5 Best 5000-Watt Amps of 2020

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Looking for some beast to power your 2500W subwoofer? Our article on 5 best 5000-Watt amps is here to help you find the best option. We will talk about the purpose and importance of car amps, list the most important characteristics and features, and give you a few tips on what to look for and what to avoid. After a short introduction, we will present to you our selection of best 5000-Watt amps. 

Car Stereo 101

Any car audio system (aka car stereo system) consists of three equally important parts – head unit (radio, CD player), amplifier, and speakers. 

Head unit is where the audio signal is created. This signal could come from your AM/FM radio, CD-player, USB drive, iPod, smartphone, etc. The signal created in the head unit is not strong enough and it can’t be sent directly to the speakers. That’s why we have amplifiers.

The amplifier receives the signal coming from the head unit, boosts it, and sends it to the speakers. Cars always have some kind of amp built inside the head unit, but these amps are small and cheap and they can only produce up to 20W per channel, which is not much. 

Speakers are the third part of a car stereo system. They receive the boosted signal coming from the amplifier and turn it into sound.

Reasons for Buying an External Amp (Advantages of External Amps)

As we’ve said, amps built inside the head units are usually cheap, small, and weak. They can push only 5W-20W per channel. 

The biggest advantage of external amps is higher power output. They can push much more power than your built-in amp. Some high-end mono amps can produce more than 10kW of pure power. The truth is, you will notice a huge difference even if you connect your preinstalled speakers to a new external amp that produces only 100W RMS per channel.

The second advantage of external amplifiers is significantly better sound quality. Compared to built-in amps, external amps can produce less distorted (cleaner) audio signal and, as you are probably aware, less distorted signal means better audio quality (clearer and fuller sound). 

Another important advantage of external amps is the ability to set the crossover. In other words, external amp will allow you to select which frequencies are sent to which speaker. 

Installing an external amp can be beneficial even if you don’t change anything else. So, even if you leave your old head unit and speakers, you will get a better sound with some nice amp that can push 50-100W per channel. That’s a big change compared to your built-in amp that outputs 5-20W per channel.

Furthermore, any kind of car speaker upgrade (buying a new subwoofer or replacing old speakers) calls for a new amp. Connecting some nice and powerful aftermarket speakers to your factory amp is not an option. 

When it comes to 5000-Watt amps, the most common reason for buying something that powerful is a huge and power-hungry subwoofer. Most 5000W amps on the market (and on our list) are mono amps and are designed for subwoofers.

ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
Planet Audio TR5000.1DUnder $3004.Read Review
SoundStream RN1.5000DUnder $3004.Read Review
Taramp’s MD 5000.1Over $3004.Read Review
DS18 HOOLIGAN-SPL5K1Over $3004.Read Review
Hifonics GA-5000.1DOver $3004.Read Review

Amp Types 

Based on the number of speaker outputs (channels), you can make a difference between 1-channel amps (mono amps or monoblocks). 2-channel amps (stereo amps), and multichannel amps (3-channel, 4-channel, 5-channel, etc.). 

Your choice depends on the type of upgrade you want to make. Adding a subwoofer (or two subwoofers) requires a mono amp. One mono amp could power up to three subwoofers but you have to be careful with wiring – calculate their combined impedance and compare it against the min allowed impedance of an amp. 

Stereo amp would be the most convenient option if you only want to replace two front speakers.

Three-channel amp can be used for powering two speakers and subwoofer.

Four-channel amp is the most convenient option if you want to upgrade four speakers (front and rear). 

You can also make all kinds of combinations. For example, if one mono amp is not strong enough for your subwoofer, you could buy two and strap them together to get a higher power output. Why would you do that instead of buying a more powerful mono amp? Well, it’s simple – in some cases, buying two 2500W amps is cheaper than buying one 5000W amp. You will naturally have to buy two amps with strapping capabilities (preferably two same amps). 

You can also combine one mono amp and one multichannel amp. For example, you can use a mono amp for powering your subwoofer and pair it with a 4-channel amp for the other speakers. In order to do that, you would need a mono amp with preamp outputs and you will have to set the crossovers appropriately.

