How to choose a car subwoofer under $200

Choosing the right car subwoofer can transform your driving experience, filling your rides with rich, immersive sound. But if you’re on a budget, finding the best car subwoofer under $200 might seem challenging.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this quest! In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about selecting a quality subwoofer without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re a music enthusiast or simply seeking a better audio experience in your car, this article is your go-to resource. Let’s dive into the world of affordable, high-quality car subwoofers and find the perfect match for your vehicle and your wallet.

Understanding Car Subwoofers

Understanding Car Subwoofers

Definition and Purpose

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a car subwoofer? A car subwoofer is a special type of speaker in your car’s audio system, and its main job is to produce those deep, thumping bass sounds that make music feel more alive.

Unlike regular speakers, subwoofers are designed specifically to handle low-pitched audio frequencies, known as bass. This means they play a big part in making sure you get a full, rich sound when you’re jamming to your favorite tunes on the road.

Types of Car Subwoofers

Now, there are several types of car subwoofers, each with its unique features:

  • Component Subwoofers: These are just the speaker itself, without any enclosure or amplifier. They’re great if you want to customize your sound system.
  • Enclosed Subwoofers: These come pre-mounted in a box, making them easier to install but less customizable.
  • Powered Subwoofers: They combine the subwoofer and amplifier in one unit, saving space and simplifying the setup.
  • Vehicle-Specific Subwoofers: These are designed to fit perfectly in certain car models, blending in seamlessly with your vehicle.

Each type has its advantages, and the best one for you depends on what you’re looking for in your car’s audio system.

Why Quality Matters

You might wonder, “Why should I care about getting a good subwoofer?” Well, the quality of your subwoofer can make a huge difference in your listening experience.

A high-quality subwoofer brings out the depth and richness in music, letting you feel every beat and bass line. It’s not just about loudness; it’s about clarity and depth, making your music sound more dynamic and engaging.

How to Choose a Car Subwoofer Under $200?

How to Choose a Car Subwoofer Under $200

Budget Considerations

When we’re talking about car subwoofers, especially with a budget of under $200, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Within this range, you can find some great options that offer good sound quality without emptying your wallet.

Remember, the goal is to find a balance between cost and performance. You won’t get the features of a high-end subwoofer, but you can definitely get something that enhances your music experience significantly.

Size and Compatibility

Choosing the right size for your car is crucial. Subwoofers come in various sizes, typically ranging from 8 inches to 15 inches. Larger subwoofers produce deeper bass, but they also take up more space.

Think about how much room you have and how the subwoofer will fit in your car. You also want to make sure it’s compatible with your car’s audio system for seamless integration.

Power Handling and Sensitivity

Understanding power handling (RMS power and peak power) and sensitivity is key. RMS power is the amount of continuous power a subwoofer can handle, while peak power is the maximum power level it can handle in short bursts.

A subwoofer with higher RMS power handling will generally be more robust and deliver better performance. Sensitivity, measured in decibels (dB), indicates how efficiently a subwoofer converts power into sound. A higher sensitivity rating means better performance with less power.

Frequency Range

The frequency range of a subwoofer affects the quality of sound it produces. A wider frequency range means the subwoofer can reproduce more sounds accurately. For deep, rich bass, look for a subwoofer with a low-frequency limit that extends to at least 20 Hz.

Impedance and Connectivity

Impedance, measured in ohms, is important for matching your subwoofer with the right amplifier. Common impedances are 2, 4, and 8 ohms.

Lower impedance means more electrical resistance, which can affect how your subwoofer interacts with the amplifier. Also, consider the connectivity options (like wired or wireless) for easy installation and compatibility with your car’s system.

For more insights on getting the best out of your car’s audio, you might want to check out my article on How to choose a car amplifier and subwoofer. It provides valuable tips on selecting the right combination for your car’s sound system.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Common Mistakes to Avoid when choosing subwoofer

When it comes to choosing and installing car subwoofers, it’s easy to get a little lost, especially if you’re new to this. Let’s go over some common mistakes you should avoid to make sure you get the best sound from your subwoofer.

1. Ignoring Compatibility with Your Car’s Audio System

One of the biggest mistakes is not checking if the subwoofer is compatible with your car’s audio system. Always ensure that the subwoofer matches your system’s specifications, including power handling and impedance.

2. Choosing the Wrong Size

Size matters a lot in the world of subwoofers. Picking one that’s too big for your space can lead to poor sound quality and installation headaches. Similarly, a subwoofer that’s too small might not give you the bass impact you’re looking for. Consider the size of your car and the available space.

