8 Inch vs. 10 Inch vs. 12 Inch Subwoofers

8 Inch vs. 10 Inch vs. 12 Inch Subwoofers


When you have decided that you want to add a subwoofer to your vehicle, you need to decide which size will not only fit but also meet your needs.  Car subwoofers range from 6.5 inches, all the way up to 19 inches in diameter.  While there are many sizes, the three most popular sizes are 8 inch, 10 inch, and 12-inch subwoofers.  We will break it down to help you find the best size for your installation, budget, and listening preference.

8 Inch Subwoofers

8 inch subwoofers deliver tight bass in a relatively small space.  Many newer vehicles today that come with a subwoofer will come with a factory-installed 8-inch subwoofer.  You can upgrade your existing subwoofer, or you can easily add some low end to your stereo system without taking up much space or spending a ton of money.  An 8" subwoofer is going to give you tight, clean bass.  There are some 8-inch subwoofers that sound really nice and some might even compare them to a lower end 10" or 12", but generally speaking, an 8 subwoofer is going to give you nice, affordable, clean bass.  If you are getting your first subwoofer, an 8" will get you in the door with a subwoofer without breaking the bank on both the subwoofer or your amplifier.

Best Overall
Best Overall 8 inch Subwoofer
JL Audio 8W3v3-4
If you want maximum performance from an 8" subwoofer without going over the top, the JL 8W3v3 can't be beat.
Best Low Profile
Best Low Profile 8 inch Subwoofer
Kicker Comp RT
If you want a shallow mount 8 inch subwoofer, the Kicker Comp RT is the way to go and don't waste your time with other options.
Best Entry Level
Best Entry Level 8 inch Subwoofer
Kicker Comp C
If you need to add some bass, and want an affordable solution, the Kicker Comp C delivers clean, tight bass at an affordable price.


  • Smaller Size Fits in More Vehicles
  • Work in Small Enclosures
  • Less Expensive than 10" or 12" Subwoofers
  • Tight Punchy Bass without Being Too "Boomy"


  • Lower Power Handling than 10" or 12" Subwoofers
  • They Don't Go That Low
  • They Lack the Punch of a 10" or a 12"

Check out our complete list of the best 8 Inch subwoofers for cars. We give recommendations based on price point, mounting depth, and our overall favorites.

10 Inch Subwoofers

10 inch subwoofers take it up a notch over 8-inch subwoofers.  A 10-inch subwoofer is the smallest, "true subwoofer."  Not to take anything away from the 8-inch subs, but a 10-inch subwoofer handles more power, plays louder, and will not feel like a compromise.  Most 8 inch subwoofers just don't have the guts that a 10" offers.  A 10" subwoofer is usually going to require you to install a box or enclosure somewhere but you get bass that is going to hit hard and it's going to be able to get loud.  

The ability to get loud and playing loud are two different things though.  Most 10 inch subwoofers will give you the ability to rattle the trunk, but if you don't like that, you don't have to turn the bass up.  A 10-inch subwoofer in a sealed box is perfect for crisp, tight, punchy bass that makes sure you get the right amount of bass for your listening style.  If you want to feel the kick drum in Hotel California, a 10-inch subwoofer is perfect.  You will still hear it with an 8", but it will just sound that much better if you have one or two 10s.

We probably sell more 10 inch subwoofers than any other size and 10 inch subwoofers are perfect for classic cars to ensure that you get enough bass to hear it over the exhaust from your V8.

Best Overall
Best Overall 10 inch Subwoofer
JL Audio 10W6v3-D4
A 10" subwoofer that absolutely hammers from the most iconic name in car subwoofers. 600 watts of RMS power handling and very little air space required.
Best Step Up
Best Upgrade 10 inch Subwoofer
Kicker Comp R
If you are looking for a 10 inch "step-up" woofer over the entry level products, you can't beat the value with the Kicker Comp R.
Best Low Profile
Best Low Profile 10 inch Subwoofer
JL Audio TW3
This is our favorite low profile subwoofer. The JL Audio TW3 sets the bar for a low-profile performance subwoofer. With 400W RMS, this suwoofer delivers full size output with minimal depth.


