15 vs 18 inch subwoofer

15 VS 18 Inch Subwoofer: Is Bigger Always Better?

If you want to be meticulous about buying a woofer, it’ll all come down to inches. In case you’re wondering, yes, inches matter.

But so do your requirements!

So, what are the difference when it comes to 15 VS 18-inch subwoofers?

Starting with the bass, the 15-inch subwoofer has a lighter bass compared to its 18-inch counterpart. Consequently, the energy consumption of 18-ich subwoofer is higher. Also, the 18-inch subwoofer is also more prone to distortion compared to 15-inch subwoofers.

That’s the differences between the two subwoofers in a nutshell. But if you want more details then read the in-depth descriptions, pros, and cons of both of the speaker.

Let’s dive in-

15 VS 18 Inch Subwoofers: Quick Comparison

Comparing between a 15 and 18-inch subwoofer can be baffling just like comparing a 5.25 and 6.5-inch speaker.

The perfect sound system can give you an amazing jam session or an enjoyable car ride.

Well, if you’re not jamming with friends and want some solo gaming time, what better way to enjoy that than with a deep bass?

Here’s a small table for you to grasp the concept easily:

Features15-inch Subwoofer18-inch Subwoofer
BassLighterDeeper
Energy consumptionLessHigh
WeightAround 12-40 lbAround 32-64 lb
Distortion TendenciesLessMore

Now that you know some of the information let’s dive into the main segment!

15 VS 18 Inch Subwoofers: Detailed Comparison

The speakers with 15-inch drivers are best for the indoor music experience. Since the basses are comparatively less deep than 18 inches, the sound experience is better in closed areas.

There’s a big debate on 15 inch vs 18 inch DJ subwoofers because of open and closed areas.

On the contrary, the majority of people prefer 15 inches subwoofers instead of 18-inch subwoofers for home.

It’s completely understandable if you get confused with the subwoofer sizes. Interestingly enough, people have a hard time deciding between front-height speakers vs surround back as well.  And it’s not always the bigger the better.

Subwoofers come in different sizes. 12, 15, and 18 inches are usually considered big woofers.

When buying a new speaker, checking the low-frequency extension and sound pressure level is essential.

Make sure you choose the right wood for your speaker cabinet, as it’ll keep your speaker in good shape.

Also, making the perfect cabinet for your speaker is important. Why, is a bigger subwoofer enclosure better?

Of course not. The cabinet or the speaker box has to have a perfectly sealed enclosure. This will ensure tight bass and controlled movement.

You should also analyze the size and weight of the speakers while buying them.

At this point you might be asking yourself- are 18-inch subwoofers worth it?

As the name suggests, this speaker has a driver of 18-inch diameter. The sizes 18 and 20 inches are the biggest among the speakers. Hence it provides the best sound experience. The best 18-inch subwoofers are mostly used for open-air gigs.

In the 15 vs 18-inch home theatre subwoofer comparison, there are a lot of other external and internal factors working around the speakers.

So here’s what you need to know about a 15 inch and 18inch subwoofer.

Area Coverage

If you’re looking for a speaker for an open-air gig, an 18-inch subwoofer is the right choice for you. 

18-inch subwoofer speakers cover a large area (such as a nightclub, auditorium, concerts, and even a stadium!) even if there are no walls to block the sound waves, unlike the 15-inch ones.

Here’s an interesting fact! A 360-degree set up of 18-inch drivers can cover an area of 34000 square meters. Which is basically the size of a football stadium.

If you’re into big open-air gigs (or parties), this speaker might not be the best choice for you.

Unlike an 18 inch subwoofer, the bass of a 15-inch subwoofer is not as low.

And as a result, the sound doesn’t travel far. Which gives the best experience when the walls reflect the waves.

However, this isn’t a bad option if you don’t want to disturb your neighbors.

Winner: 18-inch Subwoofer

Bass Level

The bigger the size of a subwoofer driver the better the SPL (Sound Pressure Level). A loudspeaker usually produces 95 dB of SPL with 1 watt of power.

So, the more SPL a speaker has, the deeper its bass will be. Deep bass gives you the best heart-thumping sound experience.

People usually prefer deeper bass when buying speakers.

In this case, the bigger subs win. Unlike the 18 inch subs, smaller subs don’t give the heart-beating music experience.

That’s why people prefer using power tubes to enhance the audio signal for constant output.

Although the sound of the 15-inch subs is not that different from the 18-inch ones if you listen closely you might hear slightly sharper beats of the 15-inch drivers.

Blame the pistonic movement and their control, if you must.

Winner: 18-inch Subwoofer

Cinematic Experience

If you’re all about movie theatre experience, then an 18-inch subwoofer for your home theatre setup would be a blessing.

Not only does the deep bass give you detailed audio, but it will also save you from spending money on additional speakers.

An 18-inch subwoofer will add dimension to your sound effects. All you’ll need in your room is a comfortable sofa and snacks, and you’re good to go.

Winner: 18-inch Subwoofer

The Weight Issue

Of course, an 18-inch driver will be heavier than the 15 inch one. So it’s arduous to move around different places with that weight.

So this speaker is not recommended for travelers. But if carrying the speaker is not an issue, you don’t have anything to worry about!

An 18-inch subwoofer weighs around 32-64 lb and would require an industrial trolley to move around. So, I would suggest you think twice before leaping!

If you compare with the 18-inch subs, a 15-inch subwoofer is much lighter, at around 12-40 lb. So you don’t have to worry about traveling with your band!

A lightweight speaker is convenient and travel-friendly. You can rock at your gigs (indoor of course but more on that later) with two of these and that will be enough!

Winner: 15-inch Subwoofer

Distortion Tendencies

Subwoofers with bigger diameters are more prone to distortion. So an 18-inch subwoofer has greater chances of distortion than the 15-inch subs.

Larger drivers, such as an 18-inch subwoofer driver, are harder to control due to the pistonic movement and sometimes result in distortion.

This makes the audio quality less detailed, fuzzy, and gritty. In some cases, amplifiers can help solve the distortion problems.

The smaller the diameter of the driver, the less tendency it has to distort and make your choice between normal and reverse phase easier.

Here’s why. A driver with a small area can be controlled easily by the pistonic movements, unlike the big drivers. So the 15-inch sub has fewer chances of getting distorted than the 18-inch sub.

That’s good news, right?

Here are our picks for best 15 inch subwoofer:

There’s another way to avoid distortions in 15-inch subwoofers. And that is- using the right amplifier.

So, are you wondering- how big of an amp do I need for a 15-inch sub?

Average power of a 15 inch subwoofer is 10 watts. However, if you want to avoid the chances of distortion then you need to use an amplifier of 200 watts. This big amplifier will help to stabilize the large transient hits.

Winner: 15-inch Subwoofer

Energy Consumption

If you think about it, bigger speakers will require greater energy. Since the 18-inch subs consume a large amount of amplifier current and magnetic energy, the electricity consumption is very high.

In terms of energy consumption, two 15 inches or one 18 inch subwoofer can be considered almost equal.

Speaker StatusEnergy Consumption
Power on, no signal20-50W
In Use (3 hours)500W

The best part about 15-inch subs is that they don’t consume much of your electricity.

While this might not be the biggest factor to convince a buyer but do give this a second thought.

If you’re not into outdoor gigs, using two 15 inch subs can save energy more than a single 18 inch one. And that too while providing you with a satisfactory music experience.

Winner: 15-inch Subwoofer

The Result: Which Is the Best?

Like we said before, there is no definite answer to which one is the best between a 15-inch and 18-inch subwoofer.

Choosing a subwoofer depends on all the factors we have discussed in this article: space, weight traveling, bass and even distortion.

That’s all on 15 and 18 inch subwoofers.

FAQs

Are 18-inch subwoofers good?

Absolutely! If space and weight are not a problem for you then you can use an 18-inch subwoofer. Carrying it around can be a bit of a hassle so make sure you have the perfect transporting system.

Are 12 or 15-inch subs better?

Comparing a 12-inch sub with a 15-inch sub is almost similar to our comparison of 15-inch and 18-inch subs. 12-inch subwoofers will have a sharper and clearer beat than the 15-inch ones.

Which subwoofer has the deepest bass?

If you’re comparing between two or more speakers then the larger one has the deepest bass. The reason is that the larger diameters of the driver increase the sound pressure level of the speaker. Which creates a heavier bass.

Parting Words

Now that you’ve read the 15 vs 18-inch subwoofer article, you’re halfway there.

Fulfilling your quest for the perfect subwoofer would require a bit more observation. Make sure you check the motor and amplifier before paying all that cash.

All you have to do is make sure the speakers check all your requirement boxes. Let us know which subwoofer you prefer.

Till then keep jamming!

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