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Best 12 Inch Shallow Mount Subwoofers Reviews

Few things in life are as important as good music especially when you’re driving. The main benefit of listening to music while you drive is pretty obvious to everyone: it’s more fun and it can improve your mood. But as you’ve probably noticed, that music only sounds as good as the system it’s playing through.

Sure, You can survive with just a regular set of speakers. You don’t, strictly speaking, need a hard-hitting sub. But you cannot believe the difference having one will make.

To get bass that shakes your car’s mirrors and license plates (or maybe only your trunk lid), you need big subwoofers and enough space for the subwoofer box that contains them. But in smaller vehicles space for bass is at a premium.

When you have a smaller car with limited cargo space, your two best options are either to purchase a powered car subwoofer that can fit in tight locations such as behind or under seats, or to buy a shallow mount subwoofer and have it mounted in a thin subwoofer box.

Despite their low mount profile, shallow mount subwoofers can fill out the sound and add a solid deep bass foundation to your music. However, you shouldn’t expect these subs to turn your ride into a rolling thunderstorm of bass.

Want a peek at some of the best 12 inch shallow mount subwoofer options out there today? Check out our roundup of Killer shallow mount subs.

Top 10 Best Shallow Mount 12″ Subwoofer Reviews

1. Pioneer TS-SW3002S4

Pioneer TS-SW3002S4

  • Mica-injected resin cone
  • 400 Watts Nominal Power
  • Unique Design with just 3-3/8 inch Mounting Depth
  • Small Enclosure Use (0.5 ~ 1.0 cu. ft.)

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 20 – 125 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 100-400 Watts
  • Peak: 1,500 Watts
Sensitivity 93 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-3/8″
Impedance Single 4 Ohms

Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 is one of the best 12 inch shallow mount subwoofer in the market. It’s designed to bring great bass to vehicles where conventional subs won’t fit.

At only 3-3/8″ mounting depth — which is less than half a typical subwoofer in this class — this sub can be mounted in a slender enclosure that’ll easily fit behind a truck seat or in any tight space while delivering the bass performance you need.

Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 is featured with an oversized cone made of mica-injected molded resin which makes it rigid, yet responsive. This cone surface allows the subwoofer to move more air and thereby produce louder and deeper bass.

You’ll definitely be surprised at how well this subwoofer sounds, and being optimized for sealed enclosures, makes the bass clean and crisp. No, you won’t rattle the windows out a mile away, but inside your car you’ll have plenty of clean sounding bass and if that’s not satisfying, I don’t know what it is.

This 12″ slim subwoofer can hit as low as a claimed 20Hz and as far up as 125Hz. It sports 93dB sensitivity rating and can handle up to 400 watts of power RMS. To drive this single subwoofer, we recommend a mono amplifier rated between 300 and 600 watts RMS at 4 ohms.

Pioneer TS-SW3002S4 is one of the best 12 inch shallow mount subwoofers that you can buy, all things considered. This hard hitting shallow sub can produce a lot of bass without having to sacrifice space in a trunk or truck cab.

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2. JL Audio 12TW3-D4

JL Audio 12TW3-D4

  • Dual 4-ohm voice coils
  • Shallow-mount design with small airspace requirements
  • Mica-filled polypropylene cone with rubber surround
  • Cast alloy basket
  • Aluminum-alloy dust cap and rear cap with JL Audio logo
  • Very long linear excursion capability (0.60 In / 15.2 mm, one-way)
  • Very small sealed enclosure volume requirements

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 22 – 200 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 100-400 Watts
  • Peak: 800 Watts
Sensitivity 84.11 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-1/2″
Impedance 2 ohms or 8 ohms

This is what you can get if you’re willing to shell out some serious dough. This is one of the best 12 inch shallow subwoofer that JL Audio has to offer.

The JL Audio 12TW3-D4 is a very well-engineered low profile sub featuring JL Audio’s patented “concentric tube” design which compresses the sub’s motor structure for a smaller profile without sacrificing performance.

Thanks to a combination of a mounting depth of less than 3-1/2″ deep, a minimal frontal clearance and extremely small enclosure requirements, this sub will fit in all kinds of tight places you don’t expect a conventional subwoofer to go.

This JL Audio shallow mount 12″ sub is featured with injection-molded mica-filled polypropylene cone bonded to durable rubber surround and housed in a cast-alloy frame that minimizes resonances and vibrations.

The JL Audio 12TW3-D4 subwoofer can work equally well in a sealed or ported enclosure, depending on your musical preferences. It boasts a 22Hz to 200kHz frequency response and can handle up to 400 watts of continuous power, giving you all the range and power you could want.

The ultra-deep 22 Hz bass response is technically lower than what your ears can perceive, nevertheless it will add a little extra non-auditory rumble to your vehicle as well, so the bass response on this subwoofer will be plenty for your setup.

