Best Budget Car Amplifier with Pros, Cons & Recommendations
Welcome to the Best Budget Car Amplifier Award Show!
I’ve spent the last 15 days installing amps, running wires, soldering, heat shrinking, fine-tuning, and completely forgetting about our anniversary (sorry honey, for the 11th time, when can I move back home because the garage is getting cold?) just to give you the best budget car amplifiers on the market.
Finding the perfect budget car amp for your needs comes down to three things, your power needs, the space available and the compromises you’re willing to make. Once you know these, it will be easy to find the perfect amp within your budget.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been installing car audio equipment in all types of vehicles. So I know how hard it is to find the right amp when the budget is tight. This is why I’ve created this review to cut down the research from weeks to a matter of minutes.
Now I’m ranking these 3 budget-friendly amps on quality, power rating, impedance and, of course, power-to-price ratio.
Let me make this clear for you, picking any amplifier from the list below is a guaranteed winner. There are no lemons, only high-value low priced amps. You will have a winner by your side no matter what.
Let me see those amps already!
In a Hurry? Here Are the Top 3 Best Budget Car Amps
For drivers who appreciate the best possible quality while enjoying their favorite songs with distortion-free delivery at a great price
For drivers who want to enjoy a real bargain without shortcuts plus who don’t mind the insane power output to power monster subs
For music lovers who don’t have the month’s rent to spend just to buy huge subs and yet want to feel the bass in their core
This budget amplifier keeps on giving. It not only has 5 channels to power speakers and a subwoofer but it is perfect for all types of music.
Best of all, it works with a stock system, so there’s no need for additional drilling and what not you will be able to keep the OEM look.
This Boss amplifier is class A/B. So it might go a bit warm, and if you live in a hotter climate, you will need a cooling system for it.
- 550 Watts max power output x 4 at 2-Ohms
- 275 Watts max power output x 4 at 4-Ohms
This is one powerful baby. Besides the standard systems, you can power two 12″ subs or even two 15″ ones. Because it’s a Class A/B, you will get the cleanest, highest quality music. This means there are no distortions even on higher levels.
Yes, this will be super loud; I didn’t go over 30% because it was too much for me.
Have you seen the glass and mirrors dancing to the music? This Boss will give the rhythm.
This is why it’s top of my list:
- It will get stupid loud: This amplifier is just perfect for teens who like to listen to music insanely loud. For the rest of us, we can turn it down a notch
- Compatible with Stock: The is amp has everything you will need to power the factory settings. Suppose you’re the adventurous type, then you can power two 12″ and even two 15″ subs.
- Perfect for Those with Limited Resources: This 5 channel amp is just perfect for anyone who wants to have a rocking system on a shoestring budget
A few drawbacks to consider:
Since it’s a Class A/B amplifier, it will heat up during medium and heavy use. Make sure you have adequate space for ventilation, and also, maybe a few cooling fans won’t hurt.
The lighting is all cool, and it might be distracting during evening driving. So it’s a good idea to put some black insulation tape over it if it becomes a bother.
If you want to power your whole system without spending thousands on a brand new one, this amplifier will do the job nicely. You will be getting a ton of power that creates clean, crisp, distortion-free music.
The cats are out of the bag. Many people have heard about this amazing amplifier, so the rush is on. The supply is going down as the day goes by. You need to step on it if you want this great amplifier at a steal of a price. Grab one while there are still available.
If you want something cheaper, then check out #2 on my list.
Not everyone has thousands to spend on luxury amplifiers, and that’s perfectly Ok. This is why I’ve picked this Alpine 4 channel amplifier for you. This is perfect to power 2-6 speakers, and also, you can throw a subwoofer in the mix as well.
It’s also a Class D amplifier, so you know it’s small and efficient. The sound output is simply amazing for the price. The music is clean and crisp without distortions or clipping. Can you ask for more?
- 75 Watts RMS power ratings X 4 at 2 Ohms
- 50 Watts RMS power ratings X 4 at 4 Ohms
This amp rocks on low volumes; you can feel the bass kicking. Let me assure you that you won’t be disappointed because we’re talking about Alpine. They are known to over-deliver. If you prefer SQ, then this is the winner for you.
Best of all, it’s half the price of a JL Audio amplifier. This Alpine sounds fantastic with no hum or distortion.
