What is the difference between a woofer and a subwoofer?

Woofer Vs Subwoofer – What’s The Differences?

Are you a music lover? Well, you must know there is no better alternative to woofers or subwoofers. But buyers face a great deal of confusion when they have to choose either. The question is what’s the differentiating between a woofer and subwoofer? Well luckily, we got you covered. 

There are several people who have misconceptions that both systems have the same functions. This is why they don’t consider buying a woofer or subwoofer. 

If we talk about the facts, there is a basic contract between these two popular products. Also, many individuals are curious about how to choose between these two? 

To define the purpose of both of them. The idea is to generate low-frequency sound. Our blog post will assist you in making the right music to make the high experience worth the while. 

This article will assist you in differentiating between woofer and subwoofer. Which will serve as a guide for you to choose what is the best option to buy. 

What is a Subwoofer?

To define a subwoofer – we can say that it is a producer of low-frequency sounds. This helps in generating a bass. Since the main focus of the subwoofer is on the low frequencies, they are significant in producing bass on constant terms. The subwoofers have the skills of producing quality and soft sound levels. 

This makes the volume of the bass aligned with the bass producing louder and more pleasant music. The subwoofer is categorized into two types. 

The expert chooses and recommends every subwoofer based on the requirements. These are the Active and passive subwoofers that have their features. 

The active subwoofer is composed of a built-in amplifier. At the same time, the passive one requires attaching an external one. All of these subwoofers contain basic to experienced level features. 


  • Consistency: By recreating low-frequency tones, a subwoofer increases sound quality. Adding a subwoofer to your audio system will be less distortion. Thus overall audio performance will increase and be consistent.
  • Rich Bass: A subwoofer’s primary function is to boost the audio system’s bass. It concentrates largely on low frequencies to create a powerful bass impact. The bass is significantly superior to a standard woofer.


  • Space: Subwoofers take up a lot of room. It will be difficult in areas with a severe lack of space.
  • Power-source: Subwoofers require more wattage than woofers due to their power source. You’ll need to use a high-amperage plug.

What is a woofer?

You can also channel the woofer to focus on the lower part of your audible spectrum. You can also use these speakers to enhance sounds and their low frequencies. But if we compare the woofers to subwoofers – you will find that they tend to have a narrow range.

You can hear this low-frequency sound, which is often a replica of the dog’s woof. This is where it originated from. We call them bass speakers in occasional situations because of their ability to respond to acoustic sounds. These channels can be employed in those areas and activities where the need is to produce high bass sound output. 


  • Small Size: Unlike a subwoofer, a woofer is small in size. It allows you to save space while providing excellent sound.
  • Broader Frequency Range: A woofer’s high-frequency range is up to 2 kHz, but a subwoofer is 200 Hz.


  • Not specialized: A woofer is not a specialized device because it cannot produce extremely low or extremely high frequencies.
  • Electricity Consumption: A woofer’s technical specs need it to use a lot of power.

Woofer vs. Subwoofer: Why Are They Different?

We have gathered information from several places and put it together to provide you with significant knowledge. You can identify and choose what type of woofer you want to use. Choosing one is based on the requirements and needs of every person. 

Frequency Range

The woofers and subwoofers both have a dedicated frequency range. But they tend to vary from each other on some points. If we talk about woofers, they can cover the range of frequencies in a comprehensive manner. 

This ranges between 40Hz and 2000Hz. There is also a wider range of frequencies available. However, they are suggested to be applied to dedicated situations. 

Let’s say you want a sound system of more than two speakers. This is where woofers can be your go-to option. 

They’re also known as mid-woofers or mid-range drivers because they can create mid-range and higher-frequency sounds than subwoofers. 

They’re employed in automobiles and other portable audio systems that don’t require the lowest frequencies.

On the other hand, subwoofers have a lower frequency range, ranging from 20 to 200 Hz. Its low-frequency drivers are capable of reproducing sounds that woofers cannot. It can’t play frequencies greater than 200Hz because of the low pass filter.

Suppose put in comparison with woofers – they can target lower frequencies. The users who prefer to listen to their music with a lower bass line than the regular ones are suggested to go for subwoofers. But where are subwoofers often used? 

You can find them in houses where people have created their home theaters. 


Size is found to be one of the major differences between the two. Suppose we look at a subwoofer. We find that it is designed larger than the woofer. 

This is because the range of frequency required to be achieved by a subwoofer is more than woofers. This is why low-frequency sound production by the subwoofer requires high significance. 

The box’s and subwoofers’ enormous sizes are required to circulate a lot of air while sustaining low-frequency ranges of 20 Hz to 120 Hz. Woofers have grown to be as huge as a car’s subwoofer. 

Even if huge woofers are available, they cannot reproduce the lowest frequencies and bass notes as effectively as subwoofers.

