Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers – Our Top 8 Picks for 2019

These days unlike in the past, it is very easy to have great bass in your vehicle irrespective of what you drive. Initially, it used to be that more space means more bass. But with the recent developments, car owners have found a way to improve the bass in their cars with limited space or without sacrificing trunk space.

Shallow mount subwoofers can be mounted in a variety of vehicles. Many car owners prefer them to regular subwoofers because of their compact design and low mounting profile, which means they can fit in small spaces. They are designed to reproduce bass and tackle the lower end frequencies better than small range speakers.

The best shallow mount subwoofers come in different shapes and sizes. There’s no single size that’s perfect for everyone. Some people need a 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer while others a 10-inch or a 15-inch shallow mount sub serves them best. Whatever your choice, these shallow mount subwoofer will definitely represent your favorite low profile sub.

So, before you give up on trying to get the best bass because of lack of enough space to install a full-sized subwoofer, try these well-tuned shallow mount subwoofers and you will wonder why you didn’t try one earlier.

Here are the best shallow mount subwoofers on the market today;

Comparison Table for Best Mount Subwoofers 2019

Subwoofer Name

Power handling

Frequency Response

Our Rating

Price

Peak: 1200w
RMS: 300w

20 Hz to 200 Hz

Peak: 800w
RMS: 100-400w

24 Hz to 200 Hz

Peak: 1400W
RMS: 700w

30Hz to 700 Hz

Peak: 1000w
RMS: 500w

25Hz to 500 Hz

Peak: 1800w
RMS: 600w

26Hz to 200Hz

Peak: 400w
RMS: 200w

45Hz to 250Hz

Peak: 1000w
RMS: 300w

23Hz-400Hz

Peak: 800w
RMS: 500w

45Hz to 500 Hz

1. Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch

Pioneer TS-SWX2502 is a shallow mount sub that is packed with innovative features that allows it to deliver deep and accurate bass while maintaining a low profile. This 10-inch sub comes with an oversized cone surface area which increases the surface area of the sub without increasing the overall size. This attribute makes TS-SWX2502 very efficient.

Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch Key Features and Benefits

  • The Mica-Injected Resin Cone- TS-SWX2502 utilizes an oversized mica-injected resin cone which helps to increase the surface area of the gasket and the cone without altering the actual size of the unit. The increased surface area allows the sub to move more air and consequently produce louder bass. The mica injection shape makes the cone to be more stable and durable hence producing more accurate bass.
  • Angled Push Terminals- This subwoofer, unlike others, comes with angled push terminals which allow you to connect wires with ease. Regular subs, on the other hand, comes with terminals which are connected horizontally or vertically which means that they are not as flexible. When using angled push terminals, the wires are not bent to fit resulting into a straight connection. This is particularly important when using low gauge wires.
  • Dual Spiders- TS-SWX2502 includes dual spiders which allow the unit to have more control over the cone motion. This provides the desired stiffness for stable cone excursion leading into accurate bass response. This ensures that the cone performs optimally at all sound levels. Additionally, the unit’s enclosure is fully carpeted making it scratch free for improved durability.
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    Easy Mounting- Since this is a shallow mount sub, you will have to mount somewhere as it cannot stand on its own. The unit comes with accessories that help you to mount this sub anywhere you deem fit. It comes with 2 L-shaped metallic brackets and 8 self-tapping screws. With these, you can mount it to fire in any direction. You can also put things on top of it without worrying.

What we liked

  • Installation is straightforward.
  • It is a perfect subwoofer for tight spots and places.
  • Great enclosure design.
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    Compact but very powerful.
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    It produces decent sound with minimal distortion.

What we didn’t like

  • Low power handling.
  • It may not last as expected.

Our verdict- Pioneer TS-SWX2502 could be the solution that you have been looking for. This sub has been designed to pull our great performance without taking up a lot of space and at the same time add a touch of class to your car.

We highly recommend this sub if you are looking for a ready to boom unit.

2. JL Audio 10tw3-d4

This low-profile sub is designed to function in compact enclosures making it a great option to those who may not have much space. It is also an ideal option for challenging applications that require excellent bass output. The build quality and superior components are some of the most important aspect that makes this sub stand out. These two attributes combined with the compact frame makes the unit deliver clear, rich sound output.

JL Audio 10tw3-d4 Key Features and Benefits

  • The Double Voice Coil- JL Audio 10tw3 has a dual 4-ohm voice coil that suspended inside the concentric tube suspension. This suspension tube holds the magnet as well. The coil allows you to tune up the bass and at the same time, it allows you to match the wiring in your car. This gives you the flexibility that you need. The coil also allows you to use the unit safely with amplifiers that have different power ratings.
  • Great Design and High-Performance Cone- This sub includes a tough cone that is made of polypropylene, a material that enables it to withstand resonance. This helps in ensuring that the cone does not flex even when subjected to high power levels. With this, you can rest assured that your sub will serve you for long hours and that the sound will be free from distortion.
  • Robust Frame Construction- JL Audio 10tw3 housing features a robust frame construction, made up of cast alloy providing a stable structure. With a mere mounting depth of 3.25 inches, the sub performs at its best, blasting loud bass than any other. This superior construction prolongs the lifespan of the unit to a great extent. To add onto that, the unit comes at just 10 inches but it still makes use of more power to produce accurate bass tones like full-sized subs.
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    Rubber Surround and an Injection Molded Cone- Rubber is known to be the best of the best when it comes to flexibility of use. JL has taken advantage of this by utilizing a high roll rubber surround. This rubber allows for optimal movement of the cone. Other than the rubber surround, the unit also features an injection molded cone which is rigid and lightweight allowing you enjoy realistic bass output.

Pros

  • Nice bass for a sub this size.
  • It comes with durable components that can withstand abuse.
  • It features cast iron frame for a stable housing.
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    Unparalleled sound quality.
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    Works great in small spaced cars.

Cons

  • Power handling can be improved.
  • Low sensitivity hence it requires more power.

Our verdict- JL Audio 10tw3-d4 is an impressive piece right from the box. It boasts of numerous patented technologies and intrinsic features. Although it is more expensive than similar models, it makes up for it in sound and build quality.

If money is no object, don’t hesitate to try JL Audio 10tw3-d4 being one of the best sub on the market.

3. Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F 12

Although KFC-XW1200F 12 is not the most powerful unit in our list, its 1400 watts peak power and RMS rating of 700 watts are the main selling points of this subwoofer. This amount of power is enough for a single shallow subwoofer of such size and price. The shallow mounting depth allows you to fit this unit in tricky spots with ease. The solid house helps in heat dissipation which makes this unit popular among music lovers.

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F 12 Key Features and Benefits

  • Carbon-glass Fiber Cone- One of the most impressive feature of Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F is the design of the cone. The cone is made up carbon-glass fiber that employs a special honeycomb pattern. This pattern allows it to be more responsive in more demanding scenarios without flexing. This aspect also allows for effective heat transfer as this unit was built taking durability into consideration.
  • Flexible Rubber Surround- The carbon-glass fiber cone sits on firm rubber surround which helps to keep distortion and resonance at minimum levels. That’s not all. KFC-XW1200F comes with a robust basket made of die-cast aluminum. This basket helps in the distribution of heat through the available vents which help to keep the heat down even when the unit is pushed to the limit.
  • Push Terminals- When it comes to connections, the unit features silver-plated terminals which are very easy to use. These push terminals provides an outstanding signal transfer that will deliver all kind of bass notes while at the same time they help to cool the unit. With this, you don’t have to worry about durability, quality or the weight of this subwoofer.
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    Intelligent Power, Good Bass- Excelon KFC-XW1200F features a high sensitivity of 91 dB which enables it to produce high volume levels with less power ratings. The higher sensitivity gives the unit a competitive advantage as it will play louder than other units with higher RMS ratings but less sensitivity. Additionally, with this kind of sensitivity, you can do without the amplifier especially if you do not intend to push the sub to its limit.

What we liked

  • A higher sensitivity providing louder bass.
  • Both the surround and cone are made out of durable materials.
  • Great heat transfer.
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    Good power handling.
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    It is shallow mount hence it can be fitted in very tight spots.

What we didn’t like

  • It is relatively big in size.
  • It does not come with a dual voice coil.

Our Verdict- Excelon KFC-XW1200F from the reputable Kenwood performs adequately regardless of the application. It mounts a little bit deeper but still, it is able to maintain a shallow footprint. Its quality construction allows it to deliver quality sound making it a reliable unit.

This is another great choice for best 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer. Buy one on Amazon.

4. Kicker 43CWRT102 CompRT 10" 

Kicker is a famous brand when it comes to car audio. This shallow mount sub is designed to deliver a booming low end regardless of the mounting depth. 43CWRT102 has not been designed for cars and trucks only as it is strong enough to be fitted in motorcycles and ATV is you so desire. In addition, their loaded enclosures are rounded at the corners for the best volume, extra support, and aesthetics.

Kicker 43CWRT102 CompRT 10" Key Features and Benefits

  • Designed for High-Performance- Kicker 43CWRT102 CompRT has incorporated black carpeting which enables the unit to deliver an incredible level of fine-tuning. It also features a front-facing port raising the audio performance which means more bass. Additionally, this unit is equipped with terminals that can accommodate heavy gauge and this helps the sub to draw more power.
  • Kicker's Proprietary Cone Technology- The cone has been designed to reflect, SoloKon, Kicker’s proprietary cone technology. The molded cone features a red stitch that connects the cone to the back brace forming a single unit. This formation creates a rigid surface that helps in the elimination of sound distortion. In addition, the cone is held in a stamped steel basket that helps to reduces vibrations providing you with more accurate bass.
  • Dual Voice Coils- 43CWRT102 comes with dual voice coils which mean that the unit is up to any task. From playing soft tunes while on your way to work or jamming tunes for a first place in a car competition, this unit can be used for any application. It also possess internal bracing for extra support and strength which when combined with the rubber surround, it will make the sub serve you many years of heavy use.
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    Designed to Work with Many Systems- Kicker 43CWRT102 CompRT is versatile sub and it sounds great when enclosed in both ported and sealed boxes. The dual voice coils can be wired for either 1-ohm or 4-ohm total impedance giving you more than enough options when mounting the unit. This sub, unlike other models, can be used on a motorcycle or ATV as it is solidly built. However, this sub has a low RMS rating of 500 watts and as such, you should consider a solid amp to make up for the low power rating.

Pros

  • It appears slimmer than most shallow mount subwoofers.
  • It features a waterproof design.
  • Versatile application as it works on trucks, cars, motorcycles, etc.
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    Quality construction for consistent bass delivery.
  • It features modern features and technologies.

Cons

  • It tends to produce less punchy bass.
  • In some cases, the sub fail to use as much power as is expected.

Our verdict- 43CWRT102 CompRT is designed with a pedigree of reliability. It is a combination of proven technology and rugged materials enabling the brand to record the best performance among its competitors.

Consider 43CWRT102 CompRT for that booming low end that you have always desired.

5. Alpine Swr-t10 10-Inch

Powerful and compact are the perfect terms that can be used to describe this shallow mount sub from Alpine. It has a great power handling capability as it has a neodymium magnet which is 5 times more powerful than normal magnets used in other subs. This unit is also capable of working for long hours without heating thanks to the inbuilt airflow management system.

Alpine Swr-t10 10-Inch Key Features and Benefits

  • An Aluminum Cone with Rubber Surround- When it comes to build materials, Alpine Swr-t10 comes with an aluminum cone which is rigid and lightweight in nature making the unit to be more responsive, thus delivering high-quality bass. The cone is housed in a Santoprene rubber surround making it stand out as one of the most durable unit out there. As such, you don’t have to worry while using this unit under extreme conditions. The rubber surround also allows the cone to be more flexible.
  • Neodymium Magnet Structure- Alpine Swr-t10 uses neodymium magnet structure which means that it will take very little time to get quality bass from this sub. Considering that it comes with 600 watts RMS power, it will deliver the kind of performance that you won’t come across every day from a sub this size. As for the peak power, it delivers an amazing 1800 watts which makes the bass richer and more realistic.
  • Rapid Heat Dissipation- This unit employs finned aluminum heat sink technology which is directly linked to the frame, leading to rapid heat dissipation. This helps to keep your sub running cool even when it is has been pushed to the extreme. This is coupled with the advanced motor structure, a structure that is unique to Type -R subs, to help reduce subwoofer’s profile while maintaining bass accuracy.
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    Shallow-Design for Versatile Installation- Alpine Swr-t10 is designed to feature a thin design to save you from the installation hassle that come with regular subwoofers. Its design fits perfectly in any vehicle and the good thing is that is also comes with a thin enclosure. And that’s not all. This unit is one of the few subwoofers with FEA- optimization meaning that you will get nothing less than the best linearity and improved power handling.

What we liked

  • Employs numerous technologies to minimize distortion.
  • It uses the famous type R-design for better output.
  • Good airflow management system.
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    Easy installation process and it can be installed in compact places.
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    Durable construction that features top-quality materials.

Cons

  • The price is on the higher side.
  • The grille is not included.
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    It does not fit entirely on a 10-inch box.

Our Verdict- Alpine has invested heavily in the development of this Type R unit which evident in the level of performance it pulls out. It has a phenomenal power handling capability but all this comes at a price. However, it is one of the best sounding subs on the market.

Alpine Swr-t10 is a perfect upgrade to your sound system for an impressive musical experience.

6.Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch

Rockford Fosgate R2 is a very affordable shallow mount subwoofer that is capable of reproducing decent bass regardless of the low price tag. The elevated motor allows it to fit in tight places not forgetting that it is very easy to install. Once installed it sits flush to the enclosure while still handling enough power. This unit is good for starters on budget who wants to give their audio system some extra bass.

Rockford Fosgate R2 Ultra Shallow 10-Inch Key Features and Benefits

  • Anodized Aluminum Voice Coil- Rockford Fosgate R2 utilizes an anodized aluminum voice coil which helps the unit to dissipate heat more efficiently. When a voice coil heats, it can make the adhesive bonds to melt leading to an eventual breakdown. As such the aluminum voice is used as a heat sink to counter thermal build up during high SPL setups.
  • Stitched Tinsel LeadsThis shallow mount sub features a unique linear spider that is stitched with 16 AWG tinsel leads. The stitched leads help to improve performance and reliability by reducing fatigue and spreading stress over a wide area.  This helps to minimize chances of shorting. In addition, it conforms to CEA-2031 which means that it can safely handle the continuous power rating (RMS).
  • Rigid Polypropylene Cone- This subwoofer just like others in our list features a rigid yet very light mica polypropylene cone providing you with a very responsive setup. The most important aspect here is that regardless of its weight, it is going to push enough air giving you the exact level of bass you want. It is also important to highlight that due to the fact that polypropylene is durable by nature, the longevity of this unit is assured even when it is abused.
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    The Spider Venting- The Rockford Fosgate R2 has integrated a spider venting with a stamp-cast basket to ensure that you will not have any problem with high power supply. This spider venting ensures that the voice coil remain cool and functional for the longest time possible by ensuring that there is no heat build-up. This means that you can reach high volumes without running the risk of blowing up.

What we liked

  • It is reasonably priced.
  • It features an energy efficient design
  • It features dual voice coil for versatility.
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    Effective heat dissipation system.
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    It works well with both sealed and ported enclosures.

What we didn’t like

  • Low continuous power rating (RMS).
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    Sound tends to distort on heavy bass.
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    Not the most powerful bass.

Our verdict- Rockford Fosgate R2 series is an affordable option that reproduces a considerable amount of bass despite the inexpensive price tag. It is perfect for those looking for a mid-range to a budget unit with an intention of adding a new dimension to their audio experience.

Look no further if you are looking for a cheaper shallow mount subwoofer alternative.

7. Infinity Reference REF1200S 12"

REF1200S 12" is designed with Infinity technology to fit in today’s compact cars without sacrificing sound quality. It provides you with quality low end without consuming much power as it is the case with similar models. It is compact and lightweight meaning that it will not crowd your trunk but it will fill your car with robust sound quality and give you the bass that you deserve.

Infinity Reference REF1200S 12" Key Features and Benefits

  • Impedance Selector- Infinity Reference REF1200S comes with a switch that allows you to select between 2-ohm and 4-ohm impedance ratings. In most dual voice coil subs, however, you have to wire coils for different impedances. The impedance selector is common with single subs allowing the sub to use every single watt from the amplifier without compromising on safety margins or stability of the unit.
  • Extremely High Sensitivity- REF1200S has a sensitivity rating of 96 dB which is very necessary because the unit comes with a very low continuous power rating of 300 watts. With such power rating, the unit requires high sensitivity for it to produce high-quality bass without distortion or damaging the subwoofer. Such sensitivity allows the sub to maximize the low power handling so that you can still get that deep thumping bass.
  • Reliability Testing- Just like other Infinity models, Reference REF1200S has been subjected to conditions that would break lesser sub to prove its reliability. The unit has been baked, subjected to ultraviolet light, and blasted at full power to guarantee you that the unit will last for years. This is why Infinity is a powerhouse and as such, you should brace yourself for big bass from this low-profile sub.
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    Outstanding Frequency Range- The unit’s frequency response is 23Hz-400Hz which is high enough to counter the lower frequencies produced by your car speakers. With that, you should expect deep, tight bass. However, you should make sure that you pair this sub with the right equipment as it can blow easily if the equipment does not match.

Pros

  • Very efficient sensitivity rating.
  • Durable and lightweight.
  • Low-profile design to enable it fit in today’s enclosures.
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    It produces all round and defined bass.
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    Generous specifications that enables the sub to produce distortion-free sound.

Cons

  • RMS is only 300 watts.
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    It lacks deep bass.
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    It can blow easily if not paired with the appropriate equipment.

Our verdict- Infinity Reference REF1200S is designed in such ways that it ensures that you do not miss out on the low frequencies and the bass you’ve been missing. It fits perfectly into today’s small enclosures without compromising the sound quality.

Adding REF1200S is a great way of improving your car audio experience.

8. Skar Audio VD-10 D4 10"

The Skar Audio VD-10 has been designed to handle huge amounts of power and sound great all while maintaining a small footprint. It utilizes the best components such as a Conex Spider for effective power handling. These features together with the advanced cooling system allow it to generate extreme bass and remain very versatile with a shallow mounting depth.

Skar Audio VD-10 D4 10" Key Features and Benefits

  • Pressed Paper Cone- This shallow mount subwoofer comes with a pressed paper cone structure which provides a rigid and light option of attaining the desired sensitivity for quality bass. This cone also allows the unit to achieve the lows hassle-free without distortions. Whereas durability can be a problem with other models, this is not the case with Skar Audio VD-10 D4 as it is built using competition grade materials.
  • High-temperature Voice Coil - Bose UFS-20 are slender metal stands that take very little space, freeing some space for other necessary furniture. These slender stands display your speakers in an elegant way while at the same time hiding all unsightly wires and eliminating slip hazards.
  • Superior Cooling- The design of this unit allows for superior cooling which allows it to run for long hours without overheating. At the same time, it is able to perform well in small enclosures. This sub is compatible with a range of stereo systems and the good thing is the unit comes with woofer enclosure and mounting brackets and as such, installation should be relatively simple even for beginners.
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    Good Construction- Skar Audio uses the best parts to make sure you always get best performance. This shallow mount subwoofer comes with a 2-layer Conex spider and a competition grade paper pressed cone that is fitted in a compact way making this unit perfect for small mounting spaces. Coming with a mounting depth of 3 1/4", it offers you an amazing level of strength and flexibility to fit in any compact area of your choice.

What we liked

  • Effective copper voice coil.
  • Superior cone design.
  • It features dual voice coil configuration.
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    It saves on installation space.
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    Works great with both vented and sealed enclosures.

What we didn’t like

  • It cannot handle huge amounts of power.
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    It has a low-frequency response.
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    The shallow design, in very rare cases, tends to affect the quality of the sound.

Our verdict- This VD series offers a perfect option due its compactness and where the mounting depth is limited. It is less demanding when it comes to space all while delivering an above average bass performance.

Skar Audio VD-10 D4 is a reliable performer on all fronts. Get one today on Amazon at an affordable price.

Buying Guide: The Ultimate for Buying the Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer

Shallow mount subs sound great and they are awesome in as far as saving space is concerned. While they are intended to have the same functionality as standard subwoofers, the two differs in terms of configuration and performance. With that in mind, let’s how they compare and contrast and everything you need to consider before you put your money on the line.

1. The Size Factor

Size is an important consideration that defines a shallow mount subwoofer. They come in different sizes that ranges from 8-15 inches. Let’s see what each size option has to offer;

  • 8 inches subwoofers: They are the smallest in the market and they are ideal for light and soft bass. You can go for this size if you just want to compliment the bass of your audio system. In addition, these subs are quite responsive hence they can keep up with fast playing music.
  • 10 inches subwoofers: 10-inch subwoofers are the perfect examples of well-rounded subs that are safe and produce enough bass for any music track whether fast or slow paced.
  • 12 inches subwoofers: 12-inch subwoofers are popular with music enthusiasts with a bigger bass appetite. They work well with a lot of frequencies and handles different types of music with perfection. They are however not appropriate for fast-paced music.
  • 15 inches subwoofers: Due to their big size, the 15-inch subwoofers work perfectly in trucks and other large cars. They offer the most powerful and deepest bass out there. They are, however, less responsive when it comes to fast- playing music.

2. Key Specifications

Apart from the size consideration, you may want to pay attention to the following features in order to get the best from the unit;

  • The power rating: You will need to pay attention to both the peak power and the RMS power rating. While both are important, you may want to focus more on the RMS rating as it is the amount of power the sub can take continuously take without running the risk of blowing up. This aspect is a good indicator of how powerful the unit is.
  • Sensitivity: A sub’s sensitivity is measured by how loud the sub is which is determined by amount of power required to produce a certain volume level. A higher sensitivity sub will provide you with more power and volume if you are using a low powered amp. If you are using a good powered amp, then a sub with low sensitivity will still serve you perfectly.
  • Impedance:This is the measure of how a sub is resistant to electrical current. It determines how easily the sub translate signal from an amplifier into sound. Lower impedance produces better sound quality when compared to higher impedance. This is because a less resisted system will experience less distortion hence transmitting quality signal. It is important to match the impedance of the sub to that of amplifier so to avoid damages.
  • Number of voice coils: You can either choose a single or a dual voice coil. A dual voice coil can be wired several times to take up more power from your amplifier. This flexibility also means that you don’t need to get an extra subwoofer when you upgrade your head unit.

3. Woofer Surround

There are a couple of materials that can be used on the subwoofer’s surround the best one being rubber. This is because it reduces resonant vibrations leading to the production of quality sound. Some surrounds are made of plastic which has some negative implications on sound quality and longevity of the sub.

When it comes to the cone, complex materials such as polypropylene are used as they provide both durability and flexibility. Advanced system may use a combination of glass and woven fibers so as to strike a balanced between the two aspects.

4. Best Spots to Mount your Subwoofer

Depending on the space available on your car we recommend the following spots as the best placement spots for the best results;

  • Under seat: This is a perfect spot for small sized subs with small enclosures. As such, if you have an 8 or 10 inches sub and showing it off is not much of a priority, then you can simply get it under the seat.
  • Trunk: You can mount your sub on the trunk with its enclosure depending on how big your trunk is.  Mounting your sub on the trunk will serve as a big advantage as you don’t need a big enclosure for it to perform well.

Final Verdict

The size of your car or the space available should no longer limit you from enjoying big bass sounds. With these shallow mount subwoofers, you should be able to get those rich beats in your car. Shallow mount subwoofers are compact, easy to install and serves as a practical solution to any audio enthusiast who want to transform the audio system within no time.

These shallow mount subs comes with a range of features and they fit different budget needs. It is difficult to choose one model as the best, but we can assure you that all units will satisfy you in all fronts. But generally, it will come down to your specific needs and pairing the sub with the right components.

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