Car amplifiers are an essential part of your sound system, and buying the wrong one can easily rack you up huge expenses once you have to replace some audio components. As such, it’s important that you buy the best car amplifier for your vehicle, whether it’s just to power your subwoofers or your entire stereo system and component speakers.
Here is a review and buying guide to help you find the best options from some of the most popular brands such as Rockville, BOSS Audio, Rockford, and others. These are excellent amplifiers with one or more channels for your subwoofers and component speakers.
Let’s get started!
- 10 Best Car Amplifiers
- 1. Rockville dB454 Channel Amplifier
- 2. BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Monoblock Car Amplifier
- 3. BOSS Audio Systems AR1500M Car Amplifier
- 4. BOSS Audio Systems PT3000 2 Channel Car Amplifier
- 5. BOSS Audio Systems R1004 4 Channel Car Amplifier
- 6. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel
- 7. Rockford Fosgate R300X4 Prime 4-Channel Amplifier
- 8. Rockford Fosgate R150X2 Prime 2-Channel Amplifier
- 9. Pioneer GM-D8701 1600W Max 1-Channel
- 10. Ignite Audio 2 Channel Class A/B Car Amplifier
- The best car amplifier buying guide
- Other factors to consider when buying the best car amplifiers
- Final Thoughts
10 Best Car Amplifiers
Check out these ten best car amplifiers in 2020 that will give you the most bang for your buck:
The best of the best for us is the Rockville dB454 channel amplifier, which is a raucous and robustly built amplifier that offers superior power of 3,200 watts or 800 RMS watts. It’s one of the many options from the brand’s dB series, all of which are impressive with their high quality components and excellent builds.
It’s an affordable unit that comes with four channels and offers a low impedance, high output solution to power your vehicle’s bass speakers. It also features a fully adjustable crossover, great subsonic filter, and differential circuitry that allows you to adjust the bass to your taste.
Moreover, there’s a built-in delay soft start technology that minimizes driver damage by preventing the system from turning on at full volume. It’s even protected by professional grade peak limiters and controlled peak circuitry to make for superior quality, distortion-free playback.
- High-speed power supply
- Adjustable bass equalization
- Full IC controlled protection
- Affordable high-output option
- Heats up fast
We also have four different selections from BOSS Audio, starting with the R1100M monoblock car amplifier, a fabulous unit that’s well made and comes at an affordable price, which makes it unsurprising that this is a fan favorite and absolute best seller in the car amplifier department.
This class A/B amplifier boasts of top quality linear circuitry that can effectively cope with high power outputs. It can even rack up an impressive power level of 1,100 watts at only 2 ohms in order to give you an 825 watt RMS. It even comes with a bass boost function that gives you an extra 18 decibels through a simple switch.
The product also features low and high-level inputs that help you achieve optimal performance, thus there is a variable low-pass filter that puts you in control of anything that passes through the car’s subwoofer. Speaking of, there is also a wired-in remote that allows you to conveniently control the woofer levels.
- Automatic shut-off feature
- Heat and electric fault detection
- Bass boost function
- Low and high input options
- Customizable crossover
- Poor customer service
- Not the most durable option
The second option from the BOSS Audio Systems lineup is this high powered AR1500M car amplifier from their Armor Series. It’s a slimline but robust and edgy looking unit that features the same high-end class A/B linear circuitry as the first one, so you can enjoy distortion-free high outputs.
It’s got a bit of beastly bass that puts you in control thanks to its low pass filter control that’s fully variable, along with the Bass Boost switching capabilities, not to mention the remote sub control. There’s also the MOSFET power supply that easily switches between non-conduction and full while capably dishing out 1,125 watts of peak RMS power.
Moreover, you also get to enjoy switchable inputs with sensitive controls that allow for direct adjustments right from the head unit so you can have the best time with an optimal customized balance. Top it all off with the safety features and it’s one hell of a car amplifier.
- Bass EQ with switchable bass boost
- Automatic shut off and short protection
- High power output for a mono amplifier
- Affordable, value for money option
- Prone to overheating
- Wears out fast
Next is the BOSS Audio Systems PT3000 2-channel car amplifier, which boasts of top-notch specs at an entry-level price. This premium quality, class A/B car amplifier even comes with eye-catching aesthetics so you can match your ride with your personal style.
This unit features a top-of-the-line MOSFET power supply that excellently delivers 3,000 watts of maximum power at 2 ohms, along with 1,125 watts of peak RMS power. It also lets you adjust low-end crossovers with the use of a variable circuitry crossover network.
More than that, you get to shape your ideal bass equalization thanks to the Bass Boost switch. There’s even multiple layers of on-board protection against overheating, overloading, and short circuiting. All in all, it’s a classic and refined car amplifier that packs a punch with all it’s capabilities, so it’s price is more than worth it.
- Class A/B with variable crossover
- Impressive 3,000W max power
- Built-in safety features
- Versatile 2-channel option
- Performance suffers at high volume
The last BOSS Audio amplifier on this list is the R1004 4-channel car amplifier, which is a surprisingly low priced unit considering its astounding capabilities, top of the line build, and superior quality multi-channel design, not to mention the luxurious class A/B circuitry.
There’s just so many things we like about this model. For one thing, it’s four channels easily accommodate low and high level inputs alike, while also providing 200 to 400 watts of power at 2 to 4 ohms. It also features switchable input sensitivity that lets you adjust input signals through the head unit.
This means you get to enjoy a better balance of sound quality and power levels, which then translates to a better overall performance. To top it all off, it also comes with the important MOSFET power supply and other built-in functions like the efficient, distortion-free linear circuitry, and the automatic shut off.
- 2 and 4 channel options
- Maximum output of 400 watts
- Reliable short protection
- Great value for money
- Audio sometimes comes out distorted
- No variable low pass filter
Moving on to other brands, another excellent choice for car amplifiers by Rockford, such as the Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-channel amplifier. Now, it’s a little more expensive than other options, but its quality and performance will certainly convince you to buy.
The Fosgate is a premium 500-watt mono amplifier that proudly features a MOSFET power supply along with advanced under and over current protection. It boasts of a heat sink made of cast aluminum, as well as a real-time, highly responsive power supply thermal sensor that effectively prevents overheating.
To add to that, there is also an easy-access Punch EQ control onboard that lets you enjoy a full range of adjustments and versatile utility. not to mention there is also RCA pass-through outputs along with high-level inputs for a complete package.
- High-quality 1-channel option
- Better than other mono models
- Expertly made with a durable design
- Multiple safety and protective features
- Poor quality control
Another one by Rockford is the Rockford Fosgate R300X4 prime 4-channel amplifier, which lets you enjoy so much then what a simple mono option can give you in terms of performance and versatility. it’s a fantastic choice that’s a little heavy on the pockets but is more than worth it in terms of quality.
You know you can really rely on this model just from the brand’s expertise in engineering and constructing audio electronics. For one thing, it comes with a class A/B circuit topography and even offers the advantage of a heat sink made with incorporated cast aluminum to make for smooth operations.
What you’re paying for here is a versatile amplifier that is capable of running your entire sound system. You got plenty of options whether you want two bridged channels at 4 ohms and 150 watts, four separate channels at 4 ohms and 50 watts or at 2 ohms and 75 watts.
- Can power a complete speaker and subwoofer setup
- Ideal workhorse car amplifier
- Class A/B circuitry with versatile crossover
- RCA and high level inputs, top mount controls
- Not as long lasting as other options
There’s also the Rockford Fosgate R150X2 Prime 2-channel car amplifier, which is a highly affordable option that gives you a pretty decent power output, two channel versatility, and lots of on-board protection features.
What we like about it is that it accepts both RCA and high level outputs, while providing 50 to 75 watts at 2 to 4 ohms to each channel. Alternatively, you can also enjoy a single 150 watt channel at 4 ohms by bridging together the two channels.
Furthermore, this unit is designed with a variable crossover that lets you tailor the bass in the mix into whatever suits your preferences. It also benefits from the brand’s signature cast aluminum heat sinks, top mounted controls, and short protection technology.
- Low output with versatile input options
- Low pass crossover is variable
- Suitable for full range and component speakers
- Highly affordable, value for money option
- Poor product packaging and handling
(not available in amazon at the moment)
You might also want to consider the Pioneer GM-D8701 Max 1-channel amplifier, which is a small, compact, and low powered option that’s really affordable while still letting you enjoy superb specs, features, and performance.
This specific model comes as a single channel, 1,6000 watt unit, but you can also get other variants with two channels, 400 watt power, and bridgeable amps, depending on your personal preferences and sound system needs.
Regardless, you get to enjoy excellent RCA inputs with RCA compatible outputs, a decent level of maximum continuous power from a single circuit, a good range of frequency response and signal to noise ratio, and an overall cost-effective solution to your audio demands.
- Excellent overall audio quality
- Little to no background noise
- Good value for money
- Poor quality control
- Wears out fast
Finally, we also have the Ignite Audio 2-channel Class A/B car amplifier, which is a great choice for a competitively priced amplifier with a premium class A/B circuitry. It might be at the lower end of the category in terms of price, but it definitely has much to offer.
For example, it’s really versatile as it gives you the option of using it as a two channel amplifier at low outputs of 60 watts or higher outputs of 90 watts at 2 ohms. You can even turn it into a single channel amplifier by bridging the two channels to give you 180 watts of peak RMS power.
We also really love how excellent the circuitry’s quality is. This unit even comes with a heat sensory device that is ultra sensitive and reliable in detecting and preventing any overheating and electrical failure issue.
- Class A/B circuitry with 2 channels
- All-weather cables
- Has a bag included
- Temperature Resistant cables
- Copper Coated Aluminum
- Cheap parts
The best car amplifier buying guide
When buying a car amplifier, there are several important factors that you need to consider so you can find the best possible amplifier for your vehicle. We have listed all of these factors below to guide you in your buying decision.
Type of amplifier
Currently, there are six types of car amplifiers on the market, measured in varying degrees based on their power measurements.
- Mono channel or class D amplifiers are high power amplifiers that make use of multiple transistors that come with one on and off switch. These are great options if you want power and simplicity but we don’t come with plenty of room for adjustments.
- Dual channel amplifiers are great for handling subwoofers without, as well as empowering to speakers at the same time, making them great for trunkless cars and trucks since you can simply put them under the seat.
- Three channel amplifiers are better suited for compact SUVs and trucks. These car amplifiers offer two different types of circuitry within one single amp.
- Four channel amplifiers are ideal for supporting a complete sound system so you can transform your trunk into a sleek audio area.
- Five channel amplifiers are actually four channel systems that come with the added ability to run a subwoofer.
- Six channel amplifiers are rare and expensive options that deliver maximum power, sound, and audio quality. These are mostly seen in large Humvees and SUVs.
2 vs 4 ohm
The car amplifier is what delivers a power supply for your music which then relies on your speaker system and woofers by compressing electrical currents within its circuitry along without putting various what numbers. These differing watts are what’s used to identify the ohms.
To give you an idea, an amp producing 100 watts of power coming through a 4 ohm speaker gives you 200 watts of power, all for a two ohm speaker. Generally, the higher the ohm, the better the overall power performance is.
That said, it really does depend on the subwoofer’s wiring providers. While more ohm translates to more capabilities, it also means more wiring requirements.
Max vs RMS power
Max peak refers to the grand total of the wattage that the speaker is able to handle in bursts. The amplifier’s max peak should be able to handle various outputs of electrical levels with different peaks depending on the audio’s sharper points.
Meanwhile, the RMS power is actually a measurement that tells you how much power the amplifier is able to run at any given time. This is used to handle the amplifier’s most frequent wattage usage.
Both the max peak and RMS power are important metrics for an amplifier. If your music is too high in terms of wattage and the amplifier’s peak performance is not able to handle it, the equipment may end up getting damaged.
Other factors to consider when buying the best car amplifiers
There are several other factors that you need to consider before buying a car amplifier, since audio systems involve many different parts that have to perfectly work together if you want to be able to achieve the highest quality possible.
For instance, the amplifier should have enough power to deliver peak performance and make for superior RMS logistics. You should also get an amplifier with the right amount of channels that you need to give you the right level of power, heat and audio quality that you want.
Plus, you will also have to consider the size of the car amplifier especially if you are pressed in terms of space inside your vehicle. Some amplifiers can slide right under your seat, while some take up plenty of trunk space, and you need to decide which type you want depending on the performance that you desire.
Carr amplifiers are pretty easy to install and hook up, especially the ones that are designed to fit under the car seat. But if you want to go with an amplifier that is meant to be stashed inside the trunk, here are a few things you can do to make mounting as easy and efficient as possible:
- Buy an amplifier wiring kit to give you additional power fuses along with lengthy wiring and other benefits. Just make sure to pay attention to the kit’s gauging.
- As much as possible, try to avoid bolting down your car amplifier to the car’s metal chassis in order to avoid any issue especially when it comes to enhancing your car. This will also prevent creating an aggravating atmosphere that you definitely won’t want.
- Moreover, don’t subscribe to the idea that mounting a car amplifier upside down will produce superior sound quality, as this will only result in damage in the amplifier, not to mention overheating your trunk.
The best car amplifier doesn’t need to be expensive- as a matter of fact, many of the cheaper alternatives will give you the same quality and performance as some high-end models. There are even plenty of amplifiers that cost around only a hundred dollars, which are great if you’re not really looking for a particularly grandiose setup.
You just have to consider your travel requirements and make solid plans on what you want to get from your car amplifier in terms of dynamics, definition, and audio clarity. That said, it’s always a good idea to opt for an amplifier that comes with a variable low-pass filter so you can enjoy better control and performance from the amplifier and your car speakers.
Our best recommendation for you is the Rockville dB454 Channel Amplifier, which is equal parts impressive, reliable, well performing, and affordable- everything you could ever ask for in a car amplifier.