Last Updated on: October 6, 2022
Level up your car audio experience with a subwoofer. It is a bass-focused speaker that will boost the lowest frequencies, resulting in a high-quality sound system.
For audiophiles, however, a subwoofer might not be enough. If you want more boom and blast, consider adding an amplifier as well.
The best subwoofer amplifier increases the power of your car’s speakers without damaging the sound system. Not all subwoofer amplifiers, however, can deliver the same outcome.
Need help choosing the best amp for subs? If there is one that we can recommend, it would be the Boss Audio Systems R1100M Riot Series Amplifier. Read on to learn more about it and our other favorites.
Our Top Picks For The Best Amplifier For Subwoofer
1. Boss Audio Systems R1100M Riot Series Car Audio Subwoofer Amplifier – Best Overall
From its price to its power handling, this subwoofer amplifier will make a great addition to your car audio system.
It is one of the most affordable products in this subwoofer amp review.
Plus, it has notable features that will make it withstand the test of time. For instance, it has an automatic shutdown once the system gets too hot. This is built-in short protection that will prevent damage to internal components.
More so, it has a MOSFET power supply. It comes with an electrical switch, which is responsible for the electrical current flow. It controls current and voltage with precision for eliminating feedback.
The remote subwoofer control is another notable feature of this monoblock amplifier. The latter provides more freedom in adjusting its different functions to suit your needs. This way, you can customize the output in an instant.
It is also worth noting that the Boss Audio Systems R1100M Riot Series offers flexibility because of its high and low-level inputs. From the pre-amp to the speaker, it can accept different signals through the variable input control.
Nonetheless, take note that this particular amp does not come with an installation kit. Also, it requires professional installation, which means that you must shoulder an additional cost.
- A great option for people on a budget
- Durable construction
- Has automatic shut-off to prevent overheating
- Comes with a remote subwoofer control
- Flexible functionality with high and low-level inputs
- Requires professional installation
- Powers only a single subwoofer
While it is affordable, the Boss R1100M Riot Series stands out because of its tough construction, remote control, and flexible outputs.
2. Rockville RW10CA Active Car Subwoofer – Best For Under-the-Seat Installation
One of the defining characteristics of the Rockville RW10CA Active Car Subwoofer is its slim design. The enclosure has a thickness of fewer than three inches, making it slim enough for installation even under the seat.
Despite being compact, the power and performance are incredible. With regards to power handling, the peak power is 800 watts and the RMS is 200 watts. The ratings are approved by a third party, which means that the numbers in the technical spec sheet are reliable.
The installation is a breeze, which can be a simple DIY task. It has an amplifier built-in on the unit, so there is no need for complicated wiring.
More so, this powered subwoofer is also excellent because of its sound quality. Thanks to its subsonic filter, it can filter the low frequencies that are audible to the human ear. The bass boost, phase control, and low crossover filter are other features responsible for delivering top-notch audio.
Lastly, it comes with a handy remote bass knob, which will let you do several adjustments to customize the output as you desire.
- Has a slim design for space-efficiency
- Easy to install even for beginners.
- Exceptional sound quality
- The bass can be deeper
The Rockville RW10CA is a great subwoofer with a built-in amp for under-seat installation. It is compact but big in terms of audio performance while allowing options for customization.
3. Kicker CXA800.1 Subwoofer Amplifier – Best for High-Powered Sound Systems
Do you love hard-kicking bass? Adding the Kicker CXA800.1 Subwoofer Amplifier to your car audio will do the trick! Power, flexibility, and reliability are three of its biggest assets.
Looking at its feature, this one-ohm stable amp stands out because of providing different options by which you can control the unit. Enjoy the freedom to adjust it as you wish.
It has input grain control, which will let you set the input level. You can also increase bass with the KickEQ Bass Boost, which you can change through a rotary control.
It also accepts up to 400 watts or 40 volts of speaker-level inputs. This will eliminate the need for a sound converter while ensuring high-quality outputs.
You can choose to mount it horizontally or vertically, depending on what is more ideal for the set-up of your audio system. Regardless, mounting brackets are included in every purchase.
Another notable feature that you will find in this model is the Fail-Safe Integration Technology, which has been developed exclusively by Kicker. It minimizes interference and noise, so you can enjoy audio clarity.
