The Best iPhone FM Transmitters for Your Car

Look for connectivity, charging ports, and more

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FM Transmitters can help fill the awkward silence in any car with an AM/FM radio by tuning into an unused frequency on the FM band to use for audio transmission via a Bluetooth or wired connection.

Without a doubt, our top pick for the best FM transmitter you can buy is the Nulaxy Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio. A full-screen LED display quickly turns your car into something reminiscent of The Jetsons. A quartet of multi-function buttons allows for quick and easy control, and the articulating armature ensures that the Nulaxy is always within arm's reach.

Best Overall

Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth FM Transmitter Audio Adapter

4.2
KM18 Bluetooth Audio Adapter

Amazon

What we Like
  • Very affordable

What we don't like
  • Signal clarity could be better

The Nulaxy works with virtually any Bluetooth-enabled device, from your tablet to your smartphone. The device goes the extra mile with its included 5V-2.1A charging port, auxiliary port, and even built-in microphone to take incoming calls with a breeze.

Users love the overall power and setup of the Nuxaly, with the most complaints coming from the rare pairing issue.

Built-in Display: Yes | USB Ports: 1 | USB Audio Playback: MP3 | Operating Voltage: 12V-24V

Best for Dual Charging

LIHAN Bluetooth Handsfree Car Charger FM Transmitter

4.2
LIHAN LHFM1039 Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

What we like
  • Compact size

  • Dual USB charging ports

  • Hands-free calling

What we don't like
  • Slow charging

  • Difficult viewing angle

Want a functional Bluetooth FM Transmitter that comes with two USB charging inputs? LIHAN makes a no-nonsense device that gets straight to the point.

The Handsfree Bluetooth Transmitter by LIHAN features a 3.1A and 1A input offering both 12v and 24v charging for both you and a passenger. This means that your mobile devices can be charged instantly while listening to your favorite music. Its wireless Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity also offers low power consumption with a 5 percent loss of battery to your device each hour. Like many transmitters, it includes a microphone for hands-free calling.

This product has been praised for its ease of use and adaptability. More critical reviews noted that the connectivity could sometimes be an issue.

Built-in Display: No | USB Ports: 2 | USB Audio Playback: MP3, WMA | Operating Voltage: 12V-24V

Most Adjustable

Sumind BT70B Bluetooth FM Transmitter

4.2
Sumind BT70 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman

What we like
  • Quick charge and standard USB-A ports

  • Large display and buttons

  • Clear audio

What we don't like
  • AUX input doesn't always work

  • Difficult viewing angle for display

  • Gooseneck cable is difficult to adjust

FM transmitters have come a long way. With Bluetooth capabilities popping up on most cars, manufacturers of old-school-style FM transmitters must do a lot to differentiate. One issue is the transmitter's placement; so many cars have the cigarette lighter buried under the console or point off at an angle. The Sumind Bluetooth FM Transmitter gives you the versatility to change the angle of the screen with a sturdy 270-degree gooseneck that will hold tight in the orientation you set. But that's not where the features end.

There are two USB output ports for charging phones: a 2.0 smart port and a 3.0 Quick Charge port. A super-bright 1.7-inch LCD screen shows song and phone info but will also display the car battery level. There are three means of connecting audio here: your phone's Bluetooth connection, a standard aux cable, and even the capability to read a microSD card. Unlike lower-end transmitters, it supports more lossless audio than MP3, including FLAC. With support for A2DP and headset protocol, it's the perfect phone accessory for cars lacking some modern AV.

Built-in Display: Yes | USB Ports: 2 | USB Audio Playback: MP3, WMA | Operating Voltage: 12V-24V

Best Budget

JETech Wireless FM Transmitter Radio Car Kit

JETech Wireless FM Transmitter Radio Car Kit

Amazon

What we like
  • Sleek design

  • Low price

  • Simple interface

What we don't like
  • Lacks multiple USB ports

  • No way to play audio files through USB

There isn't a huge price difference between the top-of-the-line and the budget FM transmitters. It might only come down to a few dollars. But the JETech Wireless transmitter will save you a few bucks while still getting its job done. To use it, connect your device via its 3.5mm headphone jack, set it to a random FM channel, and tune your radio to that channel. (Remember that it won't work with newer iPhones that don't have headphone jacks.)

The transmitter has an easy-to-read display with intuitive buttons for adjusting frequency. It also has an extra USB port to charge devices while driving. For best performance, we recommend using lower channels in the 80s and 90s.

Built-in Display: No | USB Ports: 1 | USB Audio Playback: N/A | Operating Voltage: 12V-24V

Best Lighting

Criacr V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Criacr V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Amazon

What we like
  • Durable and compact

  • Fast pairing

  • Multiple charging ports

What we don't like
  • Mic isn't great

  • Limited controls

This minimalist FM transmitter from Criacr provides a quick and straightforward way to link your phone to your car's audio system. Besides allowing you to pair with various devices via Bluetooth, this transmitter also features the ability to play music from a 32GB flash drive or microSD card.

The Criacr FM transmitter also features a pair of USB charging ports to keep all your devices topped off and a trio of multi-function buttons for hands-free calling and music controls. The best feature, however, is the built-in LED lighting strip that can be set to six available colors or cycle through them to provide some necessary flair to your car.

Built-in Display: No | USB Ports: 2 | USB Audio Playback: MP3, WMA | Operating Voltage: 12V-24V

What to Look for in an FM Transmitter

Display

The most basic transmitters don’t have displays, but units with screens are easier to set up and use. Some even have caller ID or can show other important information when connected to your iPhone.

Connectivity

FM transmitters use audio jacks, USB, and Bluetooth to connect to phones. If you have a newer iPhone that doesn’t have an audio jack, make sure to get a transmitter with a USB port or Bluetooth that’s compatible with your phone.

Hands-free calling

If you go with a Bluetooth transmitter that has a hands-free mode, you’ll be able to make and receive calls without taking your hands off the wheel. Transmitters with this feature can also mute or pause your music during a call and start it again when you’re done.

FAQ
  • Does the iPhone 12 have an FM transmitter?

    The iPhone 12 does not have an FM transmitter, most phones tend not to have this feature built-in, and none of the iPhone models have ever had an FM receiver. That said, there are internet radio apps that you can use for the iPhone 12, but you won't be able to listen to actual live radio station broadcasts without using one of the transmitters on this roundup.

  • How to connect the FM transmitter to your iPhone?

    An FM transmitter for the iPhone works by transmitting audio from FM frequencies to your phone. Most FM transmitters are Bluetooth-enabled. All you need to do is plug the transmitter into your car socket, pair your device, and you can start listening to the radio wherever you are. With many phones getting rid of the 3.5mm headphone jack, you're not as likely to find wired FM transmitter solutions anymore.

  • Is there an FM transmitter app for iPhones?

    There are FM transmitter apps for the iPhone, like ClearFM. It lets you listen to the radio over your iPhone or iPod, giving you a list of music stations that are the clearest for your FM transmitter. You will still need an FM transmitter since the app alone won't be enough.

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