Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer in 2022

SoundGearLab-Team | Last Updated On April 26th, 2022 | This post may contain affiliate links.

The subwoofer has one primary function; to deliver the boom. It is the bass speaker system dedicated to reproducing low frequencies to reveal sounds in your music that your speakers alone cannot reproduce. It is 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 will take up much space in your car.

Ultimately, the shallow mount subwoofers you choose are going to be determined by the sound you are looking for, the size of your ride, the free area you have for placement, and the aesthetic you are going for. Remember that not all shallow mount car subwoofers are made equal. This guide will help you understand everything you wish to know about shallow mount subs and follow it up with an extensive catalog to help you choose the one best suited to your needs.

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Comparison of the Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers

photo of the Rockford Fosgate<br> P300-10Rockford Fosgate
P300-10
Best Powered Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Kenwood<br> KSC-SW11Kenwood
KSC-SW11
Best Under-Seat Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Rockville<br> Rws12caRockville
Rws12ca
Best Budget Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Rockford Fosgate<br> T1S1-12Rockford Fosgate
T1S1-12
Best Premium Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Kenwood<br> Excelon KFC-XW1200FKenwood
Excelon KFC-XW1200F
Best Component Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Rockford Fosgate<br> P300-10TRockford Fosgate
P300-10T
Best Truck Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon
photo of the Cerwin-Vega<br> VPAS12STCerwin-Vega
VPAS12ST
Spare Tire Shallow Mount SubwooferSee On Amazon

Reviews of the Best Shallow Mount Subwoofers

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

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

With the Punch P300, you get the sound you’ve come to expect in a small, pre-powered package. Besides the quality bass 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 car subwoofer, it probably won’t fit under your seat.

What We Like
All-Inclusive -

All you need to do with this car audio system is run power and a signal and ground it.

Sound -

The Punch shallow mount is one of the most popular composites on the market for a reason. It delivers crisp, deep, tight bass, no matter the enclosure.

Warranty -

You will get a full one-year warranty when you purchase from an authorized seller.

Know Before Buying
Size -

At 18 inches long, this sealed enclosure will be too big to fit under most car seats.

Remote Wire Confusion -

If you purchase this mount subwoofer, please read the directions closely.

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The Kenwood KSC-SW11 is a clear winner in the size department. If you are looking for the most compact sub on the market that is powered and capable of a big bass, look no further.

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

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

You should expect excellent quality bass and more clarity than you will experience with even aftermarket door speakers. But if you are looking to win best shallow mount subwoofer competitions, this isn’t the sub for you.

What We Like
Size -

The size of this slim subwoofer means it is able to fit under tight spaces and most car seats. Still, don’t forget to measure.

Sound -

Listen, this thing won’t win any heavy bass competitions. It will, however, deliver a mid-bass far superior to your aftermarket door speakers.

All-Inclusive -

This shallow sub is powered. All you need to do with this sound 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, louder 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 shallow sub also bumps.

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Looking for serious bass from shallow subwoofers? You’ve found it. Rockville’s slim 12-inch shallow mount subwoofer offers the lightning in a bottle you have 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 generate extreme bass. But, you will still be amazed by the great sound quality 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 but thanks to a kevlar reinforced cone, high-density surround, and rolled steel basket, it will last.

What We Like
Power -

1200 Watts of peak power and 300 watts RMS mean you can send more 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 the overall sound quality in your small car will be through the roof.

Know Before Buying
Output -

This will sound great with 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 shallow mount car subwoofer designed for the small areas others won’t fit in. 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 arguably the best shallow mount around, know what it should sound like, and are unwilling to buckle under the pressure of limited space, these shallow subs are 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 superior build quality with an injection-molded surround and proprietary features throughout, it will hold up under hours of output.

You’ll want to keep in mind when buying these expensive shallow mount subwoofers that they are 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 quality 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 shallow mount subwoofer can handle some RMS power rating. 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 tight spaces and deliver powerful bass. This shallow mount car subwoofer 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. Do not 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 are 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 will need to purchase everything, including a box.

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Are you a 4×4 nut looking for the best shallow mount subwoofers? 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 are looking to give that old 4×4 a significant audio upgrade or to fill out the lackluster bass in your new whip’s soundstage, these fully powered shallow subwoofers are 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 deeper bass when necessary and expect the best performance the woofer amplifier and enclosure can deliver.

All of that on top of the main show which is the powerful, famous Punch component, 4×4 bass heads should giddy-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 will always have the perfect amp setting which is just a twist of a knob away.

Warranty -

You’ll get a full one-year warranty when you purchase from an authorized seller.

Power -

300 watts RMS power should ensure high output capabilities with minimal wear on the woofer.

Know Before Buying
Weight -

At just under 30 pounds, it is kind of heavy to carry to the back of the truck on your own.

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Sometimes getting the accurate sound you are looking for in tight spaces means getting creative. Insert Cerwin-Vega’s VPAS12ST 12″‘ Spare Tire Sub. That’s right! With this well-reviewed shallow mount car subwoofer, 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 high quality bass, look no farther as this sub has you covered. 250 watts RMS, a 12-inch cone, and adjustable input sensitivity take this sub off shelves and into the spare tire well for extra bass bumping power range.

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

What We Like
Location -

This thing fits on top of/in your spare tire well! It is super stealthy. Enough said.

Sound -

Don’t get it twisted. This isn’t a novelty sub. This thing should bump depending on how much bass you want.

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 option means this thing has to ride way in the back. If you are unhappy with the sound, there aren’t many options when it comes to moving it closer.

We have also reviewed the Polk Audio PSW10 10 inch shallow mount.

See On Amazon

Why should I buy a shallow mount subwoofer?

While the bigger the sub, the bigger the bass, a full sized subwoofer will take up a ton of room and isn’t easily hidden from car thieves. In many cases, it just won’t fit in the available space in your car. It is harder to position and can take much of your passenger or cargo space. Since it is also way heavier, your vehicle also has to work harder as a traditional subwoofer can be equivalent to carrying an extra passenger.

If a large or medium box just won’t fit or doesn’t provide the look or sound you are going for, I’m here to tell you that a shallow mount subwoofer is the answer to your bassing, bumping prayers. It is designed to take up minimum space and fit in tight spaces and narrow areas while offering performance on par with regular subwoofers. Its streamlined look facilitates seamless placement, ensuring it won’t stand out as an eyesore inside your car.

Shallow mount subwoofers are best for small vehicles where space is a challenge. Installing just one is enough for a high-quality, boomy listening experience though you can add more if you want to. They are designed to fit under your seat or behind your truck bench and are usually capable of being played facing up or down. It’s because they are omnidirectional which simply means the sound output is directed to the four corners of the car cabin. Everybody in the car can hear the sound output as audibly as possible.

How to Pick the Best Shallow Mount Subwoofer

There are a ton of options when it comes to the best shallow mount subwoofer. It can get crazy choosing which subwoofer to purchase with different specifications in different sizes from different brands available. You need to make an informed decision if you are looking to upgrade your car or truck audio system for bass. Here are a few things to consider to make your search easier.

Size

Depending on placement, size will be your most significant factor in picking up shallow subwoofers. Shallow mount subwoofers come in different sizes with the most common diameters measuring 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches. It used to be that the bigger the size, the better the base but recent technological advancements have found a way to improve the bass without sacrificing space.

If you plan on throwing a powered sub under a single-seat, take 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. When measuring the size of the shallow subwoofer, oftentimes it is the overall diameter that’s tracked. It is imperative that the measurement is compatible with the car space it will occupy.

On the other hand, if the sub is riding in the back of your truck or in another relatively larger spot, opt for one of the largest shallow subwoofers you can fit in the space. Just make sure you account for an amp. The amplifier will power your subwoofer as bass sound waves need lots of power to thump. If you are looking for that satisfying rumble of big bass, a subwoofer with an amplifier will give you that sharper sound and increased clarity.

Power Supply

Many shallow mounts you’ll find on the market come with a built-in power supply. The benefits of the built-in power supply include the ease of installation because of less wiring and saving of storage space because everything is packed inside sealed enclosures. There is no need to search for a matching amplifier and enclosure to pair with the subwoofer you bought. Everything is already matched and optimized for those bass notes to resonate.

Just keep in mind that it might not sound as good as something with a separate amp. The compactness of the stand-alone subwoofer means the drivers are smaller and the output is lower, compromising the amount of bass they can deliver. 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.

Power Handling

There is a limit to how much power a subwoofer can handle so check the subwoofer’s power-handling ratings. They come in terms of peak power and root mean square (RMS) power with peak power indicating the maximum amount of power surge a subwoofer can handle while RMS power specifies how much continuous power a subwoofer can sustain. Both numbers are important to know so you don’t blow up your unit.

Even though you have to be familiar with both the RMS power and the peak power rating, pay more attention to the RMS values. The RMS power rating will likely be lower than the peak power rating but it represents what a subwoofer is truly capable of handling. The RMS is reflective of the experience you will get on a daily basis as its numbers represent what the subwoofer can handle on continuous play.

Sensitivity

Another important feature to consider when buying a shallow mount sub is sensitivity as it goes hand-in-hand with power to produce loud volumes. The sensitivity is gauged by how much bass a woofer produces as it converts power into volume. It is measured in decibels (dB) and 90 dB will give you decent loudness with no distortion. Anything less and you will probably end up wanting more so check the sensitivity rating.

Always remember that subs with higher sensitivity ratings won’t require as much power to produce the same amount of sound compared to subs with lower sensitivity ratings. Sensitivity is especially useful depending on your amplifier. A subwoofer with high sensitivity is best if you are using a low power amp, but you could get away with a lower sensitivity rating if you are using a well-powered amp.

Quality

Like everything these days, the variations in the quality of available shallow mount subwoofers are as wide as the horizon. When looking for a sub that will last, consider the materials used in its construction. A rigid polypropylene cone can absorb moisture and has low distortion. A flexible rubber surround can last for decades even with changing weather conditions. An anodized aluminum voice coil, on the other hand, dissipates heat much faster so it can withstand more power longer.

Brand names have the credibility of creating great car audio systems from many years of reliability and sound quality. Rockford Fosgate, Kenwood, Rockville, and Cerwin-Vega are easily some of the best shallow mount subwoofers’ names in the market today. They are patent-holders of many innovations that changed the way subs are made, allowing them to remain relevant and in high demand worldwide. A shallow subwoofer that comes from a company you’ve heard of and uses quality components is a sure bet to finding a sub you’ll be happy with.

Bass Response

The best shallow mount subwoofers do not just sound bassy. They actually “reveal” the bass in your favorite track being the loudspeaker that produces the low-pitched sound frequencies. Once the bass starts playing, you should feel it as well as rattle your car windows. As the anchor that ties rhythm and melody together, the bass frequency in your car should be a deep, full-bodied sound coming out of your subs.

The shallow subwoofers are designed to pick up lower frequencies (20HZ) than standard speakers (50HZ), allowing you to hear the sound quality the way the artist intended. Because human ears can only pick sounds with a frequency down to 20 Hz, the subwoofer will help you feel the vibrations even if you cannot hear it. A good subwoofer can make you hear something entirely new even from a song you’ve heard a hundred times before.

When it comes to a shallow mount, you’ll want to look for a peak power of around 1000 watts RMS. This ensures that when you crank up the bass lines, your subs will never give up. An impedance rating of 4 ohms is also preferable for less stress on your vehicle’s electrical system without a decrease in sound quality and clarity. You can find the specs in the packaging or product manual of the subwoofer.

Frequency Response

The frequency response shows how well a shallow mount subwoofer can reproduce all of the audible tones. It is measured in hertz (Hz) unit with the hearing range of humans anywhere from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. As the frequency range goes lower in the scale, the bass becomes deeper until you mostly just feel it and not hear it. So, do you need a shallow subwoofer with lower hertz or do you need subs with a higher Hz rating?

Keep an eye out for a frequency response ranging from 30 Hz to 800 HZ. That will allow the shallow mount subs to deliver a variety of heavy bass sounds within a wide frequency range. There are subs capable of reaching down to 1 Hz but that is already well out of the range of human sensation. By definition, subwoofers are not built to handle the highest frequencies so 200 Hz and above is best left for other speakers.

Price

While shallow mount subs are often less expensive than regular subwoofers due to their smaller size, the upgrade to your sound system will still come at a price. The good news is there is a wide price range for mount subwoofers whether money is no object to you or you are on a budget. You get what you pay for with a shallow subwoofer with more expensive subs able to go louder, produce lower frequencies and create better sound quality.

It does not mean you won’t get big bass if you’re not interested in spending big money. There are units that can give you a lot of value for not that much cash. There are some affordable options available that can deliver clear highs and punchy lows. Even for a fairly low price tag, your choice of brand and model can help you enjoy listening to your favorite music while on your way to and from work.

Shallow Mount 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 bass accuracy 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 quality. That is great news if you are looking for a shallow mount sub. The reason is bass drowning out the rest of your car audio isn’t the goal, crystal clear tones that add rather than subtract from the overall experience are.

Benefits of a Shallow Mount Subwoofer

Size

The obvious benefit you’ll find in a shallow mount is the compact size. It is very slim and generally is smaller in dimension than regular subwoofers. Thus, it can be easily mounted in tight spaces. You won’t need to round up your friends to transport the shallow subwoofer into your car either. 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-understand 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 will be easier to install and transport out of the car and adds less weight to the back of your rig when it is finally in. You probably also know that the lighter your vehicle weighs, the better its fuel economy.

Power

Many of the best 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 will also need a car amplifier. The amp will boost the very small audio signal from your car stereo to provide more power to your subwoofer. No one wants to hear a dull, thumpy vibration while listening to bass-heavy music.

So, yes, installing a subwoofer in your car without partnering it with an amplifier is a mistake. There’s a reason your neighborhood car audio retailer offers a car subwoofer and amplifier package. If you choose an unpowered sub, a good option is storing an appropriately sized amp under one seat and the shallow subwoofer under another. It is important to locate the desired placement for your amp and sub in your transport as it can vary by vehicle.

Disadvantages of Shallow Mount Subwoofer

Sound

There are a lot of things like cone material and magnet quality and size that go into a subwoofer to reproduce excellent sound. Unfortunately, one of those things is also the size of the box. The larger the box, the more air the shallow subs can move. Because it is installed in a small space, a shallow mount subwoofer can’t move a lot of air behind it. You may not get the same bass and low-end frequencies in as clear and loud of a manner as for regular subs.

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. It will struggle to hold up to the output of a larger sub. It will still sound good but will have less deep bass and low-end frequency capability. If you’re not looking to compete with this sub or max out your sound without some distortion, a shallow mount subwoofer remains a viable option for most setups.

Keep in mind that you will generally be using a shallow mount in a small area, so you may not need as much deep bass as you’d think to fill out your soundstage appropriately. Do you really want loud, earth shaking bass that can loosen bolts and screws, and shatter car windows from vibrations? When you pair your shallow mount with the right stock or aftermarket interior speakers, you should be more than happy with the results.

Conclusion

Best Powered Shallow Mount Subwoofer
Best Under-Seat Shallow Mount Subwoofer
Best Budget Shallow Mount Subwoofer

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 compact size and fitting into the tightest spaces compared to their regular counterparts. If you haven’t got a lot of space in your car or you really don’t want to struggle with installation, you can still boost your bass production with a shallow mount subwoofer

When looking for a shallow 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 are looking for. They come in various sizes, shapes and specs to suit any audiophile’s requirements. If you do these things and cross your t’s and dot your i’s, there is no doubt that you will be more than happy with what you get.

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