Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers – Surprising Selections Here

Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers – Surprising Selections Here

Choosing the best shallow mount subwoofer can be challenging. There are a lot of available options, and they all have different specs and exciting features. After years of working with car audio equipment, I’ve decided to put together a list to help car audio enthusiasts with smaller cars.

The shallow mount subwoofer requires less room to work effectively. This is great for smaller vehicles and presents a mounting versatility for your speaker setup. Here, I’ll go into detail about what I consider to be the best shallow mount subwoofers you can purchase today. I’ll summarize their specifications and features so that you can make the most informed decision.

Be careful when choosing a shallow mount subwoofer for your car, as you can easily make the wrong choice. Look at the size of the enclosure you want, the space that you have, and the ability to fit amps and other components into that space as well.

Let’s dive more into details now.

Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12

Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12 Punch P3S 12" 4-Ohm DVC Shallow Subwoofer
  • The Rockford Fosgate P3S series shallow mount subwoofers deliver Punch, designed to deliver big bass in a tight space, with its low profile mounting depth design
  • The Punch P3SD4-12 is a slim 12” 4-Ohm DVC (dual voice coil) subwoofer with 400 Watts RMS / 800 Watts Max power handling and custom 10-AWG nickel plated push terminals
  • Featuring anodized aluminum cones and dustcaps, with a unique spider venting design to keep the motor cooler and a new hybrid stamp-cast basket providing super strength while minimizing weight and resonance
  • Optimized for both sealed and vented enclosures {Sealed (Vb): 1.0 cu. ft. (28.3 Liters) / Vented (Vb): 1.25 cu. ft. (35.3 Liters) / Mounting Depth: 3.65 in. (92.5 mm) / Cutout Diameter: 11.22 in. (285.0 mm)}
  • Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty when purchased from an authorized Rockford Fosgate reseller

First up on our list is the Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12. Rockford Fosgate is one of the best car audio companies right now, and their products always deliver great sound quality and depth.  This 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer is no different.

Just want the details? Here’s a quick summary of the specs.

  • 12” Subwoofer
  • 2-Ohm Impedance
  • 400 RMS Watts
  • 800 Peak Watts
  • 65” Mounting Depth
  • 086 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 34-250 Hz frequency response

The Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12 lands in the top spot on our list for various reasons. The quality of this company is rarely matched, especially at the price point. The P3SD4-12 specifically has great audio quality and quick response time, making it great for fast-paced music. You’ll be surprised by the audio depth that you’ll experience from this sub.

You often have to sacrifice performance for space with subwoofers in your car, but that isn’t the case with the Rockford Fosgate. The features and technologies that the company uses in its slimmer sub work well without sacrificing quality.

Of course, a 12-inch regular sub might still pack a little more punch, but the P3SD4-12 is a perfect choice for a bass head with a smaller car. That’s why it’s landed at our top spot.

When it comes to features, the Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12 has it all. It’s one of the best 12-inch subwoofers for small enclosures due to its shallow mounting depth. It’s close to the cut-off for shallow mount subs, though – that’s because they’ve packed a lot of hardware into this sub.

The VAST Surround technology allows the cone to move farther, resulting in a responsive speaker that will really bump up the bass. This is a technology that is unique to this manufacturer, and it’s one of the reasons that Rockford Fosgate subs and speakers always have great sound quality. The ability to flex 25% more than other cones its size puts this sub at an advantage.

Lastly, the flexible basket gives you even more options when it comes to mounting. The shallow mount is already extremely versatile, but the FlexFit basket gives you the opportunity to fine-tune your setup further. You can adjust the position of your subwoofer for the best output with ease.

Check out this well-made video review for more information about the features of the Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12.

