You'll see a lot of options when choosing an amplifier, and making the right choice depends on what you're trying to do:
- Want to add more power to your factory stereo and speakers? Choose a 4-channel amp of 45- or 50-watts per channel, and make sure it has speaker-level inputs.
- Trying to power a subwoofer or two? Get lots of power with a mono- or 2-channel amp.
- If you want to power your speakers AND a subwoofer, then you need a multi-channel amp with four (or more) channels.
For more details, read our car amplifier buying guide. Below, we'll explain the different categories of amplifiers that you'll see on our website.
Each "channel" of an amp is a discrete source of power, usually intended to power one speaker. There are ways to use one channel to power multiple speakers — it's all in how you wire it, but be careful, this is an advanced trick. You can also combine two channels to power a single speaker. This is called "bridging" the amp and yields a lot more power than the channels would produce separately.
Single-channel amps or "monoblock amps" offer maximum bang per buck for driving subwoofers. They tend to offer more power at lower impedances and simple system configuration. If bass is your primary objective, take a look at these amps.
These amplifiers are used for driving two speakers (great for ATVs or old pickup trucks, for example). They can also be switched to mono mode to power a subwoofer.
4-channel amplifiers offer a lot of flexibility for powering your stereo system. You can power all four of your car's speakers, or you can switch to 3-channel mode, using two channels to power your front speakers and bridging the other two channels to power a subwoofer box.
These amplifiers give you "full system" power in one box — four channels to drive your four speakers, plus a fifth, higher-powered channel for your subwoofer. These amplifiers are a popular option for anyone who wants a system with a simple configuration and minimal loss of cargo space.
6- and 8-channel amps
These amplifiers take the convenience of the 5-channel amp and add more flexibility. 6-channel amps give you options for adding more subwoofers, or for powering bass, midrange, and high-frequency speakers separately. 8-channel amplifiers give you the power and versatility to create a truly amazing car audio system.
These marvels of digital circuitry will fit in small, out-of-the-way places in your vehicle, so you can put big power where it would never fit before. They're especially great in small cars because you can mount them behind the dash or under a front seat. The 2-channel versions are popular with motorcycle owners because if you can make room for a cheeseburger in a storage compartment, then you can install one of these.
Bluetooth® car amplifier
These amplifiers are cool because of the features you gain with built-in Bluetooth connectivity. They still connect to the stereo like a normal amplifier, but you can also stream music from your phone directly to the amp. Bluetooth amps are great for vehicles with radios that don't allow you to connect your phone, or — dig this — in vehicles that don't have a stereo.
Vehicle-specific amps and processors
This small collection of amplifiers and sound processors lets you replace the factory amp in a premium system without losing any of your vehicle's features or functionality.
Special type of inputs that let you connect the amp to a factory radio.
All amplifiers have controls for basic sound adjustments. Amps with a built-in DSP (digital signal processor) give you much more sophisticated sound adjusting tools, usually via an app for your phone or tablet.
The ability to wirelessly stream music from your phone to the amp.
A remote control usually comes in the form of a knob that you can mount on the dash or console for making quick adjustments to the bass.
After choosing an amplifier, you'll find yourself picking out a wiring kit, speaker wire, and maybe a few other accessories that you'll need to install the amp in your car. And if you're looking for distribution blocks, fuse holders, or wire connectors, you'll find them here.
Jobs always go better when you have the right tools. We have wire strippers, panel removal tools, tools to help you run wiring, specialized screw drivers to help you get around corners and into tight spaces, and lots more.