Top Powered Subwoofers – Guide & Comparison
With the help of this article, you will find the best powered subwoofer to suit your needs, even if you are short on time or you’re sick of reading all the powered subwoofer reviews on the internet without finding what you are looking for. We did the research for you and we carefully examined the value offered by subwoofer models that can be considered critically acclaimed. After all of that, our top pick is the Polk Audio PSW10 10″ Powered Subwoofer, which is a device capable of integrating so quickly with other existing systems. It can be considered a complete subwoofer as it comes with inputs and outputs to help it connect with other devices and other subwoofers too. The enclosure of a subwoofer like this is specially designed to give you ideal volume and tonality. If you can’t find our first recommended product, try to look for the Polk Audio PSW505 12″ Powered Subwoofer.
Our Top Choice
Setting this thing up is an easy task as you only have to hook it up to the receiver and you’re good to go. It can be considered a complete speaker as it comes with all the elements needed to make your musical life a better one. It uses PSW enclosures designed for the best volume.
Placed on a hard surface, the rubber feet vibrate too much.
Precise low-end frequencies will be provided by this device with the help of the large 10-inch dynamic balance woofer. This kind of depth is great for any kind of music, and it’s always a good choice.
It’s a speaker that will not cause problems with noise thanks to the magnetically shielded LFE input on the back. It has multiple line-to-speaker inputs and outputs, and this means it works great alongside other devices. You can easily integrate it into existing systems, with a receiver.
It lacks the range necessary for most action movies.
The 12-inch woofer is certainly big enough to fill most rooms, and with its help, this subwoofer will be capable of blasting the music you want. You can also use it for a home theater or anything similar.
Also To Consider
The Injection Molded Graphite woofer will give this device a deep and natural response. It’s the choice you should make if you want floor-standing subwoofers. It has a punchy solid bass that is ideal for bigger rooms where sound volume is a must.
Its bigger brother comes with better capabilities.
This subwoofer has a classic design that is still relevant in today’s market. It not only looks great but it can also deliver some quality wattage and a sound that will make the neighbors envious.
10 Best Powered Subwoofers (Updated Reviews) in 2020
Choosing the best device is sometimes hard if you base your decision on a powered subwoofer review, and that’s why we made a top of what we consider to be some interesting choices. We thought of things like power and range of sound. Maybe you’ll find your powered subwoofer below.
- 1. Polk Audio PSW10 10″ Powered Subwoofer
- 2. Polk Audio PSW505 12″ Powered Subwoofer
- 3. Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10″ 300w Powered Subwoofer (Black)
- 4. Rockville Bass Gig Active Powered PA Subwoofer (RBG10S)
- 5. Yamaha HS8 Studio Subwoofer
- 6. Polk Audio HTS 10 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
- 7. JBL Professional LSR310S -Channel Studio Subwoofer, 10-Inch
- 8. Alto Professional TS312S
- 9. JBL Professional EON618S Portable Self-Powered Subwoofer
- 10. Electro-Voice ZXA1SUB 12″ Compact Powered Subwoofer
- Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Polk Audio PSW10 10″ Powered Subwoofer
With the help of the 10-inch Dynamic Balance woofer, this powered subwoofer will be able to provide you with accurate low-end frequencies and depth that can bring every kind of music alive. It also has a uniquely configured directed port for that purpose, and that makes it a great choice for small and medium-sized rooms.
When listening to this subwoofer you will have a thrilling and balanced sound experience, with deep and rich tones even at low frequencies. It has the quality of blending easily with most speakers and can play the most demanding low notes without distorting the sound.
Coming with a built-in 50-watt RMS amp, this subwoofer has the potential to double the amplifier power to 100 Watts of dynamic power. That is due to the sophisticated engineering used here and the resonance-free driver materials that make this product a durable one for extended use.
This Polk Audio powered subwoofer is so easy to integrate within existing systems – hook it up to the receiver and you will instantly upgrade the quality of your music.
A complete subwoofer, it comes with speaker and line-level inputs and outputs on the back, a detachable grille on the front, and a phase toggle switch that works with multiple subwoofers.
The PSW enclosures have been designed to offer ideal sound volume and can be minutely tuned at low frequencies to avoid distortion.
When it comes to the interior of these subwoofers, they have been internally braced and damped in order to eliminate stand waves that can appear.
Using a unique specially tuned and directed port, the subwoofer is capable of producing more bass.
The rubber feet these subwoofers come with are not too strong, and when they are placed on a solid surface they vibrate.Buy from Amazon.com for ($129)
2. Polk Audio PSW505 12″ Powered Subwoofer
Thanks to the quality build of this subwoofer, the music, movies, and all other sound experiences will sound better and bigger. The 12-inch dynamic balance woofer is definitely large enough to fill a room. The device is capable of giving you accurate sound reproduction, whether you want delicate and melodious music to be played or an action movie full of explosions.
The subwoofer will be capable of picking up the small differences between separate kinds of sound and will correctly reproduce them. There is an immense amount of power coming out of this subwoofer, and with 460 Watts, this device is capable of giving high-performance and impactful sounds without producing any kind of distortion.
This is why this product is highly recommendable for a home theater. It can blend well with any speaker, but it works best when paired with some signature Polk speakers.
Versatile and loaded with all the gear you need, this subwoofer has a front detachable grille and a back that comes with a magnetic shielded LFE-input to avoid noisy signals.
Coming with multiple line-to-speaker inputs and outputs and a toggle switch that will make it work alongside other subwoofers, this is a versatile choice.
It’s a device that is easy to integrate into existing systems and it only requires you to hook it up to a receiver, featuring a continuously variable 60 to 120 Hz crossover and a frequency response between 25 and 125 Hz.
An intense analysis has been done to see what mechanical systems and materials are needed for making this subwoofer as good as possible.
Although great for listening to music (especially that full of bass), the subwoofer doesn’t have the range necessary for movies that have a rich sound landscape.Buy from Amazon.com for ($249)
3. Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10″ 300w Powered Subwoofer (Black)
Being an older generation product in nowaday’s market, this subwoofer is still a top seller and still has the quality to beat its competitors. It’s a 10-inch subwoofer that comes with 300 W of power, which should be enough for most home applications. Featuring the classing Klipsch home theater speaker design, it comes in black and copper design.
Looking similar to most other brand products, this Klipsch powered subwoofer has the same dynamic and the simple yet stylish design. Made of quality MDF, the casings are firm and covered in black vinyl, while the face is made to look like it’s floating. With a height of 14 inches, a depth of 15.7 inches, and a width of 12.5 inches, this is a moderately-sized subwoofer that fits well in most spaces.
Weighing in at 25 pounds, it’s a great portable choice. Made to be a companion subwoofer, this one fits well with Klipsch systems.
The main talking point of this subwoofer is the Injection Molded Graphite woofer that has been created to give this product an impressive low-frequency deep natural response with as little cone breakup as possible.
Being a companion subwoofer it supports all Klipsch 5.1 systems and it’s the ideal choice for floor-standing systems.
The size of the woofer, while not that impressive on paper (10 inches) will give this device impressive power helping it to blast that bass.
Ideal for larger rooms where good acoustics are necessary, the subwoofer will have a punchy solid bass.
With the help of the built-in all-digital amplifier, this subwoofer is capable of delivering ample power that comes with true accuracy in reproduction.
It has a slightly bigger brother, the R-12SW that comes with a 12-inch subwoofer, a bigger driver, and a lot more power and wider response range, so it seems like the better choice for a similar price.Buy from Amazon.com for ($229.95)
4. Rockville Bass Gig Active Powered PA Subwoofer (RBG10S)
Being the most compact subwoofer in the Rockville Bass Gig series, this one might fool you into thinking it hasn’t got that much power, but don’t judge a book by its cover. This compact small beast can put out a lot of power. It uses a 70 Oz magnet and a 2-inch voice coil to give the best possible sound.
The reason for so much power in such a compact design is the use of a much larger magnet. This subwoofer comes with 300 W of RMS power, 600 W of program power, and an astonishing 1200 W of peak power. It has a built-in amplifier, so setting it up is fast and easy, and that is why it can be a great DJ powered subwoofer or for semi-professional use.
You could say that this Rockville powered subwoofer is too much for a home theater application, but it’s not necessary to have it to full volume.
The sound quality is impressive and even if you are on the other side of the house you will still be able to hear it with precision.
To protect the subwoofer from getting damaged, the engineers installed a built-in clip limiter circuitry.
You can connect this thing to nearly any equipment you want thanks to the XLR combo input and output jacks, and the pole mount socket in the back that allows you to connect any PA speaker to it.
Made of high-quality birch wood, the walls are vented and really solid. Furthermore, they are protected with metal corners and a metal custom grill in the front.
The fact that this is a light design and it also comes with carrying handles, makes this sub a very portable one.
Despite having a lot of sound volume, this subwoofer doesn’t come with the low-end bass that you would expect from something like this.Buy from Amazon.com for ($164.95)
5. Yamaha HS8 Studio Subwoofer
The HS series was designed to give the listener the most precise and honest experience possible, giving an ideal sound for the purpose of mixing. This should be one of the most accurate subwoofers, as it doesn’t add unnecessary bass or higher frequencies, keeping the tone flat.
This concept has been examined and optimized and with every new piece of knowledge and expertise put into this state-of-the-art model, the engineers contributed to making it a trusted studio monitor. The new series features modern developed transducers that have an impressive smooth response and a bandwidth that is extremely wide.
Utilizing an advanced magnetic field to regulate the flow of magnetic response, the Yamaha powered subwoofer is capable of bringing out a natural sound and smooth transitions. The quality of the sound is put into perspective with the help of an amplifier unit that was build to perfectly match to the transducers used.
Consistent high-resolution sound and an impressively flat response are ensured by a bi-amp design that has separate dedicated amps for each woofer.
When it comes to the controls this unit offers, it comes with two response controls that have detailed settings and can accommodate to any room shape or size.
The inputs allow this subwoofer to accommodate many types of sources, from balanced to unbalanced, from mixers to keyboards, audio interfaces with XLR and TRS jacks.
Designed to get rid of unwanted resonance and to increase the sound reproduction accuracy, these cabinets are made using a dense and resilient MDF; this dampens acoustic response.
Because the speaker port design can have great influence over the clarity of the overall sound, the manufacturers employed advanced noise reduction technology to reduce the sound vortex and noise.
You would expect a bit more power and punch from a subwoofer this big.Buy from Amazon.com for ($971.99)
6. Polk Audio HTS 10 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
Coming with a 10-inch front-firing long-distance powerful woofer, this Polk subwoofer can fill a room with immerse and three-dimensional quality sound. That is mainly thanks to the Dynamic Balance Technology that has been successfully incorporated into this compact design. The device is described by modern looks, as it has sleek and rounded corners.
The deep-rumbling bass and the 100 W amplifier (that can give this sub a total power of 200 W at its peak) will give you what you need to have an enhanced experience while watching movies. It also comes with Polk’s patented Power Port technology that has been created to deliver a more powerful bass response.
Furthermore, the subwoofer is capable of delivering the sound without much turbulence while transitioning the airflow from the speaker to your listening area while minimizing distortion. When it comes to connectivity, it has an LFE and stereo line input that allows you to pair it with the brand’s signature series.
All of the controls are in close reach and placed on the rear panel so that the front appearance of the subwoofer isn’t ruined (the front comes with a detachable rich grille).
With this sub, you will be able to sit back and relax music and movies thanks to the expert craftsmanship and the use of advanced technology in making this product.
This product will be capable of delivering high-quality sound without noise thanks to the design that minimizes distortion and allows the air to transition smoothly from the woofer to your room.
It comes with good connectivity, allowing you to use the LFE and the stereo line input to pair it up with other devices.
With 200 W of power at maximum strength, this sub is enough for most home applications.
While being a great-looking product, it’s a bit too large and that means it’s not really meant to be mover around a lot.Buy from Amazon.com for ($341.24)
7. JBL Professional LSR310S -Channel Studio Subwoofer, 10-Inch
This JBL powered subwoofer uses the brand’s patented Slip Stream Port that works well with the custom-made 10-inch down-firing driver and the amplifier that can boost the power to 200 watts to give you the sound experience of a lifetime. It’s capable of delivering deep and powerful bass to any studio system.
The XLF Extended Low-Frequency setting allows it to boost the bass and make music more powerful. Furthermore, the design incorporates a double-flared shape of the port to make the most of low frequencies and to optimize the flow of air. Being legendary for their performance, the transducers used here are a prime example of the brands’ capabilities in terms of engineering progress.
The 20 Hz region is easy to reach with this design even at a peak of 113 dB of output for extended periods of time. You won’t have this subwoofer fail you when you need it the most.
The special XLF Extended Low-Frequency setting allows you to activate a well-engineered tuning function that will emulate the ample powerful bass found in nowaday’s dance clubs.
For a balanced approach, the inputs and outputs are varied, and the device gives you the possibility to use its ¼-inch XLR inputs and outputs so you can add this to any studio system to enhance its performance.
The device also comes with a sensitivity switch raging from -10 dB to +4 dB, and that ensures a more precise sound and even compatibility with a broader range of signal sources (you don’t want to face the danger of input overload).
With the help of the set-up guide, you will be able to mount this in seconds and use it to blast the low frequencies in your music.
