For many drivers, the lack of decent music and hands-free calling features are two of the biggest complaints while on the road. But not everyone wants to (or can) replace their in-dash stereo system—it’s expensive, tough to find the right fit, and sometimes becomes overwhelming.
The solution is an FM transmitter that allows you to listen to music through your car’s speakers without updating the stereo or changing anything on board. Of course, there are more features to consider other than music and calling. Here are the best FM transmitters no matter your needs or vehicle type.
Editor’s Choice FM Transmitter
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- 1 Best FM Transmitter Reviews
- 1.1 1. Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter :
- 1.2 2. LDesign Radio Adapter Car Kit :
- 1.3 3. VicTsing Bluetooth FM Transmitter :
- 1.4 4. JETech Wireless Transmitter Kit :
- 1.5 5. GOgroove FlexSMART X2 Transmitter :
- 1.6 6. SCOSCHE BTFM BTFREQ Universal Car Kit :
- 1.7 7. Aphaca Wireless Transmitter :
- 1.8 8. IMDEN Bluetooth Transmitter :
- 2 FM Transmitter Buying Guide
- 3 Questions & Answers
Best FM Transmitter Reviews
1. Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth Car FM Transmitter :
Nulaxy’s transmitter lets you receive phone calls with the touch of a button and easily adjust the volume of your phone call or music with a handy knob. It also employs noise reduction technology to guarantee the crispest sound possible.
With three connectivity routes (Bluetooth, TF card, and Aux cable), you have three ways to access media and more. Use Bluetooth to relay your favorite streaming music stations, plug in via the AUX cord, or insert a TF card with music on it.
Plus, the KM18 has a voltmeter to ensure your vehicle is operating at a safe voltage. The large screen displays voltage information, phone numbers, song titles, battery power, and more.
One potential drawback is a rather large one: the drain on your battery. While newer versions may include a power off button, older versions do not, which means you might find your battery dead if you leave this unit plugged in overnight.
For most drivers, the unit’s flexible stand will be enough to make it fit anywhere, but depending on your car’s interior, you might run into some space issues. Overall, however, it’s a functional piece that works with most interiors, at least style-wise.
- Compatible with most devices
- Bluetooth, TF card, and Aux Cable connectivity
- 44-inch screen
- Single-button phone answering
- Accessible volume dial
- One USB charging port
- Flexible stand for positioning
2. LDesign Radio Adapter Car Kit :
LDesign’s trim Bluetooth adapter takes up very little space but offers plenty of function. The Bluetooth transmitter is just one of the connectivity modes; there is also a USB flash drive port, TF card slot, and 3.5mm audio cable. Whatever way you want to listen to your music, there’s a mode for it.
Like other models, LDesign’s transmitter has a voltage tracker to report your vehicle’s battery voltage, a helpful safety feature that lights up when the unit powers on. The small screen has limited display functions, however, so don’t expect much beyond basic icons and blue-on-black LEDs.
The one prominent feature on the device’s screen is the single-button hands-free calling feature—and it’s the only real button you have, period. Volume controls are on the side of the device, though, making them easy to feel for without taking your eyes off the road.
Although the small size is stylish and fits with most vehicles, the fact that your only option is to rotate the adapter means this one won’t work in every vehicle interior. The odd shape makes it impossible in some configurations but also ideal for many others, making it a complete hit or miss for most consumers.
- Streamlined design
- Bluetooth V5.0 technology
- Anti-static technology
- Four music play modes
- Single-button hands-free calling
- One USB charging port
3. VicTsing Bluetooth FM Transmitter :
VicTsing’s transmitter may not be the most fashionable option on our list, but it has the features most drivers need. It has a large horizontal screen for ideal visibility, large buttons for navigation and single-button calling, includes two USB ports, and employs technology to keep your audio crisp and clear.
EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) technology helps transmit the data faster and keep a stable connection, meaning you’ll have fewer drop-outs with Bluetooth listening. And with three modes of connectivity—USB, Bluetooth, and TF card—there are plenty of ways to get your music where you want it.
We’re also willing to forgive the VicTsing unit for its relative unsightliness since it has an on/off power switch. In contrast with other units, this one won’t drain your battery if you leave it plugged in. That means you can position it perfectly, then hit the power button to keep from sucking the life out of your car overnight.
In terms of phone calls, however, there are some caveats. Despite VicTsing’s claims of crisp audio, there’s a bit of interference with the calling features. The noise canceling is lacking a bit, although the speaker on the front of the unit seems well-positioned and accessible. So overall, while music playback is excellent, phone calling features on this device are not optimal.
