8-inch free air subwoofer: Top brands for quality & longevity
If you're depending on your stock installed speakers or even some aftermarket car speakers, the sound may be good but at some point, you might want to step it up a notch. Though you could buy everything afresh from the head unit to the speakers, it's not a viable option for everyone but this doesn't mean that you can’t improve the audio experience in your car.
The first upgrade most people would go for would be adding a subwoofer in their vehicle but then, these may take up so much space during the installation, right?
So, here’s where we come in…
I'm pretty sure you've heard of the 8-inch free air subwoofers. These have been the talk for some time now as far as car subwoofers are concerned and there are also a lot of these out there but then, just as it is the case with most of the other car audio components, there's no guarantee that you'll always get your hands on the best.
Today, we’ll first be taking a look at the best 8 inch free air subwoofers in the market and later on look into the buying guide on how to best get one.
Let’s delve into it then, shall we?
Comparison Table Check Top 3 free air subwoofer list
- 1 How did we pick out the best 8 inch free air subwoofers?
- 2 Our recommended picks- the top 6 of 2018
- 2.1 1. Pyle Car Subwoofer Audio Speaker PLPW8D
- 2.2 2. New KICKER COMPS 40CWS84 8" 400W Car Subwoofer Power Sub
- 2.3 3. CT Sounds Tropo 8 Inch Car Subwoofer 250w RMS Dual 2 Ohm
- 2.4 4. Polk Audio db840 8-Inch Single Voice Coil Subwoofer
- 2.5 5. Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 8-inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
- 2.6 6. Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D4 800 W Max Power Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer
- 3 Buying guide- everything you should know about free air subwoofers
- 3.1 What are they?
- 3.2 Free air subwoofers vs sealed subwoofers
- 3.3 You might want to use some deadening materials
- 3.4 Infinite baffles and free air subwoofers
- 3.5 The performance features- what really defines the ideal 8-inch free air subwoofer?
- 3.6 Final verdict- the final word
- 3.7 Share this:
- 3.8 Like this:
- 3.9 Related
It may seem like too much trouble to read all the way to the end but this, however, does not mean that you’ll be left out. Right down below is a comparison chart of 3 of the best among our top 6 list just a click away.
Polk Audio db840 8-Inch Single Voice Coil Subwoofer
Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D2 8" 800 Watt
Kicker 8 Inch Dual 600 Watt
How did we pick out the best 8 inch free air subwoofers?
We're all about ensuring that you have the utmost confidence in your car audio system and that you get to enjoy what you pay for.
In addition to our experience with car subwoofers, we took a step further to consult different manufacturers, critics and more so had different audio enthusiasts give us their point of view on the different 8-inch free air subwoofers we have. In addition to all this, we also did an extensive research on the internet to get the facts. So, that being said, there’s really no way you could go wrong with any of the subwoofers we’re about to take a look at.
Our recommended picks- the top 6 of 2018
Well, this is what we came for, its time has a look at 6 of the best and what makes them so. Listed below are some of the best priced and best-performing 8-inch free air subwoofers from some of the most reputed brands in the market.
1. Pyle Car Subwoofer Audio Speaker PLPW8D
With Pyle being one of the most reputed brands in providing car audio components, the Pyle PLPW8D has been designed to best suit anyone who is looking for a clear-cut sound with added performance without overlooking durability whatsoever. Without further ado, how about we take a look at what makes this an 8-inch subwoofer worthy of our reviews?
•An outstanding quality construction
The better the quality in the construction of a free air subwoofer is, the better the sound quality you’ll be getting from it, right?
For durability, the housing on this bad boy is a stamped steel basket and in order to give out an enhanced sound, you’ll be having a wide and non-fatiguing rubber suspension. There is also a specially designed rubber magnet boot, a specially treated foam surround.
As for the motor construction, you’ll be getting one that’s bumped and vented which allows the subwoofer to handle a lot of power. Speaking of the motor, the magnet used in this case is a 40 Oz which is quite strong.
• 1.5-inch single voice coil
When it comes to the voice coil, you’ll be having a 1.5” 4-layer coil that’s got a really high temperature handling. Working with the heavy-duty magnet, the bass will definitely be audiophile grade.
• Easy installation
Looking into the installation, the Pyle PLPW8D has got a mounting depth of 3.7” which should be easy to install in most vehicles.
The overall diameter is 8.2 inches which also puts it in favor of being used as a free air sub and to make the set up process a walk in the park, it also does have all the necessary installation gear alongside which is an installation manual to make the process a walk in the park even for the first time DIY users.