Although it can get as low as 20 Hz, the subwoofer drastically reduces its sound volume when playing those sounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($349)
8. Alto Professional TS312S
Being a member of the Truesonic 3 series, this model from Alto is able to deliver an impressive 2000 watts of power using a 12-inch low-frequency driver and a 3-inch voice coil. It is one of the most powerful loudspeakers in its class and it is a pleasure to listen to, being capable of reproducing any sound between 53Hz and 20kHz.
Not only this device is powerful, but it also ensures a clean and precise low-frequency delivery, and that the sound won’t get muddied by ultra-low frequencies. Solid and strong, yet light enough, and still portable, this can be used as an amplifier for a bass rig, or for musicians that need their own monitor speaker.
Over the years, Alto has engineered some impressive class D amplifiers, and this can be seen in this subwoofer. You can find two combo XLR/jack inputs on the backside, each of them with independent volume controls.
You won’t hear much noise when using this subwoofer thanks to the ground switch it comes with, which prevents earth hum.
The contour switch it has will give it a boost in low frequencies, a sparkle in the highs, and some mid scoop.
Given all those 2000 watts, the subwoofer is a powerful and aggressive one, even when you engage the EQ controls, but it will never sound harsh or fatiguing to your ears.
You can use this as an angled monitor on a stage, but you can also place it on a pole, or in an upright position, as it will be stable.
The sound is powerful and customizable, and that makes it good for more than live use – it can be used for re-amping room sounds, or monitoring isolated amps in the studio.
This device is so large, that you will struggle to fit it anywhere.Buy from Amazon.com for ($429)
9. JBL Professional EON618S Portable Self-Powered Subwoofer
Coming with a driver of 18 inches, it’s clear that this self-powered subwoofer speaker is one of the largest and most powerful you will come across. It has been created to deliver impressive performances in various applications that support its system. The product is a lightweight one, with a highly useful enclosure that lets it be easily transported and set up where you need some true bass.
Fairly ergonomic given its huge driver size, this device has been optimized to allow the enclosure to have the acoustic resonance needed. The result is a tremendous sound volume in the cabinet, and that gives better acoustic performances. With the help of the 2 handles, you can move it around with ease.
The feet are molded into the enclosures to make them stronger and allow for safer storage and transport. Its performance is due to new technology and an emphasis on waveguide design.
The extraordinary performance of this device comes from the fact that the engineers analyzed high and low frequencies produced by the driver and then designed the body of this device to make it as best suited as possible.
It is a subwoofer that has a consistent response throughout the 110-degree coverage pattern and the quality of its sound will be impressive.
Knowing that nowadays you want to control your devices from afar, those at JBL made this unit compatible with iOS and Android devices through a Bluetooth v4.0 connectivity.
The design of this device has been made with intense care and thought of every aspect, from the use of the latest technologies in cabinet materials to the beautiful design.
While a good subwoofer for large events where you can have a person help you carry it, it is massive if you want to move it alone.Buy from Amazon.com for ($799)
10. Electro-Voice ZXA1SUB 12″ Compact Powered Subwoofer
Giving you the experience of a lifetime in a small enclosure, this compact subwoofer can punch as powerful as 700 watts. You can match it with any other Electro-Voice speakers to make it really stand out and to allow it to bring out the rich sound it is capable of. It only weighs 46 pounds, and given that it can be used on stage, that’s a relief for small bands that have to set up the stage by themselves.
For the same reason, the subwoofer is good for DJs that want to add a deeper vibe to their setup in live performances. Setting it up is fast, as you only need to plug the XLR into your mixer’s outputs. The device has a 100Hz high-pass filter that directs everything under that value to the subwoofer so that the main speaker doesn’t have to process and deliver the lower end.
Low frequencies are known as the ones that put your system to lots of pressure, and that is why a subwoofer like this one, that comes with a 100Hz high-pass filter is a relief for any system, as it allows the main driver to process the mids and highs.
It comes with an impressive 700 watts of power, which is a lot, especially when considering how compact it is.
The device only weighs 46 pounds, which is great for those people that need to transport it alone (thinking of you, DJs).
You don’t need to put too much effort into setting this compact powered subwoofer up – just connect its XLR inputs to a mixer and you’re ready to go.
The sound quality is exemplary if you pair it with the right tools.
It doesn’t sound great with all systems and speakers, so you need to be careful what you pair it with.Buy from Amazon.com for ($599)
Our Comprehensive Buying Guide
The best powered subwoofers need to be powerful, versatile, capable to help you in every situation. You might be surprised, but you don’t always need to pay a lot for that. You can find an affordable powered subwoofer that is able to give you everything you need. Here are some features to consider before buying the best subwoofers.
