Bass or a low-frequency sound is an essential element to get an earth-shaking sound effect that can assist you in ultimate fun. Here, different speakers possess different abilities while portraying certain notes and sounds with ranging frequencies and audio. However, many people confuse the woofer with a subwoofer that leads to the inevitable confusion between the two.

Difference between Woofer and Subwoofer

Although these two speakers are identical and work in a similar fashion, there are a variety of differences between the two that determine the working efficiency and services they can provide you. Therefore, this article offers an insight into the difference between a woofer and subwoofer based on power consumption, drivers, frequencies, power efficiency, and sound.


A woofer is an electric speaker used to generate low-frequency audio, also known as bass, that produces a low sound effect. In simple words, it is basically a loudspeaker that specializes on the lower end of the sound spectrum and offers you an enhanced effect of the narrower frequency range. Thereby, it is used to achieve the lowest frequencies in a loudspeaker range that makes the overall sound enhanced and improved.


A sub or subwoofer is a woofer which is combined with a loudspeaker and is responsible for the production of low-pitched, narrow-frequency audio, referred to as bass. These subwoofers are common among music lovers or professional users, which demand intricate technicalities and they come in different versions such as one type is sealed subwoofers. Hence, they are able to offer an optimized and constant bass with low-frequency that makes them offer a vivid and clear bass. There are two main types of subwoofers, namely active and passive subwoofers. Active subwoofers have their own separate amplifiers, while passive subwoofers work on the same amplifier and only need drivers and enclosures.

There are also many myths about subwoofers such as whether a subwoofer would damage your car or not, most of them are just false under normal circumstances and you can ignore them.


The main function of the woofer is to generate a sound signal by converting an electric signal into sound energy by using the concept of electric variation on the spectrum with the lowest frequency. For this purpose, it uses the electronic signal that powers the device’s movement and creates this sound wave through the air. In many home setups, a woofer is an element of a speaker that uses the mid-range to a low frequency to achieve a wider range of audio. These devices are ideal in small setups and usually present in portable cars.

On the other side, the subwoofer works on a similar operation yet with a fuller and narrow-rage sound quality and is preferred in the studio subwoofer category too.. These devices use a broad range of low-frequency sounds to achieve a deep and fuller audio effect. This perfect bass is achieved through a proper sound system with two speakers, and a subwoofer included. If you are particularly invested in music technicalities or want a perfect sound for home theatres, subwoofers are an ideal choice for you.

Frequency Range

Woofers are known for their low-frequency sound that helps to give a loudspeaker effect with clear and vivid audio quality. Generally, an average woofer is able to produce a frequency between the range of 40 Hz and 2500 Hz that is typically low to achieve that loud audio effect. However, a subwoofer offers absolute precision and accuracy with a much lower frequency than a woofer is unable to attain between the range of 20Hz and 200 Hz.

Therefore, in simple terms, a woofer possesses a wider range of frequency, whereas the subwoofer is popular for its narrower frequency range. Overall, both frequencies are ideal for almost every user. Yet, if you are a music lover and want to explore the best bass, you should go for a subwoofer as it is able to provide a relatively much fuller base. Hence, with a subwoofer, you would have to use other drivers for midrange to produce the desired effect.

Size and Shape

Size is another technical difference between these two sound-producing apparatuses. Hence, a subwoofer is a combination of the woofer and a loudspeaker in general terms that makes it bigger in size than woofers. Moreover, a low-frequency bass demands a large volume of air and, eventually, a large cone with a powerful magnetic force and a much bigger surface area. Hence, a subwoofer comes in a larger size than a woofer; although many woofers come in a big size, the overall size of the sub remains larger because of working requirements.

Power Consumption

Another distinction between a woofer and a subwoofer is the amount of power and heat it is consuming for smooth operations. In simple words, because of the heavy working demands and minute operations, subwoofers tend to require a much greater amount of energy for running. It can be understood by comprehending the mechanism, i.e., subwoofers produce a low-frequency bass that takes a lot of power from the amplifier and makes it extra costly. Here, you can add a capacitor that can help you with the power by storing electric charge for the amplifier to produce low-frequency bass.

Number of Drivers

Woofer and subwoofers also differ in terms of the drivers each has. Hence, many woofers come with a 2-way driver system or 3-way driving system based on the size and further technicalities. The simplistic 2-way setup includes two drivers, namely a woofer and a tweeter; however, the 3-way setup additionally includes a midrange tweeter for a wider frequency. Apart from these, there are a few 4-way setups that are identical to the 3-way drivers, yet the fourth driver is a super-tweeter for enhanced performance efficiency.

On the contrary, a subwoofer solely comes with a single driver system. In the speaker basket, there is only one driver that produces a narrow frequency bass. Therefore, it can happen that you have a multiple subwoofer setup. So then, each subwoofer will have its own single driver system with an in-built speaker basket that is responsible for operating the subwoofer.

Powering the Drivers

There are two separate methods with which each unit powered its drivers. Hence, typically, woofers are designed to give a very passive bass that is generally run by an external amplifier. So, it offers added convenience and can be powered by the same amplifier that is used for regular speakers. This is because the woofer only demands a connection to the output of an amplifier.

In contrast, subwoofers can be actively or passively powered, where the passive powered system remains the same as in woofers. However, the active subwoofers come with their own separate built-in amplifiers placed in the subwoofer box. Hence, to produce a quality frequency and bass, it needs a separate amplifier output. These built-in amplifiers are known for their performance to boost the input signal strength that in turn power the drivers effectively. In a sense, active subwoofers are a little bit demanding because of the complicated mechanisms and operations. Additionally, this also comes with a built-in crossover that filters out the frequency (high) and only allows the desired input for efficient and accurate working. Finally, this is the reason why subwoofers offer cleaner bass with low frequency.


How does a subwoofer work?

Subwoofers are a combination of a woofer (one or more) placed in a loudspeaker enclosure with two speaker setups. It uses a wide range of frequencies to give a much fuller and in-depth sound effect. Hence, a perfect bass is achieved through an active or passive subwoofer setup. A passive setup is powered by the same amplifier that is facilitating the speaker. However, an active speaker setup requires a separate setup for this enhanced sound effect. Generally, subwoofers are more technical and efficient in terms of low-frequency sound and are used in home theatre systems or in music technicalities.

Which is a better option, woofer or subwoofer?

A woofer comes with a two-way or three-way drivers system, a single speaker, and a passive setup to produce an enhanced low-frequency sound. At the same time, the subwoofer uses an active or passive setup with two speakers and a single driver’s system that is known to provide relatively much fuller and complete bass. Woofers are generally used in small car setups or entertainment setups; however, subwoofers can be used in home theatres or music setups. Hence, based on your working requirements, each offers its own services and efficiency.

Can I use a woofer as a subwoofer?

Yes, there are many woofers that are not limited to only a lower-frequency range that makes it work as a subwoofer, yet you must have a proper audio channel. However, you will still call it a woofer as a subwoofer is a separate box powered by its own separate amplifier. Hence, for this purpose, you would need special woofers, unlike the regular 10’’ woofers.

Final Thoughts

After analyzing the technical and working differences between the woofer and a subwoofer, you must’ve understood completely what is the purpose of both and why you need each to assist you. A woofer is known to hit a wider low-frequency range, whereas the subwoofer targets a narrower low-frequency range to give a sound effect. Hence, based on your working requirements and setups, you can choose either that suits you. A woofer can help you in achieving basic bass; however, a subwoofer has more depth and fuller bass.

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