A subwoofer, also called a sub, is a loudspeaker used to reproduce sounds of low audio frequencies. Even under 500 dollars, there is a good variety of subwoofer options available in the market. But the thing is, you need to choose a particular sub from a huge list based on its driver size, powered ratings, frequency range, and mainly your room size.
So to make your job easier, in this article, I have taken a list of the top 8 affordable subwoofers under $500. I have also explained their features and to whom it is best for in detail. With that said, let me take you through my article.
- TOP RATED SUBWOOFERS UNDER $500
- LIST OF THE BEST SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
- 1) KLIPSCH R-120SW - BEST POWERED SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
- 2) POLK AUDIO PSW505 - BEST SUBWOOFER FOR SMALL ROOM UNDER 500
- 3) POLK AUDIO HTS 10 - BEST STUDIO SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
- 4) BIC AMERICA F12 - BEST HOME THEATER SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
- 5) POLK AUDIO PSW10 - BEST BUDGET SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
- 6) KLIPSCH REFERENCE R-10SW
- 7) DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY PROSUB 800
- 8) YAMAHA NS-SW050BL
- 9) BIC ACOUSTECH PL-200 II
- 10) YAMAHA NS-SW100BL
- PURPOSE OF SUBWOOFER
- IMPORTANCE OF SUBWOOFERS
- HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SUBWOOFER
TOP RATED SUBWOOFERS UNDER $500
In a hurry, here are my top picks
LIST OF THE BEST SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
1) KLIPSCH R-120SW - BEST POWERED SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
This model from Klipsch was designed to produce and deliver amazing bass for your entertainment nights, whether they're geared towards movies with stunning audio visuals or music with falling beats. It is a 400-watt, all-digital, spun-copper IMG-powered amplifier with a pre-output system, which deploys deep bass to the home theater system.
The product is equipped with a spun copper woofer. IMG refers to injection molded graphite. The drivers in this woofer are extremely lightweight yet robust, resulting in an impressive low-frequency response that is totally clean and free of any cone breakup and sonic distortion, producing the cleanest bass possible.
It is also equipped with an integrated all-digital amplifier that deploys adequate power fed with high efficiency and a clean and precise recreation of the audio, faithful to the source. This means that subwoofer output, detail, and power are optimal.
This subwoofer also has a low pass filter, gain, and phase control that ensures that low-frequency sounds blend with the additional speakers and provide the perfect level of bass for the environment. Line-level input panels allow for optimal cohesion with generic home theater receivers.
The subwoofer features a high-quality cabinet that consists of reinforced MDF construction. It has been engineered to reduce cabinet vibration to prevent audio distortion and improve sonic accuracy, resulting in an amazing listening experience over the long haul.
The subwoofer also has a sleek design with exposed mountings, low-profile magnetic grille, and scratch-resistant, wood-grain textured vinyl. This combination makes the subwoofer look sleek, classy, modern, and polished.
This model has 29Hz – 120Hz +- 3db frequency response. The highest possible acoustic output is 116dB. The power of the amplifier is 200W400W. Qualities include volume, low pass, 0180 phase, and signal detection on and off. The enclosure is bass-reflex through a feedback port.
2) POLK AUDIO PSW505 - BEST SUBWOOFER FOR SMALL ROOM UNDER 500
Next up in my studio subwoofer list is a similar version to the PSW10 mentioned above. If you're looking for a decent subwoofer under 500, then Polk Audio PSW505 might be the one. It gives an authentic and magnanimous base, playing the slightest note on a plucked string on a powerful rock and roll rhythm. This product was designed to improve your game and impress your friends.
This product features high-end components ranging from the player amplifier to the cabinet box. Key features include slotted ventilation that improves bass response. The wide and long air vent reduces any likelihood of distortion and turbulence, ensuring that the bass produced is crisp and strong.
The subwoofer's main body is made of sturdy and durable MDF, with a one-inch wide front baffle. This construction reduces resonances in the cabinet panel, resulting in a clean, crisp response free from distortion. The subwoofer is also equipped with a 12-inch long speaker, which ensures the linearity of the machine and extends its excursion. The model is also equipped with an adjustable low-pass filter.
The subwoofer features with Polk's signature Dynamic Balance Woofer design, which consists of a perfect combination of construction materials and geometry to ensure that there is no additional resonance.
The subwoofer also uses the Klippel Optimized Long Throw Woofer. The motor structure, voice coil alignment, and suspension have been optimized. The overall frequency response is 23Hz-160Hz, the lower 3dB limit is 28Hz, and the upper limit is 125Hz. The subwoofer has professional-grade binding posts that span 5 lanes.
There's a phase switch and volume control, auto on and off, unfiltered LFE input. The location is flexible, and it is magnetically shielded and therefore can be easily placed anywhere in the room. Overall you will get the best feel while listening to melody songs and low bass music with this subwoofer.
3) POLK AUDIO HTS 10 - BEST STUDIO SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
Polk's HTS 10 was designed to provide the listener with a higher and more enhanced version of bass performance, as well as greater flexibility in placement. Crafted with only the best of the best, the HTS 10 will take your parties and movie nights to the next level.
This product features a 10-inch front-firing, long-throw woofer. The Polk's signature dynamic balance technology makes the music sound as clean as possible while being extremely immersive and three-dimensional. This subwoofer has been fitted with a built-in 100-watt amplifier that can be peaked to 200 watts in Class D to deliver deep, smooth, and booming bass.
This product has also been enhanced with Polk's patented porting technology engineered to deliver a deep and smooth bass response without any distortion. This feature uses a turbulence smoothing diffuser, which ensures airflow transfer from the speaker to the open environment. This subwoofer is free of distortion and delivers full-range and rich sound.
Polk's HTS 10 is universally compatible and versatile. This subwoofer has been provided with line-level stereo LFE and RCA inputs. The model can be paired with any Polk Signature Series device or home theater setup of any type. The model also has its controls on the rear panel.
Controls for volume, low pass filter, and phase correction ensure deep bass levels are easy to reach and close at hand on the rear side of the subwoofer. The front of the subwoofer features a sleek and sophisticated look with a removable grille. The enclosure type of the speaker is bass ported to the power port. The loudspeaker complement is Polypropylene Dynamic Balance and the optimized Klippel loudspeaker. The subwoofer offers a total frequency response of 25 Hz → 180 Hz.
4) BIC AMERICA F12 - BEST HOME THEATER SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
Were you looking for best home theater subwoofer under 500? Then this is the one. The BIC AMERICA F12 is 21" inches long and almost 47 pounds in weight. The product BIC America F12It gives an authentic and magnanimous base, playing the slightest note on a plucked string on a powerful rock and roll rhythm. The subwoofer is helpful for home parties where the sound can reach the entire hall and be heard in the next room.
This product from BIC America has a number of interesting features. The subwoofer is powered, with front-firing qualities. It's 12 inches, with an output capability of almost 116dB levels, with clean, refined, and high-definition. It features the signature BIC "Venturi Effect, " eliminating distortion and port noise.
When you compare this front-firing BIC AMERICA F12 subwoofer with Polk PSW10, the bass quality is even more, better here but lesser than PSW505. The subwoofer has a sturdy build as it is made of MDF material and has got RCA plug-ins at the back for easy connection.
The driver coil measures 12" while the subwoofer's peak power accounts to 475 watts. This peak power is definitely higher than PSW505 or a PSW510, but the RMS (amount of load the sub can handle continuously) is slightly low (150 W) in comparison to PS505. However, for a price point of 210$-230$, it is still one of the best subwoofers in the market.
The subwoofer has an adjustable filter and volume. It also features automatic power on and trims. It has multiple RCA inputs and multiple speaker levels. It also has Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital inputs.
The frequency response of the subwoofer is between 25Hz and 200Hz. The sensitivity is 90dB. The subwoofer has magnetic shielding and gold-plated terminals. The dimensions of the subwoofer are 15″ W x 17″ H x 18 14″ D.
5) POLK AUDIO PSW10 - BEST BUDGET SUBWOOFER UNDER 500
If you are looking for a mid-sized subwoofer to place on your bookshelf or TV stands, then this can be a good choice. This product from the famous brand Polk Audio opens up a world of new possibilities for house parties and movie nights. It has a 10-inch subwoofer driver to deliver crisp and clear sounds with negligible distortion.
This product delivers a whole new level of bass in the form of a powerful 10-inch subwoofer featuring Polk Audio's signature Dynamic Balance technology, which ensures the driver materials are free from resonance and distortion. Components are designed to stay rigid and move quickly. This allows the musical frequencies to remain soft. The PSW enclosure has been designed to ensure the subwoofer performs at its best. The subwoofer is reinforced and damped internally to limit any distortion and resonance. It has twice the amplification power of up to 100 watts with a built-in 50 watt RMS amplifier. It also features laser-based Klippel measurement technology.
The subwoofer is compatible and can be easily connected to any type of system. The Inputs and Outputs panel is located on the rear of the system. Inputs include stereo audio line-level inputs, 2 RCA, and speaker inputs are two pairs of spring terminals. Outputs include audio and speaker outputs and two pairs of spring terminals.
The subwoofer also has a unique design that has been designed to give it style while keeping it stable even when streaming music or movies. The frequency response is between 40 and 160 Hz. It has an 80 to 160 Hz filter which is constantly variable. It comes with a phase switch and an automatic signal detection system for switching the system on and off. It comes with a removable grid.
Overall I am happy that I purchased this product, and I highly recommend you purchase this as it is definitely a steal for the price.
6) KLIPSCH REFERENCE R-10SW
Half the price of Polk Audio PS505 but provides the same dynamic bass response! Yes, I'm speaking about the KLIPSCH REFERENCE R-10SW subwoofer with top-notch features like 300W dynamic power (Peak power), a 10" front-firing driver, making it the best companion for a 5.1 surround system.
The Klipsch R-10SW is equipped with a 150W amplifier to give you than extraordinary listening experience while listening to rock music, playing games, or even watching movies. It is flexible and hence can be placed in any room for enhancing the bass on demand.
It provides an amazing wide-frequency response of 32 - 120 Hz with minimal cone breakup and distortion.
This sub gives you an even and smooth dispersion of bass, depending on the size of your room.
You can trust this brand because the company has its value and promises to develop the best features for each model of subs.
7) DEFINITIVE TECHNOLOGY PROSUB 800
This product from Definitive Technology consists of a high-power, electronically-loaded integrated crossover Definitive Technology ProSub 800and high-current amplifier with an 8-inch driver to create a sophisticated and stunning subwoofer. This product can be easily adapted to any home theater system and gives a stunning, clean performance with improved transient response and wonderful subsonic loudness.
The subwoofer also features a rugged, non-resonant enclosure. The main body is made of monocoque enclosures, designed to be inert and vibration resistant to ensure clean and pure sound production. The monocoque is a single, unified structure composed of high density MDF bonded to a polymer glue. The front and rear deflectors are of wide design and internal reinforcements are provided to ensure solidarity.
The frequency response is 20Hz-150Hz. The power of the amplifier is 300 watts. The subwoofer has automatic on and off, there are 2 pairs of terminals that go to 5 ways for high level inputs and outputs. Dimensions are dimensions: 10-516″ (W) x 15-34″ (D) x 12-78″ (H)
8) YAMAHA NS-SW050BL
Also called as the compact subwoofer, this sub incorporates a lot of features or Yamaha, advanced technologies and perfect services. As they say "Yamaha knows music", this beautiful sub produces excellent bass and enriches the experience of watching a movie at home or making a mini home theatre, grooving on a song or simply watching TV. This makes your audio system an absolute glory.
Yahama has wide recognition in the world and its services are well known throughout the world. The Yamaha 8" is one of the best subwoofer for music under 500 and is a perfect sub for your house and looking at the history of its use, its usability and value can be inferred.
9) BIC ACOUSTECH PL-200 II
If you are looking for the best home subwoofer under 500 which looks and sounds great then you can check out PL-200 II subwoofer. It is driven by a state-of-the-art BASH amplifier which has the capacity to deliver up to 1000-watts peak output. Thus, there is no doubt about the audio quality of this sub.
