How to find the best subwoofer under $100 (updated 2017)

Best Subwoofer under $100

When it comes to choosing the ideal subwoofer for your needs, there are a number of aspects to consider. One crucial aspect is, obviously, the price. If you’re on a tight budget, you definitely need to aim at subwoofers on the lower end of the spectrum, that is to say, look for the best subwoofers under 100.

The old adage says that the more you are willing to pay, the better the bang for your buck is. In general, and in this case, the statement holds true. On the one hand, you have those big high-output subs that pump out almost surreal lows, but which are also bound to cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you have those low-wattage subwoofers that pump out more modest sound, and which don’t threaten to burst your eardrums no matter how much you crank them up. Best of all, you can get these for under $100. This article will focus on the latter category.

The ideal budget subwoofer

Please note that nowhere did we or will we mention that cheaper subwoofers are intrinsically bad. We firmly believe that the definition of an ideal subwoofer varies depending on each individual customer: some want above-standard power and don’t mind splurging, while others are just a little more frugal when it comes to funding any major expenditure. If you fall into the latter category, read on.

Low-end vs. high-end

The gap between the two ends of the spectrum is noticeable, especially in terms of sound and build quality. You simply cannot expect a 250-watt subwoofer to perform as well as some of those 1000-watt beasts out there.

What’s more, high-end subwoofers are made of top-grade enclosures engineered for perfect volume, while the low-end ones don’t really emphasize this aspect. We don’t want to imply that you need to expect the worst quality possible, but not having overly high expectations can potentially help you avoid a lot of undue frustration.  

This article intends to thoroughly address the needs of the abovementioned frugal consumers. For your convenience, we compiled an extensive list of top 10 subwoofers that you can buy for under $100. You can find it below.

What to expect from low-end subwoofers

Before presenting you with our selection of subwoofers under 100 bucks, let’s see some of the important aspects to ponder in this price range:

  • Wattage – The term “wattage” is thrown around quite often by all hi-fi enthusiasts out there, and rightfully so. In layman’s terms, the watt rating tells you how loud the respective subwoofer is able to play. As you already expect, low-end subwoofers have low watt ratings. In our case, $100 subwoofers have 200 or 300 RMS watts at best, with some going up to as much as 700 or 800 RMS. Pro tip: if you see RMS and peak watts in the product description, always go for RMS. Peak watts are there to upsell.
  • Brand –  Even if you don’t want to pay a lot of money, you don’t have to settle for less. In this price range, it is very likely to stumble across shady companies that produce subwoofers which can’t last even for a few days. A good rule of thumb is to avoid company names that try to replicate established manufacturers. Always check the reviews if you deem necessary.

 

  • Build Quality – For a good audio experience, you might want to check what the enclosure is made of. This plays a pivotal role in the overall sound quality. You can also check what the actual driver is made of. It’s a little harder in this price range, but definitely not impossible.
  • Size – Here’s where things get a little tricky. A subwoofer is comprised of three main parts: the box, the driver and, usually, the amplifier. The driver is the part which makes the noise, enclosed in the box. However, in this price range, the driver is usually but not always sold separately. Inconvenient as it may be, it’s what you should expect. If you want to buy the driver now and the box later, choose either an 8-inch driver or 12-inch driver for optimal sound. However, if you intend to use the subwoofer in a car, you can skip this part.

All these aspects, along with many others, were taken into account while creating this review so you can make an informed choice. Without further ado, let’s see what the best subwoofer under 100 dollars is!

 

#1. Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer

Polk Audio is a well established company. They have been around since 1972 and specialize in providing everything audio-related, from home and auto speakers to amplifiers and FM tuners. You can’t go wrong no matter what audio product you buy from them.

About the subwoofer

This sub is a relatively recent addition to the market. While it is certainly not one of those high-output beasts that we mentioned above, it does make for a good choice if you’re just a casual user who needs clear and deep bass from time to time.

