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How Many Watts Should a Car Stereo Have?

Most dealers indicate the power rating of their standard factory car stereos to be 200w. However, this is quite misleading because there are differences between peak and RMS wattage. It is this misunderstanding that can lead you to purchase another stereo that may output the same power or even less than the factory device.

For example, if your factory car stereo is set at 200w, it probably gets power from an amplifier chip whose rating is at 50w peak by 4 channels. Its real-world RMS wattage could be anywhere between 13 and 18w per channel but no more. Usually, this amount of power is too little to overwhelm road noise unless there’s a shrill.

An Upgrade is the Surest Decision

If you’re not comfortable with the sound your car stereo is producing, the best thing to do is to get a factory system upgrade. Apart from boosting the level of your audio, these systems do not change the factory outlook of your vehicle. The option includes an amplifier and other sound processing accessories specifically designed for your car.

However, if you’re looking to make some savings, then opt for a compact 4-channel amplifier to boost the power for the front and rear speakers. Some amps on the market are small enough to fit behind most dashboards but so powerful that they can dramatically enhance sound quality and clarity.

Many such amplifiers feature inputs that can work well with high-level signals from the factory speaker wiring of different vehicles. A good option is an amp with speaker-level-inputs. It won’t necessitate a change to the factory speakers or receiver.

Get Aftermarket Speakers

Another great option is to get aftermarket speakers. Their advantage is that you can feed them with more power than their factory counterparts. Moreover, the receiver that came with your car won’t put out as much wattage as what aftermarket speakers can handle.

Before buying an aftermarket speaker, make sure you look at its RMS wattage specifications. Most of them display ranges such as 5-60. The highest number indicates the approximate driving power that a speaker can play at its best and fullest according to the manufacturer.

Build from Scratch

How loud do you want your system to be? Car audio systems do not have to produce massive amounts of amplifier wattage to sound booming. However, having excess power means there’s headroom so your system can deliver emotionally impactful bursts whenever the music asks for them. Just ensure that the speaker’s rating matches that of the amp.




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