When I first started researching how to assemble a truly great home theater system, I was surprised to find out how important a quality subwoofer actually was. If you are like me and like to immerse yourself into whatever show, movie or video game – a subwoofer helps you do so. Unlike your other speakers, a quality subwoofer delivers the richest, deepest tones possible and helps complete the audio picture. However, with so many models available today, how do you know which ones provide the best quality bass? After years of looking, researching, and testing, I have compiled a list of my favorites.
Below, I explain why each of these powered subwoofers belong on the list, From specs to pros and cons, I hope the list helps you find the right powered subwoofer for your home theater needs.
A subwoofer is a speaker that is dedicated to playing low-pitch, deep audio frequencies more commonly known as “bass”. A powered subwoofer includes both the speaker and a built-in amplifier. (These speakers are also known as “active subwoofers”.) When using a powered subwoofer, much of the power that would be drawn from your external A/V receiver is reduced. Because of this, powered subwoofers are the most commonly used types. Passive subwoofers, on the other hand, are those that do not include a built-in amplifier and, therefore, drawn their full power from your A/V receiver.
With that, let us take a look at the 8 best powered subwoofers currently available for use with your home theater system.
The BIC America F12 (on Amazon) is a low-cost solution for a new home theater enthusiast. Accepting inputs for both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS, this subwoofer offers full rear control over your volume and crossover frequency. It also automatically senses signals and provides quality sound regardless of the input media.
The Bottom Line: The BIC America F12 is a budget-friendly option for those looking to start investing in a home theater.
Do not let the diminutive size of the Cambridge Audio Minx X201 (on Amazon) fool you. This little subwoofer packs a punch! As the smallest subwoofer on this list, the Cambridge Audio Minx X201 provides clear, booming bass.
Although this subwoofer is ultra-compact, Cambridge Audio did not skip on the features. The Minx X201 allows users to maintain full control via the rear panel. From phase to crossover, you can adjust the Cambridge Audio Minx X201 as needed.
The Bottom Line: The Cambridge Audio Minx X201 is an excellent choice for small home theaters or compact spaces.
The ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010 (on Amazon) was designed to provide potent sound typically produced by much larger subwoofers. Designed with a 10-inch front firing woofer, as well as a 10-inch down firing passive radiator, the ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010 can be paired with and controlled from your phone or tablet. Why is this important?
Many subwoofers require you to change settings from behind the device. This is not only inconvenient but can also mean you have to continually adjust the sound throughout a dynamic movie to produce the best tones. When you control your subwoofer from your smartphone, however, changing these settings is much easier. In fact, you can control all of the ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010’s functions through your phone, including output levels and equalization.
The Bottom Line: The ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010 is one of the best 10-inch subwoofers for the money.
The Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy Series (on Amazon) claims to deliver two of the lowest ten octaves audible to the human ear. With a down-firing 12-inch woofer and rear firing port, this subwoofer provides an outstanding bass response with little to no distortion. In fact, many users have found this unit to be so well-built, they find home theater and stereo sound equally as great when played through the Klipsch Sub-12HG. Because of this, the Klipsch Sub-12HG makes for a versatile subwoofer you can use for all of your entertaining needs.
The Klipsch Sub-12HG also includes an auto-standby mode. Smart enough to automatically detect when a signal is sent to the subwoofer, the Klipsch Such-12HG includes a LED indicator that alerts you to whether the device is in standby or receiving an active signal.
The Bottom Line: For a 12-inch subwoofer, the Klipsch Sub-12HG provides quality sound for those on a budget.
Polk Audio is one of the top names in the speaker industry. The Polk Audio PSW10 (on Amazon) lives up to the lofty standards the brand has become renowned for. Lightweight and relatively small, the Polk Audio PSW10 is an older model that continues to be one of the best sellers today.
Like most of the Polk Audio family of products, the PSW10 is easy to use and integrates almost flawlessly into any home theater system. It features an automatic signal sense that will turn your subwoofer on and off based on inputs. Durable and beautifully finished, the Polk Audio PSW10 has a lot to offer with few cons.
The Bottom Line: As an older model, the Polk Audio PSW10 still offers quality bass without breaking the bank.
If you own a SONOS system, your options for subwoofers are limited. However, the SONOS Sub (on Amazon) actually makes this list as one of the best wireless powered subwoofers on the market today.
SONOS continually strives to provide quality products that exceed expectations. The SONOS Sub is no exception here. Easily integrated into your SONOS surround sound system, the Sub takes only seconds to set up. Like all other SONOS components, full control is available through your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet device.
The Bottom Line: If you have a SONOS system, you lucked out. The SONOS Sub is one of the best wireless subwoofers available today.
SVS has become one of the best-known brands when it comes to subwoofers. In fact, a top subwoofer list that does not include at least one SVS model should be considered incomplete!
The SVS PB16-Ultra (on Amazon) is a top of the line monster that can fill even the largest rooms with beautifully rich bass. As one of the most powerful and sophisticated subwoofers available today, this device delivers on both quality sound and features. Ideal for larger spaces, the SVS PB16-Ultra is one of the most advanced models available today. (While SVS has come out with newer models – the Ultra remains one of the best-selling high-end units available today.)
The Bottom Line: The SVS PB16-Ultra is the ideal subwoofer for large rooms and serious home theater systems.
Space is usually a factor when you start really looking into which subwoofer to add to your home theater. Many models, after all, are rather large and can take up a lot of room. However, that is not true when it comes to the Theater Solutions SUB8S. In fact, the Theater Solutions SUB8S (on Amazon) has a slim profile that makes it ideal for hiding beneath furniture.
The Bottom Line: If you need a subwoofer that fits easily under your furniture that still delivers on sound, the Theater Solutions SUB8S is for you.