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The best Car Amplifiers (Reviews and buying guide) for 2020

Have you ever bought a vehicle and felt the need to boost its sound system. Quite frankly, the majority of the vehicles come fitted with stereo systems as per the manufacturer’s guidelines. Sometimes you may feel the sound is distorted or poor quality to what you’d want.

Entirely too often, replacing the entire system may be out of the question due to the high cost. Luckily, there’s an easy way out of installing the best car amps . In our review guide, we’ll tear up the topic best car amplifier for you to have a clear understanding. We’ll also dive into the main products on the market for your hassle-free shopping experience. Keep reading.Best Car Amplifier

What is an amplifier?

A car amplifier is a device that helps to boost a small electrical audio signal to much higher voltage and subsequently deliver power that will boost the sound of the speakers.

What this means is that it increases the sound of your speaker or subwoofer. It does so, even when there’s low voltage from the source. As the name suggests, it does this by turning the low signal into a powerful sound beat, or it amplifies the sound.

Most amplifiers are small-sized devices but essential in improving the quality sound in your car stereo. They come with different specifications for power requirements for the speakers and sub woofers.

Product Reviews

1

Rockford Fosgate  Car Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate  Car Amplifier

Features

  • Cast-aluminum heat sink
  • Four power connectors
  • MOSFET-power supply
  • Overload protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • Muted turn-on

ROCKFORD FOSGATE is a world-renowned brand in the automobile sound sector, and their amplifiers are quality built besides being high performers. Yet, it comes at an unbelievably low price, and this makes it the best car amplifier for car owners on a budget.

No wonder, the Rockford Fosgate-R500X1D is one of the popular items in the brand’s product line. If you’re looking for powerful bass with your stock radio still intact, this is an excellent choice.

This unit is made for robust subwoofers which make it suitable for cars, trucks and other automobiles.

With superior audio quality, you’ll get to enjoy every sound of the beat as you ride your beast and will leave tongues wagging.

With an elegant appeal, this amp will look good in your car. The look is authentic; however, beneath the design lies a durable product made of a high-quality aluminum heat sink.

The package comes with a wired-remote system for punch-level-control and ease of use.

Usually, amplifiers can get hot, but not with the ROCKFORD model. The amp is a high performer, and with the unique design, there’s energy efficiency.

In addition, it has overload and short circuit protection, which protects your devices.

Overall, when it comes to performance and endurance, this model is one of the best car amps for the money.

pros

  • Overload and short circuit protection
  • High-quality product
  • Powerful bass
  • Beautiful design
  • Doesn’t overheat
  • Energy efficient
  • Reasonably

Cons

  • The screws for the wires are a bit and adjusting can be tricky
2

Alpine 5-Channel Car Amplifier

Alpine 5-Channel Car Amplifier

Features

  • Speakers power 100w
  • Subwoofer power 500w
  • Sleek design

Alpine is one of the best car amps that offer a perfect blend of top-notch tuning, power and audio quality.

It comes at a low price, and if you’d like high quality for low cost, then pick this amplifier.

We love the classic design which incorporates power and compactness. For better audio, it features an innovative technology that can run all your car’s speakers, including the subwoofer.

This amplifier offers incredible power of approximately 100 watts for each speaker and 500 watts for the subwoofer.

This device comes with quick-release plugs which are easy to remove. You’ll love the small design which means you can install it anywhere in the vehicle without cluttering your space.

Something else to add is that it offers quiet operation and the on/off is barely audible.

The amp is easy to use, and you’ll not have trouble tuning and changing the audio since the controls are front facing.

There’s no problem in mounting an extra amplifier. However, you need to pay attention during installation to avoid damaging channels or overheating it. With limited setup options, you may get some noises at different sound levels.

Overall, Alpine is a respected brand and their amplifier a testimony of their commitment to offering high-quality products.

pros

  • High-quality product
  • Clear audio
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • Can mount extra amplifiers
  • Promises a quiet operation
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Users complain of excess heat
3

Kenwood Class D Car Audio Power Amplifier

Kenwood Class D Car Audio Power Amplifier

Features

  • Speakers power 500w
  • Subwoofer power 1000w
  • Sleek design
  • Aluminum cover

Kenwood brand traces its root in Japan and has been around for many decades. It’s a reputable brand trusted by many people all over the world. It manufactures a wide range of products such as speakers, audio players, subwoofers, audio equipment, accessories, amplifiers and more.

