What is the Best Subwoofer Under 500? — Elevate Your Home Theater Audio With These Top Picks (2022)

best subwoofer under 500

Will the 500 price range get you that cinematic bass sound quality you need in your home theater? In this price range, you can afford a decent subwoofer, but it also depends on many other factors. To save you time and money, our team has reviewed the best subwoofers under 500 to make sure you will end up with a product you love.

Best Overall
Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
Best Premium Choice
Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI Powered 10-inch Subwoofer
Best Compact Option
Bose Bass Module 500
Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI Powered 10-inch Subwoofer
Bose Bass Module 500
The Polk Audio HTS 12 subwoofer has a very unique design that comes with a long throw front-firing woofer. Our experts rave about the internal Dynamic Balance Technology from Polk that creates a clear and balanced soundstage.
For a minimalist, the Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI subwoofer is our premium option that features state-of-the-art technology, a sleek and high quality appearance, and of course, Pro Room Optimizer Technology that ensures this sub will work well in any room.
We can’t have a subwoofer list without Bose making an appearance. The Bose Bass Module 500 is our most compact choice but also one that is outfitted to produce dynamic and deep bass tones.
Best Overall
Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology
The Polk Audio HTS 12 subwoofer has a very unique design that comes with a long throw front-firing woofer. Our experts rave about the internal Dynamic Balance Technology from Polk that creates a clear and balanced soundstage.
Best Premium Choice
Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI Powered 10-inch Subwoofer
Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI Powered 10-inch Subwoofer
For a minimalist, the Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI subwoofer is our premium option that features state-of-the-art technology, a sleek and high quality appearance, and of course, Pro Room Optimizer Technology that ensures this sub will work well in any room.
Best Compact Option
Bose Bass Module 500
Bose Bass Module 500
We can’t have a subwoofer list without Bose making an appearance. The Bose Bass Module 500 is our most compact choice but also one that is outfitted to produce dynamic and deep bass tones.

Reviews of the Best Subwoofers Under 500

1. Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer with Power Port Technology

Polk products are not always the most affordable, but their  powered woofers sounds offer excellent performance to justify the price. The Polk Audio HTS 12 is highly efficient and optimized for a home theater setup in small to medium rooms.

The powered sub has a built-in 200-watt amplifier that goes up to 400 watts peak power, so you won’t have to mix and match the components on your own. The woofer comes with Polk’s proprietary Dynamic Balance Technology.

The Polk subwoofer under 500 is also compatible with most other devices featuring connections like LFE inputs and stereo line-level inputs to make integration simple.

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2. Bose Bass Module 500

The layout of Bose Bass Module 500 is so inconspicuous you won’t even notice it. It is a small and compact size that can still deliver that rumbling deep-toned sounds you crave. The Bose brand product is best matched with their soundbars. As a team, this subwoofer and the soundbar can bring high-quality sound to your home setup.

This high-quality performance subwoofer was created with higher-end materials to be able to bring you one of the best soundbars with all necessary components packed into a small profile. Your purchase will include everything you need and be able to get a setup and start listening to music and watching movies with improved deep-toned performance.

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3. Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI Powered 10-inch Subwoofer

Polk Audio products have undisputed quality, which is why we often see them in home theaters. This state-of-the-art layout can produce great sound and deliver on low-pitched frequencies that were previously inaudible.

As our top choice, the Polk Audio DSWPRO 550WI also features Polk’s patented Dynamic Balance driver that can project the deep-toned performance to every corner of the room.

Aside from the Dynamic Balance Driver, you will be able to get also the Pro Room Optimizer Technology, which will optimize the performance of the sub to suit your interior acoustics sounds. Of course, Polk takes pride in their creations and has engineered this subwoofer to perfection. 

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4. ELAC Debut 2.0 SUB3010 400 Watt Powered Subwoofer

Our experts’ next choice is the ELAC Debut SUB3010 subwoofer under 500. The ELAC Debut subwoofer complements all the other components in your home theater setup from the same brand. The sub is easily incorporated into your existing setup and also features EQ controls and an advanced DSP built-in.

The Elac ELAC Debut subwoofer features a 10-inch passive radiator to propel the low-pitched tone sounds even further and the sub also gives you more control over your setup with a compatible app and EQ controls functions. The subwoofer can also be automatically optimized for your room through the app. You can hear the sounds you have been missing with this good performance small sub.

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5. BIC America F12 12-Inch 475-Watt Front Firing Powered Subwoofer

For incredible and balanced tone, the BIC America F12 12-inch subwoofer can blow many people away with the injection molded long-throw woofer with a built-in BASH amplifier. To ensure your experience isn’t soiled by port noise, the F12 has the patented BIC Venturi vent to eliminate the problem.

The F12 subwoofer is highly adjustable and features adjustable crossover and volume controls. What our expert team was impressed with was the inputs geared towards Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital and DTS. 

One of the biggest reasons the BIC America F12 made it onto our list is the 5-year warranty to give consumers peace of mind and protection.

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6. Harman Kardon Enchant 10" Wireless Subwoofer

Harman Kardon is famous for well-engineered speakers and subs, and ingenious craftsmanship. The Enchant subwoofer can add depth to your sound while watching movies to bring you a new sense of realism.

These subwoofer are the perfect match for the Enchant series soundbars from the same brand. The layout is very low-key and the enclosure is low resonance, which will provide you with undisturbed deep-toned performance.

An excellent feature of the Harman Kardon Enchant is the wireless connection. As a soundbar under 500, you can reach the surround sound potential you want without a messy setup. 

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7. Polk Audio PSW111 8" Powered Subwoofer

For a performance excellent price point from a brand we know well and trust, the Polk Audio PSW111 compact subwoofer will bring the quality you expect. When added to your media room the PSW111 stereo adds depth with a wide low-frequency response range.

You can turn up your music and movies to high volumes without worrying about static or distortion. With a 150 watts RMS amp, the little subwoofer can really surprise you with far-reaching deep-toned sounds.

The subwoofer matches very well with other devices and the front grille is removable to allow for a wider dispersion of the low pitched notes.

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8. Audioengine S8 Wireless Subwoofer

The AudioEngine S8 can be wired or wireless with the purchase of an additional wireless adapter. The subwoofer is highly efficient and features a downward firing woofer and a front-ported MDF cabinet.

There are RCA cables along with LFE and mini jack inputs to make the S8 an easy addition that many people like. What’s amazing about the AudioEngine S8 is the compatibility with another product. You can use this subwoofer with turntables, powered or passive speakers, TVs, and amps.

With your purchase, you will have everything you need to match it up to your existing setup including your choice of white or black ash finishes.

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9. Klipsch R-110SW Subwoofer

If you have a Klipsch-focused setup, then the R-110SW subwoofer is worth considering. You can see the copper spun cerametallic woofer under the grille that is featured in most Klipsch products. It gives the right amount of flexibility to enjoy clear bass.

The built-in digital amplifier can offer up to 450 watts of continuous power to envelop you with the deep-tones. The Klipsch R-110SW also features a front-firing port layout coupled with exclusive internal flare technology from Klipsch and a low pass crossover.

If you want a wireless hookup, just easily add a wireless kit that Klipsch can provide for an additional price to enjoy a cable-free setup.

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10. JBL Stage 100P 10" 300 Watts Powered Subwoofer

The JBL Stage 100P audio setup is one of the best subwoofer under 500 for its sound quality. The sub is a long excursion and has a unique contrasting color that may or may not is preferred by users.

The subwoofer is also equipped with JBL’s Waveguide Technology that will ensure high definition bass performance that’s precise. It’s also a good measurement to fit into rooms of all sizes and it offers a good frequency range for the price point.

If you enjoy smooth and clean bass performance from soundbar that is crafted to perfection, then the JBL Stage 100P is the right option for you.

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Subwoofers Under 500 Buyer’s Guide

The best subwoofers under 500 are more than just the frequency response it meets and the audio it produces. Questions like how it integrates into your surround sound system and does it feature convenient capabilities such as phase control, does it have a digital amplifier, what are the watts RMS it has, or how do watts RMS affects the efficiency, twisted flare port, and more need to be answered. To help you find the one for you, our team has put together an easy guide.

Design and Size

One thing to keep in mind is that the size of the woofer transducer cone is not the size of the entire speaker. When manufacturers list their size, it’s often the size of the cone itself, so you will need to tack on an additional few inches. There are some subwoofers that fit better into smaller rooms because of their compact profiles.

Take a look at where you have your home theater system set up. Smaller rooms will call for subwoofers that have a smaller footprint. If you have a larger space to work with, then you have a wider variety of subs to choose from.

If you have more space, then our team suggests purchasing a larger subwoofer — one that’s as large as the room will allow. This is because as a general rule of thumb, a larger subwoofer has a larger transducer, which will in turn deliver louder and deeper bass.

Our experts always work to include different options to accommodate people in different situations. You will find 8 inch, 10 inch and 12-inch woofer cone options on our list. 8-inch subs are excellent space savers and can still bring you excellent bass audio quality. As you can imagine, the 12-inch woofers are the options that will typically yield louder and better sound. 

A woofer that promises deep-toned extension down to 19Hz, the PB-1000 is quite large, measuring 18.4 x 15 x 18.4 inches and weighing in at 46 lbs. So if your significant other is opposed to the idea of a large black box sitting in the corner of the lounge, then the PB-1000 might not be for you.

A subwoofer with connection ports in the front in contrast to one that has them available on the back will also allow more flexibility of placement. You won’t need to worry about the accessibility of the rear ports.

Is the subwoofer a wireless model? Even if it’s not, there are many great ways to convert a wired sub into a wireless one. A good way to do that is with a wireless kit, which will allow a cable-free setup and even more placement options.

One other thing to consider is the appearance of the subwoofer. While the look of it may not impact the performance as much as the size of the transducer cone would, our team has found that people who don’t necessarily like the exterior of the sub are less satisfied with the subwoofers in comparison.

Most subwoofers have a very sleek and low-key model, but once you remove the grille you may be met with a contrasting white driver, or a higher-end looking spun copper woofer among others. To make sure your subwoofers do not have a low-end appearance, you should ensure that it’s constructed with high-quality materials.

Sound Quality

When you’re sure you have a subwoofer that will fit into your space, the next most important quality to look for is the sound. You won’t need a wide overall frequency response range but more of a lower one since a sub produces the low bass tones.

Considerations such as the materials used to build quality subwoofer with low distortion will have an impact on the sound. For example, a low resonance housing will make sure vibrations don’t impact the bass tones produced by your sub. Cones created with material that provide the right amount of rigidity and flexibility balance will allow your sub to do its job and relay accurate bass.

Another feature that will set one subwoofer apart from another is the embedded audio technology that is proprietary to that brand. Each brand will have its own take on how to create more precise audio.

Let’s take Polk Audio for example, which features the Dynamic Balance driver and Pro Room Optimizer Technology in one of their models. While it may produce the same effect as a special feature another brand has, Polk achieves the result with a different method.  Like SVS PB-1000 wasn’t kidding about getting down to 19Hz because at times it felt like a kick in the chest

For the best performing subwoofer, look for ones that are packed with low distortion brand-specific capabilities and offer a good frequency range.

Your sub enclosure greatly impacts the sound quality of your device, here are the important tips to make your speaker box stronger and more powerful. Read next!  

Frequency Response

Speaking of the frequency range, it brings us directly into our next section. The frequency response basically means the sounds your subwoofers can play. A good subwoofer is imperative for a sound system because it’s the only component you can rely on for the low tones. 

You want a wide low frequency response, hopefully ranging from anywhere between 22-25 Hz to 200 Hz to match well to your sound system. This way, you can guarantee your subwoofer will not leave out certain tones, which will result in muddied bass.

Power

Next up is the power rating of your subwoofers. The price of subwoofers under 500 will not impact the power rating by much. The power of as much as 300 watts RMS and 700 watts peak power, for instance, is not only how efficiently the subwoofer can run but also how powerful the audio can be.

A sub features two different power ratings — the peak output and the RMS. Manufacturers often advertise the peak power above the RMS because the figure is more impressive. The peak is often much higher than the RMS because it’s the wattage [1] at which your sub can be played for short periods at a maximum.

For example, if your speaker is 600 watts peak, then it’s likely it will be at 300 watts RMS. The RMS power is the much more realistic figure as it’s the one your sub can be played at for long periods without the risk of blowing out the driver. To have a louder and more powerful sound, you need a subwoofer with a higher rating for both peak and RMS. 

Controls

How easy is it for you to control your sub? There are ones with compatible apps, a remote, and even a board panel built directly onto the surface. It’s not only about how you can control the sub but also what you can adjust. For example, there are many options that have EQ settings you can tweak to your preference. This will allow you to customize your bass experience by either enhancing the treble or bass.

Our team finds powered subwoofers that have an app that offers a level of convenience you might not get with one that doesn’t. Also, having a control panel built into the structure itself has been very helpful during our reviews. When our team was setting up the sub and integrating it into our system, we liked the convenience of turning on and adjusting the bass right after we connected it with the cables.

A remote is also a convenient feature that will allow you to input the settings no matter where you are seated. If your subwoofer has a compatible remote, it should come with the package. You can also look into whether there is a universal option you can configure it with.

Setup

The setup of your entire system hinges on the design of the components. A subwoofer that has a plug-and-play design that will work right when you turn it on is preferred. Subwoofers are usually connected by RCA, audio jack. For instance, in SVS PB-1000, LFE inputs involve connecting the subwoofer to an AV receiver using a shielded RCA cable. Like for example SVS PB 1000, low pass filter to LFE, the phase control to zero, and the volume control to 12 o’clock. You then turn on your AV receiver and run the auto-calibration routine. Alternatively, SVS PB-1000 can set up a multi-channel where the pre-amplifier has left and right line-level outputs. In this instance, the left and right line outputs of the preamplifier or processor are connected to the left and right line inputs of the SVS PB-1000. Then change the low pass filter to blend the subwoofer with the normal roll-off frequency of your speakers.

The more connection options the sob features, the higher the compatibility with other devices.

A subwoofer should also come with everything you need to get started, including the right cables, the remote if there is one, and a user manual. If you manage to find wireless or can be paired with a wireless kit, then the setup is even easier.

A wireless design will offer you more movement and portability. Still, if you plan on leaving your subwoofer in place for the foreseeable future, then the maneuverability may be less of a concern.

Other Features

Some other features you may come across include unique design differences such as an optimized vented port, as we see in our BIC America option. The Venturi vent option will greatly reduce port noise. This feature may also be present in other designs under a different name.

A low pass crossover will further improve the audio quality from your sub by eliminating unwanted frequencies for more accurate sound.

Price and Warranty

For under 500, you have a wide range of products to select from. As you move lower to the 100-300 range, you will see a difference in the construction and frequency range. As you move closer to the 500 mark, the products will be better improved to produce better bass audio.

However, there are many times when the only difference you get for paying a premium price than in the low end is the brand name. This results in unnecessary money wasted, and is what our experts aim to help you avoid. So how do you know if you’re paying a higher cost for just the brand name alone? You will need to look into the specifications and that’s where our buyer’s guide comes in.

Of course, there are other times when the higher price tag is justified by more advanced features, and in those cases, our team fully supports paying a premium.

You should also consider the warranty included with your purchase. The warranty covers damaged and broken parts for a certain amount of time. The parts covered can vary from brand to brand and warranty to warranty, but in general, our team suggests looking for ones that are over a year in length.

Try to opt for warranties that cover all parts and not only ones due to manufacturer defects but also long-term wear.

FAQ

What subwoofer is best for a 7.1 surround sound system?

For a 7.1 surround audio system, the best subwoofer would be one that’s larger, like the BIC America F12 or the Polk Audio HTS 12 subwoofers. These subwoofers are large enough to produce the great quality bass tones you want and still come at an affordable price.

Our Top Pick For a Subwoofer Under 500: Polk Audio HTS 12 Powered Subwoofer

Our experts’ top choice for the best subwoofer under 500 was a unanimous decision. The Polk Audio HTS 12 takes the crown for its capability of producing great bass and for being packed full of extra features from the brand. The HTS 12 has a modern look with Polk’s patented Power Port Technology, which is great for deeper bass and minimizing distortion.

On top of that, the HTS 12 is outfitted with the brand’s proprietary Dynamic Balance Technology that optimizes the subwoofer’s performance regardless of the room size, design, and furnishings. If you like superior bass, a modern exterior and easy incorporation with the rest of your setup, then the Polk HTS 12 is the subwoofer for you. 

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.