Best 6.5” Subwoofer [Our Reviews and Comparisons]
Ordinary speakers use a single membrane and driver spring to produce a wide variety of sounds, ranging across all the pitches and scales that the speaker can produce. This principle has remained essentially unchanged over time, with the main developments being the refining of the materials and improving the speed at which it can occur.
Electric currents run through an electromagnet behind the spring in time with the sounds to be produced, inducing varying levels of magnetic attraction between the magnet and the spring. The coils of the spring expand and contract from the magnetic attraction, moving a membrane attached to one end back and forth; this causes the air against the membrane to move in the same patterns, which resonate against our eardrums and are interpreted as sound by our auditory structures.
|1. Skar Audio IX-8 D2 8
|2. Memphis Audio MJM644 MOJO
|3. Earthquake Sound SWS
|4. Kicker CompRT Single
|5. DS18 Elite Z6
|6. Sundown Audio SA
|7. Earthquake Sound FF
Because its membrane and spring are both of predetermined sizes, there are only so many sounds that a speaker can possibly make. In the modern era, this can be something of a problem. The recording equipment now on the market makes it possible to capture an incredible range of sounds, but the wrong speaker can cut off the ends of the auditory range and leave you with a flat and metallic reproduction.
One of the ways to counter this is by using a subwoofer system, whose speakers are specifically calibrated to reproduce deeper sounds in greater precision than an ordinary speaker array might. Most speaker sets these days include a control module of some kind to divert the lower sounds to the subwoofer; this allows for the seamless integration of the subwoofer system into your speaker setup and will make your sound system able to hit the lower tones in a recording without sacrificing higher notes.
Getting a speaker system set up properly can be confusing to many, and upgrading it even more so. Even if the endlessly tangled wiring and the seemingly identical ports weren’t an issue, just knowing which subwoofer to buy can give most people a headache. The selection and specialization available to today’s market can leave shoppers impossibly confused, to the point where many simply decide to skip getting a subwoofer altogether.
Giving up doesn’t make your audio better, though; if anything, it keeps you from improving it at all. Although the sheer number of models available is staggering and the marketplace hectic, there are definitely some speakers you can find that have distinguished themselves from the rest.
We’ve cut through all the noise for you and put together a list of the best subwoofers to get to improve your audio. All of these models are in the convenient size of 6.5”, a standard and comfortable size for home and car – just pick your favorite and turn up the tunes.
It should be noted that these speakers may require a certain amount of installation, especially if being used in a car. This kind of work should be done only by an experienced specialist, as improper installation can harm the car’s electronics and render the speaker itself inoperable.
Our Best 6.5” Subwoofer Reviews and Comparisons
1. Skar Audio IX-8 D2 8
This speaker uses an air cooling design to improve lifetime and performance without increasing cost or weight.
- Speaker weighs 7.3 lbs
- Up to 300w power
- Mounting depth 4.17”
- 83.2 dB sensitivity
What We Like About Skar Audio IX-8 D2 8
Skar puts exceptional care into the quality of its materials, making this speaker more durable and efficient than the competition
What We Don’t Like About Skar Audio IX-8 D2 8
This speaker does not come with an enclosure or wiring, requiring the buyer to put in all installation and accessory work themselves.
- Single speaker versatility
- High-quality materials
- Competition grade paper cone
- Innovative air-cooled design
- Highly precise magnetic slug
- No accessories included
- Awkward terminal lugs
2. Memphis Audio MJM644 MOJO
This speaker is designed with a more compact frame that makes it easy to integrate into a vehicle audio system.
- Up to 1400w power
- Four ohms resistance
- Compatible with 5” mounting frames
- More solid back end than others to improve forward sound projection
What We Like About Memphis Audio MJM644 MOJO
This speaker is designed with two distinct sections; the back one is narrower than the front, allowing it to be fitted to 5” speaker mountings as well as the ordinary 6.5”.
What We Don’t Like About Memphis Audio MJM644 MOJO
The different widths require careful attention to be properly mounted, which tends to make it harder to mount in car doors or a stationary cabinet
- Sturdy frame
- Two mounting widths in one speaker
- Compact sides
- Streamlined rear section
- Stitched foam backing negates vibrations
- No plug and play compatibility.
- Difficult to mount properly, especially when using the 5” mounting section
3. Earthquake Sound SWS
This set comes with two speakers to let you create a stereo subwoofer effect on any sound system to which you can hook it up.
- Two speakers in one set
- Inverted cone model
- Four ohms of resistance
- Up to 200w power
What We Like About Earthquake Sound SWS
This speaker’s narrow profile and easy wiring adapters make them the ideal choice for upgrading a car door’s speakers.
What We Don’t Like About Earthquake Sound SWS
Two speakers naturally mean added expense, and this set is priced at more than double some of the single speaker models.
- Thin front to back
- Noticeably better range than some other models
- Easy to install
- Mounting kits included
- Two speakers in one kit
- More expensive than two of another model
- Bass can ‘boom’ unless installed in a box of some kind
4. Kicker CompRT Single
This speaker is weatherproofed for use in outdoor productions and made with a durable rubber lining that keeps it safe through the wear and tear that can happen as you work to get it set up.
- Up to 300w power
- High-temperature tolerance
- Weatherproofed exterior
- Propylene cone with injected molding
What We Like About Kicker CompRT Single
This speaker’s toughened components make it usable anywhere, whether in a shallow car mount or as an addition to an outdoor speaker array.
What We Don’t Like About Kicker CompRT Single
The manufacturer recommends using this speaker only inside the vehicle doors or when mounted in sealed boxes with foam injection to hold it steady.
- Resists rain and wind damage
- Added temperature tolerance in driver coils
- Thicker cone for better audio refraction
- Dual drivers allow for two separate channels to play at once
- Rubber surround prevents damage when moving the speaker around
- Requires a more specialized box than other speakers
- Heavier than usual for a speaker of its size
5. DS18 Elite Z6
This speaker is rated for nearly double the maximum power of similar models to allow for added volume and precision in sound reproduction.
- 600w maximum power
- Dual voice coil for tandem broadcasts
- Refined ferrite magnetic slug
- Reinforced with Kevlar webbing
What We Like About DS18 Elite Z6
This speaker is built to handle higher power reproductions and has a rugged frame that lets it shake off dings, dents, and drops with ease.
What We Don’t Like About DS18 Elite Z6
This speaker’s mounting options are limited and there are no brackets or adapters included with the device.
- Kevlar basket and dust cap
- High-quality magnet
- Complete foam bumper
- Double voice coils let you play two channels at once
- Carbon fiber cone for improved sound direction
- Only compatible with four-hole mounting brackets
- On the expensive side
6. Sundown Audio SA
These speakers are made with exceptionally solid backing to allow them to be used with no enclosures of any kind.
- Up to 200w maximum power
- Four ohms resistance
- Fully stitched textile surround
- Set of two
What We Like About Sundown Audio SA
Although they look the same as some others from the outside, these speakers are built solidly and internally braced to provide great sound with no need for a mounting or enclosure.
What We Don’t Like About Sundown Audio SA
Although the functional speaker body is still 6.5”, there is an extra quarter-inch around the ribbing that makes these speakers 6.75” wide when looked at head-on.
- Integrated cooling channels
- Set of two
- No need for enclosure, just somewhere to set them down
- Large bumpers for added resilience
- Improved magnetic control to reduce distortion
- Back end exceeds the six and a half inch diameter set by the front
- Complicated input leads
7. Earthquake Sound FF
This speaker comes with a dedicated cabinet and is intended to be the finishing touch on a production sound system or concert array.
- Up to 150w power
- Detailed integrated control panel
- Automatic signal detection
- Capable of up to 100dB
What We Like About Earthquake Sound FF
No need to build cabinets or install this speaker, simply plug it into your microphone, mixer, or instruments and turn it on.
What We Don’t Like About Earthquake Sound FF
This speaker’s cabinet makes it the most unwieldy of all the models here, and impossible to integrate into your car’s stereo system.
- Preconstructed cabinet takes all the guesswork out of getting it installed
- Plug and play
- More powerful projection than other models
- Exceptionally energy efficient
- Integrated control board
- Hard to optimize for anything save bandstand use
- Lower wattage than other models
Final Verdict: Kicker CompRT Single
These subwoofers not only have great sound reproduction, but they are also durable enough to stand up to anything that might come along – not only scrapes or dents but actually damaging blows too. That resilience translates into reliability for the product, making it outlast the competition and saving you the long-term cost of buying a less resilient model and then having to replace it sooner.
Naturally, these speakers aren’t going to be for everyone – nothing is – but they are weatherproofed, giving them a distinct advantage over the other models presented. While most of them are supposed to be for vehicles or home systems, the Kicker CompRT Single can be used inside or out and in nearly any weather, making it more functional and less likely to be ruined if it starts to drizzle.
Getting a subwoofer should start with a measuring tape – check how large of a space you have to work with, and how many subwoofers you want to mount, before proceeding to look at the speakers themselves. Remember that subwoofers are three dimensional, so you will need to come up with a complete list of measurements for the space in question.
Check the inputs and outputs on your existing audio to make sure you are looking at a subwoofer with the right kind of connection for your system. If you cannot find one, search for an adapter that can turn whatever lead you have into something your sound system can use. There are adapters for nearly every format and direction available online, and it may be worth a little extra to let yourself use an otherwise perfect subwoofer.
Many subwoofers come as loose speakers, either singly or in pairs; you will need to create a mounting of some kind, most commonly by using a mounting bracket or building a cabinet. Whichever you choose, try to keep it as mobile as possible, and be careful that it does not pin the input leads in such a way that they cannot be safely moved or accessed without breaking the connection to your existing sound system or control board.