As an Amazon Associate headunitadvisor.com earns from qualifying purchases.

The Best Car Stereo & Head Unit [2022 Updated]

The Best Car stereo
What’s the best car stereo in 2022?

If you’re looking for the best car stereo that will fit in with your existing vehicle, with the best quality and features imaginable, then you’ve come to the right place.

A new car stereo can be an expensive investment, especially if you want to get the best sound quality for your car. For this reason, it’s important to spend a little bit more on a quality car stereo. 

When it comes to choosing a car stereo, there are a lot of factors to consider. You want something that sounds good, is easy to use, and won’t break the bank.

To help you make your decision, we’ve put together a list of the best car stereos on the market. Whether you’re looking for a basic system or something with all the bells and whistles, we’ve got you covered. So take a look and see which one is right for you.

Best Car Stereos of 2022 Reviews

Pioneer Avic W8400NEX — Best GPS Navigation Car Stereo

Best Car Stereo

Pioneer’s AVIC-W8400NEX navigation stereo is the perfect way to take your multimedia experience on the road. This powerful unit features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, so you can control your favorite apps directly from the receiver’s 7″ capacitive touchscreen. 

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX lets you enjoy video content from a variety of sources. Whether you’re parked or on the road, this stereo provides an immersive experience for all. 

With dual-zone capability, your passengers can watch their movies while you listen to the radio or another audio source upfront. Plus, the 7″ display is perfect for keeping track of what’s going on around you.

Key Features of Pioneer Avic W8400NEX

Built-in GPS Navigation 

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX stereo is a powerful GPS navigation system that can guide you practically anywhere in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. With 8 million points of interest and live traffic updates, you can find the best route to your destination and avoid any potential delays. The included street names and lane guidance keep you on track, while the speed limit warnings help you stay safe.

High-res Sound Quality 

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX stereo is perfect for anyone who wants great sound quality in their car. With its 13-band graphic equalizer, Auto EQ, and Time Alignment, you can fine-tune the sound to match your preferences. The Advanced Sound Retriever ensures that your compressed music files will still sound clear and full of detail. And if you have high-resolution FLAC files, this stereo will be able to play them back with maximum fidelity.

Wireless CarPlay Connectivity 

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX is your solution for an incredible CarPlay experience. Wirelessly connect to your iPhone and enjoy all of its familiar content on the big screen. You can control Apple HomeKit™ compatible devices with ease, and even charge your phone while you’re driving. With Siri voice control, the AVIC-W8400NEX makes it easy to stay connected and entertained while on the go.

Wireless Android Auto as well 

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX provides a powerful, convenient way to control your Android smartphone apps while you’re on the go. With its native Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, this receiver automatically pairs with your phone as soon as you turn your vehicle on, giving you instant access to select Android apps through the receiver’s screen or Google Assistant-powered voice control.

Built-in HDMI Port 

The HDMI input allows iPhone and Android users to easily access Pioneer’s AppRadio Mode. And the receiver’s tone of voice is professional and engaging, making it perfect for anyone who wants a great in-dash experience.

HD Radio Support

You’ll also enjoy HD Radio reception, superior sound quality, and spot-on GPS directions. Keep yourself informed and entertained while you’re driving with Pioneer’s AVIC-W8400NEX!

Compatible with iDatalink Maestro

The Pioneer AVIC-W8400NEX offers incomparable compatibility with iDatalink Maestro. This module lets you keep your factory extras, like heated seats, Bluetooth, and navigation. Plus, the Pioneer’s screen gives you access to engine performance data and other vehicle information. Whether you’re looking for new radio or upgrading an existing system, the AVIC-W8400NEX is a perfect choice.

Specifications

  • Type: Double Din 4-inch tall dash opening
  • GPS support free traffic updates in major metropolitan areas, 
  • Text-to-speech announces actual street names at turns
  • GPS also shows speed limit warnings and lane guidance
  • Auto EQ with Time Alignment 
  • Low- and high-pass filters
  • Adjustable crossover points
  • Support  FLAC audio files (up to 192kHz/24-bit) via USB
  • Inputs: Dual Backup Camera, HDMI, 2 USB ports, SD Card Slot, Dual Rear A/V (mini, RCA)
  • 6-channel preamp RCA , mini outputs (4-volt front, rear, subwoofer) audio/video 
  • Warranty: 12 Months
Pros
  • The user interface of this unit makes it super easy to navigate and use.
  • The GPS Navigation system is so easy to use and it has very accurate navigation.
  • The sound is crystal clear and has almost zero lag when streaming from YouTube, which makes for an amazing experience.
  • Boot time is very fast
  • With its updated interface, you’ll find it easy to choose your musical sources.
Cons
  • Android Auto is compatible with only selected phones
  • This head unit is quite expensive than other units

Alpine iLX-W650 — Best Mechless Double Din Stereo

double din Stereo

Stylish, sleek design with a retro feel is the Alpine iLx-W650! 

The Alpine iLX-W650 powers up any car with the power of a premium sound system that is designed to play well with your mobile device.

 This double din stereo combines a large touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so you can safely use your favorite apps while driving. 

Key Features of Alpine iLX-W650

RESPONSIVE TOUCHSCREEN 

This 7-inch touchscreen stereo has two-finger swipe motions to control volume, skipping tracks, and pausing playback. Plus, its shallow mount chassis fits into most dashes, making it perfect for vehicles with limited space behind the dashboard. This touchscreen is designed to be used without looking at it, so you can keep your eyes on the road. The swipe controls are intuitive, making it easy to select what you want.

BETTER Sound QUALITY

The Alpine iLX-W650 is the perfect way to get the most out of your car audio system. With its 9-band parametric equalizer and 6-channel time-correction tools, you can easily optimize the signal for maximum sound quality. And with three sets of 4-volt preamp outputs, you can easily add additional amps for more power. The iLX-W650 is designed to deliver the highest quality audio experience. It’s perfect for use with Alpine’s KTA-450 power pack amplifier and a set of speakers.

APPLE CARPLAY WORKS FLAWLESSLY

Apple CarPlay allows you to access all your iPhone apps while driving safely. You can also make calls and send messages using Siri voice control, or listen to music from Pandora and Spotify.

Voice Control 

With voice recognition technology for Siri EyesFree control, using this car stereo has never been easier. Easily connect cameras for your dashboard cam or rearview camera system if desired. Powerful sound is only one of many benefits of this product!

AM/FM Radio

This sleek, double-din stereo plays AM/FM radio and features hands-free control through Bluetooth. Its built-in amplifier makes it compatible for power when you need it most, even if you are using 2 amplifiers.

High-Resolution FLAC Files

The Alpine iLX-W650 is a powerful car audio system that can playback Hi-Res Audio FLAC files. It’s compatible with MP3/WMA/AAC/HE-AAC music playback via USB, so you can enjoy your favorite tunes in crystal clear quality. With its sleek design and professional sound quality, the Alpine iLX-W650 is perfect for anyone who wants a top-of-the-line car audio system.

Direct USB Control for iPhone, iPod 

This great stereo has a USB connection that allows for high-quality playback and delivers an even faster access speed. You’ll love the convenience of controlling your iPod directly from the iLX-W650, and with its professional, engaging tone of voice, you’ll be sure to enjoy every minute spent in your car.

