Can I Use a Home Subwoofer in Car?


I recently decided to upgrade the sound system in my car when I noticed I had an extra subwoofer leftover in my living room.

With the variety of subwoofers available on the market today, I knew it would be easier if I could convert the one from home and install it in a car. But, can I actually use a home subwoofer in my car? Let’s find out. 

In general, although there are a few differences between home and car subwoofers, home subwoofers can be used in cars with some simple conversions.

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Tip: Regardless of the type of subwoofer, you have to have a car amplifier. Most home subwoofers work with a high voltage, but your car battery only produces 12-volts, therefore a quality car amplifier will be mandatory.

For the subwoofer alone, you do not need more channels than two, and if you want to install just one subwoofer, I can recommend a BOSS R1100M monoblock amplifier.

Below, I will go over what I found in my research about the differences in subwoofers and the process of installing them in your car.

What Is the Difference Between a Car Subwoofer and a Home Subwoofer?

The main difference between a car and a home subwoofer is their sie and how much air pressure they create. Home subwoofers are designed to work in large open areas, while car subwoofers have to work in a small closed vehicle cabin. Another key difference between home and car subwoofers is how you power them.

Home subwoofers are plugged into a socket and use that electricity for power. Car subwoofers, on the other hand, are known as passive subwoofers.

This means they’re wired into an external amplifier, which is then used to drive the speaker. This allows users to choose the right power level amplifier to drive the unit. This all depends on your vehicle’s size and power of the sound system, as well as how much volume you’re looking to get out of your speakers. 

home subwoofer in car

Home subwoofers have a self-contained amplifier and are considered active subwoofers. This self-contained amplifier only powers the subwoofer itself and is, therefore, a little more cost-effective.

For this reason, many people want to install home subwoofers in their vehicles, but the cost of hooking this system up can negate what you’re saving upfront. 

The efficiency differs as well. Home subwoofers require a lower number of wattage to power themselves and produce more volume levels. On the other hand, most car subwoofers require much higher amounts of wattage power to get the same decibel level in your vehicle. They’re designed this way because home subwoofers need to cover more space than a car’s subwoofers.

Your vehicle is a lot smaller than your living room, so a home subwoofer’s efficiency needs to be a lot higher than one for your car.

In order to hook this kind of system into your car, it requires having to convert the system. Read on to find out more about connecting a home subwoofer to a car amplifier.

how to connect home subwoofer in car

How to convert a home subwoofer into a car audio subwoofer?

I had no issues in converting my home theatre subwoofer to work in my car. I found some tutorials online to be very helpful but generally followed the steps with ease.

I’ve also added some notes in case your conversion is different than mine.

There are some modifications that need to be done to get your home subwoofer converted to hook up to your car’s amplifier.

Remove electronics from inside of the bass box

Once you have the right amplifier, then it’s time to remove the electronics from the subwoofer. Remove the screws and remove the assembly to get inside the subwoofer. Cut off the wires that go to the speaker itself and get rid of the power cord. After this, you have to determine how many voice coils the speaker has. This will help you determine how to wire the subwoofer. 

Connect subwoofer to the amplifier

Now it’s time to attach your amplifier to the top of the subwoofer using some wood screws to create a self-contained unit. Wire the amplifier to the subwoofer by connecting the positive wire from the speaker onto the positive terminal on one channel of the amplifier and the negative wire to the other channel’s negative terminal.

If the speaker has four wires, do this the same way. The wires running from the amplifier need to be wired to the outermost terminals on the speakers. Then, there should be a small jumper wire between the two middle terminals. This connection is known as a “bridge.”

That’s it! Connect the amplifier up to the subwoofer channel on your car’s stereo, and you should be good to go. With a little work and some conversion, it’s not hard at all to get your home subwoofer working in your car.

For visual learners, it might be helpful to consult a visual guide. There are many videos on YouTube and other platforms that will walk you through the process of converting your home subwoofer and installing it in your car. 

The video below from Crutchfield is very straightforward with the process, allowing you to pause and catch up when you need to.

Do I need two subwoofers, or is one enough?

In my research, I found that if you include a home subwoofer in your car, you only need one.

Because of the surface that the sound is covering, a home subwoofer will be sufficient for your needs. However, if you find that the subwoofer you’re using is quite small or you’re getting uneven bass distribution, you can look into getting two and hooking them up to the same sound system. 

This would even out the bass levels and make sure you’re getting the sound quality you desire. If you’re going the route of purchasing new subwoofers, it’s helpful to make sure you’re choosing one that’s of great quality if you’re sticking to a single subwoofer because of space issues.

If you do have the space to make use of dual subwoofers, then the smaller units can be more space-efficient while still providing great sound levels and quality. This also ensures a balance in sound across your vehicle. But as I mentioned earlier, it all depends on your car’s size.

Related questions

Will the home subwoofer drain my car battery faster?

While the voltage required to power both speakers is different, your car battery may drain faster. If you have knowledge of circuits and electric connections, you can break the connection to convert this to be more efficient. If you don’t have the knowledge required to do this, take it to your local shop so they can fix the voltage.

This ensures your safety in the process and the health of your car battery in the long run. You can also utilize an inverter to fix this issue as well.

Do they sound the same?

As mentioned above, a home subwoofer is meant to cover an entire room, whereas a car subwoofer only needs to fill a car cabin with sound. This might cause your home subwoofer to produce louder noises that may also be distorted when connecting to the amplifier. 

What factors will affect my subwoofer’s performance?

Sensitivity, frequency response, cone build material, and enclosure type can all affect your subwoofer’s performance. The larger the sub generally means, the deeper the bass, but it also depends on the enclosure type.

If you’re aiming to achieve deeper lows, look for subwoofers (or multiple if going the dual sub route) designed to be used in a sealed box with the lowest frequency possible.

Conclusion

In conclusion, yes, you can use a home subwoofer in your car. Despite needing some simple conversions to do so, it’s a process that can be completed in an afternoon and will upgrade your car’s audio system. 

Martin

Welcome to ImproveCarAudio! I am Martin, and I love to write about everything related to car sound systems. I strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about car audio through extensive research, as well as my experience with car audio installations.

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