This is the definitive review of the best under seat subwoofer in 2021.
Not everyone has a car with massive trunk space and a lot of room for a subwoofer. If that sounds like you, an under seat subwoofer could be a good option.
An under seat subwoofer is a compact solution that will still deliver a decent punch, but won’t take up any trunk space.
To add to this, these subwoofers are incredibly easy to install, and when you set them up right, the space under the seat will act as an enclosure.
Best Under Seat Subwoofer Review Guide
The result? A powerful, punchy bass that you’ll feel every step of the way. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best under seat subwoofers.
Rockville RW10CA: Check Price On Amazon
Best 10-inch Under Seat Subwoofer
Rockville’s RW10CA is an excellent option for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money, but still want a good, powerful option.
We’re talking about a wallet friendly price that still gets you a great design and excellent performance in just about every way.
To begin with, the design is actually rather subtle. It’s a black and blue combination, and even if it is visible from behind the seat, it won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
As an often neglected aspect of subwoofers, we like that Rockville spent a bit of time on the design. The dimensions are 12.4 x 13.4 x 2.7 inches, which makes this an overall compact package, and of course, it’s a 10” sub.
Rockville also paid a lot of attention to ease of installation. There are high level inputs, so you won’t need a remote wire from the receiver in order to turn it on or off – there’s a circuit that senses an audio signal and turns it on.
If you turn the music off, the amplifier turns itself off automatically. You won’t even have to remove the receiver. Also, all the inputs and outputs are on one side for added convenience.
The sound you’ll get is pretty good. You’ve got an 800W peak power and 200W RMS, which should be more than enough for a powerful punch. The frequency response range is from 20Hz to 150Hz, which is pretty good, and there’s a low pass filter from 50Hz to 150Hz.
You can also use the bass boost feature, and there’s a built-in subsonic filter at 29Hz. All things considered, the sound quality is great. There’s even a level control for the volume and a low pass crossover filter, too, so you get a bit of adjustability.
Add to this the adjustable input sensitivity, soft delayed remote turn on, and all the circuit protections Rockville have implemented, and this quickly becomes a great budget choice.
- Very easy to install
- Plenty of adjustability
- Good sound quality
- Not the most powerful
- Bass might sound a bit muddy
Read more: Best 10-inch shallow mount subs
Kenwood KSC-PSW8: Check Price On Amazon
When you read the specs, you might think that the KSC-PSW8 is expensive for what you’re getting.
But you actually get a lot more than you get on paper, which is why this under seat subwoofer is one of the best options out there if you’re looking for a great midrange subwoofer.
On the outside, you get a subwoofer that looks much more expensive than it is. It’s an all-black design with silver accents in a few places, and it looks very understated.
There are no buttons on the subwoofer, and the connectors are hidden so you don’t have cables sticking out. This makes sure that even if you hit a cable by accident, you won’t rip it out and damage a connector.
What’s neat is that the KSC-PSW8 comes with a remote controller which contains all controls – that’s why there are no buttons on the subwoofer itself.
This is a neat unit that you can put next to your seat, and allows you to control the volume, frequency, and set the phase at 0 or 180 degrees.
Let’s talk sound quality for a moment. The KSC-PSW8 has a frequency response of 35Hz to 150Hz, and a maximum power of 250 watts. Add to this the 150 watts RMS power, and you might be thinking that this isn’t too much.
But quite honestly, it is, because this subwoofer can really deliver a punch. We’re talking about crisp bass with plenty of clarity – just what you’d expect from an 8” subwoofer. Overall, the KSC-PSW8 is a positive surprise.
Now, sure, it might not be the most powerful sub out there. It’s probably not the best sounding either. But if you’re looking for a compact solution that doesn’t take up a lot of space, and prefer clear bass that sounds great rather than just a punch, it’s actually a great choice.
The fact that it comes from a reputable brand and won’t set you back too much just makes it an even better choice.
- Excellent design with easy-to-use remote
- Easy to power
- Great sound with clear bass
- Not too powerful
Cerwin Vega H4124D: Check Price On Amazon
Best 12-inch Under Seat Subwoofer
If you’ve got a lot of room under your seats, it makes sense to try and make the most of it.
And if you want a powerful punch when you’re listening to music, a 12” sub like Cerwin-Vega’s HED is a great way to do so. It’s a large, but very powerful subwoofer that you can fit beneath your seat if you have a bit of extra room.
Now, make no mistake, unlike some of the other options on our list, the HED is a pretty big subwoofer.
With its enclosure, it comes in at 26 x 16 x 8 inches, so make sure you can fit it beneath your seat – it does require quite a lot of space. If you can, though, you’re in for a treat.
The enclosure it comes in has been factory tuned and vented in order to make the most of the subwoofer without overheating or other issues, which is neat.
What is also nice is that Cerwin-Vega have built the HED like a tank. We’re talking a proprietary XED basket frame with an optimized single-stacked motor structure, as well as a stamped carbon fiber poly cone.
There’s no way of this getting damaged anytime soon, and it’s going to last you a good while, too. The vented enclosure and motor structure makes sure heat doesn’t stick around.
The sound quality and overall power are pretty good. You’ve got a 400W maximum power and a 150W RMS, with a low pass filter from 50 to 150Hz.
Overall, the subwoofer does sound good, with a very powerful punch that you can feel pretty much instantly. However, it does lack a bit of finesse – it’s a bit rough.
At times, it even sounds muddy and unrefined. This is pretty expected from a 12” subwoofer, though, and we don’t really mind. It’s all up to whether or not you need a punch, or clear and precise bass.
- Very powerful and able to deliver an intense bass
- Built really well
- Plenty of circuit protections
- Won’t fit in every car
- Sounds rough and unrefined
Read more: Best 12-inch shallow mount subs
Kenwood KSC-SW11: Check Price On Amazon
There are a lot of reasons to love Kenwood’s KSC-SW11, especially if you’re a fan of simple designs that prefer performance and build quality rather than being flashy.
It does have a lot going for it, and even though it might be pricier than some would like, we do believe it’s worth considering.
On the outside, you’re looking at an aluminum enclosure that makes the KSC-SW11 seem a lot more premium than it is.
Make no mistake, this is a very good subwoofer, but the aluminum enclosure just makes it that much better. It also makes sure that the subwoofer lasts you a good while, which is a nice addition.
The size makes this perfect for installation below your seat, but if you want to, you could even fit it in your trunk or any other tight space – it’s rather versatile.
You also get that remote control that Kenwood uses on a lot of subwoofers, which means there’s no controls on the sub, and you can adjust things on the fly. The remote can go next to your seat, and you can control the volume, frequency and phase.
As far as the sound quality goes, you get a surprisingly clean bass response from the KSC-SW11. At this size, no, it won’t pack a punch that’s going to kick you off your seat.
But it will deliver a decent sound and give you excellent clarity and fast bass response that’s great for faster paced genres.
The one downside is that Kenwood doesn’t include the wiring kit for this subwoofer, and of course, the price. It might be above many people’s budget, which is unfortunate.
However, if you can make it fit your budget, it’s very much worth it, because it gets you some of the cleanest bass you can get from a package that you could probably fit in your glove compartment.
- Very compact design
- Aluminum build makes it very durable
- Clean and precise bass response
- No wiring kit included
- Not exactly cheap
KICKER 11HS8: Check Price On Amazon
Best 8-inch Under Seat Subwoofer
We know what you’re probably thinking – this much money for only an 8” subwoofer?
Yeah, it might sound like a rip off at first, but it’s actually an excellent choice for people who want a very compact subwoofer that is surprisingly good at delivering clean and powerful bass.
First things first, the design of the 11HS8 is rather subtle. It’s all-black, with a silver KICKER logo in the middle, but that’s about it.
Put it under your seat, and you’ll hardly notice it’s there. It also comes with dimensions of 13.88 x 9.38 x 3.13 inches, which makes it surprisingly compact. You can fit this below the seat of pretty much any modern car, even some smaller ones that don’t have a lot of room.
All of the ports and buttons are on one side, which makes installation rather convenient. There’s an auto turn on function, as well as input level and phase adjustment.
What’s also neat is that you have bass boost, crossover frequency and gain adjustments, so you can set things up just how you like them.
As you’d expect from an 8 inch subwoofer, the bass response is quick and accurate. What we didn’t expect is the punch – this is one very powerful subwoofer.
The 150W power rating makes it seem like it’s not all that good, but don’t trust it on paper – you have to feel it to know just how powerful of a punch you’re dealing with.
We love the overall sound quality, because even if you don’t like the design, it more than justifies the high price KICKER are asking for the 11HS8.
Overall, while expensive, KICKER’s 11HS8 is a surprisingly good package that manages to look very nice, get you all the convenient features you’d expect from a good subwoofer, and sound better than pretty much any other subwoofer in this class.
These are all pretty good reasons for you to go for it, so by all means, consider it as your next audio upgrade.
- Subtle, compact design
- All ports and buttons on one side
- Very clean sound with a powerful punch
Read more: best 8-inch subs
Alpine Electronics PWE-S8: Check Price On Amazon
There are some people who want a subwoofer that’s as premium as they come, but they don’t have a lot of room to fit anything big.
If that sounds like you, Alpine’s PWE-S8 should be right up your alley. This is an 8” subwoofer, but one that actually checks all the boxes for a great experience.
Kicking things off with the design, this is a very compact subwoofer with an enclosure that’s not much bigger than the sub itself. The dimensions are 13.5 x 9 x 3 inches, and it’s pretty obvious that Alpine want you to be able to fit this in your car, regardless of how little space you’re working with.
You’ve got an all-black design that looks rather subtle, and all ports and buttons are on one side for convenience. Alpine do give you all the adjustments you could need, including a low pass frequency setting, gain adjustment and a phase switch.
With a frequency response range from 32Hz to 150Hz, the PWE-S8 can actually deliver excellent bass regardless of what you’re listening to. And we know, 120 watts might not seem like much.
However, Alpine have done a great job with this sub, and it sounds a lot more powerful than the wattage might indicate. The sound quality is great, and you’re looking at clean, crisp bass which is just what you’d expect from an 8” subwoofer.
The one downside is the price – this is a rather expensive subwoofer. And yes, when you consider everything you’re getting from it, the price is actually worth it.
The thing is, you’re already looking at a pretty expensive product, and there are a lot of other options at that price. You could maybe get something bigger (provided you can fit it), or something more powerful (even though this is pretty powerful to begin with).
But if you’re contempt with the sound quality, power, and overall quality, it’s still a great purchase.
- Very high quality sound, crisp and clear
- Subtle, all-black design
- Built very well
- Very expensive
- Not the most powerful sub out there
Advantages and Disadvantages of Under Seat Subs
A lot of people who want a good subwoofer would actually prefer it in their trunk. But if you can’t fit it, an under seat option is what you’re left with, so let’s take a look at what you’re gaining, and what you’re losing.
On the bright side, you’re looking at a very compact solution that won’t take up a lot of space. Under seat subwoofers are usually made to be as small as possible, and they’re usually also pretty easy to install, too.
This means that you can probably do the installation yourself, provided you know your way around the wiring and you can connect everything the right way.
The sound quality is more on the “clear and crisp”, rather than the “powerful” side, because there’s just not that much room for a powerful punch. Oh, and of course – price, you can get some pretty affordable models that do a great job.
However, there are a couple of downsides, too. To begin with, the lack of sheer power is pretty obvious. Under seat subwoofers are seldom as powerful as a 12” box in the trunk that requires a separate amplifier, and that’s something you’ll immediately notice.
To add to this, the placement isn’t really ideal because whoever is sitting on the seat beneath which you have the sub, will feel a lot more of the bass than they’d like to.
This might result in an uncomfortable experience in the car, which is something you should actually avoid.
Quite frankly, under seat subwoofers are best used when you want to get a simple experience without a lot of fuss, or when you don’t have room for a dedicated setup.
And if you pick the right one, you’d be surprised at how good they can be.
Best Under Seat Subwoofers: FAQs
Who are under seat subwoofers for?
Under seat subwoofers are for people who have small trunks and don’t want to waste their trunk space for a massive subwoofer. They’re also great if you want a simple solution that sounds good and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
For what kinds of vehicles are under seat subwoofers good for?
They’re perfect if you have a car with plenty of room beneath the driver (or front passenger) seat, and you have a small trunk. Or, if you have a vehicle with a not-so-powerful amp, an under seat subwoofer could do a good job.
What kinds of bass output can you expect?
This depends on what kind of subwoofer you go for, but with an 8” model, you can expect clear and crisp bass that’s fast and accurate. If you opt for a larger, 10” or 12” model, you’ll probably get more power, but a slightly mushier sound that’s not as clean.
Do under seat subs work with factory stereos?
Yes – any decent under seat subwoofer can work with a factory stereo without any problems.a