Best Bluetooth Car Adaptors
A Bluetooth adaptor for cars can bring new life, phone calls, wireless music and safer driving to older cars. They’re a great solution to modernize older cars.
If you have a 12v socket, an FM Radio or an AUX input, you can connect your iPhone or Android phone (or iPad/Tablet etc) for wireless music and wireless hands-free phone calls.
We’ll break it all down here and give you the list for the best Bluetooth adaptors for cars to give you the best phone calls and audio.
Insert a usb flash driver which contains mp3 files into the right±usb port and enjoy it. If that’s not enough, it can also support your playlist with no distortions of the original signal from your mp3, iphone, android smartphones and more bluetooth enabled devices.
Via the 3.5mm AUX adapter, this Bluetooth transmitter for cars connect to non-Bluetooth car audio system, home stereo, speaker, and wired headphone; Equipped with an advanced Bluetooth 5.0 chip, it has stable connection, fast transmission, and wide signal range.
Why you can trust our opinion – we’ve owned more than 6 of these units in recent years over 7 cars. We’ve used and sold visor mounted units, FM Transmitters, 12v in-dash and dash mounted units. We’ve used these with iPhone and Android units. We’ve used Bovee, Kinivo, Motorola and more. We know Bluetooth adaptors well.
- Types of Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars
- Considerations when purchasing Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars
- Key Features to Look For
- Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars Compared
- 7 Best Bluetooth Car Adaptors
- 1: Octeso Upgraded V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter
- 2: IMDEN Bluetooth FM Transmitter
- 3: Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter
- 4: COMSOON Bluetooth AUX Adapter
- 5: UNBREAKcable Bluetooth 5.0 FM Transmitter
- 6: Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Car Adaptor
- 7: Arsvita Bluetooth FM Transmitter
- What About the echo Auto?
- Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars: FAQ
Types of Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars
- FM Transmitters – these are perfect for cars with no AUX-in 3.5mm plug options.
- Visor Mount adaptor kits – expensive and fussy to install. You can get Visor mounted FM transmitter/Bluetooth units too. These often only support Bluetooth calling, not always music.
- Aux-in units – these connect to your phone via Bluetooth and then connect to the car using the AUX plug input. These come in USB powered and battery-powered models.
It’s an important distinction to clarify something early on. If your car has Bluetooth that already supports A2DP, which is ability to stream music from your phone direct to your Car’s built-in Bluetooth, then you shouldn’t need one of these units unless you lack handsfree calling with it too. If in doubt, ask in the comments section at the bottom and we can help.
Considerations when purchasing Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars
Listed below are the important things you should consider when purchasing a Bluetooth transmitter for cars.
Connectivity to Car – inc. Cable Length
It’s important to consider where the unit will sit in the car and how you will connect it. If you are forced to use an FM Transmitter this will matter less. As we usually avoid FM transmitters due to their slightly lower sound quality, we’ll focus on units that plug into your car audio system directly.
We’re not saying FM Transmitters are not a good option, they are great if you don’t have an AUX input, we’re just saying if you have an AUX input option, try to go for that first.
Bluetooth adaptors for cars will typically connect to the vehicle via a 3.5mm or 2.5mm audio jack plug. This is the same plug size that you typically see on portable headphones.
In a car, the plug input on the car is typically labelled as an AUX input and is most often found in the dashboard somewhere. It might be actually in the stereo unit of the dashboard or sometimes in the tray area of your dashboard. In some cars, like my older BMW, the AUX input is in the armrest console.
It looks something like this:
You want to make sure that where you put the receiver (Bluetooth adaptor) is close enough to the AUX input for the cable to reach from the adaptor to the car audio plug.
Distance from Transmitting Device
If the transmitting device (which is your phone 9 times out of 10) is too far from the receiving device (the Bluetooth car adaptor) then you will have dropouts and issues connecting. These days Bluetooth is pretty good so anywhere in the front cabin area of your car should be fine.
In the old BMW model we have the Bluetooth adaptor is closed inside the armrest and it works fine. We’ve used two units, both in the same place, and no problems. Our older CRV is similar and we also have an FM transmitter on the Visor in that car for in-car phone calls.
Generally, this won’t be an issue for you but look at the questions and answers for your specific choice in case the unit has a weak reach.
Audio Quality (Audio Codecs)
Audio quality can be a subjective thing. What one person thinks is good enough, another finds too poor in quality.
These days most Bluetooth units will be sufficient for the average listener but the audiophiles of the world might be better looking for an aptX HD codec model.
The aptX Codec is built into Android phones but not Apple iPhones sadly. You can also get aptX (without the HD) and you’ll be fine.
As mentioned the best audio quality comes from a hardwired solution. It’s a real pain to plug your phone into your car each time you get in and out so a Bluetooth adaptor makes perfect sense, we’d just recommend plugging that in if possible.
FM Transmitters work and sound fine, but AUX input Bluetooth units sound better.
You can get Bluetooth adaptors for calls only, you can also get them for calls and music. The later choice is better and usually not more expensive.
USB Power (Some Have a Battery)
Most of these units we’ll feature below use the 12v power plug on your car. Like the Connectivity in Car section above you should also consider where you can power this and will it fit into the specific space. Some units can use battery power, especially Bluetooth visor mounted units like the Motorola Sonic Rider (doesn’t really support Music well, only calls)
Some Bluetooth adaptors for cars, especially FM transmitter units can be quite large. These then plug into your cigarette lighter/12v adaptor plug on your dashboard. Like this Nulaxy Bluetooth FM transmitter shown below:
So if you’r going for an FM transmitter you might want to consider if it will fit – think about thinks like the handbrake or cup holders or gear stick positioning relative to this.
Others connect via the same 12v plug but connect via a wire to the unit meaning you have more flexibility on position and placement. They are also usually a lot smaller like the Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Car Adaptor which we currently own in one car, as seen below:
It’s about the size of a large coin.
You will want to look for anything that is Bluetooth 4 and above. Bluetooth 5, even better. The better the Bluetooth the better the energy efficiency, range strength, processing capacity and feature enhancements but most should have at least Bluetooth 4.1.
Ground Loop Isolator for Car Adaptors – What’s the Buzz?
When you are looking at Bluetooth adaptors for cars, you might see people talking about group loop adaptors or ground loop noise isolators. I’ll try to explain this as easy as possible so you know exactly what they do.
When the source of your audio and the speakers for your audio both share the same power source you can get a buzz in your audio sound. This is true for home stereo, concerts and also car stereos.
So if you have purchased a Bluetooth adaptor, or if you do buy one and you notice a buzz in the sound (you’ll know it’s there) you can get a second adaptor which connects to your Bluetooth Car Adaptor and removes the buzz.
A good unit and good example of what you need is the BESIGN Ground Loop Noise Isolator, available at the link.
FM Transmitters with Bluetooth
FM Transmitters are included here because they’re still a Bluetooth car adaptor. They just connect a little differently to your car stereo.
They’ve been in use for over 15 years for this purpose so they have improved in quality over time so something quite sophisticated.
So, how do FM Transmitters in your Car work?
First, you choose an empty FM band on your car stereo. For it to work best the FM band on your car stereo must be clear. You don’t want it to have any signal noise from a radio station. You also, ideally, don’t want it to find a radio station as you drive.
So wherever you are driving to will hopefully not have any radio stations that use that specific frequency on the way. The bandwidth is generally between 87.5 to 108.0MHz.
The FM Transmitter in your car then connects to that FM frequency on your car radio.
So here are the steps again:
- Turn on your car stereo and select FM.
- Go through the bandwidth frequencies until you hear a clear frequency that has nothing on it, ideally not even close to a radio station. For example 89.5FM.
- On the FM Transmitter choose the same frequency as the radio. e.g 89.5FM
- That’s it really. When you play music it will transmit to your car stereo using FM.
It’s like having a mini FM radio station in your car.
If you do hear static when it’s connected, try another frequency. You will know when the FM Transmitter has connected as the frequency will go silent.
Key Features to Look For
- Microphone capabilities – for phone calls.
- On unit control buttons – for skipping tracks, play/pausing music, answering calls, summoning smart assistants.
- The number of microphones – for audio phone calls, if the unit features it. Most only have 1 which, if positioned well, can be enough.
- Audio codecs – aptX HD might appeal to audiophiles
- Bluetooth version – 4.0 or 4.1 and up a good choice.
- Audio support type (calls and audio, or just audio) – see our echo auto review for a table of Bluetooth audio support options.
Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars Compared
|Bluetooth Car Adaptor Name||Price||3.5mm/Aux Plug||FM Transmitter?|
|Octeso Upgraded V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter for Car||$||Yes|
|IMDEN Bluetooth FM Transmitter||$||Yes|
|Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter||$||Yes||Yes|
|COMSOON Bluetooth AUX Adapter||$$||Yes|
|UNBREAKcable Bluetooth 5.0 FM Transmitter||$||Yes|
|Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Car Adaptor||$$||Yes|
|Arsvita Bluetooth FM Transmitter||$||Yes|
7 Best Bluetooth Car Adaptors
1: Octeso Upgraded V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter
QC3.0 Quick Charge, Immerce in Hi-Fi Music…oh, and Siri & Google Assistant for Safe Driving
The Octeso brand with the “Best Choice” tag is one of the top choices for Bluetooth car adapter. It comes up with safe driving with Siri and Google assistant support
A number of features included in this FM transmitter makes it an obvious choice for the users. It can used both as a radio adapter for music and car kit for calls.
You can easily charge 2 devices with this Bluetooth adapter. The first port has the ability to charge up to 4X faster. Reviews show the fast charging works just perfectly. Also, the second port includes U disk port for playing music.
For calling feature and microphone clarity this adapter is using a suppression (CVC) technology. A single button is enough to accept and end calls that are super clear and highly compatible with multiple devices.
Your cars dashboard changes to a cool one thanks to the cool LED light effects that are in-built with the devices buttons. Just connect to the FM transmitter, adjust the FM frequency and enjoy the night time LED effects.
The best thing about this car adapter is surely the Hi-Fi music. You will need a USB stick to plug and play your favorite music anytime.
- 2 USB ports with 4x charging option
- Highly compatible
- Single button call features
- Advanced Bluetooth V5.0 chip
- Electric protection of overcurrent, overvoltage, overcharge, overload, overheat, and short circuit,
- Safe driving option with SIRI and Google Assistant
- Static Noise issues
Any last comment on this Octeso Upgraded V5.0 Bluetooth FM Transmitter?
Best for those who loves LED Backlit, hands-free and Hi-Fi Music options.
Don’t just take our word for it, although we trust ourselves. Check out more Octeso reviews.
2: IMDEN Bluetooth FM Transmitter
Fast Charging – Multi-Safety Protection
This IMDEN is versatile, compact and works with your Car. It brings the dual charging support similar to Octeso.
IMDEN comes in only one colour, Black, although not sure other colours will suit this transmitter…anyway…
This unit supports charging two devices simultaneously. The 3.0 charger is a great addition to your accessories inside the car. Get highly efficient charging option which is compatible with: 2.0, huawei fcp, type-c
Multi-safety is a great option for protecting the device from over-voltage, temperature issues and short circuit.
Get original signals from mp3, iphone, android smartphones and any other Bluetooth compatible device.
- Small to carry
- Hands-free calling feature
- Accepts huawei fcp, type-c and samsung
- Pair as a hands-free Bluetooth kit for devices like iphone, ipad, ipod, tablet, samsung, htc, sony and other andriod smartphones.
- Immerse in hi-fi music
- Echo Cancellation and Noise Reduction (CVC) technolog
- No Voice Assistance Support
The last comment on the IMDEN?
If you need fast charging options, great built-in microphone and powerful music listening capabilities
Check out more reviews.
3: Nulaxy Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter
If you need an FM Transmitter – especially with AUX out, this is it.
We’re going to put in 2 FM transmitters for this review. The first winning pick is the Nulaxy Bluetooth car adaptor (KM18) which comes with a couple of cool additions.
The first cool addition is the option to use a TF card with it. So let me clarify the three ways this connects as it is a good option and doesn’t have to be used only as an FM transmitter. You can connect it to your car via:
- Bluetooth (FM connection to car stereo)
- AUX-in – so you can plug into your car AUX-in directly (Bluetooth to Nulaxy and AUX into the car)
- TF Card (FM connection to your car or AUX connection)
The TF Card option means you can load music on a TF Card and then insert it in the unit and play your music that way.
