JL Audio W3 vs. TW3 Subwoofer
The JL Audio W3 series subwoofer has been around forever and performs remarkably in the mid-power subwoofer class. The JL Audio W3 series offers great output and minimal distortion thanks to the same technologies handed down from JL Audio's flagship, the W7 series woofer. The JL Audio W3 series is well balanced in terms of its output, its power handling, and the enclosure box requirements.
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.
The JL Audio W3 series comes in several different sizes that include 6.5", 8", 10", 12". and 13.5" models, allowing for more versatility in sizing over the TW3 models. The JL Audio TW3 series comes in just two options, a 10" and 12" model.
The JL Audio W3 series features a single coil construction model across all the sizes in the series. 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 W3 series has RMS power handling ranging from 150-600 Watts across the entire line but it depends on size. But, if you are comparing these subwoofers, let's assume that you are looking at either a 10-inch or 12-inch subwoofer(s). Both the 10-inch and 12-inch W3 subwoofers handle up to 500W RMS while the 10-inch and 12-inch TW3 subwoofers handle up to 400W RMS.
The TW3 Series of subwoofers has much greater versatility when it comes to installation depth and is one of the biggest separating factors between the TW3 and W3 series. The TW3 series should be considered over the W3 line if your installation requires any space-saving requirements. If you have as much space as you need for your installation, then you'd want to consider the W3 lineup of subwoofers instead.
Recommended Enclosure Size
The sealed and ported box enclosure needs are also much less for the TW3 series in this comparison. If you are working with any space restrictions on your install, you'll want to be looking at the TW3 line over the W3 series here.
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.
Sub: (Qty 1) W3 10"
Sub: (Qty 1) TW3 10"
Sub: (Qty 2) W3 10"
Sub: (Qty 2) TW3 10"
Sub: (Qty 1) W3 12"
Sub: (Qty 1) TW3 12"
Sub: (Qty 2) W3 12"
Sub: (Qty 2) TW3 12"
Between the models that have comparable sizing between the two lines, you're looking at a very slight price increase for the TW3 line. So if saving space is a need or requirement in your installation, the small increase in cost for the TW3 series is well worth it.
Similar to the JL Audio W1 and TW1 comparison article, the W3 and TW3 lineup of subwoofers are also a regular size vs. thin-line model of JL Audio's mid-range subwoofers. The W3 lineup has a more versatile sizing range with almost every diameter imaginable to select for your install. If you have space restrictions and can work with a 10" or 12" diameter, then you'll want to be looking at the TW3 lineup of subs here. For all other installations, the wide variety of JL Audio's mid-range W3 lineup will be a great selection for your installation.