All new cars already come with Bluetooth compatibility, which makes it easier to stay connected safely while driving. A lot of older cars lack this tech feature, but there’s no need to go to a dealership to buy a new car just to have it. There are a lot of aftermarket solutions so drivers of older cars can enjoy wireless calling or music streaming.
Bluetooth car kits are adapters that plug in to an existing car stereo and provide Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music and phone calls. With a Bluetooth car kit, you can stream any audio from your smartphone to the car stereo, making your music easy to listen to and your calls clear.
Read on for the lowdown on Bluetooth car kits, then check out our five recommended models … and get ready to bring the future to the driver’s seat!
5 Best Bluetooth Car Kits in 2021:
Our top pick comes from TaoTronics; we like its small dimensions and that it’s very easy to use – it plugs directly into the AUX port on your vehicle, so it doesn’t take up any space or use any cables. You will need a cable to charge it, but you won’t do that too often, as the battery can last up to 10 hours on one charge.
It comes with a built-in microphone, which means that it can be used for making phone calls as well as listening to music wirelessly. However, the microphone is of a lower quality and picks up everything from the surroundings. The TaoTronics has built-in buttons for control of songs or your phone call and it can even activate Siri or Google Assistant with a touch of a button.
Thanks to the Bluetooth 4.1 built into this product, you can expect very good sound quality while listening to music. Despite that, it sometimes doesn’t connect to your smartphone automatically – you’ll need to do it from the settings on your phone. On the positive side, it’s one of the cheapest ways to add a Bluetooth functionality to your car and it has a lot of features.
- Small and easy to use
- No cables required
- Good battery life (up to 10 hours)
- Low price
- Built-in buttons
- Good sound quality
- Call quality is not the best
- Sometimes doesn’t connect automatically to your Bluetooth device
When it comes to the best overall Bluetooth car kit with respect to cost, functionality, and dependability, we love the Mpow MBR2 Bluetooth Car Kit. This is a 3-in-1 kit that is so useful when driving, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it. It includes a Bluetooth receiver, a USB charger, and a noise isolator. You can connect it to all kinds of devices, such as wired headphones, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players.
The device offers a 30-foot operation range with excellent high-fidelity stereo music, top-notch performance, and crystal clear speech. The charging and noise-isolation option provides a better driving experience. The system turns on and off automatically when the engine starts and can connect to two devices at the same time. A magnetic mounting base is included.
A couple of things to note, the cable for the device is quite thin, causing us to question its long-term durability. Also, there may be pairing issues when connected to multiple devices. The volume might increase when switching between calls and music.
- Good call quality
- Built-in battery for entirely wireless usage
- Connects to two devices
- Good microphone
- Very low price
- Not loud enough for noisy situations
- Can’t be used for Bluetooth audio, limiting battery life
The first thing that comes to mind while speaking about Motorola company is probably a cell phone. It isn’t surprising as it was among the leaders of cell phone production all over the world for a long time. However, Motorola works in some other spheres and its achievements are really impressive. The first gadget produced by the company was a car radio receiver installed in Studebaker car.
By the way, the name Motorola is somehow associated with cars. It consists of two parts – Motor and ola. Thus, the very part Motor emphasizes the company’s inclination to automobile sphere. However, it wasn’t the only business direction the chief managers were interested in.
They have also succeeded in beeper and quadrangular TV display tube production. Moreover, the company has even cooperated with Apollo team and developed a special radio transmitter that was supposed to transmit signals from the Moon to the Earth! As you can see, Motorola company can impress anyone, and the results of its work prove this fact.
- Amazing call quality
- Small size and smart attaching mechanism
- Voice controls
- Astonishing battery life
- Can’t connect to your car speakers for listening to music
- A bit on the expensive side
LIHAN offers a Bluetooth car kit featuring different music playing modes, such as USB disk, MP3, Bluetooth, WMA player, and TF card, enabling you to use it according to your preference. This product uses one key to answer, recall, hang up, or reject calls, allowing you to operate it with ease. The kit can automatically change from music playing status to hands-free mode during an incoming call, helping maintain your concentration on driving. This Bluetooth car kit comes with a built-in microphone that supports clear communication, enabling you to hear and talk with clarity.
The design features a smart 3.1A charge port and 1A port with charge and USB reading function, providing two USB ports for charging your Android and iPhone devices conveniently. This product also incorporates an FM signal, allowing you to use it as a transmitter for car radio. The large LED display indicates the radio channel, allowing you to select your preferred station effortlessly. This Bluetooth car kit integrates CVC technology and anti-interference performance, ensuring that you maintain your comfort throughout the utility.
- Comes with a 12v socket charger with three USB port
- Very good sound quality
- Big and easy to hit buttons
- No rechargeable battery
- Cable mess on the dashboard
You will, without doubt, find Nulaxy audio adapter one of the best Bluetooth car kits. It is a top brand that gives users the most-sought confidence of a top performance car stereo product. Its audio performance is great and it boasts of superb signal clarity. The KM24 FM transceiver utilizes some of the most sophisticated noise and interference cancellation technologies to ensure users enjoy the best quality sounds. The high-quality adapter is not only excellent in making calls but does exceptionally well in receiving calls without distracting your driving attention. It also allows you to listen to music stored in on your tablet or smartphone.
Another stunning feature for this model is its wide compatibility. The product connects seamlessly with many Bluetooth-enabled devices like iPods, iPhones, and smartphones. Its display option is definitely a highlighting feature. It has a large display screen, allowing users to see all the changes they make at a go besides displaying the caller’s identity. Since the product comes with two USB ports, users can charge their phones and at the same time connect an MP3 music player to the adapter.
- It plugs into your automobile charger
- Its neck is adjustable with a big screen for cool displays
- Wide compatibility and excellent sound clarity
- It is one of the best FM transmitters
- Pairing takes long
Powering Bluetooth Car Kits
Every Bluetooth car kit needs power, and the option that will work best for you depends on the layout of your car and the location of the inputs. As you shop for a kit, pay special attention to how each is powered to determine which approach is best for you. Bluetooth car kits are powered in one of three ways.
- USB. The most common way to power Bluetooth car kits is via USB. This approach is great, so long as your car has a USB port that’s near your auxiliary 3.5mm input jack (or you don’t mind stringing wires around your car). If your auxiliary jack is only near a car power outlet, you can buy a USB adapter for it.
- Battery. Bluetooth car kits that run on batteries are great for wire-free control, but all batteries eventually wear out. If you don’t mind recharging your adapter once in a while, a battery-powered unit is the simplest option. (Also, keep in mind that some battery-powered Bluetooth car kits also support USB charging.)
- Electrical outlet. Perhaps better known as the “cigarette lighter receptacle,” every car has a unique port for delivering power, and some Bluetooth car kits interface directly with it. While this approach is the rarest – and certainly the bulkiest – it is wire-free and doesn’t require recharging.
How We Picked and Tested
We began by reading reviews for as many devices as we could find. CNET and PCMag are among the few places you can find reviews of Bluetooth car kits, and even then, the reviews on those sites tend to be years old. So we also read Amazon customer reviews, which are more recent and generally more numerous. Whether the product was an aux-in kit, an FM transmitter, or a speakerphone, the most important thing we looked for in reviews was ease of use and how close the product came to a native Bluetooth experience in your car. With that in mind, we set out to find the most promising candidates for each type of kit.
When deciding which models to test (and also during testing), we focused on the following criteria:
- Audio quality: This is by far the most important factor in purchasing a Bluetooth car kit. There’s no point in having the ability to listen to music and podcasts from your phone or to take phone calls unless you have clear, functional, and enjoyable sound—both for listening and for speaking.
- Music and phone-call functionality: If you want to replicate a native Bluetooth experience, you need a model that can play music as well as make phone calls. We didn’t consider any kit that lacked either of these features.
- Ease of use: We specifically looked for models that automatically reconnect with a paired phone when you start the car, and for those with clearly labeled buttons and other controls.
- Power: Most kits rely on USB adapters to plug into your car’s 12 V accessory power (aka “cigarette lighter”) outlet.
Reputation: These kits are cheap and plentiful. Amazon sells hundreds of no-name brands that offer their own take on these products.
Q: DO BLUETOOTH CAR KITS HAVE A VOICE-COMMAND OPTION?
A: Yes, most of them have this option, but it has to be activated. The process is simple, and you’ll only need to push a few buttons. However, it’s probably better to set the voice commend before the ride so you don’t get distracted from driving.
Q: WILL A BLUETOOTH CAR KIT DRAIN MY CAR’S BATTERY?
A: Possibly. If you have a kit that connects to the cigarette lighter, you want to make sure it’s turned off before you get out of the vehicle. Not all cars can cut off the power automatically, so you’ll have to do it manually to avoid battery issues.
Q. Will a Bluetooth car kit let me listen to my car audio on my Bluetooth headphones?
A. No. Both Bluetooth car kits and Bluetooth headphones are designed to receive audio rather than send audio to another device. Keep in mind that it is illegal to drive wearing headphones in most U.S. states.