Best Marine Amplifiers
We have broken down the best marine amplifiers available based on brand, number of channels, size, power output, and overall value. We sell the best brands in marine audio and this article focuses on high quality products that will deliver the actual power that you are paying for.
Here are some helpful reminders before we start.
- If you have a brand preference, go with it. If you are a Rockford person, we recommend Rockford Fosgate. If you grew up with JL Audio, get JL Audio amplifiers. If you love Kicker, get the Kicker amp(s). You won't second guess yourself afterward.
- Match your power output to your speakers. If your speakers are rated at 75 watts, you don't need 150 watts RMS. If you have a pair of 300 watt RMS tower speakers, try to give them 300 watts.
The Wet Sounds Sinister amplifiers have the most RMS power output among marine grade amplifiers. Sure there might be some car amplifiers with more output that are specifically designed for bass competitions, but you aren't going to find anything else that is marine grade with this type of output. The Sinister amplifiers come in the following configurations:
- Sinister-SDX2500: 2500W Monoblock
- Sinister-SDX2: 1240W 2 Channel
- Sinister-SDX4: 1360W 4 Channel
- Sinister-SDX6: 1740W 6 Channel
The Rockford Fosgate Power Mini amplifiers deliver full size output in a super compact footprint. The cost per watt on these amplifiers is tough to beat and you know you are getting the power you are paying for with the Rockford Fosgate name. These amps have dual fan cooling and a conformal coated PCB board. The 4 channel and 5 channel versions have a constant power circuit that ensures you are getting the full rated power across all impedances as the speaker cone moves. This is where you hear a difference between 100 watts of power and 100 watts of power with a CP circuit. You can hear the difference.
- TM400x2 - 400W 2 Channel
- TM400x4ad - 400W 4 Channel
- TM500x1br - 500W Monoblock
- TM750x1bd - 750W Monoblock
- TM1000x5ad - 1000W 5 Channel
The Wet Sounds STX-MICRO amplifiers have Class-D circuit and put out more power than the JL Audio MX series, but the price point is a little bit higher. Like the JL Audio MX, the STX-MICRO amplifiers are also completely sealed and have a die-cast aluminum chassis to effectively dissipate heat. The STX-MICRO amps use 3.5mm input connections instead of RCA to easily connect to a bluetooth adapter. This allows you to build a loud, powerful stereo system without needing a head unit. Instead, you connect your phone via Bluetooth to the adapater, the adapter connects to the amplifier, and you are ready to rock.
The Kicker KMA amplifiers are affordable, reliable, and great overall amplifiers. Kicker introduced this line as a more affordable option compared to their KXM amplifier line. The KMA amps are marine amplifiers based on Kicker's CX car amplifiers. The CX series are among the most popular amplifers in the world and for good reason. The KMA amps are CX amplifiers that have been modified to withstand the marine environment. The Kicker KMA amps will sound 1000 times better than powering your speakers off of your radio. These amps are perfect if you want an amp, you don't want to spend an arm and a leg, but you want something good.
- KMA600.1 - 600W Monoblock
- KMA150.2 - 150W 2 Channel
- KMA300.4 - 300W 4 Channel
- KMA460.6 - 450W 6 Channel
The Rockford Fosgate M2 series marine amps are solid, powerful, and priced right. These amps feature Class D power supplies, they are true, marine grade amplifiers, and they come with LED clipping indicators. When you look at the output for the money, these might be the best value among the low priced amplifiers. If you want a full size amp and you don't want to pay for the JL M-Series, these might be your second best option.
While not always the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about marine amplifiers, Stinger's SPX amplifiers feature a true, marine-grade design and Class-D power circuitry to pack a ton of power in a relatively small footprint. These amps aren't as small as the Rockford Power Mini, JL Audio MX, or Wet Sounds STX-MICRO, but they are compact when you consider how much power they are putting out. The chassis itself is made from aluminum, the connections are nickel-plated and they have stainless steel hardware. You get the same quality and even better performance than you see in many other high-end marine amplifiers. My personal favorite is their 5 channel which puts out 95 watts per channel at 4 ohms, and 500 watts to the subwoofer at 2 ohms. The chassis might not look as sexy as some of the other amps, but the internals are there. Why pay up for something that is usually only heard and never seen?
The Rockford Fosgate Power Mini marine amps deliver the power you know and trust from Rockford Fosgate in a super small, compact chassis. When you compare the raw power output and the price point, it is tough to find another product that is going to deliver that type of performance for that price. The TM400x4ad, TM1000x4ad, and TM750x1bd are the best amps in Rockford Fosgate Power Mini line.
- TM1000X5AD - 1000W 5 Channel
- TM400X4ad - 400W 4 Channel
- TM400X2ad - 200W 2 Channel
- TM750X1bd - 750W Mono
- TM500X1br - 500W Mono
The Kicker KMXA1200.2 puts out 300 watts per channel. It gets listed first above the Wet Sounds SYN-DX2.3 HP because it has better signal processing at 24dB/octave vs. only 12dB on the We Sounds unit. This amp has just about everything you could want or need in a marine amplifier. The Kicker KXMA1200.2 has Class D circuitry, an optimal output LED clipping indicator, a DSP controller pre-amp, and a conformal coated board to protect it from the elements. The amp is 2 ohm stable at 600 watts a channel. Regardless of which tower speakers you run, check out the Kicker KXMA1200.2. The power is there, the performance is there, and it's priced right for what you get.
The Wet Sounds SYN-DX2.3 HP also puts out 300 watts per channel at 4 ohms. This is perfect for powering a pair of REV 10, REV 8, or any other tower speakers with high power handling. At 2 ohms, you get 600 watts a channel. You can wire 2 pair of tower speakers in parallel to a 2 ohm load and you will still get that 300 watts per channel. The SYN-DX series amplifiers have more than enough thermal management to run at 2 ohms all day long. There is no substitute for power the the SYN-DX2.3 HP is the answer to all of your tower speaker amplifier problems.
- Group the speakers by size
- What is the RMS power handling of those speakers?
- If so, how many?
- What is the impedance of the subwoofers?
- What is the RMS power handling of those subwoofers
- If so, how many?
- Are they all 4 Ohm?
- What is the RMS power handling of each tower speaker
You need to have at least 1 amplifier per zone as the zone connections at the back of the source unit only supply left and right. If you have 4 different zones, you will need a minimum of 4 amplifiers if you plan on running all of your speakers off of the amp.
How many amps do you need to power your speakers and how much space do you have to mount them? In marine applications, we usually like to use full size amplifiers when we can because they dissipate much better than the mini amplifiers. But, the mini amplifiers will work, they just run hotter and you increase the chance that your stereo could shut itself off and go into protect mode if you are blasting your stereo for hours on a hot, muggy, summer day.
If you keep your stereo blasting all day, you need to worry about the amps over heating more than the guy that is just crusing with his tunes at normal or slightly above normal listening levels.
The Kicker KM amplifiers offer affordable power that is designed for the marine environment. The PCB board is conformal coated, the terminals are nickel-plated to prevent corrosion, and they have stainless steel hardware. With Kicker, you know you are getting what you pay for and there are multi-channel options to fit all applications
The KXMA are ABYC compliant and have better signal processing and more actual power output than the KMA. These amplifiers come with a DSP pre-amp so that you can optimize the power across specific frequency ranges and with LED clipping indicators, you can ensure that you set the gains perfectly and do not have a clipped input or output signal.
The Kicker PXA amplifiers are weatherproof and perfect for applications that have very limited space for amplifiers. The PXA amplifiers have auto-turn on options, built-in crossovers, and can accept speaker level inputs directly from your head unit.
The Rockford Fosgate M2 series amplifiers are designed to deliver plenty of class D power at an affordable price. There isn't anything fancy about these amplifiers other than the fact that they deliver that loud, Rockford power without breaking the bank and they are designed for marine applications with conformal coated PCBs, nicke-plate terminals, and stainless steel hardware. These amplifiers come with Rockford's CLEAN setup which tells you where you have an input clip and an output clip to perfectly set your gains and eliminate distortion.
The Rockford Fosgate Punch marine amplifiers offer more actual power output that the M series and use Rockford Fosgate's CLEAN technology to perfectly set the gains on your amplifier. These amps have an unregulated power supply and will increase power output as voltage increases. We like these amps because get Rockford Fosgate power for a reasonable price, and they are full sized amps, with good thermal management, that you can run at full blast, all day long.
The Rockford Power Mini Marine amps are the amplifiers that all of the Rockford employees use on their boats and UTVs. These amps are super small, yet they still have full size amplifier output and internals. Many mini amps have to use some magic with the amplifier design to get power out of such a compact chassis. That is not the case with the Rockford Power Mini Marine amplifiers. The 4 channel and 5 channel amplifiers have a constant power circuit which delivers performance that you can hear. These amplifiers have dual fans for thermal management. The only draw back we see with these is that they can get hot because they don't have the surface area to dissipate the heat. They will not shut down on you, but they will get warm. When you take into consideration the raw power output and the price point, I don't think there is a better value for marine amplifiers.
The Wet Sounds Sinister amplifiers come with Wet Sounds' Class-D circuitry and Wet Sounds patented MAXED power supply. The MAXED power supply is super efficient and allows these amplifiers to put out the maximum power. When you compare the Wet Sounds Sinister amps to other amplifiers with the same number of channels, you will see that the Wet Sounds Sinister amps blow away the competition. The Sinister amps come in a 2500 watt monoblock, 2 channel, 4 channel, and 6 channel configurations. If you want your boat to absolutely slam, you gotta go with Wet Sounds Sinister amplifiers.
The Wet Sounds SYN-DX amplifiers also have Class-D circuitry but they do not have the MAXED power supply that comes in the Sinister amplifiers. The SYN-DX amps are designed to provide tons of clean power to speakers with higher RMS ratings, like Wet Sounds' REVO 6, REVO 8, REVO CX-10, and REV tower speakers. While the SYN-DX amplifiers don't have the power output of Sinister, they are more affordable and they match up well with all Wet Sounds products. The SYN-DX6 and SYN-DX2.3 HP are our favorites in this line. The 6 channel has increased power output on channel 5 & 6, making it perfect to power 4 speakers and a subwoofer, or 4 speakers and a pair of towers. The SYN-DX2.3 HP is perfect for powering one or two pairs of REV 8 or REV 10 tower speakers. If you want Wet Sounds quality but you don't need the ridiculous output of Sinister, we recommend SYN-DX.
The HTX amplifiers are designed to deliver Wet Sounds quality at a more competitive price point. The Wet Sounds HTX amplifiers put out more RMS power than most other amps with the same number of channels while also providing the efficiency, thermal management, and water resistance that you expect from a Wet Sounds amplifier. Like all the bigger Wet Sounds amps, the HTX also use Class D circuitry. The power output of the HTX series is going to be lower compared to the similar SYN-DX and Sinister models, but the HTX amps also have a lower price point, With We Sounds, you get what you pay for.
The Wet Sounds STX-MICRO amplifiers were originally designed for the powersports market but can also be used in boats. These amplifiers have a super small chassis that is completely sealed and the amplifiers include a waterproof plate to cover the controls. The STX-MICRO amplifiers are available in a 4 channel or monoblock configuration. These amps come with the connections pre-terminated to the amplifier internals and a saled overmolded pigtail cable. The STX-MICRO amplifiers use 3.5mm inputs instead of traditional RCA cables and can easily connect to a Wet Sounds Bluetooth controller. The STX-MICRO amplifiers are perfect if you are looking to optimize your output per square inch and you want the quality and reliability of a Wet Sounds amplifier.
While not a micro amplifier, the Stinger SPX amps are pretty compact and the power output per square in is unrivaled in a true, marine grade amplifier. The Stinger SPX amps have a conformally coated PCB board, stainless hardware, and an IPX4 rating. The IP rating means that these amps can be splashed without any issues. They can't be submerged and you don't want to spray them down with a hose, but if they get a little wet, nothing is going to happen. Available in a 2 channel, 4 channel, and 5 channel, these amplifiers are fully bridgeable and 2 ohm stable. If you want a great amp with tons of raw power, at a more than affordable price, the Stinger SPX is one of our favorites.
The Fusion Signature series amplifiers have efficient, Class-D circuitry and are backed by a 3 year warranty, the best offered among the top marine audio brands. Like most marine amplifiers, the Fusion Signature series amps have a conformal coating on the PCB board and stainless steel hardware. The Fusion amps have a mirror-like stainless steel cover over the control panel and all the cable connections are covered for a sleek, clean appearance that hides all of the wiring. The Signature series amplifiers are two ohm stable and available in about every configuration possible from a mono block up to an 8 channel. Fusion is a Garmin company so you know you are getting quality product that will work well in a marine environment.
The Fusion MS amplifiers are also true-marine products, but instead of Class-D circuitry, they are Class-AB. They are going to draw more power than the Signature series, but you get good RMS output for the money. These amps have a regulated power supply so you get the full amount of power even at low voltage. The MS amps have a 1 year warranty compared to the 3 year warranty on the Signature series. The Fusion MS amplifiers only come in a 2 channel and 4 channel configuration. Both models are 2 ohm stable so the 2 channel can be bridged to power a subwoofer.
The raw power output for the money on the Rockford TM750x1bd is the best bang for the buck. You get 500 watts at 4 ohms, and 750 watts at both 2 and 1 ohm. One amp will easily power a pair of most marine subwoofers. With the dynamic power and the un-regulated power supply, you can see actual power outputs over 900 watts at 1 ohm. For the price point, you won't find another amplifier that is capable of powering 4 marine subwoofers.
Read above. This amp is super small, measuring 8.3" x 4.3" x 1.6" (21.1 x 10.8 x 4.1cm). With LED clipping indicators, you can set your gains perfectly to ensure that you aren't getting a clipped signal. The only potential drawback with this amplifier is the temperature. It is small. If you have your subs slamming for 4-5 hours straight, on a hot summer day, make sure that the amplifier can't be touched because it is going to be HOT.
1200 watts of power at 2 ohms. 600 at 4 ohms. Kicker Class-D. These amplifiers are incredible and are coast guard and ABYC approved. These amplifiers are very efficient, they have incredible output, they sound amazing, and they don't overheat. There's not much that the KXMA1200.2 can't do.
The best all around 2 channel amplifier is the Rockford Fosgate PM300x2. It is a full size, marine grade amplifier that puts out 100 watts of RMS power at 4 ohms. You get the CLEAN circuit to set your gain perfectly, it is a full sized amplifier that is going to effectively manage heat so that you can hammer all day, as loud as you want, and you don't have to worry about the amp over heating. For the money, it is solid. If you only need 2 channels, and you aren't powering big, power-hungry tower speakers, this is our choice for the best, all around amplifier.
Rockford Fosgate PM300x2. Read above. The best all around amplifier is the same as the best value.
Stinger SPX300X2 is the size of a CD case (if you remember what those were) and puts out 125 watts of RMS power at 4 ohms. When you look at that power rating, the size of the amplifier, and the competitive price, you can't get that kind of output from any other amplifier in its price range. The amp has everything that all of the other big brand names do, it just puts out a ton of raw power, it's small, and it's cost effective.
The Kicker KXMA1200.2 is our vote for the best high-output, 2 channel marine amplifier. There are really 3 options if you are looking for serious output, the Kicker KXMA1200.2, the Wet Sounds SYN-DX2.3 HP, and the Wet Sounds Sinister-SDX2. The Kicker has roughly the same output as the Wet Sounds Sinister-SDX2, but it is significantly less expensive. The SDX2 has Wet Sounds super efficient power supply, but it is hard to justify the price difference for the power output. Witht that being said, if your entire marine stereo system is Wet Sounds, it probably makes sense to spend up and get the Wet Sounds amp to keep everything matching.
The Fusion SG-DA41400 is our pick for the best all around 4 channel marine amplifier. This amp puts out 150 watts of RMS power, significantly more than other amps around it's price point. It is a full size amplifier that has plenty of surface area and mass to dissapate the heat. To top it off, Fusion backs this amplifier with a 3 year warranty. If you are looking for tons of clean power, the Fusion SG-DA41400 delivers. This is our pick for the best 4 channel amp available.
The Rockford TM400x4ad is our favorite mini marine 4 channel amplifier. Although rated at 100 watts per channel, the actual output is closed to 125 watts and the amplifier comes with a birth certificate to tell you the exact power output it when they tested it. These amps are very small and have two fans to help dissipate the heat when out on the water for extended periods on those hot summer days. The Rockford TM400x4ad has a constant power circuit which ensures that you are getting the full power across all impedances. While this may not help if you are running multiple speakers in parallel, what it does mean is that you are gettoing full power at 2 ohms, 4 ohms, 8 ohms, 16 ohms etc. As the speaker cone moves the impedance changes and the constant power circuit delivers a power difference that you can hear when compared to other amplifiers.
The Wet Sounds SDX4 is the best high output 4 channel amplifier you can buy. It puts out 180 watts of RMS power at 4 ohms and an insane 340 watts RMS at 2 ohms. It is not cheap but there is no substitute for power in the marine environment. Wet Sounds marine amps are amazing with their super efficient, class-D circuitry. Wet Sounds does marine audio and marine audio only. They have perfected the SDX4.
All of them. All of the 5 channel marine amplifiers are really good amps and you get what you pay for with each one of them. If I am putting one in my boat, I would pick between the Rockford PM1000x5ad, the Rockford TM1000x5ad, or the Fusion SG-DA51600. If you are in the market for a 5 channel amplififer, I would pick the one that matches my speakers. There is no need to overcomplicate it as you will be happy regardless of which product you choose.
The Rockford TM1000x5ad is the best compact 5 channel amplifier. You get 100 watts of constant power to each speaker. The subwoofer channel puts out 500 or 600 watts RMS, depending on imedance. It's super small. It rocks. I have it in the car I drive to work everyday. It will get hot, but it does have two fans to manage the heat and shouldn't get hot enough to ever go into protect mode.
If you are looking for maximum power out of a 5 channel amplifier, I actually like a 6 channel amplifier the best, and you then bridge channels 5 & 6. The amplifier is the Wet Sounds SYN-DX6. It puts out 125 watts to 4 channels at 4 ohms. Then, channels 5 & 6 can be bridged to put out 600 watts at 4 ohms. This is similar to an 1100 watt, 5 channel amplifier and it is Wet Sounds, so you know it will perform and withstand the elements.
The Roswell R1 900.6 is the best 6 channel marine amplifier offered. It uses class-D circuitry and puts out more power than the JL Audio M-series amps and costs less money. These amps put out good power that is super clean and sound superior to most other marine amplifiers at an affordable price point. If you are powering 6 speakers, the Roswell R1 900.6 is the way to go.
The Kicker KMA450.6 will allow you to power 3 zones with nice clean power that is going to sound good, at an affordable price point. In a boat, you need an amplifier and if you have 6 speakers, or 3 zones, the Kicker KMA450.6 gets the job done at a nice price point.
Anything from Wet Sounds. The Sinister-SDX6 is obviously the amp with the most output, but the SYN-DX6 and the HTX-6 are both awesome products as well. The SYN-DX6 is nice because channels 5-6 have more power output if you are running tower speakers, or if you have a pair of larger tower speakers and 4, smaller speakers in the hull. The Sinister-SDX put rails at 185 watts per channel at 4 ohms. The HTX-6 is solid and a little more affordable with 100 watts per channel at 4 ohms.
All of the 8 channel marine amplifiers are priced similarly. But, you simply can't go wrong with the Fusion signature series amplifiers and the SG-DA82000 is the best selling 8 channel amplifier we offer. This amplifier is extremely versatile and can be used to deliver 200 watts RMS to some tower speakers when bridged, or you can power up to 8 pairs of 6.5" speakers at 2 ohms. If you are adding a subwoofer to your system, you can power 6 speakers off of channels 1-6 and bridge channels 7 and 8 for the subwoofer. Fusion is owned by Garmin and Garmin does marine electronics teh right way. Let's not make this more complicated than it needs to be.