Foam vs Rubber Speaker Surrounds (The Truth!)

The battle of the speaker surrounds has been going on for quite some time now, with one side claiming that their foam-based surround is a better choice than rubber based. But what’s the truth?

The “foam vs rubber subwoofer surround” is a question that has been asked multiple times in the past. The answer to this question is simple: foam and rubber are both great materials for speaker surrounds, but they are not equal. Foam is more durable and will last longer than rubber, however, it also tends to be less efficient at transferring sound waves. Rubber on the other hand, can be easily cut with scissors or a knife, making it easy to customize and change out when necessary.

Foam vs Rubber Speaker Surrounds (The Truth!)


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Foam is one of the most important materials utilized in the production of surround sound speaker systems. However, instead of foam, you may utilize rubber in your speaker surrounds without sacrificing too much performance. The material you choose is determined by a variety of variables. We’ll talk about foam and rubber speaker surrounds in this post.

So, can you use rubber instead of foam for speaker surrounds?

Rubber may be used in lieu of surround sound foam since it lasts longer (20-30 years). Rubber, on the other hand, is somewhat more costly, has a propensity to droop (causing the problematic issue of the voice coil rubbing against the magnet), and may harden and shatter with time. Our key suggestion is that you repair the woofer using the same kind of ring that was used by the manufacturer.

Many individuals, of course, have had their speakers fixed using rubber rings and are extremely pleased with the results.


Continue reading to discover more about rubber surrounds and to see whether they are a suitable fit for you. 


Surrounds: Foam vs. Rubber

The following are the distinctions between surround sound woofers made of foam and those made of rubber:

  1. Control: The speaker cone is controlled differently by foam and rubber. You may or may not find these mechanisms useful. 
  2. Weight: There is a difference between the weight and the weight. Rubber rings may be ten times heavier than foam rings. 
  3. Rubber has a substantially longer lifespan than foam. Rubber may endure for up to 30 years, but foam only lasts around 5 years. Of course, this is dependent on a variety of factors, including temperature and sunshine.
  4. Because foam is more flexible, it will give higher efficiency.

To recap:

Foam is more flexible than rubber in general, making the woofer more efficient. Foam is also less durable and lasts less time (up to 5 years). Rubber, on the other hand, is heavier, lasts far longer (despite the fact that it periodically sags, hardens, and cracks), and is less efficient. 

Replacing Speaker Foam Surrounds

After ten to twenty years of usage, the foam surround on your speakers will normally wear out. The foam surrounds may be changed with fresh pieces to restore the functionality of your speakers.

1639322879_444_Foam-vs-Rubber-Speaker-Surrounds-The-Truth For woofers, rubber surround sound is used.

You may accomplish this regardless of the brand of speaker you’re using. Furthermore, foam may be replaced with foam, rubber, or fabric surround replacements. Refoaming or replacing the foam surrounds on speakers is also an easy do-it-yourself project. 

Refoaming Speakers at Home 

Refoaming your old speakers can help them perform better and last longer. Foam repair kits come with a variety of components, so just purchase what you need.

Fresh polyether foam surrounds, specific poly-acrylic adhesives, new cardboard gasket sets, paper shims, and applicators are all required for refoams. 

To re-foam your speakers, follow the instructions below. 

Separate the gasket from the steel frame in the first step.

Old speaker surrounds seem to be rusted and useless. Remove the old rotting foam edge before doing anything else to enhance the foam.

Scrape it away with your fingertips to reveal the cardboard gasket’s inner edge. 

With a razor knife, carefully detach the gasket from the steel frame. Be patient; it will take many cycles to entirely eradicate this. 

Step 2: Get the Steel Frame Clean

After removing the gasket, clean the steel frame with a wood chisel or a tiny putty knife. If you see any adhesive residue on the surface, don’t be concerned. The surface, on the other hand, should be smooth and even.

To get a smooth, velvety surface, remove any foam residue off the speaker cone’s outer edge. 

Remove the dust cap and shim the voice coil in step three.

Gently cut the dust cap around the circle with your knife, keeping it parallel to the cone. To make it easier to flip the cap out and back, leave a tiny bit uncut. 

A little amount of tape may also be used to keep the cap out of the way. The voice coil should be well exposed at this point. Make sure there’s no debris in the coil. 

Step 4: Put the Paper Shims in Place 

Cut three or four paper shims from magazine covers or business cards and place them between the voice coil bobbin and the speaker’s steel pole. Ensure that the shims are appropriately spaced and that the fit is secure. 

The shim should be able to stabilize the cone and prevent it from moving up and down. Also, use the shims to align the cone so that the orange disc or spider remains flat and does not droop towards the magnet. 

Step 5: Replace the Foam with the New Foam

Wrap the white speaker glue around the cone’s perimeter. Apply a tiny coating of glue to the interior of the new foam surround with your finger and smooth it out. 

By carefully laying the foam on the glue spot and gently pushing it down, you may join it. Continue to push it down as needed and prevent slipping, tugging, or stretching it in any manner so that it can dry properly. 

Apply another tiny amount of adhesive to both the outer lip of the foam and the steel frame when it has dried, and gently push the surround into place. You may also force it down with the assistance of the gasket.

Reinstall the gasket in Step 6.

Reattach the gasket by coating the backside with an equal amount of adhesive and holding it down with a board or just flipping it over the table and allowing it to dry after the glue has dried. 

Step 7: Check For Center After Removing The Shims

Now it’s time to take off the paper shims and look for the center. Gently press down on the cone in different places to see whether the voice coil scrapes against anything as it travels. If not, the repair has been accomplished. 

Place a little bead of glue on the dust cap and flip it back into place after you’re sure the center is okay. Allow time for it to dry. 

Step 8: Put The Repaired Parts Back Together 

Apply a uniform coating of glue around the cap and surrounding surfaces. While spinning the speaker, use your finger to smooth off the adhesive. Finish with a coat of black paint.

Foam Repair Kit for Speakers

There are a variety of speaker foam repair kits to choose from. Here are a few examples available on Amazon. 

  1. FSK-12AR Cerwin Vega 12 Inch Foam Speaker Repair Kit (Pair) 
  2. FSK-10AD (PAirP) Large Advent 10 Inch Foam Speaker Repair Kit Masonite Frame 
  3. Universal 10 Inch Angle-Attach Speaker Foam Surround Repair Kit-Standard 10 Inch Angle-Attach Speaker Foam Surround Repair Kit-Standard 10 Inch Angle-Att 
  4. FSK-10AR Cerwin Vega 10 Inch Foam Speaker Repair Kit (Pair) 
  5. FSK-8 Boston Acoustics 8″ Foam Speaker Repair Kit (Pair) 
  6. Simply Speakers 8″ Foam Speaker Repair Kit for JBL 116A, 116H, and FSK-8 (Pair)
  7. Surround Rings for Bluecell 10″ Rubber Speakers
  8. MOUNTING Spacer for Audiopipe 10′′ RING-10BZ MDF Speaker Ring Recess with Bezel
  9. High Rebound Waterproof Universal EVA Self Adhesive Sponge Car Door Speaker Foam Fast Baffle Kit 
  10. FSK-10A-1 Paradigm single edge 10-inch Foam Speaker Repair Kit

Refoaming Kit for Speakers of the Highest Quality

FSK-12AR Cerwin Vega 12 Inch Foam Speaker Repair Kit

For your next DIY project, this is one of the finest speaker foam repair kits available.


Cerwin Vega Foam Speaker Repair Kit 12 Inch…

  • Instructions are well-illustrated and simple to follow. The average installation time per speaker is 30 minutes.
  • This kit is ideal for the ordinary do-it-yourselfer. Installation is simple with our YouTube tutorials!
  • Technical assistance is provided at no cost. Shipping is free to any address in the United States.

They come with simple DIY instructions and can be put together in about 30 minutes per speaker. 


  • Technical assistance is provided at no cost.
  • Installation is simple.
  • Instructions are offered in a YouTube video. 


The Most Effective Speaker Surround Material

Surround materials used by speaker manufacturers include foam, rubber, and treated fabric. The materials used are determined by the speaker’s surroundings, durability, cost, and availability, among other criteria. 

Surround materials such as fabric and rubber are often thought to be the most durable. Foam is the most popular and extensively utilized surround material, despite the fact that it is the least durable of the three.   

So, Why Do People Prefer Foam over Other Materials? 

  • It is more flexible than rubber, which improves the effectiveness of speakers.
  • It is less expensive than rubber, which aids in the reduction of speaker manufacturing costs. 

When Should Foam Surround Be Replaced With Rubber Surround?

  • When the speaker is utilized near a body of water or an ocean. This is because the foam edges may be readily and rapidly affected by the salty sea air.
  • When employing outdoor speakers, such as the Bose 901, which is usually utilized at markets and fairs, the speakers are exposed to heat and cold. Changing weather conditions may have a dramatic impact on foam surrounds in a short amount of time. 
  • When utilizing the speakers in humid and tropical environments. 

Silicone is used to repair speaker surrounds. 

As previously said, fixing the speaker surround is a simple procedure that can be completed in a short period of time.

If you don’t have white speaker glue and your speaker surround wears out or rips, you may still repair it using silicon. Here’s what you should do.

Wear latex or nitrile gloves first. 

Step 2: Using a cloth, clean the damaged area.

Step 3: On a disposable plate, spread some RTV silicon. 

Step 4: Cut the end of the cotton swab to make the RTC applicator. 

Step 5: Dip the swab into the RTV silicone and apply it to the speaker’s underside rip. 

Step 6: Apply a dab of RTV silicone to the front of the torn area and stretch it out evenly. 

Step 7: Let it dry before gluing the broken pieces together.

Why do manufacturers of speaker surrounds use foam?

The use of foam for speaker surrounds has a number of benefits. The following are the most important:

  1. Foam is more flexible than rubber in general. The biggest benefit is that the woofer will be somewhat more efficient as a result. 
  2. Foam is often less expensive than rubber, implying that its production costs are lower. 


While it is possible to replace surround sound foam with rubber foam, which is a good idea since rubber lasts considerably longer, bear in mind the downsides of doing so. Rubber is more costly, has a tendency to droop over time, and has the potential to harden and shatter. Before you utilize rubber rings, you should think about all of these distinct variables.

Watch This Video-

The “how long do foam speaker surrounds last” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to this question is that the lifespan of a foam speaker surround will depend on how often you use it and what type of surface you put it on.

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