13 Best Car Amplifiers for The Money In 2019 (Product Reviews & Buying Guides)
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The best car amplifiers can give you a quick upgrade on your car’s sound system, but in truth, all audio systems need an amp to work.
Most people think that amps are only for car enthusiasts, but chances are, you already have one installed without knowing. It just isn’t working as well as it should.
The best car amp for you can take a weak audio signal and boost it so that your car speakers can translate it and produce better sound quality.
With the right car amp, you can definitely level up your music experience while driving!
So, if you are looking for an amplifier for cars, you came to the right place! In this post, we’ll review the best car amplifiers in the market right now.
So, in this article, we’ll explore:
- Discover the Best Car Amplifiers – Reviews
- Considerations & How to Pick the Best Car Amp
- What an Amplifier Can Do for Your Sound System
- Advantages of Installing Amplifiers
- Where to Mount A Car Amp
- How Much Does A Car Amplifier Cost?
- RMS Power vs. Peak Power
- Do You Need Amps for Subwoofer?
- Car Speakers and Stereo System
Want to learn more about your car’s audio system? Check out this article: Best Car Speakers
Discover the Best Car Amplifiers – Reviews
There are many good amplifier brands in the market and to search for the best amplifier for cars that suits for your vehicle takes time.
But if you want to skip all the painstaking efforts of searching through a store, just check out our car amplifier reviews below and find the one best fits your specific needs.
Then, you could go check them out at online stores like Amazon for smooth and effortless shopping.
Here are some of the best amplifier for cars in the market right now:
1. NEW Orion XTR2500.1Dz XTR Series Car Audio Amp
- RMS Watts @ 4 Ohm Stereo 12.6V: 1050 Watts...
- Nominal power output 1ohm(watts): 5000 Watts,...
- Frequency Response 20Hz~250KHz
- Signal Noise Ratio: 65dB
If you’re looking for an amplifier that is known for its top-notch quality and reliability, then the XTR3500.1Dz from Orion is the one for you.
Its ability to provide dependable power and fantastic performance make it this list’s premium pick and a definite contender for the best car amplifier in the market.
Being a Class D amp, you know that it can handle your low frequencies perfectly and is a great choice to pair with your subwoofers.
This beauty is housed in a heavy-duty heatsink made from aluminum alloy so that you’re protected from heat dissipation.
BEAST !!!!! Does get a little hot and you will need a strong electrical system I have a 320 amp alt and three batteries, so it’s getting all the juice it needs – Steve Kelsay, Amazon
It even has protection from speaker shorts, overcurrent, reverse polarity, and more.
Best of all is that you’ll even get a full manufacturer warranty.
- RMS Power Rating: 4 ohms @ 1050 watts x 1 channel
- RMS Power Rating: 2 ohms @ 1600 watts x 1 channel
- RMS Power Rating: 1 ohm @ 2500 watts x 1 channel
- Maximum Power Output: 10000 watts x 1 channel
2. Alpine MRV-F300 4-Channel Car Amplifier
- 75W RMS X 4 (2Ω , 14. 4V, ≤ 1% THD+N)
- 50W RMS X 4 (4Ω , 14. 4V, ≤ 1% THD+N)
- Same Power In A 40% Smaller Chassis
- Evolution To Class D Digital Platform
Don’t be confused. This isn’t the cheapest amplifier you can get.
But if you want a car amp that’s affordable and will give you outstanding performance, then the MRV-F300 from Alpine is the one to get!
It’s a car amplifier that can provide you with versatility that not many other amps can do. You can choose from 3 different channel modes so that you can customize your music experience to your liking.
This amp also has an innovative technology called Enhanced Shutdown Performance which helps your amp continue to play music while cooling when it’s being threatened with overheating.
You will also have excellent command over your frequencies with the high and low-pass filters present in the amp.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 50 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 75 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power in Bridged Mode: 4 ohms @ 150 watts RMS x 2 bridged output
3. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier
- 300 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohms, 500 Watts x 1 @...
- Onboard 12dB/octave LP/HP/AP crossover &...
- On-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost at 45Hz....
- Cast Aluminum Heatsink with Stealth top...
If you’re looking for amps for subwoofer to connect to, then look no further than the R500X1D from Rockford Fosgate!
This mono amp is a fantastic choice for blasting your bass.
It has a low-pass filter, and a special Punch boost that allows your speakers to produce the best bass sounds possible from your subwoofer.
It even has a phase switch that allows your subs to play alongside your other speakers for maximum impact.
Nice amp, probably one of the best bang for the buck one you can find. If you have a moderate system and like good clean bass this is it, if you into the shake the neighborhood thing this won’t be it. – Charles W., Amazon
This amplifier is encased in a durable aluminum chassis that protects its internal components from the heat for a more reliable and long-lasting play.
It also has built-in sensors that make sure that output current and power supply temperature remain safe so subwoofer impedances and short circuits won’t cause too much harm.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 300 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 500 watts RMS x 1 channel
4. Pioneer GM-D9605 GM Digital Series Class D Amp
- Class D Amp With Variable Low-pass Filter
- Compact Design
- Load Impedance Allowance - 2 to 4 ohm
- 5 Channels
If you’re looking for a powerful amp that can handle your entire sound system, then the GM-D9605 from Pioneer is the solution to your problem!
There are multiple channel modes to choose from so that you can get the music experience you want.
It also has speaker-level inputs that allow your amp to be hooked directly into your stereo system.
This amplifier also has high and low-pass filters that let you customize the sound in your car’s interior.
Not only that, but its fantastic Class D technology keeps your amp cool while on use. It even has a compact chassis that can fit in many out-of-the-way spaces in your car.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 75 watts RMS x 4 channel + 350 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 100 watts RMS x 4 channel + 600 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 4 ohms @ 200 watts RMS x 2 bridged output + 4 ohms @ 600 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Variable high-pass and low-pass filter on 4-channel section: 40500 Hz, 12dB/octave
- Variable low-pass filter on sub-channel: 40-500 Hz, 12 or 24 dB/octave
- Variable bass boost on sub-channel: 50 Hz, 0-18 dB
5. JL Audio JX1000/1D Class D
- JX Series Monoblock Amplifier 500 rms @ 4ohms...
- Unregulated PWM switching type power supply
- Variable Bass Boost (0 to +12 dB bass boost...
- Soft start turn-on prevent clicking and...
Without looking at the specifications, you could already feel an impressive quality the JX1000/1D from JL Audio has just with feeling how sturdy it is.
It is made from high-grade parts offer you amazing heat management and stable performance when you use it. That’s why it has oversized output transistors and MOSFET power supplies inside.
Very good amplifier. Great sound reproduction, accurate low pass crossover. Even the bass boost feature is great — they compromise with less boosting in order to bolster sound without being too boomy. – Dan Fruzzetti, Amazon
This is an excellent amplifier if you want to bust out the bass since it can send up to 1000 watts RMS to your subwoofer.
It even has a variable low-pass filter and bass boost to tune the amp to your subsystem.
Plus, its optional remote level lets you control your subwoofer up or down from the front seat.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 500 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 1000 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Variable low-pass filter: 50-200Hz, 12dB/octave
- Variable bass boost: 45z, 0-12 dB
6. Rockville CEA Compliant Mono
- Includes: Amplifier. Birth sheet with tested...
- Rockville dB45 800Watt/400 Watt RMS Class AB...
- RMS Power Ratings: (Use these RMS ratings...
- High-Speed MOSFET Power Supply. Under Voltage...
If you’re looking for an amplifier that can offer you versatility, this car amp from Rockville is a great choice to get!
This Class AB amplifier is a powerful amp with a 3,200 watts peak output. It has a fully adjustable bass equalizer and even features a mute and delay soft start technology.
Not only that, but this amplifier is fully protected by an IC-controlled circuit as well as a professional peak limiter that makes it possible for you to listen to your music distortion-free.
You could also feel how durable the dB45 is, and that’s because Rockville only uses high-quality parts and components for their products.
- Power: 2 ohms @ 400 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms @ 270 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms, bridged @ 800 watts RMS x 2 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 800 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms @ 540 watts x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms, bridged @ 1600 watts RMS x 2 channel
7. JL Audio XD700/5 Class D
If you want a car amplifier that is powerful enough to power an entire sound system while being so small, then you should probably get the XD700/5 from JL Audio.
This very compact amplifier offers impressive sound performance that is marked with exact fidelity to sound. That is aided by its Class D design as well as the impressive NextD™ switching amp technology.
It is protected by a cast alloy heatsink as well as an advanced cooling system that helps keep your amp in optimal temperature when in use.
This amplifier even features impressive high-pass and low-pass filters that allow you to have better control over your sound.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 75 watts RMS x 4 channel + 180 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 100 watts RMS x 4 channel + 300 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 4 ohms, bridged @ 200 watts RMS x 2 channel + 2 ohms @ 300 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Variable high- and low-pass filter: 50-500Hz, 12 dB/octave
8. MTX THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series
- Class D Topology
- Variable LPF
- Selectable Bass Boost
- Small Foot Print Design
If better sound quality and tone control are what you’re after with an amp, then the THUNDER 500.1 from MTX is the perfect match for you!
You’ll get a pretty serious bass upgrade when you hook up this amp with your subwoofer. It can produce some of the most beautiful details you’ve ever heard.
It features a low-pass filter and subsonic filter to help you get the sound you really want from your subwoofer, even inside such an enclosed space like your car.
You can even boost up your bass with the selectable bass boost if you still want a little more boom to your sound.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 300 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 500 watts RMS x 1 channel
- Variable low-pass filter: 40-220Hz, 12 dB/octave
- Variable subsonic filter: 20-50Hz, 12 dB/octave
- Selectable bass boost: 50 Hz, 0,6,12 dB
9. Hifonics ZRX3216.1D Zeus ZRX Series
Who knew something so small and unassuming like the ZRX3216.1D from Hifonics could pack a solidly powerful punch when it comes to music?
This Class D amplifier works on a mono channel operation and has a max peak output of 3200 watts, so you know you’ll be getting all the power you need.
It features an onboard electronic crossover. Plus, it’s highly durable because of its Military-grade PCB construction that allows for thermal protection, and etcetera.
This car amplifier also uses an Old School Hifonics heatsink for incredible heat protection.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 800 watts x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 1600 watts x 1 channel
- Power: 1 ohm @ 3200 watts x 1 channel
- Variable low-pass filter: 40-300 Hz, 24 dB/octave
- Variable bass boost: 45 Hz, 0-12+ dB
10. Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 4 Channel
- Rms power
- 4o: 50 watts x 4
- 2o: 75 watts x 4
- Peak power: 600 watts
You’ll be competing with a lot of other outside noise while you’re driving. That’s why it’s hard to get a pleasant music experience in a car.
However, the KAC-M3004 from Kenwood can power up your music above noise like the roads and such.
It’s even a weather-resistant all because of the conformal coating that protects its internal circuits from both water and dirt.
You can put it almost anywhere, even on your boat, motorcycle, and ATV.
This amplifier uses Class D amp technology which makes it great for low frequencies and subwoofers.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 50 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 75 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms, bridged @ 150 watts RMS x 2 channel
- Variable high- and low-pass filter: 50-200 Hz, 12 dB/octave
11. Blaupunkt 4-Channel, Full-Range
- 1500W Maximum Power Full-Range Amplifier
- Optimized 150-watt RMS output and a max power...
- This slim amplifier fits perfectly into any...
If you’re looking for an amplifier that comes from a respected brand, then this amplifier from Blaupunkt is a good choice. After all, this brand has over 90 years of experience already.
