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Woofer vs. Subwoofer

A Guide to Understanding Woofers!

Woofer vs Subwoofer

A speaker responsible for handling the low-frequency audio impulses in your system is called a woofer. On the other hand, a speaker responsible for reproducing very low frequencies is called a subwoofer. This is not just the only woofer vs subwoofer difference. Thee are other differentiating factors between the two you must know.

These two speakers’ primary distinctions are their frequency range, power output magnitude, and overall size. So let’s compare a woofer with a subwoofer and look at the key differences between the two.

Woofer vs. Subwoofer – Key Differences

Woofer vs. Subwoofer - Key Differences

Here are some of the key differences between woofers and subwoofers.

  • Subwoofers are generally bigger than woofers.
  • Woofers have a frequency range of 40 – 2500 Hz. Subwoofers have a frequency range of 0-200 Hz.
  • A woofer has multiple drivers. A subwoofer has only a single driver.
  • Woofers consume lesser power than subwoofers.
  • The cost of woofers is relatively lower than subwoofers.

Woofer vs. Subwoofer – Detailed Comparison

Below is a detailed comparison between woofers and subwoofers:


The size of the two speaker units is an important factor to consider. A subwoofer is larger than a woofer because a subwoofer produces sound at low frequencies. And, since low frequencies need a significant amount of air volume, subwoofers are bigger. Due to subwoofers’ huge cone surface area, producing low frequencies is possible. 

A high-quality magnet is another component that contributes to the viability of woofers and subwoofers.

Even though woofers may still be rather massive, they are not as large as subwoofers. However, woofers cannot reach the incredibly low frequencies produced by subwoofers. Therefore, a subwoofer is the best device to get if you want your audio system to have strong bass to accompany the music that it plays.

A subwoofer is often present inside of a box. Hence, the size of the subwoofer gets significantly increased as a result. For example, the width of these subwoofer boxes may range from a few feet to a few yards. This space may often take up most of the available space in a trunk.

Number of Drivers

Woofers and subwoofers in different types of speakers
Woofers and subwoofers in different types of speakers

Woofers are often a component of a speaker that contains several drivers. Two-way and three-way speakers are by far the most common types. For example, in a two-way speaker, a woofer is responsible for producing low and midrange frequencies. The second driver, known as a tweeter, produces high frequencies.

In a three-way speaker, one driver, i.e., the woofer, is responsible for lower frequencies, another driver handles the midrange, and the third driver handles the higher frequencies. Some high-end speakers include four drivers, which means that in addition to the regular tweeter, there is also a “super tweeter” contributing to the trebles.

Since subwoofers only deliver a single frequency, they only need a single driver. However, multi-driver systems are available in the aftermarket and via custom shops. And, of course, many different kinds of audio systems will have more than one subwoofer installed, which, in essence, transforms the subwoofer system into a multi-driver one.

Frequency Range

Frequency Range

When deciding which is better, woofers or subwoofers, one of the essential factors is the frequency range. In comparison to a typical speaker, which emits sound at higher frequencies, a woofer is best for performance in a frequency range that is far lower.

A woofer’s music is still quite loud but will be light and have more bass. In audio parlance, a woofer can produce sound at a frequency ranging from 40 Hz to 2,500 Hz.

Subwoofers can create sound in a frequency range far lower than most other speakers. Its range extends from 0 Hz up to 200 Hz. Moreover, a subwoofer can reproduce a lower frequency range than a woofer. As a consequence, the bass produced by subwoofers is better.

These varied frequencies result in excellent sound quality when produced by a system that includes loudspeakers and a subwoofer of great quality. To further elaborate, a subwoofer is an excellent component to add to an audio system. Woofers are still capable of producing decent bass. However, many users find that they do not need a subwoofer.

A subwoofer is a device used to achieve deeper bass and a very low-frequency range. Subwoofers are audio components that provide a significant quantity of high-quality bass.

Power Consumption

Power requirements differ for woofers and subwoofers. For example, a woofer has a lower power output than a subwoofer. This difference is because subwoofers produce sound at a lower frequency, which demands a higher level of energy consumption.

Due to this need for power, we often connect subwoofers to an amplifier specifically designed for use with subwoofers.

A subwoofer amplifier supplies a significant amount of power to the subwoofer. In certain cases, an amplifier also supplies power to the woofers.

However, because woofers function at lower frequencies, they do not need significant power to generate excellent sound. Therefore, buying the most powerful amplifier available with your woofers is unnecessary.

Woofers are associated with lower power consumption.

Powering the Drivers

Another key point to examine is the difference between woofer and subwoofer drivers. Woofers and subwoofers are driven in fundamentally different ways. For example, an external amplifier drives woofers since woofers come with passive bass drivers. 

Many people will just run their subwoofers from the same amplifier they use for their normal speakers. Woofers need only a connection to the amplifier’s output to get the required power.

On the other hand, subwoofers can be powered in two ways: actively or passively. Active subwoofers come equipped with their own amplifiers.

This amplifier is often present in the box that houses the subwoofer. So, for example, suppose you want the highest possible sound quality. In that case, you should ensure that you connect the subwoofer to a sub output designated on the amplifier.

This built-in amp contributes to producing better quality and low-end bass. You can accomplish such quality by increasing the intensity of the input signal from the head unit, which in turn provides the subwoofer with greater power. When it comes to active subwoofers, these components need a connection not only to the head unit but also to a source of external power.

This connection method makes the process of using these systems far more difficult. However, these active subwoofers come with a crossover already installed, which helps to enhance the overall sound quality. Due to these crossovers, only low frequencies get sent to the subwoofer driver. This situation means high frequencies are filtered out, resulting in a crisper bass and an excellent sound.


After going through the differences between woofer and subwoofer drivers, the next thing to consider is pricing. The price of an average subwoofer will be around the same as that of an average woofer. However, the price will depend on several other aspects.

For instance, better subwoofers are now available on the market and constructed with more recent and cutting-edge technology. These may come in at a considerably higher price point than woofers.

On the other hand, several woofers come with impressive characteristics and capabilities. These may be more expensive than many of the market’s subwoofers.

In addition, the pricing of woofers and subwoofers may range widely due to the wide variety of designs, styles, and brands available for each kind. As there is a wide variety of possibilities, you can get subwoofers and bass speakers that are either very reasonably priced or that cost close to one thousand dollars.

Although several factors go into selecting the cost of subwoofers, the RMS power and overall sound quality are often the ones that have the most influence on the final decision. Modern subwoofers can handle an unbelievable amount of power surely contributes to the price increase.

Woofer vs. Subwoofer – Which Is Better?

Woofer vs. Subwoofer - Which Is Better?

It is impossible to provide a definitive response to this question since the answer depends entirely on your needs. A subwoofer is the most suitable option if you want to get a full-bodied bass impact. However, it also requires music with extremely low frequencies.

You may create bass effects and rhythms that will make your heart pump similarly as you would at a party. As a consequence of this, it is appropriate for use with home theater systems.

Due to a woofer’s larger frequency range, it is a component that is ideal for you to use if all you want to do is increase the sound quality of your whole audio system. Due to this, a woofer is a better fit for audio systems used in automobiles.

Final Words

A woofer is a speaker responsible for handling low-frequency audio signals in your audio system. At the same time, a subwoofer is a speaker specifically designed to reproduce low-frequency sounds with a deeper bass range (20 Hz or below).

The range of these two speakers, their size, the amount of power they consume, the number of drivers they include, and their prices are the primary areas in which they vary.

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