10-Inch Subwoofer Vs 12-Inch Subwoofer – What’s the Difference?

The size of a subwoofer is one of the most important attributes; that determine how it will perform. Many subwoofer size options are available there in the market, but 10” and 12” subwoofers are the most popular among audiophiles.

Since these two are the most commonly used subwoofers, naturally there are many arguments about which is better? Which one is the more powerful? How do they differ from each other? Is it possible to use both in a sound system?

Many people wander around the internet for the proper answer to such questions. If you do so, you’re in luck. Keep reading till the end to get all of your answers.

10 inch subwoofer vs. 12 inch subwoofer

There are some marginal differences between the two. Most people can’t even notice such differences unless they’re audiophiles. Let’s start with a few noticeable differences, like – their sound quality, loudness, enclosure type, etc.

Best 10" Subwoofer
Skar Audio Dual SDR Series
Powerful 10" Subwoofer
Planet Audio AC10D
Under Seat 12" Subwoofer
Skar Audio SDR-1X12D2
3000 12" Watt Subwoofer
Planet Audio AC12D (Pair)
Product Title
Product Title
Skar Audio Dual SDR Series
Planet Audio AC10D
Skar Audio SDR-1X12D2
Planet Audio AC12D (Pair)

Sound Quality

The 12” subwoofers sound boomy and deliver more bass than the 10” subs. The punchy sound of 10” subwoofers is impressive, as well.


Technically, the 12-inches subwoofers are louder a bit at the same wattage, as the 10-inches subwoofers run faster and don’t push much air like 12-inches subs. Practically, people prefer using two 10-inches subs instead of a single 12-inches subwoofer for louder sound.


You can also make the 10-inches subwoofer produce a boomy sound by keeping it in a vented enclosure. All subwoofers will sound tight in a sealed enclosure.

10 inch vs 12-inch subwoofer – Technical differences


When it comes to a subwoofer size comparison, many people tend toward smaller bass drives due to their space consideration, though there is only a 2-inches size difference between 10” and 12” subwoofers.

In general, the larger speaker is always recommended for better sound. It doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you choose a 12” sub and put it in a tight box. If you’re thinking so, a big NO from my side to your great idea.

It would be a disaster. Keep in mind that the loudness of a subwoofer depends on how much air is moving inside the cabinet. So, if space permits you to go with a larger unit, don’t look back towards a subwoofer with a smaller surface area. So, choose a single 12” subwoofer over a 10” sub or two 10” subwoofers over a single 12” sub.

Power rating

The bigger-sized subwoofers offer more bass and loud sound, though the smaller subs perform really well; if they are properly powered. The power rating is another important factor; that affects the loudness.

The manufacturers mention two types of wattage units for every subwoofer, but you should consider the RMS power ratings instead of peak power ratings. The RMS power ratings define continuous power handling or power output of the particular sub, which helps you pair the subwoofer with a compatible amplifier. It will help you determine; whether the subwoofer could handle the output power of the amplifier or not.

In general, the 10” subs and 12” subs both are rated with 1000W RMS and could be driven by a 1K amp. There could be a significant difference in power handling and air displacement for the same sized subwoofers of different brands.

Frequency range

Technically, the bigger drivers respond better at a lower frequency and the smaller drivers respond better at the high. That means the 12” subs will be a better choice for you; if the quality bass response is your concern. On the other hand, if you want a sub; that could rock the room, go for two 10” subs.


How a subwoofer performs really matters to determine its sound and tonal quality. The 10” and 12” subwoofers contain EQ; that is a form of DSP (Digital Signal Path) technology; that cuts out or boosts certain frequencies to improve the sound quality.

Sometimes, you may find the 12” subs are distorting more than the 12” subwoofers due to their larger surface area and increased power ratings.


The sensitivity rating of a subwoofer defines how efficiently it converts the power to sound. The 12” subwoofers have higher sensitivity ratings, which means they will produce louder sound than the 10” subwoofers.


The subwoofers; that have small drivers are more accurate. It means they produce tighter and cleaner noise-free sound than the larger subwoofers. Likewise, the 10” subs are slightly more accurate and hit faster than the 12” subwoofers, but only audiophiles can realize the difference.

Bass output

The large drivers have a bit more bass output due to more cone surface area. If you purchase any high-end subwoofer, be it 10” or 12”, it would be hard to differentiate the quality of the bass sound. Theoretically, air can move freely inside the enclosure of 12” subwoofers; that’s why it produces better bass output than the 10” subs.

Why choose a 10-inch subwoofer

The 10 inches subwoofers mostly get preferred for their responsiveness and compact size.

Enhanced bass

If you want deep low-frequency sound, nothing could be better than a 10” sub, as it could reproduce frequencies below 80 Hz.

Improved high-frequency performance

Do you already have a sound system with tweeters and woofers? I suggest adding a 10” subwoofer to maximize the midrange and high-range performance.

Convenience of installment

The small size of a 10” subwoofer makes it easier to install than the 12” or larger subs.

Smoother sound

The 10” subwoofers reproduce detailed and dynamic sound without distorting the audio. It doesn’t matter how long you increase the volume; it will always deliver resonance-free audio.

The 10” subwoofers are a perfect buying option for the audiophiles; who love metal rock or country songs.

Why choose a 12-inch subwoofer

Do you like loud music? Then, you must think about what will happen to the accuracy; if you go loud. The power-packed 12” subwoofers are leading the market just because of this reason. The other reasons are –

Improved stereo speakers

The stereo speakers reproduce overall a decent sound, but you expect high-end accuracy and detailed audio, you’ve to add a 12” subwoofer along with it. It will focus on the low frequencies and each detail; that your ordinary sound system never could reproduce.

Reduced pressure on audio systems

When you use a single sound system, it has to reproduce all the frequencies, which weakens the system with time. When you dedicate a 12” subwoofer with its own amplifier and power source for certain frequencies; automatically, the overall pressure gets reduced from the audio system. Hence, the entire audio system will perform better, and the performance will remain the same for a long year.

Speed control

When you add a 12” subwoofer with the audio system, you’ll get more speed and audio control options to customize the sound and tonal quality according to your mood, music, and room size.

Smooth sound

Although the 12” subs are much more dedicated to the lower-frequency than the 12” subwoofers. It will improve the overall sound quality, as well.

The 12” subwoofers reproduce loud sound without distorting the audio, making it perfect for the beats of R&B and hip-hop.


Do you like loud music? Then, you must think about what will happen to the accuracy; if you go loud. The power-packed 12” subwoofers are leading the market just because of this reason. The other reasons are –

1. Do 10″ sound better than 12″?

If you want deeper bass with high-end accuracy, the 10” subs will give you a better listening experience than the 12” subs. When it comes to 10” vs. 12″ subs for home theater, compact bookshelves speakers, or satellite speakers, the 10” subwoofers will be the real winner.

On the other hand, the 12” subwoofers are a bit louder than the 10” subs. When it comes to designing or upgrading a vehicle audio system, people often wonder what to choose 10” or 12” for the truck?

The loudness doesn’t differ much between single 10” and 12” subwoofers. But if you get stuck between 2 10” subs or 2 12” subs, then obviously go with the larger set. Two 12” subwoofers will sound much louder than two 10” subs.

2. Do 10″ or 12″ subs hit harder?

If you compare two single subwoofers, you will not find any difference. If you combine two 10” subwoofers, the combined cone surface yield more pressure, hit harder, and produces a much clearer sound than a single 10” sub.

3. Which size of the subwoofer is best for your home theater?

It depends on where you’ve placed the home theater. If the home theater is placed in a big living room, you’ll need a loud sound, hence, go for 12” subwoofers. If you want to use the subwoofers, along with your home theater in a cozy bedroom, small-sized drivers like 8” or 10” will be perfect.


In the end, I must say, don’t judge any subwoofer based on the size. Several variables play behind a subwoofer and manipulate the overall sound and tonal quality.

Such a comparison guide article can give you a clear idea about an important consideration aspect of the subwoofers but never help you decide which one to choose.

Explore different types and sized subwoofers and give them a listen. Thus, you can only find the perfect subwoofer for you.

Liam Richards

Author & Founder

Liam Richards is a musician. He graduated from Berklee College of Music. He has an experience of over 15 years in the music industry. He loves to write reviews on several music gadgets that he uses on day to day basis. Liam is quite generous to share his music expertise with the world via the Primal Music Blog.

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