Woofer Vs Subwoofer – A Detailed Comparison

Woofer Vs Subwoofer

Woofer and subwoofer are popular terms seen as identical gadgets, but they have some differences. Generally, both speaker systems produce a low-frequency sound to produce the bass. But they differ in almost all the different audio parameters.

A woofer is a speaker specializing in covering a frequency range of 20 Hz to 2 kHz, whereas a subwoofer only focuses on a  20 Hz to 200 Hz sound range. Read more as we make a detailed comparison of woofer vs. subwoofer. Let’s dive in!

What is a woofer?

A woofer is a type of speaker with a broader and higher frequency range. A woofer is a type of bass speaker designed to produce low-frequency sounds. Woofers usually cover frequency ranges from 20 Hz up to 2 kHz. Woofers can cover a more extensive range of frequencies than subs.

Technically, a woofer can be termed a loudspeaker. They are great options in car stereos, home theaters, and public address systems. Their use is primarily to reproduce low-frequency sounds in music and movies. They are smaller; hence, they are travel-friendly and portable.

The term “woofer” originated from the word “woof,” which means dog bark. Woofers are commonly designed with an electrodynamic driver surrounded by a magnetic field and use a stiff paper cone. At standard pressure levels (SPL), humans hear frequencies ranging from 50 Hz to 20 Hz.

Types of woofers

  1. Passive woofers: They are woofers that rely on an amplifier to power them. They are usually the most common type of woofers.
  2. Active woofers: The woofers have built-in amplifiers, mainly used in professional audio applications.
  3. Powered woofers: They are woofers that get power from an AC outlet
  4. Wireless woofers: They are woofers that receive their input wirelessly


  • Offers a higher frequency range
  • Ideal for use to increase the sound quality of an audio system
  • It comes compact to save on space
  • Suitable for improving both low and high-frequency sounds


  • Consumes a significant amount of power
  • It’s not specialized to produce shallow frequency or very high 

What is a Subwoofer?

Also known as a sub, a subwoofer is a type of loudspeaker that reproduces frequency output below 200 Hz. It has a narrower range of frequencies for low-pitched audio. The term “subwoofer” originated in the 1960s as an extra speaker added to a stereo system to produce low-frequency sounds.

Subwoofers are more extensive, bigger, and heavier and are generally used in discos, home theaters, and pubs. Subwoofers cover wider and higher frequency bands; thus, they are kept with other speakers and not individually.

They come in various designs and enclosures to resist deformation and withstand the pressure exerted by air. Subwoofers have a thicker and stiffer cone to produce extreme output levels.

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Types of Subwoofers

  1. Passive subwoofers: They are subwoofers that don’t require an external power amplifier to function; instead, it relies on the signal from the amplifier of the loudspeaker.
  2. Active subwoofers: They are potent subwoofers that require an external power amplifier. They sometimes integrate built-in amplifiers.
  3. Powered subwoofers are extremely powerful with an internal power amplifier.
  4. Wireless subwoofers are loudspeakers that rely on wireless technology to receive audio signals from a receiver. They are convenient as they don’t need speaker cables for placement within the room.


  • Improved audio performance and consistency
  • Produces rich, full-bodied bass impact
  • Ideal for use with home theater systems


  • They consume more wattage compared to woofers
  • Occupies sizable spaces

Component Woofer vs. Subwoofer

A woofer is a speaker that handles low-frequency audio signals in your system, while a subwoofer specializes in reproducing deep bass frequencies (20 Hz or below). The main differences between these two speakers are their range, size, power output, number of drivers, and pricing. Here are the detailed differences between a woofer and a subwoofer.

Frequency range

The frequency range for woofers is usually 50 Hz to 2000 Hz. On the other hand, subwoofers can go as low as 20 Hz and up to 200 Hz.

Size and Power consumption

A woofer system is designed to occupy limited space, whereas a subwoofer takes up larger spaces. Subwoofers have a larger structure than woofers. This is because the more extensive the surface area, the deeper the bass produced.

The bigger the sound system, the higher the power consumption. A woofer comprises the amplifier and the woofer inside the main body. A subwoofer entails an enclosure to protect the system and tune the output. It also has a passive radiator to release the excess pressure buildup in the system.

A woofer consumes less power than a subwoofer because a subwoofer has to hit a low-frequency range. A woofer doesn’t have to hit low frequencies; hence, it requires less power.

Related: Wiring Speakers in Series vs. Parallel – What’s The Difference?

Number of drivers

Woofers comprise as many as four drivers, whereas a subwoofer entails a single-driver speaker. You will encounter woofers labeled 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way drivers. A 2-way driver woofer has 2 drivers (woofer and tweeter), while a 3-way driver contains a woofer, tweeter, and additional mid-range driver. A 4-way woofer consists of a woofer, tweeter, mid-range, and an extra-super tweeter.

Powering the driver

Woofers are set up to be powered by an external amplifier, whereas active subwoofers come with their amplifier to power the driver.

Woofer Vs. Subwoofer Comparison Table

Parameters of comparison



Portability Portable Not portable
Size Small in size (3 to 8 inches) Larger (8 to 20 inches)
Frequency range Covers a wide range of frequency Covers a narrower range of frequency
Frequency 20Hz to 2 kHz 20 Hz to 200Hz
What is it? A specialized type of speaker A specialized type of woofer
Usage An excellent option for most applications Ideal when there is demand for the best quality sound
Power consumption Relatively low (10 to 1000w) High (200 to 1000w)
Driver power source Through external amplifier Through inbuilt amplifier

How to Identify the Woofer and Subwoofer

A woofer is a small speaker system you can carry anywhere, whereas a subwoofer is a sound system with more than two speakers and is larger. Subwoofers are heavyweight and oversized. Here are notable differences to help you identify the woofer/ subwoofer;



Small in size Bigger in size
The frequency range of 40 to 2500 Hz The frequency range of 0 to 200 Hz
Has multiple drivers It has only a single driver
Consumes less power Requires high power to operate
Relatively cheap Pricey

Woofer vs. Speaker

A woofer is the part of the speaker system designed to handle the bass, whereas a speaker is a device intended to take electronic signals and convert them into the mechanical sound we hear. Speaker is the overall sound reproduction system, while a woofer is a part of the sound system.

Woofers, subwoofers, and tweeters make up a speaker system. A woofer can be a driver designed to reproduce low sound frequencies from 40Hz to 1KHz. A speaker is an enclosure consisting of drivers such as tweeters and woofers.

Woofer vs. Subwoofer and Tweeter

Woofers, subwoofers, and tweeters are terms used to refer to varying driver types in speakers. They play different roles in sound reproduction. Woofers produce low to mid-range frequencies; subwoofers produce very low frequencies, whereas tweeters produce high frequencies.

Tweeters produce clean, high-range treble sounds, whereas woofers have low-range bass sounds. Here is a comparison table.




Produces 20 to 2000Hz Produces high-end frequency 2kHz to 20kHz Produces low-end frequencies 0 to 200Hz
Mid-sized diaphragm Small diaphragm Large-diaphragm
Reliant on enclosure Least reliant on the enclosure Most reliant on the enclosure

Woofer or Subwoofer for Car

Subwoofers are better integrated into in-car sound systems to improve mid-range sounds and bass.

In contrast, woofers in automobiles’ audio systems increase sound quality. Subwoofers add bass and clarity to your car stereo’s sound. They add depth and realism to your music car stereo system, making a sound from 10Hz to 200Hz.

Subwoofer vs woofer for a TV

When choosing between a woofer and a subwoofer for your TV, there are a few things to consider. A woofer might be the better option if you have a small space since they are smaller and take up less room. However, if you have ample space or want the deepest bass possible, then a subwoofer is the way to go. Remember that a subwoofer will need its own power source and might be more expensive than a woofer. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and what you want to get from your TV audio experience.

Mid-Bass Woofer vs. Subwoofer

The mid-bass woofer are speakers that produce sounds in your system’s middle to low-frequency levels, whereas a subwoofer produces deep bass frequencies. Mid-bass woofers produce tighter and better-defined mid-bass than subwoofers because they have a smaller cone surface area.

Both sound systems reproduce low-frequency sound notes. Mid-bass woofers are specialized woofers that can reproduce sound in the frequency range of 40 to 2500 Hz. Subwoofers can produce sub-level sounds below 20 Hz up to 120 Hz.

Can I Use a Woofer as a Subwoofer?

Yes, a woofer can be used as a subwoofer when a low-pass crossover is used to limit its output to a lower frequency range. Using a woofer as a subwoofer may not perform as well as a dedicated subwoofer.


Woofer and subwoofer sound systems integrate frequency range, size, and power output differences. A woofer handles low-frequency audio signals, whereas a subwoofer specializes in reproducing deep bass frequencies.

If you want to improve the overall sound quality of your audio system, a woofer is best suited for you. Or, if you want a very low-frequency sound with a rich bass effect, the subwoofer is an ideal option. We hope the article was helpful!

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