While not an essential component of a basic car stereo system, adding an after-market amplifier is a great way to breathe life into your music.
So,whether you are looking to pump some serious bass with a killer sub-woofer, add more power to your existing car speakers, or just improve the sound quality of your stereo system, installing an amplifier should be on your list of things to do.
But with literally hundreds of different car stereo amplifiers ranging in price, size, type, brand and quality, choosing the best one can be a quite a task. That’s why we’ve taken the time to help you out by putting together this list of reviews of the best budget car amplifiers that you can buy for under $100.
A Quick Look at our Favorite Picks in 2020:
The 10 Best Budget Car Amplifiers under $100:
1. BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Car Amplifier – Best Overall
Able to deliver 820 watts RMS (1100 watts max power), this monoblock amplifier from BOSS Audio Systems is just the ticket for anybody looking to increase the bass of their stereo with sub-woofer.
Featuring a MOSFET power supply and both high and low-level inputs, this amp a great choice whether you are connecting it to a factory fitted stereo or an aftermarket model. It comes complete with a remote sub-woofer control that allows you to tweak the bass to suit the music and your preference and has a low pass crossover which effectively prevents all the high notes reaching your sub-woofers.
2. Blaupunkt AMP1504 4-Channel Amplifier – Best Value
If you are looking to power up your existing car speakers, this fantastic full-range 4-channel amplifier from Blaupunkt is, without doubt, the best budget car amplifier under $100 for the money.
A small, slimline amplifier, it will fit in even the smallest of car trunks, and with its 4 x 150 watt RMS outputs (1500 watts max power) this unit is capable of boosting power to both your front and rear speakers.
The only downside we can see with this model is that it has RCA inputs only, which means it will be a little more tricky to install if you are connecting it to a factory fitted stereo.
3. Planet Audio AC1000 2 Channel Car Amplifier
The Planet Audio AC1000.2 may be an excellent choice if you are looking to power a pair of speakers or two small sub-woofers. It features variable low and high pass crossovers, bass boost, and remote subwoofer control which allow you to customize the sound to your liking.
It is fitted with a MOSFET power supply, has a power output of 2 x 375 watts RMS (1000 watts max power @ 2 Ohms) and is fitting with both high and Low-level inputs, making it easy to install regardless of the type of car stereo you have installed.
4. BOSS Audio Systems AR1500M Car Amplifier
This excellent single channel monoblock amplifier is capable of delivering 1120 Watts RMS @2 Ohms (1500 watts max) and would be another good choice for someone looking to install a new sub-woofer.
This Amplifier can accept either high and low-level inputs making it easy to install whether you have a factory fitted or aftermarket stereo head unit. It has a variable low pass crossover, switchable bass boost and comes with a remote sub-woofer control, giving you considerable options to modify and adjust your sound.
5. Rockford Fosgate Prime 2-Channel Amplifier
This 2-channel amplifier from Rockford Fosgate certainly isn’t the cheapest on our review list, and you won’t get much change from your $100 with this amplifier. But, but what you will have is an excellent amplifier from one of the most well-known and respected brands on the market.
This amplifier has a heavy cast-aluminium chassis that draws heat away from its internal components and was designed with reliability in mind. It may not be the most powerful amplifier on the market, but this versatile amplifier is capable of delivering 2 x 50 watts RMS @ 2 Ohms (2 x 70 watts max power) or being bridged to deliver 150 watts RMS @4 Ohms to a single subwoofer.
6. Skar Audio Monoblock MOSFET Amplifier
The RP-350.1D is a compact monoblock amplifier that is designed for maximum power and efficiency. It is
a well-constructed unit that is rated to 350 watts RMS @ 1 Ohm (380 watts max power) and could be a good choice if you’re looking for an amplifier to pair with a single sub-woofer up to about 400 watts or two smaller subs up to 200 watts each.
It comes with a remote subwoofer control that can be mounted in the front of the vehicle, allowing full control over the bass levels and ensuring the best possible sound. It also features a MOSFET power supply and 4-way protection circuitry and efficient heatsink design to guarantee reliability and performance.
7. Pioneer GM-A6704 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier
If you are looking for versatility from an amplifier we recommend that you take a closer look at this model GM-A670 from Pioneer.
This amplifier can supply 60 watts of RMS power to each of your front and rear speakers and will be a great choice if you are looking to power up your factory fitted speakers. However, it can also to be installed with the two back channels bridged, giving you the option of powering two front speakers and a 190-watt sub-woofer.
This nifty and well-built amplifier comes with auto signal sensing turn-on, a variable high pass filter and adjustable bass boost. But, be aware, this amplifier isn’t the cheapest, and only scrapes in under our $100 budget by a whisker.
8. Ignite Audio R1600/1D Mono Block Car Amplifier
If you are looking for an inexpensive amplifier to power your subwoofer, the Ignite Audio R1600/ID is another model you should consider.
For the price, it is quite a powerful unit and can output up to 530 RMS watts of power @ 2 Ohms. According to the manufacturer, it has a max power of 4000 watts however based on several independent tests and reviews we’ve read we suspect this is an over-exaggeration of the unit’s capability.
It is none-the-less a very good amplifier. Perhaps not as well built as some of the other models on our list, but it will certainly do until you can afford to upgrade to a better quality amplifier at a later date.
9. Planet Audio TR1500.1M Monoblock Car Amplifier
At this point, we are starting to get into the lower end of our list of recommended amplifiers, so it should come as no surprise that we don’t feel this model is quite as good as some of our earlier recommendations.
That being said, all of the amplifiers on this list could be a good choice if you need to get something for less than $100. And that is certainly the case with the TR1500.1M monoblock from Planet Audio, which may be a good option for you if you need an amplifier to power a moderate size sub-woofer.
It can deliver 1125 watts RMS @2 Ohms to a single channel, with a maximum power of 1500 watts RMS. Like most Planet Audio Amps, it features a MOSFET power supply, and High and low-level inputs and this one also has a variable low pass crossover and switchable bass boost.
10. Rockville RXA-T1 RMS 2 Channel Amplifier
The final amplifier on our list, the RXA-T1 from Rockford is a budget amplifier that is worth considering if you are looking to add some power to a single pair of car speakers.
The RXA T1 is a two-channel amplifier with an output of 2 x 375 watts RMS @ 2 Ohms (1,500 Watts peak power). It features a high-speed MOSFET power supply as well as high-level inputs, allowing you to connect this amplifier easily to a factory fitted stereo unit that does not have RCA cable outputs.
If you’ve read through our amplifier reviews, you may already have noticed that when it comes to installing an amplifier, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution. In fact, there are quite a number of things you need to consider, and we’ll go through them briefly for you here.
Stereo head unit
If you have a factory fitted stereo, the first thing you should look for in an amplifier is whether or not it has high-level inputs (also known as speaker-level inputs). As an amplifier that has these inputs can be connected directly to your stereo without the need for additional components.
This is something that won’t be as important if you have an aftermarket stereo installed, as the majority of these units can be connected to amplifiers with RCA cables.
The number, type, and capability of the speakers you have is an important consideration when installing an amplifier.
If you are still running factory speakers in your car, there is no need to purchase a high powered amplifier, as it will be too powerful for your speakers to handle. Instead, you may want to consider a compact, 4-channel amplifier to boost the power of your front and rear speakers.
On the other hand, if you’re going to install an amplifier with a new sub-woofer, you may want a monoblock, or single-channel amplifier, that will directly power your sub-woofer without being connected to your front or rear speakers.
There are also 2-channel amplifiers to consider, which can be used to power a single pair of speakers, bridged to power a large subwoofer, or used to power two smaller subs.
In fact, there is a whole range of options available depending on the number of channels your amplifier has and your speaker setup. And if you take one thing away from this, you should remember that each channel on an amplifier is a single source of power, and each of your speakers needs its own power.
Don’t exceed RMS power ratings
You must choose an amplifier with a top RMS output per channel that is no higher than each of your speaker’s top RMS rating.
Conversely, if you are looking for speakers to match an amplifier, make sure you buy speakers with a top RMS rating that is equal to or higher than each amp channel’s top RMS output.
Never exceed your RMS power ratings. This is the golden rule when purchasing an amplifier, and failing to follow it will result is you damaging both your speakers and your amp.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, adding an amplifier to your car stereo is a great way to improve the quality of the sound of your speakers and a great way to get some extra volume out of them.
Hopefully, with this list of reviews, you now have a better idea of which budget amplifier under $100 is right for you.
To recap, our top suggestions are:
Best Overall: BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Monoblock
Best Value: Blaupunkt AMP1504 4-Channel Amplifier
Featured image credit: Jace, Pixabay
- A Quick Look at our Favorite Picks in 2020:
- The 10 Best Budget Car Amplifiers under $100:
- 1. BOSS Audio Systems R1100M Car Amplifier – Best Overall
- 2. Blaupunkt AMP1504 4-Channel Amplifier – Best Value
- 3. Planet Audio AC1000 2 Channel Car Amplifier
- 4. BOSS Audio Systems AR1500M Car Amplifier
- 5. Rockford Fosgate Prime 2-Channel Amplifier
- 6. Skar Audio Monoblock MOSFET Amplifier
- 7. Pioneer GM-A6704 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier
- 8. Ignite Audio R1600/1D Mono Block Car Amplifier
- 9. Planet Audio TR1500.1M Monoblock Car Amplifier
- 10. Rockville RXA-T1 RMS 2 Channel Amplifier
- Buyer’s Guide