Best 12-Inch Car Subwoofers [UPDATED 2021]

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Our pick, and the best 12″ car subwoofers on this list is the Rockford Fosgate P3. Not only because it sounds loud and proud but also because it stays clean throughout the volume knob; even at extreme settings.

This is something other subwoofers in the list couldn’t cope with. Also, thanks to the design and the VAST technology, it sounds articulate and blends in perfectly with any sound system you might have in your car right now. Finally, it is among the most reliable in the market ensuring the future owner years of sonic joy and power. We also did a review of 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, 15-inch and 18-inch options.

Good Enough For Most People

Our Pick

Rockford Fosgate P3 12″ Punch

The flagship of the company, this Rockford Fosgate P3 12” subwoofer stays true to its name delivering some serious punch. Indeed, the 600 watts RMS (1200 watts max power) are enough to bring the lower frequencies on any recording to life.

Moreover, you can push volume carelessly for miles since the anodized aluminum voice coil formers provide superior heat dissipation. Plus, the special-design spider venting allows it to stay even cooler.

Also, this is a very reliable, durable speaker because its design based on multipoint periodic stitched lead wire reduces each tinsel lead mass, thus, it spreads strain and stress to a much greater area. As a result, the performance and reliability of this state-of-the-art subwoofer are greatly increased.

Finally, the VAST capabilities (Vertical Attach Surround Technique), spun-laced Nomex re-inforced collar, and full one-year warranty make this a rock-solid, reliable, durable, and great-sounding addition to any speaker configuration you might have in your vehicle right now. Moreover, since it features the new hybrid stamp-cast basket strength is at its best while weight and resonance are dramatically reduced.

Because this sub represents the best sound quality in the most reliable package at the best price, it makes it to the top of our podium as the best 12″ subwoofer for your mobile sound system.

Runner Up

Rockville W12K9 K9 Series

This Rockville 12″ subwoofer is designed to be as sturdy as it gets. First of all, the ultra-stiff cones are thicker and stronger than any other brand in the market. Secondly, the red stitching cone reinforcement ensures the longest life to the heart of the speaker.

Finally, the Nomex Spider provides the tear resistance that you need adding strength and reliability to the package. This sub will last longer than any other featuring a cotton or poly-cotton spider. It comes as a 2-ohm and 4-ohm option.

Besides being utterly durable, this subwoofer features enough power to move the ground under the wheels with a monstrous 1000 watts RMS capability. Most of that power is distortion-free sound because it is equipped with 100% OFC wire made in Japan. As you might know, the conductance of the wire around the voice coils is paramount to sound quality and low distortion levels.

Finally, the highest-grade black glue utilized for its construction can handle more temperature than any of the competition extending its usable life and making it suitable for extreme power situations.

On the not-so-good side of things, this subwoofer can tend to be a little rumbly when not in an enclosure reducing your options for placement in your system. That being said, this is our pick as a runner-up because it packs an amazing array of features that can take your car’s sound to the next level.

Budget

Skar Audio SDR-12

When you are after the best bang for the buck, Skar Audio is always a great brand to look at. They make budget-conscious, serious-hitting machines that can cut through even the densest mix with the low frequencies. Much of that quality comes from the high-flux ferrite motor that can easily handle extreme volume over extended periods.

Speaking of extended periods, the signature red spider to which the high-temperature, 4-layer copper voice coil is attached, works great in dissipating heat to keep your audio running full power under any circumstance.

Also, this full-power scenario is particularly good-sounding thanks to the high-roll foam that ensures a thorough and powerful low-end bass response. By high power, we mean the thunderous 600 watts RMS (1,200 watts max power rating) this sound machine can propel when pushed hard.

On the not-so-good side of things, the sound quality when you drive it close to its maximum output is a tad distorted and the low frequencies can become muddy.

Nevertheless, if you are buying a 12″ car subwoofer for your ride on a budget, you won’t get more specs and audio quality for the same price tag in any other brand. This is the main reason this subwoofer is our budget pick.