Specifications

  • Model: Alpine iLX-W650
  • Display: 7″ capacitive touchscreen with AM/FM tuner
  • Shallow-mount chassis design (2-13/16″ deep)
  • Touchscreen support swipe controls
  • Built-in Bluetooth functionality
  • Compatible with High-resolution FLAC files
  • Input: Rear USB, Steering Wheel Control, Aux, 2 Backup Camera, SiriusXM satellite radio tuner
  • Built-in iPhone control
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Support
  • Outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
  • Power: (16 watts RMS/40 peak x 4 channels)
  • 12 Months Warranty
Pros
  • Premium Looking Design
  • Offers great sound quality
  • The installation is straightforward
  • You can change preloaded home screen backgrounds
  • Built-in adjustable equalizer
Cons
  • The DVD does not work while driving due to restrictions, you need to purchase a parking brake bypass.

Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX — Best Wireless Apple CarPlay Stereo

Apple CarPlay Stereo

If you’re looking for a sleek, stylish head unit that won’t break the bank, the Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX is a great choice. This unit features a beautiful glass screen that makes colors pop. 

It’s also tiny and leaves plenty of space behind it for wires and other components. The built-in Alexa feature is great, although it does seem somewhat limited in functionality at this time. 

The audio quality is excellent, as one would expect from a Pioneer product. However, the volume control and capacitive buttons are very lackluster and leave something to be desired. Thankfully, the steering wheel controls make up for this deficiency. Overall, the Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX is a great choice for anyone.

Key Features of Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX

Built-in Alexa 

This receiver comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, so you can talk to Alexa directly through the unit. With Alexa, you can play music, get news and weather updates, control smart home devices, and more. 

Plus, since Alexa lives in the cloud, she’s always getting smarter and adding new capabilities. So whether you’re looking to stay connected on your next road trip or just make your daily commute a little easier, the Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX is a great choice.

Wireless Android Auto 

The Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX supports a cable-free connection between your smartphone and the receiver using Wi-Fi wireless connectivity. This makes it easy to connect, while Android Auto Wireless (available on Google Pixel and Nexus devices) and Android Auto over USB help minimize distractions. 

Wireless Apple CarPlay

The DMH-W4660NEX is also compatible with Apple CarPlay, so you can access your favorite navigation, media, and communication apps on the road. This stereo lets you make calls, use Maps, listen to music, and more with just a word or touch. 

HD Radio Compatible

HD Radio is a great way to enjoy your favorite FM and AM stations in crystal clear digital quality. With near CD-quality sound on single-channel stations, you’ll never have any trouble hearing the song that just came out or where that big game will be happening soon! 

Plus with Tag recurrent playback technology built into this receiver’s software package – all of these features are at our fingertips without having an extra device handy like some other brands require – so no more waiting around for updates when new music arrives online before it airplay properly during commercial breaks…you’re SeatGeek ready

 SiriusXM Compatible

With the DMH-W4660NEX, you’ll be able to enjoy a variety of programming from various channels including music without commercials. You can also listen in on sports and live events as well other talk shows such as comedy programs or news updates—all at your fingertips with this incredible SiriusXM Ready radio!

What is tuner compatibility? For those who don’t know yet – it means that once these plugins (SXV300) are connected wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection between phone/tablet device running Android OS 4

iDataLink Maestro Compatible

Keep your factory features and expand the level of in-vehicle connectivity with Pioneer NEX. When installed using iDatalink MaestroRR, you can enjoy performance characteristics from this receiver plus touchscreen control over key factory audio functions such as steering wheel controls, media player (including aux & USB), and hands-free voice command capabilities.

Dual Backup Camera Input

This Backup Camera input enables you to add a rear-view camera, with the system automatically switching from your front view when in reverse gear and returning last on screen.

It also has an additional option for adding another camera that can be activated at any time; it may help provide better visibility during certain tasks such as monitoring tow trucks or giving different angles while driving down main streets—especially if one of those views isn’t enough!

Wireless Music Streaming & Hands-free Calling via Bluetooth

Pioneer’s DEH-W4660NEX stereo offers a wealth of features to make your driving experience safer and more enjoyable. Bluetooth technology lets you make calls and stream music without ever having to take your hands off the wheel. You can also control audio playback using voice commands. The stereo is easy to pair with your smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled devices. 

High-Resolution Sound Quality

The Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX is perfect for anyone who wants excellent sound quality in their car. With features like Hi-Res Audio playback and a 13-Band Graphic Equalizer, you can create the perfect listening experience for your unique tastes. The receiver also includes a built-in high/low pass crossover, so you can fine-tune the sound to match your car’s exact specifications.

Specifications

  • Model: Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX
  • Display: 6.8″ Capacitive touchscreen
  • Double-DIN (4″ tall) dash openings
  • 13-band graphic EQ with time alignment
  • Support Screen/ Phone mirroring for selected phones only
  • Power Output: 200 watts max, RMS: 14 watts x 4 Channels
  • Audio formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, and high-res FLAC and DSD music files
  • Input: USB, Aux, dual Backup Camera, Steering Wheel Control, iDatalink Maestro
  • Output: 4 volt (6 Channel Preamp) front, rear subs, video out for connecting headrest monitors
  • Remote included in the product box
  • Warranty: 1 Year
Pros
  • The OS is very smooth and stable
  • Shallow Mount design makes it easy to install in any vehicle
  • Customizable Home Screen
  • Wireless CarPlay & Auto works Flawlessly
  • The touchscreen is very responsive and offers good video quality.
Cons
  • The built-in mic quality is not good
  • Does not support CDs/DVD
  • Display too bright at night.

Sony XAV-AX5500 — Best Single Din Touchscreen Stereo

Sony XAV AX5500 Review

The Sony XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo is perfect for anyone who wants a sleek and modern in-car experience. With its vivid 6.95″ capacitive touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and compact chassis, this stereo has everything you need to stay entertained and connected while on the go.

This stereo doesn’t have a disc player, but that’s a good thing- it means that it can fit into more spaces than regular radio. And because the screen is the same size as a typical double-DIN receiver, you’ll still get great visual feedback while you’re driving. Plus, the chassis is shallower than traditional stereos, making it easy to slide into the dash and tuck away any wiring. 

Key Features of Sony XAV-AX5500

Capacitive touch screen with Bezel-less Design

The Sony XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo is perfect for anyone who wants a sleek, professional car audio experience. With its bezel-less capacitive touchscreen, you can easily access your music and navigation without taking your eyes off the road.

Advanced signal processing

The Sony XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo is perfect for music lovers who want the ultimate driving experience. With 4 x 55w of power, advanced signal processing, and interference-free sound quality, this stereo delivers an exceptional listening experience.

This high-quality audio system delivers crisp, clear sound that will make you feel like you’re right there in the studio or concert hall. With Dynamic Stage Organizer, the stereo positioning is adjusted for optimal results, giving you an immersive listening experience. Whether you’re cruising down the highway or out for a night on the town, the Sony XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo is sure to impress.

Easy installation

 The easy installation and compact rear chassis make it a breeze to install, even if you’re not a professional technician. And the double-DIN display provides plenty of viewing real estate, making it easy to see what’s going on no matter where you are sitting in your car.

Dual USB inputs 

This top-of-the-line model comes with dual USB inputs, so you can keep your phone charged and access your music files easily. It also supports FLAC and a variety of video files, making it the perfect choice for any music lover or movie buff. Plus, the stylish design will complement any car interior. 

Listen to your music, audiobooks, and podcasts wirelessly with Sony’s XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo. This Bluetooth-enabled car stereo lets you keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. With the included wired microphone, you can take calls without having to fumble with your phone.

Voice Control via Apple CarPlay & Auto

With Siri and Apple CarPlay, you can easily access all your favorite iPhone features just by talking to Siri. Plus, the Voice Control feature with Android Auto makes it easy to dictate messages, make phone calls, or get directions from Google Maps. And you can even control music playback just by talking!

GPS Navigation System

With the Sony XAV-AX5500 Car Stereo, you can easily navigate to your destination while never taking your hands off the wheel. This stereo comes equipped with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can use whichever navigation system you prefer. Plus, Siri and Google Maps are at your fingertips for real-time directions and traffic updates.