You’re sure to get quality performance with this highly powerful monoblock amp. With its optimized output, you can get a massive boost in power so that you can blast your music without any problems.
Plus, this amplifier is designed to be slim so that it can fit into trunks and most tight spaces.
- Power: 4 ohms @ 150 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 300 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Output Power: 1500 watts x 4 channel
12. Ignite Audio Mono Block Class D
- Mono Block Class D 4000 Watts (Peak Power)...
- RMS Power Handling @ 1 Ohm: 750 Watts x 1/...
- Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 1%/...
- Low Level Input Sensitivity: 0.2-6V/...
If you want to focus on how great your subwoofer can be, you might want to look into this amplifier from Ignite.
This amp offers fantastic low-frequency processing, and are known for being a great match with subwoofers.
You also have multiple power options so that you can customize how you want to use your speakers and amps.
Not only that, but the glossy black design can easily pair with any design theme you want for your car.
- Power: 1 ohm @ 750 watts x 1 channel
- Power: 2 ohms @ 530 watts x 1 channel
- Power: 4 ohms @ 300 watts x 1 channel
13. Infinity REF-704A Series 4-Channel
- Watts NONE
- Waterproof Rating NONE
- Channels - Available NONE
- Bridgeable NONE
If you want a powerful yet beautiful amplifier, then the REF-704A from Infinity is an excellent option you might want to look into.
Not only does its design look amazing, but this powerhouse can also play your music loud and clear.
It even has an ADAS warning system so you can assign a channel to broadcast system alert messages.
This amp also has speaker-level inputs that help this amp work with almost any type of audio system so you can choose to retain your factory’s speakers.
You can even make use of high-pass and low-pass filters on both front and rear channels for maximum performance.
- Power: 2 ohms @ 100 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms @ 70 watts RMS x 4 channel
- Power: 4 ohms, bridged @ 200 watts RMS x 2 channel
Considerations & How to Pick the Best Car Amp
Aside from the key features and advantages that you can get from an amp for speakers, there are other factors you need to keep in mind before purchasing.
It’s best to be knowledgeable in an amp’s specifications, so you’re sure that you get the best amplifier for your car. By learning these features, you won’t be wasting money and effort during your shopping.
Here are a few factors to check out:
If you’re not a sound aficionado nor a car enthusiast, the channel component of an amplifier might be something you’re not versed in.
In essence, there are six different types of car amplifiers you can get depending on their number of channels. Each type can simple differentiated through their different measurements of power.
While most amplifiers perform the same way, they can operate on differing principles. That’s why one type of amplifier channel might be better suited for you than another kind.
Learn to differentiate all six channel types below:
Mono Channel Amps
Mono channel amps can also be called Class D amplifiers. They are mostly used when you’re installing subwoofers, and have a fantastic built-in bass boost.
They are also created to process lower frequencies better which is why it’s a great amplifier for a subwoofer.
Mono channel amps also primarily use multiple transistors, either you get a lot of sounds or none at all.
However, mono channel amps are also more susceptible to distortions even with a filter present.
2 Channel Amps
Two channel amps can also be called Dual Channel amplifiers. They can handle two speakers and can create a more dynamic quality of sound much like a surround sound output.
They can also handle subwoofers easily. Dual channel amps are mostly used for full-range and component speaker systems.
They are great for trucks or vans that don’t have space since you can put them under the seat.
You can also use a dual channel amp to power a single speaker at maximum output.
3 Channel Amps
With three channel amps, you get two types of circuitry in one amplifier. This makes it a great choice if you have two full-range speakers and a subwoofer.
That’s because this type of amplifier is excellent at handling low-frequency response, and you can allow a single channel just for the subwoofer.
4 Channel Amps
Starting at a four channels amplifier, you’re getting into the more sophisticated types. Usually, four channels and above are called multiple channel amplifiers.
The best 4 channel car amplifiers can help you create a full audio arena from your speaker system. The speaker setup can be customized for a more dynamic sound experience.
5 Channel Amps
Like how a 3 channel amp works, the five-channel amp is a 4 channel amplifier with a single channel designated for subwoofers.
While the best 5 channel car amplifier can provide you with more opportunities for a better and more sophisticated setup, odd-numbered systems are notoriously hard to use.
So, make sure that you can commit to these kinds of systems before you purchase anything.
6 Channel Amps
Six channel amplifiers are rare because not many people have a use for them.
However, they are great for larger vehicles like SUVs and Humvees because they provide higher power and sound quality.
- Class of Amplifier
Amplifiers for your car can also be grouped depending on their class type. However, it’s much easier to know them by the channel type.
Nevertheless, a bit of familiarization with class types can be beneficial for you.
Here are 4 class types you might encounter:
- Class A – always on, produces clean output, low distortion
- Class AB – hybrid of Classes A and B, improves efficiency, combines benefits from both classes
- Class B – can be switched on and off, enhances efficiency, great for car audio use
- Class D – extremely efficient, great for low frequencies, great for subwoofers
Just like with car speakers, knowing the power limits of an amplifier can help maximize its use in your sound system.
You have to make sure that it matches your speakers. For example, pairing a low-powered speaker with 1000 watts up will either produce low-quality sound or blow them both up.
That’s why it’s important to take note of these features below:
Speaker Power Rating
This pertains to the range of power that a speaker can receive. You don’t necessarily have to match the amplifier to speakers at precisely 100%.
So as long as your amplifier can provide your speakers with 75% of its maximum power or at most 150%, you’ll be good to go.
Impedance can also be called ohm rating. Most car speakers will indicate a minimum ohm limit so you can easily find a matching amplifier.
Do not attempt to plug a speaker with lower impedance to an amplifier that has a higher one.
Usually, you can measure sensitivity through decibels. Not a lot of people know this, but wattage and sensitivity have a logarithmic relationship.
That means when you increase power, it would also raise the sensitivity by a particular measurement. This is a big deal if you love blasting your speakers to the highest volume.
Installing car amplifiers can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time. While it is possible to do, you will have to undergo extensive research and be open to probable mistakes.
It is still highly recommended to have your amplifiers installed by professionals instead.
Sure, you’ll be paying for labor, but it requires less effort, and there are fewer chances of screwing up too.
Want to see how an amplifier being installed? Watch this video:
It doesn’t matter if you get an amp made from the highest quality of materials or if it can provide you with the highest maximum of power if it doesn’t fit your car.
Make sure to take the dimensions of both your car and the amp before buying. Remember that amp size isn’t proportional to power.
Some small amps can give you higher power than their larger counterparts.
The good news is that car amplifiers aren’t as expensive as other car audio accessories. Sure, some of them would be expensive while others will be questionably cheap.
But in general, they aren’t too costly. You can get an excellent amplifier from about $100 and above. So set a realistic budget and stick with it.
Make sure that you buy only from authorized dealers and resellers, and pay the extra bucks for a good warranty.
This will come in handy in the unlikely chance that you will need services for part replacements and even repair.
Sure, warranties add to the expense, but they could help protect you from other additional charges if you need added services.
What an Amplifier Can Do for Your Sound System
When it comes to your sound system, the two most important parts are the amp for speakers and the car speakers themselves.
While the speakers are the ones that produce the actual sound you hear, the amplifier directly affects the quality of music they can deliver.
Think of the car amplifier as your stereo system’s engine. So, it’s not hard to understand why getting an amp is critical since it’s the primary power source.
A cheap amp for your car may destroy your speakers if they’re not made from good quality and do not match.
But an amp that matches the requirements of your car speakers, then you’d be treated to the best kind of audio experience you can produce!
Advantages of Installing Amplifiers
The best car amp highly depends on your needs so it will not be the same for each person. However, there are some general advantages that everyone can experience when they buy an amp.
Here are some of the few key benefits you get with an amplifier:
- Louder Volume
When you are inside your car, you are assaulted with a myriad of sounds (whether you notice it or not).
