7 Best Apple Carplay Stereos of 2021

Jerry Wilson
Written by
Last update:

One of the latest trends in tech is Apple Carplay. If you want to access all of your iPhone apps, stream music while on the road, or bring your phone navigation onto your car dashboard, you need a system that has CarPlay compatibility.

Unfortunately, not all manufacturers make products with this in mind. So that’s why we created this “7 Best Carplay Stereos of 2021” buyer’s guide. Here we have it, a list of the best carplay stereos for both Android and iPhone alike. We’ve got a list for the best budget, the most bang for your buck and the best top of the line products that’ll give you a great driving experience.

Are you looking for the best iphone and Carplay stereo for your vehicle?

If you are looking for a quick headstart, we’ve got you covered.

Does your car stereo support CarPlay?

If it doesn’t, you’re already behind the curve.

The major car manufacturers have put considerable R & D into integrating CarPlay into their in-dash systems.

That being said, there are a growing number of after-market headunits that support CarPlay.

NameCategoryProduct
Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video ReceiverBest OverallAlpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video Receiver
Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34NBudget PickPioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34N

1. Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video Receiver

Our rating: 9 / 10

Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video Receiver

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy Controls
  • Touchscreen Interface

Cons:

  • Display Isn’t As Sharp As Larger Screened Units
  • No Apple Carplay or Android Auto

Many vehicles now offer an Apple Carplay option, so finding a compatible car stereo can be a challenge. The Alpine iLX-F309 is a single-DIN radio and it provides a range of features that will help you keep your phone’s functions easily accessible while you drive. The company has designed this head unit to suit most vehicles. It has a unique mech-less design that makes it lightweight and simple to install.

The landscape-oriented display offers a clear view of your audio controls. A touchscreen knob and dedicated volume buttons further enhance the ease of use. The radio is customizable so you can change the color of the display. It’s also possible to adjust the contrast, brightness, and dimmer levels to make the display much easier to see at night. There’s also an excellent backlight that turns on automatically.

2. Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34N

Our rating: 7 / 10

Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34N

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Large touchscreen
  • Easy to use
  • Android Auto Capable
  • Excellent speaker quality
  • Easy to pair
  • Aux cable included
  • Affordable price
  • 8 GB internal storage
  • Good customer service

Cons:

  • Dim screen
  • Controls aren’t intuitive
  • Soundbar only plays in two channels

First up on our list of best Apple Carplay stereos is the Pioneer MVH1400NEX. With a 6.2 inch barely there thin bezel shape touchscreen, integrated four way speaker system with backup camera compatibility, Android Auto Capability, incredible sound quality, and a whole lot more.

The MVH1400NEX features a realistic sound and a crisp, clear image that makes you wonder if you are really watching or listening to something live. However, the screen does seem a little dim when you are in a bright sunny day. Also, the controls on the head unit aren’t exactly intuitive.

With a well thought out pull out dash tray that has the HDMI, SD card slot, USB, and the Aux input slot giving you plenty of options to watch, listen, or display whatever you want. The 8 GB internal storage is enough for you to keep your songs handy without having to connect your phone every time.

3. Kenwood KDC-168U In-Dash 1-DIN CD Car Stereo Receiver

Our rating: 6 / 10

Kenwood KDC-168U In-Dash 1-DIN CD Car Stereo Receiver

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Bluetooth works well
  • You can plug in your iPods
  • Hands-free Calling can connect with your phone easily
  • Quality amp delivers a powerful sound
  • Easy to connect the USB to play MP3s

Cons:

  • No remote control
  • Slow boot times

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, & Bluetooth.

This Kenwood stereo is one of the best ones for its price. It features Apple Carplay and Android Auto functionality with a 6.2" touchscreen display and the option to add a CD/DVD or play files through the USB port.

It works with both iPhone and Android phones and is compatible with Carplay and Android Auto.

4. Pioneer AVH-3300NEX 7" Flip Out DVD Receiver

Our rating: 6 / 10

Pioneer AVH-3300NEX 7" Flip Out DVD Receiver

Check Price on Amazon

To start things off, pair this device with your smart phone for driving convenience through phone calls and your music. It has Apple CarPlay, which puts Apple maps, text messages and your music library on the larger display. Keep in mind that you may need to download Apple CarPlay app on your phone for smooth navigation.

With CarPlay, you can make calls, use Siri and stream your music on Apple Music and the Pandora app. But unlike the Android Auto, it has the ability to answer calls and reply to texts with its voice recognition support. Make sure to download the Apple CarPlay app for optimum compatibility.

