How Many Watts Do I Need For My Car Speakers?

Do you find your car stereo ineffective or incapable of producing good quality sounds? Many factory-installed car stereos are not powerful enough to cancel road noise and do not let you truly enjoy the music. 

On average, for a good audio experience, the stereo must have more than a minimum of 20 watts RMS per channel. RMS or Root Mean Square watts refer to how a speaker or subwoofer handles continuous power and how much continuous power an amplifier can produce. 

So, if you are not satisfied with your car speakers and want to upgrade, the first question that you will ask is about the wattage needed for the car speakers. 

Good Sound Experience

With low wattage levels, the sound produced is not impressive or immersive enough for a great experience. An audio experience depends on several elements that need to combine in the right way. You need to understand the complex system to get the best results. 

Usually, the higher the wattage, the better the audio performance, but a perfect match of wattage with your car is more important. 

How Many Watts Are Perfect For Car Speakers?

If you want to listen to some of your favorite music while driving, you may need to make certain modifications to the audio system. The noise-canceling effects and an energetic and powerful sound are most often not enough in the built-in stereos of the cars. 

However, there are different views regarding the wattage required because people have different ideas. You need to understand your requirements before deciding the wattage needed for your audio system. 

The RMS rating is very important, along with the specification of peak power capacity (PPC). The peak power is the maximum power a speaker can produce in short bursts and it comes and goes. So, the RMS is more important than the peak handling capacity. 

Is More Wattage Better?

The built-in speakers usually have wattage between 15 to 18, which is not enough. You will find that when you listen to music at low volumes, the sound is perfectly fine.

The problem arises when you play the sound at higher volumes. The speaker starts demanding more power and if the amplifier does not provide this extra power, the sound gets distorted. 

A minimum of 20 watts is necessary for good sound, and you can choose wattage up to 75 watts, depending on the size of your vehicle and your audio preference. 

Wattage in speakers is indeed extremely important, but not everyone understands it fully. The advertisers and marketers also add to the confusion by their misleading proclamations. 

Wattage Requirement For Car Speakers

For a small car, like a hatchback, speakers with wattage between 30 to 50 watts and a good RMS rating are good enough. For larger vehicles like an SUV, 75 watts RMS per channel setup is ideal. The matching speakers need to have an RMS rating of 75 watts or more. 

However, 5 or 10 watts plus or minus may not make a big, noticeable difference in the sound quality but for people who are very particular about the sound quality in their cars. Some people can even go higher with 100 watts RMS or even more, but one needs to be careful. Exposure for long periods to high sound levels can hurt the ears. 

Is More Wattage Equal To More Noise? 

Generally, the answer to this question is yes, because more watts mean louder sound, but the actual efficiency of sound quality depends on other things. The quality and efficiency of the speakers connected to the amplifier play an essential role in the loudness of sound. 

If you have high-capacity speakers, the higher wattage will produce louder and cleaner sounds from the speakers. A slight difference in power will not make a big difference, and only by doubling the wattage or making a big change will you be able to notice the difference in sound quality. 

What Does It Mean When Vehicles Advertise A 200 Watts Standard Stereo?

Many cars come from the factory with a 200 watts rated stereo. The car manufacturers do not offer full disclosure on this issue causing many consumers to assume the powerfulness of the stereo falsely.

The Wattage rating that you get only indicates the peak watts and you should not confuse it with the RMS. Peak wattage rating can never give the true picture of the power of a stereo. 

Moreover, this peak wattage is spread among the 4-channel amplifier of the stereo. After the distribution and transformation into RMS, the peak wattage shrinks to 13 to 18 watts RMS per channel. This is too little for a good audio experience in the car. Remember this if you like to have a good audio experience. 

Much of it depends on your personal listening preference. If you like loud music and have speakers with 90 dB, 200 watts is enough for you. If you like listening to jazz and light classical music, then even 50 watts is enough. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Should the speaker wattage be higher than AMP? 

A. The amp needs to have more wattage than the speakers. If you don’t follow this, you may risk damaging and losing both the speaker and the amp. Sound will also get distorted.  

Q. Is a 200-watts stereo in a car enough? 

A. Most probably, the 200-watt stereo will get its power from a 50-watts rated amp chip which is also distributed into 4 channels. So, the RMS rating will be just about 13 to 18 watts per channel. It is decent power but is not much compared to a strong external amplifier. 


High wattage external amps are usually accompanied by high-capacity speakers and produce an excellent audio experience. If there is too much difference between the capacity of the speakers and the amps, it can cause distortions, which no music lover wants. 

It is best to check out the RMS and other specifications for the built-in stereo. Take into account the size of the vehicle because that plays an extremely important role. Make your decision on these factors.

You can add on wattages to the existing system by adding an external amp and being aware of the capacity of the speakers. When everything is in place, take your car out for a long drive and play your favorite music and enjoy. 

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.