Best Under Seat Subwoofer – Loud Music for Smaller Cars

Best Under Seat Subwoofer – Loud Music for Smaller Cars

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the best under seat subwoofer. Each option has a different range of specs, so how do you know which is the right one for you? After years of working with car audio equipment and seeing it in action, I’ve put together a list of the best subwoofers that mount right under your seats.

These subwoofers are small and compact. Most also come with a built-in amplifier and enclosure. This makes car audio in this format extremely accessible to beginners and users with smaller cars. It’s less hassle, as you don’t have to worry about matching the hardware.

It’s easy to make the wrong choice, though. There are so many options that you can easily choose something that doesn’t quite match what you’re looking for. Here, I’ll go over the seven best under seat subwoofers I would recommend.

Let’s see what these great subs have to offer.

Rockville RW10CA 10” 800 Watt Slim Subwoofer

Our first choice is the Rockville RW10CA. This 10” subwoofer comes from a low-profile company that provides great subwoofers at a lower price. Their products are known to deliver great sound quality at an affordable price.

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

  • 10” Subwoofer
  • 2-Ohm Impedance
  • 200 RMS Watts
  • 800 Peak Watts
  • 25 pounds
  • 20-150 Hz Frequency Response
  • 90 dB Sensitivity

There are a few reasons that the Rockville RW10CA 10” is first up on our list. When it comes to under-seat subwoofers with built-in amplifiers, the RW10CA is the perfect blend of value and quality. You’ll get the beats and sound clarity that you’re looking for without spending a lot of money. But you’ll also get a lot of great technology.

The Rockville RW10CA is extremely adjustable. You can play with the controls to get the sound that you like. It includes a subsonic filter, phase control, bass boost, and even a crossover filter. Plus, you can adjust the input sensitivity to better match the quality that you want. I like that it comes with all of the mounting hardware.

The under-seat subwoofer box is one of the slimmest on our list, coming in at just 2.7 inches.  It’s going to fit nicely under the front seat of your car. The wiring is really easy as well, as you only need to plug it into your speakers. Otherwise, this sub is ready to go.

It’s always wise to manage your expectations a little when looking at car audio at this price point. The price is phenomenal for all that you’re getting, but the trade-off is that it doesn’t sound quite as good as some of the more expensive under seat subs on our list. It has great sound quality and depth, and it’s definitely a step up from your stock radio. Still, it doesn’t bring the bass that some of the others on our list do.

If you can see it for what it is, it can be a great sub, amp, and enclosure combo. Here is a link to a simple video review of the Rockville RW10CA.

What We Liked

  • Great price for the quality
  • A lot of adjustable controls
  • Comes with the mounting hardware and a remote knob

What We Disliked

  • Bass isn’t as low as I’d like

Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Hideaway Subwoofer

The Kicker Hideaway is an 8” sub that is extremely easy to install in your car, and it’s small enough that it isn’t going to get in your way. This highly-recommended subwoofer has a solid build and includes everything you need to get started.

Quickly, here’s a breakdown of the specs.

  • 8” Subwoofer
  • 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 150 RMS Watts
  • 150 Peak Watts
  • 58 pounds
  • 20-120 Hz Frequency Response
  • 95 dB Sensitivity

This subwoofer may be small, but it’s got a great kick for only being an 8” model. It’s a slim all-in-one unit that absolutely dominates the market for easily installable subs. The Plug-and-Play feature makes this a really accessible sub for someone just getting into car audio.

But that doesn’t mean that it lacks performance. It does have really low wattage, and it’s a little disappointing to me that the RMS and Peak wattages are the same. You aren’t going to be able to push this subwoofer as far as you might like to.

Regardless, there is a market for this kind of subwoofer. It’s definitely more about the sound quality and the deep, low notes rather than the bumping bass. For someone who isn’t committed to rattling windows and potential hearing damage, this can be the perfect middle-ground subwoofer.

The low-frequency response means that the sound quality isn’t going to be perfect. However, it is extremely sensitive. This sub is highly recommended across the community as well, so the sound isn’t quite a bad as you might be led to believe.

Essentially, if you want an easy-to-use, easy-to-install sub that doesn’t knock you out of the car or wake up your whole neighborhood? This is a great subwoofer for you. Here is a video review of the Kicker 11HS8 8” Hideaway Subwoofer.

What We Liked

  • Ready to install out of the box
  • Comes with everything you need
  • The price is great for the quality

What We Disliked

  • Isn’t as powerful as I’d hoped
  • Seems to burn out quickly

Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch Shallow-Mount

Pioneer is one of the premier subwoofer manufacturers on the market today, and the TS-SWX2502 10” Subwoofer fits perfectly in their line-up. It’s perfect for someone who wants a little bit more from their sound system.

First, let’s check out some quick specs.

  • 10” Subwoofer
  • 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 400 RMS Watts
  • 1,200 Peak Watts
  • 16 pounds, 14 ounces
  • 20-100 Hz Frequency Response
  • 93 dB Sensitivity

The TS-SWX2502 is a deceptively small subwoofer. It packs a punch that you might not expect from a sub this size. But why is it so much more powerful than the others on our list?

First off, it’s much bigger. While it’s still a compact under seat subwoofer box, it’s 6 inches thick. That’s sizeable in comparison. The hardware in this subwoofer is much beefier. The trade-off, however, is that this subwoofer and enclosure doesn’t come with a built-in amp.

Built-in amps are standard for most under seat subwoofer models. The fact that the TS-SWX2502 doesn’t have one included could be a drawback to some. If you’re willing to spend a little extra money to get this system up and running, the payoff can be amazing.

The extra space that the lack of an amp gives this sub really makes it shine. It’s extremely sensitive and can handle a lot of power. If you’re looking for an under-seat sub that’s going to make your entire car shake at those low bass notes, this is definitely one you should look into. With a little bit of extra money and time, you can get truly powerful under-seat audio.

Here’s a video review of the Pioneer TS-SWX2502 to give you a better idea of its capabilities.

What We Liked

  • Extremely compact
  • Sensitive and responsive
  • More power than other similar subs

What We Disliked

  • Doesn’t come with an amp
  • Is larger and heavier than other under-seat models

Sound Storm Labs LOPRO8

The LOPRO8 is a smaller subwoofer from SSL or Sound Storm Labs. While this is a low profile company, this subwoofer is definitely something that you have to see. It’s a powerful little unit that’s you’re going to love having under your seats.

Let’s take a quick look at the specs first.

  • 8” Subwoofer
  • 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 600 Peak Watts
  • 5 pounds
  • 20-150 Hz Frequency Response
  • 90 dB Sensitivity

The SSL LOPRO8 looks sleek and really delivers on power. For an all-in-one under seat subwoofer at this price point, the wattage is pretty nice. You’re getting a lot for what you’re paying. And it’s not just in the power rating, either: this subwoofer has a lot of technology that makes your life a lot more fun.

It has a variable input control that makes it easier to match the system you might already have in place. The included amp is powerful and crisp, and it actively works to make sure that there is no distortion in your sound. The various filters and level controls make it easy to control every aspect of your listening experience.

While this is a great unit, some users have a problem with longevity. Some report that this subwoofer will stop working within a few months, but the issue seems to be isolated rather than widespread. There are also reports that it lasts a long time. Like with any other subwoofer, how long it lasts is going to depend on the load you place on it.

Another great feature is an automatic shut-off if the subwoofer gets too hot. If the speakers stop working or the heat limit is reached, it automatically shuts off the sub. This can keep them from blowing out under a heavy load.

Here’s a quick video review detailing what you can expect from the Sound Storm Labs LOPRO8.

What We Liked

  • Great power
  • Nice price
  • Automatic shut-off and a host of other great features

What We Disliked

  • Various reports of short lifespans
  • Doesn’t have the deepest bass

Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate has been producing high-quality subwoofers and car audio hardware for years. When it comes to subs, there’s no one better. That’s evident in the P300-12, a 12” punchy sub that will absolutely bring the performance you’re looking for.

Before we get started, here is the shortlist of specs for this subwoofer.

