Enclosed Vs. Free Air Subwoofer: Which Is Better? 2023

Enclosed Vs. Free Air Subwoofer: Which Is Better? 2023
  • Anthony

One of the most important aspects of home theater systems is a subwoofer that reproduces the low-frequency sounds in an optimal way. This includes the acoustic properties of the room, sound levels, and frequency range.

When using a free air subwoofer, these factors are often disrupted because the sound waves themselves cause vibrations in the walls or furniture around them. With an enclosed air subwoofer, the acoustics of the room won’t be much of a factor when designing the system.

Let’s be with Hooke Audio to learn in-depth about the differences between Free air subwoofer vs enclosed.

Free Air Subwoofer Vs Enclosed

What is a Free Air Subwoofer?

What is a Free Air Subwoofer?

A free air subwoofer is one that does not have a box. This subwoofer acts like a passive speaker. It does not come with an amp. To power it, you will need to connect it with an external amplifier.

A free air subwoofer is the most straightforward subwoofer mounting structure that requires subwoofers that are specifically designed. To be productive, free air subwoofers do not require an enclosed mounting space.

What are the Advantages of Free Air Subwoofers?

An enclosed sub is more expensive than a free air sub, but a free sub has some advantages. These are the advantages of a free air sub.


The speaker can be mounted on the car’s door easily. A free air setup works best in space-limited applications, like smaller cars or vehicles that don’t have a lot of space.

Multiple subs can be installed in your car for free. You can install one sub in each of your doors and then add speakers or tweeters to the dashboard. You can have a complete speaker system that includes multiple subwoofers.


An enclosed sub with the same size and power is more expensive than a free air sub. It doesn’t include a subwoofer enclosure or an amplifier. If you have an amplifier and a tight budget, this subwoofer is for you.

It doesn’t require a lot of power

A free air subwoofer is more efficient than one that uses air. It moves air faster than an enclosed sub. It requires less power from your car amp than an enclosed, subwoofer with the same size and power rating.

What Are The Drawbacks Of A Free Air Subwoofer?

Although a free air subwoofer can offer some advantages over an enclosed sub it does have some drawbacks. Let’s take a look at these flaws:

The bass is not tight

Open-air subs are free to operate in the open-air environment. They don’t produce the same tight bass as enclosed subs. These are not the best choice for those who want the most precise and tightest bass.

Bass isn’t booming

A free air subwoofer that is free may not be able to win a car music contest. It doesn’t deliver booming and earthshaking bass that is deep enough to win a serious car music competition. It’s not ideal for bass enthusiasts who need earthshaking bass.

What Is An Enclosed Subwoofer?

What Is An Enclosed Subwoofer

An enclosed subwoofer refers to a subwoofer built in a box. An enclosed sub box can either be sealed or ported. To prevent air from entering or leaving the box, a sealed box is completely sealed. A ported box has a hole that allows air into the box.

The cone moves inwards and outwards. A powered sub box can produce louder bass, while a sealed sub box will deliver a more focused bass.

An enclosed subwoofer can be either a passive or powered subwoofer. An enclosed powered subwoofer includes an amplifier. The subwoofer box houses the amplifier.

You don’t need to connect it with an external amplifier. It can be connected directly to your head unit. It will need to be connected to the car’s battery to power the amplifier.

On the other hand, an enclosed passive subwoofer requires a connection with an external amplifier because it does not have an inbuilt amp. An enclosed passive subwoofer does not require a power connection.

What are the Advantages of an Enclosed Subwoofer?

An enclosed subwoofer has many advantages over a sub free of air. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages.

Bass Tight

An enclosure subwoofer moves more air on its outer surface than it does on its inner surface. It can reproduce bass with a tighter frequency than a free-air sub. This is especially true if the subwoofer has been enclosed in a sealed sub box. A sealed sub box is airtight so that there is less air movement inside the box. This allows for tighter bass.

Booming bass

An enclosed sub is the best option if you are looking for a subwoofer to help you win a car music contest. An enclosed sub is designed to produce a booming bass. An enclosure sub can provide powerful bass that will win any competition.

What Are The Drawbacks of An Enclosed Subwoofer?

Although enclosed subs have some benefits, there are also a few drawbacks. These are:

It takes up a lot of space

A sub box is included with an enclosed subwoofer. The sub box can take up a lot of space inside the car. The sub box must be larger than the subwoofer.

Therefore, a larger subwoofer will require a larger box. This will mean that you might have to compromise some trunk space. To fit a large sub box, you will need a trunk that is very big.

An enclosed subwoofer may not be the best option if your trunk is small. Multiple enclosed subs may take up too much trunk space if you have more than one.

More expensive

An enclosed subwoofer with the same power and size as a free subwoofer will generally cost more than an unenclosed subwoofer.

Subwoofer enclosures are usually the reason for an extra cost. A subwoofer enclosure that includes an amplifier in it is more costly. If you have a limited budget, an enclosure sub that comes with an amplifier is even more expensive.

This requires a lot of power

Also, enclosed subs can consume more power. Because the sub box is enclosed, it has more airtightness. Because of the tightness around the sub, it requires a lot more power from the amplifier in order to move the cone and single and dual voice coil.

What are The Differences Between The Two?

What are The Differences Between The Two

Subs are mounted in a free-air subwoofer system either on the rear deck or attached to a board between the backseats and trunk. Enclosed subs are mounted in an enclosure.

We are certain that a free air subwoofer won’t have the sound quality as good as one mounted in a well-designed enclosure.

Our practical appraisals revealed that the sound effects on “pop” and “pop” had different sounds. The former had more punch, but the latter sounded cleaner.

The enclosure box produces a more powerful bass, while the free-air sounds are louder and further away from the melody.

The “Electro/Dance” mode gives the free air subwoofer a better and more pronounced bass than the enclosed subwoofer. The “Classical” sound effect shows that the subwoofer with free-air sounds more natural than the enclosed.

Overall, the score is that the enclosed subwoofer may produce a tighter and more precise (mostly for heavy bass) bass for those who might prefer it to listen to certain types of music.

The enclosed subwoofer provides accurate bass quality and hits on every note. It also renders the song an appropriate melody, allowing it to flow with its original rhythm.

The free air subwoofer, on the other hand, seems to be out of tune like something is missing from the song.

Which is better, an enclosed or free-air Subwoofer or both?

Your preference will determine which option is best. Both options are great for specific preferences. An enclosed subwoofer is the best option if you are looking for tight bass and booming bass.

A free sub-carrier would be your best option if you are short on space or have a tight budget.

What about Infinite Baffle Setups?

What about Infinite Baffle Setups

Another term is creating a lot of confusion. Many people mistakenly believe that an infinite baffle system doesn’t use a box or that baffle subs and free air subs are the same things.

To clear this up, a free air subwoofer works sans-box, while baffle systems use a large, sealed space -such as the trunk of your car.

Free air subwoofers do not use a box. The speakers are mounted in a similar way, usually under or against the back seat. It sounds almost identical, which is why there’s so much confusion.

To ensure that the rear waves do not interfere with the front waves, an infinite baffle system requires extensive modification. This is done with a baffle board, which works well when the air volume required for the speaker is greater than 10 times that of the baffle board.

This means that subwoofers must fit within the trunk’s air space. Bass will not be produced in the right way if a speaker is too big or too small.

The goal is to create a system where the listener is within the subwoofer boxes. This requires a lot of modifications and careful construction, as well as the design and installation of sealing and mounting.

In car audio, there are some compromises. The free air sub eliminates the need to seal the enclosure and allows for great bass-sounding.

Which is better – Traditional Boxed, Infinite Baffle, or Free Air?

It is important to decide which system works best for your boat or vehicle. Subwoofer speakers of this size often mean that you will have to sacrifice interior space, especially if they are larger than 10 inches.

Although sub boxes can take up a lot of space in your trunk, even an infinite baffle system may require you to compromise on space and functionality.

High-quality, free-air subwoofers with high-quality amplifiers provide a quality bass response for many drivers. Free air subwoofers are easy to install and require very few modifications.

You may have to compromise on speaker size and output if your car is small. Baffles will be required for most installations.

If you use the correct size enclosure for your speakers, a sealed enclosure or ported enclosure of subwoofers will give you the best bass frequencies.

A small enclosure with large speakers won’t give you the results you want. You will need a box 2″-3″ larger than your speaker’s dimensions. A box measuring 13″x13″x15″ is required for a subwoofer 10 inches in diameter. You can quickly see the space one speaker takes up when you add your amp.

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Your preferences will determine which option is best. Both options are great for some preferences. The music you listen to will be the main factor in deciding which bass type and which subwoofer box are best for you.

Last update on 2023-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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