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A car amplifier is the heart of your car's stereo, and whether you are looking to power a set of 6.5" speakers to a pair subwoofers, we've assembled a list of the best amps on the market.

Most people believe that their car's OEM stereo has enough power for their speakers, or that their new aftermarket stereo that puts out 50 watts per channel (peak) is enough for a great sounding system. But, the reality is that whether it's an OEM system with '300 watts' or an aftermarket unit with 50 watts per channel, most ratings don't match the recommended ratings for an aftermarket system which can lead to poor sound or even blown speakers. In addition, the ratings that might be shown for a head unit or amplifier may be in 'Peak' power, instead of 'RMS' power. For example, a 50 watt Peak per channel aftermarket stereo might actually only be pumping around 15 watts RMS to each of your speakers. And a monoblock amplifier that is rated for 1000 watts might only put out half of that continuously.

Powering your speakers (aftermarket or not) with the correct amount of power can mean a WORLD of difference in the performance of both subwoofers and speakers alike. You may have the highest performing speaker or subwoofer but without the power, it means nothing. Don't let power be the bottleneck of your system. Get an amp that provides your speakers with the power they need to produce the crisp and clear music you love. Whether your using high performance component speakers, subwoofers or OEM equipment, a top rated amplifier is a true necessity to a quality car stereo system. And if you are going to add a subwoofer, a monoblock amp is an absolute necessity.

Here's a list of the top rated amplifiers of 2016. Click an amplifier to go to the full review, or just scroll down to view all of the reviews:

Best Car Amplifiers | Top 8

AmplifierAmplifier TypeChannels OfferedRating
1. JL Audio Slash V3Class DMonoblock | 4-Channel
5 Stars
2. Audison VoceClass ABMonoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel | 5-Channel
5 Stars
3. Rockford Fosgate PrimeClass ABMonoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel | 5-Channel
4.9 Stars
4. Hifonics ZRX (Zeus)Class AB | DMonoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel
4.9 Stars
5. Kenwood Excelon XClass DMonoblock | 4-Channel | 5-Channel
4.7 Stars
6. Alpine PDXClass DMonoblock | 4-Channel
4.7 Stars
7. Polk Audio PA DClass DMonoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel
4.6 Stars
8. MTX ThunderClass D | A/BMonoblock | 4-Channel
4.6 Stars

Choosing the Right Amplifier

Max (Peak) Vs RMS Power

Lets start by going through some general speakers and amplifier ratings and what they mean.

The difference between “Peak Power” and “RMS Power” is simple, so don’t let it confuse you. RMS Power is a measure of the amplifier’s continuous power. It’s the realistic amount of power that the amplifier is rated for. It’s more of an average of the wattage output over a set amount of time. Peak Power can best be described as the “peak” amount of power that the amplifier can generate or handle in a very short amount of time, a burst. It is not the amount of power the amplifier emits on a continuous basis, but more of a quick burst.

Even though the Peak Power ratings are marketed by speaker and amplifier manufacturers to catch the eyes of consumers, it is not the Peak Power, but the RMS Power that you want to use as a tool to match the right speaker with the right amplifier.

Matching an Amplifier With a Speaker

Now that you know an amplifier’s RMS Power rating is a more accurate measurement of the power output, you can use it as a tool to correctly match it to the speaker(s) and subwoofers you want to use. You will want to match the RMS rating of the amplifier to the RMS rating of the speaker or subwoofer. The closer these two numbers are to each other, the better match you have. For example, if an amplifier has an output of 100 watts x 4 channels RMS, this will mean that you want a speaker that has a 100 watt RMS rating (or in this case 4 speakers with a 100 watt rating). Same goes with a subwoofer.

Here's a list of 2016's best rated series amplifiers for your car to help you match the ultimate amplifier to your car's stereo, speakers or subwoofer.

The Best Car Amplifier List

JL Audio Slash Series V3 Amplifiers Review

Editor's Rating:

5 Stars

Originating from one of JL's most legendary and best-selling amplifiers, the Slash Series v3 amplifiers were built on upon the solid and successful platform that made history in automotive amplification. Tweaked, refined, and renewed, the v3 amps encompass some of JL's latest technology and finest manufacturing materials. The monoblocks are 20% more powerful than previous generation amplifiers with a new patented Class D output circuitry. And the four-channel amplifier offers JL Audio's patented Absolute Symmetry Class A/B output stage, offering a 75W x 4 output.

All Slash Series v3 models feature JL Audio’s R.I.P.S. (Regulated Intelligent Power Supply) technology. This system maintains a consistent power output over a wide range of battery voltages and load impedances. It automatically will adjust to maintain the amplifiers rated output at all times, no matter what the condition or input. And an Advanced Rollback Thermal protection feature keeps your music playing under the most climatically demanding conditions.The JL Audio Slash Series v3 amplifiers are sleek, sexy, powerful and continue to raise the bar in automotive audio equipment.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 600W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 1200W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω

Sonic Logo$1199.99

  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω

Audison Voce Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

5 Stars

“Audison” or “audio” and “sonus” in Latin, has built a reputation for designing and manufacturing high-quality, high-performance car audio products, many of which incorporate leading-edge technologies. And for the stereo enthusiasts who want to enter into the world of car audio through an amplifier of excellence, one of the best available products in its class, a perfect balance of size, versatility and power, is the Audison Voce Series Amplifiers. A direct descendant of the notable Thesis series amplifier, the Voce series now bring the legendary Thesis sound quality to a wider range of enthusiasts, as well as carries along some of the great features of the Thesis, including the ability to combine analog and digital technologies. Unfortunately (for now) the Audison Voce Series amps are still a hard to find online, so we apologize if we don't have a provider for some. But none the less, they are among the greatest amplifiers on the market today. All-in-all, an exceptionally built, performing and great looking amplifier.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 700W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω

Amazon Logo$1,349.95

  • Amplifier Type: 2-Channel
  • Power Handling: 260W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω

Amazon Logo$1,199.99

AV 5.1k

Audison AV 5.1k Best Car Amplifier

  • Amplifier Type: 5-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 2 + 140W x 2 + 600W x 1 @ 4Ω

Amazon Logo$1,499.99

Rockford Fosgate Prime Series Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.9 Stars

Rockford Fosgate has built a reputation for manufacturing high-quality, high-performing mobile audio equipment. Their Prime Series car amplifiers are among their top amplifiers, built on a durable platform with an innovative and sleek-looking design and reliable, clean, and powerful performance.

The Prime Series amps were designed and manufactured with several of Rockford Fosgate’s patented technologies. DTM (Tynamic Thermal Management) is their 3-stage thermal system that distributes forced air to evenly dissipate heat across the amp. A proprietary process called MEHSA allows heat to escape more
efficiently from the MOSFET devices to the heatsink. And Differential Input reduces electrical distortion and interference that could be transferred by your input cables. This combination of proprietary technologies and fine-tuned features results in an amplifier with minimal distortion, incredible heat distribution and control, consistent high-power output, long-term reliability and most importantly high performance. The Rockford Fosgate Prime Series amplifiers are highly regarded in the industry, and for good reason.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 150W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 300W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 250W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 400W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 2-Channel
  • Power Handling: 50W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 40W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
R300X4

Rockford Fosgate R300X4 Best Car Amplifier

  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 50W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 5-Channel
  • Power Handling: 50W x 4 @ 4ohm + 300W x 1 @2Ω

Hifonics ZRX (Zeus) Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.9 Stars

Hifonics “Power from the Gods” is a US-based company with an impeccable reputation in the car audio industry. It’s Zeus series draws its strength and design from years of experience in amplifiers so one can expect tremendous power, range, and innovative technologies. In fact, among uncompromising car audio lovers who get very involved in car shows and competitions, the Zeus line of amplifiers is a common choice among competitors and industry guru’s.

There are nine models under the Zeus ZRX series. They are:

  1. Two-channel A/B ZRX516.2, 500 watts
  2. Four-channel A/B ZRX616.4, 600 watts
  3. Four-channel A/B ZRX1016.4, 1000 watts
  4. D Class subwoofer amplifier ZRX 1216.1D, 1200 watts
  5. Subwoofer amplifier D Class ZRX1816.1D, 1800 watts
  6. Four-channel A/B ZRX2016.4, 2000 watts
  7. Class D subwoofer amplifier ZRX2416.1D, 2400 watts
  8. Class D subwoofer amplifier ZRX3216.1D, 3200 watts

A higher standard in amplifiers is in the Zeus Elite Series (ZEX). This special line of high-end amplifiers tops the charts in sound fidelity, variable bass boost, power, and use of heavy duty materials.

There are clear reasons why the Zeus series is the top rated car amps. Aside from offering the good range of options in wattage and class, these amplifiers have the Hifonics heatsink for efficient ventilation that prevents overheating. Also, it uses military grade Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) that can perform under the most rigid and extreme conditions attesting to the brand’s guarantee of reliability and long hours of playtime.

Other features that mark this series worthy to be called best car amps are:

  • Simpatico Coil Design
  • PWM MOSFET power supply
  • Low RCA input and outputs levels
  • DC, overload, thermal, and short circuit protection
  • Hifonics Surface Mount Design (HSMD)
  • Diagnostics

With all these features, the bottom line question remains: how does it improve the audio? The answer to this question, based on hours of testing, is that the audio is tremendously loud and satisfying. Plus, it stays cool to the touch and does not feel like it’s being stressed, even when it’s under the heaviest of loads. This is a keeper and hands down, among the best car amps on the market today.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 200W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 500W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
ZRX2416.1D

Hifonics ZRX2416 1D Best Subwoofer Amp

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 325W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
ZRX3216.1D

Hifonics ZRX3216 1D Best Car monoblock Amplifier

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 800W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 2-Channel
  • Power Handling: 125W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
ZRX616.4

Hifonics ZRX614.2 Best 2 Channel Amplifier

  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 60W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
ZRX2016.4

Hifonics ZRX2016-4 Best 4 Channel Car Amplifier

  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 250W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω

Kenwood Excelon X Series Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.7 Stars

Compact, reliable, tough and quality sound is easiest way to define Kenwood’s eXcelon X Series amplifiers. These amplifiers incorporate all of the latest technologies in audio amplification, including audio tuning, crossover and equalizer settings and high voltage preouts. They have one of the smallest footprints in their class, allowing for easy installation in tight areas. But don’t let the compact size fool you, it’s class D design, an efficient heat dissipation design combined with an intelligent cooling system makes it an incredibly efficient amplifier that that can handle whatever you throw at it without distorting and overheating.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 300W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 60W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 5-Channel
  • Power Handling: 40W + 300W x 1 @ 4Ω

And if you’re looking for an even smaller design, check out their XR Series (Reference Fit) amplifiers. A high-density mount circuit board in conjunction with an enhanced air cooling and heat control systems allowed Kenwood to create an incredibly compact design amplifier that blows most standard-sized amplifiers away.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 400W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 60W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 5-Channel
  • Power Handling: 60W x 4 + 400W x 1 @ 4Ω

Alpine PDX Series Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.7 Stars

Also a compact amplifier in itself, the PDX is Alpine’s vision of a versatile amplifier that packs a punch. A Class-D amp on a mere 2” tall frame, Alpine made this amp design capable with an effectively heat distribution system that even disperses heat to its heatsinks to cool the entire stack. But the stand-out feature on the PDX amplifier is it’s control and connector design. Easy pop out connections make installing and removing the amplifier a breeze, and it’s front-mounted controls make tuning and adjusting the sound after installation easier than ever.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 600W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 1200W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 100W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 150W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω

Polk Audio PA D Digital Series Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.6 Stars

The latest Polk PA D Series amplifiers use a combination of legacy technology with new, improved and innovative amplification features. Their newest PA series are class D amps, which means they are smaller, more efficient and run cooler while maintaining a high level output and lower distortion, clipping and cutting. They are the Polk's flagship amplifiers and were built to last with 4-way protection circuitry and anti-corrosive stainless steel hardware. And with a two inch height, you can mount them virtually anywhere, including tight truck cabins. In addition, you can rest assured that you have one of the best amplifiers - Polk Audio is a highly regarded and trusted audio manufacturer for both home and mobile (car) audio equipment, and with the PA D Digital series amplifiers you not only get the quality from the trusted line of products from Polk, you get the latest and best in digital amplifier technology. And finally, the PA D Digital series amps won't break the buck, they're reasonably price and are one of the best value's on our top amplifiers list.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 500W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 2-Channel
  • Power Handling: 125W x 2 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 5-Channel
  • Power Handling: 70W x 4 + 200W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω

MTX Thunder Series Amplifier Review

Editor's Rating:

4.6 Stars

MTX Audio is a US based company that’s well-known for its car audio products such as subwoofers, speakers and of course, their amplifiers. They have been producing amplifiers for more than 40 years alongside their subwoofers and speakers. The MTX Thunder Series is their top of the line amplifier and has proven to be one of the best car amplifiers on the market. Here’s why:

Under the small chassis MTX Thunder series are three models:

  1. Thunder 1000.1 1000W RMS Mono Block Class D which has a maximum peak power of 2000 watts
  2. Thunder 500.1 500W RMS Mono Block Class D which has a maximum peak power of 1000 watts
  3. Thunder 75.4 400W RMS 4-Channel Class A/B Amplifier that gives power to any full range speakers

There are only a few words to describe this series: powerful and thunderous yet small and reasonably-priced. These models are the perfect match for limited spaces and professional audio quality. The MTX series amps include features such as:

  • Surface-mount design for minimal vibration even under rough terrain
  • Small size for tight spaces like behind seats
  • An extruded heat sink for adequate ventilation negating any need for an auxiliary fan in times when the amp is used for extended periods
  • Variable crossover and compatible with many types and brands of speakers
  • Low pass filter and subsonic filter

Also, all models have a much-desired bass boost and control panels that are easy to access. With a little tweaking, this amp can seamlessly be part of a full customization for your car’s audio system. You can expect high clarity with low voltage draw from your car’s power supply.

The bottom line is that MTX Audio has come a long way with the Thunder series. They are designed to be universal and used with mix-and-match car audio systems, not to overheat, and to last for years. Between the great features of these amps and the company’s proven track record in consistently producing quality products make the MTX Thunder series yet another preferred choice as one of the best car amps on the market today.

  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 300W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: Monoblock
  • Power Handling: 350W x 1 RMS @ 4Ω
  • Amplifier Type: 4-Channel
  • Power Handling: 75W x 4 RMS @ 4Ω

1 Comment to “Best Car Amplifier 2016 | Top Rated Auto Amplifiers”

  1. Arturo says : Reply

    Hi, im currently using a pioneer 2016 head unit single din w DSL front speakers and sub wofer. I would like to consider an amplifier to further enhance the systems. I listen to a lot of vocals and jazz. Would like to experience a a stronger mid range and warmer peformances.
    Pls advise which amplifier can i consider. Of course not overly costly. Thanks

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