Best Pioneer Car Stereo 2021

    author

    Miles Walker

    Pioneer is best known for its wide range of car stereos, ranging from Double Din Touch screen to Single Din Touch screen Head Units.

    The most fantastic thing about the Pioneer car stereos is the fact that it lets you use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is super useful while navigating to unknown places.

    We spending five weeks testing 10 of the best Pioneer head units. We selected these head units by taking suggestions from audio experts, Crutchfield, WireCutter, and verified amazon reviews.

    Most of the Pioneer Head Unit available in the market are expensive but we have also picked some of the best Pioneer Car Stereo at an affordable price which we have listed at the bottom.

    Best Pioneer Head Units –  Comparison Table

    IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
    BEST WIRELESS CARPLAY BEST WIRELESS CARPLAY Pioneer AVH W4500NEX.jpg Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX
    • 6.95″ WVGA Touchscreen, Wireless CarPlay, 13 Band EQ, Bluetooth, HD Radio, 200 watts Power Peak
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    Top Pick Top Pick Pioneer AVH 2500NEX Pioneer AVH-2500NEX
    • 6.8″ LCD Double Din CarPlay, Sirius XM, Bluetooth, 200 Watts Power Peak, FLAC
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    Best Single Din Touchscreen Best Single Din Touchscreen Pioneer AVH 3500NEX Pioneer AVH-3500NEX
    • 7″ Motorized Touchscreen, Android Auto, Bluetooth, CarPlay, GPS Navigation
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    Also Great Also Great Pioneer DMH 1500NEX Pioneer DMH-1500NEX
    • 7″ Touchscreen, Wired CarPlay and Android Auto, Dual Bluetooth, Pandora/ Spotify supported, 200 watts power output, WebLink
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    Best Pioneer GPS Navigation Best Pioneer GPS Navigation Pioneer AVIC W8600NEX Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX
    • 6.94″ Capacitive touchscreen with Built-in GPS Navigation system, Wireless CarPlay, Android Auto, 13 Band EQ, 200 Watts Power Peak
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    Best Pioneer 1 Din Best Pioneer 1 Din Pioneer SPH 10BT Pioneer SPH-10BT
    • Single Din Stereo with Pioneer Smart Sync feature, 31 Band EQ, 200 Power Peak, Bluetooth, AUX, USB, Navigation buttons
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    Pioneer Cheapest Double Din Pioneer Cheapest Double Din Pioneer dmh Pioneer DMH220EX
    • 6.2-inch Resistive Display, Built-in 13 Band EQ, 200 watts power output, No Apple CarPlay/ Navigation system
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    Best Pioneer Head Unit with Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

    Quick Review: This is one of Pioneer’s best head units that allows you to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Wirelessly. Both the Carplay and Android auto-connect quickly and work flawlessly.

    It comes with a 7 by 4-inch responsive touch screen motorized display with a CD/DVD player. The display is clear, sharp, and comes with numerous customizable options available than any other stereo. 

    The display brightness automatically adjusted for day and night. When the headlight is turned on the brightness of the display auto-decreases which helps to avoid unnecessary light on your face.

    AVH-W4500NEX lets you stream music from Pandora or Spotify and allows Hands free-calling wirelessly or via directly connecting your phone with the receiver.

    You use GPS Navigation through Carplay with many apps like Apple Maps, Google Maps, or via Waze but it needs an internet connection or Wi-Fi.

    In the box, you will get a high-quality mic that helps to use Siri Eyes Free and Google assistant via Carplay and Android Auto which is super fun to use.

    While using Siri Eyes Free or other phone assistants, it makes it very easy to play and change music from Pandora and Spotify as it is not required to touch the display, you can give directions through our voice command.

    Specifications

    • Model: AVH-W4500NEX
    • 7” Motorized Touchscreen Display
    • Built-in CD/DVD Player
    • Built-in HD Radio
    • 800 x 480 WVGA Resolution
    • Customizable Display Buttons
    • Support Auto EQ and Time Alignment
    • Built-in Bluetooth with Secure Simple Pairing
    • Power Peak 200 Watts/ RMS: 4 x 14 Watts
    • 6 Channel Preamp Output for Subwoofers
    • Input: 1 Rare HDMI, 2 Rear USB, 2 Rear AUX
    • Dual Backup Camera Connection 
    • Compatible with SiriusXM Satellite Radio
    • Compatible with Steering Wheel Control
    • Compatible with iDataLink Maestro
    • Compatible with GPS Antenna, external AMP, Monitor
    • Warranty of 12 Months
    Pros
    • Large touchscreen display makes it easy to use it while driving
    • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes the work fast and quite handy for daily use
    • Highly customizable Display options to change colors, background, you can also set any photo as a background image for the home screen
    • Dual Bluetooth Connection for connecting two phones in one time
    • Multiple sources to play videos and music such as CD/DVD, Aux, USB, SD Card, and more.
    • This Unit can play high-resolution files like FLAC which nowadays quite popular for playing audio formats
    Cons
    • The buttons available at the bottom of the display are quite small but the built-in quality of them is quite good
    • There is no built-in navigation system available. But you can check below Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX which is the best pioneer stereo that comes with a built-in navigation feature.