What We Liked

  • Less expensive than competing brands
  • Great sound quality
  • Modest power handling

What We Didn’t Like

  • Misses some low bass notes

Alpine SWR-T10

Sale
Alpine Swr-t10 10-Inch 1800 Watt 4 Ohm Shallow Mount Subwoofer
  • 10" Single 4 Ohm Type-R Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
  • Injection Molded Santoprene rubber surround
  • Thin design allows for installation in compact areas
  • Vented voice coil heat sink, and airflow management system keeps subwoofer cool, while reducing distortion
  • Neodymium 35SH magnet structure

The Alpine SWR-T10 secures a solid second place on my list. This 10-inch subwoofer can put out a lot of power with 600 RMS watts and 1800 peak watts power handling. It doesn’t require much room to work, and that’s a good thing for your sedan.

Here’s a quick summary of the specs.

  • 10” Subwoofer
  • Single 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 600 RMS Watts
  • 1800 Peak Watts
  • 25” Mounting Depth
  • 07 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 28-200 Hz frequency response

The Alpine SWR-T10 has a solid list of features and technologies. It’s definitely one of the best shallow mount subwoofers on the market right now. Alpine always produces great subwoofers, and though this one is a little pricey, it has a lot of perks. With increased output and performance that is always reliable, the SWR-T10 is a great 10-inch subwoofer.

It uses an airflow management system that allows the subwoofer to cool effectively. This system works to force air directly across the heat sink, helping you keep the temperature of your voice coil manageable. What’s the benefit? Longer use times without distortion. This is one component that makes the Alpine SWR-T10 difficult to blow.

Another innovative highlight is the HAMR Surround feature. HAMR stands for ‘High-Amplitude Multi Roll Surround Design’. It is a technology that allows your subwoofer more flexibility. Those deep basses won’t have a ton of distortion with this technology, which is sometimes a problem. It’s almost a must with the Alpine SWR-T10’s lower frequency response.

All of these features benefit you by allowing your subwoofer to get deeper bass without sacrificing sound quality or function. One cornerstone of the Alpine R-series is that they are notoriously durable. It’s difficult to blow these subs out, which is great if you’re going to push that 1800 peak wattage power.

Overall, this subwoofer will push your sound to be clearer and deeper. You won’t just get pounding bass, you’ll get a clear sound as well.

Here, you’ll find a video explanation of what makes Alpine’s R-series line unique.

What We Liked

  • Extremely durable
  • Reliable performance
  • Massive output potential

What We Didn’t Like

  • On the expensive side

JL Audio 13TW5V2-2

13TW5V2-2 - JL Audio 13.5" 2-Ohm 600W Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
  • Extremely Small Sealed Enclosure Volume Requirements
  • Patented "Concentric Tube" Suspension Design
  • Patented "Floating Cone Attach Method" Technology
  • DMA-Optimized Motor Designs
  • Extremely Shallow Mounting Depth (2.5 inches)

The next subwoofer on my list is a somewhat unique shallow mount subwoofer. This 13.5” sub has an extremely shallow mounting depth (only 2.5”!) and doesn’t require that much space in a shallow mount subwoofer box. Even among subs with similar mounting depths, the 13TW5V2-2 is a unique model.

In a hurry? Here’s a summary of the specifications.

  • 5” Subwoofer
  • Single 2-Ohm Impedance
  • 600 RMS Watts
  • 1200 Peak Watts
  • 5” Mounting Depth
  • 08 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 20-500 Hz frequency response

The JL Audio 13TW4V2-2 comes with a ton of great features that will help get your audio sounding great in the smallest possible spaces. I love that it doesn’t need a huge enclosure to get the best possible sound, which is no doubt a perk you enjoy if you have a smaller car. The price is a little intimidating, but it’s well worth the sound quality.

One of the features that sets this subwoofer apart is a patented JL Audio technology. The FCAM, or Floating Cone Attach Method, keep the cone in the center of your subwoofer from pulling itself out of place. This means that your voice coil stays lined up perfectly. You can continue to get the best sound from the 13TW4V2-2 even at higher outputs.

Did I mention the power handling? This amazing sub can handle up to 1200 peak watts. Everything about the design and structure of this subwoofer is aimed towards getting you the best sound possible with the smallest profile. From the support system to airflow management, this subwoofer has it all.

Here’s a video review and explanation of the features on the JL Audio 13TW5V2-2.

What We Liked

  • Uniquely sized for deep bass
  • Extremely shallow mounting depth
  • Doesn’t need much enclosure room

What We Didn’t Like

  • Extremely expensive
  • May be difficult to find

JL Audio 10tw3-d4

Jl Audio 10tw3-d4 Shallow-mount 10
  • Nominal Diameter: 10 in (250 mm)
  • Xmax: 0.60 in (15.2 mm) one-way, linear
  • Recommended Power Range: 125 - 400 W
  • Mounting Depth: 3.25 in (83 mm)
  • Rec. Sealed Enclosure: 0.50 cu.ft. (14.3 l)

The JL Audio 10tw3-d4 takes all of the great things from the previous TW5 series and makes it even better. Though the mounting depth has increased to a 3.25-inch model, it’s still extremely shallow and will fit well in smaller spaces. It’s a 10-inch subwoofer that packs a punch with its dual 4-Ohm impedance.

Here’s a rundown of the specs for those of you in a hurry.

  • 10” subwoofer
  • Dual 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 100 RMS Watts
  • 400 Peak Watts
  • 25” Mounting Depth
  • 019 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 25-200 Hz frequency response

The JL Audio 10tw3-d4 is a great choice for smaller spaces. It takes advantage of quite a few of JL Audio’s patented technologies in order to improve upon the design of the previous TW5 models (like the 13.5” subwoofer I covered earlier). They’ve increased the mounting depth on this model, but they’ve also improved the hardware and structure to make it more supportive and linear.

One of the ways they’ve done this is with the Concentric Tube Suspension system. This is a structure present in the sub that supports the spider and the coil at the same time, keeping everything perfectly aligned. This is helped along by a large voice coil that has enough room for the magnet inside of it.

This innovative design helps compact the subwoofer even further.

Another great design feature is the Tab Ear Frame Design, which takes the rubber surround all the way to the out edge of the sub. This means that the subwoofer can fit in a much smaller space than a traditional subwoofer of the same size.

Here is the product spotlight video from the manufacturer to help you get acquainted with the features in the JL Audio 10tw3-d4.

What We Liked

  • Less expensive than previous models
  • Intuitive and improved design
  • Great sound quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Still pretty expensive
  • Lower power handling capabilities

Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8

Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 8" Dual 2-Ohm Punch Series Shallow Mount Car Subwoofer
  • The Rockford Fosgate P3S series shallow mount subwoofers deliver Punch, designed to deliver big bass in a tight space, with its low profile mounting depth design
  • The Punch P3SD2-8 is a slim 8” 2-Ohm DVC (dual voice coil) subwoofer with 150 Watts RMS / 300 Watts Max power handling and custom 10-AWG nickel plated push terminals
  • Featuring anodized aluminum cones and dustcaps, with a unique spider venting design to keep the motor cooler and a new hybrid stamp-cast basket providing super strength while minimizing weight and resonance
  • Optimized for both sealed and vented enclosures {Sealed (Vb): 0.25 cu. ft. (7.0 Liters) / Vented (Vb): 0.75 cu. ft. (21.2 Liters) / Mounting Depth: 2.66 in. (67.5 mm) / Cutout Diameter: 7.13 in. (181.0 mm)}
  • Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty when purchased from an authorized Rockford Fosgate reseller

The Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 is a smaller version of the same type of subwoofer I talked about earlier on my list. The great thing about the 8-inch model is that it lives up the ‘Punch’ line name. This subwoofer can keep pace with even the quickest music, all with the Rockford Fosgate audio touch.

In a hurry? Here’s a quick summary of the details.

  • 8” Subwoofer
  • Dual 2-Ohm
  • 150 RMS Watts
  • 400 Peak Watts
  • 66” Mounting Depth
  • 40 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 38-250 Hz frequency response

Though the Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 is an 8-inch sub, it packs a lot of ‘punch’. It uses a lot of the features that Rockford Fosgate are famous for. Together, these components make for the best possible sound quality in a sub this size.

