The short answer is yes, underseat subwoofers are worth it. The long answer is that there are a lot of factors to consider when making this decision.
First and foremost, the type of vehicle you have is important. Not every car can accommodate an underseat subwoofer, so you’ll need to do your research to see if it’s a possibility.
Once you’ve confirmed that an underseat subwoofer will work in your car, the next step is to determine what type you want. There are two main types: powered and passive. Powered subs come with their own amplifier, while passive subs require an amplifier to be added separately.
Powered subs are generally more expensive than passive subs, but they offer more control over the sound quality and bass level.
I know better than most just how hard it can be to piece together the gear needed to upgrade your car entertainment tech, especially on the audio side of things.
I’ve been upgrading the audio system and every car I’ve ever had since I started driving almost 20 years ago.
The biggest challenge today, though, is not there are too few great options out there to pick and choose from today, but that there are so many!
Sifting through your options is always an uphill battle.
But that’s why I put together this quick guide.
Below we are going to dig into three really solid underseat subwoofer options, highlighting the features that separate them from the rest of the pack.
You’ll learn why these “plug and play” speakers are so popular, the features on a sub that add or detract to your in-car sound system, and how to avoid overpaying for flashy specs that don’t translate to real world audio improvements.
I’ve tested dozens and dozens of subs over the years (almost all of them underseat options) and highlight my favorite three in this guide.
Spend your money on them and you’ll never regret it!
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
My 3 Best Underseat Subwoofers in 2022
1. Alpine Electronics Restyle Compact Powered 8-Inch Subwoofer
A real superstar of the beneath your seat subwoofer world, you’re going to get plenty of punch and power out of this ultra-compact sub for sure.
Inside of this lightweight, durable, and stylish enclosure (made out of aluminum) is an 8-inch subwoofer and a 120 watts amplifier. With true “plug and play” installation capabilities, made possible thanks to a smart wiring harness design, you’re going to be able to dramatically boost the deep bass output in your car right away.
The low-profile nature of this sub can’t be overlooked, though.
We are talking about a design that can slide underneath almost any seat, be tucked into the back of your coupe or hatchback, or be stuffed inside of a truck without sacrificing storage space, either.
It’s unreal the kind of audio quality and power that comes out of this mini subwoofer!
What I Like
The thing I really like about this subwoofer, and the reason I think it’s one of the top underseat options money can buy right now, is its mini form factor.
A lot of companies blow smoke when they talk about components small enough to install anywhere, but this option more than meets (or exceeds) expectations. Measuring 13.5” x 9” x 3” it really does fit under almost every seat from every major auto manufacturer today.
The install process is simple and straightforward, in large part because of the smart harness setup but also because this subwoofer can be positioned nearly anywhere in your vehicle, too.
That this Alpine unit works so well with your stock speakers is just another nice little bonus.
What I Don’t Like
The only thing I don’t love with this subwoofer is the longevity some folks online have had problems with. You don’t have to search hard to find reviews of this sub starting to ghost and lose power 6 to 8 months after popping open the box and plugging it in.
Not everyone has this experience (I certainly haven’t) but it’s something to pay attention to all the same.
2. KICKER 11HS8 8″ Hideaway Powered Subwoofer Enclosure
Just a little bit bigger than the subwoofer highlighted above (measuring 13.875” x 9.375” x 3.125”) you should still be able to sneak this subwoofer almost anywhere in your vehicle without much trouble.
I even know some Jeep guys that have found ways to smuggle this subwoofer into their two doors without making the interior feel overly cramped. When you have something that can pull that off you know you got something special.
Power is pretty rock solid with this subwoofer, too, a must-have when you’re looking for one of the top underseat options money can buy. A 150 W amp gives you plenty of juice to push bass that can reset your heartbeat.
What I Like
A huge upgrade over stock audio equipment, the bang you get out of this bad boy is immediately noticeable – even before you start to dial it up. You don’t need a big-money car stereo receiver to squeeze every drop of performance out of this subwoofer, either.
No, unlike powered subs this one (and its built-in amplifier) can really crank bass without you having to push a lot of power its way. The sound quality is still crisp and clear even with the best dialed-up, too.
What I Don’t Like
Almost everything you need to rock ‘n’ roll with this subwoofer is included right out-of-the-box – except for some of the hookup and mounting hardware. You might need to spend $15 or so extra to get these subwoofers working in your vehicle.
3. Kenwood KSC-PSW8 Single 8″ Underseat Powered Subwoofer W/Remote Control
You know exactly what you’re getting into when you grab a Kenwood subwoofer. Clean, crisp audio, bass that will bump you out of your seat, and a build quality that is just about unparalleled in this industry.
Well, this is definitely one of the best underseat powered subwoofers money can buy. It’s one you’re going to want to dig a little deeper into when you’re ready to make this kind of upgrade for sure.
The 8-inch sub pushes a lot of bass thanks to the 150 watts power amplifier supplying the juice. Plenty of audio connections are available as well, all of them jacked into a single wiring harness that streamlines the installation process in a big way.
Controlling the sub is foolishly easy, too. Everything is done through the included (wired) remote control unless you are adjusting bass through your car stereo receiver or head unit. Those commands override the remote control commands, giving you extra opportunities to dial in your sound profile perfectly.
What I Like
Well, for starters, it’s a Kenwood!
The Kenwood brand stands for quality and you know your money is always going to be well spent when you drop it on a subwoofer might.
The sound quality of this subwoofer is also top-tier (probably better than either of the other two options highlighted above), guaranteeing you get extra bass without worrying about drowning out the rest of your music.
If you really want to thump, though, you can crank this sub “all the way up to 11” and rattle the windows of other drivers as you go down the road.
It’s that juicy!
What I Don’t Like
Some people that have grabbed this subwoofer have reported fluttering and popping sounds anywhere between three months and six months after they install this in their vehicle.
I personally haven’t had any of those problems but Kenwood has a great warranty that will take care of these issues if they happen to you. It’s worth mentioning all the same.
Underseat Subwoofer Frequency Response
There are two things you want to look for when hunting for the best underseat powered subwoofers on the market today, and that’s a frequency response that gets low (really low) and a frequency band that is as tight as possible.
The lower your response, the deeper your bass is going to sound. The tighter your frequency band, the cleaner your subwoofers are going to sound. Your subwoofers will sound a lot more consistent from one track to the next when these frequency details are dialed in, too.
At the end of the day, anything that offers between 20 Hz and 200 Hz will be right in that “sweet spot” you want subwoofers to want to hit. All of the three options above are not that right out of the park!
My Final Verdict
All things considered, it’s really hard not to fall head over heels in love with everything the Kenwood KSC PSW8 brings to the table.
Super compact, slick looking, and with that legendary Kenwood build quality and sound this isn’t the most expensive underseat options money can buy – but that’s not a bad thing, either!
The option from Alpine is a worthy contender, too. But it’s just a little less impressive when stacked up against the Kenwood from a pure audio standpoint.
Choose any of these three, though, and you’ll be pretty happy!
If you’re ready to upgrade your car’s audio sound with a shallow subwoofer that hits without totally washing out the rest of your audio experience, snap up one of these three under-seat woofers right now!