Best Home Theater Subwoofer 2017 | Buying Guide & Reviews

Like many of us, we enjoy the euphoric feelings and skin-tingling impact of sound resonating throughout our body. For most people, great sound feels like immense power coursing through our bones. When we hear great sound, we just want to jump out and shout to the world our excitement and happiness.

Part of the home theater experience in addition to a magnificent screen is surrounding yourself with quality sound. We’ve compiled a guide of the best home theater subwoofers that’ll fit anyone’s needs and budget.

Buying Guide

Home entertainment systems over the years have improved drastically. If you’ve ever shopped at a Best Buy, you’ve no doubt laid your eyes on the incredibly expensive showrooms of their Magnolia brand. There are many home theater subwoofers in the market and we’re going to show you what to look for when shopping for one.

Determine Your Price

According to CrutchField, an audio authority since 1974, setting up a budget for yourself is pivotal in your mission for a better home theater system. Consider what type of consumer you are and go from there. If you set yourself out as either a budget spender or high roller, a trip to your local electronics store will be much more efficient.

With Wires Or Without?

There’s a huge market for home theater subwoofers. Depending on your home theater setup, you may want to determine whether you’re fine with wires hanging out or not. Don’t focus too much on this characteristic as there are accessories out there that can transform your subwoofer into a wireless subwoofer.

Take Control In Your Hands

Depending on the home theater subwoofer you’re interested in, some may come bundled with a lot of features and some may not. If you happen to stumble across a subwoofer that has many features, consider if they also pair it up with a remote control. You’ll be grateful for the convenience of not having to move too much to adjust your subwoofer.

Other Equipment

Your sound system ties closely with the rest of your theater equipment so it's important to take this into consideration. Match equipment that work well together. Most things do, but in some cases our TV and subwoofers weren't perfectly compatible (it was an older TV) and this can affect the quality. Also, be sure to have an awesome AV receiver if you're watching some TV instead of just DVDs or Netflix.

Size Does Matter

In general, the larger the subwoofer you have, the more you’ll be able to feel its sound. While size is an important factor, do bear in mind that they should be able to blend in smoothly with your other speakers to create a consistent listening experience. Your room size will also play a factor in determining your subwoofer size.

Top Home Theater Subwoofers - Reviews

Editor Rating:

4.9/5

The Klipsch R-12SW is a beast and is considered the best home theater subwoofer among a lot of enthusiasts. We made a large mistake a couple of years ago when we decided to be slightly more budget conscious. However, when we switched over to the Klipsch R-12SW, we never regretted it.

If you’re looking for deep sound, look no further. The Klipsch R-12SW is explosive and deep. Your neighbors will hear and see the vibrations this monster is pumping out. When we watched the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, our neighbors could have sworn that there were zombies next door.

One thing that we do have to mention is the size of this thing. Don’t let the pictures fool you because the Klipsch R-12SW is a lot bigger than you visualize it to be. While the size shouldn’t be too much of an issue, do know that your walls will be shaking due its symphonic vibrations.

While the Klipsch R-12SW is considered the best subwoofer for home theater entertainment, it did not come without faults. We noted that within 3 months of usage, it started to show some defects. While the manufacturer was able to replace our Klipsch R-12SW, do note that it just happens.

Overall, we are incredibly pleased with our Klipsch R-12SW. It is incredibly easy to use and very fun to set up. Out of 5 stars, with all things considered, we happily give it a 4.9 stars out of 5 simply because the quality and experience this monster delivers is much greater than the price you pay for it.

Things We Liked


  • Deep sound and bass
  • Amazing home theater experience
  • Even shakes the walls

Things We Didn't Like


  • A little bigger than expected
  • In rare instances defective

Editor Rating:

4.6/5

Next up on our list is the Polk Audio PSW505. Polk Audio over the last few years have been stepping their game up as far as home theater subwoofers go. You’ll see another one of their subwoofers in our top 8 list.

Saying that the Polk Audio PSW505 is great honestly an understatement. Backed by a ton of positive customer feedback at a generous price point, the Polk Audio PSW505 hardly disappoints. As its brand states, Polk subwoofers sound better because they are simply built better.

The Polk Audio PSW505 boasts a high 300 watt power amplifier in combination with an adjustable low pass crossover and a phase switch. Its ability to blend with any main speaker makes it one of the most flexible subwoofers out in the market today.

What we noticed immediately with the Polk Audio PSW505 is that there was a drastic difference between the 10 inch version and the 12 inch version. We’ve always had the mentality that a smaller subwoofer would do us just fine but little did we know that switching to the 12 inch model made an incredible difference. The 12 inch model did us solid justice.

Although the Polk Audio PSW505 did serve us a large plate of justice, it did not come without some hiccups. The Polk Audio PSW505 worked well when it functioned but when it broke down, it was difficult getting a hold of the company to give us customer support. While we were able to get a replacement, it was a struggling battle indeed.

Do bear in mind that while the Polk Audio PSW505 is considered the best home theater subwoofer under 500, we did encounter some issues with the power switch. In addition to that, we did notice a few times where it failed to turn on. Although not perfect, the Polk Audio PSW505 delivers an amazing experience but unfortunately coupled with some minor inconveniences.

Things We Liked


  • Has lots of features
  • Deep bass
  • Incredible quality and affordable price
  • Maintains quality even when much louder

Things We Didn't Like


  • Not good customer service
  • Switches can malfunction

Overall, we still give the Polk Audio PSW505 a 4.6 out of 5 star rating. The quality and exceptional build it delivers will not disappointment. It is well worth the price for the value it provides.

Editor Rating:

4.3/5

The 12 inch black beast Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S is surprising amazing. Even after owning this subwoofer for many years, it still functions well and rocks our house. The satin black wood finish is what initially caught our eye.

The Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S comes with an Auto-On sensing function with a variety of other features. It sports a frequency range between 28 – 150 hz with a large power capacity currently at 250 watts. Although it is a little on the heavier side at 48 pounds, the Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S is nothing short of incredible.

There is much love that needs to be expressed as the Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S is the best home theater subwoofer for the money. Although it is a little heavier, both in terms of weight and price, we absolutely love the Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S and would rebuy it over and over again.

We did notice that owning it over the years, its quality did deteriorate. We noticed that the bass can be weak and disappointing at times only to have it pick up not too long later. It used to tear down walls but sometimes, you can hardly hear a peep on the other side.

While there have been performance issues, we do not regret making this purchase. For such a masterpiece to last and serve us so well over the last several years, the wear and tear did not bother us nor change our opinion about this purchase. We would certainly have made the same choice and bought the Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S over again.

Things We Liked


  • Powerful, throttling sound
  • Auto-on sensing feature
  • Sleek look
  • Great bang for your buck (quality to price)

Things We Didn't Like


  • A little heavy
  • Sound quality wears over the years

Our intuition is telling us that the Cerwin-Vega XLS-12S deserves 4 stars out of 5. We believe this is fair for the experience it has delivered us over the course of its lifetime.

Editor Rating:

4.7/5

There’s a reason why Polk Audio has been a customer favorite over the last several years and it starts again with the Polk Audio PSW10. Praised as one of the best budget home theater subwoofers, the Polk Audio PSW10 delivers incredible promise for its generous price point.

Equipped with a 10 inch polymer-composite dynamic-balance cone driver and a built-in high-current amplifier, its loudspeakers and subwoofers make it capable of functioning at high volume levels. With this much power and bass, you’re sure to enjoy enjoyable hearing loss if you’re exposed to its high volumes for a long period of time.

Although hearing loss is something to worry about, the Polk Audio PSW10 is not. You simply cannot find a better subwoofer for your money. It adds an incredibly deep, thundering resonance to any home theater system.

Whether it be watching a movie or playing your favorite Call of Duty video game, its response is explosive. It comes with both speaker-level and line-level inputs, adding flexibility to your sound experience.

While the Polk Audio PSW10 did not include an LFE input, it certainly was not a deal breaker. Its variable crossover and convenient volume adjustment more than makes up for what it lacks. Their useful home theater subwoofer reviews has certainly motivated this purchase for us years ago.

Things We Liked


  • Extremely affordable
  • Thunderous and explosive
  • Can handle high volume levels

Things We Didn't Like


  • Not ideal for music
  • Rare static sounds

To say that the Polk Audio PSW10 is a secret bargain is an understatement. Out of 5 stars, we definitely feel that the Polk Audio PSW10 deserves a 4.5/5. We believe this is justified simply for the immersive and quality experience it delivers, for the bargain-holed price point.

Editor Rating:

3.5/5

The Acoustic Audio PSW-8, an oldie but certainly a classic and no stranger to home theater systems around the world. At first glance, you’ll notice the convenience that the Acoustic Audio PSW-8 serves with its different size varieties. Whether you’re looking to add a 6.5, 8, 10, 12, or 15 inch home theater subwoofer to your home, Acoustic Audio has got you covered in all sizes.

Its standard Black finish and sleek polish will certainly make you do a double take. We were certainly worried that at a generous price point, the Acoustic Audio PSW-8 may not contend well with its competitors. However, after owning one for many years, we were certainly happy to know that we were far from the truth.

Our initial impression didn’t get very far, but it certainly added flare to our small room. Designed for smaller home theaters, the Acoustic Audio PSW-8 still delivers quality like its more expensive competitors. With bone-chilling sound at a fraction of the price, the Acoustic Audio PSW-8 certainly exceeded our expectations and made our wallets very happy.

Things We Liked


  • Powerful and intimate bass
  • Merge frequencies easily
  • Blends with other sound systems well

Things We Didn't Like


  • Better for smaller home theaters
  • Not as good for music + games

We tap into our unbiased hearts to give the fairest review when examining our products. For the price, build, and quality, the Acoustic Audio PSW-8 certainly earned its fair score of 3.5 stars out of 5. While it does an incredible job in smaller home theaters, the lack of flexibility unfortunately lowered its rating.

Editor Rating:

4.4/5

When the KLIPSCH K100-SW hit the markets with its debut, it was more than just excitement. A fan favorite for many years, Klipsch has been considered a strong mid-market home theater subwoofer manufacturer. Although its price point is slightly higher than the budget level but still under its higher end competitors, Klipsch is just right in the middle.

