How to Pick the Best Car Stereo for a Musical Ride

On a long, boring car ride, one of the best ways to pass the time is to listen to your favorite music. There’s a difference, though, between simply “listening” to your music and “experiencing” your music. The only way to do the latter is to take your time in selecting the best car stereo for your needs. To help you do just that, here are a few tips on qualities you need to look for in a car stereo.

Consider Stats

Though the specifications of a particular stereo can sometimes be used to overstate its quality, it’s still important to look over the specs of different stereos before you make a purchase. Key specifications include the wattage of the amplifier, the total harmonic distortion, and the frequency response. Comparing these key numbers, along with a few other important qualities, will help steer you toward stereos that will provide good value for your money.

Consider Complexity

In general, the more speakers that a car stereo has, the better the sound it can produce. However, it’s important to consider the complexity of what you’re installing before you make a final decision. Since more speakers add complexity to the installation process, it’s important to buy a stereo that you know you have the skills to install or that you’re willing to pay someone else to install. Otherwise, you could end up with a mess that will leave you frustrated instead of inspired.

Consider Inputs

Unless you have your music collection neatly cataloged, it’s a good idea to purchase a stereo that has multiple input options. A CD player, USB port, SD card slot, and other input options will ensure that you can always load your favorite tunes. Plus, if you have friends in the car with you who want to play their music, multiple inputs will simplify the music-playing process so that you don’t have to transfer any files.

Consider Musical Tastes

To be sure, part of what makes a stereo the “best” stereo is entirely subjective. This is because different musical styles sound good on stereos that are tuned in different ways. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring along some sample music when you’re testing different stereos to ensure that your music sounds good on the stereo you choose. Of course, if you listen to a variety of music styles, you can adjust the frequency response to achieve a sound that is pleasing to your ears.

Have Fun

Adding a new stereo to your vehicle can be a great way to express your unique personality. With a variety of different faceplates available, aftermarket stereos provide a welcome change to the monotony of many modern vehicles. Therefore, a stereo provides a way to express yourself both aurally and visually, thereby making your vehicle truly your own.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan