The 10 Best Car Amplifiers
This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in March of 2018. Although most cars include a built-in stereo these days, if you're willing to invest a little bit of money, it'll go a long way toward providing richer, more detailed and immersive audio for years to come. One of the aftermarket amplifiers on our list will ensure that your speakers have plenty of headroom, and that you and your passengers can hear your music loud and clear. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 08, 2021:
There have been four additions to our list in this latest update, starting with the Boss Audio PF2600 Phantom, which has garnered enough praise in its relatively short lifespan to attract our attention. Standout features are its affordability, surprising volume, and, of course, its ghostly illumination, from which we presume it gets its name. Next, we replaced the Rockford Fosgate Punch with the Rockford Fosgate PBR400X4D; a newer model, based on the same tried-and-tested architecture, but with updated components and improved efficiency.
We decided to add two powerhouses to the ranking, including the JL Audio RD-900, which can be used as a standalone unit, or can be daisy-chained with several other amplifiers to create a formidable system. It is loaded with three-way protection to support this, and is designed with effective heat dissipation in mind. And lastly, we added the Rockville dBcomp4, which is powerful enough at 3000 watts RMS to be used for competitive car audio purposes, and which will afford you plenty of headroom, provided your speakers are up to the job.
May 14, 2019:
Everyday music listeners and audiophiles will gravitate towards very different products on our list. While an everyday consumer's kind of amp, like the Sound Ordnance M75, will turn a mediocre-sounding system into a good one, it simply can't excel in the way a unit like the Rockford Fosgate Punch can. The price difference between the two isn't all that great, but if anything, this demonstrates what a worthwhile purchase an amp is, as for a relatively small investment, you can transform the sonic landscape of your car. Stock stereo systems are notoriously mediocre, and often downright bad, but a good amplifier can change this by optimizing the output of your speakers.
Now, with that said, imagine what a really high-quality amp can do. If you're willing to upgrade to something like the Pioneer GM Digital or the JL Audio XD700, you should either have some aftermarket speakers or, at the very least, a plan to get some in the near future. With these amps powering your system, it'd be a shame to not maximize their potential by matching them with capable speakers.
If you're just looking for a monoblock (single channel) amp to drive your subwoofer, the MTX Audio Thunder is amongst the best in class. However, buying a dedicated monoblock usually isn't necessary. Using a multi-channel unit with a dedicated sub channel is perfectly acceptable, and is, in fact, the norm.
JL Audio HD900/5 This one pushes a mean 100 watts RMS to each front and rear full-range speaker, as well as 500 watts RMS to your subwoofer. It is bridgeable, stackable, differential-balanced, and can be operated with a remote-control as you drive. Its high- and low-pass filters are variable, and its sub channel has a subsonic filter. Essentially, it has everything the other models have, plus more power and the added convenience of being able to adjust it from the driver's seat. Further, if you buy the unit from a certified distributor, it'll be under warranty for two years. jlaudio.com/