Listening to music, a podcast, or an audiobook is a great way for drivers to pass the time during long commutes, road trips, or even a simple trip to the store. To get the best audio quality, a good car stereo is essential. While some newer cars come with 12-speaker stereos from high-quality brands like Bose, your older car’s stereo system may be in need of an update.
A new stereo system can make your car feel more modern as well as increase the resale value. Using info from a Lifewire, we put together a list of some of the best aftermarket stereo systems you can buy for your vehicle.
It’s hard to find a car stereo system for less than $100, let alone one that delivers decent quality audio. The DEH-X6900BT is made by Pioneer, a trusted brand for audio products. It comes with a 13-band equalizer, giving users a lot of customization options for their music. It also has built-in Bluetooth, aux input, and a USB port so that you can charge your smart devices on the go.
However, it does have a few minor disadvantages. The display is not as bright as some of its competitors and users reported that the USB ports couldn’t give their devices a good charge. Still, for the low price and good amount of features, we can safely say that this stereo is a good value.
Kenwood Excelon DMX905S
This stereo has a middle-of-the-road price and a great selection of features. It has a lot of customization settings for the audio, and a clear 6.95-inch display. It’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with USB ports for charging, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The UI is very easy to use, however, some consumers reported that a lot of the apps included weren’t of much use.
If you primarily use Apple devices, you may want to choose another stereo, since some of the features on this stereo are only compatible with Android products. Additionally, it only supports digital media, which means no DVDs or CDs.
It’s hard to beat this stereo system in terms of quality and features. It can play any audio file you can think of, as well as work seamlessly with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It can stream audio from popular music services like Spotify and Pandora.
This system can even stream video content from Apple devices through the touchscreen, though an additional adaptor is required for this feature. It comes equipped with Bluetooth for texting, calling, and using Siri without having to press any buttons.
The unit itself is lightweight, comes with a 7-inch screen, and is very easy to install. Users are also able to sync their apps from their wireless devices. It’s priced at $550, which is a bit high in terms of car stereos, but it’s well justified for what the 4200NEX delivers.
Sony’s AX100 unit comes with the standard features of most car systems, including a 10-band equalizer, Bluetooth, and Android and Apple compatibility. Users reported that the sound quality is clear and the display is well-lit.
A few things make this unit stand out from the rest. It has a rotary dial for turning up the volume with less distraction, a Dynamic Stage Organizer that adjusts its settings to best fit your speaker setup, and can stream the video feed from your backup camera on its display.
It’s priced at $350, which is very fair for a quality car stereo system. Some reported that it was a little difficult to install due to its unconventional design, but that’s the only flaw with this unit.