• 400 watts RMS
With as much 400 watts for the RMS, this free air subwoofer blows most of the subs in its class out of the water. To optimize on the power usage, the SPL is 89dB and there’s no way you could possibly go wrong with this sub
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
2. New KICKER COMPS 40CWS84 8" 400W Car Subwoofer Power Sub
As far as versatility is concerned, the KICKER COMPS 40CWS84 just so happen to do the trick. Boasting to be usable in vented, sealed and free-air applications, this subwoofer might just be what’s keeping you from enjoying the best audio quality. Unlike other speakers in the Comp series generation, this subwoofer packs a lot of power and a really good build quality.
Here’s what you should expect
• 200-watt RMS & 400 watts peak power
Being one of the most important aspects of any subwoofer, the power handling on this one is quite commendable.
By having an RMS of 200 watts, it’s should step up the bass of your audio system to a whole new level. Besides the RMS, there’s also the 400-watt peak power rating which you should be careful with; the last thing you want is to over-exert the subwoofer past its threshold performance and blow the voice coil.
Speaking of the voice coil, let’s take a look at what you’ll be getting…
• A 4-ohm single voice coil
Though it’s not really the first choice for an audiophile, the 4-ohm coil will undoubtedly be a step up to the bass you’re already getting in your audio system. Now, with this being a single voice coil,you’ll be getting a fixed amount of power from it and you can’t wire it up any differently but still, this doesn’t compromise the audio quality whatsoever.
• A quad VentingT slot
As far as keeping things cool is concerned, there are the VentingT slots. These highly contribute to the efficiency in keeping the woofer cool which in the long run increases it’s longevity even under high load.
• Boasts a heavy-duty motor structure
For the motor structure, this bad boy packs a heavy duty build that is consisted of a rip-resistant and large-diameter spider as well as high-strength SpiraleadT tinsel leads that facilitate the signal transfer
• An easy fit for greater applications
Boasting to be one of the few subwoofers that prove to be equally as good for experts as it is for first time users, this subwoofer has got a full coverage and includes a steel basket which is shallower as compared to its predecessors. This makes it possible to fit in more applications
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
3. CT Sounds Tropo 8 Inch Car Subwoofer 250w RMS Dual 2 Ohm
The Tropo series presented to you by CT sound is all about producing a low-pitched audio bass frequency in order to give you an audio unlike any other. Among the speakers in this series is this 8” subwoofer which is designed to fit in most vehicles while giving you a high-quality sound simultaneously.
So, is it really worthy of our reviews? Let’s find out
•A dual 2-ohm voice coil
Being one of the most important components on a free air subwoofer, the voice coil on this bad boy is an outstanding 2-ohm coil with a dual configuration.
This basically means that if you have a low powered amplifier or head unit, you could wire it up differently and utilize as much power as possible from it. Now, speaking of power, how about we take a look at how this free air subwoofer holds up?
• 250-watt RMS & 500-watt peak power
With as much as 250 watts for the RMS alone, this subwoofer definitely out-performs most of the subwoofers in its class and it’s just what you need to step up your bass output. In addition to the RMS, the Tropo 8-inch subwoofer can push itself to reach a 500-watt peak power to attain those momentary extremes in your music comfortably.
• Boasts a Y35 grade ferrite magnet
Boasting to have one of the best magnets you could get on both speakers and subwoofers, the y35 ferrite that is used on this sub is meant to give you quality sounds with minimal trouble during the installation process.
Also, the magnet is safely guarded within the magnet casing that is then attached to the subwoofers basket hence giving you long life and quality performance as well.
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
4. Polk Audio db840 8-Inch Single Voice Coil Subwoofer
The db series of the Polk Audio being redesigned not only to look better but also sound better, this 8-inch subwoofer is definitely guaranteed to sound just as good as it looks. In addition to the good looks and a really good sound output, this subwoofer does hold up quite well as far as durability is concerned.
Here’s what you should be expecting from it.
As far as durability is concerned, the Polk audio just so happens to be one of the few brands that you can actually count on since they boast ownership to some of the best marine-grade subwoofers.
With this falling in this category as well, you can depend upon the db840 to push through even the toughest environments. With this 8-inch free air subwoofer just a click away, there’s really no better way to get a long-term reliability from a car subwoofer now, is there?
• A fire-retardant flat NOMEX spider
By having a design that you won't easily come across in most subwoofers in its class, the NOMEX spider actually allows for an extended linear motion while at the same time giving you both a reliable mechanical and thermal stability.
Speaking of the thermals, let’s have a look at how this subwoofer is able to keep the components cool
• Triple venting design
Well, in addition to having the fire-retardant NOMEX spider which improves the thermal stability of this subwoofer, you’ll also be getting a triple venting system. This is meant for the 4-layer Kapton voice coil former, the coil/cone coupler as well as the pole piece.
This makes it possible for the subwoofer to handle high power for a great bass output without getting damaged.
• High-quality cone and surround construction
As far as the material construction is concerned, the surround is a Santoprene surround. By being able to push through extreme temperatures, humidity, and exposure to sunlight, you can pretty much be able to use this subwoofer even in extreme conditions and still have the guarantee of quality sound output.
As for the cone, there is a polypropylene cone that is supported by a vented coupler which stiffens it for more stability and lower distortions
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
5. Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 8-inch Shallow-Mount Subwoofer
From the long years of experience that pioneer has been in operation, they have perfected their designs over the years hence giving audio enthusiasts all over the world top-notch sound quality. Besides household audio systems, they also do have some of the best car audio components inclusive of which are the subwoofers. In the case of the Pioneer TS-SW2002D2 every detail included in the design has been handled with utmost precision to give you an audio experience unlike any other.
Here’s what it packs under the hood…
•An oversized cone structure
As far as the material design is concerned, this subwoofer comes with an oversized cone structure. This, as compared to other subwoofers in its class gives you a greater cone and gasket surface area while at the same time maintaining the standard external dimensions.
With a greater cone surface, this free air subwoofer is able to push more air hence producing a louder and deeper bass- definitely an audiophile grade subwoofer, right?
• Shallow mounting depth
As far as installation is concerned, this 8-inch subwoofer has got a mounting depth of only 2-5/8 inches. Put side by side to typical subwoofers, this is almost half the mounting depth you'll get from the others which mean there'll be less installation effort and a better sound experience thereafter.
•20-200Hz frequency response
It’s basically a rule that we’ve got to look at the lower end of the scale when it comes to the frequency response, right? Well, with this being 20Hz for the Pioneer TS-SW2002D2, the bass will be low, loud and clear at all times.
• 86dB sensitivity
If you’re looking for something that’ll perform amazingly well even at high volumes, then this is definitely it. With the sensitivity being an outstanding 86dB, you can comfortably enjoy your music at a high volume considering the other performance features are outstanding just as the build quality is.
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
6. Skar Audio VVX-8v3 D4 800 W Max Power Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer
With the Skar Audio VVX-8v3, free air subwoofers have been completely redefined. From the low-end frequency you’ll be enjoying to the quality construction it’s got, there’s no way you could possibly go wrong. Small as it may seem, it packs quite a lot of power; how about we dive in and have a closer look at what makes it as good as it is?
•400 watts continuous power & 800 watts peak power
Power handling is one of the most critical aspects when we’re talking of bass production- the higher it is, the better the bass quality.
Taking this into account, the Skar Audio VVX-8v3has 400 watts for the RMS and double this for the peak power which is clearly not something you’ll easily come across in most 8” air subwoofers. With this much power for the RMS, you’ll hardly need to use the 800-watt peak power.
• Dual 4-ohm 2” voice coil
In order to utilize the RMS as much as possible, theSkar Audio VVX-8v3 comes with a dual 4-ohm 2-inch voice coil. Being a dual coil, you could wire it up with your amplifier or head unit to get a 2-ohm impedance and this way, you’ll utilize as much power as possible even from a low powered sub or stereo.
• A massive triple stack motor assembly
Being one of the largest motor assemblies you can possibly get on an 8-inch subwoofer and it packs enough power to get the bass going deep and loud.
But there’s more…
for the material construction, this free air subwoofer has got a free air paper cone and around this is a high-quality butyl surround
What we liked about it
What we didn’t like
Buying guide- everything you should know about free air subwoofers
With a lot of options to choose from in the market, it’s important that you don’t go wrong whatsoever which is why we’ve listed down below everything you should have at your fingertips as you search for the best 8-inch free air subwoofer.
What are they?
Free air subwoofers, just like any other subwoofers in the market are meant to step up the bass quality of your audio system. But what makes them special and unlike the rest? Let’s find out…
Whereas sot subwoofers will require the use of an enclosure, free air subwoofers are not demanding of such. Instead, the free air subwoofers make use of the space in your vehicle such as in the rear deck or they could also be attached between the trunk and the back seat of your car where there's a board. If positioned as such, they'll utilize the airtight seals which result to your whole trunk acting as the enclosure.
But, here’s the deal…
Air subwoofers, though capable of stepping up the bass will not sound as good as what you’d get if a subwoofer were mounted in an enclosure that’s carefully designed. In addition to this, you’ll want to refrain from placing a lot of things in the trunk since this would, to some extent, prevent the subs from sounding as good as they’re meant to.
Free air subwoofers vs sealed subwoofers
Now, why not just go for the sealed subwoofers?
Well, as already mentioned, the major reason would be saving on space but other than this, subwoofer enclosures call for the use of somewhat heavy MDF panels which offer the best dampening. These, however, are quite heavy and they're not really worth the hassle if there's a better alternative to getting free air subs, right?
You might want to use some deadening materials
One thing that you should have in mind is the possibility of sound distortions. Some free air subwoofers are meant to be installed in specific spaces and doing otherwise could compromise the quality of the bass.
Most of the air free subwoofers tend to have a stiffer suspension which is not the case always in those that utilize an enclosure. Due to this, it may be quite difficult for you to utilize our trunk as an enclosure in order to save on space and at the same time get a decent bass from the subs.
Since rattling could be present if you tune up the volume, you might want to use deadening materials such as foam strips.
Infinite baffles and free air subwoofers
There’s really no huge difference between these two since in the infinite baffle set up, the rear and the front waves are isolated. This way, they won’t interfere with each other which means a better bass output. You will, however, need to be keen on where to install them to get such results for the free air set up, the waves have some interaction and even though this is so, the difference between the two is quite small.
The performance features- what really defines the ideal 8-inch free air subwoofer?
Just like the usual subwoofers that work best when used with an enclosure, there are some things that you need to look into if you want to get the best out of any free air subwoofer.
Let’s list them down…
The power handling is one of the most important aspects when working with car audio systems. In the case of subwoofers, you’ll want to have the sub being able to handle as much power as possible without giving in to damage so as to have the best bass output.
Well, there are two aspects as far as power is concerned and these include the RMS and the peak. Whereas the latter is the maximum possible power threshold that the sub can achieve, the RMS is the continuous power with which the subwoofers can operate on without getting damaged and this is what you should prioritize.
But here’s the deal…
The best subwoofer for bass is not always the sub that has the highest RMS rating. Instead, you need to pay attention to your head unit. If your stereo has a low power rating, then it means that you’ll be underpowering a subwoofer with a high RMS rating as it won’t be able to operate at optimal performance.
The flip side of the coin is that if you have a sub with a low RMS and you’ve got an amp with a high-power rating, be careful not to exceed the recommended RMS rating as this may blow up your subwoofer.
In addition to the power rating, yet another thing you should look into is the sensitivity. The sensitivity is normally measured in sound pressure levels (SPL).
So, for subwoofers, the rule of thumb is the higher the sensitivity rating, the higher the volume the subwoofers can produce. Going for a high sensitivity rating means that even with a low powered head unit, the speakers can be able to produce a high volume without having any sound distortions.
As far as sensitivity is concerned, the best subwoofer to go for would be one that’s got a rating of 88dB or above.
The frequency response is basically the range of frequencies that are audible to the human ear and in the case of free air subwoofers, it would be wise to go as low as possible since you won’t be using an enclosure.The lowest frequency I’d recommend you go for is 25Hz since this way, you’ll be assured of a quality bass.
As much as free air subwoofers will be saving on a lot of space, the quality of the bass may vary from time to time due to the nature of the enclosure in which case this is the trunk of your vehicle. You might want to keep as little luggage in your trunk as possible. upon doing this, your subs are going to mimic the performance of sealed enclosures which just so happen to be the best.
Measured in ohms, impedance is what determines the amount of power that the speakers can take in from either the amp or the head unit.
Unlike the impedance, the lower the impedance, the better the bass quality. If you have a low powered stereo, it would be wise to go for a free air subwoofer that’s got a low impedance rating of about 3 ohms. As a matter of face, it’s always best to go for a sub with a low impedance rating since you can flexibly be able to use it in a number of vehicles.
As much as a low impedance will leave you at an advantage, some subwoofers may come with either a single or a dual voice coil. In this case, I’d recommend that you go for one with a dual voice coil as you can wire it up in a different configuration to get the most out of your stereo or amplifier.
Final verdict- the final word
We’ve given you a list of the best 8-inch free air subwoofers and truth be told, these will save you a lot of space not to mention they won’t be much trouble to install and set up.
As far as the price is concerned, you won’t be breaking the bank which is yet another reason you should get these. They’ll be stepping up the bass quite well and at the same time, they won’t compromise durability whatsoever. All in all, I’d recommend that you consider all that’s mentioned in the buying guide just to be safe.
All the best as you hunt for the best 8-inch free air subwoofer.