Table of Contents
- Best Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars – Comparison Table
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars
- 7 Best Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars in 2021
- 1. Best Low-Profile 8in Powered Subwoofer Under $250 – Kenwood KSC-SW11
- 2. Best Budget 10in Powered Subwoofer – Rockville RW10CA
- 3. Best 12in Powered Subwoofer Under $250 – JBL GT-BassPro12
- 4. Best 12in Powered Subwoofer Under $300 – Rockford Fosgate P300
- 5. Best Under-Seat 8in Powered Subwoofer Under $300 – Kicker 11HS8
- 6. The Slimmest Powered 8in Subwoofer – Alpine Electronics PWE-S8
- 7. Best 10 in Powered Subwoofer Under $200 – Pioneer TS-WX1010A
If you’re not happy with your car audio system and want to upgrade it but can’t sacrifice a lot of space, we have the perfect solution. Buying a powered car subwoofer is a cost-effective, space-saving, and hassle-free way of improving your car speaker system. It will add some serious punch to your favorite tunes and make the overall listening experience much more fun. Our article about 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars in 2021 is here to help you find the best powered subwoofer for your car. We will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of powered car subwoofers, give you some installation tips, and present to you some of the best powered car subwoofers on the market.
Best Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars – Comparison Table
|Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars||Rating||Price||Review|
|Kenwood KSC-SW11||4.8||Check Walmart||Read Review|
|Rockville RW10CA||4.4||Check Amazon||Read Review|
|JBL GT-BassPro12||N/A||Check Walmart||Read Review|
|Rockford Fosgate P300||4.6||Check Amazon|
|Kicker 11HS8||4.0||Check Amazon|
|Alpine Electronics PWE-S8||4.2||Check Amazon|
|Pioneer TS-WX1010A||4.5||Check Amazon|
Advantages and Disadvantages of Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars
There are three main reasons for choosing a powered car subwoofer. The first one is convenience. Powered car subwoofers already have a built-in amplifier and everything is pre-packed inside one compact enclosure. This means that you don’t have to buy all the components separately. You don’t have to buy the subwoofer you like and then look for the matching amplifier and subwoofer enclosure. When you buy a powered car subwoofer, all the components are already matched and optimized to work in perfect synergy. It’s so much easier and simpler.
Furthermore, subwoofers with built-in amp for cars are smaller and more compact which makes the installation much easier. Some of these subwoofers can even be placed under your seat. They are not exactly plug-and-play since you have to do the wiring, but it’s still easier than trying to install both – the amplifier and the enclosure. Also, you can remove/replace this kind of subwoofer in a second – you just have to unplug the cables.
Finally (and maybe most importantly), powered car subwoofers are usually cheaper. Buying a separate subwoofer, matching amp, and an enclosure will usually cost you more.
Subwoofers with built-in amp for cars also have some downsides and they are mostly related to the performance and the amount of bass they deliver. Due to their compactness, powered subwoofers usually don’t have very high output power and the drivers are smaller, which means that they can’t deliver the same amount of bass and the same kind of rumble as passive subwoofers combined with the right kind of amp and enclosure.
As you can see, some compromise has to be made. If you are looking for the most powerful bass and you don’t have to worry about the space or money, then go for the passive subwoofer and separate components. If you, on the other hand, have limited space and/or budget, a powered car subwoofer is a better option.
Like always, we searched for and identified the most popular and highest rated subwoofers with built-in amp for cars. After that, we tested them, compared their specs, performance, and bass output, and finally put together the following list of 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars in 2021. These are our top picks.
7 Best Subwoofers with Built-in Amp for Cars in 2021
1. Best Low-Profile 8in Powered Subwoofer Under $250 – Kenwood KSC-SW11
Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a perfect choice for those who don’t have a lot of space available and want something that can be mounted under the seat. KSC-SW11 is not very powerful but it’s super-compact and it will add a nice punch to your music.
Things we like
KSC-SW11 comes in a nice cardboard box, nicely protected with large pieces of Styrofoam. You will also get some wiring harness, wired remote (for controlling the volume, crossover, and phase), mounting brackets, screws, and user manual.
The subwoofer is packed inside a black aluminum enclosure. The enclosure is sealed and has a very strong metal grille on the top. The enclosure is 11in wide, 7.5in deep, and only 2¾ in tall, which means it can easily fit the under-seat area of most cars. The dimension of the subwoofer mounted inside the enclosure is 8.25in x 5.2in.
All the connections are on the bottom. KSC-SW11 features both high-level and line-level RCA inputs. You can use either (but you have to buy the wiring kit separately). On the bottom, you will also find the connector for the wired remote.
The remote has a nice blue backlight and allows you to control the volume, set the low-pass crossover, or change phase (0-180°)
The advertised frequency response of the KSC-SW11 is 35Hz-150Hz. The crossover frequency can vary between 50Hz and 125Hz. The RMS power output of the subwoofer is 75W and the peak is 150W. That’s not a lot of power but you can’t really expect more from such a compact unit.
KSC-SW11 doesn’t put out a lot of bass, but it adds a nice punch to your music.
Things we don’t like
The amount of bass this thing delivers is not going to satisfy true bass heads. It’s good enough for everyday driving but it’s not going to blow you away. Also, when you crank it up above 70%, the distortion kicks in and it becomes quite noticeable at 90% volume.
2. Best Budget 10in Powered Subwoofer – Rockville RW10CA
Rockville is one of the most popular budget brands on the market. You won’t get the same performance from this 10in sub and some other powered 10in subwoofer made by a more reputable manufacturer, but it’s still pretty good for the price.
Things we like
RW10CA comes in a simple Rockville-branded box. The packaging also includes a wired bass level remote, mounting brackets and screws, an installation manual, and a warranty card. The amp wiring kit is sold separately.
The subwoofer is placed inside a sealed aluminum enclosure. The enclosure is 12.4in wide, 13.4in deep, and only 2.7in tall so it should fit under your seat.
All the inputs and controls are conveniently located on one side of the enclosure. RWA10CA features both high-level and line-level inputs. Next to the audio inputs, there’s the remote connector. This control panel also includes a low-pass filter dial (50-150Hz), bass-boost dial (0-18dB at 45Hz), gain dial, phase shift, and auto turn-on button.
The installation is pretty straightforward, but if you don’t have any experience, it’s smarter to pay for professional installation.
The subwoofer can push 200W continuously (800W peak). These numbers seem a bit bloated but, according to thousands of happy customers, RW10CA can really pack some punch.
The subwoofer has a system of circuitries for thermal protection, overload protection, and short protection.
RW10CA delivers a pretty impressive amount of bass. It’s quite thick, punchy, and well-controlled.
Things we don’t like
The included remote allows you to control the bass level only. The crossover and phase controls are located on the unit.
With a 25A fuse, it seems quite impossible to get 800W of peak power output. In our opinion, the max power output is around 200W, and the RMS probably around 100W. We don’t mind this kind of power output and we still think it’s pretty good for the price, but we don’t like it when the manufacturers use bloated specs.
3. Best 12in Powered Subwoofer Under $250 – JBL GT-BassPro12
JBL GT-BassPro12 is not a small low-profile powered subwoofer like the previous two. This one is significantly bigger and can only fit your trunk. It’s our top choice when it comes to 12in subwoofers under $250.
Things we like
GT-BassPro12 comes with a wired remote for bass level control, some wiring harness (for the high-level inputs and for the remote), mounting screws, and the installation manual. You are supposed to buy the amp wiring kit separately.
12in subwoofer is packed inside a fairly large enclosure. The cabinet is 22.45in wide, 14.5in tall, and 12in deep. On the left end of the front panel, there’s the subwoofer driver protected with over-sized bars. On the right end, you will see the so-called Slipstream port which is supposed to improve the bass performance by eliminating the port noise and minimizing the distortion.
All the inputs and controls are located on the back. GT-BassPro12 features both high-level and line-level RCA inputs. On the back, you will also find the remote connector, auto turn-on button, phase switch, low-pass crossover dial, bass-boost dial (0-12dB), and the bass level dial.
The remote is included in the package and allows you to control the bass level without having to stop and reach for the subwoofer.
The subwoofer can be turned on automatically when it senses the audio signal coming from the head unit.
The subwoofer’s frequency response spans from 35Hz to 120Hz, while the crossover range spans from 75-120Hz. The advertised power output is 150W RMS (450W peak).
The bass output is pretty impressive. It’s more powerful than the previous two low-profile subwoofers and can deliver some rumble. It may get distorted at very high volumes but it’s not too distracting and it doesn’t destroy the experience.
Things we don’t like
The included remote allows you to control the bass level but not crossover and phase. If you want to control those things, you have to use the controls on the back of the subwoofer.
