Best Car Amplifier Reviews (2020)
In this day and age, car amplifiers will make or break your sound system (quite literally). We can’t stress enough by saying “buy the right car amplifier” to avoid any expensive audio component replacements. Whether you’re looking for an amplifier to power your entire car component speaker and stereo system or you’re looking for an amplifier to power your subwoofers, we created a guide that covers just that.
Before we picked the top 10, we took a look into some of the today’s most popular brands, including Pioneer amplifiers, Kenwood amplifiers, Sony amplifiers, Rockford Fosgate amplifiers, Pioneer amplifiers, JL Audio amplifiers, Alpine amplifiers, BOSS amplifiers, Pyle amplifiers, MTX amplifiers, and Kicker amplifiers.
Some of these are excellent amplifiers for subwoofers, usually called 1-channel or monoblock. Some are 2-channel or more, and work great as amplifiers for your component speakers (although there you’d want an amp with the most channels). If you’re looking for the best car amplifiers to power your entire audio system, aim at the most available channels on an amplifier.
10 Best Car Amplifiers To Get For Subwoofers and Component Speakers
- JX Series Monoblock Amplifier 500 rms @ 4ohms 750 rms @ 3ohms and 1000 rms @ 2ohms
- Frequency Response (Subwoofer Channel): 10 Hz - 1 kHz (+0, -1dB), Damping Factor (Subwoofer Channel): >150 @ 4 ohms per ch./ 50 Hz, Dimensions (L x W x H): 10.23 x 7.09 x 2.05 inches
- CEA-2006 Power Rating: 100W RMS x 4 + 500W RMS x 1, Stackable installation design with front-panel controls
- 150 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms (250 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms), Works with factory installed aftermarket source units, Onboard 12dB/octave LP/HP/AP crossover, On-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost at 45Hz
- 500 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms (1, 000 watts x 1 at 2 ohms), Class D amp design, Speaker-level inputs with signal Sensing turn-on
- On-board PEQ (Punch Equalization) with 18 dB of boost at 45Hz, Variable crossover 12dB/octave slopes, Infrasonic filter. Low-Pass: Variable 50Hz - 500Hz at 12dB/Octave
- Pioneer 60WX2 400W Peak Car Amp, 400 watt Peak Power car amp
- 4/3/2 CH amplifier, 900W Max
- Depth - 13.40, Height - 4.90, Width - 10.90
10. Pioneer GM-D8601 Class D Mono Subwoofer and Component Speaker Amplifier
If you’re looking to power your subwoofer for a relatively low cost, Pioneer GM-D8601 Class D Mno Amplifier is the way to go. At just over 100 dollars, you’re getting a good bang for the buck and power. Rated at 1,600 watts, you can comfortably get consistent 800 watts of RMS power going directly to your subwoofer.
With this Pioneer amp, you can adjust the subwoofer accordingly from at little as 40 Hz to as much as 240 Hz. The newer amps (including this one) have a wired bass control module, allowing you to turn the bass level up or down without having to go to the amp itself and do it physically.
The speaker level inputs allow you to connect your OEM head unit without having to buy add-on adapters (or anything that does not have RCA-inputs). Some additional specs include a 100 dB signal-to-noise ratio, which means higher music volume and less background noise and continuous power outputs come in 3 settings (of 800 watts, 500 watts, and 300 watts ).
In conclusion, this powerful and budget-friendly car amplifier is capable of pushing over 1000 watt amps and right around 800 consistently with no stress.
9. Kenwood KAC-8406 4-Channel Car Speaker Amplifier
Kenwood has been in the game of making amplifiers for a LONG time. It’s no wonder their amps are being used by hundreds and thousands of custom audio systems. The Kenwood KAC-8406 car amplifier is an excellent product for not only powering a small to medium-sized subwoofer but also regular component speakers.
Yes, this amp features four channels from which you can hook up speakers. Run 70 watts RMS from all four channels at 4 ohms, 200 watts RMS from 2 channels at 4 ohms, or 450 watts from 1 channel at 4 ohms.
