How Many Watts Do I Need For My Car Speakers: Factory Fitted

A common question I hear is: How many watts do I need for my car speakers? Let’s check out below.

While working with the audio profile for your vehicles you need understand that it’s a complex ecosystem. There are various elements which are inter-connected and mutually interdependent.

You need to take care of all these elements to have a quality in-car audio experience. In this segment, we going to understand about the wattage of our vehicle’s stereo and how it affects your audio experience.

Generally speaking, higher wattage of the car’s stereo would mean more scope for better audio performance. However, most times factory inbuilt car stereo come along with low wattage.

Thus you need to add on certain modifications. Especially true if you are planning to have more than just a background jazz ambient in your car. For a powerful, energetic and noise cancelling effect the inbuilt wattage in most cars is not enough.

How many watts do I need for my speakers?

There seems to be many doubts regarding what’s the best wattage balance for your speakers. There are so many opinions out there regarding the issue that we are often clouded with more confusion. It’s time for disillusionment.

When checking out specifications for speakers, we need to check out the RMS rating. Root mean square (RMS) refers to power handling capacity of the speakers and indicates how much continuous power the speaker can handle without distortions.

Another component important in the specifications is peak power capacity. The peak power handling value refers to the maximum power level that the speaker is capable of utilizing in short bursts. So don’t get confused. When we are checking out speakers, we must give more importance to RMS numbers than the peak handling capacity.

The real-world RMS wattage of factory installed amp 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. If you’re not satisfied with your car stereo’s sound quality (and quantity), the best thing to do is to get a factory system upgrade.

Our recommendation is 50 watts per channel factory system should be good enough and can work well with not so efficient speaker as well (less than 90db) and still give really quality audio experience. On an average 50-75 watts RMS is pretty good depending on the size your vehicle.

Is more watts better for speakers?

It’s true that watts in amps and speakers are not well understood by most people and marketing/advertising makes sure to mislead people. This segment will try to clear out some of the common doubts regarding wattage of car stereo.

Most of us have come across speakers that sound fine at low volumes but tend to distort at high volumes. Most likely that’s because your amplifier is ‘under powering the speakers’. 

Higher volume means the speakers are asking the amp for more power. If it is unable to provide enough, your speakers will start to distort. More Wattage (RMS as well as peak capacity) enhance the potential of our speakers, RMS being more important between the two.

However, we need to make sure that the high capacity amps are accompanied with matching high capacity speakers. A stereo system featuring powerful external amps requires speakers with power-handling close to the amp’s output.

Thus, another thing you need to consider when purchasing an after-market amplifier plus speaker unit for your car stereo is power-handling. This allows you to know the amount of power, usually measured in watts that the amp-speaker duo is capable of handling.

What is a good wattage for car speakers?

Now let’s get to the numbers. If you drive a small sized vehicle (a hatchback, for instance), speakers with a top RMS rating of at least 50 watts RMS to go along with the amp is good enough.

For larger vehicles (like an SUV) and for those who just want more energy (volume), you should look out for at least a 75 watts RMS per channel setup. A plus-minus 5 or 10 watts in either case won’t make noticeable difference. Matching speakers will need to each have a top RMS rating of 75 watts RMS or more.

For those who want to go even higher, you can go for an amp with 100 watts RMS or more per channel. But we wouldn’t advice the same, since prolonged exposure to such high intensity audio can have a negative impact on your ears.

In any case if you are adamant, you can go for it. Get speakers which are rated at top RMS output power for each channel. But please, use with moderation.

Does more watts mean louder?

Generally speaking, more watts does mean louder sound. But while wattage is an important consideration, the efficiency of the speaker(s) that are connected to the amplifier are also an important factor in the (quality of) loudness equation.

Given we possess high capacity speakers, it’s true that the higher the power (watts), the louder and cleaner the speakers will play. However, small differences in power don’t make much of an audible change. Only when the wattage is doubled can we notice some definite changes. For instance, a 50 watt per channel receiver would have to go up to 100 watts per channel before you could discern a noticeable change.

Conclusion

High Wattage is good for quality audio experience given high wattage external amps are accompanied with similar high capacity speakers. Too much difference on the capacity of the speakers and of that of the amps can cause distortions (which is a nightmare for dedicated audiophiles).

Our advice would be check out for the RMS specifications for the factory installed stereo. Then depending on the size of the vehicle make add-ons to the wattage by including an external amp. Simultaneously, it is important that we are aware of the capacity of the speakers. Powerful amps must be accompanied with matching speakers for an undisrupted amazing experience.

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