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Best Car Amplifier

The Best Car Amplifier 2020

To improve the sound quality and bass from your car speakers, you will require a car amplifier. They allow you to control and boost electrical audio signals to a much higher voltage, which is then used to drive the speakers within the car.

The best car amplifier is the JL Audio JX1000/1D, which has produces 1,000 watts RMS and has a variable bass boost centered at 45 Hz.

Amplifiers are categorized into various classes and feature a number of channels to power up additional speakers. This is an important factor if you have a multiple speakers or simply want to power up a car subwoofer.

Car Amplifier Comparison

Car AmplifierTypeMax RMS
JL Audio JX1000Monoblock1,000 Watts
Rockford Fosgate R500X1DMonoblock500 Watts
Alpine PDR-V755 Channel350 Watts
JL Audio XD7005 Channel300 Watts
Kenwood KAC-M30044 Channel600 Watts
Pioneer GM-D9701Monoblock2,400 Watts
Kenwood KAC-9106DMonoblock2,000 Watts
Rockford Fosgate R300X44 Channel300 Watts
Skar Audio RP-1504 Channel1,000 Watts
BOSS Audio R3400DMonoblock3,400 Watts

Choosing the best car amplifier is dependent upon the audio system setup within your car. If you simply want to supply power to a subwoofer, a monoblock amp would be the best option. If it’s for multiple speakers, you may need a 4 or 5 channel amp.

The amplifier output is measured in watts, where the power is split up into channels. For example, a 500 watt, 5 channel amplifier will distribute power by 5 x 100 watts.

Below is a list of the best car amplifiers that boost the electrical audio signals for improved sound quality and bass.

The Best Car Amplifier

1. JL Audio JX1000 Monoblock Amplifier

JL Audio are a premium car audio manufacturer with many high end car amplifiers available. However, this JX1000 Class D amplifier is one of their better value units that provides superior power within a compact design.

If you are looking for an amplifier that will allow your subwoofer to provide hard hitting bass, this is the car amplifier for you. It is a monoblock amplifier (only 1 channel) but if you require more channels you can opt for the XD700/5v2 model.

Other features of the JL Audio JX1000 include:

  • 500 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 750 watts RMS @ 3-ohm
  • 1,000 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Variable bass boost to 12 dB
  • Soft start to prevent clicks or pops
  • Low profile design at 11.00 L x 7.75 W x 2.00 H

The JL Audio JX1000 is the best monoblock amplifier for your car that provides excellent performance and relatively good value for money. The low profile design and high power output makes it a great option for those with limited space.

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2. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Class D Amplifier

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is one of the most popular car amplifiers available and for good reason. It has a rugged aluminum heat sink construction and provides excellent performance for those that are on a tight budget.

Unlike other cheap amps, it uses the desirable MOSFET power supply and 4 gauge power/ground connections.

Other features of the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D include:

  • 300 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 500 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • MOSFET power supply
  • Remote punch level control
  • 18dB boost at 45Hz
  • LP/HP/AP crossover and infrasonic filter
  • Available as Class D or monoblock
  • Dimensions are 8.50 L x 6.80 W x 2.00 H inches

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D  is the best cheap car amplifier for powering up your subwoofer. It also has a stylish design with a matte and gloss black finish, which adds to the aesthetics when mounting inside of the car.

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3. Alpine PDR-V75 5 Channel Amp

Alpine are another premium car audio brand and their 5 channel amp is highly rated for producing excellent sound quality. For peace of mind, all amplifiers produced by Alpine have been tested and come with a certification of their power ratings.

The brand have gone to great lengths to ensure that this amplifier looks great when mounted in the car. From the sleek design to the rotatable illuminated badge, which allows you to adjust it to match the vertical or horizontal position.

Other features of the Alpine PDR-V75 include:

  • Class D amplifier
  • 250 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 350 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Pre-amp and speaker level inputs
  • MOSFET power and output stages
  • Variable high pass, low pass and subsonic filters
  • Variable bass boost functionality
  • Dimensions are 10.75 L x 6.5 W x 2.00 H inches

The Alpine PDR-V75 is a car amplifier designed for maximum sound quality and is one of the most aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is a 5 channel amp that will make a great OEM replacement and provide plenty of functionality.

