best car stereos
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Many of us spend a lot of time in our cars – from the morning commute to trips to the grocery store.

If you like music as we do, you just can’t continue using the car stereo that came with your car. They are just not powerful enough.

So, if you are looking to upgrade your car stereo, we’ve put together a list of the best car stereos that you can get for your vehicle.best car stereos

These stereo systems will not only improve your listening experience but offer modern user experiences and even functionalities similar to your smartphone (yea, car stereos aren’t as simple as they used to be).

So, whether you are looking for excellent sound quality, solid connectivity, or abundant features, you are sure to find a car stereo that suits you on the list below. Let’s get to it!

1. Pioneer AVH-X4800BS

If you love car stereos with large displays, the Pioneer AVH-X4800BS should be among your top choices.

With a 6.95” motorized display, this DVD receiver comes with a 4-channel internal amplifier that gives you 14 watts audio power in each channel.

Its Bluetooth enabled for audio streaming and hands-free calling. You can also comfortably fit on a double-DIN dash opening.

Pros

  • Large & adjustable motorized display
  • Compatible with Siri Eyes Free
  • Remote control

Cons

  • Wiring manual in b/w format
Pioneer AVHX4800BS 2-DIN Receiver with 7"...
  • Dvd/CD receiver with Internal amp (14 watts RMS cea-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming; supports two phones at once
  • Siri eyes free with compatible devices

2. BOSS Audio BV9986BI

The Boss Audio BV9986Bi is a powerful car stereo system that has four sound channels and a high-tech amp that pumps out 15 watts per channel.

It comes with a preset equalizer, tuner, and fader, allowing you to customize the sound output and enjoy an awesome audio experience.

You can connect your devices through Bluetooth, USB, DVD, and AUX connections.

Pros

  • Strong & durable build quality
  • Powerful bass and high-quality sound
  • Touch-screen works great

Cons

  • Poor inbuilt GPS
BOSS Audio Systems BV9986BI Car DVD Player -...
  • Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no distractions. The built-in microphone picks up your...
  • Media Playback - Watch videos through the DVD player, listen to music with your Bluetooth device, pop in a CD...
  • Auxiliary - Compatible with the audio output from smartphones as well as MP3 players. Just plug in and start...

3. Alpine CDE-143BT

Courtesy of its inbuilt Bluetooth technology, the Alpine CDE-143BT enhances your Smartphone lifestyle by allowing you to stream audios and receive calls.

It has high and low pass sound filters, plus a MOSFET amplifier to give you a fantastic audio experience.

This unit gives you an 18-watt power output through each of its 4 channels and is compatible with both Android and IOS devices.

Pros

  • High-tech amplifier
  • High-speed Bluetooth connection
  • Good sound quality

Cons

  • Poorly laid out user manual
SALE!!
Alpine CDE-172BT Bluetooth Receiver (replacement...
  • Make sure this fits. by entering your model number.
  • Features: CD receiver with AM/FM tuner, Plays USB drives loaded with MP3, WMA, and FLAC music files (See...
  • Smartphone Features: Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, Pandora Internet radio control with...

4. Pioneer AVH-X490BS

The pioneer AVH-X490BS is a double-din, in-dash Bluetooth DVD/CD stereo receiver that comes with a powerful inbuilt amplifier and various innovative features.

Thanks to MIXTRAX, you can enjoy a DJ-inspired audio and video experience.

More importantly, the AVH-X490BS comes with a large 7” WVGA display and it gives you a 14 watt RMS power from each of its four sound channels.

Pros

  • Built-in time alignment & Auto EQ
  • 7” motorized display
  • Siri Eyes Free, Spotify & Android music support

Cons

  • Occasional Bluetooth connectivity issues
Pioneer AVH-X490BS Double Din Bluetooth In-Dash...
  • Pioneer AVH-X490BS in-dash receiver
  • Power output: peak: 50 watts x 4 channels/ RMS: 14 watts x 4 channels
  • Mixtrax blends songs together dj-style

5. BOSS Audio BV9364B

The Boss Audio BV9364B is a standard double-DIN stereo system that features wireless Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming and receiving hands-free calls.

This car stereo has four sound channels and a total output of 320 watts.

You can quickly tune the sound of your music using EQ controls, bass, treble, fader, and balance.

Pros

  • 2-inch LED monitor
  • Built-in Bluetooth connection
  • Useful remote control

Cons

  • Poor GPS software
SALE!!
BOSS Audio Systems BV9364B Car Stereo DVD Player -...
  • Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no distractions. The external included microphone picks...
  • Media Playback - Watch your choice of videos through the DVD player, play music through your Bluetooth device,...
  • Auxiliary - Compatible with the audio output from smartphones as well as MP3 players

6. Pioneer DEH-150MP Single DIN Car Stereo

Pioneer has created the DEH-150MP car stereo in a sleek and intuitive design for user-friendly operation.

This CD receiver features a MOSFET amplifier and four audio channels that give out a total sound output of about 56 watts and 200 watts of peak power.

More importantly, it has a simple menu structure and allows you to perform quick sonic adjustments.

Pros

  • 12-character display
  • Intuitive menu structure and controls
  • Simple remote control

Cons

  • Daylight affects the display
SALE!!
Pioneer Single Din In-Dash CD/CD-R/Rw, MP3/Wma/Wav...
  • Single-line, multi-segmented LCD display with LED back light is 35% larger
  • CEA-2006 Compliant amplifier
  • Power output: peak: 50 watts x 4 channels/ RMS: 14 watts x 4 channels

7. BOSS Audio Car Receiver 616UAB

The Boss Audio Car Receiver 616UAB is one of the finest single-DIN receivers from this company, offering 200-watts maximum power and 68-watts RMS through four channels.

The unit comes with USB and AUX ports for wired connections and you can enjoy Bluetooth audio streaming, as well as hands-free calling.

It also comes with a dual-band equalizer and remote control.

 Pros

  • Multiple Bluetooth profiles
  • Powerful 4-channel audio output
  • Dual band equalizer

Cons

  • No CD or DVD player
BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo -...
  • Next Generation 616UAB - Now includes Dimmable Illumination for Buttons and LCD Display, Updated Dancing LED...
  • Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no distractions. The built-in microphone picks up your...
  • Media Playback - Play music through your Bluetooth device or use the USB port. Digital media support include...

8. Pioneer AVHX5800BHS

Firstly, Pioneer is a pioneering brand when it comes to car stereos. 🙂

Seriously though, Pioneer has made it as #3 on our list of the top car speaker brands out there.

In fact, some say Pioneer is the best car stereo brand. You will see this brand quite often on this list because they consistently design durable, feature-rich car stereos.

The AVHX5800BHS is one of the finest double-DIN car stereos from Pioneer.

This stereo system is well-engineered and constructed; featuring a large, stylish touch-screen that can be adjusted to multiple angles.

It’s compatible with Bluetooth devices and rocks a powerful inbuilt amplifier that can comfortably yield 14 watts RMS through each of its four channels.

 Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Hands-free functionality with speakerphone
  • HD radio tuner
  • Satellite radio available

Cons

  • It’s a bit pricey
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX Double DIN Wireless Mirroring...
  • Did/CD receiver with Internal amp (14 watts RMS cea-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming; supports two phones at once
  • Siri eyes free with compatible devices

9. Sony XAV-AX100

The Sony XAV-AX100 is a top-line car stereo system that comes with a digital multimedia receiver and a high-tech AM/FM tuner.

The most notable feature of this car stereo is its 6.4″ touch screen which gives you the ability to control everything on the screen quite easily.

It features a strong built-in amplifier that gives you 4 x 55 watts power from its Dynamic Reality Amp. The stereo fits in 4-inch double-DIN dash openings and is compatible with a number of Smartphone features including Android Auto, Siri, Pandora Control, and Apple Carplay.

One of the coolest features of the AX100 is the ability to create virtual speakers on your dashboard with the Dynamic Stage Organizer.

Pros

  • Convenient controls
  • Powerful sound
  • Multiple Smartphone features

Cons

  • Does not play CDS.
Sony XAV-AX100 6.4" Car Play/Android Auto Media...
  • Voice control with Apple Car Play and Android Auto
  • Control and view everything with the 6.4" touch screen.Tuner features preset:FM18/AM12
  • Get powerful sound with the 4 x 55 W Dynamic Reality Amp. Audio Level Adjustment: Yes (-8 dB to +18 dB)

10. Pioneer AVH-201EX

The AVH-201EX is one of the most stylish car stereo systems from Pioneer.

Moreover, it will make you appreciate the power of Bluetooth. It allows you to enjoy the luxury of receiving calls through your car’s stereo and enjoy wireless audio streaming.

This DVD receiver comes with a functional 6.2” touch-screen display with multi-color illumination. More importantly, you can fit this unit in a double-DIN dashboard space for user-friendly operation.

Pros

  • Four 14-watt sound channels
  • Remote control
  • Large multicolor display

Cons

  • Not compatible with android assistant or Siri

11. Pioneer AVH4200NEX

The AVH-4200NEX car stereo comes with four sound channels and offers a solid 14 watt output in each channel.

This DVD receiver incorporates pioneer’s NEX technology (networked entertainment experience) which means it features an innovative, new user interface that is highly responsive and customizable.

The big 7” touch-screen display offers multiple adjustments, for superb audio and visual experience.

These NEX models are designed to be similar to the display of other smart devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The device also features MIXTRAX, the ability to connect to several cloud-based services, and a number of innovative features that work with Android and Apple devices.

Pros

  • Fits in a double-DIN dashboard
  • Advanced sound retriever
  • Android Auto & Apple car play compatible

Cons

  • Slow touch-screen response time
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX Double DIN Wireless Mirroring...
  • Did/CD receiver with Internal amp (14 watts RMS cea-2006/50 peak x 4 channels)
  • Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming; supports two phones at once
  • Siri eyes free with compatible devices

12. Pioneer AVH-2300NEX

Also incorporating Pioneer’s NEX technology, the AVH-2300NEX features a highly responsive and customizable interface.

This stereo system is designed for a Smartphone driven lifestyle and features a couple of innovative features including Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

More importantly, you get a 7” WVGA display and inbuilt Bluetooth for audio streaming and hands-free calling.

Pros

  • Works with Pandora, app radio & Siri Eyes Free
  • Intuitive controls
  • 14 watt RMS sound output

Cons

  • Occasional slow response time in the display
Pioneer AVH-2300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver with...
  • In Dash Double Din DVD Receiver with 7" Display
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AppRadio Mode+ Compatible
  • Built in Bluetooth

Car Stereo Features To Consider

What comes to the minds of many people when it comes to the best car stereos and car stereo systems, in general, is the receiver.

Known as the deck or head unit, the receiver is virtually the heart and brain behind your car’s audio system.

However, choosing a stereo system by only considering the receiver may lock you out of great car audio systems. Here are four very important features that are worth considering when buying a new audio unit:

1. Sound Quality

Audio clarity is one of the main features to look for in a new stereo system. You want a system that has a powerful internal amplifier to push the high quality sound to your car speakers, with clear highs, mids, and lows.

The first rule we had for this best car stereos list is that the system delivers quality sound. When choosing a car audio system, you should check for RMS wattage and not be tricked by peak power values.

Peak values indicate the maximum power at the maximum possible volume. RMS however indicates the actual, average or effective power.

This means you need to concentrate more on the RMS value to know the amount of power that a unit yields under normal conditions. You should also check the number of channels that the amp can support, to effectively estimate the quality of sound that you are getting.

2. Compatibility

In a world where smartphones are a huge part of our lives, you want a car stereo system that comfortably fits into your lifestyle.

The best car stereos are compatible with several devices. For iPhone users, you want to ensure that your new stereo system can fully support IOS devices. You can easily check for compatibility by looking for a badge labeled “made with iPhone”.

Android and Windows phone users can pick a stereo system with auxiliary ports for easy connections or pick a unit that uses Bluetooth technology for wireless connections.

As a streaming apps user, you should take interest in receivers that have controls for Pandora, iHeart Radio, and others.

Aside from having an integrated app experience, you should ensure that your new stereo has intuitive controls on the dashboard. You can also push your music to the wider community from your speakers with a good PA system for your car.

3. Physical Dimensions & Controls

With your audio system wish-list at hand, you want to inspect physical controls and physical dimensions.

Primarily, users have to decide on whether to use single or Double DIN receivers. A Single DIN (1 Din) receiver takes up less space than Double DIN (2 Din).

On the other hand, a Double DIN receiver uses more space on your dashboard and often comes with a large touch-screen display.

Let’s look at some additional differences between the two:

Size – We already mentioned that Double DIN units are larger. Their faceplate usually measures 7×4 inches. As for Single DINs, these head units usually measure 7×2 inches. This means that the double DIN head unit is twice the height of a single DIN stereo head.

Features – Most double-units a large touchscreen which makes them much more convenient and allows them to offer more features including camera option, integration with phone apps, GPS navigation, app mirroring and DVD playback.

As a user, you should consider the physical controls on the receiver to ensure that you can easily and quickly adjust the sound volume and audio settings without any problems.

Usability and Compatibility – The major benefit of 1 DINs is that they fit a wide variety of dashboards. Moreover, they offer controls that are intuitive and very easy to use, especially for non-techy persons.

4. Installation

Keeping in mind that every car is different in terms of make, year, and model, you should know that the installation process can be a bit tricky.

This is especially true for the best car stereos ad they tend to be a bit more complex. Luckily, all receivers use a standard wiring system to connect to your car’s power source and speakers.

If you are considering doing a home installation, you need to have the ability to tear apart your car’s dashboard and take out the stock radio.

The stock radio gives you a wiring harness to install your new audio system and you can hold everything on the dashboard using a mounting kit.  In some cases, you may need a certified installer to get the job done.

Please note that depending on the car you plan to install these steres in, they will function as either aftermarket stereos or OEM stereos. One advantage of using these systems is that they are already fitted with all the necessary ports and wires to connect to other devices like an amplifier.

If you were to work with your factory stereo, you would need to tinker with the electronics to connect it to an amplifier for example. As an example, you can connect your amp remote wire to your fuse box. This is how you can connect a factory stereo to your car amplifier

Getting a good car stereo will also help you to avoid certain installation issues. One such common is the question of connecting the red, yellow and black wires for your car stereo.

Best Car Stereo Brands

Which is the best car stereo brand on the market? With thousands of car stereo brands on the market, it can be a bit confusing when it comes to choosing one. Here are the top three car stereo brands that are worth your consideration:

  • Pioneer

Pioneer is the #1 brand when it comes to high-tech car stereos, but they tend to be a bit pricey. many will tell you Pioneer is the best car stereo brand. You will find Pioneer on every single list of ‘best car stereos’ of any year.

They are just that good. This brand goes the extra mile when it comes to features and quality, ensuring that you have everything you need to hook up any device. They have Bluetooth units, DVD/CD receivers, and of course smart car stereos, many of which can be paired with your apps.

  • Alpine

Alpine gives users a wide range of car stereos that pairs superb sound quality with great usability. The stereos feature wireless Bluetooth connectivity and a simple interface for quick control.

The attention to detail in these products is excellent and aimed at allowing you to focus on driving. These units are reasonably priced and the sound quality is normally very good.

  • Sony

Sony is one of the most reputable names in the electronics industry. This successful Japanese company focuses on quality when building their electronics; and car stereo systems are no exception.

Their stereos often have outstanding designs, with Bluetooth connectivity and touch-screen display. More importantly, they have a variety of stereos to choose from and they come in a range of prices.

Why did we choose these brands? Is it just because they are popular? Certainly not. It is rather because these brands manufacture solid products. For example, you won’t get those pesky common problems that you often experience with car stereos such as the stereo cutting out when the volume it turned up.

  • Kenwood

Kenwood is another popular car stereo brand. If you check our list, you will see it mentioned several times.

Kenwood stereos have been made by the now-defunct Kenwood Corporation which was a Japanese company that designed a wide range of audio equipment. In October 2011, Kenwood merged with JVC to become JVCKenwood Corporation. To learn more, check out our comparison of JVC and Kenwood where we also explain the merger

Should I Get A Touch-Screen Car Stereo?

Aside from wanting to enjoy a large, fantastic looking dashboard, there are several other reasons why you may consider buying a touch-screen car stereo.

For many people, touch screen stereos make the best car stereos today. Of course, you can easily see everything with a single glance and enjoy a couple of expansion options. Here are three reasons why you may need a touch-screen stereo:

  • Large Screen Display

With a large touch-screen receiver, its whole lot easier to read the information displayed, compared to the typical 2 or 3-line displays.

best car stereo large screen display

A touch-screen display also allows you to make the icons bigger and easily see the information while driving. Some units also offer a split-screen feature to view multiple files with a single glance.

This means you can easily control your stereo while focusing on driving. However, sometimes these stereos are smart stereos and have complex functionalities which may distract you, so be careful when choosing.

  • Convenient Stereo Controls

Having an easy time going through the menus is one of the main advantages of having a big screen.

Having a colorful touch-screen display makes it simple and intuitive to find control functions. It makes it easy to personalize the sound quality, change tracks, and set the equalizer.

  • GPS Navigation

If you are looking for a stereo system that has a powerful GPS navigation system, touch-screen car stereos are just what you need.

car stereo gps

The best touch screen car stereos have excellent GPS navigation which is important for those who often make long journeys. In fact, these navigation systems are often far better than what most navigating devices and phones can offer. That allows you to quickly add easy to use guide to your vehicle.

Bottom Line

There you have it, the best car stereos on the market in 2020. From Pioneer to Kenwood and Boss, we hope you’ve found one fit for your car.

Of course, any of the brands mentioned above are sure to bring you excellent sound quality at an affordable price. Of course, if you’re looking for hands-free calling, GPS navigation, and similar features, you can find that as well. We hope you enjoy your new car stereo!