Often, people use the terms woofer and subwoofer interchangeably. Of course, there are several similarities between them. However, there are also small differences that you can exploit to get better sound quality for your music and movies so as to get the most out of your equipment.

With the knowledge of what woofers and subwoofers are, their specifications, and how they work, you can select the right type of speaker for your audio requirements. If you’re looking to improve the quality of sound in your home theater or entertainment venue, this information can be helpful in making a purchase decision.

What a Woofer Is

A woofer works via an electrodynamic system that consists of a cone attached to a magnetic field and voice coil. Proper positioning of the setup yields a simple, electronic, and linear motor. A current passing through the voice coil causes it to move back and forth, in turn pushing the speaker cone in and out. Low-frequency sound waves come from this motion.

Unlike high-frequency speakers, a woofer focuses on the sound spectrum’s low end. The onomatopoeic word for this type of speaker means a barking dog’s deep, heavy sound. Woofers cover a frequency range of about 20 to 5,000 Hz, which is wider than that of subwoofers.

Lower sound frequencies require greater amounts of air to pass through the system of speakers at slower speeds in order to produce audible sounds. Since woofers cover large audio ranges, they perform poorly at either end of their range. At the scale’s low end, the sound becomes less impressive and much quieter than what a subwoofer could produce.

A woofer consists of one speaker driver inside an enclosure. Since woofers are general low-frequency speakers, you must choose a decent-quality option to get the music or audio you’d prefer. Low-quality woofer models, on the other hand, may only produce distorted sounds and ringing.


The design of this loudspeaker unit ensures that it produces extremely low-frequency bass sounds. It covers a small frequency range of 20 to 200 Hz. The focus of woofers on a little portion of this overall low-frequency sound spectrum ensures that they perform better than woofers at these levels.

Usually, subwoofers, unlike woofers, contain multiple woofer drivers within a large speaker enclosure. They can also push large amounts of air at high pressure and slow speed. This way, they transmit very low-frequency sounds without sacrificing sound quality or losing volume. Moreover, they do not lose quality across their attainable frequency range.