Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer in 2021

SoundGearLab-Team | Last Updated On November 25th, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

The subwoofer has one primary function; to deliver the boom. It’s designed to move a lot of air and pump a lot of bass. Because of this, subwoofers are generally large (see our list of best 12 inch subwoofers) and require a large space.

If space is an issue, you gotta consider the shallow mount subwoofer. They’re designed to fit under your seat or behind your truck bench and are usually capable of being played facing up or down. We also have reviewed the Polk Audio PSW10 10-inch powered subwoofer.

Ultimately, the size subwoofer you choose is going to be determined by the sound you’re looking for, the size of your ride, the free area you have for placement, and the aesthetic you’re going for.

Remember, though, that a large subwoofer will sound excellent but will take up a ton of room and isn’t easily hidden from car thieves. And in many cases, they just won’t fit in your car.

If a large or medium box just won’t fit or doesn’t provide the look or sound you’re going for, I’m here to tell you that a shallow mount subwoofer is the answer to your bassing bumping prayers.

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How to Pick the Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer

There are a ton of options when it comes to the best shallow mount subwoofer. Here are a few things to consider.

Size

Depending on placement, size will be your most significant factor in picking up a shallow mount.

If you plan on throwing a powered sub under a single-seat, get out your tape measure. The last thing you want is a sub that doesn’t fit through the seat mounts and ends up riding between a passenger’s feet.

On the other hand, if the sub is riding in the back of your truck or in another relatively larger spot, opt for the largest sub you can fit in the space. Just make sure you account for an amp.

Power Supply

Many shallow mounts you’ll find on the market come with a built-in power supply. The benefit of the built-in power supply is the ease of installation and saving of space.

Just keep in mind that it might not sound as good as something with a stand-alone amp. If you do opt for a separate shallow mount/ amp setup, be careful to purchase an amp that not only fits your space, but also has the appropriate power levels for your small woofer.

Quality

Like everything these days, the variations in the quality of available shallow mount subs are as wide as the horizon. When looking for a sub that will last, consider the price (unfortunately, like everything else, you often get what you pay for), the quality of materials, and the company’s name. A price that makes sense from a company you’ve heard of that uses and lists quality components is a sure bet to finding a sub you’ll be happy with.

Bass Response

The subwoofer doesn’t just sound bassy. It actually “reveals” the bass in your favorite track.

The subwoofer is designed to pick up lower frequencies (20HZ) than standard speakers (50HZ), allowing you to hear the music the way the artist intended.

When it comes to a shallow mount, you’ll want to look for a peak power of around 1000 watts or more and its impedance rating of 4 ohms.

Frequency Response

Keep an out for a frequency response ranging from 30 Hz to 800 HZ. That will allow it to deliver a variety of bass sounds within a wide frequency range.

Product Review

With the P300, Rockford Fosgate delivers the punch, Literally. Featuring the famous Punch speaker in a shallow powered enclosure, the P300 provides all the bass reproduction you've come to expect in an easy-to-install, easy-to-hide system.

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You’ll find Rockford Fosgate’s 10″ Punch at the top of a lot of lists for a good reason. The thing is built well, handles a ton of power, and delivers the punch.

With the Punch P300, you get the sound you’ve come to expect in a small, pre-powered package. Besides the incredible sound produced by the Punch and onboard 300 Watt perfectly paired amp, that small package means you can hide most places, even in your small car. And thanks to the one-year warranty, if you have any problems, Rockford Fosgate will take care of you.

Just keep in mind when purchasing this sub that, although considered a shallow mount, it probably won’t fit under your seat.

What We Like
All-Inclusive - All you need to do with this system is run power and a signal and ground it.
Sound - The Punch woofer is one of the most popular composites on the market for a reason. It delivers crisp, deep, clear bass, no matter the enclosure.
Warranty - You'll get a full one-year warranty when you purchase from an authorized seller.
Know Before Buying
Size - At 18 inches long, this enclosure will be too big to fit under most car seats.
Remote Wire Confusion - If you purchase this sub, read the directions closely.
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The Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a clear winner in the size department. If you're looking for the most compact sub on the market that's powered and capable of a pleasing sound, look no further.

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Housed in an 8 inch cast aluminum enclosure, Kenwood’s KSC-SW11 is an ultra-compact powered sub designed for the smallest space you can find. Of course, you’ll still want to get out the tape measure, but if you only have room available under one single seat, this is the most likely sub for you. And with a 150W power rating, it’ll sound great for your small space, too.

Just keep in mind that even an excellent sound from this won’t compare to a more expensive, non-shallow setup. In a small car, though, this should fit your needs.

You should expect excellent mid-range bass and more clarity than you’ll experience with even aftermarket door speakers, but if you’re looking to win competitions, this isn’t the sub for you.

