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Kicker vs Rockford Fosgate subwoofers

Which of these legendary subwoofer brands is best for you?

When it comes to bass, Kicker and Rockford Fosgate are two of the most popular car audio brands on the market. In this article, we'll explore why that is and help you find the best option for your bass needs.


hen the conversation turns to car audio, two manufacturers are often listed as among the top brands in the field — Kicker and Rockford Fosgate. There are a number of similarities between the two legendary companies: 

  • Both are American companies founded in 1973 (just a year before Crutchfield was founded!),
  • Both began as technical innovators in the field before becoming the diversified powerhouses they are today,
  • Both have sterling reputations for excellent sound and reliability.

Let’s take a closer look at these two standout performers.

Kicker HQ

Kicker — it's hip to be square

The Kicker story begins in 1973 in Stillwater, Oklahoma where Steve Irby founded the company as a two-man operation working out of a one-car garage. In 1980 they introduced the original Kicker — the first full-range speaker enclosure designed for use in motor vehicles. This legacy of innovation has continued up to the present and helped keep the company at the forefront of the industry.

In 2001 Kicker raised the bar for subwoofer performance with the introduction of their Solo-Baric® L7™ Series square subwoofers. This one-of-a-kind design offers over 20% more surface area than a traditional round cone of the same size, maximizing the sub's low-end impact. Kicker's round-cone subs have benefited from technologies developed for the Solo-Baric Series and adapted to the rest of the subwoofer line.

In recent years the Kicker product line has expanded to include loaded subwoofer enclosures, subwoofers, and other speakers for cars, trucks, powersports, and marine applications as well as their Lifestyle line of home audio products. Their mobile audio offerings also include power amplifiers, DSP processors, and other components, all made to fulfill the company motto "Livin’ Loud."


Rockford Fosgate — innovative tech for high-volume applications

In 1973, Jim Fosgate discovered that the human ear doesn't have the same sonic response as full-freqency audio, making music sound different at low volumes than the actual music. Fosgate invented a solution: the Frequency Energizer, which would later become Fosgate’s patented Punch EQ.

The Punch EQ provided up to +18 dB of bass boost and a hinge filter treble boost with up to +12 dB of gain at 20 kHz for full-range sound. Now, that same Punch is the signature sound of Rockford Fosgate and can be heard across their range of products which include car speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, and signal processors as well as products designed for marine, motorsports, and motorcycle applications.

The company has become an industry leader in innovation, design, and technology. Their original slogan "Car Audio For Fanatics" still applies today, and Mr. Fosgate took home an Emmy award for innovations in surround-sound technology, proving that the company’s motto "Where Music Meets Technology" applies today.

Interior of Rockford Fosgate HQ

"Livin' loud" with Kicker subwoofers

Kicker offers a subwoofer for every bass need. From high-end crushers for the SPL circuit, to solid subs for the beginner bass lover. Let's take a look at their lineup and help you find the sub(s) that will round out your car audio system. And of course, we'll start with the the Solo-Barics.

[See our full selection of Kicker subwoofers]

kicker subwoofers

Kicker Solo-Baric L7 Series subwoofers — breaking the rules

The Solo-Baric subwoofers are designed around Kicker's revolutionary square-cone design, which offers 20% more area than conventional round cones while fitting into the same amount of space. These hard-hitting subs feature dual voice coils to give you maximum flexibility when matching subs to your system, and their rugged construction and innovative design allows power handling of 500 to 1200 watts RMS. There's nothing else like them when you want truly massive bass.

Kicker Solo-Baric subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
8" 350-500w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" 500-600w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 600-900w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
15" 900-1200w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Kicker CompQ and CompVX Series subwoofers — uncompromised performance

Kicker's CompQ and CompVX Series subs incorporate Kicker's Solo-Baric technology to deliver advanced round-cone subs that are anything but traditional. You'll get high-powered low end with 600 to 1100 watts of RMS power handling and innovative features including molded polypropylene cones, santoprene rubber surrounds, and heavy cast aluminum baskets. If you're looking for Kicker's most advanced features in subs that fit typical round speaker openings, these heavy hitters have everything you need.

Kicker CompQ and CompVX subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
10" 600w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 750-850w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
15" 1000-1100w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Kicker CompR and CompVR Series subwoofers — solid sound

The dependable performance of the CompR and CompVR subs supplies the great bass you expect in affordable designs that feature Kicker's signature molded polypropylene cones for greater stiffness and less distortion. Their advanced features and solid performance with 300 to 800 watts power handling (RMS) gives you maximum boom for your buck.

Kicker CompR and CompVR subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
6-3/4" 150w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
8" 300w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" 350-500w SVC & DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 350-500w SVC & DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
15" 500-800w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Kicker Comp and CompC Series subwoofers — entry-level Kicker sound

When you're looking for maximum bass and minimal price, the Comp and CompC subs offer Kicker technology on a budget while still giving you between 150 and 600 watts of RMS power that fills your vehicle with their legendary sound. You get Kicker's innovative design concepts and rugged reliability at a price point that's sure to please.

Kicker Comp and CompC subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
8" 200w SVC & DVC 4-Ohm
10" 150-250w SVC & DVC 4-Ohm
12" 150-300w SVC & DVC 4-Ohm
15" 250-600w SVC & DVC 4-Ohm

Shopping links:

Interior of Rockford Fosgate HQ

Rockford Fosgate subs — "where music meets technology"

Depending on how much bass your system needs, Rockford Fosgate has the mix of power handling and price point for you. If you have the power to drive it, Rockford has the sub to sound it. Let's take a look at their Power, Punch, and Prime series of subs.

[See our full selection of Rockford Fosgate subwoofers]

rockford fosgate subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate Power Series — advanced design for maximum impact

Rockford Fosgate's Power Series subwoofers live up to their names, with RMS power handling ranging from 500 watts to a staggering 2500 watts. Their advanced designs include multi-layer composite cones, injection-molded foam surrounds incorporating Fosgate's proprietary Vertical Attach Surround Technique (VAST) design to increase effective cone area, and the massive cast aluminum baskets it takes to keep all that power focused. Most Power Series subs allow you to wire your system for 1-ohm impedance to draw maximum power from your amplifier. When you put it all together, you've got subs designed for maximum impact.

Rockford Fosgate Power subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
10" 600w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" shallow 500w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm
12" 800w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" shallow 600w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm
13" 2000w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm
16" 2500w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm

Rockford Fosgate Punch Series — a technical knockout

The Punch Series subs are designed to bring the benefits of Fosgate's high-end designs to their midline subwoofers, including their VAST surround technology and anodized aluminum voice coil formers. The Kevlar® reinforced paper cones give you an ideal balance of musical warmth and the toughness to keep your low end in high prominence.

Rockford Fosgate Punch subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
8" 150-250w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" 250-500w SVC and DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 400-600w SVC and DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
15" 400-600w SVC and DVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Rockford Fosgate Prime Series — baseline big bass

Rockford Fosgate's entry-level Prime Series subwoofers give you their great sound in an affordable package. Their mica-reinforced polypropylene cones offer a combination of great sound and toughness that belies their surprisingly reasonable cost, bringing RF's excellence in design and concept to everyone. You'll be pleasantly surprised by their combination of great bass and low price.

Rockford Fosgate Prime subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
10" 250w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 250w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Shopping links:

Shallow subwoofers

Shallow is the new deep — thin subs to deliver big sound

As today's cars become ever smaller, it's become difficult to find space to fit a subwoofer. The industry's response has been the introduction of shallow-mount subs, and Kicker and Rockford Fosgate have been at the forefront of the trend. Both companies offer a range of shallow-mount subs similar to their lines of more conventional subwoofers.

Either way you turn, you'll get the great bass sound that's made Kicker and Rockford Fosgate industry leaders in packages that fit almost anywhere. Let's take a look at their offerings.

Shallow subwoofer and normal subwoofer

Kicker shallow-mount subwoofers

The Solo-Baric L7T Series shallow-mounts incorporate Kicker's signature square-cone technology into subs that require only 4-1/8" of mounting depth for the 12" model, making them a great choice for any car system. The dual voice coil design gives you maximum flexibility when choosing your amp so you have the freedom of choice to build the perfect system.

The CompRT and CompVT Series shallow subs give you plenty of options in a more conventional round-cone design with a variety of sizes from 12" down to a 6-3/4" model that can fit huge bass into a startlingly small space, combining stealth and great sound. With their options in size and dual voice coil impedance there's a CompRT shallow-mount for almost every application.

Kicker shallow-mount subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
6-3/4" 150w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
8" 300-350w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" 400-500w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" CompVT 350w SVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" 500-600w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" CompVT 350w SVC 2- and 4-Ohm

Shallow subwoofer and normal subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate shallow-mount subwoofers

The Power Series shallow-mount subwoofers adapt the series' innovative cone composition, VAST surround design, and solid cast aluminum basket to a compact package that delivers the quality performance of their standard subwoofers to give you maximum impact in a limited space.

Rockford Fosgate's Punch Stage 3 Series shallow subs carry over the technology of the Punch regular subs, bringing the benefits of their design innovations to today's smaller vehicles. You'll get the same high-tech aluminum and mica-injected polypropylene cones and VAST surround design, giving you sound as big as Goliath in a David-sized space.

Their Prime R2 Series shallow-mount subs give you the rigid mica-injected polypropylene cone and solid steel frame of their standard-sized Prime subs, delivering great bass at a great price.

Rockford Fosgate shallow-mount subwoofers
Size Max RMS Power Voice Coil Impedance
8" 300w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" 250-300w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
10" Power 500w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm
12" 250-400w DVC 2- and 4-Ohm
12" Power 600w SVC 1- and 2-Ohm

[Shop for Kicker and Rockford Fosgate shallow-mount subwoofers]

Custom subwoofer box

Simple bass solutions

Not everyone enjoys the fun of picking out subs, selecting (or building!) the right box for them, and then choosing an amplifier to power them. If you want a simpler bass solution right out of the box, then take a look at pre-loaded subwoofer boxes and powered subs.

Loaded subwoofer boxes simplify the process of building a bass system by giving you a subwoofer that's perfectly matched to, and pre-installed in, a high-quality box. That means less research and installation work for you. Just add an amplifier that matches the box's RMS power rating and you'll have great bass.

Powered subwoofers take it a step further by adding just the right amount of power built into the same housing. They also tend to be a little smaller than traditional woofer boxes, so they're perfect for smaller vehicles where you just don't have a lot of extra space.

Kicker VS Rockford Fosgate

Ready to hit the road?

These great companies offer subwoofers for any system to let you dial in the quality and level of bass response you're looking for. Whatever option you choose, quality craftsmanship and innovative designs from Rockford Fosgate and Kicker have your low end needs covered.

For more information on subwoofer options and selection, check out our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide or let Crutchfield's team of trained advisors help guide you to the perfect sub. If you've already read this far, what are you waiting for?

Last updated 7/19/2021
  • Rodger g from Detroit

    Posted on 9/15/2021

    Rockford fosgate all the way any company that will build and sell a square speaker knowing that it cannot sonically produce music correctly shouldn't be proud kicker celebrates its square speakers like it's something that you should be proud of kicker used to be a great company back in the day unfortunately they have sacrificed to sound quality for sound quantity

  • Robert from Columbus

    Posted on 9/15/2021


  • Andrew Newton from Atlanta

    Posted on 8/13/2021

    Which is better, Kicker or Rockford? Answer: JL Audio

  • Philip Shannon from BISHOP

    Posted on 8/5/2021

    I've been a kicker buyer since the late 80's and still have my subs and amps in excellent working condition

  • Bobby Kinstle from LIVERMORE

    Posted on 8/3/2021

    I feel like the headline is a bit click baity for Crutchfield. Of course you aren't going to say anything bad about either of these companies. It would have been better if it was titled more of a showcase between two fantastic American subwoofer companies. Crutchfield is one of the last decent electronics sales companies out there. Please don't stoop to viral and click bait marketing.