Buyers guide

The Best Budget Car Subwoofers Under $50 And $100 – 4 Great Buys!

Not everyone has a ton of money to spend on a car subwoofer. Believe me, I’ve been there, too. Finding the best budget car subwoofer for your money doesn’t have to take hours and hours of research.

To help you make a great buying decision I’ve put together a great list as well as some helpful info about shopping for subwoofers.

Since the word “budget” generally means low-cost, I’ll keep my recommendations within the $50 and under & $100 and under price range.

Contents

Infographic – How to buy the best budget car subwoofer

Best budget car subwoofer infographic


What to look for when shopping

To get the best subwoofer for your money, you’ll need to buy one that’s a good compromise of a number of factors:

  1. Quality
  2. Good buyer ratings
  3. Affordable (for your budget)
  4. Good value
  5. Adequate power handling, in RMS watts

Before we go any further, allow me to make one very important thing clear: Keep your expectations realistic. You can expect to get great sound and overall good quality for a budget price, but don’t demand the same performance as very expensive models.

With that being said, here some basic tips to keep in mind before spending your had-earned money.

Quality

You want a subwoofer with good build quality and materials. Subwoofers made with plastic cones are not necessarily better than pressed-paper cones or cones made from hybrid materials – it’s only a matter of design and performance quality.

Image of quality Alpine SWS-12D4 subwoofers
A good quality subwoofer is one that has good connectors, durable materials, performs well, and can handle sufficient power needed to get good bass. Ultimately you want one that will last a long time and won’t have parts that separate with use over time. That’s one reason it’s so important to read buyer reviews and be sure to evaluate the negative versus positive reviews.

Remember: it’s better to own a decent-looking, well-made product with adequate performance than it is to own a flashy, fancy-looking model with crappy performance and lower life expectancy. Don’t sacrifice quality and performance for mere looks.

Buyer ratings

Spend a little bit of time reviewing the overall buyer ratings and look for patterns of problems and any complaints that really stick out.

Still, bear in mind that there always seem to be people who simply don’t know how to properly install and use subwoofers, who have unrealistic expectations, and those who always will find something to complain about.

Be diligent and look at the bigger picture when it comes to buyer reviews. You may not know this, but there are many more buyers than those who took the time leave a review.

For some reason, it’s human nature not to contribute and leave feedback unless we encounter a problem or experience dissatisfaction. If the majority of reviews are positive or negative, remember it’s possible that countless more happy buyers didn’t take the time to leave feedback.

image of consumer reviews clip art

To be more confident in your buying choices, it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of research (like reading through the several great models I provided below). Look for patterns and figure out the good and bad aspects of a product before purchase. Don’t get turned off too quickly if you read a few terrible reviews – it’s normal to find unfair and dishonest feedback. Doing research is a skill that you get better at with time.

A relatively small percentage of negative feedback is normal and to be expected in most cases. Be sure to note any particular things you read that stand out. You should also prepare for the possibility of encountering some inherent problems with certain models.

That’s not unusual – if the product is still a great overall performer (especially considering your budget), then don’t just immediately rule it out.

Price and the importance of value

Image of a scale showing price vs value weighingIt’s not just the price that counts. Value can mean all the difference between getting the cheapest subwoofer (and being unhappy) and getting a better value, with overall better quality and durability, for only slightly more money. A good value subwoofer will rate fairly well in the criteria that matter and will last longer. As they say: it’s always cheaper to do it right the first time!

Don’t just blindly buy the cheapest subwoofer you can find – instead, think in terms of the best value for the money within your budget.

If you’re only looking with price as your main criteria, you’re very likely to end up completely missing the chance to get something better for a marginal difference in price.

For example, if you get the most inexpensive – but mediocre – speaker, you’re far more likely to encounter problems later. Once it’s past the warranty period, you’ll end up having to spend more money to fix or replace it!

This means you would have really spent less money if you had just gotten a better product to begin with. Something to think about, and that’s something I’ve tried to convey to many of my customers over the years. Because honestly, it’s true!

In order to find the best value, be sure to pay attention to what it is you’re getting in terms of the specifications, user reviews & reported performance and reliability, and the price when compared to cheaper products of lesser quality. Think about the big picture.

Power handling & buying quality

Image of fake vs real Rolex watchesWould you buy a fake Rolex and expect the same quality of an authentic one? I wouldn’t. In fact, no one would.  The same logic also applies to subwoofers. You can’t buy a proper, quality “500W” speaker for a cheap price. Be careful of advertised numbers used to mislead you into thinking you’re getting something you’re not.

Let’s be real: if you buy a budget subwoofer, you’re not going to get a speaker that can handle insane amounts of power. It’s just not going to happen.

Any company advertising a subwoofer below $100 that can supposedly handle 1,200 watts of power is lying to you. You’re being misled because of what you don’t know about power ratings.

But don’t worry – you still can get a subwoofer with good power handling for basic everyday use and some pretty loud bass you’ll love! Subwoofers have improved a lot throughout the years – a handful of major brands make budget-priced models that work well and sound wonderful.

RMS power ratings

Always look for the RMS (root-mean-square) power rating instead of the “peak power” for a more realistic expectation of what a speaker can handle in terms of power. A good rule of thumb is 150W+ of power for car subwoofers should be enough for the average person who just wants some moderate-volume bass.

But if you really want some serious slam and volume, you’ll definitely need to spend a bit more for that. Expect to spend around $200 and above per subwoofer in that case.

Advice about subwoofer brands

If you can help it, try to buy a well-known brand.

Major car audio manufacturers have better production and quality control processes. You’re less likely to get a defective speaker from them than you are from cheaper, less-known brands.

Established brands are also less likely to outsource and rebrand. If you don’t know, rebranding is the act of selling a product made by or sold under other a different brand name – then replacing the original product logo and reselling it under their own name.

The most reputable brands that create high-end products also have a budget line of speakers – that’s definitely a great starting point when shopping.


★ The best budget subwoofers under $50 and $100 ★

Our top picks

Image Product Product

★ BEST SELLER! ★

Planet Audio AC12D

A fantastic buy for under $50. No wonder it's so popular! Spring-loaded terminals. High temp dual 4 ohm voice coils, durable cone, and 900W RMS power. Dual 4 ohm design allows running a 8, 4, 2, or even 1 Ohm system when using a pair for affordable slammin' bass. Available in 8", 10, 12", and 15".

See low price at Amazon

★ BEST SELLER! ★

Planet Audio AC12D

A fantastic buy for under $50. No wonder it's so popular! Spring-loaded terminals. High temp dual 4 ohm voice coils, durable cone, and 900W RMS power. Dual 4 ohm design allows running a 8, 4, 2, or even 1 Ohm system when using a pair for affordable slammin' bass. Available in 8", 10, 12", and 15".

See low price at Amazon

Cheap but good

Pyle PLPW10D

A great starter subwoofer - cheap but good! Tight on cash? The Pyle PLP series has you covered. 400W RMS, dual 4 ohm voice coils, and tough stitched-edge cone. Spring-loaded terminals. Lots of great reviews! Available in 8", 10, 12", and 15".

See low price at Amazon

Cheap but good

Pyle PLPW10D

A great starter subwoofer - cheap but good! Tight on cash? The Pyle PLP series has you covered. 400W RMS, dual 4 ohm voice coils, and tough stitched-edge cone. Spring-loaded terminals. Lots of great reviews! Available in 8", 10, 12", and 15".

See low price at Amazon

Pioneer Champion TSW311S4

Solid quality, value, and performance you can afford. 400W RMS of power handling in a high-strength, high-temp basket design. Dual layer fiber reinforced surround and IMPP cone for above-average strength. Great sound efficiency: 95dB/1W.

See low price at Amazon

Pioneer Champion TSW311S4

Solid quality, value, and performance you can afford. 400W RMS of power handling in a high-strength, high-temp basket design. Dual layer fiber reinforced surround and IMPP cone for above-average strength. Great sound efficiency: 95dB/1W.

See low price at Amazon

Rockford Fosgate Punch P2D4-12

Kevlar cone, high-strength basket, spring loaded terminals, dual voice coil, Dual 4 ohm 2.25" copper clad voice coils for 400W RMS of great sound quality & power. Great performance and sound quality!

See low price at Amazon

Rockford Fosgate Punch P2D4-12

Kevlar cone, high-strength basket, spring loaded terminals, dual voice coil, Dual 4 ohm 2.25" copper clad voice coils for 400W RMS of great sound quality & power. Great performance and sound quality!

See low price at Amazon

 

1. Planet Audio AC12D DVC – A top-selling, great value for under $50!


Planet Audio AC12D front and side imagesReady for some serious value? The Planet Audio AC12D is one of the best-selling budget subwoofers today. 

Straight from the company’s affordable line of Anarchy subwoofers, it’s a dual voice design that’s a fantastic choice for getting great-sounding bass for less money.

It’s also available in 8″, 10″, and even 15″ sizes.

You’ll get more than just a lower price, however – check out the great features and build quality:

  • Durable and moisture-resistant polypropylene cone
  • High-temp dual voice coils
  • High-roll, tough surround
  • 3 year warranty
  • 900W RMS rated power
  • Spring-loaded, color coded plated speaker terminals

Planet-Audio-AC12D-side-packageThe AC12D is a well-built subwoofer that’s affordable, but does well in real-world use. I like the spring-loaded and color coded speaker terminals which make wiring up your system quick, easy, and reliable. You also get a lot of flexibility thanks to the dual 4 ohm voice coil design – fantastic for systems use 2 or more subwoofers!

As it uses a dual voice coil design, the flexibility is excellent and you’ll have a ton of installation options:

  • One 2, 4, or 8 ohm subwoofer
  • 2 or more subwoofers allow 8, 4, 2, and even 1 ohm

Pick up 2 or more of these great little guys and you can wire them for down to 1 ohms total to get the most out of your bass amp.

