10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Which Is Best for Home Theater

One of the most important attributes of subwoofers that determine their level of performance is the size. Although there are many size options available, the two most common sizes that audiophiles opt for are the 10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer.

What makes them different?  Why do some prefer one over the other?

Keep reading to find out!

What is a subwoofer and why do you need it?

A subwoofer is all about the bass. It is a loudspeaker that is designed to produce lower frequencies such as bass and sub-bass, typically at a range of 20-200 Hz. In simpler terms, it can be viewed as a big low-pressure powered air pump that pumps low bass frequencies, whether they are orchestral music, rock, and roll or the explosive sound effects that you hear in the blockbuster movies.

Now you might be thinking, what’s the need for a subwoofer when you’ve got a loudspeaker to provide you the bass you need?

While the bookshelf speakers will let you hear the bass, with subwoofers you can feel them. Having a great subwoofer paired up with your average loudspeakers will help to improve your overall sound system. This will not only lessen the strain on your loudspeakers, but it will also add extra depth and width to your soundstage.

With the addition of subwoofers to your audio system, you will get substantial improvement in the accuracy of the stereo imaging, more compelling dynamics and the audio will be more vibrant and pleasing to the ears.  There isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t be getting a subwoofer if you want an immersive audio experience.

10-inch subwoofer

The 10-inch subwoofer is the second most popular sized subwoofers in the market. These are mostly known for their compact size and responsiveness. Easy to install, the 10-inch subwoofers offer a greater bass response and sound quality when compared to the 8-inch subwoofers. If you’re a fan of metal, rock, or country music, these subwoofers can be the perfect choice for you.

Reasons to choose a 10-inch subwoofer

Enhanced bass

The subwoofers can reproduce frequencies below 80 Hz, adding the perfect amount of depth to your sound.

Improved high-frequency performance

With the subwoofers, the tweeters and woofers can have maximum midrange and high frequencies.

Convenience of installment

The 10-inch subwoofer is relatively smaller compared to the other subwoofers. Its standard size makes it easier to setup.

Smoother sound

The subwoofers will give you rich and dynamic audio without distorting the sound.

12-inch subwoofer

The perfect mix of accuracy and loudness, the 12-inch subwoofers are the number one trending subwoofers in the market. Its distinct bass response and clarity is what makes it better than the 8 inch and 10-inch subwoofers. These power-packed 12-inch subwoofers are the best fit for you if you love to groove to the beats of hip-hop and R&B.

Why should you choose a 12-inch subwoofer?

Improved stereo speakers

The 12-inch subwoofers can pick up lower frequencies than your ordinary sound system and these are exactly what you need to boost up your stereo speakers.

Reduced pressure on audio systems

Usually, if you’re using a single audio system to produce a wide range of frequencies, it can weaken the system. Adding the subwoofer which has its own amplifier and power source can help to reduce strain on your speakers.

Speed control

With the use of subwoofers, you will get more speed and audio control.

Smooth sound

The subwoofer improves the overall quality of the sound system, reducing any sort of distortion that interferes with your musical experience.

What sets the subwoofers apart?

The main difference between the 10-inch subwoofer and the 12-inch subwoofer is the amount of bass the subwoofers can generate.

Since the 12-inch subwoofer is larger, it can physically move more air than the 10-inch subwoofer. This means that the 12-inch subwoofer is much louder than its competitor.

However, there is more ease of installment for the 10-inch woofer since it is lighter than the 12-inch woofer.

Another thing that is affected by the size of the subwoofer is the quality of the sound. Usually, smaller subwoofers are more controlled on fast tight bass notes compared to larger ones. Hence, the 10-inch woofer gets a point for this one.

Find out about the Difference between a Tweeter and a Subwoofer.

Top 10-inch subwoofer highlights

We have picked out the best 10-inch subwoofers in 2020 for you.

Klipsch Reference R-10SWi

Product summary

If you want clean and precise thumping bass, not just a powerful boom to enhance your listening experience, these subwoofers are a perfect match for you. These 10-inch subwoofers can deliver deep, impactful bass anywhere you want.


Dimensions14.9 x 12.1 x 18.3 inches
Weight25.5 lbs
Amplifier output150 watts
Frequency response32-120 Hz
EnclosureBass enclosure
Woofer size (inches)10
Reasons to buy
Remarkably realistic bass
Well rounded performance

Polk Audio PSW10

Product summary

The Polk Audio PSW10 is exactly what you need if you want to add low frequencies with clear and accurate bass to your movies. These 10-inch powered subwoofers can also be used as an addition to your sound system to add depth to your music.


Dimensions14.3 x 14 x 16.3 inches
Weight26 lbs
Amplifier output50 watts
Frequency response40-160 Hz
EnclosureBass reflex
Woofer size (inches)10
Reasons to buy
Smart sensing technology that automatically turns off the device in case of power shortage
Easily accessible inputs
Impressive audio quality

Top 12-inch subwoofer picks

Klipsch SPL-120

Product summary

These power-packed fellas are exactly what you need for your ground to quake to the bass on the music! With top-notch construction and incredible power handling capacity, the 12-inch subwoofers are certainly winning the game.


Dimensions7.11 x 14.3 x 21.1 inches
Weight45 lbs
Power 300 watts
Frequency response24-125 Hz
Peak power handling600 watts
EnclosureBass Reflex
Reasons to buy
High frequency class D amplifier
Spun copper cerametallic woofers
Exclusive port technology
Ultra durable design
Explosive bass
Easy system integration

SVS SB-2000 subwoofer

Product summary

The SVS SB-2000 subwoofers earner their fame in the market for their flawless performance, extremely accurate bass response and impressive power handling capacity. Also take a peek at SVS SB-1000.


Dimensions14.6 x 14.2 x 15.4 inches
Weight34.8 lbs
Amplifier output500 watts
Frequency response19-220 Hz
EnclosureBass reflex
Peak power rating1100 watts
Reasons to buy
Clean and powerful bass
Easy to set up and control


10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Is size all that matters?

What size do subwoofers play the loudest and the lowest? Size really matters when you are shopping for a subwoofer. This is because there should be a significant volume of air to provide the low bass. In this case, bigger is better.

There is a wide range of sizes available from 8, 10, 12 to 15 inches. Although bigger sizes offer greater bass, smaller subs can also perform great if they are properly powered.

But is size all that matters? There are other important factors that determine the performance of your subwoofer. We have listed out a few. Check out these Subwoofers for your studio flat.

10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Power rating

If you want your audio system to really boom, you need to consider the power of the subwoofers. Subwoofers have two types of wattage- the peak and the RMS. Instead of peak power ratings, focus on the RMS power ratings, which measure continuous power handling or output. Ensure that the subwoofer can handle the amplifier’s output power.

10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Frequency range

The frequency range of the subwoofers will determine how low the subwoofer can play. When you set up a subwoofer, it is important to ensure its highest frequency. This frequency is known as the crossover. It is at this frequency that the loudspeakers stop producing sound and the subwoofer starts doing its magic. Check out the Subwoofer Frequency setting Guide for better understanding.

10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Excursion

The greater excursion will provide more bass energy since it allows the air to move more. Hence the more the excursion, the richer and louder the sound.

10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: EQ

The environment in which a subwoofer function is an important factor for how it performs. Subwoofers contain DSP (Digital Signal Path) Technology which helps to alter the sound before it is produced out of the front of the subwoofer. Equalization, also known as EQ, is a form of DSP which can boost or cut certain frequencies to improve the sound quality.

10 inch subwoofer vs 12 inch subwoofer: Sensitivity

How efficient is the subwoofer at converting the power to sound? A sensitivity measure can help to determine that. The higher the sensitivity rating, the louder the sound.

More About Subwoofer

The basic difference between a woofer and a subwoofer?

The first difference lies in the frequency range. Whilst the woofer can provide a frequency range of 20Hz to 2 kHz, a subwoofer is more advanced and can cover a narrower range of 20 Hz to 200 Hz.

Because of its lower frequency range, subwoofers are typically larger in size compared to woofers. The extra space is required for the movement of the driver to provide the deep bass.

Lastly, subwoofers are more specialized in comparison to woofers. Sure, woofers are great and they get the job done. But if you’re an audiophile who’s always thirsty for the best sound, subwoofers are there to do the trick for you. Take a peek at the Details Guide on Woofer and Subwoofer.

Types of subwoofers?

Subwoofers can be divided into two categories- passive subwoofers and active or powered subwoofers.

Passive Subwoofer:

These subwoofers need to be powered by an external amplifier or Audio/Video receiver. This attribute makes them similar to speakers. The passive subwoofers need more power to reproduce low-frequency sounds, so the amplifier or receiver needs to be powerful enough to sustain the bass effects reproduced by the subwoofer. The subwoofer speaker and the size of the room will determine how much power will be required.

Active or Powered Subwoofer:

The active subwoofers are self-contained. This means that both the subwoofer speaker and amplifier are combined in the same cabinet. No external source of power is required for this type of subwoofer.

Powered subwoofers are more widely known because of their ease of use. Moreover, the external amplifier that is needed to function a passive subwoofer can be more expensive than the subwoofer itself. This is why active or powered subwoofers are a better option.

Learn more about Best Subwoofer Box Design for Deep Bass.


If you are wondering about some real-life problems and solutions, then this section is the best place for you to stop by!

Should I get a subwoofer that’s 10 or 12 inches in diameter?

12 inches is preferable to 10. Similarly, 15 inches is preferable to 12 inches. For the same SPL, less excursion means less nonlinear distortion.

Which has a greater impact, 10s or 12s?

However, given more power, the two 10″ subs would sound a little cleaner and punch a little harder because their combined cone surface area produces more sound pressure. The single 12″ sub, on the other hand, might sound a little deeper.

Is a 10-inch subwoofer sufficient?

Provided your musical preferences, one 10″ would do in an F-150, even though it’s an extended/crew cab or something. It’d be perfect even with bass-heavy songs. Make sure it’s a reputable brand. Even, if you have an amp, it might have built-in frequency/crossover power.

Final thoughts

An audiophile with a big bass appetite is always looking out for the best subwoofers in the market. With so many distinctive features, it’s difficult to understand which subwoofer can hit you with the perfect thump.

What size of subwoofer you should get honestly depends on how much bass you prefer on your music. If rock, country, and metal is your preferred genre of music, the 10-inch subwoofers are a great choice. On the contrary, if you love dancing to party music, the 12-inch subwoofers can provide just the right amount of bass to get your legs moving.

However, the size of the subwoofer is not the only thing you should be concerned about- its performance depends on so many other factors. My advice would be to explore the subwoofers, give them a listen, and then you can finally settle for one that you think is perfect for you. Check out these Best Subwoofers for Music Only: For Car & Home