Welcome! I’ve worked hard to create what I think is the best speaker Ohms calculator on the internet for you.
My speaker Ohms calculator will let you:
- Find the total speaker Ohms for almost any series, parallel, or series-parallel speaker wiring.
- Find the total power your amp or stereo will output (or warn you when it can’t produce that amount of power).
- See the power supplied to each speaker for your wiring configuration.
- Find out if your speaker setup could cause amp or stereo damage before you try it out.
- SPEAKER OHMS CALCULATOR
- How to calculate series, parallel, or series-parallel speaker Ohms (DIAGRAM and examples)
- Amplifier power vs the speaker Ohms load
- What speaker Ohm load should I use for the best power?
SPEAKER OHMS CALCULATOR
How to calculate series, parallel, or series-parallel speaker Ohms (DIAGRAM and examples)
Figuring out the total Ohms speaker load for nearly any wiring configuration isn’t as hard as it may seem. As you can see from my diagram above, there are 3 main ways to do this:
- Find the total series speaker Ohms.
- Find the total parallel speaker Ohms.
- Using a combination of #1 & #2 for more complicated speaker systems.
1. How to find the total series speaker Ohms value
These are the simplest to deal with. To find the total speaker resistance (impedance) for series speakers, simply add them all together.
For example, let’s say we have 3 speakers we’d like to use: two 8 ohm and one 16 ohm.
We’d just add these together like so: 8Ω + 8 234 + 16Ω = 32Ω
When speakers are connected in series, they share the same electrical current. The amplifier, radio, or stereo’s power will be divided among them. Note that if the total speaker load is higher than the maximum power output Ohms rating for your amp or stereo, the total power you can get will be lower.
(I’ll go into more detail about this in another section below)
2. How to calculate the total Ohms load for parallel speakers.
When it come to finding the total speaker impedance for parallel wiring, there are two ways to do this:
- If the speaker Ohm ratings are all the same, you can just divide by the number of speakers used.
- For parallel speakers of the same or different values, you can use the universal parallel speaker formula below. You can call this the “inverse sum of the reciprocals”, which just means we add up all the inverse (1/x) values then take one final inverse function to get the result. (I’ll explain how to do this.)
Example #1: Let’s say we have three 4 ohms speakers wired in parallel. We can use simple division to find the total speaker load:
Rparallel = 4Ω/3 = 1.33Ω
Example #2: In this example, we have four speakers of different values: two 8 ohm and two 16 ohm speakers, all wired in parallel. What is the total speaker load?
Rparallel = 1/(1/8 + 1/8 + 1/16 + 1/16)
= 1/(.125 + .125 + .0625 + .0625)
= 1/(0.375) = 2.67Ω
3. Series-parallel and other wiring types
For anything other than just series or parallel speaker wiring, we can just break it down into a few of same calculations and then add them all together.
Example #3: We have four “strings” of four 8 ohm speakers each. All four series strings are wired in parallel. We can solve this pretty easily!
(a.) Finding the series speaker Ohms: each string of four speakers is 8Ω + 8Ω + 8Ω + 8Ω or 8Ω x 4. This is 32Ω total for each series string.
(b.) Find the total parallel speaker Ohms: we have four strings, so this is 1/(1/32 + 1/32 + 1/32 1/32) or just 32Ω/4 since they’re all the same value.
So the total is 32Ω [each series string] / 4 strings = 8Ω total in series-parallel
How to find parallel speaker ohms (inverse sum of reciprocals) on a calculator
Many calculators (especially scientific ones, although that’s not a requirement) have an inverse function.
An inverse key (inverse function, or reciprocal function) is simply dividing one by some number. Having a button handy makes it much faster and less likely you’ll make a mistake, too.
Let’s take example #2 from earlier to show how you can easily find any parallel speaker load using a calculator. I’ll show where I’m using the buttons you’d use on a real calculator.
(Example #2: We have four speakers of different values: two 8 ohm and two 16 ohm speakers, all wired in parallel.)
(a.) You would enter on your calculator:
8 1/x + 8 1/x + 32 1/x + 32 1/x
which will give 0.125 + 0.125 + 0.0625 + 0.0625 = 0.375
(b.) Then we’ll take the reciprocal (inverse) of this to get our result:
0.375 1/x = 2.67 Ω (rounded from 2.66666… as we don’t need that much precision).
You might find it helpful to use a scientific “pretty print” calculator as they display the math you’re entering just like you’d write it on paper. This helps you be sure of what you’re entering as you go.
Amplifier power vs the speaker Ohms load
The total speaker load you end up with can have a very big impact on the power you can use. That’s because home or car stereos, amplifiers, and radios can only produce up to a certain output voltage to deliver power to speakers. If the speaker load (Ohm value) is higher, they can’t deliver as much electrical current, resulting in a lower total power provided.
How to calculate amp and speaker power for different speaker loads
Example #1: How to estimate total amplifier power at different speaker Ohm loads
For example, let’s use an example of a guitar amplifier that can provide 50 watts RMS continuous per channel into a min. of 8 ohms. As power is related to voltage and resistance, we can rearrange the formula for power to help us:
(a.) Power (P) = (Voltage (V))^2 / Resistance (R)
We can rearrange this to find voltage: Voltage (V) = square root(Power x R)
(b.) Doing a little bit of math, that means the output voltage at full power into an 8 ohm speaker would be:
V = square root(50 x 8) = √(400) = 20V(Max. output)
What happens if we connect two 8Ω woofers in series? How much power can we expect?
This would be (20V)^2 / 16Ω = 400/16 = 25 Watts
This makes sense! After all, the electrical current decreases as the resistance increases. Therefore, the amp can’t deliver as much power at 16Ω as it can at its 8Ω specification. There’s nothing wrong with using a higher impedance speaker load, but you’ll have to live with the compromise and less overall power.
Example #2: Estimating power to each speaker vs the total power delivered
Using example #1 above, we have 25W delivered in total to our 16Ω speaker load. For speakers in series, you can find the power each speaker will get even if they have different Ohm ratings.
In this case, we can use: Pspeaker = Ptotal (total power) x Speaker1/(Speaker1 + Speaker2)
This gives us: P1 (power to speaker one) = 25W*8/(16) = 25W*0.5 = 12.5W
So each speaker will receive 12.5W in this case which is 1/4 of what a single 8 ohm speaker would receive for this amplifier.
What speaker Ohm load should I use for the best power?
When using multiple speakers the best Ohms load for power is the lowest acceptable total speaker load the stereo or amplifier is rated to handle at maximum power output.
This is because many amplifiers (and some radios and stereos etc.) have their maximum power output possible at the minimum Ohms rating specification. This is sometimes called the Ohm rating they are “stable to.”
For example, a 2Ω stable car subwoofer amplifier may be rated like this:
- 250W x 1 @ 4 ohms
- 500 W x 1 @ 2 ohms
The specifications tell us:
- This amplifier is designed to handle as low as 2 ohms minimum
- It will produce maximum power output (maximum current) safely at a total speaker load of 2 ohms
This means to get all the power we paid for, we’ll ideally have a total speaker load that adds up to 2Ω. The problem is that when using multiple speakers it can be difficult to get match the min. speaker Ohm rating.
You’ll have to match at least the min. acceptable Ohms rating specified. Too low of a rating (say 1Ω in this case) and the amplifier can shut off, overheat, or suffer permanent damage.
Using dual voice coil speakers may help as they offer multiple speaker ohms configurations. However, it’s very common (especially if you’ve already bought speakers) to not be able to get the “perfect” total speaker Ohms load.
You’ll have to live with some compromises which may mean less total power available.