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The 5 best subwoofers for home theater and music listening in 2024

Inevitably, every music and movie enthusiast gets to the point when a subwoofer is necessary to create the perfect audio experience.

Whether you want to create an immersive sound while watching movies or feel the need for absolute sonic accuracy in your listening room, a subwoofer is a must-have if you want to take your audio system to the next level.

Quick recommendations

The KEF KC62 is your go-to sub if you’re looking for exceptional performance without spending a fortune, offering a deep, nuanced bass, top-of-the-line audio tech, and a sleek design that can fit virtually anywhere.

If you’re budget-conscious but still want something that sounds great, the Klipsch Reference R-121SW offers fantastic value with its powerful bass and stylish looks. It’s a great solution for small and medium-sized listening rooms.

Finally, for the audiophiles willing to invest a little more, the SVS SB16-Ultra delivers extraordinary depth and clarity, complete with app-based controls for detailed personalization.

Contents

Use these jump links to navigate to the desired section of the review.

Why you should trust me

I’m an audio engineer and audiophile with over 10 years of experience in the music industry.

Marco Sebastiano Alessi, author and contributor at Higher Hz

I entered the world of subwoofers when I started mixing and mastering music for a living. I’ve been studying and researching the best audio systems for years to ensure that whatever comes out of my studio sounds perfect on all playback devices.

To achieve ideal results, I’ve experimented with dozens of audio systems and subwoofers, trying to find the perfect balance between sound accuracy, depth, and vibrancy.

How I chose and tested

The impact a subwoofer has on your audio system can be mind-blowing. With enhanced lower frequencies, the depth and richness of the sound textures reach a whole new level, making you appreciate the enveloping feeling of sound perfectly reproduced across the entire spectrum.

For this 2024 update, I’ve put together a selection of subwoofers that should satisfy the needs of all kinds of audio enthusiasts, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned audiophile.

Throughout the testing process, I measure power output, frequency response, and distortion levels in different acoustic spaces and with different kinds of content to make sure that each subwoofer can really enhance the beauty of the music or movie you’re experiencing.

I also took into account crucial factors like build quality, design, and software integration to make sure that the subwoofers I recommend are easy to use and compatible with as many audio systems as possible.

As you probably know already, I always make sure that what I recommend offers great value for money, so you can be sure that investing in one of my best subwoofers is a sound investment that will last for years to come.

Best overall: KEF KC62

  • Driver size: dual 6.5-inch
  • Power output: 1000 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 11 – 200 Hz
  • Dimensions: 9.6″(H) x 10.1″(W) x 11.1″(D)
KEF KC62 subwoofer
Image: KEF

KEF is a brand that doesn’t need introductions. Their product range is nothing short of exceptional, and anyone who has the budget to afford one of their high-end lines should definitely consider building a KEF audio system.

The KEF KC62 might be tiny, but the sound it delivers can go deeper than most subs within its price range, reaching an astounding 11 Hz.

The KC62 comes packed with the cutting-edge technology that defines KEF’s quality: the Uni-Core technology (a force-canceling design with two opposing drivers) ensures the low end is as accurate and balanced as possible, while the Room Placement Equalization presets will allow you to get an immersive bass no matter where you place the sub.

Like many other high-end products from KEF, the KC62 is highly compatible with most audio gear, and if you don’t want to use cables, you can get a KW1 wireless subwoofer adapter kit and position your sub anywhere in the room.

Read my full KEF KC62 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Goes lower than most subs.
  • Perfectly-balanced bass.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy KEF KC62 at: AmazonCrutchfield

Best for small rooms: Bowers & Wilkins ASW610

  • Driver size: 10 inches
  • Power output: 200 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 27 – 140 Hz
  • Dimensions: 12.2″(H) x 12.2″(W) x 14.8″(D)
Bowers & Wilkins ASW610 subwoofer
Image: Bowers & Wilkins

If you’re looking for a compact sub that delivers an outstanding performance, the ASW610 by the British Bowers & Wilkins is one of the finest subwoofers for all purposes.

With a frequency response range between 27 Hz and 140 Hz, the ASW610 ensures accuracy and balance across the lower side of the spectrum, thanks to a 10-inch paper/Kevlar cone driver that enhances the beauty and complexity of bass sounds.

The ASW610 is also fully-customizable and compatible with most audio gear. You can adjust the output through the volume, crossover frequency adjustment, and phase switch controls.

Finally, you can easily connect it to your existing system through the line-level inputs and outputs, allowing you the flexibility necessary to craft the perfect soundscape.

What I like

  • Accurate soundstage.
  • Compact and stylish.
  • Robust build.

What I don’t like

  • Might not be powerful enough for larger rooms.
Buy Bowers & Wilkins ASW610 at: AmazonCrutchfield

Best budget: Klipsch Reference R-121SW

  • Driver size: 12 inches
  • Power output: 200 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 28 – 120 Hz
  • Dimensions: 16.6″(H) x 16″(W) x 19.7″(D)
Klipsch R-121SW subwoofer
Image: Klipsch

Stylish, beautiful, and delivering an immersive bass experience, the Klipsch R-121SW is a great option if you want to get a sub that doesn’t cost a fortune but performs magnificently.

With a frequency response range of 28 Hz to 120 Hz and a power handling of 200 watts RMS, the R-121SW can craft a balanced and deep bass in most small/medium size environments, and Klipsch’s iconic copper-spun thermoformed crystalline polymer woofer ensures a fast response and perfect blend with the rest of your audio system.

The reinforced cabinet, built with high-quality MDF, further mitigates unwanted vibrations, bringing to life the pristine sound Klipsch is known for. All in all, the R-121SW is a great sub for the audiophile on a budget.

What I like

  • Great style.
  • Excellent bass reproduction.
  • Affordable.

What I don’t like

  • For big rooms, I’d recommend other options.
Buy Klipsch Reference R-121SW at: AmazonCrutchfield

Best high-end: SVS SB16-Ultra

  • Driver size: 16 inches
  • Power output: 1500 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 16 – 460 Hz
  • Dimensions: 20″(H) x 19.5″(W) x 22.9″(D)
SVS SB16-Ultra subwoofer
Image: SVS

The SVS SB16-Ultra is an exceptional high-end subwoofer that provides raw power and sophisticated technology to those looking for a detailed bass experience.

Featuring a massive 16-inch driver and 1500 watts RMS (with peaks over 5000 watts), this subwoofer can deliver room-shaking bass unlike any other.

It’s designed for both audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts in mind, meaning that the lower frequencies feel controlled and balanced during the most subtle listening sessions and enveloping when engaging movies and music demand it.

Its advanced DSP provides impeccable control over the wide frequency range, while the innovative subwoofer app makes audio fine-tuning as simple and effortless as it can be.

The sealed box design enhances the tight and impactful bass that can reach down to 16 Hz (± 3 dB) without losing clarity or detail.

What I like

  • Delivers the best low-frequency soundstage.
  • For both audiophiles and movie enthusiasts.

What I don’t like

  • Nothing to note.
Buy SVS SB16-Ultra at: AmazonCrutchfield

Best customization options: SVS SB-2000 Pro

  • Driver size: 12 inches
  • Power output: 550 W RMS
  • Frequency response: 19 – 240 Hz
  • Dimensions: 14.6″(H) x 14.2″(W) x 15.6″(D)
SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofer
Image: SVS

The SB-2000 Pro is the best sub for those who want to provide a solid foundation for their music and home theater setups for years to come, with an option cheaper than the excellent SB16-Ultra.

This compact sub can get as low as 19 Hz, reproducing sounds you can perceive rather than hear with perfect accuracy and depth.

The SB-2000 Pro features advanced digital signal processing technology that allows endless sound personalization through parametric EQ, room gain compensation, and an adjustable low-pass filter, blending every element of your audio system to create a coherent soundscape.

The powerful SVS mobile app adjusts the sub’s performance based on your room characteristics by carefully calibrating the output and taking your listening preferences into account.

If the budget allows, the SVS SB-2000 Pro is a subwoofer unlike any other, and it’ll upgrade your listening experience with an immersive, balanced soundstage.

What I like

  • Goes deeper than most subs.
  • Fully-customizable.
  • Enveloping sound.

What I don’t like

  • Not the cheapest option.
Buy SVS SB-2000 Pro at: AmazonCrutchfield

Honorable mentions

While the five subwoofers above would undoubtedly be my go-to options, there are still a few subs worth mentioning that perform great for their price.

  • Sonos Sub Mini. The Sub Mini is a compact alternative to its bigger siblings without sacrificing the iconic Sonos sound or aesthetics. Ideal for those seeking a smart, stylish subwoofer that blends seamlessly with their Sonos setup.
  • Yamaha NS-SW100. The NS-SW100 is definitely the go-to choice for exploring deep bass frequencies on a budget under $200. The sub delivers a smooth and distortion-free bass, perfect for small rooms and those just beginning their audio journey. While it offers great value for money, a slight step up in budget could snag you a sub with a bit more punch for the long haul.
  • Monoprice 9723. The 9723 is a great and budget-friendly choice for music enthusiasts, gamers, and movie fans. From a merely aesthetic point of view, its design leaves much to be desired, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for something that sounds and looks good.

Recent updates

  • March 19, 2024: I’ve updated the text for clarity and accuracy.
  • February 21, 2024: I’ve added the SVS SB16-Ultra as the “Best high-end” choice and extended the “How I chose” section to better explain the picking criteria. I’ve also added a “Quick recommendations” section.
  • February 20, 2024: I’ve added quick jump links for faster navigation.
  • December 15, 2023: I’ve verified the accuracy of picks. No changes in recommendations.
  • July 10, 2023: I’ve compiled the original list based on my experience with the tested subs and explained the picking criteria.
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Discussions

11 comments
  • Please stop using the term rms power. It does not exist. Rms volts x rms current is Average power. RMS Power was a dreamed up spec by god knows who. Please stop using it as it is insulting to us electrical engineers.

    • Hi Mike! I’m not an electrical engineer. Sorry if it’s not the right technical term, but this is the common term that’s been widely used in the industry and the one most are familiar with.

  • Hi guys, thanks for the reviews and being descriptive. I was a little bummed to see REL wasn’t included, they may be a lesser known brand but from what I’ve heard (the sound of them) and what I’ve been told, they’re one of the best in market- especially since they only make subs!

    • Hi Thivi, and thanks for the feedback! REL subwoofers are great, but are also quite demanding in terms of price and positioning compared to the other subs on the list, so I preferred other options within a similar price range, like the KC62 or the SB-2000 Pro.

  • How are we to take this line up seriously when you haven’t even bothered to mention the industry giant’s in this field namely MILLER AND KREISEL and REL ACOUSTIC. This list needs to be revised.

    • Hi Dean! Honestly, I haven’t tested M&K subs yet. They seem great, definitely high-end, but ideal for the pro audiophile. This list includes a bit of everything, from subs for beginners to ones for more demanding listeners, so it’s difficult to cover every option for all levels. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Salve, ho una coppia di altoparlanti da scaffale attivi Dali Oberon 1c guidati dal sound hub compact in una stanza di circa 20 mq, sono indeciso sul subwoofer da acquistare tra Svs sb-2000 pro e Dali e-12f, mi interessano sia musica che home theatre, cosa mi consigliate? Per il settaggio filtro passa basso, il sound hub compact provvede automaticamente o posso gestirlo io (penso all’app Svs, la potrei sfruttare?)?

    Grazie per consigli

    • Buongiorno Mario, sono entrambi ottimi sub, ma secondo me con il SVS SB-2000 Pro non si può sbagliare, soprattutto quando serve un subwoofer versatile sia per l’ascolto che per l’home theatre, e per una stanza delle dimensioni citate. Senza contare che l’SVS arriva a 19 Hz contro i 28 Hz del Dali. Consiglio assolutamente di usare l’app per calibrare i bassi, è molto intuitiva e migliora decisamente l’ambiente sonoro.