The KLIPSCH K100-SW starts off at a form factor of a modest 10 inches. It has low pass crossover with great phase control and its Line/LFE inputs allow for compatibility for most common market receivers. In a nutshell, the KLIPSCH K100-SW is compact and versatile to say the least.

What impresses us about the KLIPSCH K100-SW is that it’s small, yet powerful enough to outperform other subwoofers that cost twice as much. It’s perfectly ideal for average sized family rooms but just once in a blue moon, it can also handle large home theater setups too. The KLIPSCH K100-SW delivers a clean yet deep, entrenching sound that invigorates the senses and delivers an outstanding immersive home theater experience.

Although the KLIPSCH K100-SW is considered an entry level subwoofer, its reputation doesn’t go without warning. We’ve experienced some technical issues where the speaker didn’t work properly and the sound quality fluctuates. Although its performance is bipolar at times, we envision owning the KLIPSCH K100-SW for a very long time.

Things We Liked


  • Small,compact size
  • Awesome price point
  • Crisp and clean sound
  • Both for large and small home theaters

Things We Didn't Like


  • Only has 2 jacks in the back

Our exceptional experience has pushed us to serve the KLIPSCH K100-SW a 4.4 star out of 5. While upgrading our current subwoofer is an option, we certainly have no reason to with the KLIPSCH K100-SW. For its quality and price range, we can happily affirm that our purchase was worth it and anticipate that it’ll last for the long run.

Editor Rating:

4.0/5

Don’t give yourself a false misconception that the BIC America V-1220 is a brother to the Bic pens. The BIC America V-1220 is a 12 inch, 430 watt down-firing powered subwoofer that will not only deliver a shock to your ears, but will also send you to cloud 9 with its heavenly bass.

The BIC America V-1220 starts off in a black wood finish that’s installed with an Automatic On/Off Signal Sensing feature that will make many lazy people very happy. Its internal build allows it to be paired easily with a range of home theater sizes. For every day that we own the BIC America V-1220, we simply love it more and more.

When we adjusted the crossover to up to 80Hz, it functioned perfectly. While we were focused on watching Jurassic Park, the BIC America V-1220 enhanced our senses and made us feel as if a T-Rex was stomping around in our room. We haven’t come across many subwoofer systems that blend quality with a heightened home theater experience that impresses us as much as the BIC America V-1220.

Although we love the BIC America V-1220, it didn’t measure up equally to our more expensive subwoofers. Its clarity, wall-breaking vibrations, and melodic bass certainly did not par well with some of its more high-end competitors. We certainly foresee some fine tuning in this line of home theater subwoofers and we certainly hope that Bic America delivers on those hopes.

Things We Liked


  • Long lasting
  • Great warranty
  • Brings movies to life with the high sound quality
  • Deep bass

Things We Didn't Like


  • Can be inconsistent

Out of 5 stars, the Big America V-1220 has certainly earned its 4 star stripe. Our initial expectations were not set very high for the Big America V-1220 as we knew it was an entry level mid-market home theater subwoofer. However, like many of us trying to exploit the best features we can have for a fraction of the price, the Big America V-1220 was certainly a satisfying purchase for an entry level mid-market home theater subwoofer.

Editor Rating:

4.0/5

Our last subwoofer up for review is none other than the Sony SACS9. No stranger to any household, Sony is a power player to the subwoofer market. The Sony SACS9 is one of their most coveted additions to the home theater subwoofer line.

Reinforced with foam, the Sony SACS9 stands at a reasonable height of 10 inches. While big packages come in small sizes, its size shouldn’t fool you as it boasts a power capacity of 115 watts. The Sony SACS9 worked incredibly well with our 55 inch LG TV and sent disappointment out the door.

We tested the Sony SACS9 with a variety of our devices with different types of entertainment: Movies, video games, music, etc. We are happy to say that we are incredibly satisfied and could not regret investing our money into the Sony SACS9. Its clear sound, reasonable bass, and long lasting durability has given us a satisfying budget experience.

For the price you pay for the Sony SACS9, you certainly get what you buy. These are simply not powered speakers and only works when connected to an amplifier with a speaker wire. We’ve had the Sony SACS9 in our possession for a little over a year and it’s blown some fuses here and there.

So while we have fortunately experienced the upsides to the Sony SACS9, there were unfortunately downsides that we’ve also seen too. For us, we were nonetheless happy with the experience because our research gave us enough information to make an informed decision. If anything, this was a very satisfying experimentation as we had no hopes of it ever being on par with our more higher-end home theater subwoofers.

Things We Liked


  • Compact
  • Works well with different media
  • Fits well with various sized home theaters

Things We Didn't Like


  • Needs amplifier
  • Fuses blow easily

The Sony SACS9 certainly warrants 4 stars out of 5 with its compact size and beautiful base. In a nutshell, we do want to summarize for many interested customers out there that the Sony SACS9 is a great budget subwoofer. For customers looking to add some excitement and life to their small home theater system, the Sony SACS9 does an outstanding job and will certainly not disappoint.

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