Owning a nice sound system is so expensive and we aren’t willing to sell the TV in exchange for a pair of good woofers. Should best things come at a price? Maybe. But what if the price is 500 bucks? Oh, you would be surprised. Even though cheaper woofers won’t deliver deepest basses and rich frequency response, they still have a wide range of uses for them.

We’ve tested over 40 devices to present to you 15 best subwoofers under $500 with the amazing top model Polk Audio PSW505. If this is a buy just for you, we’ve prepared compact models with great designs. You can also opt for well-balanced models that can be used for studio or home theater – they offer custom set up and adjustable crossovers. Read on to find more outstanding options! If setting up a studio on a budget, be sure to reference our picks for the best budget studio monitors under $500 – you can still get quality sound for mixing and mastering without breaking the bank.

The Best Subwoofers Under $500 List

  1. Editor’s Choice: Polk Audio PSW505, “300-watt subwoofer is a great deal for the money, with its powerful output, adjustable low pass crossover, and improved bass response”
  2. Best Home Theater Subwoofer: Klipsch R-12SW, “Powerful bass and little distortion make this subwoofer an excellent choice in the price point”
  3. Best Powered Subwoofer: BIC America F12, “Increased sound quality due to the loud dynamic power and the patented “Venturi” vent”
  4. Best Studio Subwoofer: Klipsch R-10SW, “Relatively small subwoofer that will produce far more sound than you might think”
  5. Best Sound Balance: Polk Audio PSW10, “Inexpensive and small subwoofer featuring the Klippel measurement technology that improves sound quality”
  6. Budget Pick: Yamaha NS-SW050BL, “Not only affordable, but also boasts maybe the widest frequency range at this price point”
  7. Best Car Subwoofer: Yamaha NS-SW100BL, “Features the 10-inch cone for an increased dynamic power output and wide frequency response”
  8. Best Frequency Range: Bic Acoustech PL-200 II, “Has incredible frequency response range and offers excellent sound with BASH amplifier”
  9. Great Peak Output: SVS SB-1000, “An incredibly powerful subwoofer with an in-built amp and a whopping 300W of continuous output and a good 5-year warranty. 720W peak output. 24–260Hz frequency response. 12-inch cone.”
  10. Best Subwoofer with Adjustable Feet: Definitive Technology ProSub 800, “This sub is perfect for home theater systems thanks to its generous output and adjustable feet. 600W peak and 300W rated output. 20–150 Hz frequency response. 40–150 H adjustable crossover.”
  11. Best Wireless Subwoofer: Klipsch R-10SWi, “This subwoofer is wireless and is able to play from multiple sources without any extra connections. 300W peak and 150W continuous output. 32–120Hz frequency response. 10-inch cone.”
  12. Best Compact Subwoofer: Yamaha YST-FSW150 YST II, “A compact model, this sub is great for those worried about the dimensions. 75W RMS and 130W peak output. 30–150Hz frequency response. 6.5-inch cone.”
  13. Best Design: Audioengine S8, “A stylish and versatile sub that can be used with a number of systems and adapted to wireless. 125W RMS. 27–180Hz frequency and 50–130Hz crossover. 8-inch downfiring cone.”
  14. Best 15-inch Subwoofer: Acoustic Audio PSW-15, “This powerful sub has great bass response thanks to the big 15-inch cone. 250W RMS and 600W peak output. 22–250 Hz frequency and 40–140 Hz crossover. Great value for money.”

Best compact subwoofer for small apartments under $500

Polk Audio PSW505


  • Power: 300W continuous, 460W dynamic
  • Frequency: 23Hz – 160Hz
  • Cone: 12 inches
  • Dimensions: 16-1/8 (H) x 15-1/8″ (W) x 18-3/16″ (D) inches
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

More features: adjustable low pass crossover, phase switch and volume control, unfiltered LFE input


  • 300-watt power
  • Adjustable low pass crossover
  • Five-year warranty
  • Improved bass response
  • Great value for the price


  • Limited frequency range
  • Rear port design adds noise

Ask anyone who has used this subwoofer from Polk Audio, and they’ll tell you that it is far and away the best subwoofer for the money, period. Many users report buying multiple, either to set up dual subwoofers for a 7.1 surround sound system or to use in multiple rooms.

