Woofer VS Subwoofer: Which One is Better?

You probably already know how closely bass, woofer, and subwoofer are connected. There is no other thing when it comes to bass. However, some often wonder whether they buy a woofer or a subwoofer.

Some believe both are the same, while others are more concerned about the differences between both devices, so they can decide which one is perfect for them.

Though both have the same function-reproduction of low-frequency sound in content, both are different in many aspects.

In this article, I’ll describe both types and their differences to help you decide which is better.

What is a Subwoofer?

A subwoofer is actually a loudspeaker or specialized woofer that can reproduce low-frequency sounds, commonly known as bass, in video or audio content.

Generally, a subwoofer reproduces bass in the frequency range of 20Hz-200Hz.

As subs focus on low-frequencies, they provide a rich and constant bass for most media and make your music experience more enjoyable.

The subwoofer comes in two types, Passive subwoofers and active subwoofers. Passive subs require an external receiver or amplifier, while active subs have a built-in amplifier.

If your traditional speaker system doesn’t reproduce low-frequency sound, you need a subwoofer.

What is Woofer?

A woofer is a loudspeaker that reproduces low-frequency sounds, but the frequency range is wider than a subwoofer.

The frequency range of a woofer is 50Hz to 2500Hz. Simply put, a woofer is a specialized speaker, while a subwoofer is a specialized woofer. The woofer covers a wide range of frequencies, which is ideal for home theater setups.

Difference Between Woofer and Subwoofer

subwoofer vs woofer

Here is the in-depth difference between a subwoofer and a woofer.

Frequency Range

Though both devices reproduce low-pitched audio frequencies, the range they cover differs. The frequency range of a woofer is 50Hz-2500Hz. Due to their wide range of frequencies, woofers are sometimes called mid-woofers.

Generally, the frequency range of a subwoofer is 20Hz-200Hz. They are called “sub” woofers because they reproduce a “sub-level” sound. Some subwoofers can reproduce below 20Hz sound, generally known as propeller or rotary subwoofers.

Size

Generally, a subwoofer’s size is larger than a woofer because of its various components. Firstly, subwoofers have a black enclosure for the components’ protection and tuning of the output.

The enclosure also contains a passive radiator to release the excessive pressure that builds up in the device. Some subs have port vents to perform the same job.

A subwoofer also contains a woofer and amplifier. The woofer reproduces low-frequency sounds, while an amplifier is used to amplify the level of that sound. The production of deeper bass is directly related to the surface area. Therefore, a subwoofer has a relatively large size than a woofer.

However, woofers are also available in large sizes but are not very common. Generally, the size of a subwoofer ranges between 8-20 inches, while the size of a woofer varies between 3-8 inches.

The Number of Drivers

Most subwoofers have just one driver. However, some customized subwoofers have multiple drivers. Additionally, a single enclosure could have multiple subwoofers and multiple drivers.

On the contrary, woofers have multiple drivers. Usually, woofers have 2-way or 3-way driver systems. Two drivers, known as a woofer and a tweeter, are present in a 2-way subwoofer.

While a 3-way subwoofer comes with a tweeter, woofer, and a mid-range driver. Some 4-way subwoofers are also available, and they contain an additional super-tweeter.

Power Consumption

A subwoofer usually consumes more power than a woofer. It is because the subwoofer has to reproduce the lowest range of frequencies; therefore, the more power consumption by the amplifier inside the sub to get the job done.

Conversely, a woofer consumes less power as it doesn’t have to work on such low frequencies. But, if the woofer contains a special low-frequency driver, it may consume slightly more power. Still, this power consumption will be less than a subwoofer. Generally, the power consumption of a subwoofer varies from 200-1000W, while a woofer consumes between 10-100W of power.

Powering the Driver

An external amplifier(that also powers a regular speaker) is used to power the drivers of a woofer. So, basically, woofers are similar to passive subwoofers that also are powered by an external amplifier.

Conversely, the subwoofer has two types, which are powered differently. The active subwoofer has a built-in amplifier, while an external amplifier powers passive subs. Additionally, subwoofers also have an inbuilt crossover that filters out high frequencies.

This makes the subwoofer setup slightly more complicated than a woofer.

Comparison Table Between Woofer and Subwoofer

DeviceSubwooferWoofer
Frequency20 Hz-200 Hz50 Hz-2500 Hz
DriversSingleMultiple drivers(2-4)
Power ConsumptionHigh (200-1000W)Relatively low(10-100W)
SizeLarge Size (8-20 Inches)Relatively small size ( 3-8 inches)
Powering the DriverThrough inbuilt amplifierThrough external amplifier
CostRelatively HighRelatively Low

Advantages and Disadvantages of Subwoofer

Advantages

  • Subwoofers enhance the music experience by reproducing low-pitched audio frequencies or bass. Adding a subwoofer to your speaker system reduces distortion and thus provides consistent and improved sound quality.
  • A subwoofer offers a rich and deep bass compared to a general woofer. It is because of its focus on reproducing low frequencies in the media.

Disadvantages

  • Subwoofers have relatively large sizes, so they consume more space. It is difficult to adjust a subwoofer where there is no significant space.
  • A subwoofer utilizes more power than a woofer to perform its function. Therefore, you need to use a high ampere plug to meet the power demand.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Woofer

Advantages

  • A woofer can enhance low and high-frequency audio signals. So it is appropriate for improving the overall sound quality of your audio system.
  • Woofers generally come in relatively small and compact sizes; therefore, they take less space. And you can get excellent sound along with saving space.
  • A woofer covers a high-frequency range as compared to subwoofers. Their range is 2KHz compared to 200Hz of a subwoofer.

Disadvantages

  • A woofer is not a specialized system, as it covers low to mid-range frequencies. They neither cover very low frequencies nor reproduce very high frequencies.
  • Its power consumption is high due to its technical specifications.

Related Subwoofer Comparison Guides:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is better, subwoofer or woofer?

The woofer and subwoofer are used for the same purpose: to reproduce low frequencies. But the subwoofer primarily focuses on very low frequencies resulting in a deep and rich bass effect. So, the bass effect of a sub is far better than a woofer.

Is woofer and subwoofer same?

There are no significant differences between woofers and subwoofers as both systems reproduce low-frequency audio signals. The difference comes in the range of frequencies they cover. Subwoofer covers a range of 20Hz to 200 Hz, while woofers have a wider range between 40Hz to 2500 Hz.

Can I use the woofer as a sub?

Yes, you can. A woofer can be used as a sub if it contains a low pass crossover to limit the woofer’s output to a low-frequency range. So, primarily it is doable, but in the case of a particular speaker.

What are woofers used for?

Woofers are used to cover the low-frequency range of loudspeakers. In two-way woofers, drivers reproducing the lower frequencies are also responsible for covering a significant part of the mid-range, usually as high as 2000 to 5000 Hz; such drivers are called mid-woofers.

Is a subwoofer only for bass?

Subwoofers are responsible for enhancing the lowest frequencies in any audio you listen to. These low-frequency audios include deep voices, pipe organs, kick drums, bass guitars, and movie sound effects.

What does a woofer sound like?

A woofer allows you to feel the sound while you may hear the bass from floor-standing speakers or your bookshelf. You can’t enjoy music with heavy basses like EDM or hip hop or watch a full-throttle action flick without a subwoofer.

Can I use a subwoofer as a speaker?

The structural design of a subwoofer, the included components, and the available input or output ports are all designed for low-frequency audio signal emissions. Since subwoofers can’t stream high-frequency audio signals, they can’t be used as speakers.

Conclusion

A woofer is a speaker that reproduces low-frequency sound in media, while a subwoofer is a specialized woofer that handles deep bass frequencies(20Hz or below). Both devices differ in frequency, the number of drivers, size, power output, and pricing.

What do you need? There is no ideal answer for this topic because it totally depends on your preferences and requirements.

A subwoofer is most suitable if you require a low-frequency sound or want to experience a deep and rich bass. You can enjoy heart-thumping bass effects in your home theater setup like you get at parties with a sub.

A woofer is appropriate if you just want to enhance your sound system’s overall audio quality. It covers a wide frequency range, which is good for car audio systems.

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