The 12 Best Car Stereos In The Market: Single & Double Din, Bluetooth, Touch Screen & More
If you’re looking to replace/upgrade your car head unit, you came to the right place! We’ve compiled a list of the best car radios in the market and we’ll be reviewing them below.
Now, upgrading your car stereo not only you get performance upgrades but newer technology enables the head unit to connect to your phone, including navigation and streaming music.
When it comes to the car stereo, there are many choices and features to choose. For example, CD stereos, Bluetooth, touch screen build-in with either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay and many more.
After reading this car stereo review, you will get a better idea of car stereos and which one is the best suit you.
So, in this article, we’ll explore:
- Best Car Radio – Product Reviews
- Considerations When Buying Car Radios
- Who Needs a Bluetooth Car Stereo?
- How Much Do Car Stereos Cost?
- Can the Car Stereo Fit Your Car?
- What is a Factory Sound Processor?
- Best Radio Transmitter for Car
- Speakers and Amplifier
Also, if you want to learn more about your auto audio system and what is the best car speakers in the market you can buy, head over to this buyer’s guide – Best Car Speakers.
Discover the Best Car Radio for Your Ride
If you’re serious in looking for the best head unit, then you should definitely check out the car audio reviews below.
All these models delivered high customer satisfaction ratings and they’re the best in the market right now.
Here are some of the best stereo system for cars:
1. Pioneer AVH-4200 NEX 2-Din with 7” Motorized Receiver
- Did/CD receiver with Internal amp (14 watts...
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and...
- Siri eyes free with compatible devices
- Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control...
If innovation is the name of the game for you, then you’d probably like the AVH-4200 NEX from Pioneer.
This car stereo has Pioneer’s Network Entertainment Experience technology which is a mix of built-in features and cloud-based services to provide you with a more comprehensive audio experience.
This stereo has a 7” touchscreen display whose color and backgrounds can be customized to match the theme of your car. It can even play video content while your own the road.
You can even connect this stereo to the rear-seat screens of your car via receiver so that passengers at the back can leisurely watch as well.
Purchased this strictly for its ability to use AA (Android Auto) with my Samsung Galaxy S4 (running 5.0 or higher OS). This is the best investment if you’re looking for a car stereo with capability, a little pricey but definitely worth it! – SeanLn, Amazon
You can use your DVDs and CDs by using the DVD/CD receiver, and even the Bluetooth hands-free calling & audio streaming features.
That’s not to mention the built-in HD radio tuner installed as well. This can definitely be considered the best car radio among others.
This car stereo is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, AppRadioLIVE and Siri.
2. Pioneer AVH-211EX Multimedia Receiver with Bluetooth
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and...
- Back-up camera ready
- Multicolor illumination (5 display colors,...
Another excellent product from Pioneer that would give you unparalleled performance but is highly affordable is the AVH-211EX.
This car radio model has a built-in Bluetooth function that allows you to make and take calls safely while you drive. It also includes an external microphone that keeps your voice loud and clear.
Aside from calls, this function also permits you to use your favorite streaming services like Spotify or even your personal playlists direct from your phone. You can even do wireless streaming.
You can also play your DVDs and CDs, connect any audio device through the AUX input, or even control your phone through the USB port.
3. Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 9-inch Touch Screen AM/FM/Audio/Video Receiver
- The iLX-F309 is an AM/FM/audio/video receiver...
- The iLX-F309 also has Bluetooth wireless...
- It uses a 1-DIN chassis for installation but...
- Once installed, the screen and mount are...
If you want both excellent performance and an awesome new look to boast, you’d probably appreciate the iLX-F309 from Alpine’s Halo9 series.
This car stereo has an innovative and unique ‘float’ design. It even has a huge 9” touchscreen display so you won’t have a hard time reading what’s being shown.
And don’t worry Single-din owners. This car stereo is also compatible with your size.
Lot’s of options to customize your install angle and depth, as well as for expandability. Looks and works excellent in my 2012 Xterra. Easy to navigate and set up. Bluetooth calls sound great, as does audio. – Nate, Amazon
The iLX-F309 also has a rear USB pigtail where you can attach your phone or a flash drive to play your favorite music or video files. It also has a rear HDMI connection and a GPS antenna.
This car stereo is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
4. RetroSound Hermosa HB-111-51-74 Direct-Fit Radio for Classic Vehicles
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity for...
- Built-In 25 watts x 4 channel power amplifier...
- Dual color (white or green) display
- USB port plus two auxiliary inputs
Lovers of vintage car models will definitely fall head over heels with the Hermosa HB-111-51-74 from RetroSound.
