Brandon Hart writes about technology, including about gaming and building computers.
I began working in a car audio installation store before I even learned to drive. That passion has taken me from getting my car to thump as loud as I could to now having a good amount of sound, and most importantly for me, quality.
That said, if you're coming here looking for a good 12-inch sub recommendation, then you're probably looking for either a good sound quality or SQ subwoofer or an SPL or sound pressure level sub. SPL subwoofers are for those of you who want as much impact and feel to your bass as possible.
Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Punch Subwoofer
If you're looking for a sub for around $150, the Rockford Fosgate P3D4-12 Punch is the place you should start. It gives you better value than many of those store options twice its price.
I love the sound. It's fantastic. If you're looking to thump, the punch rattles. Better yet it's built to last. That's something you don't get with similarly priced models that go this hard. To make it last a bit longer give it a bit of a breaking end period before you're ready to throw it up to 100%.
This particular model comes with either a 2 or 4 ohm option. The 2 ohm can be wired from 1 or 4 while the 4 can be wired 2 or 8. 8 is a good option if you're going for multiple subs.
The venting for this model is top notch with an aluminum cone that takes heat directly away from the copper and aluminum voice coils. This results in a consistently good bass that can hit those deep lows without having those bottoming out issues.
The Final Word
Overall, $150 isn't cheap. However, I think you'll agree that going with something like this out of the starting line is better than getting something cheap for $50 you'll have to return later. Plus, this thumps harder and sounds better than those expensive in-store models you've seen. Compared to other models in its price range, it's difficult to beat.
Testing a Pair of Punches
Dual BP1204 12-Inch 1100-Watt Illumination Bandpass Subwoofer
Here's a good option for a starting enthusiast who has around $150 to spend. It comes with a pre-designed studio enclosure that lights up and handles up to 1,100 watts of peak power.
While it certainly won't beat the sound quality of pricier individual subs at this price point, it does do a good job for everything it comes with. You are taking a chance with the lesser known brand here in Dual Electronics, but I feel like it sounds good.
The blue illumination allows for color-coordinated installs. I've seen a 4pc Blue LED Lighting kit to this as well, which really makes your car stand out. If you don't add additional lighting, then it looks good, but isn't what I'd call overly distracting.
These subs are nailed and glued with added bracing and carpet covering so they shouldn't move at all. The acoustic chamber has been computer-tuned to increase the efficiency of its output.
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The Dual BP1204 sub also comes with a one-year warranty so you don't have to worry about a lemon product.
Overall it's a good buy for the money if you have space.
BP1204 Manufacturer's Specs
- Watts RMS: 600 watts
- Watts Peak: 1,100 watts
- Sensitivity: 89 dB
- Frequency Response: 25 to 200 Hz
- Impedance: 4 ohms
- Height: 14.2 inches
- Width: 29.5 inches
- Depth: 14.2 inches
Watts RMS: 600 watts
Watts Peak: 1,100 watts
Sensitivity: 89 dB
Frequency Response: 25 to 200 Hz
Impedance: 4 ohms
Height: 14.2 inches
Width: 29.5 inches
Depth: 14.2 inches
Testing the Dual Electronics BP1204
Kicker 10C124 Comp 12-Inch Subwoofer 4 SVC
Kicker has a few 12" sun options from $60 to $110 that area all pretty good bang for your buck. The one I'm featuring here is the one I'm most familiar with in the Kicker 10C124.
I've heard people give Kicker a hard time in the past. However, that's hardly fair considering their pricing. For the money, they are hard to beat, which is the reason that a lot of people buy them.
For build quality, the 10C124 it features a super-rigid injection molded coin with extra bracing.
Overall, if you're looking for good sound for under $100, this is the model I'd point to at right around $75.
RMS Power Range (Watts)
Peak Power Handling (Watts)
Top Mount Depth (inches)
27 - 500 Hz
Sealed box volume:
1.25 - 3.5 cu. ft.
Ported box volume:
1.75 - 2.25 cu. ft.
Testing the Kicker Comp 12" 10C124
Cheap and Knocks Hard
If you're looking for a budget build or entry-level system that gives you good sound and quality, the Pioneer TSW126M is a good place to look. For around $40 a piece they can seriously knock. The bass is clean and deep for the price you pay.
This is a good option for those of you who want something to get up and going. For a test of how it sounds, see the video below.
Pioneer TSW126M Specs
Max Music Power (Nominal)
1,300 W (350W)
20 Hz to 125 Hz
Testing the Pioneer TSW126M
Sealed vs. Ported Enclosure
With your subwoofer, a sealed enclosure is more forgiving and better for SQ audiophiles while a ported enclosure is generally for those looking to maximize output.
If you're looking to upgrade the quality of your audio system, then you might just be surprised to see the results you can get with a decent subwoofer. Below I've taken a little of the guesswork out of finding a good subwoofer and built a list of my top eight 12-inch subs/
If you're looking for a smaller subwoofer, then I also highly recommend you take a look at my post on the best 10-inch subwoofers.
Mistakes That Kill Your Bass!
Don't think you're getting enough bass and quality out of your subwoofers? Here are a few things you should make sure you're not doing.
- Wiring Issues: Double check that all of your speakers have the same polarity.
- Phase Issues: Try flipping the polarity on your Subwoofer or speakers when compared to the other. The sub and speakers don't need to be wired in the same polarity. Try it! Also, try moving your subwoofer around before you permanently install to make sure you've positioned it correctly.
- Box and Installation: Consider what your frequency response will look like for the speaker you're using. Don't put a large sub in a small space. Pick the right type of box and make sure it's sealed correctly. Use straight and accurate cuts, seal all the corners, and brace your box properly.
For these eight, I took into consideration subs available at all price ranges and put them in order of where I'd purchase them if I were in the market.
While not all of these are considered quality subs, they are a good value at their respective price points.
Don't like the list? Leave a comment or vote to change it. I'll leave a poll below the list where you can voice your opinion. Don't forget to leave me a comment if there's a sub you feel should be featured here.
Kicker 11S12L72 12-Inch 1500W 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Kicker's square subs pack more punch because of their extra cone area.
If you have the money and want the best under $200, then in my opinion this is it. They use reliable stitched surround for minimizing the cone flex.
Another nice feature is that it's heat-dissipating as you get a solid pole piece and high-temp coil wire that improves its durability.
Kicker CompVR 07CVR124
These subwoofers are loud for what you spend and provide decent sound quality. Don't expect it to be on par with the $200 subs as it's not. But at its price point, it's my favorite.
Infinity Reference 1262w 12-Inch 1200-Watt High-Performance Subwoofer
You get a surprisingly clean sound from these budget 12-inch subs. This would fall more into the range of a SQ subwoofer and not a pure sound output sub.
Kenwood KFC-W3012 12-Inch Performance Series Subwoofer
When you are looking for performance and reliability, Kenwood products can't be beat. The Kenwood KFC-W3012 12-inch subwoofer is literally a step above the rest in its category. Kenwood is one of the three largest selling brands of audio entertainment products in the U.S.
This super powerful and sturdy sub can handle 1200W of power. The polypropylene cone with diamond array pattern helps to reduce surface waves on the diaphragm, thus reducing vibration, and allowing for crystal clear sound.
By using urethane, a material with high internal loss, it allows the user to have more bass with less distortion..
KFC-W3012 Manufacturer's Specifications
- 12-inch, 4-ohm subwoofer with 1200 watts maximum power handling (400 watts rated)
- Polypropylene cone with diamond array pattern and urethane surround
- Improved cosmetic design, shallower mounting depth and longer cone excursion
- 8AWG wire-capable push terminals for quick system setup
- 86dB sensitivity, 39Hz - 300Hz frequency response
Pyle PL1290BL 12-Inch 1200 Watt DVC Subwoofer
Although I can't list the price they actually have these for on Amazon, for the money these Pyle Blue Wave series speakers can't be beat.
A customer on Amazon said the following about them, "I had my doubts about these subs at first, but after installing them all my doubts were rattled out of me by the insane bass they put out."
The Pyle PL1290 BL 12-Inch subwoofers not only sound great they look great too. Order two and you might just bounce out of your seat.
Pioneer TS-W302R 12-Inch Subwoofer With 800-Watt Maximum Power
These new 12-inch subwoofers from Pioneer have been upgraded with a new look and with new features to give it stronger performance. Pioneer's TS-W302R handles up to 800 watts and features a lightweight IMPP Composite Cone Woofer to reduce distortion.
To the right, there are some additional easy-access accessories so that you can bundle everything you need together.
Manufacturer's Product Details
- 12" 4-ohm Subwoofer
- Injection-molded polypropylene composite cone with urethane surround
- Power range: 50-150 watts RMS (800 watts peak power)
- Sensitivity: 97 dB
- Mounting depth: 5-3/4"
MTX TNP212D2 Dual 12-Inch Subwoofer and Amplifier
MTX created this series of amplified sub system in order to beat out the inferior quality woofer systems. Because they built the enclosure to perfect specification with the subs and amp, you get everything you need without the worry of putting together a subpar system.
Manufacturer's Product Details
- Complete amplified bass package bundles 2 x 12 subwoofer enclosure and mono block amplifier
- TNA251 amplifier delivers 250 watts x 1 at 2 ohms; 150 watts x 1 at 4 ohms
- Variable low- and high-pass filters offer 40Hz?400Hz range for sound shaping
- TNE212D2 enclosure features dual 12-inch Terminator subwoofers with 1200 watts max power
- Enclosure boasts 5/8" MDF construction, aviation-grade black carpet, and embroidered Terminator logo
What You Get for Your Money
TNP212D2 Subwoofer Enclosure, TNA251 Mono Block Amplifier, remote bass control, cables/installation hardware, and remote bass control
Voice Your Opinion!
Thanks for taking the time to read. If you didn't find what you are looking for, then please comment and let me know what great option you've come up with.