12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofers (Reviews 2021)

Posted by

If you want to improve your car or trunk audio system by adding some serious bass, stop searching and take a look at our list of 9 best 12-inch shallow-mount subwoofers. We have prepared 9 interesting product reviews and some additional information that might help you make up your mind and choose the right product.

Will A Subwoofer Really Improve the Sound?

The answer is extremely simple – YES! But let’s see how it’s actually done.

If you’ve been surfing the Internet, you’ve probably seen many different kinds of speakers, speaker systems, soundbars, etc. As you could notice, the main idea is to put as many devices as possible in the smallest possible box. That way, you get a small enclosure containing drivers, tweeters, woofers, and passive radiators. All these devices are often advertised as great space-saving replacements for large speaker systems.

Unfortunately, the truth is that small speakers can’t reproduce big sound and those passive radiators certainly can’t deliver the kind of bass you would get from a large dedicated bass driver. In order to hear some powerful bass, you’re going to need a real subwoofer that can produce some really deep low tones, add more detail to your music, and make you feel the music you’re listening to.

What Kinds of Subwoofers Are There?

The two main subwoofer categories, determined by the working principle, are passive and active.

Passive subwoofers use external amplifiers to supply them with power. Car subwoofers are actually passive subwoofers and buying some of them means you also have to buy an amp and an enclosure, wires, mounting kit, etc., because at least the first two are never included in the package. These subwoofers are usually much cheaper but when you add the additional costs, the time required to set everything up, and the fact that you have to match all the pieces on your own, they don’t seem so cheap anymore.

Active subwoofers are also called powered because, unlike the passive ones, they come pre-installed, in their enclosures with their amps. They are usually more expensive.

The other way to classify subwoofers is by their size. The most common ones, especially when it comes to low-profile shallow-mount car subwoofers, are 8, 10, and 12-inch subwoofers.

As you can guess, the size implies the approximate amount of space they occupy as well as the amount of bass they can produce. Today, we’re discussing 12-inch models, which are larger, occupy more space, and subsequently are more suitable for larger cars such as SUVs and trucks.

Our Top Picks

This post contains affiliate links. See the affiliate disclaimer here.

ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
BOSS CX122Check Price on Amazon4.3Read Review
Kicker 43C124Check Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Rockford Fosgate R2D4-12Check Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Skar Audio SDR-12Check Price on Amazon4.6Read Review
Infinity Reference REF1200SCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
JL Audio 12W0V3-4Check Price on Amazon4.3Read Review
Skar Audio EVL-12Check Price on Amazon4.7Read Review
Kenwood KFC-W3016PSCheck Price on Amazon4.2Read Review
Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12Check Price on Amazon4.7Read Review

Now that we’ve covered the most important topics, we can jump onto the reviews where you can find 9 best 12-inch shallow-mount subwoofers, carefully selected during our extensive research and testing. We sincerely hope you’ll find our reviews helpful and informative, and manage to get a great sub for your car.


Best 12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Under $50

The Cheapest: BOSS Audio Systems CX122

BOSS Audio Systems CX122

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

The first product on our list of best 12-inch shallow-mount subwoofers is actually one of the best cheap subwoofers you can find. 

Boss CX122 comes in a really nice cardboard branded box and it comes alone. You’ll need to get an enclosure, amp, and a mounting kit on your own but we guarantee you won’t regret buying this little fella. The subwoofer is nicely design, very attractive, and it owes its good looks to the interesting silver finish that is a true refreshment considering that almost all the other subwoofers are black.

CX122 features a single 4-Ohm 2-inch copper voice coil, custom-tooled injection cone, and a foam surrounding. The subwoofer actually seems rather durable and resistant to damages. The only thing we would recommend is to break it in properly and give it some time to show its best. If you don’t follow the instructions, you won’t achieve the best results.

We are all used to hear that most subwoofers are compatible with both types of enclosures but this one works only with sealed 1.2 ft3 constructions with the following dimensions: L: 22 inches, W: 10 inches, and H: 14 inches. It’s also important to mention that the device’s mounting diameter is 11.10 inches and the mounting depth is 5.4 inches.

When it comes to the audio performance, we need to say that the subwoofer has the sensitivity of 82dB, its resonant frequency is 28 Hz, its total output power equals 1400W, and the RMS is 700W. It requires low to medium amplification but, if mounted properly, it delivers very clear and undistorted bass, very pleasant for listening.

Advantages

  • Quite cheap
  • Delivers pleasant, detailed, and clear bass
  • Seems durable

Disadvantages

  • Requires some time to break in
  • Works only with sealed enclosures

Best 12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Under $100

Best Under $100: Kicker 43C124

Kicker 43C124

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

Kicker 43C124 is a great low-profile subwoofer that won’t empty your wallet and will ensure a lot of pleasure filled with great bass.

The subwoofer comes with a well-known eye-catching Kicker design – a nice combination of black and yellow colors. It features a polypropylene flex-resistant cone with a 360-degree back-bracing that lowers the level of distortion. It also has a ribbed foam surround with yellow stitching that ensures long excursion and makes sure everything stays in place even at high volumes. Finally, there’s a steel basket that is very durable and reliable.

Kicker 43C124 looks good and seems to be nicely built. It is also easy to set up and is compatible with many amps. Plus, it works great not only with sealed but also with ported enclosures. You just have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding their size.

Moreover, this subwoofer performs quite well. It has a 4-Ohm impedance, 300W peak and 150W RMS power, its sensitivity is 88.3dB, and its frequency response is 27Hz – 500Hz. Thanks to this, it can produce those great low tones that everyone needs to really feel the music.

Advantages

  • Affordable price
  • Compatible with sealed/vented enclosures
  • Easy to mount
  • Great performance

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t come with an enclosure or any additional equipment

Best Deal Under $100: Rockford Fosgate R2D4-12

Rockford Fosgate R2D4-12

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

A durable subwoofer that delivers great bass and costs less than $100? With Rockford Fosgate, everything is possible. R2D4 is a 12-inch 4-Ohm low-profile subwoofer that comes in black color only, which doesn’t really make it less appealing. Simple, yet attractive basic design makes this product easy to combine with any car interior.

The subwoofer features a mica-injected polypropylene cone surrounded by high-density poly-foam. Together, they manage to punch out juicy, deep notes and remain stable and damage-free even when the bass punches really hard. Moreover, there’s a powerful 47.7oz magnet and a steel basket.

R2D4 is easy to mount – its mounting depth is 5.06 inches, and it shall work fine regardless of the type of enclosure you choose (sealed or vented).

The subwoofer is not very powerful considering that it has a total power output of 500W and RMS that equals 250W. Its sensitivity is 89dB, while the frequency response spans from 43 to 250Hz. It delivers very pleasant and punchy tones that will definitely make a huge difference in your car audio system, so we honestly consider it worth the money.

Plus, the manufacturer will send you a set of 8 Allen head screws and a 4mm Allen head bit. You’ll have to find an enclosure and an amp by yourself but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. After all, the manufacturer provides detailed instructions regarding the installation and the enclosure dimensions.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive subwoofer
  • Delivers decent, punchy bass
  • Compatible with all kinds of enclosures
  • Comes with a mounting kit

Disadvantages

  • Enclosure and amp are not included
  • Not very powerful

Skar Audio SDR-12

Skar Audio SDR-12

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

The next product on our list of best 12-inch low-profile subwoofers is Skar Audio SDR-12. It comes in black color with no accessories except a 2-year warranty. Its cutout diameter is 11.20 inches, the mounting depth 6.47 inches, while the total height equals 7.63 inches. The outside diameter is 12.35 inches, and the magnet diameter is 6 inches. The subwoofer can be placed in a sealed or vented enclosure but you have to make sure that the volume of the sealed box doesn’t go over 1.25ft3 (up to 2ft3 for ported enclosures).

SDR-12 features a dual 2.5-inch copper voice coil that is resistant to high temperature. The subwoofer has a good airflow cooling system. It seems decently built but we have to say that its cone is made from pressed paper, which is not the best material on the market.

However, the subwoofer performs well, it delivers more than a decent amount of bass. Its impedance is 4 Ohms, the sensitivity is 84.7dB, its frequency response values span from 22 to 300Hz, and its peak power equals 1,200W (RMS is 600W). Considering all these features, we believe that Sky Audio is more than an attractive purchase. Truth be told, there are some great subwoofers available at a bit lower price but this is not a bad offer at all.

Advantages

  • Delivers a decent amount of punchy bass
  • Easy to mount
  • Can be installed in a sealed or vented box
  • 24-month warranty

Disadvantages

  • There are slightly cheaper subwoofers with similar specs on the market
  • Pressed paper cone
  • Doesn’t come with any accessories

Best Design: Infinity Reference REF1200S

Infinity Reference REF1200S

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

Apart from great bass reproduction, selectable impedance, and minimum space requirements, our next product, Reference 1200S, comes with a quite unique style and design. If we add that it’s made by Infinity by Harman, it gets clearer why so much attention is devoted to the looks.

The subwoofer is simple but it looks rather elegant. It comes in black color like many other subwoofers, but it differs from them by the sleek matte finish and the golden Infinity logo in the middle.

Considering that its mounting diameter is 11.13 inches and its mounting depth only 3.31 inches, it is obvious that this subwoofer can fit even the smallest available enclosure. Speaking about enclosures, we have to say that Reference 1200S is compatible not only with sealed and vented but also with bandpass enclosures, while the detailed mounting instructions with precise enclosure dimensions are provided by the manufacturer within the user manual.

Let’s now skip to the numbers. In order to realize what you’re dealing with here, it’s important to mention that the subwoofer frequency response is 27 – 175Hz, that its sensitivity is 92dB, its peak power 1000W, and its RMS power 250W, while it also offers great mounting flexibility as it can be mounted as a 2 or 4-Ohm unit.

When it comes to sound quality, we must admit we were surprised. We didn’t expect this little guy to be so clear and powerful but it seems that it is possible to combine great design with high quality and sell it for less than $100.

Advantages

  • Decent price
  • High-quality audio reproduction
  • Polypropylene cone with a nice and firm rubber surround
  • Flexible setup

Disadvantages

  • Doesn’t come with a mounting kit, accessories, etc.

Best 12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Under $200

JL Audio 12W0V3-4

JL Audio 12W0V3-4

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

JL Audio is one of those brands whose name is a synonym for audio quality. This time we have opted for a bit pricier subwoofer that compensates the price with its remarkable performance.

JL Audio 12W0V3-4 is a nicely designed black subwoofer that uses a 2.5-inch polypropylene voice coil and a nice foam surround. The surround is made to be flexible and to offer accurate and reliable performance even under extreme conditions. Plus, JL uses patented technologies such as an optimized motor system, which ensures extra preciseness and a quality cooling system that prevents the device from overheating.

The subwoofer’s overall diameter is 12.52in. The mounting hole diameter is 11.06 inches, while the mounting depth is 5.40 inches. The device fits the best medium-sized enclosures that can be both sealed and vented. However, the instructions regarding their dimensions found in the user manual should be followed to achieve the best possible performance.

Speaking about numbers, we have to mention that the subwoofer’s resonance is 28.43Hz, its sensitivity is 85dB, the impedance 4 Ohms, while the RMS is 300W. It is really easy to install but you have to make sure that the amp power doesn’t go below 75 or above 300W. If you follow all the instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding the setup and use, we guarantee you’ll enjoy this subwoofer and its deep pleasant bass for a long time. 

Advantages

  • Great performance
  • Can be installed in a sealed or vented enclosure
  • Uses a set of advanced technologies
  • Durable

Disadvantages

  • A bit expensive
  • Doesn’t come with a mounting kit or protective grille

Skar Audio EVL-12

Skar Audio EVL-12

Editor’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

EVL-12 is another Skar Audio product on our list of best low-profile subwoofers and we can say it’s also very good. It comes in nice packaging with its user manual. Sadly, there are no cables, mounting kit, or any other accessories you need for the installation.

The subwoofer comes in black color with the Skar logo in the middle. It features 2-Ohm dual 3-inch 4-layered aluminum CCAW voice coil that can survive high temperatures. There’s also a foam protective surround and an excellent venting system that keeps the unit cool and protects from overheating. The device is nicely built, very rugged, and it seems that it can be used for a long time under extreme conditions. The only thing that we don’t really like about its construction is the cone that is made from pressed paper. At this price point, we’ve expected some higher-quality material.

But let’s see some numbers and confirm the quality of this device. And the numbers are saying that we’re dealing with a serious manufacturer and a seriously powerful device. Its peak power is 2,500W, the RMS is 1,2502W, its sensitivity is 85.1dB, and its frequency response spans from 25 to 250Hz.

Thanks to these features and the good overall build quality, Skar Audio EVL-12 manages to deliver clean, detailed, and powerful bass. It works well with vented as well as sealed enclosures, and it’s really up to you which one you’ll choose. The important thing is to stick to the user manual and the installation instructions, especially when it comes to enclosure size.

Advantages

  • Delivers great bass
  • Can be used in vented or sealed boxes
  • Used advanced cooling technology
  • Quality construction

Disadvantages

  • Not cheap
  • Doesn’t come with any accessories
  • The cone is made from pressed paper

Best 12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofer Under $200: Kenwood KFC-W3016PS

Kenwood KFC-W3016PS

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

And now – we present to you the subwoofer made by one of the best-known and long-lasting audio companies in the world – Kenwood KFC-W3016PS. Kenwood has been with us for decades and it has deserved its reputation by making high-quality products. This subwoofer is not an exception.

The subwoofer features a durable polypropylene cone and a tough rubber surround. It has an increased cone area and it uses Stress-Free Spider and Thermal Efficient System technologies that provide reliable and long-lasting performance. The dual ventilation system will ensure the device stays cool even during long playing sessions and the cone is reinforced to reduce the risk of damages, even when you crank it up to the max.

KFC-W3016PS is a 4-Ohm subwoofer, its frequency response goes from 27 to 300 Hz, it can handle up to 400 W RMS, while its total output power is 2,000 W. Considering its features and the mounting depth of 5.19 inches, the subwoofer can be installed in a vented or sealed enclosure, although it has been recorded that it works better with the second type.

Even though a few users have reported that the subwoofer broke down after a few months of use, we would still recommend it. We believe that it can last you for a long time if you take good care of it and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Find a proper enclosure and the right amp, give it some time to break in, and enjoy high-quality deep bass.

Advantages

  • Doesn’t take a lot of space
  • Reasonably priced for a reputable brand
  • Rigid cone and a good heat dispersion system
  • Decent bass output
  • Can be placed in vented/sealed enclosure

Disadvantages

  • Some users complained about poor build quality

Best 12-Inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Under $300

Best Under $300: Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12

Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Check Price

Impressions

Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12 is one of the best-performing Rockford products. It comes in black color with a painted aluminum decorative trim ring, socket head driver bit, socket head wood screws, and a 12-month warranty card. The subwoofer’s design is rather simple but it seems that the device is durable and can handle some serious use, even under extreme conditions.

P3D2-12 features a dual 2-Ohm voice coil, anodized aluminum cone, and a hybrid StampCast basket. The dual cone enables certain wiring flexibility. The cone actually uses special venting technology, sending the heat away from the coil and enabling the bass consistency, while the basket is built in a way that reduces the weight and resonance but keeps the strength. Plus, Fosgate uses the Vertical Attach Surround Technology. This means that they use an oversized rubber surround to increase the cone area and allow it to push even more bass.

The subwoofer is rather easy to wire and set up. Its mounting depth is 6.6 inches and if you’re wondering which enclosure to use, the manufacturer claims this device works like a charm with sealed and ported boxes, so it’s only up to you. Just be careful about the dimensions and follow the provided instructions.

P3D2-12 can handle up to 600 W of power continuously, while its total power output is 1,200 W. Its frequency response doesn’t go below 27 or above 250 Hz and its sensitivity is 85 dB. 

Thanks to all the listed features, the subwoofer delivers more than decent bass for the money and we are sure it will significantly improve the audio system of your car or trunk.

Advantages

  • Great performance
  • Compatible with both enclosure types
  • Uses advanced cooling and surround technologies
  • Mounting flexibility

Disadvantages

  • A bit pricey
  • Doesn’t come with a grille or an enclosure

This is the end of our selection of 9 best 12-inch shallow-mount subwoofers. For more info about car subwoofers and especially shallow-mount subwoofers, read the following three sections. As always, feel free to share your experiences and opinions in the comment section.


Are Shallow-Mount Subwoofers Really That Good?

In terms of performance quality, it is really difficult to find a low-profile subwoofer that sounds just as good as a regular subwoofer of the same size and features. The difference between these two types is in the portability and the amount of space they occupy. Regular subwoofers are made for larger spaces while shallow-mount ones are mainly used in car trunks, under seats, etc. where the space is extremely limited.

However, this doesn’t mean that shallow-mount subwoofers sound bad. On the contrary, they are perfectly capable of filling the places they are designed for with the required amount of bass. They won’t be able to produce the same sub-bass tones as regular subwoofers and the bass won’t be equally powerful but you will definitely be able to hear and feel the improvement in your car audio system.

Ported or Sealed Enclosures – Which One Is Better?

People are usually wondering how to choose between ported and sealed enclosures while manufacturers usually claim their products are completely compatible with both of them and that there will be no difference in performance, regardless of the type of enclosure.

However, we have to say that ported subwoofers hit lower tones and do it harder than the sealed ones. On the other hand, sealed enclosures make the bass sound tighter and more precise.

All in all, the decision is yours. You get to choose the type of enclosure based on your taste, budget, etc. If the manufacturer doesn’t specify one enclosure type as the preferred one, you can get whatever you want. Just make sure that you follow all the instructions about the box dimensions, wiring, initial use, etc. and there should be no problems.

What Are Top Subwoofer Brands?

When we get a question like this, we always like to point out that many quality products are hiding behind low and affordable price tags. We are always trying to test as many different products as we can and include in our lists not only the products made by trusted manufactures but also those made by less popular audio companies. However, we can’t deny that brands such as JL Audio, Pioneer, Skar Audio, Kenwood, Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, etc. have earned their reputation and gained the trust of many users all over the world because of the quality of their products. If you ask us, these are our top go-to brands when it comes to car subwoofers and shallow-mount subwoofers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *