Best Overall
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

One of the best car amplifiers for quality sound.

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Alpine S-A60M

A high-quality yet affordable car amplifier.

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Power Output
Kicker 46CXA8001

A car amplifier that features great power output.

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Most Versatile
Kenwood X8025

A CEA-2006 compliant car amplifier.

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Best Value
Boss Audio Systems R1004

A 4-channel car amp with Class A/B topology.

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While our review team consists of experts in the automotive industry, that doesn’t mean that we don’t employ a few audiophiles. A car amplifier can create higher-quality sound to ultimately create a more enjoyable driving experience. You shouldn’t have to settle for the factory speaker setup in your car when there are affordable options to take your car audio to the next level.

With all the different types of products that our team of experts reviews, we pride ourselves on the honest and unbiased review of car parts and car accessories. A new car amp will undoubtedly improve the quality of sound in your vehicle, helping you get that perfect speaker setup you always dreamed of.

5 Best Car Amplifiers

Auto electrician is connecting a wiring to car amplifier close up.

  1. Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
  2. Runner-Up: Alpine S-A60M
  3. Best Power Output: Kicker 46CXA8001
  4. Most Versatile: Kenwood X8025
  5. Best Value: Boss Audio Systems R1004

#1 Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is our review team’s choice for the Best Overall car amplifier on the market. This powerful amp will take your car stereo and sound quality to the next level with its rating of 500.0 watts for one channel at 2.0 ohms RMS. This car amp features a Mosfet power supply, cast aluminum heatsink, overcurrent protection, RCA pass-through output, and high-level inputs.

In terms of protection specs, this car amplifier has power supply thermal sensing to protect against overheating as well as short circuit protection and overcurrent protection for circuitry protection. It also features an onboard 12.0-dB LP/HP/AP crossover and an infrasonic filter. LP/HP/AP stands for low-pass filter, high-pass filter, and all-pass filter. Your car speakers can be controlled through your power amplifier via its remote control variable bass boost.

Overall Rating5 out of 5
Ease of Installation5

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $235
  • Remote control for bass
  • Power supply thermal sensing
  • Onboard 12.0-dB LP/HP/AP crossover

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 3,800 reviews

#2 Runner-Up: Alpine S-A60M

The Alpine S-A60M is rated at 330.0 watts RMS and features variable bass boost. The compact design of this amplifier allows it to fit in most small cars. Enhanced Shutdown Performance Technology allows your amplifier to reduce its high power output to prevent overheating without fully shutting off.

This car amplifier features a low-pass filter and adjustable bass boost to give you ultimate control over the full range of frequencies that reach your subwoofers. Including preamp and speaker-level inputs, you’ll be able to fit the amp in almost every vehicle including those with factory radios. Speaker level inputs allow your amp to detect incoming signals and turn itself on, therefore eliminating the need to run a turn-on wire to your car’s receiver or fuse box.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Ease of Installation4.5

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $215
  • Enhanced Shutdown Performance Technology
  • Low-pass filter
  • Adjustable bass boost

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on around 300 reviews

#3 Best Power Output: Kicker 46CXA8001

The Kicker 46CXA8001 produces 1,600.0 watts at maximum power and is an efficient Class D amplifier. This amp features a 12.0-dB variable crossover to dial in for great sound while a KickEQ 6.0-dB bass boost allows you to reach additional low frequencies, making it one of the best car amplifiers out there.

To protect against damaging frequencies, the car amp features a 24.0-dB subsonic filter. Kicker’s FIT+ technology, which stands for Fail-Safe Integration Technology Plus, offers outstanding noise rejection even with factory audio systems. The car amp is also stable down to 1.0 ohm, meaning you have the freedom to add even more subwoofers to your car audio setup. It should also be noted that this amp comes with both vertical and horizontal mounting hardware.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Ease of Installation4.5

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $255
  • Kicker’s FIT+ technology
  • KickEQ 6.0-dB bass boost
  • 24.0-dB subsonic filter

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 900 reviews

#4 Most Versatile: Kenwood X8025

Featuring a detachable sliding terminal for a sleek design and easy installation is the Kenwood X8025. This five-channel amplifier has both high and low-pass crossover filters to allow you to optimize your sound. It should be noted that a speaker level input harness is included in the box for connecting speaker wires from factory-installed receivers.

You can use the amp to deliver 50.0 watts RMS to each front and rear speaker while leaving 500.0 watts RMS to your subwoofer. But you can also use the amp in three-channel mode, allowing for 150.0 watts RMS to high-powered speakers and 500.0 watts RMS of power for your sub. Additionally, the amplifier is CEA-2006 compliant and features an output coil with a magnetic shield to prevent magnetic flux, reduce noise, and enhance sound quality.

Overall Rating4.7 out of 5
Ease of Installation5

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $350
  • CEA-2006 compliant
  • Output coil with magnetic shield
  • Speaker level input harness included

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 100 reviews

#5 Best Value: Boss Audio Systems R1004

The Boss Audio Systems R1004 is a four-channel amplifier from Boss Audio System’s Riot Series. In terms of power, this car amp can perform at 100.0 watts max by 4 at 2.0 ohms or 50.0 watts max by 4 at 4.0 ohms. This car amplifier features variable gain control, allowing you to adjust the amount of signal that is coming out of your receiver. This is a four-channel amp with Class A/B topology, meaning you have the power to run not only your speakers but also your subwoofer.

The car amplifier features Short Protection which automatically shuts off your amp when it gets too hot or if the speakers fail and cause a short circuit, thereby protecting your car amp. The amp also features switchable input sensitivity which offers adjustable control over the input signal from the head unit to provide a customized balance between power and sound quality. It should be noted that this is the only amp from Boss Audio’s Riot Series that isn’t bridgeable.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Ease of Installation4.5

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $75
  • Class A/B topology
  • Switchable input sensitivity
  • Variable gain control

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4 out of 5 based on over 4,600 reviews

Car Amplifiers Buyers Guide

In this buying guide to the best car amplifiers, we discuss the different types of crossover and what exactly CEA-2006 compliance means for amps. We think these two characteristics of an amplifier should ultimately determine what amp you buy.

Different Types Of Crossovers

There are two basic types of crossovers: active and passive. Active crossovers require power and ground connections, while passive crossovers don’t require power at all.

  • Active: This type of crossover means each driver has its own channel of amplification. Additionally, active crossovers tend to have their own level control. This crossover requires a more involved setup than its counterpart.
  • Passive: This type of crossover means it doesn’t need to be connected to a power source to work. Passive crossovers offer less fine-tuning capabilities but are easier to install than active crossovers. Passive crossovers can be broken down further into two more categories, component crossovers and in-line crossovers.

CEA-2006 Compliance

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is an independent organization that tests electronic products against manufacturer assertions for common characteristics of a specific product. CEA-2006 is a rating standard created to help consumers compare different amplifiers. A CEA logo on the side of an amplifier’s packaging means it is CEA-2006 compliant.

The two most fundamental qualities of an amplifier are its loudness and how high a quality sound it produces. Due to this, CEA-2006’s fundamental ratings for car amplifiers are Output Power and Signal-To-Noise Ratio. Without a car amplifier receiving official CEA-2006 compliance, the true quality and loudness of sound are unconfirmed and somewhat unknown for an amp.

Class AB Power Vs. Class D Power

One small thing to know about car audio systems is how they are powered. The two primary options on the market these days are Class D and Class AB. 

  • Class AB: This power class is known for having a very clean and crisp sound, but not being very energy efficient and requiring cooling fans to operate at a safe temperature. 
  • Class D: A newer alternative, Class D is incredibly efficient, but the sound quality typically isn’t as good as Class AB devices. That said, technology is always advancing to where dips in sound quality are less noticeable.

Best Car Amplifiers: Bottom Line

It is pretty clear that the audio system in most vehicles is an afterthought to automakers. Pairing one of the best car amplifiers, in addition to quality head units, speakers, and subwoofers, can both improve tone and add a lot of power.

Best Car Amplifiers: FAQ

Our Review Standards

To select the five car amplifiers in this review, our team searched Amazon and Advance Auto Parts for top products, looking at factors like customer ratings, price, superlatives, and Prime shipping eligibility.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we review over 1,000 auto products. Our team of product experts thoroughly researches top products and tests items on real vehicles when possible before making our recommendations.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

*Data accurate at time of publication.