Here’s why it’s a must-buy:
- Awesome Buy for the Money: This amplifier is a real champion. Especially it shines with the mids and highs
- Quality and Performance: The sound that is put out is clean and crisp. I didn’t feel any distortion what so ever even no the highest settings
- Built to Last: One of my earlier installs is more than 4 years old, and that system is still kicking and thumping as if it would be day 1
Here are a few drawbacks:
Why on earth would someone put mounting brackets out of plastic? Well, this is what Alpine did. I hope these things last.
For a faster and easier install, Alpine should change these screw terminals into fork ones.
All in all, this Alpine is the best cheap car amplifier without compromises. I mean, you’re getting a bunch of power and clean output without bleeding your wallet dry. It’s true that it has a few flaws, and these are not that bad.
Someone let the cat out of the bag, and now everybody is buying this particular amplifier. This means you need to move fast if you still want it. Since the stocks are low, there are no guarantees. You can always check back later to see if they are available.
First of all, this amp is underrated. This means that you will be getting more power than you have paid for. This extra power boost is free. Secondly, it will make your 8″ sub sound harder and harsher. If you happen to have a 12″ subwoofer, then it will sound like there were two 12″ ones. Talk about bang for your buck.
This monoblock amplifier is a Class D, which means you’re getting the most efficient amp class ever. Plus, it has a small footprint, so you can install it anywhere.
- 330 watts RMS power ratings x 1 at 4 ohms
- 600 watts RMS power ratings x 1 at 2 ohms
After installing this monster, you have a choice to make. You can set it to deliver the best sound quality you have ever heard, or you can set it to massage your internal organs. The choice is yours.
There’s a lot of power hidden in this small package. It’s small enough to hide it under the seat, so it won’t take up valuable cargo space.
Here’s why it’s a must-buy:
- The Output Will Blow You Away: Let me share with you a secret, by getting this amp, your 8″ sub might sound as if it were a 10″ or even a 12″ one
- For the Highs and Mids: Simply amazing what this amplifier can do in this range. Plus, you’re getting more juice than advertised
- It’s Loud: I couldn’t go over 25% because it was just too loud for me. Either way, the neighbours were hearing me pulling up down the street
Here are a few drawbacks:
I hate it when well-known brands cheap out on certain things. This is the main issue with this Alpine amp that there’s no bass knob included. The fact is that you have to buy it separately.
Even if this is a budget car amp, it would’ve been nice if they had a subsonic filter. That can make a big difference.
All in all, this Alpine is the best budget car amp you can go with. It’s a monoblock, so it’s ideal for a subwoofer; however, you can power some speakers as well. It has everything you will ever need to get great SQ. The drawbacks aren’t that bad either.
Since this Alpine amplifier is super affordable, people are buying them up, so no wonder the stocks are at a record low. If you move fast, you might just get one before it’s too late.
Buyer’s Guide for Budget Amplifiers:
The old saying that what you get is what you have paid for rings true, and it doesn’t have to be the case. There are more than enough amplifiers for people on the budget, which are not lemons or duds. The list above proves the case.
There are plenty of hidden gems on the market that deliver amazing power to money ratio without the fear of frying.
Besides finding a great and trusted brand or picking an amplifier from the list above, you need to match the amp with your system.
These are the numbers that are the most important ones to check. The first is the power rating, and the second one is the impedance. If you get this right, you will have a great system.
You might also like: Top rated car audio amplifiers
Amplifier Power Rating:
Warning! This number is not the highest one that’s advertised. The highest number is the max power output which is typically inflated to grab attention. In most cases, the amp will never reach that. The real number you should be looking at is the RMS value. The RMS and all power ratings are measured in watts.
What you need to do is look at the power requirements of your system, and now you know that you have to look at the RMS value and find a matching amp for it.
Here’s the good news that RMS value doesn’t have to be on the dot. If you’re in the 70-100% range, that will be perfect as well if you happen to have more power that’s not a biggie because later on you can upgrade or the speakers will handle it.
The problem comes when you don’t have enough power and you risk destroying your system.
This is the second most important number and this is measured in ohms. Good thing to keep in mind that the higher the number the harder the amp has to work and less power is produced. The most common impedances are 1,2,4,8 ohms.
What you need to do is look at your system and find a matching impedance amp for it. This has to be a match or things won’t work.
There are two important classes in the amplifier world. There’s the Class A/B and the Class D. Both have big advantages and both have a few drawbacks.
Class A/B is an older technology that shines by delivering the absolute best sound quality. However it’s not that efficient and makes a lot of heat. This means you will need cooling fans to keep it operational. Also it’s larger than its counterpart.
Class D on the other hand is super-efficient reaching 95% easily which means it doesn’t produce much heat plus it’s small. This gives you multiple options where you can install it. However, the drawback is that the sound is not that clean. Although with recent advances it’s getting there.
Typically Class A/B is used for speakers and Class D for subwoofers to get the best out. Now there are other classes and hybrid systems as well.
Put this newfound knowledge to good use.
Conclusions on the Budget Car Amplifier Roger and Out
We have reached the end of this award ceremony. I hope you have enjoyed reading this review and you have already found the one that fits your needs best.
I’ve done my best to cover the whole field this is why I’ve chosen the best budget 4 channel, 5 channel and monoblock amplifiers. Since I don’t know your setup I was aiming with the shotgun to get as wide coverage as possible.
As you have seen these are highly popular amplifiers and people are buying them up. This means that you have to move fast if you want it. Take action now.
Of course if you have questions or tips reach out to me and I will do my best to respond.
Roger and out
What is a good budget amplifier?
Top Budget Amplifier List:
BOSS Audio Systems PV3700 – The Best Budget Car Amplifier Overall
Alpine MRV-F300 – Best Cheap Car Amplifier
Alpine S-A60M S-Series – Best Budget Car Amp
What is the most efficient car amplifier?
Class D is the most efficient car amplifier on the market today. Class D amplifier typically reach the efficiency rating of 95% so this means there’s little or no heat produce thus cooling is not required.
What is a good amp for car?
The best car amplifiers for your ride:
Taramp’s Smart 3
Alpine S-A60M S-Series
Planet Audio AC1500
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
If you want to know what I think of these amps and maybe you’re interested in the pros and cons then check out my latest post about the best car amps here.
If you really want the best type of amps then you have to choose from the Class A/B or Class H category these will be able to keep up with the rapid bass while other classes will struggle. Maybe you want to know more about my top list then you can easily check them out in my new post about the best amplifiers for subs or best amps for bass.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ):
What are the features for these budget car amplifiers?
I’ve intentionally avoided all the boring features for these budget car amplifiers, however if you’re interested here they are:
- BOSS Audio Systems PV3700 5 Channel Car Amplifier – Phantom Series, 3700 Watts maximum power output, Full Range, Class A-B, 2-4 Ohm Stable, Mosfet Power Supply, Bridgeable, Remote Subwoofer Control; low pass filters; remote control bass boost
- Alpine MRV-F300 4 Channel Car Amplifier, 50 Watts RMS x 4; low pass filters; remote control bass boost
- Alpine S-A60M S-Series Class D amps Mono amp; variable low pass filter; remote control bass boost
Related: The best budget 4 channel amp list
Are there any good budget amps for a car stereo system?
Yes there are many good budget amps for a car stereo system. All you have to do is pick a budget amp from the list above and you’re set. If you’re going with budget amps or a budget amp make sure has the 4 channel option. Typically car owners are not happy with factory amplifiers because they don’t provide good sound quality.
What does the best car amplifier has that makes it stand out in the car audio world?
These car amplifiers offer superb sound quality for your car audio system. The power supply is typically mosfet. It can power component speakers also it comes with short circuit protection, good speaker level inputs and ground connections for the subwoofer system (sound system). Since these are quality amplifiers the sound systems are offering good sound quality.
Do I need a head unit for great car audio quality?
The head unit is a good thing to have but you need a decent amp for great car audio and good speaker level inputs.
What is the best budget mono car amplifier?
The best budget mono car amplifier is the Alpine S-A60M S-Series. It is a small and compact amplifier that delivers a huge punch. It is perfect for powering a subwoofer, and it can also power some speakers. It is an affordable option that has everything you need to get great sound quality.
Which is the best cheap amplifier for car?
The best cheap amplifier for car is the Alpine MRV-F300. It is a great budget amplifier that can power some speakers and a subwoofer. It is an affordable option that has everything you need to get great sound quality.
Last Updated on February 19, 2023 by Danny Reid