Subwoofer Boxes: Ported vs Sealed - Which is Better?

Choosing between a ported or sealed sub box can impact the sound quality and frequency response of your subwoofer. A ported box can provide louder bass, while a sealed box delivers tighter and more accurate bass.
Rated 4.7 / 5
6 Mins.

Which sub will provide the best design and sound quality, ported or sealed? Does a sealed or ported box hit harder? Adding a quality subwoofer is best for a full and rich bass. 

Adding a sub helps in improving your audio system. Generally, there are two types of bass camps, one that like the bass "boomy" and the other that like the bass "tight." The bass type you prefer depends on your taste and personal preference in music. 

Ported vs. Sealed Box — Which is better?

When talking about subwoofer enclosures, sealed and vented boxes are the two most popular options. Just like other decisions, some trade-offs come with each choice. So what is better between ported vs. sealed subwoofer home theater system?

Sealed box vs. Ported box – How are they different? 

The type of bass you will get depends on the subwoofer that you are using. If you want tight bass, you should go for the sealed design. But if you like your bass booming, you should go for the ported subwoofer box design.

Subwoofer TypeBass Sound
Sealed BoxProvides more accurate and higher bass.Smaller in size.Requires higher power for more bass.
Vented or Ported DesignLess accurate but boomy and louder base. Larger size, thus requiring larger space. Highly efficient with lesser power requirement. 

Sealed Subwoofer Boxes

A sealed subwoofer box design is air-tight. Therefore, the air gets trapped inside the box and works like an absorber. Because of this, the sealed enclosure is not that loud compared to the ported box. When the cone starts vibrating, the air works like a cushion. 

When using a sealed subwoofer box, you will get a better and richer experience that is not very loud. Moreover, the bass is also quite tight regarding lower frequencies. The air adds to the richness of the audio and makes it more accurate. 

Having a sealed box will allow you to ensure that appropriate heft and bounce are being added to the background music. Thus, you will not miss out on the critical parts. Even with music, the box doesn't drown the vocals and the background instruments. 

Sealed Design: Pros & Cons

More constrained and smaller in size.If you want to enhance the bass, you will need power amplifiers.
Size has no impact on the output.The possibility of getting a loud bass is minimal.
Better and more detailed audio. 
It doesn't drown other background instruments or important dialogues. 
Provides a holistic experience.

Ported Subwoofer Design

If you looking for a higher reverb or booming bass, then the ported subwoofer boxes are ideal. It has an outlet in the box for any air present inside. They also redirect the sound properly, creating a sound whammy. 

They do not require an amp but can also work well with an amp. The cone gets larger movement opportunities as there is no trapped air. Because of this, the reverberations are higher. 

The air dynamic of the port makes the cone stronger. Because of this, you also get bass and sound from the port. But this means that these boxes are larger than sealed air boxes. 

Subs with ports have a larger cone to allow capturing of lower bass.

Ported Subwoofer Design: Pros & Cons

Helps in lesser distortion.Powerful bass that can overpower everything else. 
Louder and higher bass.Outside air can impact the quality. 
Comparatively more efficient than sealed boxes.Large in size and thus can be difficult to move around. 
Higher reliability. High internal pressure can result in cone damage. 
Amps are optional.

What Should be the Room Size for a Sealed or Ported Subwoofer Enclosure?

When deciding between a sealed or a ported sub, the size of the room matters. A very large room will not be ideal for a sealed box as it will not reach louder or deep bass. Moreover, a sealed box might not reach similar bass frequencies. 

Similarly, a ported box will not be ideal for a small room. It is not the better choice if you use it with your home theater and want to listen to dialogues. 

Sealed vs. Ported: Key Differences

Sub Cone Excursion & Distortion 

As the cone excursion increases, there is more distortion in the coil speaker. Moreover, the suspension compliance variation and the magnetic field result in the cone being unable to track the signal properly at higher excursion levels. 

Therefore, keeping the cone excursions as low as possible is critical. A larger sub will improve the sound quality if the enclosure is designed correctly. The cone excursion is higher in sealed boxes as compared to vented boxes. 

Enclosure Size

The sealed boxes have smaller enclosures than the vented boxes. Ported subwoofer box 12 inch are the most common size of ported boxes. if you have a smaller space getting a sealed box is a better idea.


The ported box is louder than the sealed box at any frequency range greater than 18.5 hertz. If you want a system with the most output, you should go for a vented enclosure. 

Sound Quality

If your system has an equalizer getting a vented or ported box is a better option. But you can get a sealed box if your system doesn't have an equalizer. 

Infrasonic Performance

The answer to ported vs. sealed car subwoofer also depends on your requirement. If you love deep bass in the vehicle, getting a sealed box is better for your car audio system. 

Limited Xmax Subs

If the idea is to have an enclosure with limited sub-excursion, then getting a vented box is better. It can be an entry-level woofer with a shorter magnetic field. 

Enclosure Cost

If you want to know how to port a sealed sub box and how much will it cost, then understand that the cost of building a ported box is higher than a sealed one. However, the performance might help offset the cost. 

Application of Sealed vs. Ported Enclosures

Sealed Box

  • It comes in a compact form and is thus ideal for smaller spaces.
  • A well-designed sealed enclosure will have lesser phase rotation, group delay, and lesser ringing. They are more accurate when it comes to frequency response. Thus they are better for music enthusiasts considering the sound is more accurate and tighter. 
  • The shallow roll-off slop helps use the room gain for the best audio. 
  • The cone excursion increases with deeper octaves to ensure the sound pressure is the same as any ported box. Thus, it has a lesser dynamic output.

Ported Box

  • The enclosure is larger, and it affects the efficiency. A ported box suits an energetic, trembling, and best sound experience.
  • It is a myth that a ported box doesn't function well when it comes to music. They have low distortion, flat resonance frequency response, and deep tuning, producing a good music experience. 


Why Do You Need An Enclosure For A Subwoofer? 

It helps prevent sound mixing from the speaker cone's back and front. They help in limiting the output at lower frequencies. 

Should I Go For A Sealed Box Or A Ported Box? 

You can get a ported box for loud and deep bass, but you can choose a sealed box for detailed audio. It depends on your sound requirement. 

Is It True That Sealed Subs Sound Better? 

The sealed boxes provide a softer and more consistent bass. And thus, they might sound better when you want to focus on the dialogue or not miss any instrument in the music. At higher volumes, you will be able to get detailed audio. 

Are Ported Boxes Louder Than Sealed Boxes?

The ported box is significantly louder than a sealed box. It is as high as double the sound coming from a sealed box. They perform well at high volumes. 

Is It True That The Sealed Box Is Louder? 

A sealed box is not booming or loud like a vented box. Thus, it is well-suited for people looking for a thing to provide accurate bass. 

What Is The Difference Between A Ported And Sealed Box? 

A ported sub comes with a small hole or a port opening that allows air movement to pass out of the box resulting in a deeper bass. But in a sealed sub-enclosure, the air gets trapped inside. 

Are There Any Benefits To The Ported Vs. Sealed Box Subwoofer Design?

The ported box has a vent, and the air pressure gets out of the enclosure through the port resulting in a louder bass. 

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Ported Box?

The ported enclosure provides a louder bass and can easily manage low frequencies. But they are larger and can also get very loud in small spaces. 

Which Subwoofer Is The Best Sealed Or Ported?

A sealed box will provide tight sound but is less efficient than a ported box. Moreover, it will require higher power for the same high-quality sound. The best subwoofer choice eventually depends on the requirement and the floor space.

About The Author
• Editor In Chief
José is a veteran audiophile with an MSc in Engineering, and a passion for sharing his audio knowledge with others.
Share This Article
Subscribe For More
Email Sidebar Signup