Woofer Vs Subwoofer

As a music lover, you may be wondering what is the best low-frequency driver to purchase that can produce the best bass sounds. In the market today, there are two such drivers, namely subwoofers and woofers. People, however, get confused when deciding which one to purchase as they may seem similar. It is important to note that both subwoofers and woofers are designed to produce low-pitched audio frequencies. However, they are different in terms of their frequency range, as a woofer is designed to produce high frequencies than a subwoofer. Woofers can also produce a wide range of bass frequencies than subwoofers.

These speakers have different sound handling capabilities, and thus the reason why most performers and singers often use more than one type of speaker. Bass is widely loved as it gives more depth to sound. You can achieve a low-frequency sound by using subwoofers, mid-ranges, tweeters, and woofers. To achieve a high-quality stereo system, woofers and subwoofers should top your list of the best low-frequency drivers. In this article, we shall look at the similarities and differences of woofer vs. subwoofer and answer some of the commonly asked questions relating to the two.

Woofer Vs Subwoofer

These two systems are made specifically to generate low frequencies. However, they have their differences. Before we can understand how they work, we should get to know what a woofer or a subwoofer is. A subwoofer or sub is a woofer or a loudspeaker that has been designed to produce bass. A subwoofer focuses on lower frequencies, making it easy to generate constant bass production for most media. They also allow you to increase the bass volume or decrease it whenever you wish. Subwoofers are also specialized in producing a narrower frequency range and are divided into passive subwoofers and active subwoofers. A passive subwoofer requires an external amplifier. It is also made of only the enclosure and subwoofer driver.

On the other hand, an active subwoofer would always have an in-built amplifier. A woofer is a loudspeaker that specializes in the lower parts of an audible spectrum. Since woofers were created to pay more attention to lower frequency ranges, they led to the creation and development of subwoofers. This resulted in making subwoofers to be larger than woofers. The large size of the subwoofer allows the internal drivers to move so much air while maintaining the needed low frequency sound. Therefore, let us look at how a woofer vs. subwoofer works.

How they work

A woofer works by transforming electrical signals into beautiful bass sounds while utilizing the variations generated by electrical signals that facilitate the device’s movement. This mechanism creates sound waves through air and water. Any distorted sounds that may arise are courtesy of your faulty speakers. The woofer is always part of the main speaker system and helps the tweeter in achieving mid-range frequencies. Woofers have a range of between 20 to 2 kHz, enabling them to play from low to mid-range frequencies. The fact that they have sounds of a wider range makes them perfect for playing in home theatres.

On the other hand, a Subwoofer works by producing a wide range of low bass sounds. This is, however, different with woofers as they produce mid-tremble range and higher frequencies. As much as woofers offer a frequency range that is quite adequate for most applications, you will need a subwoofer to get the best low-frequency sounds. If you plan to get a stereo system with more than two sound speakers, buying a woofer is highly recommended. The sound quality you will get from your speakers will depend on if you buy a woofer or a subwoofer. Subwoofers are perfect for clubs and home theater systems as they give a fascinating and more realistic sound, unlike woofers which are ideal for portable sound systems such as those installed in cars.

Difference between Woofer and Subwoofer

We can discuss the difference between woofer and subwoofer in terms of frequency ranges, size of the sound system, and power consumption for low-pitched frequencies. Before we delve into each of these differences, it is essential to note that both woofers and subwoofers are in general low-frequency speakers. The narrow range of subwoofers produces a fuller bass than what most woofers can produce. You can make a subwoofer by mounting one or more woofers onto a loudspeaker enclosure. This is why subwoofers are often referred to as specialized woofers. Woofers and subwoofers also vary in terms of the number of drivers they use.