  • 12” Subwoofer
  • Variable Impedance
  • 300 RMS Watts
  • 600 Peak Watts
  • 16 pound
  • 35-150 Hz Frequency Response
  • 90 dB Sensitivity

Rockford Fosgate subwoofers always have great sound quality. Most of their subs are punchy and powerful, even in a much smaller package. That’s the case with this under seat subwoofer. The P300-12 can handle 300 continuous watts of power.

Everything is included here, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing an amp or enclosure. That’s one of the best things about it. The amplifier that is included here makes this subwoofer work perfectly, and you don’t have to worry about it not matching up. It’s also incredibly easy to install, and it shouldn’t take a lot of extra parts (if any) to get it working great.

The larger frequency range will give you great sound quality. The sound is going to be clear and crisp, and the bass won’t muddy out the song like sometimes happens with larger subwoofers. When you want the type of bass that the cars next to you can feel, this is absolutely the way to go. You can’t beat a Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.

All in all, this subwoofer is a beast. It’s sturdy and well-built, and by most accounts, it lasts a long time. You’re going to get sound that you wouldn’t expect from an under-seat subwoofer. If you can get it set up correctly and know even a little bit about installing car audio, it should be great for you.

What We Liked

  • Very powerful
  • Huge frequency range

What We Disliked

  • Expensive

Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle

Alpine is another premier name in the car audio business. They are known to have top-quality subs that are more than worth the price. The PWE-S8 Restyle is an 8” sub that is both powerful and solid.

Let’s take a look at what the Alpine PWE-S8 Restyle has to offer.

  • 8” Subwoofer
  • 4-Ohm Impedance
  • 120 RMS Watts
  • 240 Peak Watts
  • 10 pounds
  • 32-150 Hz Frequency Response
  • 93 dB Sensitivity

The Alpine PWE-S8 Restyle is a small sub that packs surprising performance. It’s just three inches deep, which makes it one of the smallest subwoofers on our list. However, that doesn’t mean that it lacks power. In a moment, I’ll show you a video where you can see the PWE-S8 at work for yourself.

The high excursion rate of the subwoofer is mostly due to its size, but this sub is also a bit more sensitive than some of the others on this list. Your bass isn’t going to be loud (after all, it only runs 240 watts Max), but it will give your music a depth that will surprise you.

Some users have commented that because of the lower power rating, the PWE-S8 is much easier to blow. It can stop working after a few months. Still, if you observe the limits and have everything installed correctly, you likely won’t face any problems.

It’s easy to install as well. This subwoofer is extremely straightforward and ready to plug right into your system. It’s small enough to fit under your driver’s or passenger’s seat with ease, which is definitely a plus for smaller cars and older sedans.

Here is a short video showcasing the performance of the Alpine PWE-S8 in action.

What We Liked

  • Great quality
  • Solid build
  • Small size

What We Disliked

  • Bass doesn’t bump
  • Might not last as long

Cerwin-Vega Mobile VPAS10

The Cerwin-Vega VPAS10 looks great and sounds good. It’s also a quality subwoofer, and the proof is in the pudding. The VPAS10 won the 2015 SEMA Global Media Award, and it is definitely well-deserved.

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the specs.

  • 10” Subwoofer
  • 2-Ohm Impedance
  • 220 RMS Watts
  • 550 Peak Watts
  • 05 Pounds
  • 35-150 Hz Frequency Response
  • 90 dB Sensitivity

The VPAS10 is fairly powerful for an under-seat subwoofer. Its power capabilities stand firmly in the middle ground between deep bass and clear sound. The result is a crisp, clean sound with a decent amount of bass.

It has a lot of output for its size. It’s also really easy to install, as the amp is built-in and the wiring is all that complicated. If you know what you need to do, you’ll have it up and running in no time. Did I mention how it looks? This subwoofer looks great and has remote controls that will allow you to change the bass and filtering settings from your seat.

The input sensitivity is adjustable, so you can make it work in your system fairly easily. Between the solid build, attractive design, and superior performance, this can be a great subwoofer. Of course, you aren’t going to get those deep bass notes out of it, but it will boost your overall sound quality.

Here’s a link to a video review of the Alpine VPAS10.

What We Liked

  • Great Design
  • Solid Build
  • Middle ground power rating

What We Disliked

  • Not as bassy as some of the others on our list

Comparison Chart

Product Price Dimension Weight Frequency Response Sensitivity
Rockville RW10CA 10” 800 Watt Slim Subwoofer $$ 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7” 14.25lbs 20-150 Hz 90 dB
Kicker 11HS8 8” 150W Hideaway Subwoofer $$$ 13.875 x 9.375 x 3.125” 13.58lbs 25-120 Hz 95 dB
Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch Shallow-Mount $$ 8.4 x 18.5 x 14.4” 16lbs 14oz 20-200 Hz 93 dB
Sound Storm Labs LOPRO8 $ 13.7 x 9.8 x 2.8” 11.5lbs 20-150 Hz 90 dB
Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Subwoofer $$$$ 15 x 19.8 x 11” 16lbs 35-150 Hz 90 dB
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle $$$$ 13.5 x 9 x 3” 10lbs 32-150 Hz 93 dB
Cerwin-Vega Mobile VPAS10 $$$ 16.1 x 11.7 x 5.1” 13.05lbs 35-150 Hz 90 dB

 

Final Verdict

After reviewing all of these subwoofers individually, there is a clear winner. The best under seat subwoofer on the market right now is undeniably the Rockford Fosgate P300-12. While this model didn’t come first in our list, it does have the best performance, the best specs, and the highest recommendations.

But it’s a bit pricey. If you want to boost your bass on a budget, consider choosing the Rockville SS8P. This subwoofer is large, but it performs well for the price you’re paying. This model is easy to install and adjusts to the settings that you want. The build quality isn’t as solid, but for what you’re paying it’s a great beginner sub.

Under Seat Subwoofer Buying Guide

Whether you have limited space in your car or you want a special depth of sound, under-seat subwoofers, can be a great choice to boost your music. Here, I’ll go over what makes an under seat subwoofer really stand out and what you should be looking for when you’re thinking of purchasing one.

What is an Under Seat Subwoofer?

An under-seat subwoofer is a smaller, lightweight sub that usually comes complete with nearly everything you need. They are already mounted in a box and come with a built-in amplifier so you don’t have to try and match them with the right hardware. For all of these reasons, an under-seat subwoofer can be a great choice for a beginner.

Going with an under-seat subwoofer also gives you an interesting depth of sound that other subwoofers might not. You can get great bass, but for the most part under seat, subs are going to give you a lot of audio definition without bothering other cars at stoplights.

For more information, check out this article by Crutchfield, a leading authority on car audio.

Under Seat Subwoofer vs Trunk Subwoofer

Torn between purchasing an under seat subwoofer vs a trunk subwoofer? Here are some of the things you should consider about each before making your final decision.

  • Of course, the under-seat subwoofer is going to take up less space. Most of these models can install right under your driver’s or passenger’s seat, so there isn’t any additional cabin space dedicated to them. On the other hand, trunk subwoofers are going to need to take up a large portion of your trunk. For a small car or pickup truck, an under-seat subwoofer can provide you with the sound you want without sacrificing space.
  • Under-seat subwoofers are definitely less expensive overall. This comes down to more than just the price of the sub itself. Because under-seat subwoofers usually come with the amp and enclosure, you won’t have to purchase them separately like you would with a trunk subwoofer. If we are just considering the sub itself, under-seat models still win out over trunk models.
  • Smaller subwoofers can’t produce the same sound quality as a trunk model. Since under-seat subwoofers are some of the smallest, they aren’t going to give you the bone-rattling bass a trunk model would. If your aim is to have your entire car bumping, perhaps a trunk model would be better for you. Under-seat subs can still produce great sound, but it’s often deeper rather than louder.
  • If you know what you’re doing, it’s not that hard to set up a trunk subwoofer. There is some wiring knowledge required, and you have to have the other components ready to go. If you are just getting started, an under-seat subwoofer can save you valuable time and frustration. They are easier to install and you don’t have to worry about getting the proper amp or enclosure for them to work at their full potential.
  • I’ll talk about specifications in-depth in the next section, but consider this for a moment. A truck subwoofer is always going to have better specs than an under-seat model. If you know what you’re looking for in a trunk model, you’re going to have to lower your expectations for an under-seat sub.

Important Things to Consider in an Under Seat Subwoofer

There are a number of things that you should consider when you’re purchasing an under-seat subwoofer. Here, I’ll catch you up on the best things to look for in this type of subwoofer and what each of the specification values represents.

Dimensions

Above, I’ve told you the rough size of each subwoofer on our list. When you’re looking for a subwoofer to go under your seat, this is one of the most important values to consider. You want one that’s going to fit just right between your seat and the floorboard of your car.

If you know how much space you have in your car, this can easily help you decide on the best under seat subwoofer.

Size

The size I’m referring to is the diameter of the sub itself, rather than just the dimensions of the box. The diameter is extremely important. Each diameter (usually 8”, 10”, and 12”) produces a different type of sound and might work better with better genres of music.

When you’re looking for a compact under seat subwoofer, choosing an 8” model is most likely your best option. An 8” subwoofer is responsive to your music and has extra flex due to a smaller, more movable cone and voice coil combination. 8” subs are great for electronic music, pop, and some rock genres.

An 8” sub will have great sound quality, but it isn’t going to pack the same bassy punch as a 12”.

A 10” sub falls right in the middle and usually provides a great blend of sound quality and bass capability. However, if you favor hip hop music, metal or hard rock, a 12” sub is perfect for you. 12” subs can give you deep, pounding bass, but some fast-paced music might get lost or muddy.

There are larger subs, but none of them are going to be made for under seat use.

Impedance

Impedance is directly linked to sound quality. This has a lot to do with electrical load and resistance.

Essentially, if you want deeper bass and better sound output, go with a smaller Impedance value (2-Ohm, for instance). At this level, the subwoofer doesn’t have to fight against as much resistance, so you often get the best sound quality possible.

Choosing a subwoofer with a dual voice coil can be beneficial as well because both coils work to fight the same impedance level. The result is better sound quality and increased output.

4-Ohm subs can still be great, but you just aren’t going to get the same output as you would from a 2-Ohm model.

Weight

Weight is an important factor for under-seat subwoofers because of how low they sit in your car. It generally isn’t a great idea to put massively heavy subwoofers under your seats because your car won’t evenly distribute the weight as it can with trunk subwoofers.

Keep the kind of care you’re driving in mind and keep track of the weight of each under seat subwoofer you consider. Lightweight is definitely better for compact under seat subwoofers.

Power

There are two values to keep an eye on here. Both are measured and watts, and are simple representations of how much your subwoofer can put out.

RMS Watts – RMS, or Root Mean Square, refers to how much power the subwoofer can handle regularly, and sustain for long periods of time. A sub can consistently run at this value with no issues. If you keep your sub at this level, it will last a long time and run comfortably.

Peak Watts – This is the upper range of your subwoofer’s power. This is how much power your sub can handle in spikes, but this level should not be sustained over long periods. If you only occasionally push your subwoofer to put out this kind of power, you’ll be fine, but over long periods it can blow your subs out.

Frequency Response

Here is a great article from Sound Revolution about how frequency response affects your music. In short, the frequency response range tells you how ‘deep’ your music is going to be. A larger range will get you more detail, deeper lows, and crisp highs.

You’re going to want to go for a large frequency range to get the most detail and clarity from your music.

Sensitivity

Last on our list (but certainly not least) is sensitivity. Measured in dB (and sometimes expressed as ‘efficiency’), the sensitivity relates to how loud your sub is going to play your music at a certain wattage.

It basically means that you want a higher sensitivity to go along with a higher wattage (power) value. Try to find a sensitivity greater than 92 dB, but don’t expect to get great sound quality out of anything below 84 dB.

For a more in-depth look at the sensitivity and what it means for your speakers, take a look at this Lifewire article.

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