Maybe you want to upgrade your car audio system and have bought all the required components: a new head unit, speakers, woofers and amplifiers. If you are an audiophile, you just can’t wait to install your shiny new toys in your car and experience the quality of a banging stereo system. But then you’ve come to know that you require one more thing for the complete experience: a good amp wiring kit.
But then you are again left with all kinds of questions: what is an amp wiring kit? How do I tell the good ones from the bad ones? How do I find the one that’s right for my stereo? Don’t worry because this amp wiring kit guide will help you find all the answers you’d need before buying the right one for your car stereo system.
What is an amp wiring kit?
Basically, an amp wiring kit is an all-in-one wiring kit that contains all the wiring essentials you’d need for connecting your amplifier to your stereo.
What is included in an amp wiring kit?
Generally, an amp wiring kit contains the following: RCA cables, remote wire, positive wire, ground wire, speaker wire, fuse holder and zip ties.
Does it matter what amp wiring I use?
Yes, it is absolutely essential what amp wiring you use. I order to produce the required quality of sound, your stereo needs to send the required power of signals to the amplifier and the amplifier then needs to send the appropriate power of electric signals to the speaker. For all these signals of varying power to travel from the stereo to the amplifier to the speakers, the wires need to be able to handle the electric signals passing through them.
If the wires are inadequate to handle the current, then your amplifier and speakers won’t receive the required signal strength to produce the quality of sound you desire. That’s why it matters what amp wiring you use.
What makes a good amp wiring kit?
To determine whether an amp wiring kit is a good one, you need to take the following things into consideration –
- Every component included – A good amp wiring kit will always have the essential components to connect your amplifier to the stereo. You should check whether the kit has good RCA cables, positive wire, ground wire, remote wire and all the components mentioned in the above section
- Wire Length – Checking the wire length is highly essential as shorter wire length will make you unable to connect your stereo system components because of the cramped space in your car. So, you should buy kits with that have wires of length 16ft or more.
- Fuse Holder – Checking the amp wiring kit for a very good quality fuse holder is very essential. A good quality fuse holder will provide the appropriate heat and moisture resistance and will make it much easier for you to install your amp. Remember that moulded fuse holders are generally rated for small amps. ANL and AGU are highly recommended as they are very easy to install, provide the necessary resistances and their design makes it very easy to check if the fuse is blown.
- Good Ring Terminals – Good quality ring terminals are essential to make a dependable power connection to the positive and negative wire cables.
High Quality Wire Vs Low Quality Wire
One of the most important components of your amp wiring kit are the wires. A good quality wire will be able to take care of the power requirements of the signals in your stereo system. Before we get into what are the qualities of a good wire, it’s worth knowing that manufacturers usually use cunning advertising gimmicks to trick you buying the wrong the gauge wire. Some of the them usually sell wires as 8 gauge whereas they are probably in fact 10 gauge wires. The best way to check for them is to remove the insulation and look out for oversized insulation.
The best quality wires are the copper wires. Why? Because copper is a very good conductor of electricity. Copper wires can withstand the heavy load of the stereo and the speakers for a long time and has great range of flexibility too. Nowadays, copper-coated aluminium (CCA) wires are also sold in amp wiring kit. These wires do provide good electricity conduction because of the copper coating and are a cheaper alternative to copper wires but are not as flexible and durable.
Sizing the amp wiring kit – diameter and length
Figuring out the size of the wire appropriate for your stereo system is essential because the right-sized wire will be able to transmit the signal required by the amp and the speaker and offer the required amount of resistance. Wire length is essential so that the wire can travel the distance inside the car to connect all the devices.
Speaker wires are typically available in these sizes – 1/0 gauge, 4 gauge, 8 gauge and 10 gauge. In order to figure out the size you’d need, just keep in mind the following while making your decision – for amplifier RMS wattage between 100-200 watts, a 10-gauge wire is suitable; between 200-400 watts, 8-gauge wire is more suitable; a 4-gauge wire is required for amps with 400 – 1000 RWS wattage and for 1000 watts and above, 0/1 gauge wires are recommended.
For most vehicles, a 16ft wire is usually enough to cover the distance between all the stereo components inside the car. In case of bigger vehicles like a truck, you should for 20ft wire.
Examples of good amp wiring kits
Best 4 Gauge kits
KNU Konceptz KCA-K4 4-gauge amp wiring kit
The KNU Konceptz KC4-K4 amp kit is both budget-friendly and capable of delivering the best quality sound for a 4-gauge kit. The AGU fuse holder is very easy to install and has really good wiring. The RCA cables come with gold-plated contacts and are very durable and offer superb insulation. Although the positive and negative wires in the kit are made with copper-coated aluminium (CCA) wires, they are of a really good quality and sound quality and wire flexibility isn’t compromised. The kit includes 18ft ultra flex blue power wire, 3ft ultra flex black ground wire, inline fuse holder with 80A AGU fuse, 5 meter black RCA cable, 2 gold-plated 4 gauge ring terminals and wire ties. To find out what other users thought of this kit have a look at the reviews on Amazon.