Specifications

  • Model: Sony XAV-AX5500
  • Display: 6.95″ capacitive touchscreen 
  • SCREEN SIZE: 156.6 x 81.6 (mm) (W X H MM)
  • BRIGHTNESS: 500cd / m2
  • RESOLUTION: (DOT) 800 x 480
  • Gestures Commands Supported
  • Built-in 10-band Graphic Equalizer
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Tuner Presets: FM18 / AM12
  • Power Output: 50 watts x 4 channels
  • Input: 2 USB ports, 2 Backup Camera, Aux, 
  • 5v preamp Outputs
  • PRE OUT: 3 Pre (Front / Rear / Sub)
  • Audio Formats: PCM / MP3 / WMA / AAC / FLAC
  • Video Formats: MPEG4-SP / AVC / WMV / MKV / XviD
  • 12 Months Warranty Coverage
Pros
  • The display is super responsive and offers high definition video quality
  • The Sound Quality is crystal clear, and loud also there are tons of settings to customize the audio to your choice
  • Android Auto & Carplay works flawlessly
  • Easy to install due to single din chassis
Cons
  • Glaring Issue while using in sunlight
  • Little Expensive

Alpine CDE-172BT — Best Single Din Stereo

Alpine CDE 172BT Review

Alpine’s CDE-172BT stereo is perfect for the car enthusiast who wants quality sound without sacrificing convenience. 

The built-in Bluetooth feature makes hands-free calling and wireless music streaming a breeze, while the front USB port lets you easily charge, control, and play music from your Android or iPhone. 

With its sleek design and professional tone of voice, the CDE-172BT is sure to make every journey more enjoyable.

Key Features of Alpine CDE-172BT

Wireless Music Streaming & Hands-Free Calling

With its built-in Bluetooth, you can easily stream music from your phone or tablet, and with its versatile 3-band parametric equalizer, you can customize the sound to perfection. The included microphone ensures clear calling quality, and with Alpine’s built-in sound processing, you’ll get the best possible audio quality from your streaming music apps.

Great Sound Quality Experience

This great receiver offers the outstanding sound quality, giving you the ultimate listening experience whether you’re cruising down the open road or parked in your driveway. But that’s not all – the CDE-172BT also comes with several advanced features that set it apart from the competition. 

SiriusXM Satellite Radio Support

For starters, you can add an optional SiriusXM tuner to enjoy a wide variety of music, news, sports, and talk programming wherever you go. You can also use this receiver’s controls to choose from your favorite Pandora stations from your smartphone. And when you want to use other music apps from your connected iPhone

Fully Customize Audio with Built-in EQ

With its three-band parametric equalizer, you can fine-tune the sound to your liking. The variable color illumination lets you add a touch of personal flair to the easy-to-read display. And with three sets of high-voltage RCA preamp outputs, you can easily upgrade your sound system. Plus, this receiver includes Alpine’s KTP-445A 4-channel amp for even more power and flexibility.

Steering Wheel audio controls

With Alpine’s CDE-172BT Stereo, you can keep your hands on the wheel and still control your music. This receiver is designed to work with steering wheel controls in most vehicles, so you don’t have to miss a beat while driving. Plus, the Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream music from your smartphone or another device without taking your hands off the wheel.

Specifications

  • 1-line high-contrast LCD
  • 3-band parametric equalizer
  • CD/DVD Player with AM/FM tuner
  • Premium 24-bit (DAC)
  • Bluetooth 5.0 for hands-free calling & wireless audio streaming
  • Power Output: 50 peak x 4 channels
  • RMS: 18 watts RMS x 4 channels
  • Built-in iPod, iPhone, and iPad control
  • Compatible with Siri Eyes Free
  • High- and low-pass filters with subwoofer level control
  • Inputs: USB port, auxiliary input (Both Front)
  • Outputs: 4v (6-channel preamp outputs) front, rear, and subs
  • Compatible with Steering Wheel Control
  • 12 Months Warranty
Pros
  • The multi-color display of this unit looks great
  • The installation is simple
  • The built-in equalizer and 24-bit DAC deliver outstanding sound quality
  • The is quite low compared to other units
Cons
  • The Bluetooth connects and disconnects with the music for a few seconds, but then it plays just fine.

Kenwood DPX504BT — Best 2 Din Stereo (Non-Touchscreen)

best double din stereo

The Kenwood DPX504BT is a great choice for anyone looking for a quality car stereo that also has advanced features except a touchscreen. 

Key Features of Kenwood DPX504BT 

High-Resolution Sound Quality

The Kenwood DPX504BT receiver is perfect for the music lover who wants a high-quality stereo system with all the latest features. This receiver allows you to play and charge your iPhone, check out USB drives filled with high-res FLAC and WAV files, control Spotify and Pandora, and more. With its sensitive radio tuner, the DPX504BT can pick up local AM and FM analog stations, making it the perfect choice for any music enthusiast.

Wireless Audio Streaming 

This unit features Bluetooth connectivity, so you can easily connect your smartphone and access your music files wirelessly. It also has a front aux input, USB port, and CD player, so you can listen to your favorite tunes no matter what format they’re in. 

3-Line (Non-Touchscreen Display)

The big 3-line display provides all the information you need about your music, while its versatile Bluetooth options let you easily connect your smartphone or other devices. 

And if you want to control the stereo using voice commands, the built-in Amazon Alexa capabilities let you do just that.

Built-in 13 Band Equalizer

With this Kenwood DPX504BT stereo, you can customize the look and sound to make sure it always feels like the band is right in front of you. You can use the dynamic 13-band graphic equalizer and digital time alignment to ensure the perfect sound, and with its variable color adjustment, you can pick the color for the receiver’s high contrast display that matches your dash perfectly. Plus, with three pairs of RCA preamp outputs, you can add additional amps to your system for more power to your speakers.

Specifications

  • High-contrast 3-line display 
  • The display also supports variable-color illumination
  • CD/DVD Player with built-in AM/FM tuner
  • Support High-res WAV and FLAC music files (up to 24-bit/96kHz)
  • Bluetooth Version 4.2 support a dual phone connection
  • Built-in 13 Band Equalizer
  • Compatible with SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Direct iPhone, iPod, iPad USB Control
  • Supported Internet Services: Pandora, Spotify in both iOS, Android
  • Music Streaming Control from up to 5 devices with Music Mix feature
  • Independent crossovers for the front, rear, and subwoofer
  • Input: Front Aux and Front USB
  • Output: 2.5-volt (6 Channel Preamp) Front, rear, and subs
  • 22 Watts RMS and 50 watts power watts x channels
  • Support: MP3, WMA, and AAC, CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs
  • 6-channel preamp outputs (2.5-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
  • Compatible Devices: Smartphone, Speaker, Subwoofers, Amplifier
  • Warranty: 1 Year
Pros
  • The 22 watts gives cleaner and louder sound Quality
  • The front USB port makes it easy to connect your phone with the receiver
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Easy to install and simple interface
Cons
  • The unit does not come with a mounting bracket

How we Picked

While listing down the best car stereos for you guys, we had to put in a lot of effort to get to the best-rated single din & double din stereo out there.

We started by looking into different well-known and reputable stores like Amazon as well as online retailers. We chose stereo from the most rated companies or those with less reputation, but still excellent customer feedback on their products for your protection!

We made sure that before buying anything we researched so you don’t have any regrets when it comes time to make this big decision.

We surveyed Reddit to find out what people think about the different car stereo products. We talked with professional drivers, travelers, and music enthusiasts as well as manufacturers of these devices for our team members to get an idea from their perspective how each product is rated compared to others like it when buying advice or reviews online.

