No car is complete without a stereo capable of blowing out the eardrums of everyone in a 5-mile radius, but you might think you can’t afford a system like that on your budget. However, it’s definitely possible to get a top-of-the-line radio at bargain-basement prices.
The difficulty lies in determining which stereos are good deals and which ones have low prices because they’re complete junk. Unless you spend all your time combing through reviews and testing them out, you’ll have to take a leap of faith at some point.
We’ve been there and we want to help. In the reviews below, we’ll walk you through our favorite car stereos under $200, so you can find one that will rattle your windows instead of torpedoing your resale value.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car DVD Player||
|Best Value||JENSEN MPR319 Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver||
|Pioneer AVH-210EX in-Dash 2-DIN DVD Receiver||
|ATOTO A6 Double Din Android Car Navigation Stereo||
|BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo||
The 10 Best Car Stereos Under $200 — Reviews 2021
1. BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car DVD Player — Best Overall
You can only listen to your same Spotify playlist so many times when you’re stuck in traffic, but if you install the BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B in your dash, you’ll have a whole world of entertainment at your fingertips.
It’s a DVD player with a 6.2-inch LCD touchscreen monitor, but you can do much more than just watch movies on it. You can plug in a camera to one of the inputs, allowing you to back up safely or capture whatever ridiculousness you encounter on the road.
The built-in microphone does a good job of picking up your voice during Bluetooth calls, so the person on the other end shouldn’t feel like they’re talking to someone in a wind tunnel.
You can listen to something on your phone via the Bluetooth receiver, plug a device into the USB/SD ports, or simply tune in the AM/FM dial.
The biggest downside is that it might not fit perfectly into your dash without a few modifications.
Overall, though, there’s not much to complain about with the BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B, which is why it earns the top spot on this list.
2. JENSEN MPR319 Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver – Best Value
The JENSEN MPR319 is just a simple car stereo, but it earns a high ranking here because it provides incredible value for the price. In fact, we consider it the best car stereo under $200 for the money.
The interface is excellent, as the high-resolution LCD screen is clear and can be read even in direct sunlight. The buttons are all easy to find and reach, allowing you to change the station while driving.
The presets are simple to customize, and they allow you to store 18 FM and 12 AM stations.
The Bluetooth technology is one of the most impressive things about this device, however. Regardless of whether you want to listen to death metal or the latest audiobook, the sound will be crisp, clear, and appropriate to the subject matter.
It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t have a dimmer, because the light can be overpowering at night. Also, you’ll have to figure out how to operate it yourself, as the instructions aren’t helpful.
If you’re looking to buy a stereo in this price range, you can’t do much better than the JENSEN MPR319. It’s not the best unit we’ve ever encountered, but we’d be hard-pressed to name one as good at this price.
3. Pioneer AVH-210EX in-Dash 2-DIN DVD Receiver
If you’re willing to spend a little more for a budget stereo, the Pioneer AVH-210EX is worthy of your consideration.
It has a hands-free Bluetooth receiver, ensuring that you never have to take your hands off the wheel to take a call. It’s easy to pair, as well, and works with both iPhones and Androids. You can even control everything from your phone with the USB port.
There are five display colors to choose from, along with 112 key colors, allowing you to make sure that it looks exactly how you want it to. It’s easy to expand, thanks to the rear UBS and AUX inputs, back-up camera input, and composite video output.
The sound quality is excellent, and the picture is quite good for a unit in this price range. It is a little too dim to make viewing in direct sunlight pleasurable, though.
We also wish it had a volume knob instead of buttons, as it’s hard to quickly turn the audio up or down without a knob.
Still, the Pioneer AVH-210EX is an excellent device and well worth the extra cash. It’s just not as good of a value as the two models ranked above it.
The ATOTO A6 offers one of the most beautiful interfaces you’ll find on a radio at any price point — just don’t take your eyes off the road to stare at it too long.
It uses a version of the Android Marshmallow OS that’s been optimized for use in cars. When you combine that with the gorgeous 7-inch HD touchscreen, you have a radio that’s user-friendly while still being attractive.
The OS is extremely fast and boots up in no time at all. There’s little to no lag time in most apps or streaming videos, so you never have to wait to be entertained.
You can mirror or cast your phone to the screen with ease, and there are plenty of inputs to choose from, including three USB interfaces and a slot for a back-up camera.
All of these options require space, though, and the ATOTO A6 crams apps into every last inch of screen space. As a result, some icons are relegated to the edge of the screen where they’re hard to select, especially while driving.
Also, while most apps are responsive, those used for navigation tend to lag. The touchscreen doesn’t always register light pressure, either.
Other than that, though, there’s little to criticize about the ATOTO A6 — though that’s just enough to knock it out of the top three here.
5. BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo
The 616UAB is the second model from BOSS Audio Systems on this list, and this one is much more of a budget option, for better and for worse.
While it’s not as expensive as the BV9358B above, it also lacks many of the bells and whistles, including the DVD player.
The display offers dancing lights and dimmable illumination, but you’re not likely to need the latter feature, as it’s not exactly blinding to begin with.
The Bluetooth works fine, although the audio isn’t as crystal-clear on phone calls as it is on some higher-end models. You can play music via the wireless connection or the USB port, although the latter is touchy with certain phones. The biggest issue with the Bluetooth is that it’s hard to switch between paired devices, so you’re better off picking one and sticking to it.
It’s easy to install, though, and it’s cheap enough that you can switch it out easily if any of the above issues become deal breakers. Overall, the BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB isn’t a great radio, but it is a great deal.
6. Kenwood KMM-BT322 Car Media Player
The Kenwood KMM-BT322 makes it easy to listen to the tunes you have stored on your phone, as you can connect using the front-facing AUX port or the built-in Bluetooth. If you plug it in, the radio will charge your phone while it plays.
However, the sound quality can be affected by how close your phone is to the radio when used in Bluetooth mode. Also, depending on what music app you use, you may have difficulty getting it to display the information correctly.
Your buddies in the backseat can control the music as well, thanks to the Kenwood app that acts as a remote control.
It’s simple to install but difficult to program, so don’t expect to have it up and running in a matter of minutes.
Overall, the Kenwood KMM-BT322 is a good-but-not-great radio, but its flaws are annoying. Still, that’s enough to relegate it to the bottom half of this list.
7. JVC KD-X260BT Digital Media Receiver
The JVC KD-X260BT plays a variety of media files, so regardless of your app of choice, it should be able to accommodate you.
In addition to playing music, its Bluetooth allows for hands-free use. The audio on calls is impressive — the person on the other end of the line should be able to hear you clearly, which is no small feat for a car’s Bluetooth system.
The audio quality is less impressive when listening to music, especially if you use the radio. It doesn’t get good reception, so unless you’re within eyesight of the radio station, don’t expect much.
Pairing is a bit of an issue as well. It can find your phone quickly — it just has trouble remembering it. You may have to manually pair it every time you start your car.
It does have a ton of control settings, though, so if you’re particular about your sound, this unit will let you customize it to your liking.
The JVC KD-X260BT definitely has a few things going for it, but unfortunately, its flaws often overshadow its features.
8. Pioneer MVH-S310BT Car Digital Media Receiver
If you’re looking for a basic stereo, the Pioneer MVH-S310BT certainly qualifies; we just feel that you can get one just as good for cheaper.
It has most of the basic features like Bluetooth capability, but its functionality isn’t the greatest, and it has as many issues with pairing as the JVC model above. In fact, it’s a little worse, as it often drops the Bluetooth connection mid-call.
Installation is a pain, as you have to navigate a maze of wires without much help from the instructions, which don’t even explain the color coding.
The interface is sleek and simple but you can’t change the colors. The good news is that it’s intuitive, so you can easily navigate it while driving. The lighting is neither too bright nor too dim.
Overall, the Pioneer MVH-S310BT needs work to rise up this list, but it has a few things going for it, which is more than we can say for many other budget stereos out there.
9. JVC KW-V25BT Double DIN Car Stereo Receiver
At first glance, the JVC KW-V25BT looks like a top-of-the-line unit at a middle-of-the-road price. If you keep digging, though, you’ll find that this stereo is actually overpriced.
The Bluetooth creates a tinny, distant sound, and you’ll have to jack the volume all the way up to be able to hear anything.
It has minimal ports, so don’t expect to be able to connect many devices to it. Installation is a pain as well, especially since they don’t provide an installation plate. Nevertheless, it will look sleek in your dash.
It does have a built-in back-up camera, but the thing has so much lag, it’s virtually worthless.
The interface is user-friendly, at least, so there’s not much of a learning curve there. That’s a nice touch, but it’s not enough to justify ranking the JVC KW-V25BT higher than 9th on this list.
10. EINCAR AN81266GNN Double Din Car Stereo
The EINCAR AN81266GNN is basically a back-up camera that someone added a stereo to; unfortunately, you’re probably better off buying both components separately.
The screen is large and beautiful. The icons are tiny, though, so it’s hard to read while on the move.
Beyond that, there’s not much here worth talking about. It doesn’t come with instructions, so setting it up is difficult; we assume that the idea is to prepare you for how impossible the OS is to navigate once it’s set up.
It has a built-in GPS with navigation, but the information it provides is, at best, an educated guess. It updates slowly too and often gives directions well after it’s too late.
The sound quality is decent, except for the FM radio, which tends to be flat for some reason.
We wanted to like the EINCAR AN81266GNN, as good back-up camera/stereo units are hard to find. After using this device, though, we’re sad to report that they still are.
The BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B was our favorite model in this price range, as it has a DVD player, an attractive display, and amazing audio, all at a price that won’t break the bank.
If the BOSS is still too pricey for you, consider the JENSEN MPR319. As a radio, its performance rivals that of the BOSS while being a fraction of the price.
Finding the perfect stereo for your ride can be a daunting task, and we hope that these reviews have made it a little easier. The models above can bring your Spotify playlist to life without forcing you to cancel your premium membership along the way.
Featured image credit: JENSEN MPR319 Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver with 7 Character LCD Built-in Bluetooth, Amazon
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Car Stereos Under $200 — Reviews 2021
- 1. BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car DVD Player — Best Overall
- 2. JENSEN MPR319 Single DIN Car Stereo Receiver – Best Value
- 3. Pioneer AVH-210EX in-Dash 2-DIN DVD Receiver
- 4. ATOTO A6 Double Din Android Car Navigation Stereo
- 5. BOSS Audio Systems 616UAB Multimedia Car Stereo
- 6. Kenwood KMM-BT322 Car Media Player
- 7. JVC KD-X260BT Digital Media Receiver
- 8. Pioneer MVH-S310BT Car Digital Media Receiver
- 9. JVC KW-V25BT Double DIN Car Stereo Receiver
- 10. EINCAR AN81266GNN Double Din Car Stereo