You don’t have to be an audiophile to know that in most vehicles, the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, especially if it’s an entry-level trim. So, what can we do to change that? Invest in a new set of speakers? Buy an expensive stereo/head unit, hoping the quality will improve? What about a soundbar, though? Yes, it’s very well possible to mount a bar in pretty much any car with a basic tool-set.
And with the Best Car SoundBar, you’ll get to enjoy your favorite tunes in an entirely different way. So, join me, and let’s take a look at what the market has to offer. The following list includes six outstanding soundbars with a universal, user-friendly design. We’ll also talk about installation, common issues, key factors, and more. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Best Car Soundbar ()
|NOAM NUTV4 Quad
|Bazooka Party Bar Speaker
Best Car Soundbar Review
1. BOSS Audio – Car Audio LED SoundBar
This company needs no introduction, because it’s an obvious leader in the market of audio equipment. As for this soundbar, it will be a safe bet for most drivers looking to update their boring, outdated sound systems. Its biggest pro is the rich, saturated sound and the rather loud power output. You won’t have to worry about “running out of” volume when, say, camping out somewhere in the wilderness at some party.
Another standout feature is the full support of four different interfaces/connectivity options: USB, RCA, Aux, and, of course, Bluetooth. Add fast, user-oriented customer support, and you’ll see why Boss deserves a spot on the list. There’s one downside, though, and it has to do with the settings. Every time you disconnect the bar from the battery, it will automatically default to factory settings – keep that in mind.
- Full RCA, USB, and Bluetooth compatibility
- Delivers a strong, rich, loud sound output
- Fast, client-oriented customer support
- Rolls back to default settings when disconnected
With Boss Audio, you’ll get a loud, decent-sounding bar that fits pretty much any modern-day vehicle. It fully supports the most common interfaces and is backed by a quick, friendly customer support team. Sadly, it tends to go back to default settings when unplugged from the system.
2. ECOXGEAR SoundExtreme – Car Audio soundBar
Next up, we’ve got ExoGear with another worthy soundbar for your car. What I really like about this unit is the strong low-frequency response. It can make the bass “pop”, which isn’t something you get with most bars. Obviously, it’s not as great as with an expensive subwoofer, but still pretty impressive. On top of that, SoundExtreme automatically connects to Siri and allows easy control of the system.
Last, but not least, this soundbar features a highly reliable, durable, and well-protected design. It is resistant to water, sand, dust, and dirt. So, if you, say, drive an ATV and worry about the bar getting ruined by natural elements, that won’t be a problem with ExoGear. As for the cons, the provided power cable isn’t particularly long, and you might have to replace it to be able to connect everything properly.
- Impressive low-frequency response
- Easily connects to Siri through Ecotalk
- 100% water-, dust-, and sand-proof
- The power cable is a bit short
Resistant to natural elements/hazards, and with a strong bass frequency response, the SoundExtreme soundbar deserves a spot on your list of must-haves. It fully supports USB, Bluetooth, and takes little effort to connect to Siri. The power supply cable could’ve been longer, however.
3. NOAM – Speakers Stereo System for Car
The first thing that’ll probably catch your attention is the design of this soundbar. It’s actually more of a sound system because you get four separate speakers with the package, not a bar. And that allows mounting the individual speakers pretty much anywhere you want. If the roll bar size is 1.5-2 inches, there won’t be any issues with the installation.
Sadly, the kit doesn’t include a user manual, but, again, mounting won’t take much effort. Extended compatibility will be a part of the deal as well. As long as your vehicle is equipped with a 12v battery, rest assured the NOAM speakers will be an easy fit. So, if you’re not a big fan of the soundbar design and want to go for something more flexible, this could be it for you.
- Flexible speaker design: can be mounted separately
- Compatible with a wide range of 12v vehicles
- Take very little time and effort to mount
- Installation instructions not included
The versatile, flexible design is what makes the NOAM speaker set stand out. It’s 100% compatible with all 12v-equipped vehicles and takes 30-60 minutes to mount, which is a big pro. You won’t find instructions in the package, but that’s a minor con.
4. Planet Audio – Weatherproof Sound System for 12 Volt Vehicles
Here, we have another product with an unusual, futuristic design. But, Plant Audio is still a soundbar at heart, even though it looks like a gadget from the 80s sci-fi movies. Available in three different configurations, this bar gives you a choice between standard, RGB, and storage-packed styles, with the latter being the most expensive option. The standard edition, in contrast, is very cheap.
In fact, it’s the most affordable soundbar on the list, which automatically makes it a worthy pick. The overall performance is decent, and you won’t be disappointed by the sound quality. Unfortunately, customer support isn’t Planet Audio’s strongest suit: the agents take 2-3 days to respond, aren’t very helpful, and want you to pay the return shipping cost. But, that’s a small inconvenience for a soundbar that costs this little.
- Futuristic, eye-grabbing design
- Available in different styles/configurations
- One of the most affordable soundbars
- Poor customer support
Drivers on a tight budget planning on getting an aftermarket soundbar/system might find Planet Audio to be right up their alley. Despite the poor customer support, this product will be a great pick thanks to the unique design, strong power output, and different designs to choose from.
5. BOSS Audio Sound Bar System
Yes, we have another Boss Audio product to review, and in many ways, it’s similar to the #1 bar on the list. It has its own set of pros, of course, and appeals to a slightly different group of potential buyers. Its most significant selling point is the mighty amplifier that’s built into the main body. It provides a loud, crisp audio output and easily powers every single speaker in the bar. It’s a 700-watt D-class amp, one of the best in the segment.
And, you can choose between three different sizes: 14-, 27-, and 34-inch. No matter which configuration you pick, the soundbar will feature a premium heat dissipation system. It can be really hot outside, but the speakers will always stay cool. RGB illumination and full Bluetooth support are also a part of the picture. Too bad there’s no volume control on the bar or the RC for the lights.
- Premium-quality, powerful amplifier
- Advanced heat dissipation system
- Three different sizes to choose from
- No volume control on the RC
Folks in the market for a ten-speaker soundbar with a powerful, D-class amplifier (700-watt-strong) should pay extra attention to BRT34A. With three different sizes at your disposal, this Boss Audio sound system will be a great addition to any truck, sedan, or SUV.
6. Bazooka – Party Bar Speaker for Off-Roading
Finishing up with the list, we’ve got a rather unusual soundbar that was specifically made for parties. Its main feature is the innovative double-sided design. Packed with decent-quality tweeters and woofers on each side, this soundbar is powered by a 450-watt D-class amplifier. Plus, Bazooka includes a dedicated app that can be used to control the LED lights and create your own, customized patterns.
I want to also mention the unique feature of “pairing up” two G2 soundbars together. That’s right: they can be controlled through one single device (like a Smartphone or a laptop) and put out double the volume for a loud party. However, all these pros come at one significant con: the Bazooka speaker system is pretty expensive compared to the market average.
- Innovative and effective double-sided design
- One mobile device can control two G2 bars
- Includes its own, highly customizable app
- The most expensive soundbar on the list
Are you ready to pay big bucks for a premium quality aftermarket soundbar? If the answer is yes, Bazooka has got you covered. The trendy design, easy-to-use app, and the ability to connect two bars to your phone/tablet turn G2 into a must-have, especially if you party a lot.
Can you use a Soundbar in a Vehicle?
The short answer – of course, you can! Some drivers believe that soundbars are only intended for home theaters, but that’s not true. Yes, most of us use these bars to improve the audio quality of our TVs. But in reality, soundbars are an excellent replacement for the outdated sound systems found in modern-day vehicles. Plus, as you’ll learn soon, they don’t take much time or effort to install.
It all comes down to following strict instructions and using the right tools for the job. Sometimes, the package includes helpful user manuals; however, they’re not always reliable and might end up confusing you instead of helping. So, if you believe you can pull this off, check out my detailed, step-by-step guide on how to install an aftermarket soundbar.
