Best FM Transmitter

Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter

We spent 29 hours trying out different car FM transmitters to come up with this list of the 5 best ones. Our checklist included range, sound quality, frequency spectrum, noise filters, saving station, RDS and transmitter ports. The Nulaxy Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter hits just the right criteria to take the first place. The Bluetooth capability on this transmitter ensures that it ticks the sound quality and range boxes. It has an impressive frequency spectrum of between 87.5 and 108.0 MHz. Extra features such as hands free calling, multiple ports and noise cancellation cement its first position.

FM Transmitter Reviews

It is illegal to drive (and even ride a bike) with earbuds or headphones on in our state so we naturally gravitated towards FM transmitters. You can only listen to radio for so long before you crave your personal playlist. The whole idea for this list started with our personal development fanatic who always has a Les Brown or Zig Zigler audio handy to listen to when he gets the chance. He was frustrated that he couldn’t play his audios when stuck in traffic because his car stereo doesn’t have an AUX jack or USB port. He brought up this issue with our designated gadget geek and we realized that this is a common problem we all face.

Long story short is we have gone to the trouble of testing as many FM transmitters as we could get our hands on. This list is simply so no one else has to go through what we went through in our search for the best transmitter. Should you want to disregard the choices we have here and do your own search; we have a Buyer’s Guide handy further down this article so you don’t have to start from scratch.

For those who choose to put their trust in us, below are the top 5 picks of the best FM transmitters on the market.

Top 5 Picks

1st Place: Nulaxy Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Our first pick is the Nulaxy Wireless In-Car Bluetooth FM Transmitter simply because it hit all the sweet spots. It’s sleek design and black color doesn’t look out of place in your car.

The device powers from the cigarette lighter which is always the first priority especially if you are not handy with wires and connections. We especially like the Bluetooth wireless bit. If you are a neat freak, you will definitely appreciate no hanging wires. Simply pair your smartphone or other wireless devices with the transmitter and you are good to go.

The LCD screen is handy since you know exactly what you are listening to incase you get lost in your playlist. The transmitter itself also has all the useful buttons you need to pause, skip forward or rewind.

This model also has a USB port, microSD card slot, and AUX jack so you can use virtually any music playing device you have including the almost obsolete ones such as CD players and MP3 players.

As an added bonus, you can charge your smartphone or tablet with a USB. We didn’t notice any significant static which earns this Nulaxy device extra points.

2nd Place: TeckNet F27 In Car Universal FM Transmitter

The TeckNet F27 In Car Universal FM Transmitter takes the number 2 spot simply because of the value it offers for the price. This model is very affordable and so simple to use even your grandma can figure it out. The device interface features a basic display to help you navigate (point for RDS) and has forward and back button so it’s practical without all the frills.

We love that this model plugs into the car lighter port so there are no worries about wiring or draining your car battery. It’s also nice to see a USB port, which you can actually use to charge your phone, on such a small device. The frequency range is also impressive, especially for the price. You can go as high as 107.X and as low as 88.X. It also has an audio jack for your audio player.

One word to describe this TechNet model; PRACTICAL!

3rd Place: LDesign Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Money-pinching technology enthusiasts will definitely love the LDesign Bluetooth FM transmitter. It is deceptively simple on surface value, an LCD screen so you know what you are listening to and forward and back button.

This device is a Bluetooth transmitter with a hands-free system which means you can use it to pick calls. Another surprising feature is its smart charge. The device detects the smartphone plugged in through the USB and adjusts power output accordingly to charge your phone quickly and safely.

The LDesign is incredibly versatile and we were able to pair it with a Google Nexus, GPS, and iPhone which we don’t see too often with devices at this price range.

What we love most about this specific one is it’s incredibly simple to use and offers more features than you can expect from such a basic-looking product. We were also pleasantly surprised by the sound quality on this one.

4th Place: Vite TIVDIO Dual-Mode

The Vite TIVDIO Dual-Mode isn’t something you would get just to listen to audio in your car but we needed to have something for serious transmitter needs. This gadget is more suitable at a worksite than at the front seat of your car.

The Vite model connects you your computer using a USB and features the best in broadcast software. It can transmit to up to 4 km outdoors and is perfect for wireless broadcasting with its lengthy TNC antenna. This device has a commendable FM frequency range between 87-108MHz and its aluminum alloy construction makes it perfect for an outdoor environment. The sound quality is exemplary and the device easy to set up right out of the box.

We realize that this probably isn’t for your car but if you need heavy transmitting in your home or worksite, the Vite TIVDIO Dual-Model comes highly recommended.

5th Place: Nulaxy KM19 FM Transmitter

The Nulaxy brand makes a comeback on this list with the KM19 model but we can’t help that this is such a solid brand. We absolutely loved that the model comes with two USB ports. This means you can charge your device in peace while you use another to play music or other audio.

