How Many Watts Is a Factory Car Stereo?

Many people are not satisfied with the sound quality coming from the car stereo, especially if it is a factory car stereo. Let us understand how the power of the car stereos is affected by the watts. 

What Is A Watt In Car Stereos?

If you are able to identify the sound of the factory car stereo, then the reason could be the watts used by the manufacturers. The factory car stereos will sound alright if you are satisfied with music and sound that is just average and with no great quality or clarity.

But if you want a powerful sound, it is time to understand some important aspects of the factory car stereo,  and electrical power measured in Ohms is one of them. It is the amount of energy the speaker can handle while producing sounds. 

● Wattage rating – This is the maximum ability of the car speaker to handle power. The stereo may consume only a fraction of the power most of the time unless it is completely integrated with the amp system. 

Total Harmonic Distortion is the distortion the speakers face when they process sound signals. It must be less than one percent. 

● The wattage rating does not decide how loud the sound will be. Peak wattage, RMS wattage, sensitivity, and other aspects can determine the loudness of the sounds in the car stereo. Factory car stereos are tuned to provide distortion-free sounds at low wattages with sensitivity ranging from 85 to 110 decibels.

● Speaker impedance must be around 8 Ohms to provide the optimum sound system for the car. 

● The amplifiers (Amps) with sub-woofers and special wiring will help boost the sound quality, but the Factory car stereos have a built-in amp. 


So How Many Watts Is Your Factory Car Stereo?

You must know the wattage of your car stereo, and usually, the wattage is low between 8 to 10 watts RMS output per channel. You can ask the dealer or check online to know the wattage. 

Peak wattage and RMS wattage are two different aspects connected with the stereo. The watts of the stereo directly influence the performance of the speakers and the sound outputs and need enough power to overcome the surrounding sounds and must still sound pleasant to listeners. 

What Are Watts In The Speakers?

A watt is the unit of electric power, and even the non-powered speakers may have wattage ratings. Speaker wattage means its ability to handle power under certain conditions. Speakers do not have any power until they are a part of the sound system or have power amps built-in. 

The wattage rating cannot decide the loudness of the speaker. The amplifier’s operating power, including the Watts RMS and peak Wattage, are equally responsible for the sound quality and efficiency of the speaker. You can measure the efficiency of the speakers in decibels. 

Highly Efficient Speakers

Factory car speakers do not have a lot of power. The speakers with high sensitivity have 90 decibels and above range, and their sound output is good with less power. We can see that higher efficiency speakers sound better than lower efficiency speakers in the Factory car stereo systems as their amps are also of low wattage. 

The speakers may produce a distorted sound if they are pushed beyond their capacity and optimum potential. 

How Can You Improve The Sound Quality?

● You can replace the factory speakers with a better switch with high sensitivity, above 90 decibels. These speakers will work well with less power wattage too.

● The factory car stereo has low RMS wattage and can be replaced with a new one with a higher RMS wattage. 

● Additional amps to complement the existing amplifier may boost the sound quality. The entire car system may remain and function well with the added amps instead of complete replacement but check the compatibility.

Only an expert can decide and execute such a plan as that will need more technical knowledge and the right tools and equipment. The added wattage must match the speaker’s capacity as the watts cannot predict whether the replaced speakers will work well with the amplifier.

Alternatively, you may have to change the speakers too, or the speakers may be damaged with distortion.  

A Stereo With Better Watts

More wattage definitely reduces distortion and improves the capacity of a system to produce sounds without distortion. This is where the speaker’s RMS wattage and peak wattage come in.

Examples of peak wattage include higher octaves of female singers or the high lead part of guitar solos between 200-300 watts. Amplifiers with less power will lead to higher distortion and low-quality sound. 

Do More Watts Mean A Better Car Stereo?

More watts in the stereo will help the speakers to produce better sounds. Factory car stereo wattage is lower, and hence you may not be satisfied with its sound output.

You can purchase speakers with 25 watts RMS with 50 watts per channel. The speakers must be compatible with the amp’s output for the best sound effects. 

Before purchasing the system to replace the car stereo, you must check the following aspects. 

● External sounds may also affect the sound output. If you drive around with windows rolled up, you can buy a system with low wattage. But with open windows, you need louder volume and more wattage on the stereo.  

● A low-sensitivity car stereo will need more wattage than a stereo with a higher decibel capacity. RMS wattage also plays an important role in the integrated amp and stereo system. 

● It does make sense to have more power in the system than lower power, as that will help you play the sounds the way you want and get more flexibility. 

● The car stereo must have a ratio of .75 to 1.5 between the RMS wattage and speakers’ power. 


The factory car stereo is good if you just want to listen to some music while driving with your windows rolled up. But the sound quality may not be that great. You can choose to replace the speakers or the stereo.

But experts suggest that replacing both with compatible equipment will provide you with the best sound quality in the car. 

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.