Subwoofers are often preferred because of the specs that enhance their performance. A lot of users look at size to make this determination. But there is more to the story than just that part. However, the size often tells you about capacity. When it comes down to it, the race is often narrowed down to the 10 vs 12 inch subwoofer debate.

And it’s a worthy debate too. So, let’s take a look before you start your product research.

What Is a Subwoofer and Why Do You Need It?

A subwoofer essentially enhances the performance of bass in the music. So, in a way, it is like a loudspeaker that enhances the lower frequency details in music. This is often about sub bass and bass that are in the 20 to 200 hertz range. If you don’t understand that, think about it in these terms.

A sub is like an air pump that is big in size but low in pressure. In an orchestra setting or a rock music setting, you will hear the higher frequencies quite easily. But really, what you are looking for is a lower frequency to enhance the listening experience.

A loudspeaker, on the other hand, is like any regular speaker. You will get enough of the bass but you will get the same with every other attribute of the track too. You don’t feel it in your bones because a loudspeaker enhances the entire sound system. It is about volume.

Now, when you combine a good sub with a regular loudspeaker, your listening experience improves because you get the best of both worlds. Thanks to the sub, your speaker won’t feel as much strain, but you can do so without compromising on the depth of the soundstage.

But if you can pick only one, we would still say pick a good subwoofer. It is a better option for certain types of music when compared to a loudspeaker. Adding a sub to the system will increase the accuracy, make the music more vibrant and the experience more pleasant. It’s a completely immersive experience.

The Basic Difference between a Woofer and a Subwoofer?

A woofer is very much like a loudspeaker but it specifically handles the lower frequency sounds in music. So, it is a type of loudspeaker. A sub, on the other hand, is like a type of woofer with an even narrower frequency range.

The main differences between these two devices lie in size, efficiency, power handling and distortion. But let’s not forget the difference in the cost too.

A sub is larger than a woofer and is usually made of a wooden or plastic enclosure that can fit more than one woofer. Subs are bigger because their area of expertise is more concentrated.

And because of this larger size, they can take in more air while focussing on the low-frequency range. It is very important to know where to place your sub to get the best output. This ensures that the sound they create is fuller and better than what just any woofer can give you.

The only trouble with that logic is that it might take you some time to figure out the acoustic sweet spots that let you make the best of the equipment you have. And it gets a bit more complicated if and when you have more than one sub. But if you nail the arrangement, you are in for a treat.

Reasons to Choose a 10-Inch Subwoofer

We start with the 10-inch sub because it is a very popular choice. If you are looking to buy a 10 inch sub, I’ve written a post about the top 5 hardest hitting 10 inch subwoofers. There are more than a couple of reasons for that, starting with its small size and ease of installation. It is also better than an 8-inch sub because its bass response is better.

It gives you some extra power at a good size, but it does not overwhelm the music or compromise the overall quality. It is often called a well-rounded device because whether it is pop or jazz or metal or blues, you have the perfect device to enhance the sound quality of drums in the music. But here are some specific advantages of a 10-inch sub.

Better Bass

These little things are good at reproducing lower frequencies below the 80-hertz mark and works really well with the higher frequencies too. This gives your music the right amount of depth that makes the music rich and full bodied. This is a better option than your new age door-mounted speakers.

Good Higher Frequency Output

The higher frequencies are usually dealt only by the woofers because subs get power from an amplifier. But this sub makes way for the woofers to enhance midrange and high frequencies while also handling the higher notes.

Versatile Installation

In terms of size, this is a standard sub that makes it easy to install. It is also easy to find an enclosure for this sub so that the bass can resonate well. This is a great advantage when you want to place the sub in a car door. And this one also creates audio that is non-directional which means you can place it anywhere.

Why Should You Choose a 12-Inch Subwoofer?

This one is a versatile model in terms of the types of music it can handle. It is commonly bought by those who have a huge appetite for bass. And a 12-inch model does a good job creating that extra bass with multiple levels of frequencies. But these subs are big in size and sometimes less responsive. So, they are a good choice for rap, blues, rhythm and RnB.

Here are some specific reasons to pick a 12-inch subwoofer.

Effortless Bass

Subs are best-known for their ability to displace air. That’s how they deliver loud bass while keeping the sharpness intact. That means you get increased volume for the same amount of clarity. The compression can also be managed while reducing the distortion.

Come with Enclosures

These subs come pre-installed which means they have an enclosure already. That’s one detail taken care of. Of course, you will have to take care of the wiring and the amplifier but you don’t need to worry about finding an enclosure that matches the sub’s dimensions.

Better Stereo Speakers

These subs do a good job picking up frequencies that are lower than a regular audio system. That way you end up boosting the stereo speakers and making the best of the situation.

10-Inch vs 12-Inch Subwoofer

There are a few defining factors that help us compare both these sizes and make a decision. Let’s take a look.

1. Size

Since size is one of the most discussed specs, here is what it really means. It is important because it determines the amount of air that the sub can displace so that it can give you the low bass impact you are looking for. Simply for that reason, the bigger option is the better one.

You get subs from 8 to 15 inches, but the biggest is not necessarily the best. Why? Because the big sub offers more bass, but you can find a smaller sub and adjust the power settings for maximum output. Meanwhile, you won’t be breaking your head trying to figure out where to fit it.

2. Bass Output

Since bass is the most important reason to buy a sub, here’s what we can tell you. The 12-inch sub gives you more bass compared to the 10-inch model. This is because it has a larger drive and a bigger cone that reproduces the audio better.

But that is in theory. If you are comparing high-end models, you won’t find as much difference. You must also take other components of the sub into account. But if the rest is in parity, you must go for a 12-inch subwoofer.

3. Power Handling

When you want a sub to be loud, you must look at its ability to handle power. Consider a 10-inch sub with the same RMS rating as a 12-inch sub and connected to the same type of amplifier.

Now, you might think the 12-inch model does a better job but that’s not true because different subs handle power differently. This affects the way the air is displaced, which determines how the power is handled.

This is also why power handling ratings are a better way to understand performance rather than RMS ratings which is what most people look at.


Do 10s Hit Harder than 12s?

You need to look at the surface area of the cone to answer this question. Typically, a 10-inch sub will do a good job if you power it well. But a 12-inch sub will produce a deeper sound.

Are 12s Louder than 10s?

Size is mostly about defining loudness so you can assume that the 12-inch sub is louder than the 10-inch one. This applies to dual subs too. But smaller subs are a better option if you are going for consistency of sound over loudness.

Last Updated on November 10, 2021