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8 Best Car Stereos Under $400 of 2024 – Top Models Explored

Are you searching for the best car stereo under $400 for the best in-car experience? Then you are in the right place to look for. With thorough research and scrutinization, we have picked the best stereos for a calm and smooth audio experience.

We understand that each customer’s need is different, and everyone has some specific requirements while purchasing their car stereo. That is why each of our suggestions is unique in their respective genre. So, that you can have the perfect fit for you.

Whether you are seeking to upgrade an old system or setting up your car's audio for the first time, we’ve made a list of the 8 best car stereos under $400 to help you make a choice that aligns perfectly with your needs and budget.

1. KENWOOD DDX5707S - Best Overall

"The top-tier Garmin navigation, 1080p HD video capability, and a powerful built-in amp offer premium in-car experience and make it the best overall car stereo under $400." ...Jump to full review

2. Pioneer MVH-AV251BT - Runner Up

"You’ll enjoy a seamless blend of superior sound customization, intuitive touchscreen controls, and a sleek design, but it falls behind in case of a few features.”...Jump to full review

3. Sony XAV-AX3200 7-Inch - Best for Resistive Screen

"It stands out with its brilliant 7-inch resistive touchscreen that offers clear visibility even under bright sunlight, quick boot, and top-notch audio tech.” ...Jump to full review

4. ATOTO S8 Premium 10-inch - Best for Navigation

“This car stereo excels in navigation with integrated GPS and comes with other must-tick features for those prioritizing guidance on the go.” ...Jump to full review

5. JENSEN J1CA9 Touch Screen - Best Single DIN

“If you’re seeking a top-tier single DIN option, the JENSEN J1CA9 stands out with its expansive 9-inch LCD touchscreen, robust 240W MOSFET power, and notable build quality.” ...Jump to full review

6. Pioneer DMH-1500NEX - Best for Quality

"This is a top-tier stereo known for its exceptional sound quality and integration with popular smartphone platforms like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.” ...Jump to full review

7. KENWOOD DMX7709S - Best Versatile

"You can consider the KENWOOD DMX7709S for its unparalleled versatility, boasting a high-resolution 6.8-inch touch panel, compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and unique mirroring features.” ...Jump to full review

8. ATOTO S8 Premium 7 inch - Best Split Screen

“It shines with its 7-inch QLED display and unique split-screen functionality, which lets you experience usability and entertainment simultaneously.” ...Jump to full review

In-Depth Reviews of 8 Best Car Stereos Under 400 USD

We’ve handpicked the highest-rated budget car stereos of different styles. You'll find single and double DIN stereos, split-screen stereos, resistive-screen stereos, and many more. Whatever the types you’ve in mind, this list will cater to you just fine.

1. Best Overall: KENWOOD DDX5707S Double Din Head Unit

KENWOOD DDX5707S Double Din Head Unit
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 11 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Display: 6.8-inch resistive touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Preamp Outputs: 5-channel
  • Inputs: Rear USB, CD/DVD, AVI, AUX
  • Power: Up to 4x50W of peak power
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

The KENWOOD DDX5707S is one of the best, if not the best, options for car stereos under $400. A set of industry-leading features in the aspects of audio to connectivity to navigation makes this car stereo get ahead in the race for the best head unit under $400.

Thanks to its expansive 6.8-inch touchscreen display, this car stereo boasts high resolution and smooth responsiveness. Whether you want seamless navigation or seek some entertainment during your long trips, this display will not disappoint you by delivering sharp and vivid visuals. It has an industry-leading built-in amplifier to ensure that music and audio playback are clear, balanced, and immersive. Even if you are a music lover, you will be more than happy with the impressive sound quality.

You will get to customize your audio and display settings and create a personalized in-car experience. This level of customization enhances the overall driving experience, whether you are on your routine drive or a road trip.

Connectivity options of this particular stereo offer you seamless integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These options and Bluetooth connectivity ensure you have hands-free control of essential functions like calls, messages, and navigation. Speaking of navigation, this car stereo has built-in Garmin navigation to help you easily navigate your journeys.

Safety features are unparalleled, including parking assist and rear camera input to offer additional peace of mind during parking and reversing maneuvers.

However, perhaps the most compelling aspect of the KENWOOD DDX5707S is its value for money.

What Makes It the Best Overall Pick?

  • Built-in Garmin navigation with real-time traffic updates and voice-guided directions.
  • HD video streaming up to 1080p with its display.
  • Powerful built-in amplifier allows high-quality audio performance.
  • Supports music formats of up to 24-bit/192kHz, ensuring you get the highest quality music.
  • Customization abilities to tweak audio settings for clear and balanced sound.
  • Advanced safety features like parking assist and rear camera input.

What Could Be Better?

  • Hands-free operation sometimes lags and causes delays of up to 25-30 seconds in the worst-case scenario.
  • Menu buttons could be backlit for smoother navigation during nighttime.

2. Runner Up: Pioneer MVH-AV251BT Multimedia Receiver

Pioneer MVH-AV251BT Multimedia Receiver
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 11 x 7 x 11 inches
  • Display: 7-inch WVGA touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Inputs: USB, AUX, rearview camera
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 4 x 50 Watts
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
  • Remote Control: Yes

Our runner-up on the list, Pioneer MVH-AV251BT, is a formidable choice against some of the top car stereos in the market. It’s a part of Pioneer's NEX (Networked Entertainment eXperience) line. This car stereo lineup is famous for its innovative user interface and high customizability.

What we liked about this car stereo is its 7-inch touchscreen display that ensures clarity while offering intuitive touch controls for easy navigation. It has excellent compatibility with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect your smartphone to your car's infotainment system.

This car stereo has built-in Auto EQ and Time Alignment, a 13-Band Graphic Equalizer with touch panel swipe settings, and high/low pass crossover with adjustable parameters. These features ensure exceptional sound quality, complemented by various sound customization options and a premium listening experience.

Featuring the new Wideband Speech Handsfree Profile 1.6., it incorporates Bluetooth wireless technology. As a result, you will get enhanced call quality and enjoy an experience similar to FM reception.

Again, it is very easy to install and is accessible to any DIY enthusiasts. Its sleek design also adds a touch of sophistication to your vehicle's interior.

The Good Sides

  • The exceptional sound quality comes with many customization options to fine-tune your audio experience.
  • Uncompromised listening experience in the vehicle with the ability to play high-resolution music files.
  • Intuitive touchscreen interface and ease of navigation
  • Modern and sleek design can complement the aesthetic car's interior.

The Drawbacks

  • The Android Auto connection can be finicky and occasionally unstable.
  • Lack of support for any CD playback.
  • One needs to separately access the advanced map control features, like those available in KENWOOD DDX5707S, with added cost and inconvenience. 

3. Best for Resistive Screen: Sony XAV-AX3200 7" Car Stereo

Sony XAV-AX3200 Car Stereo Receiver
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 4.94 x 7.01 x 1.97 inches
  • Display: 7-inch resistive touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Compatibility: WAV, AVI, FM/AM, WMA, MP3
  • Inputs: Rear USB, 3.5mm A/V, AUX
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power: 20 watts RMS at 55 watts peak
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

The Sony XAV-AX3200 is the top car stereo for under $400 if you want a resistive screen. It is tailored to provide an exceptional driving experience, making it one of the options within budget right now.

The most standout feature of it is its sizable 7-inch resistive touchscreen display. This high-quality touchscreen offers intuitive control, has an anti-glare feature, and ensures excellent visibility even in bright sunlight. Navigating through menus, accessing apps, and controlling your music has rarely been this easy or enjoyable.

The resistive screen is not the only place where this car stereo excels. With built-in support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it integrates your smartphone into your car's dashboard. You can access your preferred apps, such as navigation, messaging, music, voice assistant, and more, hands-free.

Another significant aspect is that it understands that time is essential when you are moving. The quick boot feature ensures the receiver powers up rapidly when you start your vehicle.

We all know Sony is renowned for its audio technology, and the Sony XAV-AX3200 also lives up to its reputation. The receiver has an array of sound-sculpting controls, including a 10-band graphic equalizer and Dynamic Stage Organizer (DSO), which creates a virtual speaker setup on your dashboard for improved sound staging. The EXTRA BASS™ feature adds a power-packed low-end punch to your music to enhance your overall audio experience.

Thanks to its Bluetooth support, you can stream wireless music and hands-free calling. You can also charge your smartphone with the rear USB input while accessing files from a USB drive, including high-quality FLAC audio and various video formats.

What Did We Like?

  • The 7-inch resistive touchscreen display is exceptionally visible even on a sunny day because of its anti-glare feature.
  • Quick boot feature to ensure a speedy start-up, making it very convenient to use.
  • Spectacular audio feature thanks to the industry-leading features.
  • Smooth smartphone integration.
  • Mirroring the device’s interface onto the stereo’s screen makes you feel like the smartphone is also a part of your car stereo.

What We Didn't Like?

  • There are no slots for CDs or DVDs, disappointing the veterans with a physical media collection.
  • Devoid of built-in navigation, and your smartphone is the only resort for navigation.
  • No built-in compatibility with SiriusXM satellite radio.

4. Best for Navigation: ATOTO S8 Premium 10-Inch Car Stereo

ATOTO S8 Premium 10-Inch Car Stereo
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.5 x 3.3 inches
  • Display: 10.1-inch QLED touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 1280 x 720 pixels
  • Compatibility: MP3, FLAC, MP4
  • Inputs: 2x USB, microSD card, AHD rear camera, CVBS front camera
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 320W (80W@4)
  • Connectivity: Dual Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB

If navigation is at the peak of your priority list, the ATOTO S8 Premium is the best double din head unit under $400 in the market today. The cutting-edge double-DIN car stereo offers comprehensive features and technology to enhance your driving experience.

Under the hood, the device boasts a high-performance UNISOC 7862 ARM Cortex Octa-Core processor. The advanced 12nm manufacturing process offers incredible responsiveness and higher efficiency while being efficient with lower power consumption. It also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to help you stay connected easily.

Talking about its navigational aspects, it has a built-in GPS Receiver module and Google Maps pre-installed to make you count on its precise and reliable navigation. Popular navigation apps like Waze and TomTom ensure you never go astray during a prolonged highway trip.

The centerpiece of this car stereo is its impressive 10.1-inch 1280x720 QLED display. This incredible display delivers a stunning visual experience and dramatically improves color rendering for vibrant visuals. But this car stereo is not just about visuals; it also delivers exceptional audio quality. A built-in Max 449W BTL Amplifier with RMS 429W ensures a powerful and precise sound experience during your driving.

What Are the Good Sides?

  • Precise and reliable GPS navigation with the flexibility to download offline maps.
  • Speed Compensated Volume Control (SCVC) automatically adjusts the volume as your vehicle's speed changes to adjust to road and wind noise.
  • Easy and hassle-free Installing in almost every car model.

What Are The Drawbacks?

  • There are issues with the dual Bluetooth connectivity sometimes.
  • Doesn’t have any slots for CDs or DVDs.

5. Best Single DIN: JENSEN J1CA9 Touchscreen Car Receiver

JENSEN J1CA9 Touchscreen Car Receiver
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 9 x 12 x 9 inches
  • Display: 9-inch LCD touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Compatibility: MP3, FLAC, MP4
  • Inputs: Rear and front USB, SD Card, Aux, backup camera, steering-wheel control
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 240 Watts (60W x 4)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth

JENSEN J1CA9 delivers both functionality and convenience to take its position as the best single din car stereo under $400.

Its generous 9-inch LCD touchscreen display has a high resolution of 1024x600 pixels. This sizable screen provides a comfortable viewing experience while ensuring all your favorite content is easily accessible with a simple touch.

Seamlessly supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto lets you connect your compatible phone and access key features directly from the receiver's touchscreen or through voice control. You can then safely and conveniently use maps, make phone calls, manage messages, and enjoy your music while staying focused on the road.

You will also get to enjoy a lot more when it comes to audio capabilities. With 240 Watts of power (60W x 4) delivered through MOSFET technology, it provides clear and robust sound quality. There is also an 8-band graphic EQ, 8 EQ presets for sound customization, and Time Alignment capabilities to let you fine-tune your audio experience to your liking.

Parking and reversing are also more secure and convenient, with the option to install a backup camera. The J1CA9 includes a backup camera RCA input, offering additional peace of mind. There also have been accolades for the robust build quality of the device due to its durability and sturdiness. To further instill confidence in its product, JENSEN offers a 2-year warranty, covering the product itself.

What are Our Most Liked Features?

  • The option to install a backup camera makes reversing and parking less stressful for you.
  • High-quality audio with crisp and powerful sound.
  • Offers AM/FM tuner and 30 station presets (18FM/12 AM).
  • The durability, sturdiness, and guarantee are a big green flag.

What Are the Issues?

  • There have been occasional reports of Bluetooth pairings.
  • Unnecessarily bright at night, sometimes with little control over brightness settings.
  • Frequent and sporadic screen flickering issues, too, at times.

6. Best for Quality: Pioneer DMH-1500NEX Media Receiver

Pioneer DMH-1500NEX Media Receiver
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 11 x 9.50 x 6 inches
  • Display: 7-inch LCD touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 800 x 480 pixels
  • Compatibility: MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, WAV, MP4
  • Inputs: Rear USB, rear-view camera, two rear A/V (3.5mm & RCA), SiriusXM SXV300 tuner, SD Card
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 14 W RMS with 50 W peak
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 

The Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is the most solid and best double din head unit under $400 if quality is your foremost preference. It offers a compelling package of features that enhance your audio experience and your in-car entertainment experience.

One of the eye-catching functionalities of this car stereo is its excellent sound quality. Whether streaming music on Spotify or making Bluetooth calls, you can rest assured that the audio is crystal-clear. The bass is punchy, the mids are crisp, and the highs are well-defined. With its sheer quality, this car stereo is a treat for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.

It also seamlessly integrates your smartphone with your car's infotainment system. Undeniable compatibility with popular platforms like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto lets you access apps, make calls, and quickly navigate while keeping your focus on the road. The fast and accurate GPS navigation further enhances this car stereo’s appeal.

If you want more connectivity options, then it offers WebLink compatibility. With this feature, your infotainment possibilities expand, and you can access apps and services beyond the standard offerings.

What Are We Impressed?

  • Remarkable sound quality and compatible with most formats of audio files.
  • WebLink is a significant plus as it grants access to Amazon Alexa, a versatile voice-controlled assistant.
  • Highly responsive and customizable 7-inch touchscreen
  • The multi-color illumination feature allows you to choose from various colors to add flair to the car's interior.

What Could Be Better?

  • Cannot support HD video quality, which is quite disappointing.
  • The menu changes automatically depending on whether one uses CarPlay or plays music.
  • The Weblink sometimes gets laggy and certainly requires improvement.

7. Best Versatile: KENWOOD DMX7709S Touchscreen Car Stereo

KENWOOD DMX7709S Touchscreen Car Stereo
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions (L x W x H): 11 x 9 x 6 inches
  • Display: 6.8" WVGA Capacitive Touch
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Compatibility: MP3, MP4, FLC, WAV, MKV, WMV
  • Inputs: USB, front and rear camera inputs, micro HDMI, A/V, SD Card, Aux
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 4 x 22 Watts with 50 peak
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB

When discussing the best options for car stereos, the KENWOOD DMX7709S stands out as a top-notch option for its versatility. It offers comprehensive features and capabilities that enhance your in-car entertainment and connectivity experience.

There is a 6.8-inch WVGA capacitive touch panel monitor, whose high-resolution touchscreen ensures a crystal-clear display with vivid text and highly responsive operation to help you navigate various functions without distraction. You will also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support for seamless integration.

This versatile car stereo goes a step further with true mirroring capabilities. You can display and control your Android smartphone directly on the screen and easily access your favorite apps and content through USB or Bluetooth.

Safety is a top priority here, too, thanks to its three camera inputs, including a rear-view camera with parking guidelines. You can also configure the system for various camera setups, such as adding a side or blind-spot camera.

Besides that, this car stereo also boasts a 13-band graphic equalizer and digital time alignment, allowing you to fine-tune the sound to match your unique preferences. The result is an exceptional audio experience catering to audiophiles and casual listeners.

The Good Sides

  • Consistently delivers rich and immersive audio with exceptional sound quality.
  • Ease of use is a major plus with this car stereo’s user-friendly interface
  • Versatile features from audio to display to integration without breaking the bank.

The Drawbacks

  • Insufficient flexibility in switching between its microphone and the car’s OEM microphone.
  • The color vibrance and screen quality can be improved for better visibility. 

8. Best Split Screen: ATOTO S8 Premium 7-Inch Car Stereo

ATOTO S8 Premium 7-Inch Car Stereo
Product Specifications:
  • Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.09 x 6.18 inches
  • Display: 7-inch QLED touchscreen
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
  • Compatibility: MP3, MP4, FLAC, WAV, MPEG4
  • Inputs: 2x USB, 1x microSD card, 1x AHD rear camera, 1x CVBS front camera
  • AMP Channels: 4
  • Power Output: 4 x 49 Watts
  • Connectivity: Dual Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, USB

The ATOTO S8 is innovative and convenient. Its cutting-edge features, like a split screen and user-friendly interface, take your driving experience to the next level.

Have you ever dreamt of running a navigation map on one side of the screen while watching your favorite YouTube videos on the other? This car stereo turns this dream into reality with split-screen capability and offers unparalleled multitasking during your drives.

For that amusing multitasking, you will get a 7-inch 1024x600 QLED display that brings visuals to life with crystal-clear clarity. Whatever you want to do on your car stereo screen will come with some of the most vibrant colors available.

The dual Bluetooth chips will allow you to experience seamless multi-connections with your smartphone and other Bluetooth devices. There is also support for Qualcomm aptX HD codec for an exceptional 24-bit music quality over Bluetooth so that you can enjoy every nuance of your favorite songs.

Well, this fantastic car stereo isn't just about entertainment. With the TrackHU app and built-in GPS, you can track your car in real-time, receive detailed reports, and even set geofence alerts. Whether lending your car to a friend or protecting it against theft, this feature brings peace of mind.

What We Loved?

  • QLED display is an absolute delight if you’re in for a high-quality visual experience.
  • The split-screen functionality promotes multitasking.
  • The universal fit of the device ensures it is compatible with a wide array of vehicles, ensuring you won’t have to stress over this issue.
  • ATOTO’s continuous updates ensure your car stereo stays up-to-date and relevant with the latest firmware are commendable.

What Could Be A Bit Better?

  • The Weblink performance could be better with speed improvement and smoother responsiveness.
  • Adjusting to the automatic menu changes can be troublesome depending on whether you use CarPlay, Android Auto, or other functions.
  • A larger screen would be ideal for split-screen functionality, while 7 inches feels adequate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Under $400, should I go for a single DIN or double DIN car stereo?

You can get both the double DIN and single DIN car stereo for under $400. But, whether you should buy a single DIN or Double DIN car stereo mostly depends on your car’s compatibility rather than your budget. Single DIN stereos are smaller and typically fit in most vehicles, while double DIN units have larger displays and more features. You should consider your dashboard space and desired functionality when making this choice.

Can I get car stereos under $400 that have good sound quality?

Many car stereos under $400 offer good sound quality, but the quality can vary between models. We’ve mentioned some of the best choices in that budget range, with features like built-in amplifiers, sound customization options, and high-resolution audio support for better sound quality.

Are there good touchscreen car stereos under 400 bucks?

Touchscreen car stereos give access to intuitive controls and often come with advanced features like navigation, smartphone integration, and multimedia playback. A touchscreen car stereo can be a worthwhile investment if you value ease of use and modern features.

The Verdict

We have delved deep into the world of in-car entertainment and connectivity. Each stereo on our list offers unique features and capabilities and caters to different preferences and priorities.

Our top pick, the KENWOOD DDX5707S, offers an exceptional blend of Garmin navigation, HD video capability, and immersive audio. It's a premium choice that won't cost you even half a grand!

The Pioneer MVH-AV251BT is also a formidable choice and is a solid runner-up on our list. For the best single DIN experience, the JENSEN J1CA9 Touch Screen Car Media Receiver offers an impressive 9-inch screen, robust power, and seamless smartphone integration.

If you want to multitask on the road, ATOTO S8 Premium 7-Inch is a unique choice that offers split-screen functionality, vibrant visuals, and multi-connection capabilities.

In conclusion, your perfect in-car audio and entertainment experience awaits among the discussed car stereos. Take your time to compare and choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Your journey to the best in-car entertainment starts here!

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