A high-end car stereo isn't always in the budget when you buy a new car. Sometimes corners have to be cut. The audio system is one of the areas where people take the cheaper option to stay on budget. These stereos are often just something to play music on through a CD or AM/FM radio. If your budget has become a bit more generous or if you need to replace a cheapy stereo that's won't work, you are in luck.
There are lots of good options available for reasonable prices. Go ahead and bring your car's infotainment system up-to-date. Some of the best stereos are fairly basic while others may a bit more complex. Thankfully most of them are easy to install yourself. Just make sure the stereo you want will fit in your vehicle and that you're buying from an authorized dealer. Here is a list of some of the best stereos available.
What's the best budget-friendly car stereo?
Pioneer makes the best budget-friendly car stereos. The least expensive is the Pioneer DEH-X6900BT. It costs about $100 on Amazon.com. This is a pretty basic CD/MP3 digital music player/receiver with Bluetooth connectivity and Pioneer Arc app compatibility. It has 3 RCA outputs and a USB port. This stereo has an overall 4.5-star rating on Amazon. The complaints have primarily been about sketchy Bluetooth functionality. Overall, though, this is a good stereo for the money.
For another $20, you can get the Pioneer DEH-X6800BS. It has Bluetooth connectivity, MIXTRAX Smartphone Integration, and SiriusXM compatibility. You must buy the tuner kit, though, if you want Satellite radio. It costs another $38.
Which Android OS car stereo is the best?
The ATOTO A6Y2710SB is the best, reasonably-priced Android OS car stereo available. It runs Android Marshmallow OS and has a 7-inch, 5-touch-capacity touchscreen. The stereo comes with an FM/AM radio tuner with RDS, Bluetooth handsfree, and steering wheel controls. It has Dual Bluetooth 4.0 chips for seamless, high-quality media streaming and handsfree usability. The system also comes with built-in GPS, a built-in microphone, and Ultra external Wi-Fi antenna. This is an easy-to-install stereo that boots up in about two seconds.
There are three available models. The 1 GB+ 16GB-SB horizontal model has less memory, and the buttons are positioned horizontally across the width of the screen. It costs $180 on Amazon. The same model is also available with the buttons positioned vertically along the side of the touchscreen for $209. A 2G+ 32G-PB Horizontal model with a protective screen costs $240.
This stereo fits in about any car, although you may need an adapter kit. Be sure to check the specs of your particular vehicle before you buy. This stereo also comes with a rearview camera input, but you have to buy the rearview camera kit separately. It also does not include a CD or DVD player.
What car stereo is best if I want Apple CarPlay and a DVD player?
The best budget-friendly option for Apple CarPlay and a multimedia DVD receiver is the Pioneer AVH-1300NEX. It only costs about $235 on Amazon and is fairly easy to install. It is a very responsive system that is easy to connect to with your iPhone, is compatible with Apple CarPlay, has a DVD player with a 6.2" WVGA display and has Bluetooth connectivity. This stereo is SiriusXM ready, but you have to buy the Satellite radio tuner kit separately. You can also connect it to a rearview camera.
If you have the means and want something with more features, go with the Pioneer AVH4200NEX. It is both Apple CarPlay and Android compatible, has a CD/DVD player and has a 7" screen. It features a high-quality system with FLAC format that allows you to play anything. MP3, AAC, WAV and WMA audio files as well as MPEG-1, -2 and -4, AVI, DivX and WMV video files. It works with any smartphone and features Bluetooth connectivity. This system is also compatible with SiriusXM, Pandora, and Spotify. You can get this one on Amazon for about $460. Best Buy is selling it for $700.
Which stereo is best for HD radio?
The Alpine CDE-HD149BT is the best car stereo for HD Radio. It comes equipped with a built-in 9-band parametric equalizer, 50W maximum power x 4 channels, Bluetooth 2.1 and HD AM/FM radio. It is also equipped for Sirius XM Satellite radio, but you have to buy the tuner and antenna separately. This stereo also has a rear USB port for connecting your Apple iPod, iPhone or Android device for music streaming and charging. Music-playing options include CD, CD-R/RW, CDDA, MP3, WMA, and AAC. This stereo costs $300 at Best Buy, which is an authorized Alpine dealer. You can get the stereo on Amazon for $227; however, dealers like Royal Audio that sell on Amazon are not authorized Alpine dealers. If you buy this stereo through Amazon, you will save a few bucks, but Alpine will not honor the warranty. Buyer beware.