Shallow Mount

Infinity Reference REF1200S

Infinity is a brand owned by Harman International, one of the biggest sound companies in the world that also owns brands like JBL and the automotive division of high-end speakers Bang & Olufsen. Why is this important?

Well, because Harman cascades the insight and know-how from other subsidiaries to create state-of-the-art sound equipment in all of its brands. Infinity is no exception and this shallow-mount 12” subwoofer offers crystal clear sound regardless of the installation space available. See more shallow-mount sub options here.

Also, because Harman included in this package the revolutionary SSITM technology which allows the user to select between 2 and 4 ohms at the flick of a switch. In the same vein, the polypropylene woofer cones are capable of channeling frequencies going as low as 27Hz so nothing escapes the spectrum of your audio system.

Finally, the same OEM testing that other speakers go through before getting to the factories of some of the biggest automobile brands in the world applies to every speaker that leaves the Infinity facilities making them as reliable as they are great-sounding.

On the not-so-good side of things, if you want to add to your system some raw power, you’ll have to stack several of these since they rate 250 watts RMS. Still, it is a great number, but it can’t match the power of other subwoofers in this list.

Nonetheless, because it sounds amazing, the build quality is superb, and it is a truly reliable piece of gear, this is our top pick to install where there is little room.

With Enclosure

Skar Audio SDR-1X12D2

For those looking for a simpler approach to creating the ultimate sound system for their rides, this pre-wired, pre-mounted presentation is the perfect match to their desires. Adapting it to the trunk of your car is as easy as it gets.

Speaking of which, the enclosure features premium-grade black carpet around with the logo stitched on the top which makes it look clean, sleek, and smart. Also, the enclosure is made of 5/8” MDF making it lightweight and great-sounding.

Sound-wise, this speaker enclosure is capable of generating up to 1,200 watts of peak power and 600 watts RMS. The frequency response goes as low as 22Hz, making it the perfect companion for those heavy thumping beats on your stereo.

Moreover, the ferrite motor along with the high-roll surround pushes those lower frequencies at ease keeping the integrity of the speaker intact even through long periods of playing time.

On the not-so-good side of things, the probability of this subwoofer distorting close to its peak level is quite high. That being said, such a sturdy build in the enclosure keeps it from rattling too much making distortion levels noticeable but much more bearable.

Despite that statement, and because it is easy to install, sounds great, and looks even better, this is our top pick for 12″ car subs with an enclosure.

Competition Grade Picks

This section is not for the casual listener or the soft music lover but for those who have a passion for volume and great sound, and love sharing it in competitions. Beware since these models are not for the faint of heart.

Most Powerful

Massive Audio HIPPOXL122R

A company that goes under the name “Massive Audio” needs to work really hard to make honor to its name, and this is exactly the case. This 12″ competition grade subwoofer boasts monstrous 6,000 watts peak power and 3,000 watts RMS. To stay in one piece while reproducing lows at such a volume level, the construction is top-notch featuring a double-stacked, high-energy strontium magnet structure built inside a heavy-duty, rugged, industrial-class, textured cast aluminum basket. Moreover, to keep it cool and rumbly, the company opted to add dual oversized poly/Nomex spiders.

This is also one of the most rugged constructions available since the voice call former is made with spun lace Kevlar and the non-pressed paper cone is also reinforced with Kevlar fibers.

Furthermore, the cone’s edge features red stitching to make it even stronger. Speaking of which, the motor gets added force from the black anodized one-piece pole plate and the reinforced fiberglass-woven dust cap can resist any high power application.

This is not only one of the most powerful 12″ car subwoofers in the market; it is made to cope with the most extreme power conditions imaginable. If you really want to crank it up to 11, this is the subwoofer to have pumping from the trunk of your ride.

1-Ohm Pick

Rockville Destroyer 12D1

This subwoofer also packs enough features to put up even with the most demanding scenarios. Indeed, it can handle 8,000 watts peak power, 4,000 watts program power, and 2,000 watts RMS at 1-ohm impedance.

Thanks to the triple-stacked Y35 magnets and the 1-piece chrome T-Yoke, magnetization, and thus, the response is better and the subwoofer bears a much higher BL rating than most competition. Together with the USA-made voice coils, the sound in this 1-ohm subwoofer is guaranteed to be top-notch and remain crystal clear regardless of where the volume knob is at.

Furthermore, for those moments in which the volume knob goes all the way to the top, the construction of this competition-grade subwoofer will keep everything in one piece and sounding great because the company employs the highest-grade black glue to help the speaker handle extreme temperature when pushed to the maximum. Also, the black non-pressed paper cone is ultra-stiff, thicker, and stronger than the competition at a lower weight.

Finally, the extra-thick foam surround prevents distortion and helps this subwoofer be the best vessel to transport the lower frequencies into the world. Because of its power, construction, and sound quality, this is our pick for those in the need of a 1-ohm option to take their vehicles to competition and stand out from the rest.

Also Great

Skar Audio ZVX-12v2

Skar Audio is a brand that couldn’t be absent from this rundown since it offers some of the best car audio products in the market. In the case of the ZVX line, it is the highest-performing subwoofer they make and feature the build quality you would expect from a brand with the reputation of Skar Audio.

For starters, it is capable of handling a max power of 3,000 watts and 1,500 watts RMS. The triple-stack magnet design together with the made-in-USA, 8-layer, 3”, high-temperature copper voice coil makes it as powerful as it is good-sounding. Finally, the competition-grade paper cone along with the high roll foam surround can handle distortion offering clear sound even in extreme settings.

Reliability-wise, the engineering of this subwoofer exudes quality since it was specially tailored to withstand the brutality a competition-grade subwoofer should when pushed to the maximum. Furthermore, what we call extreme is this subwoofer’s comfort zone.

Also Great

Also Great: Sundown Audio SA-12 V.2

Reaching the perfect balance when creating a 12” subwoofer is not, by any means, an easy endeavor. Moreover, improving on that original design to take the speaker to a different ground in terms of power handling is even more challenging. It is safe to say that Sundown Audio managed to improve on their best-selling subwoofer by literally altering the entire design but keeping the spirit intact.

To begin with, the larger 2.75” coil and new motor design can handle up to 1,000 watts RMS and still sound clear and articulate. Furthermore, this new design matches the brand-new double-layered spider, tied up with XL tinsel leads comprising of 84 strand conductors per lead.

The pumping movement this power handling generates is safe thanks to the competition-grade SPL paper cone and the extra-durable foam surround. Also, if you are worried about distortion at high-volume settings, you can be at ease because this subwoofer features a large magnet with a faraday ring that can drastically reduce distortion by inductance.

Finally, the way that this 12″ sub deals with heat is also revolutionary since it works with a perfect balance of motor force and mass and much heavier voice coils than required by the system to help dissipate heat and have optimum thermal performance at any volume.

Last update on 2022-12-01 / Affiliate links / *Image Disclaimer: We use images/data from Amazon Product Advertising API solely on products that link to Amazon. On products with the "Price at Crutchfield" button, we use images/data from Crutchfield.com as per the partnership deal.

Hey, there mobile audio lovers! My name is Vincent Talbot, founder and chief editor at 99carstereo.com. Ask any mobile audio fanatic, installer, or company rep what makes a good car speaker, sub or amp, or, better yet, why he or she prefers a certain brand over another, and be prepared to endure a litany of opinions, viewpoints, and passion-fueled perspectives. To be honest, mobile audio shopping can be a daunting task without a guide, so I’ve assembled what I feel are the best products to consider to make things easier for you. More about me.

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Mobile audio is my passion, so before I put anything in front of you I exhaustively research a broad range of products, review all the available information on them and ultimately make a curated list of recommendations. As a result, I want this site to be a trusted resource that you can rely on and that is not rigged by brand sponsorship, so you can use this information when you are planning your new mobile audio upgrade.