Best 1200 Watt Amp for a Fuller, Richer Car Audio System

Eric Chan

Cruising on the highway or interstate while listening to great music is the spice of being on the road. However, the sound system that comes with your vehicle may not always be up to par with your preferences, which is why you need an external car amplifier. As such, we've put together a comprehensive guide to help you find the best 1200 Watt amp so that you will absolutely love driving with a powerful bass boost and rich sounds.

Amplifiers enhance sound quality in various ways. An amplifier, for starters, boosts the sound, but other factors also play a crucial role, such as clearing the sound. It also minimizes noises and cleans the sound for a better audio experience. More so, putting up a great-sounding car audio system can be pretty fun and rewarding.

Is a 1200 watt amp good?

Is a 1200 Watt Amp Good Enough?

Today's cars tend to come with some kind of inbuilt amp, but these are usually small and weak, partly because of the size. Attaching an external amp to your car speakers can really help bring out the best of the stereo system. Furthermore, you'll need an amplifier if you're looking to switch up all the speakers or set up a new subwoofer to the existing system.

So, will a 1200W amp get the job done? Well, it depends on how many speakers you want to connect to the amp, as well as their specs; max & RMS power ratings, impedance. In other words, depending on your needs and preferences, 1200W could suffice, but it could also come short.

Take, for instance, if you have three 4Ω speakers, you'll first of all need a 3-channel amp. Then you'll need to check the amp's RMS power output for the given impedance (4Ω impedance in this case) and compare it against the speakers' RMS power outputs. If the amplifier's RMS power output per channel matches or exceeds the speakers' power ratings, then the amplifier is a viable option.

Understanding Power Ratings

That being said, it's important to note that the advertised power ratings are not always accurate. Generally, 1200W is considered the peak or max power output, whereas the RMS ratings are fairly lower.

If you have no problem doing a bit of math and physics, there's a simple way to calculate an amp's actual power output. Ohm's law allows you to find it as:

Actual Power Output = Battery's Average Voltage (while driving) x Recommended Fuse Rating (Current Draw) x Efficiency Rating.

However, if you're not looking to crunch all these numbers, there are at least two things you can do to avoid buying a phony amp. First, don't go for a budget amp: If you want a great amp, you have to be willing to spend above $100. Second, look out for an amp that is CEA2006 certified. This is a car amplifier standard that's upheld by several leading amp manufacturers, such as Rockford Fosgate, KICKER, Pioneer, etc. Nevertheless, it's not a mandatory certification, so you might find some excellent amps that aren't CEA2006 compliant.

What are the Best 1200-Watt Amps?

1. BOSS Audio Systems AR1200.2

BOSS Audio Systems AR1200.2 2 Channel Car Amplifier - 1200 Watts, Full...
  • POWER: 600 Watts Max x 2 @2-Ohms, 300 Watts Max x 2 @4-Ohms, 1200 Watts Max x 1 Bridged @4...
  • CLASS A/B TOPOLOGY: Class ‘A’ amplifiers have enormous amount of current flowing...
  • VARIABLE BASS BOOST: With Variable Bass Boost you have the control of exactly how much...
  • MOSFET POWER SUPPLY: A MOSFET is basically an electrical switch that allows the flow of...
  • VARIABLE GAIN CONTROL: The gain control is not for adjusting volume. It simply adjusts the...

Key Features:

  • 2-Channel Class-AB Amplifier
  • Peak power: 600 Watts × 2 at 2-Ohms
  • Peak power: 300 Watts × 2 at 4-Ohms
  • Peak power: 1200 Watts × 1 Bridged at 4-Ohms
  • Fixes high-pass and variable low-pass crossover filters
  • Speaker level & low-level inputs 
  • MOSFET Power Amplifier

The BOSS AR1200.2 is arguably the best 1200 Watt amp on the market, considering the price for performance. For starters, the compact design means it's small enough to fit under a car seat easily. Second, it comes with a wired subwoofer remote, high-input connector, mounting screws, user manual, and to cap it off, is backed by a 6-year platinum warranty.

It has both low-level (RCA) and high-level (speaker level), so you won't need an extra adapter. It also features a fixed high-pass crossover filter (80Hz) and a variable low-pass filter at 50Hz to 250Hz. Furthermore, it comes with a bass boost knob (up to 18db) and a bass level remote.

The AR1200.2 has a single 35A fuse which is just not sufficient to push 1200 Watts of power. However, this is enough to deliver power to one 300W subwoofer, ideally in bridged mode; any more would quickly cause the amp to overheat. Fortunately, the amp has overheating and short circuit protection to avoid damage.


  • Easy installation
  • Compact size
  • Quality, solid build
  • Value of money
  • Rave reviews from customers


  • A few flimsy parts

2. Hifonics ZEUS ZRX1216

No products found.

Key Features:

  • Class-D Amplifier 
  • 4-channel
  • Max power output: 1200Watts
  • Peak power is 400Watts × 1 at 4-ohms
  • 600 Watts × 1 at 2-ohms
  • 1200 Watts × 1 at 1-ohm
  • Frequency Response is 10Hz to 300Hz

Hifonics amps may not be what they used to be, but the ZRX1216 is still great value for watts price ratio. It comes with LED illumination, which adds a sparkle to the car's atmosphere. It has a compact build, but it's also worth noting it's slightly larger than your average 1200W amp, so it'll need more space.

The ZRX1216.1D comes with RCA (low-level) inputs as well as RCA output if you need to connect another amp. However, it lacks speaker-level inputs. It also has a low-pass crossover filter at 40Hz to 300Hz and a subsonic filter at 10Hz to 40Hz. Furthermore, it includes the option to tweak with the bass boost (0-18db) that's centered at 45Hz. The amp also features a bass-level controller that allows you to play around with things a bit more.

This high-performance amp uses a single 70A fuse. That means the peak power out struggles to get to 1200W, but it still delivers a solid punch. The amplifier is stable at 1Ω to 4Ω, albeit not bridgeable. That said, it has a 3-way guard circuitry with thermal overload that protects the setup from short-circuiting.


  • Robust build
  • Great design
  • Reliable selection
  • Affordable
  • Superb output connections
  • Includes bass remote


  • A bit bulky

3. Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D

Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D Prime 1,200 Watt Class-D Mono Amplifier
  • Mono channel amplifier
  • The RMS rating on this amplifier 400 watts x 1 @ 4 ohm, 800 watts x 1 @ 2 ohms and 1200...
  • Class D amplifier
  • Color: black
  • Number of items: 1.0.Package Weight: 3.357 kilograms.Package Dimensions: 10.922 L x 35.052...

Key Features:

  • Class-D Amplifier 
  • Frequency response - 20Hz to 250Hz

The Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D is a solid 1-channel Class-D amplifier with variable crossover at 12db and octave slopes. It sports an impressively clean design with simple control. All inputs/outputs are housed on the front panel while the control knobs sit on the top. It's pretty compact and slim, meaning installation is relatively easy.

It only comes with low-level RCA inputs, so you'll need to use a high-to-low adapter when you want to connect it to your factory receiver. It also features two RCA pass-thru ports in case you need to connect another amp to your system. As for controls, it has a variable low-pass crossover filter at 50Hz to 250Hz and a subsonic filter at 15Hz to 40Hz. Plus, you can boost the bass- pinned at 45Hz- by up to 18db.

The R1200 is stable at 1Ω, where it can continuously pump the max rated power of 12ooW. It delivers 800W into a 2Ω speaker and 400W into a 4Ω speaker. Just as important, it produces sufficient output power without too many requirements, translating to a quick response to even high sound demands.

This amp comes with mounting screws, a user manual and a 1-year warranty. However, it doesn't include a wiring kit, so you'll have to buy that separately. You can also opt to get a bass remote and install it somewhere in the car.


  • Powerful amplifier
  • Super loud and great bass boost
  • Delivers sufficient power to the subwoofer
  • Excellent mono amplifier
  • Distortion-free sound
  • Advance, compact and space-saving design
  • High durability
  • Great sound quality


  • Enhanced vibration at the highest bass level

4. Planet Audio AC1200.2 Anarchy

Planet Audio AC1200.2 2 Channel Car Amplifier - 1200 Watts, Full...
  • 600 W MAX Power @ 2 Ohm x 2 Channels
  • 300 W MAX Power @ 4 Ohm x 2 Channels
  • 1200 W MAX Bridged Power @ 4 Ohm x 1 Channels
  • Full-Range, Class A / B Topology, MOSFET Power Supply
  • Low and High Level Inputs, Variable Filter, Variable Bass Boost

Key Features:

  • 2-channel, AB-Class Amplifier 
  • 1200 Watts peak power  
  • 450 Watts × 2 RMS at 2-Ohm
  • 225 Watts × 2 RMS at 4-Ohm
  • 900 Watts × 1 RMS Bridged at 4-Ohm
  • MOSFET Power Supply
  • Low and high-level inputs

Planet Audio is not a name that stands out when you think of amplifiers, but the AC1200.2 Anarchy is definitely an option you should consider. It's a -channel class AB that delivers excellent performance, with improved sound quality and reduced sound distortion.

The AC1200.2 features RCA (low-level) and speaker-level inputs, so you won't need a high-to-low adapter to connect it to your head unit. It has variable high-pass (50Hz to 500Hz) and low-pass (45Hz to 90Hz) filters. In addition, it also features a variable bass boost (0 to 18 dB) and comes with an optional bass level remote. Essentially, it comes with all the controls you need to tweak the sound to your preference.

The amp has one 35A fuse, meaning it would be a tad optimistic to expect the advertised output. Nevertheless, it still delivers solid performance for the price. Plus, it comes with a wired bass level controller, a user manual, mounting screws, high-level input connectors and is backed by a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer.


  • Energy efficient
  • Versatile
  • Affordable and durable
  • Solid build quality
  • Thermal protection
  • Easy installation
  • Low pass filter
  • Boosts sound quality


  • Runs a bit hot

5. Kicker CX1200.1 Mono

Kicker CX1200.1 1200W Mono D Audio Amplifier
  • Get clear, powerful sounds in your vehicle with the Kicker 1200 W Mono Amplifier
  • RMS Power:
  • 600 Watt x 1 channel @ 4 Ohm
  • 1200 Watt x 1 channel @ 2 Ohm

Key Features:

  • Class-D Amplifier 
  • 1200 Watts peak power
  • 600 Watts RMS × 1 at 4-Ohm
  • 1200 Watts RMS × 1 at 2-Ohm
  • Frequency response - 25Hz to 200Hz
  • MOSFET Power supply 
  • Subsonic filter 
  • Very well battles heat 
  • Double speaker terminals 
  • 3-way protection circuitry 

It would be unseemly of us not to feature a Kicker unit on a list of best 1200 Watt amps. The Kicker CX1200.1 digital 1-channel amp is an incredible unit that delivers clean and powerful sound. More so, it features Kicker's Failsafe Integration Technology, thus extending its durability to the limit.

The CX1200.1 is a fairly small amp that's very easy to install. It has low-level (RCA) inputs that are also capable of receiving high-level signals; it doesn't include speaker level to RCA adapters. On top of that, it comes with two RCA outputs for daisy-chaining. It also has a variable low-pass crossover filter, with a range 50Hz to 200Hz, although it lacks a subsonic filter.

Going off of the recommended 150A fuse ratings, the CX1200.1 delivers a whopping max power output of 1728W, pretty close to the advertised figures. However, it's not bridgeable since it's a mono amp. And just like the other options on this guide, it has overload, overheat and short-circuit protection. Other than the unit, the packaging also has mounting screws, and a user manual, plus the product is backed by a 1-year warranty. However, you will have to buy the wiring kit separately.


  • Incredible power and sound
  • Quality build
  • Clear sound
  • Value of money


  • Doesn't include remote bass level control

What are the Different Types of Car Amps?

Generally, car amplifiers are categorized according to their power:

a). Mono-Channel

These simple amplifiers are also known as Class D amps. Mono-channel amps come with several transistors but only one on-and-off button. They are an excellent choice if you only want to connect a subwoofer to your existing speaker system without any plans to expand in the future.

b). Dual-Channel

Dual-channel amps are built for up to two speakers (stereo system). These are ideal for hatchback cars and those without a trunk since they're small enough to fit under the seats.

c). Three-Channel

Three-channel amps feature two different kinds of circuitry. If you want two front speakers and a subwoofer, these are your best option. More so, they don't take up too much space and fit perfectly into cars with limited room.

d). Four-Channel

Four-channel amps can power an entire set of speakers. You can use two channels for the stereo speakers and bridge the other two to supply enough power to the subwoofer. Even so, it would probably be better to get a separate 1-channel amp for the subwoofer.

These amps also require plenty of room. They are best set at the trunk of the car.

Factors to Consider in the Best 1200 Watt Amp

1. Type of Amplification (Based on Class)

a). Class-A

This is the most basic and common type of amplifier. It has a linear mode, and it runs with one transistor.

b). Class-B

Class B amps come with two transistors and provide a better sound experience than the Class A type. However, there's a chance of sound distortion due to the crossing over.

c). Class A/B

Class A/B amps combine the best of Class A and B. They are also an affordable option.

The ports always have a static current, even when there's nothing plugged in, so there's a chance of sound distortion. When the input is extremely powerful, only one class works.

d). Class D

These are the simple mono-channel amps that feature one transistor and a linear system. They don't offer plenty of options, but they are super-efficient with lower operating temperature, plus great bass reproduction.

e). Class G/H

and a subwoofer.

How many speakers can I connect to a 1200W amp?

It depends on your amp's capacity. Most 1200W amplifiers can easily support two speakers. But if you want to have more speakers, you'll need larger amplifiers to handle the power.

What happens if the amp is too powerful for my speakers?

You definitely want a powerful amp for great sound quality. However, if you overdrive your speakers with an underpowered amp, there's a higher risk of damaging them.

MT: Only the best 1200 watt amp can take your car audio system to a whole new level. Here are the 5 best options to choose from.

Class G/H amps are built for heavy-duty performance and can take almost any power input thrown at them, thanks to their higher capacity.

2. Size

Cars generally don't come with designated areas for amps, so you'll have to make spaces, mostly underneath the seats. Therefore, it's important to consider the size of the amp to ensure it'll fit. It would be best to get a compact unit that can fit in the tight spaces available.

3. Sound

Setting up an amp doesn't necessarily mean you'll get great sound. As we've previously mentioned, some channels produce sound distortion, which will likely ruin the experience. As such, consider the kind of sound you're looking for, then find the kind of amp that best suits your needs and preferences.

4. Amp Wiring Kit

Amps don't come with their wiring kits, so this is a separate purchase you'll have to consider. You can choose either one of:

  • Kits with OFC wire - better performance but more expensive
  • Kits with CCA wire - cheaper but slightly less performance

5. Additional Features

If you're willing to spend more, you can get an amp with extra features that improve the audio experience. Some amps have low-level inputs only, while others have both high and low-level inputs. More so, some low-level inputs can receive high-level signals.

Some amplifiers have fixed crossovers, while others have variable low and high-pass crossover filters. Some mono-channel amps feature an additional subsonic filter. Furthermore, more advanced amps have extra inputs for ADAS and HALOSonic equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on 1200 Watt Amps

1. How many amps should I get for my car audio system?

Two sound boxes should be enough. After all, most cars don't have plenty of room for small speakers to get peak sound quality. If two don't work for you, you can opt for four speakers and a subwoofer.

2. How many speakers can I connect to a 1200W amp?

It depends on your amp's capacity. Most 1200W amplifiers can easily support two speakers. But if you want to have more speakers, you'll need larger amplifiers to handle the power.

3. What happens if the amp is too powerful for my speakers?

You definitely want a powerful amp for great sound quality. However, if you overdrive your speakers with an underpowered amp, there's a higher risk of damaging them. 

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