If you desire to boost the sound quality of your car’s music system to premium levels, consider installing a car subwoofer.

A subwoofer enhances sound quality mostly through the reproduction of low frequencies to boost bass output and improve the overall sound experience.

But car subwoofers come in two popular versions, underseat and trunk versions, and choosing between them can get confusing especially if their features, strengths, and shortcomings are not clear.

Join us as we explore these two types of car subwoofers in detail, and help you choose the right version for your car. 

Underseat Car Subwoofer

These are subwoofers that are typically fitted underneath car seats. Often this type of subwoofer comes with a built-in amplifier so that everything is on the same unit.

This subwoofer type utilizes drivers of up 10 inches in diameter, to create the ideal balance of performance and form factor. Peak power can go as high as 800 watts. And some of the most powerful subwoofers can hit RMS peaks of 200 watts.

One of the reasons underseat subwoofers are popular among many car owners is their ease of installation. Almost everyone can hook up and underseat unit to their cars without investing large sums of money in professional installations. 

It capitalizes on the enclosed space under the seat to maximize bass production, making the compact unit surprisingly loud and powerful. 

Also, because underseat subs have their amplifier built into them, they save you some money because you won’t have to buy any additional components. Here, you can chem them out and get a good underseat car subwoofer that will transform your on-the-road audio experience. 

 

Pros

  • Compact and Lightweight: because underseat subwoofers are designed to fit in tight spaces, they tend to be very compact, without compromising on power. 

Compact subwoofers also do a good job of minimizing unit weight, which allows you to easily remove them from under the seat whenever necessary. 

  • Easy to Install: underseat subwoofers also improve ease of installation especially given their lightweight nature. 

Also, since most underseat subwoofers come with amplifiers already integrated into them, they minimize the number of connections needed.

  • Affordable: compared to trunk and other types of subwoofers, underseat ones tend to be cheaper. You can get a lot of value from them without breaking the bank.

Cons

  • Sound quality limitations: due to their smaller sizes, underseat subwoofers may be limited in their sound quality, especially bass output. Although most modern underseat models support sound equalization, their overall performance likely won’t match that of trunk versions.  
  • Can take up passenger leg room: underseat subwoofers can pose comfort problems for your passengers especially if you opt for a chunky unit. 

For instance, the unit may extend to occupy the room that rear passengers would typically need for stretching their legs.

  • Not the most durable: to maintain their compactness, underseat subwoofers tend to forego elaborate protective safeguards such as covers, which leaves most exposed. 

The constant exposure of these units to shock and stresses on the vehicle cabin can undermine their durability. 

Trunk Car Subwoofer

Also known as the trunk subwoofer, its name was inspired by the trunk section of the car, where it is installed, mostly because of its large size. 

Trunk subwoofers are preferred for their superior bass output and overall sound quality over the equivalent in underseat subs.

The most premium subwoofers can hit peak RMS outputs of 2500 and above, and manage even higher peak power. These power levels are typically beyond the reach of underseat subwoofers.

Since these units tend to be large, they demand adequate installation space, which tends to be available in a car’s trunk. But most people who install these units don’t mind the space compromise for the good value they get in terms of sound quality.  

These subwoofers are not only great at frequency differentiation, but they also offer robust customization options, especially given their support for external sound amplifiers. 

A trunk subwoofer may need to be reinforced during installation to enhance stability and prevent the unit from jerking during sudden braking or sharp turns. And as long as there is space in your trunk, you can add more subwoofers to meet your sound quality demands. 

Pros

  • Great sound quality: perhaps the greatest motivator of installing a trunk subwoofer is its capacity to produce excellent sound quality, especially compared to underseat units.

If you get a large subwoofer, you will likely enjoy premium low-frequency bass of superior quality.

  • Robust customization options: trunk models offer robust customization options through, for instance, providing the flexibility of amplifier and equalizer choices. 

You can continuously adjust the subwoofer settings, including frequency levels, to match your preferences, a feature that may be significantly limited in underseat models. 

  • Durable: these subwoofers tend to last longer than underseat ones. Just ensure your subwoofer in enclosed in durable material and is also reinforced securely in the trunk.

Because of its location, it does not suffer from repeated interference, for instance, by passengers. 

Cons

  • Pricey: the best-quality and premium trunk subwoofers can be quite expensive, and the overall cost can increase when you include additional components such as cabling, amplifiers, equalizers
  • Space-intensive: these units demand substantial amounts of installation space, even when fixed in trunks. In most cases, only a small amount of usable space is left in the trunk after installing the unit. 

Sometimes, a full-occupied trunk is rendered unusable for storing anything else besides the subwoofer. 

  • Elaborate Installation: most trunks subwoofer require professional installation because this process can prove very elaborate. In most cases, there’s an advanced wiring process and hooking of additional components, processes that novices may not familiar with. 

Which is Right for You?

Both underseat and trunk subwoofers are great additions to your car music systems because of their proven capacity to boost sound quality.

Both types of subwoofers have unique sets of benefits, but the one you chose for your car ultimately depends on your preferences and available space.

If you want a compact, inexpensive and easy-to-install unit that saves you space while providing decent sound quality, go with the underseat subwoofer. 

And if you desire premium sound quality that is immersive and highly customizable, then a trunk subwoofer is your best bet. 

 

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