10 Best Subwoofers Under 500 – Reviews and Newbie Guide 2020
A subwoofer is the only audio-making product that can change how the sound feels. While the speakers manage clarity and volume, and tweeters deliver great highs – the subwoofer is the one that offers the punch.
But with so many options available, picking the right one can be a super tough job. Luckily, there’s always the best subwoofer under 500 that you can go for.
Here, we want to help you with everything about affordable subwoofers for high-quality audio lovers. If you are one of these people and want to learn how to pick the ideal cheap sub, then this article is for you.
Is $500 a Good Budget?
It all depends on what you are looking for. But yes, this budget is more than enough for a decent subwoofer or even two if you want.
But be aware that the quality in this price range is not the highest. Not being the best quality doesn’t mean they are bad. In fact, you may find some high-end models in this price range that may surprise you. But don’t expect the most amazing models.
That’s why we think $500 is an excellent budget if you’re looking for something well-made that offers decent performance. You will get reliability, durability, easy-to-install designs, and superior quality without having to break the bank.
Even if you are a demanding audio user, you will be amazed by the quality that you can find at this cost.
Another critical point to consider is that quality at this price range may not differ too much between the lower-end models and the higher-end ones. So be careful, you won’t like to spend twice as much for a subwoofer that’s barely decent for your demands.
Overall, we will focus on all those options that are worth your money and nothing else, so you won’t have to worry too much either. Without much further ado, let’s get into the good stuff.
If you want to get even better products, see this article on best subwoofers under 1000.
10 Best Subwoofer Under 500 – Reviews
We tried several models on this list. Some of them performed well, others not so much – but all of them were worth it. Either for a superb price or outstanding audio quality – each option in this list is a great contender for the best subwoofer under 500. So take a look!
1. Polk Audio PSW10 Powered Subwoofer
When you’re looking for a woofer, nothing compares to a simple design with decent sound quality. For a friendly cost, the Pol Audio PSW10 is precisely that kind of sub.
It is a powered model to place inside your living room. Its small 10-inches design makes it well-sounding without going over the top. The bass is precise and hosts a punch, and the depth it offers manages to surpass expectations.
It is a 100-watt PEAK and 50-watts of RMS amplifier – ideal for decent audio quality. If you don’t like loud but distorted models, then this one will come like a perfect option.
The audio quality is still ultra-clear. You won’t be disappointed with any of the sounds that go out of this subwoofer. From the high notes to the low frequencies, you will get a deep and clean sound experience.
It is not the largest of woofers either. You can place it anywhere you want, and it will manage to look well and provide a comfy area.
The best of all is that you can pair it up with all kinds of systems, as it comes with a variable crossover of 80-160Hz and a frequency response of 40Hz to 160Hz.
On top of all that, it looks fantastic. It comes with a detachable grille on the front as well as a sleek wooden-like surface on the sides and top. You can match it with other audio systems without issues.
As for controlling and compatibility, you can enjoy several speaker-level and line outputs, plus a Phase Toggle Switch so you can hook up multiple woofers.
Overall, it leaves nothing to be desired. And you will get it for a fantastic price still.
2. BIC Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer
Sometimes, cheap doesn’t make it. So you go for something a little more expensive but still affordable. In that range, you will find the Bic Acoustech PL-200 II – the best home theatre subwoofer under 500.
We think this is the perfect model for a home theater at home thanks to its superb 12-inches design and exceptional sound delivery. At 250-watts of RMS, you will have the chance to surpass your punch expectations without problems. And at 1000-watts of PEAK output, you can squeeze it to the max.
This pairs up really well with a frequency response of 22Hz to 200Hz. With such a full frequency, you’ll have the chance to achieve exceptional lows without leaving the highs behind. And with the crossover controls along with volume settings – it can deliver perfect audio with proper customization.
One thing that makes it stand out from the competition is the 110dB competition. This is something you rarely see at this price range, and it means that this woofer can sound extremely loud without problems.
The whole construction is also worth noting. It is a 12-inches poly-injected cone with a long-excursion surround. This allows you to achieve superb power and prevent the sound from distorting, even at the highest volumes.
