- Best 12 Inch Home Theater Subwoofer – Top 10 Picks!
- OUR #1 CHOICE
- Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer
- BIC America F12 12-Inch Subwoofer Box Kit
- BIC Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer Hooded Litter Box Kit
- Klipsch R-12SWi Subwoofer
- Rockville Rock Shaker 12-Inch Subwoofer
- Polk Audio HTS 12-Inch Subwoofer
- SVS SB-1000 12-Inch Sealed Subwoofer
- Behringer EUROLIVE B1200D-PRO Subwoofer
- Monoprice 12-Inch 150-Watt Subwoofer
- How to choose the best 12 inch home theater subwoofer
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final words
Subwoofers add an extra ‘oomph’ to your home theater system. It’s responsible for producing bass and sub-bass sounds to make your viewing experience more immersive and enjoyable. But for you to achieve this, it’s important to choose the best 12 inch home theater subwoofer.
In general, subwoofers are available in various sizes; the bigger the fuller its bass sound will be. You’ll usually find 8, 10, and 12-inch options in the market. And if you want one that can handle bangers and movies with heart-thumping low sounds, a 12-inch subwoofer would be a champ. You can even go for 16 inches, but that’s already an overkill for a home theater.
While go big or go home might ring true to subwoofers, a large size is prone to several pitfalls. Poorly designed large subwoofers will sound boomy and scratchy. Also, some will get busted after being used on bass-heavy audio.
To avoid this, it’s important to choose subwoofers that are designed to put up with intense bass. These 10 picks below are just some of the ideal options that will surely give the best value for your money.
Best 12 Inch Home Theater Subwoofer – Top 10 Picks!
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer
Product Name: Polk Audio PSW505 12-Inch Powered Subwoofer
Product Description: If you’re looking for the best 12 inch home theater subwoofer, I highly recommend the Polk Audio PSW505. This model has a 300-watt RMS in a front-firing design. The high-roll foam that surrounds the driver also adds better audio quality than other models. Moreover, this subwoofer has a 25 Hz to 125 Hz frequency and a variable 60 Hz to 120 Hz crossover. Whether it’s heart-thumping bass or delicate melodies, this subwoofer will surely give you an enjoyable listening experience. In front, the Polk Audio PSW505 Subwoofer has a detachable cloth grille that allows the subwoofer to blend in your home theater nicely.
Offer price: $$$
Build and Design
At the back, this has fully-loaded controls. There’s volume control, low-pass filter, phase toggle switch, LFE input, 3-way power switch, and more line inputs. With this onboard control panel, setting up this active subwoofer is a total breeze. If you’re looking for a premium and quality subwoofer, this model from Polk Audio will not disappoint. However, I just want to mention that this is a huge box, which is something to keep in mind when setting up this sub.
- Optimized using Klippel Distortion Analyzer
- Improved bass response using slot load venting
- The sub box is made with 1-inch thick MDF
- Aesthetic cloth grille cover
- Long Throw Driver for improved linearity
- This subwoofer is really bulky.
- I think the toggle switches at the back stick too much for my liking.
Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer
Another home theater subwoofer I swear by is the Klipsch R-120SW Subwoofer. This is a 400-watt (300W RMS) unit with a frequency range of 29 Hz to 120 Hz. And for added oomph, this sub is ported, making the bass sound fuller and louder.
Moreover, this has a front-firing design with a spun-copper woofer driver that delivers reliable bass. To top that is a built-in and all-digital amplifier that delivers true-to-source sound reproduction. This will give your home theater an immersive listening experience.
Aside from that, this subwoofer has onboard controls with line-level inputs for guaranteed compatibility across any receiver. I also like the shock-absorbing feet that prevent the sub from dragging around as it plays intense bass.
In addition, this subwoofer has Klipsch’s proprietary Cerametallic cones made of a copper-wound and dual-layer coil. This delivers incomparable conductivity for the best acoustic execution.
This sub also has the brand’s internal-flare geometry, which reduces port noise. In turn, this feature removes potential distortion, even on the highest volume and lowest frequency.
Overall, this is a well-made subwoofer that will surely level up your home theater. Still, I want to mention that it’s not as warm as the Polk unit I reviewed above. But if you’re not really nitpicky, the difference isn’t really a big deal.
BIC America F12 12-Inch Subwoofer Box Kit
For those who are looking for a more affordable option, the BIC America F12 Subwoofer is a good pick. This model is equipped with an injection-molded long-throw woofer in a front-firing design. And for hard-hitting bass, this subwoofer has the brand’s proprietary and patented Venturi, a vented feature that reduces port noise.
Moreover, this subwoofer has an adjustable crossover as well as automatic signal sensing and easy-to-adjust volume control. There’s a control panel at the back where you can easily tweak the setup for your home theater.
Aside from that, this subwoofer has a frequency range of 25 Hz to 200 Hz and a peak wattage of 475 watts. This is aside from the magnetic shielding to make the subwoofer more durable.
I also like that this subwoofer has two inputs: Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic. Both are gold-plated for a reliable connection.
In case you received a faulty unit, BIC has a 5-year warranty that guarantees free replacements. They also have stellar customer service, which is added value for its modest price point.
BIC Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer Hooded Litter Box Kit
Another BIC model I recommend is the Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer. This one has the same long-throw woofer that’s also used in the F12 model.
Moreover, this front-firing subwoofer has a built-in BASH amplifier that can deliver a maximum of 1,000 watts of peak output. It also has an adjustable crossover, which is also bypassable when used on a digital receiver.
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II has a frequency response of 21 Hz to 200 Hz. This is more than satisfying for home theaters and users who want punchy bass while streaming movies.
In addition, the terminals of this subwoofer are gold-plated for a strong defense against corrosion. The PL-200 II is also powered with Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital inputs, which are compatible with almost every receiver possible.
If you’re looking for a quality subwoofer that won’t break the bank, the PL-200 II is one of the good options to consider. Overall, this model shines best in home theater setups instead of recording studio purposes.
I just want to mention that this thing is huge and big enough to be used as a coffee table from time to time. However, the gloss top gets scratched easily, which is something to keep in mind.
Klipsch R-12SWi Subwoofer
Are you looking for a wireless sub for your home theater? The Klipsch R-12SWi Subwoofer might be the best pick in the market. This is paired with a 2.4 GHz wireless Hi-Fi transmitter that’s already pre-paired for your convenience. Simply plug the transmitter into the sub and you’ll enjoy true-to-source audio reproduction without the cable clutter.
Moreover, this sports the brand’s iconic spun-copper IMG woofer on a front-firing setup. It’s also equipped with a fully digital amplifier for your convenience.
At the back of the subwoofer, there’s a control panel where you can adjust the low pass, gain, phase, and sync. It also has line-in terminals in case you don’t like to use it wirelessly.
I also want to mention that the Klipsch R-12SWi is designed for large home theaters. It packs a lot of rumble at a frequency range of 29 Hz to 120 Hz as well as maximum acoustic output of 116 dB.
In terms of build, this home theater sub has a thick MDF cabinet wrapped in polymer veneer. In front, this comes with a removable grille that gives the sub a refined look.
Rockville Rock Shaker 12-Inch Subwoofer
For those who are setting up a home theater on a budget, I highly recommend the Rockville Rock Shaker 12-Inch Subwoofer. This is a heart-thumping model that packs up to 800 watts of power with 400 watts of RMS.
Moreover, this is fitted with Class D amplifier circuitry complete with an auto-switching power supply.
You’ll also get a high-grade woofer surrounded by a foam and paper cone for better sound reproduction.
I also like that the Rockville Rock Shaker Subwoofer has a Y30 magnet and a 4-layer voice coil. This guarantees a distortion-free playback, whether it’s for streaming music or watching movies.
Aside from that, this sub is made with an MDF wood box filled with fire-resistant poly cotton. This is added safety to prevent fire accidents in case the unit overheats or short circuits.
This has a frequency response of 20 Hz to 200 Hz, which gives it a punchy lowest of low while watching movies. For this price range, this is already a steal.
