Car stereo systems today are not what they once were back in the day. For decades, people got along with a standard AM/FM radio.
The Different Types of Car Stereo Systems
There are quite a few different car stereo systems, each with its own appeal. Some of these systems are basic receivers, such as the DMR and simply connect to your internet, or others such as MirrorLink systems which are used by individuals who simply just need to connect to their smartphone. Factory replacement and classic car units are made to fit a specific model of vehicle, while the touchscreen models are the ultimate as they combine entertainment features, connectivity to mobile devices as well as navigation systems.
Digital Media Receivers: A DMR, digital media receiver also known as a “merchless” receiver, works to connect to a network by way of wireless of Ethernet. Once connected to a network, the DMR it gives you access to whatever is on your home computer, entertainment center or TV. So, if this is all you require, then the DMR is a type of car stereo that you should look into. DMR’s are also usually less expensive than touchscreen models.
MirrorLink Stereos: Car audio systems that have MirrorLink capability make it possible for you to connect your smartphone to your cars infotainment system by way of a USB cable. The MirrorLink enabled car stereo will have an interface on the display and perhaps steering wheel controls as well, by which you control your smartphone. The MirrorLink system allows you to stream music and have access to texts, all with your hands on the wheel.
Touch Screen Stereos: The Touch Screen Stereo system is the ultimate car infotainment system. Almost all models give you access to your smartphone and mobile devices, and Bluetooth Technology. They have a variety of input and output options for your audio and visual needs such as USB ports, Auxiliary Ports for MP3 and CD players, GPS equipped with pre-loaded maps, with all this nicely presented on a large, colorful display. Most are easily expandable as well.
Factory Replacement Stereos: This type of car audio system is for the individual who is satisfied with the radio that came with the car as it rolled out of the factory. For whatever reason, if they want a replacement for that radio, they must choose a Factory Replacement Stereo. This means that they will be getting the same features that came with their original purchase. These are also called ‘stock’ radios or original equipment manufacturer, OEM radios.
Classic Car Stereos: Owners of classic cars want the car to remain classic, inside and out. This means that someone who has spent thousands of dollars restoring their MOPAR or Chevy, will want a radio that was made for that particular model. If your classic car is a 1973 Duster 340, then you will want the type of radio system that originally came with the car, so will purchase a classic car stereo.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Car Stereo?
The total cost of car stereo installation will depend on a few common factors, such as the kind of stereo it is and what is involved in installing it, plus what the company you choose wishes to charge. That being said, expect to pay between $60 to $100 for a rock solid, basic install. Do your research and read the fine print, as some companies will have fees for installing radios with certain features.
For instance, a business may say that radio installation is $40, but will charge you an added $60.00 for the speaker system. Some companies will charge a materials fee, or charge you an extra $100 to install an amplifier. If you wish to save on installation costs, then use a company that includes the installation as part of the entire package deal. It is also possible to install the unit yourself, but we urge you to hire a professional if you do not feel comfortable with doing an installation.
Why We Have Recommended These 3 Car Stereos?
Our first choice for the best touchscreen car stereo is the Jensen VX7020. This is an affordable unit that is richly packed with features that make it the perfect infotainment model for individuals or those who use their car as a source of income. These features include Bluetooth Technology, playback ability from both audio and visual sources and excellent navigation tools. This unit is expandable in the future as it is SiriusXM radio ready, steering wheel control ready, has 3 sets of pre-amp outputs for extra speakers and an input for a backup camera.
Coming in at number two, is the BOSS BV9976B Touchscreen radio. This model fits nicely within the budget of most people who are looking for a system that offers solid performance at a good price. It has a good range of supporting various media sources, from your smartphone, Bluetooth to DVD, CD, and MP3. This unit is easy to upgrade as it has 3 sets of pre-amp outputs for speakers, option for steering wheel controls, and an input for a rear camera.
Last, but certainly not least is the Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX. This unit is also quite affordable, has a nice 7 inch display, as well as being compatible with MirrorLink and Siri Eyes Free. As for media sources, the Pioneer has you covered by giving you access to everything from smartphone and Bluetooth Technology, DVD, CD, MP3, USB and more. You’ll find that when it comes time to expand the features on your system, your Pioneer is SiriusXM Radio ready, steering wheel control ready, dedicated backup camera input ready, plus added A/V inputs in case you wish to add different video sources, such as game consoles or extra monitors.