- Offers several options for customizing the audio output
- Comes with a rotary control for changing bass.
- Ideal for both vertical and horizontal mounting
- Can result in a parasitic draw on the car battery
If you are searching for the best amplifier for a car subwoofer, do not miss Kicker CXA800.1. It has flexible mounting and several options for customization, including bass control.
4. Skar Audio RP-1200.1D Amplifier – Best for Efficiency
One of our favorites for the best monoblock amplifier, the Skar Audio RP-1200.1D is an exceptional pick. With 800 watts peak and 200 watts RMS, it delivers power and reliability that are difficult to rival by its many competitors.
One thing that makes it stand out from the other monoblock amplifiers in the market is its efficient design, which allows it to deliver effective thermal management.
Thanks to its heat sink, it has protection against overheating. Not to mention, it also has built-in features against electrical shortages.
The construction is top-notch, which is directly related to its superior performance. It has a high-speed MOSFET power supply, as well as an advanced layout of the PCB board. With such parts, it has top-notch power handling that can reach a max power of 1,600 watts. Meanwhile, it has 1,200 watts RMS at 1 ohm, 500 watts RMS at 4 ohms, and 800 watts RMS at 2 ohms.
The Skar Audio RP Monoblock Amplifier comes with 4-gauge power and ground terminals. They are oversized, which allows the amp to handle a high-power output while retaining its efficiency.
Lastly, you will have complete control of the amplifier as it has various user controls. From the bass EQ switch to the gain level, you can fine-tune the outputs as you wish. It also ensures exceptional quality as it comes with a subsonic filter and low-pass filter.
- The built-in heat sink prevents damage
- Has premium internal components for efficient performance
- Oversized terminals for maximum current flow
- A bit heavy
Overall, this phenomenal amp makes it to our list because of its efficient heat sink, premium components, and several adjustments that will let you fine-tune the audio.
5. Blaupunkt AMP1501 Monoblock Amplifier – Best for Compact Spaces
The brand name alone is already a compelling reason to choose this product as you search for the best monoblock subwoofer amp. Despite being made by a reliable company, it is affordable. Best of all, it is compact, so it will fit even in tiny spaces.
Being small, however, does not mean that it is underpowered.
It has better power handling than most of the bigger monoblock amps on the market. Looking at the power handling, it has a maximum power of 1,500 watts to provide your music with the needed boost. Meanwhile, it has 1,125 watts RMS (2 ohms) and 563 watts RMS (4 ohms).
Ease of set-up is another good reason to consider the Blaupunkt AMP1501 as an addition to the audio components of your car. There is no need for professional installation. Instead, the assembly can be a quick DIY task that almost anyone can accomplish.
- Compact without compromising its power
- Easy to set-up
- Has a sturdy construction
- Can frequently trigger protect mode, even when unnecessary
The Blaupunkt AMP1501 is a compact, affordable, and powerful amplifier made by one of the most reliable brands in the market.
6. Hifonics BXX1200.1D Brutus Subwoofer Amplifier – Best for Strapping
Is one amp not enough to power your audio set-up? Do you need more power for your subwoofer? The Hifonics BXX1200.1D Brutus will complete your stereo system as it is strapping capable. You can connect multiple units if you want to have a higher subwoofer output.
In terms of power handling, it has 1,200 watts RMS at 1 ohm. Despite such, some people note that it is over-rated compared to the actual performance that you can expect.
The exceptional heat design allows effective thermal management, which will also protect the internal components against wear. It also helps that it has an alloy aluminum heat sink.
Another good feature of the amp is the notification light, which changes color depending on its working mode. When it is blue, it is under regular operation. On the other hand, it turns red when there is a short.
It comes with three-way protection circuitry, which is common in many other options for the best sub amp. It has a short, thermal, and overload protection to help prolong the unit’s functional life. Meanwhile, you can fine-tune the audio quality to match your listening preferences with the built-in electronic equalizer.
- Stays cool even during prolonged operation
- Features a three-way protection for durability
- Can hook with multiple speakers and subwoofers
- Power handling can be lower than stated
From its aluminum heatsink to the built-in three-way protection, the Hifonics BXX1200.1D Brutus is one of the best sounding amps on your radar.
7. Alpine MRV-M500 Digital Amplifier – Best for Ease of Installation
Some subwoofer amps will require professional installation, which means additional cost. The Alpine MRV-M500 Digital Amplifier stands out because you can assemble it yourself. It has integrated wire and screw terminals in a two-sided layout.
Feature-wise, it is a notable option for the best Class D monoblock amp because of its dependable performance in various set-ups. It has an RMS power of 500 watts (2 ohms) and 300 watts (4ohms). Meanwhile, the total maximum power is 1,100 watts.
Despite having impressive power ratings, it is big in performance but small in terms of footprint. Even for tiny cars, you cannot go wrong with this product, which is up to 40% more compact compared to its predecessor.
With its four-channel speaker level inputs, you can connect the amp to any head unit. External converters are unnecessary. This will make it easy to upgrade the current system that you have.
Another innovative feature that you will find in this Class D amplifier is the dual internal error correction technology. It analyzes, compares, and corrects audio signals, resulting in low noise and wide frequency response.
- Easy installation even for novices
- Has big power in a small package
- Generates low noise to generate clear sounds
- Gain control knob is tricky to adjust
Wrapping up, the Alpine MRV-M500 Digital Amplifier is user-friendly and packs a plethora of features to deliver superior sound.
8. Dayton Audio SA100 Subwoofer Amplifier – Best Plate Amp
With the plate design of this power amplifier, you can enjoy versatility in terms of its assembly. The Dayton Audio SA100 is the right amp for vertical installation inside a speaker.
Looking at the technical specs, it has a rated output of 75 watts RMS (8 ohms) and 100 watts RMS (4 ohms). It generates efficient power even if it is not as powerful as the other options in this list.
With various low and high-level inputs, it offers several ways to connect different components. From a speaker to a crossover, it is compatible with various accessories to maximize the performance of your car stereo.
As the user, you will enjoy various adjustments, making sure that the audio suits your preferences. For instance, it has a gain knob, which also doubles as the volume control. Meanwhile, the frequency knob will let you experiment with a range of frequencies.
Another feature of this great amp is the phase control switch. It will improve system integration. It changes the polarity or direction of the subwoofer that the amp is running.
- Has a slim design to fit in a speaker
- Contains several low and high-level inputs for connectivity
- The various controls allow users to adjust the settings
- Prone to getting hot quickly
With the Dayton Audio SA100, you can enjoy a compact vertical plate while having different options for connectivity and customizability.
9. Rockford Fosgate R2-500X1 Prime Mono Amplifier – Best Premium Subwoofer Amp
In your search for the best mono amp, the Rockford Fosgate R2-500X1 Prime is another option that you should not miss. Yes, it is expensive, but that should not make you hesitate. Its cost is justifiable.
Among others, one feature that makes this Rockford Fosgate amp commendable is the Calibrated Level Eliminates Audible Noise or CLEAN circuitry. It is a patented innovation that allows the input and output indicators to match the source and optimize the output as necessary.
With the onboard punch equalizer, it is easy to eliminate the acoustic differences to improve equalization and create up to three times more bass.
Like the Rockford Fosgate Power amps, it has Maximum Efficiency Heat Sink Application (MEHSA) 4 that lowers distortion and reduces MOSFET temperature. It also helps that it has a cast-aluminum heat sink, which improves longevity despite the demanding use of the amplifier.
With 500 watts RMS, it might not be the most powerful. Nonetheless, for most cars, its performance will suffice.
- Automatic source matching to optimize output
- Integrated equalizer corrects acoustic deficiencies
- High-quality cast-aluminum heat sink
- Difficult to figure out the crossover settings
From its ability to automatically match the input to optimize output to the built-in equalizer for bass adjustments, the Rockford Fosgate R2-500X1 Prime has tons of features that make it worthy of a spot on this list.
10. Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO10 Amplifier Car Subwoofer – Best Design
Wrapping up our list is the Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO10, which is a subwoofer and amp combo. At only ten inches, it can easily fit under the seat.
It has a MOSFET power supply, which improves switching speeds. It helps in delivering better performance without being power-hungry.
Eliminating high notes in your music for better clarity is easy with the variable low-pass filter. It is an electronic circuit responsible for the removal of notes above the frequency setting of the filter.
Another feature that makes the listening experience more immersive is the variable bass boost. You can customize its low bass within a specific range. You can hear deep bass without distortion.
To ensure longevity, this powered subwoofer has built-in features to ensure maximum protection. The thermal protection circuit allows the unit to turn off automatically if it gets too hot to protect the internal components. It also has safety features against an electrical short.
Lastly, it makes an ideal candidate for the best subwoofer amplifier for a car because of the three-year platinum warranty that the manufacturer offers.
- Low-profile design for under-seat installation
- Delivers high performance without using too much power
- Comes with a three-year platinum warranty
- Expensive considering its performance
With its built-in protection features, compact design, and low-pass filter, the Sound Storm Laboratories LOPRO10 is one product that should be on your radar.
Pro Auto Thought: Why not try out any of these choices and pair this with our subwoofers? Read our list and make your decision — Best Spare Tire Subwoofer.
Essential Considerations When Choosing The Best Subwoofer Amp
The choices are plenty, but this should not be an excuse to decide in haste. As a responsible buyer, below are the most important considerations to help you choose the best amplifier for subwoofer.
One of the first things to look at is the class of the amplifier. This is what will differentiate one from the other, and more importantly, it is indicative of the overall performance.
Also known as an always-on amplifier, it has internal circuitry with a current that constantly flows. While continuous conductivity can improve the output quality, it also means that heat can build up over time. Aside from overheating, it also has a high-power consumption, which makes it inefficient.
It has a single-ended push-or-pull functionality. The main difference from a Class A amp is that it is not always on. Instead, it employs a switching technology, which allows it to minimize energy use.
Class A B
If you want the best of both worlds, then it is hard to go wrong with Class AB amplifiers. The transistors have a consistently flowing current, but the circuitry restricts the flow when there is no signal present.
For those who value efficiency, a Class D amplifier is the best option. The average power consumption is lower than in other classes. They are also less susceptible to overheating, which can contribute to longevity.
Especially if you are a first-time buyer, choosing the best amplifier for a subwoofer can be overwhelming. Here are two of the most important technical specs:
The power handling of an amplifier has a huge impact on its overall performance. The bigger the system is, the more power you will need. One of the first things to look at is its RMS power, which is continuous power handling. Going beyond such can put too much strain on the subwoofer and speaker. It can also result in distortion.
Meanwhile, the peak power of a sub amp is the highest power level that a product can handle. Going beyond such power can result in damages.
Measured in ohms, the impedance of an amplifier is the opposition of a circuit to electrical currents. The most important is to match the impedance of the amplifier to the subwoofer or speaker to optimize the output.
Pro Auto Thought: You might want to check out if a single ohm amp would do initially. Read our post after going through this entire article — Best 1 Ohm Stable Amp.
The right choice for the configuration of an amplifier will depend on its intended application. One-channel or monoblock amplifiers are the most common for subwoofers. Two-channel amps, on the other hand, are for a bridged subwoofer. If you have more subwoofers or speakers, then go for four, five, or even six-channels amps.
The best amp for subs offers users several options to control the output as they desire. For instance, you must be able to adjust the bass volume as you wish. Even the gain and frequencies are adjustable in some models. Others will have a remote, which will make the adjustments easy.
When choosing subwoofer amps, you should also look at the size. Many of the compact models can be installed under the seat. Others will have a vertical design for easy speaker integration. In most instances, the more powerful ones are often bigger.
Pro Auto Thought: We wrote a comparative post pitting subs against bass tubes. Find out more about them and tell us what you would choose to install in your car — Bass Tube Vs Subwoofer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need an amplifier for my subwoofer?
Yes, you need an amplifier for a subwoofer, especially if you want to improve sound quality. It drives the power of the speakers without putting too much strain on an audio system. Plus, it increases volume without distortion, so you can hear the music despite the noises outside the car. It can also help boost the power of the subwoofer so you can match it to the speaker.
What type of amplifier is best for a subwoofer?
A class AB or H amplifier is the best option to complement a subwoofer. This is especially the case if you have a passive subwoofer. Avoid choosing a Class D amplifier as it can end up being too slow, especially if the music has repetitive bass. However, Class D amps are known for their efficiency.
The Boss Audio Systems R1100M Riot Series Amplifier wins this review. Aside from being made by a trusted name, it has impressive power handling, top-notch features for protection, and incredible audio quality with various options for customization, such as switchable bass boost and variable input gain control.
Are there other subwoofer amplifiers that you would like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.