The Best 15 Inch Subwoofers

The Best 15 Inch Subwoofer Reviews Guide

If you’re an audiophile like me then having good bass reproduction through car audio set up is a must. I love it when the low-end is punchy and impactful, especially when I’m listening to my EDM playlists. While there are plenty of car speakers that can are decent at handling bass, there aren’t any that can accurately reproduce the extreme low-end (sub-bass) frequencies as a subwoofer can. They enhance those low, thumping beats that you don’t just hear but also ‘feel’.

Several weeks back, I had a friend come up to me and ask what the best 15-inch subwoofer was in my opinion. I had to admit that I hadn’t kept up with subwoofers for a while. However, it gave me the perfect excuse to start another round of thorough product testing. So I carefully went through expert reviews and top ten lists, got my hands on 12 of the most recommended 15-inch subs and tried each of them out. I managed to pick out a list of top five that I would recommend going into 2020. You can read my review of each below.

Finding The Right Subwoofer

How do you find a subwoofer that is both compatible with your car setup and fulfills your audio needs? All you need to do is look at a few important factors and yes, that does include technical specifications. Things like power-handling, impedance, frequency response, and sensitivity will indicate whether a subwoofer can work with your existing setup. On the other hand, the subwoofer cone material will give you a good idea of the sound quality.

The Tech Specs

Power-Handling

Whenever you turn up the volume on your stereo, you send more power to the speakers. This gives the energy needed to make the wavelengths of the signals bigger, thus making the sound louder. However, there’s a limit to how much power a speaker can receive. If you go beyond this, the speaker can overheat and malfunction. At the same time, supplying a very low amount of power can cause the speakers to sound weak and muted.

Power-handling refers to how much power (in watts) a subwoofer can safely receive. There are two important power-handling specs to pay attention to: RMS and Peak Power. The former indicates the amount of power a subwoofer can handle on a continuous basis while the latter sets an absolute maximum.

Car amplifiers also have power-handling ratings as well but they refer to power output. Hence, when you’re buying a subwoofer, make sure it’s RMS and Peak Power is greater than or equal to that of the amplifier. This will make sure that your sub will not suffer if you crank up the volume really high.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity is a measure of how loud (in decibels) a subwoofer can get when supplied with one watt of power. Hence, sensitivity indicates how much power you’ll need to direct in order to get your subwoofer to a certain volume. For instance, let’s say your sub has a sensitivity rating of 85dB. This tells you that it will get moderately loud with just one watt. Each additional watt you supply will add 3 dB to the volume. Hence, in this case, you don’t need a ton of power to get really loud.

The lower the sensitivity of the sub, the more power you’ll need to feed it. Hence, consider the RMS of your amplifier before you decide to go with one with a rating below 80 dB.

Impedance

Impedance measures how much resistance (in ohms) a subwoofer will show to the current supplied by an amplifier. If the impedance is too low, then more current will be drawn by the amplifier which isn’t a good thing if your sub has a particularly low RMS. It also means that more stress is placed on the amplifier since it has to supply more power consistently.

On the other hand, if the impedance is too high, the subwoofer may draw very little power from the amplifier. This may cause the bass to sound quite weak in the mix.

Subwoofer impedance ratings will typically vary between 2 and 4 ohms.

Frequency Response

Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies that can be handled by a speaker or subwoofer. Full-range speakers will have a frequency response of 20 Hz to 20 kHz, which means that it can handle the full human audible range of frequencies. Subwoofers, on the other hand, can only reproduce bass frequencies (20 Hz to 250 Hz). Certain subwoofers may have a cut off higher than 20 Hz, which means that they’re not capable of handling the extreme low-end (sub-bass).

The Voice Coil

The voice coil is an essential part of any speaker or subwoofer. It generates a magnetic field when you drive a current through it, which is what causes the speaker cone to move and produce sound waves.

When buying a subwoofer you have to decide between a single voice coil (SVC) or a dual voice coil (DVC) unit. The key difference between the two is the multiple wiring options dual voice coil units offer:

  • Parallel Wiring – if you’ve got a 4-ohm DVC sub, you can wire it in parallel and have it present a 2-ohm load to your amplifier. This is useful if you’re not getting the power you need from the amplifier.
  • Series Wiring – this way of wiring lets you hook up multiple subwoofers to a single-channel amplifier while keeping the amplifier at an acceptable impedance level.
  • Independent Wiring – independent wiring gives you the ability to wire each voice coil to a separate channel on the amplifier. This is a good option if you plan to wire a pair of subs to a 4-channel amplifier.

The Subwoofer Cone

The material that makes up the subwoofer cone determines two things: the quality of the sound and the durability of the cone. Below are some of the commonest subwoofer cone materials used by manufacturers today:

Treated Paper

Treated paper is perhaps the most lightweight cone material that is currently used. Hence it provides the fastest response time, i.e. the cone moves very quickly to produce sound waves. Treated paper is coated with substances like carbon fiber, polyglass, and even Kevlar, making it more resistant to heat and humidity when compared to regular paper.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is not only lightweight but it’s also very rigid, which helps to prevent excessive rattling at large volumes. Hence you’re unlike to have the bass distort when you blast your music. Polypropylene is extremely tough as well, meaning it can take a beating. Plus it’s resistant to heat, moisture, mold, and mildew.

Kevlar

Kevlar is the stuff they use to make bulletproof vests so no doubt it’s going to make the cone strong. Not only that, but kevlar is also flexible and lightweight meaning that the response time is quite fast. Like polypropylene, Kevlar doesn’t rattle at high volumes.

Carbon Fiber

Like Kevlar, carbon fiber is both strong and flexible. Often you’ll find polypropylene cones that have been injected with carbon fiber to increase the stiffness even further.

Cone Surround

The surround is the circular strip that encircles the edge of the subwoofer cone. The commonest surround material is rubber because they’re flexible enough to let the cone vibrate as much as it needs to but also adequately firm in order to keep the cone from shifting positions. Plus rubber is resistant to extremes of humidity and temperature.

In addition to rubber, surrounds can also be made out of foam and rubber which are just as stiff but aren’t as durable. However, modern foam hybrids like ribbed polyester foam are much stronger than regular ones and more resistant to heat and humidity.

Rockville RVP15W8

(2) New Rockville RVP15W8 2000 Watt 15' Pro Subwoofers 8 Ohm Raw Sub Woofers
69 Reviews
(2) New Rockville RVP15W8 2000 Watt 15" Pro Subwoofers 8 Ohm Raw Sub Woofers
  • 15" 1000 Watt Raw Replacement Subwoofer. Power RMS: 500 Watts. Peak...
  • Fiber Reinforced Ultra Stiff Paper Composite Cone. Paper Composite...
  • Ultra Saturated, High BL Magnetic Motor Gap. 2.5" High Temperature...
  • Dual Nickel Plated Banana Plug Terminals. Impedance : 8 Ohms, 51 oz...
  • Mounting Depth: 5.7" inches. Frequency Response: 25 Hz to 1.5 KHz....
Reinforced-Paper Cone

The RVP15W8 is made out of treated paper, reinforced with fiber for extra stiffness. This means that you can crank up the volume on your stereo and not suffer through excessive distortion on the low-end.

Cloth Surround

Cloth surrounds are quite stiff so you don’t have to worry about excessive cone movements. However, one major drawback is that they aren’t as durable as rubber surrounds.

High Power-Handling

The Rockville RVP15W8 features an RMS of 500 watts per subwoofer, meaning you can get to ear-splitting volumes on a regular basis if you want to.

Frequency Response

The RVP15W8 has a frequency response spanning from 25 Hz to 1.5 kHz, which means it extends beyond the upper-bass region into the midrange frequencies.

Sensitivity

The Rockville RVP15W8 has a sensitivity rating of 100dB which means that you don’t need to supply a ton of power in order to get loud. Hence, if you don’t have a high-powered amplifier, this can still be a good fit for your setup.

High Impedance

With an impedance of 8 ohms, this subwoofer doesn’t place much stress at all on your amplifier while it draws power. However, this also means that you have to crank up the volume dial when compared to subwoofers that have lower impedance ratings.

Pros

  • Treated paper cone for stiffness and durability
  • 500 watts RMS
  • Wider frequency response than most subwoofers in the market
  • Highly sensitive
Con

  • Higher impedance means less current is drawn from the amplifier
  • Cloth surrounds aren’t as durable as rubber

Skar Audio Evl-15 D2

Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 15' 2500 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer
145 Reviews
Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 15" 2500 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer
  • 15-inch Dual 2 Ohm Competition Grade Car Subwoofer
  • Peak Power: 2,500 Watts | RMS Power: 1,250 Watts
  • 3" High Temperature Dual 2-ohm Voice Coil with Black Coating
  • Competition Grade Paper Cone Stitched to High Roll Foam Surround | Fs:...
  • Premium Suspension Featuring the EVL Series Signature Red Two Layer...
Pressed Paper Cone

Pressed paper cones have a larger surface area which means more air is pushed, resulting in a ‘larger’, louder sound. Furthermore, pressed paper is known to be more durable than non-pressed ones as well.

Foam Surround

Like cloth, high roll foam is quite stiff so you can crank up the volume high without worrying about any displacement of the cone. However, they aren’t the most durable material for surrounds.

High RMS

The Skar Audio D2 Subwoofer has an RMS rating of 1250 watts, which means it can get much louder than the Rockville RVP15W8. As a result, you can pair this up with an extremely powerful multi-channel amplifier.

Sensitivity

The Skar Audio D2 has a sensitivity rating of 86.2 dB which, while not as high as the Rockville RVP15W8, is still fairly decent. You could certainly blast your music without having to crank up the volume all the way up.

Low-Impedance

The EVL-15 has an impedance rating of 2 ohms which means that the unit is able to draw a ton of power from the amplifier. However, you want to make sure that your amplifier is stable at lower impedances like 2 ohms before you purchase with sub.

Dual Voice Coil

DVC subwoofers offer more options in terms of wiring. For instance, using series wiring you could connect two EVL-15 units to a mono channel amplifier while keeping the impedance at an acceptable level.

Pros

  • Durable pressed paper cone
  • Very high RMS rating
  • Decent sensitivity rating
  • Low-impedance
Con

  • Foam surrounds aren’t the most durable
  • Only compatible low-impedance stable amplifiers

Kicker S15L7

Reinforced Cone

Any subwoofer cone that’s reinforced with titanium deposit is bound to be extremely stiff and the Kicker S15L7 is no exception. No matter how hard you push the volume, the bass will come through with every bit of detail and nuance retained.

Rubber Surround

Rubber is by far my favourite surround material. They prevent excessive movement of the cone no matter how much power current you direct to the voice coil and are resistant to extremes of temperature and high humidity.

High RMS

The Kicker S15L7 has an RMS rating of 1000 watts which meant that I could safely pair it up with my high-powered amplifier without any worries about causing heat damage.

Frequency Response

With a frequency response of 18-100 Hz, the S15L7’s range doesn’t cover the entire upper-bass region. As a result, I did notice a slight amount of distortion through the subwoofer. Fortunately, I was able to dial this out using a variable low-pass filter (LPF) on my amplifier. If you don’t have LPF on your own amp then this might be a bit of an issue.

Impedance

The Kicker S15L7 has an impedance rating of 4 ohms which is fairly standard for subwoofers and speakers in general. It allows the unit to safely draw adequate amounts of current while not stressing the amplifier too much.

Sensitivity

The Kicker S15L7 features a sensitivity of 89.4 which is a fairly good rating. You can definitely get quite loud with this amplifier without having to supply a ton of power via the amplifier.

Dual Voice Coil

Thanks to the S15L7 being a DVC subwoofer, I had a variety of options as to how I would go about wiring it. In the end, I decided to independently wire a pair of these to my 4-channel amplifier so that I could run them in stereo.

Pros

  • Titanium reinforced Cone with rubber surround
  • 1000 watts RMS
  • Standard Impedance
  • High sensitivity
  • Multiple wiring options
Con

  • Slight amount of distortion in the upper-bass region

Rockford Fosgate P3d2

Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch P3 DVC 2 Ohm 15-Inch 600 Watts RMS 1200 Watts Peak Subwoofer
105 Reviews
Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch P3 DVC 2 Ohm 15-Inch 600 Watts RMS 1200 Watts Peak Subwoofer
  • The P3 Series is Rockford Fosgate’s best performing Punch subwoofer...
  • The Punch P3D2-15 is a 15” 2-Ohm DVC (dual voice coil) subwoofer...
  • Featuring anodized aluminum cones and dustcaps, with a unique spider...
  • Best used in standard sealed or vented enclosures {Sealed (Vb): 1.58...
  • Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty when...
Aluminium Cone

Aluminium cones are both stiff and lightweight. Hence this means that the cone will have a fast response time but will also retain its shape when driven by a large amount of power. Aluminium cones aren’t commonly used to make regular speaker cones because they cause high-pitched resonance. Fortunately, that won’t be heard in subwoofers as they only reproduce low frequencies.

VAST

Vertical Attach Surround Technique or VAST is a special method used to fix the P3D2’s rubber surround onto the cone. The specialty is that VAST increases the surface area of the cone by 25%. Hence it’s able to push out more air, creating sound waves that have more ‘depth’ to them.

High RMS

600 watts RMS means allows you to safely hook up the Rockford Fosgate P3D2 to a high-powered amplifier. You can have the volume turned up for extended periods of time without causing heat damage to its internal components.

Sensitivity

The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 is fairly sensitive with a rating of 86dB. While not quite in the same league as the likes of the Rockville RVP15W8, it’s still enough to get very loud without having to push the speaker to its RMS limit.

Low Impedance

The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 features an impedance rating of 2 ohms which means that it’s designed to draw large amounts of power from an amplifier. Hence make sure that your amplifier is stable at 2 ohms before you purchase this subwoofer.

Dual Voice Coil

The P3D2 was yet another DVC unit which meant that I had plenty of wiring options during installation. This is particularly useful if you own a single-channel amplifier or like running your subs in stereo.

Pros

  • Stiff and Flexible Aluminium Coil with rubber surround
  • VAST allows for greater cone surface area
  • High RMS
  • Multiple wiring options
  • Low impedance for drawing more current from the amplifier
  • Decent sensitivity rating of 86dB.
Con

  • Only compatible low-impedance stable amplifiers

Rockville W15K6D4

(2) Rockville W15K6D4 V2 15' 8000w Car Subwoofers Dual 4-Ohm Subs CEA Compliant
2 Reviews
(2) Rockville W15K6D4 V2 15" 8000w Car Subwoofers Dual 4-Ohm Subs CEA Compliant
  • (2) Rockville W15K6D4 V2 15" 8000w Car Audio Subwoofers Dual 4-Ohm Sub...
  • The wire we use is made in the USA! It is one of the most important...
  • Thick Foam Surround Provides Incredible Sound Quality With Minimal...
  • Special Custom Rubber Boot Magnet Covers Make the Woofer Look Nice and...
  • Cutout Diameter: 14.09” inches. Mounting Depth: 7.4” inches....
Reinforced Paper Cone

Rounding up our list of top five 15 inch subwoofers is another offering from Rockville, this time featuring a fiber-reinforced non-pressed paper cone. Hence you can expect the cone to retain its shape when pushed and reproduce bass frequencies with no added distortion.

Foam Surround

The foam surround that comes with the Rockville W15K6D4 is particularly thick so you can expect extra stiffness and dampening capability. For the entire period I used this subwoofer, I didn’t notice any unwanted distortion at all in the low-end, regardless of how much I brought the volume up.

High RMS

The Rockville W15K6D4 has a power-handling rating of 1000 watts, which means that it can be paired up with some of the most powerful subwoofer amplifiers on the market.

Wide Frequency Response

Just like the Rockville RVP15W8, the W15K6D4’s frequency response extends to 1.5 kHz, which means that it can handle certain midrange frequencies as well. This, of course, means that you won’t hear any distortion from the upper-bass frequencies since the sub’s range covers way beyond that spectrum.

Decent Sensitivity

The Rockville W15K6D4 has a sensitivity rating of 85dB which is quite average. However, since you’re able to push it up to 1000 watts on the regular, there’s no reason why you can’t pair it with a powerful amplifier and get really loud.

Impedance

This subwoofer sports an impedance rating of 4 ohms which means it’ll draw a lot of current without stressing out the amplifier.

Dual Voice Coil

You’re well aware of the advantage that DVC units have over single voice coil ones. If you’re planning on buying a pair of these subwoofers you can easily connect them both to a single channel or a bridged channel.

Pros

  • Reinforced Paper Cone minimized unwanted distortion
  • 1000 watts RMS
  • Frequency response extends beyond the bass range
  • Multiple wiring options
Con

  • Lowest sensitivity out of all the subwoofers on this list
  • Comes with a foam surround, which isn’t as durable as rubber

The Best Overall 15 Inch Subwoofer

If I had to choose one subwoofer to stick with for the next several years, it would be the Rockford Fosgate P3D2. It all came down to sound quality and durability, and the P3D2 was simply excellent on both accounts. Thanks to the extra-stiff aluminium cone and the VAST method used to fix the surround, the bass reproduction was particularly massive through this sub. I could hear every detail and nuance in the low-end without any distortion at all, no matter how hard I cranked the volume.

While the sensitivity rating wasn’t the highest on this list, I had no trouble getting loud since my amplifier was more than capable of belting out a ton of power. If your amplifier isn’t high-powered, then I’d definitely recommend going with a more sensitive sub like the Rockville RVP15W8.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Subwoofer For Deep Bass?

Personally, I’d recommend a subwoofer that has a particularly stiff cone and a frequency response that goes down to 20 Hz. Considering these factors, the Rockford Fosgate P3D2, Rockville W15K6D4, and Skar Audio EVL-15 D2 are great choices.

How Do I Get More Bass Out Of My Subwoofer?

There are several things you can do. For instance, you can turn down the amp gain all the way down so that there’s no unwanted distortion and turn up the low-pass filter so that it doesn’t cut off any bass frequencies. In addition, your amplifier has a bass boost, then try engaging that.

Does Subwoofer Improve Sound Quality?

Subwoofers can handle sub-bass frequencies (20 Hz to 60 Hz) really well while most regular speakers can’t. So they essentially enhance those really low beats that you find a lot in Electronic music.

Do More Watts Mean More Bass?

More watts equal more volume. Hence if you’ve got your subwoofer turned out louder than your speakers, then you can technically have the bass sounding more dominant.

The products featured on this page were last updated on 2020-02-23 at 01:39 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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