10 Best Car Radios: Reviews and Buying Guide

The music has been playing a big role in the car for decades. And not only that, because of no matter if hourly news, exciting reports or special breaking news – the car radio maintains and informs the motorist at international, national and local level hourly or even every minute about all important things. For example, traffic jams are fundamental for professional drivers or commuters who drive a long way to work each day. Even holiday travelers on the highway turn on the car radio not only because of the traffic jam reports but also because of the variety of music that some broadcasters offer.

Today, about 85 percent of all new cars are equipped with a car radio, be it a DVD car radio or a CD car radio. With the used cars the value is even higher with 86 percent. But even the car radios have not got past the digital transformation. So many new car radios can be connected to the smartphone to listen to their own music. In addition, in many cases, there is a USB interface. In addition to FM, there are radios that support the digital radio DAB +. If you are about to buy a car radio, you are spoiled for choice on the market.

Top 10 Car Radios

Buying a Car Radio: What You Need to Consider

Honestly, what would cars be without car radios? The car rides would not be the same, whether they are professional or private. However, you can no longer compare today’s car radios with those ten or fifteen or even twenty years ago. Most manufacturers have adapted to the digital age and thus to the increased demands of their customers and developed devices such as DVD car radios, which among other things can not only play and store radio stations but connect to the handset of the listener and the music in all play possible formats.

Even USB and micro SD card slots are now standard on higher priced CD car radios or DVD car radios. In addition, you can use an app from the phone or with an external remote control. But most importantly: since most car radios have a Bluetooth function, motorists can use their mobile phones and radio to make free calls. So they have both hands on the steering wheel and are thus safer on the roads.

Interfaces for the connections must be available

For long car rides most drivers do not want to give up their music. In many cases, they then play their MP3s from their mobile phone or tablet or with a slightly more old-fashioned MP3 player. If you want to play your audio files via the car radio, you should pay attention to the line-in input or a USB interface when purchasing. Also, if you have stored audio files on a Micro SD card and want to play the music over the radio now, the card slot must be present on the front of the radio. But what is radio without sound? Similar to a face without a nose. For this reason, you should make sure that the radio has the interfaces for speakers and subwoofer available. As a rule, the sound system in the car is connected to the car radio via cinch cable. These are the necessary interfaces to get music into your car. In addition, when buying a car radio, you should pay attention to the remote cable that is usually plugged into the ISO connector. Remote allows you to operate the radio from your mobile phone.

Advantages and disadvantages when installing a subwoofer

The fact is: a subwoofer is a fine thing. If you like the perfect sound and rich bass, you should not miss it when driving. But with all the advantages that a subwoofer offers, there are also disadvantages.

Radio control via an app

As you have noticed from the product descriptions, many manufacturers supply the car radio with an app. If you download the application from the AppStore or the Google PlayStore, you can conveniently control the radio from the phone. So you can not only play the music from your mobile phone through the app, but also use the hands-free function of the radio to control the individual stored stations and play and set FM, MW, and LW.

Radio as an amplifier

Car radios will not be new to you. So you also know that the radios are intended as an amplifier for the normal speakers, which are usually installed in the doors. If you install the radio in your car, you must make sure that the amplifier is suitable for the speakers, just as with the subwoofer. Usually, the radio manufacturers indicate the respective output power of the radio at the products. These are indicated in the individual product descriptions for the car radios. In general, the manufacturer indicates the power 4 x 50 watts. But it can also be 60 watts. This varies from radio to radio and ultimately settles in the price. Depending on how many speakers are present in the car, normally up to four speakers can be connected to the radio.

Big display to choose for sight problems

Optically, car radios are defined via the display. The larger this is, the more noticeable the radio in the cockpit of the car and upgrades it accordingly. If you are about to buy a car radio, the design should not come first. Rather, you should know that the display represents the media center of the car and can be operated accordingly. If you have difficulty seeing or wearing glasses, you should opt for a model with a large letter otherwise you may lose important information such as station memory, remote control or even setting the clock. Large letters also have the advantage that you can recognize what is happening on your car radio while driving. Of course, manufacturers also offer models with small letters. However, you should keep in mind that just small letters can divert attention from the traffic and thus your safety is at risk. Anyone who also carries his entire music collection in the car radio needs a display that has enough lines in the display scrolling through the playlist will not be a nuisance to the driver or front passenger. In addition, the manufacturers also offer a touch screen display in addition to the LC display, which is the more comfortable version of the display. In addition, a touchscreen gives you quick access to the information you want to receive from the radio.

Installation of the car radio

As you can see in the individual product descriptions, the delivery kits of the radios include assembly material as well as a generally German user manual. If you are a hobby handyman, hobbyist or inventor anyway, who is also familiar with electrical, you can install the radio alone. Those of you who are not well versed in electricity should always keep your hands off installing the radio, otherwise, there will be an undesirable short circuit and the unit will break. Instead, go to a specialist and have it installed by him. Usually, this service is provided by any car repair shop in your area.

Do not pay too much attention to the price

If you are interested in a new multimedia car radio, you will notice the different prices. However, if you opt for a cheap model, it could be that the radio does not fit in your car since inexpensive models are sometimes poorly processed and not in accordance with the DIN standard. In addition, it can happen to you with a cheap model that you receive bad reception and you often struggle with noise and disconnects. In addition, the cheaper car radios do not have technical specifications, such as Bluetooth and speakerphone. So you should not pay too much attention to the price of the car radio. Nevertheless, you should make no hasty decisions when choosing a radio. Rather, you should consider in the run-up to the purchase, which claims you make to the car radio and what it must do in your eyes.

1DIN and 2DIN car radios

If you are interested in car radios from different manufacturers, you will find that there are models with different standards. Thus older cars, in particular, have a radio shaft with the standardized size 1DIN. They are 182 millimeters wide and 52 millimeters high. Many newer cars, on the other hand, are equipped with a 2DIN, which is also called a double Din radio slot. In this slot, either 1DIN radios or 2DIN models can be installed. In addition, it is recommended to pay attention to the depth of the radio, as car radios differ greatly in terms of depth despite the standard.

Pay attention to anti-theft protection when buying

When you buy a multimedia car radio, in most cases it is not thought that it might be stolen. For this reason, you should always pay attention to whether the model has theft protection when buying a car radio . Especially with a higher-priced model should not be waived. There are two systems for theft protection that can be used.

  1. System 1 is a code lock that automatically becomes active when the car radio is disconnected from the mains. If you then enter the code again correctly, the radio can be unlocked and used.
  2. In system 2, the control panel is simply removed from the car radio. It has the disadvantage that it has to be removed and replaced every time
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