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 differences 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 the 18-ich subwoofer is higher. Also, the 18-inch subwoofer is also more prone to distortion compared to 15-inch subwoofers.

That’s the difference 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 speakers.

Let’s dive in-

15 VS 18 Inch Subwoofers: Quick Comparison

Comparing a 15 and 18-inch subwoofer can be baffling just like comparing a 15 and 12-inch subwoofer.

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
Bass20Hz – 200Hz40Hz – 120Hz
Energy consumptionUp to 500W in 5-6 hoursUp to 500W in 3 hours
WeightAround 12-40 lbAround 32-64 lb
Distortion TendenciesLessMore
Recommended ModelKlipsch SPL-150SW Powered SubwooferElectro-Voice ELX200-18SP Powered Subwoofer

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. 8, 10, 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 box better?

In some cases, a bigger subwoofer box will be more efficient. However, sometimes it can be too big for the purpose you are going to use that subwoofer. 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.

Source: powerbassusa.com

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

Absolutely. If the weight and space aren’t an issue you can use an 18-inch subwoofer. However, it’s best if you don’t use them in a small space. 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 a 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 setup of 18-inch drivers can cover an area of 34,000 square meters. Which is basically the size of a football stadium.

If you’re into big open-air gigs (or parties), this speaker is the best choice for you. The Skar Audio Single 18″ Subwoofer is the king in this category. Because it produces such a massive bass at 600 Watt RMS. Trust me it’ll turn everyone’s head wherever you take it.

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. Also, the 18-inch sub is like a mini fridge so it’s tough to carry it everywhere. That’s why Rockford Fosgate P3D2 is an excellent choice as a 15-inch sub. The durability of this sub with an injection-molded cone will give you maximum moveability.

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. That’s why finding out what size subwoofer is best for bass is important.

The bigger sub which is 18-inch will give you heart-pounding bass with more power. On the other hand, the 15-inch subs will produce sharper beats of the 15-inch drivers. Because there will be less distortion in the smaller-sized subwoofer.

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

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

Winner: 18-inch Subwoofer. And if you want to shake the plaster of the wall as well as the ground, get the Skar Audio EVL-18 D2. But be careful as you might even crack the pavement if you play this on the road.

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!

However, there are some lightweight subs in the market. And the Electro-Voice ELX200-18SP 18″ is one of them. You can use it as portable or installed however you want.

Source: musicauthority.org

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 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:

  • Rockville Destroyer is the ideal overall 15-inch subwoofer. Its price is also modest with 1200 Watts RMS. Not to mention the inverted dust cap for increased power handling and durability.
  • the SKAR Audio EVL is the best 15 inch subwoofer on a budget.
  • The 15 inch subwoofer from American Bass elite series is also a solid option.

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?

The 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.

But here are some of the greatest 15 inch and 18-inch subwoofers available in the market right now –



Feature 1

Feature 2


Klipsch SPL-150SW 15 Inch Powered Subwoofer

Bass reflex via exclusive front firing internal flare port for placement flexibility

High efficiency class d amplifier with 400W RMS and 800W peak

Acoustic Audio PSW-15 Inch Down Firing Powered Subwoofer

Long throw woofer with high rigidity PVA Treated cone

Has Peak Power of 600 Watts; has gain and phase control options

Monolith Powered Subwoofer - 15 Inch with 1,000 Watt Amplifier

Has THX Ultra Certification which works up to 3000 Cubic Feet

Comes with HDF Cabinets and Can transform to Sealed Mode

JBL Professional PRX818XLFW 18 Inch Subwoofer

Allows full wireless control with PRX Connect App

Has 134 dB SPL peak; Frequency range of 30Hz to 103 Hz

PRORECK PR18 18 inch 2000W Subwoofer

Has balanced XLR Combo Input

Can power up to 2 passive speakers

Mackie THUMP 18-Inch 1200-Watt Subwoofer

Has an SPL of 130 db to 135 db

Bass tuning range stops at 45Hz

That’s all on 15 and 18 inch subwoofers.


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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