As mentioned previously, this subwoofer is quite chunky and it’s not a good choice if you’re trying to save some space.
4. Best 12in Powered Subwoofer Under $300 – Rockford Fosgate P300
The next unit on our list of 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars in 2021 comes from the Rockford Fosgate. And it’s a large one, just like the JBL GT-BassPro12. P300-12 can only fit your trunk.
Things we like
P300-12 comes with a wired bass-level remote, mounting equipment (screws and brackets), wiring harness, installation manual, and a 1-year warranty. The amp wiring kit is sold separately.
The subwoofer has a simple boxy shape with a front-firing subwoofer and all the controls and inputs located on the left panel. The enclosure is made of MDF and it’s sealed. It’s 20in wide, 15in tall, and 11in deep.
On the control panel of the P300-12, you will find both speaker-level and line-level RCA inputs as well as the remote connector. All the bass controls are also located here – there’s the gain dial, crossover dial, bass-boost control (0-12dB), phase switch, and auto turn-on switch. The remote allows you to control the bass level only.
The frequency response of P300-12 spans from 35Hz-200Hz. The crossover frequency is adjustable (50-200Hz). The subwoofer can push 300W continuously, while the peak power output is 600W.
P300-12 has a powerful, punchy, and well-controlled bass response. It’s maybe not on par with passive subwoofers with large enclosures and separate and more powerful amps but it will blow away those small under-seat subwoofers.
Things we don’t like
P300-12 is not a good choice if you are trying to save some space. If you have a small trunk, try something smaller.
The included wired remote can’t control the phase and crossover frequency – you can only control the bass level.
5. Best Under-Seat 8in Powered Subwoofer Under $300 – Kicker 11HS8
Kicker 11HS8 looks a lot like previously reviewed Kenwood KSC-SW11. It has the same design, build quality, and the same subwoofer size, but it’s more powerful (125W RMS VS 75W RMS).
Things we like
Kicker 11HS8 comes with a wired remote, some wiring harness (power wire, speaker wire, ground wire), mounting equipment (screws and brackets), the installation manual, and a 1-year warranty. If you have an after-market radio and want to use line-level inputs, you will have to buy some adapters and additional cables (KICKER recommends its KISL RCA adapters).
The subwoofer is installed inside a sturdy aluminum enclosure. The enclosure is sealed. It’s almost 14in wide, 9.4in deep, and only 3.1in tall so it should fit under most seats.
All the controls are located on the right panel. The subwoofer has the auto turn-on switch, input level switch, phase switch, bass-boost dial (0-6dB), crossover dial (50Hz-120Hz), and gain dial. Next to these controls, there’s the remote connector and only one high-level input that can handle the low-level audio signal, too (but you have to buy the RCA adapters).
According to the specs, 11HS8 can go down to 25Hz and up to 120Hz. The crossover frequency is adjustable and the RMS power output is rated at 125W. If you want to elevate the bass response, you can simply turn the bass-boost dial all the way to 6dB.
11HS8 delivers punchy and well-controlled bass. It’s not the kind of bass that will blow you away and annoy your neighbors but it will add a nice punch to your music.
Things we don’t like
The included remote can control only the bass level. To control the crossover frequency and phase, you have to use the control panel on the subwoofer.
The distortion becomes noticeable at 80% volume.
6. The Slimmest Powered 8in Subwoofer – Alpine Electronics PWE-S8
Looking for the most compact and thinnest under-seat subwoofer with a built-in amp? PWE-S8 is a perfect choice. It’s light, slim, easy to install and use, and it packs a pretty good punch.
Things we like
PWE-S8 comes with a wired bass level remote (wire for the remote included), mounting brackets and screws, the installation manual, and a warranty card. The amp wiring kit is sold separately.
The subwoofer is mounted inside a tough aluminum enclosure. The enclosure is sealed. It’s 13.5in wide, 9in deep, and only 3in tall. Unless you have a really small car, PWE-S8 should easily fit under your seat.
On the top, you will see the subwoofer protected with a strong metal grille. All the controls and inputs are on the front. The sub has dedicated dials for gain control and crossover frequency (50Hz-150hz). It also has a phase switch and the auto turn-on button. PWE-S8 has two sets of inputs – high-level and line-level RCA inputs.
According to the specs, the sub goes down to 32Hz (although it doesn’t really sound that deep). The crossover is adjustable, and the RMS power output is rated at 120W (240W peak).
The bass output is not very deep or rumbling but there’s still a nice amount of bass. It’s good enough for smaller vehicles.
Things we don’t like
The bass output is probably not good enough for vans and SUVs. Also, if you are trying to get that crazy rumble, you should be looking for something bigger.
7. Best 10 in Powered Subwoofer Under $200 – Pioneer TS-WX1010A
The last subwoofer on our list of 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars comes from one of the most reputable brands in the car audio industry. Pioneer TS-WX1010A is a great choice for larger vehicles. It packs a surprisingly heavy and deep bass for a fairly compact 10in subwoofer.
Things we like
TS-WX1010A comes with a nice-looking and super-slim bass level knob, wiring harness, mounting hardware (brackets and screws), and installation manual.
TS-WX1010A has the same basic shape as previously reviewed JBL GT-BassPro12 and Rockford Fosgate P300-12. It has a sealed enclosure with a fully carpeted exterior. The enclosure is 20.75in wide, 11in deep, and 15in tall.
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All the controls and inputs are located on the right panel. TS-WX1010A has a dedicated gain knob, crossover frequency knob (50Hz-125Hz), bass-boost knob (0-12), and a knob that allows you to choose which frequency you want to boost (40Hz-100Hz). It also has a phase switch (normal/reverse), input selector (low-level/high-level), fuse input, and a single wire harness connector that accepts both high and low-level signals.
This Pioneer’s subwoofer can hit really low (down to 20Hz and up to 125Hz). The nominal RMS power output is rated at 300W (1.100W peak).
The bass output is powerful. Considering the size of the subwoofer, both the amount and the quality of the bass are quite impressive.
Things we don’t like
The included remote allows you to control the bass level only. For crossover and phase adjustments, you have to use the controls on the subwoofers.
This subwoofer is not the best choice if you’re dealing with serious space limitations. It’s perfect for SUVs and vans.
This concludes our selection of 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars in 2021. Hopefully, this article helped you understand whether a powered car subwoofer is the best option for you or not. If you want to find out more, scroll down and you’ll see our FAQs section with short answers to the most common questions about powered subwoofers. If some of the questions remained unanswered or if you need a piece of advice, feel free to ask.
Q: What is the best subwoofer with a built-in amp for car?
A: We can’t give you a single answer to this question since they all vary in size, power output, and price. What’s perfect for one car and one audio system doesn’t have to be perfect for others. We can only recommend you to go through our list of 7 best subwoofers with built-in amp for cars and find something the meets your requirements and fits your budget.
Q: What brands make the best powered car subwoofers?
A: The same brands that make great passive subwoofers and car amps, also make powered subwoofers. Some of the most reputable brands in the car audio industry are Pioneer, Kenwood, JBL, Alpine Electronics, Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, Rockville, etc.
Q: What hits harder 2ohm or 4ohm?
A: A lower-impedance subwoofer will draw more power and deliver louder sound and more punch (assuming that both subwoofers have the same size and enclosures) but that doesn’t mean they deliver better sound quality.
Q: Is it better to have 1 or 2 subwoofers?
A: More is always better when it comes to subwoofers. Also, bigger is always better. We don’t all have enough space to install multiple subwoofers but if you can, you should do it.
Q: What is the best powered car subwoofer for deep bass?
A: Well, if you need the deepest possible bass, you should be looking for powered car subwoofers with large drivers and high power outputs. Don’t buy the smallest 8in subwoofer – you should go for 10in or 12in sub. Subwoofers like JBL GT-BassPro12, Rockford Fosgate P300-12, Rockville RTB12A, Pioneer TS-WX1010A, and other 10 and 12in subwoofers are all viable options.
Q: Are subwoofers bad for your car?
A: The ‘’only’’ damage a powerful car subwoofer can cause is draining your car battery. Depending on the subwoofer size and output, you may even need to upgrade your car battery or install a second battery.
Q: Does a subwoofer need an amp?
A: Yes, subwoofers need amplification to produce sound. You can choose between separate components (subwoofer + enclosure + car amp) or a subwoofer with a built-in amp. It is possible to get the necessary power without an amp but it requires some additional know-how and you probably won’t get the results you would get with an amp.
Q: Are powered car subwoofers good?
A: Yeah, they are pretty good. All the components inside a powered subwoofer are matched to deliver perfectly coherent performance and are usually very reliable. They will rarely deliver the same kind of rumble you would get with a huge subwoofer and a powerful separate amp, but they still add some pretty nice punch to your music.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.