But it can also be said that the size factor could be a con for subwoofers. This is because they are even larger than the woofers. But then again, we have mentioned that the sub-woofers can produce lower frequencies than the woofers, which is a point to be noted. 

You can also find woofers that are relatively bigger than regular woofers. They also tend to produce a lower frequency, which makes them a substitute for subwoofers. 

A number of components

A subwoofer is composed based on a swing driver. They can achieve a narrower spectrum when it comes to frequencies. Compared to a woofer, you will find that they come with multiple driver systems. 

This is why they ideally include a mid-range and high-range driver. This way, you can achieve a clear and better sound quality. 

Woofers usually have more than one driver. You’ll see 2-way or 3-way driver systems mentioned on woofers. A woofer and a tweeter make a two-way woofer. 

At the same time, the 3-way driver woofer is composed of a woofer, a tweeter, and an additional midrange. You can also find an additional 4-way driver.

Suppose you are worried that the sub-woofers only contain one driver and might compromise the quality. Then you can get a subwoofer custom-made for you. This way, you will be able to achieve the classical deep bass with the best quality. You will be able to experience the rich music at the best convenience! 

Subwoofers are made of one or more woofers placed in a speaker enclosure able to withstand compressed air and prevent any bending, which is frequently built of wood. 

Passive subwoofers are powered by an external amplifier and have a subwoofer driver and enclosure. A built-in amplifier is included in active subwoofers. One speaker driver makes up a woofer.

Woofer Vs Subwoofer Vs Tweeter

In an instant look, you might find that there is just a minor difference between the woofers, subwoofers, or tweeters. But to be real, there happens to be more than just the size and frequency. 

A potential woofer is built 12 inches in diameter, which can vary. The size of the woofer increases concerning the speaker cone. They are also known as the diaphragm. 

This is because the more the speaker cone size, the more space it requires to move. Moreover, you also require a speaker that produces a louder sound. This way, when the low frequency is applied, you can achieve the sound required.

Tweeters have no interaction with their cabinets and are sometimes used without one. While the construction is similar to that of a normal electromagnetic speaker, a dome-shaped diaphragm is commonly used in place of a speaker cone. 

“Dome tweeters” are what they’re called. Plastic, plastic impregnated silk, aluminum, or titanium can all be used to make this diaphragm. Each sort of material has its distinct sound properties.

When it comes to the enclosure of the woofer, you can say that it also changes concerning the type of woofer you use. You can find several designs available on hand. 

Ideally, we divide these designs into two major categories—sealed and ported enclosures. 

Sealed enclosures

They try to trap the sounds within them. This way, you are provided with a crispy base and a clean, sleek sound. These tools provide a sharp bass output in the form of sleep sound activity. 

Ported speakers

These types of speakers let the sound escape them. This way, they can increase the sound that is being produced.

Remember that the sound coming off varies too. If it comes from the back of the speaker, it tends to be 180 degrees out of phase. 

Hence, you will feel that the waves of sound are canceling each other. This might turn out to be an unpleasant experience. 

Extra frequency

Let’s say you are now making the waves cover an extra distance. Since the waves cover an extra distance, they might not cancel each other out. 

But this could lead to several things that could change how you experience music since the waves have to travel more. You will also face the issue of the sound being muddy because the phase shift has caused a distortion. 

Speaker system

Some speaker systems employ three or more speakers. Midrange speakers are connected to each of the band-filters in those circumstances. The look of a midrange speaker is similar to that of a full-range speaker or woofer. 

The main distinction is that a midrange speaker will be smaller than a woofer, measuring 5 and 8 inches in diameter.

Audio signal splitting

Because the audio signal is split into distinct frequency ranges and routed to separate speakers, it’s only natural that the speakers are constructed to accommodate specific frequency ranges. 

Woofers and tweeters have a role in this. A woofer is a speaker that produces low-frequency sounds, whereas a tweeter produces high-frequency sounds.

Final Thoughts

We can never give you definite advice on the best option. It depends on your preference. What sort of speaker fits your requirements the best? 

Let’s say you need a speaker with low-frequency sound. This means that your goal is to achieve a rich bass sound effect. The sub-woofers are to be your best option. You will be able to achieve the feel of parties and heart-thumping bass.

But again, what about if you want to build a home theater? This again puts you in a spot where you want to enjoy the sound at the top quality. This again suggests you go for the subwoofer option. 

But if you already have a well-designed speaker available on hand. Let’s say your goal is to increase the sound’s quality. This is where woofers are to be your basic tool. Explore our guide to know more about the contrast between subwoofers and woofers on different usage levels!

About Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith is an Audio consultant and part-time automotive content writer. She has an Audio engineering degree from a reputed university of Tampa, Florida. Being a great audio enthusiast, she works with her audio consultation startup and writing automotive content as a part-time writer.

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