When you are used to listening to music with deep, smooth, and clean bass, it is impossible to imagine living without a subwoofer.
That’s why for many audio enthusiasts, installing an 8-inch sub is usually among the first steps toward richer music that stays in your car no matter the surrounding environment.
The average sub will drive low frequencies down and add some conspicuous kicks to whatever kind of music being played.
There are many such subs on the market but you don’t just want an average entertainment experience.
You want the kind of bass that makes you want to replay every jam in your playlists. For this enjoyment, you need a subwoofer that can take up the task comfortably.
Our review focuses on the best 8 inch subwoofer 2020 – the subs that users have found incredibly powerful and impactful.
Table of Contents
Comparison Table For Top 8-Inch Subs 2020
Pioneer TS-SWX2002 [Overall best]
CT Sounds Meso[Most powerful sub]
Resonant frequency: 30.5Hz
Planet Audio AC8D[Lowest Price]
Resonant frequency: 39Hz
40 – 300Hz
How We Chose the Best performing 8 Inch Subs
We compiled a variety of the best performing subwoofers; the kind that assures you unfailing sonic performance whenever you are behind the wheel and need some entertainment.
As in our other reviews, we deliberately focused only on the top-performing subwoofer brands to ensure that only the best of the best would remain in our final list.
After an exhaustive brainstorming exercise, we gathered diverse views on what a great 8” sub should do and look like.
Enthusiastic sound engineers, subwoofer installers, previous users, and experienced reviewers made a fool-proof team for this review.
Having experts and individuals with varying backgrounds in the team ensured that all issues pertinent to sound performance was factored in when selecting the subs to include in this review.
Our meticulous analysis helped us to rank the best subs as follows:
1. Pioneer TS-SWX2002 – Overall Best Subwoofer
Looking for a strong, compact sub that will pump out hard-hitting bass?
Pioneer is a champion of powerful sound output.
The TS-SWX2002 echoes this statement, proudly taking up the top position with the enhanced bass response from the oversized cone and high-quality fiberboard construction.
This shallow-mount sub gives you powerful low frequencies without taking much space.
Here are more reasons to love Pioneer TS-SWX2002:
High-precision sound: As expected from Pioneer, the TS-SWX2002 delivers high-quality sound with amazing precision thanks to its MICA injection-molded resin preloaded subwoofer cone. The sub’s unmatched sound production ensures that you enjoy your favorite jams all the while when behind the wheel.
Easy, stress-free installation: The push terminals of this sub are designed in space-efficient manner. Rather than being bent, they remain straight to fit vertical or horizontal terminals. This design saves space, makes installation easier and also reduces stress on the wires.
Produces big volume continually for hours: In addition to the sub’s 150 w RMS (which is quite impressive for an 8-inch sub), the TS-SWX2002 features a dual-spider design that helps to stabilize the oversized cone and support its linear movement so that it’s able to consistently produce loud sound.
Perfect for most open air and tight spaces: Going only 5.5 inches deep, Pioneer TS-SWX2002 doesn’t take much of your vehicle’s space. This space-saving quality makes it perfect for application in most standard, extended, and crew cab pickups.
Verdict: Pioneer TS-SWX2002 seems to tick right all the requirements of the best shallow-mount sub for today’s car designs.
Its design is impressive but even more desirable is its efficient and accurate bass production.
Check out this modern-made 8-inch subwoofer. Pioneer has not disappointed in the past so we believe it won’t start now.
2. CT Sounds Meso: Most powerful and versatile sub
Finding good rock-solid bass at a truly favorable price is not a common occurrence.
Rated at 800 watts continuous/1600 watts MAX power handling, this sub is exceptionally powerful compared to other subs.
Discover more about the Meso 8” sub in the features below:
CT Sounds Meso Unique Features
Sound volume that will blow your mind away: Of course you expect some powerful kicks from a sub rated 1600w MAX power. However, this sub gives you more than you expect. It gives incredible sound volume that drives away the tiniest bit of boredom from your car for your total enjoyment.