- Two USB ports
- Power on/off switch
- Large horizontal screen
- Flexible positioning hose
- Three-mode connectivity
- EDR tech for faster data transmission
4. JETech Wireless Transmitter Kit :
JETech’s pocket-sized transmitter is a low-tech version of the Bluetooth offerings most manufacturers have. Rather than Bluetooth connectivity, this device relies on an auxiliary jack, making it compatible with any device with such a port on it.
Two tactile buttons make it easy to change the radio station setting from the device’s screen, and you’ll find the USB charging port where the unit plugs into your cigarette lighter. A long cord makes it easy to connect to any device in the car, and it also ensures you won’t have to struggle with pairing multiple devices for multiple music sources.
One potential drawback with this unit is that it’s a relatively low level of technology. At this level, we can assume there will be some quality control issues, so it’s essential to have reasonable expectations as far as the audio quality and overall performance.
At the same time, for older vehicles (or older-model music devices or smartphones), this may be the only option you have to stream music via your car’s speakers. We’d say it’s a useful item to have in specific scenarios, which is why it earns a place on our list.
Of course, you won’t have voice calling features or any adjustability beyond changing the radio station with JETech’s option, but the USB charging port is handy, and the auxiliary port is critical for certain types of devices.
- 5mm headphone jack
- Built-in USB port
- Simple display
- Tactile buttons for FM station adjustment
5. GOgroove FlexSMART X2 Transmitter :
GOgroove’s FlexSMART transmitter offers a handful of key elements of other transmitters but with one crucial addition: the ability to pair with multiple Bluetooth-ready devices.
The highlight of GOgroove’s FlexSMART is the ability to connect two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. With this feature, you can have two phones synced (business and personal?) at the same time. This allows you to swap back and forth between calls, switch up music playlists, and more.
The single USB port is a bit of a letdown given the multi-device pairing, but we’ll forgive it because of the handy features on the face of the unit. In contrast with other models we’ve looked at, the FlexSMART uses its square inches for buttons; call and end call buttons plus skip and pause controls.
A built-in microphone helps you go hands-free, and voice detection and noise canceling features help cut out background noise. Plus, with the swivel positioning “neck,” it’s easy to get the unit in the right spot so that you’re able to make phone calls without worrying about the reception.
However, it can be frustrating to maintain connectivity via the FM stations when traveling through urban areas, as the transmitter picks up even numbers as well as odd ones. However, in the interest of achieving the best sound quality possible, we’ll forgive this minor flaw.
- Bluetooth pairing with two devices simultaneously
- Built-in charging port
- Flexible neck for positioning
- 5mm audio jack
- Accessible and large buttons for calls and music control
- In-unit speaker
6. SCOSCHE BTFM BTFREQ Universal Car Kit :
If you’re searching for a low-profile unit with plenty of features, SCOSCHE’s universal kit makes the choice easy. A small unit with convenient features, this kit ensures you can listen to music and make calls without excess frills.
It’s deceptively small, but that doesn’t mean the SCOSCHE universal car kit doesn’t deliver. It uses Bluetooth tech or an auxiliary port to connect to your device, but there are buttons on the face of the unit to control the volume, play or pause songs, answer/hang up the phone, and even use Siri, Google Voice, or other voice-control functions.
One built-in USB charger is inconspicuous underneath the device’s flexible neck, which allows you to position it in the most visible spot—and you’ll need visibility because the screen is tiny. However, the noise cancellation and accessible buttons are a decent tradeoff for the small screen size.
An included remote makes it even easier for you or your passengers to adjust the music playback settings, and the remote is also a feature most other comparable devices don’t have.
The only drawback is that the built-in microphone doesn’t offer audio calls as clear as we would have hoped for. However, the length of the positioning neck means you can likely get the unit closer to you for better clarity of voice calls, depending on your vehicle’s interior setup.
At the same time, some interference during music playback is common (and understandable, given the nature of the product), so it could be a matter of interference in the radio versus the quality of the speaker.
- Flexible neck for positioning
- Built-in USB port
- Handy controls
- Voice compatibility with Siri, etc.
- 5mm port
- Built-in microphone
7. Aphaca Wireless Transmitter :
In terms of size and inconspicuous styling, Aphaca’s wireless transmitter wins the highest marks. It’s a deceptively tiny unit that offers USB charging, broad audio compatibility, and even a smart car locator function.
Its trim touch-screen operation and feature-packed design make the Aphaca transmitter a great pick. It features skip and pause controls on the screen plus volume controls and channel selection. Two USB ports are included (one for audio play and one for charging), and there’s a hidden microSD card slot underneath the silicone sleeve.
However you want to play your music, there are plenty of ways to do so, and there is even a built-in speaker for hands-free calling. But perhaps the most innovative feature is the built-in compatibility with the Fast Find Car app.
Once you download the accompanying app to your smart device, it can track your vehicle’s location, making it easy to find your vehicle if you’re parking far from your destination or in an unfamiliar area.
There are a few notable drawbacks, however, especially for iOS users; the manufacturer notes that Apple There are a few notable drawbacks, especially for iOS users; the manufacturer notes that Apple devices require you to reconnect the Bluetooth each time you pair the device manually. The same type of issue occurs with music playback via microSD card—the music will restart each time you turn the car off and then restart it.
- Multiple modes of connectivity and music playback
- CVC technology for noise cancellation
- Smart car locator with Fast Find Car app
- Dual USB ports
- Built-in microphone for phone calls
8. IMDEN Bluetooth Transmitter :
For the most streamlined in-car audio experience, you can’t beat IMDEN’s Bluetooth transmitter. The deceptively small size delivers plenty of features in an easy to overlook package.
IMDEN’s Bluetooth transmitter has a slight profile, but it offers all the functionality of larger and more cumbersome units. You can’t see it easily, but there’s a built-in microphone and handy buttons although it appears to be just another in-vehicle phone charger.
Its screen displays only the radio station, but there are buttons for hands-free phone calls (just click the button one time) and skipping forward and backward. Dual USB ports ensure you can charge multiple devices seamlessly; the ports detect the current and match it for timely charging regardless of the device type. When most other devices have a single port for USB charging, IMDEN recognizes the need for multiple, as well as consumers’ desire for faster charging.
In addition to great charging capabilities, this unit also offers exceptional hands-free phone call quality. Its built-in microphone has Echo Cancellation and Noise Suppression technology to help eliminate background noise and ensure clarity.
An extensive Bluetooth range also makes this small unit impressive, although in most cases, you won’t need a long range when dealing with in-vehicle audio. Also, when your device pairs with the transmitter, the FM station readout changes and the device displays “Bt.” As far as streamlined performance goes, IMDEN’s option ranks highly in our books.
- Two USB ports
- Hands-free phone calls
- USB music source compatibility
FM Transmitter Buying Guide
Here’s what to look at when shopping for an FM transmitter, including pre-purchase considerations and relevant FAQs about the product.
Pre-Purchase Considerations :
Here’s what to consider before buying a transmitter for your vehicle.
Compatibility Requirements :
Are you looking for Bluetooth, USB music source, auxiliary cable, microSD, or another type of compatibility with your in-car transmitter? These are all available options across the market, but not every type of connectivity is available in every unit.
Whether you have the most current smartphone or want to plug into an older MP3 player, it’s important to note what type of compatibility you require before shopping.
Style and Fit :
While many transmitters are bulky with large screens and lots of features, that won’t work for every vehicle configuration. Besides, some of us prefer more streamlined devices that are less likely to attract the attention of unsavory types.
Whatever style you’re looking for, consider that alongside the fit your vehicle requires. For cars or vehicles with cigarette lighters in the middle of the center console, that might not be an ideal place to put a microphone-enabled device since it won’t work well for voice calling.
In contrast, a bulky device won’t be a good fit if it’s too close to your steering wheel and prevents you from operating the vehicle safely.
Questions & Answers
Here are a few FAQs about in-vehicle transmitters for FM radio compatibility.
How Does an FM Transmitter Work?
Transmitters that use FM connectivity rely on the radio station in your car to transmit sound through your speakers. The transmitter connects to your car’s power source to turn on, but then it finds an open radio station’s airwaves to “share” with your car radio.
With both sources tuned to the same station, the transmitter can then relay the music from your device to your car stereo. For this reason, most transmitters will have some type of interference, but this can vary greatly depending on where you live. In general, highly populated areas have fewer available radio stations for this purpose.
Are Wireless Transmitters Good?
The short answer is, in some cases, they may be the only option, so this question is often moot! But in general, yes, wireless transmitters are good. The overall sound quality depends on where you are and what FM station you use, but yes, you can achieve decent sound quality with a transmitter via FM channels.
Will a Transmitter Drain My Car Battery?
Yes, an FM transmitter can definitely drain your car battery. Very few transmitters utilize an on/off switch, and most manufacturers recommend removing the device from the outlet when you turn the vehicle off. Then once you turn the vehicle back on, you can plug the unit in again.
Some devices do have on/off switches, however, and this is a highly desirable feature to look for.
Final Thoughts :
No matter what type of smartphone or music player you have, there’s an FM transmitter to get your music playing, your device charging, and your phone calls coming across clearer than ever. And with this list of the best options out there, you won’t need to invest in a new car stereo or other pricey upgrades.
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