Are you one of those people who listen to music in your car with headphones connected to your phone? Or did your stock car stereo eat your favorite CD and lacks wireless connectivity, so you’re stuck with the radio? These car audio woes can easily be fixed with a new car stereo.
What to Consider When Choosing a Car Stereo
You are going to want a car stereo with wireless capabilities. Also, you can raise your driver safety with a car stereo that has a video connection for a camera. The best car stereos will have:
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Camera connectivity
- AM/FM receiver and Satellite Radio
- CD Player
We know that radio and CDs have been in rapid decline for years now, but it is still nice to tune into your local channels from time to time to get an update on your local sports teams, the news or to listen to your favorite morning commute show.
Since many new cars come with great built-in infotainment systems, the options for a great secondary car stereo aren’t as vast as they once were. But don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a new car to get the best audio tech in your car. Our recommendations will bring your sad car audio situation up to speed in the 21st century.
Here are our recommendations for the best car stereos available right now.
1. Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX
Bright, intuitive and packed with features, this Pioneer car stereo helps drivers keep their eyes on the road and off their phones. You can connect your phone to it wirelessly or through a USB cord. Either way, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both available. For the old schoolers, it comes with a built-in CD player so you can jam out to that live Phish show from 1993 that you can’t find on any streaming platform. Plus, it is compatible with Sirius XM radio.
For safety, built-in navigation and the ability to take phone calls wirelessly keeps your phone in your pocket and your eyes on the road. This car stereo checks all the boxes.
2. Kenwood Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
It’s wirelessly capable to connect to your phone to take calls and stream music via Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But don’t worry, an AM/FM receiver remains if you like to listen to your local news or favorite local show on your daily commute., as well as SiriusXM radio for satellite radio listeners. Speaking of commuting, you can mirror your phone’s screen, which is helpful for directions and seeing notifications without looking at your phone. And when you need a little assistance backing up, a video out allows you to connect a rear camera to your car.
3. Boss Audio Auto Double Din Car Radio
You get Apple CarPlay and Android Audio for essentially half the cost of the Pioneer car stereo, and a big and bright seven-inch display. With CarPlay, you’ll be able to see all of your notifications and messages without having to reach down and look at your phone. Or you can ask Siri to read your messages to you to really keep your eyes on the road. It doesn’t have a CD player, so you won’t be able to jam that burned CD you made in high school, nor does it have an AM/FM receiver, so local channels are out. But if streaming is your jam, this is an affordable way to go wireless in your car.
4. JVC Full HD Screen Universal Digital Media Receiver
Although you might be thinking “there’s no way this will fit in my car” the awesome double din design allows it to be installed in most standard double din car stereo slots while the awesome 10-inch display floats. Drivers can tilt and adjust the display as well, so it’s in the most comfortable spot possible. It supports both Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto and has Google Maps integrated into the system, so you can leave your phone in your pocket.
And if you really want to increase your safety on the road, you can connect up to four cameras to this car stereo, so you can have your rear view covered as well as your blind spots.
5. Kenwood 6.2-Inch Car Stereo
While this car stereo might not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it can connect to your phone wirelessly via Bluetooth so you can stream your favorite tunes and take phone calls without a wired connection. It’s also satellite radio ready, for those who prefer to listen to SiriusXM. But if you have music stored on a drive that isn’t available anywhere else, a USB is available to connect your device.
Beyond streaming music, this car stereo has a video output, so you can connect a rearview camera to increase safety when driving in reverse as well as making parking easier. And the best part is it’s half the price of the Pioneer.
6. Boss 611UAB Multimedia Car Stereo
If you are on a shoestring budget and can live without all the fancy tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, consider this Boss car stereo. You can still connect your phone to the stereo wirelessly via Bluetooth and take hands-free calls thanks to a built-in microphone. There’s also an AM/FM receiver to catch your favorite local programming on your commute. You’ll save yourself hundreds of dollars going with this option compared to others with CarPlay and a big display.