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Are Shallow Mount Subwoofers Good?

If you love music, you know how important a great sound system is for truly enjoying your favorite tunes.

When researching the market for some new audio components, it’s worth considering shallow-mount subwoofers to help deliver unbeatable bass and loud volume without taking up too much space. But are shallow-mounting subwoofers perfect for cars? Let’s find out.

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Shallow mount subwoofers are designed to have a low mounting depth, making them ideal for tight spaces and can add decent bass to any car. They are lightweight, compact, flat, and easy to install. They are excellent for limited space but may not produce as deep bass as those with ferrite magnets.

As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.

Tip: If you are looking for a top high-end shallow mount subwoofer, I recommend checking out my review of 8″ Focal P20 FSE.

It is definitely worth considering if you value sound quality over anything else and do not have much room in your car.

In the article below, I will cover the pros and cons of shallow mount subwoofers, the type best suited to your needs, and other factors you should consider before buying.

What Are Shallow-Mount Subwoofers?

Shallow mount subwoofers are a type of subwoofer designed to have a narrow mounting depth, making them ideal for tight spaces and narrow areas where regular subwoofers might not fit.

These subwoofers can be used in small cars with limited space, but they are also popular in larger vehicles. 

MB Quart DS1-254 Discus Shallow Mount Subwoofer (Black) – 10 Inch Subwoofer, 400 Watts, Car Audio, 2 Inch Voice Coils, UV Rubber Surround, Best in Sealed Enclosures

They are lightweight, compact, flat, and easy to install but can still add decent bass to any car audio system.

It’s important to note that shallow-mount subwoofers are different than regular subwoofers. 

Regular subs are not designed for space considerations but are larger and heavier.

Regular subs are bulky and require a lot of space to install because of their larger size. These are commonly found in PSVs and SUVs but are also widely installed in trunks of regular cars like sedans or station wagons.

Advantages of Shallow Mount Subwoofers

Shallow mount subwoofers are designed with space-saving and portability in mind, making them perfect for tight spaces and narrow areas.

Because of their mounting depth between 3″ and 4″ in most cases and also lightweight with small magnets, you can install shallow sub in any place where regular subwoofers might not fit.

Despite their small size, they can still add decent bass to any car audio system because they are designed with neodymium magnets that are much stronger than standard ferrite ones.

Neodymium magnets allow subwoofers to make strong bass even with reduced voice coil movements.

PIONEER TS-A2500LS4 1200 Watt 10"" Shallow Mount 4 Ohm SVC Subwoofer

To learn more, check out my other article about neodymium magnets used in car subwoofers.

Many cars have very small enclosures for their rear speaker decks or doors, making it easy to install shallow mount subs.

The perfect example is Mustand which can easily accommodate an 8″ Pioneer TS-A2000LD2 (link to Amazon)

Check my review of Pioneer TS-A2000LD2.

Disadvantages of Shallow Mount Subwoofers

The main disadvantage for those loving shaking cars is the shallow-mount subwoofers are not as powerful as the strongest regular ones.

They are designed with space-saving and portability in mind, so they have lower (but still impressive) power handling.

Many work in a low impedance of 2 or 1 ohm, and some have selectable impedance, so you can easily adjust it to match your amplifier.

One of the strongest shallow subs is the 12″ Rockford Fosgate T1S1-12 (link to Amazon) with 600W RMS at 1ohm and just 3″ mounting depth, but this is still much less than 2,500 or 3,000 watts subs with the standard size.

Check my review of Rockford Fosgate T1S1-12.

Another disadvantage of shallow-mount subwoofers is that they may require additional hardware for certain car models.

Some cars have very small enclosures for their rear speakers or doors, making installing the best shallow mount subs easy, but you may need brackets or distance rings for some cars.

Comparison of Shallow Mount and Regular Subwoofers

The main difference between the shallow mount and regular subwoofers is their design and used materials. 

As I mentioned earlier, they are designed with space-saving and portability in mind, while regular subwoofers do not have those limitations and can produce strong bass in much larger boxes.

This difference in design priorities affects the quality and quantity of sub-bass and bass they produce. Regular subwoofers generate more power than shallow-mount subwoofers in terms of performance.

Another difference between the two types of subwoofers is the space and power requirements. Shallow mount subwoofers are smaller and lighter, requiring less space and less power from the amplifier.

On the other hand, regular subwoofers are bulky and need some space, especially if you install a large vented enclosure.


Installing shallow-mount subwoofers is straightforward. All you need is a screwdriver for the speaker wires and mounting screws.

Most shallow-mount subwoofers come with mounting brackets and pre-drilled holes for easy installation. Then, all you need to do is connect the wires from the amplifier and secure the subwoofer in place.

Once the installation is complete, you need to customize your audio system and adjust accordingly gain and bass boost on the amplifier.

If you’re uncomfortable installing the subwoofers on your own or want a more customized setup, you can also visit a nearby car audio shop.


Shallow mount subwoofers are an excellent option for those looking for a subwoofer that can fit in tight spaces and narrow areas.

They are lightweight, compact, flat, and easy to install but can still add decent bass to any car audio system. Regular subwoofers are more powerful but are bulky and need more space and power.

The main thing you need to consider is the space and power requirements when choosing between the two types of subwoofers.

A shallow-mount subwoofer is a great option if you’re looking for something easily installed in a tiny place.

On the other hand, if you do not have size restrictions, a regular subwoofer may be better.

In any case, check if the sub will fit into your car and consider your specific needs and preferences when deciding.


How Do I Know if a Shallow Mount Subwoofer Is Right for My Car?

To determine if a shallow mount subwoofer is suitable for your car, consider the space available and your power and sound preferences.

If your vehicle has limited space, a shallow mount subwoofer may be a good option, as it is designed to fit in tight spaces.

Additionally, shallow mount subwoofers typically require less power, which is great for car audio systems and may not overload standard batteries.

Can I Install a Shallow Mount Subwoofer Myself?

You can install a shallow mount subwoofer yourself. They are designed to be easy to install and typically only require a screwdriver.

However, always check for compatibility with your car and the amount of space in the trunk. For some vehicles, you may need to purchase additional distance rings or gaskets when placing subs in door panels or rear side panels like in Mustang.

If you’re uncomfortable installing it yourself, you can visit a car audio center for installation and customization.

Can I Use a Shallow Mount Subwoofer in a Larger Vehicle?

Shallow mount subwoofers can be used in larger vehicles, but it’s important to consider the space and power requirements.

While shallow mount subwoofers are designed to fit in tight spaces, they work perfectly in larger cabins.

Remember, they must be installed in matching enclosures with specific volumes per subs’ manufacturer recommendation.

Can Shallow Mount Subwoofers Handle High Power Inputs?

Shallow mount subwoofers can handle 100W to 600 W RMS, depending on the type. They are designed to be efficient, and despite the reduced movements of their voice coils, they can still produce excellent bass.

Always check your amplifier’s wattage rating and ensure it is compatible with your chosen subwoofer.

However, if you want to go extremely loud and shake the entire neighborhood, it is better to use a regular subwoofer.

How Can I Get the Best Sound Quality From My Shallow Mount Sub?

To get the best sound quality from your shallow mount subwoofer, make sure it is correctly installed in matching enclosure, and the amplifier is properly tuned.

This includes adjusting the gain, crossover, and frequency settings. Again, it is critical to use a box of the correct size and a strong amplifier, which will be able to power your shallow mounted sub.