How to Choose a Car Stereo System?
You may be surprised to see the vast variety of car stereos on the market place. This is why it is imperative to do your research, decide what it is you need, and move on from there. That being said, please do not overlook the size of the model you choose, as it must be able to fit into your dash. It will be a big help if you create a checklist of features you know are important to you before you begin your search.
How Much are You Willing to Spend?: Car stereo systems are simply filled with exciting and very tempting features, so it’s best to establish a budget straightaway. If you state that you will not go over $150, then that may help you when you research car audio systems, and you can begin to cross off features you really don’t need, no matter how tempting they look. Remember, features may look lovely,but they will drive both the cost of your car radio up as well as the price of installation, so make sure you need them.
Audio and Visual Sources: Stop and think for a bit about what audio and visual sources you use on a daily basis, because that will probably be what you’ll want to take with you on long drives. In other words, do you enjoy CD’s? If so, then you’ll need a CD player, is a MP3 player more your style or perhaps you put imagery and music on a USB? If such is the case, look for a system that has the inputs and outputs to connect the devices you will need.
Consider the Needs of Passengers: If this is going to be a family car, or a car you will use for business or carpooling, it’s good to have a variety of audio and visual sources available. If you have kids, then maybe you need one with a DVD player, so they can watch movies during long drives. If you are using your car to carpool or perhaps make extra money on the side, such as with Uber, then you will need a vehicle with a good navigation system.
How Does Your Smartphone Fit In?: Any car stereo system will have a ‘badge’ on the box if it is compatible with an Apple product. The badge will say “Made with iPhone”, which means you can be sure that your car stereo will support your iDevice’s mobile devices. If your mobile device is anything other than an iPhone, look for a system that has A2DP stereo Bluetooth audio. If you love your streaming music from Pandora, or are dependent on certain apps, search for a system that allows you to have access to your apps.
Think Ahead: In a tech world, there are always upgrades and opportunities to expand your system. When doing research, take a look at the units specs to see what is expandable. For instance, say you really like a model for its connectivity, but also want steering wheel controls in the near future. If that model is not steering wheel control ready, then you are wasting your money.
Top Rated Touch Screen Car Stereos List
The 7 Touch Screen Car Stereo Reviews
The Jensen VX7020 is an excellent, all around double DIN touchscreen stereo system for your vehicle. This in-dash receiver has an amp which meets the CEA-2006 standards, with a maximum power output of 40 watts times 4 channels. The screen is a nice, bright 6.2 inch TFT LCD touchscreen, with a resolution of 800 x 480, and comes with 5 colors and wallpapers. You also get remote control for your convenience.
This model is simply loaded with playback and audio and video features, which include the ability to play CD’s, DVD’s, MPE, WMA, VCD, SVCD, Xvid, AVI and Mpeg. The AM/FM tuner is pre-loaded with 18 FM stations and 12 AM channels. If that were not all, you also are able to stream music, connect your smartphone and Bluetooth, plus use the 10 band parametric equalizer to customize your sound.
If you love your music and videos, you get plenty of inputs to plug in your favorite A/V source. These include 3.5mm Audio/Visual and Auxiliary input in the front and in the rear, and a RCA audio visual input. There is also an input for your USB and SD card, plus an MP3 ID3 Tag which helps you to organize the information regarding your tracks, and see it on display, such as the artist, title of the song or album.
Being on the road means you sometimes need a little help to get by, to find areas of interest, or simply to get yourself free after you took a wrong turn. With the Jensen, you get iGo Primo navigation software, along with Tele Atlas Map Data, plus pre-loaded maps of the USA, Peurto Rico and Virgin Islands. For the sake of increased visibility, any buildings or landmarks appear in 3D. Finally, this unit offers Naviextras web support.
Those looking for a unit they can upgrade and expand are in luck with this model, as it has 3 sets of pre-amp outputs for extra speakers, and is SiriusXM Satellite ready. In the future, you can choose to add integrated steering wheel controls and a backup camera as well. This model comes with a one year manufacturers warranty, and product dimensions are 6.5 x 9.5 x 11.5 inches, and 7.5 pounds.
Summary- The JensenVX7020 is a fabulous in-dash 6.2 inch TFT, LCD double DIN touchscreen car radio, loaded with features both fun and useful. Excellent connectivity for your CD’s, DVD’s, MP3, smartphone, Bluetooth, Auxiliary and RCA A/V inputs. iGo Primo navigation software, Tele Atlas Map Data, supports Naviextras web support. 3 sets of pre-amp outputs, SiriusXM Satellite ready.
The BOSS Audio BV9976B single DIN touchscreen car stereo is all you’ll need to enjoy the best audio in your car. This system has a large, 7 inch motorized touchscreen monitor, with the ability to support a variety of audio sources, such as DVD, CD, MP3, WMA, USB, SC and your smartphones. Its 1 bit Digital Analog Converter will augment both your MP3 and WMA playback. Bluetooth technology lets you drive while you make calls and take them, hands-free, as well as stream your favorite music from apps such as iHeartRadio and Pandora.
Features include an built-in equalizer so you can control the bass, treble, balance of your favorite music, as well as inputs for USB, SD, A/V, and Aux. The 3.5mm Auxiliary input gives you the ability to hook up your MP3 player or smartphone, and the AV, or audio/visual, gives you access to video from an external device of your choice. As for outputs, you have a video, front, rear, and a sub pre-amp, so if you have music stored on your flash drive you’re good to go. The BOSS comes with an SC card reader which you can use for both video and audio playback, and a Rear RCA video output and RCA A/V input.
The digital touchscreen TFT widescreen display panel lets you gain access to features at your leisure, and has a multi-color illumination feature. There are also over 16 million options so you can get the perfect background illumination for your display. The wireless remote and touchscreen control options make certain that all of the controls are within the reach of your fingertips, and the vertical monitor angle adjustment allows you to get the perfect view of your display.
The ID3 TAG is a nice feature, that lets you keep order in your files, as you can add the artist, title, etc. Electronic Skip Protection ensures that you always have 5 seconds stored, so in case your disc is interrupted, that 5 seconds will fill in, so you get a nice, even flow. If you enjoy your AM/FM radio, you are in luck as the BOSS comes with an AM/FM tuner and 12 AM and 18 FM preset stations, as well as having switchable USA and European radio frequencies.
As for expandability, you are given 3 sets of 2 volt, pre-amp outputs for front, rear and mono sub-woofers. Down the road, you can add steering wheel controls, which are sold separately, which let you control your BOSS from the convenience of your steering wheel. Finally, the rear camera input controls the camera that films when your car moves in reverse, and the image is projected on the screen. This model comes with a 1 year manufacturers warranty, and product dimensions are 7.5 x 7 x 2 inches, 5.7 pounds.
Summary- The BOSS Audio BV9976B Single Din Touchscreen car stereo BOSS Audio has a large, 7 inch, full color LCD touchscreen, customizable with up to 16 million colors, smartphone compatibility. You get playback for your DVD’s, CD’s, MP3 player and WMA. Built-in Bluetooth Technology, and vertical monitor adjustment, AM/FM tuner, and smartphone friendly. This is also easy to expand by adding speakers, steering wheel controls or a rear camera.
For a easy to use, high performance touchscreen car stereo system, you simply cannot go wrong with this model. The Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX is a double DIN, in-dash Car Stereo with a 7 inch WVGA Capacitive touchscreen display. Basic features include a power output of 50 watts x 4 channels, an AM/FM tuner with 18 FM and 6 AM preset stations. Built-in HD radio and compatible with MirrorLink, and Siri Eyes Free, along with Android Auto and Apple Carplay.
The Pioneer supports a variety of audio/visual features such as DVD, CD, MP3, and AAC playback. If you use your USB you have MP3, WMA, AAC, MP4, WAV, FLAC, WMV, and JPEG. The built-in 13 band graphic equalizer will let you have some fun customizing the sound of your music, and the Pioneer MixTrax Technology lets you construct your own special stream of non-stop music for your own personal library. The Pioneer is also SiriusXM radio ready, and its App Radio Mode gives you the ability to use compatible apps right from the dash, as well as iDataLink Maestro, Dual Zone Entertainment.
The navigation features included in this model are diverse and quite useful. First, there is a HERE map database, a Total Traffic Network tuner which gives you access to traffic data for 90 plus major North American Cities and Canada, and around 7.9 million standard points of interest. For an added plus you get a Built-in RDS-TMC Traffic Tuner, upcoming speed limit warnings, an external GPS antenna.
As for input and output’s there is a 3.5mm Auxiliary input, 2 rear USB inputs, and HDMI input and an SC card reader for video and audio playback, plus 3 sets of 4 volt pre-amp outputs for front, rear and subwoofer. For Bluetooth users, the profiles that are supported will include HFP1.6, Hands Free Profile which lets you use a hands-free kit to hook up to a compatible mobile phone, an A2DP, Advanced Audio distribution Profile which gives you the opportunity to stream high quality audio, and SSP, or Secure Simple Pairing. All with a maximum coverage range of 32.8 feet.
If you are looking for a car stereo system that will give you options to expand or grow with the new technology, then take a look at what this Pioneer has to offer. Expandability Options include being SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ready, HD Radio, steering wheel control ready, and a dedicated backup camera input. Composite video output to connect to separate monitors and 2 composite A/V inputs to connect to gaming consoles, video cameras or other video accessories. Product Dimensions 12 x 9 x 6 inches, 6 pounds.
Summary- The Pioneer AVIC-8200NEX has a large, 7 inch capacitive touchscreen display, CEA-2006 compliant amp and comes with a remote control. Android Auto, Apple Carplay and built-in Bluetooth Technology make this the ideal system for individuals who have a variety of phones in the family. MirrorLink Compatible, Siri Eyes Free with Pioneer’s own MixTrax Technology. Extensive playback options including DVD, CD, MP3, music streaming, and extensive Navigation features.
Since the first radio, the Airtone 3D, was placed into the first car 1925, individuals experienced entertainment while driving. Today’s car audio systems have come a long way, and Kenwood DDX372BT does not disappoint. If you are looking for a solid and affordable onboard infotainment system for yourself and your family, this might be a unit you should look into.
General features for this model include a 6.2 inch VGA LCD touchscreen display with LED backlight and variable key illumination, with the ability to customize the background color. You get total support for your smartphones and mobile devices, including built-in Bluetooth. The easy to use interface uses a touchscreen display so you can quickly get access to your tuner, phone or iPod while you drive. This is the perfect choice for long drives, as you have access not only to your smartphone and streaming music, and the 5 band equalizer allows you to customize your sound a bit.
If you use Siri for your activities of daily living, then you are in luck, as this system gets you connected, the same for legacy media. The DDX372BT will have access to your DVD’s, CD’s, flash drive as well as satellite radio. However, the Sirius XM tuner is not included, and sold separately. For expandability, you get 3 pre-outs, 4 volts each, 1 rear switchable iPod/AV input, 1 rear RCA video output and 1 RCA video input made for a rear view camera.
There are more than a few options for those with CD’s and DVD’s, such as VCD compatible, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV playback, and CD text ready, repeat and random play. Your tuner is SiriusXM ready, and a tuner that has 18 FM and 6 AM preset stations, RBDS with Radio Text Plus, AME or Automatic Memory Entry. The Kenwood has 1 USB port in the rear which allows for MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV playback, built-in Bluetooth Technology with a Hands-Free profile, A2DP Audio Profile and SPP profile, and Bluetooth auto pairing for your iPhone, with voice control available for iPhone and Siri. This unit is 6.7 x 3.2 x 5.9 inches and weighs in at 5.7 pounds.
Summary- The Kenwood DDX372BT has a nice, 6.2 inch touchscreen TFT display, is Bluetooth compatible, iPhone and iPod control, SiriusXM satellite radio ready, voice dialing, rear USB and 3.5mm Auxillary inputs, a 5 band equalizer with 8 preset settings, and AM/FM tuner. This unit supports the Siri Virtual Assistant app, most audio visual sources such as MP3, WMA, CD’s and DVD’s.
Going out for a nice, long pleasure drive with your BOSS Audio BV9386NV will be quite an enjoyable experience, as this system offers much to those who use it, especially the navigation system. Indeed, you’ll get plenty of connectivity and overall entertainment options with this model. This audio system comes with 6.2 inch, full color touchscreen monitor with digital LED backlit screen at 800 x 480 resolution, has a power output of 50 watts x 4 channels, remote control included.
Connectivity is choice with this audio system, as you can have access to your DVD’s, CD’s, SD, USB and Auxiliary ports. Bluetooth technology is also built-in with Hands Free Calling (HFP), and Bluetooth Audio Streaming Technology (A2DP/AVRCP) which lets you stream from your favorite sites, such as Pandora, Spotify or iHeartRadio, and access to your phone without taking your hands off the wheel. As for inputs and outputs, there is a 3.5 mm front Auxiliary input, a front and rear USB input.
Music lovers will enjoy the easy to use, built-in 2 band parametric preset equalizer, and RDS tuner. Equalizers allow you to customize the music that you hear, via bass, treble or balance. The AM/FM tuner has 18 preset FM stations and 12 preset AM stations. As for video, they include inputs fo you may connect an external monitor, and your playback options include EVE, MP4, MP3, CD, and WMA.
The 6.2 inch touchscreen monitor offers you excellent navigation with maps for the entire USA and Puerto Rico, with over 8 million pre-loaded destinations of interest from which to choose and 2D landmark display. In fact, navigation gives you either visual or text to speech navigation, alerting you when to make the next turn. There is also a lane assist feature which suggests to the driver which lane they should be in at that time. The split screen control feature divides the screen in half with your control window on the right and navigation information on the left hand side.
For expandability, this system has 3 sets of 2 volt, pre-amp outputs so you can expand your sound system with front, rear and subwoofer outputs. Steering wheel control ready, however, this interface while available, is sold separately. You also have the option to purchase a rear camera so you can keep track of what is happening behind you while you are reversing. This model has a 2 year manufacturers warranty and dimensions are 6.2 x 7 x 4 inches, at 6.3 pounds.
Summary- The BOSS Audio BV9386NV touchscreen display car stereo has a full color 6.2 inch LCD touchscreen display with 800 x 480 resolution. Built-in navigation system for all 50 states with text to speech driving directions, Bluetooth Technology with AM/FM tuner with 18 FM stations and 12 AM stations. Playback options include DVD, CD, SMA, MP4 and MP3, 3.5mm front Aux input, front and rear USB input.
Enjoy excellence in audio quality at an affordable price with the Sound Storm DD889B. This system comes with a 7 inch digital TFT touchscreen display, adjustable monitor, detachable front panel with an onscreen display menu, all with illumination controls. The TV system is compatible with both NTSC and PAL. This model also comes with a digital clock display for your convenience.
With Bluetooth Technology built right in, you are free to drive while handling your phone calls and streaming your music. Enjoy your MP3 players and external monitors due to the extensive connectivity you get with this system, so if you have music on your USB, simply plug it in, or on your SD memory card. The Auxiliary input is right there, waiting and ready for your MP3 player or smartphone, and Audio Visual inputs exist for any video our audio device.
The radio tuner comes with 12 preset AM channels and 18 FM preset channels and has switchable radio regions for the USA and Europe. For your listening pleasure there is a preset equalizer selection switch, a bass, treble, balance and fader control, stereo/mono selection switch, local distance switch, auto memory store/pre-set scan button, last position memory and auto memory search feature. The disk player mechanism is DVD, and compatible with DVD’s, VCD, MP4, MP3, CD, WMA, Mpet, Jpeg and Avi.
Inputs and outputs include a USB input in the front panel, a SC/MMC memory card port input in the behind panel, auxiliary input in the front. The rear holds a rear view camera RCA input, video RCA output and Audio RCA output, plus a subwoofer RCA output. Other features include a built in equalizer, electronic skip protection, wireless remote control and pre amp outputs allow you to expand to up to 2 amps.
Summary- The Sound Storm DD889B touchscreen car audio system has a 7 inch TFT display, a power output of 85 watts x 4 channels, built-in equalizer, plays Bluetooth, DVD, CD, USB, SD, MP3, and WMA. This unit comes with an AM/FM tuner, handles digital media from smartphones, rear camera input, detachable front panel, and wireless remote.
If you are in the market for a simple, basic model, then we suggest you take a look at this Pioneer. The Pioneer AVH-290BT is a basic multimedia DVD receiver with a powerful NEX user interface, 6.2″ Active Matrix Driving touchscreen Display, clear resistive, with a WVGA resolution of 800 x 400. The display has a LED backlight, color customization, 3 display colors, an illumination timer, dimmer setting and brightness control. Peak power output is at 50 watts x 4 channels.
Built-in Bluetooth Technology means you can have Hands Free Profile (HFP) convenience while you drive, and pairing up your Bluetooth phone quickly and easy, and also an auto connect feature which will pair your phone and receiver up if they are within close proximity. You also get wireless audio streaming, A2DP complete with song search, and control audio, AVRCP. You are guaranteed to receive excellent reception using the Wideband Speech Handsfree Profile 1.6.
Connectivity is also available for your iPod or iPhone which will allow you to have access to your favorite music and videos, with accompanying music information displayed on the screen. The system’s wired USB connection provides direct digital signal transfer from the device for clean, clear sound while providing 1 amp of current to keep your iPod/iPhone charged. Listen to your favorite CD’s with excellent sound quality, as well as your MP3’s, WMA, AAC, WAV, and video playback for DVD, Mpeg-1, Mpeg-2, AVI, WMV, and Jpeg. Inputs and outputs include 3.5mm rear Audio Visual Auxiliary input, and rear USB input.
The 5 band graphic equalizer makes creating your own sound fun and easy with 7 preset equalizer curves including: Bass, powerful, natural, vocal, flat, custom 1 and custom 2. Expandability for this model includes steering wheel control ready, dedicated backup camera input, rear RCA video output in case you wish to connect different monitors. Dimensions for this model are 6.8 x 7 x 4 inches, weight 4.2 pounds.
Summary- The Pioneer AVH-290BT touchscreen car audio system comes with a 6.2 inch display, NEX user interface, CEA-2006 compliant amplifier, and has a power output of 50 watts x 4 channels. The radio tuner has 18 FM preset stations and 6 AM preset stations. This unit is compatible with Apple devices. Inputs and outputs include a 3.5mm rear audio visual Auxiliary input, and a rear USB input. Playback includes CD, MP3, WMA, AAC WAV, AVI WMV.
How to Install a Touch Screen Stereo in a Car?
This is a basic guide that serves to familiarize you with the process of installing a touch screen radio. Remember when you remove your old unit from the dash, to be sure to take videos or photos of how things were connected, these can be an invaluable reference.
Note: Before you begin this or any other process that involves wiring of any kind on your car, you must disconnect the cars negative cable from the battery, if you are not familiar with this process then please seek instruction. Also, as you will be working inside the car, please make certain your parking brake is on.
1. Gather Your Tools: When you look at the instruction in your owners manual, it will tell you what type of screwdrivers and other tools you will need. Make sure you have these at home before you begin.
2. Remove The Old Unit: This process involves removing the original wiring and disconnecting the antenna cable, so it is wise to video tape the process or take a series of photos to use as a reference when it comes time to rewire the new radio and connect the antenna.
Begin by removing the screws around your radio. Remove these dashboard pieces and carefully set them aside. If you feel you need to, take an image of the process, so you have no trouble putting it back together later. Next, remove the set screws that are securing your old radio. Remove this unit. Look at the back of the unit and you will see colored wires. Take an image of this for reference. Carefully disconnect the wires and remove the wire harness. Next, disconnect the radio’s antenna, and completely remove the head unit.
3. Reconnect the Wiring and Antenna: Reconnect the wiring to your new touchscreen radio, use the images you took as a reference if you need to. Next, connect the antenna cable.
4. Check Your Connection: At this point check to see if your radio is working by turning on your car. Make sure that all the features work, such as the AM/FM tuner, Bluetooth, etc. If these are not working, then you must go back and rewire.
5. Secure Your New Touchscreen Radio: Once everything is in place, and working correctly, you can then make sure your radio is mounted properly and the dash panels are replaced.
The Final Thought (Conclusion)
We sincerely hope you enjoyed our article on how to find the best touch screen car stereo. We hope you found it not only informative, but also gave you a good, strong basis to begin your search. Each and every touchscreen car stereo we have listed are the best of the best, with excellent customer reviews and all represented by companies who are well respected and offer excellent customer service. Please feel free to look over our guide again, to see which one suits your purposes best.