How to Choose a Car Stereo | Crutchfield

How to Choose a Car Stereo | Crutchfield

Car stereos make life in your car better in a lot of ways. They add convenient features like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay or Bluetooth, plus their built-in amplifiers and circuitry make all your music, radio and podcasts sound better.

Jump to video section:
0:00 Intro
0:21 Why would you want a new radio?
0:45 We’ll make sure you have all the installation gear you need.
1:15 What’s your end goal?
2:02 Smartphone integration, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
3:41 Radios that play discs
3:56 What are digital media receivers?
4:20 Touchscreens are nice!
4:54 You can add a backup camera
5:16 You can get much better sound
5:59 The two sizes of aftermarket radios
6:25 Floating screens that fit into single-DIN openings
6:55 Radios for offroad vehicles, motorcycles, boats & more
7:25 We will help you install it yourself!
8:07 When you buy from Crutchfield, you get free tech support for life

It’s easy to find a stereo that fits your car, thanks to Crutchfield’s vehicle selector tool. Just enter your vehicle info at this link and you’ll get a filtered search result of all the radios, speakers, and other gear that fit your particular vehicle:

A new car stereo is a great way to update the dash in an older vehicle. Adding a touchscreen to a car that doesn’t have one is a huge bonus, so you can interact with your phone more safely. With Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, you can use voice commands to answer phone calls and texts, plus use your favorite mapping apps on your road trip.

You can also just keep it simple and step up to the improved sound of a single-DIN radio. If you don’t need or care about a touchscreen, these little stereos rock just as loud as their fancier cousins. Plus they offer a way to keep your phone charged and play all your favorite music. Pair one of them with a mount for your phone, and you’ve still got the touchscreen.

An aftermarket car stereo offers upgraded features, superior sound, and added convenience over most stock stereos. You’re stuck in your car sometimes…why not enjoy it more?

Plus, we’ll help you DIY! Check out our “how to” video for reference:

As always, anything you buy from Crutchfield comes with lifetime tech support. Our tech support people really know their stuff, and they can help you through your installation if you run into trouble, 7 days a week.

Crutchfield, America’s trusted electronics specialist since 1974, has award-winning customer service, free lifetime tech support, and free shipping on most orders. Shop for all your audio and video needs at and sign up for the catalog and email newsletter at

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  1. traveler Earth on April 17, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    Do you ship outside usa

  2. jitendra rajpurohit on April 17, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Your knowledge is at next level..!

  3. Curtly Angel on April 17, 2022 at 7:14 pm

    Hi. I have a Toyota GF-AT212 (CARINA) (year 1999) I want to pimp out. I’m looking for a double din capacitive touch screen, with rear camera support, good quality music output, USB support (maybe a sd card as well) and call support.
    Optional stuff: android auto and gps

  4. xX Phantom Xx on April 17, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    damn y’all, i found this video then spent the last two hours finding my perfect radio. honestly what we’re the odds it’d b this easy i thought i’d be at it for weeks trynna find all the right parts and stuff to fit my almost 40 yr old car. really a great company

  5. Giwrgos Rhgas on April 17, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    I have a mazda mx5 nb looking for a screen with hi quality

  6. Ivan Alcivar on April 17, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    How much r your touch screen stereo

  7. The Grey on April 17, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    You are amazing

  8. Bubba Bubba on April 17, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    Why can i not do a head unit based in volts?????????? On your website

  9. Ron Chum on April 17, 2022 at 7:20 pm

    K but do double din stereos have more power for speakers?

  10. Joe Smartballs on April 17, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Hay JR why are the wires smaller on new stereos. Stereos from the past had 18G wire and today they have 22G.

  11. W M on April 17, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    IMHO, touchscreens are overrated. The car stereo is for connecting your phone to the cars speakers and microphone, and it is nice to have CD/aux/USB input for playing audio from other sources. Also, nothing beats real buttons in a functional layout and a nice big volume knob.

  12. Jose Castanon on April 17, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    This video came right up as I was thinking to upgrade my Nissan Rogue 2011 with a Double Din Touchscreen, and know I know even more of how they work and the feature they can have, thanks guys. 👌🏻

  13. Daniel Armah on April 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Radio recommendations for rav4 2019?

  14. 901 Champ City on April 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Why does the web site tell me that I can’t replace my car stereo. I have Lexus LS 430. I seen plenty of people replace the radio without issues to the car. Sense I have it I’ve done a lot of research. It’s possible. Trying find a web site I can trust to buy from.

  15. Otto Tevez on April 17, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    Sorry for my English.
    I hope that always reaping successes.
    I had not subscribed, worse for several years I have been using your site to keep up to date with technology.
    Maybe you can help me: I’m looking for a Radio or DVD for a vehicle, but I would like you to have a spectrum analyzer, in any brand or model.
    Could you recommend one, please.

    Thank you in advance for your time.

    Otto, El Salvador, Central America.

  16. Adrian Molloy on April 17, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    Very clear explanation, great video

  17. Ninja Sushi on April 17, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    Amazing video.

  18. Ognyan Stoimenov on April 17, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    Hello, I checked in your website if you have Seat as an option but unfortunetaly you don’t so I was wondering if you can tell me here in the comments if you know any multimedia that will be okay for me. The Seat model is 6J 2013 (Kombi) and I was looking for a multimedia with that I can answer easy calls and change music from spotify and maybe screen mirror on my phone (an Iphone). I don’t really need a CD player, as I would probably never use it. It would be cool if I can also download some apps and stuff.

  19. Paths Less Trampled on April 17, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    I have an older Chevy truck (99 Tahoe). You know what I want? I don’t want some fancy-ass touch screen with navigation and multicolored display and rearview camera capability, etc., and I don’t want to have to worry about double-DIN/1.5-DIN or whatever! ALL I WANT is some sort of unit I can mount ANYWHERE in my vehicle. Maybe even underneath next to the gas tank if I so desire. It holds all my tunes, etc. Probably there’s an amp that you add to it. Then it connects to the output from your truck head unit, maybe there’s a wiring harness you attach, and it switches the speaker output between your head unit and this wonder box down by my gas tank. It’s all controlled by some app on my phone. I can load this thing up with all my music, don’t have to worry about installing some new head unit with all the hassles and expense that come with that. Maybe it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay. Just ideas off the top of my head, here. Not a car sound system expert, obviously.

    Does such a thing (or anything similar) actually exist?

  20. lee nevin on April 17, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    is there any way i can have an external dial on my dash for volume?

  21. Bryan C L X T on April 17, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    I already have a H/U but the info J R provides is worth the watch. I just finished. Choosing an amp choosing car speakers my stocks are poop lol

  22. Peter Lawrence on April 17, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Thank goodness for someone who speaks clearly, at a sensible pace and doesn’t bombard us with ‘techno’ jargon. Congratulations, well done.

  23. Ernie Johnson on April 17, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    I’ve got a 2011 Lincoln MKZ. I’d like to update it to the dash mounted backup camera and screen. It has a THX stereo from the factory. Is this possible? I’m not sure if it’s double din or not.

  24. Alaska Railroad on April 17, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    My monte carlo has a cassette and cd player. I could never take it out. Never!

  25. FLYBOY7898 on April 17, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Wait a minute. Did you just say using your smartphone for texting while driving. That’s a no no.

  26. Dirk Benedict on April 17, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    A great video. Very professional: good content, clearly communicated

  27. Rexly Sailas on April 17, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    Nice and very well detailed. 👌👍😇

  28. Haden Polk on April 17, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Bless you. Made my life a hell of a lot easier.

  29. Silver Evans on April 17, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Love you’re videos very helpful on picking what one needs thank you

  30. tookallyourmoney on April 17, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Crutchfield such an innovative company keeping up with the times. And support is second to none in this industry.

  31. Robert Emmons on April 17, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    I had watched this video several months ago, but I wasn’t looking to upgrade my OEM head unit at the time. Now that I’m ready I have one question, I have a Sirius XM account, would I be able to have my XM account transferred over to my new head unit?

  32. Kettyn Howell on April 17, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Any recommendations on a touch screen for a 2007 mustang with a shaker 500 system? I would like to have a backup camera but that’s not a necessity, I really just want an upgrade from what I currently have. I’m not after anything fancy just something that’s compatible with the sound system.

  33. Arturo Gonzalez on April 17, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Can you recommend me a good quality Pioneer or Alpine stereo that has 200 watt with USB & Bluetooth and that does a good job with amplifiers epicenter that’s not to expensive…

  34. Brendan Cross on April 17, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve already gotten a double din non-touch unit in my car, but I’m looking to upgrade. Watching these videos make me proud to call myself a Crutchfield customer

  35. Robin on April 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Hi i do have my Toyota CHR 2018 which doesn’t comes with the Apple play or Android play option. So which aftermarket head unit would be suitable which have them both Apple and Android play options? Thanks in advance.

  36. Michael1212 on April 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    I need a radio that Has an OBD2 Reader so we could tune and maintain my car/truck

  37. Flight Systems RC on April 17, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    What a great video, very informative. Thank you.

  38. Mike Slater on April 17, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    Can you recommend a stereo with a microphone input. We have a van 12 passenger van we want to put a couple speakers in back so folks in the back can hear the driver. We have an in dash radio at the moment. Thanks!

  39. WORTHLESS MUTTS on April 17, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    Do they still make cd stereos?

  40. q80aziz on April 17, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Great video . But unfortunately it will never apply to the 2010-2013 Range Rover Sport which is without a doubt the most challenging vehicle in the world in terms of audio upgrades .

  41. Jason Crafee on April 17, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    I have a 2009 Belta looking for a awesome stereo for the dash ..

  42. myozd yozd on April 17, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    I would like to upgrade the unit and add Amp and swap the speakers but not sure what to choose can you recommend a good package it doesn’t matter if it’s has android or no I prefer better sound quality with Bluetooth and backup camera support
    My car is camry 2000 Japan build regular no jbl system

  43. OneOfaKind on April 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    Good to go

  44. ijønnyprø on April 17, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    You should seriously consider changing the titlle of this video from "How to Choose a Car Stereo" to "What is a Stereo" lol

  45. Richard Dannov on April 17, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you. Just ordered from your site. I knew next to nothing about car stereos and speakers and now after watching just 2 of your videos and the helpful step by step advice on the website I know I can do this!

  46. schissgring on April 17, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    It’s really hard to get a stereo without BT, something classic. It’s enough if you can connect the phone with a normal cable. A filter like that would be nice.

  47. Samuel helderman on April 17, 2022 at 8:07 pm

    What do I need to look for to watch DVD’s, movies, tv shows? Stream Netflix etc? I like taking road trips with my Kia Soul and camping in my car. I don’t need to set up a tent and I can control the temp year round while I sleep running the car. Plus it’s cheaper and cleaner than a hotel/motel room and with far better views. I don’t have to have a DVD player/cd player but a having a player is a huge plus for me. I’ve been using my phone and I’m ready for something better to use my cars speakers so my son and wife can enjoy the audio with me.

  48. Gino Avila on April 17, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    Nice video I have a question for you a pionner car radio fh-s51bt what is the clipping volume?