Buying a subwoofer under $200 proves to be one of the best ranges for great performance while still staying relatively inexpensive. Many of the models here perform on par with more expensive offers, but are generally nurtured in the features department.
For most, that won’t matter. Performance is king and this price bracket proves why that is the case. A solid, tight, and consistent low-end is at the forefront, with little messing around otherwise. While tweaking isn’t the focal point, these subwoofers sound fantastic.
Top 3 Subwoofers Under $200
The Yamaha HS-SW050 is a full powered behemoth of a subwoofer at a fantastic price. The lack of tunable crossover is disappointing, but easily made up for by a sleek aesthetic, creative porting design, and solid frequency response across the subwoofer’s fruitful spectrum. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better subwoofer at this price.
Given that this feature comes as standard in the majority of available devices at this price range, it is surprising to find that the NS-SW050 does not have any automatic signal sensing capability. It’s a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless and just detracts a little from the overall quality of life afforded by an otherwise fantastic offering. That complaint notwithstanding, you could do far worse than this model.
Kissing the £150.67 ($200) mark, the Polk Audio PSW505 provides a premium experience at a relatively low cost. The no-compromise design and solidly built construction shows Polk’s expertise in this field and delivers an incredible subwoofer. The tight and punchy low-end will keep you impressed for a long time.
This is, without a doubt, one of the largest and, even more notably, heaviest subwoofers we’ve encountered at any price range. We point this out so that you are prepared, because you may have to invest in new stands or mounts to support all 56 pounds of this monster! Aside from a slightly unpleasant logo on the front, it’s a good looking design that is unobtrusive and sleek enough to blend in despite its proportions.
The Sony SACS9 is a no-frills subwoofer that produces a thunderous low-end at a low cost. The 10-inch foamed-mica cellular reinforced woofer is clear and tight is a way that should be expected from Sony. A boring design holds this subwoofer back, but is easily fixed by removing the front grille to reveal the beautiful navy blue cone of the woofer.
In terms of performance, the SACS9 really shines in terms of the sheer power it is capable of outputting. This is most notable in the lower end of the spectrum, and the bass has a power, clarity, and warmth that you might not expect from a fairly compact speaker. Despite the underwhelming visuals, the audio quality is enough to win even the most aesthetically minded over to this model.
$200 is the perfect spot for a subwoofer. While jumping to $300 will grant more in the way of features, not much will improve in terms of quality. Similarly, going up to $500 will offer improvements in terms of quality and features, but it may feel like you didn’t get the greatest value for the money.
For that reason, this price bracket is really the sweet spot in terms of value. Solid performance is granted at a relatively low price point, not compromising the sound or the pocketbook.
The best subwoofers on the market prove themselves in their performance. However, they generally have a feature-rich design as well, including options to tune the speaker, enhance the low-end (with subharmonic excitement), and more.
This price range improves over subwoofers under $100 in a big way by the simple addition of a phase reversal switch. What this basically means is that the sub can fire in phase with the rest of the speakers in your set up so you don’t lose anything in perceived low-end. This is hugely important, especially with a subwoofer, because out of phase speakers can nullify the sound almost completely.
Outside of that, models under $200 lose out a bit in terms of features. Expanded tweaking and subharmonic enhancement controls are not present, knocking thems down just a bit over more expensive options.
Looking for a subwoofer proves to be a visual endevour as much as an auditory one. Thankfully, in this range they break the mold out of the stock looks of more inexpensive speakers. While they don't venture too far outside of the mold, they are more unique, offering a more thorough design process and an overall refined look.
Black boxes with beveled edges are still the focal point, but a lot of the design of these speakers go internal. The design on the interior of the cabinet helps significantly in terms of performance, proving the experience of these brands to be of a higher caliber than more inexpensive options.
The sub-$200 price range for subwoofers is fantastic. Sound that hits well above the price show that these picks are expertly designed, giving an excellent price to performance ratio. Improvements in external and internal design over cheaper options is a huge plus, leading to a very justified investment overall.
While lack of features is disappointing, the performance is excellent, making them feel much higher quality than the price would suggest.