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Best Car Stereo (Review) 2020-2021

With all the flooded information, finding the best car stereo audio system for your car can be exhausting. There are so many things to consider while there is a wide variety of brands ready to sell you a stereo. 

For the makers, it’s just business. But for you, it is the beginning of the personal experience.

Best Car StereoWith all the options in the market, there is always something for everybody. This means, your needs are not too specific.

If you desire different components for the audio system, such as a car stereo, speakers, subwoofers and an amplifier, then you deserve exactly that.

Therefore, you need to know beforehand what you are looking for to make your search easier.

For instance, you might want a car stereo with a touch screen interface, other preferable software such as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, and a speaker with a wider frequency range. That would eliminate your search by half.

If you are on a budget, then you can start with a specific price range but don’t be too rigid about it. Sometimes, the car stereo with your exact specifications can cost a little more.

Apart from the components cost, include a small fortune in case you might need a professional to help you install your newest gadget. But, if you are an experienced or a DIYer you can save a lot more by fixing it yourself.

As you juggle between hiring someone and fixing it yourself, you should know that not all car stereos would fit into the dash of your vehicle. In newer car models, it is almost impossible to replace the car stereo due to complicated design elements.

However, the majority of the cars out there with a single-DIN or a double-DIN radio, are an easy fit. The receiver with no disc player has a shallow depth that doesn’t need any special knowledge to install.

Thanks to the hundreds of options, no matter what you are looking for in a car stereo, you can always find something. To relieve your headache, we’ve compiled a buyer’s guide to help you find a car audio system that fits your needs.

 

The Top Best Car Stereo Review for 2020-2021:

1. Kenwood Excelon DDX8905S Multimedia Receiver

 

Kenwood Excelon DDX8905S Multimedia Receiver

 

Specifications: 4.7 out of 5

Brand Kenwood
LCD 6.95 inches
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 7 pounds
Dimensions 11 x 11 x 7 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch Screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

 

Summary:

Kenwood Excelon DDX9905S features a clear resistive display touchscreen that is compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto for easier user interaction. With the rise of the smartphone lifestyle, it’s important to ensure the drivers keep their eyes on the road and not on their Smartphones while driving.

With a push of a button, Siri and Google Assistant are ready to take your voice command and carry out your tasks such as making calls and send text messages for you hand-free. You can also connect your phone to the stereo through Bluetooth and stream music as you drive around. Mix up your music by switching through the five Bluetooth devices paired to the receiver. Through the Bluetooth connection, you can search, select, and play through your music collection.

 Thanks to added features such as AAC, FLAC, WAV, and MP WMA, your album full of CDs and DVD won’t go to waste and you can play them any time you want to. The FLAC is compatible with a wide range of audio files and can read even the most distorted audio playlists. In terms of parking guidelines, the stereo is compatible with most input cameras and can see your surrounding through the large display screen.

 

Potential Problem:

 You might want to update your software after purchase for it to work well. 

 

Features:

  • 6.95 inch wide VGA display screen with LED Backlight
  • Glossy & Capacitive Touch Panel
  • Automatic Reverse Tilt with a  5 Step Angle Adjust
  • Touch Panel Control, Variable Key Illumination
  • Top Menu Customize and Background Customize (JPEG x2)
  • Built-in GPS Navigation
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Compatible
  • In-built Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music and hands-free 

Pros
  • Sleek, stylish design
  • Detachable faceplate
  • Multi-color display
  • Great sound quality and performance
  • Many features and expandability options
Cons
  • Display sometimes dim during daytime

Verdict:

 This car stereo works as expected and is worth every buck. It brings you awesome sound, compatible with most Smartphones, and the display screen is outstanding. 

 

2. Pioneer AVH-210EX: Best Car Stereo Receiver with Bluetooth

 

Pioneer AVH-210EX DVD Receiver with Bluetooth

 

Specifications: 4.3 out of 5

Brand Pioneer
LCD 6.2 inch
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 3.92 pounds
Dimensions 10 x 6.5 x 11 inches
Front & Rear camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touchscreen Responsive
Power out Yes

Summary

Pioneer comes with an attractive 6.2-inch display screen, designed to stand out in its category. Pioneer is a renowned brand with outstanding quality that caters to its consumers repeatedly. The AVH-210 delivers a quality touchscreen with a double DIN car stereo. The car stereo is strategically designed to fit in all types of cars from small city cars to SUVs and trucks.

Thanks to the touch controls, you now have fewer buttons to operate. Now you can have undivided attention on the road. Users can use this stereo on-screen feature with ease. The Built-in Bluetooth, dual connection, and other simple pairing features allow you to mirror your smartphone and navigate the stereo hands-free.

You can now stream videos or songs from your phone to the car stereo. It also comes with a DVD and CD reader to keep you entertained during your commute or while stuck in traffic.

If you are a parent, the five main color displays at your disposal will keep your kids engaged. You can stream your kids’ favorite shows or cartoons and keep the road anxiety away. If you’re not the driver, nothing is stopping you from catching up with your favorite series, audiobook, and podcast.  

With a 13-band equalizer, amplifier slot, and connected subwoofer, you can blast your favorite five songs repeatedly. Nothing can stop you from ‘karaoke’ in your car and enjoy the powerful extra bass from the car’s sound system.

 

Potential problem

 The display system is clear and responsive, especially during the night. Unfortunately, during the day, the screen is dim and the full light option doesn’t help much. Other than that, there is no volume knob only small buttons. They can be annoying as you try to add volume while driving. 

 

Pros
  • Suitable for all audio files
  • Plays DVDs
  • Compatible with parking cameras
  • Suitable for car amplifier improvements
Cons
  • No physical volume button

 

Verdict

 The digital touchscreen car stereo has the most distinctive design that complements well its features. 

 

3. Pioneer AVH-2300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver

 

Pioneer AVH-2300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver

 

 

Specifications: 4.5 out of 5

Brand Pioneer
LCD 7 inches
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 3.04 ounces
Dimensions 11 x 9.5 x 6 inches
Front & Rear camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touchscreen Responsive
Power out Yes

 

Summary: 

Pioneer network entertainment experience (NEX) is a line of receivers that highlights an innovative and amazing new user interface that is exceptional, responsive, and adaptable. The NEX models are specifically designed for the current smartphone lifestyle.

The AVH-2300NEX features Apple Carplay and Android Auto that offers you a platform to use your phone in the car with just a touch or by voice command. The Android Auto and Apple Carplay give you an incredibly easy way to place a call, send texts, listen to music, and navigate the maps. The feature is handy and minimizes distraction so you can focus on driving.

Pioneer has taken the technology to help you connect to the advanced app radio brings you information and experience control during your commute. With that, you can now bring more than 140 of your favorite channels wherever you go.

You can now connect your phone to the AVH-2300NEW with a USB (sold separately) to enjoy your music and video depending on your device. Other than that, you can take advantage of the intuitive, responsive, and crisp touchscreen user interface that is highly customizable and easy to use.

 

Potential Problem:

According to one feedback report, the software might have bugs, and updating it doesn’t solve the problem. Other than that, the stereo works perfectly.

Features:

  • 7-inch in-dash double Din display receiver
  • Compatible with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and AppRadio Mode
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Spotify, Works with Pandora
  • SiriusXM Ready (requires tuner sxv300 and subscription to service, sold separately; not included)

Pros:

  • Wireless connectivity
  • Hands-free calling option
  • Large screen display
  • Highly responsive touchscreen
  • User-friendly interface

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include a remote control
  • Non-detachable faceplate

 

Verdict:

 Generally, the pioneer AVH-2300 product is one of a kind. It is a decent head unit for the price. Lots of adjustments and features, good responsive screen, illumination matching is a nice touch. 

 

4. Kenwood DDX8905S 6.95″ WVGA double-DIN Multimedia DVD Receiver

 

Specifications: 4.7 out of 5

Brand Kenwood
LCD 6.95 inches
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 7 pounds
Dimensions 11 x 11 x 7 inches
Front & Rear camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touchscreen Responsive
Power out Yes

 

Summary:

KENWOOD DDX8905S 6.95 inch brings a large interactive screen that will change your entire driving experience. The gorgeous touchscreen display lets you control the stereo as well as customize its widgets to your liking.

With the built-in Bluetooth, you can stream audio calls hands-free and even send messages without fumbling for your phone while driving. The head unit has a WIFI to enable wireless Android Auto, Apple Carplay, and screen mirroring your smartphone.

It also supports front and back camera’s live-action and makes it easier to reverse or overcome your fear of parallel parking. For all the music lovers, the additional AUX slots, input, and output options help you expand your sound system by adding amplifiers. That way you can create a nice music ambiance or even crank up the volume for a personal concert experience.

Potential Problem:

The works fine up initially but with time, slow booting becomes a nuisance. Also, the Android auto has a glitch and may not work as smoothly.

Features:

  • DVD/CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
  • 6.95″ Clear Resistive touchscreen display
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Works with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and WebLink
  • Plays CDs, DVDs, and USB memory devices
  • Included Components: Receiver

Pros:

  • Crisp and responsive touchscreen display
  • Supports front and back cameras
  • Wireless connection
  • Interactive Push to talk assistant

Cons:

  • Slow booting

Verdict:

 Generally, the unit does not disappoint and pairs well with the latest smartphone models. 

 

5. Pioneer 6.2″ Double Din VGA Touchscreen

 

Pioneer 6.2" Double Din VGA Touchscreen

 

Specifications: 4.5 out of 5

Brand Pioneer
LCD 6.2 inches
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 2.89 pounds
Dimensions 11 x 6 x 10 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch Screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

Summary:

Pioneer’s NEX introduces a personalized Pandora music experience. Designed to help you discover new amazing music, this stereo brings you superior sound quality. Direct from the touch screen display, you gain full control of the music and dictate whatever genre you prefer.

With the built-in Bluetooth connectivity, you can operate your phone hands-free while you stay safe and abide by laws. Once paired to the stereo every time you are close, your smartphone connects automatically. This means, once you start your car, your music playlist turns on ready to keep you company during your commute.

To ensure you gain the best music experience, pioneer NEX in-dash receiver gives you the most unique sound quality features such as high tweeters and low bass. With the help of the in-built auto EQ, 13-Band Graphic equalizer and time alignment tailor your listening experience to your preferences.

You can tap into the power of a push to talk assistant such as a Google assistant, Alexa, and Siri to help with free functionality. With a simple touch of the NEX touchscreen, your talk assistant starts listening through the inbuilt microphone. Then it takes your voice command and answers your questions or requests through the car’s external speakers. That way you can keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while the stereo helps you with your phone tasks.

Potential Problem:

Due to differences in dashboards, this model can be a little hard to install. Unfortunately, it does not fit into all cars. So you would need to check beforehand.

 

Features:

  • In-Dash Double-DIN widescreen display  
  • 6.1″ Clear-Resistive Touchscreen,
  • Front and Rear Back-Up Camera Ready
  • Bluetooth wireless connective that supports Hands-Free Calling & Streaming Music
  •  USB & Aux Inputs
  • 7 Band Graphic EQ
  • Wired remote Input

 

Pros:

  • Clear resistive Widescreen
  • Superior sound quality
  • Compatible with most smartphone
  • Affordable
  • Great picture and sound

Cons:

Dim during the day

Verdict:

 Pioneer has been at the top of the market and this unit is no different. It is worth trying it out. 

 

 6. Jensen CAR10 10-inch Capacitive: Best Adjustable Touch Screen Double DIN Car Stereo

 

Jensen CAR10 10-inch Capacitive: Best Adjustable Touch Screen Double DIN Car Stereo

 

Specifications: 4.6 out of 5

Brand Jensen
LCD 10 inch
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 6.49 pounds
Dimensions 12.1 x 9 x 8.75 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch Screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

 

Summary:

The JENSEN CAR10 has a capacitive LCD digital adjustable large 10-inch touch screen display. The high-resolution LCD screen provides you with an interactive viewing experience. That way you can reach all your favorite widgets within your fingers.

JENSEN digital media receiver designed your assistant with you in mind. With the help of Apple Carplay and Android Auto, you can access your favorite playlist, make or return calls, respond to text messages, and listen to voicemails.

 Also, SIRI and Google assistant become your navigator with accurate directions. You can speak out your destination or address through the external microphone and your voice assistant will give you turn-by-turn directions. The best part of the whole process, the maps will be mirrored on the JENSEN display screen.

Enjoy the upgraded Bluetooth wireless technology that allows you to pair the stereo with your phone allowing you to make and receive all calls hands-free. When it comes to music, the makers have no compromises when it comes to sound technology. You can stream, view, and control your playlist while connected to the phone.

Potential Problem:

If you wish to install this unit yourself, be ready to put in some effort compared to other car stereos.

