Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Woofer and Subwoofer

Woofer vs Subwoofer

We always here the terms woofer and subwoofer when talking about sound systems, whether it be in home theater systems, clubs, or in cars. Although most people think that these two are basically identical, there is a slight difference between them. A woofer is a speaker that specializes on the lower end of the audible spectrum; with the ‘woof’ from woofer referring to the low sound of a dogs bark. While a woofer is a specialized speaker, a subwoofer is a specialized woofer that covers an even narrower frequency range.

Woofers can cover a frequency range of 20Hz to 2 KHz. This frequency range is good enough for most applications but for those who really want the best sound, a subwoofer is necessary. A subwoofer only focuses on sound from the 20Hz to 200Hz. Concentrating on a narrower spectrum allows the subwoofer to create a fuller sound than can be achieved on a typical woofer. The downside to this is the added complexity to the sound system. Since it only covers a certain ranger, you would need other speakers to cover the other frequency ranges.

Because of the focus on the lower frequency ranges, subwoofers are often designed to be larger than woofers, and other types of speakers. Additional size allows the driver to move a lot of air while still maintaining that very low frequency. Although woofers can also be quite big, most woofers are smaller than subwoofers as they often would not operate on the lowest levels where subwoofers do.

You would always have woofers if you intend to have any sound system that has more than two speakers. Employing subwoofers or not depends on how good you want the sound to be in your system. Subwoofers are essential in home theater systems and clubs where it gives a more realistic and immersing sound. For portable systems, a woofer should suffice; but it is not unusual for cars to have huge subwoofers.


1. A subwoofer is a more specialized type of subwoofer
2. A woofer covers frequencies between 20Hz to 2KHz while a subwoofer only covers frequencies between 20Hz and 200Hz
3. Woofers are typically smaller than subwoofers

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  1. Please clarify for me here: 1) You are saying a subwoofer produces more bass than a woofer. 2) How will you know the difference between a woofer & subwoofer when buying one; will you look at the size or is it written on it whether a woofer or sub 3) Are hometheaters woofers or sub, or they contain all 4) Individual booming speakers, leave alone already assembled sound systems, are they woofers or subwoofers

    • 1.not sure. 2.it is written on it. 3.Hometheatre system contains only subwoofer, we call it as channel 5:1 or 7:1 that 1 defines 1 Subwoofer and other are tweets

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