It is an excellent amplifier for running component speakers and a non-overpowering subwoofer. You get Kenwood quality and Kenwood low cost with this amplifier. Check them out on their Amazon page (you’ll save 100 dollars compared to somewhere else).
8. Pioneer GMA3602 2-Channel Bridgeable Car Speaker Amplifier
Moving down to a much smaller and less powerful car amplifier comes the Pioneer GM-A3602 2-channel bridgeable amp. Now, with reduced size and power comes a price that is almost half of what you’d pay for the Pioneer mentioned above. Here’s the deal, it comes rated at 400 watts max. Including two RCA inputs for your head unit, it’s very user-friendly with an RCA compatible output.
The continuous power comes in 90 watts per channel and 60 watts per channel with a maximum continuous power output of 180 watts from one circuit. Frequency response varies from 10 Hz to 70 kHz. The Signal-to-Noise Ratio is 95 dB or higher, giving you pretty good sound levels and not so much background noise.
If you are looking for a cost-effective, not overpowering amplifier that can power a few car speakers, Pioneer’s model is an appropriate choice.
7. Rockford Fosgate R750-10 Class D 4-Channel Subwoofer Amplifier
For some moderately high subwoofer power, this Rockford Fosgate R750-1D Monon Amplifier is the way to go, seriously. While not the cheapest of the list so far, it’s designed specifically for deep hitting subwoofers used in your car or truck.
Running a total of 4 output channels, its rated power ranges from 250-watt amps at 4-ohms, 600-watt amps at 2-ohms, and 750-watt amps at 1-ohm (though multiple users have reported an RMS at 1-ohm of around 900, which is impressive).
This amp features 12dB/octave Butterworth crossover infrasonic filter and an onboard Punch EQ with a +18dB boost at 45Hz. Various adjustments can also be made, such as Punch EQ, Freq Hz, Infrasonic Filter Hz, and Gain. This amp, in particular, is made to work perfectly with a subwoofer set.
6. Kenwood KAC-9106D Mono Subwoofer Amplifier
Talk about power when it comes to getting some serious knocking under the trunk. Kenwood’s KAC-9106D is a mono subwoofer amplifier, designed to get serious wattage.
This amplifier is rated at a maximum of 2000 watts and a comfortable 500 watts RMS at 4 ohms and 1,000 watts RMS at 2 ohms. It includes a variable low-pass filter ranging from 50 Hz to 200 Hz at 24 dB per octave. Bass boost ranges from 0-15 dB at 40Hz (respectably).
In some cases, users have reported this AMP being able to push past 2,000-watt amps at peaks… which is very impressive nonetheless. Combine it with a bass boost control to tap into the full volume and bass level without using the dials on the amp. Price is reasonable, and what you should expect to pay for a well put together amplifier that is highly powerful.
5. Rockford Fosgate R250X1 Prime 1-Channel Subwoofer Amplifier
This guy is Rockford Fosgate’s budget-oriented subwoofer amplifier. The R250X1 is a 1-channel monoblock amp capable of pushing 150 watts amps RMP at 4 ohms, and 250 watts RMS at 2 ohms. Ideally, if you have a small to a medium-sized subwoofer, this amp would power it just fine.
The compatibility between Rockford Fosgate amps (including this one) and OEM/aftermarket head units is flawless.
There are RCA inputs, remote punch level input, high-level input, and a few other adjustable (Punch EQ, Freq Hz, Phase, and Gain).
4. Alpine PDX-V9 5-Channel Extreme Power Digital Car Speaker Amplifier
When Alpine comes up, most of the time, the first thing that comes to mind is “expensive audio equipment.” There’s no doubt they make some exceptionally high-quality audio amps, speakers, and subwoofers. As our #4 contestant for the best car audio amplifiers to get, is Alpines PDX-V9 5-channel Extreme Power Density Digital Amplifier.
For this kind of amplifier, you’d want to power your entire component speaker system and a subwoofer or two. This is a work of art designed by Alpine, from the compact shape to the internal technology. You’re paying a pretty penny for sound quality that is tough to beat from other similar amplifiers.
This one is rated for 1,600 watts MAX, 100 watts RMS for four channels + 500 watts RMS for one channel. Front panel controls allow you to get access to the amps essentials without having to access the back. Quick connect terminals work flawlessly for connecting power supply and speaker wires. Are you shopping for a top of the line amp? Seriously look into the Alpine PDX-V9.
3. JL Audio XD700/5 5-Chanel Class D Car Speaker Amplifier
Moving down to a powerhouse of an amplifier, #3 spot goes to JL Audio XD700/5 Class D Amplifier. When we saw powerhouse, we don’t mean sheer power, as much as we mean being able to handle multiple component speakers and 1 or 2 subwoofers. Here’s some specs on how much power you can run at various ohms: 75 watts RMS x 4 channels at 4 ohms, 100 watts RMS x 4 channels at 2 ohms, 200 watts RMS x 2 channels bridged (that’s for the component speakers).
If you’re thinking of running subwoofers, you can push 180 watts RMS at 4 ohms x 1 channel, 240 watts RMS at 3 ohms x 1 channel, and 300 watts RMS at 2 ohms x 1 channel (all these power output ratings apply for both 12.5 volts and 14.4 volts).
Clearer mids and highs can be heard, all coming from an amp the size of a cigar box. A plethora of adjustable buttons can be bound on the back of the amplifier, making it an audiophile’s dream amp.
2. Alpine MRX-M110 Monoblock Subwoofer Amplifier
As we get closer to the end of our list, be mindful that ANY of these amplifiers will be an excellent choice. Depending on how much you’re trying to power will determine which amp you should go with. Coming in as our #2 amplifier to get is Alpine MRX-M110 monoblock subwoofer amplifier. This is the kind of amplifier you use if you’re looking to run BIG power to your subs. Not only does it look very sleek, but it also feeds CLEAN and CRISP sound to the subwoofers (most class-d amps are known for their sound, not this one though).
With over 2000 watts max power, you’re able to get 1,100-watt amps RMS at 2 ohms, and 600-watt amps at 4 ohms RMS. It features a built-in crossover, Bass EQ controls, and Subsonic Filter.
With this kind of power, you’d want to have a reachable bass controller, and this Alpine is fully compatible with just that.
In conclusion, consider looking into this Alpine amplifier if you want BIG power to your subwoofers.
1. JL Audio JX1000/1D Class D Car Speaker Amplifier
they don’t joke around in quality and cost. This one, in particular, is the kind of amplifier that will power big subwoofers without breaking a sweat. Let us dive into the numbers: at 4 ohms, it powers 500-watt amps RMS, 3 ohms it powers 750-watt amps RMS, and at 2 ohms, it will power 1,000-watt amps RMS consistently.
This amp features a variable Bass Boost control ranging from 0 to +12 dB centered at 45 Hz.
Soft start turn-on prevents clicking and popping (commonly found in automotive amplifiers), and overall, this amp is compact (11″ long, 7.75″ wide and 2″ high). Check it out below for more specs.
To compliment your entire car audio system, you need to find a heavy-duty working battery. It should be a battery that can handle a heavy load and a battery that CAN crank over a vehicle regardless of the outside temperature.You can click here to see the car battery buyers guide.Also, be sure to use a quality aux cable/cord with your audio system.
To compliment your entire car audio system, you need to find a heavy duty working battery. A batter that can handle a heavy load, and a battery that CAN crank over a vehicle regardless of the outside temperature. You can click here to see the car battery buyers guide.
Also be sure to use a quality aux cable/cord with your audio system.
How to install an amplifier, made easy.. watch video
Best Car Amplifier Buying Guide And FAQ
When you are looking for any type of sound equipment, there are a lot of different factors that come into play like RMS power, dcb, and much more. Before you make your final decision, it is best to know what to consider when buying an amplifier and the answers to the most common questions surrounding the topic. Let’s get into it.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Car Amplifier
New audio system involves a lot of parts that need to be working perfectly together to achieve the highest quality of sound. Let’s break down the most important parts, so that you fully understand all the factors that need to be considered when you buy an amplifier.
- Power – This is an area where you make yourself familiar with peak performance and the logistics of RMS. Power is one of the three reasons behind looking for an amp in the first place. Not having enough power is a massive mistake when you buy it.
- Channels – They should influence your decision a lot. The biggest difference between channels is their audio quality, heat, and power.
- Size – You can find two kinds of amplifiers, those that fit under a seat, and those that will take half of the space in your car. Either of them is a good choice, but you can expect some changes in performance and cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
➡️ What kind of amplifier should I get?
There are six different types of amplifiers available on the market today. Each of the degrees that are used to determine those types are based on the measurements of power. Let’s find out more about them.
- Mono channel – aka the class D amplifier, produces more power than its older version, the dual channel amplifier. It utilizes multiple transistors, but it typically only has the on and off switch with not a lot of room for additional changes.
- Dual channel – is able to power two speakers at once, or handle the subwoofers without any problems. It is ideal for trucks and cars without a trunk, as you place it underneath your seat and it does its magic.
- Three channel – gives you two types of circuitry in one amp, perfect for SUVs without a lot of space in the trunk to spare and trucks.
- Four channel – you can support and pack a full speaker with a four channel amplifier. If you wish to turn your trunk into an audio area, this is the optimal choice for you.
- Five channel – it is actually a four channel system and the ability to power a subwoofer as an extra.
- Six channel – it is a pretty rare occasion to see a six channel amp on the market, as it is mostly suitable for large SUVs and Humvees for the max sound, power, and audio quality.
➡️ Is 2 or 4 OHM better in a car amp?
The amplifiers are the source of power for your music, which relies upon woofers and your speaker system. Your amplifier compresses electrical currents in its circuitry, outputting different watt numbers. Those differing watts are used to identify your OHM.
If your amp produces 100 watts of power, that comes through 4 OHM speaker, it’s going to produce 200 watts of power for a 2 OHM speaker. The higher your OHM, the better, and some models may even include up to 8 OHM. This depends on the wiring providers to your subwoofer.More OHM means more capabilities but also, in most cases, requires more wiring. Depending on how hardcore you want to go here.
➡️ Max vs RMS Power – which one to choose?
Let’s identify what each of these actually mean and what are the key differences between the two.
- Max peak – The grand total of how much wattage your speaker can handle in bursts. Your speaker is going to output various electrical levels, peaking at sharper points in your audio. Your max peak should be prepared to handle it.
- RMS power – It is a measurement that indicates how much power your amplifier can run at a time. It is used to manage your most frequent wattage use.
These are both important metrics for an amp that need to be matched. If your peak performance can’t handle music that is too high on wattage, you can actually damage your equipment.
➡️ Where do I mount my car amp?
For the most part, depending on the size of your amplifier you’re going to want to stash it and hook it up in the trunk. Some amplifiers will be better off stored beneath seats, but if you’re going to go with the trunk route, here are a few things you should know before installing your new amplifier.
1. Get an Amplifier Wiring Kit
You’ll have to pay attention to the gauging, but any wiring kit is going to be highly important to you. When you go with a proper kit, you get additional power fuses, lengthy wiring, most comprend of the standard copper clad aluminum, and many more.
2. Don’t Bolt it Down
We are all about enhancing your car, not prohibiting it, and bolting your amp to the metal chassis of your car is going to cause major issues. Vibrations will rattle the entire body, so you won’t be able to identify the issues with your vehicle. On top of that it produces an aggravating atmosphere, which is the reason you’re looking to buy a car amplifier in the first place.
3. Never Maunt Upside-Down
If you heard that doing so produces a superior sound, you may be right. However, it also traps and projects heat which can damage your amplifier, as well as overheat your trunk.