The model also features an impressive frequency spectrum ranging from 87.5MHz to 108.0MHz. You can play audio through the USB, AUX jack, Bluetooth or straight from the device itself from a MicroSD card. This model comes with plenty of features, especially for its small size.

The LCD screen helps you to navigate what you’re playing and a handy backlight makes sure you can see everything at night. A feature that we loved is the LCD screen also reads caller ID if your smartphone is paired to the device.

Finally, we tested this transmitter with a variety of devices including iPhone, BlackBerry, HTC and Samsung Galaxy and the results were great each time.

FM Transmitter Buyer’s Guide

Powerful Car FM Transmitter

What is an FM Transmitter?

An FM transmitter in the context of this article is a device that connects your car stereo to an external device such as a smartphone, MP3 player, SD card or CD player. The aftermarket device is wireless meaning that there are no cables that link the FM transmitter to your car stereo. Instead, the device typically connects to the cigarette lighter (for power) and sends FM signals to the stereo just like radio stations do.

A more detailed explanation is this; the FM transmitter receives audio output from the source it is connected to such as a smartphone or CD player. The device (transmitter) then converts this information into an analog format before converting it once more through a modulator into an FM signal. The car stereo then picks up the transmitter’s FM bandwidth just as it does with regular radio stations.

How to Choose the Best FM Transmitter

One of the first things that strike you when shopping for an FM transmitter for your car is the sheer range of options. There are a few pointers that you can use to help you get the best one. We used these same criteria in coming up with this list of the 5 best FM transmitters. The idea is to find a model that balances all of these considerations as the ones we have mentioned here do.

Range

The range is certainly an important consideration since it directly affects the transmission quality. This shouldn’t be much of an issue with a car transmitter considering the confined space. Still, you want anywhere between 10 and 30 feet. If you would like to continue using the transmitter within a reasonable distance outside of your vehicle (via Bluetooth for example), 30 feet should be sufficient. All the same, more range means better quality signal so choose the higher number here just to be safe.

Sound Quality

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to determine sound quality until you have plugged in and started using your transmitter. This practical problem is the reason we came up with this list so you don’t have to take the trail-and-error route. The devices listed here offered satisfactory sound quality.

One of the factors that affect sound quality is the distance between your car’s antenna and the FM transmitter. In an ideal situation, you would have your transmitter in the front seat if the antenna is in the front of the car and vice versa. Bluetooth offers the best sound quality so choose a transmitter that supports this feature if you are very particular about crystal clear sound.

Bluetooth Wireless FM Transmitter

Frequency Spectrum

FM transmitters work on free FM frequency (ones not taken by radio stations). This isn’t a problem in the sparsely populated area but if you live in a metropolitan, many of the FM frequency are likely already taken. A large frequency spectrum means that there are more options for your transmitter to pick a free frequency. You want a transmitter that works between 88.1 and 107.9 just to be on the safe side.

Noise Filter

One of the differences you may notice while listening through your transmitter and listening to your regular radio is the background noise that is more pronounced on the transmitter. This issue doesn’t have to be the case if you choose a model with a noise filter function. We did our best to find you devices that filter out the noise and perform as close to the regular radio as you can hope. Some transmitters are also compatible with after-market noise filters.

Saving Stations

The station saving feature is useful if you commute out of your range regularly. A common scenario is you have an open frequency that your transmitter works on when you are within the city. Once you leave the area, the same frequency is taken by a radio station forcing your transmitter to find another open frequency.

It can be a little frustrating searching for a new frequency every time you leave your range and reset back to the original once you get back. A transmitter that saves your open frequencies makes it easy for you to toggle to and from while traveling. This feature is more for your convenience than anything else.

Radio Data System (RDS)

Radio Data System (RDS) is simply the information you see on your stereo screen about what station you are listening to, which track on your CD and so on. Again, this is more of a convenience feature as it would be nice to know what you are listening to. The screen doesn’t have to be complicated as long as you can tell what you are listening to at any one time.

Transmitter Ports

Finally, transmitter ports determine the range of devices you can use with your transmitter. If you are only interested in playing music from your CD player, a basic transmitter with an AUX jack port should suffice. We, however, advocate for as many ports as you can get including AUX jack and USB. Additional options such as Bluetooth and MicroSD card offers ultimate choice so there isn’t a device you couldn’t pair the transmitter with.

Conclusion

These are our top 5 picks for the best FM transmitters on the market. We concentrated on car transmitters although there is an option for home, work site or office. We used the criteria explained in the Buyer’s Guide and tried to be as objective as possible.

Note that any of these models could easily take the top position. The take-away here really is these are the options you should be looking at if you don’t want to go through the trouble of potentially testing tens of devices to find the right one.