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Best Budget Subwoofers Reviewed
If you are a music fan, or love the idea of adding a low rumble to your home theater, an affordable subwoofer can bring a whole new sense of enjoyment to your entertainment and audio experience.
If you are on a budget and looking for a sub that won’t be a waste of cash – no need to worry – there are great budget subwoofer models that are sure to impress.
When shopping for the best budget subwoofer it’s important to avoid cheap models in favor of those with good features and performance.
Along with performance and sound quality, you’ll want a good budget subwoofer that fits in with your décor and isn’t an eye sore to look at. Thankfully, sacrificing aesthetic charm and polish is very much avoidable.
Solomon’s Music is all about high quality audio, and brutally honest reviews. We love the wall-shaking rumble of clean and punchy subs as much as anyone. We want to help you find a good budget subwoofer that will perform up to your expectations.
With that in mind, we reviewed 5 popular budget subwoofers for a variety of applications. Whether you want to beef up your home theater, or add some punch to a PA system, we’re sure you’ll find these subwoofer reviews quite helpful.
We get right into the important details and provide quick answers that are easy to digest in our comparison chart below.
Top Budget Subwoofer Comparison Chart
Best Budget Subwoofers
Although the PSW505 is undeniably loud, this doesn’t have a negative impact on the quality of sound it produces. The slot load venting does its job and owners report minimal distortion when the subwoofer’s in use.
One of the major benefits associated with Polk model is its compatibility. It can be used in conjunction with any main speaker and happy buyers report great functionality across a range of brands.
What’s more – the phase switch, volume control, and low pass crossover have a decent amount of sensitivity. This gives you complete control over the sound and lets you crank up the bass when you really need to feel it.
Many budget manufacturers opt for low-quality fittings, but you won’t have any concerns in this regard when it comes to the PSW505. Polk uses pro-grade 5-way binding posts speaker inputs and outputs, along with an unfiltered LFE input which can be used with low pass filtered subwoofer output jacks.
As well as optimal functioning, these high-quality connections increase the lifespan of the PSW505 and ensure it will stand the test of time.
If you want to enjoy your new sound straight out of the box, the PSW505 fits the bills. With an auto on-off signal, it turns on automatically when it senses a program signal, so you can be up and running within seconds.
The amplifier will also turn off when it hasn’t detected a single for longer than 15 minutes, which means you can’t risk leaving your subwoofer on for long periods of time when it’s not in use and running up your utility bills.
The classic design of the PSW505 is nice to look at but it doesn’t necessarily draw the eye. Encased in black MDF, it will visually complement your existing equipment, but it won’t be an eye-catching feature in your home. When it comes to power and sound, however, the PSW505 is tough to beat.
If you’ve got the space to accommodate the big bass it offers, the Polk PSW505 comes highly recommended.
- HEART-THUMPING MUSIC WITH DEEP, POWERFUL BASS – Polk's 12-inch Dynamic Balance Woofer sounds better because it is built better. Make your movies, music & sports experience thrilling
- ACCURATE SOUND REPRODUCTIONS – Be it delicate, melodious string music or solid blasts and booms from bombs and bullets, this subwoofer picks the subtleties between different kinds of sound correctly and reproduces them with absolute perfection
- DRIVEN BY IMMENSE 460-WATT POWER, the PSW505 gives HIGH PERFORMANCE IMPACTFUL SOUND WITHOUT ANY DISTORTION. While it blends with any speaker, it works best with Polk's Signature Series Speakers. Highly recommended for your home theater!
- VERSATILE & FULLY LOADED – The front grille is detachable, and the back has a magnetically shielded LFE-input for noisy signal aversion, line- & speaker-level inputs and outputs, and a Phase Toggle Switch designed for running multiple subwoofers
- EASY TO INTEGRATE WITH EXISTING SYSTEMS – Hook up this sub to the receiver and upgrade your music sound instantly! Features continuously variable 60-120 Hz crossover and 25-125 Hz frequency response
While the power is still enough to deliver thunderous basslines, it doesn’t overpower the lows and mids. If you want a subwoofer that complements your audio experience, rather than dominating it, the SW-8MKS is well worth a look.
