How to find the best subwoofer under $200 (Updated 2017)

You don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate good sound and understand how it affects the experience of watching a movie or listening to music. Good equipment is crucial for a good listening experience, so when buying speakers for your audio setup, you need to do some research on all the different models that are available, the various brands, as well as the price points at which they’re available.

Now, you might be thinking that for a good listening experience you need to spend a lot of money. And while it’s true that higher-end, high-quality equipment is going to cost you a lot, there are quite a few gems in the lower-priced category. This goes for both regular speakers and subwoofers, the latter of which we’ll focus on here. Namely, we’ll take a look at several great subwoofers, each of which costs less than $200. So, without any further ado, let’s take a look at and see what the best subwoofer under $200 is.

Polk Audio PSW505

Priced at just under $200, the first pick comes from Polk Audio. The PSW505 is a stylish 12-inch subwoofer with a real wood veneer finish, whose black color will fit in with pretty much any interior. The subwoofer features a 1 inch thick front baffle, which is part of the MDF construction the subwoofer is made of. This practically means that you’re getting a sturdy subwoofer which will minimize distortion and give you a superb listening experience.

Features

The PSW505 has a Long Throw Driver, which enables it to have better linearity and longer excursion. Another interesting thing here is the inclusion of a long, wide slotted vent which combats distortions. Namely, the vent will cut on the turbulence and noise, resulting in better bass. Polk Audio also thought about blending this subwoofer with a main speaker, so they included phase switch and volume control that will work seamlessly with any speaker. The power output is 300 watts, while the dynamic power output is 460 watts.

Impressions

With its weight of almost 22 kilograms (48 pounds), this subwoofer gives an impression of quality and sturdiness, and that’s one of the reasons why the overwhelming majority of customers have a positive opinion on this subwoofer. It’s not the smallest product offered by Polk Audio, but it does feature fairly compact design. Customers praise the price/quality ratio for this model and how it outperforms some pricier models from competing brands.

Yamaha NS-SW050BL

For those who don’t want to go so close to the $200 mark, Yamaha’s got an 8-inch subwoofer priced at around $120. This compact subwoofer offers a more stylish design, with its subtle curves that will give every room a dash of elegance. That is, if you choose to display it in a prominent place.

Features

However, good looks are not something most people will probably be prioritizing. You want to know if this little guy is going to give you good bass, and thanks to Yamaha’s Active Servo Technology II, that won’t be an issue. Equipped with discrete amp circuitry, this model features an 8-inch cone woofer, as well as the innovative Twisted Flare Port. The latter’s twisting flared shape enables the subwoofer to have a smooth flow of air, which goes around the edge of the port. What this means is that you’ll get less noise that’s not present in the input signal, and thus, you’ll have clearer lower frequencies with better reproduction.

Impressions

While it’s noticeably lighter than some other offerings from competing brands, the NS-SW050BL does not disappoint with its performance, especially given the compact size. The styling will fit in with any surroundings, and the general quality of the subwoofer is very good. Customers praise the innovative Twisted Flare Port, which helps cut back on the noise, giving the listener a more premium listening experience, something you wouldn’t expect at this price point.

Pioneer SW-8MK2

Another 8-incher, and this time it’s from Pioneer. Their SW-8MK2 subwoofer is equipped with an 8-inch long-throw woofer powered by a 100 watt amplifier. You won’t find any fancy vented enclosure here, just a regular round one, but it sure does the job. However, what’s interesting about this subwoofer is its styling. At first, it looks pretty standard and much like any other subwoofer, but it was actually designed by the architect Andrew Jones, who specializes in industrial design, as well as furniture design and design of lighting and interiors. This stylish product has an understated, yet elegant design that will surely be a great addition to your living room, or any other room in your house.

Features

Now, let’s get technical.  The SW-8MK2 works at a frequency range of 38 Hz to 150 Hz, which should pretty much cover everything you expect from a subwoofer. Furthermore, Pioneer claims that this subwoofer generates a more precise frequency division so that you would get the most out of your home theater system. The company also thought about the customization of sound. Namely, on the back of this subwoofer, you’ll find phase adjustment and crossover adjustment controls. This enables you to customize the sound so that you would get the best experience for your particular room, no matter how big or small it is. And also, the customization will benefit the different type of content you’re planning to use it with, be it music, TV shows or movies.

Impressions

While the majority of online reviews about this model are positive, the SW-8MK2 is not without its flaws. Namely, one of the complaints is that the 8-inch driver does not produce deep enough and punchy enough bass.  However, given the price of $129.99 and its compact size, this might not be such a deal-breaker for many people. Some compromises are expected at this price point, however, the customers’ impressions are largely positive, especially when paired with other Pioneer speakers.

JBL Arena S10

If you want something bigger, why not go with a 10-inch subwoofer? The Arena S10 from JBL is a powerful subwoofer, equipped with a 10-inch high-output polycellulose woofer with variable level, crossover, and phase controls. In terms of styling, this model has some things in common with the previously mentioned subwoofers, such as the elegant wood finish in black, which complements most interiors well. Its black grille gives it a touch of elegance, making it feel like a  more premium product.

Features

Priced at $170, this model is packed with features, such as a 100-watt Class-D digital power amplifier, and dual rear ports that improve air flow. The ports will also minimize port turbulence, reduce the distortion and improve the overall bass response, which is exactly what you’ll need. The driver itself is computer-optimized, and thanks to the rear-mounted controls, the setup will be easy, and you will be able to customize the sound to your preference. The Arena S10 has a frequency response of 41Hz – 150Hz, which is quite good with this price tag.

Impressions

This model from JBL is intended to complement other Arena products from JBL, which include floorstanding speakers, bookshelf speakers, as well as a center channel speaker. Customers report positive experiences with this subwoofer, noting that, while it may not be the most compact, it delivers good, strong bass. It’s relatively easy to setup, and the controls offers a good range of customization.

Klipsh K100-SW

Another subwoofer close to the $200 mark (price: around $186), the K100-SW is a stylish, albeit understated subwoofer from Klipsh, a well-known company that produces some of the most popular earphones. But we’re not here to talk about those. Instead, we’ll focus on the K100-SW, which is equipped with a lightweight and efficient driver, as well as an all-digital amplifier that can deliver 250 watts of dynamic power.

Features

This subwoofer by Klipsh has a wide dispersion pattern, which means that, no matter where you are in the room, you’ll be able to feel the strong bass, and your listening experience will not be compromised. This is great for those large gatherings when you don’t want anyone to miss out on any part of the experience. And lastly, the K100-SW has a frequency response of 32Hz-120Hz, while the maximum acoustic input is 112 dB.

Impressions

With its neat brushed polymer veneer finish, this subwoofer will fit in pretty much any room. It’s quite compact and lightweight, too, which is another bonus. You’ll also be happy to know that its compactness and low weight don’t negatively affect the sound, which customers overwhelmingly praise. Additionally, this is a front-firing subwoofer, which means the audio won’t be dispersed by the floor and ruin your cinematic or musical experience.

OSD PS12

Let’s go bigger! How about a 12-inch subwoofer? One such model comes from OSD Audio, and its name is PS88. This subwoofer works in the range of 25 Hz to 180 Hz, and has a front firing woofer. It’s priced at $189, but if that’s a bit too high for you, or you just don’t need a 12-inch subwoofer, OSD Audio also has two smaller versions, an 8-inch and a 10-inch model. Interestingly, both are priced at $150. The former also has a nice black lacquer piano finish, which gives it a dash of elegance.

Features

The large front-firing 12-inch subwoofer ensures good, strong bass, supported by 175 watts PMS power output. Another important bit of information is the frequency response of 25Hz to 180Hz, which means that you’ll get plenty of strong bass and all the important frequencies. As for the power consumption, the company claims that the subwoofer has a power consumption of 300 watts maximum. Customization of sound won’t be a problem, thanks to the adjustable gain control and variable crossover frequency.

Impressions

This high powered subwoofer will provide you with an immersive listening experience, no matter what type of content you’re partaking in. Customers report positive experience with this product, noting good build quality and good sound experience. Its understated aesthetics mean that this model will blend in with different speakers and still work perfectly, which is certainly something a lot of people would appreciate.

Sony SACS9

Sony is one of those names everyone is familiar with. Well, almost everyone. Their long list of products also includes a 10-inch subwoofer under the name SACS9. It’s an active subwoofer, priced at $158, and Sony advertises it as having premium components and premium sound. Among other things, Sony emphasizes the large heat-sink that they use, which helps with temperature variations that occur with power surges.

Features

It might not operate at the super low frequencies like some other subwoofers from competing brands, but with a range of 28–200 Hz, this Sony product will certainly provide you with everything you need in terms of your listening experience. Another interesting thing about this model is that it uses a Mica Reinforced Cellular (MRC) fiber woofer, which makes it very rigid. This is very important, as many subwoofer use paper cones that can easily be distorted when exposed to high pressure that inevitably occurs with strong bass.

Impressions

Just by looking at this subwoofer, you might not necessarily think that it’s premium. Sure, it looks nice, but it doesn’t really stand out from the competition. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. This model will easily blend in with different surroundings, and it will pair nicely with different speakers, whether they are also made by Sony or not. When it comes to customer experience, it fares quite well. Customers report overwhelmingly positive experience with this subwoofer, noting good, strong bass, and its ease of installation.

Kenwood KSC-SW11

Subwoofers aren’t just for your home theater – good sound is also appreciated in the car as well, and that’s where compact subwoofers shine. There are many models and brands to choose from, and one of them is the KSC-SW11 by Kenwood. This compact subwoofer comes in a sturdy aluminum enclosure, which is good news for those who worry about damaging their precious electronics.