The AUX-in means you can plug into your car AUX plug if you have one.
The FM Transmitter option is perfect for cars with no AUX in option, or if you only want one unit in the car and don’t want lots of wires everywhere.
The Nulaxy KM18 plugs straight into your Cigarette lighter/12v socket and that’s it. Tune it in and it’s ready to go.
- Single unit (No wires etc)
- Large display screen
- Multiple output and input options
- Strong signal strength
- TF Card a nice touch
- AUX-in to car
- Hands-free phone calls with the ability to control and voice command calls is good.
- Not a small unit so consider space if it’s close to your gear stick
- Bluetooth 3.0
- Bright blue display if that doesn’t rock your world
Any last thoughts on the Nulaxy KM18?
A good looking unit without the wires. Multiple input and playback options. The option to use FM Transmitter functions OR AUX in is great.
Don’t be a sheep though. Check out more reviews.
4: COMSOON Bluetooth AUX Adapter
16H Battery Life/Dual Connect
This COMSOON car Bluetooth kit gets included especially as it has a intelligent noise reduction. The latest CVC8.0 Noise Cancellation and Digital Signal Processor (DSP) technologies makes the calling experience better than any other car kit available in the stores.
If you have a non-Bluetooth car audio system the 3.5mm AUX adapter is just perfect for your next drive. Listen to music in speakers, stereo systems and even on wired-headphones.
Also, the Bluetooth 5.0 chip works fine for listening to music in the car. The 16 hour battery life can make your calling experience better with charge while play option.
Like the IMDEN, hands-free options are available for quick calls and rejection of calls. If you turn on the voice navigation you don’t even need to look at your phone while driving.
What about calling while keeping music on? Yes, it’s possible! COMSOON connects 2 devices seamlessly.
- Aux adapter(3.5mm) for non-Bluetooth devices
- Gets charged in 2.5 hours with Type-C fast charging cable
- Voice Notification
- Pairing multiple devices
- Advanced Bluetooth 5.0 chip
- Not the best music experience
Any last comment on this COMSOON Bluetooth AUX Adapter?
With dual-connectivity, this is a great choice for listening to music while making calls.
Check out more reviews
5: UNBREAKcable Bluetooth 5.0 FM Transmitter
Love the form factor of this. Joystick Design.
What? Joystick design! Isn’t it nice? Just put the stick inside your car and it is simpler to operate. The Joystick design is the best option you can have while driving.
PD20W and QC3.0 ports are responsible for charging two devices simultaneously. And, guess what! Get 4X faster charging time than standard chargers quite similar to Octeso.
UNBREAKcable offers a Built-in Bluetooth 5.0 chip for stable connection when you are driving your car. It also allows you to use smart voice navigation from your devices.
Hands-free feature means you get one button to receive or end calls. You can also use Siri/Google Assistant to make the driving experience safer.
The music experience on this adapter is better than many competitors. What makes them different?
There’s a separate bass key-press for boosting your music experience. And while you are enjoying your music on the go a blue LED backlit will beef up the mood.
UNBREAKcable comes with a 36 Months warranty and lifetime support.
- Dual and Fast Charging
- Backlit LED to pulsing with the rhythm
- Warranty and lifetime support.
- Supports smart voice navigation
- Siri/Google Assistant
- Safe driving with a Joystick Design
- Advanced Bluetooth 5.0
- No AUX output like the Nulaxy reviewed above
Any last declarations for the UNBREAKcable?
This a beautiful choice. That and the stellar user features and functionality. Top pick.
Explore more. What would Bear Grylls do? Check out more reviews.
6: Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Car Adaptor
All the features you need and great quality build
This is a unit we own so it goes straight into the list. We’ve road-tested this for around 1-2 years and it’s worked flawlessly. If you needed a ground loop included the BTC460 had it built-in but it’s hard to find to buy now.
This unit has been so well-reviewed and used over the years it seemed crazy not to include it here.
Some of the best parts of this unit include good quality and lengthed cabling, a decent microphone for phone calls and subtle control buttons on the side of the microphone unit.
You can control music and phone calls from the main control end. The centre is one main button, the skip controls are on the site
The thing that is also great is that the USB power and the main unit are run on separate cables.
It automatically starts up and connects as soon as you connect your car.
- aptX for better audio quality
- Word with any Bluetooth phone
- A2DP Bluetooth
- Good looking unit that attaches to the dash nicely
- Piggybacked USB power unit (can plug another USB device in the back of it.
- Hands-free calling
- Music streaming
- Auto connects when you start the cart
- No built-in ground loop (the BTC460 had it but can’t find it for sale)
The last comment on the Kinivo BTC450?
We recommend it because we’ve used it and it’s never failed. Easy to recommend this one. If you need a ground loop they do a model with it included.
This one we own. Check out more reviews
7: Arsvita Bluetooth FM Transmitter
Another FM Transmitter with all functionality
We present our final recommendation for a Bluetooth car FM Transmitter Arsvita with minimal design yet full functionality.
Makers of this Bluetooth kit claims that you can even operate it without opening your eyes. This is simply awesome if you are driving.
Dual USB ports and QC 3.0 fast charge is not something new in our list. But 7 colors and 2 modes of ambient light is obviously not available in all the car kits we mentioned in our review.
Like UNBREAKcable you will get Siri and Google voice commands support. Good for hands-free operations like starting and ending calls.
This FM Transmitter also boasts Hi-Fi Music. USe of Bluetooth 5.0 transmission will ensure distortion free music at your disposal. Apart from Bluetooth, USB port / TF Card is supported for music lovers.
The 1.6*1.6 inch front panel has 4 buttons that are absolutely ideal on the roads.
The final cherry on the cake for this Bluetooth kit is that it has a good sales service offer with 12-month after sales service.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- QC 3.0 fast charge with reduced power dissipation
- Listen to music or podcast using USB port / TF Card / Bluetooth
- Dual USB ports
- Hands-free option
- Siri/Google Assistant
- Colorful led backlit light and screen can add atmosphere at night
- No Aux Output
Any last deep feelings about the Arsvita Bluetooth FM Transmitter?
Another strong contender in the Bluetooth Car Adaptor with hi-fi music, built-in microphone and all functionalities = thumbs up.
Public opinion matters. Check out more reviews
What About the echo Auto?
It seems that it wouldn’t be complete without including the echo Auto. This unit is getting mixed reviews. We like it, and we did an echo auto review – it’s in our car but we still have to use it in connection to our Bluetooth Car connector.
So it’s smart, helpful but it doesn’t act as a Bluetooth car adaptor or connection kit.
We’ve used two Bluetooth kits to connect our Auto to our car. The first is the Kinivo mentioned above at #6 in the list. The second is the Bovee tune2air WMA3000B.
The reason we didn’t include the Bovee is that it’s specifically designed for older BMW and Mini cars. So if you have an older BMW (e90 especially), then the Bovee tune2air will plug in to your armrest plugs and if you have the iDrive (with USB in the armrest – very important this bit) then it’s perfect.
I don’t have USB in the armrest but I power it using a 12v adaptor and it still works great, just can’t control the playlist from the iDrive system.
Most of these units share common qualities.
If you don’t want wires, then an FM Transmitter might be your best choice. If you really care about audio quality, then the Kinivo units might be a good choice.
If you want to play music from a USB of CF/TF Card then the FM Transmitter options above will do that too. If you don’t need voice assistance then the IMDEN is a good choice as it is a great deal for the features it packs.
Consider the space you have, the features you want and from there this list should have a solution for you.
Let us know how you go and ask any questions you have below. We’d be happy to answer them.
Bluetooth Adaptors for Cars: FAQ
What is an FM Transmitter?
An FM transmitter uses your radio FM frequencies to transmit audio. By matching the frequencies on your radio and the FM transmitter device you can play music and audio on your radio. This is wireless.
What is the AUX-in on my car?
The AUX-in is the 3.5mm plug found on cars which allows you to connect music devices (inc. phones) and lets you play music and audio on your car stereo. Not all model cars have it.
What is ground loop hum?
When a speaker and the source of audio share the same power source, it can create a hum or noise which underlies the audio being played. An inline group loop can remove this noise.
What is a ground loop isolator?
A ground loop isolator is a hardware device that removes hum or noise from your audio cause by powering your Bluetooth car adaptor and car speakers from the same power source.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-27 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.