Versatility at its best: We found this sub amazingly versatile, in that it is compatible with many car stereo and vehicle types thanks to the 2.5 inches (diameter) voice coil. This assures you of better sound performance regardless of the type of vehicle you drive or the car audio system currently installed.
The best of the best magnets: CT Sounds Meso 8-inch sub incorporates the best type of magnet for high-quality sound performance. This magnet sets the sub up for sustained high-caliber sound production so that you can enjoy your music all the way without any interruption.
Ability to handle audio frequencies even at the highest power inputs: In addition to having the best magnets, this sub boasts of a sturdy and robust basket frame. This frame ensures that the sub performs well all the time and that the chances of damage are greatly reduced.
Verdict: When you experience CT Sounds Meso 8-inch sub you’ll know that all your worries of finding a sub that can reliably deliver soul-shaking bass are put to rest.
Make sure you don’t lose the opportunity to add awesome thumps into your car audio.
3. Planet Audio AC8D: Big bass at a small price
Planet Audio AC8D is a super-power in the universe of 8-inch subs.
It packs up to 1200w worth of bass for your system, and it is quite hard to get a sub that beat it in build and sound quality. Have a look at the unique features of this sub below:
Why Choose Planet Audio AC8D?
Exceptionally loud sound: Few 8-inch subs are able to reach such high levels of sound production as the AC8D. Rated at 600 RMS power handling and dual 4 ohm, you expect impressive audio booms and the best listening experience.
Installation flexibility: You can enclose this sub either in a ported or sealed enclosure for the best audio experience. The unit also comes with 2 sets of input terminals, allowing you to wire it in 3 different ways: independent, parallel, and series.
Works really well with factory stereo: The sub’s ability to work with factory-installed audio systems is one of the things most real users loved. You don’t need to buy additional speakers to replace OEM speakers because Planet Audio AC8D works with any speaker already installed in the car.
Highly durable and responsive materials: Sturdy polypropylene material has been used to make the sub’s cone, ensuring that the cone can take continuous beating without giving up. The surround is made of foam for a more natural response. Collectively, these materials enhance the durability of the sub.
Our view: We recommend this sub for its high power handling capability and because it gives you a wide range of setup possibilities. It is a great sub for accurate and intense sound.
There’s definitely no reason for not trying this relatively cheap sub.
4. American Bass VFL8D4
Unlike other subwoofer types, competition subs are specially designed to deliver loud, hefty bass.
Power the American Bass VFL8D4 up to its 800 watts peak rating and feel the tremendous sound quality improvement on your sound system.
You simply cannot compare this sub with conventional subs – the features below testify.
American Bass VFL8D4 Benefits and Features
Stiff, lightweight cone for the best sound production: The VFL8D4 features a carbon Kevlar woven paper cone that provides the perfect combination of light weight and stiffness properties for production of the best sound. This cone not only enables the sub to deliver ground-shaking bass but also enhances the durability of the speaker.
Awesome power handling even under extreme conditions: The sub sports a Conex spider that supports production of great sound under all conditions. Conex spiders are a popular feature of high-performance subs. To further enhance the sub’s sound performance and durability, these spiders are coupled with oversized voice coils and everything is housed in a strong cast aluminum basket.
Continuous, superb sound performance: There’s nothing sweeter than deep sound that is delivered continuously in all conditions. This is what you get from a sub that uses a double stacked 100 oz. magnet. The VFL8D4 will raise your car’s audio quality a bar higher and turn your driving experiences to something you always look forward to.
Reduced mechanical losses and better low-level details: The sub’s high temperature voice coils have extra-long windings that greatly reduce mechanical losses. This results in better dynamic sound performance and delivery of precise low-level details.
Our say: The American Bass VF8D4 is a really nice sound beast. It is meticulously conceived and engineered for advanced sound performance.
The sub portrayed reliable strengths across the board. It’s a definite pick for bigger and better bass.
Invigorate the quality of sound your car stereo outputs by installing American Bass VF8D4.
5. Rockville RW8CA – Lightweight and compact but powerful
The RW8CA might be one of the lightest 8-inch subs on the market but it doesn’t take bass production lightly.
The sub is often underestimated, but it actually holds a power handling of 150w RMS and 600w peak power. See more features of this hardy and compact bass thumper below:
Features of Rockville RW8CA
Grand bass from a CEA-2006 approved compact sub: The RW8CA is the way to go if you want to make things better. The 2.7-inch thick unit uses a PWM MOSFET power supply and takes a little installation space so you can install it comfortably under the seat or in the dash.
Amazing controls for sound customization: With this sub you can determine the kind of sound you enjoy as you drive. It gives you a volume level control, a subsonic filter to discard the really low frequencies your ear cannot hear, a low pass crossover filter, a bass boost and a phase control.
Smart circuit for auto turn on/off: High level inputs have been added so that you don’t need a remote wire from the head unit to turn the sub on and off. The high level inputs also makes installation of the subwoofer/amplifier combination easier since you don’t have to remove the receiver.
Tri-stage protection circuit: If you are a little worried that your speaker might face overheating and power upsurge challenges, don’t worry anymore as Rockville has already solved this concern with thermal, short protection and overload protection circuits.
Our view: This is one of the best subs from Rockville.
It has mind-blowing features that ensure maximum performance, and the inclusion of a highly-reliable amp makes it even a more worthy investment into your car’s audio system.
Don’t let your stereo suffer feebly bass anymore. Check out Rockville RW8CA on Amazon.
6. Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2
This Skar Audio masterpiece is the product of many years of research and development, and it has proved to be a leader both in audio performance and reliability.
The VVX-8v3 D2 takes on the reproduction of low-end frequencies with great authority to give you amazing bass notes for the total enjoyment of your music.
Features and benefits of Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2
Competition-grade sound production: Skar Audio has brought together serious sound reproduction features to ensure it wins any competition. A competition-grade paper cone is combined with Skar’s new custom tooled basket and an advanced cooling system, making the VVX-8v3 D2 the unrivalled leader in the class of subs it belongs.
Loud play, all the time: When you have a sub that has zero risk of overheating, burning out or blowing, there’s nothing that can stop you from cranking up the tunes. The VVX-8v3 plays loud without relenting or showing the slightest signs of fatigue.
What’s in for you in the small sized design? Don’t judge this sub based on its small size. You’ve already seen that it packs sound that extends much farther than its dimensions. Couple it with a small enclosure and fit in your small trunk space, the backseat, or cargo bed to experience the best of Skar Audio.
Excellent efficiency at high power levels: Like us, you might want to know how the VVX-8v3 D2 manages to play music efficiently even at high power levels for long periods of time. We found the answer in the massive triple stack motor and the high-temp 2-inch copper voice coil.
Our Say: The lack of a properly-fitting sub can hinder you from enjoying sound with deeper and more precise bass notes. But you can now start enjoying greater sound with Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2 subwoofer.
Small subs can pack big sound. Try the VVX-8v3 D2 and see for yourself how true this is.
7. Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8
The P3SD2-8 is the best 8” bassheads can ask for. With its 150w RMS, it is able to play cool lows but the tinsel lead voice coils can also handle violent cone movements comfortably to give you continuous, distortion-free bass notes.
Features of Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8
Shallow-mount structure: The P3SD2-8 comes from Punch Stage 3 subs that hold a reputation of delivering strong bass. But they also have something more for owners of smaller cars. Their shallow-mount structure makes them easier to install in hard-to-fit spaces thus allowing you to enjoy impressive low end in such cars.
Well-protected against physical and electrical damage: The P3SD2-8 is housed in a strong low-profile frame that is abundantly vented to prevent overheating. The cone is made of anodized aluminum, which makes it rigid and resistant to deformation even when under maximum load.
Allows you to get the optimum performance from your system: The M-Roll Santoprene surround is built to provide excellent excursion and the maximum audio output. To further increase the sub’s sound performance potential, the dual 2-ohm voice coils make it possible to connect multiple subs to the car stereo.
Sub is CEA-2031 certified: This means that the sub conforms to the industry’s power handling standards and you can trust the power ratings indicated. Thus, you can accurately match the sub with an amplifier to get the best sound output possible.
Verdict: This sub might not be the loudest sub. However, if you are on a small budget and need a space-saving bass thumper, then it is definitely a great pick.
Discover what it is like to have a light, easy-to-install, powerful sub – try Rockford Fosgate P3SD2-8.
8. KICKER 11HS8: Rocks your ride with big sound
First, this Kicker sub has won a CES award for having one of the best design and engineering.
And then our tests confirmed that the subwoofer delivers magnificent low frequencies from its small enclosure. It can add earth-shaking bass to any vehicle no matter how tight the space requirements are.
Features of Kicker 11HS8
The speaker rocks your ride with big sound: When you mount the 11HS8 on the car’s interior, your listening experience is transformed instantly. The sub hits bass notes and takes them lower and lower to deliver the best low-frequency sound achievable by small-sized subs.
Ultra-compact design: With its 11.5 by 5 by 18 inches dimensions, this sub can fit in almost every space in your car. Many real users find it as one of the best fitting small subs on the market. Closely related with the sub’s compactness is its ease of installation.
Being a powered driver, Kicker 11HS8 subwoofer comes with a 150-watt inbuilt amplifier. This means you only need to install the sub for a complete audio upgrade. The built-in amplifier makes sound output more intense and significantly boosts to your listening experience.
Allows you to fine-tune your music to your satisfaction: This sub features a remote bass control, adjustable low-pass crossover, a phase-cancelling switch and variable bass boost. These give you the utmost control over your sound, so that you can enjoy a highly customized listening experience.
Our verdict: Kicker 11HS8 is probably the best powered amplifier that can fit in the smallest of spaces. It might have a premium price tag but it saves you the hassle of looking for an external amp and enclosure.
Add this powerful sub to your car stereo for a great improvement on the quality of sound you get.
9. Sound Storm LOPRO8: Best for deep bass output
The LOPRO8 brings a real sound storm to your car. With 600w peak power output, this sub means no jokes with bass output. Hook it to any in-dash stereo and it will accustom you to cool, deep bass.
Features and benefits of the LOPRO8 subwoofer
It is a powered sub: One of the main reasons for choosing this sub is that it gives your stereo an all-round upgrade. It comes with a Class A/B amplifier to ensure that enough power is sent through the system for production of strong bass.
Customize your sound to the highest quality desired: The sub puts a number of sound controls at your disposal. These include variable low pass and subsonic filters, bass boost and subwoofer level control that let you tailor the sound output to your liking.
Superior sound performance: The sub’s cone and surround are constructed with highly efficient materials for better audio performance. And to further enhance this capability, the class A/B amp with a special linear circuitry helps to reduce distortion and improve the sound production efficiency.
Low profile: Subs labeled as low profile feature a space-saving design without compromising on sub power and performance. They are preferred by users who are facing installation space limitations.
Verdict: The LORPO8 sub combines some of the best features of a high-performance subwoofer. You can have this sub installed in your car for a bigger sound regardless of the type of stereo you have.
Make sure to check out this sub to take advantage of the great price currently attached to the sub
10. Alpine Electronics PWE-S8
Alpine has packed so much into this compact sub that everyone in our review panel was eager to know the kind of sound it produces.
Fast forward, this sub adds the thrill of sub-bass into your car without taking much space. It is powered and comes housed in a cast aluminum enclosure.
Find out what’s more about this Alpine masterpiece below:
Compact and highly durable design: Tuck the PWE-S8 behind the seat, in your trunk of your sedan or the hatch of your SUV and love the complete transformation it gives your sound system. The highly durable die cast aluminum construction ensures that you enjoy great audio performance for longer.
Inbuilt Class D amplifier: The kind of powerful sound the sub outputs will blow you away all thanks to the 120W RMS amp. And with the low-pass crossover and controls for phase and gain, you can easily match the bass with the rest of the system.
Reliable sound reproduction: The sub is fitted with a polypropylene cone and butyl rubber surround. These ensure continuous, accurate sound reproduction that not only gives you big bass but an improved overall audio quality. You can rely of Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 for a great sonic upgrade to your car’s audio system.
Sub is well-protected against thermal, overload and short: An automatic shut-off keeps guard of your sub in case it gets too hot or an electronic failure causes a short. The subsonic filter also restricts bass notes below the specified setting to ensure that the sub remains protected and performing at its optimum.
Verdict: Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 shows the brand’s deliberate efforts to provide sound enthusiasts with the modern subwoofer – a compact yet powerful sub that delivers big sound consistently.
The PWE-S8 sends thundering bass under your feet. It’s totally awesome and a sure bet to a better listening experience.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best 8 Inch Subwoofer
The last time your favorite jam was playing in your car you realized that something is lacking.
The quality of bass has deteriorated with time and you can’t feel the original power and thrill that low frequencies added to your music.
An 8-inch subwoofer can give your stereo the upgrade it needs to regain its lost glory. There are as many high-quality subwoofers on the market as the number of reputable brands that produce them.
Your ultimate choice of subwoofer will depend on your desires and your car’s unique requirements.
Here are the most important factors to consider when searching for the most suitable 8” sub:
Is the subwoofer a component or non-component?
A component subwoofer comes with different separate parts.
For instance, the enclosure and the amplifier are available separately, giving you a great deal of freedom over which parts to include and exclude in your stereo system.
Non-component subs come with everything included in one enclosure. If you want to customize your car’s audio system, component subs are the better option.
But if you are not a fan of installation tasks you might go for non-component subs.
What type of enclosure does it have and what does it mean to your listening experience?
Enclosed subwoofers are usually pre-mounted in a box. The type of enclosure used has a significant impact on the type of bass the sub produces.
Ported and bandpass enclosures are preferable when looking for more volume while sealed boxes render the deepest low frequencies.
Is the subwoofer powered or will it need an amp?
Powered subs typically include a speaker and amplifier under a single compact enclosure.
They are best suited for users who need to install a sub cum amplifier upgrade to their systems and for smaller vehicles that may not have much space for separate speaker and amplifier installation।
Most of the 8-inch powered subs reviewed here are small in size and fit in tight spaces such as under the seat and small trunk spaces.
Does the sub have single or dual voice coils?
There are only two major types of voice coils used in subwoofers: single and dual voice coils.
Dual voice coils make the subwoofer more flexible such that you can add other sound output drivers later.
They are great for users who love customizing their stereo to achieve the best possible sound quality.
Single coils are mostly chosen by individuals who only want a simple and quick sonic upgrade for their systems.
Is the sub’s frequency range wide enough to allow the sub produce deep low frequencies?
The frequency range of a subwoofer indicates the frequency limits that the speaker can achieve.
The smaller the lower limit, the deeper the low frequencies produced by the subwoofer. Most of the top performers have a lower frequency rating of between 20Hz and 30Hz.
Choose the sub with the lowest frequency limit if you really want the deepest bass kicking in your music.
That’s just about every crucial aspect you need to consider when evaluating the suitability of a particular 8 inch car subwoofers for your car and personal listening needs.
If you are considering installing the sub by yourself, you might also want to consider subs that are easier to install.
We are sure that you will find a suitable sub in our list of top-performing 8” subs.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is an 8-inch sub the best choice for a car subwoofer?
If you are looking for a subwoofer that will give a significant boost to your bass but are facing space limitations, a hard-hitting 8-inch sub could be your best option.
These speakers work well in smaller cars and produce far better sound than stock speakers.
What should I expect from the car audio system after installing 8-inch subs?
It’s important to note that installing aftermarket speakers doesn’t always mean getting rid of stock speakers. If you have stock speakers that you like, you can install subs to enhance the bass.
Properly selected subs work well with OEM speakers. The subs also protect your stock speakers by taking up the lower frequencies that could otherwise damage stock speakers.
Besides, these subs produce great sound without using as much power as bigger subs, which means the lesser burden to the car battery. Thus, installing 8-inch subs helps to preserve your battery.
Which is the best compact 8 inch subwoofer?
For instance, Pioneer TS-SWX2002 delivers strong bass in a compact, easy-to-install, shallow-mount housing.
Such a subwoofer perfectly fits the space requirements of standard, extended, and crew cab pickups.
2-ohm versus 4-ohm subs: Which is better?
Subs with lower impedance usually produce louder sound compared to those with higher impedance.
Thus, in this case, 2-ohm 8-inch subs perform better with regard to sound volume. However, higher resistance also means more power consumption and higher chances of lower sound quality.
It is for this reason that 4-ohm sub-models tend to be more popular among experienced car audio fans. 4-ohm subs produce a relatively softer sound. In addition, they are generally cheaper than 2-ohm subs.
What are the different types of 8-inch subs?
Powered subs have a built-in amplifier. They are an excellent choice for smaller spaces and produce decent bass besides being compact and easy to install.
However, don’t expect super deep and thumping lows from these subs. Their small enclosure limits them from stretching their bass reproduction potential.
Component 8-inch subs combine separate sound parts and are best suited to audiophiles intending to tailor-make their car audio systems.
Choosing a component sub gives you freedom over the amplifier, enclosure, and other sound elements to include in your system.
Enclosed subs come already mounted in a box. They don’t have in-built amps so you’ll need to buy one separately.
Although enclosed 8-inch subs are not as popular as other subtypes, they are a great option for users who just want a simple sound system upgrade.
Finally, vehicle-specific 8-inch subs are designed for installation in specific locations in your car. There are subs for SUVs, trucks, hatchbacks, etc.
These speakers typically match the vehicle’s interior. The majority of them are delivered pre-mounted in a subwoofer enclosure, which means they deliver bigger and more booming bass compared to components and powered subs.
Is the new 8-inch speaker compatible with my audio system?
It is inherent to check that the subwoofer you intend to choose will work with the existing amplifier or the one you plan to install.
The other important compatibility concern is that of subwoofer impedance. Impedance influences current flow.
A subwoofer with electrical resistance specifications that do not match that of the entire sound system won’t work in that system.
Therefore, if your system is working at 2-ohm impedance, your sub should also work at 2 ohms. This applies to 4-ohm and 8-ohm systems as well.
Should I go for a single voice coil or a dual voice coil 8-inch sub?
SVC subs produce a satisfactory quality of bass, although the bass is not as profound the one produced by dual voice coil 8-inch subs.
DVC subs give the kind of bass a serious audiophile is looking for. As such, the choice between SVC and DVC subs is mainly influenced by personal listening preferences.
Our best pick is…Pioneer TS-SWX2002 won the overall best award
In addition to belonging to a leading brand, the TS-SWX2002 impressed most of the panelists with powerful bass output.
The 8 inch subwoofer is engineered to provide the winning bass response. An oversized cone is combined with a premium quality fiberboard structure to ensure that the sub delivers high-precision sound always.
Add onto this a dual-spider design and have an incredibly resilient construction for consistent low-frequency production.
Pioneer has put everything together so perfectly to ensure that the sub not only delivers cutting-edge sound quality but that the structure is highly durable.
You are therefore sure to enjoy big volume in your car for many years.
The TS-SWX2002 is very compact and easy to install. You can have the unit set up in any available tight space as soon as it is delivered.
Pioneer TS-SWX2002 is the best 8” sub for continuous, awesomely hard-hitting bass.