The 5 Best FM Transmitters [Ranked]
A wireless FM (frequency modulation) transmitter is a device that allows people who want to play music from their MP3 players or smartphones through their car speakers or other stereo setups.
This is ideal for people who have older vehicles without BlueTooth or USB hookups (Source).
How do they work?
To hook up one of these devices, check on what type of connector you will need.
Some devices connect via a 3.5 mm plug while others connect via the auxiliary 12v jack. Once you determine what connection you need, plug it in and then choose a radio frequency. Set your stereo to the same frequency and play your music (Source).
For older cars or places without a built-in sound system, a wireless FM transmitter is one of the only ways you can listen to music from your modern devices like smartphones or MP3 players.
Experts say to avoid the ultra-cheap devices and get something that’s higher quality for best sound and features (Source).
Comparing The Options
|FM Transmitters||Our Rating||Price ($)|
|The Nulaxy Bluetooth Car Transmitter||4.3||$|
|The JETech Wireless FM Radio for Cars||4.3||$|
|The Doosl Universal Wireless FM Transmitter Car Kit||3.7||$|
|The VicTsing Wireless Bluetooth Radio Transmitter||4.4||$|
|The Vite TIVDIO Wireless Mini Radio/Stereo For Cars||4.4||$$$|
How Do They Compare
In this piece, we take a look at five affordable devices to get you and your car jamming.
- The TIVDIO transmitter is a 15w, 8-level RF power that’s adjustable. It comes with an adjustable sucker antenna that sticks firmly to virtually any flat metal surface. This device allows you to connect wirelessly to mobile phones, computers, tablets, and almost any other wireless device. Once connected, broadcast music through a stereo system, which makes it ideal for church services, wedding receptions, or anywhere else you need to broadcast music from a computer, tablet or other devices.
- The VicTsing Bluetooth FM is a device that connects to your vehicle’s AUX input. It features an easy to read display that allows you to see incoming calls, voltage in battery, FM frequency and the song name. It also features dual USB ports for connecting extra devices. The neck adjusts to accommodate multiple viewing angles. Works great with iPod, iPhone and other Bluetooth devices.
- Next is the Doosl Universal audio adapter. This device is also compatible with iPhone, iPod and most other MP3 devices with a 3.5mm jack. It comes with an internal rechargeable battery that boasts a play time of up to 10 hours. The large display is easy to read and the big buttons make skipping back and forth between songs easy.
- The JETech is a transmitter that attached via a 3.5mm plug and is compatible with most devices that have that connector. It also features an extra USB port for charging smartphones and other USB devices. Unlike other devices, this one isn’t battery powered and must be plugged into the AUX jack for power.
- Last is the Nulaxy audio adapter. This is another Bluetooth transmitter that features a large, bright display that’s easy to read. This transmitter allows for hands-free calling and features advanced anti-interference and noise canceling technology for crystal clear sound. It comes with a 5V charging port to charge most USB devices.
Best FM Transmitters For 2018
Ease Of Use
This FM transmitter for cars offered by Nulaxy is reliable, easy to use, and an excellent choice if you want to listen to music in the cars. Users love the large LCD screen, but some do note that it’s hard to plug.
The Nulaxy Bluetooth product features an upgraded design with a power on/off switch, sleep/wake function, superior noise cancelation technology, and a 5V charging port for USB devices. Another great thing about this product is that it’s compatible with Bluetooth devices like iPhones, iPod, iPad, smartphones, and MP3/MP4 (3.5 mm jack). It’s also available in six colors.
In general, users have a high opinion of the Nulaxy Bluetooth car transmitter, and they are satisfied with its design and performance. A reviewer mentions that the static is not so bad as with other similar units and that it’s user-friendly. He adds that he likes the buttons, which enable him to change tracks fast. Another purchaser observes that the Bluetooth connected right away and that he hasn’t had any performance issues.
He highly recommends it as one of the best FM car receivers. A buyer also comments that the screen is easy to read and that it’s a piece of cake to change stations.
However, some customers have noted that the product doesn’t function as well as they expected and that there is a lot of static. A few also point out that it gets disconnected often.
