A good-quality stereo system is a necessary part of your vehicle. However, only a few head units can deliver the best sound quality.
But, how do you know which product is perfect and worth buying? Making a final decision looks difficult unless you get help from an expert.
Save your time and invest your money in the right product. Follow this guide to pick up the best head unit for your car. Here, I have included the top 8 multimedia units.
How I Found the Best Sounding Car Head Units
Finding the best product is not an easy task. It requires a lot of research and testing. It is not a clever idea to rush for an expensive stereo.
Because high cost does not necessarily mean the best audio quality. Therefore, the selection process should be very careful.
As a new buyer, you may be feeling very confused. Whenever you search for the best product, a huge number of stereos are presented before you.
I solved this problem by picking up only the worthy head units. I have tested them, asked for friends’ reviews, and looked for all the possible cons.
This whole effort resulted in a list of the top 7 stereos that are worth investing in. In addition, to sound quality, I also considered other features.
For example, my selected stereos are stylish and equipped with modern features. I have chosen the best units from all categories including the budget, build quality, connectivity, and other essential features.
1. Kenwood Excelon DMX706S-Best for Audio Features
- Apple CarPlay is a safer way to use your iPhone in the car....
- Android Auto was designed with safety in mind, helping you...
- Up to 5 Bluetooth devices can be connected to the receiver...
- Wide-angle mirror image
Kenwood Excelon is an excellent head unit in the true sense. Its premium audio quality elevates it to the top of the list. This stereo is available in two versions.
The older version is cheaper. The renewed version was released in 2022 and comes with a backup camera for an extra $50.
The unit comes with a built-in amplifier. Total output is 50Wx4 channels. You get crystal-clear audio with a 13-band graphic equalizer.
Drive EQ and DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technology are added advantages. Like all the best head units, Excelon also supports Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
Hence, it is suitable for all types of cars. Ask Siri to open the map, listen to voice mail, convert text to speech, and much more.
The unit also works with Google Maps and Waze. The screen measures about 7 inches and displays crystal-clear images. The resistive touchscreen is accurate and fast.
This double din stereo has a flexible design and fits in every sort of car. Connect up to 5 Bluetooth devices at the same time. Listen to the radio and insert a USB drive for playing music files.
Moreover, dual camera inputs are integrated into this stereo. Kenwood CMOS-130 rear camera is included in the renewed version.
The backup camera comes on automatically as the car goes into reverse gear. The company does not give the remote control. Thus, you have to buy it separately.
- DSP, Drive EQ, and 13-band Graphic equalizer
- Best sound quality and powerful output
- SiriusXM ready, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
- Kenwood CMOS-130 rear camera is included
- Stream via Pandora and Spotify
- The backup camera is very responsive
- The installation guide is useless
- Lacks HD radio support and remote control
- A warning message stays for 10 seconds every time
2. Alpine UTE-73BT Car Stereo-Best for Speakers
This car stereo by Alpine is an updated version. The previous model was released in 2018 and has won higher customer satisfaction, see it here.
If you want great sound quality, choose the 2022 model Alpine UTE-73BT. This unit starts from 24-bit DAC.
In simple words, this head unit is very skilled in converting digital signals to analog. The audio files are translated into sound waves that come out of your speakers.
Tonal production is excellent. It can also play FLAC audio files. Overall, the audio is detailed, well-balanced, and clear. You not only get the stereo but also other items in the purchase.
It comes with 2 pairs of Kicker coaxial speakers and 4 sets of FAST Rings. Additionally, a Car Toys keychain is also included.
The inclusion of Kicker 46CSC654 CS Series speakers makes it a worth-buying product. Each Kicker speaker measures 6.5 inches and has a 4 Ohm rating.
They ensure rich bass and excellent woofer performance due to EVC technology. This stereo performs well at all levels even at max volume.
The whole system can handle a total of 300W output power. It fits perfectly in single-din car dashes. However, you can also choose it for a double-din space.
CD ROM is not included in the unit. The integration of advanced Bluetooth technology makes it a great wireless stereo.
Hence, pair it with your smartphone for playing music or making calls. The build quality is remarkable and all the items are durable.
- 2 pairs of coaxial Kicker speakers included
- Excellent sound quality and rich bass
- 300W total output 100 RMS from CSC65
- Supports Bluetooth, AM/FM, and iTunes
- Best low-cost stereo for single din cars
- An easy-to-read and high-contrast LCD display
- Cannot play CDs
- Lacks touchscreen display
3. Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX-Best for Expensive Cars
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio...
- Works with wireless and wired Apple Car Play and Android...
- Works with SiriusXM SXV300 Tuner -- supports tune mix,...
Pioneer is counted as one of the best brands in the acoustic field. What makes it special is the premium sound quality. AVH is an expensive stereo but ensures high-end audio.
A 13-band graphic equalizer provides a versatile music experience. Moreover, Auto EQ, low/high pass crossover, and Time alignment are also included.
The product supports FLAC format and outputs at CD quality. You can get 22Wx4-channel continuous output power from this stereo. The max power output is 50Wx4 channels.
This product connects to Wifi and offers endless streaming options. Make hands-free calls with built-in Bluetooth. Stream any music file from your iPhone or Android phone.
Because it supports both Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Hence, wireless mirroring via Miracast is made easy. Register up to 5 smartphones and pair two devices at the same time.
Moreover, the unit is SiriusXM-ready and works with Pandora. It supports tune mix, traffic, weather, and sports flash features.
Integration of NEX technology ensures a responsive and powerful interface. The interface provides many customizing options.
Two camera inputs are available. A backup camera can be hooked up to have safe parking. The screen displays the rear view automatically as you put the car in reverse gear.
Physical ports include Aux and USB. HD radio is built-in. Other features include steering wheel control, voice commands, secondary display support, etc.
A fully functional remote control also comes with this head unit. The package includes all the items and accessories.
- Premium and powerful sound quality
- 13-band graphic equalizer and multiple audio features
- FLAC support provides the best audio
- Wifi, Bluetooth, Miracast, SiriusXM, Pandora, Radio
- Fully compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto
- NEX technology and responsive interface
- Expect some screen glare in bright sunshine
- Very high cost as compared to competitors
4. BOSS 616UAB Car Stereo-Best for Tight Budget
- Next Generation 616UAB - Now includes Dimmable Illumination...
- Bluetooth - Answer/make calls and be hands-free with no...
- Media Playback - Play music through your Bluetooth device or...
- Auxiliary - Compatible with the audio output from...
I found Boss 616UAB a truly amazing head unit. It is a steal deal in terms of price. Because it comes from one of the most reliable brands for only under $30.
If you have a very tight budget but want great sound, choose this stereo by Kenwood. This single din stereo is very cute. The customers are very satisfied with its sound quality.
I recommend you purchase it if you want a modern stereo in your older car. It features an LCD display with dimmable illumination for buttons.
The upgraded version has added dancing LED lights and a mute function. Bluetooth and a built-in microphone allow hands-free calling. It works with Pandora and Spotify.
Thus, offering versatile wireless music streaming. A wireless remote control is also given with this product.
Multiple pre-amp outputs, Aux-in, and USB are also available. An equalizer allows you to customize your music preferences.
The output power is 50 watts x 4 channels. However, the unit does not have an amplifier. Thus, you are suggested to add the external amp.
Primarily, it acts as a digital media receiver. The design is decent and simple. This unit carries great value and is worth buying.
A great advantage is a 3-year platinum warranty if you purchase via Amazon.
- A valuable, efficient, and cheap head unit
- A 3-year platinum warranty by Boss
- The best audio quality for the price
- Built-in microphone, hand-free calling, Bluetooth streaming
- Features AM/FM radio
- Compatible with Pandora and Spotify
- Lacks CD and DVD player support
- No touchscreen display and advanced features
- An external amp is required
5. Kenwood DDX26BT Car Head Unit-Best for Advanced Features
- 6. 2" Wvga clear-resistive touchscreen with variable-color...
- Built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio...
- 1 A/V input (optional ca-c3av)
- Built-in iPad/iPod/iPhone control
Kenwood 26BT is a double-din car head unit. It is the best-advanced stereo at an affordable price. The unit is equipped with all the sound features.
Moreover, a lot of desirable functionalities are integrated into it. Kenwood processes audio through low and high pass filters. Hence, the subwoofer delivers punchy bass.
A dedicated pre-amp boosts up the audio signals. The unit is capable of playing FLAC files. Enjoy the best music experience with a 13-band graphic equalizer.
A multi-color touchscreen adds to its beauty and efficiency. A wonderful feature of this product is its multi-device Bluetooth pairing.
Amazingly, it can pair with up to 5 media devices over Bluetooth. Make and receive hands-free calls.
Further, the built-in Apple device control makes it an excellent choice. Besides Android Auto, it has Apple Carplay. So, it can be controlled through iPhone, iPod/iPad, and SiriusXM ready.
Inputs are available for connecting the rear and dash cameras. The unit also provides parking guidelines by displaying a clear image. This stereo also works with CD and DVD.
Further, GPS navigation is also installed in it. Connect the unit with your steering wheel for immediate control.
Listen to the crisp sound from HD radio without disruption. Stream smoothly through Spotify and Pandora.
Some customers complain about screen glare. Another drawback is that the background cannot be changed and the unit cannot be tilted.
- Pairs up to 5 smartphones at the same time
- Compatible with all devices and features Apple Carplay and Android Auto
- Supports FLAC, AAC, WMA, WAV, and MP3
- Dash and backup camera
- Pandora, Spotify, HD radio, SiriusXM, and GPS
- Advanced features at a very low cost
- The pairing process is slow
- An extender is needed to access the USB port on the back
- Buttons replace the volume knob
6. ATOTO S8 Premium-Best for Screen Quality
- S8 (Gen2) is the 2nd generation of ATOTO S8 Android car...
- Speed Compensated Volume Control (SCVC)-Automatically...
- Dual Bluetooth (BT1 5.0 & BT2 4.1) chips allow S8 to have...
- This model works with ATOTO AC-HD03LR cameras (not included)...
Atoto S8 proves to be a premium head unit in terms of sound quality. This double din stereo looks very attractive and elegant.
The 7-inch HD touchscreen displays clear, bright, and accurate images. The resolution of the screen is 1024×600. It has a QLED screen that is very responsive and user-friendly.
The high-speed Octa-Core processor is installed in this stereo. DSP and Time Correction technologies are integrated into this unit. Thus, you get excellent sound quality.
Moreover, its powerful pre-amp ensures clarity and detail. 9-band graphic equalizer provides you premium music experience.
The total output power of this unit is 4x50Watts and it features 4×29 RMS. Supported file formats include FLAC, WAV, MP3, WMA, and AAC.
The rearview is displayed in 720P HD quality. Parking is made easy by virtual and live surround view. It can store and display your favorite photos in its gallery.
The unit is equipped with Wifi and Bluetooth aptX for wireless streaming. Two devices can be paired at the same time.
Moreover, it has a radio tuner and built-in maps. Atoto shows the best compatibility with both Apple and Android devices.
Because it features Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and Mirrorlink. A USB input is available for charging your phone while traveling.
- Impressive audio quality supports FLAC
- 9-band graphic equalizer and built-in powerful amplifier
- DSP and Time Correction for audio customization
- Elegant and stylish design for every car
- Very responsive touchscreen without any delay
- GPS, Maps, Wifi hotspot, and dual Bluetooth aptX
Lacks a volume knob and physical control buttons
7. Sound Storm Labs SD726MB-Best Sound for the Price
- Bluetooth Hands Free (Make and receive calls), Bluetooth...
- Plays Bluetooth, DVD, CD, USB, SD, MP3, WMA, AM/FM, Digital...
- Compatible with Audio out from Smartphones and MP3 Players
- Inputs: USB, USB Charging, SD, AUX, A / V, Rear Camera,...
Sound Storm is another budget-friendly stereo for sound quality. It is a single din stereo with a large display. You can even watch movies on it.
Your car passengers will praise its beautiful and stylish design. Its audio quality is great for the price. It features a 7-inch motorized touchscreen.
The front panel is detachable and prevents security risks. The unit works with Bluetooth. Hence, you can make and receive hands-free calls.
Further, pair your smartphone for music streaming via Pandora and Spotify. The product also supports CD, DVD, USB, and SD. You can also listen to AM/FM and connect external speaker.
Input options include USB for charging, AUX, rear camera, A/V, SD, and steering wheel control input. Moreover, it has an output for the front, rear, sub, and pre-amp.
This unit comes with a wireless remote control. The maximum output power of this unit is 85 watts x 4.
Sound features include built-in preset EQ, treble, bass, fader, and balance adjustments. The tuner is switchable between European and US modes.
The rear camera is not given with the package. However, you can add an external compatible camera. This head unit is very responsive.
When you reverse the car, the backup camera turns ON automatically and displays the rear view.
RDS technology is very useful while playing through FM radio. Because it can display up to 64 character messages showing artists, genres, stations, news, and much more.
The company provides a 3-year platinum warranty. Thus, the product is reliable, durable, and worth buying.
- Great audio for the price
- Supports AM/FM, MP3, Spotify, and Pandora
- A 3-year Platinum warranty by the company
- Attractive and decent design
- Detachable front panel to avoid theft
- Multiple input and output options including Bluetooth
- The installation process is tricky and the guide is not useful
- Screen glare can be annoying
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Head Units
The following are some important and common questions. Kindly read them for further help and understanding.
Does the head unit improve the quality of the car audio system?
Head units or car stereos have a significant effect on audio quality. A good-quality stereo is capable of producing better sound. However, it also depends on the source. Your audio source should be of high quality to get the best sound output.
What are the effective ways to improve the sound quality of my car?
The first condition is the best quality audio system. Consider updating your speakers and receivers. Avoid playing poor-quality music files. Connect the devices with the best option. Install an amplifier for improved output. Moreover, adjust the equalizer properly.
What is the highest quality audio in a car?
In a car audio system, lossless audio file format is considered the best. FLAC, WAV, or AIFF formats fall in this category. They play in CD-quality and are hi-res formats. In addition, a higher sampling rate also ensures high-resolution audio.
Can I install a sound system in my car?
All sound systems, stereos, or head units are not designed for all types of cars. The head units are either single din or double din, it refers to the dash space. Moreover, the power of each system is different. Therefore, you should measure the size, space, and required power while purchasing a car stereo.
How many watts are good for a car sound system?
Generally, 200 to 300 watts RMS is good for a car audio system. However, you need 200 to 500 if you want to add an amplifier or more powerful speakers. The stereo should give about 60-80 watts of power. In simple terms, at least 20 watts of RMS per channel is good from a car stereo. This value is necessary to deliver clear audio on a noisy road.
You may also like: Honest Reviews on Premium Quality Car Subwoofers
Here is my review of the best car head unit for sound quality. I have reviewed the top 7 products that are worth the money. Keep connected for further updates.
Last update on 2024-03-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API