Amplifiers can produce so much heat, they can easily overheat and stop working. To prevent this, amp manufacturers design their amps to remove most of the heat as fast as they can.
Unfortunately, some amp manufacturers ignore heat management and install small, low-powered fans that do not dissipate heat fast enough. To make matters worse, your amp might be in a cramped space and so may not be getting enough ventilation. Fortunately, a car amp cooling fan can get more air to your amp while pushing the heat away.
There are several options, so you need to be careful and select a fan that is specifically suited for your amp. Therefore, we will review what you should look for in a good cooling fan.
Also, we’ve outlined some of the best amplifier fans for your cooling needs.
Why Your Amp Heats Up
Your amp functions like a variable resistor by controlling the amount of current flowing through them just like a tap controls the rate at which water passes through.
In amps, some of the energy flowing through is wasted as heat, which accumulates over time and can damage the device. If 3A of current flows through a 4Ω resistor, 36W of heat is produced. The heat produced is 100W if the current is increased to 5A. How hot does a 100-watt bulb get after a few minutes? You get the idea.
Your amp uses MOSFETs that switch at high frequencies. These tiny components control the current, but they also have a degree of resistance that produces heat. A typical MOSFET with a resistance of 0.22Ω will generate 22W of heat if 10A flows through it. That’s a lot of heat for these tiny components. A consumer-grade amp has six to eight MOSFETs.
Amp manufacturers regulate the heat with heatsinks. A fan can be employed if the heatsink is not up to the task. Ultimately, if the cooling system is not adequate, when you turn up the volume, the amplifier will go into protection mode and turn off. So, if you are asking “why does my amp get hot and shut off?”, that is the reason.
How Fans Keep Your Amp Cool?
The heatsink in your amp removes heat from the components and transfers it to the air around it. To function correctly, the air needs to be constantly moving; carrying away the hot air and bringing in cooler air.
However, your amp doesn’t usually get enough ventilation in its enclosure. Also, the air around the amp can get hot, limiting its cooling properties. A cooling fan remedies this by keeping the air moving continuously. Cooling fans are one of the main and most important amplifier overheating solutions.
It has the advantage of being lightweight and small. You will need a colossal heatsink to equal the cooling ability of a fan. However, they can be pretty noisy.
How to Choose a Good Car Amplifier Cooling Fan
Choosing a good cooling fan for your amp is almost as important as choosing the amp itself. You want a cooling fan that effectively improves ventilation while fitting into your existing setup.
The following are some factors you should consider when you’re out shopping.
The fan’s design determines whether you can use the fan with your amp or not. There are two significant types of cooling fans. The propeller-type fan sucks air from the back and pushes it out the front, like a propeller.
It’s good for amps with heatsinks running lengthwise. The centrifugal or squirrel cage fan sucks in air from the back and blows it out the side. It’s good for amps with a large, central heatsink.
Current and Voltage Rating
You want a fan that doesn’t draw more current than your power source can supply. A 12V fan usually gets the job done.
Check if the current rating syncs with your setup. Keep in mind that your amp and fan will be drawing current simultaneously.
This is rated in CFMs (Cubic Feet per Minute). Fans with higher CFMs move more air, but they’re louder. You’ve to decide which is more important, a low noise level or better airflow.
This is generally rated in decibels (dB). For reference, 59 dB is quite loud and unusable if the user is nearby.
A 40dB fan will be just barely noticeable while playing loud music. Check out our noise level chart to learn more.
Best 12V Amplifier Cooling Fans
The following selection of amplifier cooling fans are easy to install, and they can work with most consumer-grade amplifiers.
The Stinger SGJ78 cooling fan is a cylindrical fan with heat-conducting fins running lengthwise. It’s a great-looking device that fits easily in most spaces. The fan measures 5.7″ D × 6″ W × 1.5″ H and weighs 0.15 lbs.
It has three blades blowing relatively silently at 30dB. The design makes it suitable for various types of heatsinks and an excellent choice for several amplifiers.
- Works for most amplifiers
- Blows silently
- Has button control
- The included wire is short
- Relatively expensive
This fan is for you if you want a lot of airflow. It is rated 38.5 CFM and has a speed of 3000 RPM. However, it’s pretty loud. However, you’re most likely listening to loud music if you use this fan.
It’s a compact and easy-to-use centrifugal fan. At 120×120×32mm (LWD), it fits in most audio setups.
- Sufficiently powerful
- Easy to install
- Middling build quality
- Quite loud
This is the best value amp cooling fan on this list. It’s powerful, silent, and very compact. It measures 3.15″L×3.15″W×0.98″D and weighs just 2.15oz. The build quality is excellent. This fan has a compact form factor with a metal grill which protects the blades while aiding heat conduction.
At 43.6 CFM and 2800RPM, this fan will satisfy all your ventilation needs. Even with all this power, it maintains its noise level at just 31 dB. The low cost makes this a proper value-for-money package.
- Very powerful
- Quiet operation
- Relatively inexpensive
- The included wire is short
This is a beastly and value-packed fan. It can run on both AC and DC, depending on the power source. Most importantly, the speed can be adjusted for better airflow or less noise.
The fan is rated at 114 CFM maximum speed and 49 dBA noise level. The fan measures 120x120x25mm (LWD) and has a metal grill for protection and better heat flow.
- Extremely powerful
- Adjustable speed
- Works with AC and DC
- Loud operation
Choosing a proper cooling fan shouldn’t be a tedious task. The most important thing is whether it will work with your amp; will the fan fit your heatsink? Will your existing source power it? Will it fit? The right fan will be positive with all three questions.