Top 5 Best Car Amplifiers for the money

Adding an amplifier to a car audio system is not only about producing louder volumes, though it will certainly do that. Amplification of audio signals increases their dynamic range and will bring out musical details that cannot be heard without it. The best car amplifier will produce deep bass and crystal-clear highs, even at louder volumes.

The Best Car Amplifiers Comparison Table

Preview
Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
BOSS Audio Systems R2000M Monoblock Car Amplifier - 2000 Watt Amp, 2/4 Ohm Stable, Class A/B, Mosfet Power Supply, Great for Car Subwoofers
Planet Audio AC2600.2 Anarchy Series Car Audio Amplifier - 2600 High Output, 2 Channel, Class A/B, High/Low Level Inputs, High/Low Pass Crossover, Full Range, Hook Up To Stereo and Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 600W 4-Channel Car/Marine/Powersports Digital Amplifier
Title
Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
BOSS Audio Systems R2000M Monoblock Car Amplifier - 2000 Watt Amp, 2/4 Ohm Stable, Class A/B, Mosfet Power Supply, Great for Car Subwoofers
Planet Audio AC2600.2 Anarchy Series Car Audio Amplifier - 2600 High Output, 2 Channel, Class A/B, High/Low Level Inputs, High/Low Pass Crossover, Full Range, Hook Up To Stereo and Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 600W 4-Channel Car/Marine/Powersports Digital Amplifier
Prime
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Customer Rating
Price
$325.00
$109.96
$125.18
$459.99
$175.00
Preview
Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
Title
Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
Prime
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Customer Rating
Price
$325.00
Details
Preview
BOSS Audio Systems R2000M Monoblock Car Amplifier - 2000 Watt Amp, 2/4 Ohm Stable, Class A/B, Mosfet Power Supply, Great for Car Subwoofers
Title
BOSS Audio Systems R2000M Monoblock Car Amplifier - 2000 Watt Amp, 2/4 Ohm Stable, Class A/B, Mosfet Power Supply, Great for Car Subwoofers
Prime
-
Customer Rating
Price
$109.96
Details
Preview
Planet Audio AC2600.2 Anarchy Series Car Audio Amplifier - 2600 High Output, 2 Channel, Class A/B, High/Low Level Inputs, High/Low Pass Crossover, Full Range, Hook Up To Stereo and Subwoofer
Title
Planet Audio AC2600.2 Anarchy Series Car Audio Amplifier - 2600 High Output, 2 Channel, Class A/B, High/Low Level Inputs, High/Low Pass Crossover, Full Range, Hook Up To Stereo and Subwoofer
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$125.18
Details
Preview
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
Title
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$459.99
Details
Preview
Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 600W 4-Channel Car/Marine/Powersports Digital Amplifier
Title
Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 600W 4-Channel Car/Marine/Powersports Digital Amplifier
Prime
Customer Rating
Price
$175.00
Details

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 5 Best Car Amplifiers

1. Rockford Fosgate – Prime – 1-Channel Amp

Best Car Subwoofer Amp – Mono Block

This Class-D monoblock amp comes from one of the best car amplifier brands, and it provides some serious punch.

An infrasonic filter scrubs low-frequency sounds beyond hearing range, saving speakers from damage. A Butterworth crossover cleans up the sound, helping it deliver some of the clearest bass of any entry-level amp.

This amp is 85-percent efficient at 2- and 4-ohm capacities, with an average draw of only 55 amps. It has an RCA passthrough to allow easy connection of a second, 4-channel amplifier to push your remaining speakers.

Most importantly, this amp delivers RMS power of up to 1200 watts, depending on speaker impedance.

Pros:

  • Possibly the best car subwoofer amp – mono channel
  • Aluminum heat sink
  • Short circuit protection
  • 12db/octave crossover by Butterworth
  • Infrasonic filter to weed out bass too low to hear
  • Heavy duty, 4-gauge connectors for ground and power

Cons:

  • May be entry-level, but you pay for all that power
  • May overpower ambitiously rated speakers
  • Tendency to clip at 1-ohm impedance and high volume

Rockford Fosgate has been a respected name in car audio since the 1980s. The Prime is its entry-level line, but that is relative for such a trusted brand. This amp is a beast, pure and simple.

Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
  • Mono channel amplifier
  • The RMS rating on this amplifier 400 watts x 1 @ 4 ohm, 800 watts x 1 @ 2 ohms and 1200 watts x 1 @ 1 ohm
  • Class D amplifier
  • Color: black
  • Number of items: 1.0.Package Weight: 3.357 kilograms.Package Dimensions: 10.922 L x 35.052 H x 23.368 W (centimeters).Class D Amplifier.Mono-channel Amplifier.The RMS rating on this amp 400 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm, 800 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm and 1200 Watts x 1 @ 1-Ohm

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Boss Audio – Riot Series

Best Car Amplifier for the Money

Producing impressive power for a fraction of its competitors’ prices, Boss Audio’s Riot.

Stable at 2-ohm impedance, these amps put out enough power for most smaller subwoofers. They can be connected to factory or aftermarket receivers, and they offer control over bass reproduction via bass shaping and level controls.

Unfortunately, Boss does amp up the hype on power production. Claims of up to 3400 watts (depending on model) are exaggerated, but actual RMS numbers are respectable – if difficult to ascertain.

At 2-ohm stability, giving 1-ohm peak values is misleading. The 2000-watt model delivers closer to 750 watts RMS at 4 ohms, which is still respectable.

Pros:

  • Variable pass-through filter gives control over output frequencies
  • High-level inputs allows easy hookup to factory receivers
  • Wired remote control of subwoofer levels
  • Automatic shut-off in case of short circuit
  • Affordable power for adding a subwoofer
  • A/B circuitry means it’s not just for bass

Cons:

  • Claimed power rating is a joke
  • Develops heat issues and clipping at lower impedance
  • Class A/B circuitry more suitable for multichannel amps

Boss Audio is a well-known player in the affordable car audio market. Like others in this niche, it takes its marketing to extremes. Still, it makes quality products. Just take its claims with a pinch of salt.

Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
  • Mono channel amplifier
  • The RMS rating on this amplifier 400 watts x 1 @ 4 ohm, 800 watts x 1 @ 2 ohms and 1200 watts x 1 @ 1 ohm
  • Class D amplifier
  • Color: black
  • Number of items: 1.0.Package Weight: 3.357 kilograms.Package Dimensions: 10.922 L x 35.052 H x 23.368 W (centimeters).Class D Amplifier.Mono-channel Amplifier.The RMS rating on this amp 400 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm, 800 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm and 1200 Watts x 1 @ 1-Ohm

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Planet Audio – Anarchy AC2600.2

Best Car Amplifier for Subwoofer – Mono or Bridged Two-Channel

Another in the queue of affordable amplifiers, Planet Audio’s Anarchy series are all two-channel, bridgeable amps.

They have variable input controls to allow connection either directly to a car stereo or piggybacked onto the factory speaker wires.

Class A/B circuitry is spot on for the purpose, and there is onboard bass-boost and a subwoofer remote for when the outputs are bridged to mono.Now for the reality check.

These amps provide a lot of bang for the buck, but even the claimed RMS numbers should realistically be halved.

From a dyno test of a Planet Audio amp, the tester points out, the actual output is impressive for the price.

Just don’t purchase one to push an amp rated at the claimed RMS output. Assume half the claimed power.

Pros:

  • Two-channel, bridgeable output
  • Modern MOSFET transistors and Class A/B circuitry
  • Variable filters for high- and low-frequency passthrough
  • Input sensitivity is variable for receiver or direct-from-speaker connection
  • Considerable power for the cost

Cons:

  • Power ratings are woefully exaggerated
  • True output impossible to know for certain
  • Overheats and clips on 1-ohm operation

Planet Audio is a relative newcomer. It competes with brands like Boss, and tries to do so by out-claiming them. There is no need for hyperbole, though. This amp does a fine job. It might garner more respect with more honest output claims.

Planet Audio AC2600.2 Anarchy Series Car Audio Amplifier - 2600 High Output, 2 Channel, Class A/B, High/Low Level Inputs, High/Low Pass Crossover, Full Range, Hook Up To Stereo and Subwoofer
  • 1300 W MAX Power @ 2 Ohm x 2 Channels
  • 650 W MAX Power @ 4 Ohm x 2 Channels
  • 2600 W MAX Bridged Power @ 4 Ohm x 1 Channels
  • Full-Range, Class A / B Topology, MOSFET Power Supply
  • Low and High Level Inputs, Variable Filter, Variable Bass Boost
  • Remote Subwoofer Control, Blue Backlit Illumination

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Rockford Fosgate – Punch 4-Channel Series

Best 4 Channel Car Amplifier

The four-channel Punch series from Rockford Fosgate powers smaller stereo speakers with impressive clarity.

It offers versatility in bridging options to allow for a growing system. It has an onboard EQ and RCA pass through for use with a monoblock amp.

Heat dissipates evenly across the aluminum heat sink, and patented C.L.E.A.N. circuit matches the source signal to the amp for improved reproduction.

