JL Audio TW3 vs. TW5 Subwoofer
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JL Audio TW3 vs. TW5 Subwoofer

JL Audio TW3 vs. TW5 Subwoofer

JL Audio TW3

The JL Audio TW3 series subwoofers provide full-size subwoofer output in a low-profile frame. The TW3 series subwoofers do not need much air space to operate and have become very popular due to their space-saving design that avoids sacrificing any output. The TW3 series is capable of a greater excursion than that of the JL Audio W3 model. These JL Audio subwoofers have become one of our "go-to" woofers because they can fit just about anywhere. Their output stacks right up against the W3 series.

JL Audio TW5

The JL Audio TW5 series is their premium, top of the line, thin-mount woofer. The TW5 series uses JL Audio's concentric tube design, which supports an oversized voice coil, and allows production to mount the motor structure further forward on the unit. As a result, the depth of the subwoofer is greatly reduced, still allowing for outstanding excursion on the subwoofer unit. The JL Audio TW5 series subwoofer is the perfect decision for the ultimate performance paired with ultimate installation flexibility.


The JL Audio TW3 series comes in both a 10" and 12" model, while the JL Audio TW5 series is only available in a larger 13.5" size.

Voice Coils

The JL Audio TW3 series comes with a dual voice coil in both the 10" and 12" models and features your choice between a dual 4-ohm voice coil or a dual 8-ohm voice coil in each size. The JL Audio TW5 series is a single-coil subwoofer and also comes in either a 2-ohm or 4-ohm version.

Power Handling

The JL Audio 10" and 12" models in the TW3 series both have RMS power handling at 400 watts for both the 4 and 8-ohm models. The JL Audio 13.5" TW5 models have premium 600 watt RMS power handling, a nice upgrade over the 400 watts of the TW3 lineup at either size.

Mounting Depth

Since there is no direct size comparison between the 10" and 12" models vs. the 13.5" model, we can take the 12" TW3 model as the closest comparison to the 13.5" TW5 model. Since the 13.5" model is JL Audio's premium thin mount subwoofer, it has an even shallower top-mount depth than both the 10" and 12" TW3 models! It's quite the amazing feat of engineering and should be considered as the premium choice for any installations requiring a tight fit or sleek low profile design.

Recommended Enclosure Size

The TW5 models are not recommended for ported box installation. When comparing them to the larger 12" TW3 models for a sealed box enclosure, the 13.5" TW5 model has the same sealed box recommended volume at 0.8 cubic feet as the TW3 12" subwoofer.

Recommended Amplifiers

The recommended amplifier for your subwoofers will vary greatly depending on the size and quantity of subwoofers you select for your installation. The following lists are comparisons between amplifiers for subwoofers in the same dimensions between the different models. The list begins with a factory recommendation for amps that provide enough power handling for the subwoofer(s), and then move on to our professional recommendations that may vary slightly from the factory recommendations. These Classic Car Stereo recommendations may be an amp with a higher price point that will service the subs better, or an amp that provides RMS power handling over the recommended amount which will allow you to not have to maximize the output on your amp to provide full power to your subs.

*SPECIAL NOTE ON TW3 VS TW5 SUBWOOFER MODELS: Since there are no direct sizes to compare between the two models, we're leaving the recommended amplifiers section blank here.

Price Points

The JL Audio TW5 models do not come cheap, but for any JL Audio enthusiast, the upgrade for premium construction materials and engineering for a top of the line thin mount subwoofer will be worth every penny in your next installation.

In Conclusion

The JL Audio TW3 and TW5 series of subwoofers are both great choices for thin-line subwoofer installation. The JL Audio TW5 series does only come in a 13.5" diameter which will limit its application in some installations. If you need more versatility in your selection for sizing, we'd recommend the 10" or 12" model(s) in the TW3 series. However, if you're able to utilize the sizing of the TW5 model, the upgraded power handling and material construction is a fantastic upgrade if you have the extra budget available for it in your installation. The main factors to consider with your choice here will be the limitations of your installation space and your budget for your entire installation. Once you have those figured out, it should easily guide you to the right selection between these two series of subwoofers.

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