Most subwoofers used in cars draw their power from a car amp. Woofers used in cars cannot use the same driver as that of a subwoofer. These drivers come in either a 2- way or 3 -way driver. A 2-way setup has speakers that comprise precisely of two drivers, namely a tweeter and a woofer. While in a 3-way configuration, all speakers include a midrange driver, woofer, and a tweeter. You can also find woofer setups that come in a system of a 4- way driver, with the fourth driver being referred to as a super tweeter. Subwoofers or sub-bass, on the other hand, have a built-in amplifier that produces low sound. They utilize a single driver system in their speaker basket. You can build multiple subwoofers into a specialized speaker to reproduce frequencies for a more robust and fuller sound. Below are some of their significant differences.

Frequency Range

A woofer is essentially a loudspeaker designed for the production of low-frequency sounds. It reproduces a sound that ranges from 40 HZ to 2500 HZ. Subwoofers, on the other hand, produce much lower sound frequencies that no woofer can. The ranges of their frequencies are between 20 HZ and 200 HZ. Therefore, it is evident that woofers cover a much wider frequency range at high frequencies while a subwoofer concentrates its ranges, thus producing more bass.

Size of the sound system

Subwoofers are built in larger sizes than woofers. The speaker driver inside a subwoofer demands withstanding air pressure of larger volumes to produce a narrower spectrum of lower frequencies. You can only achieve this with a large, powerful magnet and larger surface area. Consequently, this makes a subwoofer way larger than a woofer. If you have an active subwoofer, you will also need to connect it to a head unit and have another connection of your subwoofer box to a source of power to increase the power of your bass speaker.

Method of Powering the Driver

Subwoofers and woofers also differ in terms of their powering. Woofers are designed as passive drivers meaning they rely on an external amplifier for power. The power handling capabilities of a specialized woofer allow it to be powered by an amplifier that powers other regular speakers. On the other hand, you can passively or actively power a subwoofer. Passive woofers work similarly to passive subwoofers; the difference arises with active subwoofers.
Power Consumption for low pitched audio frequencies

A woofer requires less power compared to a subwoofer. Subwoofers tend to consume more power because they constantly hit the lowest frequencies. The amplifier lets out more power when switching very low frequencies. A good example is portable systems such as a car subwoofer which reproduces very low bass notes. This means you should add a capacitor to your car before using a powerful subwoofer. A capacitor will store an electrical charge that will feed the amplifier when instantaneous power needs arise. In case you are using a subwoofer always remember it will need more power thus can make the lights dim.

Woofers vs Subwoofers

There are several questions relating to woofers vs. subwoofers that most people always seek to find answers for. The most important thing to understand is why you need to purchase either of the two sound systems. In the current world, we cannot deny that design and aesthetics are just important when selecting a sound tech system for your home. This has led to the growth of small and attractive speakers. Small speakers can have a small bass line, so adding a woofer or subwoofer will increase the bass sound through the amplifier output. Bass is essential for several reasons as it complements the mid-range and treble sounds. Below are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions relating to woofers and subwoofers.

Can I use a woofer as a subwoofer?

YES. With proper connection and having your woofers mounted well, you will be able to use your woofer as a subwoofer. However, if you fail to set the number of drivers woofers properly, you will end up missing out on the low-frequency effect.

Do I need a woofer and subwoofer?

YES. You will need a woofer and a subwoofer. If you wish to achieve the lowest bass notes using your mid-range drivers, you can add a subwoofer to your woofers. To get a stereo system that has beyond two speakers, then you can consider getting a woofer.

What is the difference between bass and subwoofer?

Bass refers to sound tones of a low spectrum, while a subwoofer is a well-known electronic speaker designed to reproduce sounds at low tones and frequencies.

What is the difference between speaker and woofer?

A speaker refers to an overall sound system production, and a woofer forms part of this particular sound system. A speaker consists of more than one speaker driver in an enclosure, while a woofer consists of more than two speakers.


Therefore, we can conclude that a woofer and a subwoofer are very different, even though they have some similarities. When you find yourself confusing the two, you can refer to this article to guide you in distinguishing the two. If you have a party and want to ramp it up with some music, you can use both stereo systems. However, you can go for one that best meets your specific needs depending on if you need to use the system in your car or your home,