Woofer vs Subwoofer: Why Are They So Different?

People tend to get confused about two basic types of drivers, the woofer and the subwoofer, and often they assume that both of them are the same thing. Different drivers have different roles for generating certain forms of sound from a device. Woofer vs Subwoofer, this will be our next topic today.

Woofers and subwoofers are used to carry the bass. Bass is generally known as a low-frequency sound that adds more intensity to the audio. However, since woofers and subwoofers have the same duties and all are low-frequency drivers, it is natural to compare them. They clearly have some certain distinctions, but they are also identical. Why are they different? Let’s find out.

Comparison Table: Woofer vs Subwoofer

A woofer is a generalized speaker; whereas a subwoofer is a modified woofer spanning a very limited spectrum of frequencies. Anyway, there are some sectors to differentiate these drivers.

Frequency Range40 Hz - 25 kHz20 Hz - 200 Hz
Size3-8 inches8-21 inches
Way to power the driverAn external amplifierAn in-built amplifier or An external amplifier
Power Consumption
10-20 W RMS of power
50 W RMS of power
100 W RMS of power
200-300 W RMS of power
250-500 W RMS of power
1000 W RMS of power
Number of Drivers2-way,3-way or 4-way driver systemSingle or Dual-driver system


A woofer is a kind of a driver of a loudspeaker that focuses on the lower half of the auditory range. The term woofer came from “woof” which is actually the low tone of a dog’s bark. It is a specialized speaker also known as a bass speaker.

The woofer is a part of the speakers and so speakers’ models may be distinguished by their performance, cost, and size, as well as their capability for distortion and power consumption.

Many home audio speakers are in the market which has decent woofers and the capability to create detailed bass.

Here are five of the best.

Polk Audio PSW 10


  • Well equipped with a great smart sensing technology
  • Easily accessible
  • Cheaper
  • Durable


  • Lacks a direct LFE input connection
  • Bass is not enough



  • Great sound quality
  • Loud bass
  • Easy to use


  • Does not have the audio cable
  • Somewhat costly

Automotive speakers also need woofers to produce the perfect sound. Find out about Sony GTK-XB90 also.



  • Efficient Power Control
  • Special, low-cost fabrics resemble those of superior quality


  • lack of crossovers

Pyle Speakers


  • Gorgeous sound quality for all kinds of music
  • Lots of volume without distortion or strain
  • Cool styling


  • Poor low-frequency

For recording, studio monitors/speakers are a must. You can look at these speakers with great woofers in the market.

KRK Rokit 5 G3

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  • Clarity and high-powered sound design
  • Built-in insulation pads
  • A wide range of style options available right at the fingertips
  • Quite helpful controls found on the back for simple usability.


  • A substantially better bass player
  • Auto – Standby will make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Also learn about KRK ROKIT 5 speaker in details.

Sony SACS9 10-Inch


  • Sound loud and clear.
  • Strong depth and clarity.
  • If you need to make some modifications depending on your room, these monitors have an LF and HF shelf and a general benefit.
  • Excellent price.


  • Switch (on-off) is in the back

5 woofers That Might Grab Your Attention


A subwoofer or sub is either a woofer or a loudspeaker built to transmit low-pitched audio frequencies, generally known as bass and sub-bass, where woofers cannot reach them. Since they rely on lower frequencies, subs can create continuous bass with most media and allow it easier to significantly raise the frequency of the bass line in music.

There are two classifications of subwoofers, i.e. active subwoofers and passive subwoofers. Usually, an active subwoofer will have an in-built amplification, whereas a passive one will use an external amplification and is made of only the subwoofer driver and enclosure.

The best subwoofers offer top-notch bass sounds and perform in a great position in the living room.

Polk Audio PSW505


  • Auto on/off
  • Budget-friendly
  • Magnetic noise reduction shielding


  • Rattles at high volumes

BIC Acoustec PL-200 II


  • Gold plated terminals
  • Solid build


  • Not suitable for small rooms

There are some outstanding car subwoofers that are suitable for your vehicle. Check out BIC Subwoofers here.

JL Audio

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  • Extreme sound quality
  • Detailed room-shaking bass
  • Compact Design
  • Durable


  • Not a universal fit for all vehicle

MTX Audio Terminator series TNE212D

No products found.


  • Cheaper
  • Excellent Bass
  • Durable


  • Unable to recreate some low frequencies

You also need subwoofers for studio monitors. Take a look at these subwoofers for studio use which will genuinely help you to do recordings..

Yamaha HS8S


  • Easy to move and only weights 27.6 lbs.
  • Fair price.
  • Mobile features such as low and high-cut control and a phase switch for fast access.


  • A little weak in volume.

Check out Yamaha HS8 speaker also.

ADAM Audio Sub8


  • Very strong, lightweight adequate for the small studios.
  • Minimal distortion.
  • Comes with remote control for frequency and input speed crossover tuning.


  • Expensive
  • Not ported

You can also differentiate them with their price range and necessity.

5  Subwoofer That Might Grab Your Attention!

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

Frequency Range: Woofer vs Subwoofer

A woofer is the primary speaker device that provides the music bass but not in an extensive sense. It also helps the tweeter to offer mid-range frequencies and emits between 40 Hz and 25,000 Hz. It has a wide range of frequencies to choose from and home audio speakers as well as car speakers are incomplete without a woofer.

In contrast, a subwoofer is designed to replicate even lower frequencies that a woofer can’t. A subwoofer is typically meant to simulate frequencies within the 20 Hz to 200 Hz range. Therefore, it creates a narrow range of audio frequency to help the audience to get a detailed bass and sub-bass.