The mounting depth on this sub is incredibly small, coming in at only 2.66 inches. That means that the enclosure doesn’t have to be that large, and you’ll still get the most that you can out of this sub. Features like the anodized aluminum voice coil will keep your sub going for a long time. This particular feature helps heat dissipate so that your sub won’t overheat or blow from normal use.

The FlexFit basket gives you mounting versatility. This feature allows you to tilt and twist the sub to achieve the best possible configuration. The Rockford Fosgate patented VAST Surround system gives your cone the ability to move more without pulling it out of place, as well.

Together, all of these features make for a great small subwoofer that will bump hard with your fast-paced music, including electronica and pop.

Here is a short video overview of features for the Rockford Fosgate P3S line.

What We Liked

  • Dual 2-Ohm Impedance gives you better output
  • Great sound quality for a smaller sub
  • Punchy and quick

What We Didn’t Like

  • Can’t handle as much power

Kicker CVT124

The Kicker CVT 12” subwoofer is almost too big to be considered a shallow mount subwoofer. It misses the mark by a few centimeters, but I won’t make a fuss about that. The company considers it a shallow mount 12-inch sub.

Here’s a run-down of the most important specs.

  • 12” Subwoofer
  • Single 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 400 RMS Watts
  • 800 Peak Watts
  • 375” Mounting Depth
  • 03 speaker displacement
  • 23-350 Hz frequency response

The Kicker CVT124 is one of the lower-priced models that I choose to include on this list. For the price, the entire line of CompVT subs is a pretty good choice for all of your car audio needs. This is the 12-inch version.

One of the best things about this sub is power handling. For a subwoofer with this mounting depth, you wouldn’t expect to see 400 RMS watts and 800 Peak watts out of anything this inexpensive. Yet the CVT124 pulls it off. You can choose your preferred impedance, which is another great feature.

The CVT124 will get you clean sound and hard-hitting bass. It doesn’t work well with faster music, but that’s mostly because of the size. For metal and other hard rock genres, this can be a great sub to preserve sound quality while hitting those lows.

You might not get quite the same sound that you would get from a more expensive sub, but it isn’t too bad. For most of your music, you might not even be able to tell the difference.

Here’s a video overview of the benefits of the Kicker CVT124 model.

What We Liked

  • Great competitive pricing
  • Nice power handling
  • Huge frequency response range

What We Didn’t Like

  • Recommended for use only in ported enclosures

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F 12in Mount Subwoofer Car
  • 12" 4-Ohm shallow-mount subwoofer
  • Carbon-glass fiber composite Cone with butyl rubber surround
  • Cast aluminum basket
  • Power range: 50-350 watts RMS

For those of you that might have more modest ambition for your car audio, the Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F is a great beginning option. This subwoofer moves quite a lot and is very responsive for being 12”. The mounting depth is just below the shallow mount subwoofer standard.

On the go? Here’s a quick summary of the details.

  • 12” Subwoofer
  • 4-Ohm
  • 700 RMS Watts
  • 1400 Peak Watts
  • 9375” Mounting Depth
  • 061 cu ft speaker displacement
  • 30-700 Hz frequency response

With the Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F 12-inch sub, you’re going to get a lot of response. It’s a little surprising to me that it moves so well at its size. It may be considered a ‘budget’ subwoofer, as it costs a fraction of some of the other subs on this list, but don’t let that scare you away.

First off, the KFC-XW1200F has the largest frequency response range of any other sub on our list. That means that your audio is going to be recreated very well, though some of the deeper bass notes might not come through quite as well as you would expect.

Still, with 700 RMS watts and 1400 Peak watts, you are getting a lot of power through this sub. The bass is going to hit hard, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this is a great subwoofer. It includes a carbon glass fiber honeycomb cone that allows for greater movement, as well as an excellent system to keep it from overheating.

Even with extended use, this subwoofer is going to have your back. For a starting enthusiast or someone who wants a modest setup that isn’t going to break the bank, this could be a great subwoofer.

Here, you can see the Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F in action!

What We Liked

  • Massive frequency response
  • Great flex
  • Lower price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Bass isn’t as deep as competitors

Comparison Chart

Product Price Dimension Impedance Size Power Frequency Response
Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12 $$$ 14.2 x 14.2 x 6” 4-Ohm 12” 400 W RMS
800 W Peak
34-250 Hz
Alpine SWR-T10 $$$$ 8.7 x 3.9 x 7.1” Single 4-Ohm 10” 600 W RMS
1800 W Peak
28-200 Hz
JL Audio 13TW5V2-2 $$$$ 5 x 6 x 16” Single 2-Ohm 13.5” 600 W RMS
1200 W Peak
20-500 Hz
JL Audio 10tw3-d4 $$$$ 12.4 x 11.4 x 5.5” Dual 4-Ohm 10” 100 W RMS
400 W Peak
24-200 Hz
Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8 $$ 9.8 x 9.8 x 5.3” Dual 2-Ohm 8” 150 W RMS
400 W Peak
38-250 Hz
Kicker CVT124 $$ 14 x 14 x 6.5” Single 4-Ohm 12” 400 W RMS
800 W Peak
23-350 Hz
Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F $ 13.4 x 13 x 5.2” 4-Ohm 12” 700 W RMS
1400 W Peak
30-700 Hz

 

Final Verdict

In conclusion, when you want the best shallow mount subwoofer on the market, go with the Rockford Fosgate P3SD4-12. It has impressive sound quality and better hardware performance for the price point. The power handling is sufficient for its size, and the larger frequency range means you’ll get deeper audio overall.

Want pounding bass on a budget? A great low-cost alternative is the Pioneer TS-SW2502S4. This model is less expensive than any of the subs we mentioned, but you’re getting what you pay for. It can pay off for smaller systems or for someone who is just starting out in the world of car audio. It can fit in even the smallest sedans!

Shallow Mount Subwoofer Buyer Guide

If you have limited space but you still want to feel the bass, a shallow mount subwoofer might be the perfect option for you. But what is a shallow mount subwoofer? What should you look for when you’re ready to make a purchase?

In this guide, I’ll discuss some things you should look for. Bring the knowledge with you when you start shopping for a shallow mount sub. Let’s get started!

What is a Shallow Mount Subwoofer?

A shallow mount subwoofer is a slimmer version of the standard car audio subwoofer. It has a smaller mounting depth, which allows you to use it in much smaller spaces. The entire design of the standard subwoofer is changed for the shallow mount, and it packs more hardware into a smaller space.

The benefit of using a shallow mount subwoofer is that it’s going to give you the audio you want. Mostly, that is. Because the shallow mount subwoofer has to be smaller to fit into smaller enclosures and limited trunk space, it sacrifices some of the sound quality that you’ve come to expect from a full-size subwoofer. But we’ll talk about that later.

To be considered a shallow mount subwoofer, it needs to use less than 4 inches of space for mounting. This is a great solution if you don’t have the whole trunk for large subs, or if you just want a small bass boost under your back seat. The smaller size gives you more options for where you can mount the sub.

Shallow mount subwoofers require smaller boxes to work.

Shallow Mount Subwoofer vs Regular Subwoofer

A shallow mount subwoofer is, of course, smaller than a regular subwoofer. They have more compact hardware. That means that the basic structure of the subwoofer has to change.

This change leads to lower-quality audio than you might expect from a regular subwoofer, even of the same size. A 12-inch regular sub and a 12-inch shallow mount sub will sound vastly different, even if they are made by the same company.

Shallow mount subs give you audio quality and bass that you wouldn’t get from your normal car speakers. Expecting them to sound like a regular sub will leave you feeling disappointed. When you’re comparing a shallow mount subwoofer vs regular subwoofer, keep this in mind.

On the other hand, the way that shallow mount subs are designed makes them more portable. They are easier to mount, transport from one car to another, and often don’t require amps to be as large. Shallow mounts have great benefits, but audio quality isn’t one of them. They also tend to be a bit more expensive because of the special engineering that goes into making them.

What Should I Look For In a Shallow Mount Subwoofer?

Above, I listed some specs for each of our recommended subwoofers. Here, I’ll explain a little about what each of these specs means and how they can influence your decision to buy a specific subwoofer.

Dimensions

I’ve presented you with the dimensions for each subwoofer. This is because the dimensions are important when you consider how you will be using the subwoofer. Though all shallow mount subwoofers require less than 4 inches of mounting depth, the size of the rest of the sub is important for mounting, too.

This will help you decide on an enclosure, for one. The dimensions of a subwoofer can also help you decide which one to purchase based on how much space you have in your car.

Size (Diameter)

The second-most important detail to consider when purchasing any sub is the size. This refers to the diameter of the sub, but it also means a lot more than that. On my list, I recommended subwoofers ranging between 8” and 13.5” in size, but what does that mean for you?

For fast-paced music, choose a subwoofer between 8” and 10” in size. These subs are more responsive, and they can flex quicker. This means that music like electronica and some pop and rock will sound better. These subs pack a ‘punch’, which means that it won’t sacrifice sound quality for the bass.

For fast-paced music in the metal, hard rock, and mild hip hop genres, choose a 12” sub. These woofers allow for deeper bass and more powerful output. Some fast-paced music can get lost in the bass, though. This is a good size for someone who isn’t quite a bass head but still wants deep, pounding sound.

For hip hop and rap music, a 13” to 15” sub is the best bet. This is the most powerful subwoofer size and allows for pounding bass that will rattle your car and probably have your neighbors complaining. Fast music doesn’t really work for these larger subs because of the way they work. They don’t flex quickly, so music can blend together if it’s too fast.

It’s also difficult to find a shallow mount subwoofer larger than 12”. I’ve recommended a 13.5” sub on the list, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Impedance

This can be important when you’re picky about your sound quality. Impedance refers to the resistance your subwoofer has to deal with because of the flow of electricity.

Simply put, a smaller Impedance value (measured in Ohm) will result in a higher bass and sound output. That’s because there’s less resistance for the sub to contend with.

For big sounds, choose a dual 2-Ohm subwoofer. Any subwoofer with ‘dual’ impedance uses two voice coils rather than one. This allows the coils to work together to combat the impedance, so you get more output overall.

Most of the subs on our list have 4-Ohm Impedance, which is still good. Just don’t expect to get as much output from a 4-Ohm sub.

Power Handling

Power handling is measured in two values: the RMS Watts that a sub can put out, as well as the Peak Watts. But what does each of these mean?

  • RMS Watts – RMS stands for Root Mean Square. In simple terms, this refers to how much power the sub can continuously handle. A sub can consistently run at this value with no issues. It’s a comfortable place for your sub to function.
  • Peak Watts – This refers to how much power your sub can actually handle. However, these wattage levels should not be sustained over long periods. It’s okay to push a sub to this wattage for short bursts, but continuous use at this power level can cause your subwoofers to blow out.

Mounting Depth

To be considered a shallow mount subwoofer, any particular sub has to have less than 4 inches of mounting depth. That refers to the space it needs inside the enclosure that you choose.

This is an important value for you to consider the space in your car. Use it alongside the dimensions to help determine if you have the space to mount the subwoofer.

Speaker Displacement

Speaker displacement is a difficult specification to explain. As simply as I can put this, this refers to how much volume the subwoofer will take up in an enclosure, most notably when it is working. You should always choose an enclosure with more volume available than your subwoofer’s speaker displacement.

Making the right choices when it comes to enclosures and displacements will allow your subwoofer to work as best it can. Here is an in-depth JL Audio article with more information about speaker displacement and enclosures.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is another technical term that is a bit difficult to understand. The frequency response specifications on my list are measured in Hz.

Essentially, the frequency response is your subwoofer’s ability to recreate music. Lower frequency response will highlight some sounds better, and will product deeper music clarity than higher frequency response.

A larger range is ideal because it allows for greater depth when you play music. Sound Revolution provides an excellent guide for how frequency response affects the sound quality of a car subwoofer.

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