15 Inch vs 12 Inch Subwoofer: [Comparison Guide]

If we simply state the difference between a 15 vs. 12-inch subwoofer:

“15-inch subwoofers have a large diameter and displace more air as compared to 12-inch subwoofers. 12-inch subs deliver a tighter, louder, sharp and crisper sound than large subwoofers. A 15-inch sub covers lower frequency, provides more bass, and requires more power coverage than a 12-inch sub. For music tracks hitting relatively lower frequencies like rap and hip hop, a 15-inch sub is a good choice.”

As you probably know, subwoofers come in many different sizes and types. When choosing a subwoofer for their home theater system or car audio needs, most people often seem confused. Most people also have many misconceptions about subwoofers’ sizes, and they end up buying the wrong fit for their audio system.

In this article, we’ll describe both subwoofers in detail to help you make a better choice for your home theater or vehicle audio setup. We’ll explain these sub’s physical differences, sound quality differences and some popular brands out there and more!

Are you interested to know the details? Then read it until the end, and you’ll clearly understand both subs. 

So, let’s begin!

15 Inch vs 12 Inch Subwoofer

15 Vs. 12 Inch Subwoofer Comparison Chart

Both subwoofers have many things to compare. So let’s take a quick view of both subwoofers.

Subwoofer12-inch Subwoofer15-inch Subwoofer
SizeSmallerLarger
Weightaround 26 – 45 lbsaround 37 – 67 lbs
Frequency45 – 500 Hz20 – 200 Hz
Audio TypeSharpDull
Air DisplacingLessMore
BassLowerHigher
Area CoverageMoreLess
ResponseFastSlow
Sound CharacteristicsCrisper & LouderDeep Tune
Suitable ForMoviesMusic
DistortionLessMore
Power1200 watts RMS1500 watts RMS
Recommended ModelKlipsch R-12SW 12″ 400W SubwooferCerwin-Vega XLS-15S 15″ Powered Subwoofer

Detailed Comparison Between 15 and 12-Inch Subwoofer

Now, after viewing the table, you’ll be more clear about the differences between both devices. If you want a depth comparison of these subwoofers, keep reading. You’ll find a detailed comparison of 15 and 12-inch subwoofers.

Size

Are 15-inch subwoofers too big? We often hear this question. 15-inch subwoofers are larger than 12-inch subwoofers.

Additionally, they weigh more than their counterparts. A 12-inch and 15-inch subwoofer box is considerably different in size. 15′ subs have this downside.

In your car, a 15-inch subwoofer will require more space. Due to their weight, moving them can also be a hassle.

Frequency

A woofer or Subwoofer’s frequency is its most crucial component. The reason for this is that it creates bass. Subwoofers have lower bass when they have higher frequencies.

In contrast, the bass will be strongest in the lowest frequency. Concerning the frequency range of 12 and 15-inch subwoofers, the 15-inch subwoofers have the lowest. Compared to the 12″ sub, whose frequency range is 45 to 500 Hz, the 15″ sub’s range is 20 to lower.

Therefore, 15-inch subwoofers produce higher bass. In rock and roll and rap music, high bass is beneficial. Humans can detect sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz.

Sound Characteristics

The design of 15-inch subwoofers makes them capable of producing a deeper sound. Among other subs, they are the largest. Their purpose is to displace as much air as possible.

Therefore, 15-inch subwoofers produce a deep tuning. A 15-inch subwoofer would produce more booming sound than a 12-inch subwoofer.

A 12-inch subwoofer produces a clear and loud sound compared to a 15-inch subwoofer. In terms of sound quality, it’s a bit crispier. The size of the sub is directly related to this.

A 12-inch subwoofer displaces less air, producing a more precise sound. Additionally, a larger subwoofer produces a lower sound.

The bigger the Subwoofer, the more distortion it creates.

There is less distortion with 12-inch subs, however. It’s for this reason that 12-inch subs are better for watching movies. A 15-inch subwoofer would make it hard to follow a conversation.

Area Coverage

It is also important to consider this when choosing subwoofers. A sound range that covers more area is better. It would be great to have a subwoofer that could provide adequate sound to your liking, wouldn’t it?

The 12-inch Subwoofer has the upper hand here. The reason is that they appear to cover a wider surface area. There is an obvious reason for this. Twelve-inch subs generate a much sharper sound that travels farther.

However, 15-inch subwoofers deliver a dull sound that doesn’t reach very far. Despite having a deeper sound and more bass, it does not cover much area.

But that does not mean 15-inch subs are not loud. Depending on the power, size, quality, and brand that you choose, the Subwoofer will differ. It applies even to subwoofers of the same size.

Materials Used In Subwoofers

A cone’s durability is a key factor in determining the durability and quality of sound generated by a subwoofer.

In today’s industry, polypropylene cones are famous since they are lightweight and rigid at the same time, allowing the cones to move easily but maintain their shape even when they move rapidly.

Several other materials are commonly used to make subwoofers, including

  • Treated paper
  • Carbon fiber,
  • Kevlar

Required Power Coverage

Subwoofers with a larger size require more amperage coverage. Yes, you guessed correctly. In Comparison to 12-inch subwoofers, 15-inch subwoofers need more power. A specific powered sub requires a particular size of amp.

There is a need for 1200 watts of RMS power coverage for a single 12-inch subwoofer. However, a 15-inch subwoofer requires at least 1500 watts of power. It would therefore be necessary to have a bigger and more powerful amplifier if you want to support a 15-inch sub.

Power requirements for subwoofers vary. Power requirements vary even among subwoofers of the same size. A 12-inch sub will, however, require less power than a 1500-watt.

15-inch subwoofers can require as much as 2500 watts of power. This is if you need an ultra-strong 15-inch subwoofer. A subwoofer’s cone size also plays a significant role here.

In a Car, Which is Better?

The decision between different subwoofer sizes doesn’t matter as much in home theater (for the most part) as picking one for your car, as long as the room you’re setting up your system has at least average space.

Most average-sized automobiles have limited trunk space to work with, so the size and form of a sub enclosure play a significant role; however, if you’re driving an SUV with a lot of unused rear space, this changes the game.

As a result, choosing the right Subwoofer depends on the type of vehicle, as each car has a different size trunk or cargo area.

So what’s the bottom line? The 15-inch Subwoofer is one of the largest available on the market, and it is ideal for larger vehicles with enough space to accommodate it.

Unless you have a small car, these subs will produce excellent sound quality, making them a great option for bass lovers.

Some of the Best Brands That Make Both Sizes of Subwoofers

A subwoofer is commonly found in car audio systems, public address systems, home theater systems, cinemas and recording studios, but there are so many brands and manufacturers producing subwoofers that make it difficult to decide which Subwoofer is the best.

In the world of mobile audio, there are a few brands that stand out no matter what environment you use your Subwoofer in.

A few of these are:

  • Alpine
  • Yamaha
  • MTX
  • Klipsch
  • Kicker
  • Polk Audio
  • Pioneer
  • JBL
  • QSC
  • Electro-Voice
  • SVS
  • Alto Professional.

These are some of the manufacturers that make the best 12-inch car audio subwoofers:

  • JL Audio (W7AE Series)
  • Rockford Fosgate (Power T1 Series)
  • Hertz (Milli Pro Series)
  • Sony (Mobile ES Series)
  • Focal (Flax Evo Series)

Price Differences of 12-inch And 15-inch Subs

A 15-inch sub usually costs between $70 and $500, whereas two 12-inch subs cost from $100 to $750.

A system you’re planning will be more expensive if you need to buy two identical subwoofers.

Subwoofers that cost more won’t necessarily deliver better audio than those that cost less; on average, a 15-inch subwoofer costs less than two 12-inch subwoofers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are 12 or 15-inch subs better?

Meanwhile, subwoofers with a 15-inch diameter usually produce much louder bass and can handle higher wattages without distorting as much as those with a 12-inch diameter.

Are 15 subwoofers good?

If you need a subwoofer that can produce loud, high-quality sound, a 15-inch subwoofer is a perfect choice. Regarding bass output and frequency response, 15-inch subwoofers are known for superior performance.

Are 12 subwoofers good?

Twelve-inch subwoofers are more powerful, louder, and can handle more bass than smaller ones. Additionally, many people believe they sound better than smaller subwoofers.

Are 12-inch Subs Loud?

In comparison to what is it loud? Subwoofers with a diameter of 12 inches are usually louder than those with a diameter of 8 or 10. Depending on their RMS power rating, 12-inch subwoofers typically deliver a more powerful bass sound than smaller ones.

Conclusion

In the end, which one won? However, the answer to that question is up to you. The type of music you like will also affect your decision. 

Does bass appeal to you more? If so, then 15-inch is perfect for you. Music that is louder and with less bass is more your style? If so, you’ll benefit from a 12-inch sub. 

But remember, there are many things to consider when it comes to subwoofers. Even the environment in which you’re going to use it. In addition, subwoofer quality varies greatly from brand to brand. 

Thorough knowledge of subwoofer anatomy would be helpful. Would you like a little tip? Choose ones with larger cones because they compensate for your amp’s lack of power. In case you’re confused, this is the rule you should follow.

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