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 2017. Click an amplifier to go to the full review, or just scroll down to view all of the reviews:
Best Car Amplifiers | Top 8
|Amplifier||Amplifier Type||Channels Offered||Price|
|1. JL Audio Slash V3||Class D||Monoblock | 4-Channel||$$$|
|2. Audison Voce||Class AB||Monoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel | 5-Channel||$$$$|
|3. Rockford Fosgate Prime||Class AB||Monoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel | 5-Channel||$$|
|4. Hifonics ZRX (Zeus)||Class AB | D||Monoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel||$$|
|5. Kenwood Excelon X||Class D||Monoblock | 4-Channel | 5-Channel||$$|
|6. Alpine PDX||Class D||Monoblock | 4-Channel||$$$|
|7. Polk Audio PA D||Class D||Monoblock | 2-Channel | 4-Channel||$$$|
|8. MTX Thunder||Class D | A/B||Monoblock | 4-Channel||$$$|
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.
Check out this great video from Crutchfield that walks through the key points when you're choosing an amplifier:
Here's a list of 2017's best rated amplifier series for your car to help you match the ultimate amplifier to your car's stereo, speakers or subwoofer.