You love your new amplifier because it empowers the audio system to deliver high-quality sound. However, the amp takes up too much current from the car’s power supply system that not enough current is left for the car lights, air conditioner, the dashboard and the windscreen wipers. Car lights are affected the most by the resulting power insufficiency.
So, do you downgrade your sub?
If anything, you wish your audio system could hit higher levels of bass. Isn’t it fantastic to have a little party as you drive around?
A capacitor is designed to enable the car’s electrical system give you the best of both worlds – maintain great audio amplification and proper lighting. Buying a capacitor is a small investment that can totally change your experience. It facilitates sufficient lighting while making sure that your music is not strained or distorted.
Selecting the right capacitor can take a lot of time and effort. We’ve put some effort into researching about various caps on the market. This review of best car audio capacitors will introduce you to 7 capacitors that have proved to satisfy the needs of users over the recent past. The comparison table below provides a quick overview of the findings of our research. Comprehensive reviews of each of the capacitors in the selection follow shortly.
Comparison Table of Best Car Audio Capacitors
1. Planet Audio PC10F
The PC10F rightfully claimed the top position in our selection. This car audio cap has what it takes to help you attain perfection when building a car audio system. You can rely on it to improve the efficiency of your amplifier as well as solve the problem of car light dimming.
Unique features of Planet Audio PC10F
- 16 volts DC working voltage and 24 volts DC surge voltage: This capacitor provides 16 volts to cover up for voltage shortages during normal amplifier operation. In times when the demand for power from car’s electrical system is higher, the cap can give out up to 24 volts. This working mode ensures that the cap responds to voltage upsurge needs effectively without overworking itself unnecessarily.
- Warning tones: Low battery, voltage overload, and reverse polarity affect the performance of a car’s electrical and audio systems. This cap sends audible warning signs so that you know when any of these issues start. We think of these notifications as great self maintenance aids.
- Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) of 0.015 Ohm @ 120Hz/25ºC: This ESR rating compares favorably with other competing capacitors. It implies low resistance, which means that the capacitor takes little time to charge and discharge. We noted that a significant number of customer reviews indicated that this cap takes between 5 and 60 seconds to charge.
- 3-Digit blue illuminated window: The cap is fitted with a super blue digital display that clearly shows you the voltage of the capacitor at any time. Thanks to this display, you can monitor the performance of the cap and know if and when there is an issue in the car’s power system.
- Allows car audio system to play at high volumes consistently
- Blue digital readout enhances the cool design of the cap
- Protection against issues caused by overvoltage, low battery, and reverse polarity
- The cap is easy to install
- Extra protection from exterior plastic cover
- Blue LED flashes in a distractive manner every time the music is turned really high
- Numerous complains that the digital voltage readout stopped working
The PC10F is an excellent choice of capacitor for a high-power car audio system. The low resistance of the capacitor makes it highly efficient in storing temporary power for your audio system.
If the power handling capacity of your car audio system matches that of the PC10F, don’t hesitate to consider it as your best purchase.
2. Pyle PLCAPE50
Is your high-demand car audio system putting too much pressure on your car’s electrical system? You need a great capacitor that will feed in the extra power needed to keep the bass booming and highs soaring. Pyle PLCAPE50 is a 5-farad cap that offers such a solution.
Features of Pyle PLCAPE50
- Power punch: Having an audio system that can deliver powerful sound without interruptions is very satisfying. The PLCAPE50 can make this happen as it can hold up to up to the power demands of the system. It has a surge range of 20 to 24 volts.
- Maximum audio system performance: This cap comes with an electronic over-voltage and polarity protection. Therefore, you can rely on it for sustained high-quality audio performance. Further, these protection features help to reduce electrical issues that might be expensive to solve, which means significant savings on the car’s maintenance expenses.
- Installation accessories: This Pyle capacitor is among the easiest to install. First, the size of the cap is neither too small nor too big to cause problems during installation. Secondly, the clear Lucite brackets and accompanying mounting accessories make it easier to handle the cap.
- Great-looking design: When buying a capacitor for your car audio system, attractive looks are an added advantage. The PLCAPE50 has an eye-catching finishing thanks to its chrome-plated post kits and aluminum case. This is in addition to the blue digital voltage display that shows you the available amount of power.
- Easy-to-read LED display screen
- Greatly improves the bass experience
- It keeps the battery voltage stable and saves the alternator
- Cool blue lights come on when the cap supplies power
- Perfect choice of capacitor for SUVs and trucks
- Fragile terminals that can break easily if the installer is not careful
- Some users find the LED lights annoyingly bright
Expect to enjoy soaring highs and punchy bass once you install Pyle PLCAPE50. With this capacitor, you have nothing to worry about when blasting your subs. The cap has got your audio system covered.
Get Pyle PLCAPE50, an inexpensive car audio capacitor that lets you explore all the limits of your amplifier.
3. Power Acoustik PC1.5F
Kicking out up to 24V DC, this 1.5-farad digital power capacitor from Power Acoustik ensures that your amplifier remains sufficiently powered. It stabilizes the voltage supply to your audio system, thus helping the system to perform at the best of its abilities. It is one of the best options for car audio systems with around 1000W power capacity.
Features of Power Acoustik PC1.5F
- Power and capacitance capabilities: The PC1.5F packs up to 24 volts DC to keep your amp powered even when the battery falls short. Any system with power handling capacity of about 1000w will work perfectly with this cap.
- Warning flashing light LEDs: This cap lets you know in real-time any electrical issues that might affect your audio system’s delivery. You don’t have to guess what is affecting your audio experience. Every problem is reported with a flashing light.
- Red digital display: You get to see clearly through the red illuminated screen what the capacitor can do for your audio system. Besides, this red display makes the car’s interior esthetically attractive. Most of the users of this cap have expressed their excitement for the red display, so you are likely to like it too.
- Flexibility: Weighing in at only 3 pounds, this capacitor is incredibly easy to handle. You can move it from one vehicle to another without any hassles. What’s more, the cap can fit well under any chosen car seat, which is a good, secure location for such an essential device.
- It accepts any wire gauge as long as it has ring terminals
- Prevents sound clipping when audio system is playing at peak levels
- Increases amplifier efficiency
- Mounting brackets for quick installation
- It doesn’t drain your battery
- Automatic shutoff protection
- Posts tend to strip easily when tightened during setup
- The cap shuts off slowly; can take up to 10 minutes
This highly versatile digital capacitor can work with a wide variety of cars and audio systems. With the great power backup features it brings to the table, this cap is quite a steal at its current price.Check out what this Power Acoustik capacitor can do for you. It might be the missing piece of the puzzle in your pursuit for top-class audio quality.
4. Rockford RFC1
We are pleased to introduce to you the RFC1, one of Rockford Fosgate’s premium-quality capacitors. This 1-farad cap comes in a platinum-plated body, and gives out as much as 20 volts to keep your amplifier in top gear for the delivery of super-clean mid and high frequencies.
Rockford RFC1 Highlights
- Extra-hard and durable body: The RFC1 has a hard, scratch-resistant, platinum-plated body. This material makes the cap less prone to damage and thus relatively more durable. When you choose the RFC1, you are at least sure that physical damage will not be a challenge during and after the installation of the cap.
- Solid brass top for increased capacitor efficiency: The capacitor’s top is made with brass and hard platinum. Brass is impressively resistant to corrosion and it tolerates high temperatures. The material reduces stripping, thus enabling the capacitor to maintain efficient performance even when it receives frequent power supply demands from the amplifier.
- Low resistance: The cap’s ESR is considerably low compared to other capacitors. This low ESR implies at least two things. One, the cap does not overheat easily while in operation. Secondly, it does not overload your car battery, and this helps to preserve the battery for longer time use.
- Rapid charging: A capacitor’s charging time is influenced by the capacitor’s resistance and capacitance. With its 1-farad capacitance and low resistance, the RFC1 gets fully charged quickly. This is one of the most desirable characteristics of a reliable car audio capacitor.
- Black and silver finishing: Rockford Fosgate finished this stiffening cap with a blend of silver and black colors. These contrasting colors go well with most car interiors.
- High surge voltage capacity
- Hard and durable top
- Low internal resistance
- Cap does not overheat easily
- Less charging time
- Doesn’t have a LED voltage display
- Price is a little on the higher side
Although the RFC1 comes with a bigger price tag than other competing caps, it provides good value for money. It will impress you if you are searching for a highly-efficient cap that can work perfectly in high temperature conditions.Rockford Fosgate is a home of quality audio equipment. Install the RFC1 expecting to improve the sound and lighting of your car.
5. Sound Storm C22
Plug this 2-farad, 20V cap into your car audio system and say goodbye to dimming lights and annoyingly sluggish windscreen wipers for good. This Sound Storm capacitor has a capacitor tolerance of +/- 10 percent, which allows you great flexibility with your car electrical system’s sound and lighting needs.
Features of Sound Storm C22
- Energy backup capacity: The working voltage range of this cap is 16v DC while the surge level is 20 volts. The majority of car electrical systems can work with this voltage range. Therefore, you rest assured that the C22 will offer your car battery sufficient protection against voltage overload.
- Chromium-plated posts: Chrome plating does not only add a decorative look to the capacitor but also increases its durability. The posts are strong and resistant to corrosion so they hold on tight for long after you install the capacitor. Chrome plating also enhances the charging/discharging efficiency of the capacitor.
