Best Home Theater Subwoofer Under $500
Undoubtedly, a good sound system is an integral component of your home entertainment system. While modern appliances come with enhanced audio speakers, they are still incapable of amplifying low frequencies. The best way to overcome this shortcoming is by investing in a dedicated sound system. Despite the notion that woofers and home theaters are pricey, the market has an array of relatively affordable options that are great enough to grab the attention of an audiophile.
With the right investment, you will recreate the immersive experience that characterizes cinemas. A good subwoofer delivers electrifying bass and sound effects, regardless of whether you are watching a movie, listening to music or playing a video game.
Choosing the appropriate subwoofer may present a challenge, primarily due to the number of options available. However, we scoured the market and came up with a list of the best subwoofers under $500.
Best Home Theater Subwoofer Under $500
Klipsch R-10SWi 10" Wireless Subwoofer - Brushed Black Vinyl
If you want a perfect balance of aesthetic elegance and quality sound output, then the Klipsch R-10SWi is your best bet. Since it is wireless, this sound system can be placed anywhere in your living room. Its brilliant designs enable it to seamlessly rhyme with room’s interior décor; it would take a keen eye to notice. Furthermore, users are spared of the cabling hassles, so long as the speaker is connected to a mains source.
The R-10SWi has a premium outlook, primarily due to the refined vinyl polymer finish applied on its casing. Moreover, the casing is made of MDF, making it sturdy and durable.
Instead of using wires, the R-10SWi subwoofers transmits audio using an inbuilt 2.4GHz hi-fi wireless transmitter. To play music or any other sound, a user has to connect the availed transmitter to the subwoofer or to the output jack on the receiver. Notably, the distance between the subwoofer and the playing device (provided it is within the specified range) does not have any impact on the quality of sound produced.
Housed within the robust MDF chassis is a spun copper Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) woofer. IMGs are renowned for being remarkably lightweight as well as incredibly rigid. For this reason, they provide an unrivaled low-frequency response, making sound free of distortions and breakups.
With the Klipsch R-10SWi, you do not need to invest in an additional amplifier. This sub has a digitized amplifier that guarantees efficient and accurate reproduction of sound. Furthermore, the amplifier has an ingrained low pass crossover and phase control feature that allows the user to fuse the subwoofer’s speakers with other Klipsch sound hardware.
- Elegant design
- Durable chassis
- Easy to set up
- The wired variant produces more crisp audio
Kanto sub6 200W, 6" Powered Subwoofer in Matte Black
The Kanto sub6 subwoofer has a compact box-shaped design with rubberized feet. Being a front-firing sub, it sports a conspicuous speaker grill on its front side. With regard to the casing, this subwoofer guarantees robustness and durability thanks to the acoustic grade MDF cabinet. Nonetheless, the toughness is eased by the alluring Matte Black finish applied on it.
The Kanto subwoofer offers a mind-blowing listening experience thanks to its enormous peak power of 200W. This experience is further bolstered by the 6” paper cone driver. With harmonic distortion standing at a negligible 0.3%, you are guaranteed an output without breakups.
We feel that this model could have done better than the availed 35HZ – 165 Hz frequency consider range, but this is understandable for an entry-level subwoofer. Still, the range is wide enough to cover the lower spectrum of sound depth. Moreover, the Kanto sub6 seamlessly integrates with other Kanto speakers, a characteristic facilitated by the impressive 40Hz – 120Hz low pass filter.
The inbuilt Class D amplifier ensures discernibility of highs, mids, and lows. Also, this product has an input sensitivity of up to 100mV, a feature that further enhances the quality of sound output.
For a device with a host of outstanding features, we found the power consumption rates of the Kanto sub6 subwoofer to be amazing. This appliance is the epitome of power efficiency, consuming a measly 0.5W while in standby mode. Even better, this sub automatically switches to standby mode after a stipulated period of idleness.
- Low power consumption
- Rubberized stands
- Acoustic grade MDF casing
- Auto-standby capability
- Considerably narrow frequency response range
Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy Series 12-Inch 300-Watt Subwoofer with High Gloss Trim (Black)
If you are in the market for a down-firing subwoofer that offers a bang for your buck, look no further than the Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy 12” subwoofer. This beast has plastic stands that prevent the speaker from touching the surface on which the sub is placed. Besides down-firing, the Sub-12HG sports sealed enclosures. The exterior is nothing short of stunning, thanks to the high gloss finish with a touch of titanium.