3. Overlooking the Importance of Proper Installation

Installing a subwoofer might seem straightforward, but it requires careful consideration. Poor installation can lead to rattling noises and even damage to your car or the subwoofer. If you’re not confident about doing it yourself, it might be worth getting help from a professional.

4. Not Setting the Correct Crossover Frequency

The crossover frequency is crucial for balancing your audio system. Setting it too high or too low can lead to a less than optimal listening experience. If you need help with this, my article How to set car subwoofer crossover frequency provides easy-to-follow steps to get it just right.

5. Neglecting the Need for Proper Ventilation

Subwoofers generate heat, and without proper ventilation, they can overheat and get damaged. Ensure your installation allows for adequate airflow.

6. Going Overboard with Power

More power doesn’t always mean better sound. It’s important to find a balance. A subwoofer with too much power for your setup can overpower other components and lead to poor sound quality.

7. Forgetting About Sound Damping

Sound damping materials can significantly improve the sound quality of your subwoofer by reducing vibrations and rattles. It’s a step often overlooked but can make a big difference.

Avoiding these common pitfalls will help you get the most out of your car subwoofer. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance and ensuring proper installation for the best sound experience.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance and Care of subwoofer

Taking care of your car subwoofer is important if you want it to keep making your music sound amazing for a long time. Here are some simple yet effective tips for maintaining your subwoofer:

1. Regular Cleaning

Dust and dirt can be a subwoofer’s enemies. Regularly clean your subwoofer, especially the outer surface and any vents or openings. Use a soft, dry cloth to gently wipe away dust. Avoid using water or harsh cleaning agents, as they can damage the components.

2. Check Connections Periodically

Loose connections can not only affect sound quality but also harm your subwoofer over time. Every now and then, check to make sure all connections are tight and secure. This includes checking the wires and making sure they’re not frayed or damaged.

3. Avoid Overuse

Like any electronic device, subwoofers need a break too. Continuously running your subwoofer at high volumes for long periods can lead to overheating and wear out its components faster. It’s best to give it a rest now and then.

4. Proper Ventilation

Make sure your subwoofer is well-ventilated. Overheating can significantly shorten its lifespan. If it’s installed in a tight space, consider adding some form of ventilation or a cooling system to help keep it cool.

5. Regular Inspections

From time to time, give your subwoofer a quick check-up. Look for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice anything unusual, like a strange noise or a decrease in sound quality, it might be time for a professional to take a look.

6. Use the Right Settings

Using the correct settings based on your subwoofer’s specifications can make a big difference. Avoid pushing the subwoofer beyond its limits. This includes setting appropriate crossover frequencies and gain levels.

If you’re not sure about the settings, refer to the manufacturer’s guide or check out my article on How to set up a car subwoofer, which offers detailed guidance on optimizing your settings.

7. Be Mindful of the Climate

Extreme temperatures and humidity can affect the performance and longevity of your subwoofer. Try to park your car in a garage or shaded area during hot or humid weather to protect the subwoofer.

Taking these simple steps can go a long way in ensuring your car subwoofer stays in great shape, giving you that perfect bass experience every time you hit the road.


What size subwoofer do I need for my car?

The ideal size depends on your car’s space and your sound preferences. Generally, 10-12 inch subwoofers balance space and performance well.

How many watts is good for a car subwoofer?

A good range is 100-500 watts RMS for quality sound without overloading your system.

How do I know what subwoofers to get for my car?

Consider your car’s space, audio system compatibility, power handling, and personal sound preferences. Read reviews and specifications for guidance.


And there you have it! We’ve journeyed through the key points on how to choose a car subwoofer under $200. Remember, the perfect subwoofer for your car doesn’t have to be the most expensive one.

It’s all about finding the right fit for your vehicle, your sound preferences, and, importantly, your budget. Size, power, compatibility, and maintenance – we’ve covered it all to help you make an informed choice.

Your car’s audio experience can be transformed with the right subwoofer, even within a modest budget. And if you’re still wondering Are subwoofers worth it for cars? or What is the best Hz for a car subwoofer?, you’re not alone! These are common questions that many car audio enthusiasts ponder.

If you have any more questions or need further guidance, feel free to comment below. I’m here to help! And don’t forget to check out other articles on my website for more insights and tips, like How to use a car sub in your house, which can be a fun project for music lovers.

Choose wisely, and let the music play!

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