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Which subwoofer box should I buy?

Finding the best subwoofer box for your audio system

If you've ever felt like the audio coming from your car stereo or home theater doesn't sound right, or that the bass is lacking, you need a subwoofer box. Whatever style of music you prefer, adding a subwoofer and box to your audio system can get you the clear, rich sound you’ve always wanted.

There are four main types of subwoofer closures to choose from — sealed, ported, bandpass and free-air — each with its pros and cons.

Purpose of a subwoofer

A subwoofer’s main purpose is to deliver lower sound frequencies, around 20 to 200 hertz, to create bass-rich audio. They excel at delivering the raw feeling of the bass and sub-bass you typically hear in movies and music, such as:

  • Bass guitars
  • Explosions in movies and other sound effects
  • Drums
  • Deeper voices
  • Pipe organs

A standard speaker system can still let you hear the bass, but a subwoofer amplifies the audio so you feel it on a more visceral level. This is what makes them so popular.

Types of subwoofer boxes

A subwoofer box is a closure that houses the subwoofer. Many come with a box, but it might not capture the sound or give you the feeling you’re looking for.

The main box types are:

  • Sealed: A sealed box completely encloses the subwoofer in an airtight container. As the audio plays, the bass is tighter and has less boom, giving the listener a more precise sound. These are often small and require additional power.
  • Ported: These boxes incorporate a small vent, called a port, which provides a louder or richer bass sound. Ported closures are ideal for anyone who enjoys rock 'n' roll since they can deliver a deeper bass sound through the vent.
  • Bandpass: This type of closure takes the main features of sealed and ported boxes and combines them. The subwoofer sits inside an airtight box that faces a chamber with a vent in front of it. The soundwaves coming from the ported side are louder than those of other boxes and have a narrower frequency range for maximum slam. Some subwoofers aren’t compatible with this type.
  • Free-air: Although not a box, this design uses a vehicle’s trunk as the enclosure. It only works with free-air subwoofers, but it’s good for pumping up the bass without taking up much space.

Box size

Most subwoofers are around 8 to 15 inches, so make sure the box has a cutout or hole that accommodates it well. Besides being able to fit the subwoofer, the size of the closure can affect:

  • The quality and loudness of the bass coming through the audio system. A larger closure, for example, has more air space inside. This means it can capture a deeper bass sound better.
  • Where you install the subwoofer. If you have ample room in a home theater, you can use a larger box. But if you want to put it in a car with more limited space, a smaller one is better.

A sealed subwoofer is usually better for those with limited room or who only want one device. Ported subwoofers, meanwhile, are ideal for home theaters or larger areas.


Most subwoofer closures have a simple design without a lot of extra components. They’re meant to be durable and produce the best possible audio, though. Common materials include:

  • Medium-density fiberboard
  • Plywood
  • Medite
  • Aluminum
  • Polycarbonate
  • Fiberglass

Most closures are a 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick. Thicker boxes are usually more durable and less likely to break.

Dual systems

In larger setups, such as home theaters, the best audio comes from having two or more subwoofers. Some boxes can fit multiple subwoofers into a single chamber for:

  • More dynamic audio
  • Minimal distortion
  • Decreased output compression
  • More accurate, cleaner bass

If you have a smaller space or are using it in the car, go with a single subwoofer system.


Many subwoofers have a dedicated piece that lets you position and screw it into the closure. If the box is not thick enough to be mounted, though, it could make it tricky to install.

Best subwoofer boxes and subwoofers

Bbox Dual Sealed 12-Inch Subwoofer Enclosure

This sealed box consists of medium-density fiberboard and is highly durable. It amplifies bass at a low frequency, making it perfect for low-profile subwoofers. It also has recessed side panels that are airtight to prevent rattling and enhance the audio quality.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bbox E12SVPro-Series Single Vented Subwoofer Enclosure

This 12-inch single shared vented enclosure is airtight and designed for optimum bass. It’s constructed from high-grade medium-density fiberboard and is 5/8 of an inch thick. It’s also pro-tuned for precise audio.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Q Power Qbomb12V Dual 12-Inch Vented Speaker Box

Available in a one-, two- or four-pack, this closure has a bed liner spray for maximum durability. It has two chambers for storing two subwoofers and a shared vent.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Car Audio Single Sealed Subwoofer

This slanted closure goes in your coupe or hatchback vehicle. It’s sealed and is compatible with 12-inch subwoofers. It’s also thick and durable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Skar Audio Dual 2400W Loaded SDR Series Subwoofer Enclosure

This vented subwoofer box comes with two 12-inch subwoofers pre-wired and installed. The ported closure has a modern aesthetic and amplifies the bass for a richer sound. Some options come with an amplifier, too.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Bbox Single 10-Inch Subwoofer Sealed Enclosure

This smaller sealed box is designed for Dodge Ram trucks. It comes in single and dual designs for optimum bass. It’s constructed from high-grade material and is three-quarters of an inch thick for extra durability. It also has Atrend formulated aliphatic resin wood glue that keeps it completely sealed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Belva BPKG212v2 1200W Dual 12-Car Subwoofer With Ported Enclosure

This ported closure includes two 12-inch car subwoofers, a monoblock amplifier and cables for easy installation. There are four options to choose from, including single or dual subwoofers in 10- and 12-inch sizes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer

This compact powered subwoofer comes ready to install and set up in any home theater. Its 10-inch front-firing Dynamic Balance driver amplifies the bass for that extra punch you need, and it's easy to configure so the sound remains stable, regardless of volume.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Skar Audio VXF-12 D4 Car Subwoofer

This dual competition car subwoofer comes in 12- and 15-inch sizes. It’s durable and can play bass and sub-bass at any volume.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Boss Audio Systems CXX8 Car Subwoofer

At 8 inches, these small subwoofers are constructed from durable polypropylene and rubber, so they’re long-lasting and resistant to damage. They can handle high temperatures, too, perfect for long drives.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer

This black subwoofer is easy to set up in any home entertainment system. It offers great low-frequency response and blends well with other Klipsch speakers for a seamless bass experience. It comes with the option to add a speaker, too.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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