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Best powered subwoofers for 2021

Our top picks for great bass with music and movie soundtracks

In this article: Our top picks for adding great bass to your stereo or home theater system, along with a few shopping and setup tips.

  1. Best bang for the buck —  SVS PB-1000
  2. Best budget sub —  Polk Audio PSW10
  3. Best high-end sub —  Bowers & Wilkins DB4S
  4. Best sub for small rooms —  Cambridge Audio Minx X201
  5. Best sub for medium-sized rooms —  Klipsch SPL-120
  6. Best sub for large rooms — SVS PB-2000 Pro
  7. Biggest and baddest powered sub — SVS PB16-Ultra

Iabsolutely love the sound and feel of great bass. Movies, video games, and music are all enhanced by a powered subwoofer. And in my experience, the right sub can make an astonishing difference in how much you enjoy what you hear.

Narrowing the field

We carry a ton of different powered subwoofers, so I've put together this list of my favorites to help you get the most out of your budget and space. I've also included a few tips for getting the best bass out of your stereo or home theater system.

What makes these subwoofers my favorites?

My selections are based off of my listening experiences, customer feedback, ratings, and reviews. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it highlights some of the best options available in 2021. 

Best bang for the buck — SVS PB-1000

If a friend call me up and asked which sub would give them the best bass for the money, my reply would be the SVS PB-1000.

This 10" ported sub can hit like a sledgehammer. But it also produces clean, musical bass that helps make kick drums, cellos, and bass guitars sound like actual instruments.

I especially like the PB-1000 for systems that pull double-duty for music and home theater. It has the heft and punch I look for with movie soundtracks, along with the clarity and control I want when I relax to music in the evening.

Can't run a subwoofer cable? Go wireless instead

Not every room supports running a subwoofer cable across the floor. Thankfully, there's a high-quality solution from SVS that can make the PB-1000 wireless. 

Add the SVS Soundpath wireless audio adapter to your system, and place your sub anywhere in the room you have an AC outlet. I have a couple of these for my SVS subs, and love them.

SVS subwoofer next to couch

Pound for pound, the PB-1000 is one of the best subwoofer values on the market.

Details

  • 10" front-firing woofer
  • 300-watt RMS amplifier (720 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 19-270 Hz (±3 dB)
  • advanced DSP processing for refined, low-distortion sound
  • 15"W x 18-7/8"H x 20-15/16"D
  • weight: 46 lbs.

Best budget subwoofer — Polk Audio PSW10

You don't have to spend a ton of money to get quality bass, and the Polk Audio PSW10 is a perfect example of this.

The PSW10 may well be one of our least expensive subs. But we've carried this value-packed model since 2004, making it one of our longest-tenured home speakers. It's an oldie, but a goodie.

Great for small spaces

The PSW10 is a solid choice if you have a small room, or are on a tight budget. Use it with confidence while streaming music, watching a movie, or playing your favorite video games. 

PolkAudio subwoofer

The Polk Audio PSW10 has been a customer favorite for over 15 years. It's one of the best home speaker values we offer.

Details

  • 10" front-firing woofer 
  • 50-watt RMS amplifier (100 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 40-160 Hz
  • 14"W x 14-3/8"H x 16-3/16"D
  • weight: 26 lbs.

Best high-end sub — Bowers & Wilkins DB4S

The Bowers & Wilkins DB4S is my pick for the best high-end sub for 2021.

It carries the pedigree of Bowers & Wilkins' five decades of superb audio engineering. But beyond that, the DB4S packs a ridiculous amount of punch into a modestly sized enclosure. It's the kind of sub I would look forward to listening to every day. 

A look at what's inside (hint: it's really nice)

The DB4S' 10" woofer uses the same highly acclaimed Aerofoil™ driver material found in Bowers & Wilkins' 800 Series Diamond speakers (world-class floor-standing speakers that sell for $30,000 a pair). 

This light, ultra-stiff driver resists bending and flexing far more than conventional cones for incredibly deep and accurate bass with music and movie soundtracks. A 1,000-watt RMS amp provides plenty of power for even the most demanding passages.

This sub is an excellent complement to Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series models, including the 702 S2.  

Bowers and Wilkins subwoofer

The DB4S pairs a 10" woofer with a 1,000 watt amp to fill your room with exceptionally deep and accurate bass.

Details

  • 10" front-firing Aerofoil woofer
  • 1,000 watt Class D Hypex amplifier
  • frequency response: 10-350 Hz (-3dB)
  • app control for room equalization, EQ, volume, and more
  • 14-1/4"W x 14-3/4"H x 17-1/16"D
  • weight: 57.3 lbs.

Best sub for small rooms — Cambridge Audio Minx X201

When I needed a tiny sub to go under the desk of my home office, I bought the Cambridge Audio Minx X201. I wanted excellent sound, but was limited on real estate — the X201 delivered. 

I've been positively delighted by the quality and quantity of bass that this small sub produces. Sure, it's not as powerful as some of the larger options out there. But for its size, the X201 is an absolute rockstar, and gets stellar reviews from our customers.

Cambridge Audio Minx X201

The Minx X201 may be small in size, but a pair of side-firing passive radiators helps it pack some serious punch.

Details

  • 6-1/2" front-firing woofer 
  • dual side-firing 6-1/2" passive radiators
  • 200-watt RMS amplifier (400 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 36-200 Hz
  • 8-1/4"W x 8-5/8"H x 10-1/16"D
  • weight: 11 lbs.

Best sub for medium-sized rooms — Klipsch SPL-120

If you have a medium-sized home theater space, check out the Klipsch SPL-120

The SPL-120 is the kind of sub that makes dinosaur and spaceship movies take on a whole new level of realism in your room. It can shake the walls when you want it to. But it also delivers controlled, accurate bass at lower listening levels.

This sub's attractive copper cone adds visual pop to your room if you rock it with the grille off.

Klipsch SPL-120 Powered subwoofer

The Klipsch SPL-120 is an ideal choice for getting deep, well-controlled bass in medium-sized rooms.

Details

  • 12" front-firing Cerametallic™ cone woofer
  • 300-watt RMS amplifier (600 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 24-125 Hz
  • compatible with the Klipsch WA-2 wireless audio adapter kit
  • 14-3/4"W x 17-11/16"H x 21-1/4"D
  • weight: 45 lbs.

Best subwoofer for large rooms — SVS PB-2000 Pro

SVS has become one of the industry's top subwoofer companies, and the PB-2000 Pro is a perfect example of why.

This giant ported sub can fill large rooms with ridiculous amounts of high-quality bass. It's an excellent choice if you love to feel the visceral slam of bass in your chest during action scenes.

Control it from your phone

Most subwoofers offer level control, frequency adjustment, and other audio changes through rear-panel knobs. They can be a pain to adjust, especially when the sub is up against a wall.

Controlling the PB-2000 Pro is a breeze, thanks to SVS's free app. All of the sub's settings are easily changed from your phone or tablet, which means you can make sound adjustments from your seat and hear them immediately.

SVS PB-2000 Pro Powered subwoofer

Want your sub to knock your socks off? The mighty SVS PB-2000 Pro can do that and then some.

Details

  • 12" front-firing aluminum woofer
  • 550-watt RMS amplifier (1,500 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 16-290 Hz 
  • 17-3/8"W x 21"H x 23-15/16"D
  • weight: 64.8 lbs.

Biggest and baddest powered sub — SVS PB16-Ultra

No list of best subwoofers would be complete without the SVS PB16-Ultra. This gargantuan sub epitomizes SVS's track record of high-end performance with impeccable build quality and expert-level sound-tweaking options. 

SVS subwoofer

This 175-pound subwoofer masterpiece can fill even the largest rooms with titanic bass.

This sub can produce crazy levels of bass, for sure. But it also offers impressive control for such a large, ported enclosure. The PB16-Ultra is a terrific choice for an elite stereo or home theater system in a very large room.  

Friendly heads-up: this massive subwoofer weighs 174 pounds. I highly encourage you to have a friend help you move it and set it up.

Details

  • 16" fiberglass resin composite cone with cast aluminum basket
  • 1,500-watt RMS amplifier (5,000 watts peak)
  • bass-reflex (ported) cabinet with three 3-1/2" high-flow flared ports
  • 21-3/4"W x 25"H x 31"D
  • weight: 174.5 lbs.

Hear more about SVS

Listen as our Sales training manager JR talks with SVS CEO Gary Yacoubian about the company's approach to home audio on the Crutchfield podcast.

Tips on choosing the right subwoofer

There are a few key factors to keep in mind when shopping for a new sub. You'll want to consider your room size, where the sub will go, and the size and quality of your other speakers.

Read my subwoofer buying guide for detailed tips on how to choose the right sub for your system. 

Put a stop to shaking, rattling, and rolling

Quick story: my living room has glass bookshelf and fireplace doors, along with tall windows that line three of its walls. All of these used to rattle like crazy when bass hit during movies. It drove me nuts!

One day I decided that I'd had enough. I bought an isolation platform to decouple my sub from the hardwood floor.

Voila! The rattling and vibrations instantly disappeared, and the bass I heard was tighter and cleaner than before. 

Foam SubDude

A subwoofer isolation platform, like the Auralex SubDude-II™, can make a huge difference in how your sub sounds.

Connect with us for a personalized recommendation

Have questions about choosing your next sub? One of the great benefits of shopping with Crutchfield is working with an expert Advisor. For one-on-one shopping advice, call or chat with us today.

Advisor best powered subwoofer

Give us a shout today for free, personalized advice.

Our advisors can send specific Crutchfield pages to your screen, saving you a lot of browsing time. Best of all, they know the gear inside and out, so they can help you make the right choice.

Get the most out of your new subwoofer

Once you've gotten your new sub home, check out our subwoofer setup guide to get the best sound possible from your system.

Free lifetime tech support is included with every Crutchfield purchase.

Jump into the conversation

If you have a question about a sub you're considering — or want to pick my brain about anything in the article — leave a comment below. I respond quickly, and if I don't know the answer I'll find someone here that does. Thanks for reading!

Last updated 12/8/2020
  • Michael Hawley from Hyde Park

    Posted on 4/24/2021

    I have Definitive Technology D11s running with a Yamaha RX V375 receiver. I use the system only for audio in a 10 x 10 room. I would like to add a subwoofer. I am interested in getting clear tight musical bass and not so interested in room shaking power. Also, the room is somewhat crowded and there are only limited spots where I could place a sub. Budget is a consideration. Any recommendations or advice in making a choice?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 4/29/2021

    Hi Michael, thanks for reaching out. One of Cambridge Audio's Minx Series subwoofers is ideal for your room and setup. Their subs are tiny, yet crank out remarkably impressive bass. The Minx X201 in particular is an excellent match with your D11s, and will give you the kind of tight, musical bass you're looking for.
  • Jay Morgan from Mcdonough

    Posted on 4/6/2021

    You should list them as the 10 best that we carry because it's not accurate at all. Leaving out the RSL Speedwoofer as the best bang for the buck is crazy, even worse, it's not even on the list.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 4/7/2021

    Hi Jay, thanks for reaching out. I've not heard the RSL Speedwoofer before (it's not a brand we carry), but I look forward to checking it out sometime — it looks like it gets excellent reviews.
  • Phil Deschamps from Newtown PA

    Posted on 2/1/2021

    I have a full Meridian set up in my theater $100k. The room is 16x20 feet. I was considering adding another sub to the room. Is my room too small for the VBV 16 Ultra. My other sub is the meridian SW5500.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 2/3/2021

    Hi Phil, thanks for reaching out. If you mean the SVS PB16-Ultra, it would be a fine addition to your system. It's enormous, but worth the real estate in my opinion. I have the SVS PB13-Ultra in a smaller room than yours, and would absolutely go larger if I had the space — the level of bass that the Ultra Series subs produce is staggering.
  • Andrew from Twin Cities

    Posted on 1/26/2021

    What is your take on Velodyne subwoofers? I was surprised to see they are not listed.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/27/2021

    Hi Andrew, thanks for your question. At this time we do not carry any Velodyne products. But their subs have been well-regarded in the audio industry for years, and are a fine option for a stereo or home theater system.
  • Greg Silcock from Wellington

    Posted on 10/3/2020

    You refer to Klipsch SPL-120, how does this compare to their R-112SW?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 10/5/2020

    Hi Greg, they are nearly identical, with the same-sized woofer, amplifier, and frequency response. The SPL-120 is four years newer (it debuted in 2018, versus 2014 for the R-112SW). Either one is a fine choice for most surround sound systems.
  • Clay Rowden from Dacula

    Posted on 6/13/2020

    I have a pair of Klipsch R15PMs will receive a R100SW Sub in a week or so as a gift. Is this a good match? I'm concerned about the sub's limited frequency range of 32 to 120. This is for music in a 12 x 15 room.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 6/15/2020

    Hi Clay, thanks for reaching out. I expect the R-100SW will be a great match with your bookshelf speakers, especially in the size room you have. Unless you're looking for a sub that plays substantially lower, the R-100SW should give you the kind of tight, clean bass you're looking for. I don't expect its frequency range to be a limit at all!
  • Joshua Powell from Durham, NC

    Posted on 6/28/2019

    Just purchased two of the Elac subs to replace two 8 inch Klipsch subs. huge difference in sound quality.