15 VS 12 Inch Subwoofer: What’s the Performance Difference?

12 and 15-inch subwoofers are the ones that provide the highest bass to the music. So it’s not rare to see people getting confused on which one to pick.

To make that decision, knowing the difference between the two subs would be better.

So, what are the differences between a 15 vs 12-inch subwoofer?

12-inch subwoofers provide a louder, sharper, and crisper sound than a 15-inch sub. But a 15-inch subwoofer provides more bass than a 12-inch subwoofer because it has a lower frequency. It also requires more power coverage than the 12” sub. 12” sub has better area coverage as well.

Aren’t you curious to know the details? Then join us in this discussion. We’ll explain to you all the differences.

Let us begin!

Quick Comparison: 15 Vs 12 Inch Subwoofer

Comparisons between subwoofers aren’t merely based on a few things. There are a lot of facts to compare. Let’s take a quick glance at them.

Aspect15” Subwoofer12” Subwoofer
Weightaround 37 – 67 lbsaround 26 – 45 lbs
Air DisplacingMoreLess
Sound CharacteristicsDeep TuneCrisper & Louder
Audio TypeDullSharp
Frequency20 – 200 Hz45 – 500 Hz
Power1500 watts RMS1200 watts RMS
Area CoverageLessMore
Suitable ForMusicMovies
Recommended ModelKlipsch R-12SW 12″ 400W SubwooferCerwin-Vega XLS-15S 15″ Powered Subwoofer

Got the initial idea on the difference between a 12 vs 15” subwoofer? Then let’s proceed forward.

Detailed Comparison: 15 Vs 12-Inch Subwoofer

As we said, the difference between two subwoofers depends on more than one factor. Hopefully, you’ve seen the chart we provided above. Now, let’s talk in detail about them.


Is a 15-inch subwoofer too big? That’s a common question we come across. A 15-inch subwoofer is bigger in size than a 12-inch subwoofer.

They are also heavier in comparison. a 15-inch subwoofer box is much bigger in size than a 12-inch subwoofer box. It is one of the downsides of 15′ subs.

Because setting a 15-inch subwoofer in your car requires more space. Since they are heavier it’s also bothersome to move them. This difference between them is somewhat similar to the difference between 21 and 18-inch subwoofer.

Source: Skar Audio

Sound Characteristics

15-inch subwoofers are made as such so that they can produce a deeper sound. They are the largest size among other subs. So they can displace the most amount of air.

As a result, 15-inch subs create a deep tuning. You’d hear more booming sound from 15-inch subwoofers than 12-inch subwoofers.

12-inch subwoofers create a rather loud and clear noise than 15-inch subs. The sound quality is on the crisper side. This is directly related to the size of the sub.

Because 12-inch subs displace less air, the sound comes out clearer. Also, the rule of thumb is, that the larger the subwoofer the lower the sound is. Bigger subwoofers create too much distortion sometimes.

But 12-inch subs have less distortion. That’s why when you’re watching movies, 12-inch subs are better. With a 15-inch sub, it would be hard to comprehend a conversation.


Frequency is the most important element for woofers and subwoofers. Because it is what is responsible for creating bass. The higher the frequency of a sub is the lower the bass will be.

Oppositely, in the lowest frequency, the bass will be highest. Between 12 and 15-inch subwoofers, 15” subs have the lowest frequency. Its range goes from 20 to lower whereas the 12” sub’s frequency range is 45-500 Hz.

So clearly, it’s understandable why 15-inch subs create a higher bass. High bass is good for rap and rock and roll music. Human ears can detect sounds in 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency.

Here are some of our recommended 15-inch subwoofers:

These are some of the best subwoofers you can buy. Fit them in your car’s audio system and let them do the rest!

Area Coverage

This is another important factor when choosing subwoofers. The more area the sound range covers the better it is. Who wouldn’t want a subwoofer that covers adequate sound to your liking?

A 12-inch subwoofer has an upper hand on that. Because they seem to travel more surface area. The reason is obvious. It’s because 12-inch subs create a rather sharper sound that travels far.

Whereas 15-inch subs have a dull sound that doesn’t reach too far. Although it has more bass and a deeper sound it doesn’t cover much surface area.

But it doesn’t mean that 15-inch subs are not loud. Depending on what power, size, quality, and brand you’re picking the subs will differ. It’s applicable even between same sized subwoofers.

Source: forbes.com

Required Power Coverage

Bigger subwoofers require more ampere coverage. Yes, you guessed it right. 15-inch subwoofers need more power coverage compared to 12-inch subs. The required amp size for specific powered sub.

A single 12-inch subwoofer requires 1200 watts of RMS power coverage. But a 15-inch subwoofer needs at least 1500 watts. So to support a 15-inch sub you’d need a bigger and more powerful amplifier.

The amount of power needed is not constant for all subwoofers. Even in the same size subwoofers vary in power requirement. But you can always guess that 12-inch subs will require less amount of power than 1500 watts.

As for 15-inch subs, the power requirement can be as high as 2500 watts. That is if you need a high quality strong 15-inch subwoofer. The cone size of the subwoofer also matters greatly in this.

15 inch subwoofer and 12-inch subwoofer comparison.

Final Verdict: 15 Vs 12 Inch Subwoofer

So which one is the winner? I would say a 12-inch subwoofer considering the general use. But the actual answer depends on you. It depends on your music taste too. This is similar to the comparison between 18 and 21-inch subwoofer.

Do you like bass more? Then 15-inch is what you’re looking for. Do you prefer louder music and a little less bass? Then a 12-inch sub is for you. 

Source: lifewire.com

But always remember, when it comes to subwoofers a whole lot of factors matter. Even the environment you’re gonna use it into. Also, the quality of the subs differs greatly depending on the brands.

Would be better if you know everything about subwoofer anatomy. Need a little tip? Go for the ones that have bigger cones. Because they compensate for the lack of power in your amp. So, if you’re confused this is your rule to follow.


It feels incomplete without a few commonly asked questions. So here’s our faq segment.

How to get more bass from a subwoofer?

First, turn down the sub’s amp gain to the lowest side. Now, lift up the low-pass filter and shut off the bass boost. After that, turn on the head unit to the middle settings of the tone control. Try high, mid-range, and low notes to see the result.

What is deep bass?

Deep bass is a tune that has a frequency level of 16 to 80 Hz. The bass sometimes exceeds the level below human hearing. So you may not hear the sound. Rather you’d feel a presence of pressure from the bass. That is called deep bass.

Is one subwoofer better than two?

Yes, it might be better depending on some factors. One sub is enough to cover an average-sized room. But using two might reduce the resonance and add to the quality of the bass. It’s more about distributing the bass rather than adding.


Are the differences between a 15 vs 12-inch subwoofer clear to you now? We tried to provide you with a clear picture of how these two subwoofers differ.

Hopefully, the read was pleasant and useful to you. Don’t forget to evaluate all the factors before choosing your sub. Happy listening!

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