There is no satisfying heavy bass without a subwoofer. For something where size matters, will a small subwoofer do the job?
You can still enjoy deep and rich bass with a small sub, but you need to know which will fit the profile or it’s just money wasted. To help you find the best small subwoofers our experts have put together this concise review.
Reviews of the Best Small Subwoofers
1. Definitive Technology ProSub 800
Our experts’ first choice is the Definitive Technology ProSub 800. It’s a small subwoofer that fits into a more compact home theater setup.
Most compact subwoofers come in at about 8-inches with impressive peak power outputs. You can expect 300 watts from this powerful bass sub for expansive sound that fills the room.
You can incorporate other Definitive Technology components to the home theater system to create a full-fledged cinematic experience. The ProSub 800 comes with many connection options and four adjustable feet that protect your floors and can accommodate different heights.
2. Polk Audio PSW111 8” Subwoofer
The Polk Audio PSW111 does not need an external amplifier for heightened deep sounds. It features a good bass response for low frequency signals but it is also heavier due to the built-in amp.
The tiny sub measures in with an 8-inch profile that makes it a small but powerful subwoofer with 300-watt energy output. Add this into your surround sound system to create good bass sound never before experienced. The sub is tuned in such a way to give range and height to the deep soundstage at any volume.
The subwoofer is highly efficient and has a removable grille design to give more reach to the strong firing speakers.
3. Sunfire XTEQ 8 High Performance Powered Subwoofer
The Sunfire XTEQ 8 is 10x more powerful than most compact subwoofers with a peak power output of 3000 watts. It still features an 8-inch profile like any other compact subwoofer but does a better job at projecting the lower sound frequency and is one of the best for loud bass.
The subwoofer comes with a high-powered digital auto-EQ circuit to calibrate the speaker to fit your room for great sound effects. The XTEQ can connect easily to other devices in your home setup to get the best bass effects.
The small and compact sub has a powerful driver and four rubber feet to protect your floors at high level volumes.
Small Subwoofers Buyer’s Guide
In this section, our experts have listed the important characteristics to look for when buying the best small subwoofers. It’s not only the size and power that counts, but also the sound quality.
Design and Build
A small and compact subwoofer’s first bragging point is size. You will find most of them to be about 8 inches but there are some 10-inch options as well. They are not as heavy as the top-rated twelve-inch subwoofers. The extra two inches may not give you a lot of extra power and won’t fluctuate the price by too much.
Do you want a powered or passive speaker subwoofer system? One with an amplifier, preferably a class D amplifier, will save you a lot of hassle. One without an external amplifier would mean more time searching for a compatible one.
For example, the Polk Audio PSW111 comes with a 150-watt amplifier that boosts the power output to 300 watts. If you have a powered subwoofer, be aware that it will add weight to the size, but it won’t take up any more space.
Look for a subwoofer with a detachable grille design. It’s better to find one that allows you to dismantle the front so there are no obstructions in the way of the low bass sound relays.
The quality of the bass is another factor that will affect whether or not you buy the product. Extra features such as room calibration and downward-firing speakers or drivers will do wonders for the audio quality. If you like minimal hassle without the need for customization and adjustments, look for special technologies such as the Digital Auto-EQ circuit for room calibration as seen in the Sunfire compact subwoofer.
The placement of your sub will also affect the audio quality. Since we are recommending the best compact subwoofers, there will be plenty of flexibility in terms of placement that can make the most of the frequency range. A subwoofer is better placed closer to your listening spot.
Even though these subwoofers are portable like SVS SB-1000 that can be fixed in any corner of the room, our experts suggest placing the subwoofer beside your couch, under it, and even behind it to really experience the low rumbles.
How is the bass from your subwoofers? At any price and any size, you would expect a well-built subwoofer than can deliver the designated frequency range with a ton of power and no distortion. Look at the drivers and examine the materials.
Copper spun woofers for example offer enough rigidity and flexibility to accommodate the give needed to deliver deep bass vibrations.
One of the most important things about how loud your subwoofers can get is dependent on the power output. There are two figures to look at — the peak power and the RMS.
RMS stands for root mean square. The RMS is the more important statistic to examine. It refers to how much power the driver can deliver consistently over a long period of time in watts.
The peak power watts, however, is what most people focus on. Our experts say this is incorrect because the peak rating refers to how much power your speaker driver can get to in short periods. Since the peak number is often higher than the root mean square, it seems like the more appealing one to keep in mind.
However, our team warns that playing your subwoofers at the peak rating for long periods can damage your devices. If you like a little bass with your home speakers, the root mean square is more than enough to produce enveloping and reverberating bass.
The distortion is about the audio quality from your subwoofers when played at loud volumes. Speakers and subwoofers can have added technologies to tweak the bass a little to help with the distortion. The Digital Auto-EQ circuit for room calibration is a good example of what can help with the sound distortion and minimize or eliminate its impact.
To connect your subwoofers into your home system, you need the right connections. You shouldn’t buy a product that isn’t compatible with your existing setup, so look for a device that features all the right connections.
Speaker level inputs are crucial to the operation of passive subwoofers. Speaker level inputs are what’s needed to connect an external amplifier to your sub. There are higher and lower speaker level inputs so our experts wish to remind to make sure that the subwoofers you get have the same ones.
You can also choose to transform your subwoofers into wireless options with a wireless subwoofer kit.
The best compact subwoofers need to go down to at least 20 Hz . This is the lowest range human ears can muster. However, if the frequency range of the speakers and subwoofers you go for can reach 35 Hz, that will nicely round out the soundstage and give you decent vibrations.
Also, look at which way the speaker is firing. You can either have front or downward-firing speakers. If you want vibrating rumbles, then you need your compact subwoofers to fire down. This will reflect and radiate the bass to the floor, resulting in booms you can feel.
If you go for the front-firing option like in the PSW10 vs PSW108, then the bass tones from your compact subwoofer will be directed towards you. There is no better choice for good sound, just personal preference.
Our experts always try to find different sizes, appearances and prices when listing our best choices. As you can see, the best compact subwoofers can exceed the 500 price range or stay below it.
The price matters when you want extra features such as room calibration technology. If you want compact subwoofers whether it is an active or a passive sub, it should give you the thunderous rich and deep tones you like, you need to be prepared to shell out more for the experience.
What is the smallest subwoofer you can get?
The MicroVee from Velodyne is the smallest subwoofer you can get. It measures in at only 6.5 inches and can still deliver good bass sounds. It’s a little subwoofer with big sound that is highly portable with minimal distortion and linear drivers.
Our Top Pick For a Best Small Subwoofer: Definitive Technology ProSub 800
The Definitive Technology ProSub 800 is the crowned winner of our best compact subwoofer review. The best small subwoofer isn’t only about size, but the sound quality also plays a big role. For those that like to save on space and money but like big sound, the ProSub 800 has a high 300-watt output that delivers a further reach than most smaller subs.
You can combine the ProSub 800 into your living space to create a full surrounding sound system with plenty of connection options for easy integration. The adjustable rubber feet serve to protect your floors and can be adjusted to compensate for uneven flooring or height requirements.