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4 Ohm vs. 8 Ohm Speakers: The Difference

What’s the difference between 4-ohm vs. 8-ohm speakers? This is one of those questions that get asked a lot. This blog post will explain everything you need to know about these two types of speakers, including their differences and why impedance matters.

What is speaker impedance?

Impedance is a speaker or other component’s resistance to an electric current when connected across terminals. A lower impedance rating means less power will be lost in transmission, which means more amplifier power is needed for adequate volume levels.

A speaker’s impedance rating ranges from less than one ohm to thousands of kilohms. The lower the impedance, the more power it takes for adequate volume levels and vice versa. A typical home speaker will have an impedance of 4 to 8 ohms (or multiples thereof).

Impedance analogy example:

Imagine a water hose; the water flow will be reduced when the pressure is turned on lower than its maximum (the “impedance”). This analogy also applies to speakers because turning up the volume increases power consumption and reduces sound quality.

Why is this speaker impedance important for speakers?

Speakers with mismatched impedances will not reach their optimal sound quality due to power losses in transmission. This is the same as if you were using a hose with less pressure than its maximum and more draught – it won’t work well.

A speaker’s impedance rating affects both input signal level and output, or volume. If the speakers’ impedance levels are too low for an amplifier, it can create distortion that worsens at higher volumes because of excessive current draw from the amp. On the other hand, if they’re too high for an amp, sustained notes may be clipped by insufficient voltage (signal) levels.

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When pairing two components like this, there should always be some impedance matching to prevent distortion, such as a low-impedance speaker and a high-wattage amplifier. Different speaker brands have different speaker models and specifications.

4 ohm vs 8 ohm speakers - which one is better

4-ohm vs. 8-ohm speakers – Which one is better?

Speakers with an impedance greater than or equal to the amplifier should have better sound quality. The higher the impedance rating in a speaker, the less power is lost in transmission, which means more power can be used for volume and low-frequency response (bass).

A lower-impedance rated speaker will require an amp with lower voltage output capability. In contrast, speakers with higher impedances may need higher nominal power if their wattage ratings are matched. A 4-ohm speaker without a compatible amp will produce distortion and will not sound good, and it could even damage the speaker, although most of them have some protection against this.

If you’re on a budget, it’s safer to go with an 8-ohm speaker because it will not require as much power, and you can save on the cost of a more expensive amp.

Final thoughts

In a nutshell, the difference between these two types of speakers is their impedance and how it affects power consumption. A speaker with a lower impedance will require a lower voltage for adequate sound levels. A speaker with higher impedance ratings may need higher nominal power if matched wattage-wise to an amplifier.

Ken Peacock

Friday 12th of August 2022

so does the 4 ohm sound better or not ?


Monday 8th of August 2022

I'm pretty sure this sentence is not accurate:

"A lower-impedance rated speaker will require an amp with high voltage output capability"

Because a lower impedance speaker should actually require less voltage from the amp to produce the same power (P = V^2 / R), however it would require more current (P = I^2 * R).

Descriptive Audio

Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Looks like we messed up our wires. It's fixed now. Thanks for your feedback!

Iduta kazala

Wednesday 1st of June 2022

I need 4 ohm because, I was bust my speaker


Friday 20th of May 2022

I'm here to add some information. 4 ohm speakers don’t draw more current from the amplifier. 4 ohm load allow amplifier to deliver more amperage thus 4 ohm speakers are by nature more efficient, due to fact lower impedance poses less resistance to current. Most high end home audio is high current and is rated for 4 ohms and can drop even lower then that. For example, Polk Audio tower speakers with jumpers in place on their dual binding posts, are 4 ohms. They only way to make them function in 8 ohm, jumpers have to be removed and speaker has to be bi-amped. Many speaker manufactures design 6-4 ohm speakers, thus making 8 ohm speakers thing of the past. Many high end home audio amplifiers emphasize running 4 ohm speakers to achieve full capability f the amplifiers power.


Wednesday 27th of April 2022

thank you so much making me understood the difference