Best Car Amplifiers

The 5 Best Car Amplifiers Available In 2019

Introduction

Sound and driving go hand in hand – when driving in our cars, there is nothing better than turning the radio on or listening to your favorite CD or playlist – music works as a stimulant for our brain and can make our car journey infinitely more enjoyable. Today, car audio systems are highly advanced and can provide fantastic audio quality for our vehicles.

A key ingredient of the best sounding car audio systems is the amplifier: while not crucial, if you want to take your system to the next level, you must invest in a quality amplifier.  Combining the best car amplifiers in your system can provide a nice power boost to your speakers and subwoofer to ensure that they are emitting a powerful, high quality level of sound.

The difference between a stereo system with or without an amplifier is highly noticeable and if you love a little driving music, the following list constitutes the best car amplifiers available on the market today.​

Comparison Table

Best Car Amplifiers:

Kenwood eXcelon XR900-5

Kenwood eXcelon XR900-5

When discussing what might be the best car amplifiers, it's hard to look past at Kenwood's eXcelon series.  The eXcelon range of amplifiers represent the flagship range of Kenwood's models.  Kenwood has a large range of vehicle stereo system amplifiers from the XR500-1 Mono Block to the XR600-6DSP - these amplifiers are renowned for their fantastic quality and performance. One potential problem with sound systems is the ability to modify them and remove them easily from a vehicle - the Kenwood eXcelon range of amps can be easily integrated to a vehicle's sound system with little effort.

Aside from the compatibility, this range of amps also features high-end sound processing technologies, advanced tuning capabilities, and a fantastic crossover and equalizer system. Additional features that might not seem important, but make a huge difference in quality include: gold-plated output terminals to prevent corrosion, a cooling fan that is positioned directly next to the heat producing elements to improve dissipation, and a remote Bluetooth app that can be used on Android and Apple devices to set up the amps. These features make the eXcelon amps truly exceptional and you will be hard-pressed to find this level of detail elsewhere.

The eXcelon series can operate at a power output of 1200W, have a 6ch output and many are extremely compact. Furthermore, whilst the factory settings provide an unbelievable quality and level of sound, you can truly push this series of amps to the limit with a little tweaking and customization.​

AMPLIFIER

CHANNEL

CLASS

PRICE (APPROX)

MORE INFO

Kenwood eXcelon XR1000-1

Mono Block

Class D

$430

Kenwood eXcelon X501-1

Mono Block

Class D

$110

Kenwood eXcelon XR600-1

Mono Block

Class D

$160

Kenwood eXcelon XR400-4

4-Channel

Class D

$230

Kenwood eXcelon XR301-4

4-Channel

Class D

$110

Kenwood eXcelon XR900-5

5-Channel

Class D

$320

Kenwood eXcelon XR801-5

5-Channel

Class D

$300

Kenwood eXcelon XR600-6DSP

6-Channel

Class D

$800

Features

Performance

Value

Our Rating:

RF-Power-T1500-1bdCP

Rockford Fosgate Power T1500-1bdCP

Note: Click here for our comprehensive review of the Rockford Fosgate Power series.

One of our personal favourite brands, Rockford Fosgate have created a plethora of high-quality car amplifiers and their Fosgate Power Series makes up the manufacturer's premium range. This amp series offers a solid yet compact design, dual fan forced induction cooling and constant power technology to ensure a consistent power output regardless of any impedance. Offering a fairly large variety to choose from, the amps can be easily concealed within your vehicle, and have offer flexibilty in sound tweaking, with adjusters for preamp & speaker level inputs, as well as variable punch, and variable high/low pass filters.

Power Series models such as the popular T1500X-1bdCP and T500-1bdCP, offer exceedingly high-performance amplification and come fully fitted with a cooling fan and top-mounted controls. Furthermore, the amps make use of Fosgate's proprietary Boosted Rail Technology and can be paired with the 2013 PLC2 remote control. This type of amp can be used to drive a multiple speaker setup in your vehicle, and despite the presence of a cooling fan, the background noise from the amp is virtually non-existent.​

If you are looking for a solidly built amp that delivers fantastic quality and can be installed with little to no fuss, the Fosgate Power Series really is one of the best choices. Once you have set a Fosgate Power Series up, you will be amazed at the quality – the amplification is so good, that you will be able to use your stereo volume at ¾ of its previous level!​

We previously reviewed and tested the Power range in more detail, as part of our 3 part Rockford Fosgate amplifier review series.  We also looked at the Rockford Fosgate Punch and Prime series, should you be curious about Fosgate's more affordable ranges.

Our comprehensive review of the Rockford Fosgate Power series can be found here.

AMPLIFIER

CHANNEL

CLASS

PRICE (APPROX)

MORE INFO

Power-T500X1br

Mono Block

Class BR

$550

Power-T750X1bd

Mono Block

Class BD

$800

Power-T500-1bdCP

Mono Block

Class BD

$400

Power-T1000-1bdCP

Mono Block

Class BD

$580

Power T1500-1bdCP

Mono Block

Class BD

$650

Power T2500-1bdCP

Mono Block

Class BD

$1400

Power-T400-2

2-Channel

Class A/B

$400

Power-T400X2ad

2-Channel

Class AD

$480

Power-T600-2

2-Channel

Class A/B

$500

Power-T400-4

4-Channel

Class A/B

$400

Power-T400X4ad

4-Channel

Class AD

$500

Power-T600-4

4-Channel

Class A/B

$600

Power-T1000-4ad

4-Channel

Class AD

$600

Power-T800-4ad

4-Channel

Class AD

$800

Power-T1000X5ad

5-Channel

Class AD

$1000

Features

Performance

Value

Our Rating:

Alpine PDX-M12

Alpine PDX-M12

Alpine have re-developed and re-imagined their line of vehicle amplifiers and have thus created the PDX Series. This series of extremely professional quality amplifiers boasts fantastic performance, excellent sound quality and are hugely reliable. As with the Rockford Power series, the PDX amps are also highly compact and can easily be installed within your vehicle – at an average size of 13x9.1x4.3, Alpines models are marginally larger, however.

Features of the Alpine PDX range include an ultra-wide frequency response which drastically improves the final sound quality, a THDN+N system that helps improve the resolution and detail of the sound and extremely low output impedance which provides a tight bass. Additionally, this series of amps includes Alpines patented Power Management Circuit which is a powerful processor that helps control the functionality and consistency of the unit.

If you opt for this range of amps, you are guaranteed an easy install, a space-conscious unit that will fit practically anywhere, and an unparalleled level of sound output and quality. These amps can handle any type of sound, and when listening to a stereo boosted by an Alpine PDX, you will become immersed in the music and your experience will be improved ten-fold. Although the PDX series has a great power requirement than the PDR line, the quality really will make up for this minor inconvenience.​

AMPLIFIER

CHANNEL

CLASS

PRICE (APPROX)

MORE INFO

Alpine PDX-M12

Mono Block

Class D

$500

Alpine PDX-F6

Mono Block

Class D

$430

Alpine PDX-V9

4-Channel

Class A/B

$460

Alpine PDX-M6

5-Channel

Class D

$300

Alpine PDX-F4

4/3/2-Channel

Class D

$325

Features

Performance

Value

Our Rating:

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PD5000

Boss Audio Phantom PD5000

The Phantom Series of Amplifiers from Boss Audio Systems contains some brilliant features that help deliver fantastic amplification and a pumping level of sound.  The series also offers the largest variety of amps to choose from, depending on your audio requirements, all of which are priced at a range that would qualify this range as the best budget car amplifier range.

Features of the Phantom series include 1 Ohm Stable impedance which allows the amp to produce the highest level of power, phase control allowing you to adjust the various audio signals to ensure they are in sync, and advanced thermal protection to prevent overheating. Furthermore, the amps offer a variable bass boost, variable low pass filter control and strapping capabilities (to allow two amps to be joined together).

​Boss have created possibly one of the most stylish range of amps, and although performance is obviously more important, the red LED backlight really does make the Phantom series look awesome. Whilst some amps overheat quickly after continuous usage during a long journey, the Boss Phantom range does not encounter this issue. Even after several hours of use, the amp remains cool to touch and the thermal protection and cooling systems really pay dividends. The only downside is that the Phantom amps may not be able to deliver the maximum wattage stated - this is negligible however as even at lower power levels, the sound quality is still fantastic.

AMPLIFIER

CHANNEL

CLASS

PRICE (APPROX)

MORE INFO

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PD5000

Mono Block

Class D

$170

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PD4000

Mono Block

Class D

$145

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PD3000

Mono Block

Class D

$110

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PM2500

Mono Block

Class A/B

$90

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PM1500

Mono Block

Class A/B

$80

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PT3000

2-Channel

Class A/B

$110

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PT2200

2-Channel

Class A/B

$95

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PT1600

2-Channel

Class A/B

$75

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PT1000

2-Channel

Class A/B

$65

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PF2600

4-Channel

Class A/B

$110

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PF2200

4-Channel

Class A/B

$100

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PF1800

4-Channel

Class A/B

$95

Boss-Audio-Phantom-PV3700

5-Channel

Class A/B

$95

Features

Performance

Value

Our Rating:

XTHUNDER1500.1

MTX Audio XTHUNDER1500.1

MTX Audio is generally known for producing a wide variety of amplifiers that exhibit fantastic quality and reliability. The XThunder Series of MTX amplifiers is the cream of their selection, and perfect to deliver that vehicle shaking sound you desire. This series of amps, whilst small, have a fairly simple visual design, and are designed to provide extra protection and durability.  Due to their smaller size, the XThunder amps can be installed with ease and can be well hidden in places some of the larger amps cannot.

Each amp includes a bass knob that allows you to manually alter the bass levels to your own preference, and also a low-pass subsonic filter that allows you to adjust the playback frequency of your music, etc. This type of amp works well with a subwoofer and will deliver a wonderful quality of sound. XThunder amps also feature Adaptive Class D Technology, LED Power indicators, mono gain control, and as standard - come with a 1-year manufacturers warranty.

Within MTX Audio's exciting XThunder range, there are four different models - a four-channel, two monoblocks, and a five-channel. Each different model uses the same basic style, design, and features, but offers different setup capabilities and sound quality.​

AMPLIFIER

CHANNEL

CLASS

PRICE (APPROX)

MORE INFO

XTHUNDER1500.1

Mono Block

Class D

$600

XTHUNDER1200.1

Mono Block

Class D

$550

XTHUNDER125.4

4-Channel

Class A/B

$450

XTHUNDER800.5

5-Channel

Class D

$600

Features

Performance

Value

Our Rating:

Summary

Without a high-quality amplifier, your car audio may sound flat and lifeless – many people simply use their generic car stereo system and are content with this basic quality. If you truly want a quality audio experience, however, a quality amplifier is a must have accessory for your vehicle.

As for our selection of the best car amplifiers: The Kenwood eXcelon series is quite rightly very popular, and offers superb quality and features, while the Rockford Fosgate Power series, which we have previously reviewed in depth, is actually one of our favourite ranges overall.  The Boss Phantom series is very stylish and geared towards those on a budget. Alternatively, depending on needs and preference, The MTX XThunder and Alpine PDX series of amps are right up there with the best and also worth considering before you make your final decision.

In conclusion, as our selection of the best car amplifiers from renowned manufacturers proves, there is a great amp for any need or any budget.  ​Ultimately, any amp from these 5 manufacturers will provide a noticeable boost to the output of your sound system, and is guaranteed to make your driving experience so much more enjoyable!

Glossary: Car Amp classes​

  • Class A Car Amps

Class A amps have a simple design, but theoretically provide the cleanest purest sound of all amps.  There’s a big catch though – these amps are the least efficient of all classes, and usually go quite hot very quickly.  As such, they are not considered practical for car audio configurations, and are very rare.

  • Class B Car Amps

These car amps are inferior when compared to Class A in terms of sound quality, but they save more energy when operational and are much more efficient. They usually distort the sound a bit when you switch or toggle their functions.  These are also rare in car audio setups.

  • Class A/B Car Amps​

Class A/B do a great job of combining the virtues and flaws of Classes A and B, and as such are a popular Class in the car audio space.  There’s usually a little distortion, but these amps are very reliable, they run cool, and they’re usually much more efficient when compared to pure Class A.

  • Class D Car Amps

Class D implements the use of output transistors that control the power distribution. They produce far less heat than class A and B, they are very efficient, and they consume the least amount of energy. There’s some distortion, but a single low-pass sound filter could do the trick.  The output is less clean than the above ranges, and as such is typically best paired with subwoofers, where quality of output is not as important.

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