Wherever you find this subwoofer, you’ll see that the product description is filled with a lot of puzzling terms, such as Klippel measurement technology or MDF enclosure construction. In general, these features do matter and should not be disregarded, but in this price range, they are usually upsells. You should focus on the features that actually matter: 50 watts, 10 inches, and the company name (Polk Audio). As you would expect, 50 watts is quite low a rating, and might not give out enough power if you’re a fervent audiophile. Don’t forget what you’re paying for.

What others said about this product

In spite of the low wattage, customers say that this subwoofer performs incredibly well. Some were put off initially by the apparent lack of power, but they came around upon trying it themselves. They say that the bass is not exactly going to tear down your walls, but is still loud enough to disturb your neighbors.

All in all, considering the build quality, the wattage, and the overwhelmingly positive user reviews, you should definitely go for this subwoofer if all you can afford is $100.

#2.  Acoustic Audio PSW-8 8-inch

Acoustic Audio is a reputed audio manufacturer, subsidiary of Goldwood Sound. Goldwood Sound have been in the audio market for a little over 20 years, and have successfully served thousands of customers from Amazon, OnlyFactory, as well as Overstock.

About the subwoofer

This subwoofer is a bestseller on Amazon. As with most subs priced under $100, it delivers low-to-medium quality, but that shouldn’t deter you from buying it. It comes in four different sizes, namely 6.5 inches, 8 inches, 12 inches, and 15 inches. The one we are going to review is the 8-inch one, as any subwoofer that exceeds 10 inches offers better quality, is thus also more expensive.

It features a 150 Watts RMS and a 300 Watts peak, but you already know that only the RMS rating actually matters. There are no significant details in terms of build quality, but according to the great majority of reviews, it’s decent enough. The bass is sufficiently loud, the sound is crisp, there are no weird resonances or peaks in the output, and if you crank it up enough, you might be able to hear the walls vibrating.

What others said about the product

Customers say that this little unit is great if you want to build a home theater/hifi audio system from scratch. While the output audio is hardly immersive, you wouldn’t be disappointed while listening to your favorite rap song or watching one of those epic cinematic trailers.

All things considered, if you want decent quality on a budget, choose this subwoofer. It’s a great addition to your audio system.

#3. Kenwood KFC-W3016PS 12-Inch

If you’re a fellow audiophile, you must have heard of Kenwood before, if you do not already own a product of theirs. Nestled in Japan, Kenwood is a very popular brand, specializing in manufacturing all sorts of audio equipment, ranging from car audio equipment to amateur and professional FM gear.

About the subwoofer

The KFC-W3016PS unit is one of the most popular low-end subwoofers, featuring one of the highest RMS and Peak watt ratings in its price range: 400 RMS and a 2000 Peak respectively. Considering the modest price tag, these specs are quite impressive, and are bound to satisfy even the most pretentious among you. The only readily apparent inconvenience is that it does not come encased in a box, but you can easily buy one yourself for a couple extra bucks. Solid build, clear, robust and pounding bass from an established audio manufacturer – everything for just a little over $50. What else to ask for?

What customers said about the product

To quote a customer, the subwoofer is “nothing short of incredible for the value”. This should be pretty obvious considering the specs. There are a few negative reviews, but most of them revolve around units that came faulty right out of the box. However, that is bound to happen from time to time; if you’re unlucky enough, simply ask for a replacement and the reps at Kenwood will be glad to oblige.  

#4. Pyle PLPW10D 10-Inch

Pyle might not ring a bell for many of you, but it’s a well-known audio manufacturer located in the USA. They produce various audio equipment, from speakers, amplifiers, to diverse radios and scanners. They have been around since 1962 and have served a plethora of now-happy customers.

About the subwoofer

You really can’t find a cheaper car subwoofer than Pyle’s unit. Priced at just under $25, the subwoofer delivers nice, deep, and undistorted bass. However, don’t expect it to shake your car to its core; keep the price tag in mind. There are many features mentioned in the product description, and the ones that matter definitely stand out: 500 RMS, 1000 Peak watts. These numbers may probably be the highest in this price range. However, the build is rather flimsy, so don’t pump up too much power into it because it could pop or fry at any time. There are many other features mentioned that are meant to upsell, but you should not consider them. Don’t forget, you’re paying a little less than $25.

What others said about the product

In general, the reviews are positive. Several customers complained that their units came faulty, in that the subwoofers gave out annoying hums when plugged in for the first time. The remainder, however, say that this little unit is a great addition to your car audio equipment if you’re not pretentious. Another customer says that if you try to crank it up too much, it might pop or blow up altogether.

If you’re on a very strict budget, you definitely want to buy this car subwoofer. The $25 investment is definitely worth it, and is not bound to burn a hole in your pocket.

#5. DB DRIVE WDX6.5

And here we have yet another popular audio equipment manufacturer. The company was first established and is currently headquartered in Texas, USA, and produces most types of audio components that you can think of: speakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, radio equipment, etc. While they’re not exactly a pioneer company, they have managed to establish a good reputation.

About the subwoofer

This little unit features impressive specs if we take into account the modest price: 300 RMS and 600 Peak Watts, 6,5 inch-size, low carbon steel and plates, as well as 1,5-inch foam surround. It is the ideal budget addition to any home theater or car audio system out there. It won’t exactly manage to shake your walls or car windows, but it delivers good lows nonetheless.

What other customers said about the product

DB Drive is a rather unknown player in the audio market, and their offering mostly caters to a local clientele. However, once they expanded their business to Amazon, things took a turn for the better. In our case, international customers who ordered the WDX6.5 unit were nothing but impressed with the build and quality sound. If you buy this subwoofer, you’ll definitely feel ready to trust this company with any future orders.

#6. PIONEER TS-SW2502S4 10-Inch

Pioneer Electronics is really a pioneer in the realm of audio products. Having been around since 1938, you can rest assured that they know a thing or two about creating high-quality audio equipment that converts a one-time customer to a regular one.

About the subwoofer

The TS-SW2502S4 unit is nothing short of fantastic considering its price range. However, just because it is produced by a well-established multinational corporation, doesn’t mean that for $80 you’ll get $800 quality. It won’t make your house or car shake, and definitely won’t break your eardrums – unless you try hard enough. The subwoofer features an impressive 300 RMS and 1200 Peak watt rating, rugged build and wiring, in addition to a patented MICA resin cone. You can use it in your car or in your home theater. Regardless of where it ends up, you will definitely be impressed with the overall quality. It gives out great lows that round out the highs and mids. The result: clear and lively music that is pure bliss for your ears.

What others said about the product

As is to be expected from a top-caliber company such as Pioneer, the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. In spite of the modest price, everyone says that this seemingly flimsy unit is actually a beast when mounted to the right audio system.

 

#7. Rockford Fosgate P2D4

Rockford is a US-based company, nestled in Tempe, Arizona. They have been delivering exceptional audio equipment to a plethora of customers since 1970, and have very rarely disappointed during all this time. The company produces a wide range of audio products, from small mobile speakers to state-of-the-art subwoofers and other related accessories.

About the subwoofer

Compared to some of the above-reviewed subwoofers, this one falls into a higher price range, though still below $100. Consequently, the features provided and overall quality are significantly better. For just $90, you’ll get 400 RMS watts and 800 Peak watts, a kevlar-reinforced paper cone, double foam surround, in addition to an overall sturdy build and wiring. It should preferably be mounted to your car audio equipment, but it can also work in a home theater; however, make sure the impedance (ohm rating) checks out.

What customers said about the product

Rockford advertise themselves as leaders in anything audio-related, and rightfully so. All the reviews that span their products are generally positive, and this particular subwoofer is no exception. Customers say that this subwoofer provides clear and pounding bass, while the mids and highs are untampered with. All in all, you wouldn’t be wrong to choose this little beast.

#8. Planet Audio AC12D

Planet Audio is a great audio equipment manufacturer. They’re not exactly the heaviest hitters around, and this is demonstrated by their relatively unpopular products, but you should definitely give them a chance. They are based in the USA and have been around for quite a few years already.

About the subwoofer

As with our previous entries on the list, this subwoofer also falls into the lower end of the spectrum, but you’ll see that it is definitely capable of pulling its weight after reading this review. It comes in four different sizes, namely 8 inches, 10 inches, 12 inches, and 15 inches, and the price varies depending on which one you pick out. You will pay as low as $18 for the 8-inch version, and as high as $65 for the 15-inch unit. The 65-dollar unit features 1050 RMS watts and 2100 Peak watts, which seem a little inflated considering the modest price. You can use it either in your car or in a home theater. The bass is clean and powerful, and definitely rounds out the mids and highs. The sound that comes out is beyond excellent.

What others said about the product

There are no readily apparent complaints about this subwoofer. The great majority of customers say that lows are rich, and that it is definitely capable of producing volume. A word of caution from a customer: do not attempt to power it up excessively. If you try to go near the 600-700 watt mark, you risk frying the voice coil. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. After all, you pay only $65, even less if you opt for the 8 or 10-inch units.

#9. Rockville RVB12.1A

Rockville is a very popular audio equipment manufacturer in the US, and especially in New York, where their main offices are located. They haven’t been around for too long, but the great reviews about their company speak volumes as to the quality that you can expect from their products. The subwoofer that we are going to review is no exception.

About the subwoofer

If you want to hit the desert road in an old-school car and need great quality music to accompany you on the journey, you definitely need to consider Rockville’s RVB12.1A sub. It delivers loud, crisp, and pounding lows that can be heard miles away, thanks to its impressive features: 300 RMS watts, 500 Peak watts, kevlar-reinforced driver cone, double foam surround, along with many others.

What others said about the product

Customers advise you to not make light of this subwoofer, as the quality that it delivers is beyond spectacular considering it costs just a little under $100. It can’t shake your car to its core on its own, but if you do some tweaks, it might be able to do it. Some customers also appreciate that the specs are not inflated; in this price range, 300 RMS and 500 Peak watts is realistic performance.

 

#10. Cyber Acoustics 2.1 Computer Speaker with Subwoofer

Cyber Acoustics is a very popular audio equipment seller on Amazon, as well as other retail stores such as Walmart. The company is established in the USA, and specialize in producing an extensive array of audio equipment, including but not limited to speakers, headsets, mics, and even cases for smartphones and tablets.

About the subwoofer

If you need a reliable audio system for your computer, comprising a good subwoofer and durable speakers, look no further. This audio system is one of the most sought after on Amazon, largely thanks to the price/quality ratio. For only $40, you get a subwoofer, a pair of speakers, as well as an amplifier. However, the system is far from being a roaring beast. For instance, the subwoofer not only is made of cheap materials, but also features only 30 watts of output power. The highs are nowhere near the “crystal clear” quality advertised, nor is the output sound the best out there. However, for $40, it’s probably about right.

What others said about the product

In spite of the seemingly disappointing specs, some customers compare the quality to what you would normally find in giants such as Logitech, Bose, and Sennheiser. Accurate or not, you should definitely consider these reviews when making your decision.

Conclusion

There you go, our list of handpicked subwoofers that you can buy for less than $100. Keep in mind that if you want exceptional quality, you have to increase your budget to at least $200-300, if not higher. If you want your car windows to tremble and your house walls to shake, you can’t expect a $50 subwoofer to do the job of a $500 unit. It’s just not possible. However, if you simply seek decent bass, or are just getting started in the hi-fi realm, a $50 subwoofer will meet your needs just fine. If we had to pick our own best subwoofer under 100 dollars, we would probably go for Pioneer because of its reputation. Don’t worry though, all the subs that we listed are of the highest quality in the low-end range, so you’ll make a good choice with anything you choose. Best of luck!

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