Sony Xav Ax8000 Car Stereo with menu on display in a carSource: SONY ELECTRONICS INC

Best Bluetooth Car Stereos iMore 2021

While the best Bluetooth car kits are a quick way to add streaming capabilities to your car, nothing beats the convenience of having it baked into your actual in-dash stereo. The best Bluetooth car stereos allow you to ditch the cords while still playing your favorite tunes, and some even include support for Apple's incredibly slick CarPlay technology for the iPhone. The JVC KW-V66BT is the perfect combination of features and price with a large touchscreen display, CarPlay, and of course, Bluetooth. If you are ready to go the replacement route, these are the best Bluetooth car stereos on the market.

Best Overall: JVC KW-V66BT Apple CarPlay Android Auto DVD/CD Player

Jvc Kw V66bt Car Stereo with Apple CarPlay on displaySource: JVCKENWOOD Corporation

JVC's double-din KW-V66BT car stereo features a large 6.8-inch capacitive touchscreen display that makes navigation quick and easy. The KW-V66BT supports CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can access popular apps and services like Apple Music, Google Maps, iHeartRadio, Waze, and more, all through familiar interfaces. If apps aren't your thing, the KW-V66bt also plays old-school DVDs and CDs — a feature that is hard to find with modern touchscreen stereos.

For audio, the KW-V66BT delivers 50 watts over four channels with a 13-band equalizer to tailor the tunes to your taste. You can also take customization even further with a unique Time Alignment feature that optimizes sound by dialing-in delays according to your car's speaker placement.

Pros:

  • 6.8-inch touchscreen display
  • Plenty of rear ports
  • Plays DVD and CDs
  • Supports CarPlay and Android Auto

Cons:

  • Double-din size only
  • Not wireless CarPlay and Android Auto

Best Overall

Jvc Kw V66bt Car Stereo

JVC KW-V66BT Apple CarPlay Android Auto DVD/CD Player

The best for most

JVC's KW-V66BT combines all of the essentials with a large touchscreen display and plenty of extras like CarPlay at a great price.

Best Value: BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo

Boss Audio Systems 616uab Multimedia Car Stereo installed inside a car dashboardSource: Amazon

The Boss Audio 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo is one of the most affordable ways to add Bluetooth audio streaming to your dashboard. Don't let the low price fool you, as the 616UAB has tons of features, including a USB port and an AUX jack right on the front, making charging your phone and connecting other devices a breeze.

Boss Audio's single-din stereo also packs plenty of power, with the ability to output a total of 200 watts max — 50 watts per channel. If that weren't enough, you could even attach your favorite amplifier, thanks to the audio outputs around the back of the unit.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Includes wireless remote
  • Bluetooth, AUX, and USB connectivity

Cons:

  • Lacks CD player
  • Small, non-touchscreen display
  • Doesn't support CarPlay or Android Auto

Best Value

Boss Audio Systems 616uab Multimedia Car Stereo

BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo

Affordable audio

For around the price of a Bluetooth adapter, you can add wireless convenience directly to your dash with the Boss Audio 616UAB.

Best Wireless Experience: Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX Double Din Wireless Mirroring Android Auto, Apple Carplay In-Dash DVD/CD Car Stereo Receiver

Pioneer Avh W4500nex Car Stereo with CarPlay on displaySource: Pioneer Electronics

While there are plenty of CarPlay and Android Auto stereos available nowadays, very few aftermarket solutions work with the phone-friendly feature without the wire. That isn't the case with Pioneer's AVH-W4500NEX, as it puts all of your apps and media on display without removing your phone from your pocket.

The AVH-W4500NEX packs a punch for your music by producing 50 watts maximum for four channels, and it is expandable with three audio outputs. Other highlights include the ability to connect two backup cameras — an excellent addition for other cars, multiple USB ports, and DVD and CD playback.

Pros:

  • Large 6.94-inch touchscreen display
  • Plays DVDs and CDs
  • Supports wireless CarPlay and Android Auto

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Lacks physical volume control
  • Requires double-din space in the dash

Best Wireless Experience

Pioneer Avh W4500nex Car Stereo

Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX Double Din Wireless Mirroring Android Auto, Apple Carplay In-Dash DVD/CD Car Stereo Receiver

Complete wireless freedom

If you want the ultimate wireless convenience, the Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX offers CarPlay and Android Auto without the cord.

Best Small Screen: JVC KD-X260BT Built-in Bluetooth

Jvc Kd X260bt Car connected to a phoneSource: JVCKENWOOD Corporation

Since our phones do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to media playback, sticking with the classic single-din stereo stylings makes a lot of sense. The JVC KD-X260BT features a universal set of physical controls — including that oh-so-satisfying volume knob and a smaller display that won't distract you or your passengers.

Despite the classic looks, JVC's stereo still allows you to stream your tunes from your phone over Bluetooth, and you can use it to top off your device via USB. The KD-X260BT also features excellent sound, delivering 22 watts RMS and up to 50 watts peak with a built-in amp.

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Plenty of physical controls
  • Includes external microphone

Cons:

  • Non-touchscreen display
  • USB port not compatible with iPhone
  • Doesn't support CarPlay or Android Auto

Best Small Screen

Jvc Kd X260bt Car Stereo

JVC KD-X260BT Built-in Bluetooth

Get physical

If you prefer physical controls but want Bluetooth streaming convenience and great sound, the JVC KD-X260BT is worth a look.

Best Design: Sony XAV-AX8000 1DIN chassis 8.95-inch floating LCD Screen

Sony Xav Ax8000 Car Stereo with Apple CarPlay on displaySource: SONY ELECTRONICS INC

If you dream of having a large screen touchscreen display in your car but are stuck with a small dashboard, Sony's ultra-slick XAV-AX8000 is the stereo for you. Sony's stereo sports an adjustable, floating 8.95-inch display that protrudes from the stereo base, allowing it to fit into the tight single-din slot found in older cars.

The XAV-AX8000's modern display supports modern features like CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth streaming, and rear camera support. The all-screen display does come with a cost as it doesn't support CD or DVD playback and CarPlay and Android Auto require plugging in your phone to access the simple controls.

Pros:

  • Floating single-din design
  • Expansive 8.95-inch touchscreen display
  • Supports CarPlay and Android Auto

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • No CD or DVD player
  • Wired CarPlay and Android Auto only

Best Design

Sony Xav Ax8000 Car Stereo

Sony XAV-AX8000 1DIN chassis 8.95-inch floating LCD Screen

Large screen for small dashboards

Sony's XAV-AX8000 brings Bluetooth, CarPlay, and more, to single-din dashboards with a massive 8.95-inch touchscreen display.

Best Touchscreen Value: ATOTO in-Dash 2 Din Digital Media Car Stereo

Atoto Sa102 Ys102sl Car Stereo in use in a carSource: Amazon

Although Boss Audio's 616UAB is our best overall value pick, the ATOTO SA102 comes in at a very close second. ATOTO's Bluetooth-ready car stereo features a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen and support for CarPlay and Android Auto at a fraction of the price of the more prominent brands.

The SA102 also features a USB port, SD card slot, and AUX right on the front, and an external microphone also comes in the box. The low cost does have some downsides, though, as it doesn't have a CD slot, CarPlay, and Android Auto require a wire, and it peaks at 45 watts per channel, which is slightly lower than the others in this guide.

Pros:

  • CarPlay for cheap
  • Front USB, SD card, and AUX ports
  • Includes external microphone

Cons:

  • Doesn't play CD or DVDs
  • Not wireless CarPlay and Android Auto

Best Touchscreen Value

Atoto Sa102 Ys102sl Car Stereo

ATOTO in-Dash 2 Din Digital Media Car Stereo

More for less

ATOTO's Bluetooth-capable SA102 with a seven-inch display is a low-cost ways to add CarPlay and Android Auto to your ride.

Bottom line

Whichever option you choose, the best Bluetooth car stereos allow you to rock out on your next road trip without worrying about dongles or adapters. Bluetooth car stereos are not incredibly convenient; they promote safer habits by helping to keep your eyes on the road as you can serve up the tracks using the voice assistant in your phone.

The JVC KW-V66BT gets our top pick for its massive touchscreen display, wireless Bluetooth capabilities, CarPlay support, and affordable price. With the all-screen design, the JVC KW-V66BT looks factory-direct, instantly giving your car's interior a modern update, and with CarPlay, controlling your tunes is fast and familiar thanks to Apple's minimalistic interface.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Christopher Close spends most of his time writing and dreaming about all things HomeKit for iMore. If you wish to join him on his quest to automate everything, you can follow him on Twitter at @itschrisclose.

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