It’s time to upgrade your car’s audio system, and whether that means installing coaxials and subs or simply enhancing your factory car speakers, it all starts with the best car amplifier. Finding the right amplifier for your setup isn’t always easy, though. There are plenty of options on the market but only the best car amplifiers offer the power and longevity your sound system deserves.
Keep reading for our quick guide on choosing the best car amplifier for your ride, as well as our top 10 picks. With options for every budget and configuration, we’ve got you covered with the most popular and dependable car amplifiers available today.
Best Car Amplifier Top 10 Comparison Guide
Look For These Key Features
- Channels. How many and what kind of speakers you want to amplify will dictate how many channels you need. Monoblocks are dedicated sub woofer amps, for example. Use a 2 channel amplifier to power either front or rear speakers. Door speakers or full front and rear amplification comes from 4 channel amps, and if you want an additional sub go for 5 channels. Whereas you’d have to bridge two channels to power a sub off a 4 channel amp, 5 channel amps have a special channel for sub woofers with extra wattage.
- RMS Watts. Your car speakers are rated for a certain amount of RMS watts and it’s crucial that the best car amplifier you choose is between 75-150% of that amount. For example, if your speakers run at 50W at 2 ohms, choose an amp with no more than 75W at 2 ohms. Always look for the RMS watt value, and not Peak or Max watts.
- Size. Always measure twice and buy once when purchasing aftermarket audio equipment for your vehicle. The same goes for your amplifier. And, while the best car amplifier models are all compact, some are smaller than others. There are especially small car amplifiers that are perfect for motorcycles speakers systems, compared to larger amps that better fit in a truck or SUV.
Reviews of the Top Rated Amplifiers for Cars
Getting the right monoblock to power your sub woofer is important and ensures the longevity of both pieces of equipment. More importantly, a quality monoblock will add dimension and frequency control to your bass for a more immersive listening experience. For anyone running their car speakers at under 100W per channel, the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is the only amplifier you need for the most animated bass.
With the R500X1D your sub(s) are treated to up to 500W at 2 ohms. Independent tests have even clocked that number closer to 600W. Where other brands fluff their numbers, Rockford Fosgate amps are more powerful than listed. Even with all that power, this Class D energy efficient amplifier won’t overheat thanks to a cast aluminum heatsink. In case things do heat up, this car amplifier model features over current and short circuit protection.
The R500X1D includes plenty of features to boost your sound, too. This includes Rockford Fosgate’s Punch EQ that allows you to give an exclusive bass boost at 45Hz. Full range crossover coupled with an infrasonic filter means you’ll only ever hear the richest, purest frequencies. And, if you really want control over your sound, this amp even comes with a wired remote. All this and more at a reasonable price, why look anywhere else for the best car amplifier?
The 4 channel amp market is more crowded than the others for good reason. The versatility of 4 channel car amplifiers make them the perfect choice for beginners and enthusiasts alike. For mid-sized vehicles and those who don’t want earth shattering volume, the Alpine MRV-F300 is the perfect choice.
Small enough to fit in any nook or cranny, this 300W 4 channel amplifier measures just 13×9.1×4.3 inches and weighs under 5lbs. It’s an energy efficient Class D model, meaning you don’t have to worry about it overheating from regular use. This gives you even more installation options, and is great news considering you can use this amp for so many different configurations. No matter which speakers you use with the MRV-F300, audio is guaranteed clean at less than 1% THD+N.
You may be tempted to bridge this amp for a 2.1 system but it’s not recommended. This is a great ca amplifier for a 2 or 4 speaker setup that requires equal wattage to each channel. That said, with its impressive frequency response and variable LPF and HPF crossover, this is the best car amplifier for most users’ needs.
If the Alpine’s measly 300 watts would barely power your tweeters, the Hifonics ZRX2016.4 Zeus was made for you. Featuring a remarkable 2000W, the ZRX2016.4 Zeus is the powerhouse 4 channel amplifier that high demand speaker systems crave. Run 500W to 4 channels at 2 ohms or 250W at 4 ohms. This highly rated car amplifier is also bridgeable, so you could easily run two subs from the 2 resulting 1000W at 4 ohm channels.
The configuration options are endless, especially because this car amplifier supports a broad 10Hz-45KHz frequency response. The ZRX2016.4 Zeus also utilizes variable LPF and HPF for ultimate control over component systems. No matter how you use it, this amplifier keeps your sound true with under .5%THD at 2 ohms.
Great car amps don’t just make your music loud, they also enhance its quality and let your speakers perform to their true potential. This is the best car amplifier for you if audio clarity is just as important as volume.
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