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Trying to accommodate a subwoofer in your home theater setup isn’t always easy. Subwoofers tend to be large and heavy, which is why they’re often placed on the floor. But there’s the risk of damage when you put it on the floor, so you’re probably wondering if you can wall mount a subwoofer.
Can You Wall Mount a Subwoofer?
You can wall mount a subwoofer, but size, weight, and the vibrations that subwoofers generate may present practical problems. As an alternative, raise the subwoofer off the floor using a platform or furniture. But if you have to wall-mount, consider buying a subwoofer designed for wall-mounting.
Check out my article on placement of subwoofers.
So, you can wall mount a subwoofer, although most aren’t designed to do so. There are also some potential issues with wall-mounting. You can read more about those and the alternative solutions below.
What Is a Subwoofer?
Subwoofers are speakers designed to produce the low-frequency end of the frequency range. That range for the human ear is between 20 to 20,000Hz. The low-end where subwoofers operate is generally between 20 and 200Hz.
These low frequencies take a lot of work to produce. That’s why subwoofers are often large.
And that brings us to where you usually find a subwoofer in a home setup.
Why Are Subwoofers Usually Placed on the Floor?
The reason why subwoofers are most often found on the floor comes down to practicalities. It’s a question of weight.
A compact subwoofer with an 8” (20.3cm) driver can weigh a lot. For example, this Acoustic Audio PSW300-8 Home Theater Powered 8” LFE Subwoofer (Amazon link) weighs 16.5lbs (7.5kg). That’s at the lower weight end, as there are many 8” (20.3cm) subwoofers that weigh more.
If you have a larger subwoofer like this 15” (38cm) Klipsch R-115sw Subwoofer (Amazon link), you’d be looking at around 75lbs (34.2kg). Additionally, its dimensions of 21.5″ (54.6cm) H x 19.5″ (49.5cm) W x 22.3″ (56.6cm) D lend themselves to floor placement.
And, since subwoofers tend to have feet, the obvious and easiest place to put them has always been on the floor.
Also, most subwoofers won’t have pre-drilled holes for wall-mounting. So, you’d have to drill into the cabinet yourself to secure wall brackets to it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t try wall-mounting if you can be sure you can do it safely. Safe wall-mounting may be more difficult, the larger the subwoofer. And it probably wouldn’t be sensible to try.
Don’t forget, subwoofers generate significant vibrations. Quite apart from size and weight, that’s another factor you’ll need to take into account if wall-mounting one.
Whether your subwoofer is large or small, a better solution may be to use a raised platform to get it off the floor. You’d need to ensure the platform can take the weight. But that’s likely to present less of a problem than wall mounting.
You can learn about elevating subwoofers off the floor in the following video. It argues against the convention of placing subwoofers on the floor. Instead, it explains why it’s better to use a raised diaphragmatic absorber platform:
Practicalities of Finding the Right Subwoofer Position
Even if you’re wall-mounting or raising your subwoofer off the floor, you still need to find the right place to put it.
As low-frequency sounds are omnidirectional, the correct placement of a subwoofer is wherever it sounds best. Often, finding that spot is a matter of trial and error. The right position will depend on the acoustics of a particular room and personal taste.
That means you’ll need to try out different positions to see which one gives you the best bass sound.
Remember, when raising your subwoofer off the floor, you’re not only dealing with horizontal dimensions. You’re also dealing with the vertical dimension.
Move Your Subwoofer to Different Positions and Heights
So, you’ll need to move your subwoofer to different positions along your wall and also raise it up to different heights. You can use furniture, boxes, or whatever is handy and can take the weight. If you have a hefty subwoofer, you’ll also need help to move and lift it.
Once you have your subwoofer in a position, play some bass sounds while you sit in your usual listening position. Repeat this process until you find a location where the bass sounds best to you.
Use the Subwoofer Crawl Method as an Alternative
As subwoofers can be pretty hefty, an alternative to moving it to different positions is to use the subwoofer crawl method.
The method involves putting your subwoofer in your listening position. Then, you move around the room while playing bass-heavy sounds.
Only when you find a spot where the bass sounds good to you do you need to move the subwoofer to it. So, you save a lot of heavy lifting.
You can watch a demonstration of this method in the following video:
If you want your subwoofer mounted on the wall or on a raised platform, you may not need to crawl. It’ll depend on how high up the wall you want to put it. The important thing is to get your ears to the height at which you want your subwoofer.
Don’t Forget to Check the Distance From the Wall
The distance between your speaker and the wall is easily overlooked. But it can affect sound quality. It’s the other horizontal dimension you need to take into account when positioning your subwoofer.
The starting point is to check what your subwoofer manual says about distances from walls. This may vary from one subwoofer to another. But like the other aspects of placement, the best distance will depend on your room.
So, don’t get too rigid about what the manual says. Ultimately, the best placement of your subwoofer is wherever it sounds best to you. So, play it by ear and run with what you think gives the best bass sound from your usual listening position.
If you find your subwoofer sounds best when it’s away from the wall, that may make wall-mounting more complicated. You’ll need to find a wall-hanging option that lets you put some space between the wall and the subwoofer.
That may be an adjustable arm or bracket, or it may mean a wide shelf. The size and weight of your subwoofer might limit your choices. Those factors might even prevent you from wall-mounting.
In that case, a raised platform may be a better option. But there’s another alternative which you can read about next.
Consider a Subwoofer Designed for Wall Mounting
As mentioned, conventional subwoofers don’t have wall-mounting features. So, wall mounting them may not be that straightforward, even more so if you have a large subwoofer.
Even if you put your subwoofer on a shelf or platform, you’ll still need to ensure that the vibrations it emits won’t eventually cause it to drop off.
Given all the issues, or if you must wall-mount due to lack of floor space, it’s worth considering buying a subwoofer that’s designed for wall-mounting. They’ll have special brackets to go with them, so all you need to worry about is getting the placement right.
A good example of a wall-mountable subwoofer is the Q Acoustics 3060S 8” Active Subwoofer (Amazon link). It has a dedicated wall bracket as an optional purchase. But you can also place it on the floor, so you have complete flexibility.
If you’re concerned that this 8” (20.3cm) model isn’t big enough for your needs, you could always buy two. This is often better than buying a single large subwoofer in terms of bass quality.
So, practicalities aside, you can wall-mount a subwoofer, although most aren’t designed for wall-mounting.
But, you shouldn’t ignore the practicalities. Especially for larger subwoofers, wall-mounting might be a challenge. So, consider a raised platform instead.
If you just don’t have the floor space, think about buying a subwoofer that’s designed for wall-mounting. That way, you don’t have to worry about drilling into the subwoofer case or securing it on a high shelf.
Check out my top recommendations for home theater subwoofers.