NVX XKIT42 4-gauge install kit
The most remarkable aspect of this kit is that NVX has managed to provide the best quality copper wires instead of the typical CCA wires found in such kits and still managed to keep the costs budget friendly. It’s very difficult to amp wiring kits with copper wires but NVX has managed to fill that gap adequately while one of the most flexible wires in the category. Some of the main features of the kit are – 20ft frosted blue main power wire, 3 ft frosted black main ground wire, 20ft clear 18-gauge remote lead wire, 1 ANl/Mini-ANL fuse holder with 100 Amp Mini-ANL fuse and 5 16-gauge nickel plated spade terminals. To find out what other users thought of this kit have a look at the reviews on Amazon.
New England 4-gauge 20% oversized cables Providore Kit
This kit is really great for 12V amplifier installation and the 20% oversized cables make it significantly convenient to connect no matter where you put the amplifier in your car. The kit has 4 AWG power and ground cables, which makes it awesome for providing the required power to the amplifier. The 10 AWG speaker wire is able to withstand the current load required by the speaker. To find out what other users thought of this kit have a look at the reviews on Amazon.
Best 8-gauge kits
Stinger SK6681 Kit
Stinger has always had a stellar reputation for aftermarket stereo accessories and are not holding any punches with the SK6681. The wires look beautiful aesthetically and are made with 100% oxygen-free copper. The good quality conductors in them make installation super-breezy. The power wires are designed to meet the AWG specifications and the shielded, high quality RCA cables are 17ft in length, so connectivity is not a problem. The kit contains 17ft matte blue hyper-twist power wire, 17ft blue turn-on wire, 17ft 6000 series RCA interconnects, 30ft 16-gauge speaker wire, mini-ANL style fuse holder,70 Amp Mini-ANL fuse, mesh wire loom and stinger metal badge to name a few.
Belva BAK8 8-gauge amp wiring kit
Designed for amplified systems up to 500W, the Belva BAK8 kit comes with awesome power & ground wire that offers fantastic flexibility. The water-resistant fuse holder looks great and the simple design means that taking it apart and inserting it to the contact points is super easy. The wires are made of CCA and not copper but unlike typical CCA wires which have 10% copper wire, these are made with 30% copper and are 17ft in length. The kit contains 17ft red 8-gauge power wire, 3ft black 8-gauge ground wire, 17ft Helical Twist 2-channel RCA interconnect cable, 20ft speaker cable, one black rubber firewall grommet and ten 4’’ black zip ties among others.
Rockford Fosgate RFK8
The Rockford Fosgate RFK8 comes highly recommended for easy installations. The heavy twisted and shielded RCA cables will be able to handle all your power requirements and make your life much easier. The 100 Amp Fuse holders are of a top-notch quality and provide ample heat and moisture resistance. This kit is considered as one of the most complete amp kits on the market and you get a pretty decent value for a relatively cheap price.
Best 10-gauge kits
Stinger SK46101 kit
The Stinger Sk46101 is a great for the 10-gauge range. The standard automotive fuse used here makes the installation way easier. The real gem about this kit is that it has 100% oxygen-free copper wires which is an absolutely awesome addition and makes you want to buy the kit immediately. It also has quality ring terminals which means the installations are very tight and power loss is negligent on the battery and ground wiring. The kit contains a 17ft 4000 series 2 channel audio interconnect, an 18ft matte red hyper-twist 8GA power wire, SPD5101 AGU fuse holder, 60 Amp AGU fuse, 16Ga blue butt connector and self-drilling mounting screws to name a few. Read owners reviews on Amazon.
Rockville RWK10 kit
The RWK10 also contains 100% copper RCA cables and the PVC outer jacket insulation offers premium flexibility and ample external resistance to oil and grease. The wires are made to AWG specifications and offer good noise suppressions. The loss in signal while transferring to the receiver is negligent. The kit contains 17’ 10 gauge translucent blue superflex power cables, 17’ 18-gauge blue remote cable, 3’ 10 gauge clear superflex ground wire, 40 Amp ATU Inline Fuse and 7 split tube loom among others. See what other users thought of this kit on Amazon.
Boss Audio Systems KIT-2
This kit is one of the most affordable amp wiring kits out there but Boss Audio Systems quality makes sure that it can provide really good sound as well. It has a long 20-foot power cable and 30-foot speaker wire which enables you to connect your stereo components with ease. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon.
Budget and other such factors do play a very important part but since you’ve spent money on the other components of your stereo, it’s not recommended to skip the amp wiring kit part as all your previous efforts towards your stereo will go to waste. Although you have awesome components for the stereo, but if you don’t have adequate wiring, then signals of the required strength will not travel the way you want to and the audio quality will be affected.
Just like we’ve mentioned on this amp wiring kit guide, remember to always carefully check whether all of the required components are present in a kit, whether the wire is of the required length, the quality of the fuse holder to provide to provide appropriate heat and moisture resistance and good ring terminals for dependable power connection. This might be the last step towards customizing your audio system but it is also one of the important ones. So, which one will you choose?