Best 8 Inch Subwoofer in 2021

Alex | Last Updated On December 2nd, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

You love your car and are ready to deck it out with a killer sound system, but where do you start? You already know the factory installed speakers are not giving you the sound quality you want, but you also don’t have much room to work with when it comes to installing a new audio system.

You’re in luck! Subwoofers can help deliver a big thundering bass so you can not only hear your favorite music, but feel it as well. You might not be able to rattle the windows, but you’ll definitely get a decent feel for each low bass tone no matter what you are listening to.

But you don’t have room for a 15 inch or even a 12 inch massive subwoofer and speaker set up? Don’t worry. You can still get an incredible sounding audio setup with a much smaller 8 inch subwoofer. They are an excellent option for tight spaces or small vehicles, and can be tucked under the seat, behind the seat, mounted in the console, or squeezed into any other small available space you may have.

Their smaller size is definitely not a bad thing when it comes to sound quality either. In fact, you can get sound that is on par with the larger 10 and 12 inch subwoofers. Their ability to reproduce bass sounds and a variety of frequencies is excellent, and as a smaller subwoofer they won’t damage your wallet too much either!

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Product Reviews

This Kicker subwoofer can live up to its brand name by kicking you with some hard hitting bass sounds. It’s made to deliver a clear and crisp sound no matter what genre of music you are enjoying. It boasts up to 400 watts of power at its peak and with a dual 4-ohm coil, you'll get a good amount of flexibility when it comes to the power control of this set up.

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One of the biggest draws to this subwoofer is the fact that it delivers solid sound without vibrations and distortion. When you crank up the volume and blast your favorite music, you can expect to get an amazing return on the highs and lows. For the absolute best sound, be sure to mount this beast in a sealed or vented enclosure up to 1.2 cubic feet in size. Anything larger and the sound quality starts to drop.

What We Like
Sound delivery on hard hitting bass tones is excellent 
Installation is easy and straightforward
Enclosure sizes can be up to 1.2 cubic feet
Know Before Buying
Needs hardwired for proper usage
Is not plug-and-play out of the box
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Whether you are looking for a temporary replacement subwoofer, or just want to dip your toe in and see if an aftermarket subwoofer is for you, Boss has you covered with this very budget-friendly option.

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It’s got a big sound and a very small price, which makes it a great choice for you if you want to purchase multiples. The polypropylene cone offers a high level of durability even when under stress, and being an 8 inch subwoofer, it’s versatile enough to be installed in a wide range of areas.

This little subwoofer features a single voice 4-ohm coil that can peak at 600 watts of power. It won’t blow you away like the big boys or even the more expensive 8 inch options, but it is still a very good step up from your factory installed speakers. You’ll still get a nice low thump from your bass tones and won’t have to worry about distortion even when the volume is cranked up high.

Heat dissipation on this Boss subwoofer is excellent considering the price, and while it will still heat up over long play sessions it won’t get to the point of total distortion quickly at all. It takes a bit to install this subwoofer, so be prepared for that. It’s pretty straightforward, though the installation instructions may be a bit hard to understand at times.

What We Like
Extremely budget friendly for beginners or those needing multiples
Can deliver a decent bass boom for the size and price range
Has excellent heat dissipation to help with distortion
Know Before Buying
Installation instructions can be difficult to understand
May overheat with very extended play times
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This Rockford subwoofer is great for narrow spaces. The low profile design on this beauty makes it versatile enough to be installed in countless spots around your vehicle from the console, to the back hatch, to the wheel well. 

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The peak power output on this streamlined subwoofer is 300 watts. With the dual 2-ohm coil you’ll love the quality of sound from such a small subwoofer. Plus, it’s nice to look at with a sleek faceplate and matte finish saving you time in trying to hide it or enclose it away from view.

This subwoofer is made to dissipate heat quickly with a fully anodized aluminum cone and hybrid basket. You can crank up the volume and let it blast for hours without having to worry about the subwoofer shorting out or distorting from fatigue.

What We Like
Compact and narrow design is great for very small and tight spaces
Can deliver a massively big sound from such a small package
Is made with a focus on heat dissipation to prevent shorting out
Know Before Buying
May need to be broken-in over a week or so
Installation instructions can be somewhat confusing
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Purchasing a subwoofer that is already housed in an enclosure can save you a lot of hassle and time. This one has that part of the installation process covered. You won’t need to worry about building your own enclosure and squeezing it into your available spot. 

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This 8 inch subwoofer is housed in a high efficiency ABS plastic case that can be installed almost anywhere. You won’t need to worry about ventilation or running a cooling system to the amplifier either. It’s great for sticking under seats, in the console, or other hard to reach areas where you might have some excess space.

This enclosed subwoofer is a great addition to your factory stereo. Simply wire them in together and enjoy the increased sound quality you receive without having to break the bank. It won’t deliver enough sound to blow the doors off, but can definitely turn some heads at the red lights. It features a 250 watt peak power output with a frequency response from 35 to 120 Hertz.

What We Like
Great low profile and thin design for under-seat installation
Can be out of the box and playing music within an hour
Equipped with a high-efficiency amplifier that doesn’t need ventilation
Know Before Buying
Sound can be distorted at higher volumes
May lack some of that super deep bass sound
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If the other options so far just haven’t cut it for you, this little workhorse from Rockville might. When you want some big bass sounds from your small 8 inch subwoofer, this one delivers. It’s one of the few subwoofers in this size that can rattle the windows and give you a real feel for the music.

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It peaks at up to 2000 watts of power and will produce a deep bass that you can feel right down to your core. The dual coils with a 4-ohm capacity will get you turning heads with your music choice. The frequency response is sensitive too and can handle a range of 48Hz to 800Hz which means you’ll get an excellent distinction between tones.

The basket is cast aluminum so you know this little subwoofer is ready for some abuse. Don’t be afraid to crank up the volume and get lost in your favorite music. Plus, at this smaller 8 inch size, you can easily tuck it behind the seat or in the wheel well and leave plenty of room for other audio devices or speakers later on.

What We Like
Frequency range between 48 and 800Hz
Cast aluminum basket for excellent heat dissipation
Small size but huge thundering bass sound
Know Before Buying
Dust cap adhesive may need reinforcing
Customer service may be slow to respond to problems
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How We Choose

Size

Car audio system on a black background.Subwoofer.

When it comes to subwoofers, size doesn’t always mean quality. Large 15 inch subwoofers might look like an audio workhorse, but can sound very distorted and not have a proper audio balance. Smaller 8 inch subwoofers on the other hand are not going to be wimpy little tin cans that produce barely audible sounds. In fact, some of the smallest subwoofers on the market can create those big booming bass beats you are looking for.

Sound Quality

If you’re looking for an 8 inch subwoofer, space is probably limited in your vehicle. Just because you’re looking for a smaller subwoofer to fit into a tiny space doesn’t mean you want to settle for a tiny sound. You want to not only hear your music, but feel that big bass thump as well.

When looking over these 8 inch subwoofers, we made sure they not only have a small and compact size, but can also deliver a large and powerful sound no matter where you install them. While they still won’t be as powerful as the big 15 inch beasts, they can deliver a lot of top quality sound from their very small package.

Bass Boosts

Part of the sound quality, getting a decent bass boost from your 8 inch subwoofer is important. You might not be rattling the windows and vibrating the entire car with a smaller and more compact subwoofer, but you’ll definitely feel the thump of a nice low bass in your body and hear the highs and lows from your favorite music with no distortion.

We focused on finding 8 inch subwoofers that can land those notes without causing a distracting or gritty sounding vibration. All of the subwoofers on this list are made to take some abuse when you crank up the volume and blast your tunes at max volume.

High Frequency Coverage

Finding a subwoofer that can cover a range of frequencies is important. Hitting those low bass thumbs is important, but so is delivering a crisp and clear sound on the higher end. You want your music to flow out of the speakers and sound good, not blast apart in such a random contrast between the two that it sounds like two entirely different speakers are being used.

Subwoofers are connected to an independent amplifier and focus on your midrange and high frequencies to maximize the sound you get in return. The right combination of subwoofer and amplifier will remove the distortion, balance the frequencies both high and low, and ensure you are getting the best soundscape of all genres of music.

Installation Options

Subwoofers can come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Some are made to fit into compact areas, and others are made for standard size enclosures. Additionally, you can find enclosed dual subwoofers that give double the bass return without requiring you to create your own enclosure.

If you’re cruising around in a smaller car such as a hatchback, you can still have a subwoofer that delivers a big sound. Eight inch subwoofers are small and compact. They can be installed anywhere from under the seat, inside the console, or behind a seat in the hatch. You can pretty much tuck these 8 inch speakers anywhere and still get an amazing return on your sound.

You might also want to check out this article about the best wireless subwoofers.

What is Better: Passive or Powered Subwoofers?

Trying to make heads or tails of all the information you find with subwoofers can be easier said than done. To make things more confusing, you also have the option of passive subwoofers or powered subwoofers. But what is the difference, and how does it apply to you?

The difference between the two may not be as confusing as you originally thought. Passive subwoofers are simply the subwoofer itself. In order to be used, a passive subwoofer will need to be connected to an external amplifier. The biggest downside to a passive subwoofer is that you will need to take into account the extra room needed for the amplifier as well as the cable to connect the subwoofer to the amplifier.

Powered subwoofers include an internal amplifier, so won’t have as many space restrictions as a passive unit. However, the initial purchase cost of a powered subwoofer will be much more than a passive one, but if you’re extremely tight on space this may be your only option. The biggest downside to a powered subwoofer is that if the amplifier blows out, you won’t be able to replace just that component. Instead you will have to replace the entire unit.

There is very little difference in the sound quality you can get from both passive and powered subwoofers. When space is extremely limited, a powered unit is your best option. But if you have plenty of room and don’t mind installing a separate amplifier as well, a passive subwoofer will be the better option for you.

Things to Look For in an 8 Inch Subwoofer

When you’re searching for a new 8 inch subwoofer, you are faced with a lot of different features between brands and models. This can make the entire process of finding your next subwoofer both time consuming and overwhelming. But knowing which features are more important can help you make an educated choice on your next purchase.

Magnet Size

Car audio system on a black background.Subwoofer.

As with other speakers, a subwoofer’s sound is driven by a magnet and transmitted through the coil. Internal magnets on subwoofers can range in size and thickness which changes how the sound is produced. The action of the magnetic fields inside your subwoofer is the main determining factor on sound quality. So you may think that bigger is better when it comes to the magnets, but is it?

While the quality of magnetic strength is important, the size of the magnet itself has very little effect on the force of sound the unit produces. The areas to focus on more would be the cone and coil, as well as the suspension system between those two components.

Basket Type: Stamped, Cast, or Hybrid

Subwoofers of all types and sizes include a basket. Some may be referred to as a harness or web, but the purpose is the same. It’s the main support structure that holds the cone and coils. There are three types of basket you may see advertised with your subwoofer and that is stamped, cast, and hybrid.

Cast baskets are excellent for dissipating excess heat from your subwoofer and are common in vehicle speakers. They’re a very rigid option that can support subwoofers that are made for high performance output.

Stamped baskets are extremely common as they are the strongest option for this support structure. They are very resistant to bending and can resonate a variety of sounds and vibrations very well.

Hybrid baskets are an equal mix of both cast and stamped supports. They will have the strength of the stamped with the heat resistant abilities of the cast, while being lightweight as well. They’re extremely popular and are found in a wide range of subwoofer brands.

Cone or Diaphragm Material

The cone or diaphragm is an internal component of your subwoofer that is moved by your magnetic coil system. It requires a support material around it to help amplify and focus the sound it produces. There are a wide variety of materials that can be used for this job including:

  • Treated paper. Not your normal notebook paper, this paper fiber is woven and treated with durable coatings to ensure it is both light as well as flexible. It’s one of the most commonly used materials in the diaphragm and cone construction.
  • Carbon fiber. Commonly used in some lower end subwoofers and very cost effective. It’s very lightweight but can be less durable than other options and may be prone to blow-outs with some loud music.
  • Polypropylene. Exceptionally durable and long lasting, but also very rigid which may create a different sound scape in some subwoofers. It’s slightly more expensive than paper and carbon fiber, and is not as commonly used.
  • Kevlar. A higher end material that is both lightweight and extremely durable. It’s an excellent choice for standing up to high demands. Kevlar is normally used in premium subwoofers as it can help deliver a sound amplification that is second to none.
  • Magnesium. This material is very common in low and mid range subwoofers, and is extremely cost effective for manufacturers to use. However it can be prone to poor resonance and pitch return, as well as the occasional distortion effects.

Subwoofer Surround Material

There are a variety of materials that can be found around the cone inside the 8 inch subwoofer. No matter what type of materials are used, their job is the same. And that is to keep the cone in place without absorbing or distorting the vibrations from the music you are playing. The materials should be extremely flexible and highly durable in order to do their job right. The majority of subwoofers on the market, regardless of their size or manufacturer, will use one of these three materials:

  • Foam. This is the most commonly found and budget friendly material in subwoofers. It’s cost effective which makes it desirable for a lot of manufacturers, and efficient at keeping the cone centered. You’ll also find that foam is long lasting and durable and can still take a good amount of abuse from loud tunes.
  • Urethane. A mid range material that is almost as commonly found as foam. Urethane is very durable, highly flexible, and can be somewhat cost effective. It’s a bit more pricey than foam, but still budget friendly. It’s not as high quality as santoprene, but is still a very worthwhile material to use as it gets the job done.
  • Santoprene. A higher end material that is excellent for vehicle subwoofers. Santoprene is exceptionally long lasting and highly resistant to high and low temperatures. For manufacturers that want to invest a bit more into their production line, this is a few steps up from just using foam.

Summary

While the selection of 8 inch subwoofers may seem overwhelming, narrowing it down to what you personally put more value in can help pinpoint the best 8 inch subwoofer for your needs. Whether you are wanting to get a subwoofer from a top brand name, or just want something that can deliver a better sound than your factory sound system, you can find it.

Subwoofers are a worthwhile investment for anyone that wants to get a better sound from their favorite music. Some of the higher end models may set you back a few bucks, but they can pay for themselves by delivering a quality sound with an excellent bass balance.