When it comes to value for money, no other subwoofer in this price ranges beats the performance of the Klipsch Sub-12HG Synergy. With a unique capability of delivering two of the ten lowest octaves that a human ear can perceive, this device truly delivers an unrivaled listening experience. This intensity is brought about by the inbuilt BASH amplifier which runs at a continuous power of 300W RMS and has a peak power of 650W.
In addition to the extraordinary amplifier, the Klipsch sub-12HG boasts of a broad frequency response spectrum, a feature that is customary to the Synergy subwoofer series. Additionally, this system also has an adjustable low pass crossover as well as a phase control capability, features that facilitate the integration of third-party speakers into the system.
Lastly, the Sub-12HG caps off its awesomeness with the inclusion of an auto-power feature. This functionality automatically turns the device on/off depending on the availability of a sound signal. If the subwoofer is on, the LED indicator turns blue; otherwise, it glows red.
- Unrivaled sound quality
- Durable Casing
- Attractive design
- Auto-power feature
- One speaker only, but its enough.
Sony SACS9 10-Inch Active Subwoofer, Black
Audiophiles who value simplicity will immediately fall in love with the Sony SACS9 10" Active Subwoofer. The compact nature of this devices makes it ideal for areas with space constraints. Furthermore, the black finish applied on the casing blends perfectly with most domestic coloring schemes. To prevent temperature, humidity, and other surrounding factors from adversely affecting the quality of the output, this subwoofer features a wood veneer on its exterior surface.
Sony has a worldwide reputation for delivering first-rate electronic appliances, a culture that the SACS9 subwoofer adheres to faithfully. This subwoofer produces deep and rich bass sounds, thanks to the 10'' diaphragm which encloses large volumes of air, resonating the audio signals with the lowest frequencies. Moreover, this device has an integrated amplifier with a maximum capacity of 115W. To minimize distortion, the electrical components of the system are separated from the mains speaker.
One glaring shortcoming of subwoofers is the deterioration of bass quality over time. Often, this is attributed to the use of paper cones, which becomes shapeless after prolonged use. Instead of paper, this SACS9 subwoofer uses a unique Mica Reinforced Cellular (MRC) fiber. Due to their rigidity, MRC cones retain the same audio quality even after a long period of use.
Sony understands the impact that substandard components can have on the overall performance of a device. For this reason, this subwoofer is equipped with state-of-the-art components including a robust transformer that supplies stable power, a heat sink to control power surges and an advanced electrical circuit.
- Reputable brand
- Exquisite design
- Compact size
- The peak power of the amplifier is considerably low
Audioengine S8 Black 8-inch Powered Subwoofer
The Audioengine S8 would not look out of place in your living room. This 8" down-firing sub has an MDF casing with a vent in the front. On its back, you will a dual-level line input (with RCA and mini-jack ports), as well as an LFE. Overall, this subwoofer has a compact shape that increases its portability by a significant margin.
Looking to upgrade your entertainment system? Well, you should give the Audioengine S8 subwoofer a consideration. While it is not enormous, this subwoofer has a respectable frequency range of 27 Hz to 180 Hz. In most cases, this spectrum should give a sufficient variation of bass depth.
Besides compactness, minimalists will also appreciate the fact that this subwoofer is wireless. Therefore, the user has an easy time during the installation of this appliance.
Filly, the Audioengine S8 has an auto-sleep power saving mode. When activated, this feature automatically tones down power consumption when the machine remains idle for a prolonged period.
- Auto-sleep power saving mode
- Easy to set up
- The absence of a remote control
Klipsch R-12SW Subwoofer
The Klipsch R-12SW subwoofer maintains the aesthetic outlook that is characteristic of Klipsch appliances. The all-black MDF casing is perfectly complemented a front-firing 12” copper spun woofer. On the back side, this device has both LFA and line-in ports, a feature that makes it compatible with both current and outdated input devices.
The R-12SW adds a whole new dimension to your listening experience, whether it is listening to music or movie viewing. The integrated digital amplifier produces up to 400W of dynamic, deep and thumping bass. Being a front-firing variant, this subwoofer can be placed in a variety of positions without affecting the output.
Similar to other Klipsch products, the R-12SW leverages IMG technology in the construction of its front drivers. Typically, IMG woofers are lightweight and rigid, giving them an incredibly low-frequency response, which translates into reduced distortions as well as breakups in audio output.
