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Best home theater subwoofers for 2023

Our top powered subwoofer picks for movies, music, and more

In this article: Our top home subwoofers for 2023...

  1. Best value powered subwoofer — SVS SB-1000 Pro
  2. Best budget subwoofer — Klipsch Reference R-120SW
  3. Best subwoofer for music — GoldenEar SuperSub XXL
  4. Best small home theater powered subwoofer — Cambridge Audio Minx X201
  5. Best sub for a medium-size room — Klipsch R-112SW
  6. Best sub for large-sized rooms — SVS PB-2000 Pro
  7. Hardest-hitting powered subwoofer — SVS PB16-Ultra

...along with a few shopping and setup tips.

There are few things better than watching a movie and feeling your couch shake from an impact. It adds so much to your films and helps immerse you even deeper in them. I'm a basshead at heart (much to the chagrin of my neighbors) and have come across some awesome subwoofers in my time working at Crutchfield.

How to choose the right subwoofer

Before we dive in to my top picks, it's worth noting that choosing a sub can be tricky. There are a few important things to keep in mind when you're looking for a new subwoofer. Everything from room size, to subwoofer placement, to the rest of the speakers in your system needs to be considered.

If you'd like to do a deep dive on how to choose a subwoofer, check out our subwoofer buying guide for more in-depth tips on picking out the right sub for your needs.

With that being said, here are a few of my personal favorite powered subwoofers.

SVS SB-1000 Pro 12" powered subwoofer

Best value powered subwoofer — SVS SB-1000 Pro

When I started at Crutchfield, one of the first subs I ever heard was an SVS. The brand has stuck with me ever since. The SB-1000 Pro is a fantastic value. For under $1,000, you get a 12" subwoofer in a sealed enclosure that has incredible low-end authority.

The deep bass the woofer throws out is remarkable. The sub isn't excessively boomy. I'd say its bass output is tight and accurate with no noticeable dips or "weak spots" in its frequency response.

The SB-1000 Pro is excellent if you have a dual-purpose system. Not only does it give movies the thump and impact they deserve, but the sub also gives your music crisp, controlled bass.

Traditional powered subwoofers have level/volume, crossover, and phase controls on the back. They're great, but not for making on-the-fly adjustments. The SB-1000 Pro has those rear-panel controls, but SVS made controlling this low-frequency powerhouse more streamlined with their free SVS app (available on Android™ and iOS®).

You can change all of the sub's settings straight from the app and hear the changes in real time. That means you don't have to get up from your couch and fiddle with knobs. You can tune the sub to your room, save sound presets, and play around with the app's 3-band parametric EQ right from the comfort of your seat (or wherever you may be).

Details

  • 12" front-firing woofer
  • 325-watt RMS amplifier (820 watts peak)
  • frequency response: 20-270 Hz (±3 dB)
  • advanced DSP processing for refined, low-distortion sound
  • 13"W x 13-7/16"H x 15-13/16"D
  • weight: 26.1 lbs.
Klipsch Reference R-120SW powered subwoofer

Best budget subwoofer — Klipsch Reference R-120SW

You don't have to hurt your wallet to get low-end rumble. Klipsch's R-120SW is a fantastic option if you're building a system on a budget. This ported subwoofer uses a 12" woofer made of Klipsch's famed IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) spun-copper material. The cone's light weight helps give the driver a fast, accurate response. This customer-favorite sub can keep up even on the most demanding of tracks.

Details

  • 12" front-firing IMG spun-copper woofer
  • 200-watt RMS amplifier
  • frequency response: 29-120 Hz
  • 14-1/16"W x 16-5/8"H x 20-15/16"D
  • weight: 31 lbs.
GoldenEar Sub XXL powered subwoofer

Best subwoofer for music — GoldenEar SuperSub XXL

GoldenEar crafts exceptional speakers and subwoofers. Their SuperSub XXL delivers incredible room-filling bass. The crispness of the bass tones this sub produces is what makes it a great choice for music. Rather than being super boomy and obnoxious, the SuperSub XXL accurately reproduces bass frequencies in a way seldom matched, with tons of low-end extension to boot.

The sub owes its great sound to its drivers. That's right — plural. There are two opposing 12" drivers on the front and rear of the cabinet, and two 13" x 15" passive radiators on the top and bottom. This sub can move a lot of air, to say the least.

I strongly recommend keeping this subwoofer away from corners (also called "corner loading") to get the best sound from it.

Details

  • two 12" opposing long-throw woofers
  • two 13" x 15" passive radiators
  • 1,600-watt RMS Class D amplifier
  • frequency response: 10-250 Hz
  • 19-1/16"W x 17-9/16"H x 17-1/16"D
  • weight: 82 lbs.
Cambridge Audio Minx X201

Best small home theater subwoofer — Cambridge Audio Minx X201

The Cambridge Audio Minx X201 may be small in stature, but don't let its size deceive you. The first time I heard it, I was impressed that such stout bass could come out of such a small subwoofer.

The Minx X201 uses a 6-1/2" front-firing woofer and twin 6-1/2" passive radiators to dish out bass notes. The bass remains pretty solid throughout the sub's frequency range. I don't want to give the wrong impression — the Minx X201 won't shake your windows like a beefy ported 12" subwoofer. But then again, that's not what it was designed for. It was made to deliver bass in small spaces, and it excels at that task.

If you're short on space but still want a cinematic experience, picking up the Minx X201 along with some small speakers will get the job done.

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.
Klipsch R-112SW Powered subwoofer

Best sub for medium-sized rooms — Klipsch R-112SW

If you have a medium-sized room (somewhere in the 1,500-2000 cubic feet range), Klipsch's R-112SW is worth checking out.

This powerful beast of a subwoofer kicks movies and music up a couple of notches. Its 12" woofer has no trouble rattling couches and walls when needed. It makes explosions, jet fighters, and action sequences feel more alive. But it's also able to deliver delicate, accurate bass at lower listening levels.

It's not bad on the eyes, either. This sub's distinct copper-colored woofer and black cabinets make it an eye-catching piece if you'd prefer keeping the grille off.

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
  • 15-3/8"W x 17-3/8"H x 20-15/16"D
  • weight: 48.75 lbs.
SVS PB-2000 Pro Powered subwoofer

Best subwoofer for large rooms — SVS PB-2000 Pro

SVS's PB-2000 Pro is a perfect example of why the company has such a phenomenal reputation. This app-controlled sub fills large rooms (roughly 2,000 cubic feet or more) with deep, audiophile-grade bass without breaking a sweat. It's the perfect choice if you're looking to enhance your movie night and really feel the impact in your chest.

If running a subwoofer cable sounds tricky in your room, the SVS has you covered. Their SoundPath wireless adapter gives you ultimate placement flexibility by making the sub wireless. The transmitter connects to your home theater receiver or stereo amplifier while the receiver gets connected to the sub. You can place the PB-2000 Pro anywhere a convenient AC outlet is located.

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.
SVS subwoofer

Hardest-hitting powered subwoofer — SVS PB16-Ultra

If you're wanting the most room-rattling, couch-shaking bass experience, I highly recommend SVS's PB16-Ultra. This monster of a sub brings together their expertise in building high-performance speakers with their undying love for incredible bass.

This mighty subwoofer may produce some of the most might-cause-an-earthquake bass I've ever heard, but it also delivers unrivaled control for a large ported subwoofer. It sounds just as incredible with music as it does with movies. The PB16-Ultra is an excellent choice if you're looking for a subwoofer for a large room or if you're looking for a complement for your high-end stereo or home theater system.

Friendly recommendation: this massive subwoofer weighs 174 pounds. Please have someone (or multiple someones) come help you get it inside.

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.

Get the most out of your new subwoofer

The first sub I owned rattled my room like crazy. After dealing with it for longer than I'd like to admit, I picked up some sound isolating feet and my rattling days were over. This led me to be a feverent adherent to isolating my subwoofer.

Vibration isoloators are a great way to save your shelves from shaking, and they also help to enhance the sound of your subwoofer. Decoupling your sub from your hard floor keeps vibration to a minimum and "focuses" the sound of the sub a bit. This leads to cleaner, tighter bass.

Foam SubDude

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

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

Connect with us for a personalized recommendation

If you're still curious about which sub is the right one for you, give our friendly Advisors a shout. One of the great benefits of shopping with Crutchfield is working with an expert who gets hands- and ears-on with the subs and speakers we carry. For one-on-one shopping advice, contact us today.

Free lifetime tech support is included with every Crutchfield purchase.

Popular questions customers ask

Powered subwoofers have one job: to produce deep, hard-hitting bass. They're especially important for home theater systems, because they produce deep, rumbling effects that "regular" speakers can't. Some music lovers also find powered subwoofers to be great additions to their stereo music systems.

Bass waves spread out in all directions, which means you have some flexibility in placing your subwoofer. Placing your sub near a wall gives you strong bass, and placing it in a corner gives you even more. Try your sub in different spots to see where it sounds the best.

There are two main considerations: speaker size, and room size. If you have small speakers in a small room, an 8" or 10" sub is a good choice. Have big speakers in an open floorplan? A 12" or larger sub might be a better match. If you really love bass, go for the biggest, baddest sub your room will allow.

Some customers choose a subwoofer from the same brand as their main speakers, to keep everything matching. However, we've found that mixing brands works just fine, and plenty of folks do that, too.

Absolutely! Using two subs gives you more even, consistent sound around your room by filling in gaps where bass response may be weak. A second sub also gives you more bass impact. We especially recommend two subs if you love cranking up action movies or have a large room.

Last updated 11/22/2022
  • Gary N

    Posted on 6/13/2022

    Hi Kramer, Since these are closely priced, which one would be better for movies, Bowers & Wilkins DB4S or KEF KF92? Thank you

  • Chad from Charlotte

    Posted on 2/21/2022

    As always, great information. I would like to know what small, medium and large rooms are. Also, what about and open concept house where the rooms aren't clearly separate.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 2/24/2022

    Thanks for reaching out, Chad. For home theater purposes I consider a small room to be under 1,500 cubic feet, a medium-sized room between 1,500 and 2,000 cubic feet, and a large room 2,000 cubic feet or greater. Generally speaking there's no downside to having "too much sub," since you can dial back the output level.

    As for open-concept homes, the additional air space of the adjacent areas does need to be factored in. In larger rooms (or open areas) adding a second sub to your system will help fill in gaps and balance out the sound. I'm a fan of using two subs whenever possible.
  • Bob Britt from Dover, TN

    Posted on 2/17/2022

    Hi Kramer, At one point in my life I had a complete set of MK S-150's. Lets not get into details about their demise but I still have the MX-150 sub and believe it or not it only has roughly 500 total hours on it from being in storage a lot of the time from moving all these past 30 years. I like what I read about the SVS speakers which I've not heard of until recently and am finally in my forever home to create my next home theater. Would there be any matching problems using the MK sub with the SVS system? I am currently using Emotiva separates. Please give me the best reason to go with SVS over Polk or Klipsch. Although if I had $10,000 my heart knows exactly what I'd do .

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 2/18/2022

    Thanks for reaching out, Bob. You can confidently use your MX-150 sub with most any lineup of home theater speakers, including SVS. I've owned and demoed a number of SVS speakers, and confidently recommend them for your home theater.

