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10 Best Car Subwoofer Amplifiers in 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Deep, earth-shaking bass is essential for any music lover. There’s only one problem. Most factory car stereos cannot produce enough power or volume to turn your car into a concert.

If you like your bass deep and loud, a subwoofer is a perfect addition to any car or truck. Unfortunately, the OEM stereo won’t offer enough wattage to power an external subwoofer, so you’ll need to buy an amplifier for the speaker.

A subwoofer amplifier takes energy from your battery and converts it to the wattage that powers a sub. They come in various styles and specifications, and choosing the right amp is essential to ensure you don’t damage your subwoofers or other audio equipment.

Your amplifier choice will depend on which type of speaker you are installing. You should always match the amplifier’s power rating to the RMS (root mean squared) rating of the subwoofer you are installing. You’ll also need to match the Ohm rating of the speaker as well.

Other things to consider before buying an amp include the number of channels, amp class rating, amplifier size, and installation location.

Today, there are countless different amplifiers available for you to choose from for your car. Which one is right for you?

The Best Car Sub And Amp Combos in 2022

Are you ready to check out the best car subwoofer amplifiers? Below, we’ve highlighted ten of the best subwoofer amplifier options on the market.

Best Overall
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
  • One-channel, 500-watt amplifier runs at 2 Ohms (or two 4 ohm subs)
  • Great looking and sturdy construction
  • Excellent big, loud and clear sound
View on Amazon →
Best High Wattage
Kicker 46CXA8001
Kicker 46CXA8001
  • Whopping 1600W peak
  • Achieves best sound possible
  • Allows fine-tuning your listening experience
View on Amazon →
Best Sub + Amp Package
MTX Audio Terminator Power Pack
MTX Audio Terminator Power Pack
  • 1200W max power
  • Includes matching dual 12” subwoofers in an enclosure
  • Produces deep, loud and clear sound
View on Amazon →
Best Compact
Alpine MRV-M500
  • Packs with deep and powerful bass response
  • 300W RMS from this amp
  • Comes with a D-class amp
View on Amazon →
Best All-in-One Package
Skar Audio
Skar Audio
  • Comes with pre-installed dual 12” D4 subwoofers
  • At 1 Ohm, it delivers 1200W to each speaker
  • Includes all essential wires with the package
  • Produces punchy and crisp bass
View on Amazon →
Best for Single Subwoofer Users
JL Audio JX1000
  • Produces crisp and clear bass response
  • Dedicated hi-level inputs
  • Easy integration with OEM units
View on Amazon →
Best Budget
Rockville db14
Rockville db14
  • Delivers 1000W at 2 Ohms and 600 W at 4 Ohms
  • Customization allows fine-tuning your listening experience
  • High end product for half of the price
View on Amazon →
Best Stylish
Kenwood KAC-9106D
Kenwood KAC-9106D
  • Delivers thumping bass response
  • Sleek and modern design
  • Handles 500W RMS at 4 Ohms and 1000W at 2 Ohms
View on Amazon →
Best Bass on a Budget
BOSS Riot Series
BOSS Riot Series
  • Low and high level inputs
  • Audiophile-grade bass response
  • Easy installation
View on Amazon →
Best Highest Peak Power
Lanzar High Power MOSFET
Lanzar High Power MOSFET
  • Power can shake your car!
  • Staggering 6000W of total power
  • Features low and high pass filter
View on Amazon →

Scroll a bit below. We’ve covered in detail the ten of the best subwoofer amps on the market. Let’s check them out.

1. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D – Best Overall

Rockford Fosgate is one of the most respected companies in the aftermarket car audio industry. Their amplifiers are top-of-the-line and provide clean and efficient power to your speakers.

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
Pros
  • Punch EQ adds a +18dB boost at 45 HZ improving bass response
  • Excellent short circuit protection
  • Cool retro styling and appearance
Cons
  • 500 watts is a lot of power and might be overkill for many vehicle owners

The Prime 500-watt class D amp from Rockford Fosgate is a monster. It is a one-channel, 500-watt amplifier running at 2 Ohms. You can safely run two 4 Ohm subwoofers or one 2 Ohm sub at 500 watts RMS. This should be more than enough bass to shake and rattle your car for most music fans.

The amp is relatively small and features a retro-styled aluminum heatsink exterior. We like the design and think it can look great if you plan to have your system on display.

You’ll also find plenty of premium features inside this tiny powerhouse that make it the best overall subwoofer amp on our list.

Our favorite features include short circuit protection, RCA Pass-Thru outputs, and high-level inputs. The RCA Pass-Through is excellent if you have other amplifiers in your system and lets you run one set of wires from your dash stereo to your amplifiers. This will save you money on extra wiring for larger systems.

Of course, the most essential feature is the bass response, and this amplifier rocks. At 500 watts, you have plenty of power to run the biggest subwoofers you can find. It also features a 12dB/octave internal crossover and an onboard Punch EQ that adds a +18db boost at 45Hz (hertz). This sub-bass boost is the best way to get the feel of bass from the amplifier.

For all-out power and efficiency, the R500X1D is an excellent option for fans of big and loud sound in cars or trucks.

Bottom Line The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is a compact and stylish mono amp that pumps out more bass than you can handle. View Latest Price on Amazon →

2. Kicker 46CXA8001 – Best High Wattage Amplifier

Kicker made their reputation by making some of the best subwoofer speakers on the planet. Over the years, they moved into amplifiers, and their amps make a great addition if you like deep and rumbling bass music while on a road trip.

Kicker 46CXA8001
Pros
  • The variable-frequency crossover lets you dial in your stereo to match your preferences
  • In-amp protection protects listeners from potentially-damaging subsonic frequencies
  • Stable to 1 Ohm loads letting you add more subs to your system
Cons
  • Boring design and styling

Coming in at a whopping 1600-watts peak, your car might fall apart when the bass kicks in when using the amplifier. Of course, RMS ratings are a lot lower, and you can safely get 300 watts at 4 Ohm or 600W at 2 Ohm out of this amp. If you need even more power, the amp can handle a 1 Ohm load and provide 800W of RMS power. These options allow you to use 1 or 2 speakers in a mono configuration.

Every vehicle and listener is different. To achieve the best sound possible, you need a customizable amp. Kicker built this amp with a variable 12dB crossover and KickEQ that features 6dB of bass boost. If you like fine-tuning your listening experience, this might be the best subwoofer amplifier for you. That makes the Kicker 46CXA8001 amplifier of the most versatile amps on our list.

If you’re looking for a subwoofer and amp, you probably like listening to music at high volumes. Unfortunately, loud music is a common cause of hearing issues later in life, and a shocking one in eight Americans has hearing loss in both ears. Kicker understands this and adds a subsonic filter to the amp that removes unwanted and dangerous low frequencies from the system.

While compact, this is a beast of an amplifier and will do plenty of work pumping the biggest subwoofers on the market.

Bottom Line This amp packs a punch and is ideal for large installs and users that want a concert-like experience in the comfort of their car. View Latest Price on Amazon →

3. MTX Audio TNP212D2 – Best Sub and Amp Package

While some car audio enthusiasts labor over choosing every product in the chain for their car system, many car owners just want to add some bass to their vehicle, fast. They’re not concerned about choosing every product and want an all-in-one solution.

MTX Audio Terminator Power Pack Subwoofer System
Pros
  • The perfect option if you need subwoofers and amplifiers
  • The package is configurable between 8”, 10”, or 12” subwoofers
  • 1200-watts of max power to play with
Cons
  • You still need to buy speaker wiring and a connection kit to install the system

MTX offers the Terminator Power Pack Subwoofer System to fill this niche. This product comes with dual 12” subwoofers in an enclosure and a matching subwoofer amplifier.

The dual 12” speakers use a 1200W max power amplifier that features a variable crossover filter. This lets you dial the low and high pass filters between 40Hz and 400 Hz, giving you total control of the bass response of this system.

The speakers are incredibly punchy and will test the output of the amp. Luckily, the amplifier was tailor-picked to run these 12” subs at peak efficiency. You’ll get deep, loud, and clear bass from this system.

While this may not be the best-looking system on our list, you still get plenty of sound from one of the best manufacturers on the market with the MTX Terminator package.

Bottom Line The MTX Audio Terminator package is perfect for someone who wants a no-fuss installation that provides an excellent bass response in a small package. View Latest Price on Amazon →

4. Alpine MRV-M500 – Best Compact Subwoofer Amplifier

This amp might be small, but it packs a deep and powerful bass response. Alpine’s 4th generation V-power amplifiers pump out plenty of power in a product that is 40% smaller than the last generation.

