What is the Best 15 Inch Subwoofer? — Budget to Premium Options for Your Car Audio (2021)

best 15 inch subwoofer

A 15 inch subwoofer is a huge commitment not only in terms of installation but also the size. At this size, you can expect amazing bass and a whole lot of power, but only if you know what to look for. To avoid substandard models for a new subwoofer or for an upgrade, our team has vetted the best 15 inch subwoofers on the market.

Best Overall
Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15" 1200 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Best Premium
Sundown Audio 15" Dual 2-Ohm X V.2 Series Subwoofer
Best Budget
Planet Audio AC15D Car Subwoofer
Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15
Sundown Audio 15
Planet Audio AC15D Car Subwoofer
The Skar Audio SDR-15 15 inch subwoofer is an efficient and powerful vehicle subwoofer for a bass lover. The high temperature voice coil can ensure long hours of bumping without risk of overheating.
As our experts’ premium choice, the Sundown Audio 15 inch subwoofer is one that is incredibly powerful with 1500 watts RMS power handling with spring loaded terminals and a high strength aluminum frame. The quality build provides excellent and expansive bass.
The Planet Audio AC15D is the best balance between budget and power. It has an amazing 2100 watts of peak power handling and costs a fraction of what other 15 inch subwoofers do.
Best Overall
Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15" 1200 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer
Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15
The Skar Audio SDR-15 15 inch subwoofer is an efficient and powerful vehicle subwoofer for a bass lover. The high temperature voice coil can ensure long hours of bumping without risk of overheating.
Best Premium
Sundown Audio 15" Dual 2-Ohm X V.2 Series Subwoofer
Sundown Audio 15
As our experts’ premium choice, the Sundown Audio 15 inch subwoofer is one that is incredibly powerful with 1500 watts RMS power handling with spring loaded terminals and a high strength aluminum frame. The quality build provides excellent and expansive bass.
Best Budget
Planet Audio AC15D Car Subwoofer
Planet Audio AC15D Car Subwoofer
The Planet Audio AC15D is the best balance between budget and power. It has an amazing 2100 watts of peak power handling and costs a fraction of what other 15 inch subwoofers do.

Reviews of the Best 15 Inch Subwoofers

1. Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15” 1200 Watt Max Power Dual 2 Ohm Car Subwoofer

The Skar Audio brand is known for well-made and affordable subwoofers that combine efficiency with performance. The Skar SDR-15 D2 15 Inch Subwoofer is no different and will elevate your car audio system with its exceptional build quality.

The 15 inch sub is highly efficient with only a 2 ohm impedance and a 4-layer high temperature voice coil that ensures long hours of bumping your favorite tunes. Just how loud can this sub go? You’re looking at a peak rating of 1200 watts and an RMS power rating of 600.

Skar Audio has also incorporated a superior air flow cooling design that also has a hand in the longevity of the 15 inch sub.

Pros

Cons

2. Planet Audio AC15D Car Subwoofer

If you are looking for a very affordable car sub that won’t sacrifice build quality or power for the price, then look no further than the Planet Audio AC15D. This cheap 15 inch sub can really pack a punch with bass relays thanks to the RMS rating of 1050 watts for 1 ohm and a sensitivity rating of 89 dB. The build is still of high quality with dual voice coils, a polypropylene cone and a foam surround. 

The foam surround can sound delicate to some, but when you take the stamped basket into consideration, you will know the components are very securely held in this rigid platform.

Pros

Cons

3. Sundown Audio 15” Dual 2-Ohm X V.2 Series Subwoofer

The price of the Sundown Audio 15 Inch Series Subwoofer is justified by the high power handling, high temperature voice coil and the high excursion design that allows for accurate bass. The linear bass suspension in this subwoofer was designed for the lowest possible levels without distortion.

No matter what sound system you have set up in your car, the 15 inch subs were optimized to work with ported enclosures for power. You won’t have to be a professional audiophile to appreciate the clear bass emitted from these car audio subs. Sundown Audio also covers these subwoofers for at least a year or longer depending on the distributor.

Pros

Cons

4. Pyle PLPW15D Car Subwoofer

The Pyle PLPW15D is another addition to your audio system that features a high RMS rating, high sensitivity and is accurate in low end frequency production. The amount of power you get is supported by the magnet, the 4 ohm dual voice coil that can be wired to 8 ohm if necessary.

The foam surrounds on the Pyle PLPW15D is treated to guarantee more durability than just regular foam. The overall mounting depth of the 15 inch subwoofer is slightly lower than the competition at 6.3 inches, making it easy to install and a good fit for most vehicles.

Pros

Cons

5. Rockford Fosgate P3D2-15 Punch P3 Subwoofer

Rockford Fosgate is a very reliable brand that has become a staple in manufacturing car audio subwoofers. We’re talking about the Rockford Fosgate P3D2 -15 Punch series subwoofers today, which just happens to be the brand’s best performing 2 ohm low impedance subwoofer.

The Rockford Fosgate P3D2 15 inch subwoofer has a very sleek design with 600 watts RMS and 1200 watts of peak power. The excellent build is attributed to the nickel-plated push terminals, anodized aluminum cones and dust caps, and a spider venting system.

On top of the build quality, the brand also includes a full 1-year warranty for buyer’s protection.

For high-quality Rockford Fosgate brand, you can check the top-performing Rockford Fosgate subwoofer here

Pros

Cons

6. American Bass E1544 15" 2400 Watt Elite Series DVC Subwoofer

The American Bass subwoofer is by far the most powerful at peak that we have on our list.  Our team specifically searched for one that is powerful enough to impress even the pickiest bass heads, and landed on the American Bass E1544 15 inch sub. 

The basket is highly durable with a black powder finish that hides a non-press paper cone. The surround is a high roll foam that works with a high temperature 4-layer voice coil. 

It’s a large sub but has a whole lot of potential for your car audio system by bringing heavy bass with 2400 peak and 1200 RMS.

Pros

Cons

7. Skar Audio SVR-15 D4 15" 1600 Watt Max Power Dual 4 Ohm Car Subwoofer

Our last pick is very similar to the other Skar Audio subwoofer on our list, but this is at 4 ohms. The peak power is also higher at 1600 and an 800 RMS power rating. The high temperature 4 ohm voice coils can handle the heat and long hours of performance. To keep the subwoofer cool, Skar Audio has a high flux ferrite motor that delivers adequate airflow and ventilation.

The bass sensitivity is an impressive 88.6 dB, which is no surprise why the Skar Audio SVR-15 D4 was designed to optimize the lowest frequency range for your sound system. While we’re on the subject of Skar, we’re also going to give an honorable mention to the Skar Audio EVL 15 D2.

Pros

Cons

15 Inch Subwoofers Buyer’s Guide

The best 15 inch subwoofer for your sound system is more than just the audio quality and power output. You also need to take into account the design, material, frequency range and more. If you don’t know where to start, our team has put together a quick list to guide you.

Design and Material

The first consideration is the design of the subwoofer. Since we are only talking about 15 inch subs, our team will focus on that. From a 15 inch sub, you can expect a lot of power for the size. It will almost always outperform and be louder than subs of a smaller size, but that also depends on the build quality, and that’s where the materials come into play.

A sub that has a dust cap, hopefully an aluminum or paper composite dust cap will prolong the life of the sub because it prevents dust from getting inside the cone. One that doesn’t have this small but important feature could end up breaking more quickly.

To ensure a high quality build, your sub should be created with the toughest materials such as rubber surrounds or foam surrounds and a durable basket. As for the cone, there are different types you can choose from.

A paper cone, or treated paper cone is very commonly seen in a 15 inch suband is very lightweight and movable. Of course, like it sounds, paper isn’t as durable as some of the other material choices such as polypropylene, which we will cover later. For this reason, our team highly recommends going for treated paper cones that are still lightweight, affordable and stronger with materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber on top.

Polypropylene is still a very lightweight material but stronger and more rigid than their more fragile paper counterparts. Polypropylene is also a very common material we often see in a 15 inch subwoofer and it will rarely impact the bass production.

A metal cone, such as aluminum or magnesium, are very tough. They are used in subwoofers because you cannot hear the resonance due to the focus on low tones. You then have Kevlar, which of course, is as tough as it sounds. However, Kevlar balances durability with lightweightedness, and flexibility as well but the drawback is the higher price.

Lastly, carbon fiber cones are also high-performing, lightweight and strong, making it an ideal subwoofer material.

Sound Quality

There are many factors that impact the sound quality in the best 15 inch sub. One of the things to look at is the material, but the size, technologies incorporated and the inner workings such as the impedance and sensitivity will influence the audio as well.

For regular listeners, their hearing may not be as in tune with the sub as a bass head, so that also impacts the perceived sound quality. However, there are a few things you can look for in the design to guarantee sound quality no matter how picky you are.

For example, Rockford Fosgate has VAST (Vertical Attach Surround Technology) or Vertical Attach Surround Technique in some of their subwoofers that increases the efficiency of the radiating cone to produce a more dynamic bass soundstage.

Everything our team lists in this guide section will impact the sound, so to make sure you are getting the sub that is perfect for you and your vehicle, you will have to go through each section and pick and choose. 

As an honorable mention, our team was also impressed with the Skar Audio EVL 15 D2, the Kicker S15L7, and the Rockville RVP15W8 for excellent bass production along with the ones on our list.

Subwoofer Type

The type of subwoofer can be narrowed down to different enclosures, but we will cover that a little later. For the subwoofer type section, our team will break down the difference between an active, passive and other types of subwoofers.

You will most often see subwoofers divided into two main sections – passive and active, or sometimes referred to as powered subwoofers. The difference between the two is the presence of an amplifier. A passive subwoofer will not have an amplifier built-in, while an active one does. 

If you need to look for an external amplifier, make sure it is one that can handle the size and power output of your sub. It may seem like a hassle to look for an amplifier yourself, but a passive sub will give you more flexibility to customize your system down the line.

An active subwoofer with an amplifier built-in will save you the hassle of looking for one on your own. However, due to the addition of the amplifier, an active sub will usually be heavier and larger than a passive one. Not only that, it’s also harder to customize this type of subwoofer in the future because the amplifier isn’t a separate component.

So, which one is best for you? If you plan on upgrading your system down the line would like to mix and match components to curate your own system, then our team recommends passive subs with an external amplifier. If you want simplicity and aren’t a hardcore bass head, then an active sub will suffice.

Power Rating

One of the characteristics that will ensure loud and satisfying bass is the power rating. High quality 15 inch subwoofers usually have a high power rating to meet your expectations. There are two wattages that you will see, one is the peak or max power and the other is the RMS.

The peak power ratings are very impressive and usually the one manufacturers advertise more fervently because it’s always higher. However, the wattage is more powerful because it indicates the levels a subwoofer can hit in short bursts.

The RMS rating is the one you should put all your focus on as it outlines the highest continuous power output the subwoofer can maintain. For example, if you have a 2000 watt max power output rating, then the RMS is usually at half that.

Frequency Range

The frequency range is the spectrum of notes the subwoofer can hit. One of the most frequently asked questions to our experts is the recommended range. Our team indicates that since subwoofers are geared towards the low frequencies, it’s more pertinent to focus on the lower frequencies it can hit rather then how wide the response is.

As a rule of thumb, our team suggests the best 15 inch subwoofers to be able to go down to within 20-30 Hz.

Sensitivity

Another criterion that dictates the loudness and power of the bass is the sensitivity rating. This figure is measured in decibels, or dB. It basically clarifies the power the subwoofer can convert into sound at a particular power level. Low powered audio systems usually work better with subs at a higher sensitivity and the opposite is true for high powered stereos.

As a guideline, our experts suggest a dB level of around 82-90 dB for 15 inch subs. If you can find ones over 90 dB, then definitely go for those options.

