Today’s car stereo systems work overtime compared to the AM/FM tape or CD player that was in your last car. The top 10 car stereos support mp3s, satellite radio, have Bluetooth capabilities and more. Plus many even have visual displays, fancy user controls and navigation displays to help safety while driving.

Top Car Stereos Under $100

These stereos are usually a step up from whatever was thrown in your car on the factory floor. Very affordable choices, these car stereos will make people looking for a little something extra very happy.

1. Sony Cdx-gt550ui

Priced around $80 to $90, this car stereo has a lot of options for a little money, definitely taking care of the basics with an AM/FM receiver and a CD player. Newer Sony technology features include both mp3 and iPod capabilities, and the front port will also dock with an iPhone. The Sony Cdx-gt550ui is HD and satellite ready, so users can subscribe to those features if they choose. It features a single line LCD text display that works with mp3s and CDs, and also has a remote for added usability.

2. Dual XDMA6415

At around $70, the Dual XDMA6415 car stereo has a lot of features for the money. It plays AM/FM radio, CDs, and audio files from iPods and most other devices. Also has Bluetooth capability and compatible with many steering wheel controls. Music is adjustable through bass, treble, balance, fade and volume controls, and the stereo features five preset levels such as classic and pop. The front is detachable to deter theft and comes with a remote control.


While this model just under $100 doesn’t play CDs, it does do everything else. You can go old school AM/FM or listen to HD, satellite or Pandora radio. It hooks up to all things Apple, such as the iPod and iPhone, and also works with other smart phones such as Android. This stereo also has Bluetooth capabilities that allow for hands-free talking and text messaging- it can even play the music off of your phone. Users liked the minimal buttons, 32 color choices of LED display and the ease of use with USB, mp3 and Bluetooth. Some lamented the lack of a detachable face for deterring theft, but it has a good set of features at a low price.

4. Alpine CDE-100

Priced just under $100, the Alpine CDE-100 car stereo plays music from CDs, files from USB memory sticks such as WMA and mp3 players using the auxiliary input. It has an additional amplifier and set preset music configurations. The face is detachable as a theft deterrent. It also features expandability through a preamp and a subwoofer output, which is a nice addition for the money.

Top Car Stereos Between $100 and $200

These car stereos are a step up, and pricing is for those who really need some good sound in their vehicles. High end features such as Bluetooth and customizable color displays are standard features in this group.

5. Pioneer DEH-P8300UB

Priced around $190, the Pioneer DEH-P8300UB car stereo has it all. It has AM/FM/, a CD player, and is compatible with mp3 players and Apple electronics such as iPods and iPhones. The display even takes over the iPod’s display while charging the device, has a USB outlet for digital files and comes with a remote.

Also equipped for Bluetooth, HD radio and satellite radio if your local radio stations don’t feature enough political programs that you can disagree with. Pandora is already integrated and users rave about interchangeable variety of display modes.

Bonuses include the three line display and special animated 3D screensavers such as dolphins or a DJ. Additional images will appear in the background of the display depending on what kind of music is playing. Pioneer also claims that it delivers superior sound due to technology such as the Advanced Sound Retriever and MOSFET Amplification.

6. Clarion CX501

At just under $200, the Clarion CX501 car stereo has all of the bells and whistles. It features the ability to play music from just about any device in any form – AM/FM, CDs, iPods, iPhones and just about any cell phone that plays music. The Clarion is also ready for HD radio or satellite radio, has Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free talking and ready for vehicles that incorporate radio controls in the steering wheel.

This stereo comes with three preset equalization patterns but also allows users to adjust the bass, midrange and treble for a customized experience. The Clarion also features a 728 color display that allows users to match the radio to a tricked out ride (or set an ambiance to match the mood) and is expandable with three additional outputs.

7. Pyle PLDN73I

This unit’s big draw is a seven inch touch screen that can play movies as well as everything else. Priced around $160, it also has an AM/FM radio, plays CDs, mp3 and mp4 and can connect with your iPod or other handheld music player. This stereo also comes with a remote control.

The screen has a 1440 x 234 resolution, which is removable for protection and can link up with a rear view camera for those of you can’t back up. Sound is adjustable through changes to bass, balance, volume and fading; the video is customizable as well by adjusting contrast, brightness and hue. Additional components, such as a DVD player can be added to expand this stereo’s media capabilities.

8. JVC KW-XR810

This car stereo has a large display that has a 30,000+ variable illumination color display that can match any interior and is customizable. The JVC KW-XR810 is priced around $185 but can do just about anything. It plays CDs and AM/FM, has connections for iPods, iPhones or other audio devices. The Bluetooth compatibility works with other mp3 players and smartphones, such as Blackberry, not just Apple electronics. Also features customizable settings for day and night, preset sound settings, an iEQ equalizer and has a remote control for additional use options.

Top Car Stereos over $200

These stereos are for the true connoisseurs who are all about equalization, customization, and the latest technology.

9. Kenwood KDC-X995 eXcelon

Priced around $300, this car stereo features a five line display that is fully customizable and equipped for HD radio, satellite radio, with full Bluetooth connectivity for iPods and iPhones. The Kenwood KDC-X995 eXcelon also features three outputs for stereo expandability, has a 14 different color option display and the ability to alter speaker output such as balance and fading. Kenwood defines this stereo as the flagship model that delivers the ultimate in the car audio experience.

10. Jensen VM9214BT

Priced around $250, this car stereo plays it all- from AM/FM and CDs to newer formats such as mp3 files. It has a USB port as well.  This stereo features a seven inch display that also plays DVDs for a complete media experience. This model comes with an SD card reader for expanded memory options, and is Bluetooth compatible with iPods and iPhones.

The motorized screen is a full touchscreen, and is compatible with a backup camera for safety while driving in reverse. There is an additional display screen for when the main screen is in the closed position. Expandability options include preamp outputs and video outputs to add additional screens.  This stereo could only get better if it drove the car for you.

Most people would agree that no car is complete without an awesome stereo system. Car audio systems allow drivers to have a tailor made soundtrack for their lives. Listening to a great song can make the worst commute tolerable – here’s to melodious driving!