10 Vs 12 Subwoofer: How To Differentiate Between Them?

One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a subwoofer is its size. So, a 10 vs 12 subwoofer: what should you choose? The major difference between these systems is the quantity of bass produced. The 12-inch sub has more bass than its competitor.

We will compare and contrast the two devices side by side so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s dig into the details!

What Is A 10-Inch Subwoofer?

This size is one of the most popular owing to its simplicity of setup and portability. It can work well with any kind of music genre, from Jazz, blues, pop, to metal.

These tiny devices are excellent at amplifying low frequencies below 80 Hz, yet they also deal well with higher ranges.

It’s also simple to select an enclosure for this unit that will allow the bass to echo smoothly.

What Is A 12-Inch Subwoofer?

12-inch subwoofers can handle a broad range of music, including rap, rhythm, blues, and RnB.

The capacity to expel air is the most notable feature of subs. That’s how they maintain the crispness while producing strong bass.

These subs do an excellent job of collecting frequencies that a standard sound system would miss.

As a result, you’ll be able to increase the stereo speakers and make the most of their performance.

Differences Between 10 Vs 12 Subwoofer

These devices are subwoofers but come in different sizes. How does the size affect its efficiency? Let’s check the following factors one by one to discover!

Bass output

The key difference between 10″ and 12″ subwoofers is that the latter will produce more bass.

Due to the bigger cone surface, the bigger driver will have a slightly higher overall performance.

However, it would be difficult to tell the difference only in the size with any good to the high-end sub.

In general, a 12″ unit moves more air than a 10″ one. It can produce lower frequencies with more clarity and more bass.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the other components, such as power or airspace, of the system will impact everything.

Why does the bigger driver produce more bass? The bigger driver does not need to travel as far as the smaller ones for the same loudness to give the same bass.

To put it another way, the 12″ model has a larger surface area, and more surface area means greater air volume engaged, which equals more bass.

10 vs 12 subwoofer- The larger drivers produce deeper soundThe larger drivers produce deeper sound


Smaller subs are often a little more accurate than larger ones because they are more compact.

As a result, a 10-inch subwoofer features lower Q’s since manufacturers use bigger cones for smaller motors to increase sensitivity.

In other words, the manufacturers try to give you less control over the smaller sub. This feature reduces pressure on the same materials used in the 12 version.

You will have more precise sonic production at the cost of lower volume emitted with the smaller device.

The difference is minimal, but you can point it out easily if you are an audiophile. Otherwise, you will be satisfied with the big sub in terms of accuracy.

10 vs 12 subwoofer- The smaller driver is better at sound accuracyThe smaller driver is better at sound accuracy


Because the 12-inch sub offers more bass, it requires more power to work and produces a louder sound.

Sensitivity is also an essential but often ignored element when it comes to loudness.

A 94DB sensitivity woofer will be nearly twice as loud as the sub with 91DB sensitivity for the same transmitted signal strength.

You can learn more about the speaker sensitivity right here:

Sound quality

You can’t distinguish the sonic difference between two drivers from the same series if they are only different in their cone size.

You can only determine when you’ve hit the 10″ limitations, at which level you’ll start to detect distortion.

Sound quality is a complicated measurement, and the size of a speaker is only one factor that influences how well a driver can output sound. Magnet size, cone material, spider stiffness, and so on are all elements to consider.

The 12″ subwoofer will definitely generate more bass, but it does not imply superior sound quality.

Once your subs are up to par, detecting an audible difference due to a size gap will be difficult, if not impossible.

10 vs 12 subwoofer- It is hard to notice the difference in sound qualityIt is hard to notice the difference in sound quality

Bass control

There isn’t much of a difference between the two units regarding sound quality.

On the other hand, smaller subs tend to be a little more constrained on quick, rigid bass notes than larger subs in terms of bass control.


When we discuss sound quality, we must also mention distortion. Keep in mind that all subs will stretch or distort to varying levels while working.

When comparing comparable 10-inch and 12-inch drivers, the 12-inch one will deform slightly more due to its larger surface and greater power or stress.

10 vs 12 subwoofer- The 10-inch sub can eliminate the distortion betterThe 10-inch sub can eliminate the distortion better


There are a few factors to take into account if tonality is essential to you. To begin, regardless of the driver you utilize, go for a sealed shell.

12″ subs will emit lower frequencies than their competitors. The 10″ subs, on the other hand, may offer a tighter, more defined sound in the low mid-bass.

Here are the situations under which you should pick each driver to obtain an optimal tonality yield.

  • 10″: If your sound system includes sub, mid and high frequencies (tweeter and horn-loaded drivers).
  • 12″: If your sound system has midbass drivers ranging from 60 to 250Hz.


Larger drivers have a stronger response for the low frequencies, whereas smaller ones respond better to higher ranges.

As a result, a 12″ can work nicely for low ranges, and its competitor handles the higher frequencies better.

The surface area appears to be a tradeoff that promotes low frequencies since hitting an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) takes less movement.

However, because you’ll be boosting your moving mass, the benefits at high frequencies will not be equivalent to those at low frequencies.

10 vs 12 subwoofer- Each driver can handle a certain range of frequencyEach driver can handle a certain range of frequency 

Comparison table

We have compiled a comparison table right here to summarize the differences between these subwoofers.

Criteria10-inch subwoofer12-inch subwoofer
Bass outputModerateExcellent
LoudnessLess loudLouder
Sound qualityNot much differentNot much different
Bass controlNot much differentNot much different
DistortionLess distortedMore distorted
TonalityTight mid frequenciesGood at low frequencies

Pros And Cons Of 10 And 12 Subwoofer

Have you made up your mind about what to buy? If not, let’s review each option’s pros and cons so that you know exactly what to expect!

10-inch subwoofer


  • More accurate sound
  • Less distortion
  • Compact size


  • Less bass
  • Less loud

12-inch subwoofer


  • More bass
  • Loud sound
  • More powerful


  • Less accurate sound
  • More distorted

What Should You Choose?

So, which one will you go with? It all comes down to your preference to determine the winner.

A 10′′ driver is a good choice if you want a simple subwoofer that provides solid bass without distortion and doesn’t take up a lot of space.

The 12′′, on the other hand, could be ideal for you if you want something with more power and richer bass output.

There is a compromise between driver size and audio quality: the bigger the speaker, the heavier the bass, and the more distortions at high levels.

This decision will depend on your budget: bigger speakers are often more costly than smaller ones and take up more space.

Finally, consider these factors before making any purchase!


The different sizes of a 10″ and a 12″ sub lead to the differences in their bass output, sound quality, and frequencies.

While the smaller driver has less distortion, the bigger driver offers deeper bass output. It’s your need to determine the better one.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading!

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