Amp Power Ratings

After you decide which type of amp you want, you have to find an amp with a matching power output per channel for the given impedance. So, you have to check your speaker’s/subwoofer’s impedance and RMS power rating and start looking for an amp that can push the required amount of power (preferably more) for the given load. 

Unfortunately, looking for the right power rating is not as easy as it sounds. There’re a few things you need to know. 

  • Power ratings written on the box are usually max power outputs. So, if you see a box with a large 5000W amp writing on it, there’s a 90% chance that 5000W is amp’s peak power output. Remember, you are supposed to check and compare the RMS power outputs, not peak power outputs. So, it’s not enough to see the advertised power output – you have to look for the user manual and check the RMS power ratings. 
  • Some amps have overrated power outputs. Their RMS and peak power ratings are just some arbitrary numbers that have nothing to do with the actual capabilities of those amps. The majority of generic brands (BOSS Audio, Audio Planet, etc.) use this marketing gimmick to trick you into buying their amps. Their amps are not entirely bad but they can’t produce the advertised RMS and peak power outputs and that’s something you should be aware of. If you need an amp that can deliver the advertised/published outputs, you should buy an amp made by some reputable manufacturer. You will find a few of those cheap generic amps on our list since they are advertised as 5000W amps (even though they can’t push 5000W). We have calculated the actual max power output for each of these amps and tried to emphasize their real capabilities. 
  • Since you can’t trust those advertised RMS and peak power outputs, you can try to calculate them. The equation below can help you understand the amp’s capabilities. It’s used for calculating the max power output which is not the value you can use when looking for the right amp (you need RMS values) but it can tell you whether the advertised peak power outputs are real or overrated. If the peak power output is overrated, you can be assured that the advertised/published RMS outputs are overrated, too. 

  • CEA-2006 is a car amp standard. It defines how the RMS power outputs are measured. If an amp has CEA-2006 logo on the box, it means that it has CEA-certified RMS outputs, and you can be assured that these power outputs are real. Unfortunately, this standard is not mandatory and the number of manufacturers making CEA-compliant amps is not huge. Most of the generic brands are not CEA compliant. The fact that some amp is CEA compliant doesn’t mean that the amp is great since it’s not all about the power output and there are many other factors that affect the sound quality (THD, SNR. etc.). CEA-2006 logo only means that the amp can deliver the advertised RMS power output. 

CEA-2006 logo

  • The most accurate way of determining the actual RMS and peak power output of an amp is the amp dyno test. You can find many of these tests on YouTube and they can really help you with your decision. Unfortunately, there’s no amp dyno test for each amp on the market and, in some cases, you will have to calculate the max power output, check if the amp is CEA-compliant, and read customers’ reviews. 

Now that you have some basic info and know what to look for and what to expect, let’s move onto our selection of 5 Best 5000-Watt amps. The list is divided into 2 parts – best 5000-Watt amps under $300 and best 5000-Watt amps over $300. 

Note: If you need an amp that’s not only advertised as 5000-Watt amp but can actually push 5000 Watts, you should skip the first section. All the amps in the first section are cheap generic amps that can’t push 3000W, let alone 5000W. If you need an amp that can deliver 5000W of pure power (5000W RMS), you will have to pay more than $300. 


Best 5000-Watt Amps Under $300

1. Planet Audio TR5000.1D

Planet Audio TR5000.1D

Editor’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Planet Audio is one of those generic brands we’ve talked about. Their amps are cheap and have highly overrated outputs but they still offer decent performance for the price. TR5000.1D is a Class-D mono amp with an advertised max power output of 5000W. Naturally, this amp cannot push that much power. 

Impressions 

The packaging contains your TR5000.1D amp, wired bass remote, mounting screws, user manual, and 1-year warranty.

The amp looks a bit cheap because of all the plastic parts. It’s 18.2 long, 9.6in wide, and 2.2in tall. So, it’s not that small and the only appropriate space for installation is probably your trunk. 

TR5000.1D has RCA (low-level) inputs and RCA preamp outputs. It also has a data link port for strapping in case you need to double the power output. 

The amp features variable low-pass and subsonic crossover filters. Subsonic crossover range spans from 15Hz to 40Hz, while the low-pass range spans from 50Hz to 250Hz.

If you want to adjust the bass response (to boost it), you can use the bass knob on the amp or the included bass remote. The max allowed bass boost is 18dB. You can also adjust the phase (0-180°).

The amp is fused at 200A (inline 200A fuse) and, based on our calculations, the amp can push up to 2304W (peak power output). This is pretty far from the advertised 5000W. Even if you strap two amps together, you could never get 5000W peak.

The RMS power outputs we’ve found in the manual are also highly overrated. The manufacturer claims that TR5000.1D can push 3750W RMS at 1Ω, 1875W at 2Ω, and 938W at 4Ω. 

Since there are no amp dyno tests for this amp, we can’t give you the accurate RMS values. Based on our experience, this amp can probably push up to 1000W RMS at 2Ω.

Advantages 

  • RCA (low-level) inputs
  • RCA preamp outputs
  • Strapping capabilities
  • Variable subsonic (15Hz-40Hz) and low-pass (50Hz-250Hz) crossover filters
  • Variable bass boost (0-18dB)
  • Wired bass remote
  • Adjustable phase (0-180°)
  • Stable at 1Ω
  • Overheat and short circuit protection

Disadvantages 

  • No high-level inputs
  • The advertised power outputs are overrated

2. SoundStream RN1.5000D

SoundStream RN1.5000D

Editor’s Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

SoundStream RN15000.D is another affordable amplifier. It’s one of the amps from the SoundStream’s Rubicon Nano series. This is a Class-D mono amplifier with an advertised max output of 5000W. Like all the other cheap/affordable amps, RN15000.D has overrated power outputs. This amp can put out up to 2000W.

Impressions 

Inside the box, you’ll find your RN15000.D amp, bass level remote, high-level wire harness, mounting screws, user manual, and a warranty card. Wiring kit is sold separately. 

The amplifier looks nice and sleek. All the inputs and outputs are on the front side and all the control knobs are on the top. The amp is 17.8in long, 6.5in wide, and 1.5in tall. It has a super-slim profile and it can easily fit under your seat. 

RN15000.D has both low-level (RCA) and high-level (speaker level) inputs. It also has RCA preamp outputs (for building a multiamp system) and Data Link for strapping. 

When it comes to adjustment tools, you have variable subsonic and low-pass filters. Subsonic crossover range spans from 20Hz to 50Hz. Low-pass range spans from 50Hz to 500Hz. 

You can also make additional bass adjustments thanks to the bass boost knob and bass remote. You can boost the bass by up to 12dB (the boost is centered around 45Hz).

The amp is fused at 180A (it uses 6 30A fuses). Our calculations show that the max power output is 2073W. It’s not even close to the advertised 5000W. 

RMS outputs are overrated, too. According to the user manual, this amp can push 2500W RMS at 1Ω, 1500W at 2Ω, and 1000W at 4Ω. 

In reality, RN1.5000D can probably output 1700-2000W RMS at 1Ω or 1000W at 2Ω.

The amplifier has a short circuit, overheat, and overload protection

Advantages 

  • Low-level (RCA) and high-level inputs
  • RCA preamp outputs 
  • Strapping capabilities 
  • Variable subsonic and low-pass filters
  • Adjustable bass boost (0-12dB) centered at 45Hz
  • Bass remote
  • Stable at 1Ω
  • Up to 2000W RMS power output at 1Ω

Disadvantages 

  • The advertised power outputs are overrated

Best 5000-Watt Amps Over $300

The following three amps are not in the same league as the previous two. Taramp’s and DS18 amps can push 5000W continuously (5000W RMS), while the Hifonics amp has the advertised max power output of 5000W (5000W Peak). If you want to save some money and get the highest possible output, Taramp’s MD 5000.1 is your best option.

3. Taramp’s MD 5000.1

Taramp's MD 5000.1

Editor’s Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Taramp’s amps come from Brazil. They are extremely powerful and, more importantly, they are very affordable. Compared to some other 5000W RMS amps, MD 5000.1 is actually quite cheap. This super-small amp can push 5000W continuously and it’s 1Ω stable. One thing you should be aware of is that MD 5000.1 is a full-range amp but it’s primarily designed for bass reproduction. 

Impressions 

Along with the amplifier, you’ll get a remote monitor (this is not a bass remote – it’s just a clip monitor), user manual, and a warranty card. The wiring kit is sold separately (2/0-Gauge wire can be used for the power and ground terminals). 

Taramp’s amps are not the best-looking on the market. All that shiny aluminum combined with plastic doesn’t look very attractive. The amp is quite small, especially when you consider the power output and when you compare it to some other 5000W amps. MD 5000.1 is 12.9in long, 9in wide, and 2.8in tall.

The amplifier has only RCA inputs. It has no high-level inputs and it also doesn’t have RCA preamp outputs or strapping ports. 

It has a variable subsonic crossover filter (20Hz-90Hz) and variable low-pass filter. Low-pass crossover range spans from 90Hz to 10kHz (this is a full-range amp and the frequency response spans from 10Hz-10kHz). 

You can boost the bass by up to 10dB and you can select the frequency you want to boost (35Hz-55Hz). 

The amp is fused at 500A and, according to our calculations, the max power output is 5760W which is quite impressive. We didn’t find any amp dyno tests for this amp, but there’s one dyno test for the 1800W amp from the same series, and this test shows that Taramp’s amps can really deliver the advertised RMS outputs.

 

MD 5000.1 can push 5000W RMS at 1Ω or 3200W at 2Ω. This thing could, for example, easily power two Skar Audio’s EVL-15 D2 subs. 

Warning: This kind of amp requires some serious electrical upgrades (additional batteries and upgraded alternators). 

Advantages 

  • Small and compact
  • RCA (low-level) inputs
  • Variable subsonic (20Hz-90Hz) and low-pass (90Hz-10kHz) crossover filters
  • Variable bass boost (0-10dB) and adjustable bass boost frequency (35Hz-55Hz)
  • 1Ω stable
  • Impressive RMS power output (5000W RMS at 1Ω, 3200W RMS at 2Ω)

Disadvantages 

  • No high-level inputs
  • Not strappable

4. DS18 HOOLIGAN-SPL5K1

DS18 HOOLIGAN-SPL5K1

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

DS18 is a South Korean amp manufacturer and HOOL-SPL is their competition-grade amp series. HOOL-SPL5K1 is a super-powerful beast with an advertised RMS power output of 5000W. This is the most reliable and best-performing amp on this list. If you don’t mind spending more than $900 on a car amp, you should definitely check out DS18 HOOL-SPL5K1. 

Impressions 

The packaging contains your amp, wired bass remote, user manual, and a warranty card. The wiring kit is sold separately (you can use 0-Gauge wire for the power and ground terminals).

DS18 HOOL-SPL5K1 looks sleek and elegant. The amp is not too big considering the power output – it’s 23.2in long, 9.8in wide, and 2.3in tall. 

DS18 HOOL-SPL5K1 has only RCA inputs (no high-level inputs). It also has RCA slave input and RCA master output for strapping. 

The amp features variable subsonic (10Hz-60Hz) and low-pass (30Hz-250Hz) crossover filters. You can play with the bass response and boost it by up to 12dB (use the bass boost dial on the amp or the bass remote). You can also adjust the phase (0-180°)

DS18 HOOL-SPL5K1 us fused at 500A (that’s the recommended fusing). If you apply the equation from the introduction, you will get the max power output of 5760W. The manufacturer has published the amp dyno test for this amp on YouTube and the test shows some impressive outputs. 

The advertised RMS power output at 1Ω is 5000W. The amp dyno test shows a slightly lower value (4500W – Uncertified to clipping). The advertised RMS output at 2Ω is 2800W – the test confirms this power rating (2823W – uncertified to clipping). 

This amp can deliver stable and reliable performance with two 1500W(RMS)/2Ω subwoofers. 

Warning: This kind of amp requires some serious electrical upgrades (additional batteries and upgraded alternators). 

Advantages 

  • RCA (low-level) inputs
  • RCA slave-in/master-out ports (strapping capabilities)
  • Variable subsonic (10Hz-60Hz) and low-pass (30Hz-250Hz) crossover filters 
  • Variable bass boost (0-12dB)
  • Bass level remote
  • Phase shift (0-180°)
  • 1Ω stable
  • Impressive RMS power output (4500W at 1Ω, 2800W at 2Ω)

Disadvantages 

  • Expensive
  • No high-level inputs

5. Hifonics GA-5000.1D

Hifonics GA-5000.1D

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

If you’re a car amp enthusiast, you have probably heard of Hifonics. They’ve been making amps for more than 35 years and they are quite good at it. Their amps are maybe not the best you can find but they still offer very good performance for the price. You should be aware of one thing – Hifonics only publishes one set of values and it doesn’t say whether these are peak or RMS values. Based on our experience, the advertised values are peak outputs. So, Hifonics GA-5000.1D is a Class-D mono amp with 5000W peak power output. It’s priced under $400. 

Impressions 

Inside the box, you will find your Hifonics GA-5000.1D amp, bass level remote, user manual, and a warranty card. The wiring kit is not included in the package (you can use 0-Gauge wire for the power and ground terminals). 

The amp features the recognizable Hifonics design with an aluminum chassis, illuminated logo on the top, and large heatsinks along the left and right side. Unlike the amps from the BRX and ZXX series, amps from the GA series are completely black and definitely look better than BRX and ZXX amps. GA-5000.1D is 22in long, 10in wide, and 3.7in tall. 

The amplifier has RCA (low-level) inputs as well as slave-in and master-out RCA ports for strapping. It doesn’t have high-level inputs.

You have variable subsonic (15HZ-35Hz), and low-pass (35Hz-250Hz) crossover filters. If you want additional control over the bass response, you can use the bass boost knob or the bass remote (you can boost the bass by up to 10dB). The phase is also adjustable (0-180°)

GA-5000.1D uses an external inline fuse. It’s recommended to use 275A inline fuse. With that kind of fuse, this amp will pump 3168W max (see the equation below). So, it’s not really going to meet the advertised 5000W. We haven’t been able to find some amp dyno test for this amp but, according to some tests done for other Hifonics amps, we can assume that this amp can produce half of the advertised max output. So, the amp can push 2500W RMS at 1Ω or 1700W-2000W RMS at 2Ω. If you strap two of these together, you can get up to 5000W RMS at 2Ω and it would cost you less than buying one DS18 HOOLIGAN-SPL5K1. 

GA-5000.1D features 4-way protection circuitry (overheat, short-circuit, under and over-voltage).

Warning: This kind of amp requires some serious electrical upgrades (additional batteries and upgraded alternators).

Advantages 

  • RCA (low-level) inputs
  • RCA slave-in/master-out ports (strapping capabilities)
  • Variable subsonic (15Hz-35Hz) and low-pass (35Hz-250Hz) crossover filters 
  • Variable bass boost (0-10dB)
  • Bass level remote
  • Phase shift (0-180°)
  • 1Ω stable
  • Satisfying RMS power output for the price (approx. 2500W RMS at 1Ω, 1700-2000W RMS at 2Ω)

Disadvantages 

  • No high-level inputs 
  • The max power output is overrated

This was our selection of 5 best 5000-Watt amps. If there was nothing that fits your needs and your budget, and you want to keep searching, here’s a list of the most important things to pay attention to when buying an amp. 

Short Buyer’s Guide – Things to Consider When Buying an Amp

Number of channels and amplification type

You should choose an amp that fits your plans. Buying an amp with a number of channels that matches the number of speakers you want to connect is the most convenient solution. So, if you want to add a subwoofer to your existing car stereo system, you need a mono amp. If you want to replace two front speakers, you need a stereo amp. If you want to replace four speakers and add a subwoofer, you need a 5-channel amp. 