Features:

  • 6.8 inch VGA display
  • Built-In Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Built-in HD Radio
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • 13-band graphic equalizer with selectable tone curves
  • 3.5mm rear A/V auxiliary input
  • Rear USB Input
  • 3 sets of preamp outputs
  • SiriusXM satellite radio ready

Pros:

  • Amazing sound system
  • Bluetooth works seamlessly
  • Large and clear display screen
  • Accurate navigation maps
  • Push to talk assistant works flawlessly

Cons:

  • Hard to install

 

Verdict:

 For its price range, you get more than you bargained for. (This is too short..) 

 

 7.  Kenwood DDX6705S

 

Kenwood DDX6705S

 

Specifications: 4.2 out of 5

Brand Kenwood
LCD 6.8 inches
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 6.8 pounds
Dimensions 10 x 10 x 10 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch Screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

 

Summary:

With a 6.8-inch digital media touchscreen, Kenwood stereo monitor offers you a wide high-resolution display screen. It is a clear resistive touch panel engineered to reduce glare and improve touch control efficiency during operation.

Pair up to 5 Bluetooth devices at the same time and mix up your music playlist options. You can now stream music by switching devices with your family and friends. With the touch of a button, you can switch between phones and escape the torture of listening to a boring playlist. You can also mirror your phone to the stereo screen and operate it from there.

In terms of music, the sound quality is superior and Kenwood ensures you get the very best. The sound system is carefully selected and custom made to enhance your music experience. With the help of an improved graphic EQ or digital time alignment 13-band equalizer, you can tune the stereo preferences to your liking.

Crank up the Drive EQ boosts frequencies to actively block out the unnecessary road noise. With various audio file formats from FLAC, WAV, AAC, and MP3,  you can enjoy your road trip with non-stop music. Other than that, if you are old school, there’s a slot for CDs and DVDs to enjoy your old albums as you cruise around.

The Dual camera input is a nice touch and helps you with parking guidelines. Of course, the cameras are sold separately but Kenwood DD6705S is compatible with most backing up cameras in the market. So, you have nothing to worry about. The old cameras will work perfectly fine.

 

Potential Problem:

You might need to upgrade the software for it to connect to Apple’s Carplay or Android Auto. Plus, the Bluetooth does not connect automatically. You will have to pair your smartphone every time you need to use it.

Features:

  • DVD/CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
  • 6.8″ Clear Resistive touchscreen display
  • Dual phone connection with wireless music streaming
  • Works with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and WebLink
  • Plays CDs, DVDs, and USB memory devices
  • Included Components: Receiver

 

Pros:

  • Wireless connectivity
  • Large multi-line display
  • Great sound quality
    Satellite radio-ready

 

Cons:

  • Dim display
  • Slippery volume button
  • Not so helpful user manual

 

Verdict:

 Generally, it’s a decent car stereo with working widgets. Apart from a few faulty apps other than that, the sound system will make everything feel much better. 

 

8. Pioneer AVH-2500NEX Double-DIN In-Dash DVD/CD Car Stereo Receiver

 

Pioneer AVH-2500NEX Double-DIN In-Dash DVD/CD Car Stereo Receiver

Specifications:3.6 out of 5

Brand Pioneer
LCD 6.8 inch
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 4.62 pounds
Dimensions 4 x 9 x 14 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch Screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

 

Summary:

In addition to their successful broad selection of single DIN car stereos, Pioneer also offers top-rated double DIN head units engineered to stand out in the market and perform accordingly. With a highly customizable and adaptable 6.8-inch touchscreen, you can control and adjust its settings to your liking.

The head unit is mobile-friendly and is specially engineered to connect flawlessly to your smartphone and mirror the apps to the stereo. Featuring a built-in Bluetooth technology, Apple Carplay, and Android auto, the AVH-2500NEX takes care of all your connectivity needs such as streaming and hand-free talking.

Its user-friendly AppRadio mode allows you to listen to your favorite local channels. For an extra cost, you can access SiriusXM satellite radio. Other than that, you can also use Spotify, Pandora, and apple music to stream and blast your favorite genres.

 

Potential Problem:

If Bluetooth connection is your main specification, this unit might disappoint you unless you’re willing to give it a few minutes to connect.

Features:

  • Bluetooth technology that supports audio streaming and hands-free dialing
  • AppRadio mode with software that supports Sirius XM ready, Pandora and Spotify apps
  • Multi-color illumination
  • Supports Google VR and Siri eyes Free
  • Supports USB, MP3, FLAC, AAC, and WMA music platforms
  • It has a 13-Band graphic equalizer with distinct selectable tone curves
  • 3 Sets of advanced Preamp outputs including front, rear subwoofer

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Has a multi-color illumination
  • Compatible with most Smartphones
  • Reliable front and rear cameras

Cons:

  • Bluetooth does not connect automatically

Verdict:

 The car stereo has great features that are efficient and reliable. Apart from the Bluetooth delay, all other features work better than other units within its price range. 

 

9. JENSEN CMM10 10.1 inch: Best LED Multimedia Touch Screen Single Din Car Stereo

 

JENSEN CMM10 10.1 inch: Best LED Multimedia Touch Screen Single Din Car Stereo

Specifications:3 out of 5

 

Brand Jensen
LCD 10.1 High resolution
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 4.99 pounds
Dimensions 11.25 x 8.9 x 7 inches
Front and rear camera Yes
Push to talk assistant Yes
Touch screen Responsive
Power out Yes

Summary:

JENSEN CMM10 offers you a functional stereo with a 10.1 inch LED multimedia touch screen. It carries all the functional features and options to improve your interaction. The LCD high resolution provides you with ample viewing experience while keeping all your preferred settings within your fingers

With the aid of the in-built Bluetooth technology feature, you can pair it to your devices and allow you to make calls hands free. Crafted with you in mind, the advanced USB port allows you to mirror your screen phone onto the stereo screen with ease. Now you can enjoy a high-quality picture with accuracy thanks to the high definition built-in digital USB converter.

Jensen CMM also allows you to pair with Siri or Google’s assistant by simply pressing a button. Located at the front of your digital stereo, the receiver responds instantly and enables you to navigate effortlessly.

With the help of the voice command, you won’t be distracted while driving as you try to play your favorite playlist, audiobook, or podcast. Moreover, you can access your navigation maps and lead to the destination of choice. 

In addition to the basic features, the stereo comes packed with front panel inputs such as 3.5mm AUX, microSD card, USB with 2.1 AMP fast charger, and a camera RCA. While the outputs

consists of 3 pairs of RCA subwoofers, and a front and rear RCA video camera to help with backing-up with a microphone for video and sound.

For convenience, the double DIN car radio works perfectly with the built-in steering wheel controls to enable you to control certain functions of your car sound system.

Potential Problem

Of course, no product is 100% perfect. According to some customers, Jensen CMM 10 lack in some areas. For instance, the gadget takes longer to start. That’s a bummer especially because you would require the rear camera or front when reversing or driving off the parking slot.

Although it’s a cheap stereo, it barely lives up to expectation. The model is cheaply made with flimsy metal frames. Apart from that, the touch screen takes longer to respond and some audio files are simply not compatible.

Features:

  • Power: 200 Watts (50 W x 4) MOSFET
  • Push-to-talk button to access the smartphone voice assistant
  • Media playback: USB/microSD card
  • File formats: MP4/WMA/Xvid/MP3/FLAC
  • Audio: 7 Band Graphic EQ
  • Audio: 7 EQ presets (Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical, Beat, Flat & User)
  • Tuner: AM/FM with 30 stations presets (18FM/12 AM)
  • 10.1” widescreen display with LED Backlit and  LCD touchscreen 3 Selectable wallpapers
  • Super slim 3.5in (90mm) mount design for easy install
  • Digital media unit – will not play CDs/DVDs

Pros:

  • The Bluetooth feature pairs well with most Smartphones
  • You can cast your phone screen using USB screen mirroring
  • Ample 10.1 digital touchscreen single Din car stereo
  • User-friendly push to talk assistant
  • Simple steering wheel control
  • Clear and efficient front and rear camera
  • An extra USB & microSD slot

 

Cons:

  • Cheap model
  • Takes time to start
  • Doesn’t pair well with the most audio player

Verdict:

 Apart from the bad reviews, the model is decent and functions well. It is well within the price range and would serve you okay. 

 

10. BOSS Audio Systems BVNV9384RC Car GPS Navigation

 

BOSS Audio Systems BVNV9384RC Car GPS Navigation

Specifications: 3.9 out of 5

 

Brand Boss Audio Systems, Inc.
LCD 6.2 inch
Bluetooth Yes
Weight 5.5 pounds
Dimensions 7.20 x 6.50 x 4.00 inches
Front & Rear Camera Yes
Push to Talk Assistant Yes
Touch screen Responsive
Power Out Yes

 

Summary:

The Boss Audio system comes with a 6.2-inch touchscreen monitor with a navigation feature that keeps you entertained. Packed with an innovative graphic interface, the digital widescreen display panel allows you to interact with its features and functions. With preloaded GPS map coverage, the visual and text-to-speech guides your navigation.

Connect your smartphone through the Auxiliary input and blast music through your sound system. You can also take advantage of the available DVD/CD player or AM/FM radio. The USB (up to 32GB) or SD slot plugs are additional options to enjoy high-resolution Audio. Note that, the USB and SD music playbacks also support audio, video, photo, and video playback without monitors.

Appreciate the music with the inbuilt preset EQ preset for a variety of music genres such as pop, rock, and dancehall. With the FLAC playback, you get to listen to music with a raw authenticity that the artist intended and bring a concert into your vehicle on the go.

The wireless Bluetooth technology allows you to pair with your gadgets and play or control your music apps. Control the track, volume, and play or pause through your system.  Control it all with the hands-free remote, inbuilt steering wheel control buttons (sold separately).   With the aid of the Pre-Amp outputs, you can now expand your sound system by adding powerful subwoofers.

Back up safely using the rear camera input. The input automatically turns on whenever you shift to reverse and enables you to be aware of your surroundings on the display settings. It is a plus especially to all those struggling with reversing. Note the rear camera is sold separately.

Potential Problem:

The touch screen might take longer to start. According to a verified customer, the touch screen lags a bit and after a while, the sensor response stops working. The screen keeps jumping up and down and selecting random things.

Features:

  • 80 Watts x 4 Max Power
  • Bass/Treble/Balance/Fader Controls and Preset Built-in EQ with an RDS Tuner
  • It is compatible with FLAC, WMA, USB, SD, MP3, MP4, DVD, and CD with high-resolution sound systems
  • Input slots that support Rear camera, Steering wheel control, AUX, and AV.
  • Outputs that supports Sub Pre Amp, Video and backup camera
  • Wireless connectivity with a remote for streaming music, and hands-free dialing  
  • GPS navigation map that covers more than 50 US States and Puerto Rico

Pros:

  • Efficient Touchscreen Control and Built-In Navigation
  • Operate Bluetooth Hands-free

  • USB Port and SD Memory Card Port

  • Aux Input and AV Input

  • Available EQ preset
  • Video Output and Electronic Skip Protection

Cons:

  • The camera is not compatible with all cars
  • The screen stops working after a while
  • Navigation maps don’t work in all countries

Verdict:

 The car stereo is easy to install with decent features. It’s worth every penny and will serve you well in the long term.  

 

Buyers’ Guide: How to Pick the Best Car Stereo Speakers in 2020-2021

A car stereo is the centerpiece of every car’s sound system. They improve your dash’s general outlook and provide you with useful features.

 Aftermarket car stereos offer you an affordable way to interact with modern technology and entertain you during your commute. Your reason to get a new car stereo may vary from the next buyer. Although the universal needs may include hands-free calling, traffic GPS navigation, and high-fidelity music among other features.

Some car units are packed with a long list of features and specifications. There are some with simple functions such as HD radio, clock, and CD reader. Therefore, it can be confusing when trying to get a model that suits your needs.

Since no one ever has the time to learn every detail about car stereos in the market, we have simplified the terms to help your decision-making process easier. Read on to understand better terms used to best describe the recommended models.

Brand

As you can imagine, many brands sell car stereos with different components. Such companies include the likes of Kenwood, Pioneer, Jensen, Boss audio, JVC, Alpine, and Sony. Obviously, there are more brands in the market and this list should not limit you. Generally, they come with basic features such as radio, amplifiers, speakers, and time. It would be so much easier to search the market if you have a few specifications in mind. That way you can eliminate the brands that lack.

 

LCD Display

Most car stereo head units have a display of some sort. However, the purpose, size, and quality of the display vary widely. For instance, some displays only show simple song titles, and time while others have more information such as maps and even play videos. The biggest difference is the size of the screen, as you can imagine, a bigger screen has more features. Note that, as much as the display sizes vary, you also need to consider which display size is compatible with your vehicle. If you don’t know much about size variation, you may want to consult a professional or research more. You don’t want to be disappointed with your latest purchase when you realize that it’s not compatible with your vehicle.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Most car stereos in the market come with a Bluetooth connectivity feature. Stay away from ones without as they are probably dated. Of course, the stereo doesn’t have to be complex but the feature is an added advantage.

Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is a great way to play your music and receive your calls from your smartphone. Generally, the Bluetooth feature enables you to operate your phone hands-free and stream music, skip, shuffle, add volume, and stop your playlist without being distracted. Whenever you want to place a call or receive one, you don’t have to fumble around looking for your device. You can communicate hands-free and avoid texting while driving.  

Speaker’s Weight and Dimensions:

Different cars may vary in the stereo cavity on the dashboard and may want to know the dimensions beforehand. There are two types of car stereos: single DIN and double DIN. Both the single and double DIN stereos are about 7inches wide. The single DIN is about 2 inches high while the double DIN is 4 inches high. Of course, in some models, these measurements may vary with a few inches but the general dimensions range about the same.  

Front & Rear Camera:

Front and rear cameras can help improve your car’s stereo value exponentially. The active view adds a degree of safety and alerts you against hitting things. You can easily notice things along your path outlined and hear audible alerts that beep frequently, as objects get closer to your car. Since a camera has a wider field of view, you can see from all angles. Hence, the cameras are better than the conventional mirror and there’s no need to turn your head as you reverse. In addition, front and rear cameras are a universal fit and work flawlessly with all car stereo brands with a camera input.

Touch Screen

A large display with a touchscreen interface makes your driving experience a lot easier. You get to enjoy colorful displays with split-screen capability, bigger icons, and more screen space to work on without being distracted. In fact, a touchscreen interface is much better than a basic car stereo. It will keep you from squinting at your display or scrolling by for settings that you are looking for.

Push To Talk Assistant

Apple and Google have now introduced innovative apps that are now compatible with your car stereo. This new trend has given rise to Apple Carplay and Android Auto giving you access to your preferences and content.

With talk Assistants such as SIRI, Alexa, and Google Assistant, with a push of a button, you can give voice commands instead of the conventional scrolling. This reduces distraction and helps you navigate your stereo hands-free. Once connected you don’t have to pair your smartphone to the car stereo every time you log-out.

 

Power

When considering a powerful sound system you may want to look into the power handling or RMS rating that is measured in watts. This means you need to understand the amount of power the speaker can handle or you might damage it. The continuous output power of the car stereo can overwhelm your speakers. Alternatively, you can upgrade your speakers along with the amplifier to equalize the power.

FAQs:

Which is the best top brand for a car stereo?

The market is flooded by various car stereo brands all claiming to be the best of the best. Yes, it can be overwhelming. Some brands such as Pioneer, Sony, Alpine, Kenwood, Jensen, Boss, and Jensen are some of the famous units known for their performance. But, that does not mean they are the only top brands. When choosing your car stereo, you should check for features such as streaming music, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, remote control, touch screen interface, and touch assistant features. You can check our reviewed car stereos above to help you make better decisions.

What is the best car stereo for the money?

Any car stereo that has all the features you are looking for without breaking your bank.

What is the best car audio system?

As you shop around for an upgraded car stereo, an audio system should also be on the list. The basic audio system can handle low power, but if you were a real music aficionado, you’d want to appreciate music in its full glory. For that, aftermarket car audio systems such as amplifiers, speakers, and tweeters can make a great difference. They offer you a punchy bass with recommended crisp highs that the standard speakers cannot live up to. Brands such as JBL, Pioneer, Sony, and Kenwood among others, not only sound great but also look nice once installed.

How do I choose a car stereo?

There are a few factors to consider helping you choose a car stereo:

Prices: you should have a budget and look well within the price range. You can get a decent stereo within your budget.

 USB port: If you own a Smartphone, you require a car stereo with a USB port. That way you can charge your phone, play music, and read files.

Local radio: you can listen to AM and FM channels and catch up with things happening around you.

Bluetooth connectivity:  you can connect your phone wirelessly and be able to use it.

GPS navigation: to provide you with an updated and accurate map with helpful voice commands, traffic data, and detailed destination search.

 

What is the recommended wattage for a car stereo?

If you are a music enthusiast, party animal, or simply have enough room, you can pack up some powerful speakers. Speaker power output is measured in watts. Now if you listen to moderate volume, you don’t have much to worry about. On the other hand, if you want to have a concert in your car, you need speakers whose power ratings can handle a lot of power. RMS ratings measure your power wattage the speaker can handle in a prolonged time. For instance, low-powered stereo reads somewhere between 2-50 watts while high-powered stereo reads from 10-100 watts RMS.

Is a 200-watt car stereo good?

Yes, it is if you prefer loud music.

Do more watts mean better sound?

Only if paired with a good amplifier and power speakers to handle such high wattage,

Are higher watt speakers louder?

Yes, they are louder and powerful

Are 25 watts loud enough?

For moderate and low music listeners, yes 25 watts is enough for daily entertainment.

How many watts is a good speaker?

For low powered stereos, 2-50 watts RMS, while high-powered stereo reads from 10-100 watts RMS.

Which is a better 4-ohm or 8-ohm speaker?

A 4-ohm speaker requires a boost from an amplifier to produce the same sound power as the 8-ohm speaker. This is because the 4-ohm speakers have lower voltage and require an amplifier to perform the same as 8-ohm with a higher power rating.

How loud is a 100-watt guitar amp?

It is unbelievably loud. While considering a powerful speaker for your guitar performance, the 100-watt amp is the way to go. You can never go wrong working with a massive amp. No matter what others think, you should not limit yourself to a standard low-powered amp.

Do more watts mean more bass?

No. This is because there are no watts in the speakers but what matters is the size of the speaker. The speaker’s watt rating translates to the power the speakers can handle or else after a while, the speaker will be overwhelmed and burn out. Speakers are designed to operate over certain ranges of frequencies, so you have to pay attention to that too.

 For instance, if you had a 1000-watt 10-inch subwoofer, and 800-watt 15-inch sub, the 15-inch subwoofer would sound a lot louder. This is because, in a car sound system, the bass sound is a result of the speakers pushing the sound waves through the air. This means a 10-inch subwoofer will emit less air compared to a 15-inch subwoofer speaker.

In other words, 30 watts driving a tweeter can be as loud in the high frequencies as 100 watts driving a woofer in the low range. Therefore, when your subwoofers are meant to handle 500 watts, you can back them up with a powerful 500-watt amplifier and will perform better than the 100-watt amplifier.

Which is better: Sony or Pioneer car audio?

According to most reviewers, based on their experience, pioneer premium car audio is better. For an extra cost, you get reasonable features such as great sound quality and crisp clarity. Depending on what you are looking for, Pioneer not only looks good but also delivers on functions they promise you as the consumer.

What’s better, JVC or pioneer?

Based on some customers’ feedback, Pioneer is better in terms of quality, price, and functionality. However, JVC is also a decent product

What’s better, Pioneer or Kenwood?

Both are giant brands packed with diverse features. They have a slight difference and compensate only on their strengths. Both brands have kept their customers satisfied but most feedback favors the pioneer brand.

What’s the best head unit for sound quality?

As mentioned earlier, Pioneer is the most preferred head unit in the market. However, that does not mean you should go for it because of the hype.

Are Sony car speakers good?

Yes, they are. Most Sony speakers are reliable, efficient, and can serve for a long time. It is a trusted brand with good reviews.

 

Conclusion

Choosing the best car stereos is a matter of the best audio experience over simple designs. Not unless you’re going for a simple single DIN stereo, there is no need to compromise on quality. Most users have upgraded their standard car stereos for an aftermarket with refined sound quality, improved graphics, navigation, and that extra compatibility.

Note that music can change your mood from gloomy to upbeat. With the help of crisp sounds and lit playlist, you can lip-sync your favorite music every time you hop into your car. Daily commute or long road trips should no longer be boring.

From being stuck in traffic, waiting for your lovely wife to finish applying her makeup, or simply driving on a road to nowhere, you can reconcile and disconnect from your worries and bring a live concert to your car. It also keeps many drivers awake and avoids road accidents at night.

For that and much more, there’s no need to break your bank. Most car stereos are incredibly affordable. You can find a perfect stereo with upgraded functions that fit well into your budget. Now you have the freedom to choose the best features, improved controls, and interactive app integration.

Come to think of it, you can harness more benefits far beyond music. You can get a stereo that connects to your phone and stream music from your devices.

Some stereos have special features such as push to talk assistant, navigation, USB, SD memory card slots, and wireless connectivity. This means, you are only limited by your choice but the numerous options are out there waiting to satisfy your specific car stereo needs.

 

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