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What Gauge Wire Do I Need For My Amp?

When installing an aftermarket car audio system, having the correct wire connections is very important. The right cables and wires ensure that the strongest signal is going to the correct destination, and that a sufficient amount of power is being sent to the receiving components. One of the most important connections in a car audio system is the power and ground cable that connect the vehicles battery to an aftermarket amplifier. The gauge of these cables will determine how much power can be sent to an amplifier.

As a general recommendation, Sonic Electronix follows the guidelines below as a quick reference in determining the appropriate wire gauge.


Wire Gauge Size Total Amplifier RMS Wattage
0/1 AWG 1000+ Watts
2 AWG 1000-1500 Watts
4 AWG 400-1000 Watts
6 AWG 600-800 Watts
8 AWG 200-400 Watts
10 AWG 100-200 Watts


For a more detailed formula in determining the gauge size needed for an installation, please refer to the steps below.  By following these guidelines, you can factor in the distance you are running the cable.  This is a more accurate way in finding out what gauge of wire you need and can possibly save you money in the long run of your installation.

1. Find the total RMS power of each amplifier:

* Monoblock Amplifier: The RMS power of the single channel will be the wattage you will reference. For example, if you have 500 watts RMS on one channel that is your final result.

* Multi-Channel Amplifier: Take the RMS power (in watts) of one channel, and multiply it by the total number of channels that amplifier has. For example, a 4-channel amplifier has 40 watts RMS on each channel, so 40 Watts x 4-Channels = 160 Watts RMS.

2. Find the total RMS power of the audio system: Add the total RMS values for each amplifier in the system to reach a grand total. If you only have one amplifier, then the value you found in step one is all you need.

3. Multiply that grand total by 2

4. Divide that number by 13.8

The final number is the approximate current draw of the car audio system.  Find that number in the “Amperes” column on the chart below.  After determining the distance from the car battery to the amplifier, you will find the appropriate gauge for your car audio system.

Car Audio Wire Gauge Chart

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Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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