The 7 Best Car Stereo Systems to Buy in 2016 for Under $200

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

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 your 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.

Best Overall: BOSS AUDIO BV9979B

Courtesy of

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. Buy from Amazon »

Best Budget: BOSS AUDIO 612UA

Courtesy of

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. Buy from Amazon »

Best Wattage Output: BOSS AUDIO MCK1440W.64

Courtesy of

The BOSS AUDIO MCK1440W offers one of the highest wattage out of all the audio systems on the list and comes with a three-year warranty in case you blow out a speaker.

The BOSS AUDIO MCK1440W.64 weighs 6.7 pounds and measures 11.4 x 8.6 x 8.2 inches. It comes with one pair of weatherproof 6.5” full range marine speakers made of a poly carbon cone with a rubber incasing. These speakers are able to produce a whopping 180 watts maximum with a 90 watts RMS power. It also has front, rear and subwoofer RCA outputs in case you want to pump up your car's interior with surround sound.

The device is able to play your CDs with added electronic skip protection and read from USB sticks and SD cards with MP3 file formats. It comes with an AM/FM radio and auxiliary input so you can play music from your smartphone and MP3 players, as well as a wireless remote control.

Like the BOSS AUDIO 612UA, it doesn’t come with Bluetooth connectivity. Some users have experienced system failure within a six-month period and that BOSS AUDIO’s customer service is subpar. Other users have expressed their delight in how powerful the speaker output wattage allows, and that installation is an easy setup. Buy from Amazon »

Best for Weather Proofing: BOSS AUDIO MGR350B

Courtesy of

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. Buy from Amazon »

Best for Android OS: Pioneer MVH-X380BT

Pioneer MVH-X380BT
Courtesy of

The Pioneer MVH-X380BT allows for hands-free calling, audio streaming and access control via your Android device. It’s AOA 2.0 supported, so Android owners can play music-streaming apps and control base functionality like pausing, playing or skipping. Unfortunately, the AOA 2.0 feature requires that you run Androids 4.1 operating system or newer, as well as have your device plugged into the receiver via USB connection.

The CD-Free designed car stereo system connects via your Android phone through a wireless Bluetooth connection. Unlike some of the other audio systems on the list, the Pioneer MVH-X380BT is able to read multiple file formats including MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV. It’s works in unison with Pandora for both iPhone and Android.

Some users love the clear, crisp sound that the sound system to has to offer, as well as its Android friendliness. Other users found the Bluetooth connectivity to be frustrating. It comes with a one-year warranty. Buy from Amazon »

Best Sound Reception: Sony DSXM50BT

Courtesy of

The Sony DSXM50BT Marine Digital Media Bluetooth Receiver comes with integrated Bluetooth version 2.1 technology with simple secure pairing for your mobile devices. It offers 55 watts from four channels equipped with an internal Dynamic Reality Amp circuitry that allows 47 percent internal resistance to conventional speakers. You’re able to turn up the volume without noise distortion and smooth frequency response – assuring clarity in sound. The EQ3, three-band, graphic equalizer gives users full customizable controls for adjusting your mixes at 60Hz, 1000 Hz and 10,000 Hz in 1 dB steps ranging from -10 dB to +10 dB.

The system includes a front auxiliary and USB input, so you can play your music from your smartphone, MP3 player or flash drive. It reads music files in MP3 and WMA format. The interface display will showcase the metadata of your song files, listing both title and artist. It’s equipped with Digital Clarity Tuner, so you can listen to your AM/FM radio with proper signal-to-noise ratios and low interferences.

Some users stated that installation is easy, its marine weatherproofing is excellent against rain and spills, and that it offers a rich and robust clear sound output. Other users have mentioned that it’s not best for motorcycles and that it does not work with a RM-60 wired controller, so be sure to check if its compatible with your car. Buy from Amazon »

Best Touchscreen: BOSS AUDIO BV9967B

Courtesy of

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. Buy from Amazon »


E-Commerce Content is independent of editorial content and we may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page.

More From Us