Finding the best Bluetooth Car Stereo in 2017 is not easy. Manufacturers are continually releasing new products, and new models reflect the latest in digital audio technology. Smartphones have become the medium for listening to music in cars, at home and everywhere else, as a result, a stereo in your car that can connect to your smartphone is almost standard across all new cars. We’ve seen many features that have become standard on head units. This includes:
- A push to standardize USB to charge and connect your media or smartphone devices.
- Standardization of Bluetooth technology on all car stereos to stream music and make handsfree calls.
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come built in to modern car stereos.
- Many others!
The best head units don’t just create high quality sound, they incorporate the latest trends in digital tech. All to make listening to your music simple and easy. Below you’ll find our top pick for bluetooth car stereos that embrace the swift changes in audio and digital technology. Check back in frequently for updates, as new products get released and added!
Here’s our list of the top rated bluetooth car stereo head units as of 2017.
Who is this review for?
There are many things that can warrant upgrading your car stereo’s head unit. You may need a way to integrate Bluetooth calling and music streaming. Or you might want to be able to use Pandora or Spotify in your car to give you control over your music. You might have purchased a used car that doesn’t integrate with your smartphone at all and needs an updated unit. Or you may not like the features of your car stereo’s current unit. In any case, upgrading your receiver can give you the latest technology. It’ll integrate with the most popular and user-friendly applications. And a new receiver won’t just add a new style to your dash, it’ll improve your in-car experience. But just because you’d like to upgrade your car’s stereo with a new and improved receiver doesn’t mean you can.
International standard ISO 7736 defines a standard size for car audio head units and enclosures. There are generally two types of aftermarket head units on the market today: single-DIN and double-DIN. If your car’s dash has a double-DIN opening, you can fit both a single-DIN and double-DIN. However, if it is a single-DIN you can only fit a single-DIN receiver. You’ll need to find out which size your car can fit in order to choose the right one.
For those who have cars that are newer than 10 years, your car may have multiple screens in different places on your dash. These screens could be controlled by different systems (and not just your audio). This could complicate your installation. In some cases, replacing your car stereo may even break functionality of the other screens on your dash. But for those who have cars 10 years or older and don’t have multiple screens with different systems powering them, your install and upgrade is pretty simple.
What makes the best Bluetooth car stereo?
In order to find the best car stereo, we’ve combined several reviews across the industry with first-hand tests. There are many criteria that we consider when rating and reviewing each car stereo. Including:
- Style (Looks, Design, Illumination)
- Display Type (LCD, Dotted, LCD Text, etc.)
- Features (Bluetooth, Smartphone Compatibility, Equalizer, etc)
- Power Ratings (Peak, RMS)
- Expandability (# of RCAs, XM/Sirius Read, Steering Wheel Control Ready, etc)
- Quality (Materials used, manufacturer, etc)
- Online Reviews (From multiple vendors such as Sonic Electronix, Crutchfield, Amazon and more)
The result from our combination of sources and testing is a list of the top rated and reviewed head units. And in addition to our list of best rated products, we provide a price comparisons from vendors to get you the best deal. But in the end, the best car stereo is one that meets your specific needs and is compatible with your car.
Top 5 best Bluetooth car stereos (Updated January 2017)
1. Pioneer DEH-4800BT Bluetooth car stereo
Current Lowest Price on Amazon UK: £129.99
What they say
You’ll get the most out of your music collection with the DEH-4800BT. Tune into the FM radio, listen to a CD or connect your smartphone (and other music devices) via the front USB or Aux-in. On top, you can make hands free telephone calls in high detail, thanks to the external microphone supplied with the product.
The stereo even allows you to connect up to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously! For those wanting extra Bluetooth features, you can also stream your favourite tracks wirelessly to enjoy crystal clear playback thanks to the Advanced Sound Retriever for Bluetooth.
The DEH-4800BT’s built-in amplifiers will deliver 4 x 50W of MOSFET power and premium quality audio. Want more power? Use the RCA pre-out to hook up a subwoofer or an extra amplifier for the speakers.
- CD and MP3 playback
- Front Aux & USB
- Built in Blutooth Handsfree and Audio Streaming
- iPhone & Android Control
- 1x RCA Pre-Out
2. Kenwood KMM-BT302 Bluetooth car stereo
Current Lowest Price on Amazon UK: Check on Amazon
- Built-in Bluetooth hands-free calling & music streaming
- HPF 1.6 high quality voice
- AVRCP 1.5 for music browsing
- 2 Phones full time connection
- iPod-iPhone music playback using white Apple USB lead
- Maximum 1.5Amp quick USB charging
- Illuminated front USB/AUX input
- Android Open Accessory support (AOA) for USB audio
- FLAC (48kHz/16 bit) playback
- USB Media playback: MP3/WMA/WAV/FLAC
- 13 Character clear LCD display (High contrast & wide viewing angle)
- Red illumination
- 13 Band EQ
- 1 Preout at 2.5V
3. Sony MEX-N4100BT CD/MP3 Bluetooth Car Stereo
Current Lowest Price on Amazon UK: £95.64
What they say
Sony MEX range bring the future to your finger tips with the latest Bluetooth software for both hands free telephone calling and Bluetooth audio transfer wirelessly with two way control. Front located USB and AUX input allows you to connect all devices or even charge your devices whilst on the move. Make a quick, one-touch connection via NFC to start streaming music instantly from selected smartphones through your receiver.
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free telephone calling
- Bluetooth audio transfer for mobile wireless media connection
- Front USB for external devices
- Front AUX input for external media devices
- Carbon effect finish
4. JVC KD-R981BT Bluetooth car stereo
Current Lowest Price on Amazon UK: £103.08
- Sound Lift
- Bluetooth Hands-Free Profile 1.6
- Bluetooth Automatic Pairing for iPhone & Android
- iPod/iPhone Music Playback
- Bluetooth AVRCP1.5 for Versatile Song Selection
- JVC Streaming D.J.
- Space Enhancement
- Sound Response
- K2 Technology
- Time Alignment
5. Alpine CDE-196DAB Bluetooth car stereo
Current Lowest Price on Amazon UK: £214.99
What they say
The CDE-196DAB combines all the cool features and functions such as opening message customisation, a 3-way crossover, professional sound equalisation and even digital time correction with a high quality DAB/DAB+ receiver featuring DAB-DAB following. Enjoy radio stations in CD quality.
It’s Steering Wheel Remote Control Ready for a perfect install in almost any vehicle. If your car is equipped with a start-stop engine, this Head Unit is even more interesting for you, since it will keep playing when your engine stops at a crossroad.
You can even adjust the button and display illumination colour separately with a stunning 150.000 colour variations.
- Bass adjustment
- Built-in display
- CD Text
- CD player
- CD-R playback
- CD-RW playback
- FM radio
- MP3 playback
- Pre out port
- Radio Data System (RDS)
- Ready for iPod
- Touch sensitive screen
- Treble adjustment