Polk Audio HTS 12-Inch Subwoofer
For small to medium home theaters, I highly recommend the Polk Audio HTS Subwoofer. This is fitted with a low-throw, front-firing woofer together with the brand’s proprietary Dynamic Balance Technology. This is designed to provide 3D sound throughout your home theater.
Aside from that, this subwoofer packs 400 watts of power at a peak. And for deeper bass response, this unit has the patented Power Port Technology. It acts as a diffuser that reduces any kind of distortion or turbulence that may occur.
I also like the versatility of this subwoofer since it comes with both stereo line and LFE inputs. It pairs well with any receiver, like the Polk Signature Series speakers.
Moreover, this Polk Audio subwoofer has a control panel at the rear where you can tweak the settings for optimal bass levels. In front, it has a cloth grill that gives an aesthetic vibe, allowing the sub to blend well in your home theater. I also like the curved edges of this subwoofer paired with a washed walnut finish.
In terms of frequency response, this subwoofer has a 22 Hz to 180 Hz range for bass that you can feel.
SVS SB-1000 12-Inch Sealed Subwoofer
The SVS SB-1000 Sealed Subwoofer has 820+ watts of peak power and 325 watts of RMS. It’s also equipped with a Sledge amplifier that delivers energizing bass and hard-hitting audio.
This subwoofer is designed to provide jaw-dropping bass on your home theater down to 20 Hz. This is made possible using the high-excursion woofer and voice coil that harness its full audio capabilities.
Moreover, this SVS sub has premium copper coil winding that reduces distortion. It also maximizes linearity, heat dissipation, and excursion – thanks to the Y30 Ferrite magnet motor.
Aside from this, the SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer has a proprietary injection-molded gasket as well as a cotton-poly linear spider. On top of that, this sub uses a fiber composite cone that boosts the transient response of bass sounds.
Overall, this subwoofer delivers tight and punchy sound for almost every home theater. However, since this is a sealed sub, you should temper your expectations in terms of real displacement. But for less picky audiophiles, this part is already forgivable given the quality of the other components.
Behringer EUROLIVE B1200D-PRO Subwoofer
If you have the money to splurge on a high-end subwoofer, I suggest you consider the Behringer EUROLIVE B-1200D-PRO Subwoofer. This high-performance model packs 500 watts of power on its long-excursion transducer for heart-thumping bass.
Aside from that, this premium subwoofer has an ultra-low frequency response for bass that packs a punch. This is also built with an active stereo crossover, the sub can be turned into a full-range loudspeaker.
Moreover, this comes with a built-in Class D amplifier equipped with a clip limit and thermal protection.
Overall, this sub has a frequency response of 45 Hz to 90 Hz. It’s also equipped with a Boost switch that allows you to increase the selected frequency by 10 dB. There are multiple controls at the rear of the Behringer subwoofer, which gives users the freedom to tweak the bass sound to their liking.
In general, the Behringer EUROLIVE B1200D-PRO is an excellent choice for all home theaters. It’s also a champ for studio purposes, which isn’t surprising given its price.
However, it’s quite smaller than what I expected and in comparison with other 12-inch subs. But other than that, I don’t have major issues with this option.
Monoprice 12-Inch 150-Watt Subwoofer
For those who are looking for a modest sub to use in their home theater, I highly recommend the Monoprice 12-Inch 150-Watt Subwoofer.
This is equipped with a high-performance woofer that packs a reasonable 150 watts of RMS and 200 watts of peak power. If you have a small home theater, this is more than enough for a bass-filled listening experience.
Moreover, this subwoofer has a frequency response of 50 Hz to 250 Hz equipped with a low-pass crossover filter. You can also adjust it to the full range as you wish.
Aside from that, this has onboard controls at the back for easy setup. There are multiple inputs that are compatible with any existing stereo amplifier that’s at least 5.1 or newer.
In terms of build, this Monoprice subwoofer offers great value for money. It has a nice, textured veneer cover as well as rubber feet to keep it from dragging around when in use. In front, there’s a cloth grille to protect the woofer driver.
Overall, this sub is a great balance between price and value. While it’s not as hard-hitting as other options above, it still delivers decent bass for your home theater.
How to choose the best 12 inch home theater subwoofer
Subwoofers have become a trend over the past years, thanks to the popularity of home theaters. And since home theater components have been made more affordable, many homeowners are already indulging themselves in these devices.
However, if you’re new to subwoofers, it can be tricky to find one that matches your needs. Also, not all subwoofers in the market have good quality, so you have to watch out for dud ones.
To help you out, here are a few points to keep in mind when purchasing your first subwoofer unit:
For those who are new to subwoofers, it’s important to know that these audio devices are available in a wide range of sizes. Basically, it refers to the size of the woofer driver, which produces the sound. The driver is the cone-like structure on a subwoofer or speaker in general.
Modest options have 6 to 8-inch drivers, but you can also find powerful models equipped with 12 to 13-inch drivers or larger. All of these are suitable for home theaters, depending on the room size and the sound quality you want to achieve.
In general, 12-inch subwoofer drivers are the foolproof choice for home theaters. It’s forgiving when it comes to sound adjustments and price points.
Overall, a 12-inch subwoofer will give you hard-hitting bass without hurting your pocket too much. So if you’re new to subwoofers, a 12-inch model is a good starting point.
✔️Active vs. passive
Subwoofers are divided into two major types: active and passive. This refers to how the subwoofer power is sourced.
Active subwoofers have built-in amplifiers, so there’s no need to connect them to a separate one. Since it requires one less component, active subs are easier to set up for DIY home theaters.
However, it’s important to note that active subwoofers need more power (wattage) to work. They are also slightly more expensive than passive types, but worth the purchase if you’re looking for convenience.
On the other hand, passive subwoofers need a separate amplifier to work. This translates to added cable work and a harder setup. It’s because you need to ensure that the sub has a compatible coil and impedance with your amplifier.
Still, passive subwoofers have a major upside: it’s a great option for large home theaters. It also allows you to interconnect multiple passive subwoofers for better sound output. And since it has fewer components than its active counterpart, passive subs tend to be cheaper.
✔️Sealed vs. ported
The box design of the subwoofer is a very important consideration. Take note that the subwoofer box isn’t just for optics, it also impacts the sound quality of the subwoofer.
Basically, there are two subwoofer box types: sealed and ported.
Sealed subwoofers are encased in a closed cabinet. This allows the air compression inside the box to produce low-frequency sounds. Overall, sealed subs have a clear and deep audio profiles.
However, the biggest downside here is that you won’t get the lowest of low when it comes to bass. Low-frequency dive is high in sealed subs, which is often a deal-breaker among hardcore audiophiles.
On the other hand, ported subwoofers, as their name suggests, have a hole in their cabinet. Some are designed with multiple circular openings.
This opening allows bigger air movement, which produces better sound. This is why ported subwoofers are the top picks for large home theaters and those who want the most hard-hitting low frequencies.
However, ported subwoofers need to be tuned well to maximize their full bass potential. But if you only have a small home theater, the difference between ported and sealed subs could be negligible.
✔️Front-firing vs. down-firing
Most subwoofers in the market are built in two common ways: front-firing and down-firing. Basically, it refers to how the driver is positioned.
Front-firing subs have the driver installed vertically, so the sound is projected on one side of the subwoofer.
Meanwhile, down-firing types have the driver installed facing the floor, so the sound is released downward. With this, down-firing subs have boxes that are equipped with feet to elevate them from the ground.
Overall, there’s little – and very negligible – the difference in the sound quality of these two types. It’s up to you to choose which one you’d like to use. But when it comes to the most common option, front-firing subs are often the way to go.
✔️Wired vs. wireless
Most subwoofers are wired and need to be connected to an amplifier or television when setting up a home theater. This is the standard for guaranteed connectivity and to reduce potential distortion or sound quality issues.
Still, there are wireless types that offer the convenience of portability. This way, you no longer have to deal with cable clutter and compatibility issues.
However, wireless subwoofers are only ideal if you’re planning to use speakers from the same and single brand. If not, a wireless subwoofer may become more of a frustration than a source of enjoyment in your home theater.
Sound quality is a consideration when looking for a home theater subwoofer. After all, this is the very same reason you’re going to buy one.
The first thing we have to consider here is the subwoofer’s frequency range. This is measured in Hertz (Hz) and indicates the lowest sound the sub can reach.
In general, the human ear can hear frequencies as low as 20 Hz and feel down to 10 Hz. As much as possible, choose a subwoofer with the lowest threshold as this delivers hard-hitting and fuller bass.
On the upper range, you should look for a sub that only reaches 125 Hz to 250 Hz (given that it has a crossover). For those who aren’t very picky, a slightly higher upper frequency is still acceptable. Still, that’s already stretching the acceptable and satisfying range for home theaters.
Every subwoofer you’ll find has a power rating, specifically the active type. When it comes to power, you have to check the RMS or Root Mean Square of the subwoofer. This is also referred to as continuous wattage.
To save you from the complicated math, subwoofers with 150 to 500 watts of power rating are more than enough for most home theaters. This range is also cheaper and delivers the best balance between quality and performance.
In general, subwoofers with high wattage perform well on high-volume and hard-hitting bass usage. While low-wattage subs can still be cranked at a high volume, these models will usually start to falter. Worse, the low-wattage unit will stop working when pushed its limited power capability.
As much as subwoofers are made to suit every room, you still need to tweak their settings for the best results. The good thing is that many subs nowadays have onboard controls that allow users to change the sub-settings on the fly.
On the other hand, there’s also a feature called ‘room calibration’. Subwoofers with this feature have a built-in microphone that records the bass sound as it bounces around your home theater. Based on these detections, the subwoofer will automatically adjust itself or optimal sound output that matches your needs.
Moreover, subwoofers with a room calibration feature take the guesswork out if you’re new to setting up sound systems. It also enhances the realism and overall integration of the bass sound in your home theater.
While subs with this feature are slightly pricier than standard ones, you can still find them under the 500-buck price point.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is a 12-inch subwoofer worth it?
A: If you want a heart-thumping and head-bobbing bass, a 12-inch subwoofer is definitely worth the purchase. Aside from having fuller bass, this subwoofer size also plays louder and boomier, giving you a very satisfying listening experience. And for movie streaming in your home theater, a 12-inch subwoofer would make movie nights more immersive.
Q: How do I make my sub hit the hardest?
A: To make your sub hit the hardest, it’s important to get a large driver size. Sound drivers that are 12 inches or bigger hit harder than smaller ones. Also, you should use a well-tuned subwoofer box that will amplify the bass even more. Adjusting the stereo and amplifier settings will also help in making your subwoofers hit better.
Q: Are more watts better for subwoofers?
A: A subwoofer with a higher wattage will have a powerful output. This is a good option if you have a large home theater system and multiple speakers. If need be, you’re always free to use more than one subwoofer to achieve the sound quality you prefer.
Q: Do you have to break in a subwoofer?
A: To achieve the best sound, most subwoofers will need a break-in period. This is around 20 to 200 hours of playtime. This is to allow the subwoofer to be ‘shaped’ or ‘flexed’ into the best configuration. Nevertheless, there are subwoofers that are already broken in, so you can enjoy the best sound straight from the package.
Q: Will a capacitor make my subs louder?
A: A capacitor will help supply enough power into a subwoofer, especially if it has a large driver. This way, you can maximize the full potential of the subwoofer in your home theater. However, the capacitor must be installed properly and should match the power your subwoofer needs.
Is your home theater lacking that ‘punch’? You’re probably in need of the best 12 inch home theater subwoofer. The 10 options we reviewed above are just some of the best picks you can consider, whether you’re watching movies, streaming videos, or listening to music.
All of these curated subwoofers are available at a wide range of features and price points. And if you gave a large home theater, you can even purchase two subs for the most hard-hitting bass.
Which sub do you like best? Share your thoughts below!