Car Audio Watt Ratings: Peak vs RMS



Peak vs RMS
Peak vs RMS
When it comes to amplifier, subwoofer, and speaker watt ratings you will run into two types. Peak power and RMS power. When you are looking to buy equipment you need to know which of the two matters. Today we are going to talk about the difference between the two and how they will affect your buying decisions when you are upgrading your existing system in your car.


Peak Power. Especially when you are shopping online, beware of peak power ratings. They literally don't even matter. You see in the 12 volt industry, there aren't any regulations about what manufacturers are allowed to say there products can handle/produce when it comes to power. So basically they can put any number they want on the box in order to entice you into a purchase.

The peak power ratings are almost always an over inflated number that does not actually represent how the specific product will perform in a normal use environment. Professionals in the industry generally look at peak power ratings as what that product can handle for a very short period, lets say less than a minute, before that product will overheat or fail. What you want to know is what kind of power can that product handle for long periods of time or continuously.

RMS Power. Otherwise known as continuous power, the RMS power rating is the one you want to pay attention to. This rating represents the constant supply of power that the specific product will need to operate efficiently. Supplying the right amount of power ensures you will have a product that will not only produce the kind of sound you are after, but the kind of sound it was engineered to produce. You will also experience fewer problems with the product. Things like voice coils overheating just don't happen when the right amount of power is being supplied.

Now that you know what you are looking at when you are shopping for an amp or a sub or speakers you can make the right choices when matching up your equipment. If this helps just one person to not buy the wrong equipment then it was worth the time to talk about it.