Great for a low-cost slammin’ system!

I don’t like that as some companies do, they’re sold using the peak power rating. Don’t expect 1,800 watts of power handling, as that’s not continuous power. However, they are rated for a fantastic 900W RMS of real-world power use.

If everything I’ve listed here wasn’t enough there’s one more thing to know: buyer reviews are great and tons of people love it! You really can’t go wrong for the money

Don’t just take my word for it, have a look for yourself!

Be sure to head over and check out the amazing buyer reviews and low price at Amazon.

2. Pyle Power Series – Cheap but good. Short on cash? You can still get great bass!

Pyle Power PLPW10D subwoofer front and rear view images

Getting cheap and good bass might seem out of reach – but it’s not! The Pyle Power series of budget subwoofers like this PLPW10D are super-affordable gems at under $40.

You’ll get more than just any old low-cost sub. Check out the features:

  • 2″, dual-layer dual 4 ohm voice voils
  • Stitched edge durable cone
  • Vented 50 oz magnet
  • Spring-loaded wire terminals
  • 90dB/1W efficiency
  • 400W RMS power rating (10″ model)
  • 8″, 10″, 12″, 15″ size options

Pyle PLPW10D subwoofer front image

Unlike other budget subwoofers you get a stitched edge cone for better build quality – great for long-lasting bass for years. It’s a well-made speaker for the cost (below $40 for the 10″ model).

Thanks to the high efficiency (90dB/1 watt) you’ll need less power to drive it, unlike competitors (even more expensive ones!) with a lower sensitivity rating.

With 400W RMS of power handling, you’re sure to get the bass you need it both sealed or vented enclosures. It’s a well-made sub for the price. 8″, 10, 12″, and 15″ sizes are available as well.

Just be aware that it’s not designed to handle extreme amounts of power – this isn’t a competition subwoofer.

However, if you’re tight on cash, it’s an excellent choice and delivers a good, basic subwoofer that gets the job done.

A great starter sub! Pick up 2 or more and you can wire them for 8, 4, 2, or even 1 ohm for optimal amp use.

Check it out today! See why over 1,000 people are raving about this low-priced sub at Amazon.

3. Pioneer Champion Series TSW311S4 – Excellent quality, power efficiency, and quality that’s affordable!

Pioneer TW261S4 subwoofer product imageThe Pioneer Champion series TWS311S4 12″ and TSW261S4 10″ 4-ohm single voice coils subwoofers are some of the best budget subwoofers today for under $75.

They’re an excellent buy with fantastic buyer reviews to back them up.

Unlike cheaper subwoofers, Pioneer developed its own injection-molded polypropylene (IMPP) composite seamless cone and a more solid, heavier-mass stamped steel basket for great heat dissipation.

Thanks to the cast basket, the frame is incredibly rigid for those hard bass notes that stress lesser subwoofers.

Pioneer TSW311S4 subwoofer side angle

Sensitivity at 1 watt is one of the best, being at 93 dB. This means you’ll get more volume for less power than competitors.

As big as it may look, mounting depth is only 5 1/2″. Power handling is a great 350W RMS, too!

If you’re looking for a great combination of quality, efficiency, and value, they’re a fantastic option.

Don’t wait, get them before they’re gone! Be sure to check out the current low price with free shipping at Amazon.

Need a 10″ version? Have a look at the excellent 10

4. Rockford Fosgate Punch P2D4-12 Punch 12″ – Wonderful bass & power below $100

Rockford Fosgate P2D4-12 product imageThe Rockford Fosgate P2D4 2 x 4 ohm dual voice coil subwoofer features excellent sonic performance and features with additional flexibility (note: a 2 x 2 ohm model, the P2D2-12, is available as well).

There’s plenty to love, including the incredibly strong and stiff cast basket, spring loaded terminals conveniently on the side, and a lightweight yet stiff & durable cone.

The paper cone is reinforced with Kevlar and a durable Santoprene surround outlasts cheaper competitors. Power is rated at 400W RMS so you’ll want to have sufficient power available to drive it.

Rockford Fosgate P2D4-12 12" subwoofer inverted view

The RMS power capability actually exceeds that of  the JL audio 10W0V3-4 that’s rated at only 300W for about the same price.

It’s a great performer that’s designed and built with the legendary world-renowned Rockford Fosgate quality – you know it’s worthy of being a part of the Punch family of high-performance subwoofers and amps.

Frequency response is 27-250Hz and mounting depth is 6 3/8″.

It’s a great-sounding, hard-hitting subwoofer under $100. 

If you’re ready for a long-lasting serious subwoofer that won’t break the bank, it’s a smart buy. Have a look at the great owner reviews and current low price at Amazon.

 


Additional info

If you’ve never installed a subwoofer or an amplifier before, be sure to check out my post “How To Install A Subwoofer And Subwoofer Amp In Your Car.”

If you’re also looking for a good budget amp to drive your new subs with, here’s a great guide about budget amps that will surely help you find one that you can afford and will enjoy.

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