What Is the Difference Between Woofer & Subwoofer?

By eHow Contributor

Updated July 21, 2017

A woofer and subwoofer have only slight diffrences.
i Midrange and Woofer mounted on wooden box image by Sudheer Sakthan from Fotolia.com

Woofer and subwoofer are two terms that have been used interchangeably, but there are small differences that can be exploited for better listening quality in the music and movies that you enjoy.


A woofer has a range of 40 to about 2,500 Hz, which means it is useful for playing low to mid-range frequencies. Woofers are ideal for home theater use, where you have a wider range of sounds that take advantage of the dynamic range of the woofer. In a home audio setup, the woofer is part of the main speaker system, helping the tweeter with mid-range frequencies.


Subwoofers, also referred to as "Subs," have a range of about 20 to 200 Hz, allowing for a lower frequency reach than the woofer. Only focusing on the lower frequencies allows the sub to provide a constant bass for most media, and allows the volume of the bass line in music to be drastically increased.

Don't the Frequencies Overlap?

Though the frequency range in both woofers and subwoofers have some overlapping area, the application of each can be different. When used in conjunction with tweeter (high-range) and drivers (mid-range), the subwoofer adds a wider and more consistent range. Meanwhile, the woofer allows for the dynamic range of a home theater system.