In the past, car stereos have been a simple afterthought for many drivers. Nowadays, cars are equipped with an abundance of technology.
In addition to entertainment and navigation systems, drivers now expect their cars to sound as good as they look! They desire to own a durable car stereo, has many functions, and has great sound quality. Such car stereos often come at an expensive price. However, some will give you a balance between features and affordability.
If you are searching for the best cheap car stereo to buy, you have come to the right place. This well-detailed review covers seven single DIN and seven double DIN car stereos under $50, $100, $150, $200, $300, $500, and $1000 budget range!
We also included some helpful buying advice to help you figure out your optimal budget for a quality head unit! Our objective is to help you find your perfect match based on what matters most to you: functionality and affordability!
Top 14 Best Car Stereos For All Budget Range:
1. Under $50: JENSEN MPR210 Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver
The Jensen MPR210 multimedia stereo receiver is one of the cheapest car stereos you can get below $50. This is because it features a lot of audio technology that other audio stereos in its price range lack. Plus, it has a quality sound.
This gadget has a high-performance 7-character LCD that gives a premium viewing experience, granting you quick access to your favorite presets/apps. The display is responsive and user-friendly.
Furthermore, the Jensen MPR210 multimedia stereo receiver has a Bluetooth system that connects to virtually all smartphones, allowing you to make calls hands-free. It has a J-link smart remote app available on the play store and apple store that pairs with the receiver via Bluetooth for controlling all its functions. Plus, a touch button that allows you to call (Siri or Google) and offers commands such as playing music, podcasts, and navigation.
The Jensen MPR210 also includes an AM/FM tuner with 30 station presets, plus an auxiliary input and USB port for your favorite music and to change your device. You can customize it to your music taste with its 2 band tone control (bass/treble) and 4 preset EQ curves (Pop Jazz Rock & Flat).
With its superior performance, the Jensen MPR210 will please any car owner looking for a new stereo system! Thanks to its compact design (2.3” mount design) and the included harness, it is easy to install into most cars that support single DIN stereos. However, the harness quality isn’t up to par. So, we’ll advise buying a quality one. Jensen has a one-year warranty on it to boost buyers’ confidence in its quality.
- This audio system has awesome features and quality sound for its price.
- It has an app that allows you to pair your device with it to control all its functions from the palm of your hand.
- The manufacturer, Jensen, has a year warranty on it.
- You can connect your phone to it via Bluetooth for hands-free calling.
- It is compact and easy to install on any single DIN dashboard.
- The harness this car stereo comes with isn’t up to standard, so you would need to replace it.
2. Under $50: Jensen MPR420 Double DIN Car Stereo Receiver
For those looking for a quality double-DIN car stereo receiver below $50, Jensen also got you covered. This Jensen MPR420 has the same features as the model MPR210 reviewed above, but it is for double DIN cars. It is perfect for car owners who want to stay on budget and yet not sacrifice the sound quality of their music.
This car stereo has many features, such as a built-in HD radio tuner and Bluetooth technology with its J-link App. With this app, you can wirelessly stream your favorite Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, NPR news, and Audible books playlists from your Apple or Android smartphone. The Bluetooth connectivity also allows you to make hands-free calls when driving. In addition, its push-to-talk button makes it simple to give orders to smartphone assistants like Google, Siri, and Alexa.
This car stereo high-resolution 7-character LCD is incredibly responsive and delivers a comfortable in-car viewing experience. It includes an AM/FM antenna input with 4 presets, EQ curves, USB input, and Auxiliary input for other media player devices like iPod Nano or MP3. However, the AM/FM sound cuts in and out often.
The Jensen MPR420 car radio was chosen as our best double DIN under $50 car stereo because of its many features. Plus, it has a low amp draw. Jensen also has a one-year warranty on it, so you can rest assured that you’re investing in a quality audio system.
- It is sleek and easy to install on any double DIN dashboard.
- Jensen has a one-year warranty on it.
- It features Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to make calls hands-free and pair with smartphones to stream audio.
- It uses a small amount of electricity.
- The AM/FM sound cuts in and out often.
3. 1-DIN Under $100: Sony DSX A415BT Digital Media Receiver
The Sony DSX A415BT digital media receiver is a powerful under $100 single DIN car stereo system that will revolutionize how you listen to music while driving. It has many great features, including Bluetooth connectivity, which allows for a hands-free conversation on your phone. This feature makes driving safer while also enjoying endless entertainment. Hands down, it is the best single DIN car audio you can get for less than $100 because of its power-packed features and durability.
With this car stereo equipped in your car, you can use it to make hands-free calls while driving with its built-in microphone. It also provides high-quality sound for you to enjoy listening to your favorite music from devices such as iPod/iPhone or Android smartphones when going on long drives. You can adjust the volume from -6dB to +6dB to suit your preference.
When you link the gadget to your smartphone, you can use voice commands to receive navigation, play music, and communicate with contacts. If your smartphone is an Apple device, you can access Siri Eyes Free and have it do your bidding. Likewise, if it’s an Andriod device, you can call on google assistant to play music, navigate, send messages, and more.
One downside to this car stereo is that its interface is a bit hard to use. Also, installation isn’t as straightforward as it should be.
- It produces powerful sound with its built-in 4 x 55 w amplification.
- You can adjust the volume from -6dB to +6dB.
- This car stereo is very durable and power-packed with essential features.
- It connects to both apple and android devices and supports voice commands.
- It has a hard-to-use interface.
4. 2-DIN Under $100: AboutBit CA-70BT Digital Media Car Stereo Receiver
Car owners who need a cheap double DIN car stereo should consider getting this Aboutbit 7” digital media car stereo receiver. The best budget touch screen car stereo is available for less than $100, which is a great deal considering that it comes with Bluetooth 4.0, a GPS Navigation system, rear/front view camera support, phone mirror link, remote, and many other useful features. It even supports 1920 X 1080P HD video playback!
The Bluetooth technology in the AboutBit 7″ digital media vehicle radio receiver allows you to stream music from your smartphone and make hands-free calls. With this car stereo installed in your vehicle, you’ll enjoy a wide range of audio options from either connecting your smartphone to the auxiliary input/Bluetooth, its in-built radio, or its USB port for connecting an MP5 player. Its sound quality is also top-notch.
The AboutBit 7″ digital media vehicle radio receiver also features a 7” capacitive touch screen with a colorful, clear, and bright LCD for you to have an amazing in-car experience. This screen cooperates with an installed rear camera to show you feed when reversing or parking. If you don’t have a rear camera installed, don’t worry because it comes with one!
Be informed that the installation of the audio system is not straightforward, and the provided instructions are limited. It’s either you are handy or get a professional to install it for you. Also, there’s no wire harness included in the package for the unit and the rear camera. So, you’ll need to buy wire harnesses compatible with the unit and your car.
- This car stereo 7” touch screen has a colorful, clear, and bright LCD.
- It supports a lot of audio formats.
- AboutBit included a rear camera in its packaging that works with this audio system to display feeds on its screen when reversing.
- For the price of this audio system, you can’t beat it.
- It features Bluetooth 4.0, a GPS Navigation system, phone mirror link, remote controller, etc.
- It doesn’t come with a harness for the unit and the rear camera.
- Installation isn’t straightforward.
- It will stop working if you update the firmware.
5. 1-DIN Under $150: Alpine UTE-73BT Mech-Less Digital Media Receiver
If you want a car stereo less than $150 that can play your favorite music, connect to all of your devices, and fit into a single DIN spot in your vehicle’s dashboard, the Alpine UTE-73BT mech-less digital media receiver is a great option. This budget stereo receiver is Mech-less and can play MP3s from USB sticks or SD cards. Its music quality is top-notch thanks to the built-in 24-Bit DAC.
This audio device comes equipped with Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to wirelessly stream music from your smartphone and receive quality hands-free phone calls. Its USB port has a 5V/1A output for charging devices. Other great features include an in-built microphone, Pandora control, HD radio tuner, and steering wheel control (for cars with factory Bluetooth steering wheel controls). All of these features are packed into one compact unit below $150!
The installation of this Alpine UTE-73BT mech-less digital media receiver is easy. While it may not be as flashy as its higher-end counterparts, this digital media receiver provides everything you need at a fraction of the price.
- This car stereo sound is excellent.
- It offers good value for money.
- Its Bluetooth connectivity works well and fast.
- It doesn’t last for years.
6. 2-DIN Under $150: BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car DVD Player
BOSS Audio Systems is a leading manufacturer of car audio equipment. Their BV9358B car DVD player stereo is our best budget double DIN car stereo under $150 because it includes many functions that aren’t available on other systems in this price range.
Its touch screen control, 6.2” TFT LCD monitor with 800 x 480 resolution, Bluetooth connectivity with hands-free calling & A2DP music streaming from apps like Spotify/Pandora wirelessly, built-in GPS navigation, USB input for iPod/iPhone, SD card port, and remote controller, make it worth every penny spent.
This budget car stereo has 3 sets of RCA pre-outs to hook up your speakers with front and rear A/V inputs. It also has a rearview camera input that connects to your factory reverse camera or other compatible video devices for added safety when reversing.
You can use the DVD player in this vehicle stereo to play your favorite movies or use the USB/SD ports for more audio options. You can also listen to current music, news, and sports on its various AM/FM radio stations. If your vehicle supports steering wheel connectivity, you can connect it to the stereo to use its steering wheel interface via metra ASWC-1 (sold separately).
- This car stereo has a DVD player.
- It produces quality sound.
- You have different options to play music.
- It comes with many RCA input and output ports.
- The touch screen lags.
7. 1-DIN Under $200: Kenwood KMM-BT728HD Bluetooth Digital Media Receiver
When it comes to finding the best budget single DIN car stereo under $200, you can’t go wrong with Kenwood’s KMM-BT728HD. This Bluetooth digital media receiver will make your drive more enjoyable while saving you money. It features a Bluetooth system (V4.2) that allows you to connect two phones simultaneously.
Its built-in HD radio tuning means no more tuning in manually for FM stations. And its AM/FM tuner offers RDS text information such as song title and artist name. There are also six preset EQ settings to customize your audio experience for specific moods or music genres.
Furthermore, it offers SiriusXM, Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify compatibility. It even has 6-channel preamp outputs (4-volt front, rear, sub) to connect phones or other music devices. Thanks to its two USB ports, you can charge your devices while listening to music on long drives! With all these features at this price point, this receiver will be hard to beat when shopping for the best single DIN budget stereo unit under $200.
- It bangs for the buck.
- This car stereo offers SiriusXM, Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify compatibility
- You can connect two phones via Bluetooth simultaneously.
- It produces a nice sound.
8. 2-DIN Under $200: Pioneer MVH-S620BS Double DIN Digital Media Receiver
Are you looking for the best car stereo under $200? If so, Pioneer MVH-S620BS is a perfect choice. This digital media receiver gives you a wide range of features and all at an affordable price. Whether you’re just driving around town or going on a road trip across the country, this stereo will keep everyone entertained with crisp clear sound quality.
Pioneer created a Smart Sync app with Amazon Alexa that works with all iPhone and Android devices, Bluetooth connection, and USB input. It comes with an in-built microphone for making hands-free calls. Thanks to its touchscreen display, you’ll have a wonderful experience operating it.
This device also includes a built-in HD radio tuner as well as MIXTRAX technology, which allows you to pick from a variety of lighting patterns based on sound pressure fluctuations. It also supports Pandora, SiriusXM (you will need the Sirius XM adapter box), and Spotify.
- This is an Awesome car stereo for the money.
- It has a user-friendly touchscreen display.
- It supports Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify to stream your favorite music.
9. 1-DIN Under $300: BOSS Audio Systems BCPA10RC Car Stereo
The BOSS Audio Systems BCPA 10RC car stereo is a single DIN stereo with all the features and functions of more expensive car stereos less than $300. This stereo comes with an AM/FM tuner, CD player, USB port for MP3 playback, RCA pre-outs for adding amplifiers or speakers to your sound system, an AUX input for connecting smartphones, and mp3 players.
The 10.1” touchscreen display allows you to see and access all the stereo functions without stress. You can also control the stereo functions with your vehicle’s existing steering wheel control buttons. However, you will need an additional interface (sold separately) to use this feature.
Furthermore, with its Apple carplay compatibility, you can access icons on your iPhone by activating Siri voice controls to play music, call, view maps, listen to podcasts, etc. It also supports android auto, so you can talk to the Google assistant for help when your android device is connected, view google maps, etc.
You can access other apps with the BOSS Audio Systems BCPA 10RC car stereo like WhatsApp, Radio Disney, Amazon, iHeartRadio, Podcasts, Google Play Music, CBS Radio, and more. All these features make it the best cheap single DIN car stereo below $300.
- It has a whole lot of essential features that make your driving experience worthwhile.
- This car stereo supports both Apple carplay and Android auto.
- It has lots of options to play audio.
- It bangs for the bucks.
- This car stereo Android auto feature selects android phones it pairs with.
10. 2-DIN Under $300: JVC KW-V25BT Car Stereo
The JVC KW-V25BT car audio system is an excellent car stereo for people looking for a double-DIN budget option that won’t break the bank. With a 6.2″ WVGA clear resistive touch monitor, Bluetooth connectivity, a customizable display interface, HD Radio capability, SiriusXM compatibility, and more, this car stereo is a steal for less than $300. It fits most double-DIN dashboards, so its installation couldn’t be easier.
The JVC KW-V25BT unit also supports Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Spotify control via Android and iPhone devices. It features a built-in MOSFET amplifier to ensure superior sound quality when listening to your favorite music or taking calls over Bluetooth while on the go! With its 3.5mm RCA front audio auxiliary input and USB input, you will be able to connect to other audio devices like portable CD players or MP3 players. Plus, it has an (8GB) SD card reader.
This JVC KW-V25BT car stereo also features AM/FM tuner with 18FM and 6 AM presets. It has a 13-band graphic equalizer with 10 preset EQ modes, including rock, pop, jazz, classic, dance club, flat, etc. You control all its functions from the palm of your hands via the JVC RM-RK258 remote controller (sold separately). This car stereo has a 1-year Manufacturer’s warranty.
- This car stereo is great and comes packed with essential features.
- You have a lot of options to play music and videos with this car stereo.
- Installation is an easy process.
- It sounds fantastic.
- It is not very responsive.
11. 1-DIN Under $500: Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS CD Receiver
When it comes to the best cheap car stereo, Pioneer is a name that you can trust. This Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS CD receiver is designed with Bluetooth technology to stream your favorite music, make hands-free calls, and provide instructions using speech recognition. Its Bluetooth has two modes; dual Bluetooth and Guest Mode. The dual Bluetooth mode allows two phones to connect at the same time, while the guest mode allows you to add a third phone. Its HD radio has 18 FM, 6 AM presets.
The DEH-X8800BHS CD receiver has all the features you need to play your favorite music. You can play music directly from the Spotify app on iPhone and Android devices, use its Pandora features to find and stream good music, play audio from DVD/CD, etc. With its MIXTRAX feature, your in-car listening experience will hit the roof because it delivers a unique DJ-infused listening experience. These features with a price tag of less than $500 are what make this single-DIN receiver stand out from the pack.
The DEH-X8800BHS CD receiver also has an elegant design that will look great in any vehicle interior with a single-DIN compatible dash. It has a sleek display with anLED backlight VA LCD (2-Line), and you can control its brightness level. However, its highest brightness appears dim in the day, and you may find it difficult to see what it displays.
Pioneer has an app called Pioneer ARC App, which you can download on both Apple and Android devices to control the stereo functions from your phone. Additionally, this car stereo has dual USB ports (front and rear) and 3 RCA pre-outs for connecting other audio devices. It is easy to install on any vehicle that fits a single DIN car stereo.
- This car stereo has an elegant design that will look great in any vehicle interior with a single DIN-compatible dash.
- Its Bluetooth features Dual Bluetooth and “Guest Mode.”
- It is affordable.
- You can control its brightness level.
- It is hard to see during the day.
12. 2-DIN Under $500: Sony XAVAX1000 6.2″ Media Receiver
Sony’s XAVAX1000 offers a great value for those on a budget looking for a double DIN car stereo for less than $500. This stereo has all of the features you need, including wireless Bluetooth streaming, USB input for your smartphone or tablet, and an auxiliary input jack for other audio devices. It comes with an integrated front panel microphone that lets you make hands-free calls from inside your car!
This car stereo features a (6.2”) full-color touchscreen that’s twice as responsive and faster than previous models for you to get back on the road in no time. It supports Apple Car Play, making it easier than ever to navigate, talk, and listen to music while driving.
It has a distraction-free operation made possible with the ergonomic rotary dial. The dial is for regulating volume or activating sound control options by pressing it. Additionally, hold the button down to activate voice commands.
The Sony XAVAX1000 6.2″ media receiver has multiple sound customization options to personalize your audio experience. Plus, it comes with an integrated 4 x 55 W amplification, which ensures that music is heard even at high volumes. If you’ve got a rear camera installed, you can view the camera feed through the screen when reversing. Note that it doesn’t support Android auto.
- This car stereo supports Apple car play.
- It has a very responsive touch screen.
- The audio sounds very good.
- Installation is a straightforward process.
- Its car play function randomly freezes.
13. 1-DIN Under $1000: Pioneer AVH-3500NEX 1-Din Flip Out AV Receiver
Are you searching for the best cheap car stereo below $1000? The Pioneer AVH-3500NEX 1-Din Flip Out AV Receiver is one of the most popular in this category. It comes with many features you’d expect to see in a much higher priced model, including Bluetooth hands-free calling, MIXTRAX technology, a built-in GPS navigation system with Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility.
Furthermore, the Pioneer AVH-3500 NEX car stereo also has Pandora connectivity, which allows you to find new music. It boasts a quick, clever, and intuitive 6.94” touchscreen user interface that is easy to use and adaptable. The screen is a flip-out, so you can flip it in when not in use, giving you more room on your dashboard.
You can listen to high-resolution FLAC files up to 192kHz/24 bit without having to convert them if you have this car stereo installed in your vehicle. Thanks to its weblink app capability, you can also watch YouTube videos with it. If you’ve got a rear camera installed, you can see the feed on the screen when reversing. It also has adjustable parking assist instructions to help you park your car appropriately. Installation is a breeze because it comes with an installation manual and all of the essential screws and accessories for setup.
- It has a weblink app capability that allows you to watch YouTube videos.
- This car stereo is jam-packed with features and cutting-edge technology.
- It supports Apple carplay and Android auto.
- It is simple to install in your car.
14. 2-DIN Under $1000: Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX In-Dash Multimedia Receiver
The Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX in-dash multimedia receiver is a great option for those looking for the best double DIN budget and cheap car stereo under $1000. With this receiver, you will have an entertainment system that can easily be updated as technology evolves. This includes apps such as Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM radio, and more! You will also find various audio options available with this unit, including an HD radio, Bluetooth capability to make hands-free calls and stream your favorite music. Plus, it supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
This car stereo responsive touchscreen user interface display makes operating it fun and easy. It has large buttons with a 24-bit true-color LCD panel that makes them visible while driving at night.
You can control all its functions from the palm of your hands with the (CD-R33) remote controller. Other options to play audio include the rear dual USB ports, DVD system, and the SD card for media playback.
- It is user-friendly and comes with large buttons with a 24-bit true-color LCD panel for improved visibility.
- It produces quality sounds and has a lot of apps.
- It supports Apple car play and Android auto.
- It is simple to install in your car.
- It gets stuck in a reboot cycle after a year plus of continuous use.
Best Budget Car Stereo Buying Guide
Everyone knows that a car stereo is a pivotal part of a vehicle. What many people don’t know, though, is how to balance price and budget when buying one. What should you compromise on when shopping for a cheap quality car stereo? What features do you have to look for in even the cheapest products? In this article, we will answer all these questions and more!
First and foremost, know the type of car stereo your vehicle can accommodate. There are two primary categories: single-DIN and double-DIN. What determines the DIN type you buy is your car dashboard. You wouldn’t want to buy a single-DIN stereo for a car with a dashboard that accommodates double DIN and vice versa. Therefore, knowing the DIN your dashboards supports is crucial.
After emphasizing the importance of understanding the DIN type, here are some features you should not overlook while shopping for a car stereo within your budget.
The most important feature of a car stereo is Bluetooth connectivity. What is the purpose of a car stereo if it doesn’t connect to your phone? Chances are, you’re going to be using this device every single time you drive. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to seamlessly sync all your music from any source to play on your speakers. You simply can’t compromise on this!
Another must-have feature is the AM/FM radio. Who knows what song will come next or when their favorite talk show comes on? The AM and FM radios allow drivers flexibility over what they listen to at any time during their drives.
Auxiliary inputs let users plug in external sources such as iPods and portable DVD players without having them drain down your car battery. What’s great about auxiliary inputs is that they’re compatible with literally any external media source you can think of! So, even the cheapest car stereo must have this feature.
Another must-have feature is USB ports for charging your phone or tablet on the go! A working head unit should include one or more USB ports to connect phones and other external audio devices.
The CD player in itself may be an outdated technology, but there are still many people who love listening to traditional music through CDs while driving! If you have old-school music and want to enjoy them when you drive, then ensure you choose a car stereo that supports this feature.
What’s the point of buying a head unit if it doesn’t sound great? Therefore, this aspect is non-negotiable. Although, the more you spend, the more the audio quality. However, some budget-friendly car stereos have decent sound production such as the 14 stereos we reviewed.
Equalizers in car stereos allow users to control various aspects of their listening experience, such as bass, treble, and more. If your car stereo has these features, you will hear every detail in your favorite songs even when driving on rough roads or at high speeds.
Rounding up, these features we have covered are what you must look out for even in the cheapest car stereo. There are, of course, more features that can better your driving experience. However, the more features a vehicle stereo has, the more costly it will be.
Whether you are on a tight budget or not, it is important to research the different car stereo options that are out there. We have reviewed 14 of the best cheap car stereo products and explained features that shouldn’t be compromised upon even for the cheapest car stereo. What is great about the 14 head units on this list is that their features and sound reproduction are the best in their price category.
If you’ve read this far, congrats! We encourage you to take what you learned here into consideration before making a purchase. Choose one of these affordable systems today and get back on the road with some tunes blaring from your speakers again!