Today we are going to check out some great class D amps based on a few selection criteria. We wanted to find models that had at least 50 Watts per channel, good sound quality, and compact size. Lets dig right in.
Below are our recommendations for the 4 best cheap Class D amplifiers on the market:
Skar Audio RP-350.1D Monoblock Class D MOSFET Amplifier
When we say the Skar Audio RP-350.1D is cheap, we definitely only mean that in relation to the price. In terms of the sound and build quality, this compact and convenient little amp can power any sub with an RMS between 250 and 450 watts.
The interior of this amplifier (see full specs) is well-designed to maximize efficiency. This starts with the MOSFET power supply that provides consistent power over even a long drive without overheating. There’s extra protection worked into the circuitry, too, giving you a robust device with a long maximum lifespan.
There’s a lot to love here from a usability standpoint, too. It’s relatively small and fits into most vehicles without a problem. It’s even easier to position since you don’t need to be able to access it once it’s installed—the included remote lets you adjust both the bass and the level right from the driver’s seat. All of this power and control for a great value too, making it one of the best cheap Class D amplifiers period.
Taramp’s TS150X2 150W class-D Car Amplifier
- Taramp's TS150X2 150W 2-CH Class D Car Amplifier
- Price: $78.42
- Price as of 10/24/2020 10:19 PDT(more info about ad)
Taramp’s line of amplifiers are high-performing devices that are a great value for consumers. This is a solid, affordable low-power class-D amplifier. If you use a relatively low-wattage subwoofer, you want an amp that will match that. This one will get the job done for a very reasonable price.
The design of this amp is simple and straightforward. It’s fairly compact and easy to place in most vehicles. The controls for the volume and bass are on the device, with no remote option, so if you want to be able to tweak your settings you will need to make sure it’s somewhere accessible.
The casing on this amp is pretty sturdy. It won’t be damaged by vibrations from your vehicle or lose sound quality when you’re driving at high speeds. It’s nothing flashy, but it’s a simple and reliable option if you don’t need tons of power.
Ignite Audio Mono Block Class D Car Amplifier
Low price doesn’t have to mean low power. This monoblock amplifier from Ignite has a peak power of 4,000 watts, making it your most affordable option for driving a larger, louder subwoofer. It’s a very versatile piece of equipment, powering subs with an RMS between 300 and 750 watts—and making sure they sound good.
Ignite amps have a low harmonic distortion (see full specs). It’s a solid device that won’t be disrupted by the movement of your vehicle. The heat dispersion is good, too, so you won’t have to worry about it failing because it overheated. You can even use it to power two subs at once, and it will give them both enough juice to reach their full potential.
This is a hefty amplifier—if you’re working with a tight space, you may need to consider more compact options. That’s the only potential complaint we can see about this Ignite amplifier, though. It’ll definitely give you the most power for your money and easily one of the best cheap Class D amplifiers around.
SMSL SA50 Class D Amplifier
- SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Silver)
- Price: $65.99
- Price as of 10/24/2020 10:19 PDT(more info about ad)
Last but not least, we have a slightly more refined package to show you. It is made by SMSL and is labeled SA50. On the surface, it is a pretty familiar setup. Two 50 Watt channels with a proper power stage, packed into a die cast aluminum chassis. However, SMSL SA50 also features a variety of protective features. More specifically, it comes with short circuit protection and thermal overload fail safe built in.
This tiny amp sounds massive and has more than enough power to drive a set of quality bookshelf speakers. You won’t run into noise, especially if you keep the levels within the optimal range. Overall, it is a bit expensive considering its simple design, but it makes up for that with its performance.
Why Class D Amplifiers?
Class D or digital amplifiers are a fairly new addition to the family. Before transistor technology reached a level where it became practical, amplifiers were limited to analog solutions. The problem with analog amps is their inefficiency. In other words, the power that goes into an amp isn’t fully converted into tangible performance. Instead, a good portion of it is wasted through heat. Class D amps have solved that issue with a great deal of success.
Even the cheaper Class D amps, such as the ones we have shown you today, are incredibly efficient. Higher efficiency also means that you don’t have to dedicate much of the amp’s chassis to cooling, which in turn allows for more compact designs. Lastly, transistors are cheap to produce, making Class D amplifiers rather affordable.
Finding the best cheap Class D amplifier comes down to several factors. You will definitely want at least 50 Watts per channel and a minimum of two channels. Fortunately, this describes just about every basic amp out there.
However, power is only a part of the equation. The performance of the amplifier matters as well. Most of our picks on this list are using the TPA3116 series of chips. These are known to provide great sound with very little noise or discoloration issues. Additionally, the fact that most brands are using the same platform means that compact size is just about guaranteed.
One thing to keep in mind with all of these amplifiers is that none of them come with a DC adapter. The power supply is something you will have to get additionally. It is paramount that you stick to manufacturer’s recommendations and requirements. Failing to do so can damage the amp or simply prevent it from working altogether. With that warning in mind, these products should serve you well. Good luck!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him