- Fast charging: Sound Storm claims that the C22 takes as little as 5 seconds and at most 60 seconds to charge. Upon connecting the cap to your car battery, you’ll see the voltage rise rapidly. The voltage stops rising in less than one minute, indicating that the cap has gained full charge.
- Red 3-digit digital display: There are many ways to check the voltage of this capacitor. You can use a voltmeter if you have one. However, the digital display is the easiest way as it projects the cap’s voltage at a given time in big red numbers.
- Very lightweight – less than 4 pounds
- It works well with 24v inputs
- Eliminates dimming headlights immediately
- Super-fast charging
- Great budget pick
- A few reported issues with the display going off
- Can only work with audio systems rated 2000w and belowrem
The C22 is a recommendable choice for anyone looking for a reliable 2-farad car power capacitor at a very affordable price. It’s very easy to install and will last long thanks to its durable construction.Let Sound Storm C22 perfect your car electrical system.
6. Rockville RXC4D 4
Efficiency is at the core of Rockville’s mantra. This is evident in the RXC4D 4 car audio capacitor. Rockville has made this cap with superior design aspects such as low resistance. A low ESR enables the cap to discharge voltage quickly whenever the amplifier needs more voltage than the battery can provide. It is a 12 Volt Stiffening Capacitor and has a 24-volt surge capacity.
Features of Rockville RXC4D 4
- A true 4-farad capacitor: Rockville has designed this 4-farad stiffening capacitor to store enough current and release the required energy quickly to meet the immediate power demands of the amplifier. It does not lose its capacitance, thus guaranteeing you long-term continuous power current discharge and flawless playback.
- Built-in protection: This capacitor features an IC control circuit for protection against negative polarity. The self-protection feature is a really useful feature as it makes sure that you don’t have to worry about the damage or inconveniences that may be caused by reversed polarity and related issues.
- Encapsulated screen for physical protection: Your capacitor is protected from any physical damage by a stiff encapsulated screen. Handling the cap during installation or when moving the cap from place to place is stress-free; you don’t have to be extremely cautions.
- Red and blue LED lights: On the display, you will notice red LEDs as well as blue ones. The red LEDs are indicators of voltage while the blue LEDs are for the metering system. The two colors produce a matching contrast, which is a considerable esthetic enhancement for your audio system.
- Extra features: The capacitor comes with clear Lucite unbreakable mounting brackets, quick install hardware, and a charging resistor. Mounting brackets, together with installation hardware, allow for quick and easy setup.
- Strong capacitor that enhances the sound and lighting of your car electrical system
- Maintains audio intensity even when battery is down
- The capacitor retains its capacitance over time
- Easy turn on/off with remote wire control
- Designed for use with multiple amps
- Solid brass top reduces stripping
- Not strong enough for audio systems with RMS rating above 3000 watts
- Terminals lack covering, which leaves them vulnerable to damage
This relatively well-enclosed car audio capacitor charges/discharges quickly. It is a perfect choice if you play loud music regularly. Also, it’s a comparatively cheaper option that won’t hurt your pocket.Let the RXC4D 4 fill the power supply gap left by your battery so that you can enjoy uninterrupted high-power audio performance all the time.
7. SoundBox 4 Gauge
Standing tall at number 7 in our list of best car audio capacitors is a 2.5-farad capacitor by SoundBox. This digital capacitor can work perfectly with any system rated 2500 watts peak power. Countless reviews from customers applaud its high capacity to stabilize amplifier power flow.
Features of SoundBox 4 car audio capacitor
- 2500 watts peak power: This high-power capacitor lets you keep your powerful audio system playing hard without causing light to go ‘disco’. Also, you rest assured that your battery is protected from draining, and that your audio system will not wear down the alternator. With this in mind, it’s easy to see that the SoundBox 4 Gauge capacitor is a great performer when it comes to stabilizing amp current flow capacity.
- Exceptional heat resistance: You’ve probably come across capacitors that heat up when charging. This SoundBox cap is different. It is fitted with a heat resistant wire jacket and an in-line AGU fuse holder that offer premium heat resistance, hence the high durability of the cap.
- Premium-grade cables: SoundBox has decided to give your car system the capacitor it deserves and the wires it needs. You’ll be amazed by the triple shielded RCA interconnection cable. As well, the cap comes with plenty of sturdy speaker and power wires.
- Digital over-voltage and reverse polarity warning: The cap has a fool-proof warning system that tells you when there are overvoltage or reverse polarity issues. You, therefore, get to enjoy all the benefits of a perfectly-working car electrical system.