What We Like
Size - The size of this small enclosure means it's able to fit under most car seats. Still, don't forget to measure.
Sound - Listen, this thing won't win any competitions. It will, however, deliver a mid-bass far superior to your aftermarket door speakers.
All-Inclusive - This Sub is powered. All you need to do with this system is run power and a signal and ground it.
Know Before Buying
Sound - If you go into purchasing this woofer with realistic expectations, you'll be happy with it. Just don't expect deep booming bass.
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Rockville delivers the goods in looks, price, and size with this super slim-designed subwoofer. And it doesn't stop there. Thanks to 1200 watts of peak power on a 12-inch cone, this thing also bumps.

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Looking for bananas bass from a shallow mount? You’ve found it. Rockville’s slim 12 offers the lightning in a bottle you’ve been searching for. That’s thanks to Its affordability, truly small size for a 12-inch sub, and premium build quality and power handling.

As this is a slim subwoofer, keep in mind that you won’t win any competitions. But, you should still be amazed at the sound capabilities of this shallow mount. That’s because this thing can handle 1200 watts of peak power and a steady 300 watts RMS. And not only can it take the power, thanks to a kevlar reinforced cone, high-density surround, and rolled steel basket, it’ll last.

What We Like
Power - 1200 Watts of peak power and 300 RMS mean you can send the power.
Build Quality - A kevlar cone should have this speaker moving plenty of air for plenty of time.
Price - This setup is a real bang for your buck.
Sound - Pair this with a nice pair of door speakers, seal her off, and your overall sound quality in your small car will be through the roof.
Know Before Buying
Output - This will sound great in the proper application. That application is no way back in the trunk of a large sedan.
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The T1S1-12 power is a premium woofer designed for the small areas others won't fit. Thanks to a patented slotted voice coil, you can expect this premium slim sub to sound as good as a premium sub, period.

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Picky audiophiles step up to the plate. Rockford Fosgate’s T1s1-12 is a slim component subwoofer for the discerning listener and driver. If you want one of the best woofers around, know what it should sound like, and are unwilling to buckle under the pressure of limited space, this sub is for you.

This shallow mount component can handle the juice with a 1200 watt max and a mind-blowing 600 watts RMS. And thanks to a superior build quality with an injection-molded surround and proprietary features throughout, it’ll hold up under hours of output.

You’ll want to keep in mind when buying this expensive sub that it’s only a component. That means on top of the hefty price, you’ll need to purchase wires and a shallow mount box.

What We Like
Voice Coil - A patented slotted voice coil provides long excursion travel of sound. In simple terms, it sounds excellent.
Build Quality - An injected molded Surround, a carbon fiber cone, and a proprietary split yolk pass thru are just a few of the advanced components in this stellar quality build.
Power Handling - This 12-inch speaker can handle some power. Paired with the correct amp, this thing will slap.
Know Before Buying
Component Setup - Because this is just a component, you'll need to purchase everything, including a box.
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Kenwood's Excelon KFC is a finger-licking good, slim design component woofer, purpose-built to fit in all those small spaces and blast superior sounding tunes. This component sub is a real small space big sound winner with a 40% slimmer design, a carbon-glass fiber honeycomb cone, and real-deal power handling.

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Kenwood’s Excelon 12″ component is the flat subwoofer of your affordable bassy dreams. Featuring serious power handling capabilities in a ground-up cushy premium build, this one will have you bumping till the chickens come to roost.

And because Kenwood packs a carbon fiber cone, a smooth linear rubber surround, and a super linear spider into a 40 percent space reduced basket, you’ll get the sound you’re looking for without compromising on space.

Just keep in mind that Kenwood’s Excellon is only available as a component. Don’t worry, though, with easy-to-use spring terminals that accept up to 10 gauge wire; setup should be a breeze.

What We Like
Slim Design - This thing takes up half the room of comparable components.
Power Handling - Max output of 1400 Watts means you can turn this one up.
Build - A carbon fiber cone and a linear rubber surround give this sub the lasting ability you're looking for.
Terminals - The silver-plated spring terminals on the outside of this component ensure easy setup.
Know Before Buying
Component Setup - Because this is just a component, you'll need to purchase everything, including a box.
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Are you a 4x4 nut looking for an easy sub setup? The reviews have been in on the Rockford Fosgate's top-of-the-line Punch sub for years, and now you can get it in a powered box explicitly designed for the back of your truck. Looking for ease of use and serious tunes? Look here.

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If you’re looking to give that old 4×4 a significant audio upgrade or to fill out the lackluster bass in your new whips soundstage, this fully powered setup is for you.

Rockford Fosgate’s Punch component subwoofer is powered by a 300-watt amplifier, meticulously boxed, and ready to rumble. Featuring an adjustable 12db low pass crossover and a closed-loop design, you can dial in when necessary and expect the best performance the woofer amplifier and enclosure can deliver.

All of that on top of the main show, the powerful, famous Punch component, should have 4X4 bass heads giddy to up and purchase this one.

What We Like
Shape - This powered box is designed specifically to sit in the rear cab of a truck.
Power - Since this thing is powered, you'll always have the perfect amp setting, just the twist of a knob away.
Warranty - You'll get a full one-year warranty when you purchase from an authorized seller.
Power - 300 watts of RMS power should ensure high output capabilities with minimal wear on the woofer.
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Sometimes getting the sound you're looking for in a small space means getting creative. Insert Cerwin-Vega's VPAS12ST 12"' Spare tire sub. That's right, with this well reviewed setup you'll get a premium powered 12" that fits right over your car's spare tire.

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With the prominence and forward momentum of the electric and hybrid car movement, gas mileage and the environment have moved to the front of our minds. That means car sizes, naturally, are getting smaller and smaller.

If your drive to or from work lacks bass, lack.. No farther, this sub has you covered. 250 watts RMS, a 12-inch cone, and adjustable input sensitivity take this sub off the shelf and put it on your tire in a comfortable bass bumping power range.

Just keep in mind, it sounds good; but don’t expect it to be a 1000w system because it’s not. Since this shallow mount is hidden far in the back of your car, it’ll fill out your system and sound punchy but won’t win any awards. I’d recommend this one for small commuter cars over your four-door American Steel Cadillac.

What We Like
Location - This thing fits on top of/in your spare tire! It's super stealthy. Enough said.
Sound - Don't get it twisted. This isn't a novelty sub. This thing should bump.
Know Before Buying
Tire Location - This unit requires a spare tire that rides in your vehicle and is easily accessible.
Location X2 - Because this is built to go over a spare tire, your limited location options mean this thing has to ride way in the back. If you're unhappy with the sound, there aren't many options when it comes to moving it closer.
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Subwoofers: Things to know

Music and how people have listened to it has been a constant progression since early humans learned to carry a tune some 40,000 years ago.

The car subwoofer is a relatively recent addition in all of that progression. It was developed in the ’60s popularized in the ’70s, and almost necessary in cars by the late 80 and ’90s after the invention of the CD and bass-heavy styles of music like hip hop.

Obviously, when looking at the sub, you’re looking at bumping bass, but believe it or not, the sub does more.

See, it also fills out your soundstage. A proper soundstage is one where all of the components play an integral part to deliver the most pleasing sound. That’s great news if you’re looking for a shallow mount sub.  Because, bass drowning out the rest of your audio isn’t the goal, crystal clear tones that add rather than subtract from the overall experience is.

Benefits of a shallow mount subwoofer

Size

The obvious benefit you’ll find in a shallow mount is the compact size. The subs are available as small as 8 inches and as big as 15 and are designed with a small footprint in mind.

Weight

Along with size, weight is another easy-to-digest benefit. Many larger boxed subwoofers or dual enclosures can weigh up to a hundred pounds. A shallow mount, however, should only weigh about five. That means it’ll be easier to install and transport out of the car and add less weight to the back of your rig when it’s finally in.

Power

Many shallow mounts come powered. A powered sub is easy to set up, though, generally speaking, the unpowered sub will move more air and have a better sound. Just keep in mind that for an unpowered sub, you’ll also need an amp.

If you choose an unpowered sub, a good option is storing an appropriately sized amp under one chair and sub under another.

Disadvantages of a Shallow Mount

Sound

There are a lot of things like cone material and magnet quality and size that go into a subwoofer having an excellent sound. Unfortunately, one of those things is also the size of the box. The larger the box, the more air the sub can move.

That means that, although you’ll be happy with the sound quality from a premium shallow mount, it just won’t compare to its big brother. Instead, it’ll sound good but will have less deep bass and low-end frequency capability.

Just keep in mind that you’ll generally be using a shallow mount in a smaller space, so you may not need as much deep bass as you think to fill out your soundstage appropriately. When you pair your shallow mount with the right stock or aftermarket interior speakers, you should be more than happy with the results.

Conclusion

The shallow mount sub is more than just a second-rate quick fix. Shallow Mount subs, in a world that often thinks bigger is better, are a standout. They are capable of delivering a big sound in a tight size.

When looking for a shallow mount subwoofer, consider the soundstage in your car. Look at the exact room available for sub storage, the amount of time you want to put into the setup, and the sound you’re looking for. If you do those things, and cross your t’s and dot your i’s, there’s no doubt that you’ll be more than happy with what you get.

Need some more help? Check out our list of great shallow mounts below.