    Pioneer AVH-2500NEX – Overall Best Head Unit

    Quick Review: The reason for selecting AVH-2500NEX is the large touchscreen display with CD/DVD Player. Many other features are available in this double din head unit such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

    Work With CarPlay

    Wireless Calling and wireless music streaming is also possible due to built-in Bluetooth features which allow you to connect two devices at a time and takes very time to connect.

    The audio is clear and loud due to its built-in amplifier which has a power output of 200 watts. The built-in equalizer is also given in this head unit which helps to enjoy various audio tracks. You can even play high-resolution audio files like FLAC in this unit.

    The Pioneer AVH-2500NEX is compatible with all other car accessories such as a Backup Camera, Sirius XM, Steering wheel control (SWC), iDatalink Maestro, and more.

    In this double din stereo box, you will get a wiring harness, USB Cable, a good quality microphone, screws, installation guide, warranty card, and some other basics things.

    Specifications

    • Display Size: 6.8” VGA with CD/DVD Player
    • Customizable display with 5 Display Color/112 key Color
    • 13 Band Graphic EQ
    • 7 Preset EQ Curves
    • Built-in HD Radio tuner
    • Power Peak: 4 x 50 watts
    • RMS: 4 x 14 watts
    • Rear USB/Aux input
    • Backup Camera input
    • 6 Channel Preamp Output
    • 1 Year Warranty
    Pros
    • The display quality is good also, you can decrease or increase the brightness of the screen
    • Built-in CD/DVD support high-resolution files
    • Clear Audio Quality
    • Bluetooth works flawlessly and has a pretty strong connection
    Cons
    • No wireless CarPlay
    • The mirror link does not work properly

    Pioneer AVH-3500NEX –  Best Pioneer Single Din Touchscreen Head Unit

    Quick Review: This head unit is best for those people whose car has a single din dashboard. It comes with a motorized 7” display giving the same look as the double din stereos.

    Pioneer AVH-3500NEX is easy to operate and comes with a large volume knob and good quality buttons available at the bottom of the display.

    Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on this radio but you need to connect your phone with the receiver through a USB cable to use the CarPlay or Android Auto feature. Pandora and Spotify work wireless with which you can enjoy high-quality music which can be compatible with iPhone as well as Android.

    This head unit can be installed in any type of car, also the installation is not complicated, however, it was recommended to install this head unit by a technician.

    Specification

    • Model: AVH-3500NEX
    • Display: 7” Motorized Flip Out
    • CD/DVD Player built-in
    • Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto
    • Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling
    • A built-in amplifier having a power peak of 200 Watts
    • And RMS of 56 Watts max
    • Support high-resolution FLAC files
    • Support SiriusXM Satellite Radio
    • USB input, Backup Camera input
    • 6 Channel Preamp Output
    • 12 Months Warranty included
    Pros
    • Impressive design and fits easily in any type of dashboard
    • Great audio quality
    • Support direct control for all iPhone and Android devices
    • A Full installation kit is given in the box of this unit.
    Cons
    • The flip-out display extends over 4” which might blocks the buttons available at the top of the stereo

    Pioneer DMH-1500NEX –  Also Great

    Quick Review: If you have money and are willing to spend it on a head unit that will meet your needs then you need to look at the new DMH-1500NEX.

    Pioneer DMH-1500NEX comes with a 7” LCD touch screen that is capacitive which means you don’t need to apply pressure on the screen to change the menu or anything on this unit.

    DMH-1500NEX multimedia Receiver will keep your focus on the road thanks to its safety features and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility.

    You can also enjoy navigation provided by Google Maps with voice commands leveraging Google Assistant technology on your smartphone!

    You can play many audio files in this double din such as MP3, WMA, AAC, and FLAC which has a range of 192kHz or 24-bit with auto equalizer mode.

    A lot of people have appreciated this head unit for its display quality, crystal clear audio, and advanced features like Apple CarPlay. The only thing this head unit lacks is the wireless Carplay and a CD/DVD player. Besides this, We definitely recommend it!

    In the box of Pioneer DMH-1500NEX, you will get a Double din receiver, wiring harness for the installation, high-quality mic, 58” USB Cable, screws, warranty, and installation guide

    Specification

    • Big 7inch touchscreen display
    • Built-in 13 Band adjustable graphic equalizer
    • Power Peak: 200 Watts
    • RMS: 4 x 14 Watts
    • Dual Bluetooth Connection for hands-free calling and wireless music streaming
    • 6 Channel preamp output for video and audio
    • Built-in Radio having 18 FM and 6 AM channels
    • Rear USB, AUX, HDMI, and Backup Camera input
    • Subwoofer Control Option
    • Direct USB Control for iOS and Android devices
    • Warranty: 12 Months included
    Pros
    • Responsive and large 7inch touchscreen with useful volume and menu buttons present at bottom of the display
    • Clear and loud audio quality
    • Hands-free Calling works great, thanks to its good quality mic which is given with this head unit
    • Strong Bluetooth Connection
    • Wireless music streaming via Spotify and Pandora
    Cons
    • No Built-in CD/DVD Player
    • No Wireless CarPlay
    • No Built-in HD Radio

    Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX – Best Pioneer Head Unit with Built-in GPS Navigation

    Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX

    Quick Review: This Double Din Stereo is undoubtedly the most expensive unit compared to any other Pioneer radio. The main reason is the Built-in GPS Navigation which includes 12.4 million points of interest and Wireless CarPlay Features which most others don’t provide.

    The display size of this unit is 6.95 inch which is capacitive and better than the AVH-W4500NEX, in which you can use the multi-touch feature which allows you to zoom maps and many other apps.

    You can change the wallpaper of the home screen to set any picture you want. With its built-in CD/DVD player you can play video at a good quality.

    You can directly connect your iPhone or Android to play Videos or music. Other than that there is a wireless option so that you can play videos wirelessly through WebLink which requires Wi-Fi.

    The Pioneer’s built-in navigation feature contains many other features like speed limit, compass, altitude, showing freeways, headings, and real-time traffic reports. 

    Specifications

    • Model: AVIC-W8600NEX
    • 7-inch Capacitive Touchscreen
    • Built-in CD/DVD Player 
    • Built-in Pioneer’s GPS Navigation
    • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and HD Radio
    • Power Peak (4 x 14 | RMS: 4 x 50) Watts
    • 13 Band Graphic Equalizer with Auto EQ
    • Wireless CarPlay and Wireless Android Auto
    • High Res- FLAC Supported
    • Time Alignment Feature
    • SiriusXM SAV-300 tuner SWC
    • iDatalink Maestro Ready
    • Dual AV Output
    • Compatible with Backup Camera
    • Input: 1 HDMI REAR, 2 USB REAR 
    • Six Channels preamp Output for Subwoofers
    • 1-Year Warranty
    Pros
    • Capacitive Touchscreen for the multi-touch
    • The built-in offline Navigation system
    • Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto
    • Simple interface and easy to use
    • Multiple sources to play video and audio such as CD/DVD player, Aux, USB, SD Card even wirelessly via Wi-Fi through Mirror Link
    • Anti-theft password protection
    Cons
    • Super Expensive, however, we have listed its best budget alternative at the end of the list
    • Installation takes time
    • No Volume Knob

    Pioneer SPH-10BT – Best Pioneer Single Din Stereo 

    Pioneer_SPH-10BT

    Quick Review: This head unit is specially designed for single din dashboard, but the best thing about this radio, is its smart sync feature which allows you to connect your phone with the receiver in which you can use all the features like Bluetooth, Navigation, listening radio, podcasts all can be done directly connecting the phone to radio via smart sync app.

    There are two ways to connect the phone with the receiver, wirelessly through smart syncs or via USB cable. However, with USB the audio quality improves quite a lot.

    You can directly use all the features of this radio even without connecting to your phone. Multiple buttons have been given in this head unit where you change the menu, play music, change volume, power button, Bluetooth calling buttons, Voice recognition button, and message buttons.

    SPH-10BT

    To use Navigation in this unit, you need to connect your phone with stereo via smart sync app which you can download from AppStore or play store. 

    With the built-in navigation Icon, you can use the navigation system. You just need to click the navigation icon then a preset navigation app loads quickly.

    In the box of SPH-10BT, you will get a full installation kit which includes a wiring harness, microphone with connector, screws, faceplate, tape, trim ring, warranty card installation, and a quick start guide.

    Specifications

    • Model: SPH-10BT
    • Single Din with Smart Phone integration
    • Built-in Bluetooth feature with BT Button
    • 10 Level Brightness Control
    • Customizable Display with thousands option
    • 13 Band Equalizer which can be extended up to 31 bands through smart sync app
    • Built-in Alexa and iPhone Control
    • Built-in Backup Camera sensors
    • Support Android Music
    • Built-in tuner with 18 FM and 6 AM
    • Support high-resolution files like FLAC
    • Support multiple formats like MP3, WAV, WMA, AAC
    • 24 Bit DA Convert with 200 watts power peak
    • Four-Channel Preamp Output
    • 12 Months Warranty with 60 Days money-back
    Pros
    • Easy to connect and Simple UI
    • Great Audio and Call Quality
    • Multiple Buttons are available such as BT, message, menu, music which are quite useful while driving.
    • A lot of features available to customize the audio styles
    • Available at an affordable price
    Cons
    • There is no Backup Camera input however, you can use a wireless backup camera that can be connected easily to your phone
    • The USB input is not placed well as it is tough to connect the cable to the USB port
    • The built-in faceplate might not detach easily

    Pioneer Cheapest Touchscreen Head Unit

    Quick Review: This is probably Pioneer’s cheapest double din head unit which you can buy for around 300 dollars.  This double din stereo comes with a 6.2-inch clear resistive display which is not too big compared to other models of the pioneer. 

    There are limited options to play videos in the unit such as via USB, AUX, or through an SD card. You can also connect a backup camera with this radio but it isn’t included in this unit.

    The audio and video quality is the same as the other unit of Pioneer, and you can also play video directly connecting your phone with the receiver.

    Specifications

    • Model: Pioneer DMH220EX
    • Display Size: 6.2-inch WVGA Touchscreen
    • Power Output: 200 Watts max.
    • Built-in Bluetooth 
    • Direct USB Control for iPhone
    • Pandora and Spotify Control
    • Compatible with both iOS and android
    • 4 Channel preamp output
    • Many formats are supported such as MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, MP4, MPEG, and more.
    • USB, Aux, and Backup Camera input
    • 12 Months Warranty included
    Pros
    • Available at the lowest price compared to other double din radios
    • Crispy and Clear Sound Quality
    • The installation is quite simple
    • Customizable color, theme, and background
    • Support Radio, Aux, USB, and Bluetooth
    Cons
    • Limited Features
    • No CarPlay or Android Auto

    Budget Pioneer Navigation Stereo

    Quick Review: This head unit is the best and cheapest alternative to AVIC-W8600NEX which is available at less than half price compared to that model. You will also get 90 days refund policy with this head unit which you will not find with any other models.

    This double din radio has identical features except for the wireless CarPlay and Android Auto and Capacitive touchscreen. 

    It comes with a 6.2-inch WVGA display which is anti-glare helps to use it in bright light. There are several customizable options available to change its display button color, background images, and many more.

    All other features like Bluetooth, Hands-free Calling, Wired Android Auto, CarPlay, work great.

    Specifications

    • Model: Avic-5201NEX
    • 6.2” Anti-Glare Display
    • In-Built CD/DVD Player
    • In-Built-in Navigation system
    • 800 x 480 Resolution
    • 200 watts Power Output
    • 56 watts RMS max.
    • 13 Band equalizer
    • Bluetooth/Hands-Free Profile
    • Siri Eyes Free Compatible
    • SiriusXM Satellite Radio
    • Input : 2 USB, Rear AUX, SD Card Reader
    • Backup Camera input, 
    • 1 Year of Warranty with 90 Days Refund Policy
    Pros
    • GPS Navigation works exactly like AVIC-W8600NEX
    • Great Audio Quality and offers many customizable options such as 13 Band EQ
    • Works Well with Siri Eyes Free as well as for hands-free calling
    • The Bluetooth take few seconds to connect with the phone and gives a strong connection
    • Support all types of stereo accessories such as iDataLink Maestro, SWC, Backup Camera, and many more.
    Cons
    • The screen size is pretty decent
    • Lower resolution also the touch response is not too effective compared to other units

    Bottom Line

    Most of the Pioneer head units we have listed are for the double din dashboard makes it’s handy for daily use. Double Din Head Units mostly come with a large touchscreen with the latest features like CarPlay, Bluetooth which nowadays very trendy and helpful. That’s we have listed mostly these touchscreen stereos.

    All the head unit performs according to their price as a general rule of thumb in this industry, the more you pay the better quality you get from display to audio to features.

    These head units are mainly set according to the different budgets however, if you want a decent Pioneer head unit with a DVD player we will suggest go with Pioneer AVH-2550NEX as it not too costly and covers mostly all features.

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