Cheap Car Stereos: Pros and Cons

Cheap Car Stereos

A good car stereo is doubtlessly the dream of every car owner. The sleek design of a modern head unit enhances the look of your dash while its full list of useful features makes your rides more enjoyable.

That said, the multiple stereos you’ll find on the market today have varying price points. If you’re on a tight budget, you’d want to lean on the least priced models.

However, the varying opinions on the reliability of the cheap systems might hold you back…you might wonder if they’re worth investing in.

In the guide below, we’ll delve into more details about the low-end, cheap car stereos—including whether they’re worth it, what to expect from them, and tips for finding a good deal.

Are Cheap Car Stereos worth it?

Consumers generally associate low price with bad quality. And car stereos aren’t an exception.

Cheap-Car-Stereos

We call this a myth.

The truth about head units is that NOT all the low-end products are bad.

The main difference between the cheap and expensive stereos is that the latter has more features than the former. The low models will come with just the basic functions, and no advanced features such as smartphone integration, big LCD touchscreen displays, integrated navigation systems, etc.

Regarding the performance, high-end stereo systems deliver top-quality results. And, on the other hand, a cheap head unit delivers just the normal results — nothing to write home about.

If you still doubt if the low priced units are any good, take the case of reputable manufacturers—like Kenwood, Pioneer, Alpine Stinger, Clarion, among others—who manufacture both high-end and low-end receivers.

Think of it this way…these manufacturers have already built a reputation on the market, so why would they want to produce low-quality car stereos that will damage all the reputations they have so hard to make for decades in a single day?

That doesn’t add up.

What these manufacturers do is try to come up with a car stereo for different users with varying budgets. And do to that, they simply limit the number of features the inject into the low-end models.

What To Expect from Cheap car stereos

As we have just stated above, you don’t expect anything fancy, right from the looks to the performance, list of features, etc., in a cheap head unit.

You should expect a head unit with a simple design, armed with basic features, and delivering an average performance.

You should not expect to get a stereo system loaded with the latest features…though you might get 1-2 fancy features if luck favors you.

With a limited budget, you’ll not get a receiver that lasts long. If a time comes when your cheap unit develops a serious mechanical problem, you’d be better off disposing it as repairing it might make you spend more than you probably paid for it in the first place.

Some of these cheap stereos might also feel bulky and heavy.

The old adage holds true when purchasing a car stereo system: the more you pay, the fancier it gets.

If you feel that this description doesn’t fit your dream car head unit, you’ll just need to dig deeper into your pocket to get a high-end model.

How To spot a good deal with a limited budget?

Having discussed exactly what to expect when in a low-end head unit for your vehicle, it’s time to go shopping.

However, the multiple products out there can make you feel confused easily…in some cases, you might end get a piece of junk that doesn’t even serve its purpose, leaving you frustrated.

Worry not, though.

Below, we have listed some helpful tips to keep in mind when looking for a car stereo on a tight budget.

Tips to consider:

  • Buy from reputable brands: buying a budget car stereo from a reputable brand will help ensure you’re getting a model designed to high-quality standards (for its cost), so it’ll serve you reliably.
  • Check warranty/return policy: this is an excellent way to shield your investment. It gives you peace of mind knowing that you can contact the manufacturer in case of any issues or return the product if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
  • Check the list of features: you should also check the list of features that come with the model you plan to buy and see if they’ll help serve your unique needs. For instance, if you’re looking for a cheap receiver with a navigation system, look for this feature.
  • Look for car stereos on offer: yes, go hunting for car stereos on offer or with attractive discounts. If you’re lucky, you might end up getting a high-quality unit with lots of useful features at a low price.
  • Go through the previous customer reviews: if you’re purchasing from online stores such as amazon, check the user reviews section to get firsthand info from previous users on how the head unit you plan to purchase performs.

Wrap up

Cheap doesn’t always mean bad. At least not when it comes to car stereos. The major difference between the high-end and low-end car head units is that the former have multiple, latest features while the latter comes with just the basic features.

A budget-friendly car stereo will offer you just the normal performance, a simplified design, and lacks the latest features. You shouldn’t expect these models to serve you for a long time.

When shopping for a car stereo on a budget, make sure you follow the quick tips we have outlined above to ensure you find a good deal without breaking the bank.

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