In some cases, you can also use an amp with a non-matching number of channels or even two amps together. For example, you can use a 4-channel amp (in bridged mode) to power only two speakers. If you want to replace four speakers and add a subwoofer, you can pair two amps (one mono amp with preamp output ports for the subwoofer and one 4-channel amp for the speakers). If one mono amp is not powerful enough to drive your subwoofer, you can strap two (if they are strappable) and get a higher output. So, there’s plenty of options.

When it comes to amplification type, the two most common amp types are Class-AB and Class-D. All the multichannel amps are Class-AB, while the most mono amps are Class-D. There’s a simple reason for this. Class-D amps are superior to Class-AB amps. They are more efficient and have lower operating temperatures but what makes them worse than Class-AB amps is the midrange and treble reproduction. Class-D amps offer pretty good bass reproduction which, combined with low operating temperatures and high-efficiency, makes them the best choice for powering subwoofers. Class-AB amps offer much better midrange and treble reproduction with less distortion and that’s why they are used for powering midrange woofers and tweeters. Some 5-channel amps are hybrids (they combine Class-AB and Class-D amplification). These amps usually have 4 Class-AB channels for the speakers and 1 Class-D channel for the subwoofer. 

Power outputs and impedances

We have discussed this topic in detail in the introduction, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat the most important things. 

The first rule is – never take the advertised and published power ratings for granted. The manufacturers don’t have to be honest about the power outputs and they are often overrated, especially when it comes to generic brands. More reputable brands (Skar Audio, DS18, Rockford Fosgate, Memphis, etc.) publish much more accurate power ratings and you can trust these brands. 

If you want, you can calculate the approximate value of the max power output by using the equation below. 

This equation can tell you what to expect from a certain amp. If the advertised output is significantly lower than the calculated output, you can be assured that the amp can’t deliver enough power. You can’t use this equation to calculate the RMS output. 

The best way to find out the real RMS output is to perform an amp dyno test. You can find numerous tests for various amps on YouTube and you should definitely look for these tests before making a purchase. 

Another useful thing is CEA-2006 car amplifier standard. If the RMS ratings are CEA-certified, you can be assured that they are real. 

Common Features

Power ratings, impedances, and channels are the most important things to consider but they are not the only ones. Other features that you should pay attention to are inputs (high and low-level), RCA preamp and strapping outputs, crossover filters (low-pass, high-pass, subsonic), and bass boost.

There are two different types of inputs high-level (speaker-level) and low-level (RCA). Terms high and low refer to voltage. Most of the amps on the market have only RCA inputs. If you want to connect one of these amps to your factory radio (factory radios usually have only high-level outputs), you will need a high-to-low adapter with an appropriate number of channels.

You can use the crossover filters to select the set of frequencies that’s going to be handled by some speaker/subwoofer. Mono amps are used for powering subwoofers and they have low-pass and subsonic filters. Multichannel amps usually have low-pass and high-pass filters. All these filters can be fixed and variable (in most cases, they are all variable).

If you prefer bass-heavy sound, you should look for mono amps with a bass boost feature. Some mono amps come with a bass level remote. 

Amp Size

When the available space is limited, the size becomes very important. That’s exactly the case with cars and amps. Most of the amps that can output 5000W (either RMS or peak) are quite large and the only appropriate space for the installation is your trunk. Installing a subwoofer and a matching amp will significantly reduce the available space and you have to be prepared for that. 

Installation – wiring kit

If you don’t have any previous knowledge about car audio systems and car electrical systems, it’s highly recommended to pay for professional installation. If you still want to do the installation on your own, here’s an important advice – do not try to save money when buying a wiring kit. Kits with CCA (Copper-Clad Aluminum) wire are very cheap but they will never be as good as kits with OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) wire. OFC wire is a much better conductor and doesn’t get as hot as CCA wire. The chance of damage/malfunction is much higher with CCA wire. 

Price

If you need an amp that can push 5000W, you will definitely have to pay more than $300. All the amps that are advertised as 5000W amps and cost less than $200 can’t even push 3000W. 

The cheapest amp that can push 5000W RMS is Taramp’s MD5000.1. All the other amps that can output 5000W RMS are much more expensive. The price can easily reach $1000. For example, our top pick, DS18 HOOL-SPL5K1, is priced around $950.

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