500 Watt vs. 1000 Watt Home Theater (The Truth)

Norvan Martin
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500-watt and 1,000 watt home theaters are common today because people want more powerful systems. Read on for all the details you need to understand whether you should set up a 500-watt home theater or 1,000-watt home theater.

Comparing a 500 watt and 1000 watt home theater of the same surround sound setup and the same brand, the 1000 Watt home theater system will deliver more powerful sound. A 1000 watt system will play 3 dB louder than the 500 Watt one and will require a larger amp. However, the wattage does not affect sound quality, either system could sound better.

It is also important to consider whether you are looking at peak wattage/Peak music power output (PMPO) or RMP power. Some systems may claim 1000 Watts peak power and another may claim 500 Watts RMS. The RMS value will be much louder than the PMPO value.

Read on to learn more.

500 Watt vs 1000 Watt Home Theater Comparison Table

Criteria500-Watt System1000-Watt System
Power OutputLower power per channelHigher power output
Speaker Configuration5.1 or 7.1 channels7.1 or 9.1 channels
Room SizeSmall to medium-sized roomsLarge rooms, home theaters
Sound QualityGood for standard setupsPotentially enhanced sound quality
Bass ResponseDecent bass performanceDeeper and more impactful bass
Speaker SensitivityModerate sensitivityPossibly higher sensitivity
Audio Source CompatibilityStandard audio sourcesWide range of audio sources
BudgetMore budget-friendlyHigher price point
Brand and Model FeaturesVaries by brand and modelAdvanced features, high-end audio codecs
Future ExpansionAdequate for standard setupsMore headroom for expansion

What is the Best Wattage for your Home Theater?

There is no blanket answer to this question. 1,000 watts can successfully push out 130-140 dB versus 100-110 dB from 500 watts. In particular, the best wattage should depend on the following:

Speaker Efficiency: Speakers have varying power requirements. If your speaker has a lower sensitivity or requires more power to produce quality sound, you may require a 1,000-watt home theater instead of a 500-watt system.

Room Size: If your listening room is small, you won’t require high-pitched sound. This implies you require less power to meet your listening requirements. In this case, 500 watts would be ideal.

Home Theater Components: If your home theater is composed of a TV and a few speakers, 500 watts is more than enough. However, if you’ve added a woofer, subwoofer surround speakers, and a DVD to complete your setup, you might require more power than that.

Preferred Content Type:  How, when, and what you intend to use your home theater should help you make the right choice. For example, if you use it to play soft music, you’ll require less wattage.

Budget: If you are looking for the highest quality equipment, you should prepare to meet higher energy demands. This confirms the belief that the higher the wattage, the higher the quality you get.

As a general rule, you may require at least 125 watts per channel, depending on the factors we’ve seen above.

Does More Watts Per Channel Mean Better Sound Quality?

Not at all. If you are using quality amplifiers and speakers, 500 watts is plenty. A 500-watt speaker can produce between 100 and 110 dB.

On the other hand, 1,000 watts produce between 130 and 140 dB of sound per pressure level. From this, you can see that the 500 power output should be clearer than 1,000.

What is the Difference Between 500 Watts and 1000-Watt Home Theater?

The main difference between the 500-watt home theater and the 1000-watt home theater is the amount of power required. So, your choice of amp matters a lot.

1000 watt home theater system

Remember, you won’t need to worry about anything if your amp can supply a higher wattage than your home theater system requires. However, undersupply can lead to a bad entertainment experience or physical damage.

If your home theater system requires 500 watts, your amp should be able to supply slightly above 500 watts consistently. For a 1000-watt home theater, the amp should supply more than 1,000 watts.  

500 watt home theater system

The amount of power that your amplifier supplies should correspond to the quality you get. So, if you are looking for higher-quality sound, you should consider going for a more robust home theater.

How Loud is a 1000 Watt Home Theater System?

Many musicians only consider wattage when trying to establish the loudness of their home theater systems. However, more watts don’t necessarily mean “louder.”

People are often confused by this, here are some typical questions:

How loud is a 50 watt speaker?

How loud is a 20 watt speaker?

Wattage is an important consideration since your speakers require an adequate amount of power to deliver the best. However, it won’t mean anything to you if your speakers are inefficient. That means you should pay attention to your speakers’ sensitivity as well. Speakers with high sensitivity deliver louder sound than others.

Overall, it would be best to say that a 1000-watt speaker is not necessarily better quality than a 500-watt speaker. Of course, if all factors are held constant, your 1,000-watt home theater should will be louder than a 500 watt one.

The volume of your home theater will also depend on the number of speakers you are using. If you double the power of the system, you’ll get 3dB more volume. This means a 7.1 setup typically sounds louder than 5.1 surround sound systems. So, your 1000-watt home theater system can be slightly louder than the other if you choose the right equipment and cables and supply the right amount of power consistently.

Is a 500 Watt Speaker Loud?

Yes, a 500 watt speaker is loud. However, you shouldn’t assume that a 1000-watt speaker should be necessarily louder than 200-watt speaker.  If you double the power, you can get a maximum of 3dB more volume. The ear might not notice the difference.

How Many Watts is a Good Home Speaker?

Now that a 1000 watt home theater can sound slightly higher than a 500-watt home theater, you might want to know the power capacity of great home theater speakers.

From experience, many homeowners consider 15-and-30 watts speakers good enough. Most of them prefer 20 watts. The volume may not be so high, but considering that most people don’t want noise at home, this is often high enough.

If you have a large family and are looking for more efficient home theater systems, you can go for 500 watts or more. Remember, you can control the volume of your home theater system with ease. So, there’s no problem opting for either 500 watts or 1,000 watts. However, as we said before, the speaker you choose will influence the amp you choose.

Why do most people opt for the 500-watt speaker and not the 1,000? It’s important to note that “loudness’ isn’t the same as high quality. The 500-watt speakers offer an outstanding balance of sound quality and power compared to their 1000-watt counterparts. In most cases, they fail to produce high fidelity due to inadequate power supply. So, if you are looking for quality, 500 watts carry the day.

Does More Watts Mean More Bass at Home?

A complete home theater system comes with at least a single subwoofer. The purpose of this unique type of loudspeaker is to produce bass. So, it makes sense why many people would want to know whether more watts mean more bass.

We said that a 1,000-watt home theater speaker would not necessarily produce better volume than a 500-watt home theater system. The same applies to a subwoofer. A higher wattage won’t necessarily result in more bass. Wattage is a rough indicator of how your subwoofer should be.

If your sub has a higher power requirement, it can produce more bass with a higher impedance than your amplifier. Moreover, the subwoofer should have a high sensitivity rating for you to enjoy high-quality, low frequencies.

Summing Up

500-watt and 1,000-watt home theaters are commonly available and fit many home theater systems. All of these systems are good and can serve you well. Remember, 1,000 watts can produce slightly more sound, and 500 watts can give you better quality. You should choose one that best suits your needs.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin