If you are looking to upgrade your car’s sound system, but limited space is an issue, an 8-inch subwoofer may be the perfect option. An 8-inch sub can provide your car with a decent bass kick and can be easily and discreetly installed in tight spaces. While an 8-inch subwoofer won’t give your audio system the subterranean kick that a larger sub can, it will still give you decent bass, without a compromise in space.
Not only will an 8-inch subwoofer save you space, but it also costs less than a bigger subwoofer and will use significantly less power. A smaller woofer will also give your sound a tighter, more controlled bass response, without the boominess and rattling that bigger subs sometimes have.
If you are looking for an 8-inch subwoofer to add to your sound system, you’ve come to the right place. It can be confusing to wade through all the available options and specifications, and we’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve put together this list of in-depth reviews to help you find the right 8-inch subwoofer to suit your unique needs.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Pioneer TS-SWX2002 8” Shallow-Mount Car Subwoofer||
|Best Value||BOSS Audio Systems CXX8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer||
|Premium Choice||Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle 8-Inch Subwoofer||
|Sound Storm Labs SS8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer||
|Planet Audio AC8D 8 Inch Car Subwoofer||
The 10 Best 8-Inch Car Subwoofers — Reviews 2021
1. Pioneer TS-SWX2002 8” Shallow-Mount Car Subwoofer — Best Overall
The TS-SWX2002 shallow-mount subwoofer from Pioneer is our top choice for an 8-inch subwoofer. It comes preloaded inside a carpeted enclosure, with an innovative design that can be installed freely almost anywhere inside your vehicle. The speaker has a reinforced MICA, injection-molded resin woofer cone and an oversized surface area to provide the most bass possible by moving more air. It has a 600-watt maximum output and an RMS rating of 200 watts. This speaker also features a dual spider, which provides more cone motion and stabilization of the cone’s excursion (how far the woofer cone travels from resting position to maximum).
The enclosure also features angled push terminals, which make speaker connection a breeze and keep the connectors safe from breaking or coming loose.
2. BOSS Audio Systems CXX8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer — Best Value
The CXX8 from Boss Audio Systems is our top choice for the best 8-inch car subwoofer for the money. It has a peak power rating of 600 watts. It has a durable polypropylene cone and a rubber surround housed inside a rigid stamped metal basket, making it both great-sounding and long lasting. This is topped off by a high-temperature voice coil that can operate safely even with hours of extended play. Its sleek, black finish will also add a great aesthetic to your car’s interior.
If you are looking for a tight bass sound to enhance your car’s audio without breaking the bank, this subwoofer may be the one. It is easy to install and is well-built despite its low price. It has a fairly low output, though, which doesn’t allow for much bass reproduction. This minor caveat keeps it from the top position.
3. Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle 8-Inch Subwoofer — Premium Choice
The PWE-S8 from Alpine Electronics is a compact 8-inch woofer that will give you unmatched sound quality and performance. Alpine is a well-known and trusted name in the car audio world, and this subwoofer lives up to this premium brand’s name. It comes with a 120-watt amplifier installed inside a cast aluminum enclosure, which makes it a quick and easy plug-and-play operation. The enclosure is sturdy and compact and can easily be slipped behind or underneath almost any car seat.
It has solidly-built RCA inputs on the side panel for easy wire connection, alongside various controls including phase, gain, and a remote sub-level knob on an 8-foot cable. This subwoofer is pricey, but it will give you unmatched sound quality, coupled with hi-class durability. Its small and compact design makes it easy to install, but its small size won’t provide much bass output, and this keeps it from our top two positions.
4. Sound Storm Labs SS8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer
The SS8 subwoofer from Sound Storm Laboratories has a peak power rating of 400 watts and an RMS rating of 200 watts. It features a black polyurethane-injection cone, with a durable foam surround. These components sit inside a stamped metal basket that can efficiently both absorb and transfer the energy produced by the speaker. This type of basket is also strong and long lasting, has a high resistance to corrosion, and retains its strength at high temperatures. Its foam surround is highly flexible and gives the speaker a better rate of excursion (how far the speaker can travel from its resting position).
It will give your music a tight and rich bass sound, without taking up a huge amount of space. The power handling will leave most users wanting, however, and any pushing of the volume will result in distortion.
5. Planet Audio AC8D 8 Inch Car Subwoofer
The AC8D from Planet Audio offers an 8-inch subwoofer that is great value for money, with a big power output— 1200 watts peak rating, and an RMS performance of 600 watts. It has a polypropylene cone that is flexible enough to move enough air yet durable enough to last. The dual-voice coil will give a tight clean bass sound without risking blowing or distortion. It also has a high-temperature voice coil that will allow hours of heavy-duty performance without overheating.
The build quality is not that great, though forgivable considering the low price. Bear in mind that this speaker does not come with an enclosure, so you’ll need to build or purchase one.
6. Pyle PLPW8D Car Subwoofer
Pyle is a well-known brand in the car-audio world for its high-quality yet affordable products, and the PLPW8D is no different. This speaker has an RMS rating of 400 watts, a peak power rating of 800 watts, and a powerful 40-oz. magnet to produce optimal power and bass. It also has a dual-voice coil that is corrosion resistant to ensure a long lifespan. It has a durable yet flexible foam surround to enhance excursion, with a non-pressed paper cone housed inside a stamped metal basket. The connector terminals are spring-loaded for easy and safe speaker installation.
This speaker doesn’t come with an enclosure, which is an essential component for a small 8-inch subwoofer. This means you’ll need to build or purchase one. Several users report rattling at high volumes and poor bass response.
7. Rockville SS8P 8” Slim Active Powered Car Subwoofer
The slim SS8P 8-inch subwoofer from Rockville will fit discreetly underneath any car seat. It has a cast aluminum enclosure, with heavy-duty mounting feet that is durable and will keep the speaker running cool. It has a peak power rating of 400 watts and an RMS rating of 100 watts, powered by a high-quality MOSFET power supply. With the amplifier built-in, installation and wiring are clean and simple, and it will slide easily under a seat. It has a smart turn-on circuit that will automatically turn on when an audio signal is present and turn off when the signal stops, so you don’t drain your car’s battery.
It has an included remote bass-knob that is designed so you can mount it anywhere you like. Several users report a muddy sound that will distort quickly at high volumes. The speaker also tends to blow easily, which is disappointing, considering the MOSFET power supply.
8. Infinity Kappa 800W 8” Car Audio Subwoofer
This Kappa 8-inch subwoofer from Infinity has an RMS rating of 400 watts and a peak power rating of 1600 watts. It features an SSI impedance selector, so you can switch between 2- or 4-ohm impedance with ease. It also features an oversized aero-cooled voice coil and a glass-fiber cone and is easily installed with its premium screw-down terminals.
It has a great, clean bass response that is paired with a great-looking aesthetic that can also be used in a free-air setup. It is affordably priced and has a great output and punchy sound for the money. This speaker has a bulky mounting depth that will take up precious trunk space but is great for free-air application.
9. Skar Audio IX-8 D4 8” Car Subwoofer
This 8-inch subwoofer from Skar audio has a peak power rating of 300 watts and an RMS rating of 150 watts. It features a 2-inch BASV premium voice coil and an advanced air cooling design for extended operation. The cone is made from high-strength pressed paper and has a durable and flexible foam surround that allows for maximum excursion. It also has a powerful single-stack ferrite magnet for quality bass response, as well as a high-temperature 2-inch copper voice coil.
Some users report distortion at high volumes and overheating when played at peak volume for too long. The sound quality is muddy, and the poor design will result in rattling quickly.
10. JBL Stage 810 8” Car Subwoofer
The 810 subwoofer from JBL is has a peak handling capacity of 800 watts and an RMS rating of 200 watts. It features a stiff and durable yet lightweight polypropylene cone and hi-roll rubber surround, housed inside a stamped metal basket. It is an affordable speaker that can still pack a decent punch.
Several users report that there is a distinct lack of bass response from this speaker and that the stated output is well above what you’ll realistically get out of it. It has a poor quality of sound and will distort even at low volumes. It also doesn’t come with an enclosure, so you’ll need to make or purchase one.
An 8-inch subwoofer won’t give you thunderous bass that will rattle the windows. But it is a great addition to your car’s audio system that doesn’t take up space, and won’t cost you tons of money. There are a few important factors to consider before purchasing an 8-inch subwoofer.
The power output you choose will greatly depend on the amplifier you’ll be using it with, so it’s important to check that it matches first. Speakers are rated in two different ways: RMS and peak power handling. The RMS is the amount of power that your sub can handle continuously, while the peak power is the amount that your sub can handle in short bursts. The RMS output is the most accurate representation of the speaker’s power capability.
The construction quality of your subwoofer will not only affect its longevity but also its quality of sound. Cone and surround materials on a subwoofer need to work hard and have a great deal of movement, as they need to push a large amount of air in order to generate decent bass. The movement the speaker cone has from resting position — called excursion — needs the best quality construction materials possible to be able to withstand this movement over time.
The type and size of enclosure that your subwoofer is mounted into will have a massive impact on the overall sound quality, especially with an 8-inch subwoofer. An 8-inch subwoofer needs to work hard in order to produce sufficient bass, and a well-designed enclosure can assist it tremendously. The materials your enclosure are constructed from will also make a difference in sound and longevity. They are most often constructed from plywood or aluminum
“Breaking in” your subwoofer
A new subwoofer must always be “broken in” before being pushed too hard. It’s a simple process of playing music at a moderate volume for three or four hours constantly. This will prevent the voice coils from overheating, create movement and loosen the surround, and dramatically extend the life of your subwoofer.
Over-driving your subwoofer too soon could result in poor sound performance at best and a blown speaker at worst.
The best 8-inch sub according to our tests is the TS-SWX2002 shallow-mount subwoofer from Pioneer. With its carpeted enclosure, injection-molded resin woofer cone, and 600-watt maximum output, it will give you the bass you desire, with unsurpassed build quality.
The best 8-inch subwoofer for the money according to our reviews is the CXX8 from Boss Audio Systems. Its peak power rating of 600 watts will give you a great bass response without breaking the bank. Its sleek black exterior will add a unique aesthetic to your car and give you the most boom for your buck.
It can be a difficult task to navigate the wide array of 8-inch subwoofers available today. Hopefully, our in-depth reviews have helped you find the right subwoofer to suit your unique needs.
Featured image credit: OzHarte, Pixabay
Pete has been working in the trades since high school, where he first developed a passion for woodworking. Over the years, he has developed a keen interest in a wide variety of DIY projects around the home. Fascinated by all sort of tools, Pete loves reading and writing about all the latest gadgets and accessories that hit the market. His other interests include astronomy, hiking, and fishing.
As the founder of House Grail, David’s primary goal is to help consumers make educated decisions about DIY projects at home, in the garage, and in the garden.
- 1 A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 2 The 10 Best 8-Inch Car Subwoofers — Reviews 2021
- 2.1 1. Pioneer TS-SWX2002 8” Shallow-Mount Car Subwoofer — Best Overall
- 2.2 2. BOSS Audio Systems CXX8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer — Best Value
- 2.3 3. Alpine Electronics PWE-S8 Restyle 8-Inch Subwoofer — Premium Choice
- 2.4 4. Sound Storm Labs SS8 8 Inch Car Subwoofer
- 2.5 5. Planet Audio AC8D 8 Inch Car Subwoofer
- 2.6 6. Pyle PLPW8D Car Subwoofer
- 2.7 7. Rockville SS8P 8” Slim Active Powered Car Subwoofer
- 2.8 8. Infinity Kappa 800W 8” Car Audio Subwoofer
- 2.9 9. Skar Audio IX-8 D4 8” Car Subwoofer
- 2.10 10. JBL Stage 810 8” Car Subwoofer
- 3 Buyers Guide
- 4 Conclusion