One of the best ways to take your car entertainment system to the next level is upgrading a factory stereo system with an aftermarket one.
However, aftermarket car stereo systems come with different features, prices, and build quality, therefore identifying the best one for your car can be challenging, especially if you are looking for a radio below $100.
Fortunately, even on a tight budget, you can still get your car a high-quality stereo system like the ones below, so which is the best car radio for under 100? Let’s find out.
From the double DIN radios, the best one you can below $100 is the PLZ. MP-800 Double DIN Car Entertainment System. For a single DIN radio, my favorite one is the Boss 616UAB.
Both stereos come with modern features such as Bluetooth connectivity, touch screen monitor, compatibility with IOS and Android that you might need in your car entertainment system.
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Tip: Even with the best radio, there may be an issue with the lack of power needed for the speakers. To fix that, it is worth adding an external amplifier which, even with 50W RMS per channel, will be much more powerful than any aftermarket radio.
My favorite and most affordable one is the four-channel BOSS R1100M Riot which you can purchase on Amazon.com today.
In the article below, I will detail both radios that are perfect for any car with a budget sound system.
Boss Audio Systems Single-DIN Multimedia Car Stereo
If you are looking for a high-quality single-DIN multimedia car stereo system for your vehicle while on a tight budget, then the Boss 616UAB is the best option for you.
It features Bluetooth wireless technology, which allows you to make and receive phone calls hand-free, eliminating distractions while driving. You can also use Bluetooth to control and play music using applications such as Pandora and Spotify.
If you don’t want to use the Bluetooth connection, you will love the flexibility of the USB port, which allows you to connect your phone to the head unit directly. If you are tired of your phone’s media tracks and want something fresh, you can switch this stereo system to the AM/FM radio stations for the latest sports, news, and music.
When connecting this radio to your speakers, you will enjoy the versatility offered by the two front outputs and the two preamp outputs at the rear.
Although you can install an amplifier to boost the power, you can still get HiFi sound quality with a peak of 50W x 4.
The dimmable LCD is easy to read whether you drive during the night or on a bright sunny day. With this stereo system, you don’t have to be a sound engineer to get precise settings for good sound quality.
The built-in preset equalizer in this system allows you to enjoy the best sound quality depending on your music style, whether it is pop or rock.
- The Bluetooth wireless technology allows you to receive phone calls hands-free when driving.
- The LCD is easy to read, and you don’t have to keep your eyes off the road for long.
- The built-in equalizer allows you to play different music styles without setting the equalizer manually.
- You will need to install an external amplifier and a subwoofer to enjoy deep bass.
PLZ. MP-800 Double Din Car Entertainment System
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly car stereo that combines entertainment with driving assistance, then the PLZ MP-800 is the way to go. This stereo system has a highly responsive 7 inch double DIN touch screen monitor that enhances usability and display.
It comes equipped with rear and front view cameras that act as driving aids, especially when reversing. For instance, the rear HD camera activates when you engage the reverse gear and displays the view on the HD screen.
The camera has a wide viewing angle of around 170 degrees, and you don’t have to worry about blind spots when reversing the car. When it comes to playing music or movies from your device, you will love the connection versatility offered by the USB port, auxiliary input, and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
Most importantly, the receiver is compatible with iOS and Android devices, allowing you to connect your smartphone and synchronize with the LCD screen using the USB port. This connection will enable you to enjoy features such as movies, maps, and streaming YouTube from your smartphone.
MP-800 stereo has a sleek form that fits well with most car dashboards. However, for some cars, you may need to add an aftermarket wiring harness during installation.
The built-in preset equalizer in this system allows your car audio system to reproduce premium sound quality even if you’re not familiar with the sound settings.
The steering wheel controls that come with this system allow you to receive phone calls hands-free, minimizing driving distractions.
The subwoofer and preamp outputs allow you to connect your car speaker system for deep bass and HiFi sound quality.
- The sleek form factor of 7 x 4 x 2.5 fits and blends well with most car dashboards
- You can synchronize your Android or iOS device with the display, allowing you to use apps and maps on your phone.
- The included front and rear cameras provide additional aid in your driving.
- You will need to purchase an aftermarket wiring harness during installation.
DBPower Portable DVD Player
If you are driving on a camping trip and want to keep your family or friends entertained with some movies or want to watch movies with your car parked, you can’t go wrong with the DBPower Portable DVD Player.
- This DVD player comes with a rechargeable 2500 mAh lithium battery, allowing you to watch movies for up to 4 hours without recharging.
If the battery runs low, you don’t have to worry as you can recharge by connecting this DVD player to the AC adapter of your car.
- Additionally, the screen of this DVD player supports 180 degrees flip and 270 degrees rotation, which allows you to twist and adjust it to the perfect viewing angle.
- And finally, you can attach this DVD player to your car’s headrest, so you don’t have to keep holding it with your hands when relaxing in the rear seats.
Although the 10.5-inch screen in this DVD player will serve you right, you can still connect it to a TV thanks to the included AV output.
You can even improve your watching experience by attaching two DVD players to your car’s headrests and interconnecting them with an AV cable.
With this connection, the two players will display the same movie, with one DVD player playing the DVD while the other is set in AV mode.
When you reach your destination and go for your errands, you will love the breakpoint memory feature in this DVD player, which allows it to pick up the movie from where you left.
- It is a portable DVD player, and you can use it in both the front and rear seats.
- The rechargeable lithium battery allows you to continue watching movies even after switching off your car.
- It comes with a breakpoint memory feature which allows you to continue watching your movie from the point you left it.
- It sometimes gets hot after an extended time of use.
Features to Look For in the Best Car Stereo System Under 100
Sometimes, the factory stereo system doesn’t have the features you want in your car entertainment system. For example, the factory stereo may fail to produce the deep bass you need, or you may not be delighted with the sound quality even after car speaker system upgrades.
If you decide to go for an aftermarket stereo system upgrade, check for the following features to ensure you get a system that will take your car entertainment experience to the next level.
Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity
The Bluetooth wireless connectivity allows you to connect the smartphone to the car stereo system without an auxiliary or a USB cable.
In addition, the wireless connection enables you to change music tracks from your phone without the inconveniences of an auxiliary cable.
The Bluetooth also allows you to make phone calls hands-free, minimizing distractions while driving. Depending on the Bluetooth technology and mobile device, you can even dictate and send text messages hands-free.
You will need an auxiliary port in your car stereo system as you might want to connect other devices that don’t support Bluetooth via wireless.
If you install a double din car stereo system, you want one that can replicate your smartphone interface.
With this reproduction, you’ll be using the screen of your car stereo system to navigate to different apps, make and receive phone calls, stream music and movies from platforms such as YouTube.
However, you will need to download and install an Android auto application if you’re using an Android device or the Apple Carplay application if you are using an iPhone.
Some high-quality double DIN car stereo systems come with rear and front cameras.
Cameras are not necessarily for entertainment, but they help transform the screen of your car stereo system into driving assistance.
If you want to enjoy worry-free reversing and parking, go for a double DIN car radio equipped with an HD rear camera. Especially the wide-angle cameras will reduce the risks of blind spots by going for a car stereo system that features a rear camera with a wide viewing angle.
The equalizer helps you set the bass and the treble of your car stereo system depending on the style of the music you are playing.
These settings can be tricky at first, especially if you are unfamiliar with different music styles. Fortunately, you can avoid this hassle by opting for a car stereo system that features an inbuilt preset equalizer.
A USB port is one of the most vital features for connecting your devices to your car stereos. Typically, you will need a USB port if you want to replicate your smartphone’s screen to the display of your car stereo system.
You can also use a USB port to play music and video files from flash disks. Additionally, the USB ports in the modern car stereo systems come with a fast-charging feature that allows you to charge your smartphone much faster than when using the traditional charger.
If you are driving long distances with your friends or family, you might want to keep them entertained by watching movies.
Considering that some passengers might be sitting on the rear seats, having a portable DVD player is preferable.
You can also consider attaching a portable DVD player to your car’s headrest for a better watching experience. If you have several passengers in your vehicle, you can enhance the experience by interconnecting two DVD players to watch the same film.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is My Car Stereo a Single Din or Double Din?
You can know whether your car’s stereo system is single DIN or double DIN by measuring it.
- single-DIN external dimensions are 7 inches x 2 inches
- double-DIN external dimensions are 7 inches x 4 inches
Does the Head Unit Affect the Sound?
Yes, the head unit of a car stereo system directly affects the sound quality.
Even if you install high-quality subwoofers and tweeters, you might not enjoy premium sound quality if you do not install a high-quality head unit.
How Can I Know That My Car Speakers Need an External Amplifier?
You will know whether you need to install an external amplifier for your car speaker depending on the sound quality.
For instance, if you hear sound distortion when you increase the volume level on the radio, you need to install an external amplifier.
Also, when you have installed powerful speakers stronger with RMS power higher than the radio can produce, it is worth installing the amplifier to provide the speakers with a sufficient level of power.
When purchasing a car stereo system, the first step is to clarify whether you need a single DIN or double DIN radio.
Although the best system will depend on personal taste and preference, the above radios are pocket-friendly and have all the features you might need.
- Single DIN: Boss 616UAB
- Double DIN: PLZ MP-800
If you want to take your car entertainment to the next level by installing a DVD player, the above portable DVD player is versatile and works in all car models.