Polk Audio Home Theater Subwoofer Series (HST 10, HST 12) Review

Last updated on: 9-4-18
Bottom Line: hard to go wrong with Polk, and the HTS subs have great specs and a very cool retro-future design, but they’re still quite new and rather expensive. There are competitors with better specs that cost significantly less, especially if you don’t care too much about aesthetics.

Spec Overview and Comparison Table

ModelHTS 10HTS 12
Speaker Typepowered, ported(<-- same)
Continuous Power100 W200 W
Response Range25 - 180 Hz22 - 180 Hz
Driver Size10"12"
Warranty3 years (electronics), 5 years (driver/cabinet)(<-- same)

Review and Discussion

Polk made it’s name with producing some of the first HiFi quality loudspeakers that were affordable for residential consumers, and they continue to produce many different such products, varying in design, aesthetics, strengths and weaknesses, etc. The Home Theater Subwoofer (HTS) mini series features a 10 and 12 inch model that’s built with the same retro-future design theme of it’s newer Signature series.

Some self-righteous folk might scoff at aesthetics being a significant factor in how “good” a speaker is, but, it certainly can matter – sound systems, especially bigger things like subwoofers and tower speakers, are pieces of furniture in their own right that can influence the decor of the entire room. That’s the main reason we quite like these HTS subwoofers and the Signature series as a whole – in the budget-tier category of audio, design tends to be underwhelmingly plain and homogeneous, yet these speakers are distinctly cool looking. This is definitely something that Polk puts effort towards and excels at. The cool looking horizontally rounded cabinet also serves a useful practical purpose of elevating the bottom facing port so you don’t have to worry so much about placing it on hard ground.

And they’re great speakers with great specs, which is what’s ultimately important. The 200 W 12 inch is plenty loud for all but the really high end set ups, and a smaller 10 inch 100 W sub is perfectly adequate in it’s own right for many low to mid level main speakers it would pair with. The response range of each is also excellent, not just the low floors of 25 and 22 Hz respectively, but the decently high 180 Hz ceiling that allows the crossover to be as high as it needs to be to optimize the main speakers. We’ve seen a lot of popular and otherwise decent subwoofers with ceilings that are quite low, which compromises on an understated but very important purpose of a subwoofer besides actually producing decent bass: to take the work off the main speakers so they can really focus on the mids and highs, the components of which are going to be really designed for.

The problem though? They’re kind of expensive, or rather there are older generation speakers that are just as good, have better specs, and are significantly cheaper, and this includes some older Polk products that we like. That’s just kind of how it goes in the audio world: because speakers don’t depreciate like most electronics do, the best value is almost always found in older products that have had time to get discounted from their MSRP.

Our Overall Take, As Compared to the Competition

Polk is always a reliable option for budget-tier speakers, and these are perfectly decent. If you like the design and you don’t mind paying a premium for it, by all means get one.

But if you don’t care about aesthetics and you’re focused on pure value, there are better choices.

The Polk PSW505 (reviewed here) is a popular alternative that’s just as good if not better than the HST 12 and is significantly cheaper. This is a good choice that remains one of our overall favorites.

The Klipsch R-12SW (reviewed here) is a similar 12 inch subwoofer with the same power as the HTS 12, but an inferior response range. We’d say only get that one if you can snag it for a better price.

There are also significantly cheaper subwoofers that are perfectly decent – they won’t have as much power, but many people don’t actually need anything beyond a smaller ~50 W sub. See the links below for more information on that.

Get the HTS 12 on Amazon

See the entire Polk Signature series on Amazon

Our current picks for the overall best budget subwoofers