Updated: May 27, 2015

Car Amplifier Reviews:

Lots of people don't even know what amplifiers are for to begin with, so let's start with the basics. If you are looking to get loud music in your car and keep the quality, then you will need to buy a car amplifier. Car amplifiers will give you better sound quality by driving your speakers without any straining. Amplifiers that are built into an in-dash stereo are limited, but if you get an external power amp then your music will sound cleaner and more defined at the highest volume levels. An amp will also supply needed power to any upgraded speakers you buy. Lastly, when you need to power a subwoofer, a separate amp is a must since subwoofers require a lot more power than name brand or factory in-dash receivers deliver. A mono amplifier is perfect for powering a subwoofer. A 2 or 4 channel amp is good for component speaker systems or full range while a 4, 5, or 6-channel amp is needed to handle a combination of subwoofers and full-range speakers. Amplifiers are easy to add to any factory-installed or brand name receiver. See below for the best amplifiers and details on how to install an amplifier in your car.

What to look for when buying an amplifier:

We have provided a short list of things to look for when purchasing a new car amplifier:
  • Match Your Car Speakers & Car Amplifier - Consider the RMS Power and Peak Power ratings
  • Look for speaker-level inputs
  • Get good bass - need a car amplifier with low-pass filter
  • Two-channel car amplifier at a minimum
  • Does the amplifier have remote controls, voltage monitors, control center
  • Go with a quality brand like Kicker, Alpine, Audiobahn, MTX, Phoenix Gold, and Rockford Fosgate

Crutchfield is a recognized name in the car stereo business and has been delivering their catalogs to homes across America for decades with the latest amplifiers, subwoofers, equalizers, speakers, stereos, and more. We love their website too since it has detailed articles on the top selling car amplifiers and they carry all the leading brands. For car amplifier reviews we turn to websites like CNET, Digitaltrends.com, and Ecoustics.com. They all offer in depth reviews on car audio components and you can find the latest amplifiers as well. Magazines like Car Audio and Car Sound regularly test and review the top rated car amplifiers so that consumers have an idea of which brands and models are the "best". We looked through our collection of Consumer Reports magazine but could not find any recent reviews on car amps. Epinions is another website that has dozens of owner comments and feedback on car audio amps, but too many of them are outdated. RECOMMENDED - We suggest looking online at Amazon.com - they carry all the big name brands like Pioneer, Pyle, Boss, and Kenwood. Many are priced between $75 and $150 but the more powerful Rockford Fosgate models can be $250+. The collection of multichannel amplifiers is impressive and we advise you to stop by and look. You can browse all the top selling car amplifiers online here.

4 Channel Car Amplifier:

When it comes to 4 channel amps, we are really torn between the Kenwood KAC-8404 600-Watt Max Power Stereo Four-Channel Power Amplifier and the Rockford Fosgate Punch 400-Watt Multi-Channel Amplifier. Both offer incredible sound quality to your components and owners say the Rockford is a bit easier to install. The P400-4 is ideal for car audio enthusiasts that want to power front and rear speakers. Check out all the multichannel car amplifiers online here.

How to Install a Car Amplifier?:

You need to consider a few things before installing a car amplifier such as where to mount it. Amps tend to be sensitive to motor noise and electrical noise and interference from the amp may disturb your radio reception, so try placing it at least 3 feet away from the receiver. Plenty of people choose to install the amplifier under their seats. The advantages are that the amp is closer to the receiver so you use shorter patch cords and signal cables and it's easier running wire to the front speakers but the downside is that the seat may need to be removed to install it (bigger amps will not fit). Another obvious choice is in the trunk or hatch area since this provides plenty of room for those larger amplifiers and it will be near the subwoofer and rear speakers. The disadvantage of mounting the amp in the trunk area is that you will lessen your cargo space, longer patch cords and wires will be needed. Amps produce lots of heat and they need to have a way to get rid of the heat. An amp's cooling fins are designed to absorb heat and then dispose of hot air into the surroung air but they need at least a few inches of air space around them and the cooling fins should be vertical for optimum operation levels. Don't mount amplifiers with the cooling fins pointing down since this will force the heat that is radiated back up into the amp. For a complete step by step guide on the Crutchfield.com website on how to install a car amplifier, go Here.