In the outside, it looks impressive. Boasting a high-quality design in dark gray, with a shiny surround and a high-quality top, it manages to improve how your living room looks and feels.
For audiophiles who want to make their home theater a much more enjoyable, this model will come like an almost perfect alternative.
3. Klipsch Reference R-10SW Powered Subwoofer
Among those brands that always stand out, you will find Klipsch. This is a top-notch brand that delivers no less than fantastic results for the most demanding audiophiles – and the R-10SW is not the exception.
The first thing you’ll notice is a 10-inches size that matches small and medium-sized living rooms without problems. If you aren’t going for the loudest or punchier bass, this one will not disappoint you.
This happens thanks to 300-watts of power output at PEAK, with 100-watts of RMS which lets you enjoy decently powered bass. You can make it work with all kinds of videos, audios, or media that need decent sound quality – and it will deliver.
With the proper output, you also get a decent frequency response so you can enjoy the lowest lows at 18Hz to 125Hz. If you are a fan of deep bass, this is the option to go for.
Another exciting part is the low-pass crossover and phase control. It offers the extra customization and compatibility so you can make it work with any receiver. Along with that, you get LFE and line inputs, which help to hook it up amazingly well and effectively to any system.
The sound quality doesn’t only come from its technical details, but also from its build. Here, you can enjoy an injection-molded graphite woofer which makes sure the bass punches. And still, you won't experience any distortion or breakup.
On top of all that, it manages to look interestingly well with a copper woofer and an optional. You won’t have any problem setting it up in your living room. If you love the quality, this one has it all.
4. Rockville RWS12CA Slim Powered Car Subwoofer
We know that you will probably want a sub for your living room or home theater, but getting one for your car won’t be a bad choice either. That’s what you get with the Rockville RWS12CA – a well-made and sound-oriented car subwoofer.
This is not a small option in any way, despite being for cars. It comes at a 12-inches size which can make any vehicle vibrate. And this becomes even truer when you add the 300-watts of RMS power output, and even more so with the 1200 watts at PEAK. Your car will shake with this woofer.
Still, you get proper sensitivity at 96dB, ideal for an even louder experience. This pairs up well with the frequency response of 38Hz to 500Hz, which delivers precise lows and exceptional highs. You can enjoy almost perfect audio all around.
All this is possible with superb construction. You can enjoy a composite pulp cone that matches with a Kevlar reinforcement in a 3D molded dust cap made of acrylic. Apart from that, you get a steel basket with rolled design, and high-density foam surround that makes the sound travel effectively.
Everything about this huge and loud woofer is designed to surpass your expectations. Even the exciting exterior design with carpeted insulating jacket and PVC cover stands out. And that’s without mentioning the superb orange graphics and a unique-looking grille.
An excellent choice for almost anyone, the RWS12CA from Rockville is engineered to improve your audio quality to the max.
5. Yamaha NS-SW050BL Powered Subwoofer
When talking about high-quality subwoofers for home interiors, we couldn’t leave Yahama out. And the NS-SW050BL is the perfect example of why all models from this brand are so fantastic.
It is a small unit overall, at only 8-inches in size, which lives to your highest expectations. This is a high-performance model that delivers decent sound quality all around the frequency range. From 28Hz to 200Hz, it manages to provide excellent highs and lows that any demanding user will love.
You won't find this model the loudest though. It offers a decent 100 watts of PEAK output and only 50 watts of RMS. But, this low sound means exceptional quality overall. If you are eager to enjoy superb audio with decent bass – this small model won't be a bad choice.
Here’s where it gets terrific. You get a Twisted Flare Port that makes sure the bass is always clear and punchy. Despite its size and low-volume performance, you will enjoy how well it performs, especially with the Advanced YST II system for extraordinary results.
When it comes to looks and installation, it leaves nothing to be desired. It is a small box that you can place almost anywhere – from the floor to inside cabinets or desks – and it will fit without problems. And with an attractive black design, you won’t find it too hard to match with your house.
In short, this small model is designed with the whole purpose of making small living rooms much more enjoyable with the media. If that kind of design matches your needs, then this model will too.
6. Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer
Coming again with one of the best brands in the market, Polk Audio delivers the HTS 12 – a powered subwoofer for high-quality audio.
With its 12-inches in size, you will have the chance to enjoy all the deepest and loudest bass you can think of. This pairs up well with a 200-watts RMS output, along with 400-watts of PEAK power. You will enjoy decently loud and strong sound that will go over your demands.
But it is not only about the power that it offers, but the range of sounds that you will receive. With a frequency response of 22Hz to 180Hz, the highs and lows will be fantastic on this sub. Thanks to this capacity, any audio or video you play with this woofer will sound fantastic.
But that's not all you get; this model also comes with a unique Port Technology that makes sure you get deep bass at all times. Along with the low-pass filter and phase toggle, you can tweak it up and receive the perfect sound you're looking for.
On top of all that, this is an outstandingly good-looking model. It reeks of high-end craftsmanship that will make your living room stand out. From the stylish design on the sides to the unique feet that offers a modern touch to match any decoration.
Along with its style, you will enjoy a durable and well-made product in its entirety. And you can make it work with all kinds of systems, as it comes with LFE and stereo line inputs.
If you’d like to relax watching or listening to your favorite media, no other subwoofer will deliver the bass you’re looking for like the HTS 12 from Polk Audio.
7. SVS SB-1000 Subwoofer
Barely on the line to become a model too expensive for the list, could you say that the SB-1000 Subwoofer from SVS is the best subwoofer under 500? Well, yes.
It is a little of a steal for the money, as you won’t find too many woofers as fantastic as this one even for double the price. Only for that, you can be sure that this 720-watts PEAK and 300-watts RMS beast will make your media sound immensely better. All thanks to the SVS Sledge STA-300D DSP amplifier.
This sound is designed to shake your living room. But it is not only the loudness but the fantastic 12-inches size that makes it one of the largest options you can pick. If you have a medium or large-sized media room – then you’ll want something of this scale.
And with its frequency response at 24Hz to 260Hz, you will have the chance to enjoy one of the most amazing models in the market. It will tackle decent highs and will deliver deep bass with the deepest lows – making it an exceptional choice for audiophiles.
But all that doesn’t hinder the exterior design. You get a premium woody finish with unique styling that promotes a beautiful touch in your home theater area. It will look well with all kinds of decorations, especially because you can get it in Black, White, or with a Piano Gloss surface that always stands out.
It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for – this subwoofer will probably surpass your highest expectations.
8. Yamaha NS-SW100BL Powered Subwoofer
Yamaha is a fantastic brand in every way. And all of its audio products are more than exceptional. The SW-100BL is not an exemption to this rule.
The sound quality you will get out of this woofer will be amazing. It is super clear and punchy, ideal for those who love excellent audio quality without leaving a strong bass behind. And it all happens thanks to the Twisted Flare Port and the Advanced YST II – a Yamaha Active Servo Technology.
These two technologies pair up well with the 50-watts of RMS power, along with 100-watts in PEAK. You won’t get the loudest sub in the market, but it will be enough to get all of your media to sound fantastic.
To provide an even better sound, you will get a frequency response that goes from 25Hz up to 180Hz, so the lows and the highs of this woofer don't disappoint. It doesn't matter what you're playing; everything will sound decent enough to make you happy.
Also, remember that this is a medium-sized model at 10-inches. It boasts a highly portable design with a beautiful exterior surface. You will enjoy a slanted front surface along with an elegant set of borders that look both stylish and more practical. With its black color, you can make it work in any decoration.
In short, we can say this is a high-quality model for those who aren’t looking for the loudest of models, but for the clearest and most enjoyable. If you’re an audiophile who wants to enjoy his media to the max, this woofer won’t be a bad choice.
9. SLAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010 Powered Subwoofer
One of the highest-quality models that you can buy at this price range is the Debut 2.0 SUB3010 from SLAC. This is a high-end brand that stands out for the reliability of its equipment and the quality of its sound.
