The 7 Best Car Stereo Systems to Buy in 2018 for Under $200

Playing tunes on a quality car stereo doesn't have to blow your budget

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You don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good car stereo system. To help find a car stereo system that is best for you and your budget, we’ve compiled the top seven ones on the market today, and all of them offer the latest ways of listening to our music. Like the Pioneer FHX820BS, which allows for Pandora streaming and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as the USB/SD-reading BOSS AUDIO 612UA, getting your hands on an affordable car stereo system is easier now than ever before.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: BOSS AUDIO BV9979B

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BOSS AUDIO's BV9979B model allows for one of the largest scales of music playing compatibility. It is able to play your DVDs and CDs along with reading from both USB sticks and SD cards. It can read audio files in MP3 and WMA formats and, like its other family line of products, includes an auxiliary port you can connect your smartphone or MP3 player. The system allows for hands-free Bluetooth calls and dialing, as well as audio streaming, so you can play music from your smartphone or through apps like Pandora and Spotify wirelessly.

The system offers 85 watts of power from four speaker channels, and includes a RDS tuner along with a preset built-in EQ, so you can adjust the balances of your audio. It’s one of the only car stereo systems on the list with a seven-inch motorized touch screen monitor for an easy user experience. The system also offers rearview camera and steering wheel control outputs in case you plan to purchase extra hardware.

Some users raved that the high-quality audio system is super affordable. Others have found the radio tuner isn’t ample for stable reception and that the customer service is hard to reach and get into contact with. It comes with a three-year platinum dealer warranty and a wireless remote.

Best Budget: BOSS AUDIO 612UA

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The number one best seller in Marine Stereo Receivers on Amazon is the BOSS AUDIO 612UA. It’s the most affordable item on the list, and comes with all the modern features you’d expect from a car stereo system.

The BOSS AUDIO 612UA offers a maximum of 50 watts from four speaker channels, front pre amp outputs, and features a built in EQ with presets that adjusts for balance, fader, bass and treble. The system does not have a CD or DVD player, but the trade off for old technological compatibility makes room for modern compatibilities. It plays from USB sticks and SD cards, and is able to read MP3 and WMA file formats.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with Bluetooth compatibility. You still can play music from your smartphone or MP3 player with the auxiliary audio output. The system includes AM/FM radio as well in case you’re feeling a little nostalgic. Some buyers love its modern features at such a low price, but advise that because of this, you’ll have to be aware of its limitations. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Best Wattage Output: Pioneer MVH-AV290BT

Pioneer MVH-AV290BT
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The Pioneer MVH-AV290BT does not play CDs, but it has outstanding sound, Bluetooth connectivity, a beautiful display and high watt output. The Double-DIN digital media receiver sports a 6.2” LCD Touchscreen that allows you to control a USB storage device, an iPod or iPhone and any Android devices. It also allows easy communication via Bluetooth 3.0 technology and hands-free communication is enabled by a mic.

The continuous power output is 22 watts RMS via four channels at four ohms, 50Hz-15kHz and 5 percent THD. The maximum power output is 50 watts over four channels at five ohms or 50 watts on two channels at four ohms and 70 watts over one channel at two ohms for the subwoofer. The receiver has a MOSFET50 Internal Amplifier that is smaller and more efficient, which delivers louder and cleaner music at higher volumes with no distortion or switching noise. Control the sound with five EQ Bands.

Best for Weather Proofing: BOSS AUDIO MGR350B

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The BOSS AUDIO MGR350B is a weatherproof car stereo system that delivers 60 watts of audio power from four channels. It’s the only car stereo system on the list with an IPX 6 rating which means it can handle water splashing from all sides against its enclosure without damage. Waterproofed materials protect the unit with UV coatings for plastic surfaces, circuit boards and connections. It’s also corrosion resistant.

The system has a built-in preset equalizer to adjust for bass and treble and a built-in sub woofer control. Though it lacks a CD and DVD player, it has a USB and auxiliary input, as well as Bluetooth for wireless streaming from your mobile devices. There’s a switchable tuner with the device, too, so you can receive radio broadcasts either in the U.S. or Europe.

Multiple users wrote that they enjoy the system for its Bluetooth connectivity and weather protection. Other users have expressed that installation can be frustrating, and that it takes time to install. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Best for Android OS: Kenwood DPX502BT

Kenwood DPX502BT
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This stereo receiver will leave you with no shortage of options to play music if you are an Android user. It has a maximum output of 50 watts in each of its four channels, filling your car with deep bass and crisp mid and high notes.

The 3 x 3 x 3-inch receiver is a combination of black casing and light ice blue lettering. It has a CD player, Bluetooth connection, an aux input, a USB Interface and Android apps such as Pandora and iHeartRadio. Other benefits for Android owners include Android Rapid Charge and handsfree telephone and voice command with external mic, so you can safely take calls while on the road.

The DPX502BT also includes Kenwood sound reconstruction, which restores musical quality to compressed music. The receiver supports MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV and FLAC files and even displays song ID.

Best Sound Reception: Kenwood DDX24BT

Kenwood DDX24BT
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The Kenwood DDX24BT multimedia receiver has a sleek 6.2-inch VGA Color LCD touchscreen display, full compatibility with Android and iOS devices and impressive audio technology. It includes built-in Bluetooth and wireless music browsing, complete with dual phone connection, so your passenger can play from their library over Android Music Playback. It also has a video screen that is compatible with a backup camera.

The 13 band graphic equalizer is among the best in a car stereos at this price range, giving you enough sound staging options to adjust the frequency, gain and Q factor to keep any audiophile happy. You can save custom EQ presets or choose from ones included by Kenwood. In addition, you can adjust sound performance in the Time Alignment feature. Music is powered by four 50 watt channels at an impedance between 4-8 ohms. The receiver also includes three sets of 2.5V Preamp outputs.

Best Touchscreen: BOSS AUDIO BV9967B

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It’s often hard to find a decent car stereo system on a budget with touchscreen capabilities and a TFT widescreen display, but the BOSS AUDIO BV9967B seems to be the best of the bunch. The user face showcases a digital clock with calendar, and includes icons for radio, disc, hands-free phone calls and streaming. Includes a remote and pen for navigation.

The system packs a maximum of 85 watts to four channels and includes a RDS tuner along with a built-in equalizer. It’s compatible with your DVD and CDs and has both a USB port and SD card drive. It plays MP3 and WMA file formats and includes an AM/FM radio. The system includes a pre amp output for video, front, rear and subs. From your smartphone, you can stream music and use apps such as Spotify and Pandora.

Some users reported that the system’s radio isn’t the best and the manual isn’t very helpful when setting up all the proper connections. Users advise that you should learn a little about how your initial cars wiring setup is so you can have a proper connection. It comes with a three-year warranty.