The Best Home Subwoofers for 2021
Last updated on October 21, 2021
How low do you want to go? If you love watching movies in your home theater, the answer is very. And the way to get there is by adding the right subwoofer to your sound system. In action films and video games, soundtracks often go lower than humans can hear, though we can still feel those sounds. And that’s one of the main goals of a good subwoofer in your system: To make you feel the dinosaur footfalls, explosions, electronic kick drums, and other things that make big thuds.
In concept, subwoofers are simple. They’re self-powered. Their cabinets are either sealed or ported. They typically put out sound only in the 15Hz – 200Hz range, give or take a few Hertz.
Choosing the best sub for your system may be anything but simple, however, as the decision involves several important factors — with which our in-house experts are extremely familiar, so if you want to skip the stats and just get the job done, pick up the phone and call us now!
Important considerations include the size of your home theater room in cubic feet (up to 1,500 cu/ft a 10" driver will do, up to 3,000 go with 12", above that 15"), the size of cabinet you can accommodate (sealed units are small, ported units can be huge), the type of listening you do (lots of explosions and electronic dance music require superb response below 20Hz, rom-coms and jazz may be fine with 20Hz or higher), wired vs. wireless, and plain old power output. A common misconception holds that sealed is better for music because of fast driver response and that ported is better for sound effects due to raw power at very low frequencies. But some sealed units can rattle your walls below 20Hz and some ported units can make Beethoven’s Ninth into a transcendental listening experience. (For an in depth comparison of ported vs. sealed subwoofers, check out this article.)
So, how to make your choice? If you have a sound bar that offers a sub designed and configured for that system and that you can connect wirelessly by simply turning the unit on, your decision may already be made. If not, read the following reviews closely, contact our experts, and take advantage of our return policy to make sure the subs you get deliver the experience you want.
Here Are Our Picks for the Best Home Subwoofers of 2021:
Best Wireless Subwoofer:
Sonos Sub Wireless Subwoofer (Gen 3)
Best Ported Subwoofer:
SVS PB-1000 Pro Ported Subwoofer
Best Sealed Subwoofer:
SVS SB-1000 Pro 12" 325W Sealed Box Subwoofer
Best Home Theater Subwoofer:
SVS SB-3000 13" Subwoofer
Best Home Audio Subwoofer:
Klipsch SPL-120 12" Subwoofer
Most Powerful Subwoofer:
SVS PB16-Ultra 1500 Watt Ported Cabinet Subwoofer
Best Subwoofer for the Money:
Klipsch R-120SW 12" Subwoofer
Best Budget Subwoofer:
Polk Audio React Wireless Subwoofer
Best Subwoofer Under $500:
KLH Stratton 10 350W Subwoofer
Best Subwoofer Under $1000:
Bluesound PULSE SUB+ 8" Wireless Powered Subwoofer
Best Small Subwoofer for Home:
SVS 3000 Micro Subwoofer
Best 10″ Subwoofer:
Klipsch SPL-100 10" Subwoofer
Best 12″ Subwoofer:
KLH Stratton 12 450W Subwoofer
Best 15″ Subwoofer:
Klipsch SPL-150SW 15" Bass-Reflex Subwoofer
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1. The Best Wireless Subwoofer:
Looks aren’t everything in a speaker, but the brilliant design of the Sub (gotta love the name, too) is as functional as it is eye-popping. The hole in the middle hides two ports, inside of which are identical drivers, aimed to fire directly at each other and configured to cancel out excess vibration while enhancing response. The result is that the Sub has almost no rattle or vibration, even when it’s pumping EDM. Another feature of this unique design is that you can stand the Sub vertically or lay it on its side, with no change in performance. You can even slide it under a piece of furniture and still get full response.
Not only does it add serious theatrical thumps to your movie night, but when you’re grooving to music it’ll make your Sonos system sound even better, by letting the Sub handle the low end while the sound bar renders the mids and highs with even more clarity.
The Sub connects wirelessly with the push of its connect button, and your Sonos system automatically configures the Sub optimally for whatever you’re playing. You do have a little control via the Sonos app, which allows you to flip the phase of the Sub and reduce or increase its volume. While the Sub is ideal for the Arc and Beam sound bars, you can add the Sub to any Sonos system that’s running the S2 version; it won’t work with S1-equipped systems, however.
2. The Best Ported Subwoofer:
SVS is one of the leading manufacturers of high-performance subwoofers, and we’ve been highly impressed by the advances and improvements they continue to make. The PB-1000 ported sub is ideal for medium-sized rooms, and it delivers powerful effects and warm bass at satisfying and wall-shaking levels. Going against conventional wisdom that says ported enclosures make for sloppy bass, the response is quick and tight, making the PB-1000 one of those ported subs that excels at music as well as movies, thanks to advanced speaker design and pairing with the amazingly efficient and powerful amplifier. And if you want to put the PB-1000 in its sealed mode and make its response even tighter, just close the ports with plugs that are available at no charge.
Not many subs in this price range offer this much flexibility with configuration. Using the controls on the rear panel or with the app, you can adjust the level and crossover, and with the app, you have parametric EQ and adjustable low pass, phase, polarity, room gain compensation, and port tuning control for best alignment with speakers. Add the optional SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter for wireless connectivity.
Watch our full video review of the PB-1000 Pro, here.
3. The Best Sealed Subwoofer:
$599.00 – $699.00
This is one powerful little box. Just as its ported cousin the PB-1000 delivers tighter bass response than many other ported subs, this sealed cabinet sub exceeds expectations by delivering bass well into the extended range below 20Hz, putting it in the running for any size home theater project. This sub’s exceptional performance is a result of SVS’s engineering achievements with their speaker and amplifier technology as well as their cabinet design and configuration. The long-throw 12" driver is designed to be highly efficient, dissipating heat quickly and responding instantly to content.
With the SVS BLE smartphone app, you have tremendous tuning control over the SB-1000, including level and crossover, parametric EQ, low pass filter, phase, polarity, room gain compensation, and port tuning control. If you have a system that has a dedicated Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel, just connect it via the RCA LFE port. Add the optional SoundPath Wireless Audio Adapter to the SB-1000, and you can add the sub to your rig, but skip the cable. Glossy black and white finishes are available, too, for an additional $100.
Watch our full video review of the SB-1000 Pro, here.
4. The Best Home Theater Subwoofer:
$1,099.00 – $1,199.00
If you have a big room and love big bass, this just might be your subwoofer. The SB-3000 has a sealed enclosure, but with 800W of continuous power and with a driver designed to accurately transmit very low frequencies, it can deliver sounds well below the range of human hearing. It’s one of those rare beasts that excel at theatrical effects as well as music.
Besides having a beautifully engineered power amp and driver, the SB-3000 gives you an extraordinary amount of control over audio and tuning parameters that do more than just make it sound good: You can tweak it to sound good in any location in your room. With the SVS BLE app, you have control of crossover frequencies, parametric EQ with adjustable frequency and Q, polarity, and room gain compensation control with adjustable frequency and slope. The app and the SB-3000’s display give you visual confirmation of your adjustments.
For a sub with this much power and output, it is remarkably compact. And with a choice of two finishes, you won’t mind having it on display with the rest of your furniture.
5. The Best Home Audio Subwoofer:
Save: $90.00 (11%)
Klipsch underscores their expertise in subwoofer engineering with their tagline: Pissing off the neighbors since 1946. Their bravado seems to come through in the design of their subs, which in the case of the SPL-120 literally shines from the spun-copper speaker. The metallic gleam isn’t just for your eye, however; the driver material is actually a composite of materials that includes spun copper, the goal of which is to minimize or eliminate distortion and unwanted resonance — that’s what happens when the cabinet or material of a speaker enhances vibration at certain frequencies, making those louder than the rest of the audio content.
You get the picture: They’ve been at this a while, and their subs reflect this experience. Case in point: The SPL-120 is ideal for medium or large-sized home theater rooms. You can connect it with cable, or wirelessly with an optional wireless adapter kit. To integrate with multiple audio systems, the two sources can be used at the same time.
The SPL-120 has a remarkably even response even at its lowest frequencies, and bass sounds tight and clean, even though the cabinet is ported. With 300W of power, you can get rowdy, and the output is pleasing, even when you do try to annoy your neighbors.
6. The Most Powerful Subwoofer:
It’s not often that you want to invite a monster into your home. Provided your home theater room is large enough to handle mind-blowing bass power, this is one of those times. The PB16-Ultra is one of the most powerful consumer subwoofers on the market. But like other SVS subs, it’s capable of exquisite subtlety, smoothness, and musicality as well. And it gives you complete control over its tuning, EQ, and room response, right from your smartphone, so this is a beast you can tame.
The PB16-Ultra isn’t for apartment dwellers, nor does it pretend to blend in with your interior design — it’s here to impress. With a newly designed 16" driver (the biggest ever in an SVS sub) and an 8" voice coil (that’s the part that actually gets the driver to move air, and it’s the biggest ever in any consumer subwoofer), the PB16-Ultra can make the earth quake, down to an astonishing 13Hz. Its LED display is on the front panel, where you can easily see it as it confirms your settings. Three ports allow that 16" driver to get a long enough throw going to set those low frequencies in motion. The Sledge STA-1500D amplifier generates an awesome amount of power to keep that epic driver going.
How does it sound? From sound effects that you’ll feel throughout your entire body to new details in the low end of your favorite tracks, the PB16-Ultra delivers an amazing audio experience.
7. The Best Subwoofer for the Money:
Save: $300.00 (50%)
Word on the street is that the Klipsch R-series subwoofers are the inexpensive, entry-level siblings of the SPL line. While it’s true that the R models cost less than the corresponding SPL models of the same size, that’s the only thing that’s been reduced. The R-120SW’s performance is audiophile-quality, providing extremely musical and pleasant output down to 29Hz, with enough power to give you movie night thrills. The signature copper driver looks cool for sure, but it’s all in service of delivering great sound: The spun copper is a composite of several materials designed to eliminate the distortion that sometimes plagues subwoofers, as well as to avoid resonant spikes due to cabinet and driver construction.
The back panel sports line-level and LFE inputs, so you can integrate the R-120SW easily into any audio system, from stereo to sound bar to multi-channel surround. At this price, sure, this would be a great first subwoofer for anyone starting to expand their home theater rig, but the pro-level R-120SW will keep up with your audio upgrades for a long time to come.
8. The Best Budget Subwoofer:
With built-in Alexa, the Polk Audio React sound bar is a fantastic sound system for small to medium rooms, plus, it’s very affordable. So when it comes time to consider adding the React Wireless Subwoofer, there should be no question for you.
This sub connects wirelessly to your React sound bar, and the React system automatically configures the sub for optimal sound for every kind of content you could stream — it’s the wireless equivalent of “plug-and-play,” but without the plug part — aside from the power cable. This sub has a slim, groovy appearance that suggests “décor” rather than “installation.” You can also add the SR2 Wireless Surround Speakers to maximize your theatrical experience.
With the React sub as part of your home theater system, you’ll notice a big improvement in the sound of your music and more impact in your movie watching experience — and at $199, it’s not much of an impact on your bank account.
- System-specific: Polk React
- Cabinet: Ported
- Connection: Wireless
- Driver: 7"
- Frequency response: N/A
- Continuous Power Output: N/A
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 13.7" x 8.6" x 16.5"
9. The Best Subwoofer Under $500:
KLH has updated their Stratton subwoofer line substantially, in all the right ways. As you’d guess from the name, the Stratton 10 features a 10" driver and a compact footprint, which may seem like it’s designed for rooms on the smaller end of the spectrum. But with 350W of continuous power, this sub could give you all the bottom you need in spaces of up to 2000 square feet or more, depending on the configuration of your room.
The driver has been redesigned and manufactured with updated materials, and it delivers beautifully precise bass and plenty of action-movie thump, thanks in equal parts to the sealed enclosure and the well-matched power amp. Controls are simple on the back panel, with a dedicated LFE input and knobs for crossover, phase, and volume.
The look is similarly streamlined and efficient. You may not get all the choices of finish that other subs offer, but you will get fantastic sound and power at a very reasonable price.
10. The Best Subwoofer Under $1,000:
If you’ve checked out the Bluesound Pulse system, you know what we mean by the term “ecosystem.” At first glance, the Pulse sound bar appears to be a huge enclosure for large drivers — and that’s part of why it sounds so good. But the Pulse also incorporates the latest technology for optimum playback of music and movies, such as full compatibility with Dolby Atmos content, advanced two-way Bluetooth, high-resolution audio compatibility, and — important to our discussion of the Sub+ — dual-band WiFi, which is how the Sub+ connects to the Pulse sound bar, rather than with Bluetooth.
The Sub+ itself is a marvel of engineering, with a slim profile of less than 6", but a wide 18" enclosure. This lets you put the Sub+ anywhere, including mounting it on a wall, and still get the best sound.
And the sound is very impressive. It helps a great deal that the Sub+ is completely configured by the BlueOS system — though you can adjust polarity and crossover with the BlueOS app — and your content will always sound amazing automatically, whether it’s a Dolby multi-channel blockbuster, a high-resolution stereo audio track, or your go-to re-runs.
11. The Best Small Subwoofer for Home:
This subwoofer is almost in a category of its own. Remember the box your basketball or volleyball came in? It’s about that size, but it can put out 800W of continuous power. With that much bass output, how does SVS keep the 3000 Micro from bouncing downcourt and doing a layup? By brilliantly engineering two perfectly tuned 8" drivers to fire in opposite directions, canceling out all vibrations and unwanted resonance. That, and building a reinforced cabinet that feels as though it’ll withstand being run over by a Mack truck.