- Strong aluminum housing
- Small size that can be installed in a car as well as a motorcycle
- Excellent heat resistance
- High-efficiency cables
- It can work with a wide variety of amplifiers rated below 2500 watts RMS
- The capacitor takes a bit longer to charge
Nothing will stop this capacitor from working hard to ensure that you get awesome sound and your lights behave properly. With a 20v surge capacity, the capacitor charges up fast in readiness for the supply of extra current needed to power the next big bass hit. There is no reason to miss out on the great benefits of a well-powered car system while this budget-friendly capacitor is only a click away.
Factors to Consider when Purchasing a Car Audio Capacitor
Each capacitor has a specific set of attributes that define its power capabilities, charge/discharge efficiency, temperature, and durability. Details of car audio capacitors aren’t that straightforward. You want to take your time to understand various characteristics of the capacitors you’ll be considering.
Here are critical aspects to consider when selecting the best capacitor for your system:
Capacitance and capacitance tolerance
Each stiffening cap has a specific capacitance indicated in farads. A cap rated 1 farad can work with audio systems that have a power handling of 1000w. Correspondingly, a 2-farad cap is fit to work with a 2000w-rated audio system.
Matching these power capabilities is crucial for the proper performance of the cap. A 1-farad cap will possibly burn if installed in an audio system with greater than 2000w peak power handling. However, a 2-farad cap can work with a 1000w-rated audio system.
Capacitance tolerance indicates how much a cap’s capacitance can vary. A tolerance rating of +/- 10% on a 1-farad cap means that the cap’s capacitance varies from 0.9 farads to 1.1 microfarads. So, the cap can work with systems rated between 900w and 1100w.
Working voltage and surge voltage
In most cases, car batteries and alternators use about 12-15 volts DC. A reliable capacitor should have a higher voltage rate than the battery. Thus, if your battery is rated 15vDc, an appropriate capacitor should have about 16vDC working voltage.
Sometimes the voltage spikes out, and that’s where surge voltage comes in. Top performing car power caps have between 20vDC and 24vDC surge voltage. Surge voltage provides overvoltage protection in the event of a voltage spike, such as when the audio system is hitting deep bass tones.
A cap’s internal electrical resistance is indicated by its ESR (equivalent series resistance) rating. A lower ESR means lesser internal resistance, which yields higher charge/discharge efficiency. Thus, a capacitor with a lower ESR can provide the required extra power more efficiently than a capacitor with a higher ESR.
Many factors – in addition to the cap’s internal resistance – determine how long the capacitor takes to charge. These factors include the type and nature of the cap’s terminals and the connecting wires used. Finding a capacitor with quality terminals and premium cables is a step toward enjoying the benefits of quick charge.
Warnings and alerts
A great capacitor not only helps to solve the problem of dim car lights but also offers electrical surveillance. Some caps provide audible warning alerts for issues like reverse polarity, under- & over-voltage, and low battery. These alerts inform you about common electrical issues so that you can have them solved before they cause even more severe implications.
Ease of installation
It’s one thing to have an awesome car power capacitor and another thing to know how to set it right. If you have experience working with capacitors, then this might not be much of an issue. However, many users find the inclusion of mounting hardware very desirable. It follows that buying a cap with a fully stocked installation hardware kit and an elaborate instruction manual goes a long way in making the setup process easier.
Other important factors to consider include the weight and durability of the capacitor. A capacitor that is not too heavy (5lbs and lower) is easy to carry and install. This consideration is especially crucial for users intending to move the capacitor between multiple vehicles from time to time. Durability is a key concern for many users. You want a cap whose construction will last long. Strong, corrosion-resistant plates and a hard top casing, for example, enhance the durability of the cap.
If you take your time thinking about these factors when purchasing a car audio capacitor, you definitely have greater chances of ending up with the right cap for your system. Each of the caps we chose for the 7 best car audio capacitors review meets high standards of quality and performance. What remains is for you to choose one among them that fits the specific needs of your car audio system.
Our pick for the best car audio capacitor is Planet Audio PC10F
This 10-farad capacitor exhibited mind-blowing performance. It is for you if you have a high-power car audio system capable of delivering ground-shaking bass but its potential is often limited to the power capabilities of the car’s electrical system. Adding this powerful stiffening cap will unlock the system’s wildest performance and eliminate the issue of frustrating dim lights.
The capacitor charges and discharges quickly thanks to its low ESR and high-quality terminals. In addition, this cap has in-built protection against voltage overload and reverse polarity. It announces these and other voltage issues to you so that you can take proper action in a timely manner.
Its attractive design is just the icing on the cake.
If you are looking for a powerful, highly durable capacitor for your system, Planet Audio PC10F is definitely an unbeatable option at its current price.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.