That’s not all, the brand is known to offer high-quality products, and their amplifier is among the top-selling items.

Due to this, the Kenwood amp takes the slot for vehicles and other automobiles.

This car audio amplifier is a class D, and this means that you can mount other devices without the risk of overheating.

It’s one of the cheap car amps that comes at a reasonable price which is a suitable range for someone on a tight budget. You’ll get clear and crisp sound as it does a great job in enhancing the audio quality. Hence, you don’t have to worry about sound distortion.

It offers incredible power for the speaker at 500w and 1000 watts for the subwoofer.

Other features include subsonic filtering devices that you can use to adjust your signal. Subsequently, you can achieve a superior sound quality from the combo box or subwoofer. If you’d like to flatten the audio, you can boost it by 18 db.

The unit is versatile, and its signal sensors, as well as speakers inputs, are compatible with any system.

Lastly, it’s made of durable aluminum plates that protect the connections and ensure a professional installation.

pros

  • High quality and durable
  • Doesn’t overheat
  • Clear sound quality
  • Incredible power
  • Easy to use and versatile
  • Easy installation
  • They are compact

Cons

  • Doesn’t have low-pass/High-pass switches
4

JL Audio 5 Channel 900 Watt HD series Amplifier

JL Audio 5 Channel 900 Watt HD series Amplifier

Features

  • Speaker power 100 watts
  • Subwoofer power 500 watts
  • Easy setup
  • High and low pass fitters

JL AUDIO is a high-end amplifier that comes at a high price tag, yet it’s the best car amplifier that will give you the best bang for the money. It comes with all the bells and the whistles to provide you with an unforgettable sound experience.

It may not be a beginner amp but recommended for someone who has tested several products and weigh the options much easier. For the money, you’ll get a good bargain, and we’ll look at the reasons that make JD AUDIO a top-notch amplifier.

For starters, it’s a five-channel amplifier and falls under class D. What this means is that its a powerful speaker with a speaker power output of 100 wts and a Subwoofer power output of 500 watts.

Unlike some units that generally overheat when you add extra units, JD AUDIO is relatively cool. With this amp, you don’t have to worry about energy consumption. It comes at a small package that’s also energy efficient.

Other than that, it has high-pass and low pass filters alongside the Subsonic-filter. This combination is surely going to deliver crisp and clear sound quality.

The amp comes in a small design which is good news if space is an issue. Additionally, it’s a smart gadget that will accentuate your vehicle and match with your decor.

Installation is a breeze and will not require an expert hand.

pros

  • High quality and durable
  • Ease of use
  • Easy installation
  • Compact design
  • Elegant
  • Superior sound

Cons

  • It’s pricey
5

Pioneer GM-A4704 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier

Pioneer GM-A4704 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier

Features

  • Small size
  • 500 watts of power
  • Flexible HPF

PIONEER AMP is a low priced and high-quality amp that delivers a robust audio quality only comparable to the high-end options.

PIONEER is an elegant device straight from the box, and you’ll feel proud of fixing it in your vehicle.

That said, this car audio amplifier comes fitted with all the improvements found in modern amps to give you the best sound system.

The main advantage of this amp is the minimalistic design and power efficiency. Being a multi-channel device, you’ll have the flexibility of installing it in your car, which is ideal for running the whole system.

It has a power output of 520 watts which is excellent in producing clear sound on your car speakers or subwoofers.

Installation of this device is easy and doesn’t require a professional to get everything done.

Accordingly, it has a flexible HPF, which means you can adjust the frequency depending on your car’s music system. This flexibility makes it a suitable device if you have passengers in your vehicle.

Overall, you have a guarantee of quality and performance all in one tiny device.

pros

  • High quality
  • Compact design
  • Easy installation
  • Compact design
  • Good sound quality
  • Adjustable frequency
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Overheats

Why do I need an amplifier in my car?

If you have a music system in your car with the low sound, it can be frustrating trying to increase the volume from the available tuning system. Normally, a car stereo doesn’t have the capability of producing a high power output without an amplifier.

A stereo amp will save the day, and you can get the best car amps out there depending on your budget. Amplifiers come in different designs, and there are notable brands that are world-renowned which supply these essential components.

For the quality of your sound to improve, you’ll need to install an amplifier. This device enables your speakers to play louder and better sounds. It does this by increasing the sound output of your source to the level you need.

It improves the sound’s volume to a level that will please your ears. Also, it increases the audio to such a level that any other person enjoying a ride in your car will find it convenient.

How does a car amplifier work?  

For starters, a stereo amp is a small device that amplifies the sound of your car’s audio to an acceptable high. Despite the small size, this device is powerful and can power all the speakers and several subwoofers in your vehicle.

The first step is to install a suitable unit that’s compatible with your car’s stereo system.

A closer look at the amplifier reveals a small button which you use to increase and decrease the volume to a suitable level that is acceptable to you and your passengers.

This device may come in the form of a manual or a remote system. However, your choice will depend on what works best for your vehicle.

If the sound is too loud or low regardless of how much you increase the volume, you may need to install an amplifier.

An amplifier is a cheap option that will save you money for replacing the entire sound system. It works by boosting the quality of your audio as well as the output of the speakers.

The device boosts the inaudible level signal from the head unit to a more powerful one capable of moving the speakers back and forth to create a more loud and audible sound.

The amplifier will only increase the sound volume but not the quality. However, with other sound processing features like an equalizer, it can enhance the sound quality.

What kind of an amplifier should I buy?

If you’re looking for the best car audio amps, there are several things to consider. Most importantly, it should be of high quality and meet your needs.

Of course, the main reason is to increase or improve the sound of your speaker system. For you to get a clear understanding of the type of amplifier you should buy, it’s essential to understand the different classifications available in the market.

  • Class A amplifier has the highest sound but is the least efficient. It also overheats and is less reliable.
  • Class B is more efficient than class B, but the sound quality is not clear and is distorted. Just like class A, it also overheats.
  • Class AB – is a design which offers both efficiency and good sound.
  • Class D – has the best and highest efficiency, but sound-wise it might not produce a high sound as you require. It doesn’t overheat, and hence it’s good at energy consumption.

With these classifications in mind, you can now look at the product specs and pick a device that bests suits you. When shopping online, these specifications are available alongside the product features. However, if you’re shopping from a car’s accessories shop, you may need to specify to the seller on the kind of product you need.

The best amplifier is the one that will fulfill your desires and also make your music system be of quality.

Other than increasing the sound of your stereo, consider a product that will give you real value for money.

Preferably, consider a multi-feature product that is compatible with other devices to increase the sound quality. The quality of the audio should not be distorted but should be crisp and clear.

A good stereo amp should play louder and clear sound. However, it’s worthy to note that if a speaker is of poor sound quality, the amplifier is not likely to make it better. Your speakers should be perfect for enjoying quality sound after you install an amplifier.

How does an amplifier improve sound quality?   

As seen earlier in our discussion, an amplifier is a small device that boosts the sound of your car’s speakers or subwoofer.

Upon installation, an amplifier increases the sound signals and make the speakers produce a loud sound.

An amplifier converts Direct current (DC) from a power source to Alternating Current (AC) and delivers it to a medium such as a speaker.

More often, an ordinary amplifier may not improve sound quality. However, the advanced option comes fitted with an equalizer and other sound processing features to ensure sound clarity.

Even with such a sound improvement feature, the sound may remain distorted if the speakers are poor.

What hits harder 2-ohm or 4-ohms?

A difference in weight will cause slight changes in sound quality. A 2-ohm subwoofer will produce louder bass and will require less power. On the other hand, a 4-ohm subwoofer will require more power and subsequently produces a sound that is not too loud but of high-quality bass.

Depending on the type of bass you need, there are two options to choose; 2-ohm and a 4-ohm subwoofer.

It, therefore, means a subwoofer with 2-ohm impedance will hit harder and have an increased output than a 4-ohm one. A 4-ohm speaker should, therefore, be matched with a powerful amplifier. The best car audio amps should hit harder and have more power.

Max Peak vs RMS power   

These two are speaker terminologies, and we’ll look at the differences.

Power handling rating of a speaker has two ratings RMS also known as Root Mean Square and Peak or Maxim rating.

RMS means the speaker can handle a consistent supply of power. The maximum or Peak power is the maximum output power a speaker can handle in short bursts.

The low RMS rating and a Peak rating you’ll find indicated in the speaker manual means that a particular speaker will run comfortably on the low RMS. In addition, it can have occasional bursts up to the highest or maximum wattage indicated therein.

Major benefits of installing a car amplifier   

1

Volume

It can be irritating listening to distorted music in your vehicle. Worst yet, listening to the deafening sound of the screeching speaker. A car subwoofer amplifier helps in flattening the sound and improving the clarity. With a good amplifier, you will have a cleaner sound, increased power to the speakers and increased sound volume.
2

It’s cost-effective

You can improve the sound of your music system without changing the music system. Additionally, a multi-channel amp can adapt to many systems. For instance, large vehicles may require such a system that’s compatible with large systems. Also, these products are available in different categories and prices. Hence you can choose one depending on your budget.

3

Trendy

An amplifier will uplift you from the boring old system in your car and let you adopt trendy systems. It’s fashionable having the latest model on the market. Likewise, a Bluetooth car amplifier will connect to advanced devices.
4

Boosts efficiency

A high-end amp will increase the efficiency of your sound system without being a nuisance to other people.

Other things to consider when buying a car amplifier  

Before you buy, do a fact-finding of different types of amplifiers from friends or technicians to be sure of what you intend to buy. Also, consider reading online reviews about the product.

1)  Size

Study your vehicle and know exactly where you intend to fit the amplifier. Avoid buying a big amplifier that will not fit in the available space.

2)  Features

Ensure the amplifier has all the features that meet your product description. Confirm it has the expected ohm load and if it’s adaptable especially if you need it connected to multiple speakers

3)  Wiring 

You need to consider the quality of your wiring system as you install the amplifier. You can opt for oxygen-free copper wire is the most suitable for connecting the amplifiers though it’s expensive. It’s also high quality and a good value for money.

4)  Warranty

A warranty guarantees you of return of the product if it doesn’t meet your expectations or doesn’t function properly within a specified period. In this way, you will not lose any money if you experience problems with the gadget after purchase. A longer warranty period is desirable.

5)  Compatibility

When shopping for an amplifier, consider the power of the speakers in terms of ohms. Avoid a situation where the amp will end up being overloaded, which can damage it.

6)  Power

It is advisable to choose a car subwoofer amplifier with more power. Less power in the amplifier may strain the speaker, and it blows in the process. The amp should always produce enough for the speakers to stay free from damages.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ’S)

How do I choose an amplifier for a car with a factory stereo?

Most cars come with stereos. These stereos may not produce a loud sound even when you tune in to the maximum. You should improve on the sound with an amplifier of 50 to 200 watts RMS of power and the sound will improve.

What is the best class car amplifier?

Amplifiers are rated depending on the different categories. There are four classifications of amplifiers. Class A, B, AB and D. The rate of sound quality differs from one class to the other. Class AB appears best since it has a capacity for efficiency and good quality.

How do I choose an amplifier?

Choosing the best car amplifier can be tricky more so if you are not conversant with the way they function. It is therefore vital to consider all the factors in this guide wholesomely to assist you in picking the most suitable to suit your demands and give you value.

How much does an amplifier cost?

It is not easy to specify how much it will cost since prices differ depending on the brand and other factors. The quality and efficiency may affect the pricing of each amplifier. It’s possible to find a low-cost amp which is so efficient than an expensive one which its quality may not match its cost.

Do I need to change the speakers to improve the sound when I install an amplifier?

No. There’s no need to change the speakers if they’re of good quality and functional. Notably, the quality of the speakers will affect the sound output which may not improve even after installing the amplifier.

Can a faulty speaker damage an amplifier?

Before installing an amplifier, it is essential to ensure the speakers are in good working condition. Less power in the amplifier will damage the amp due to overloading. Ensure the amplifier has enough power to function with the speakers. Do a thorough diagnosis o your vehicle speakers before any installation.

Conclusion  

When looking for an amplifier, it’s is advisable to have some knowledge of the different classes and types on the market. From our review, it’s evident that the best car amplifier will give you the best sound quality. However, it’s not possible to test the performance of an amp by merely looking at it.

For this reason, it’s essential to understand the product specifications of the item you want depending on your needs. Additionally, we mentioned the idea of customer reviews which is very important in shopping for the item. Our guide is primarily centred on customer experiences on the products.

Sources:-

  1. Car Stereo Amplifiers— howStuffWorks
  2. An amp is a key to better sound in the car–Crutchfield

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