Features

This low profile powered subwoofer system can be easily added under your car seat, so it won’t take up much valuable space in your car. Alternatively, you can also install it in other tight spaces, and even in the trunk of your car, so it’s pretty versatile in terms of installing. The subwoofer features a built-in amplifier, whose power is 75 watts (the maximum power is 150 watts). And since this is a powered subwoofer, you won’t need to buy an additional external amplifier, which will save on space in your car, and also save you some bucks when planning the ideal audio setup.

Impressions

Right away, the KSC-SW11 gives out an impression of sturdiness and quality, thanks to its aluminum enclosure. The brand name might also give you a subjective feeling of quality, but when it comes to this subwoofer, the name isn’t everything. You also get a wired remote for controlling the volume level, and it gives you the control over the variable low-pass crossover. The remote might also be a deal-breaker for some, as it’s the only way to customize the sound. Namely, the subwoofer itself doesn’t feature any controls, so you’ll need to depend on the remote if you want to customize the sound. That’s one of the complaints that customers have about this model, however, the majority of them say that this Kenwood is very good, if not one of the best choices in this category.

Dual Electronics BP1204

If you’re bored of typical black boxy subwoofers, how about something more unconventional? The BP1204 from Dual Electronics will bring some attention to itself, and to you, thanks to its illumiNITE Cool Blue Lighting, as the company calls it. And you get to see all that through a curved plexiglass window, which makes this subwoofer really stand out from the competition. Priced at $145, this subwoofer is constructed using MDF, in addition to the plexiglass in the front, which means it’s sturdy enough for most people’s needs.

Features

When you look at this subwoofer, you’ll immediately notice that it actually has 2 subwoofers. These are both 12 inches in size, and they’re digitally optimized. They can handle up to 1100 watts of peak power, as well as 600 watts of RMS power, while operating at an impedance of 4 ohms. One of the cool things, aside from the blue lighting, is the fact that the cones themselves are made of brushed aluminum, which give studio accurate bass response, according to Dual Electronics.

Impressions

While majority of customer reviews for this model are positive, the BP1204 is not without its flaws. One of the complaints about this dual subwoofer is that the plexiglass is not thick enough and that it resonates. However, given the price, most consumers agree that this is a good value. Its looks might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, then this cool blue subwoofer just might be the right choice for you.

BIC America F12

If the flashy design of the previous subwoofer is not something you prefer, how about something simpler? The F12 is a stylish, if not understated subwoofer, and it’s made by BIC America (not to be confused with the other BIC, the famous makers of ballpoint pens). This is a 12-inch subwoofer which supports Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS technologies, which should make your movie-watching experience very pleasant.

Features

Priced at $175, this front-firing subwoofer has an excellent 5-year warranty. It features a 475-watt peak amplifier, which was designed by BASH Technology. Furthermore, the subwoofer has a frequency response of 25Hz – 200Hz, while the sensitivity is 90 dB. Of course, as you would expect, you have adjustable crossover and volume controls, which enable you to fine tune the sound to your liking. Another interesting thing here is BIC’s patented “Venturi” vent, which cuts down on the port noise, improving the overall sound quality.

Impressions

While it may not have a stunning design like some subwoofers from competing brands, the F12 is certainly going to look good in any room, paired with any type of speakers. But it’s not the design that’s most important with this model. The sound quality is what matters the most, after all, and this subwoofer delivers exactly that. The customer reviews for this model are generally positive, noting the good quality for the price and the good sound it produces, without distortion and excessive noise.

CT Sounds 1.0 Dual 12 Inch Subwoofer Bass Package

Sometimes you need an additional amplifier for that extra “oomph”, and in that case, CT Sounds might have the right solution for you. One of their products is a set of two 12-inch subwoofers, which come in a ported box, and they’re complemented with an additional amplifier that has a maximum power of 600 watts. The subwoofers themselves come pre-wired, which is pretty neat, and makes the installation process a bit easier.

Features

Given that there are two subwoofers, this is not the most compact unit, but it will certainly fit in easily wherever you want to install it in your vehicle. Operating at 2 ohms, the subwoofer has a power of 300W (RMS), which should be plenty for an average consumer, especially with the inclusion of the amplifier.

Impression

The design of this unit isn’t flashy as some other car subwoofers, but it certainly isn’t plain either. The general quality is good, both the build quality of the unit itself, as well as the quality of the sound that it reproduces. The box itself is 15mm thick, which should be enough to provide quality sound for the subwoofer without distortion and unnecessary noise.

Conclusion

The sub-$200 price range gives you a very nice selection of subwoofers, whether you’re looking for a subwoofer for your home theater or your car. In both cases, you’re greeted with a plethora of different models and brands, and not to mention different sizes. But what is the best subwoofer under $200, you might be wondering?

Well, it’s hard to recommend just one, but considering all our picks, one subwoofer that could be recommended is the Polk Audio PSW505 12-inch powered subwoofer, which delivers great sound, comes with a real wood veneer finish and delivers a punchy, precise bass.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a car unit, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a great choice for the money. It comes in sturdy aluminum enclosure, and its compact size means that you can easily install it in your car without having to worry about the unit taking up too much precious space.

Leave a Reply