The best car stereo with Bluetooth connection will really elevate not only the quality of your sound system, but make your life that much easier. If you’re like us being constantly in and out of the car, you don’t realize how amazing wireless connectivity to your stereo can be until you really try it. It’s quite pesky having to plug-in our smart devices and other audio players to the 3.5mm or USB cable every time we start or end our drive (sounds a bit spoiled, but what do you expect from us?). Although our best car stereo receiver guide had quite a few Bluetooth models in there as well, today we decided to really dial in on this special type of model. Here’s what we found and how you can choose the best for you.
Choosing the best car stereo receiver with Bluetooth
- Budget range – We wouldn’t consider Bluetooth car stereos cheap; however, there’s a pretty big range when it comes to those on the higher-end or considered budget-friendly. The following factors after this one may help you choose how much cash you’ll end up dropping (or saving to wait on buying). Do you want a stereo loaded with extra features? Or a stereo with Bluetooth only to play music without any bells and whistles? Something in the middle?
- Double or Single DIN? As always with car stereos — make sure it fits! We know some models that are compatible with both (that may require some tinkering around), while others only single-DIN. Double check before you buy! This article about 2-DIN and single-DIN will help explain further.
- Additional features – This really sets others apart. Since all of these pass our requirements for Bluetooth compatibility, you’re good to go regardless of which route you choose. However, there are some pretty nifty features a few of these come with: color illumination, equalizer, playback modes, Siri compatibility, applications, DVD playing, additional USB and AUX outputs (great for charging), Pandora and Spotify incorporation, and more. We’ll list the highlights of each stereo.
- Other car audio gear needed – Do you already have your car amplifier or car subwoofer? How about your car speakers? Read our guides after if you need those as well, or if you’ve already chosen yours, make sure the Bluetooth stereo you choose here is compatible with what your setup already consists of.
The best Bluetooth car stereos
Kenwood KDC-X998 Excelon
This model by Kenwood is by far one of the best Bluetooth car stereo receivers in the market with some nice additional technical features. This is listed first since it doesn’t come with a ton of bells and whistles (if that’s what you’re looking for feel free to keep reading), has a solid build to last you a while in terms of investment, and is located within the middle price-point if you wanted something affordable. Let’s mention just a few that every car stereo fan looks for: HD radio, dual USB interface and front AUX, memory function for stations, built-in MOSFET amp (22 watts RMS – four channels), digital clock, etc. The KDC-X998 also comes with a convenient ‘Theft Deterrent Faceplate’ that makes it less noticeable when offline and when turned on, it illuminates in a color of your choice. You can choose from among several sound options for a bit more of a custom feel: Sound Elevation, DTA, Highway Sound, etc. With the Kenwood Excelon KDC-X998, you can also use the Bluetooth for some hands-free calling, built-in automatic iPhone pairing with ‘Siri Eyes Free‘, and it plays different types of music files if you have a CD-R or CD-RW, such as MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, which lets you listen to a wide variety of music sources if you don’t use a smart device. This thing is solid for somebody who wanted a reliable Bluetooth car stereo that doesn’t cost too much money or have extra features you may not need.
Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120
Up next, we have a bit of an upgrade when it comes to the best Bluetooth car stereo out right now. Although more expensive than our previous pick, this is especially great for those looking to grab a higher-end, double DIN and touch-screen car stereo receiver. Firstly, it is equipped with Apple CarPlay, which is a unique graphic user interface that allows easy usage of your favorite applications as well as overall control of the stereo while you drive. There is also an AUX input and two USB inputs as well as three outputs: front, back and a subwoofer, for great sound quality and bass. As stated previously, this stereo comes with a convenient large touchscreen (6.2″), which makes control and usage a piece of cake – great for easy access to favorite music, navigation, messages, as well as online music. There’s lastly 50 maximum watts of power, MIXTRAX audio and visual effects, a 5-band equalizer with 7 preset EQ curves, low and high-pass filters, some voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free (like the previous model as well). Some may say they’re not into the touchscreen and apps, while others can’t live without the extra features. The Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 is an innovative car stereo with Bluetooth if it appeals to you and fits within your budget range.
Here’s another great model for those on the lower-end of the budget range. This car stereo uses both Bluetooth and NFC for online connection and listening of your favorite music. Considering the price, the sound is pretty solid as assured to the band EQ, 3 sets of 2V outputs, ‘Listener Position calibration’, and low and high pass filter crossovers. The stereo is controlled remotely and the face plate comes with several color illumination options which is always a plus to match our needs. Control of your favorite online radio stations can be handled through iPhone, Android or any other Bluetooth device you have. Music can be searched easily and quickly by the artist name, song, album or playlist (although we still prefer to use our phone to navigate through iTunes, Spotify and Pandora). As you can see, nothing too crazy in terms of additional features, but you’re getting what you pay for — a stereo that’ll play your tunes and phone calls wirelessly. If you are looking for the best budget-friendly car stereo receiver with Bluetooth connectivity, check out the Sony MEX-N5000BT.
Sound Storm DD889B
With its large and easy-to use-touchscreen (7″), the DD889B is highly rated, especially due to the price-point. You won’t be getting quite the build of a Pioneer or Sony, but if you were in the mood for convenience and a 2-DIN stereo, here’s a great pick. You have a detachable front panel, DVD player, front and sub pre amp outputs, 85 Watts x 4 Max Power, wireless remote, RDS Tuner, Balance\Bass\Fader\Treble as well as AUX input with the option to listen to a variety of music formats if you don’t always use your smart device via Bluetooth (such as CD, DVD, MP3, WMA, classic radio and online radio). It’s compatible with different mobile devices and equipped not just to play music and enable calls but also to allow usage of apps such as Pandora or Spotify. The built-in Preset EQ enables you to choose from among different music styles if you’re into that sort of thing. If you’re in the mood for something fancy and one you can touch that isn’t as expensive as the others in this category, the Sound Storm DD889B can definitely be added the list of the best Bluetooth car stereo receiver candidates
Here’s an even lower budget-friendly car stereo to pick. Thanks to the built-in Bluetooth, you’re good to go in terms of our need for an absence of wire, while at the same time being able to listen to classic AM/FM radio, or MP3, WMA. The MVH-X370BT comes with option for direct control from your iPhone or iPod if you aren’t feeling the Bluetooth which will at the same time conveniently charge your mobile device (we use this with all of our car stereos from time to time, it never hurts). You can also enjoy in hands-free calls thanks to the Bluetooth; built-in external mic enables you to hear the caller through the car’s speakers. There’s also Pandora (both iPhone and Android), access and control of your music straight on the receiver itself, as well as a 10-level brightness control and timer feature. There is additionally a double phone connection which will enable two phones to be paired and added to the system so two persons can call at the same time (not sure if you’d ever use this, however?). The Pioneer MVH-X370BT is another model that comes up time and time again in these best Bluetooth car stereo articles, mainly due to the awesome sound quality, Pioneer build, as well as affordability. Just note it doesn’t play CD’s (which some could care less about and actually prefer).
Aside from the necessary Bluetooth to listen to streaming music or take hands-free calls, there is also a microphone that will allow you to listen to a caller on the car’s speakers. Alpine’s single-DIN stereo has a display that’s red-illuminated and easy to read and the AUX input is located on the front panel so it is easily accessible if you ever need it. The CDE-143BT also comes with one front USB and two outputs for pre-amp to give you a few more connectivity options. It is compatible with both iPhone and iPod and can serve as a phone charger as well. The built-in MOSFET amp has 18 watts RMS with 4 channels, so it isn’t the loudest out there but we know many who are looking for a simple, not too expensive solution like this one. All in all, it is definitely one of the best car stereo with Bluetooth options if you’re on a strict budget. The Alpine CDE-143BT is yet another highly rated car stereo by a great brand. They really know their car audio gear.
Here’s another single-DIN Sony MEX-series car stereo with Bluetooth to check out. As compared to the others, there’s not much that stands out and the only reason we’d say to grab this is if the previous picks weren’t your style or you preferred a Sony stereo within this price-point (around the middle). It has our needed Bluetooth feature as well as a built-in microphone to call transfer on the speakers as well, so the music will mute and you will be able to listen to the person(s) on the speakers loud and clear. There’s also one-touch NDF connection, an app remote with voice control (for smartphones), some iTunes tagging, SiriusXM connector ready (if you use it), and some super easy pairing with your devices using the BT. Like the others, there is also a USB port that will enable you to listen to other music formats (MP3, CD, WAV or just a classic FM/AM radio tuner). The Sony MEX-GS810BH has been around for a while now and has a great reputation for its longevity.
This single-DIN stereo by Pioneer is one of the cheapest available, so if you were concerned with price, here’s a pick for you. Although a low price-tag, you’ll at least get a few features that may peak your interest. Aside from our beloved BT, it’s equipped with unique ‘MIXTRAX technology‘ that delivers some special DJ-like sound quality in your car (it’s not as powerful or clear as some other expensive models out there, but it has its own signature to it). With two USB inputs and automatic USB switching option (it means that when your phone is connected to the stereo, you can easily choose whether you are going to use it as a music source or as a phone – or you can just charge it), you’re getting a few other options to mess around with. The Pioneer DEH-X6800BT is surely one of the best car stereo receiver with Bluetooth if you wanted a very cheap solution. The reviews are pretty high.
Yes, we were surprised JVC was listed a bit later in our list as well. However, we still wouldn’t write this one off based on its position. Equipped with our needed Bluetooth that will offer music streaming and hands-free calling, this car stereo also combines some functionality and aesthetics – it is equipped with front plate illumination you can customize that will enable you to choose whichever color you want and it has some pretty clear CD sound quality on top of it all. It is equipped with USB input for mobile charging and MP3 music listening. The EQ combined together with a built-in MOSFET amplifier allows the user to change the music settings/styles and adds definite richness to the sound quality in your car. The provided USB 1A connection helps you to get some extra power for the charging function (we use this at least once a week). Although you can tell it isn’t easy to say which option is the best Bluetooth car stereo receiver, the JVC KD-AR959BS is definitely a strong candidate if you’re a fan of the brand.
Top cap off our best-of guide, we have yet another one of the capable Pioneer car stereos, and this one lands within the middle-price point if you still weren’t happy with our 2-DIN stereos listed thus far. This is an excellent Bluetooth car receiver with a DVD receiver, 6.2″ display (WVGA Touchscreen with an LED backlight), 5-band equalizer (graphic), and can also play MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, WMA, AAC, WAV, AVI. The face isn’t detachable and the buttons on your steering wheel won’t always work, so keep that in mind. The USB port will give added modes for music listening as well as the option for cell phone charging. You can also let the passengers watch a movie in the back seat if you have rear seat screens to shorten a long ride. Its strong MOSFET amplifier will deliver powerful sound of excellent quality. The Pioneer AVH-280BT is definitely a contender for the title of best car stereo receiver with Bluetooth if the last 9 weren’t catching your eye.