Are you looking to improve the sound quality? Are you looking to upgrade your car audio experience with the best aftermarket car stereos under $100? The problem with purchasing a car stereo is that it can feel like selecting a grain of rice out of a rice bowl. They all have the same appearance and appear to have the same attributes. To the untrained eye, this may be the case.
However, there are a few little details to consider if you want to prevent purchasing a terrible one. This review will focus on finding the best car stereo under 100. Don’t worry, even if you’re not paying a lot, you’ll get a good deal. Easy installation, decent sound quality, and modern features are all things to look for. But that’s just scraping the surface. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started.
Table of Contents
JVC KD-X260BT Digital Media Receiver
- JVC KD-X260BT in-dash car digital media Bluetooth receiver for iPhone/Android/USB
- JVC KD-X260BT in-dash receiver. Power output: . peak: 50 watts x 4 channels. Rms: 22 watts x 4 channels. Va LCD display. Spanish text display. MP3 ID3...
- Playback and audio features: MP3/WMA/WAV/FLAC playback via USB. Pandora/Spotify/iHeartRadio control via Bluetooth for Android devices. 13-Band Graphic...
JVC is an audio equipment manufacturer based in Japan. Its KD-X260BT is a terrific affordable vehicle radio tuner that won’t set you back more than $100. The JVC KD-most X260BT’s outstanding feature is its multi-device Bluetooth connectivity. Five Bluetooth devices can be connected to the stereo at the same time. To put it another way, everyone in the car can take turns blasting their favorite music without getting into a fight. Additionally, two phones can be connected to the double din stereo at the same time for audio streaming and hands-free calling. The JVC KD-X260BT has a quick and secure pairing process that allows you to receive calls on either phone with a single touch.
K2 Technology is another notable aspect of this low-cost one-din stereo. It’s a patented JVC technique that uses frequency range expansion to recreate the original master sound. For example, if a song’s digital file was recorded at 66 kHz, the KD-X260BT may increase it to 144 kHz for a superior sonic experience. We also chose this stereo because it has two more characteristics that are often found only in high-end automobile systems, namely space enhancement and time alignment. The KD-space X260BT’s enhancement feature allows you to modify the output of the two connected speakers to match the size of the vehicle/cabin.
Furthermore, the time alignment feature in this car stereo system allows you to establish a delay between the output of speakers located throughout the vehicle. You can use this function to ensure that all of the speakers’ combined sound reaches the listening position at the same time. The JVC KD-X260BT also has a Sound Response feature that boosts low frequencies that are lost in compressed AAC or MP3 files. You may also use the JVC Remote app on your phone to operate your audio quality. One thing to bear in mind is that it maintains track of your linked mobile phone connection and will not stream from it if the battery is below 40%. JVC KD-X260BT Digital Media Receiver is the best car stereo under $100.
Alpine UTE-73BT Advanced Bluetooth Mech-Less Digital Media Receiver
- Mach-less AM/FM tuner with RBDS information
- Flak/MP3/WMA audio file compatibility via USB
- Made for iPod and iPhone
Alpine is a Japanese electronics business best known for producing high-end automotive audio and navigation systems. The mech-free UTE-73BT is at the top of our list of the finest affordable car stereos for single Din installation. The stereo has been built to meet the needs of today’s user with features like hands free calling.
You can play music from a smartphone or a flash drive directly through the fm receiver audio. Alpine’s low-cost stereo works with both Apple Carplay and Android Auto operating system. You can play your cellphone music using bluetooth for hands free, pandora control, brightness control, car accessories or the Aux port on ordinary stereos. In the UTE-73BT, Alpine provides more than just these stock options.
For example, you can use an AOA (Android Open Accessory) 2.0 connection to play your playlist from an Android smartphone via a USB port. You can also use the KCU-445i converter to connect and play your iPhone and iPod to the stereo via the usb memory devices.
First and foremost, the UTE-73BT includes a noise-canceling microphone. Second, you can program the cd receiver to answer your phone automatically. Furthermore, the unit’s display screen shows caller ID, missed, dialed, and received calls so you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket while driving. Alpine UTE-73BT Advanced Bluetooth Mech-Less Digital Media Receiver is the best car stereo under $200.
- Built-in Bluetooth technology for hands-free talking and audio streaming
- MP3/WMA/AAC/WAV/FLAC playback via USB
- 3.5mm Front Auxiliary input | front USB Input
Pioneer is a Japanese company that focuses on producing top car stereo under $100. Another single Din stereo, the MVH-S320BT, is available for roughly $100. The stereo offers all of the capabilities you’d expect from a digital receiver.
With its powerful built-in Bluetooth, it offers wireless audio streaming and hands-free call handling. You may also use the USB port to connect your Android devices for a better listening experience. The Pioneer car stereo’s Smart Sync App, on the other hand, is the star of the show. It’s a next-generation app developed by Pioneer specifically for their stereo systems, allowing you smartphone integration to your car’s sound system wirelessly.
The Smart Sync not only gives you complete control over the receiver, but it also allows you to use Amazon’s Alexa. You can “ask” Alexa for news, tunes, or the weather forecast, and your request will be fulfilled by the Pioneer MVH-S320BT without you having to press a single button. Pioneer has a long history of producing high-quality DJ gear. The MIXTRAX feature in the MVH-S320BT vehicle audio provides a peek of Pioneer’s excellence in this area.
This car audio system feature might be referred to as a “virtual DJ.” When MIXTRAX mode is activated, the stereo automatically adds appropriate jumps, effects, and transitions to your playlists to create a club-like atmosphere within your car cabin. In MIXTRAX mode, the stereo additionally starts flashing dynamic, pulsating lights to enhance your experience more wholesome.
With all of these unique characteristics, we should point out that the Pioneer MVH-S320BT isn’t the best Pioneer sound device on the market. Some audiophiles may be disappointed by the sound quality of the audio technology. Nonetheless, it’s a terrific buy overall for steering wheel controls, thanks to its affordable pricing and all those appealing features. Pioneer MVH-S320BT is one of the best car stereos under $100.
Sony DSXA415BT Digital Media Receiver with Bluetooth & Satellite Radio
- Control with your voice: use voice commands to get directions, play music, and communicate with contacts when connected with your smartphone.
- Tap to connect wirelessly: NFC technology lets you connect your Bluetooth phone instantly, just by tapping it on the receiver's volume knob.
- Enjoy powerful sound: built-in 4x55 w amplification delivers clear audio playback and plenty of volume.
The Sony DSXA415BT is a beautifully sculpted single DIN unit that has all the world has to offer. Few other units can equal this unit’s degree of proficiency, which is packed with a slew of amazing features. It’s also worth noting that it’s around $100, making it quite affordable. This is a fairly versatile head unit, as you might imagine. Let’s start with its voice control capability, which is one of its most amazing features. This device lets you to control your music, send messages, and make phone calls without using your hands.
Voice control can save your life, especially if you want to keep your eyes on the road at all times. Bluetooth connectivity is quick and easy thanks to NFC technology. The device is also compatible with iOS and Android. In other words, when the time comes, your smartphone will certainly connect to the device. You may cycle through your favorite radio stations with an FM/AM tuner with 30 preset channels. A ten-band graphic equalizer allows you to tailor the sound synchronization to your preferences.
Its detachable faceplate makes it simple to keep inquisitive eyes away from it. It has an unmistakable aesthetic appeal because to the synchronized lights. Unfortunately, the LED lights are only available in black and white, so this one doesn’t provide much in the way of visual appeal. Sony DSXA415BT is one of the best budget car stereos under $100.
JENSEN MPR210 7 Character LCD Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver
- 7 CHARACTER HIGH RESOLUTION LCD – your high resolution 7 character LCD display provides you with a comfortable viewing experience while behind the...
- SIRI / GOOGLE VOICE ASSIST BUTTON – with the touch of a button you have the power to summon your favorite assistant (Siri or Google) and verbally...
- BUILT IN BLUETOOTH – your single DIN car stereo receiver will easily pair with the vast majority of Bluetooth devices allowing you to make and...
This is a low-cost single Din alternative that costs less than $50. It is, in fact, the most cost-effective car audio on our list. Let’s start with the JENSEN MPR210’s most noticeable feature: the Google/SIRI help button. You may summon the corresponding virtual voice assistants with the push of a button when linked to your smartphone. In other words, you can listen to music, listen to podcasts, and obtain directions without ever having to use your hands.
This budget car stereo system display is extremely appealing. This band equalizer receiver, unlike other low-cost single-din receivers with long but narrow displays, has a small and large 7-character LCD on one side. People in the backseat will be able to read the display thanks to the wide screen and few characters. Jensen’s affordable car radio system also includes some audio customizing options. You may alter the bass and treble of your soundtracks with a two-band tone control. Furthermore, you can set your stereo using one of four EQ curves: Rock, Jazz, Flat, or Pop, depending on the type of music being played.
Jensen’s J-link Smart Remote app may also be used to control the B08464VRML stereo. The software is completely free and allows you to control volume, EQ curve, tone control, subwoofer level control and other features directly from your smartphone. Jensen B08464VRML is a budget car stereo, thus it may not be the ideal choice for making and receiving calls. Many customers have expressed dissatisfaction with the device’s Bluetooth connectivity for incoming calls. Furthermore, it, like any other low-cost solution, does not support all music file formats. On this device, you can only listen to MP3 and WMA files. This is the best car stereo under $100.
BOSS Audio Systems BV9364B Car Stereo DVD Player
- Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no distractions. The external included microphone picks up your voice and the speakers let you...
- Push To Talk – You can connect with your Smartphone’s assistant with a push of a button. Linked via Bluetooth to your phone. This unit Lets you...
- Media Playback - Watch your choice of videos through the DVD player, play music through your Bluetooth device, pop in a CD or use the USB and SD ports...
Boss is no stranger to cutting-edge technology. It’s particularly good at making infotainment systems and automobile sound systems for regular drivers. You’ll receive a universal design with this device. On the one hand, it has that classic, retro vibe that most people enjoy. At the same time, it’s extremely durable and dependable. The ability to play CDs and DVDs is another noteworthy feature. Yes, you can just drop in one of your favorite discs and listen to it while driving.
This stereo comes with a three-year warranty from Boss Audio Systems. It only applies if the device is purchased from an online retailer. What about the drawbacks, you might wonder? During my assessment, I didn’t find any major flaws; my main gripe is with the touchscreen. It’s rather great, and it doesn’t take a long time to answer. Unfortunately, the low-quality surface quickly becomes overrun by smudges and fingerprints.
The BV9364B is, without a doubt, the best car stereo with CD player. It has a decent feature set, is simple to control through Bluetooth, and has a solid, long-lasting build. When you factor in the three-year warranty, it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. Unfortunately, the touchscreen is unprotected against fingerprints and smudges.
Kenwood KDC-168U In-Dash 1-DIN CD Car Stereo Receiver with Front USB Input
- 50W x 4 Channel Max
- 22W x 4 Channel RMS
- 1 set of 2.5V preamp outputs
The Kenwood KDC-168U is the best car head unit under $100, with simple front panel controls. As a result, you have complete control over the music, can choose your favorite tunes, and fine-tune your sound. Additionally, connect to the iPhone via the front-panel USB port for gps navigation. Play music on Pandora, iHeartRadio, and a variety of other apps.
The USB port can be used to connect your smartphone or flash drive. You can also listen to music from CDs. You can also listen to your favorite songs on AM/FM. The front auxiliary input options can be used to connect a high-resolution portable music player. This allows you to listen to your favorite song from your music library throughout the journey. Aside from that, the KDC-168U can play FLAC music that you’ve saved on a thumb drive.
The KDC-168U is a strong sound system that can deliver the high-quality loud sound you require. The sound is absolutely clear and distortion-free at all times. The 3-band EQ and bass boost are available. Built-in MOSFET amplifier with an RMS power of 22 watts and a peak output of 50 watts for four channels. Plays CDs, CD-RW discs, including discs with WMA and MP3 music files, and CD-R. It’s a great alternative for you because of the detachable face, 13-digit LCD, and color button illumination.
P.L.Z MP-800 Car Entertainment Multimedia System
- ✅Wireless Connectivity - Enjoy the convenience of a wire-free experience with our carplay unit that supports wireless Carplay and Android Auto....
- ✅DVR Loop Recording - The car display is equipped with front 2.5K car recorder and comes with a 1080P rear view camera, ensuring a clear view of...
- ✅64GB Micro SD Card Included - Our package includes a 64G SD card, so there's no need to purchase a separate one when using our carplay screen, as...
This P.L.Z model is all about providing a complete and well-rounded multimedia experience for your automobile at a reasonable price range. It’s well-made and comes with every function you could want. This is a double DIN car stereo with a 240 watt output power. If you ask us, that’s fairly powerful, and it should be enough to get your heart racing. Aside from the fantastic sound, there are a slew of other fun things to enjoy! You get certain must-have features like AUX input and USB support because it’s a complete multimedia solution.
You can listen to whatever music you choose with these. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, music streaming is also a possibility. For those of you who are curious, music apps are supported. If your car’s multimedia system is difficult to use and navigate, it isn’t worth it. While this may be true of other low-quality screen vehicle stereos on the market, this one impresses with its user interface.
The huge touchscreen makes it simple to navigate the entire system, and the user interface is very simple to use. The term that springs to mind is responsive. It sports a 7-inch LCD panel with ‘quick wake,’ according to P.L.Z. It basically ensures that your system is up and running in no time. You don’t have to wait minutes before you can start listening to your favorite music. It also works well with a variety of other devices. The receiver will quickly connect to any iOS or Android device, and you can also utilize the USB connector to expand the receiver’s capability.
If that weren’t enough, there’s also the option of mounting rear and front view camera input. That will also make your entire riding experience a lot safer. And, thanks to the big HD screen, navigating small spaces will be much easier.
Sound Storm Labs DDML28B Multimedia Car Stereo
- Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no distractions. The built-in microphone picks up your voice and your car speakers let you hear...
- Push To Talk – Connect to your Smartphone’s Android and IOS assistant with a push of a button via Bluetooth. This unit Lets you access...
- Media Playback – Pop in a CD, connect through your Bluetooth device or use the USB port for more audio alternatives. Tune into the AM/FM radio...
This one from Sound Storm has excellent connectivity and a large number of playback options. All of the standard features, such as Bluetooth and USB, are included. Connect your device quickly and easily to listen to music.
Hands-free calls can be made via a Bluetooth connection. Radio is also supported. That’s ideal for times you just want to listen to something different from what’s on your playlist. For example, its maximum power rating is 800 Watts x 4. When paired with a pair of loud speakers, this head unit has the potential to blow the roof off your cabin.
Its Bluetooth is effective and does not cause any inconvenience when in use. The touchscreen display allows for both hands-free calling and audio streaming once connected. You now have access to an infinite number of audio files. Its preset EQ allows you to tailor the sound environment to your preferences. With USB and AUX connections, you can access your phone’s audio while also charging it as necessary. This head unit’s theft deterrent is a detachable face-plate, which provides excellent peace of mind to owners who leave their vehicle parked in the open.
CDs, USB, MP3, WMA, and AM/FM radio are all supported with the DDML28B. This opens up a lot of possibilities in terms of what you can do with it. It also comes with a wireless remote and an MP3 ID3 tag display for easy navigation. Oh, and music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify are all enabled, which means you’ll have access to even more tunes. Overall, the sound quality was adequate but not exceptional. You won’t be disappointed, but you won’t be blown away either.
However, adding a subwoofer to the mix will make it sound lot better. When you do that, you’ll be able to hear deeper low notes and your whole music listening experience will vastly improve.
Pyle PLTS78DUB Single DIN Stereo Receiver
- 7” TOUCHSCREEN MONITOR: This car entertainment system features a touchscreen, multi color LCD display to make watching videos & listening to music...
- HANDS FREE OPERATION: This stereo features Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming. It also has hands free call answering ability along...
- SMART DEVICE COMPATIBILITY: The in dash car deck console unit allows you to connect various devices such as iPhone, Android mobile, tablet, MP3, MP4,...
With a maximum output of 320 watts, this head unit receiver will turn any monotonous road trip into a party. And who doesn’t enjoy a good party? Its musical powers aren’t limited to that. No way!
When you feel like it, you can also listen to FM/AM radio. Did we mention there was also a CD/DVD player input? It does, after all. You can also listen to music from your Android or iOS device via a seamless connection. It can play MP3, MP4, and MP5 files. As a result, compatibility is not an issue. Furthermore, there are AUX and RCA inputs, which is much better. The huge touchscreen and wireless remote control are also appealing features.
The only little issue we have is with the user interface. It’s not horrible by any means, but it’s not as user-friendly as some of the others we’ve seen. The icons appear to be outdated, and navigating could have been made more straightforward. Nonetheless, it’s only a little annoyance. The rest of the game’s excellent features easily compensate for the UI. If you’re seeking for the best car stereo under $100 or a little more, this one is worth considering. Keep in mind that this is a single DIN model flip out screen head unit.
ATOTO F7 CarPlay & Android Auto Double Din Car Stereo Receiver
- F7 double din car stereo Built-in CarPlay & Android Auto controlled via the USB seamlessly integrate the phone with the F7's built-in display. You can...
- Easy Operation. When the phone is connected to F7 car stereo via USB, the system will automatically detect and run either Android Auto or CarPlay...
- F7 SE version applies 178°full-viewing angle IPS display screen, which helps improve the viewing experience in strong daylight, and important tips...
With the F7 budget head unit, ATOTO has knocked it out of the park. Despite being a low-cost double-din head unit, the F7 is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatible. The ATOTO F7’s Android Auto or CarPlay connection is simple, as the machine automatically selects one of the two phone operating systems. The “Android Auto” and “CarPlay” buttons on the audio do not need to be pressed manually.
ATOTO F7 is a mechless stereo system with several inputs, just like any other modern head unit at this price point. Bluetooth, USB, and an AUX wire are all options for connecting your input device. You may also link the F7’s display to a front and rearward (HD 720P video quality) camera connection. You can always play your favourite media in the car thanks to the many input possibilities.
The ATOTO F7 also has an AutoLink feature that allows you to reflect your phone screen on the audio. This is useful if you wish to utilise or cast an app on the stereo that isn’t supported by CarPlay or Android Auto, such as Google Maps or Youtube.
Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Car Stereos Under $100
An excellent car stereo enhances your driving experience by providing high-quality audio entertainment. Even if you’re on a budget, you can find a range of car stereos under $100 that offer impressive features and sound quality. This guide will help you make an informed choice.
The foremost factor to consider when buying a car stereo is the sound quality. Look for a stereo with a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The higher the SNR, the less background noise you’ll hear. Also, a stereo with a wide frequency response will be able to accurately reproduce a broad range of sound frequencies.
Think about the types of media you want to play in your car. Modern car stereos support a variety of formats:
Bluetooth: This allows you to stream music wirelessly from your smartphone or other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
USB and AUX Inputs: These ports let you connect your devices directly to the stereo.
CD/DVD Player: If you still have a collection of CDs or DVDs, you might want a stereo that can play them.
AM/FM Radio: Almost all car stereos include a radio tuner, but some also offer HD Radio or satellite radio capabilities.
The user interface should be intuitive and easy to use while driving. Look for a stereo with large, clearly labeled buttons and a bright, easy-to-read display. If you prefer touchscreens, ensure they are responsive and have a clear layout.
The power output of the stereo is measured in watts per channel. If you’re not planning to add an external amplifier, you’ll want a stereo with sufficient power to drive your speakers. Look for the RMS power rating, which indicates the continuous power output of the stereo.
If you plan to upgrade your car audio system in the future, look for a stereo with preamp outputs. This will allow you to add an external amplifier or a subwoofer later.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who makes the best car stereo under $100
Any of the ones from our list are among the best car stereo brands. These included JVC, Sony, Pioneer, Jensen, Alpine, etc.
Is a good car stereo worth it?
It most certainly is! A good car radio will not only make your life easier with its connectivity and smart capabilities, but it will also make music listening more joyful.
Are car stereos easy to install?
Even if you don’t have any mechanical or engineering expertise, installing an aftermarket car radio system won’t take much time or effort. The majority of modern brands have implemented Plug-and-Play technology to make their products ubiquitous (not car-specific). Furthermore, they include extensive, step-by-step directions. The most difficult part is removing the dashboard trim; take care not to damage anything and replace everything correctly.
To avoid shorting the wires, unplug the negative connection on the battery. On the subject of cables, they are notoriously faulty on low-cost radios. As a result, you may wish to consider purchasing a third-party wire harness. I should also warn that expert installation can cost up to $100 or more for a new car stereo. As a result, if you do it yourself, you’ll be able to save a lot of money.
Can you put a touch screen radio in an older car?
To charge it, all you’ll need is a working battery and enough space on your dashboard. When it comes to aftermarket automobile stereos, there are some requirements, as I explained in my response to the prior question. Even if you have an extremely ancient vehicle, there should be no issues with fitment or compatibility. However, this is only true for single-DIN systems. Double-DIN stereos typically take up more room and are more difficult to install.
Can I find a good quality car stereo under $100?
Yes, there are many car stereos available under $100 that offer good sound quality and useful features. While these may not have all the features of higher-end models, they can provide a significant upgrade over factory-installed car stereos.
What features can I expect in a car stereo under $100?
Even at under $100, you can find car stereos with Bluetooth connectivity, USB and AUX inputs, AM/FM radio, and CD/DVD players. Some models may also offer touchscreen displays, HD Radio, and compatibility with digital assistants.
Does a higher price always mean better sound quality?
Not necessarily. While higher-priced car stereos often offer more features and better build quality, you can find budget-friendly models that provide excellent sound quality. It’s important to read reviews and check the specifications to ensure the stereo meets your sound quality expectations.
Can I install a new car stereo myself?
If you’re comfortable with basic car maintenance tasks, you may be able to install a new car stereo yourself. However, if the installation process involves complex wiring or modifications to your car’s dashboard, it might be better to have the stereo professionally installed.
Can a new car stereo connect with my smartphone?
Many modern car stereos, even budget-friendly models, offer Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to pair your smartphone with the stereo to stream music, handle phone calls, and even use certain apps through the stereo’s interface. Some models may also offer compatibility with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.