How many watts do I need?

Click to fill in our simple enquiry formDeciding on the number of watts you need can be a confusing business! Websites don't always say whether the wattage of the speakers and amplifiers they're selling are the Peak power or the RMS, or average continuous power. Peak power can be misleading, as you wouldn't be able to get that amount out power out of the speakers or amplifier constantly.

You should not have your PA system turned up to its full capacity because any peaks in the music may cause distortion. On the What PA? website, we always show the power in watts RMS - the power it can comfortably and safely deliver over a long period of time, which is what you want.

That makes it easier to compare different speakers and amplifiers, and to decide whether you are getting value for money as well as a system that's right for your needs.

When you're trying to decide how many watts you need, you can start with our very basic guide below. There are other factors such as the acoustics in the venue, whether you're indoors or out, and the sound pressure level (SPL) of the speakers, but we're trying to keep things simple for you!

If you need help, please complete our simple enquiry form or email .


Type of use Watts per audience member
Spoken Word (indoors) 0.5 to 1
Acoustic Acts, Solo Artists & Duos 2 to 3
Bands & Average Sized Venues 3 to 4
Loud Bands & Large Venues 4 to 5
See some recommended systems

Recommended PA Systems for Halls VILLAGE HALLS & PLACES OF WORSHIP
- up to 75 people - over 300 people
- up to 100 people  
- up to 300 people  
Recommended PA systems for Bands, venues, pubs BANDS & VENUES
- up to 100 people - up to 600 people
- up to 200 people - over 600 people
- up to 400 people  
Recommended PA systems for school halls, assemblies, plays, sports day SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES, PLAYS, SPORTS DAY
- seating up to 100 people - seating over 500 people
- seating up to 300 people  
- seating up to 500 people  
Recommended PA systems for meetings and presentations MEETINGS & PRESENTATIONS
- up to 75 people - over 200 people
- up to 100 people  
- up to 200 people