How to Gauge Wattage for Your Car Audio Subwoofer How to Gauge Wattage for Your Car Audio Subwoofer

What You'll Need
Car audio subwoofer
Car speakers

In order for your car audio subwoofer to operate at maximum capacity and provide you with that crystal clear, bass-intense sound that you’re looking for, you have to make sure that the subwoofer’s wattage is correct for the rest of your car stereo system. You have to take into account all the components of the stereo system, including the amplifier (if applicable) and the speakers in order to gauge wattage for your car audio subwoofer. If you’re at a loss as to how to do this on your own, just review this guide for some useful tips.

Step 1 – Inspect Your Speakers

There’s nothing like a subwoofer to really amp up your tunes and get the most out of those low notes; and if you spend any significant amount of time in your car each day, then you know that investing in your car’s audio system can really be worth it. Shopping for a subwoofer isn’t just about brands, models and styles, though; if you don’t gauge the wattage correctly for your particular car, then the sound quality will suffer, no matter how expensive the subwoofer was. So first of all, you need to take a look at your car’s speakers. On the back of the speaker (often on the magnet), the speaker’s RMS rating and PEAK ratings are indicated.

Step 2 – Take Note of the Ratings

The RMS rating indicates the minimum wattage necessary for the speaker to operate properly. The PEAK rating, as you might guess, indicates the maximum amount of wattage that your speaker can handle. Jot this down with your pencil for later. Also, take a look at your amp, if your car has one, to see what its maximum wattage is.

Step 3 – Gauge the Wattage for Your Subwoofer

When you go subwoofer shopping, you want the wattage of the new appliance to be in the same range as the wattages for the speakers and the amp. For instance, let’s say that the minimum and maximum wattage range for your speakers is 200 to 800 watts, and you have an 800 watt amp. Then clearly, you’ll want your subwoofer to have a wattage that’s close to that same range, and certainly no more than the maximum (in our hypothetical scenario, then, no more than 800 watts). To choose a subwoofer with a wattage that exceeds the PEAK rating of your speakers and the wattage of the amp would result in poor sound quality, at the less extreme, and a blown out audio system, at the worst.

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