Using an FM transmitter will provide you with an easy and cheap way to connect your phone / tablet / ipod to the car stereo. For 10 – 20 pounds or euro, you will no longer be limited to CD’s and local radio when in the car. However, there are some awful products out there, so you need to make sure you choose only the best FM transmitter.
Do FM transmitters work well ?
They have a bit of a bad reputation, people are often surprised when they hear them in action in my car. You’d be hard pushed to tell if the audio was actually being broadcast on FM radio or not.
It’s true that a lot of them are not only awful, but seriously dangerous as the constant requirement to fiddle with connections or change the frequency could easily cause an accident, or at the very least drive you insane. Buying the best FM Transmitter, and using a couple of simple techniques will give you little or no trouble.
Best FM Transmitter to buy ?
The key to an easy way to play music from a phone in the car, is picking up one of the few reliable brands. Anything produced by TrackNet, is definitely the best buy for an FM Transmitter for the car.
TeckNet MT-095 3.5mm – An old enough model, On the market for nearly 10 years but still selling! I have owned 2 of these. First I originally bought so I could play my ipod in the car, it worked great for years but had a connection that only fit with Apple products.
So I then bought one with a 3.5mm connection. That meant, I could listen to any mobile device in the car. It works a treat, I rarely have any trouble, I use it everyday with either my ipod and phone, for roughly £10 (it cost me €15 with delivery)… it’s an essential purchase if you would like to play audio from your phone or ipod in the car.
The power source is plugged into the cigarette lighter in your car, it comes with a USB adapter as well. Should you need multiple power sources you should bundle up and buy a cheap adaptor. The one I have is a BESTEK 150W Black In-Car 12V Socket, which works perfectly and allows me to plug in or charge mobile devices as well as listen to them through the stereo. Here’s the TrackNet MT in action:
TeckNet® 3.5mm In Car Universal FM Transmitter – Is another popular choice from the TrackNet range, it’s pretty much the same price as the MT 095 and has all the same features. It needs to be plugged in constantly, while the MT 095 runs on a battery so you can go wireless with it for long spells.
Best frequency for an FM Transmitter
When you start using an FM Transmitter, you will have to choose a frequency you want your car stereo to pick up the signal of your mobile device. Some of the models (the poor ones) will only give you a few different ranges, but the best ones (like TrackNet) allow you to go from 88.1 – 107.9 on FM
What you need to do to maximize the signal is use one that isn’t already taken up by a local radio station, this can be an annoying process, especially if you travel distances and it changes from location to location.
Where people find most success is really high or really low. For me, the highest possible frequence (107.9) rarely brings any interference. I have heard other people saying they find it most effective on the lowest frequency. Either way, radio stations don’t use these frequencies so they are always the clearest.
Best Bluetooth FM Transmitter ?
Mpow Streambot Z – Bluetooth transmitters, while a little more expensive, do provide a more reliable, higher quality signal without interference. The Mpow Streambot Z is probably the best FM Transmitter for bluetooth.
It’s a strong build with a really nice design that allows you to change the settings very easily when driving. If all your mobile devices have bluetooth, it’s worth considering. However, if like me you still us an ipod, one of the TrackNet products is the only way to go
A lot of cars now are introducing auxiliary ports, to provide a direct route to your car stereo with one simple cable. However, until we can all afford new cars, FM Transmitters will remain a cheap and easy way for playing mobile devices through a car stereo.
Now you’ve chosen the best FM transmitter for the car, check out our guide to the best apps you can download to broaden your options for listening to streaming audio on the go.