5 Best Budget Car Stereos of 2016

Looking for a new car headunit without a premium price tag? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We did the research so you don’t have to. We’ve come up with several options worth consideration.

Don’t think that a low price tag will leave you with a cd player and no Bluetooth connectivity, because times have changed and those days are long gone. These days, even a $100 or less can get you a decent head unit with all sort of features you’ll ever need. The budget car stereos of today make fewer compromises compared with budget car stereos in the past.

Gone are the days when you had to spend hundreds of dollars on a basic car headunit that can only play CDs and Radio. Car headunits have improved no end, and are now stylish, more attractive and better-sounding than ever. Most important of all though, is that they’re fitted with a wide array of features and entertainment options than ever. And even those advanced features from the flagship head units are slowly trickling down to the budget head units.

Here’s a selection of our favorite budget car stereos that cost under $200. If you’re looking to pick up a decent head unit for not much cash, these are the top cheap car stereos your money can buy – even on a budget.

5 Best Cheap Car Stereos Reviews 

Kenwood KDC-BT562U Review

Kenwood KDC-BT562U ReviewKenwood is one of the best car stereo brands on the market. Founded in 1961, Kenwood has made a name for itself as a leading developer and manufacturer of audio and video products for home, car, and personal use.

Nowadays, Kenwood is one of the largest selling brands of audio and video entertainment products in the United States and is recognized by consumers and electronics industry professionals for providing superior quality, reliability and value.

Kenwood offer a huge collection of different car stereos for every purpose, so whether you’re looking for a digital media receiver, single or a double din head unit with a touch screen, Kenwood has got you covered.

In this corner, we’ll be looking for at one of the best cheap car stereos that Kenwood has to offer – the KDC-BT562U which would be a great investment for anyone who’s on a budget and looking for a good single din head unit that packs in a lot of features but still remains affordable.

The Kenwood KDC-BT562U CD receiver is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and wireless music streaming from Bluetooth enabled devices. You can also take the wired route by connecting your smartphone (iPhone® or Android™) to the front-panel USB port to enjoy your playlist on your smartphone. The KDC-BT562U also comes with a front aux input for connecting a portable music player.

This single din head unit is also compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio tuner. This means you can play and control all your favorite satellite radio stations as you cross the country.

As for audio features, the KDC-BT562U boasts eight preset EQ settings, 3-band parametric equalizer, as well as subwoofer level, low-pass filter, and phase controls.

In terms of its power output, the KDC-BT562U’s built in amplifier is rated for 22 watts RMS. The headunit also comes with three pairs of RCA preamp outputs, making it much easier to connect outboard amps if you decide to upgrade your car audio system down the road.

Pioneer DEH-X6800BT Review

Pioneer DEH-X6800BT ReviewLike Kenwood, Pioneer is another great car stereo brand trusted by a huge number of people and the reason here is also quality and reliability, not to mention features and stylish designs.

Pioneer, a company we are rather enamored with, makes some of the best car audio components including speakers and head units. They have been in business for a very long time, and they’ve mastered the art of providing top-notch products and workmanship.

Pioneer offers a wide array of different head units from single DIN digital media receivers and flip out headunits to double DIN DVD receivers and large touch screen car stereos. Simply put, they have car stereos for every purpose and for every budget.

Pioneer car stereos are some of the best selling car stereos on the market. And that’s no coincidence, these headunit are very well-engineered and pack in a ton of audio and entertainment options. As for the prices, just keep in mind that the more features you want, the more you’ll have to pay.

That said, If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a decent budget headunit that won’t empty your bank account, the DEH-X6800BT is a great option to consider. It’s one of the best single din head units at its price point.

The DEH-X6800BT features a multi-line, multi-segmented LCD display with LED backlight. Its dual zone color customization illumination allows you to customize the color of the text on-screen as well as select another different color for the buttons. You can also use the 10-Level brightness control to adjust the brightness of the screen.

This headunit sports Bluetooth connectivity so you can stream music wirelessly from Bluetooth enabled devices and answer your calls without worrying about holding your phone while driving. Additionally, this headunit has a front-panel USB input and aux input.

And to better fine tune the sound to match your musical taste, this car stereo is fitted with EQ 5-band equalizer with seven preset tone settings.

Kenwood DPX-501BT Review

Kenwood DPX501BT reviewSo your budget can’t stretch to a high-end double din car stereo? No problem. There are various cheap options on the market.

The DPX501BT is one of the best cheap double din headunit that Kenwood has to offer. It’s designed to be easy to use. Its Big buttons an oversized knob give you easy access to all receiver functions.

As with all new budget headunits, the DPX501BT is packed with a decent array of features such as 13-digit variable-color display, Bluetooth connectivity, front USB port and auxiliary input, Pandora and iHeartRadio control with iPhone and Android.

As for cons, it’s really difficult think of any. If anything, I’d say that a few people reported that this headunit isn’t nearly bright enough which can make a bit hard for them to see the display in daylight, but hey, which electronic device doesn’t become slightly less visible in direct sunlight? All in all, the DPX501BT is a great headunit for the buck.

Pioneer MVH-X380BT Review

Pioneer MVH-X380BT reviewDigital media receivers are the trend nowadays. A digital media receiver (sometimes referred to as a “mechless” receiver) is simply a car stereo without a built-in CD player. So, if you’ve switched from CDs to USB drives and digital formats, then why buy a headunit with a CD player?

The MVH-X380BT is one of the best cheap digital media receivers on the market. It’s loaded with enough options that make bringing a CD to your car unnecessary. It’s designed from the ground up with smartphone and digital lifestyle in mind. It features Pioneer’s MIXTRAX technology, dual phone connection via the built-in Bluetooth, USB direct control of an iPod or iPhone, USB access to music on Android devices (4.0 or later), and Pandora for both iPhone and Android.

The dual phone connection lets you pair two phones, while “Guest Mode” allows you to easily add or replace a mobile device, which is a great feature for a family car with multiple drivers, or one driver with multiple devices.

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