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Top 10 Best Satellite Radio Receivers for Cars

If you want access to satellite radio, these receivers are the best way to take advantage of hundreds of channels in your car.

SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio

Not every vehicle’s sound system is created equal, and this is especially true in the world of satellite radio receivers for cars. Satellite radios are quickly changing, and these technological improvements often result in better products. Today, any satellite radio worth its weight should allow you to access your favorite channels at the touch of a button, or even better, a voice command. So, without further ado, let’s make your drive that much more pleasant by taking a look at the best satellite radio receivers.

Editor's Pick: SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio

Featuring a fully functional touchscreen interface, SiriusXM Onyx is a solid satellite radio that leads the way in the market. Being highly customizable, various packages depending upon musical taste can be subscribed to.

TuneStart gives users the opportunity to always play songs from their start, a problem other satellite radio receivers have encountered all too often in the past.

Unlike some satellite radios that are simpler in design, the SiriusXM Onyx Plus features a vibrant color interface, giving you the chance to enjoy things like album artwork to the fullest. Content, even live content, can be easily navigated (paused, fast-forwarded, rewound). In fact, the day’s top programs can be replayed altogether.

The Onyx Plus even gives users the opportunity to have alerts sent to them whenever their favorite programs air. Since you can set up the Onyx Plus anywhere (in the car, home, workplace etc.) it gives users some variability in terms of where you receive your satellite radio content. Parents also have the ability to program the device to block certain specified content that they may feel is inappropriate.

Pros/Touchscreen interface, Customize your channels, Free 3 month SiriusXM satellite subscription

Cons/Occasional customer service troubles reported by users

Bottom Line/Editor's Pick for Best Vehicle Satellite Radio Receiver

Pioneer Double DIN Satellite Stereo Receiver

The Pioneer Satellite Stereo Receiver is another well-rounded receiver worth taking a look at. It’s fully Bluetooth functional, making it easy for users to connect their devices and go from there. On top of being capable of picking up satellite radio, it features a CD drive as well as AM/FM channels. There are USB and aux ports conveniently located on the front of the interface, allowing users to connect and charge their phones.

Where this Pioneer receiver really shines is in the variety of content it has the potential to stream and receive. If SiriusXM isn’t your cup of tea, you can always tune in to iHeartRadio on this device, or if that doesn’t meet your standards, Pandora/Spotify can be easily accessed.

The Bluetooth microphone is also said to be incredibly responsive. Users report that minus the exception of some ambient noise, the overall effectiveness of the mic allows them to speak in a normal manner, rather than having to raise their voices to be heard. Keep in mind that this receiver is double DIN in design, and dimensions add up to being 9.4 x 5.9 in.

Pros/Bluetooth friendly, Increases system sound quality

Cons/Navigationally complex for some users

Sony Digital Media Receiver

The Sony Digital Media Receiver is a middle-of-the-road satellite receiver price-wise, but it contains some features worth checking out.

Like the Pioneer Satellite Stereo Receiver previously mentioned, this Sony receiver is Bluetooth capable, making taking important calls on the road safe and legal. What’s also convenient about this device is that it can be controlled through voice commands, ranking it among the safest options for drivers. It also easily syncs relevant information, such as contacts, from your phone so that calls can be easily made via Bluetooth.

The Sony Digital Media Receiver is also one of the most compatible satellite radio receivers for users with iPhones. Easily access Siri, and perform a variety of cellular functions with your voice alone.

Although this Sony receiver cannot be remotely controlled, from say, an iPad app, it is extremely voice-responsive. It also may be controlled by and paired with modern smart steering wheels. It lacks a CD drive, but it does have subwoofer outputs for those seeking to achieve extra bass.

Pros/Fully compatible with Siri, iOS, and Android devices , Built-in, non-external Bluetooth microphone

Cons/Bass adjustment controls seem to be lacking

JVC Car Receiver Satellite Radio

Although slightly on the high end in terms of price, this JVC satellite receiver comes with some extra perks on the side. The stereo’s faceplate is entirely detachable, and it comes with a tuner for SiriusXM systems. It has a USB port on the front of the unit and is both Android and iPhone friendly. It also features wireless connection, so that users can customize programs and music playlists from anywhere in the car.

One of the best aspects of this bundle is the size of the tuner. Due to this, wherever mounted, the tuner has a healthy tendency to remain discreet. It also doesn’t require any additional adapters, making it one of the easier receiver/tuner setups to install. This JVC receiver also allows users to search through 30 minutes of satellite content, going either forwards or backwards. Tunemix and Tunescan features help you get the most out of your channels, with features that allow you to both preview content and sample new or familiar channels.

Pros/Remote pairing for wireless control, 1 year warranty

Cons/Requires separate installation kit

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Sony Xplod Car Audio CD Receiver

Sony Xplod has firmly ingrained its name in the aftermarket stereo system niche for many years now, and for good reason. This receiver is AM/FM and satellite ready. It also features a nifty CD drive for those of us who refuse to part with our collections of the past. The face of the device can be detached, making it easy to remove and install, and with the separate purchase of a connector cable, it can be used alongside MP3 players and iPods alike. One of the only downsides to this Sony Xplod model, in particular, is that it’s not Bluetooth ready.

It also doesn’t have a subwoofer output, so if you’re looking to get the most out of your system, it is somewhat lacking. But if you’re looking for a basic satellite receiver, that performs basic AM/FM radio and CD functions, then you’re in good hands. Connector cables must be bought separately, and although it doesn’t come with a wireless remote, or standard Bluetooth functions, Sony Xplod makes up for it in terms of raw audio output.

Pros/Clear illuminated text interface

Cons/No Bluetooth functionality, No subwoofer output, cables sold separately

Bottom Line/Lacking features but a good basic satellite radio receiver

Sirius XM Onyx EZ Satellite Radio with Vehicle Kit

If you’re looking for a cheap, budget-friendly option that can easily be adapted to your existing system, this SiriusXM Satellite Radio receiver is a generously priced piece of equipment. Just make sure you buy the “vehicle kit” and not the “home kit.”

You’re definitely not going to get the most lavish system with this Sirius Satellite Radio, but you will get access to all your favorite channels. It also offers easy accessibility into your 10 go-to channels, so you don’t have to go thumbing through stations. This system gives parents control over the content children consume by allowing them to block certain stations and programs.

It may also be easily implemented into home sound docks and stereo systems, through the purchase of separate home set up kits. The SiriusXM SXSD2 Portable Speaker Dock is a frequently seen sidekick to this Onyx Satellite Radio. The strength of the SiriusXM Onyx is simplicity. With the Power Connect kit, installation is easy and usually doesn’t require the additional assistance of a professional.

Pros/Parental controls to block certain content, Stay informed on local weather conditions and traffic updates

Cons/Dash mount can be faulty in hotter adhesive-wearing conditions

Bottom Line/Best budget pick

JVC KW Built-In Bluetooth Satellite Radio Ready Receiver

This JVC receiver features a high-end interface that is not only easy, but fun to navigate. It comes ready to be paired with a satellite radio subscription and includes a wireless remote for easy control. Easy to pair Bluetooth accessibility makes music streaming and effortless calling that much safer. Also, the display is customizable to a degree. It might not be as customizable as other radio receivers, but these preferences can be made in 3 distinct zones on the device. The advantage the JVC KW Receiver brings is its input accessibility. Everything from MP3, to FLAC, to Pandora, to auxiliary streaming can be done with this device.

Those who are looking to not only tap into satellite radio but wish to up their sound system altogether will easily benefit from this receiver’s internal amplification components. Accessibility by all who are present in a vehicle, rather than just the driver, is made easy with the wireless remote. JVC KW is a double-DIN unit and a rather big one at that, so definitely double check that it will be compatible with your vehicle.

Pros/Customizable 3 zone color schemes, Wireless remote

Cons/Bluetooth on Android phones can only be accessed through JVC app

JVC Arsenal KD Car Stereo Receiver

The JVC Arsenal is a moderately priced stereo receiver that includes an internal amplifier. This sleek color interface is fully customizable and an artist’s palette of colors and patterns are offered to alter different buttons and controls. Music files can be played from a variety of sources including MP3. The LCD display boasts being single-lined in design, making it easy to read. This Bluetooth stereo receiver allows for safe, hands-off calling and other common Bluetooth functions. On late nights and early mornings, an auto-dim feature naturally kicks in making the device easier on the eyes.

Multiple phone connectivity is possible with the JVC Arsenal, which usually results in more fun for more than one listener while streaming music. Pair all of your iOS and Android devices to the JVC Arsenal easily, and in doing so, keep them adequately charged. Initially, in the product’s “demo mode,” the display colors change frequently, giving the user a taste of what the JVC Arsenal has to offer before ultimately programming them to their taste.

Pros/Two phone connectivity, Customize display colors, Includes remote control, MP3 disc ready

Cons/Remote’s key fob design makes it slightly awkward to handle

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Delphi XM Roady XT Satellite Radio Receiver

The Delphi XM Roady is as compact as it gets. It features a simple, practical interface and satellite functionality for an affordable price. 150+ channels can be accessed on this small, powerful device. Channels vary but cater to a wide spectrum of interests such as sports, music, talk radio and more. The interface itself displays all of the useful information you need including channel, artist, program etc. The Delphi XM Roady is often used as a road trip type of receiver, as its satellite connection, like other products, can be received in almost any region. It’s also found in a variety of vehicles, including common commuters, trucks, and even RVs and long-distance campers.

The simple interface appeals perfectly to consumers who don’t necessarily need or have a taste for the fancy. Like the SiriusXM Onyx EZ Satellite Radio, the Delphi XM Roady XT Satellite Radio Receiver is humble and high functioning. Receivers like this, although functional, lack in some aspects such as content recording or even basic replay features. But as an alternative to commercial radio, this is a great inexpensive entry point into the satellite radio domain.

Pros/Simple easy to use interface, 1 year warranty

Cons/Product’s longevity seems to be in question

Sirius Sportster 5 Satellite Radio Receiver

If you’re looking for a more advanced Sirius satellite radio receiver, the Sirius Sportster is a decent option. It is a dual-purpose receiver, that can be used both in vehicles and in the home. It features multicolored text, and its sleek interface is a draw in and of itself. You can also program sporting occasion alerts, to stay up to date on the scores of your favorite games. It also offers unique play pause and skip features for live radio programs, giving users the chance to either recap or fast-forward through 60 minutes of content.

Make no mistake, the Sirius Sportster is a sports lover’s dream. It is definitely a step up from the SiriusXM Onyx, and is the type of receiver that features a highly developed display. But unlike other Sirius receivers mentioned on this list, the Sportster is somewhat less portable, and is best when used in cars. Inside vehicles, it excels, and the vehicle kit comes with handy installation components such as dash/windshield mounts.

Pros/Easily stay up to date on sports, Fast forward or rewind through 60 minutes of live content

Cons/Reception can be slightly faulty in some areas, Not battery operable

Our Final Verdict

It’s easy to see that every satellite radio receiver has strengths and weaknesses of their own. But for those who wish this list had been even narrower, below we’ll provide a couple of our ultimate picks.

Best Overall:

The SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio is the most well-rounded satellite receiver for a variety of reasons. Performance-wise, it delivers everything you’d want out of a satellite radio receiver, and the number of negative reviews from bad experiences shared online are kept at a minimum. This isn’t to say that it’s guaranteed to be the perfect satellite radio receiver for your individual situation, just that generally speaking, it leaves satellite radio listeners pleased. Overall, for a prestigious name brand product, it’s reasonably priced, easy to install, easy to customize choice programs, and even features a three-month SiriusXM promotion on the side. Additionally, the TuneStart and TuneMix features make life much easier while both searching for new music and in turn customizing playlists consisting of these newly found jams.

Best Budget Option:

If you’re shopping on a budget, your best bet will probably be the SiriusXM Onyx EZ Satellite Radio Vehicle Kit. Of all the products included on this list, it is by far the most reasonably priced, and it does exactly what you’d want it to do. The included PowerConnect kit makes it exceptionally easy to install, and the device’s blue interface promotes effective navigation. As far as the SiriusXM Onyx EZ Satellite Radio’s interface is concerned, this device takes it back to the basics. The information it conveys doesn’t go beyond channel, program name, and artist/song for the most part. You can also do more with this radio receiver than you can with the average receiver, especially in terms of home setup. A separately purchased home setup kit, along with the original vehicle kit, will still most likely be cheaper than most aftermarket satellite radio receivers you come across. The bottom line is that, what it lacks in extravagance, it makes up for in functionality.
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