Now, when treated properly, soundbars can last for many years, if not decades. Therefore, it might be a good idea to invest in a decent-quality unit and enjoy premium audio in your car. And one more thing: while most bars are compatible with a wide range of cars, you still gotta be careful when ordering them online. For example, a soundbar that was specifically designed for ATVs will not fit a regular vehicle.
The same is true for audio equipment designed for home theaters: they will probably not be able to run on a car battery or connect to the built-in stereo/infotainment system. Make sure to double-check everything before you pay for the device. Oh, and see that the package includes adjustable clamps for easy mounting.
Soundbars can be Installed in Multiple Spots in a Car
That’s right: you won’t have to mount the bar on the vehicle’s ceiling – it can be put in pretty much any corner as long as there’s enough space. There are some popular spots that drivers usually pick for their soundbars. I’m talking about the back seat, underneath the seats, and the trunk. That way, the unit won’t cause you any trouble. Let’s take a look:
- In the back seat. The hardest thing about this one is to figure out the exact size of the soundbar that the back seat can work with. With that part handled, remove the seat, remove the panel, and disconnect the factory speaker cable. Next, get rid of the stock speaker(s) and make some holes for the new bar. Position it properly and use the provided screws to secure it.
- Under the seats. This is the safest spot for the soundbar: no matter what happens on the road, it won’t cause any damage. Before you get to the installation, don’t forget to disconnect the negative battery terminal for safety. Then, like in the previous example, grab the drill, make some holes for the screws, and secure the bar.
- In the trunk. I bet you’ve seen it more than once – the soundbar mounted in the trunk. This is one of the best spots for it, as there’s enough space to install the bar. You might have to invest in extra cables, though. Plus, I’d recommend using a plate to put the bar on it. Make sure it’s sturdy and can support its weight.
- On the ceiling. And let’s not forget about the ceiling. To this day, it’s the most common spot for soundbars and speakers. Follow the same procedure as before: find the right spot, make a couple of holes, put the screws through, and tighten them. Bars look pretty great up there!
Step-by-Step Guide on Mounting a Soundbar in your Car
To properly install a soundbar in your vehicle and get it connected, you’ll need the following tools:
- A set of protective gloves
- A pack of nuts, bolts, and screws
- Standard-issue speaker wire
- Wire cutters
- Metallic plates
- A screwdriver
Start by parking the car in a safe spot on a flat, even surface. Next, get into the cabin and turn the engine off. Make sure you’ve got all the tools, and, of course, the actual soundbar lying around for easy access. Put the protective (rubber) gloves on. After all, we’ll be working with an electrical device. While at it, disconnect the negative battery terminal, like we already discussed, for safety.
This is important: the battery cables must NOT come in contact with any metallic surfaces! Now, to install the soundbar, use the included mounting brackets. They make the process very easy and straightforward. Find the right spot, drill holes, and put the screws through. Or, you can use the factory mounting holes, but only if they are of the right size.
Connect the speaker wire and use the cutter to get rid of the protective coating. With that done, connect this cable to the stereo unit. It might be wise to route the wire underneath the carpeting for a neat look. And don’t forget to connect the battery’s negative terminal/cable. That’s pretty much it. Turn the engine back on and test-drive the soundbar. If you did everything right, it should reward you with rich, crisp audio!
Common Issues with Soundbar Installation
Although soundbars are relatively easy to install, and you’ve got multiple mounting spots to choose from, there can still be some issues along the way. I’m talking about power and safety. Keep in mind that soundbars are powered through electricity, which means they won’t work without a proper power supply to get them going. Now, most modern-day cars run on DC (direct current).
The reason: radios, navigation systems, air conditioning, and many other systems need DC to work. The same is true for sound systems, like a soundbar. However, some cars (mostly, big, industrial trucks) are powered through AC (alternating current). So, to bring all the electronic devices to life, you’ll need to invest in a power inverter. Without one, the soundbar simply won’t make a sound.
Oh, and make sure the converter is of decent quality; otherwise, the power output won’t be very strong. As for safety, it mostly has to do with the weight of soundbars. That’s right: these units are pretty heavy and can weigh up to 20 pounds (with 12-13 pounds being the industry average). Be very careful if you’re handling the installation manually – don’t drop the bar on your head or feet!
Plus, mount it properly so that it doesn’t fall on the driver or the passengers in the case of a crash/accident. One way to avoid this is to mount the soundbar in the truck or, say, under the seat(s), like we just discussed. That way, you’ll eliminate the chance of the bar ever becoming a problem.
Ok, now that we’ve reviewed six different soundbars in detail and talked about the installation process, it’s time to check out the Buyer’s Guide. Here, you’ll find info on the most important factors when choosing a new bar for your car. How many platforms/interfaces does it support? Does it include an amplifier? How powerful is it? And what about the price – is it reasonable, or not? These are just some of the topics we’re going to cover!
#1: Enhanced Compatibility
By using the term “compatibility” I’m talking about both physical fitment and connectivity. The soundbar needs to be able to fit in the vehicle, of course, but, unless it’s a really old ride or, say, an ATV or a UTV, pretty much any soundbar will fit just fine. So, what you should focus more on is connectivity, AKA Bluetooth, Aux, USB, and RCA support. Remember: Bluetooth and USB are the most important interfaces.
USB is among the fastest and most reliable “cable standards”, while Bluetooth is just as great as a wireless interface. RCA can also come in handy, especially if you’ve got an external amp or extra speakers. As for Aux, it stands for “auxiliary”, and, well, serves as an extra input. Summing up, as long as USB and Bluetooth are supported, you’re good. Be careful, though, as many soundbars are rather bad at establishing wireless connections.
#2: Make sure you get a Powerful Amp
With compatibility out of the way, we’ve got the amplifier. The best part about soundbars – most of them come with a built-in amplifier. Internal amps are “fine-tuned” to that specific bar’s speakers and usually do a pretty great job of powering them up. The best amps on the market right now are the D-class units. They are reliable and last for a long time. Plus, these models are loud enough to entertain a small crowd.
Speaking of loudness, look at the watts to learn exactly how loud the bar can get. On average, 450-500 watts is a good place to start. While that won’t be very impressive at a beach party, it will be an overkill for your car’s cabin and enough for a camping site. If you want more power, look for a 750-850-watt amplifier. It will cost more but the investment will be worth it.
#3: LED/RGB Lights for a Party
This is more of a bonus rather than a necessity, of course. But, for parties, LED lights can be quite exciting and set the right mood. Basically, if you see “RGB illumination” in the specifications, that means you can put it on the list. And see that the package includes an RC. With remote control, it will be much easier to configure the lights to your liking – set the right speed, color, pattern, brightness, and other parameters.
#4: Check the Pricing and the Warranty
Last, but not least, let’s have a quick talk about pricing. How much does a decent-quality soundbar cost? This depends on three things: the number of speakers, the amplifier (how powerful it is), and the overall quality of the actual soundbar. Now, a large number of speakers doesn’t automatically mean the bar will sound better, but it’s still a very important factor. We already talked about amps earlier.
Bluetooth support and RGB lights affect the price as well, of course, just like the build quality. Right now, you can buy a solid-quality soundbar for $200-250. To get more speakers (especially a decent set of woofers) and some extras, be ready to pay 300-400 bucks. Up the ladder, we’ve got $500-600 bars. These units boast impeccable engineering, an advanced cooling system, a mobile app, and more.
And that’s everything I had to share with you today! Soundbars carry excellent value and are capable of making your regular road trips a lot more exciting. Reasonably priced and relatively easy to install, they are an excellent alternative to expensive speaker sets, stereos, and amplifiers. Their biggest pro is, of course, the audio quality that is vastly superior to that of the stock audio system in most vehicles.
So, just go ahead and pick one of the six units from the list. They are equally favored by experts and regular drivers. Plus, I spent over a month testing them in my own car to check their worth. Oh, and to learn more about proper mounting, common issues, the importance of material quality, Bluetooth support, and more, refer to the Buyer’s Guide. Happy driving!