It is important for you to decide what kind of stereo set-up you want in your home before attempting to choose the best home stereo amplifier. The function of a home stereo amplifier is to power the speakers connected to it, and some amplifiers are included in a receiver, which is a unit that powers the speakers and picks up radio signals for transmittal. A receiver can also control the audio mix as well as the power output, speaker selection, and so on. Decide if you want a separate home stereo amplifier unit and receiver unit; this usually offers more power, but it often costs much more as well.
Think about how many speakers you want to power, and what other components will be run through your home stereo amplifier. Many people choose to set up home theater systems, and very often the amplifiers are designed specifically for this application. If you just want a stereo set-up, be sure to check the power output of the amp and make sure it is powerful enough to power the speakers in your system. You will need to choose between a stereo receiver and a home theater receiver; a home theater receiver will offer digital output and easy speaker calibration as well as digital inputs for many components, but it may take more adjusting and care to get the home theater system set up for music rather than movies and television. A stereo amplifier and receiver unit will be much simpler to operate.
Make sure your home stereo amplifier contains the features you are most likely to use. If, for example, you are likely to play music through an mp3 player, make sure the home stereo amplifier/receiver unit features an auxiliary input that will allow you to hook your mp3 player up to the stereo system. If you want to listen to the radio, make sure your amplifier features a receiver unit and easy controls to switch between channels such as radio and auxiliary.
The ins and outs of a stereo system can become quite complex as you add more speakers, configure a room for optimal sound, and add other components such as television, turntables, and so on. The more components that will run off the amplifier, the more powerful it will need to be. It may be best to consult a stereo expert for larger systems, because wattage is not always the determining factor of the quality of the system. Sound quality can become distorted for many reasons, right down to the types of connecting cables used, so for larger, complex systems, consult a professional.