Video: How to choose a subwoofer enclosure

Sealed, ported, or bandpass — what's right for you?


Ken Nail

Ken Nail has written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. He's an avid music listener, whose favorites are classical and film music. When not chained to a desk, Ken spends most of his time training for triathlons and marathons, and likes getting outside for backpacking, downhill skiing, and bicycle touring. He attended West Virginia University, where he received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History.

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The first step to choosing a subwoofer actually begins with the enclosure and how you want the sub to perform. In this video we'll tell you about the different types of subwoofer enclosures available, and find out which one best fits your vehicle and your needs.

Video Transcript

Our advisors get a lot of questions about subwoofers:

"Do I need a sub?"
"What kind of sub fits my car?"
"What sub hits hardest?"

It's easy to get confused. There are a lot of different sizes and styles of subwoofers and different types of sub boxes. It's hard to know where to start. Let's simplify things for you. There are two key things to think about when buying a sub: sound and space.

Sound depends on the kind of enclosure, or box, that you're subwoofer is mounted in. There are three kinds of enclosure designs you'll commonly find in car audio: sealed, ported, and bandpass. Sealed boxes are simple, sealed enclosures that the sub is mounted into. They're best if you want tight and accurate bass, great for all-around use. Ported boxes add a port or vent that improves the efficiency of the system. They'll play louder with less power input but might sound a little more boomy. When volume is king, it's a smart choice. Bandpass boxes combine a sealed box with a ported enclosure with the sub sealed inside the box. With their plexiglass windows, they're dramatic and they can give big bass output — the perfect call when you want to make a statement.

If you're short on space you may not be able to fit a large box into your car or truck but there are some good solutions for tight spots. Truck boxes like this one are built with a slim profile to let you slide them behind the seat of your truck. Special custom enclosures like these stealth boxes let you add a custom fit box to your truck. Some even come with subs and amps already built in.

One other solution when space is tight is choosing a compact powered sub like this one. Since the amp is built in, you'll save space twice. It'll fit in a lot of tight spaces where you can't put a normal sub. When space isn't an issue you can go with a larger box like this trunk-style box. Just make sure you measure the space you have available before you buy the box.

We've talked about sound and space, but let's face it, that still leaves a lot of different options. What's the best sub for you? The answer is simple. The best system is the one that matches your budget and your taste. Over the years our advisors have helped thousands of people buy subwoofers for their cars, whether the system is simple or whether you're going to the extreme. We've got the experience and expertise to kick around all the options with you and help you find the right gear.

So if you want bass don't hesitate and get in touch with us on the phone or via chat or email. We'll get you the gear you need and the support you want after the sale.

Find what fits your car