Though the sealed cabinet is unbelievably compact, the 3000 Micro can put out sound effects and kick drums at chest-thumping levels. The amp is virtually the same as the one in the SVS subwoofers that cost nearly $20k, and the quality of the sound will convince you of the amp’s lineage.
It’s totally cool-looking, too. The steel grilles are attractive and functional, and whether in black piano gloss or white gloss, the 3000 Micro will attract the eye as much as it delights the ear. Plus, you can add the wireless option and avoid the unsightly cable run.
Watch our full video review of the 3000 Micro, here.
- System-specific: No
- Cabinet: Sealed
- Connection: Wired with wireless option
- Driver: Dual 8"
- Frequency response: 23Hz to 240Hz
- Continuous Power Output: 800W
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 10.9" x 11.7" x 10.7"
12. The Best 10″ Subwoofer:
Save: $259.01 (39%)
The SPL-100 takes all the power, driver innovations, and excellent sound reproduction of its larger cousins, the SPL-120 and SPL-150, and puts them in a package that is ideal for smaller home theater environments. The gleaming driver cone sports the same spun-copper composite material as the larger units, and that ensures a highly even response throughout the frequency range while minimizing distortion and anomalous resonances. An analog preamp makes your audio sound smooth, no matter the content, from Beethoven to a blast-off bombast.
200W of power may sound modest, but with the integration of the SPL-100’s amp and driver, it’s more than enough to fill your room with incredible audio without breaking a sweat. The front-facing speaker and tuned port let you place the SPL-100 wherever it sounds and looks best, and avoids the audio coupling with walls that can literally rattle your brain. What you’ll get instead is tight bass with your music and gorgeous cinematic sound with your movies — with plenty of the thump and thud that you love with sound effects.
13. The Best 12″ Subwoofer:
Looking for a way to fill a medium-sized home theater room with some powerful bass at a reasonable price? The Stratton 12 should be on your list. For as much sound as this modestly-price sub puts out, it has a very reasonable size — it’s not going to make you feel like you added a dorm fridge to your family room. As with the Stratton 10, the gains in sound output and quality are a result of KLH’s driver design and construction improvements, as well as integration of a very efficient and powerful amplifier.
On the outside, however, none of that amazing tech is apparent to the eye. The neutral grey finish and simple, compact enclosure don’t call attention to the Stratton 12. Controls are basic on the back panel, with crossover, polarity, and volume knobs.
But this serves to focus on the main strengths of the Stratton 12, which are fantastic bass that will rumble and thump all you want in a 1500-2500 square-foot space, and a price that won’t shake down your budget.
14. The Best 15″ Subwoofer:
If there’s a rumble, there’s usually a Klipsch involved, and the SPL-150SW is often one of the suspects. This is the beast of the Klipsch line of subs: Its driver is huge, its amp is powerful, and its low frequency response gets well into the bone-shaking subsonic range. But this sub and its shiny driver aren’t just a way for weekend DJs to generate excitement. The engineering of the speaker, voice coil, and basket is remarkable, and that glowing spun-copper look reflects not just an aesthetic choice, but a manufacturing breakthrough that makes sure your audio is transmitted by a composite material that resists distortion and resonance aberrations — even at the volume levels we know you’re thinking about right now.
In a market that’s full of digital audio, the integrated amplifier of the SPL-150SW has an analog preamp, which is what many audiophiles require for a superb listening experience. At 400W, that beautiful sound is going to fill the largest of home theater rooms, with tons of headroom to spare.
Dual connectivity with wired connectors and the optional wireless adapter means you can have the SPL-150SW respond instantly to your sound bar or your stereo without having to switch inputs on a menu — a nice touch for households with nicely-appointed audio systems. And speaking of nice, the scratch-resistant finish has an ebony-like wood grain look that is quite appealing.
Still not sure? We got this.
Subwoofers can be beasts. So if you’re still not sure which is best for you and your room, give us a call or send us an email. Tell us about your room (dimensions would be very helpful), what kind of movies and TV shows you like, and your budget. We’d be more than happy to help you pick the ideal subwoofer for you.
One more thing:
A last word of advice: buy your new subwoofer from a trusted dealer. And the more experience and longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens.
Speaking of trusted dealers...
World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet die-hard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy.
Plus, shopping with us means you get our guarantee, which includes perks like free shipping, 60-day returns, award-winning support, and service long after the sale — always. Hence our rule: "no one leaves unhappy."