MDF Vs Plywood – Which One is Good For Sub & Speaker Boxes?

I know making a subwoofer box at home is not an easy thing, especially when you are doing it for the first time.

The major problem while making a subwoofer or speaker box is the “Selection Of The Right Wood Material”.

There are two common and mostly used woods for making the box. One is MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and the second one is Plywood.

MDF is actually a residue of hard and softwood when mixed with glue or wax. Therefore it is denser than plywood and is pocket friendly.

While plywood is actually an organic or natural wood that has more stability and long life than MDF and is more recommended for making speakers or sub-boxes.

That was just a minor introduction to both materials, but I will explain and compare them so you can easily choose the best one according to your need.



MDF which is also called (Medium Density Fiberboard) is a mixture of the residues of soft and hardwood.

This is cheaper and softer than plywood. Because of its lightweight, it is easy to carry.

How MDF is Made?

For making an MDF sheet, a lumberman takes residues of softwood and hardwood and then mixes them.

Then add some glue or wax in it and thoroughly mix to make a paste-like material of wood and wax.

This paste-like material then transforms into a woody sheet or fiberboard, which is called MDF. In this, the ratio of softwood keeps higher than hardwood to make it softer and lightweight.


Plywood Box Speaker
Plywood Box Speaker

Plywood is a woody material that is commonly used in making excellent speaker or subwoofer boxes.

This is an organic or natural product. There is no residue mixed in it. Plywood has a greater sound reflection and echo-canceling effect than MDF.

Because plywood has no cheap material mixing in it, therefore, it is a bit more costly than MDF.

Plywood In Terms Of Sound Quality

Plywood material is just outstanding in terms of reflecting sound quality. It gives a proper and unassisted passage to sound to travel.

Plywood is thicker (not denser) and flat than MDF.

Plywood is more powerful and has a longer lifespan than MDF. Plywood is also lightweight like MDF.

 How Plywood Is Made?

There are many types of plywood depending upon their sizes and quality.

The best quality plywood has been made by keeping so many plywood sheets over one other and then sticking them with wax.

This is somehow a heavyweight material but believes me it is one of the most durable and sound-friendly box-making woody materials.


Yes Definitely, I think there is no such amazing material available for making subwoofer boxes than plywood.

Plywood is called the “Sound King” material.

It doesn’t only reduce the echo and vibration of the sound but also makes it clear and equal from all sides.

There is no doubt about the durability, strength, and brilliant sound handling properties of plywood.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip

Always choose a plywood sheet of 2 cm thickness. If not found, then use an MDF sheet of the same thickness but should have no pores.


As I said earlier, there are multiple types of plywood, depending on their sizes and the quality of their materials. But the two types are most common.

1. Plywood’s Types According To The Presence Of Pores

There are two types of plywood according to the presence of pores in it. The one is voided, which has tiny pores.

The rest is voidless and has no pores at all.

Voided Plywood

Voided plywood sheet has many tiny and microscopic pores. These pores don’t only disturb the sound quality and produce echo but also disturb the density of the overall structure.

Due to these pores, the outer air can easily entangle with sound waves and produce echoing and annoying sounds.

Therefore a plywood sheet with pores is not recommended. Please don’t use it. Use MDF instead.

Voidless Plywood

Voidless plywood is one of the best plywood materials one can ever have. It falls in the A or B class category.

It doesn’t have pores and therefore has the best acoustic properties.

All the box makers used voidless plywood to make boxes and it works marvelous.

2. Plywood On The Basis Of Grades

 Plywood has been divided into four main categories A, B, C, and D.

Category A and B is the best one. While C and D don’t have only pores but are made up of middle-class and poor wooden quality respectively.

Pro Tip
Pro Tip

Use Voidless Plywood Of A or B Category For Excellent Sound Quality and Longevity.

In case of less budget, you may go for C class or MDF with no pores. But never go for D-class plywood.


1. Durability Or Long Lasting

Durability is a symbol of excellence. All the things which are made up of premium material, have a long lifespan.

We can’t ignore this factor in any case. It doesn’t only provide strength to the product but also ensures to protect it from external damage.

In the case of a subwoofer box, a box has to work too much and has to perform for years without any internal damage.

Therefore they should be made up of strong and durable material.