Pros
  • The snap-on terminal covers give this amp a sleek look after installation
  • Excellent thermal management on the amp lets it run efficiently without overheating
  • Speaker level inputs let you install the amp without an external converter
Cons
  • While stable to 1 Ohm, you’ll need to purchase premium speakers to run at this rating

Running at 4 Ohms, you can get 300W RMS from this amp which should be plenty for most car audio enthusiasts. If you plan on running two subwoofers, you can step up to 500W at 2 Ohms.

Alpine has spent decades perfecting its products, and this amp is no exception. You get a D-class amp that runs exceptionally efficiently. This lets you pump the bass harder without taxing your battery or car’s electrical system.

One of the biggest drawbacks to installing a subwoofer and amp is both products take up space. If you have a smaller car or truck, you want an amplifier that takes up as little space as possible. At only 7 inches wide, this amp can easily fit under a seat or in your trunk.

While small, the amp provides a signal-to-noise ratio of greater than 85dB, letting you turn up the volume when your favorite song comes on.

Bottom Line This tiny and powerful amplifier from Alpine has everything you need in a subwoofer amplifier. View Latest Price on Amazon →

5. Skar Audio Dual 12″ – Best Affordable All-in-one

Installing a subwoofer can be confusing and difficult. This package from Skar takes the guesswork out of the installation and provides you with everything you need to install a dual subwoofer in your car or truck.

Skar Audio SDR Series Subwoofer Bass Package
Pros
  • The included 4-gauge wiring is of excellent quality and provides clean power
  • The subwoofer enclosure is perfectly tuned to provide punchy and crisp bass sound
  • 1200-watts of power on offer
Cons
  • The dual subwoofer enclosure is large and is not ideal for small pickups or trunks

The package starts with dual 12” D4 subwoofers pre-installed into a custom-designed enclosure. While it is a little large compared to many other pre-made enclosures, you should be able to fit it in most car trunks with little issue. The box looks great and sounds excellent as well.

Powering the subs is the RP-1200D monoblock amplifier. This amp is specially tuned to match the speakers and does a fantastic job at pumping out bass that will shake your car frame. At 1 Ohm, it delivers an impressive 1200 watts to each speaker, making this one of the loudest options on our list.

Wiring is an essential part of your stereo system as well, and Skar includes all the wires needed to install this package. You get a 4 gauge OFC wiring kit that makes the installation of the system a snap. The wiring is high-end as well and provides ample power and a clean signal from the front of your vehicle to the amplifier and speakers.

Bottom Line From speakers to the wiring, everything you need to install a subwoofer in your vehicle is in this package from Skar Audio. View Latest Price on Amazon →

6. JL Audio JX1000 – Best for Single Subwoofer Users

Do you prefer crisp and clear bass responses in your music? JL Audio designs car audio gear for audiophiles. Of course, their equipment also packs a punch and will pump out plenty of loud bass frequencies as well.

Pros
  • The amp is easy to integrate with both OEM and aftermarket head units
  • The dedicated hi-level input delivers a professional studio-grade listening experience
  • The active crossover is excellent and provides a 50Hz – 200Hz range
Cons
  • This amp is not ideal for large, multi-subwoofer installation
  • The amp is not compatible with remote bass EQ boost control modules

Sometimes a single subwoofer is a perfect option, and this amp peaks when it’s running one subwoofer. At 2 Ohms, you get a modest 1000W class D amplifier running a MOSFET power supply. This means it’s efficient and has excellent sound quality.

The amp has plenty of customization as well through its low-pass filter and variable bass boost option. You can cut off the low-pass filter between 50-200 Hz while the bass boost delivers up to 12db of boost at 45Hz.

The inputs on this amp set it apart as well. Featuring some of the best dedicated hi-level inputs on this list, you can easily hook the system up to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) stereos and most aftermarket head units. Low-level RCA inputs are also included if you prefer an old-school setup.

Bottom Line The JX1000/1D from JL Audio is the perfect amplifier for enthusiasts that are planning a one-subwoofer car audio system. View Latest Price on Amazon →

7. Rockville db14 – Best Budget-Friendly Subwoofer Amplifier

This class D amplifier from Rockville works great for car audio enthusiasts on a budget. It pumps out an RMS rating comparable to higher-end products but costs half the price. No one said car audio setups were cheap, but Rockville is here to help.