Impedance

The impedance refers to the resistance the subwoofers have to the electrical current, and this is measured in ohms [1]. You will most often see 2, 4, 6 or 8 ohms, which 4 ohm voice coil subwoofers being the most common along with dual 4 ohm options. In this case, the lower the number the more efficient your subwoofer will be. The impedance is very important for passive subwoofers when pairing the amplifier.

Voice Coils

The voice coils can affect the installation of your subwoofers. You can find single voice coil or dual voice coil designs, shorted to SVC and DVC. As you can imagine, having a dual voice coil or DVC subwoofer will give you more wiring flexibility. It’s also recommended by our team to make sure the voice coils are high temperature, meaning they can resist the heat.

Enclosure

You will need to look into the enclosure if you are purchasing a component subwoofer, which is just the subwoofer itself. The enclosure, as we mentioned above, will influence the audio quality and bass output.

The first kind of enclosure is ported or vented. This means there is a port or vent where air is let in and out. This type of subwoofer enclosure is often advertised as bass reflex because they give a louder and richer bass sound than their counterparts.

A sealed enclosure as you can imagine, does not have a port for airflow. This will make for quieter bass that lacks the thumps but it will give you more precision. However, it’s possible for a sealed enclosure to incorporate a bass radiator, which will allow for more flexibility and movement for bass production.

Luckily, there is also a hybrid enclosure design called a bandpass enclosure. A bandpass enclosure is a blend of the two above and it can pull this off by having two separate chambers. 

Within these types of enclosures you can further narrow them down into front and down-firing subs. This item just refers to where the speakers is placed in the subwoofer enclosure. Ones that are front-firing will project the sound directly forward and down-firing ones will pump the down through the floors to create more vibration. However, there is less of this to consider with car subwoofers.

Installation

You will also want the installation and placement of your vehicle subwoofer to be straightforward and simple. You can choose deep mount subs or high-quality shallow mount subs. There are two main types of car subs—ones for under the seat and ones to be placed in the trunk.

As you can expect, placing a car sub under your seat will give you more clarity and the trunk placement will fill the cabin of your car and propel the sound around for a more immersive experience. But with that, you won’t get as much precision.

Hopefully, the installation is easy once you mount the component subwoofer. The wiring should be very easy to understand and outlined in detail in the instruction manual. Just make sure you get one that is a match with your car model.

As a final tip, our team stresses the importance of a warranty for your subwoofers. Subwoofers like the ones on our list and the honorable mention Skar Audio EVL 15 all have at least a 1-year warranty that will protect you in case there are any damages or defects. There are models that offer a warranty for up to three years, so make sure you read the fine print and understand what’s covered and for how long.

FAQ

Do 15 inch subwoofers Sound good?

Yes, 15 inch subwoofers sound good. At this size, they are large enough to produce resounding bass that smaller subs cannot match, but they are still a good size to fit into most vehicles. The peak wattage can range from 1000-2400 at this size so you can expect very loud and satisfying bass.

Are 12 or 15 inch subs better?

12 inch subs are better for people who want to balance power, performance and compatibility with their car. 15 inch subs are better for folks who have the room and want to focus on getting as much power and wattage as possible for expansive bass.

The construction quality of the subwoofer matters, so you may be able to find a 12 inch sub that outperforms a 15 inch sub due to better construction.

What is the hardest hitting 15 inch subwoofer?

The hardest hitting 15 inch subwoofer is the American Bass E1544 15 inch subwoofer. It features a 2400 watt maximum power and an RMS power rating of 1200. Just the RMS alone is a match for the peak output of many other 15 inch sub counterparts, which makes the E1544 the hardest hitting of them all.

Our Top Pick For a 15 Inch Subwoofer: Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 15”

The Skar Audio SDR-15 D2 is our team’s top pick for the best 15 inch subwoofer. It earns the top spot because it blends power, efficiency, performance and longevity in one reasonably priced subwoofer. The high temperature voice coil, high foam roll surround and pressed paper cone deliver durability and sensitivity for bass production. The SDR-15 D2 can sustain hours of bumping your favorite beats thanks to the high flux ferrite motor and the advanced cooling design that helps with heat dispersion.
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Writer

Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.