Durability In Plywood

Plywood is a durable material. Because it has many sheets above each other, therefore its stiffness and strength are far better than MDF.

Plywood is actually placed in one of the top wooden materials which are used for making speaker boxes.

Due to less elasticity, the chances of tearing into pieces are very less.

The car speaker boxes are mostly made up of plywood because they can easily bear the traumas of road breakers, jumps or accidents, etc.

Durability of MDF

Here I would say that MDF is not much more durable than Plywood.

The MDF has a residue of softwood as well, therefore its strength is compromised somewhere. The chances of pores are also more in MDF than in plywood.

I know being lightweight is a plus point for MDF but on the other hand, it also reduces its strength and can easily damage even after minor jerks.

Who Is The More Durable?

The Winner is Plywood.

You should definitely go for plywood if you want stiffness, strength, and durability in your box.

2. Water Resistance

Water is necessary for life but on the other hand, it is the destroyer of things also.

Water resistance products are widely available in the market. Which not only soaks the water but moisture etc.

 The subwoofer box also should be waterproof. Specifically, if you live in a rainy area. Not only the water but also the moisturization can slowly or gradually damage the box.

Water Resistance Of Plywood

Plywood is water resistant. But it soaks the water slowly. We can’t say the plywood is completely waterproof because it is made up of timber and the timber is also not waterproof.


You can use Water Boiled Proof (WBP) plywood, it is a waterproof type of plywood.

Water Resistance Of MDF

MDF is more water-resistant than plywood. It soaks the water quickly.

In comparison to plywood, an MDF sheet has less humidity in the same environment.

Who Is More Water Resistant?

Here MDF is the winner. The MDF ability of water soaking is more than plywood. It will protect your subwoofer from humidity.

3. Price

Subwoofer itself is a costly product. Therefore you don’t need to spend more on its box. Choose a cost-effective material wisely.

Price Of Plywood

Plywood is an expensive material because it is made up of pure timber or organic wood. No residues are inserted in it.

Price Of MDF

MDF is a cost-effective material. If you have less budget you should go with it. Always try to buy a poreless MDF sheet.

A sheet of MDF is Upto 30$.

Who Is Pocket Friendly?

The Winner is MDF. You can buy two MDF sheets for the price of one plywood.

If you have less budget and can compromise on other features, you should go for MDF.

4. Acoustic Property

Everyone needs excellent sound quality from their speakers or subwoofers. Box material plays an important role in this.

Sound Quality Of Plywood

Plywood gives excellent sound quality. Never underestimate its acoustic property. Because it usually doesn’t have pores therefore it lets the sound travel freely and clearly.

Sound Quality Of MDF

MDF is not good at providing crunchy bass and sound quality.

 Due to its weak material and pores inside it, it distracts the sound and sometimes produces an echo.

Who Has Better Acoustic Property?

Of Course, the Winner is Plywood. Plywood is a flat sheet with all the acoustic properties which boost your sound quality and make the music unrivaled.

5. Easy To Use

Making a subwoofer box is one of the most irritating tasks. It needs a lot of equipment and the correct use of wooden material.

Use Of Plywood

Plywood is an organic and natural woody material. Therefore it is hard to manage and cut. Sometimes you require a small saw to cut them. They are hard to mold and bend.

Use Of MDF

MDF on the other hand is a soft, elastic, and easy-to-handle material. You can mold it and cut it easily.

You don’t need any expensive cutter or equipment to make a box by using an MDF sheet.

Who Is Easy To Handle?

MDF is easy to handle. It is a flexible sheet and those who make boxes at home and are not so professional should use it.

6. Lightweight Or Thickness

There are many portable speakers. These require a portable and lightweight box so you can carry it easily at parties or anywhere else.

Weight Of Plywood

Plywood is not much more lightweight than MDF. Because it normally doesn’t have pores and is made up of multiple sheets therefore it is a heavyweight material.

Weight Of MDF

MDF is made up of a mixture of softwood. Therefore it is lightweight and the boxes made up of MDF are more portable and easy to lift than plywood.

Who Is Lightweight?

The sheet of MDF is more lightweight than plywood. MDF sheets are flexible and need less effort to carry.

7. Beautiful Look

A speaker box is not only the protector of your speaker but also enhances or degrades the beauty of your room or car.

 Look Of Plywood Box

Plywood is a shiny material. It becomes more shiny after further polishing. The reddish color of the plywood box enhances the beauty of your room.

Look At MDF Box

MDF has no such look. The sheet is simply a yellowish color and gives a dull look to the room. You can make it beautiful after making some drawings or sketches on it.

Who Is More Beautiful?

The Plywood is more beautiful than MDF. It doesn’t require any sketches or hard work to make it shiny or beautiful.

8. Distortion and Resistivity

There are many environmental resistances and sound distortion you may have faced after making a box. You should be careful about this before selecting a material.

The term we use for distortion is Warping.

Warping Of Plywood

Plywood is a hard material and has a long lifespan. It has the ability to face environmental changes such as temperature etc and it can easily deal with any kind of harm fluctuations.

Warping Of MDF

MDF is made up of soft material and it is not very powerful. Therefore a slight and prolonged change in the environment or humidity etc can affect it severely.

Who Is More Resistant?

The box, which is made up of Plywood, is more resistant than MDF. Plywood can bear the harshness of continuously changing weather and does not impact the overall voice quality.

9. Resonance Or Sound Clarity

Sound clarity and sound quality are the only things that can’t be compromised at any cost. The box material highly impacts them both. You shouldn’t choose the material which makes your speaker dumb.

Resonance Of Plywood

It is crystal clear that the plywood is better than MDF sound-wise. It gives an open passage for the sound to travel without any distortion.

Resonance Of MDF

The sound clarity in the boxes which are made up of MDF material is not so good. Actually, MDF distorted the sound and made it echo.

Who Makes The Sounds Clear?

 Plywood is the winner. Plywood has the ability to synchronize all the sound waves and produce a clear, equal, and undistorted sound and crunchy bass.


Budget FriendlyLittle Bit Costly
Soft MaterialHard Material
Easy To ManageHard To Manage
Provide Compromised Sound QualityProvide Excellent Sound Quality
WaterproofNot Waterproof
Usually Have PoresA and B class are Pore less
Low Acoustic Properties High Acoustic Properties


Pros And Cons Of Plywood

What We Like

  • It has greater acoustic properties than MDF.
  • It is more durable than MDF.
  • It is strong and stiff.
  • It is harder and has a long life.
  • It has no pores usually, thus giving a clear sound.

What We Don’t Like

  • It is expensive.
  • It is hard to deal with.
  • It is not easy to carry.
  • You need a lot of equipment to cut it and make a box with it.
  • It soaks the water slowly.

Pros And Cons Of MDF

What We Like

  • It is pocket friendly.
  • It is easy to deal with.
  • It doesn’t require any expensive cutter or equipment while making a box.
  • It is somehow water resistant and soaks the water quickly.
  • It is lightweight and easy to carry.

What We Don’t Like

  • It is softer than plywood and hence damages easily.
  • It can’t bear the temperature change.
  • It doesn’t make the subwoofer sound good.
  • It has pores due to which an unclear and distorted sound produces.
  • It is not a good-looking material.


The overall winner is Plywood. You definitely go with it, if you have enough budget. I will say that plywood will make your subwoofer’s bass sound more listenable.

MDF is also good for those who don’t care about other things and have less budget. MDF actually dulls the original taste of music.

I will suggest that you choose any of them wisely and according to your needs.

 If you can make a box by yourself and have all the equipment in your home, you should make it by yourself.

Ready-made boxes are very expensive and don’t guarantee quality.


Plywood Or MDF, Which One Is Better For Making Cabinets?

Plywood is good but it depends upon your budget and need. MDF is waterproof and more budget-friendly than plywood.

But plywood has better acoustic properties than MDF. So now it’s on you, which should you buy.

Why Should We Use MDF For Subwoofer Boxes?

MDF is a soft and easy-to-handle material. It is budget-friendly and you don’t need expensive equipment and professional training to make a subwoofer box by using it.

MDF also soaks the water quickly and keeps the surface clean.

Which Plywood Material Is Good?

Plywood which is made up of Baltic Birch is a good material. It falls in the A category which has no holes and hence produces an excellent sound quality.

Is Plywood Stronger Than MDF?

Yes, plywood is stronger than MDF. It is made up of several layers of plywood sheets. It has no flexibility but stiffness.

The strength of a plywood sheet is far more than the MDF.