Its 8-year warranty makes it valuable and thus gives the consumers a total benefit for buying it. Its design and gross black colour emphasize it looks and makes it a good choice. Its looks make it an impressive addition to your home theatre. This sub is great for use.
10) YAMAHA NS-SW100BL
Similar to the Yamaha 8" 100W sub, this is bigger in size. The features and descriptions of both the subs are almost the same except for a few minor details including the size and price. This is one of the best car subwoofer under 500.
As mentioned earlier, Yamaha is a trusted company and has been in the market for years and hence its products can be trusted. Over the years, the subs have upgraded and evolved but the basic quality of Yamaha remains the same. The market trusts the products of Yamaha and their external services are also very good.
PURPOSE OF SUBWOOFER
A simple home theater system consist of soundbars or speakers, AV receiver and subwoofer. Sometimes they are also used in surround sound system for your PC. Subwoofer's main purpose is to amplify the low-frequency range of loudspeakers that mostly cover the higher frequency noises.
Technically speaking, the word "subwoofer" refers to the speaker driver. But in layman terms, the word often refers to the subwoofer driver mounted in a cabinet (a speaker enclosure) with an amplifier. The first subwoofer was made in the 1960s to enhance the bass in home stereo systems.
The frequency range of a subwoofer is between 20 to 200 Hz for basic consumer products, less than 100 Hz for professional sounds used by artists and below 80Hz in THX approved audio systems (normally used in professional theatres or cinema sound systems)
Types of Subwoofers
Subwoofers form a key element in almost any stereo system and hence their role is very crucial in audio systems. Subwoofers have many sizes, types and models. There are mainly two types of subwoofers:
A. Passive subwoofers.
B. Active subwoofers.
Passive subwoofers have a driver, enclosure and an external amplifier. While active subwoofers have a built-in amplifier. They were popular in the 1970s by the introduction of Sensurround sound in movies like Earthquake which produced a very loud low-frequency sound.
IMPORTANCE OF SUBWOOFERS
In-home music or theatre audio system sub-woofers play a crucial role in enhancing LFE (Low-frequency effects). If you don't have a proper subwoofer, you will be missing out on a lot of low pitched sounds. It is the low-frequency sounds, that is responsible for the full, rich, three-dimensional effect that we love in soundtracks or in music.
If those sounds are discarded, you won't be able to experience an overall dimension of the movie or music. With that said, subwoofers are small and hence can be concealed anywhere without taking a lot of space. While a normal audio system with 2 speakers cannot emphasize on the bass, an affordable $500 subwoofer is more than enough to add to your sound system.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SUBWOOFER
Now that you’ve understood the subwoofer types and the top subwoofers under 500$ go through the points given below, which will help you easily purchase the right sub.
While purchasing a brand new sub box, ask yourself this question. Where will you be placing it, and will the space be good enough to accommodate it? This might seem less relevant but remember, if you set the subwoofer in the right place, you can enjoy the clear sound quality with “harsh booming” sounds.
If you will be placing it on a TV shelf or under your working table, then an 8-inch/10-inch will be suitable. However, remember this a larger sub driver (say 12-inches) can create a deeper bass than a small subwoofer driver (6-inches). You can measure it by seeing the subwoofer’s frequency range.
2. FREQUENCY RESPONSE:
The frequency response measured in hertz tells the range of frequencies the subwoofer can handle. A subwoofer with a broader frequency range means it is capable of reproducing sounds at different frequencies.
And what should be the frequency range for an ideal affordable subwoofer? Well, depending on your preference, the higher frequency range will change; however, every subwoofer is expected to have a lower frequency value close to 20hz (the frequency that the human ear can detect); only then you can hear the subwoofer’s sound.
The power of a subwoofer refers to how loud the subwoofer is capable to play. It is measured in watts. Two specifications are used to represent the power of this device; RMS and peak power. RMS (Root Mean Square) represents the amount of power that a subwoofer can handle when operated continuously. The peak power value is the total amount of power that a subwoofer can handle in short bursts within a specified interval.
Even a mid-range subwoofer can deliver amazing audio output, provided you select one with a higher power rating. A subwoofer power rating will tell you how loud the subwoofer’s sound will be. As you know, the higher the subwoofer’s power rating, the heavier the bass effects will be. You have to look at two power values while purchasing a new subwoofer which are: RMS (Root mean square) and the Peak power of the subwoofer.
RMS will tell you how much power a subwoofer can handle when used continuously. However, peak power will tell you how much load (power) a subwoofer can handle within a time period.
But note this generally subwoofers can go up to 75-80% of the peak power, meaning you can’t always expect 100%of the peak power to be delivered by the device all the time.
4. DRIVER OR CONE
You must have seen this part in every subwoofer, right? This is nothing but the subwoofer driver or subwoofer cone. Have you ever wondered how a subwoofer can give an analog signal? The reason for a subwoofer to achieve that is because of this cone circuitry.
A subwoofer driver is a transducer that will move in response to the audio signal, thereby converting the electrical signals to mechanical signals. Typically, larger cones of about 12 inches are capable of delivering a strong bass and improved sound quality than subwoofers with smaller drivers.
5. DO YOU WANT A PORTED OR A SEALED SUBWOOFER?
The below image is an example of a sealed subwoofer. In a sealed subwoofer, either its front or rear part will be hidden inside the subwoofer box. So you can hear the sound output only from the open end.
However, in a ported subwoofer, as you see in the figure, you will notice a subwoofer provided with one or two ports. These ports act as vents for the air to escape out of the subwoofer box. So which is better, a ported or sealed sub? Well, if you want a smaller-sized subwoofer box, a sealed sub is recommended. However, if you wish to get a heavier bass, a ported sub is suitable.
Impedance matching is very important for every electrical circuit. So when you purchase a new sub, see if the impedance rating (ohms) matches with your amplifier’s impedance value.
NOTE: lower the value of speaker impedance, the more efficiently an amplifier can supply power to it.
7. OTHER FACTORS
Make sure that the subwoofer’s amplifier is strong enough to power the driver. It also becomes important to see that the subwoofer's frequency range and other crossover settings blend perfectly with your main speakers. Also it needs to have a linear driver, an accurate and powerful amplifier and a well designed built cabinet.
1. Which size subwoofer is best for home?
If you’re planning to install a subwoofer on a wall shelf or on a cupboard, an 8-10 inches subwoofer will be suitable. However, if your room space is big and you’re looking for a perfect home theatre experience, then a 12 -15 inches sub is preferred.
2. What makes a subwoofer good?
Though there are many features, you need to consider whether a subwoofer is good or not. I want to justify the two main qualities of a good subwoofer: Firstly, At lower frequencies, there are more chances of the sub to give harsh booming sounds. This means the sub is not capable enough of handling lower frequencies. A good-quality subwoofer should show better handling at lower frequencies (at around 20-30 Hz).
Secondly, even at higher volumes, the subwoofer should be able to deliver sounds with no distortion.
3. Is a 300 watt subwoofer good?
For home use, a subwoofer of 12” driver size and 100-200 watts RMS power is more than enough. But if you wish to amplify the sound levels even more, then a 300-350W subwoofer is most recommended. But make sure the sub's driver cone is large enough to handle the strong bass.
Subwoofers add on to your audio experience and they can provide an enriching experience. Using it for your home theater makes it a big hit for your movie and music experience. They not only enhance the audio quality but also provide greet bass to your TV.
While buying a sub, check the drive and power of the sub well before you move on to buy it. Passive subs are easy to use as compared to active subs so make sure your external and internal connections of the sub are apt. While buying a sub for your system, make sure you consult your dealer and it is fixed properly in your audio system.
The best subwoofer under 500 are a marvel to a boring audio system so if you are someone who loves the thrill and you want an overall three-dimensional experience while watching your favourite movie or TV show. Do not forget to add a subwoofer to your sound system.
Also, you can add 1 or 2 subs to fit well for your speakers. It totally depends on you how you want your theatre to sound while considering the size of the room and your sound system.
Hi, this is Michael. I have been a tech writer for the past four years and have written reviews for a lot of products. I’m a freelancing writer, and somewhere now managed to come with my new website ”Entertheunderworld”. My fundamental moto is to make sure my readers get the best products and honest reviews of the products they spend on.