7 Best Home Theater Subwoofers Under $500 (Reviewed)

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A best-quality subwoofer is necessary for every home theatre to give that banging sound to the audio.

The right sub can give a realistic touch to the theatre experience.

This is why it is very important to pick the right one for your system.

I remember the comment of my client when I installed a subwoofer in his theatre room.  I played the Tom Cruise scene in which he jumps off from Burj Khalifa. My client turned around and told me, “ I’m not even there but my legs are shaking”.  A right sub is very important for any theatre system.

Our Top Tested & Reviewed Products At A Glance



Frequency Adjustments

Driver Size

Editor's Ratings

Today's Best Deal

Polk Audio HTS 12


400 Watts


12 inch


Polk Audio HTS 10


200 Watts


10 inch


Sound Town METIS-18SDPW


2400 Watts


18 inch


I have installed many subwoofers in my clients’ and friends’ houses and have also analyzed and bought many of them. That’s why I have a lot of experience with subwoofers and this review is the product of my experience.

Without taking much time let’s discuss the functionalities of each one.

All Products At A Glance – Review Of Each Product Is Below This Table

SubwooferPowerFrequency AdjustmentsDriver SizeRatings
Polk Audio HTS 12400 Watts40-160 Hz12 inch5/4.9
Polk Audio HTS 10200 Watts40-160 Hz10 inch5/4.8
Sound Town METIS-18SDPW2400 Watts40-160 Hz18 inch5/4.6
Yamaha NS-SW300PN250 Watts40-140 Hz10 inch5/4.4
Onkyo SKW204230 Watts50-200 Hz10 inch5/4.3
Definitive Technology Descend DN8500 Watts60-120 Hz8 inch5/4.1
DT SuperCube6500 WattsNot provided7.5 inch5/3.9

1. Polk Audio HTS 12 – Best Powered Subwoofer


Power: 400 Watt | Drivers: 12-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Deep tight bass
  2. LFE input provided
  3. Don’t heat on hours of usage
  4. Give a realistic touch to the movies

Reasons To Avoid

The auto-on feature is not working as expected

Is It For You?

For those who want a floor-shaking and windows rattling bass and are still able to hear dialogues clearly.

Build Quality

The finish is good and the build quality is one of the best. It didn’t heat up after hours of watching movies and playing music on it.

Sound Quality

The sound can give a realistic touch to the movie experience. It was good with music but I felt that it was better with movies than it was with the music.

I was able to hear the dialogues even when a helicopter flying sound felt in my chest.

But for the best dialogues quality, you must also choose the best center speaker as well. Click on the bluish word to read my review about it.

Unique Features

  1. It didn’t heat up quickly
  2. The clear, crisp, and punchy bass.

Detail Review Of Polk Audio HTS 12

This is the best because it has deep, tight, and punchy bass. The dialogues were clear even while this Boombastic bass was firing. 

My client is a veteran and he wanted a sub that can shake the floor of the home theatre also it should be under his budget.

I picked this one sub to install in his theatre room. 

I calibrated the sound of this sub by audio collaboration mic that was provided by the receiver.  This mic calibrates the sound according to the acoustics of the room.  The sound was good and it was ready to give us a nice movie experience.  This audio calibration mic comes with almost all new AV receivers. Don’t worry about that.

Otherwise, you can manually adjust the volume and low pass filter according to your taste.

I watched the movie ‘The Bad, the Good and the Ugly”. The blasts from cannon shooting were shaking the sofa. It was only 50% volume of the sub.

I played many more movies and it was giving a realistic touch to helicopter flying, doors slamming, blasts, gun shooting, and too many more sound tests. 

I love the realistic side of movies and this subwoofer was good to deliver.

I played music on it and the bass was good with the music too. I was feeling the bass right in my chest.

With this sub, you should also pair the best affordable receivers. Read my best AVR under $500 review.

The volume levels can be controlled from the backside of it. It provides RCA connection and LFE input.

2. Polk Audio HTS 10 – Best For Small To Medium Size Rooms


Power: 200 Watt | Drivers: 10-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Clear and crisp sound
  2. Tight and deep bass
  3. Give a nice realistic touch to music and movies
  4. Almost zero port noise

Reasons To Avoid

Not so helpful customer support

Is It For You?

For those who want a realistic touch to their music and movies.

Build Quality

The overall build quality is good but the stands are made of material that can easily transfer subwoofer vibration to the hard floor and can create distortion in the sound. Don’t forget to place it on isolation pads.

Sound Quality

The sound was able to give a good realistic touch to the movies and music. The bass is punchy and the sound is clear.

But to make sure that the bass hit you right, you must calibrate it will the help of the SPL meter.

Unique Features

The realism in the music and movies

Detail Review Of Polk Audio HTS 10

This is the best 10-inch sub.  I have tested the Polk audio 12-inch sub but now I wanted to try this one.

My friend has it in his theatre room. That’s why I went to his home. I told him to disconnect the subwoofer from the receiver before my arrival. So I can test its setup difficulty.

The setup was easy and quick. I connected it with the receiver through LFE input.

The sound was crystal clear and the bass was tight and deep.

I played guitar music and the guitar felt like the guitarist himself is playing guitar in front of me in the theatre room.

The arrows in 300 movies felt like they were landing around me.

It gives a nice realistic touch to the music and movie experience.

However, there was a distortion in the sound because of the build quality of the base (feet/stands) of it. The vibrations were easily traveling from the subwoofer to the feet and then to the hard floor. That’s why it was creating distortion.

I suggested placing it on isolation pads. After a couple of days, my friend called me and told me that he is very happy that I suggested the isolation pads now there is no distortion in the sound.

3. Sound Town METIS-18SDPW – Best For Large Home Cinema Rooms


Power: 2400 Watt | Drivers: 18-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Nice movie experience
  2. A concert-like music experience
  3. It can cover medium to large size rooms
  4. 18-inch driver

Reasons To Avoid

It is not good on very low frequencies and it is quite opposite then what the manufacturers advertised.

Is It For You?

  1. For those who want to enjoy concert-like music along with movies in their theater room.
  2. It is the best for medium to large theater rooms.

Build Quality

The build quality is good and it is very heavy. The outer layer of the box of this subwoofer is very hair catchy. It catches hair so easily.

It did not heat up after hours of my testing.

Sound Quality

The movie experience was better and for a large room, it is the best. Because you can’t find a subwoofer in this price range that can single-handedly cover the entire room.

But the music experience was the best and I feel like I am in front of a live concert.

To enjoy music and sound effects you must have the best speakers under $500 for it. Click on the bluish words to read my review about it.

Unique Features

The 18-inch driver with the 4-inch voice coil is the feature that keeps it apart.

Detail Review Of Sound Town METIS-18SDPW

It is an 18 inches driver subwoofer and has a 4-inch voice coil. Massive right? Yes, it is.

My friend is a music freak and loves to play DJ when he gets the time to do it. He loves to arrange big parties and entertain guests with his DJ skills. He also loves to enjoy movies in his theatre room with his family. That’s why he is having this 18 inches sumo in his room.

I wanted to try it out for movies and music. I landed in his theatre room.

The volume and cross-over adjustment of this subwoofer seems to be a bit hustle for a newbie because I tune it by myself.  But when I use the auto-calibration mic for it.  Everything was calibrated right and it was quick.

I played the Texas Chainsaw movie And the scary sound frightened me more than before. 

It was good in the mid-lows but was missing a little on very low frequencies.

The movie experience was better but the music experience was the best.

I played music on this subwoofer and I feel like the concert is happening in my friend’s theatre room.

It did not heat up after hours of testing.

The input volume adjustment knobs and crossover knobs can be found at the back of it.

4. Yamaha NS-SW300PN – Best For User Convenience


Power: 250 Watt | Drivers: 10 inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. It can go to 28 and even 20 Hz frequency
  2. All modern connectivity options
  3. Deep and tight bass
  4. Almost no port noise

Reasons To Avoid

The bass is clear but not powerful

Is It For You?

For those who want to enjoy movies and music with a realistic touch and don’t want to annoy neighbors with powerful bass.

Build Quality

The build quality is good. The volume control knob is at the front of it. The driver is protected by an extra plastic mesh layer.

Sound Quality

The sound is capable of giving a realistic touch to the movies and music.

Avoid these home theater mistakes at any cost to improve your experience. Read my these 17 tips.

Unique Features

The twisted port and the volume control knob at the front.

Detail Review Of Yamaha NS-SW300PN

This is a 10-inch driver sub with a twisted port. The port is twisted because its twist can reduce the port noise.

The volume adjustment knob and power on and off button are at the front of it.  This is very convenient for users to change the volume without going to the back of it. 

It comes with a cable that can be plugged into an AV receiver. With this plug, the receiver will have control to turn on and turn off the subwoofer.  When there is a need for a subwoofer the receiver will turn it on, and vice versa.  This will limit electricity consumption. 

Another thing that I like about this subwoofer is the plastic mesh protection at the back of the grill.  This is very convenient to keep the driver safe from kids and pets.

The frequency adjustment knob is at the back with inputs and speaker connectivity.

My friend has this sub in his theatre room. I wanted to test its quality. That’s why I watched the San Andreas movie. The earthquake scene felt like the earthquakes were happening in the theatre room. 

The bass with the music is good too. The drum playing felt really deep.

5. Onkyo SKW204 – Worth Each Penny Of The Price


Power: 230 Watt | Drivers: 10-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Powerful deep bass
  2. Smaller overall size
  3. Nice standby mode

Reasons To Avoid

Port noise is there on very low frequencies

Is It For You?

For those who want powerful deep bass on a budget.

Build Quality

The build quality is good and can give a modern touch to the theater system. But The port noise is there on very low frequencies.

Sound Quality

The sound is clear and the bass is powerful and deep. 

Music and movies felt better and alive on it.

Unique Features

The nice standby mode.

Detail Review Of Onkyo SKW204

My client wanted a nice front-firing subwoofer on a budget and he has an Onkyo receiver. That’s why I picked this one sub to impress him with his beloved brand name.

The setup was pretty easy. I plugged in the cable to the receiver and the connection was done.

I like the cute indication light on the front of it.  It is turned on red on standby and as soon as it receives signals from the receiver it turns on green.

The movie experience was amazing, the dialogues were clear and the bass was tight and deep.

I really enjoyed the running of Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park movie. I was feeling like the dinosaurs were running in my client’s theatre room.

I played music on it and the subwoofer was capable of going really low in frequencies.

One annoying thing that I noticed in it is that it was turning off and on frequently during the music and it was little present during the movie too.

But I adjust the subwoofer volume to low and the subwoofer level on the receiver to high and due to this trick it always stays on. So remember to apply this trick if you face this problem.

There are many more problems that happen in the theater system, we almost miss those every time. That’s why read my this guide to solve common home theater problems. I have listed 17. Don’t forget to talk about yours too in the comment section.

The volume and output level can be adjusted from the back of the sub and there you will also find the Line input.

6. Definitive Technology Descend DN8 – Best For Small Cinema Rooms


Power: 500 Watt | Drivers: 8-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Two bass radiators for bass enhancement
  2. Almost no port noise
  3. Firm and tight bass
  4. A lot of modern-age connectivity options

Reasons To Avoid

It can’t cover medium size rooms

Is It For You?

For those who live in one or two-bedroom apartments. For those who want a clean and firm movie experience and don’t want to annoy neighbors above and below with loud and powerful bass.

Build Quality

The build quality is good and the minimalist design looks sweet and nice. It aids in the room design of my client.

The manufacturer’s effort to kill the port noise with bass radiators instead of using a port is really helping it to fire the bass without port noise

Sound Quality

The bass is firm and tight. It aids up to the movies and music. The bass was good to enjoy and gave a realistic touch to movies and music and it was not loud and powerful to annoy neighbors.

To ensure that no sound goes out or comes into the theater room. You must soundproof your theater room. Yes, it is possible, click on the bluish words to read my guide about it.

Unique Features

The two bass radiators are used instead of a port to fire out nice bass without port noise.

Detail Review Of Definitive Technology Descend DN8

This is the best fit for small theatre rooms and for the medium you will need two of them.  I always recommend using 2 subs in the theatre room but in this case, I say it is a must to use two in a medium-size room.

It consists of an 8-inch driver and two bass radiators. Instead of ports, bass radiators are used, that’s why there is no port noise in it.

A client of mine is living in a small apartment and he wanted a subwoofer that can fulfill his home theatre audio needs.  His room is very small, that’s why I chose this 8-inch driver sub.

It satisfied his audio taste and also his neighbors will not be annoyed by the bass.

I installed this DN8 in his theatre room. The setup was easy because this is a modern-age subwoofer. I played The Dark Knight Rises. The bass was firm and felt really nice in the opening scene. The fire of the gun felt almost like a real gun.

I played music on it and instantly the theatre room was turned into a party room.   The drum playing felt right in my chest.

Another thing that I like about it is that it can be connected to almost all of the new AV receivers.  Because it has quite a good range of connectivity options. 

The volume and low pass adjustment knobs can be found at the back of it.

7. DT SuperCube – Best For Its Tiny Size


Power: 6500 Watt | Drivers: 7.5-inch

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Reasons To Buy

  1. Deep bass
  2. Almost zero port noise
  3. Tiny size

Reasons To Avoid

  1. Discontinued by the manufacturer
  2. Soft overall cover and can be damaged by pets
  3. The whole unit vibrates a lot

Is It For You?

For those who want a tiny subwoofer otherwise, there are better subwoofers than those on this list.

Build Quality

The tiny size is really good to blend into the theater system but the cover is soft. It can be damaged by pets.

Sound Quality

It is good for music and it is better for movies. I will recommend it for movies only.

Unique Features

The tiny size is the feature that keeps it apart.

Detail Review Of DT SuperCube

This is a 7.5-inch driver subwoofer by Definitive Technology. This is called a super cube because it is very small in size. But don’t underestimate it by its size because the bass is deep and tight. Here in this case the size undoubtedly doesn’t matter, LOL!

It has a 7.5-inch one-driver and two 7.5-inch bass radiators.

My client wanted to have a tiny subwoofer with good bass in his theatre room.

I installed this super cube in his theatre room. It is tiny and doesn’t take up a lot of space and the bass is deep. It looks classy in his room with that shiny finish and tiny size.

I played an X-Men movie and the action came to life after the bass provided by this sub. The dialogues were very clear and the sound was crisp along with the thumping bass.

The music felt good on it and without any port noise. However, I will still recommend it only for movies. For movies, it is better, for music it is good.

It is good only for small rooms and for the medium you will need two of them.

At the back, you will get only a volume knob and no knob for crossover adjustments.

This subwoofer deserves a better position on this list but I put it here on the last because it is discontinued by the manufacturer.


Are 10 or 12-inch subs better?

The 12-inch is always better. 12-inch drivers have more power and more space to go back and forth to fire more low-frequency bass. Due to more power and more space for driver movement, the 12-inch is a better option than the 10-inch.

But if you are tight on budget or want a smaller sub for your system then 10 is best and if you need smaller than that then 8 inches is best. 

Is it worth having 2 subwoofers?

In medium, to large theater rooms, one subwoofer can’t cover the entire room to fill it with the bass. That’s why I recommend two subs whenever I get the opportunity to explain. These two subs can fill the entire room and then you can feel the realistic touch of the sounds of guns firing, fire jets and vehicle engines, the collapsing of dinosaurs or villains, and much more.

How do I choose a home theater subwoofer?

Always aim for a larger driver sub because a larger sub can better fire low frequencies. For medium to large theater rooms, I will always suggest, that you have at least two subwoofers. These two will better fill the whole theater room with bass.

Helpful Resources For The FAQs To Read More

  1. Know more from actual users here on Quora. (Resource for the first answer)
  2. Read more here from Klipsch. (Resource for the second answer)
  3. Learn more from this video on youtube. (Resource for the third answer)
This article was first posted on Homelytainment.com.
Ayaan Khan
Ayaan Khan

I'm Ayaan khan, a freelancer and a Computer Science degree holder from P.E.S. College. After my degree, I started an internship with my father in his home theater showroom. After working for a month I realized that this is the best job in the world for me and it could be turned into a passion. Fast forward to when my internship ended, I joined my father as a full-time home theater equipment tester. I test new equipment and approve it before it can be installed in the customer's house. I love to test equipment and sometimes love to install it by myself in the customer's theater room. I have the right experience and knowledge to learn from my articles. In my Free time I write & answer questions here on AVSFORUM. Every Article on Homelytainment is curated according to Homelytainment's Editorial Policy and Sponsorship Policy. If you have any questions for me. Reach out to my email (Support(AT)homelytainment.com)

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