Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer
If you are looking to add some bass to your sound system and are limited in cash, you are probably looking to buy the best budget subwoofer. For those of you who don’t know, a subwoofer is a speaker that emits low frequencies and is responsible for the low rumbles and bass in sound. A good frequency response range for a subwoofer is somewhere in the 20 Hz to 200 Hz range. This is enough to cover sub bass, which is responsive for low rumbles to the kick bass, which is the ump you feel in a beat.
There are also subwoofers that are designed to be crossover speakers and cover both mid-range and low range. These are best for people who want a compact unit without having to get a standalone subwoofer. As you can see, there are tons of subwoofers out there for every situation depending on the frequency response range you want. Now the term budget subwoofer gets a big tricky. What exactly is a budget subwoofer and how can be recommend one for everyone’s budget?
The way you like to think about it, a budget subwoofer should be under $200 and deliver decent quality bass without much distortion and clipping. The size of the subwoofer also greatly impacts the frequency response range. In general, a smaller subwoofer that measures 8 inches in diameter or less can also crossover and cover some mids. Subwoofers between 8 inches and 12 inches are going to be more bass heavy, and 15 inch subwoofers or greater will be purely bass and emit only low frequency audio. Please refer to our buying guide below for more information on the best budget subwoofer.
Best Budget Subwoofer Reviews
- Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Top Pick)
- Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Powered Loaded 12-Inch Subwoofer
- Pioneer SW-8MK2 Andrew Jones Designed 100-Watt Powered Subwoofer
Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer
The Polk Audio PSW10 is the best budget subwoofer if you want 10 inch powered subs. We think these subs really hit the sweet spot between performance and price. First let’s hit the specs so you get a sense of the power these subs deliver. These 10 inch powered subs have a frequency response range of 35 – 200 Hz and deliver RMS power of 50 watts. But don’t worry and definitely don’t let the 50 W power rating fool you. It has an average power of 50 W and with the incredibly wide frequency response rate, you end up getting a fuller bass.
These subwoofers definitely deliver a big sound for a small price. Best of all, the bass sound is not distorted or grainy. It sounds very crisp and clean. The PSW10 is also quite light and portable, weighing in at around 25 pounds and features a dynamic balanced polymer composite cone. There is a volume control knob and a low pass filter knob. It comes in a nice black oak or cherry finish. The PSW10 is incredibly easy to setup and you don’t have to deal with too many wires. And because they are powered, you don’t have to deal with a separate amp. If you feel like you need more power and kick to your bass, you can upgrade to the 12 inch version.
Rockford Fosgate P300-12 Punch 300 Watt Powered Loaded 12-Inch Subwoofer
If you are willing to pay a bit more, the Rockford Fosgate P 300-12 is the best budget subwoofer for you. While the Polk Audio PSW10 offers pretty good audio for the price, the Rockford Fosgates takes it to a whole new level. First and foremost, it is a power subwoofer that delivers 300 watts RMS of power. That’s right, 300 Watts of average power for a budget subwoofer. We like this bass a lot because you can really feel the punch of these speakers.
It is constructed with 5/8 inch MDF and the inner workings of the subwoofer are setup just right to deliver a focused deep bass that really makes your body rumble. When turned all the way up, you can really feel the bass and even at extremely high volume levels, the bass remains crisp and clear. It has a built in 0 degree/180 degree phase switch and a low pass crossover. There is a remote to control the bass level and bass boost EQ. We also really like the intelligent auto off function which shuts down the entire system if not in use for a while. In conclusion, we would say that for the money and a restricted budget, these are the best 12 inch subwoofers you can buy.
Pioneer SW-8MK2 Andrew Jones Designed 100-Watt Powered Subwoofer
The Pioneer SW-8MK2 is the best budget subwoofer if you are not too concerned about power and prefer some clarity. Pioneer is a name brand in the audio industry and are known to produce some really great speakers and subwoofers. If you want a affordable solution to deliver quality low bass, this is one of the better options. It has 50 Watt RMS, but don’t let this number fool you. It is built in a way that really delivers a clean sounding bass. The vented enclosure, the ergonomics, and the material used to build it all contribute to this crisp sound that no other 8 inch powered subwoofer has in its class.
The Pioneer SW-8MK2 comes with all of the features of a traditional subwoofer including a low pass filter, phase shifter and volume control. It also has an auto off feature and is incredibly easy to set up. The entire unit is quite portable as well so you can take this with you on the road. We are very surprised at the quality of the audio for a 8 inch subwoofer and do not hesitate to recommend it to those on a budget looking for clarity over power.
Best Budget Subwoofer Buying Guide
Finding a subwoofer is hard enough. Given your budget, there are at least a few dozen subwoofers to choose from. You need to consider many factors such as where you will be using the speakers, the ease of setup, the type of connections you have, the audio quality, powered vs unpowered, and the size of the speakers. Many people measure the quality of the subwoofer by the amount of power it delivers measure in watts.
This is mostly a marketing trick as it usually represents the peak power and you will never be able to sustain that kind of power without blowing the subwoofer or without a crazy good amplifier. We like to consider mean RMS, which is a representation of the average power a subwoofer delivers. This is definitely a more accurate representation of the loudness of the subs. Please see below for some factors to consider when shopping for the best budget subwoofer under $200.
Audio Quality: This is the most important part of any subwoofer. And yes, bass and sub-bass can also be measured in terms of audio quality. You can generally gauge the quality of the subwoofer by the sharpness of the beats and the clarity of the rumbles. A good quality subwoofer will pack a nice clean punch and won’t be so overpowering that it makes you deaf. You should still be able to have a conversation with someone next to you. Please do not mistake audio quality with the size of the subwoofer.
There are many small subwoofers that can deliver much better audio than a huge subwoofer. Also, you want to minimize the clipping and distortion on the subwoofer, which is what happens when you overdrive the speakers. Audio quality is mostly a function of acoustics and the design and build of a speaker. If you put two subwoofers side by side with the same power settings, they can sound wildly different depending on the materials used to build the subwoofer and the various paths the audio goes through the subs and how to gets projected to you.
Size: Obviously, size is an important factor to consider when shopping for the best budget subwoofer. If you are on a budget, you should probably look for smaller subs in the 8-12 inch range, as larger subwoofers are generally more expensive. Also, you may want to look for combination or crossover subwoofers, which deliver both bass and mid-range sounds. This would be good value for your money if you are on a budget. Size has an impact on the how deep you will hear and feel the bass and often times the bigger the subwoofer, the more power it has, and therefore driving heavier beats and bass.
Powered vs unpowered: Ideally, for those on a budget, you should be getting powered subwoofers. This means the amp and the subwoofer is one unit and so you don’t need a separate amplifier to drive the speakers. For those on a budget, just keep in mind that if you do get powered subwoofers, it won’t be anything fancy and don’t keep your expectations high. With the same amount of money, you can probably get a cheaper subwoofer and a stand alone amp that will sound better than a powered subwoofer. However, you will have to deal with more cables and a longer setup process.
Ease of setup: You have to ask yourself where you will be using your subwoofers. If you want to install them in a car and don’t have the time to hook up lots of cables and run wires through your car, get something that is easy to install and a powered system. If you need to take your subwoofer traveling, you should definitely get something that is convenient and most likely a powered speaker. If your subwoofers are just going to be sitting at home in the same place, you might as well get an unpowered speaker and buy a stand alone amp.