However, audiophiles are fond of subwoofers and consider them as an integral part of the home speaker system. Woofers cover most of the low frequencies of bass. Although a subwoofer concentrates on a smaller frequency spectrum, it reproduces more complete bass than a woofer would do.

Therefore you will require other drivers including midrange drivers to replicate those frequencies by using a subwoofer.

Size: Woofer vs Subwoofer

There lies a big difference between a woofer and a subwoofer. Woofers are normally smaller than subwoofers. Woofers had a size spectrum between 3 to 8 inches while subwoofers can be 21 inches and more. The plain truth is that surface area is a great deal to blow air and attain low frequencies.

Only with a large cone surface and a huge, strong magnet, it is possible. That’s why, to reach lower frequencies, subwoofers need to be larger than woofers. And hence the subwoofers’ average dimension is bigger than the woofers’. Size does matter in terms of subwoofer and woofer.

Way to Power The Driver: Woofer vs Subwoofer

As I have said earlier, there are two types of subwoofers depending on their methods of powering the driver. Active subwoofers have an in-built amplifier that can enhance the input signal strength from the head unit for it to drive the sub.

It has to be wired to a specific sub output from the amplifier for a subwoofer to sound absolute best. One of the features of the active subwoofer is the straight-forward single cable link to a preamp or home theater receiver surround sound.

Active subwoofers drop the power load off the receiver considerably, providing efficient flexibility for midrange tweeters and audio speakers. It also comes with an in-built crossover that filters out high frequencies by allowing only low frequencies to reach the subwoofer.

On the other hand, woofers usually need an external amplifier to power up the driver. Also, it can be powered by a standard speaker that is directly controlling the main amplifier. They are passive bass driver kind.

So a woofer only requires a direct correlation to the amplifier output in order to get the power it simply wants. Similarly, passive subwoofers need another extra amplifier to get the power they are required.

Power Handling: Woofer vs Subwoofer

A woofer essentially takes less power than a subwoofer. Typically to operate at the same obvious loudness as a woofer, the subwoofer would have to travel even farther and force a much more actual amount of air to do that.

But yeah, performing fairly noisy would use up a lot of strength or wattage. Not just the higher Watt capacity, but even the driver has to be able to switch deep to go low. Both a strong driver and an efficient amplification will force the sub to send the low deep notes on boiling together.

For example, when a car subwoofer reaches the lowest bass notes, because of the amount of strength it pulls from the car amp, it will potentially render the lights dim, something that never occurs with woofers. So by using a good subwoofer, you’d need to install a capacitor in your vehicle.

The capacitor operates by holding a transient electrical charge to feed immediate power requirements into the amplifier.

Number of Drivers: Woofer vs Subwoofer

Woofers and subwoofers often vary due to the number of drivers they have. Just the woofer and tweeter are usable with a 2-way woofer setup. The woofers in the three forms take those two and install a mid-range voice. Your 4-way speakers will handle both of that, plus another tweeter called a super-tweeter.

Subwoofers on the other side are simply a single driver machine. In the speaker cabinet, a subwoofer just has one driver. While several subwoofers may be installed into one enclosure, each subwoofer is only a single driver device, unlike woofers that have several drivers integrated into one container.

Although recently the engineers figured they could produce a lot more energy by beefing up the drivers and approximately doubling the amplifier capacity.

Cost: Woofer vs Subwoofer

For as little as $100-$200 you can get good woofers although investing a lot of money doesn’t result in too much-improved performance, but the finish and looks get improved.

It’s really different for subwoofers, there’s just about nothing under $500 that’s going to offer smooth, solid bass. Subs from ID companies such as SVS/HSU are in an entirely different class to the cheap alternatives and range at a minimum of $500.

And subs are in reality the simplest form of a speaker to know-there is no directionality, no crossovers, cabinet distortion, number of speakers, kind of tweeter, etc. All you need is a good 12-18 “engine, go for ported/sealed, and an amp. DIY subs for even less money can overcome most commercial deals but for most people, they’re not really an option.

Read: Best Subwoofer for Apartment: Using Subwoofer Without Disturbing Neighbors

FAQs: Woofer vs Subwoofer

Is it possible to use a woofer instead of a subwoofer?

Most woofers are referred to as subwoofers, despite the fact that they are not restricted to low-frequency audio. You may use a woofer as a subwoofer by making sure the audio channels are connected properly.

Is it easier to get a bass tube or a subwoofer?

If texture coordination is necessary, go for bass tubes; if you’re willing to give up room and want more power from your sub (I’m biased, but most car owners favor loudness over accuracy when it comes to bass), a box sub can deliver. It is pricey, but not excessively so.

Is it possible for a subwoofer to play music?

A subwoofer is the size of a speaker and has the appearance of one, but it cannot emit music or sound on its own. You’ll just note the bass if you listen to music around it. Drums, guitar, and vocals, for example, can not pass into your sub.

Verdict: Woofer vs Subwoofer

In the end, it’s quite clear that woofers and subwoofers have some major dissimilarities. However, personal preference matters. The woofer is kind of the main part of any home audio speaker or automotive speaker while subwoofers are externally included to get a room-shaking bass.

The frequency range occupied by woofers is suitable for most purposes. Rock enthusiasts who want the best bass, on the other hand, should try adding a subwoofer.

Woofers have wider low-range frequencies when subwoofers specialize only on the lowest frequencies. Anyway, if you’re an audiophile, you should include both of these devices in your home theatre audio system.