How Loud Is a 20 Watt Speaker?

Norvan Martin

If you want to get quality sound, you should go for a highly efficient speaker. Do you think a 20-watt speaker can do the job well? To answer this question, you need to know whether speakers can be loud enough and a few other essential things that we’ve covered in this article.  

A 20-watt speaker is not very loud. It isn’t much louder than normal talking levels or rustling leaves. A 20-watt speaker should only be used in cases where you don’t need loud sound. However, for a room of approx 6*6 square meters, a 20W  speaker is more than enough. 

If you are looking for something a little more powerful, check our article on how loud are 50 watt speakers. You can also check out our guide on how many watts do I need for my speakers?

Read on to learn more.

Are 20 Watts Speakers Loud Enough?

The 20-watt speaker requires twice as much power as a 10-watt speaker. However, it can only add 3 decibels (dB) to the sound. So, a 20W speaker can sound louder than a 10W speaker in some cases. Most 20 Watt speakers have two 10 Watt drivers, like the Crave Curve shown below:

20 Watts speaker 10 x 2 watts

Nevertheless, the speaker can’t play twice louder despite the significant difference in power consumption.

20 Watts Speakers

It’s important to note that the efficiency of the amplifier and the speaker will play a noteworthy role in determining the speaker’s loudness. In other words, your amp should be able to supply slightly above 20 watts to the speaker consistently.

At the same time, the speaker should have a high sensitivity rating. If your speaker comes with a sensitivity of over 90dB, it will give you excellent results.

Remember that a normal conversation is approximately 60 dB. At the same time, a motor engine running is almost 95dB.

How Many Decibels (dB) is 20W?

The typical amount of decibels that equals 20 watts is 115.4 dB. This shows that a 20-watt speaker can be pretty much louder than most sounds in the real world (See the two examples above). However, in a large public gathering, it might be inadequate.  

It’s possible to use multiple 20-watt speakers to increase the volume.  

Overall, you can’t say a 20-watt speaker will always give you 115.4 decibels. It would be best to consider the factors we’ve seen above, like speaker sensitivity and amplifier efficiency, to understand what’s responsible for the inconsistency.

How Many Watts Are Enough For a Very Loud Speaker?

Since the amount of power that your amp supplies directly impacts the loudness and quality of the sound that you get, you should consider the ideal wattage for your situation. If you are happy to listen to loud, uncompressed music, 20-watt speakers might not serve your needs. At least, it would be best if you went for 200-watt speakers that are 90dB efficient.

At the same time, if you’re interested in listening to light classical and jazz and don’t want them to rock the house, 20-watt speakers are adequate. This applies to you mainly if you use higher efficiency speakers like horns since they take little power but give the best. Otherwise, you might need to consider 40 or 50-watt speakers.

How Should I Evaluate the Quality of a 20-Watt Speaker?

Since speaker efficiency determines the loudness and quality of your 20-watt speakers, you should consider the following factors when setting up your audio system:

Total Harmonic Distortion

Total Harmonic Distortion refers to the ability of your speaker to translate the content on a hard drive or disk into sound faithfully. It would help if you went for lower figures.

They show that your speaker is less prone to sound distortion. Anything between 0.05 and 0.08% means your 20-watt speaker produces clean content. Generally, you should expect quality sound from the speaker if its Total Harmonic Distortion is less than 0.1%.

Speaker Impedance

Your speaker’s impedance lets you know how much current it draws. You’ll find plenty of 20-watt speakers with an impedance of four, six, and eight. If you want a 4-ohms speaker, you should be prepared to dig deeper into your pocket to acquire them.

Due to the low impedance, these speakers draw much power and can potentially be louder than other similar alternatives. Eight-ohm speakers draw little power and can work with multiple selections of amplifiers.


The headroom helps you to know what your speaker can deliver in short bursts. If you have an extensive home theater system and are interested in getting a jolt from the explosions in your favorite action movies, you should choose a large headroom figure.

We’ve also said you should go for 20-watt speakers with high sensitivity.  

I hope you can see why we insist you can’t say all 20-watt speakers are loud with these factors in mind.

How Much Wattage is a Good Speaker?

We can define a good speaker as one that delivers high-quality sound. Now that we’ve seen various factors that determine the quality of your speakers, it’s time we consider the contribution of wattage.

There’s nothing you can do to get better quality if your speaker is too small to receive the required power from the amp. That means if you have a quality 20-watt speaker, you shouldn’t match it with an amp whose output capacity is below the speaker’s wattage.

 If the power supply is high, the speaker will safely draw enough amount of power. However, if the amp can’t supply 20 watts, it might struggle to destruction, especially if you choose to play the speakers so loudly that you hear some distortions.

So, there’s a sense in which wattage doesn’t define a good speaker. If you listen to your favorite music at a moderate sound, the power ratings of the amp and the speaker don’t matter. That’s why some people find 20 watts good enough when others are struggling to acquire high-watt speakers.

Some speakers are rated 110 watts but offer the worst quality. You may find many others rated 20 watts or less that offer the best quality.

So, it pays to pay more attention to quality rather than wattage. In other words, if you are on a tight budget and have found a high-quality, 20-watt speaker, you might rightly have no reason to focus on the wattage.

Can 20 Watts Make Your TV Speaker Louder?

The answer largely depends on the TV speaker’s efficiency. Assume you have a 20-watt speaker and a 30-watt speaker. If the 20-watt speaker is 10 dB more efficient than the other, it will appear to play twice louder.

Is A 20 Watt Speaker Twice As Loud As a 10 Watt Speaker?

A 20-watt speaker is double the power of a 10-watt speaker, but that does not mean it is twice as loud. The additional 10 Watts represents a 3 dB SPL increase in loudness. 

Summing Up

A 20-watt speaker can be loud enough to meet all your listening needs at home if it has a high sensitivity rating. If you want to crank up its volume, you should have an efficient, lower-impedance amplifier. So, to get the best experience, you should focus on acquiring a high-quality speaker that can deliver the quality and volume you need rather than on the wattage.

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Norvan Martin is the founder of 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