It might look like your average old car radio, but that’s not all it can give. It has the technology and the features of modern units.
Enjoy the built-in Bluetooth feature that allows you to do hands-free calling as well as audio streaming. It also has a USB port for your digital media devices and other portable music players.
Plus, it offers fantastic AM/FM reception, and can even display song titles from any radio station as long as they’re broadcasting RDS text information.
The Hermosa’s preamp outputs also make it easier for you to add subwoofers and amplifiers for better audio quality.
5. JVC KD-X350BTS 1-Din Car Digital Media Bluetooth Receiver
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If you’re looking for one of the best in car sound systems works great with your smartphones, then the KD-X350BTS from JVC is what you need.
Also, the JVC KD-X350BTS is one of the best Bluetooth car radios we can find in the market too.
Its built-in Bluetooth connectivity opens you up to a lot more features. Plus, you can also use the USB port and AUX input to connect your phone.
For Android users, you’ll be happy to learn that you can use Pandora, Spotify, and iHeartRadio without requiring any wires.
The remote control feature of this radio lets you use your phone’s touchscreen to navigate around.
Even Apple users will be glad since car radio is compatible with Siri, so you’ll have voice control as well.
6. Sony XAV-AX100 6.4” Car Play/Android Auto Media Receiver with Bluetooth
- Voice control with Apple Car Play and Android...
- Control and view everything with the 6.4"...
- Get powerful sound with the 4 x 55 W Dynamic...
- Create virtual speakers on your dashboard...
Another excellent car stereo that is compatible with smartphones is the XAV-AX100 from Sony.
With this installed, you can listen to the high-quality sound and conveniently use hands-free control. That way you can do simple voice commands and audio streaming safely while driving.
The built-in Bluetooth connectivity creates a wireless link between your mobile device and the audio system. You can now stream music directly from your phone and even listen to podcasts.
I primarily use WAZE navigation and Google Play Music – and both apps work seamlessly. The voice control is also phenomenal, and I haven’t had any complaints about the quality of sound on either end of the call. – Matthew Hall, Amazon
That’s not to mention that you can also control maps, calls, and messages that come through your phone.
This car stereo is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Siri.
7. JVC KW-R930BT In-Dash CD Receiver
- DISPLAY - Large 2 Line display. Mix front...
- BLUETOOTH TECHNOLOGY: Answer calls with just...
- Bluetooth enables you to wirelessly stream...
- MEDIA PLAYBACK: Plays Bluetooth...
While the first-class sound quality is a must, you should also get a car radio that’s aesthetically pleasing as well. If that’s what you’re after, then the KW-R930BT from JVC is perfect for you.
Sleek and with a 2-tone variable color display, this car radio is ready for jamming. It also has a 13-digit LCD dual-line display for easy reading.
Not only that, but this car radio also has a graphic equalizer that expands your music and provides you’re a clean signal.
You can even use it to listen to the radio since you can connect to a SiriusXM tuner for satellite radio programming.
The Bluetooth function also allows Android and Apple users to do audio streaming through their phones.
So, if you are hunting for the best Bluetooth car stereo, this JVC KW-R930BT is the model for you.
8. Kenwood Excelon DDX9905S Multimedia Receiver with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
- Wireless Android Auto
- Apple CarPlay
- Waze Ready
- Built-in HD Radio, Bluetooth & WiFi
A powerhouse to contend with, the DDX9905S from Kenwood’s Excelon series does not only provide phenomenal sound performance, but it also has a ton of other features you’ll enjoy.
It features a 6.75” high definition touchscreen display. This car stereo also has a built-in Wi-Fi connection so you’ll be connected wherever you go.
That’s not to mention the cool voice control feature and access to navigation, calls, messages, and even the weather you get when you install this car stereo.
You can even connect up to two Bluetooth-equipped phones simultaneously and switch between the two for hands-free calling.
This car stereo is compatible with most factory steering wheel audio controls and SiriusXM satellite radio tuner.
On top of that, it’s also compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, WebLink and iDataLink Maestro.
9. Kenwood DDX25BT 6.2” 2-Din Bluetooth Car Stereo
- 6. 2 inch Wide VGA Color LCD Display with LED...
- Built-in Bluetooth technology for hands-free...
- Power Output: Peak: 50 watts x 4 channels /...
- Compatible with Apple iPhone 6/6+ and iOS 8...
Smartphones today aren’t just useful tools. We need them to function properly during our daily routines.
So, it’s not surprising that you’re looking for something like the DDX25BT from Kenwood to be part of your best stereo system for cars.
It can connect to your smartphone in various ways, through the USB port, and through the built-in Bluetooth connection.
With your phone connected, you can access millions of songs and videos, control your calls and messages, check for maps and directions, and even charge your phone battery.
That’s not to mention that you can even connect two phones at once because of its dual phone connection feature. Switching between phones is as easy as with a touch of a button.
Of course, you can also listen to your favorite stations since there are 20 Station Presets (both FM and AM) included in the radio. It’s even SiriusXM-ready.
10. Alpine CDE-HD149BT Single-Din Bluetooth Car Stereo
- Receiver Size: Single DIN, Faceplate...
- Dedicated Subwoofer Preamp RCA Output, Preamp...
- iPhone / iPod Features: iPhone 5 Compatible,...
- Radio Data System (RDS), CD-R/RW Playback,...
Are you looking for a car radio that’s simpler to use but still packed with powerful features? Well, look no further than the CDE-7 from Alpine.
Though this single-din car radio has a very simple look but has beneficial smartphone features for both Apple and Android users.
You can connect your phone to the radio through the USB input, and play your audio to your heart’s content.
You can also listen to the AM/FM tuner since this car radio has 18 Presets available to choose from.
What’s better is that there are four colors to choose from so you could easily make your new radio match your car’s dashboard.
11. Alpine CDE-W265BT Double DIN CD/AM/FM Receiver
- CDE-W265BT - Alpine In-Dash 2-DIN CD/MP3...
- CD receiver with AM/FM tuner
- Built-in MOSFET amplifier (18 watts RMS...
- Plays CDs, including discs loaded with MP3...
The Alpine CDE-W265BT is one of the best double-DIN car stereos that you can find in the market.
This is a one-stop music player and is one of the best head units that have an adjustable RGB button with display illumination and a 2-line LCD display to display more information.
Also, it has a convenient front panel with auxiliary input and a convenience rotary knob to let you control and play the music easier.
The auxiliary port allows you and your passenger plug-in a portable media player for an additional entertainment source in case Bluetooth is failing.
On top of that this car stereo unit has all the essential features like USB, 3.5 mm input, three Pre-Out, Bluetooth technology, radio, CD, and 50 Watts x 4 power.
It also has an optional remote control, app direction mode and a KTP-445A power pack cable to top it off.
So, if you’re looking for an excellent double-DIN car stereo to replace or upgrade, this Alpine CDE-W265BT is one of the best car stereos if you needed a double-DIN.
Also, we think that the Alpine CDE-W265BT is one of the best Bluetooth car stereos in the market right now.
12. Sony CDXG3100UP CD Single Car Stereos
- 55 watts x 4 dynamic reality amp, dynamic...
- Works with Pandora (iOS and Android),...
- 2-Volt rear and sub RCA preamp outputs,...
The Sony CDXG3100UP is one of the best in car sound systems that definitely can deliver the ultimate music experience you looking for.
For a price point that easily affordable by many, this head unit has a robust amp design and delivers surprising power and accurate sound quality.
If you want to get geeky, this car stereo has a 5-band equalizer to shape the tone curve to your liking. It also has a ‘MEGA Bass’ feature can be used to pump up low sounds.
The Sony CDXG3100UP can consider one of the best stereos for cars within the lower price-point and yet still deliver excellent sound quality.
Also, this car stereo system also builds in features like a CD player, WMA and MP3 playback and many more.
The playback supports USB input where smartphones, iPhones or iPods can be attached.
The Sony CDX G3100 UP is just another car stereo receiver that offers the essentials for a decent price.
13. Pioneer DEX-P99RS In Car Sound Systems CD Receiver
- CD Receiver with Detachable Faceplate for...
- Dual L/R Independent 31-Band Equalizers
- L/R Independent 4-Way Crossovers with Slope...
- Auto EQ and Auto Time Alignment
The Pioneer DEX-P99RS is another top-of-the-line car stereo receiver that we can find in the market right now.
Comes with a dual L/R receiver and has a fantastic 31-band equalizer, you can shape the tone curve until it’s perfect for the music you play.
Also, it is equipped with an independent 4-way crossover with a slope setting, auto-EQ and auto-time alignment technology.
This means the audio system can estimate the delays for every speaker according to the position of the driver, and it will adjust the sound of the speaker output accordingly.
For extra security, this CD receiver has a detachable faceplate for security. Also, this model comes with a remote control let you easily operate the radio.
This head unit Bluetooth technology allows 2 phones to connect to the receiver and make a phone call.
Grabbing the Pioneer Stage 4 DEX-P99RS is like installing some of the best studio headphones that portray accurate frequencies but for your entire car.
The Pioneer DEX-P99RS is definitely one of the best stereos for cars to get if you are looking for an upgrade or replacement.
Considerations When Buying Car Radios
Here are some of the essential considerations you want to pay attention to when trying to find the best car radios for your car:
Some people would say that car radios are easy enough to install on your own. While it is possible, it might not be the best way to go.
If you want the best car radio quality and experience, it’s better for you to have your radio installed by someone who knows his way around electrical wiring.
How tightly you install your radio directly affects the quality of your whole audio system.
There are many different equipment and nuances that you should be knowledgeable about to produce the best installation possible. To avoid the mistakes and frustration, let a professional do it for you.
Learn what those colored wires mean! Watch this video:
There are many forms of compatibility that you need to keep in mind if you want the best stereo systems for your cars.
Firstly, it has to fit your vehicle. If the design of the radio you purchased doesn’t even fit in the dashboard, then you’ll either have an aesthetically unpleasing cockpit or it might not work at all.
Second and most important is that your car radio is compatible with your speakers, specifically the power handling requirements.
Both your radio and speakers have peak power handling, impedance, and continuous power handling requirements. You need to make sure they match, especially impedance.
If they don’t match, you might experience audio problems at the very least. At most, you can even blow your speakers or burn your amplifier.
One good reason to upgrade your current radio is the connectivity feature. A car radio can now perform more functions and reach more sources than previous versions of the device.
With Bluetooth car stereos, you can now connect your phone to the radio and listen to your own music. You can even access your Wi-Fi connection and listen to podcasts among many others.
If you’re not looking for the Bluetooth car radios, it’s okay. Just make sure that the radio you’re getting has an AUX input at least. That way you can still connect your phone and listen to your music.
- Output Voltage
If you’re changing your current radio, you might also be upgrading your car speakers.
A car radio with a large output voltage alone isn’t necessary, but if you’re getting new speakers and a subwoofer, then you’ll get better audio with one that has high output voltage.
- Single or Double Din
As with compatibility, it is essential to know whether you’re getting a single or double din radio. They both have different sizes.
Don’t get a stereo that won’t fit your car.
A single-din stereo measures at about two inches in height while a double-din stereo is about four inches.
- Navigation & Entertainment
If you look at many car stereos nowadays or especially the top 10 car stereo featured here, you might notice that they’re more technologically advanced than your previous radios (especially if you have an older car model).
That’s because car radios aren’t just for listening to music and news anymore. They can even use to watch a movie.
Some of the best car stereos even come with functions like the touch screen, navigator, conference call, game console sync and more. Basically, complete infotainment.
Usually, the best car touch screen radio also has a built-in navigation system that can help you get from Point A to Point B. You won’t need a separate GPS navigational tool if your stereo already has one.
- Extra Features
Aside from being able to play AM and FM frequencies, most car radios today also have extra features that are both useful and superior to older models.
You should keep in mind what you want to use your radios for so that you know what features to prioritize over others.
Some of these extra features are: voice recognition, phone call support, touch screen capability, USB and HDMI inputs, DVD receiving and many more
Also, if you want to learn how to install an aftermarket stereo, check out this video:
Who Needs a Bluetooth Car Stereo?
The best car radio doesn’t necessarily need to be Bluetooth-enabled, that’s true. So why would you want to get one?
Well if you’re already upgrading your head unit, you could do a lot more with the Bluetooth car radios.
If you already have an older version of a Bluetooth stereo, it might still be good to upgrade to a newer version like the Bluetooth 4.0 where it’s faster and low energy consumption.
While you can take calls and whatnot on an older version, newer car stereos with Bluetooth also have better audio streaming and voice control.
Also, with Bluetooth stereos, you have fewer chances of engaging in distracted driving. That’s because you can take your calls and listen to your music without having to look at your dash or your phone.
How Much Do Car Stereos Cost?
The best car stereos are not necessarily the most expensive ones.
You can definitely balance your budget and the features you want. In order to find the best head unit, you have to patient in looking.
The prices of car stereos are very varied in the market since they depend on the quality and features the radio might have.
If you read enough car audio reviews, you’ll realize that for single-din stereos the cost is somewhere between $50 to $300.
Double-din stereos are mostly priced double the prices of single-din ones, but most offer more power. A low-end double-din stereo would probably start around $80 and some can go above $1000 plus dollars.
To make your life easy, just refer to the best car radio list above. We’ve looked at 100+ of car stereos and only selected the best of the best to be included into the list.
Can the Car Stereo Fit Your Car?
Now, after reading the car stereo review above, and before start buying, you need to make sure the stereo must fit in your vehicle model, first.
Whether you are looking for the best android auto head unit, the best touch screen car stereo, or whatever fantastic feature a radio has would also be useless if they don’t fit your car.
The good news? Most stereos follow a guided fit.
Single-din stereos are usually 7 inches by 2 inches which is the standard size for older cars.
Double-din stereos are mostly 7 inches by 4 inches, and can usually fit newer car models with touch screen displays.
You can measure the opening in your car by hand to know the measure you need. But sometimes the current stereo is so seamlessly designed in the vehicle that measuring might be a bit hard.
A good tip is to go to the internet and search for the stereo size that is compatible with your car model. There is a lot such information you can find online for sure.
Also, changing from a Double-din to a Single-din radio is less complicated on the installation. However, it’s more complicated for the opposite due to space constraints at the cockpit.
What is a Factory Sound Processor?
One popular audio trend in the automotive industry today is building complex in-dash sound systems that have ample functions, like a touch screen and tablet-like features; imagine like Tesla car cockpit.
With this installed, you get exceptional performance just with your manufacture-installed radio. But it also has some drawbacks.
These in-dash systems make it harder for you to replace your current radio to the best car radio you can find in the aftermarket.
That is because of how manufacturers tune the receiver to produce excellent sound quality from relatively cheap speakers. It’s all fine at the beginning until those speakers wear out.
When it’s time for you to upgrade, you’ll realize that the audio signal is not tuned for new ones.
The solution? A sound processor.
You can wire your receiver to sound processor, and it cleans up the audio signal before sending it to your speakers and amplifiers. But it doesn’t come cheap.
A typical sound processor can fall between the $150-$800 range depending on quality.
Here is a list good sound processor you can check it out.
Best Radio Transmitter for Car
An FM radio transmitter is an aftermarket device that allows you to play most portable audio sources through your car radio with an FM band.
A radio transmitter for a car doesn’t have any physical connection to your radio. It uses a converter that takes the audio output from the outside source and converts it to analog audio.
From there, the signal is converted again to create an FM signal. You can now tune to a specific frequency and listen to your music as if it is coming from an FM station.
If you’re looking for the best transmitters for your cars, then you should know some of the most important features to look out for.
Some of these features are All-Channels, Auto Scan, Preset Stations, and a cigarette lighter adapter.
Here are a few good radio transmitters for cars that have excellent customer satisfaction as well as ratings that you can check it out:
- IMDEN Bluetooth FM Transmitter for Car With USB
- 2 ports usb car charger & 3.0 charger:...
- Answer calls hands-free: High-performance...
- Immerse in hifi music: Insert a usb flash...
- Wide compatibility: Bluetooth car fm...
- TOPELEK Bluetooth FM Transmitter for Car With USB
- 【One Button to Power Off and 1.44'' Elegant...
- 【4 Modes for Music Play】No matter what...
- 【2 USB Ports & Adjustable Neck】Dual USB...
- 【HD Sound Quality & Memory Function】Our...
- VicTsing Large Screen Bluetooth FM Transmitter
- Wide Compatibility: VicTsing wireless in-car...
- 1.44'' Large LCD Backlight Display Screen:...
- Crystal Sound and Memory Function: Adopted...
- Faster Charging STATION: Comes with a 5V-2.1A...
- ROAV SmartCharge F0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter By Anker
- Stable Transmission: Solid Bluetooth and FM...
- Clear Sound: Just find an unoccupied station...
- Rapid Charging: Dual USB ports with Anker’s...
- Better Hands-Free Calling: Bluetooth 4.2...
- Soyond Bluetooth Wireless Radio Receiver with Voltmeter Car Kit
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Speakers and Amplifier
While the best car radios are essential, they are not the only part of your whole car audio system.
Even if you get the perfect car radio, if you don’t a pair of higher quality speakers to match, then your audio performance would still be mediocre.
You can further level up your sound quality by installing other car audio accessories like a pair of good speakers or an amplifier can quickly boost the sound quality many folds!
To learn more about car speakers and other audio accessories, head over to these articles below:
- Best 6.5 Speakers
- Best 6×9 Speakers
- 4 Inch Speakers
- Best Marine Speakers
- Best Car Amplifiers
- Car Audio Shops