All in all, if you have deep pockets and you’re looking for a powerful 12″ shallow mount subwoofer that can deliver chest thumping bass and dynamic performance in a sound that is deep, loud and clear, JL Audio 12TW3-D4 is for you.

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3. Infinity Reference REF1200S

Sale
Infinity Reference REF1200S

  • Polypropylene cone with rubber surround
  • Selectable Smart Impedance switch
  • Suitable for free-air (infinite baffle) setup
  • 2 inch Single Voice Coil

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 27 – 175 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS:  250 Watts
  • Peak:1000 Watts
Sensitivity 92 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-1/4″
Impedance 2 or 4 ohms (selectable)

Within the audio space, Infinity Systems is one of the oldest and trusted names. The company was founded in 1968 and has been part of the Harman International Industries group since 1983. It has released everything from home audio systems to car audio components and maintained a level of quality throughout.

The Infinity Reference REF1200S is one of Infinity’s top rated shallow mount subwoofers. It’s a legitimately powerful subwoofer that delivers 250 watts of mind-blowing bass while maintaining a low-profile design. With lows that dig down into the depths of 27Hz, you’ll definitely hear exceptionally low frequencies you’ve been missing.

The subwoofer at hand comes with a polypropylene cone with rubber surround. And unlike most dual-voice coil subwoofers in the market, which allow you to wire their two coils for different impedances (either 1 or 4 ohms or 2 or 8 ohms), this sub features a Selectable Smart Impedance Switch (SSI) which lets you easily flip the speaker impedance between 2 and 4 ohms, which are the most commonly used settings for a single sub.

The Selectable Smart Impedance Switch allows for unparalleled flexibility in extracting every last watt from your amplifier without compromising stability and thermal safety margins.

The subwoofer at hand will work equally well in either a sealed box (of 0.75 cu. ft.), or ported box (1.75 cu. ft.). It can also be mounted in free-air setup (infinite baffle), However, its power handling will drop by half.

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4. Rockford Fosgate Punch P3SD4-12

Rockford Fosgate Punch P3SD4-12

  • Anodized aluminum cone and dustcap
  • M-Roll Santoprene™ surround
  • StampCast basket with integrated spider venting
  • Dual linear spider with embedded 16 AWG tinsel leads
  • Diamond cut cast aluminum trim ring with optional grille
  • Optimized for both sealed and vented enclosures

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 34 – 250 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 50-400 Watts
  • Peak: 800 Watts
Sensitivity 85 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-11/16″
Impedance 2 ohms or 8 ohms

If you’re in the market for a car subwoofer, one brand tends to come up more often than others. Rockford Fosgate offers a wide variety of subwoofers at basically every price point. Their subwoofers seem seem to hit the sweet spot for a lot of guys, that’s because they’re very well-engineered and are reasonably priced for the most part.

That said, if you’re looking for low-profile subwoofer, one of their best subs in this category is the “P3SD4-12”.

This Rockford Fosgate P3S 12″ shallow subwoofer comes from a long line of high-performance subs that pump out a hard-hitting and powerful bass that you’ll feel and hear.

This subwoofer sports a more shallow motor assembly which reduces the overall depth of the woofer. At just 3-11/16 inches deep, this sub will fit into places where no bass has gone before, making it a great option for depth challenged vehicles.

This sub uses an anodized aluminum cone and dust cap that makes the woofer light and responsive, yet rigid enough to maintain its shape when you crank it up loud.

This woofer is supported by M-Roll Santoprene™ surround for excellent excursion and maximum output while being durable enough to last for many years to come.

This Rockford Fosgate subwoofer has an impressive frequency range of 34 – 250Hz. At 400 watts of continuous power and the ability to handle bursts up to 800 watts, it is powerful enough to deliver stellar bass response without taking up much space.

Its dual 4-ohm voice coils allow for great wiring flexibility, while its abundant venting prevent overheating and thermal breakdown.

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5. Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F

  • Carbon-glass fiber composite cone
  • Butyl rubber surround
  • Cast aluminum basket
  • Super linear spider
  • Aluminum diecast basket
  • Heat transfer system

Last update on 2020-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 30 – 700 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 50-350 Watts
  • Peak: 1,400 Watts
Sensitivity 91 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-15/16″
Impedance 4 ohms

When it comes to electronics, the Japanese are the most legendary. And Kenwood is no exception. It’s another serious contender in the car audio industry that’s been around since time immemorial.

From home audio systems to to car audio components, Kenwood is the go-to brand for many music enthusiasts. Their car audio components seem to be well-liked, and that’s because they’re excellent designed and manufactured to perfection.

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XW1200F is one of the top-rated shallow-mount subwoofers out there. At slightly less than 4″ deep, the subwoofer at hand is not the slimmest, but then again it’s not even close to the size of a regular subwoofer.

First of all, it should be noted that Kenwood Excelon components represent the brand’s most advanced series of products which are engineered to deliver the kind of uncompromising sonic fidelity that serious audiophiles demand.

That said, this Kenwood shallow mount 12″ subwoofer provides 350 watts of continuous power and 1500 watts at peak, with large butyl rubber surrounds supporting a 12″ carbon-glass fiber composite cone with honeycomb pattern to deliver quick response in demanding conditions without flexing.

The subwoofer has silver-plated push terminals which provide excellent signal transfer. It’s housed in a die-cast aluminum basket which offers a solid housing with plenty of venting to dissipate heat away from the internal motor structure ensuring long-lasting reliability.

This woofer will work equally well in both sealed (0.8 cu/ft.) and ported (0.8 cu/ft.) enclosures.

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6. Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-12

Rockford Fosgate R2SD4-12

  • Dual 4-ohm voice coils
  • Mica-injected polypropylene woofer cone
  • Poly-foam surround
  • StampCast basket with integrated spider venting
  • 12 AWG compression terminals
  • Anodized aluminum voice coil former
  • Linear spider with embedded 16 AWG tinsel leads

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 29 – 250 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 100-250 Watts
  • Peak: 500 Watts
Sensitivity 85 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-5/8″
Impedance 2 ohms or 8 ohms

If you’re on a tight budget and looking to scale down from the Punch P3SD4-12 (mentioned above), Rockford Fosgate has plenty of other choices available. One of the more popular options available is the R2SD4-12.

This Rockford Fosgate R2 12″ shallow mount subwoofer is reasonably priced and relatively powerful. However, it’s not as powerful as the its brother “P3SD4-12″ we linked to above, but then again, it doesn’t cost as much either.

Despite being budget-friendly, this sub delivers a full, unfettered bass response with a respectable sense of realism. It provides 250 watts of continuous power and 500 watts dynamic, with large high-density poly-foam surrounds supporting a 12” mica-injected polypropylene cone. It has a frequency range of 29 – 250Hz.

It features compression input terminals with attached 16-gauge stitched tinsel lead wires. The latter are stitched directly into the cone, so they’ll hang tough when the bass gets heavy. Furthermore, the stamped steel frame offers the same venting found in standard-mount Rockford Fosgate subs to quickly dissipate heat away from the internal components and keep this sub running cool.

Thanks to its dual 4-ohm voice coils, you can wire this sub for either 2- or 8-ohm impedance, giving you more flexibility in setting up your system.

This Rockford Fosgate workhorse can be mounted either in a sealed enclosure (of 0.9 cubic feet) and ported enclosure (of 1.79 cubic feet) so you can choose the type of bass you want in your ride.

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7. Alpine SWR-T12

Alpine SWR-T12

  • Aluminum woofer cone
  • Cast aluminum frame with radial finned heat sink
  • Injection Molded Santoprene rubber surround
  • Vented voice coil heat sink

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 26 – 200 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 300-600 watts
  • Peak: 1,800 watts
Sensitivity 84 dB
Top-mounting Depth 3-1/2″
Impedance 4 ohms

Who doesn’t know about Alpine? Anyone who is into car audio systems and is serious about their components, whether stereos or speakers or even subs, have at least heard about this renowned brand. It’s been around for a little more than 5 decades and is considered one of the industry-leading manufacturer of high performance mobile electronics.

Alpine offers everything from in-car multimedia to signal processors, and maintained a level of quality throughout. The same goes for its selection of speakers and subwoofers.

The SWR-T12 is one of the best 12 inch shallow subs that Alpine has to offer. It has an aluminum woofer cone supported by multi-roll Santoprene™ surround for impressive performance. Its finned aluminum heat sink on the other hand is directly coupled to the frame for rapid heat dissipation that’ll keep your sub running cool.

This Alpine 12″ shallow mount subwoofer sports a low-profile design with high power handling to pump out powerful bass in the tightest spots where most regular sub won’t fit.

You might think that its mounting depth of 3.5 inches will significantly limit its performance, and you’d be wrong because its cone excursion is nearly as long as that of conventional subs. That said, you’ll get rich, deep sound with a balanced, energetic bass and a good low-frequency response.

Speaking of which, this sub boasts a 26Hz to 200Hz frequency response, 84 dB sensitivity, and power handling of 600 watts RMS, giving you all the range and power you could want.

All in all, this Alpine Type R 12″ shallow sub makes a great solution for applications with very limited available space, such as pickup trucks and compact cars.

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8. Kicker CompVT 43CVT124

Size 12″
Frequency range 25 – 500 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 350 watts
  • Peak: 800 watts
Sensitivity 87.1 dB
Top-mounting Depth 4-3/8″
Impedance 4 ohms

Kicker CVT124 is another great-sounding 12 inch shallow mount subwoofer to consider. It was designed with compact cars and pickup trucks in mind.

This low mount profile 12″ subwoofer performs just like a full-size conventional sub, but without killing all your cargo space. It features a stiff ribbed cone bonded to Santoprene surround for consistent and reliable performance.

Despite its low mount profile, this Kicker shallow mount 12″ sub can hit surprisingly hard, but not as hard as higher value, conventional subs. Its stamped steel basket, plus its perimeter venting which dissipate heat away from the internal motor structure allow the subwoofer to consistently handle a great amount of power and thereby produce plenty of bass, without needing plenty of depth.

Speaking of mounting depth, and at around 4 inches tall, this sub can easily fit in tight spaces, including right under the seat in many vehicles.

Kicker CVT124 sports 87dB sensitivity and can handle up to 400 watts of power on continuous basis. It can hit as low as a claimed 25Hz and as far up as 350Hz. It’s designed to work equally well in a sealed or a ported enclosure.

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9. Pioneer TS-SWX3002

Pioneer TS-SWX3002

  • Sealed enclosure
  • 5/8 inch medium density fiberboard construction covered with black carpet
  • Preloaded with a 12 inch Shallow Mount Subwoofer
  • Reinforced MICA injection-molded resin preloaded subwoofer cone structure
  • Carpeted, non-slip and scratch resistant enclosure surface

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 20 – 125 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 400 watts
  • Peak:1,500 Watts
Sensitivity 93 dB
Dimensions 20-1/2″(W) x 13-7/8″(H) x 6-3/8″(D)
Impedance Single 4 Ohms

If you’re looking for a shallow mount pre-loaded enclosure, Pioneer TS-SWX3002 is a great option to consider. It’ll save you from the hassle of looking for low-profile mount sub and building an enclosure for it.

This enclosure is made of 5/8″ medium density fiberboard construction covered with black carpet that is resilient to tearing and wearing and blends perfectly with any car interior design.

This sealed pre-loaded enclosure is fitted with Pioneer SW3002S4 12″ shallow mount subwoofer we linked to above. It’s featured with angled push terminals which allow the connection wires to remain straight rather than being bent to fit horizontal or vertical terminals. The straighter connection saves space and makes installation easier. It also reduces stress on the wires.

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10. Skar Audio EV-12 D4

Skar Audio EV-12 D4

  • Competition Grade Pressed Paper Cone
  • Premium Rubber Surround
  • 2 inch Copper Voice Coil
  • Advanced Air Flow Cooling System

Last update on 2020-11-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Size 12″
Frequency range 20 – 500 Hz
Power Handling 
  • RMS: 200 watts
  • Peak: 500 Watts
Sensitivity 87.3dB
Top-mounting Depth
Impedance Single 2-4 Ohms & Dual 2-4 ohms

Skar Audio is a brand we haven’t come across much on our site. However, that’s not to say that their products aren’t anything to write home about. Quite honestly, they offer some great sounding car subwoofers at budget-friendly prices, and the EV-12 D4 12 inch shallow sub is no exception.

This Skar Audio shallow mount 12″ subwoofer comes in four configuration including single 2 ohm and 4 ohm as well as dual 2 ohm and 4 ohm. It’s featured with pressed paper cones supported with premium rubber surround. Combine that with its premium, 50 Oz single stack ferrite magnet and high temperature 2-inch voice coil, and you get a subwoofer that can operate efficiently and get loud even in the tightest applications.

This subwoofer sports a sensitivity rating of 87.6 dB. It can hit as low as a claimed 20Hz and as far up as 500Hz. And it’s conservatively rated at 200 watts nominal (RMS Power), and features a peak power rating of 500 Watts (Max Power).

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Final Thoughts

At the end, we can all agree that everyone will appreciate some extra bass in their lives and we firmly believe that our little selection of the best 12 inch subs has a match for every budget and needs out there.

The slim profiles of the subwoofers we listed here and the small enclosures they’ll fit into will open up a variety of mounting options for vehicles with limited space.

You’ll be able to put one (or two) of these subs into your vehicle’s hard-to-fit spaces. Just be sure to save some room for an amplifier.

Alex Brown

Hey There, my name is Alex Brown, I'm a music lover and a car audio enthusiast. I've installed everything from navigation systems to full car stereo systems, remote starters, alarms and beyond. I've been in this industry for years now. I enjoy creating solutions and simplifying everyday needs. My passion for music came at an early age. I love helping people get great sounding gear, thereby, saving the world from bad sound one customer at a time.

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