One of the features that sets this subwoofer apart for the price is the power output. Compared to the many 50-watt subwoofers available for under $500, this subwoofer is capable of 300 watts of continuous sound power and up to 460 watts of dynamic power. Most users report rarely turning the gain to more than 60%, which leaves plenty of volume while still operating in the sweet spot of this subwoofer.

The downside to this subwoofer at this price point is that the frequency range is relatively limited, at 23–160 Hz, so you lose the transition frequencies between your bass and your mid-frequency speakers. In addition, users note that the rear port design is susceptible to causing noise, which can be quite noticeable at high gains.

That said, the subwoofer also comes with an adjustable low pass crossover system to help reduce noise and improve the blending with other speakers in your sound system. While the subwoofer is excellent for booming vibrations when watching movies, it also has the responsiveness needed to provide good sound quality for music playback.

Plus, Polk Audio provides one of the longest warranties on their inexpensive subwoofers, at five years. That provides peace of mind that this subwoofer will last at least as long as the rest of your sound system.

Top-rated down-firing subwoofer under $500

Klipsch R-12SW


  • Power: 200W continuous, 400W dynamic
  • Frequency: 29–120 Hz
  • Cone: 12 inches
  • Dimensions: 14 x 18.5 x 16 inches
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: line/LFE inputs, low pass crossover and phase control


  • 200-watt power with 400-watt dynamic power
  • Little distortion at high gain


  • Only two-year warranty
  • Limited frequency response

This powerful subwoofer from Klipsch shares much of its design with the R-10SW from the same manufacturer, but features an enlarged 12-inch cone driver that enables even more power output. This subwoofer is capable of 200 watts of continuous power with a dynamic output of up to 400 watts, and users note that it is easily capable of shaking a room when the gain is cranked.

Impressive for a subwoofer at this modest price point, users also note that there is very little distortion when the gain is cranked over 50%. However, as is the case for all of the subwoofers under $500 we reviewed, it is worth noting that the bass is not as rich as on higher-end subwoofers. In addition, note that this subwoofer is significantly larger than the R-10SW and will take up more space in your room, as well as interact with your room’s acoustics differently.

One important specification that stayed the same between this subwoofer and the R-10SW, unfortunately, is the relatively narrow frequency response. As for the smaller subwoofer, there is a noticeable frequency gap between this subwoofer and the mid-frequency speakers you have attached to your sound system. While this might not be an issue for movies, users noticed it during music playback, even in spite of the low-pass crossover filter and phase control built into the subwoofer.

Despite the overall quality of this speaker, Klipsch only offers a two-year warranty.

Top-rated down-firing subwoofer under $500

BIC America F12


  • Power: 150W continuous, 475W dynamic
  • Frequency: 25–200 Hz
  • Cone: 12 inches
  • Dimensions: 15 (W) x 17 (H) x 18-1/4 (D)
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

More features: patented BIC “Venturi” vent, Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS inputs


  • Loud 475-watt dynamic power
  • Large frequency response
  • Venturi vent
  • Five-year warranty and good customer service


  • Generates a lot of rumble

Users rave not only about the sound quality from this powered subwoofer from BIC America, but also about the company’s customer service. In addition to sporting a full five-year warranty on par with that from Polk Audio, users consistently remark that BIC America was extremely responsive to customer questions throughout the setup process.

The subwoofer itself is not especially powerful at only 150 watts, but the 475 watts of dynamic power put it on par with significantly more expensive subwoofers. The 12-inch driver is injection molded to provide consistency between units and keep the sound quality high. Plus, in contrast to most other sub-$500 subwoofers that boast that level of dynamic power, this subwoofer has a wide frequency response ranging from 25-200 Hz. Together, this leaves users very impressed with the sound quality and the feeling that the subwoofer is more powerful than most 5.1 surround sound theaters actually need – which is not a bad thing to have. The biggest downside to the power is that when the volume is turned up past 50% gain, the subwoofer can actually generate rumbles that reach your neighbor’s home.

A nice addition to this subwoofer is the patented “Venturi” vent in the rear, which greatly reduces noise from the port found on other inexpensive subwoofers. In addition, the subwoofer comes with input ports for both Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital/DTS systems so that you can use this subwoofer with a wide variety of inputs.

Best wireless subwoofer for home theater under $500

Klipsch Reference R-10SW


  • Power: 300W
  • Frequency: 32–120 Hz
  • Cone: 10 inches
  • Dimensions: 14 (H) x 12.5 (W) x 15.7 (D) inches
  • Warranty: 2-year limited

More features: powerful 10″ copper-spun front-firing woofer, line/LFE inputs


  • 300-watt dynamic power and 10” copper-spun cone driver
  • Line and LFE inputs


  • Limited frequency response
  • Only two-year warranty

Users rave about this small but powerful subwoofer from Klipsch, which produces far more sound than most people think when they first look at it. The subwoofer is only rated for 150 watts of continuous power, but boasts 300 watts of dynamic power and is controlled by a fully digital amplifier that helps reduce the noise at higher gains. Many people who purchased this subwoofer have also used Klipsch’s 15-inch subwoofer and note with surprise that this subwoofer is nearly as loud and can easily fill a large room with bass as part of a 5.1 surround sound system. The secret is in part the copper-spun front-firing 10” cone driver, which amplifies sound far more than traditional inexpensive drivers.

The cost of this power and sound quality is that the frequency response of this subwoofer is relatively limited. Without an additional, higher-end subwoofer in the same audio setup, you will lose all bass deeper than about 32 Hz. While the low pass crossover and phase control built into the subwoofer helps to alleviate the gap between the bass and your mid-frequency speakers, expect some gap in the sound at the upper end of this subwoofer’s 120 Hz maximum.

Another minor, but important advantage to this subwoofer is that it has both line and LFE inputs. This ensures that your new subwoofer will be compatible with both your existing audio receiver and a new audio receiver if you need to replace it.

Top 10-inch subwoofer with low-frequency extension under $500

Polk Audio PSW10


  • Power: 50W continuous, 100W dynamic
  • Frequency: 40 Hz – 160Hz
  • Cone: 10 inches
  • Dimensions: 16.2 x 14 x 14.4 inches
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

More features: 10-inch polymer-composite dynamic-balance cone driver, laser-based Klippel measurement technology


  • Inexpensive
  • 100-watt dynamic power
  • Klippel measurement technology improves sound quality
  • Five-year warranty


  • Clipped frequency range
  • Very muddy at high volumes

This small subwoofer from Polk Audio is designed specifically to fill in the bass on a subwoofer-less surround sound system or to replace a noisy stock subwoofer that came with your new surround sound system. Although the subwoofer provides only 50 watts of continuous power, the ability to jump to 100 watts of power dynamically allows this subwoofer to be noticeably louder than many of its competitors. However, users note that compared to more expensive 50-watt subwoofers this unit can get muddied more easily and the deterioration of sound quality at high volumes is one of the major deficits of this subwoofer. Nevertheless, users still feel that this subwoofer is one of the best available for the price – and the low price tag also makes it possible to add multiple of these subwoofers into your sound system for more booming bass.

The lowest frequencies on this subwoofer are unfortunately very clipped since the subwoofer has a minimum frequency of 40 Hz. In addition, expect a sizable gap in frequencies between this and your other speakers since the maximum frequency that it can output is 160 Hz. However, the 10-inch composite cone driver provides relatively high fidelity playback within that frequency range, in part thanks to the laser-based Klippel measurement technology that helps improve linearity.

Like for the more expensive PSW505 model subwoofer, Polk Audio offers a five-year warranty to protect your investment in this subwoofer.

Best sealed subwoofer for tight bass under $500



  • Power: 50W (100 Hz, 5 ohms, 10% THD)
  • Frequency: 28–200 Hz
  • Cone: 8 inches
  • Dimensions: 11-1/2 x 11-1/2 x 13-3/8 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years on parts and labor

More features: Yamaha Active Servo Technology II, twisted flare port


  • Wide frequency range
  • Inexpensive
  • Relatively limited muddying at high volumes


  • Not that powerful
  • Only two-year warranty

This compact and inexpensive subwoofer from Yamaha – one of the most renowned names in audio – provides excellent value for the price. Although the subwoofer only puts out 50 watts of power with no dynamic boost, users felt that the volume was plenty loud for small and moderate sized rooms in a 5.1 surround sound system setup. More important, users noted that the noise and muddying of the bass was relatively limited as the volume was turned up towards the maximum, which is impressive in a speaker at this low price point.

In addition, this subwoofer provides one of the widest frequency ranges we found at this price point, from 28–200 Hz, which means that it can cover almost all of the input low frequencies while blending nicely with your mid-frequency speakers. Yamaha further improved the sound quality of this subwoofer by designing a twisted flare port on the side of the unit, which reduces noise compared to a conventional slotted rear port.

Despite all these impressive features, note that this is still a relatively inexpensive subwoofer that lacks the feel and sound of higher-end subwoofers. Users noted in particular that you can hear, rather than feel, this subwoofer when standing next to it. Yamaha also offers only a two-year limited warranty, compared to the five-year warranty found on the similarly priced Polk Audio PSW10.

Best ported subwoofer for deep bass under $500

BIC America PL-200II


  • Power: 250W continuous, 1000W dynamic
  • Frequency: 22 – 200 Hz
  • Cone: 12 inches
  • Dimensions: 11.6 x 12.5 x 47 inches
  • Warranty: 8-year limited

More features: BASH amplifier, high-power magnet, adjustable crossover & volume controls


  • Fantastic sound
  • Great for home theaters
  • 8-year warranty


  • Very large size
  • RCA cable is not included

The Bic Acoustech PL-200 II has 1000 watts dynamic peak output and 250 watts RMS continuous output, making this a powerful subwoofer. It has 22hz to 200Hz frequency response, as well as adjustable crossover and volume controls. This subwoofer has a state-of-the-art BASH amplifier and is a front-firing 12-inch long-throw powered unit with long excursion surround sound.

Users stated that it reaches deep, clean bass notes with an ability to be delicate when needed, though others claimed that it’s not the best choice if you’re looking for a subwoofer that can handle accuracy in bass response.

The Bic Acoustech PL-200 II comes with a spectacular 8-year warranty, making it a great choice for those customers who are looking for a subwoofer with a long lifespan, or for one with warranty options in case of accident, though it’s important to note that it doesn’t come with its own cord so the consumer would need to provide the required RCA cable. However, everyone agreed that it’s a subwoofer with great sound. It weighs a little over 43 pounds, making it a touch heavy, but not so heavy that most people couldn’t move it when necessary. And it is very large, so space in your home and where to store this subwoofer could be an issue for some users.

Finally, many users stated this subwoofer really shines when used in a home theater, though it is perfectly fine for music as well.

Most powerful 12-inch subwoofer under $500

SVS SB-1000


  • Dynamic power output: 720W
  • RMS power output: 300W
  • Frequency response: 24–260Hz
  • Crossover: 50–160Hz
  • Cone: 12 in
  • Dimensions: 13.5 x 13 x 14 in
  • Warranty: 5-year limited


  • The very best thing about this is the clarity offered in the bass frequencies.
  • A lot of products on the list have a huge level of power, 300W RMS is not unusual, but to have such a clear and high-fidelity sound to go with this power is a huge bonus.


  • Ideally, this sub could cost a little less. It’s not overly expensive, but it does push that $500 budget, so might be a bit pricey for some home theater systems.
  • While it isn’t the most expensive sub, there are cheaper options if you are willing to sacrifice some clarity.

The SVS SB-1000 subwoofer gives a surprising level of power for the price. It is towards the top end of the budget when looking for the best powered subwoofer under $500, but it justifies the price. The crossover is 50–160 Hz with a total frequency response of 24–260 Hz, so it is really taking care of the low rumble of music or in a home theater system.

A 12-inch cone means it isn’t the smallest product out there, but this is needed for the pumping bass provided.

300W RMS means that the cone can cope with having 300W of power pumped through it. This is an incredible level of volume that most bassheads will adore. The look of the product is simple, and quality is assured with a 5-year limited warranty, something that is even more impressive when you consider the inbuilt amp.

What to expect from a subwoofer under $500?

Subwoofers run up into the thousands of dollars for a single unit at the high end, so is it really worth investing in a subwoofer under $500? The answer depends largely on your budget and your need for unparalleled sound quality. In general, for subwoofers that cost less than around $3,000, the more money that you can spend on your subwoofer the more significant the impact of the unit on your overall sound system will be. There are numerous technical differences between subwoofers under $500 and those costing several thousand dollars, but the end result is that subwoofers under $500 tend to have muddier, less accurate bass output than their high-end counterparts.

That said, for most people building a home theater or sound system for the first time, upgrading from no subwoofer or a stock subwoofer that came with a 5.1 surround sound system to a subwoofer in the $500 price range will make a huge difference. Especially as audio technology is improving and manufacturing is becoming cheaper, subwoofers in this price range are dramatically improving, and there are now many subwoofers around the $500 price range that even audiophiles are taking note of.

Features to consider before buying

How do you find those subwoofers under $500 that are worth a second look? The answer is in the technical specifications, which helpfully compare how different subwoofers will perform. In this section, we’ll cover some of the most important technical specifications that describe subwoofers and some of the other important features to consider when investing in a subwoofer.

Power output

The power output of a subwoofer is one of the most important details to look at, since it directly relates to the volume that a subwoofer can produce. While a more powerful subwoofer is not necessarily louder – you can control the volume – the power output describes the maximum possible volume. In general, a more powerful subwoofer like the 300-watt Polk Audio PSW505 will produce better sound quality when playing at room volume, in the middle of its power range, than a less powerful 50-watt subwoofer, of which there are many under $500, that is maxed out at room volume.

Frequency response

The frequency response describes the range of frequencies, measured in Hertz (Hz), that a subwoofer can play. Since your subwoofer is typically the only speaker in your sound system capable of playing bass frequencies, having a relatively broad frequency response is important to avoid having some bass frequencies input from your audio being muddied or left out of your output sound altogether. Among subwoofers under $500, less powerful subwoofers like the BIC America F12 and Bic Acoustech PL-200 II boast the widest frequency responses – from 22 and 25 to 200 Hz – while more powerful subwoofers tend to have narrower frequency responses.


Crossover is another technical term you should learn about. The crossover can be thought of as where the subwoofer “takes over” from the other speakers, and where the sound starts to roll off. Each set of speakers is responsible for its own frequencies this way, leaving the sub to handle the bass for the best effects. Many of the models on this list have a range and allow you to choose the crossover. The SVS SB-1000 subwoofer lets you set the crossover to anywhere between 50 Hz and 160 Hz for the best possible results.

When setting the crossover, make sure you don’t end up with a gap in the audio where no speaker is accounting for those frequencies.

Cone size

The cone is the part of the subwoofer that moves in response to the input audio signal to push air and actually produce sound. Because bass signals are relatively long wavelengths, a large cone is required to push a lot of air over a longer distance to produce the low-frequency sounds. Thus, a larger cone, on the order of 12 inches as in the Bic America F12, Klipsch R-12SW, and Polk Audio PSW505, will typically produce better sound quality. However, vibrations in the cone itself can also introduce noise that muddy the bass, so cone size alone cannot specify the overall quality of a subwoofer.

Bass technology

There are different ways of replicating the bass frequencies. Downfiring and front-firing are the two main ones you will see. Downfiring subs “aim” the bass frequencies toward the floor to give more of a deep punch and rumble. These are very good for home theater applications. Front-firing are more of a straightforward sound.


What does the cone of the sub, and the electronics, come encased in? The enclosure is important for a few reasons. It needs to look good, but more importantly it needs to provide you with a stable enclosure so you don’t get loads of buzzing or distorting of the audio because of the fact that the design is not coping with the vibrations.


Features to consider before buying

Most of the subwoofers on our list are good when it comes to compatibility, but you need to check that they work with the specific speaker system you want to set them up with. Some of the wireless subwoofers create a bit more difficulty when it comes to setting up a full-system, and sometimes staying in the same brand can be the solution. For example, the Klipsch R-10SWi 10″ wireless subwoofer works best with other wireless speakers in the same brand.

Subwoofer dimensions

When it comes to subwoofers, larger is usually better – a larger subwoofer typically means that it hosts a larger cone and has higher power output. However, if you are placing your subwoofer in a small room or in a tight space, it is worth checking on the exact dimensions of the subwoofer you are interested in relative to the space you have. In general, it is better to place your subwoofer correctly within your sound system – which takes some moving the subwoofer around your room to find where the room acoustics are best – than to opt for a larger subwoofer.


Even under $500, a subwoofer is a significant investment, and you want to be sure that you will be protected against manufacturer defects. Most subwoofers under $500 come with a two-year limited warranty, but several manufacturers including Polk Audio and BIC America offer more substantial five-year warranties that ensure your subwoofer will last for years to come.

Extra features

Some subwoofers come with special audio technologies that are designed to improve the sound quality beyond what the technical specifications alone would suggest they are capable of. For example, the BIC America F12 comes with BIC’s patented “Venturi” vent, which eliminates port noise to improve audio quality. These technologies vary greatly between manufacturers, but keep an eye out for them as they can improve sound quality without altering the fundamentals of the subwoofer itself.


Naturally, the subwoofers on our list are all under the $500 mark at the time of writing, but there is a lot of variation within this price point. Some of the more affordable options are actually under $200, and some cheap subs can often do a very good job for music or theater, as long as they are used correctly.


How to choose a subwoofer for a 7.1 surround sound system?

A 7.1 surround sound system, as opposed to a 5.1 surround sound system, includes two extra side speakers to provide additional mid- and high-frequency sound. For this reason, you will need a more powerful subwoofer to balance the bass frequencies with the louder and more surrounding mid and high frequencies. Many people with 7.1 sound systems actually choose to incorporate two subwoofers to provide the requisite power and to help the bass sound as surrounding as the rest of the sound.

What brands are the most reliable and provide the best warranty terms and customer service?

Many of the manufacturers that produce subwoofers have loyal followings, but some brands offer better warranties and customer service than others. Polk Audio and BIC America both offer five-year warranties, compared to the two-year warranties that most other manufacturers offer on their sub-$500 subwoofers. These companies are also beloved by their customers for the responsiveness they provide after purchase.

How to set up a subwoofer? What do I need?

Setting up a subwoofer requires an audio receiver, which is typically part of a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system along with other speakers. The subwoofer is connected to the receiver via a standard RCA cable. Placing the subwoofer in your room can be tricky since there is no standard location – it depends on the acoustics of the room your sound system is set up in. Best practice is to sit in your listening position while someone moves the subwoofer around the room until you zero in on the spot that offers the best bass response.

What is a powered subwoofer?

A powered subwoofer works independently of any external amplifier. It does not need to have an amp constantly sending power to the speaker in order for it to work. A passive subwoofer needs another piece of equipment, an amp, to drive the cone. Effectively, powered subs have this inbuilt.

Are wireless subwoofers any good?

Wireless subwoofers can sound just as good, but you might need to ensure you spend a little more to get a lot of quality and that you don’t lose some of the frequencies that are being sent from a device, for example. Wireless systems can be tough to setup, and it is a good idea to stick with one brand for your wireless subs.

Where should I place a subwoofer?

The way bass travels means that it doesn’t matter too much where you place a subwoofer. Some people say to avoid corners as the bass frequencies tend to be “attracted” to corners anyway, so this creates an overloading effect. Most subs will fill the room with bass no matter where they are placed.

What are passive radiators?

Passive radiators require less power to do more work. They use the air pressure generated by small speakers to maximize the sound that is being produced. They create more resonance and reduce the amount a cone has to move to give the same level of vibrations.

Can I add a second sub in the room?

Absolutely, a second sub can give more power in the bass frequencies and an “effortless” feel as you are not pushing one subwoofer to its limits to get the same sound, so compression and distortion become less of an issue.

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