  • True Subwoofer Output
  • 10" Subwoofer Delivery Tight, Punchy, Bass (Especially in a Sealed Box)
  • 10" Size Fits in More Vehicles than a 12"
  • Less Expensive than 12"
  • A 10" Doesn't Feel Like a Compromise like Some 8" Subwoofers


  • They Don't have the Output vs. 12" Subwoofer
  • Not as Boomy as 12's

Check out our complete list of the best 10 Inch subwoofers for cars in the article below. We give recommendations based on price point, mounting depth, and our overall favorites

12 Inch Subwoofers

12 inch subwoofers are the largest size subwoofer that is virtually offered across all product lines. Yes, 15-inch subwoofers are pretty "standard" but not all brands make a 15" in every size, and the market for 15s, just isn't close the to market for 12's due to the significant size difference.  A 12-inch subwoofer can do everything that the 10-inch model can, but the 10-inch version cant do everything the 12" can.  This is the number one thing to consider if you are deciding between 10s and 12s.  The 12-inch subwoofers handle more power, they play louder, they are boomier, and many people find that they just sound better.  But, 12-inch subwoofers are more expensive, they usually handle more power and you end up buying a bigger amplifier, and you need more space for both the mounting diameter and overall enclosure volume.  If you have never had a subwoofer before and you don't listen to hip hop, a 10 inch subwoofer will probably be fine and that's what I would recommend.  However, if you have had 12s before, or you have had 10s before, the 12's just have a certain "it" factor that 10 inch subwoofer just seem to lack.  If you have the space, power, and budget for a 12-inch subwoofer and you are deciding between 10-inch and 12-inch subwoofers, go with the 12s.  

Best Overall
Best Overall 12 inch Subwoofer
JL Audio 12W7AE-3
A 12" subwoofer delivers nearly limitless dynamics, exceptional balance and world-class sound quality. 1000 watts of RMS power handling from the most iconic name in subwoofers.
Best Value
Best Value 12 inch Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate P3
Affordable performance. The P3's are the "go-to" subwoofer in Rockford Fosgate's product line. Great power handling, great output, priced right.
Low Profile Value
Best Low Profile Value 12 inch Subwoofer
Kicker Comp RT
This is our favorite low profile subwoofer. Yes, there are better options, but not for the money. The CompRT is close to the TW3 and half the cost.


  • More Surface Cone Area = Louder, Harder Hitting Bass
  • More Power Handling = Louder, Cleaner Output
  • It's Easier to Turn Bass Down when You Don't Want it vs. Adding More Bass When You Don't Have Enough
  • A 12" Can Do Everything a 10" Can. A 10" Can't Do Everything a 12" Can.


  • More Expensive than Both 8" and 10" Subwoofers
  • Larger Subwoofer Typically Requires a Larger Box
  • Some Vehicles Don't Have the Space

Our article on the best 12 Inch subwoofers will help you find the perfect product to deliver the right amount of bass for your budget, space restrictions, and desired output level.


The best subwoofer for you will be one that fits in your vehicle, one that you can properly power, and one that fits your budget.

If you Like Bass

If size, power, space, and budget aren't issues, go with the 12 inch subwoofers. If 12s won't work, go with 10 inch subwoofers. If 10-inch subwoofers won't work, go with 8 inch subwoofers.

If You Listen to Classic Rock and You Like Tight Punchy Bass

If you listen to classic rock and you want to add some bottom end for full-range output, a 10" sub in a sealed box is going to sound really nice and probably do the trick for you.

If You Just Need Something Because You have Zero Bass

If you just need to add something because you have zero bass, an 8 inch subwoofer will get you something without forcing you to spend a bunch of money. You may even want to check out an 8 inch powered subwoofer enclosure for an easy, all-in-one solution.

Need more info? We'd be happy to help.
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