Which Bluetooth-enabled car CD player should you buy?

While more cars than ever come straight from the factory with good-quality Bluetooth-enabled stereos, there are still many millions of cars limited by old, out-of-date systems. Today, it’s easy to find a variety of car stereos with CD players and integrated Bluetooth technology that allows for hands-free phone calls and streaming music. You can find something that sounds great and will last for years no matter what your budget is.

Double DIN Bluetooth car CD players

Double DIN configurations, twice the height of an old-style car radio at 4 inches tall, are increasingly common in today’s cars. If that’s what your car has, you’re better off choosing a double DIN replacement, as they tend to offer more high-end features and are significantly easier to navigate due to more screen real estate. Overall, the most reliable and feature-rich Bluetooth car stereos are in the double-DIN style.

Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX

Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX

In addition to being outfitted with powerful components, reliable connectivity and the most user-friendly operating system in the industry, this is one of the few options to fully support wireless connections with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Its precision-engineered motorized faceplate holds a responsive, high-resolution touch display and can be removed to prevent theft.

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Pioneer AVH-X390BS

Pioneer AVH-X390BS

While it’s not exactly cheap, the X390BS has plenty of value, due to a bold touchscreen and feature set normally found on far more expensive units. It supports a huge range of music formats aside from digital audio CDs, including FLAC, AAC and MP3 files over USB and MPEG-4, WMV and AVI video.

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Pyle ‎PLDN83BT

Pyle ‎PLDN83BT

There are few cheaper ways to put a touchscreen-controlled stereo in your car than with this one from Pyle. While the interface isn’t the fastest or most intricate, it has plenty of playback features in addition to dependable connectivity and the ability to play a variety of media file types.

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Pioneer AVH-1500NEX

Pioneer AVH-1500NEX

Perfect for hands-free phone calls, rear-view camera monitoring and GPS navigation management, this high-end unit from car audio giant Pioneer delivers premium features at a respectable price. It’s one of the most popular, too, and both owners and expert reviewers give it high marks.

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Boss Audio BV9358B

Boss Audio BV9358B

This is one of many highly affordable yet great-quality pieces of car stereo equipment from Boss. There’s a built-in microphone for making calls and integrated streaming apps such as Spotify and Pandora for when you’re not listening to your favorite CDs, in addition to an AM/FM receiver.

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Pioneer FH-S520BT

Pioneer FH-S520BT

One way to make sure you’re getting a stereo with high-quality circuitry and consistent connectivity is to stick with a reliable manufacturer and consider sacrificing the touchscreen. The S520BT is one such model that uses a traditional car stereo control panel and delivers premium sound quality and quick operation without costing you an arm and a leg.

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Single DIN Bluetooth car CD players

One of the most popular reasons for upgrading to an aftermarket Bluetooth-enabled CD player is that your car is a bit older and isn’t equipped with any modern audio hardware. Don’t get discouraged, though, as even if you’re in an older-model vehicle, you can still get your hands on a great stereo with versatile wireless functionality. These two-inch-high CD players should fit into nearly any passenger car going back to the ’80s or earlier.

Pioneer AVH-3500NEX

Pioneer AVH-3500NEX

If you’re restoring an old car to pristine condition and want the perfect stereo to complement the new paint job and upgraded engine, this high-end model Pioneer should do it. The screen folds out to reveal a high-resolution touchscreen and a set of features and wireless connections that few other models of any configuration can rival.

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Boss Audio BV9986BI

Boss Audio BV9986BI

Even if you’re driving a beater, it’s worth considering this budget-friendly option with a 7-inch fold-out touch display and all of the most important playback features you could need. Easy-access USB, auxiliary and SD card ports make it easy to listen to your favorite tunes, especially if you’re on a remote road trip far from cell service.

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Pyle PLT85BTCM

Pyle PLT85BTCM

This one’s proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a high-end stereo to get something that sounds good and makes it easy to navigate your music collection. There’s a variety of audio inputs, it offers an RCA output if you decide to install a subwoofer, and you can connect a backup camera with minimal effort.

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JVC KD-T710BT

JVC KD-T710BT

If you’re one of those people who isn’t interested in touch controls or motorized display but would rather have something more traditional with easy-to-use tactile buttons, this is one of your best options. Despite the lack of touchscreen, it enables hands-free calling and can play music from USB flash drives, 3.5-millimeter auxiliary cables or even the good old AM/FM radio.

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The best aftermarket amplifiers

If you’re going through the trouble of upgrading your stereo, consider an aftermarket amplifier as well. This is particularly important if you have aftermarket speakers. Many of the most recommended Bluetooth-enabled CD players can deliver up to 45 watts RMS per channel, the measure of continuous power — but for peak performance, you might want a little more juice.

Alphasonik V1000.4

Alphasonik V1000.4

With an RMS rating of 125 watts at 4 ohms resistance, this is the perfect reasonably priced option to combine with a new CD player and midrange car speakers. There’s also a 5-channel version if you have a subwoofer in the mix.

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Rockford Fosgate Punch P1000X5

Rockford Fosgate Punch P1000X5

If you’ve invested in quality speakers and want to get the most out of them, it’s hard to better than this mid-level option from popular manufacturer Rockford Fosgate. It’s built with premium electrical components that can drive some of the most demanding in-door car speakers safely, with little to no distortion or interference.

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Alpine PDX-V9

Alpine PDX-V9

There aren’t many better amplifiers to pair with a new high-end stereo and power-hungry 4.1-channel speakers. This one delivers a consistent 100 watts RMS to each of the four corners and 500 watts to the subwoofer, letting your aftermarket setup really shine.

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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