You can hear the traffic outside, miscellaneous din, and even the car’s air conditioning and engine.
An amplifier can help you understand the music you’re playing better because of the increased volume it presents.
The amplifier greatly magnifies the overall volume so you can easily choose whether to go low or go high.
- Better Audio Quality
It’s understandable that most people are content with listening to plain music. But a car amplifier actually allows you to hear details that would otherwise be unheard.
It also helps reduce disturbances and distortions, allowing your system to produce more precise and higher quality sounds.
When you buy a multi-channel amplifier, you also increase your stereo’s adaptability. When you want to upgrade your system again, it will be easier.
That’s because the multi-channel can be updated and can have added benefits.
Your car’s sound system also becomes more efficient when used with a high-quality amp since it can improve your audio range and can maximize the power available.
Where to Mount A Car Amp
So you just got the best amplifier, car audio will be a blast from now on! Right?
Well, first you need to know where actually to place your amp before that happens.
Usually, a car stereo amp can be stashed and hooked up in your trunk. However, some amplifiers work better when stored beneath the seats.
If you’re the one who will be mounting your amp, here are a few tips you might want to follow:
- Amplifier Wiring Kit is a Must. You will need a well-rounded kit to truly help you with the wiring involved. It must have a few additional power fuses, long wiring, and such.
- Don’t Bolt It Down. Bolting down your amp will cause vibrations.
- Don’t Mount Upside Down. Mounting upside-down can trap heat and fry your circuits.
How Much Does A Car Amplifier Cost?
In all honesty, there are cheap amp brands out there. However, the efficiency of those would be harder to verify especially if they come from a lesser-known brand.
Also, good amps for subwoofer use or full-range component systems will rarely be inexpensive. But you know that they can provide you with excellent quality.
The best car amps can range from a few hundred bucks to over a thousand dollars for a premium pick. So, you really have a wide variety to choose from.
You could actually get good amplifiers for just $30! However, prices really depend on different factors like wattage, channels, and even compatibility.
The best car amplifier for your car can come from a lower-end, mid-range, or high-end series depending on the features that you will need.
So, a tip is to be sure of the key features you want and set a realistic budget to go from there.
RMS Power vs. Peak Power
These two terms are relevant when you’re looking at amp for speakers (and even for car speakers themselves).
It’s a good idea to fully understand what they mean so that you can buy the best car amplifier for you.
RMS Power is the continuous, steady power that your amp can provide given a certain period. It is what manages your more frequent wattage use.
Peak Power, also called max peak, is the total wattage your speaker can handle in bursts.
Since your speaker outputs several different electrical levels at different times, you have to make sure that your max peak can handle each sharp point in your audio.
Want to learn how to know if your amp and speakers are compatible? Watch this video:
Do You Need Amps for Subwoofer?
If you are looking to add a subwoofer to boost up the overall sound quality in your car, then choosing the best car subwoofer is only half of the equation.
The other half is to find a powerful matching amplifier to power up the subwoofer so that both can work together and provide you with the ultimate music experience.
Since low frequencies have such long wavelengths, car subwoofers have to move a lot of air.
So, if you try to connect your subwoofer directly to your car stereo, you will realize that the sound quality is sub-par at best.
Without a matching amp, your car subwoofer will refuse to work correctly.
Now, to look for the right car amplifier that suits your speaker and subwoofer can be intimidating. There is a lot of technicalities involved.
But this video will be helpful:
And, if you are looking for the best amp for subwoofer, check our list above. We’re sure you can find one that suits your needs.
Car Speakers and Stereo System
While the best car amplifiers can work wonders on your sound system upgrade, a car amplifier for your car isn’t the only equipment you need to look into.
Good amp brands can only take you so far. Aside from the best car amp, you will also need the help of fantastic, high-quality car speakers and stereo system.
And there are so many types to choose from! From types like marine-grade to sizes, knowing what speakers to get is vital for the best possible audio experience.
Here are a few articles you might want to check out: