5 Best Bluetooth Car Adapters | Features to Look for When Buying | Buyer's Guide

Stinger
Stinger  |  Updated 10/19/2018
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In search of the best bluetooth car adapter? You’re in luck because, in this guide, we’ll review the TOP 5 Best Bluetooth Car Adapters on the market. We’ll walk you through the features to look for, types of bluetooth adapters, and give out our personal recommendations on each item! Hop on to learn more!

Most States demand you keep your hands on the wheel and your focus straight ahead! Hands-free devices help reduce dangerous driving distraction. Bluetooth car adapter kits that connect to your audio system are convenient, require little installation, and increase safety for you and your passengers.

There are many Bluetooth car adapters on the market. High-quality adapters allow you to effectively sync your personal devices and phone with your car’s controls. You can make and receive calls and listen to your phone/tablet music hands-free without echo, interference, or interruptions. Not all are systems are high quality or created equal, however, and you should do some comparison research before purchasing and installing a Bluetooth adapter for your car or another vehicle.

What You Will Learn from This Guide:

How Does a Bluetooth Car Adapter Work?

How your wireless Bluetooth adapter works depends on the type of adapter you choose:

  • FM Transmitter – uses radio FM frequencies
  • AUX-in – plugs directly into your 3.5mm AUX input
  • Visor Type – output through its own speakers

Bluetooth adaptors are designed for hands-free calling. Some adapters only allow phone calls while others incorporate streaming music. Some are basic. Some have multi-function button pads. Some have LCD display screens with button pads. Many offer convenient voice-activated controls.

The best Bluetooth car adapter kit for hands-free calling has a high-quality, noise-canceling mic that reduces background road noise. If your vehicle doesn’t have AUX-in, an FM transmitter kit is necessary. However, if open FM frequencies are limited (around cities), there is little other option but to connect via an AUX input.

Different Types of Bluetooth Car Adapters

AUX-In

AUX-in kits are generally the least expensive (averaging about $20). AUX-in kits plug directly into, your stereo 3.5mm AUX input. Bluetooth picks up the audio signal sent from your phone. The wireless signal is decompressed and converted to an analog signal. Your stereo then amplifies the signal it receives.

FM Transmitters

FM transmitters are really only recommended for those who do not have AUX inputs in their vehicles. You get what you pay for with these FM transmitters so be aware that the cheapest units just aren't worth it! The FM transmission quality must be strong enough to send a clear signal your stereo can pick up. Bluetooth compresses the audio signal, which is converted to an FM radio signal. FM signals have a lot of noise and an unpredictable frequency and low signal-to-noise ratio. The signal noise is apparent even with a good antenna.

Visor-Style

Visor-style kits are the most expensive ($50 - $120 range) hands-free Bluetooth car adapter kits because the units have their own built-in speakers as well as a wireless system. There is no feedback, echo, or distortion. Conversations are very clear because the sound is not transmitted through your car speakers. The unit attaches to your sun visor. It is intended for hands-free phone calling but you can also play music through these speakers.

What to Look For When Buying a Bluetooth Car Adapter

  • Audio Performance

The most important audio qualities to look for when buying a Bluetooth adapter kit are signal clarity and signal strength.

Signal Clarity - A satisfying audio experience is a balanced mix void of noise and distortion. There must be a clean signal to ensure that the sound coming out of your speakers is high quality.

Signal Strength – Strong signals determine maximum stereo amplification. Strong signals are loud and generally have a higher signal-to-noise ratio. This also affects clarity.

  • Connectivity

While some Bluetooth car kits can connect multiple devices, others can only connect with one device at a time. This is not very convenient if you have several passengers that all have a phone, tablet, music, or game devices each wants to use while traveling!

  • Pairing

The best Bluetooth adapter for your car is also one that you do not have to configure each time you want to use your device(s). Rather, it automatically pairs with your device(s) when you enter the vehicle. Some remember devices they have been previously paired with and they will automatically connect if they are within range. Pairing is also important if you intend to stream favorite (Pandora) stations. You want your Bluetooth to unobtrusively connect.

  • Hands-Free Operation

Hands-free operation is the most important feature of a good Bluetooth adapter. Choose a model that is convenient as well as functional.

  • Docking Station

A magnetic docking station can be attached to your car’s surface. Multi-function buttons allow you to control your phone hands-free.

  • Stereo Audio Jack Models

These connect to the audio jack with a metal ending. The unit has a multi-function button pad to control the phone hands-free.

  • FM Transmitter Plug-In Models

These plug directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.

TOP 5 Best Bluetooth Car Adapters

Now, we’ll review the TOP 5 Best Bluetooth Car Adapters, give our personal recommendations, and cover one more additional bonus product! Read on to find out more!

Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter Audio Adapter - for those who do not have 3.5mm AUX-in plug

Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter Audio Adapter: photo

The updated Nulaxy KM19 is an inexpensive, hands-free, Bluetooth car audio adapter receiver. This KM19 version has more play-mode features and a voltmeter for your driving safety. You can play your music through the TF card, USB disk, Bluetooth, or AUX cable.

This quick-charging Bluetooth car adapter is an FM transmitter type that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and connects your phone via Bluetooth with your radio signal and frequency. This adapter has a large 1.44-inch screen that displays incoming phone calls, music selections, and your car’s battery voltage. If your voltmeter reads between 12.8V and 12.2V when your car is shut off, you can rest assured your battery is fine. If it reads below 12V, it is time to replace your battery! This FM transmitter is also compatible with most market devices including Apple, Xiaomi, Sony, Samsung, and Oppo.

The downside is that this Nulaxy KM19 Bluetooth car adapter must be plugged in and only supports one phone at a time. It has some sound distortion, which is common to FM transmitter car audio adapters. It may also be more difficult to get a strong FM signal/frequency in and around city areas, which is typical of FM transmitter adapters.

Recommendations:

The Nulaxy KM19 Bluetooth car adapter is intended for those that do not have 3.5mm AUX-in plug in their vehicle but still want maximum device compatibility and all the current features quality Bluetooth car adapters offer. It comes in five colors to match your car’s interior and a 6-month limited manufacturer’s warranty is included.

Nulaxy Wireless in-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter - for those who do not have 3.5mm AUX-in plug

Nulaxy Wireless in Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter: photo

The Nulaxy KM18 is a quality, technologically-superior, adjustable, wireless, Bluetooth car adapter. It is compatible with most market devices including Apple, Xiaomi, Sony, Samsung, and Oppo. It has a 5V port for quick-charging your devices. You can charge your phone while you listen to your music

The KM18 has an advanced noise reduction system for perfectly-clear sound, as well as play-mode features and a voltmeter for your enjoyment and driving safety. Play your music through your TF card, Bluetooth, or AUX cable.

This Bluetooth FM transmitter type adapter plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and connects your phone via Bluetooth with your radio signal and frequency. It has a large 1.44-inch screen that displays incoming phone calls, music selections, and your car’s battery voltage.

The downside is, if your car does not automatically shut off the cigarette lighter when the car is shut off, this Bluetooth car adapter can drain your battery if it is left plugged-in. Also, as is typical of FM transmitter adapters, it may be more difficult to get a strong FM signal/frequency in and around city areas.

Recommendations:

The Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth car adapter is intended for those that do not have 3.5mm AUX-in plug in their vehicle but still want maximum device compatibility and features. It comes in six colors to match your car’s interior. A 6-month limited manufacturer’s warranty is also included with this product.

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver, Streambot Mini Bluetooth Car Aux Adapter - for those who do not have Bluetooth

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver Streambot Mini Bluetooth Car Aux Adapter: photo

The top-selling Mpow Streambot Mini Bluetooth Car Aux Adapter is an inexpensive, versatile, hands-free, Bluetooth car adapter. It is lightweight and has a hi-fi, crystal-clear, noise isolator range up to (an unobstructed) 30 ft.

It is compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled devices including your phone, MP3/iPod, tablet, headphones, and home audio systems. It has a long battery life (up to 8 hrs.) and provides an extra-long 10-hour talk/play time. It also allows you to charge two devices at once while you take calls or listen to music, books, etc.

This advanced Bluetooth car adapter inconspicuously connects into your car’s AUX-in plug. The 3.5mm audio cable also connects to your wired headphones to make them Bluetooth headphones so you can answer your phone or wirelessly stream your music.

The drawback of this Mpow Bluetooth car adapter is that it does not have a display screen. It also does not automatically turn ON when your car starts. It must be manually turned ON. Holding the multi-function button down 3 sec turns it On/Off, which may be difficult to do without the unit either doing nothing or running through a cycle before turning off.

Recommendations:

The Mpow Streambot Mini Bluetooth car auxiliary adapter is intended for those that do not have Bluetooth in their vehicle but still want a simple hands-free solution for answering and calling on your phone while driving.

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver for Car, Hands-Free Car Kits/Bluetooth Aux Car Adapter 3 in 1 - multi-function adapter bundle without noise or distortion

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver for Car: photo

This Mpow adapter is a 3-in-1 Bluetooth receiver, dual USB car charger, and ground loop noise isolator. It attaches to your dash, console, or wherever it is convenient, with a magnetic base.

The upgraded (4.0) Bluetooth enables this car adapter to turn any wired home or audio system, headphones, or speakers into hands-free, Bluetooth-enabled devices. It is able to achieve more stable transmission without using as much power, thus allowing you to stream audio through the 3.5mm stereo AUX input to listen to music, books, or podcast, or to follow GPS navigation.

The dual connection allows you to connect and use two (Bluetooth) devices at the same time. It has a high-speed charger and has 2 USB output ports, a 1A receiver output, and a 2.4A output for other devices. A built-in mic delivers hi-fi, CD-quality noise isolator clarity. Its range is up to (an unobstructed) 30 ft.

The Mpow 3-in-1 Bluetooth car adapter automatically turns on when you start your car. To ensure safety and proper performance, never charge in high temperatures or under pressure.

Recommendations:

The 3-in-1 Bluetooth receiver / dual USB car charger / ground loop noise isolator is intended for those that want a quality, hands-free, conveniently-compact, multi-function adapter bundle without noise or distortion. It provides a solution for safely operating your phone and navigation system while driving.

TUNAI Firefly: World's Smallest Bluetooth Receiver w/ 3.5mm AUX - for those that need their streaming music to be bold and clear

Bluetooth Receiver AUX: photo

The Tunai Firefly is an extremely small and simple Bluetooth receiver that turns home or audio systems, headphones, or speakers into hands-free, Bluetooth-enabled devices. It capably streams crystal-clear quality audio using its Sound Revitalization Technology.

Just one 3.5mm plug transforms your home or audio system, headphones, or speakers into hands-free, Bluetooth-enabled devices. The glowing LED light on the USB indicates the connection is made. It remembers up to 8 paired devices and also allows you to seamlessly pair and share two devices at the same time. The Firefly will always automatically connect to the last device used.

The drawback is that the Tunai Firefly only streams multimedia audio (video, music, apps, etc.). The Firefly may also not work with all USB ports because it requires little power and some USB chargers and ports automatically shut off when the current draw decreases. The USB charger is not included in this package.

Recommendations:

The Tunai Firefly Bluetooth car adapter is intended for those that need their streaming music to be bold and clear without expending a lot of power. It comes in three colors to match your car’s interior.

BONUS PRODUCT REVIEW

Mpow Ground Loop Noise Isolator for Car Audio/Home Stereo System with 3.5mm Audio Cable

Mpow Ground Loop Noise Isolator for Car: photo

The compact, lightweight, and portable mini Mpow Ground Loop Noise Isolation adapter focuses on outputting hi-fi, crystal-clear, speech, music, and sound. All humming and buzzing from the audio source is eliminated. This inexpensive Bluetooth car adapter works with 3.5mm audio jacks and can turn any wired home or audio system, headphones, or speakers into hands-free, Bluetooth-enabled devices void of distortion or background noise.

Recommendations:

The Mpow Ground Loop Isolator connects to any vehicle’s 3.5mm AUX jack. It effectively eliminates background noise and distortion and outputs good quality streaming music and clear voices and sounds from your car or home audio or stereo system.

Best Bluetooth Car Adapter Features

  • 3.5mm Input / AUX-in – The 3.5mm is a 3-pole jack that plugs into the AUX-in; the AUX-in inputs sound from a media device
  • Built-In Charger – A designated internal charging stem with a power source (cigarette lighter plug-in charger)
  • Command Buttons - Control buttons on a pad that allows hands-free operation
  • aptX – Enhances wireless sound quality
  • Hands-Free Protocol – Used in the Bluetooth hands-free audio systems built into cars
  • Ambient Noise Reduction – Reducing background noise

FAQ

How do you set up a Bluetooth car kit?
a. How do you set up a Bluetooth FM transmitter car kit?

Ans: Plug the power adapter into your car’s cigarette lighter. Set your radio on the same frequency the adapter is producing. The kit wirelessly connects to your phone and relays everything from phone to radio signal.

b. How do you set up a Bluetooth 3.5mm cable jack car kit?

Ans: Plug one end of the 3.5 mm cable audio jack into the audio source and the other end into the car’s AUX-in slot. Set the car stereo in AUX mode. Turn up your music!

How do Bluetooth car kits operate?
a. How do you connect a car kit to the stereo?

Ans: Depending on the kit, connect it to your stereo 1) using a 3.5 mm audio cable that connects to the AUX-in audio jack, 2) directly into the audio jack without needing a cable, or 3) through an audio jack that produces a radio signal. Then set your stereo and radio to a local radio frequency.

b. How do you connect a car kit to your phone?

Ans: Turn on and set the phone’s Bluetooth to “visible” so anyone can connect to it. Search for the Bluetooth signal using the car kit. The phone and kit are paired when a signal connection is made.

What effect does a Bluetooth car kit have on the car’s battery?

Ans: If your cigarette lighter’s power does not automatically shut off when the vehicle is shut off, you need to remember to turn the car kit off each time, or risk draining the car’s battery.

Why do people hear me with an echo when I use the car kit?

Ans: People will hear you with an echo when your Bluetooth car adapter does not have built-in ambient noise reduction technology in the microphone. You may consider updating your adapter.

Will my car kit work with voice commands?

Ans: Most Bluetooth car adapters work with voice commands when the voice command function is activated.

Is hands-free calling safe?

Ans: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contends that talking on your phone while driving is as distracting as texting. A Bluetooth adapter for your car removes the danger by allowing you to talk on the phone without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

What is the best Bluetooth adapter for car cigarette lighter?

Ans: Of the Bluetooth adapters reviewed here, the Nulaxy KM18 wireless in-car Bluetooth FM Transmitter radio adapter is the best car cigarette lighter (FM Transmission) model.

What is the best Bluetooth adapter for music?

Ans: Of the Bluetooth adapters reviewed here, the Tunai Firefly with its Sound Revitalization Technology is the best Bluetooth adapter for music.

What is the best Bluetooth adapter for phone calls?

Ans: Of the Bluetooth adapters reviewed here, the mini Mpow Ground Loop Isolator is the best Bluetooth adapter for phone calls.

Comparative Chart of Bluetooth Car Adapters

Product Features Price

Nulaxy KM19

Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter Audio Adapter 1

  • Connection: Direct plug-in w/o cable
  • Compatibility: Universal

$15.99

Nulaxy KM18

Nulaxy Wireless in Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter Radio Adapter

  • Connection: Cigarette lighter plug-in
  • Compatibility: Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Sony

$16.99

Mpow Receiver and Transmitter

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver Streambot Mini Bluetooth Car Aux Adapter

  • Connection: 3.5mm audio cable
  • Compatibility: Most Bluetooth-enabled devices

$29.99

Mpow Hands-Free Adapter 3 in 1

Mpow Bluetooth Receiver for Car

  • Connection: 3.5mm audio cable
  • Compatibility: Most Bluetooth devices & all cars with a 3.5mm input

$25.99

TUNAI

Bluetooth Receiver

  • Connection: 3.5mm audio cable
  • Compatibility: iOS devices

$34.99

Mpow Ground Loop Noise Isolator

Mpow Ground Loop Noise Isolator for Car Audio

  • Connection: 3.5mm audio cable
  • Compatibility: Any portable device w/3.5mm audio jacks, car audio or home stereo system, Bluetooth receiver or Bluetooth hands-free car kit

$8.99

Conclusion

The best Bluetooth car adapters have high-quality features that include hands-free operation, noise cancellation, and easy operation including a display screen and button pads. The primary purpose is to enhance driving safety. The secondary purpose is to enhance the individual’s entertainment experience.

Short Product Description | Wireless Car Charger YTech

Wireless Car Charger YTech: photo

Tired of fumbling with USB cables in the car?

YTech's Wireless Car Charger is a convenient device that uses Qi Inductive Charging Technology to charge smartphones without the need to plug a power cord into them. The charger consists of a power cord and a flat charging pad that can be mounted on your vehicle's dash. A silicone circle on the charging pad secures the smartphone, so it won't slide or fall off while you drive.

The Wireless Car Charger is designed to plug into a USB power source that provides at least two amps of power. Attempting to charge smartphones with less power than that can result in slow charging times. The charging pad measures about 3.5 inches square and mounts on any flat surface. You get the charging pad, a micro USB cable, and an instruction manual.

Does this wireless car charger work will all smartphones?

It can charge smartphones that support Qi Inductive Charging Technology without any additional equipment needed. Older smartphones that don't support wireless charging require a receiver pad to be charged. The receiver pad consists of a metallic pad that fits between the back of a smartphone and its case.

Which smartphones support wireless charging out of the box?

Wireless charging is supported by Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus, and iPhone X. It's also a feature of Samsung's Galaxy Note S6, S7, S8, and S9. There are other smartphones that support this technology, so check your manufacturer's specs to see if your phone is supported.

Pros Cons
  • Charges your smartphone while you drive
  • Doesn't require plugging a USB cable into your smartphone
  • Works with phones that support Qi Inductive Charging Technology
  • Many smartphones will need an additional receiver plate to charge
  • Many cars lack a 2-amp power supply

 

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