Rockville db14 Mono Car Audio Amplifier
Pros
  • You get tons of power on a tiny budget with this amplifier
  • Tons of customization features let you tune the sound to your listening preferences
  • The bass remote lets you adjust bass response from your dash
Cons
  • Won’t run at 1 Ohm
  • The boring styling makes this not the best-looking amplifier on our list

This amp packs a punch and delivers 1000W at 2 Ohms and 600 W at 4 Ohms which should be more than enough for most users.

The db14 features plenty of fine-tuning knobs as well, so you can tailor your listening experience. You’ll find a fully adjustable 12db crossover, low pass filter, and subsonic filter on this amp. It also features a phase control switch that can delay the electrical signal of the bass to better integrate with your car stereo’s output.

So what do you miss out on with a budget-friendly amplifier? You can’t run this amp at 1 Ohm, which shouldn’t be a problem for most users. Other than that, there isn’t much negative to say about this subwoofer amplifier.

Bottom Line If you want bass on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Rockville db14 amplifier. View Latest Price on Amazon →

8. Kenwood KAC-9106D – Best for Stylish Installs

A clean and stylish install is essential for many car audio enthusiasts. Many amps are ugly or have antiquated designs that can ruin the aesthetic of your system. Kenwood has one for you if you’re looking for a sleek and modern amp that still packs a punch.

Kenwood KAC-9106D
Pros
  • We love the sleek and modern styling of the heat sink on this amp
  • A subsonic filter protects your hearing from harmful frequencies at high volume levels
  • Bass boost up to 18db delivers thumping bass response
Cons
  • No bass remote control option is available
  • At 76db, this amp has a lower signal-to-noise ratio than most others on this list

Designed for subwoofer use, you’ll find features that enhance the listening experience between 20Hz and 200Hz.

It can handle 500W RMS at 4 Ohms and 1000W at 2 Ohms. It also features a low-pass crossover that will eliminate any unwanted midrange and high frequencies from the signal path. While it does feature a bass boost, you are stuck with it set at 40 Hz.

We still found the sound loud, deep, and filled with bass even with the lower power rating. While not ideal for huge installs that have many woofers, this amp is perfect for smaller installs or used in conjunction with other amplifiers.

Bottom Line Don’t let the stylish design fool you. This amp from Kenwood is a workhorse and will deliver all the bass your ears desire. View Latest Price on Amazon →

9. BOSS Audio Systems R1100M – Best Bass on a Budget Amplifier

For a budget-friendly option, this amp from Boss still packs a punch. You’ll get up to 825W RMS from this monoblock class A/B amplifier at 2 Ohms.

Boss Riot Series Car Audio Amplifier
Pros
  • Our cheapest pick provides good power output for users on a tight budget
  • Low and high-level inputs make this amp easy to install
  • Budget-friendly
Cons
  • Class A/B amplifier means this amp is not as efficient as the others on the list
  • Bass boost switch does not offer frequency or boost level change

The amp features a variable low pass crossover, switchable bass boost, and high and low-level inputs. These are features you would expect from an amp costing hundreds of dollars more.

Boss saves money by using Class A/B technologies instead of Class D. For subwoofers, class D amps provide the best combination of efficiency and low-frequency response. A/B amplifiers feature a good mix of efficiency and sound quality. Unfortunately, they lack the audiophile-grade bass response.

Still, this amp packs a punch even while using A/B circuitry and if you want bass on a budget don’t be afraid to check out the Riot Series from Boss.

Bottom Line A no-frills amplifier that offers ample RMS power for subwoofers and easy installation options. View Latest Price on Amazon →

10. Lanzar Lanzar VCT2610 Amplifier – Highest Peak Power Subwoofer Amplifier

Bass needs the power to shake your car. If you want all the power you can get, this amp from Lanzar might be your best bet.

Lanzar High Power MOSFET Amplifier
Pros
  • Massive 6000W Peak power
  • Features a high and low pass filter for use with multi-speaker setups
  • Easy installation
Cons
  • Much larger than most of the amps on this list

Featuring a staggering 6000W of total power, you’d need earplugs to listen to your favorite tunes at full blast. If you are planning to run this as a subwoofer amp, your best bet is to run it bridged at 4 Ohms for an RMS power rating of 3000W for 1 channel – that should keep you safe from the noise police.

Since this isn’t a monoblock subwoofer amp, you can use it to run all the speakers in your vehicle, rather than exclusively using it for your subwoofer. If you plan on using it for door or rear speakers, you can safely get 300W X 2 channels at 4 Ohms.

The amp features a low and high pass filter that helps you fine-tune the sound in your vehicle as well.

Bottom Line If you want to push your subwoofers as far as they’ll go, this amp from Lanzar has a max wattage rating of 6000W. View Latest Price on Amazon →

Before You Buy: Car Sub And Amp Combo Buying Guide and Tips

Now that you’ve seen our picks for the best car subwoofer amplifiers, you might want to go and do more research. Below, is a quick buying guide for subwoofer amps. We also answer some of the most common questions about subwoofer amps.

Why Do Subwoofers Need an Amplifier?

Subwoofers are much bigger than your traditional car speakers. An amplifier provides adequate wattage to move the speaker and create sound.

While you could technically run a subwoofer off your vehicle’s OEM stereo, the subwoofer will not sound great and you may damage it over time. Your bass will be flat, if you can hear it at all. Why waste money on a subwoofer you’re not going to put to the test?

You’ll want to match your amplifier to the RMS wattage and ohm rating to ensure the speaker performs effectively and gives you all the bass you want.

What is MOSFET Power?

While researching amplifiers, you may notice many amps use MOSFET technology. MOSFET stands for a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor. Those are a lot of technical words that help the amp use less power and operate more efficiently.

MOSFET amplifiers have low power consumption and produce minimal heat. This makes them ideal and safe for use inside a vehicle and in compact spaces.

Should you Buy a Mono or Dual Channel Subwoofer Amplifier?

You’ll need to choose between a mono or dual channel amplifier for your subwoofers. A mono amplifier should be more than enough if you only have one subwoofer. A dual-channel amp will work great if you are installing two subwoofers.

If your amp can handle different ohm loads, you can double the number of speakers the amplifier can handle. For example, you can wire two 2-ohm speakers in series to a 4-ohm mono amplifier. Of course, if this is confusing, you might want to contact a professional installer before risking damage to your subwoofers or amplifier.

One thing to note, bass and sub-bass frequencies are mono. This means you don’t need to worry about stereo and left/right channels when installing a subwoofer. So, one subwoofer will recreate all the bass frequencies no matter left or right.

Also Read: 2-Ohm Vs. 4-Ohm Impedance – A Sound Quality Comparison

RMS vs Max Power Rating

Any subwoofer you purchase will have two different power ratings, RMS and Max Power.

Max rating is the most power your speaker can handle for a short period. RMS is the constant power rating that a speaker can handle over time.

When choosing a subwoofer amplifier, you’ll want to match the RMS rating of your speaker to the wattage rating of the amplifier. Matching to peak rating will end up damaging or blowing your speaker.

Amplifier Class Rating

There are 4 classes of car amplifiers. Most modern car audio amplifiers are A, B, A/B, or D.

When choosing an amplifier for a subwoofer you want an amp that is efficient and produces an excellent low-frequency response. This makes Class D amps the best option for subwoofers.

D-rated amplifiers are one of the best options for the subwoofer. They are the most efficient type of amplifier and excel at the low-frequency response. While they do distort at high frequencies, you should be using a crossover that blocks high frequencies from reaching the subwoofer.

What Else Do You Need to Install a Subwoofer Amplifier?

Once you have your subwoofer and amp picked out, what else do you need before installation?

One of the easiest ways to hook an amp up is to purchase a wiring kit that matches your vehicle’s stereo.

You’ll also need well-ventilated space to install the amp. Most vehicle owners end up placing amplifiers under seats or in the trunk.

Your subwoofer amplifier should only recreate low frequencies. Installing a passive or active crossover ensures each speaker only plays certain frequencies. Many of the amps on this list have a crossover already in the product.

Wrapping Up…

Once you hear a car audio system with a high-end subwoofer, you’ll never want to go back to an OEM factory stereo again.

Subwoofers add deep and punchy bass sounds to your music. They provide the rumble and feel to songs.

To get that big and loud sound you need something to power it. Subwoofer amps are the best way to power the subwoofers in your vehicle. These amps provide plenty of power to move large subwoofers. They also add features that enhance bass frequency response and help reduce noise and distortion.

When researching for your next subwoofer amp, don’t forget to match its specs with the specs of the subwoofer you plan on using. This will ensure your speakers and amps have a long life and you’ll have the best listening experience.

No matter if you listen to The Beatles or Lil’ Wayne, a subwoofer and subwoofer amplifier will change the way you listen to music in your vehicle.


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Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

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