Close this search box.


Car Stereo Wattage – How Many Watts Is Good For a Car Stereo?

While driving, many people love listening to great music tracks that allow them to relax and enjoy their ride. But, sometimes, listening to music becomes a hindrance due to the external noises on the road.

You may not even hear the singer’s soft melodies and soulful voice just because there is too much noise- trucks passing by, cars honking, and so on!

The main issue is probably with the car stereo. Probably it is not that powerful to cancel all the external noise. Usually, car stereo models with higher wattage power offer a better listening experience. This article discusses the ideal car stereo wattage range and other related facts to help you make a better decision for choosing the perfect car stereo model for your car.

Explaining Car Stereo Wattage?

First, let us understand the definition of watt to get a clearer idea/ Well, technically, the amount of electric power converted to energy by the car stereo while playing music is called watt. Let’s now understand how it affects your ears-

1. Wattage Rating

The wattage refers to the maximum power the car stereo can handle while playing music. It denotes the maximum energy the stereo machine processes to play the music.

2. Peak Wattage, RMS Wattage & Decibels

Let’s understand how the power is determined for the stereo machine.

The peak wattage refers to the peak power the speaker can handle without getting damaged. In simple terms, the Peak wattage refers to the watt rating when the stereo is at its loudest range.

But, the peak wattage refers to the power output for shorter audio bursts like a single loud note. That means, your car stereo will not be able to maintain the peak wattage for a long time.

On the contrary, the RMS or Root Mean Square wattage refers to the power the stereo needs to produce consistent music.

As power formula, RMS Wattage = 0.7071 x Peak Wattage.

Please remember that the RMS wattage will always be less than the peak wattage. Generally, the factory stereo model inside your car will usually have a rating of 50 wattsx4 or 200 watts.

If the rating says “50 watts x 4”, it refers to the peak rating. Mostly, the RMS wattage is 5-15 in the factory-made models. Since this is relatively low, the factor models may not always offer a great experience while playing music.

That means the higher the RMS wattage rating, the better chance the stereo model will deliver higher wattage for a long time without any issues.

If you want to get the best audio experience, make sure to get a stereo model that has at least 20 watts of RMS for each channel. Such models offer satisfied audio listening experience and no distortion, even with higher notes or volumes. Hence, if you increase the wattage 2X, it will only increase the sound volume to 3dB. Hence, the sound volume increase is moderate.

Please note that while more wattage means better sound, it ultimately depends on the decibel rating and sensitivity of the speakers.

Now, let’s understand the concept of decibel. Decibel is a relative unit of measurement that considers ten units of bel for one unit. It is the unit to measure the intensity of the sound reactive to a logarithmic scale. A slight increase in dB can also make the sound appear louder.

Most car stereo models have an audio sensitivity rating ranging from 85 to 110 dB to ensure a decent listening experience.

3. Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)

THD or Total Harmonic Distortion or THD is the unit of the harmonic distortion present in a single sound signal produced by the car stereo. It is also known as the Distortion factor.

Well, during the crossover of two types of distortion, even at the lower level, a speaker produces an audible sound distortion. The excellent rating is below 0.1%.

4. Speaker Impedance

Technically, the speaker impedance is the amount of resistance the current flow encounters in an electric circuit. It is commonly used for amplifiers and speakers to connect these in such a way that no distortion happens while playing music.

The unit to measure Speaker Impedance is Ohms. A good stereo system should have 8 Ohms impedance rating to offer clear sound without audible distortion.

5. Understanding Amps

Let’s understand amps or amplifiers. A car stereo system is incomplete without the amplifier of speakers. The main work of the amps is to amplify any weak audio input to make it louder in both volume and scale.

Most car stereo systems have built-in stereo amplifiers, which may need to be better quality and may not amplify audio waves better. It often happens due to the placement and wiring of the woofers. Hence, invest in a good-quality subwoofer if you want to amplify your audio experience while driving.

Number of Watts Suitable For a Car Stereo

To ensure the car stereo offers you a standard audio experience, it must come with at least 20 RMS wattage ratings with a peak wattage rating of 200 Watt.

Most factory-set stereos have an 8-10 watt RMS rating and peak wattage rating of 200 watt.

Wattage Suitable For A Car Stereo

The wattage of a car stereo often depends on the car model you are driving, where you are driving, and of course, the type of stereo you use.

1. Type Of Vehicle

The type of vehicle you drive can often impact the audio experience while driving. If the windows are not open and you are driving a small car, the audio may not be disturbed by the external sounds. But, if you are driving a larger vehicle or in a car with windows open, you will need to increase the volume because you are open to more external sounds. Hence, you may need to press the volume button multiple times if you are in a pickup truck or a convertible car.

If you are driving in a polar region, the lord of external sounds, the stereo will need more power to produce the notes and bass effect properly. You need to invest in a car stereo system with higher RM wattage.

2. Type Of Speaker System

The car stereo or speaker model often also impacts the audio listening experience. Stereo models with lower sensitivity will consume more power to play a song properly. Similarly, stereos with integrated amplifiers also affect the sound quality.

If you want the best audio listening experience, invest in a sound system with an acoustic sound of 075x to 1.5x of the RMS wattage. Also, make sure to get a model with a higher wattage rating.

Can More Watts Give A Better Car Stereo?

More watts do not mean that the car stereo will offer you a better audio experience. Even if you double the wattage, the sound sensitivity will not increase at the same rate. The increment may be of only a few decibels. Hence, it may not affect the audio experience as a whole.

You may find high-scale female voices or guitar solo tracks a bit clear for just a few minutes due to the higher wattage. But that wattage increment also affects the car battery. More wattage means more power to the stereo system from the car battery.

On top of that, higher peak wattage can often lead to audible distortion, which dampens the whole experience.


Listening to your favorite tracks while driving seems a great pleasure, but you need to understand the car stereo’s ability and power to produce good music even while you are on the road.

Understanding the wattage power of the stereo models can allow you to consider the possible options to upgrade your stereo model for a better audio experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *