car amplifier

The Best Car Amplifiers in 2019 – Review & Buyers Guide

In Reviews by Josh S0 CommentsLast Updated: August 28th, 2019

car amplifierYou might have a nice car that takes you from one point to another. But is your car really complete without a good sound system?

In order to get great sound in your car, you need two things: a good amplifier and excellent speakers. For the sake of this article, we will only talk about amplifiers and how they are integral in producing the sound you desire. The amplifier takes the input from the audio system, enhances the input and channels the output through to high-quality speakers that produce loud and crisp sound. 

The car amplifier makes you feel every bass drop, makes the lyrics crisp and clear while also increasing the volume. Once you get an amplifier for your car you will feel the difference between the old output and the new output. 

Most car manufacturers install modern sound systems in their new cars so you don’t need to make an upgrade unless you really want to wake up the whole neighborhood. If you have an old car then getting an amplifier is necessary but buying one is not that easy. There are so many specifications to look at, and so many companies to consider that you can get confused and overwhelmed. 

Fortunately, we are here to help you choose the best car amplifier for your car. Without further ado, here is the list of top 10 best car amplifiers. 

Best Mono Subwoofer Amplifier

Pioneer GM-D8601
4.7/5
  • High Power Output
  • 1 Impedance
  • Great for 1-2 Subwoofers

Best 2-Channel Amplifier

Pioneer GM-A3702​

4.5/5
  • Affordable
  • Good sound quality
  • Awesome Design

Best 4-Channel Amplifier

Rockville dB45
5/5
  • Great Power
  • Reasonable Price
  • Good Design

1. Pioneer GM-D8601

Mono Subwoofer Amplifier

First up on our list is a masterpiece by a well-known company, Pioneer. The Pioneer GM-D8601 is a great option for those of you who are looking to power a subwoofer for a next to nothing cost. At just a paltry price of 100 dollars, you are getting good value for money without losing out on power. Pioneer has given 1,600 watts of power in this amplifier from which you can easily get uninterrupted 800 watts of RMS power going straight to your subwoofer. This Pioneer amplifier also allows you to adjust the subwoofer settings accordingly taking the power from 40 Hz to as much as 240 Hz. Modern amps have a built-in wired bass control module that allows you to adjust the level of bass without needing to change the output from the amp itself.

The speaker level inputs given in the amp lets you connect a head unit directly with the system without needing any adapters. The Pioneer D8601 has a 100dB SNR margin which translates to better sound delivery at high volumes. The power output can also be set to 800 watts, 500 watts or 300 watts.

If you are looking for a mono subwoofer amplifier, this is the best subwoofer amplifier to purchase considering the price.

Why we like it:
  • High power output at a cheap price
  • On-hand adjustment controls
Key features:
  • 800 watts RMS of power delivery
  • 3 channel setting
Video Review:

2. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Amplifier

Great 1-Channel Sub Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate makes excellent amplifiers for a cheap price. The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is one of those amplifiers that give you great value for money. It is a 500 watts mono amplifier that has the ability to function until 2 ohms of impedance. Special features include a ‘Punch Bass’ option that provides a nice thump when the bass note kicks in. Furthermore, you get remote-operated bass controls, which mean you can tweak the level of bass to your liking. If you are listening to some EDM then you could tune the bass to a high setting or to a low setting if the genre of music playing is pop.

The power delivery is not that great given that it is a 500-watt amp but at least the power supply is built with cast aluminum to protect it from overheating. You even get four gauge connectors and one ground connector. What’s more, the R500X1D has MOSFET transistors that can change the output based on the power they receive without harming the circuitry. This slight enhancement in electronics has changed the way amplifiers work in the modern world. Rockford Fosgate has given you a year guarantee as well which means they are confident in their product and so should you.

Why we like it:
  • Great value for money
  • Various controls for output customization
Key features:
  • Handles 2 ohms of impedance
  • MOSFET technology
Video Review:

3. Pioneer GM-A3702

2-Channel Sub/6x9 Amplifier

If your goal is not to blast subwoofers in your car then you can make do with a smaller amplifier that gives decent power output to your speakers. We have already talked about a powerful amp by Pioneer but the company not only makes high output amps they also produce car amplifiers that are less powerful. The Pioneer GM-A3702 is one such amplifier that has 2 bridgeable channels. It gives out 400 watts of power and is small in size as well. Plus, you pay half of what you would pay for a high output amp. It even has two RCA inputs for your head unit for easier access.

In terms of power delivery, the continuous power comes in 90 watts per channel and 60 watts per channel with the maximum uninterrupted power output rated at 180 watts. The frequency ranges from 10 Hz to 70 kHz while the SNR stands at 95 dB or greater. All these specs give you a decent sound without catching much background noise.