Rockford Fosgate has no need to conflate its output numbers. This is a trusted series from a trusted brand. A rating of 150 watts at 2 ohms per channel might not sound impressive, but it is plenty for door speakers.

The channels can be bridged if more power is required, but this is not a sub amp.

Pros:

  • Remarkable clarity at 2 or 4 ohms
  • Bridgeable to produce two channels of 300 watts each
  • Hi- and Low-level inputs for receiver or speaker-wire connection
  • Front and rear, bass and treble tone controls
  • Draws only 45 amps
  • Hidden, top-mounted controls

Cons:

  • Not enough power for large subs
  • Tuning for optimized power output can be complicated
  • May clip until settings are correct

Another in the line of sought-after products from a beloved brand, Rockford Fosgate’s Punch line has earned its stellar reputation. This is a versatile amp that can power-up a sagging factory sound system as well as it can be the foundation of a complete audio overhaul.

Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
  • The Punch P600X4 600 watt 4-channel amplifier (2.38” x 7.76” x 13.28") is perfect for a 4-way full-range system or a 3-way system having a front stage with subwoofers on the rear channels
  • Versatile multi-channel design can power just about any audio system configuration (RMS Power Output: 75 Watts x 4 @ 4-Ohm OR 150 Watts x 4 @ 2-Ohm OR 300 Watts x 2 @ 4-Ohm Bridged)
  • RCA inputs can accept both Hi and Low level audio signals without the need of a signal converter
  • Featuring Class A/B topology, RCA pass-thru outputs, on-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost @ 45Hz, variable 12 dB/Oct Butterworth crossovers, and C.L.E.A.N. Set-up
  • Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. Kenwood – KAC-M3004 – Mini 4-Channel Amp

Best Compact Car Amplifier

Kenwood’s miniature amplifiers produce big wattages from small packages.

Each channel on the KAC-M3004 produces a claimed 50 watts at 4 ohms 75 watts at 2 ohms per channel.

This little guy can easily power four midsized speakers. With variable low- and high-pass filtering, the signal can be tailored to your needs. And it can handle speaker-level input signals.

Anyone worried about the draw of an amplifier on their electrical system should consider this little Kenwood an option. It draws a miniscule 22 amps of power.

This may be the best compact car amplifier (or motorcycle amplifier) available. In fact, Kenwood actually underrates these mini amps. It does have Class D circuitry, but the M3001 monoblock is better for small subs.

Kenwood KAC-M3004 Amp Dyno Test Mini 4ch Amp

Pros:

  • Incredibly small size (equivalent footprint to an iPhone 6S)
  • Produces more than claimed power output
  • Minimal draw on vehicle electrical system (@ 22 amps)
  • Great for powersports applications
  • Bridgeable to two channels with 150 watts each at 4 ohms
  • Accepts high- or low-level inputs from aftermarket stereo or factory speakers
  • Weather resistant

Cons:

  • Not enough power for multiple speakers on each channel
  • Weather resistance is not the same as waterproof

Kenwood makes some of the most booming amps on the market, so it may surprise that its mini amp makes this list. The power this little guy puts out belies its diminutive size, though. With a small draw and a big hit, this amp deserves consideration from car and powersports owners alike.

Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 600W 4-Channel Car/Marine/Powersports Digital Amplifier
  • PEAK POWER: Max Power 600 Watts. RMS (50 Watts x 4 @ 4-Ohm or 75W x 4 @ 2-Ohm
  • RMS POWER: (50 Watts x 4 @ 4-Ohm or 75W x 4 @ 2-Ohm. High Quality KENWOOD sound you can depend on
  • MARINE CERTIFIED: Conformal coated marine grade circuit board is great for any application including Car, Boat, ATV, UTV etc.
  • FEATURES: KENWOOD Triangle Indicator Light, 3-Way Protection Circuitry, Balanced Inputs, Speaker-Level (high level) inputs and Selectable corossover modes
  • COMPACT SIZE: Cutting Edge KENWOOD Amplifier technology allows extremely compact design. (WxHxD) 6-1/2" x 1-3/4" x 3-7/8"

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Guide

Searching for the best amplifier for car applications can feel like wandering in a forest of technobabble. It can be intimidating to even start down the path through the wilderness, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it first appears.

You really only need to know a few key details to choose the best car amplifier for your vehicle.

Amplifiers take the signal from your stereo and increase it before sending it to your speakers. It’s a simple task, but it is one that must be done correctly. Otherwise, you can damage the amp, speakers or both.

You will need to know and match two numbers between the speakers and amplifiers: impedance and power handling.

Impedance

Impedance, measured in ohms, is resistance to the flow of electricity. The higher this number is, the lower the number of watts that can travel along the circuit.

Multi-channel car amplifiers can typically drive 4-ohm loads. Many amps can be wired to operate at 2 ohms, while some can handle 1-ohm loads.

A typical analogy for understanding impedance is to compare the water flow through two hoses of different widths. The higher the number of ohms, the thinner the hose and the less water that can make it through in a given time. So at 4 ohms, an amplifier will put out less power than it would at 2 ohms.

It is imperative that the speakers and the amplifier pushing them use matching impedance ratings. A lack of resistance can overwork an amplifier, resulting in heat buildup and possible damage.

However, the amp’s ohm rating is a minimum value. It can safely drive speakers with higher impedance ratings.

Power Output to Power Handling

Speakers also need to handle the power the amp is delivering. The amp’s power output is given in watts, and this number should meet or exceed the speakers’ capability.

Any extra power above a speaker’s maximum rating is called headroom, and it prevents distortion at louder volumes.

Disregard manufacturers’ claims of peak output when comparing amps. The term for the actual output of the amplifier is RMS (root mean square). This number may be as little as half the peak output, but it is the power you can realistically expect the amplifier to achieve.

Wiring an Amplifier

Each channel can power multiple speakers wired either in series (positive terminal to negative terminal) or in parallel (positive to positive).

When wired in a series, the impedance of each speaker adds up to a total. So two 4-ohm speakers will achieve an 8-ohm total impedance.

Wiring speakers in parallel has opposite effect. In this case, two 4-ohm speakers will have a 2-ohm total impedance.

When wired either in parallel or series, the channel’s wattage is divided by the speakers. So two speakers on a 100-watt channel will receive 50 watts each.

Most car amplifiers need to be wired directly to the car’s battery. Usually there will need to be a fuse wired in-line for safety. Because each manufacturer has its own specifications, follow installation instructions provided with your amplifier carefully.

Bridging Channels

Almost any amp with multiple channels can be wired so that the power from the channels is shared – called bridging.

This has the effect of nearly tripling the power being delivered through the channel and doubling the minimum impedance. So an amp producing 100 watts at 2 ohms per channel may produce 250 watts with a 4-ohm minimum impedance.

Circuitry Classes

Manufacturers group amplifiers into classes based on how they are wired and the design of their circuits.

Some classes are proprietary to certain manufacturers, but most car amplifiers are either Class A/B or Class D. Here are the distinctions:

Class A – Produces high-fidelity sound, but has a constant flow of electricity through transistors. This means a lot of heat builds up, even when no signal is present.

Class B – Transistors shut down half the time. They run cooler than Class A, but produce more signal distortion because of the constant switching.

Class A/B – Most common for multichannel car amplifiers. Intended for mid- and high-range speakers. The flow of current through transistors is constant, but reduces when there is no signal. These amps run cool like Class B amps but have nearly the fidelity of Class A.

Class D – Transistors switch on and off multiple times per signal cycle. Runs very cool with a lower draw than other classes. Produces more distortion at higher frequencies. Ideal for the higher draw and power demands of subwoofers. Most monoblock amps are Class D.

Conclusion

There are as many amps on the market as there are applications for them to fulfill. Our winner for best car amplifier is Rockford Fosgate’s Punch series. Regardless of your needs, there is a Punch for you. It is configurable for many different applications (mono or multichannel), and it produces its claimed RMS power so there is no guesswork. One of the other amps on this list may solve your needs better, but the Punch series solves the most car audio needs.

SaleBestseller No. 1
BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Riot Series Car Audio Subwoofer Amplifier - 1100 High Output, Monoblock, Class A/B, 2/4 Ohm Stable, Low/High Level Inputs, Low Pass Crossover, Mosfet Power Supply, Stereo
  • Power - 1100 Max x 1 @ 2 Ohms, 550 Max x 1 @ 4 Ohms
  • Class A/B Topology - Class ‘A’ amplifiers have enormous amount of current flowing through its output transistors with no audio signal. Class ‘B’ amplifiers have no current flowing through its outputs with no audio signal
  • Mosfet Power Supply - A MOSFET is an electrical switch that allows the flow of electrical current. It controls the output voltage & current precisely by removing the output current sensing loss & eliminating all secondary feedback circuitry
  • Low & High Level Inputs - A low level (RCA) input is measured in voltages. A high level (+/- wire) input is measured in wattages. Both essentially carry signal from your receiver to your amplifier to your speakers
  • Variable Low-Pass Crossover - Subwoofers reproduce sound based on a number of different low-range frequencies. You can set exact sound specifications for the bass frequency reproduction
  • Switchable Bass Boost - Bass Boost allows you to adjust the low bass within the boost range to just the way you like it
Bestseller No. 2
Blaupunkt 1500W 4-Channel, Full-Range Amplifier
  • 1500W Maximum Power Full-Range Amplifier
  • Optimized 150-watt RMS output and a max power output of 1500 watts, you can give your music a huge boost in power that will have you and your passengers partying while on the road
  • This slim amplifier fits perfectly into any trunk so you can easily connect it to your stereo system
SaleBestseller No. 3
Timpano Compact 4 Channel Amplifier Car Audio 500 Watt, 4 x 125 Watts at 2 Ohms, Mini Stereo 12 volts Full Range Class D Amp, Bridgeable Amplifier 4 Channels TPT-500.4
  • COMPACT DESIGN: Digital class D Brazilian technology allows this amplifier to have a small footprint by integrating a high-speed mosfet power supply with top of line transistors to ensure performance in a small heat sink without compromising performance. Dimensions: 3.93″ depth x 5.02″ width x 2″ height
  • POWER: This amplifier is designed to run your stereo system with the power it needs to perform! 500 Watts maximum dynamic RMS power output of 4x 125 Watts at 2 Ohms per channel. Its high efficiency rate of 87% provides more power with less battery consumption.
  • BRIDGEABLE: Double the power output to your speakers by bridging two channels. Minimum impedance of 4 Ohms per bridged channel at output power of 2 x 225 Watts RMS
  • TECHNOLOGY: A smart electronic 2-way protection circuit protects the amp if it gets too hot or if speakers fail causing a short! Focusing in sound quality, a full range response of 10 to 24,000Hz was used to give the best sound reproduction on this tiny amplifier.
  • FEATURES: Heavy Duty 10 Gauge power and speaker wire Inputs. Built-in crossover filters for easy tuning! Choose between a fixed HPF at 90Hz or LPF at 90Hz + 45Hz Bass Boost or just turn it FLAT and use your external crossover or DSP settings. It also includes Variable Gain Control. Level controls are not for adjusting volume. They adjust the amount of signal that is coming into the amplifier from your signal source.
Bestseller No. 4
Soundfy SA 400.4 2 Ohms 400 Watts RMS 4 Channels Multichannel Amplifier RCA
  • Power Output: With an impressive power output of 400 watts, the SA 400 ensures that your car audio system receives ample energy to produce deep bass and crisp highs, creating a truly immersive audio environment.
  • Compact Design: The amplifier's sleek and compact design makes it easy to integrate into various car interiors, providing flexibility in installation without compromising on performance.
  • Advanced Technology: Equipped with cutting-edge audio processing technology, the SA 400 optimizes signal quality, minimizing distortion and enhancing the dynamic range for a more lifelike audio experience.
  • Versatile Connectivity: Offering a range of input and output options, the SA 400 caters to various audio setups, supporting seamless integration with your existing car audio system.
  • Durable Construction: Built to withstand the demands of the road, the SA 400 features a robust and durable construction, ensuring reliability even in challenging driving conditions.
Bestseller No. 5
BLAUPUNKT 750W 2-Channel, Full-Range Amplifier (AMP7502)
  • Optimized 563-watt RMS and a max output power of 1500 watts, you can give your music a huge boost in power that will have you and your passengers partying
  • 750 watt maximum power full-range amplifier Compactly built so this amplifier can fit perfectly into any trunk Blaupunkt 750 Watt Monoblock Amplifier
  • Stable at 1 ohm | Remote Subwoofer Level Control Included Highly Efficient Heatsink Design allows for Maximum Reliability & Performance of channel: 2/1 Channel
  • Featuring 2-Way Protection Circuitry and 4 Gauge Power & Ground Input Terminals for Maximum Current Flow. Damping Factor - 150. Max. Output Power
  • You'll have full reign over your amplifier with the built-in user control panel, featuring a bass EQ, and variable adjustment tunings for gain level,
SaleBestseller No. 6
Blaupunkt AMP1500M High-End 1500 Watts Monoblock Car Audio Amplifier/Amp +Remote
  • Blaupunkt 1500 Watt Monoblock Amplifier
  • Max power output: 1500 watts / RMS Output Power Rating: 4 ohms: 120 watts x 1 channel / 2 ohms: 200 watts x 1 channel / Frequency Response: 10Hz - 30kHz
  • Signal-To- Noise Ratio: >96 dB / Voltage Supply: 11 - 16V DC / Gain Adjust: 200mV-8V
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.05% / RCA Input: 2-channel / Fuse: 30A x 1
  • Crossover Frequency: 40Hz - 250Hz / Crossover Slope (dB/oct): 12dB/oct

Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API