not only saves space but also means there are fewer wires to connect, making installation a lot easier.
Comparably, passive subwoofers rely on a separate amplifier to work which will take up more space in your car. If you have the space to accommodate a larger sound system then this won’t be a problem, but these types of subwoofers are less suited to smaller cars.
While we’re on the subject of size, when it comes to subwoofers we’re sorry to say that size really does matter. It’s possibly one of the most important factors when buying a new subwoofer, as it will influence the sound quality as well as determine whether or not it will even fit.
Don’t worry about your subwoofer being installed in an enclosed space, even if it’s a smaller model. Instead of muffling the sound, subwoofers actually utilize the surrounding space underneath the seat to produce a powerful, thrumming bass.
However, if you have the space for it, a bigger under seat subwoofer will be able to move more air meaning it will deliver a better quality bass sound. Bigger models also tend to have a higher RMS. If you’re wondering what that means, then keep reading to find out.
RMS and Peak Power
The subwoofer is what brings your sound system together and is designed to deal with lower audio frequencies as well as bass sounds. It is therefore important to choose a subwoofer that is powerful enough to deliver these sounds in the highest quality.
Although RMS and peak power are both similar in theory, they have one clear distinction: RMS stands for Root Mean Square and refers to the amount of power your subwoofer is able to maintain on a continuous basis, whereas peak power informs you of the total amount of power your subwoofer is able to handle for shorter periods of time.
Typically, 100 to 200 watts is a decent amount of RMS power for under-seat subwoofers, whereas peak power should be closer to the 800-watt mark for good performance.
Frequencies: Resonant and Crossover
If bass quality is an important factor to you then you’ll want to check the resonant frequency of your subwoofer, as the lower it is, the deeper the bass you can achieve.
The standard frequency range for an under-seat subwoofer is between 20 and 200 Hz, although if you’re hoping for professional quality sound that makes you feel like the music is being performed live in your car, 100 Hz and below is what you should look for.
Crossover frequencies are slightly different in that they work together with the speakers to create the perfect blend of audio. They shouldn’t overlap too much, however, as this can cause the music to peak and disrupt the consonance. On the other hand, too little overlap can lead to disjointed sound.
The optimal setting for your crossover frequency can be between 80 Hz and 120 Hz depending on your sound system and which settings produce the best sound in your vehicle space.
Sealed vs Ported Enclosure
As previously mentioned, subwoofers make use of their surrounding space to optimize the sound they produce. You can choose between a sealed or a ported enclosure, and we’re about to explain how each one could benefit your sound system.
Sealed enclosures ensure a tight fit around your subwoofer, resulting in a “tighter” sounding bass. This essentially means that the sound produced is more natural or linear and will prevent the music from spiking or dipping as it plays.
By comparison, ported enclosures have vents along the bottom of the box which allows more air to circulate. This helps to improve the output of your subwoofer creating a louder, more powerful sound to achieve that booming bass.
Ported enclosures are therefore perfect for fans of rock music who want to feel the bass pounding around them, whereas sealed enclosures are better suited to classical or jazz music lovers because the airtight space will help your subwoofer achieve a cleaner, purer sound overall.
Although it sounds more like the meditative noise you’re supposed to make during a yoga class, Ohms is actually a measurement of resistance that refers to the level of impedance to the electrical current flow.
Simply put, the lower the Ohms rating the less resistance your subwoofer will have. This allows the amplifier to feed more power to your subwoofer which in turn produces a louder sound, although results in lower-quality bass.
Low impedance subwoofers are also more discreet as they can be installed and connected using thin wires, whereas anything higher than 2 Ohms will require larger, more visible wires.
If bass quality is your main concern when purchasing a new under-seat subwoofer try to choose one with 4 Ohms, as higher resistance means the volume will be reduced in favor of quality, and you’ll achieve a deeper, clearer sounding bass.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does the sensitivity of a subwoofer mean?
Sensitivity refers to the level of volume your subwoofer can reach, thus indicating how loud you’ll be able to play your music.
Is a higher or lower sensitivity subwoofer better?
A higher sensitivity rating will result in a louder sound whereas a lower sensitivity rating will produce less volume. However, as briefly mentioned in the buyer’s guide, less volume often results in higher-quality bass, so it depends on your reasons for purchasing a subwoofer.