Why we like it:
  • User-friendly
  • High-quality product for a paltry price
Key features:
  • 180 watts of continuous power delivery on a single channel
  • Signal to noise ratio of 95 dB
Video Review:

4. Boss Audio AR1500M

Powerful Mono Car Amplifier

It is nearly impossible that we make a list of the best car amps and Boss is not a part of it. Boss is one of the few respectable companies that make cheap but high-quality amps for those that are looking for a quick upgrade. The Boss AR1500M is a high output and high-quality amp for the more serious customer. This amp from the Armor series by Boss is a real head-turner with its crisp sound audio output.

It is built tough but slim so it fits anywhere and can withstand overheating. However, most importantly it can deliver 1500 watts of relentless power to your car’s speakers and subwoofers resulting in a banging sound system. The amp gives you full control over its settings. You can change the level of bass using the low pass filter that works in tandem with the remote sub control to create deep thumps.

Since it is a high-end car amplifier it features the MOSFET technology power supply that, as we have mentioned before, can switch between low to high power seamlessly and even giving 1125 watts of peak RMS power. It also provides switchable inputs. What’s more, its controls allow you to adjust settings directly from the head unit without physically changing anything from the amp. The best thing, however, is its very own short=protection ability. If there is a short circuit, the amp shuts down immediately before any harm comes to the entire sound system.

Why we like it:
  • Various controls for the optimal setting
  • Safety options that protect you and your sound system from harm
Key features:
  • MOSFET power supply
  • 1500 watts of pure power

5. Boss Audio Riot R1100M

Budget Mono Aplifier

We have established that MOSFET is one technology that is necessary for a good car amp. Here is another one that comes from the Boss Riot series. This amp does a lot for a low price. It is well built with a great design, not that it makes a difference, but a good looking amp can sometimes be the last thing you need to complete the look you are going for.

The Riot R1100M is a class A/B amplifier with excellent quality circuitry that allows it to handle high power outputs with extreme ease. The amp can produce pure sound with its 1100 watt output at just 2 ohms of impedance. However, the continuous output is restricted to 825 watts. It has high and low-level inputs to help achieve optimum performance, and a variable low pass filter giving you full control of the subwoofer settings. A wired-in remote is provided which you can use to tweak the settings of the bass output. If you are looking to churn out extra bass then you can press the bass boost button. This function increases the bass up to 18 dB. If anything goes during this maneuver then the short pass function will protect the speakers and sub-woofer from damage.

Why we like it:
  • Powerful output and crisp sound
  • Bass boost option
Key features:
  • 1100 watts of power
  • 825 watts RMS

6. Boss Audio PT3000 Phantom

Impressive 3000 Watt Mono Amp

Another product from Boss because they just make excellent amps. This one from the Phantom series is one relentless car amplifier. It is one of the amplifiers in our list that has the highest power output. This amplifier has a peak output of 3000 watts! That gives it a peak RMS power of 1125 watts. It is a 2-channel class A/B amp that is packed in a dashing case with MOSFET technology underneath.

Interesting features include a variable crossover network of circuitry that allows you to tweak low-end crossover. Moreover, this lets you change the bass settings while also enabling the bass boost option. Boss has provided the best safety options with this car amp, which means it can protect itself against overload, overheating and short circuits. Only the best car amplifiers have such features and the Boss Phantom PT3000 is among them

Why we like it:
  • Immensely high power output
  • Brilliant design
Key features:
  • 3000 watt of pure output
  • MOSFET power supply

7. Planet Audio AC1500.1M

Subwoofer Amplifier

The one and only mention from Planet Audio goes to the Planet Audio AC1500.1M. It is another one of our best budget-friendly car amplifiers. There are many specifications that give this amp such a distinction. For example let us take a look at its 2 ohms of impedance, which helps deliver 1125 watts of pure power to the subwoofers and speakers. Since it is a class A/B amplifier it is of excellent quality. The amp has variable level inputs that will allow you to input music from any source.

You also get the advanced MOSFET technology that channels sound without much distortion. This technology ensures the sound delivered is of the highest quality. Although Planet Audio is not very well-known in the car amp market, it has a respectable place in the hearts of those who have witnessed its performance. Certainly a great low price high output option.

Why we like it:
  • MOSFET power supply technology
  • Budget friendly option
Key features:
  • 2 ohms impedance
  • 1125 watts power delivery

8. Rockville dB45

Best 4-Channel Speaker Amplifier

If you are looking for a high-quality amp that can produce some powerful sound then the Rockville dB 45 is the car amplifier for you. You get a relentless 32000 watts of unlimited power while the peak RMS is at 800 watts. Rockville has not compromised on quality as they have used the best components they could get their hands on. You can even compare their product with that of some of the greats like Rockford Fosgate.

What’s more, this is a 4-channel amplifier, which makes it one of the few 4-channel amplifiers in our list. Most of the amps we have mentioned are 2-channel. The amp has a low impedance that can help power subwoofers of all specs. This amp has a subsonic filter with adjustable crossover and variable circuitry to tweak the bass settings to your liking. You won’t find such options in other cheap amps.
A great feature is the soft start technology. This tech prevents the system from turning to the last tuned max volume of the amp. Usually, when you switch off your car you forget to turn down the volume for next time. When you get in the car again and switch on the audio system, the sound blasts through damaging your ears. Such an even won’t happen with this amp.

Why we like it:
  • Great value for money
  • Competes with other manufacturer’s product in the range quite easily
Key features:
  • 4-channel amplifier for distortion-free sound
  • Soft-start technology

9. Rockford 300X4 Prime

Great 4-Channel Car Amplifier

Mono option amps can get boring after some time requiring you to switch to a better amp. A 4-channel amp is what comes next and that is what Rockford 300X4 Prime offers. This amp belongs to the prestigious Prime series by Rockford and it doesn’t disappoint. It is a bit on the expensive side but it is not that exorbitantly priced.

It is a class A/B amp that has an aluminum body to reduce overheating. The more heat is dissipated from the system the better it is for your sound system. If you want to run an entire sound system including speakers and subwoofers then this car amp is your bests choice. It provides a 4-channel system with 50-watt channels running at 4 ohms impedance. You can create the best sound system setup using this amp as it gives you the liberty to explore and learn.

Why we like it:
  • 4-channel system
  • Well-known brand
Key features:
  • Bridge capability for subwoofers
  • Prime series brilliant casing

10. Rockford Fosgate R150X2

2-Channel Car Amplifier

The last mention in our list is also from Rockford just because they are a brilliant company. However, it is their products that are so good that it is difficult not to include them in any best car amplifier list. The Rockford Fosgate R150X2 is a 2-channel amp that sells for a low price compared to some other two-channel amps in our list. It has a great heat resistant body casing and a high output rating as well. All that in under 100 dollars is an amazing deal.

This amp can accept both high level and RCA level inputs and it can also give 50 watts of power output to each of the two channels with 4 ohms impedance and 2 ohms at 75 watts of output. You can also bridge the two channels allowing you to make a 150-watt single channel. Other features include variable crossover to control your bass output to your liking.

Why we like it:
  • Bridge option for a 2-channel amp
  • A cheap and good quality option
Key features:
  • 2-channel amp
  • 150 watts peak output

Things to Consider Before Buying a Car Amplifier

Budget  

First and foremost comes the budget consideration. You cannot make the final decision before you are sure about your budget. Car amplifiers come in various price brackets. Usually, the more expensive an amp is the better it is and the more features it has. However, sometimes that is not true. In any case, you need to set aside a certain amount of money like $100 or more. A hundred dollars cover a large number of amps so you can make a comfortable decision.

Channels

When you have set aside a decent budget you need to dive in the specifics. You need to decide the number of channels you require for your sound system. This depends on the scope of your sound system and what you are trying to achieve. There is no ‘one best car amplifier’ since everyone has different tastes and goals. In simple terms, it depends on what you are trying to power up whether you are looking to power speakers, a subwoofer or two subwoofers. The more items you include in your sound system the more channels you will need. In general, there are three main types of channel options in amps:

Mono: Such amps supply a high amount of power hence they are a great option for you if you are looking to power a sub-woofer. However, a big disadvantage is that the mono amp won’t power your speakers. They will work independently of the amp, which might work for some but not for all.

2-Channel: If you have a healthier budget you can dive into the 2-channel territory. These amps are capable of powering a sub-woofer as well as two sub speakers (door speakers). Sub speakers are smaller and do not require a lot of power output. If you have more than one pair of sub-speakers then you need to take one step up the ladder and go to 4-channel amps.

4-Channel: If you are looking for a comprehensive sound system setup then a 4-channel amp is your cup of tea. These are perfect for powering up a sub-woofer and more than two speakers. If you have more than two speakers, you can always connect them all in one by bridging the channels. 4-channel amps give you a lot of room to work with for future upgrades.

Impedance 

In scientific terms, impedance is the effective resistance of an electric circuit to an alternating current. You do not need to dive deep into the concept of impedance. All you need to know is that the impedance rating for both your amp and your speakers/sub-woofer should be the same. The perfect match will result in the best output for your sound system. If you are still interested in learning about impedance you can take a look at this informative video that explains the concept of impedance in detail.

Installation

When all is done and dusted, all that is left is to install the car amp to your vehicle. You need to decide if you will undertake this job yourself or look for an experienced electrician to do the job for you. Car amps are not easy to install. There is a lot of science going on there which can be confusing for an average person with no relevant experience. A professional will charge you some money but will definitely do the job perfectly. If you install the car amp incorrectly you can risk blowing up your speakers or subwoofer. Therefore, it is better to save yourself from the technical jargon and delegate the hob to a hired professional. You will save time and learn some valuable things about amps.

Resources:

Car Amplifier Installation

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