5. Pioneer in-Dash Built-in Bluetooth CD

Our rating: 6 / 10

Pioneer in-Dash Built-in Bluetooth CD

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Bluetooth and USB connection

Like always, this car stere system is easy to use, easy to set-up and is of great quality. The amazing gadget also offers a variety of choices in terms of colors. The device comes in silver and black colors. You can choose one that fits your need and preference.

What is so amazing with this product is that it is iPod capable. The device is able to connect to your iPhone and iPad so easily. There will be no more struggling with the installation of the device. It still works well if you update its software from time to time.

The Bluetooth is one of the coolest features that you can find in this device. You can stream audio tracks from any device easily. Once the connection has been made, the audio tracks are streamed seamlessly.

6. Alpine iLX-107

Our rating: 6 / 10

Alpine iLX-107

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Wireless Apple Car Play
  • Has USB port for Apple accessories
  • Increased sound quality
  • Easy to operate and install
  • Long lasting battery

The Alpine iLX-107 Mech-less In-Dash Receiver is a great Apple Car Play compatible stereos. With no control knobs, face plates, or buttons, the iLX-107 keeps it very simple. Wirelessly connected to your smartphone through Apple Car Play, the Alpine iLX-107 delivers the richest and clearest sound and music from your smartphone through the high performance internal speakers. This is an excellent portable head unit that is easy to install and use. For additional input options and control options, you will need to install a CarPlay or Android Auto compatible head unit.

For a limited time, you can use an exclusive 10% discount coupon to buy it.

7. Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 6.2-Inch Capacitive Touchscreen Smartphone Receiver Display

Our rating: 5 / 10

Pioneer AppRadio 4 SPH-DA120 6.2-Inch Capacitive Touchscreen Smartphone Receiver Display

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Intuitive Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Future-proofed technology
  • Advanced instruments

Pioneer's Appradio 4 has everything you need in an automobile receiver. The intuitive capacitive touchscreen sports an impressive 5-inch screen that displays your phone's functions so you can keep your eyes on the road.

The Appradio 4 expands your app capabilities with its auxiliary input, rear USB port, and a 3.5mm jack. This allows you to stream a multitude of different genres of music in full HD fidelity.

Advanced GPS-enabled maps provide turn-by-turn directions. Other instruments include a fully integrated Pandora app, and it even has a built-in HD FM/AM tuner for listening to your favorite local radio stations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best head unit for sound quality?

We always ask the same question when selecting a head unit. Is it really important for you to have a head unit with excellent sound quality? Or will it be used primarily for navigation?

There are some head units that sacrifice power and clarity in order to shed weight. These are likely to be your best options if the sound quality is not a priority.

Another option for someone who wants a great sound system but is on a budget is to use a receiver with built-in amplifiers and then use a dedicated set of speakers. This way, you don't need to include any internal speakers in the head unit, but you can still get quality audio.

What is the best car stereo system?

If convenience is your primary concern, you should choose a standard in-dash car stereo system. It’s easily installed and allows for different options for different types of vehicles.

If money is not an issue, then an Audison system is worth considering. These systems are complex and are pro audio systems designed for car usage.

If you are looking for something in between those two extremes, then a DIN or DOUBLE DIN stereo system would be ideal.

Is Kenwood better than Pioneer?

If you haven’t considered the size (or price) of your purchase yet it’s time to do so, and the first thing you should ask yourself is – which brand is best. While many brands are fantastic and produce great products, the kenwood name is better known and trusted by many car enthusiasts than Pioneer. If you don’t really care about the brand and just want a good sound, both are great. Look for features you want such as hands free calling, Bluetooth, USB, SD card input, navigation, DVD and CD player, and such. Then pick the features you want, and check the price, for example, if you want Bluetooth and touchscreen display, pay a little more, if you want superb quality sound, pay a little more. Simple.

This brand comparison chart will definitely help you. Other than features, you should also consider usability, storage, product line and capacities.

Can you listen to the radio with Apple CarPlay?

Yes, you can listen to whatever you wish, since there is a tuner available on these early versions of CarPlay. And, it's the same with it being similar to Android Auto. Apple is making it easy for consumers to see that it doesn't matter whether you have a certain type of phone or not, your vehicle will still work. CarPlay allows you to control all of your streaming apps using your voice through Siri. There is also access to applications like Maps, iMessage, and whatever else you'd like to get from your apps.

Conclusion

Apple Carplay is designed to give you access to your iPhone right from your stereo, enabling you to do things like text messaging, make phone calls, listen to music, and use your Apple Maps app to point you in the right direction. It’s a handy device, but it is only as good as your stereo. We have put together a list of the 7 best Carplay stereos that will work with your iPhone and your vehicle.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Alpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video ReceiverBest OverallAlpine iLX-F309 HALO9 9" AM/FM/audio/video Receiver
Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34NBudget PickPioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 inches B07951J34N