People often ask on the internet what hits harder or which one is better, a 2-ohm subwoofer or a 4-ohm subwoofer. By the number, it appears that the 4-ohm is better.
But what is actually the case?
If you want the bass at a high quality, then opting for a 4 Ohms is the better decision. Whereas a 2 Ohms will give you louder bass as long as you don’t care much about the quality.
So, it entirely depends on what specific type of experience you want to get from the audio system. Read on to learn more specific information regarding it.
Here is a comparison chart to give you a quick glance at the different variables related to the two types of subwoofers.
|Features||2 Ohms||4 Ohms|
|Sound quality||Louder but has poor sound||Quieter but deeper sound|
|Durability||Less durable||Lasts longer|
|Distortion||Audio distortion at loud volumes||No distortion at loud volumes|
|Amplifier power||2 Ohm amplifier||2/4 Ohm amplifier|
2 Ohm Vs. 4 Ohm Subwoofer – Key Differences
Let’s take a look at their differences based on 3 key factors that matter the most for speakers and subwoofers.
The sound quality of subwoofers is directly related to their resistance or impedance rating.
Here the resistance or impedance refers to the amount of opposition to the flow of electric current in an electrical circuit. This resistance is measured at ohm units, and that is the indication we see on the subwoofers.
For 2-ohm Subwoofer
It offers a resistance of up to 2 ohms against the current passing through it, which then produces the sound or the bass.
Naturally, when the resistance against the current flow is low, more current can pass through the electric circuit. And subsequently, more power is delivered to the woofer.
This is why a lower resistance subwoofer, in this case, a 2-ohm woofer, can hold more power to generate louder sounds.
Now, we need to mention that louder doesn’t mean better in this case. When sounds come out at a louder level, it means the frequency is also higher or more intense.
So as the sound gets more intense, it can’t deal with lower frequencies as well as it does with higher frequencies. And since lower frequencies are the main source of the bass effect of subwoofers, the sound becomes somewhat distorted, especially at higher volumes. Result- louder but poor-quality sound.
In Contrast, for a 4-ohm Woofer
It can offer a resistance of 4 ohms. Since a 4-ohm subwoofer has a greater resistance and can deliver less power to the unit, it can’t produce sounds as louder as a 2-ohm subwoofer.
However, it can handle lower frequencies better, resulting not as loud but a much finer and clearer bass effect.
We can also relate the durability of subwoofers with their respective impedance. Apart from this, other factors also affect durability, like the casings, cables, other construction materials, and the overall construction quality.
For 2-ohm Subwoofer
When the subwoofer has a lower impedance rating or resistance, it transfers more current through the circuit. But as the unit draws more power through the line, it may result in overloading the system. This means the whole system will break down.
Consequently, lower resistance also causes the connected amplifier or speaker to overwork, leading to short serviceable life. This is why 2-ohm subwoofers tend to have shorter service life.
However, recent 2-ohm woofers have additional features to prevent any probable overload so they can last longer.
For 4-ohm Subwoofer
On the other hand, woofers with higher impedance ratings have greater resistance to the current flowing into the system. This prevents the woofer and amplifier from overworking themselves.
So, system breakdown is less probable in this case. This is why 4-ohm subwoofers tend to have better durability than 2-ohm ones.
Amplifier Power and Compatibility
The amplifier power output and compatibility with each of the subwoofers are different. Mostly because when it comes to electrical appliances, it’s better to use one that has the same resistance value.
For 2-ohm Subwoofer
Naturally, an amplifier with an impedance of 2 ohms will work best for a 2-ohm subwoofer.
Theoretically speaking, you could also use a 2-ohm woofer with a 4-ohm amplifier. But since the resistance is much lower in the woofer, it will draw a large amount of current through the unit.
And, because the amplifier has greater resistance, it can’t handle the excessive power surge leading to a potential system breakdown.
For 4-ohm Subwoofer
Now, we can also use a 4-ohm subwoofer with a 2-ohm amplifier. But the maximum power will be almost half of what it can deliver with a 2-ohm woofer.
So, a 4-ohm amplifier has the best compatibility with a 4-ohm subwoofer.
Especially when you are working with a car subwoofer, choosing the correct amplifier is extremely important.
This is because cars or trucks don’t have enough high voltage like home studios. So, they cannot overcome the high resistance of the amplifier. So, a 4-ohm woofer gives you more amplifier options than a 2-ohm woofer.
Similarities Between a 2-Ohm and 4-Ohm Subwoofer
Despite many differences, both subwoofers have some similarities as well. Let’s take a look at them.
Size and Shape
Both subwoofers are available in similar sizes, shapes, and configurations.
Both of them require an external amplifier to work properly
Even though a 2-ohm subwoofer is generally more expensive, you can find both in similar price ranges. This might take some searching.
Depending on the audio system, both can produce a similar bass effect.
Pros and Cons of 4-Ohm Subwoofers
- Less power consumption
- Clearer and sharper sound
- Does Not distort at higher volume
- Tends to last longer
- Not as louder as its counterpart
Pros and Cons of 2-Ohm Subwoofers
- Louder sound
- More power supply to the receiver
Can We Use Both 2-Ohm and 4-Ohm Subwoofers in a System?
Yes. Although it’s not very common, you can use both 2-ohm and 4-ohm subwoofers in the same audio system.
People who like to mismatch and get the best of both worlds can use both separately, like one at the front and another in the back.
You can also hook them together. There are two ways to connect 2 subwoofers with different impedance ratings, such as 2 ohms and 4 ohms.
You can either connect them in a series or a parallel connection. In a series connection, the subwoofers are wired with negative to positive terminals like a line.
Series connection increases the resistance of the subwoofers. So they get less power and deliver a compact but clearer sound.
Oppositely when connected in parallel, the woofers are stacked together with all positive terminals together on one side and all negative terminals together on the other side.
This lowers the resistance and produces a sound that is much louder but poor in quality.
One important reminder is to always use an amplifier compatible with the lowest resistance of the system.
Otherwise, overflowing power through the system is most likely to fry your amplifier and cause a system breakdown.
Important Factors While Choosing a Subwoofer Ohm for a Car Audio System
When choosing a subwoofer for your car audio system, there are two factors you need to pay attention to. They are –
A 4-ohm subwoofer consumes less power than a 2-ohm subwoofer due to its higher resistance value. So, they draw less power from the engine.
This is why many believe them to be much more suitable and efficient for car audio systems.
According to many, a 4-ohm subwoofer with a single voice coil is better than a 2-ohm woofer with 2 voice coils. This might be arguable.
This is a very arguable topic since there is no definite answer to which subwoofer hits harder than the other one. Both of them have their distinctive features, advantages, and disadvantages. So, which works for you, might not be working for someone else.
Also, what hits harder 2 ohms vs. 4 ohms subwoofers depends a lot on what YOU mean by hitting harder.
Is it a louder sound? Or a more quiet but clearer bass? 2 ohms will give you a louder sound, but you have to compromise the quality, while 4 ohms will give you a better bass effect.
So, our suggestion is to pick your options and choose accordingly.