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4. JL Audio XD700 5 Channel Amp

If you are looking for additional channels to power up extra speakers, then the JL Audio XD700 is ideal. It is a 5 channel car amplifier that is compact, lightweight and provides plenty of settings for tailoring your audio.

The brand have been producing this model for many years but it still continues to produce excellent sound quality.

Other features of the JL Audio XD700 include:

  • 75 watts RMS x 4 + 180 watts RMS x 1 (at 4 ohms)
  • 100 watts RMS x 4 + 300 watts RMS x 1 (at 2 ohms)
  • 200 watts RMS x 2 bridged at 4 ohms + 300 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
  • 12 – 22,000 hZ frequency response
  • Heavy duty aluminum construction

The JL Audio XD700 is the best 5 channel amp and perfect for powering up multiple speakers without losing sound quality. It does come with a rather large price tag but its a worthwhile investment that’s backed by a reputable brand.

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5. Kenwood 22154656 4 Channel Amplifier

Kenwood are a car audio brand known for their sound quality and durable design. The KAC-M3004 4 channel amplifier follows that great reputation and is very popular across the USA for its performance and value for money.

Unlike other bulky alternatives, this amp has a compact design at 6.7 x 5.9 x 3.1 inches, which is ideal for small spaces.

Other features of the Kenwood KAC-M3004 include:

  • 50 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 75 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Peak power RMS of 600 watts
  • Signal sensing turn-on
  • Conformal coated main printed circuit board
  • Protection against moisture or dampness

Overall, the Kenwood KAC-M3004 is an amplifier that offers excellent value for money and can fit virtually anywhere in the car. This versatile amplifier can also be used in additional applications that involve moisture such as boats or ATV’s.

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6. Pioneer Gm-D9601 Amplifier For Bass

Pioneer is another big brand in the car audio industry and their GM-D9601 is one of their best car amplifier models available. It’s expensive but with a compact design that is able to produce 2,400 watts peak power, its worth the extra.

For maximum durability, it has a heavy duty aluminum construction with nickle plated screw terminals.

Other features of the Pioneer GM-D9601 include:

  • 800 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • 1,200 watts RMS @ 1-ohm
  • Class D amplifier
  • Patented protection control system
  • Vairable low pass filter adjustable from 40 to 240 Hz
  • Bass boost control

The Pioneer GM-D9601 is a powerful amplifier that is able to provide hard hitting bass from your subwoofer. Even though it is relatively small compared to similar power amplifiers, it still out performs the majority with very clean and loud audio.

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7. Kenwood KAC-9106D Monoblock Car Amp

The Kenwood KAC-9106D is a monoblock amplifier with a class D design, which the brand state has a rugged construction. It uses aluminum cover plates to protect the connections and control whilst providing a professional look.

It’s able to output an impressive 1,000 Watts RMS to the subwoofer with low pass and subsonic filters to perfect the sound quality.

Other features of the Kenwood KAC-9106D include:

  • 500 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 1,000 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • 0 to 18 dB of bass boost
  • Monoblock with a class D design
  • Speaker level inputs with signal sensing turn on
  • Cast aluminum heat sink construction

The Kenwood KAC-9106D is a compact car amplifier that produces plenty of power for its size. This particular model works best with subwoofers but Kenwood produce many other amps with multiple channels for extra speakers.

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8. Rockford Fosgate R300X4 Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate are one of the most popular brands for producing car amplifiers and the R300X4 is another great option. It’s a 4 channel amp that has a cast aluminum heat sink construction with the desirable top mount controls.

The brand state that it’s very versatile and is the only car amplifier you will require for your audio system.

Other features of the Rockford Fosgate R300X4 include:

  • 50 watts x 4 @ 4-ohm
  • 75 watts x 4 @ 2-ohm
  • 150 watts x 2 @ 4-ohm bridged
  • 2/4 channel input switch
  • MOSFET power supply
  • 4 gauge power/ground connectors
  • On board punch EQ control

Overall, the Rockford Fosgate R300X4 is an excellent all-round car amplifier that won’t disappoint. It’s a versatile amp that is built by a reputable car audio brand that promise excellent performance from this unit.

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9. Skar Audio RP-150 4 Channel Amp

The Skar Audio RP-150 is a 4 channel car amplifier that is available in multiple power options to best suit your requirements. The most powerful multi-channel amp is the 1,000 watt unit, which will provides clean and crisp power.

It has a sleek finish with a thick metal outer shell with built-in heat sink that allow the amp to keep cool.

Other features of the Skar Audio RP-150 include:

  • 250 watts x 4 channels @ 2 Ohms
  • 125 watts x 4 channels @ 4 Ohms
  • High speed MOSFET power supply
  • Premium grade internal components
  • 4 gauge power and ground input terminals

The Skar Audio RP-150 is an excellent all-round car amplifier that combines value for money and performance. The multiple power options allow you to choose a specific amplifier that best suits your audio system.

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10. BOSS Audio R3400D Class D Amplifier

The BOSS Audio R3400D is a class D car amplifier that is available in 4 different monoblock configurations. These include a 1100, 2000, 2400 and 3400 watt setup that all come with the brands impressive 6 year warranty.

It’s a car amplifier designed for improving bass with various filters and controls to fine tune the audio.

Other features of the BOSS Audio R3400D include:

  • 3,400 watts RMS @ 1-ohm
  • 1,700 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Remote subwoofer control
  • Low Level Inputs
  • RCA Pre-amp Outputs
  • Switchable Phase Control
  • 13.5 x 10.3 x 2.3 inches in size (D x W x H)

Overall, the BOSS Audio R3400D is an affordable car amplifier that provides excellent performance for heavy hitting bass setups. Most budget options have a bad name but this amplifier is an exemption that won’t disappoint.

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Car Amplifier Buying Guide

The purpose of a car amplifier is to boost the low level audio signal generated from your head unit. This then provides the power that moves the cones of your subwoofer in your car for that hard hitting deep bass and other car audio speakers.

When running active subwoofers, you will need a powerful car amp in order to move the cone. On top of this, you should invest into a top rated double din stereo or single din stereos for more outputs and power.

You should never spend huge amounts on your speakers and subwoofer but buy the cheapest car amplifier. If you do this, what is the point? An amplifier is often forgotten about by many beginner audio installers. You can only take it to the next level by buying a car amplifier and installing it correctly with an amp wiring kit.

Why Do You Need a Car Amplifier?

With an amplifier, you have a clean source of power that can be driven to your speakers without straining any of your equipment.

Car Stereos are usually limited to a maximum capability of 10 watts RMS (Root Mean Square) of power output for each channel.

The higher the RMS rating, the louder your car audio can be without distortion and this is the most important figure when looking at car audio.

This limitation prevents the stereo from being able to exclude road noise from interfering with the quality of the music, especially at high volumes.

Much unlike a built in amplifier, which can significantly improve the sound quality of your existing factory stereo.

Amplifiers also serve as sufficient power for superior high grade speakers. In the instance that you purchase expensive, top-of-the-line component systems or aftermarket speakers, the amplifier provides the correct voltage of power in order for them to work efficiently.

Car Amplifier

A compact four channel amplifier will provide sufficient power to boost both the front and rear speakers of your vehicle. Amplifiers are equipped with inputs that are designed to specifically handle the high-level signals that flows from the wiring of the speakers.

Speaker specifications publish continuous power ratings, or RMS ratings, that are presented as a range, such as “5-60 watts RMS power range.”

While the first number is not important, the second number is representation of the driving power of the amplifier into speakers in which the fullest and best operation can be derived.

Because these numbers are usually conservative when compared to their actual output, is important to keep in mind that your speakers may require an output that is as much as 150% of the rating in order to operate efficiently.

Typically speaking, the best results are often achieved when the speakers can derive, at minimum, 75% of the power rating. Additionally, amplifiers provide power for subwoofers as well, as they require an extreme amount of power that only an amplifier can provide.

Number of Channels

An important aspect to buying a car amplifier is deciding on how many channels are required for your audio install. A 3-channel amplifier can effectively power a sub. But a 4-channel amplifier can be bridged together in order to operate the subwoofer with additional power.

A 5-channel amplifier can conveniently power a more enhanced system, in a compact manner. 6 and 8-channel amplifiers are specifically designed to operate 3 and 4-way systems, with one driver dedicated to each amplifier channel and two channels bridged together to operate a subwoofer.

The power of an amplifier is split between the channels. For example, if there is 300 watts of power between 3 channels, each would have 100 watts. If you only want to power up your powerful subwoofer, its advised that you go for a monoblock/single channel amplifier.

Speakers in your car that are under powered by a cheap amplifier will sound distorted. You are always better buying a more powerful car amp that will run with no stress for a reliable car audio setup.

Car Amps For Bass

People enjoy the feeling of the bass in the car, not just the sound. But your standard factory speakers and stereo system is not equipped to deliver such power. In order to achieve the hearty baseline, you must ensure that your amplifier has a low pass filter that only delivers low-frequency audio to the subwoofer.

Its important to note that if you have set your receiver up for low pass filters, bass boost or crossovers, do not do it with the amplifier too. This will increase the distortion and the overall sound quality.

Amplifying the bass with an improved amplifier that matches your speaker wattage is a great way to increase performance and bass for your car audio setup.

car amp for bass

Amplifier Type Classes

An amplifier class is the type of structure of the amplifier electronic circuit and characteristic. Different classes often have different efficiency, performance and power resources.

There are five main types of amplifier classes that are used within different amplifiers. They are A, B, A/B, G & H and D, which all have there Pro’s and Con’s.

Class A amplifier is the simplest that uses a single transistor in a linear mode. Class B use a pair of transistors in  push-pull type of application, which is more efficient than class A but crossover distortion may occur.

Class A/B is used for most low cost designs and is a mix of A and B, where there is a small continuous current when no input is present. When the input signal is high enough voltage, only one transistor will conduct but both of the transistors will conduct when the input signal has zero volts.

Class G/H is an improved Class A/B where both work on the power supply section. If the output power is high, then a higher voltage power supply is required. Class D is mostly used for low cost solutions where the the devices will work as electronic switches as opposed to a linear gain.

Amplifier Impedance

The impedance of a car amp is the electrical resistance of the speaker, which is measured in Ohms. However, if  you are looking for the best sound quality, this is a figure you will want to keep your eye on. JL Audio are usually have the top audio quality with low audio impedance.

Many manufacturers claim excessive peak power ratings but the actual output may be far less within cheaper models. The majority of amplifiers will be using a 12 volt system and you can measure the actual output power rating by multiplying the AMPS by VOLTS. Check the fuses to see what type of amps is being used for the audio system. This is usually a common car audio problem that most rookie audio installers come across when installing a powerful amplifier.

car amps for high quality music

Bridging Amplifier Channels

For audio installers wanting to run a subwoofer without using a monoblock amp, bridging is a method of increasing an amplifier channels power. For example, 2X100 watts could create 1 200 watts channel. The majority of 2 and 4 channel amplifiers can be bridgeable to power up a subwoofer.

Amplifiers that have 3 or 5 channels such as the JL Audio amplifier sometimes have dedicated subwoofer channel that reduces the need to bridge between channels.

For those that are new to bridging a car amplifier, we highly recommend that you check out this guide before attempting to do it yourself.


If you are yet to install a car amplifier but have upgraded all the other audio inside your car, now is the time to get one. The upgrades you have made to your existing car audio will not be able to reach its full capabilities without one.

Budget plays a big part in car audio and its no different when it comes to car amps. In order to get the performance that you desire, you will need to spend the extra. We highly recommend sticking to big brand in the audio industry for the best results.

All of our recommendations cover a wide range of car amplifier types and budgets to suit your requirements. The amplifier of your car is the brains to the overall sound quality and its important that you choose wisely.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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