With this item, you have the freedom of adjusting the bass to the desired levels, thanks to the advanced phase control feature. Also, the low pass crossover allows you to easily connect compatible speakers to the audio system.
- Minimized distortions and breakups
- Remarkable bass output
- Flexibility with respect to positioning
- Considerably large as compared to its peers
Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Powered Subwoofer (Single, Black)
Truly, looks are not a strong point with regard to this particular subwoofer. While it is not entirely ugly, the Polk Audio PSW10 10” Powered subwoofer is certainly not photogenic. Regardless, the chassis is extremely durable (according to the manufacturer, it is subjected to extremities such as drop tests and salt exposure). The front features the 10' dynamic speaker as well as a small vent, while the back has multiple ports (input, power, and output) and control buttons. Also, this subwoofer is compact enough to fit even in the tightest spaces.
Thankfully, there is a huge disparity between the appearance and the specifications of the Polk PSW10 subwoofer. The enclosures are meticulously curated to provide a quality output with minimized distortions. Furthermore, the interior has a lining that cancels out internal waves and other factors that reduce the superiority of output.
The smart sensing circuitry is perhaps the most outstanding capability of the Polk PSW10 subwoofer. The unique feature automatically switches the woofer on/off. Additionally, the inbuilt intelligent amplifier routinely adjusts the equalizer preset according to the type of music that is currently playing.
- Input and output jacks are easily accessible
- Automated circuitry
- Intelligent amplifier
- The design is far from appealing
Yamaha YST-SW012 8-Inch Front-Firing Active Subwoofer
The Yamaha YST-SW012 8” subwoofer’s exterior is neither eye-catching nor appalling; it just keeps it simple. The entirely black casing has a front-firing 8"driver on the front and a small vent on the right side. As is typical with most subwoofers, all ports are located at the back.
Yamaha, being an Asian brand, offers incredible value with minimal monetary investments. On paper, the 100 peak power of the Yamaha YST-SW012 may seem abysmal, but upon testing, these numbers return out to be just that- bare numbers. Moreover, the front-firing 8” driver has magnetic shielding, enhancing both the depth and quality of audio output.
Irrespective of your preferred genre of music, you can always rely on the Yamaha YST-SW012 to deliver the goods. With an excellent low pass crossover of 60Hz, this subwoofers works perfectly with any type of speaker, regardless of the brand. Moreover, this sub is equipped with a phase controller with an array of presets aimed at assisting the user in fine-tuning the audio output.
Remarkably, the Yamaha YST-SW012 has a dedicated power switch. This allows the user to switch it off when not in use, substantially saving on electricity consumption.
- Value for money
- Dedicated power switch
- Thumping bass output
- Not suited for large rooms
Home Theater Subwoofer Buying Guide
As mentioned earlier, the availability of several variants makes it tricky to settle on a final choice. Nonetheless, here are some consideration factors that could significantly ease the process of subwoofer selection.
Typically, the surface area of a home theater subwoofer is directly proportional to the depth of sound it produces. Notably, the size of subwoofer required depends on the size of the room where it is to be placed; the larger the room, the bigger the recommended subwoofer.
Enclosures: Sealed or Ported?
Depending on your preferred taste in music, there are two types of subwoofer speakers - sealed and ported enclosures. Sealed enclosures (acoustic suspension) deliver accurate and deep bass sounds since the air is enclosed. This makes them ideal for classical music, including jazz. However, sealed speakers often demand more power to produce a unit amount of bass as compared to ported alternatives.
On the other hand, ported speakers sport an opening that spurts out low bass frequencies. While they deliver substantially louder bass sounds than sealed counterparts, ported enclosures compromise a bit on the quality of output. Thus, they are perfect for Electronic Dance Music, hard rock, hip-hop, and rap.
An essential part of any sound system, the equalizer often aids in fine-tuning the output sound to a user's desired accuracy. Thankfully, a majority of subwoofers come with an inbuilt equalizer with a variety of presets. Also, high-end variants may have a sensor that automatically adjusts the sound depending on where the woofer is placed.
For convenience purposes, it is important to invest in a subwoofer that has a remote control. Furthermore, most subwoofers have a limited number of buttons on them, so a remote is needed to access additional functionalities such as the equalizer.
By now, it is evident that you do not need to reach deeper into your pockets to acquire a respectable home theater subwoofer. In fact, the multiple numbers of options will leave you spoilt for choice. That being said, we are hopeful that this article will guide you the next time you go shopping for a subwoofer.