    If you haven't already, check out SpeakerCompare, our patented Virtual Audio™ technology for auditioning speakers online. It lets you compare sonic characteristics between speakers so that you can make a more informed shopping decision. Thanks again, and happy listening!
  • Rob from Phoenix

    Posted on 1/26/2022

    After tons of research I just bought the Monoprice Monolith 12 Ultra THX. The thing is an absolute Beast! I'm shocked that it isn't on this list.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/31/2022

    That sounds fantastic, Rob! Monoprice isn't a brand that we currently carry but I've heard good things about their subwoofers. Happy listening!
  • Jim Williams from St. Petersburg

    Posted on 1/26/2022

    I enjoy you highlighting and/or recommending speakers/subs but I wish you'd define small, medium, etc. I really don't know how to apply the reviews without some additional information on many of the articles. So, is a 400sqft room small? Thanks for adding a little bit more to create a lot more usefulness.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/31/2022

    Thanks for reaching out, Jim. Your point about room sizes is a good one — I'll look to add that info to the article soon!
  • John Harrison from Canon city

    Posted on 1/22/2022

    Looking at buying a subwoofer for a room 20x15. My current set up is a Marantz NR1200 with a power amp CV 1800 connected to a pair of CV XLS-215s. No surround or TV hook straight 2 channel system. My preference in music is groups like Buckethead, Stone Rebel etc. Budget around $800 dollars or less. Thanks.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 1/26/2022

    Thanks for reaching out, John. The SVS SB-1000 Pro would be an excellent addition to your two-channel system. It offers tight, clean bass that helps make music feel impactful. It also uses SVS's free remote app, which lets you dial-in settings from your seat and hear the changes in real time. I think it's the best sub for the money for your stereo system!
  • Mark from Tiller

    Posted on 12/9/2021

    How would you compare this to a Goldenear SuperSub XL?

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 12/10/2021

    Thanks for your question, Mark. I haven't auditioned the SuperSub XL yet, but look forward to testing it out.
  • Joel Kuhl from Salem

    Posted on 11/28/2021

    I have had a Paradigm PW-2100 v.2 for about 18 years now. This thing was solid, great sounding for music and video and I absolutely loved it. Problem is - it just gave up the ghost. Can you by chance tell me what is the most comparable powered subwoofer out there right now (the paradigm was perfect for my current system)? Thanks in advance. Joel K

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 11/29/2021

    Thanks for reaching out, Joel. It sounds like you got your money's worth out of the PW-2100. I'm sorry to hear it's no longer in action!

    As for a new sub I'd look at the Paradigm Defiance X12. It's powerful, accurate, and includes Anthem Room Correction software to dial-in the sound to your room. I think it would be an excellent replacement for your ailing PW-2100!
  • Gina from Malden

    Posted on 9/18/2021

    Hi! I need to replace a 15 yo Cambridge Soundworks (RIP) 10S Bass Cube. The rest of my setup Is: CSW M60 bookshelf speakers and a Cambridge Audio AXR85 recently purchased from you guys (replaced a Harman Kardon, again RIP). This is for a medium sized living room, music only, but we listen throughout the first floor, about 700 sq ft, and supplement with a pair of polk audio Atrium 4 in the kitchen, which is part of this area. Was looking at Jamo or Klipsch 10" subs but open to your suggestions! Would like to keep it under 400 and have something that makes sense with the other components quality wise.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 9/20/2021

    Thanks for reaching out, Gina. The Klipsch Reference R-10SWi is an ideal match for your room, and for the rest of your gear. I expect it will sound lovely as part of your first-floor music system!
  • Paul from Idaho Falls

    Posted on 8/31/2021

    I really enjoyed reading your article on subs. I am renovating my house and want to put in in-wall speakers (Polk RC85i for L/R and surrounds and Polk in-wall center) and I am planning on a Denon receiver (1600 to 3700). The size of the room is about 15 feet wide by about 18 to 25 feet in length (depending on where I put the back wall). What would be 2 good powered subs to go with that system, which wouldn't be overpowering, but would add consistent bass without the speaker cracking or waffling? Also, is there a sub that fits this bill under $300? Thank you in advance.

    Commenter image

    Kramer Crane from Crutchfield

    on 9/1/2021

    Thanks for reaching out, Paul. That's a fantastic system you have in the works. My recommendation for your room and budget is to go with two of the JBL Stage A120P powered subs, which are currently on sale. I believe this 12" sub to be the best-performing option under $300 at this time, and a pair should give you tight, accurate, and enjoyable bass throughout your entire listening space.
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