What you’ll notice at first is that this subwoofer delivers 400 watts of PEAK output and 200-watts of RMS with a BASH amplifier. This will be enough to enjoy most audio files without experiencing vibrations or anything similar. Along with its 10 inches in size, you can achieve superb sound quality at all times.
The output matches well with the frequency response that you will get – going from 28Hz to 150Hz. This wide range will deliver proper audio; it doesn’t matter what you’re listening. Coming with a crossover frequency from 50 to 150Hz that you can adjust, there will be no limit to the audio delivery you’ll get.
You will also have the chance to enjoy an Auto EQ system which allows even more adjustability. And with its unique ultra-compact design for the driver size, you can place it anywhere without issues.
It is extra durable nonetheless, with an MDF cabinet of the highest reliability. And the surface boasts a black ash vinyl that looks fantastic. You will have the chance to make it work in any media room without problems.
The real advantage comes from a Bluetooth connection. You can hook it up with your smartphone and adjust everything about this subwoofer wirelessly. If you are a fan of highly practical models, this one will be a perfect addition to your audio equipment.
10. Sunfire Dynamic SDS-10 Subwoofer System
One of the most overlooked brands in the market is Sunfire Dynamic. While people stick to budget brands, this one is out there making high-end models that don’t leave anything behind. And the SDS-10 Subwoofer system is a perfect example of that.
Being a 10-inches woofer, you will find that this system delivers a louder & clearer sound than expected. With an ear-breaking 600 watts of PEAK output and 250-watts in RMS – you will get the chance to play audio in all volumes effectively.
The sound will be loud enough to match any of your needs. And with a decent frequency of 30Hz to 150Hz, the audio will be good enough to receive highs and lows exceptionally well.
But it is not all about audio delivery. It also manages to offer proper adjustability with a variable phase, handy volume controls, and a crossover system for extra convenience.
One interesting factor to consider is that you’ll get an FFD technology, which helps to enjoy high volume with no distortion. You will still be able to feel the depth of the base without losing the quality overall.
All of this comes in a compact design that fits anywhere. The cabinet is probably the smallest on this driver size, which allows the bass to work anywhere on your living room while performing like no other.
It is also good-looking, which helps you match your decoration with an excellent audio system boasting this next-level subwoofer. Everything it delivers is designed to surpass all your demands, so we’re sure this is an option you shouldn’t dismiss.
What to Look For Before Buying?
Now that you’ve gone through the different contenders for the best subwoofer under $500 – you’ll want to know what to look for. While you may already have an idea – it won’t be enough.
That’s why we recommend taking the following factors into account:
Wattage (Peak and RMS)
A vital thing to think about when buying a subwoofer is the wattage output. This wattage refers to how much electricity the woofer can use to create sound. The more wattage the subwoofer can use, the louder and clearer the sound will be.
Of course, the watt output doesn’t work alone, but it is a massive factor in the capacity of the sub. Many factors will have a say on how much wattage is used, from the volume to the amplifier. But overall, it affects how well the electricity is used.
But there’s a caveat here. You will have to know how to differ the ways this wattage is used. What we mean is that you will find two kinds of watt measurements in most models. The two types of wattage are PEAK and RMS.
Each one has its own purpose of existing (not that they are different, they are the same. What this means is that RMS power output refers to the continuous or standard wattage that the subwoofer will use while working. This is the most common amount of wattage that the subwoofer will use.
As for PEAK, it refers to the maximum amount of wattage the woofer can use without distorting or overheating.
So, if you have a model with 200 watts RMS and 500 watts PEAK, this means it will usually use 200 watts and will peak at 500 watts. Both are critical to consider, because RMS will tell you the regular amount needed to produce sound, and PEAK will tell you the maximum amount it can use decently.
To the second most crucial factor to consider, we have frequency response. This frequency refers to the tones or range of sound that the subwoofer can produce.
For example, subwoofers focus on low notes or frequency range instead of high ones. The bottom limit of a subwoofer tends to be 20Hz (even though some can go lower than that), and the highest can go from 80Hz to 500Hz or even more.
So, if an audio file produces sounds that need low notes, the woofer will be able to go as far down as its frequency response range dictates. If the limit is 20Hz, then it will go to 20Hz if the audio file demands it. And for the highs, it will play everything up to a limit of highs (let's say 500Hz) as the frequency means.
Why is this important? Because the lowest notes usually mean that the sound stops being sound and becomes physical vibration. As for the highs, it refers to the sounds that it will produce according to its range.
So, if a subwoofer can go to 20Hz or lower, then it will have more vibrations than it will have sound. This would be ideal for those users who like a deep and punchy bass.
And if it can go high like 500Hz or more, then it will produce enough high notes. This would be perfect for those who like well-sounding models.
Those models are about 50Hz in the lows and stick to 100Hz or so, for the highs are usually not the best. You will want something that has a wide range, preferably going to the lower end of the notes (20Hz) and at the same time to the highest (150Hz at least.
If you understood all about frequency response and wattage, then it is time to go to another slightly complicated matter: the sensitivity.
Not all subwoofers will let you know the sensitivity it offers because, in reality, it doesn't matter as much as the first two things. But still, it can make a difference in the overall sound delivery, especially volume.
This is measured in decibels (dB), so it refers to the amount of noise that the woofer can produce. And the usual amount of decibels goes from 86dB and over 100dB usually. You can see measurements like 115dB and the like for subs.
The more decibels a woofer can handle, the more noise it will produce (or will have the chance to create). This immediately changes how much volume it can handle and how much it can deliver.
Size of Driver
Finally, if you want to have the best home theatre subwoofer under 500 – then you will have to know how the size matters.
If you want the simple answer: the size of the driver changes how large the sub is.
But the size will also change everything from the volume to the deepness, overall capacity, and much more. Even the place of installation and setup difficulty will be affected by the size you pick.
Usually, we recommend people to go for the proper size for their living room or vehicle. For example, if they have a large media area that fits several people and has tons of open space, then a 12 or 15 inches model will work well. But if you are playing media in a small room or vehicle, an 8 or 10 inches size will be enough.
Large size is not immediately better. In fact, most huge 12 or 15 inches model tend to have less clear audio than small ones. Not that they are not clear, they just produce much more sound, so they need much better amplifiers and specs to work well.
Overall, go for something that matches your needs. There are several sizes to consider, as well as designs, so be aware of what you want. It should fit inside your media room without problems and offer enough sound, so you don’t lose or waste any of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
You went through all our reviews and buying advice, but you can’t still make up your mind whether you need one of these or not. If that happens, it is maybe because you have some doubts. Here we can clear them out:
1. Do I need a subwoofer if I have a high-end set of speakers?
Yes, they are not mutually exclusive. You can hook the speakers with the subwoofer, and you will still enjoy all kinds of audio, from music to movies, videos, and a lot more without losing quality.
2. Is there a way to minimize or prevent distortion from subwoofers?
Yes, you should always make sure that the woofer has enough space in front to produce the sound, that it is located in a flat, stable area, and that it can handle the volume you're using. That would be enough to prevent distortion & noise.
3. How much time do I need to hook up a subwoofer under 500?
Usually, the setup process at home doesn’t last more than a few minutes. For car subwoofers, you may last a few hours, depending on your needs.
4. Can I connect these subwoofers to computers or laptops?
With the right soundcard, you can always connect a woofer to a PC or desktop. For laptops, you may need special adapters that are hard to come by. But of course, everything is possible.
5. What should I do if my subwoofer under $500 gets too hot?
Keep it cool and turn it off. However, it is essential to note that all the models in this article were tested against overheating problems, and they all performed really well.
Getting a new subwoofer for your home theater or media room doesn’t have to be a struggle. Especially if you are somewhat limited in budget, then you’ll find all your answers here.
Remember, the best subwoofer under 500 is not the most expensive or the ones with the most features, but the ones that fit all your requirements. As long as it is the right option for you, then nothing else matters. Pick one now!