Ease Of Use
If you’re wondering how to listen to music in the car, you might take a look at this wireless FM transmitter kit offered by JETech. Users love the price and the compact design, but some do note that the signal is weak. The JETech radio car kit features an easy-to-see/read display, tactile buttons, and a sturdy ABS construction.
Another great thing about this unit is that with all smartphones and tables with 3.5 audio jack in addition to the extra built-in USB port, which you can use to charge your smartphone or GPS while driving.
A reviewer comments that the wireless FM transmitter works far better than he hoped and that the sound is loud and clear. He adds that it connects to his BMW Z4 with no problems. Another purchaser shares that the device is user-friendly and that he has been using it daily for more than six months.
A user also mentions that it’s simple to find the frequency once you plug the transmitter into the cigarette lighter and that the extra USB port comes in handy. He highly recommends it to anyone looking for a cheap FM transmitter. However, a couple of customers have complained that the kit stopped working after a couple of months and that the static is horrible. A few also point out that the audio is too quiet.
Ease Of Use
This wireless transmitter offered by Dools is compact, convenient, user-friendly, and suitable for devices with a 3.5mm audio jack.
Users love that it supports hands-free conversation, but some do note that it’s poorly built. The Doosl universal FM receiver features a built-in digital display for convenience and safety in the car, left/right buttons to adjust the frequencies, and Phase-look Technology for a stable output. Another great thing about thing unit is that it has an internal rechargeable battery so that you can enjoy up to 10 hours of music without recharging.
As a whole, reviewers have a favorable opinion of the Doosl FM kit, but they do warn that the design needs improvement. A satisfied buyer shares that this is one of the best FM transmitters that he has used in recent years and that he is pleased with the sound quality. A user also comments that the charge holds for hours and that it has a great range. Another purchaser also shares that he is happy with the transmission range and that the battery holds a charge well.
However, an unhappy customer complains that the sound quality is awful and that it gets disconnected when you drive through bumps. Another one also states that it’s useless and doesn’t work all the time and that you might have a problem if you have a protective cover.
Ease Of Use
If you are looking for the best Bluetooth transmitter for cars, you might want to consider this one offered by VicTsing. Users love the quality and the memory functions for auto-connect, but some do note that they’d prefer if the audio quality is better.
The VicTsing wireless transmitter features a large 1.44” screen, which shows incoming calls, voltage, volume, frequency and song name, a power off switch, and a dual USB port. Keep in mind that the manufacturer doesn’t recommend charging two devices simultaneously. Another great thing about this product is the flexible neck, which allows you to adjust the unit in addition to the HI-FI stereo sound.
As a whole, users have a high opinion of the VicTsing wireless radio kit, and they highly recommend it as one of the best FM transmitters.
A reviewer states that he was impressed by the quality of the sound and that the hands-free phone operation is a nice bonus. He adds that it’s simple to install and that he hasn’t had problems with Bluetooth compatibility. Another user shares that he likes the dual USB port and that the screen is easy to read.
A buyer also comments that the signal is strong and that it pairs automatically with his phone. However, a few customers have complained that the device worked only for a couple of weeks and then malfunctioned. Some also point out that it breaks the Bluetooth connection too often.
Ease Of Use
This wireless FM transmitter offered by Vite is multifunctional, expensive, well-designed, and an excellent choice for those who are looking for a high-quality product. Users love the 8-level adjustable wattage frequency, but some do note that the instructions are lacking.
The Vite FM transmitter features an adjustable antenna for better electromagnetic reception and transmission, a dual ball bearing fan for good heat dissipation, an advanced modulation system, and a built-in PLL frequency. Another great thing about this product is that it has U disk play function, which supports FLAX/WAV. You can also connect it to your PC.
As a whole, reviewers have a high opinion of the Vite mini stereo, and they highly recommend it as one of the best FM transmitters available. A user comments that TIVDIO takes a couple of minutes to set up and that it operates perfectly without overheating. He adds that the construction seems solid and that it’s perfect for broadcasting live music, but warns that you should check the local broadcasting laws.
Another buyer shares that the transmission range is good and that it works better than similar products. A purchaser also observes that the audio quality is exceptional with no static, buzzing or hissing. However, a couple of customers have complained that the frequency range is not up to their expectations and that the transmission distance is not as specified.
What's Reddit Saying
Since we exhausted a lot of the traditional research channels, we turn to Reddit to investigate some additional topics including Circuit City products, the Scosche brand, Nulaxy options Black Friday deals, Wireless connectivity adapter issues, FM modulators, iTrip & ooth radio options, low power problems and DIY transmitter hacks.
Best Option For Cities?
Over in the car’s subreddit, one poster asked the community what the best FM transmitter is. Because he lives in a large urban center, and there are tons of channels, he was wondering whether that would influence product selection.
One user had an interesting perspective – he advised purchasing a cheap one from AliExpress or Alibaba. This is because they are not FCC compliant and the transmitters themselves are generally more powerful.
A person responded, agreeing, saying that when he was in college he built one as an undergraduate research assignment. He says that because of governmental, FCC regulations all of the US FM transmitters operate between 88.1 megahertz to 107.9 megahertz.
Outside of the US, it’s possible to find them transmitting between 87.5 megahertz and 108 megahertz. Overall he recommends purchasing a brand new head unit that employs USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Another poster suggested that if you’re not in the mood for removing your radio, and also want to use an auxiliary cord, there are options out there that will plug into your antenna.
Maximizing FM Transmitter Sound Quality
If you want to improve the sound quality of your FM transmitter, one poster started a conversation over in the car’s subreddit regarding this issue.
One poster advises going with Bluetooth because when you’re trying to cram the signal to fit into an FM slot it can actually impair the audio passband, lopping off the high-end to help protect the 15kg stereo encoder signal. Another poster suggested purchasing a ground Loop interrupter to enhance audio quality if you are using an auxiliary cable.
Another poster suggested modifying the volume of the car stereo, transmitter, and phone, finding optimal levels for each. You could also attempt to restore clipped frequencies by modifying the phone and car equalizer settings.
Apple FM Transmitters And Volume Issues
Over in the Apple subreddit, one user was searching for recommendations for Bluetooth to FM transmitters that provide extra volume output. The top response came from a user who decided to shell out some serious cash to install a Bluetooth kit in his car.
While it took several hours of installation, it cut out all of the Annoying low volume and static issues that would occur whenever he switch stations and drove long distances. The original poster was looking for recommendations for a car that had a CD slot and no auxiliary or tape options.
FCC Regulation Maleffects
Over in the advice animals subreddit one user submitted a meme that said “Car is too new to have a tape deck. But too old to have an auxiliary input.”
The top post came from a commenter who corrected the original poster, saying that the technology isn’t bad it’s just that the fcc’s regulations mean that they could only employ incredibly weak maximum power levels.
The poster recommends that if you’re trying to skirt these restrictions, there are some do-it-yourself hacks and some aftermarket modifications you can do to increase the power of the signal. A former Best Buy employee also chimed in, saying that he frequently had to explain this to customers hundreds of times a day.
His recommendation was that you purchase an entirely new head unit – you can find them for under $100.
A lot of them will have USB connectivity to help enhance sound quality old run above a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary plug.
However, some were concerned that it would mess up the look and feel of their car’s interior – the Best Buy employee said that if that is your concern there’s nothing you can do- you’re sacrificing aesthetics for functionality.
However, another user chimed in and said that it’s possible to add in an additional auxiliary Jack if your Savvy enough to splice an adapter into your automobiles existing wiring.
Alternatively, you can make use of an unused satellite radio port Iceman that they often feature plug-and-play options. Another user since yesterday do it yourself hack.
He suggested visiting and electronics supply retailer like Radio Shack, purchasing a 3.5 mm panel Mount Jack, flying open your CD unit, and then doing some wire soldering to mount it.
Over in the iPhone subreddit, someone was wondering what the best option would be for listening to radio stations in their car.
While they do have a solid audio system in their Lincoln Continental, it only has a radio and a tape deck – he was looking for a solution that wouldn’t break in under a month. One user recommended a Belking option- but Did end up upgrading to a road warrior option for his iPhone 6.