Best Car Amplifier Reviews 2017 – 2018

Car enthusiasts cling to the best stereo amplifier in boosting their electric signals and their power. When it comes to car audio systems, an amplifier tends to take low-power output signal from a radio, an AUX connection, or a CD player; although it is capable of increasing the signal strength until it powers subwoofers and speakers.

An external car amp is undoubtedly more powerful, compared to the built-in amps in car stereos, delivering clean power without or with less distortion; thereby, improving the overall sound quality. Using good car amps is sometimes necessary, considering the poor or averaged-quality, factory-installed amps in vehicles. Generally, it is desired by many car owners due to its unmatched power and efficiency in boosting their audio systems.

With that said, this article provides you with the best car amplifier brands, which have been rated by actual users. This article also discusses a buying guide, giving some helpful tips to probable buyers of a car amplifier.

PictureModelEditor RatingsOur Review
BOSS AUDIO R1100M (4.2 / 5)
1797+ Reviews
Our Review
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D (4.8 / 5)
492+ Reviews
Our Review
Kenwood KAC-M1804 (4.3 / 5)
129+ Reviews
Our Review
Planet Audio AC2000.2 (4 / 5)
366+ Reviews
Our Review
Alpine KTP-445U (5 / 5)
2+ Reviews
Our Review

Best Car Amplifier Reviews

BOSS AUDIO R1100M

First on the list of car amplifier reviews is the R1100M Riot by Boss Audio. It is a 4.2-Star-rated product, featuring a remote subwoofer control. It is a Class A/B and a powerful 2-ohm amp with 1100-watt as its maximum power, rocking your tunes like no other.

Boss Audio allows you to customize your sound system via the switchable Bass Boost and Variable Low Pass Crossover features of the R1100M. Tweak the bass, while feeling the vibes through the remote subwoofer control as this amp from the Riot Series is just the perfect equipment, despite novice audio buyers.

For those who want to add bass as well as an improved sound and performance, this system claims to be the most powerful at a reasonable price tag. Additionally, it features low and high level inputs, including a blue backlit Boss logo. On top of that, this is the best car amp for the money, considering the 6-year platinum warranty from the dealer.

Its maximum power is derived from the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors (MOSFET) power supply, which is highly capable of switching from full into non-conduction, allowing a high-efficiency output.

The 2-ohm as its electrical resistance is stable; thereby, comfortably powering subwoofers and speakers during operation. This feature also results in more volume and more power. On the other hand, the variable low-pass filter allows you to control the frequencies, which pass through the subwoofer; whereas, the switchable bass boost feature lets you enhance the low bass.

Indeed, the R1100M Riot is one of the best car amps today, offering the R1100M amp, a high level input plug, a remote subwoofer control, plus cable, an owner’s manual, and a warranty card for every buyer. Read our detailed R1100M Riot Review.

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

Meanwhile, the R500X1D Prime Class D Amplifier garners an average customer rating of 4.8-Stars. Provided by Rockford Fosgate, this 1-channel, class D amp is quality made and rated as 500-watt by one channel at 2 ohms RMS.

Similar to the previous product, the R500X1D also features the MOSFET power supply for utmost efficiency. It is the best car amplifier that boasts a cast aluminum heatsink, short circuit protection, muted turn on, over current protection, high level inputs, PCA pass through outputs, real time output, plus a power supply thermal sensing ability.

Moreover, this amp features a phase switch and a remote bass control. Unlike the regular amps on the market, the R500X1D is CEA-2006 compliant, ensuring you of safety and efficiency at the same time. It measures at 8.50-inch in length, 6.80-inch in width, and 2-inch in height.

On top of those impressive features, these top rated amplifiers also offer an on-board 12 decibel/octave as well as HP/LP/AP crossover, plus an infrasonic filter. A built-in punch EQ is likewise added to the design that generates a boost of +18dB at 45Hz. For better durability, the R500X1D provides a cast aluminum heatsink, alongside a stealth control panel that is top-mounted. For punch level control, a wired remote is included too.

According to car audio amplifier reviews, this amp is a miniature powerhouse and can surely go a long way as happy customers are still enjoying its power for years now. Some actual users also pair this amp with R2S-1X10 enclosure, which is also from Rockford Fosgate. Overall, it is an affordable and perfect set up for different vehicles. Read our detailed Rockford Fosgate Review.

Kenwood KAC-M1804

Moreover, the Kenwood KAC-M1804 receives a 4.4-Star as an average rating from customers. This 4-channel, Class D amp is compact with a digital design. It is the best car amplifier for many due to its 4-ohms RMS power rating and 400-watts as the maximum power output.

This amp features a conformal coated circuit board that is perfect for marine applications, unlike other amplifiers. It also offers an extruded aluminum heatsink similar to the previous product. Measuring at 5 ½ inches in width, 3 1/16 inches in diameter, and 1 5/16 inches in height, this amplifier’s overall design and technology is suitable for multiple purposes such as in cars, ATVs, marine vehicles, motorcycles, and more.

Just like the R500X1D, the KAC-M1804 also complies with the CEA-2006 standards. It provides speaker-level and pre-amp inputs, including a signal-sensing switch on speaker-level inputs that eliminates a separate remote control. There are also RCA cables provided as well as short power or speaker harness.

While this may be the best amplifier, the use of a 10-gauge power is highly recommended. Aside from the one-year warranty from the manufacturer, the KAC-M1804 comes with an owner’s manual, 2 38-inch RCA stereo cables, a 5-foot power and speaker harness, 4 5/8-inch self-tapping screws, 2 13.5-inch plastic wire ties, 2 4-inch plastic wire ties, an instruction manual, and the 4-Channel amp, alongside a 15A ATM fuse. Indeed, the KAC-M1804 is the most complete and the best 4 channel amp you could ever find. Read our Kenwood KAC-M1804 Review.

Planet Audio AC2000.2

Planet Audio introduces the AC2000.2 ANARCHY Class A/B amp with a remote subwoofer level control. This amplifier has 2000-watt full range with 2 to 8 ohms as its electrical resistance. It is a stable 2-channel amp that also offers the MOSFET power supply, similar to most of the products above.

Hence, the AC2000.2 ANARCHY will simply rock your audio system, allowing you to customize the sound through the variable high and low pass crossover. This is also made possible by the Bass Boost feature of this amp, giving you a continuous bass thumping through the remote control.

This 4-Star-rated product is among the best car amplifiers today, featuring Bridge Channels that further enhance the power, while providing more flexibility. Included in the ANARCHY Series of Planet Audio, the AC2000.2 amp ensures you of a very durable and flexible product for total customization and control over it, allowing you to drive like an anarchist with unmatched sound system.

Besides that, the AC2000.2 amp’s design also includes a blue illuminated Anarchy logo with a 6-year platinum warranty from the dealer. This amp comes with not only a warranty card, but also an owner’s manual, a high-level input plug, and a remote sub control with cable. So, break loose and turn up the beat, using the AC2000.2 Anarchy amp, powering a pair of your subwoofers or speakers and enjoy total sound customization like no other. Read our Planet Audio AC2000.2 Review.  

Alpine KTP-445U

Last, but definitely not the least, is the KTP-445U amp by Alpine, which is a 4-channel power pack amp with a 4.6-Star as an average customer rating. It is certainly one of the top car amplifiers nowadays, considering the several and impressive features.

Primarily, it is a compact Class D amp for aftermarket and factory receivers. It has a universal plug, allowing you to send signals through RCA outputs or via speaker-level wiring. It runs the same power circuit as the receiver. It is also a CEA-2006 compliant with compact, flexible, and easy-to-install design.

The KTP-445U amp is the best amplifier for car, fitting in many locations where most amps would not. It is equipped with auto-sensing-speaker level and RCA connectors. Measuring at the dimensions of 7-7/16 inches x 1-1/2 inches x 2-1/2 inches, this compact amp offers the perfect size for most vehicles. The flexible wires also allow for quick and easy installation, while saving space at the same time.

Among the best car amp brands is Alpine, considering the independent filters in the KTP-445U. These filters are designed for front and rear inputs, whereas, high-pass selectable switch for rear and front allow for frequency filtering, in spite different speakers. You can choose between selectable range and full range such as 60Hz, 80Hz or 120Hz for fine-tuning your crossover points.

Furthermore, it offers configurable inputs for RCA or speaker-level, including a selectable 4-channel or 2-channel options for total control over your system, while allowing you to identify source inputs and eliminate Y-adapters at the same time. On top of that, the KTP-445U also offers variable gain controls with the best signal-to-noise design within its class. Read our Alpine KTP-445U Review.

Car Amplifier Buying Guide

Looking for the best car amp could really be a daunting task due to the endless selections on the market. However, if you consider this guide, there are surely big chances of ending up with the best choice.

Car Amplifier Types

With no or less understanding on the types of car amps, you might end up buying a wrong one, considering the sub-standard amplifiers with limited abilities. So, for the types of car amps, you can choose between three choices, including the Monoblock, 2-Channel, and the 4-Channel.

  • Mono – As its name suggests, the mono amp powers a single speaker
  • 2-Channel – A 2-channel car amp can boost the signal of a subwoofer and two speakers
  • 4-Channel – Whereas, the 4-channel amp can boost the signal to two subwoofers and four speakers at the same time.

Choosing the Best Car Amp

Certainly, there are wide ranges of good amplifiers out there, although a good one may not suffice the needs and requirements of a specific buyer. On that note, it is still imperative to narrow down the options provided by car audio manufacturers.

  • More Bass – If you’re the buyer who’s looking for an amp for more bass, then what you need to get is a model with a low-pass filter. Such type of amp can send low-frequency notes towards the subwoofer of your car, keeping it from trying to replicate high notes, which, in turn, prolongs the life and increases the performance of the subwoofer. Hence, a Class D amp is the best choice in terms of achieving more bass.
  • Enhanced High-Frequency Audio – For this purpose, look for the best car audio brands with on-board high-pass filters, which tend to send high-frequency notes towards the tweeters. Such type of amp has the design of preventing the tweeters from trying to replicate low-frequency sounds.
  • Speaker-level Inputs – While many cars have factory-installed amps, many car owners still search for improvements for their audio systems. In this regard, looking for amps with speaker-level inputs is imperative. Such feature has the capacity of processing the already-amplified signals. It is also essential to pick one that can generate 75% to 150% of a speaker’s power limit. This is, of course, after considering the car stereo’s amplifying power.

Benefits of Adding an Amplifier

Surely, there are enjoyable benefits of having an amp in your car, and you’re definitely on the right page if you want loud music as amplifiers bring out all the details and excitement. So, here are the advantages of adding an amplifier.

  • For Better Sound Quality – Having the best amplifier will give you an additional power source that will produce cleaner and better sound quality, which also significantly prevents power strain on the vehicle’s head unit. Being an external device, such amplifiers are designed without the constraints of the minimal space that in-dash stereos have. This makes built-in amplifiers inadequate in supplying proper power levels, eventually leading to a more satisfying sound experience.
  • Use of Upgraded Speakers — Upgrading a vehicle’s sound system is a very common practice, but it is important to remember that factory systems or in-dash receivers may not provide the needed driving power for bigger and more powerful speakers. High-quality, powerful, and bigger aftermarket component or speaker systems require the best car amp for the money that will lead to peak performance. This provides sound experiences that existing in-dash receivers can ever provide. Using such devices allows the use of bigger and powerful speakers beyond the power range capabilities of the power source.
  • Subwoofer Use — Subwoofers significantly, require more power compared to in-dash factory speaker systems. Using a separate amplifier is definitely a must in order to fully experience the full performance of any subwoofer.

Features to Look for in Car Amplifiers

Finding good amplifiers may be a daunting task, especially for newbies. Some may only see it as a small boxy device that is simply hooked up to a car‘s speaker system. Some may look like simple devices, while some are designed with bright metallic finishes with cool-looking fins for cooling. It is important to know though that an amplifier’s value is not measured by its exterior appearance, but its internal functionality and capabilities. Many or even all car amplifier reviews will state that it is crucial to find the best match, especially if upgrading is a consideration.

In choosing the best device, knowing the right output power needed in any system is crucial. The right amplifier should have the matching total wattage needed to drive any setup. Depending on the specification of the system, it is also important to consider the number of channels in the amplifier’s total output power will be divided.  Supplying enough power is essential to achieve superb sound quality, as under and over powering can be very harmful as it can damage the speakers. Mismatched specifications lead to low and distorted unsatisfactory sounds and can also lead to excess heat and system failures.

The best car audio brands offer amplifiers with two, four or six stereo channels. The number of channels is very important to consider determining which device fits best, depending on the system’s configuration. Primarily, the number and power needed to drive speakers must be considered. Amplifier channels can come in stereo or mono mode. Stereo channels provide right or left audio signals, while mono channels will provide single signals with left and right outputs. Normally mono channel fitted amplifiers are ideal for driving subwoofers.

Conclusion

All in all, it is wise to rely on the top amplifiers that are rated by actual users. It is also sensible to pick one from a trusted provider, manufacturer, or a dealer. Keep in mind that these rated products are based on first-hand experiences; thereby, giving you feedback in accordance to their familiarity and use of such equipment. By doing so, you’ll also have higher chances of ending up at a reliable component for your car.

External car amps will always make sound systems, spectacular, producing booming bass as well as clarity at any volume, and sparkling highs. So, whether you are upgrading your stock speakers or adding a subwoofer, the reviewed top amplifier brands in this article are worth considering. Check this guide too.

Check out other Car Speakers & Radio too!