Reading this article will save you time and money by helping you determine exactly what you need in terms of screen size, ease of installation, and other factors, while choosing your best car DVD player.
Best Rated DVD Players for Cars in 2018
Wonnie – Best Portable DVD Player under $45
This is the Wonnie Portable DVD Player, it’s under 45 dollars, extremely affordable.
So it has a 7.5 inch screen, 480p resolution. It’s not the best screen, but then again this is super cheap, super inexpensive.
You can get four hours of playback time, it also has a bunch of really cool stuff that comes in the package with it:
- A pair of headphones. Obviously these are not gonna be the best quality headphones, but they were nice enough to include that.
- Nice backpack style carry case, throw your DVD player in here, strap it up, throw it on your back, take it on the go with you.
- Little power brick for the wall,
- A micro USB charging cable,
- Some audio/video component cables,
- A cigarette plug for the car,
- And a little black remote controller with about a billion buttons on it.
Alright so right away I was already pretty impressed because under $45 you get a ton of stuff.
There are some buttons that you’ve got here on the side. You have your charging port, you have your on and off switch, you have your audio/video out, you have your headphones out, you have your volume knob right here, CD on and off, you have the set up button, source, and function.
On the back side you have a USB port and you also have an SD card slot, so you can upload movies on there if you wanted to download them digitally.
You got speakers up here in the front; you got two little speakers.
Okay, so the headphones actually sound pretty good. However, there’s a little bit of discomfort. These metal rods right here, basically you’re gonna feel those pushing against your head.
If you try to look at it from an angle, it’s gonna have like a little bit of a white fog to it, so you gotta make sure you’re looking at it directly on. You’re gonna wanna be center of the DVD player.
So this is by Wonnie, it comes in three different colors.
You can get this in red, blue, or black. This right here is probably the cheapest portable DVD player you’re gonna find.
Overall, functional and pretty cheap DVD player
Pioneer – Best Double Din DVD Player
The AVH-X4800BS lives up to their legacy in audio, and shows they know how to handle video and digital connectivity as well.
Right out of the box, it’s easy to tell that this is a solidly constructed unit. Although it’s definitely in a higher price class, it seems like it will last a lot longer than many cheaper DVD player head units on the market.
The best feature for me was the 13-band graphic EQ. While many budget units and even most mid-range and some high-end units come with only a 3-band EQ (bass, mid, and treble), the AVH-X4800BS gives you much more control over your sound quality with the 13-band setup.
The connectivity and versatility of the software and operating system were great as well.
While pretty much any decent car DVD player will work with any smartphone, this unit does more than work with smartphones; it gives you seamless control over them.
In addition, it supports voice control, so that you can switch up your music safely while driving.
The screen looks amazing, too, though it does suffer a bit from glare on sunny days.
I would definitely recommend this product. It’s a solid buy, with quality nearing that of the highest-end models and a fair price. It’s also a fairly easy product to install, and it worked great for me throughout my testing process.
Pyle PLTS78DUB – Best Single Din Player
Once I got the unit installed, I was impressed with the unit’s ease of use and great Bluetooth call quality.
A Few Big Problems:
That being said, there were a few things about the unit that put me off as well. The screen suffers from a good deal of glare, and only looks truly great in a very low-light environment.
Although it didn’t break or suffer any other immediate problems during my testing process, I do worry that it won’t be exceedingly long-lasting.
One great feature is the 7” screen’s high resolution, and the unit’s ability to connect to a wide variety of sources is great too. The real standout feature of this unit is its Bluetooth call quality and connectivity. While a lot of other budget units disconnected during calls quite frequently, the Pyle PLTS78DUB stayed clear.
I would recommend the PLTS78DUB to the budget-conscious consumer. However, I would caution that it’s not for real audiophiles: its sound isn’t bad per se, but it doesn’t have a robust built-in EQ or other sound customization features.
Pyle PLBT73G – Best for the Money
Pyle is known as one of the better budget-conscious brands out there for car audio and video, and really shows it with this unit.
While the PLBT73G is a bit more expensive than many of Pyle’s other offerings, it offers a higher focus on quality and workmanship, and still runs quite a bit cheaper more than units from other brands.
When unboxing and installing this unit, I was impressed by its physical construction. All of the buttons and moving parts seem more well-made than those of other budget units I’ve reviewed.
What the PLBT73G Does Right:
I placed several calls over Bluetooth while testing this car DVD player, and noticed one of the big differences between the PLBT73G and a lot of the other budget models out there.
In addition to the actual call connectivity being better, the built-in microphone was far superior, meaning the person on the other end of the line had a lot more enjoyable call.
That being said, it still wasn’t the best Bluetooth call microphone I’ve seen on a car DVD player by a long shot.
Every standard car DVD player feature and aspect (the screen, the touch functionality, the music playback from a variety of sources) is great on this product.
I was impressed with the sound and video quality, which are both better than those offered by other, slightly cheaper budget-friendly options. That being said, the feature that is intended to set this unit apart falls flat.
A Big Disappointment:
That feature is the GPS navigation system included with the unit. While it is technically “functional,” it’s nowhere near the quality of separate GPS units, the GPS feature available on many higher-end systems, or even the GPS functionality of most major smartphones.
While driving, I frequently lost the GPS signal at important moments, and sometimes the unit would take hours (in one case, even days) to find the signal again.
I would recommend this product as a mid-range alternative that is better than many of the cheapest products on this list, but still nowhere near as expensive as the very high-end products I’ll review here.
However, I wouldn’t recommend relying on this unit’s GPS system. Instead, buy a separate stationary GPS or use a smartphone app.
Pioneer X490BS – Best on the Market
This model from Pioneer looks and feels very similar to the other Pioneer car DVD player I reviewed above, the AVH-X4800BS. In terms of features and specifications, they’re very similar. However, there is one major difference.
This model’s screen is mounted in place in the dashboard, whereas the AVH-4800BS had a system of motorized rails to angle the screen for easy viewing.
That small difference makes the AVH-X490BS slightly cheaper, and I like that it has fewer moving parts. However, many users really like the screen angling feature.
The Best of the Best:
The best features of the AVH-X490BS I found while testing it in one of my vehicles, a 2006 Honda Accord, were its 13-band EQ (allowing for a lot of control over the sound of music and movies) and its compatibility with various apps on my iPhone. The AVH-X490BS is also highly compatible with Android smartphones as well.
The intuitive operating system and high level of compatibility with various apps of the AVH-X490BS makes it feel like it offers a lot more user control over the sound and video features than many of the other models out there.
In addition, it’s really easy to use—though, as an in-dash car DVD player, it is a little bit more difficult to install. However, it is also highly durable, and seems like it will last a long time.
However, the screen did suffer from a little bit of glare in bright light conditions, and most users will definitely need to hire a professional to install it.
Boss Audio – Best In-dash Car DVD Player
The unit’s 7” monitor is a standard size among car DVD players. The detachable front panel is a nice feature, and its single din construction is great for many car setups.
The versatility of this unit is its most impressive feature: with Bluetooth and auxiliary inputs and support for DVDs, CDs, radio, and even backup cameras, the Boss BV9986BI can do it all.
The least impressive aspects of this unit are its somewhat cheap physical construction and its spotty Bluetooth call support. I frequently lost connectivity when calling over Bluetooth with this unit.
I would recommend this unit as a budget-friendly choice. It’s far better than several other units in a similar price range, and has a lot more features as well.
This is great for users with kids, or people who frequently take long car trips or drive professionally.
This system had a lot of pros and cons that made it difficult for me to judge one way or the other to recommend it. Some of its features worked much better than expected, while others were essentially broken from the start.
Let’s Start with the Good Stuff:
The two main advantages of this system are how securely it straps to the headrest and how great its screen looks.
The Issues I have with the CH1007B:
I came across a major problem while testing the CH1007B, though. One of its essential functions and one of its coolest extra features do not work as I expected them to.
Unfortunately, that essential function is the DVD player itself.
These were the same discs that I used to test other car DVD players in this buyer’s guide, so I’m certain there was no problem with the discs themselves.
Instead, the actual DVD player in this unit feels like a shoddily made afterthought rather than an essential part of the entertainment unit.
An Important Note:
While you can link two of these systems to play a single DVD, the screens can not share the same content from a USB drive, HDMI connection, or SD card.
This was perhaps the most complicated review I completed for this guide, but I’ll still recommend this unit with a small caveat.
I don’t recommend you buy it as a DVD player; instead, think of it as a television or computer monitor for your car.
If you have a lot of movies on flash drives or want to integrate a game system into the back of your car—or even hook up your HDMI-compatible laptop to do some work or play a game—this system works great. However, the actual DVD function just has too many problems, and doesn’t work as advertised.
It’s a little more focused on the audio end of things than the video, meaning it will be better for some customers than for others.
It has some nice features like a traditional volume knob, which is easier to manipulate while driving than touchscreen or button-based volume controls.
It is also easier to integrate with existing steering wheel controls than many of the other car DVD players I’ve tested.
Major Highlight for Audiophiles:
It also features a 10-band graphical EQ. It also features a great built-in GPS system.
Unfortunately, it sacrifices a little bit of its video quality to focus more on the audio. The screen’s resolution isn’t as high as many of the other car DVD players that I’ve reviewed in a similar price range.
It doesn’t look bad by any means, but it’s not as crystal-clear as some other car DVD players.
I also experienced a few issues with Bluetooth connectivity, though it was never a serious, long-term problem like with some other units I’ve reviewed.
Ultimately, I would recommend the Power Acoustik PDN 626B to audiophiles who are more interested in sound quality than anything else.
However, it’s doesn’t have the best video quality or overall connectivity of all the car DVD players in its price class.
Kenwood – Best Car DVD Player with USB Port
The Kenwood DDX24BT is a double-din in-dash car DVD player with a 6.2” screen from a well-known and highly respected car audio brand. Immediately upon taking it out of the box, I was impressed with its construction.
Once I got it installed, which was a fairly easy process (though I’d recommend hiring a professional for any in-dash installation if you don’t have any experience installing car entertainment systems), I was impressed with its audio quality most of all.
Connectivity and Compatibility Issues:
Despite its excellent audio quality, it had connectivity issues more often than many car DVD players, especially with Bluetooth.
Also, because the unit is a little older, it often requires adapters to fully function via USB with the latest smartphones—which means more of a time and money investment for you. I also experienced some problems with the screen freezing up.
If it went on sale for a significant discount, I might recommend it as a better alternative to some of the budget models out there, but there are simply a lot better systems out there at its list price point.
If you’re a die-hard Kenwood fan, I would look for a newer and more sophisticated and connected model than this one.
Jensen – Best Car DVD Player with GPS
Like all in-dash car DVD players, I’d recommend having a professional install it if you’re not already familiar with installing car audio. In addition, be sure to read this unit’s instruction manual!
A Few Highlights:
The difficulty in setting this one up actually turned out to be a good thing, because it’s highly customizable, so you can tailor it to your exact needs. The built-in GPS was one of the best I’ve worked with, and the Bluetooth calling and audio streaming both worked very well.
In addition, the video and sound quality of this unit were very good. My initial scan for local radio channels didn’t go to well, but by manually inputting the FM frequencies I needed, I bypassed this easily and they came in loud and clear.
It Isn’t Perfect, Though:
Unfortunately, the screen (which is usually more responsive than most car DVD player touchscreen) does suffer from a bit of a lag at times.
In addition, the HDMI connection feature, one of the real highlights of this system, doesn’t work quite as well as advertised.
For anyone looking for crisp visuals and good-looking video playback, I’d recommend this one too. However, I wouldn’t recommend anyone looking for the HDMI compatibility in particular to buy this one.
Boss Audio – Best Cheap Car DVD Player
Let’s look at what works first:
I was surprised at how clear and crisp the video is on the screen, and the audio quality matched this well.
While there wasn’t a graphical multi-band EQ on this system, the bass and treble controls combined with several EQ presets for different styles of music made up for this missing feature.
A few problems I noted:
However, there were a few things that didn’t work as well. The built-in GPS wasn’t very high quality, and was very difficult to update. In addition, the screen suffered a lot from glare issues.
One more great feature that’s worth noting is this system’s ability to output video to a separate screen.
This is great if you have headrest-mounted car DVD players in the backseat for the kids—you can watch the movie up front while they watch the same movie in the back.
I would definitely recommend this system for the budget-conscious consumer. While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of much more expensive models from brands like Pioneer, the features that it does have work well, and it seems much more durable than most units in its price class (and quite a few that are a lot more expensive than this one).
In addition to making sure you get a product that has high quality and value overall, you need to ensure you get one that’s right for you. What features are most important to you? What will your car support?
The next section of this guide contains some basic information that you’ll need to consider to ensure that you get a car DVD player that’s not only of the highest quality, but one that will work perfectly for your personal needs.
Important Terms and Specs
In the world of car audio and video, there’s a lot of specific terminology. For example, many drivers don’t know the difference between single din and double din, because it’s very specialized knowledge.
While a lot of these new words can be off-putting and confusing for new stereo and car DVD player purchasers, everything is simpler than you’d think.
Once you understand a few key terms and concepts, you’ll better understand exactly what option is best for your car and your lifestyle.
What is the Difference between a Single Din and Double Din Car DVD Player?
“Single Din” and “Double Din” refer to the size—more specifically the height—of the front panel. Single din front panels measure about 7” wide by 2” tall, while double din front panels measure around 7” wide and 4” tall.
This difference is important for two reasons. Number one, most newer cars have a double din factory stereo head, while most older cars have a single din factory stereo head.
On the other hand, if you install a single din car DVD player in a double din slot in the dash, you’re going to be left with an odd-looking empty space (and a way for dust to get into the electronics of your car).
The second thing that’s important with regards to single din and double din car DVD players is the screen. While most double din units have an in-dash screen, the screen on a single din unit wouldn’t be big enough to watch movies on—meaning that there is a retractable screen on motorized rails that comes out when the car DVD player is on.
Some people prefer the sleek, hidden look of retractable screens (which is why there are plenty of double din models with retractable screens too), while others worry that the moving parts will break down over time and ruin the system. It all comes down to personal preference!
What is a Headrest-Mounted Car DVD Player?
A headrest-mounted car DVD player does not integrate with the dashboard and car stereo system, but instead mounts onto the back of the front-seat headrests to allow people in the backseat to watch movies.
The big advantage of these is that they’ll play while the car is in motion, and they almost always work with headphones.
A headrest-mounted car DVD player is often the best choice for a family with children, because the kids can watch movies in the backseat while the parents are driving.
What is a Roof Mount or Overhead Car DVD Player?
Similarly to headrest-mounted car DVD players, roof-mount car DVD players (also described as “overhead”) do not utilize the existing car audio system.
Instead, they fold down from the ceiling of a car and play through their own built-in speakers or through headphones. Again, these are great for families with kids!
What is the Largest Screen Size for a Car DVD Player?
The largest common screen size for a car DVD player that fits into the dashboard—whether its in-dash or utilizes a retractable motorized screen—is 7”.
The next largest common size is 6.2”. I’m sure there are larger ones out there, but they are rare, and will require custom installations—so 7” is the biggest you’re likely to find.
When it comes to headrest-mounted and overhead DVD players, the screens can get a lot larger. Normally, they’re around 10”-11”. Again, larger ones probably exist, but there’s only so much space in the cabin of the average car!
Which Car DVD Player Can Play All Video Formats?
All of the car DVD players I’ve reviewed in this buyer’s guide can play various video formats, such as DVD and digital video formats like MPEG.
Why Won’t My Video Play?
For dash-mounted car DVD players, one of the most common complaints I’ve heard over the years is that the video won’t play while the car is in motion. This isn’t a problem with your car DVD player; it’s actually a safety and legal precaution.
Unfortunately for anyone who wants to watch a movie in the passenger seat while you’re driving, virtually all in-dash car DVD players are set to allow movies to play only while the parking brake is engaged.
I’m only addressing this to let you know that a video not playing while the parking brake is disengaged isn’t a problem with your car DVD player.
While we’re on this subject, there’s one another important thing to note: be sure to install your car DVD player properly. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s better to hire a professional.
If you’re confident that you can do it, be sure to do tons of research, and try to find a step-by-step video tutorial to watch during the process.
I’m bringing this up now because incorrectly attaching the parking brake wire can make the DVD player think the parking brake is never engaged—meaning that you won’t be able to watch movies without completely reinstalling your system.
Conclusion—The Best Car DVD Players Are…
Reviewing these ten car DVD players was a fun, if sometimes difficult, process, and I think I’ve finally narrowed down my top choices.
I selected both of these models because they’re so similar; the only significant difference between them is that the AVH-4800BS has a motorized system that allows the screen to angle itself for easier viewing.
The special features and smartphone integration really set both of these units apart from the competition, and they also feature some of the best video quality and resolution around.
Best Single Din Car DVD Player: Pyle PLBT73G
If you don’t have the space for a double din car DVD player, go for this option. In addition to its all-around better sound and video quality than a lot of single din options, its moving parts seemed a lot more durable during my testing process than those of other single din models.
Best Budget Choice: Boss Audio BV9364B
If you’re on a tight budget and you have the space for a double din in-dash car DVD player, this is far and away the best choice.
I’ll admit I didn’t expect much out of this unit when I ordered it for review, as it was the cheapest I tested for this list, but it outperformed even several much more expensive options. In addition, it looks to be built to last.
I hope this best car DVD player buyer’s guide has helped you. Do your research, figure out exactly what you want from the best car DVD player, and enjoy your new entertainment system!