We went onto other websites such as CNET, Wirecutter, and car audio sites where users can share experiences they’ve had using various makes/models but found little information beyond ‘first-hand’ accounts which did not provide enough detail so we decided to go straight into interviews would give us more insight

After this extensive research, we were able to list down many different car radios. After putting 16 different car stereos to test, we found 5 head units that will give you the best sound quality.

How we tested

After compiling the list, we knew it would not be enough just to check if they were true. We wanted our readers’ trust so that’s why testing them became significant for us to ensure these 5 best head units deserve their rank on this top five!

After testing 16 car stereos for 3 weeks we awarded Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX as our top pick because this stereo delivers great sound quality, provides responsive touch, as well as being compatible with wireless CarPlay.

The results of our extensive tests are not commercialized and there is no external influence for advertisement.

We had to test all the features and specifications of each car stereo. We also took into account what extras are included with them, because sometimes these special additions can make a device even more appealing

The price was mainly taken into account to provide you with a vast range of lower, middle, and higher value head units. However, we didn’t mention any expensive models except the Pioneer Avic W8400NEX, due to its built-in Navigation system, wireless CarPlay, and Capacitive touchscreen.

Buyer’s Guide: How to choose a car stereo that’s right for you

You know there are a lot of different stereo systems out on the market, but how do you decide which one is right for your needs? This Guide can help narrow down those choices and get everyone into something they’ll be happy with.

Power Ratings

Stereo systems are measured in wattage, and that’s the first thing you want to look at when shopping for a new system. The more watts your stereo has, the louder it can play. But beware, just because a stereo is rated for a high wattage doesn’t mean it will sound good at high volumes. You’ll also want to look for a system with low impedance, as that will allow it to better handle power.

As a general rule, you’ll want at least 50 watts per channel for your stereo. If you plan on playing your music loudly or if you have a large car, you may want to look for something with even more power.

Display

The display on your car stereo is important for a few reasons. First, you’ll want to make sure it’s large enough that you can easily see it while driving. You’ll also want to make sure the display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. Finally, if you’re planning on using your phone with your car stereo, you’ll want to make sure the display is compatible with your phone’s screen.

Audio Sources

Your new car stereo should be able to play music from a variety of sources. CDs are still a popular option, but many people are now streaming music from their smartphones or other devices. Look for a system that has Bluetooth or NFC connectivity so you can easily stream your music.

Bluetooth Calling & Music Streaming

Most new car stereos will come with Bluetooth built-in. This allows you to wirelessly connect your phone to the stereo so you can make hands-free calls and stream music. If you don’t have a smartphone, or if you just prefer to use a wired connection, look for a system that has an aux input. This will allow you to connect any device with a 3.5mm audio output.

USB Ports

If you want to be able to charge your phone while you’re driving, or if you want to play music from a USB drive, look for a car stereo that has a USB port. Some units will even allow you to control a connected iPhone or Android phone from the stereo.

CD Playback

Even though many people are now streaming music, CDs are still a popular option for playback. If you want to be able to play CDs in your car, make sure to look for a car stereo that has a CD player.

DVD Playback

Another option for playback is to look for a car stereo with a DVD player. This can be great if you want to be able to watch movies or TV shows on long road trips. Just make sure you have a way to mount the screen so everyone in the car can see it.

Satellite Radio

If you want to be able to listen to satellite radio, you’ll need to make sure your car stereo has a built-in satellite radio tuner. This will allow you to subscribe to a satellite radio service and get access to hundreds of channels of commercial-free music, news, talk radio, and more.

GPS Navigation System

If you want to be able to get turn-by-turn directions without ever having to take your eyes off the road, look for a car stereo with GPS navigation. This will allow you to enter your destination and get detailed directions that will be displayed right on your stereo’s screen.

Built-in HD Radio

Some car stereos also come with built-in HD Radio tuners. This can give you access to crystal clear digital radio stations. If you’re an audiophile, you may also want to look for a system that can play high-resolution audio files.

Equalizer & Sound Adjustments

The equalizer allows you to adjust the sound of your music for it to be better suited towards what type of listener and mood they are trying to achieve. However, only a few car stereos will come with some sort of equalizer so you can adjust the sound to your liking. You may also want to look for a system that has built-in subwoofer controls. If you’re an audio enthusiast, you may want to find a system with more advanced sound adjustments.

Most stereos come with built-in amplifier settings that can help you get the most out of your speakers. If you’re not sure what these are, or if you don’t plan on adjusting them often, you can probably skip this feature.

Installation

Finally, you’ll want to consider the installation process when choosing a new car stereo. If you’re not comfortable with electrical work, you may want to choose a stereo that comes with easy-to-follow instructions. You may also want to look for a system that comes with all the necessary wiring and mounting hardware.

If you’re looking for a new car stereo, keep these things in mind and you’ll be sure to find a system that’s right for you.

FAQs regarding Car Stereos

What is the top-rated car stereo system?

In our opinion, Pioneer DMH-W4660NEX is the best car stereo. It offers great sound quality and it’s very easy to use. It also has a lot of features that other car stereos don’t have, such as Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Capacitive touchscreen, and HD Radio.

Is Alpine better than Pioneer?

Yes. Alpine is a good brand, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Pioneer when it comes to sound quality. Pioneer makes some of the best car audio equipment in the world, and their receivers are especially renowned for their high-quality sound reproduction. If you’re serious about your music, then you need to go with a Pioneer receiver.

Is JVC a good car stereo brand?

Brands like JVC tend to be more reliable and offer a better overall value than some of the other options out there. That said, JVC is a good car stereo brand. Ultimately, it would depend on your personal preferences and needs when it comes to choosing a car stereo brand. You may want to look into various reviews online to get a better

Does a head unit affect sound quality?

A head unit can affect the sound quality of your car audio system in several ways. First, the head unit provides the power for your speakers. If the head unit doesn’t have enough power, your speakers won’t be able to produce a loud, clear sound. Second, the head unit affects the sound quality by controlling the EQ (equalization) and crossover settings.

Are aftermarket radios worth it?

The short answer is yes, aftermarket radios are definitely worth the investment. Not only do they provide superior sound quality, but they also offer a wide range of features that can greatly improve your overall driving experience. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider upgrading to an aftermarket radio:

1. Aftermarket radios usually come with built-in amplifiers. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy a much higher level of sound quality, as the amplifier will help to boost the signal from the radio.

2. Aftermarket radios often come with a wide range of features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling, and even GPS navigation. This means that you’ll be able to stay connected and entertained while on the road.

3. Aftermarket radios are generally much more user-friendly than factory-installed radios. This means that you’ll be able to easily control all of the features and functions, without having to fumble around with complex controls.

4. Aftermarket radios often come with a much higher price tag than factory-installed radios. However, they typically offer a much better value for the money, as they offer superior sound quality, a wide range of features, and an overall more user-friendly experience.

Does Bluetooth degrade sound quality?

The short answer is yes, Bluetooth can degrade sound quality if it’s not used properly. However, the long answer is a bit more complicated than that. You can read more about it here.

Which is better, Bluetooth or AUX?

Bluetooth is more convenient because it doesn’t require any physical cables. However, AUX connections can provide better sound quality since they’re not compressed like Bluetooth audio. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer the convenience of Bluetooth while others prefer the sound quality of an AUX connection.


Related Article –

I am Miles Walker, founder of HeadunitAdvisor.com. I'm a car audio enthusiast and have been since I was a kid. I created the website to help people make the best decision when it comes to choosing and installing the new car stereo head unit. I have a degree in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley, and I love working on cars and audio equipment.

Leave a Comment

Headunitadvisor.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap