Guide to Bluetooth Car Stereo Systems

Why is Bluetooth car stereo so great?
Bluetooth car stereo turns your car into a mobile communication unit. With a Bluetooth car stereo, you can make and receive cell phone calls completely hands-free. You don't have to worry about digging around in your purse or pocket for your cell phone while trying to keep your eyes on the road. You don't have to navigate menus on a tiny screen to find the right phone number.

You can simply speak into the air, and a microphone in your Bluetooth car stereo picks up your voice and makes calls. You hear the person on the other end over your Bluetooth car stereo speakers. Additionally, some Bluetooth car stereos and phone combinations also allow you to listen to streaming music from your cell phone over your car stereo speakers via the Bluetooth connection.

Types of Bluetooth car stereos.
If you're in the market for a Bluetooth car stereo, you've got several options. Some in-dash car stereos offer Bluetooth functionality, while others require add-on modules for Bluetooth features. The choice between an in-dash Bluetooth car stereo or an add-on Bluetooth module depends on how you intend to use the unit and the size of your budget.

With the cost of professional installation and the unit itself, in-dash Bluetooth car stereos are significantly more expensive than add-on modules. However, professional installation means that you don't have cords and wires dangling all over your car, and these units typically offer more advanced integrated features.

Add-on Bluetooth car stereo modules are a cost-effective alternative to in-dash Bluetooth car stereos, being significantly less expensive both for the unit itself and the lack of professional installation. Add-on Bluetooth modules also have the benefit of being easily switched between cars, so they're a good choice if you share a vehicle or if you often drive rental cars. However, add-on Bluetooth car stereo modules often lack the advanced features of their in-dash counterparts, can be quite clunky in terms of taking up space and dangling cords and may not provide the same quality as in-dash Bluetooth car stereos.

Features to watch in Bluetooth car stereos.
When you're shopping for a Bluetooth car stereo, take note that not all features are alike. Most Bluetooth car stereos offer voice-dialing, but some don't have that feature or may not provide it if your phone itself is incompatible with voice-dialing. Some Bluetooth car stereos give you the ability to stream music from your cell phone and even incorporate pause, play and track search buttons into your stereo, while others don't offer streaming audio or provide only limited controls.

Look for useful functionality features, such as mute and volume control for your phone calls. Some Bluetooth car stereos automatically mute your car stereo audio when you receive an incoming call; other units require you to switch over manually. Try out the microphones for the Bluetooth car stereos and make sure they offer high-quality audio; some add-on modules include low-quality microphones that make it difficult for callers to hear you.

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