Owners use the SW-8MKS with a range of setups, so there doesn’t appear to be any problems when it comes to connectivity. If you’re only using a single input, you won’t need a Y adapter, which is handy for amateurs who may not have a range of connectors and equipment lying around. The build allows you to plug a single input directly into the L input, so you won’t have to worry about sourcing extra connectors or equipment.
Designed by speaker engineer, Andrew Jones, the SW-8MKS could be a great addition to your home setup. Whether you primarily want to increase the bass when you’re listening to music or immerse yourself in your favorite movies, the sound quality is impressive, particularly considering its size.
With dimensions of 12-3/16”W x 14-3/16H” x 12-3/16”D, the SW-8MKS doesn’t take up a lot of space and will slot in nicely next to the rest of your equipment. In a classic wood-stained surround with a glossy speaker and the instantly recognizable Pioneer logo, it’s a subwoofer that looks as good as it sounds.
It’s worth noting, however, that many people have experienced problems with this model. While most buyers report great sound when it’s in use, a significant number have encountered a loud hissing or buzzing sound when the unit’s switched on. Although it’s barely noticeable when you’re playing music or watching TV with it on, it’s loud enough to distract you when the subwoofer is switched on but not actively being used. Worse still – many people find that the sound gets louder as time goes on.
If you’re willing to take a risk or put up with the irritation, the SW-8MKS is still a great budget buy. Delivering great sound with relatively little power, this could be the best 8-inch subwoofer on the market when it’s working optimally!
- Rockville RBG15S 15" 1600 Watt Active Powered PA Subwoofer.
- 400 Watts RMS / 800 Watts Program / 1600 Watts Peak Power. 5" Woofer with 70oz Magnet and 3” Voice Coil.
- Frequency Response: (+/-3dB) 29Hz - 150Hz. Maximum SPL @ 1w / 1m: 120dB Peak / 115dB Continuous.
- DSP Digital Signal Processor with Boost for Extended Low Frequency Control. Power-On and Signal Input LED Indicators.
- Signal Input LED Indicator. Clip Limiter Circuitry with LED Indicator. Balanced XLR + TRS input jacks.
Despite being arguably the best powered subwoofer, most buyers find the RBG15S crossover function works well to complement a range of frequencies. When you want maximum bass, the sheer power of the unit won’t leave you disappointed.
If you’re looking to create a multi-faceted sound, however, the RBG15S offers enough functionality to keep things balanced. If you’re looking for a deep bass subwoofer that’s capable of creating a vast amount of volume, that’s exactly what you’ll get with this unit.
For many people, however, the RBG15S might be a little too high-powered. If you want a unit to enhance your home theater setup, for example, this probably isn’t the subwoofer for you. If you want to host a raucous party, liven up your street or increase the sound at gigs, however, this high-powered subwoofer will meet your needs.
Cased in felt, featuring easy to grab side handles and matt grill, the RBG15S looks like a professional piece of kit. If you want a sub you can showcase at gigs and events, this is sure to look great and will be a great visual accompaniment to your existing equipment.
There’s just one issue that might put you off purchasing the RBG15S and that’s the build quality. Despite weighing in at 93.2 pounds, many buyers have been disappointed with the quality of construction. While you may not expect the highest quality finish when you purchase a budget subwoofer, it defeats the purpose when a poor-quality build affects your audio enjoyment.
A notable number of buyers have noticed rattling or grating sounds coming from their units, which could be a cause for concern. While there are a great deal of happy shoppers who are content with the RBG15S, there are perhaps too many concerns about build quality avoid the subject altogether.
If you plan on cranking the volume up so loud that you won’t notice any rattling, then the potential impact of questionable quality control may not give you any cause for concern. However, if you’re looking for the best budget subwoofer because you want to create a flawless audio experience at home, this probably isn’t the unit you’re looking for.
- Powerful 100 Watt internal amplifier for controlled bass at any volume level high or low ; Maximum Input Power 100 W
- 8” long throw woofer allows for lower frequencies than traditional woofers ; Dimensions (W x H x D) 12-3/16” x 14-3/16” x 12-3/16”
- Crossover and Phase Adjustments to perfectly blend subwoofer with your speakers ; Power Requirement.120 V/60Hz
- Frequency Range: 38 Hz – 150 Hz ;Power Consumption 1.0A
- Speaker level and line level inputs for installation options using either speaker wire or a subwoofer cable
The addition of a twisted flare port means the NS-SW100BL is stepping up its game and competing with the best of them. While this might be a home subwoofer, Advanced Yamaha Active Servo Technology II gives it a professional feel and sound.
Delivering an undeniably rich sound, the unit’s capable of enhancing almost any audio experience. While Yamaha maintains the NS-SW100BL offers a frequency range of 25-180Hz, many buyers feel this is overstated its capabilities somewhat.
If you’re intent on reaching a frequency of 25-30Hz, in reality, this unit may not offer the level of functionality you’re looking for. As a budget subwoofer for all-round home use, however, it’s hard to beat.
Positive buyer feedback seems to support Yamaha’s claims regarding the sound quality offered by the NS-SW100BL but do be aware that it’s somewhat limited when it comes to features. Unlike some other budget subwoofers, it doesn’t have in-built crossover control, for example.
If you’re looking for a simple subwoofer speaker or you have this functionality on other equipment, this may not pose much a problem. If you want a budget home subwoofer that’s capable of crossovers, however, it isn’t the unit for you.
As you might expect, many people incorporate the NS-SW100BL into home theater setups and it’s a particularly popular choice with movie lovers. While music aficionados largely give the unit a high rating, some do feel that it’s a little underpowered.
However, it isn’t designed to compete with more expensive options on the market and may not be the best choice if you’re looking for something really special.
When it comes to aesthetics, the Yamaha NS-SW100BL will look great in any living room, movie room or den. Its minimal design ensures its unimposing, but the gently slanted front and high-quality finish ensure it adds elegance and sophistication to your setup.
- New twisted flare port contributes to clear and tight bass
- Advanced YST II (Yamaha Active Servo Technology II)
- 10” cone woofer
- Stylish addition to any room
The unit can be connected directly to other equipment using an LFE input or you can rely on the pre-prepared transmitter to deliver great sound.
While you’ll obviously need a power outlet to plug the unit in, the addition of a compact wireless transmitter means you aren’t limited on where you place the R-10SWi or how you set up your home theater system. If you want to avoid trailing cables throughout a room but still want maximum flexibility when it comes to placement, this is one of the best subs you’ll find on a budget.
Indeed, the wireless connectivity has received rave reviews from happy buyers. While many people were initially apprehensive about the impact a wireless transmitter could have on sound quality, the vast majority of purchasers have been overwhelmingly impressed.
Most report no difference in quality between using wireless or wired connections, which means the flexibility offered by the R-10SWi doesn’t come at a cost.
As well as wireless connectivity, the unit offers an all-digital amplifier, low pass crossover, and phase control, a front-facing LED power indicator and removable grill for custom adjustment.
With a great range of features and reliable sound quality, the R-10SWi will enrich any home theater setup. Whether you’re listening to the latest tunes, rocking out to old classics or setting yourself up for a movie marathon, you’ll be impressed with your audio experience when you add the R-10SWi to your system.
If you plan on moving your budget subwoofer around your home, you may want to opt for a unit that’s relatively light. With some subwoofers easily weighing more than 50 pounds, the lightweight design of the R-10SWi really is a bonus.
The spun copper IMG woofer enables the build to weigh in at just 25.5 pounds, while still providing exceptional sound quality and minimal distortion.
As far as looks go, the R-10SWi is well designed and visually pleasing. A brushed polymer veneer finish gives the unit a contemporary feel, while the copper features make the unit a standout piece of equipment.
If you want it to blend seamlessly into your set, the optional grill makes the copper woofer more discreet, which makes it the ideal addition in any home.
With great sound quality, an exceptional range of features and spectacular design, the Klipsch R-10SWi is possibly the best budget sub on the market. If you want rich sounds, great visuals, and plug n play functionality, this is the sub for you.
- 10" front-firing, spun copper imp woofer
- 2.4Ghz wireless hi-fi pre-paired transmitter
- All-digital amplifier
- Low pass crossover and phase control
- Strong, flexible, removable grille
Important Features of Good Budget Subwoofer
If you’ve got your eye out for a good subwoofer at a great price, you’ll want to do your research and make sure you know what you’re getting. While it isn’t always easy to combine exceptional quality and low prices, there are a range of standout budget subs that are a great place to start. When you’re scouring the market for the best deal, be sure to keep these important features in mind…
How you plan to use your sub will have a major impact on which models are right for you. If you listen to a particular genre of music, for example, you may be looking for a subwoofer that can access low frequencies. Alternatively, if you’re more focused on maximizing the volume, a high powered subwoofer could be what you need.
The potential portability of the unit is also an important consideration. If you’ll be taking your sub to gigs or sets, you’ll want something that’s lightweight enough to be moved around regularly. In addition, you may want to choose a unit with a particularly robust enclosure to ensure accidentally knocks don’t impair its function.
When you’re using a subwoofer at home, the placement options may impact which model you choose too. If you’ve already carved out a space for a new sub within your existing setup, you might be content with wired connectivity. However, if you want to retain flexibility, a wireless transmitter might be a must-have feature.
Even budget subwoofers can be quite an investment, so it’s essential that you get your money’s worth. When choosing a new piece of kit, pay attention to the warranty that’s on offer. Brands that don’t offer a lengthy guarantee may be best avoided. As a general rule, 5-year warranties are to be expected when you’re purchasing speakers and subwoofers. However, many firms will offer an extended warranty as an add-on purchase.
Although your home insurance or gig insurance may cover accidental damage or theft, you’ll need a warranty to protect against unit failure or declining sound quality. When you’re budgeting for a new subwoofer, it’s worth factoring in the cost of an extended warranty to ensure you get good value out of your purchase.
When you’re on the lookout for home theater equipment, it’s tempting to go straight to the big brands. Many well-known manufacturers offer budget equipment, so you’ll find viable options from Yamaha, Klipsch, Polk Audio and other big names within your price range. When you’re choosing a sub, however, never go on brand name alone.
With so many factors to take into consideration, a high-profile brand name does guarantee you’ll get what you’re looking for. A budget sub from Yamaha may be perfect for home use, for example, while a money-saving unit by Klipsch could be ideal for gigging.
By looking beyond the brand name and assessing the unit on its features and functionality, you can make sure you get a subwoofer that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.
Finding the right piece of equipment means choosing between a front or bottom-firing subwoofer. In front-firing units, the speaker propels sound from the front (hence the name!), while sound from bottom-firing subs is directed towards the floor.
Front-firing subwoofers operate in much the same way as traditional speakers, so you’ll know exactly what to expect. However, bottom-firing subwoofers work by pushing the sound down so that it resonates against the floor. As well as creating a deeper, richer sound, this forms the recognizable thumping sensation you feel when the bass is cranked up.
While both types of sub will increase low-frequency sounds, bottom-firing units are best if you want to feel that bass as well as hear it.
Buying a budget subwoofer doesn’t mean you have to settle for shoddy craftsmanship. The build quality of your unit will have a major impact on the sound it produces, so you’ll want something that’s been well-manufactured and carefully designed. Furthermore, poorly built units lack durability, which means they’re more likely to break or fall apart.
An iron frame is, perhaps, the most durable option for a subwoofer but this can push the price point up and limits the portability of a unit. However, rubber surrounds and polypropylene cones do a good job of increasing durability without inflating the price.
A sub that offers great sound, but poor build quality, won’t sound good for very long. In a relatively short space of time, cracked plastic, loose screws or moveable casing will affect how well the sub functions. As a result, your bass will be plagued by rattling, grating or interference. If you want high-quality sound that lasts, choose a sub that’s solid and well-built.
When you’re looking for a budget subwoofer, price is definitely a factor! Although the cost of your sub will ultimately determine whether or not you take the plunge, don’t base your decision on price alone. If a low-cost sub seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
While your personal budget will determine what price points you’re looking at, how you intend to use your sub may impact your decision-making. If you simply want to enhance the odd movie night with a richer sound, you may be content to stick to entry-level units and grab a bargain.
If you’re a musician, movie lover or you spend hours listening to your favorite tracks and dialogue, however, your new sub may have a greater impact on your day-to-day life. If so, it may be worth viewing the purchase as an investment and stretching your budget to get the best quality sub you can find.
Choosing the Best Budget Subwoofer
No matter what your budget is, selecting the right subwoofer comes down to features and how you intend to use them. The most basic models will add some extra bass to your audio, while more advanced options will give you control and allow you to create a finely balanced sound.
By evaluating what you want to get from your sub and what features matter most to you, you’ll find it easier to track down the best budget subwoofer to match your style.