When talking about subwoofers you will most probably think about power. Sometimes people shy away from subwoofers with lots of power, as they believe high-power models are usually louder than lower-powered designs, but that is not true. If you buy a subwoofer with a power of 1000 watts you can still use it to play at the same volume as a 100-watt subwoofer.
How many watts a subwoofer has is merely a rough image of the loudness a subwoofer can have. The thing is, high-power models can sound better at regular volumes compared to models with, let’s say, 100 watts. When discussing subwoofers 100 watts really isn’t much, as nowadays most have at least 300, thanks to digital amplification and technology.
Watt ratings are an important but not only judgemental factor when it comes to a subwoofer’s performance. Affordable powered subwoofers might not be as powerful, but that doesn’t mean they are bad.
Where are you going to place it?
Every music enthusiast knows that by placing a subwoofer against a wall, the result will be one with a bit more volume. Putting the sub in a corner will mean even more sound volume. However, when you place it like that you don’t get the most accurate bass response. This is because certain frequencies will be accentuated by the walls, while others might get dampened.
If you want to find the ideal bass for your room, you will need to experiment a bit. To start off, you need to stay in your main listening spot and have someone else move the subwoofer for you. Or you can do it the other way around, place the sub where you would sit, and then move along the wall until you find the perfect position.
The bass sounds so different from one place to another deepening on the acoustics of one’s room. Bass waves are really long and they interact a lot with the rest of the room. So make sure to have that in mind when purchasing a cheap powered subwoofer.
One further option is to buy multiple subwoofers and not for the purpose of more bass, but for better sounds. Placing multiple subs in different locations will allow the bass to interact with the room differently.
Now check the size
In general, you would come across subwoofers that can barely fit under an end table. The fairly large driver responsible for producing the sound and the amp alongside it takes plenty of space. Furthermore, a driver needs to have some space in the cabinet behind it to perform well. A 12-inch driver should have a decently-sized box.
Bass is a difficult frequency to produce because the waves are long and the driver needs to put in more work to create these waves in sound volumes hearable by the human ear. A bigger driver will always help with this, and that is why 12 inches is a common size for drivers, but 15-inch models are also popular.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do I need a powered subwoofer?
The question of needing a powered sub arises only after taking into consideration what you want your subwoofers to do. For this purpose, it is important to know the pros and cons of an active subwoofer. Amongst the advantages, active subwoofers are great when used in home theater systems that require only one sub.
Setting them up doesn’t require extensive cabling and is pretty easy to do. All the required components are already built-in, and that will mean you won’t have to research and buy additional pieces. The design allows you to place them further away from the receiver as the cables will be able to provide the audio signal.
On the other hand, finding cheap powered subwoofers can be a challenge, as they are more expensive than their counterparts. They also require more power to work, and the placement becomes an important issue as you should only use one such subwoofer.
Q: What is a self-powered subwoofer?
Powered subwoofers, self-powered subwoofers, or active subwoofers, as they are known, are devices that include their own power source, and have a built-in amplifier. Active subs are really easy to set up and can be used in a single subwoofer configuration. They are regularly built in such a way that they optimize the functions of the components they are made of.
They do not require as many cables as their passive brothers, and that makes setting them up even easier. The built-in amplifier always matches the power needs of the speaker and that means they are a good solution for a quick sound, and they do great in home theaters. An active subwoofer will require more power, or wattage, to work, and that means an inflated power bill (but not to a degree that becomes visible on your savings).
Using a well-designed driver, most self-powered subwoofers will be enough by themselves in a setup.
Q: Can you connect speakers to a powered subwoofer?
Connecting a subwoofer to a system that has two channels and uses other speakers has different approaches. If you have an AV receiver, you will connect the subwoofer to that receiver using an interconnect cable, as the receiver will have bass management that will direct low frequencies to the subwoofer, and the other frequencies to the speakers.
On the other hand, integrated amplifiers, stereo receivers, or pre-amps will rarely come with an output for subwoofers, or ways to manage bass options. This is why you will need to use the sub’s speaker-level inputs. Most subwoofers should have these and using speaker cables, they get connected to the same speaker jacks that are placed on the receiver.
Using an arrangement like this, the speakers and the sub will receive all of the bass, mids, and highs, which isn’t ideal. However, the subwoofer should use its built-in low pass filter to determine the frequencies that it needs to produce.