If you spend a lot of time in traffic, a good car stereo microphone can vastly improve the quality of your phone calls while keeping you safe on the road. Holding your phone to talk while you drive can be dangerous (and illegal). Most car stereos today have Bluetooth, but the microphones are usually not that great — they have a hard time picking up voices from the passenger seat or when there’s lots of traffic noise.

You could upgrade your stereo, but that option can cost several hundred dollars and may not improve your sound quality much. The best solution is a separate microphone, which is easy to install if your car stereo uses Bluetooth or has an aux connection, similar to a headphones connector on your phone. Then it’s a matter of mounting the microphone where it can easily pick up voices.

The best car stereo microphones on this list are all easy to set up, provide great sound quality, and are inexpensive.

— Best Overall 3.5mm: PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip On Microphone
— Best Budget 3.5mm: FingerLakes 3.5mm Microphone
— Best Overall 2.5mm: FingerLakes 2.5mm External Microphone
— Best Budget 2.5mm: ACC 2.5mm Microphone
— Best With Bluetooth: Alphasonik 3.5mm Bluetooth Microphone

How We Picked the Best Car Stereo Microphones

To pick the best car stereo microphones we looked at the different types of wired and wireless options. The most common input types are Bluetooth, as well as 3.5mm and 2.5mm input jacks. Then we compiled a list of the ones with those input types that received top ratings and reviews from industry experts and individual consumers.

Next we evaluated the top rated car stereo microphones based on the following criteria:

  • Sound quality: To compare sound quality we evaluated microphone sensitivity, signal to noise ratio (SNR) which measures audio performance in terms of noise, signal quality, and fidelity, and the effectiveness of its noise filtering capabilities. A good voice microphone should have an SNR rating of at least 52 dB.
  • Polar Pattern: A microphone’s polar pattern determines how easily it picks up sound based on the position around the microphone. Car microphones should be omnidirectional to pick up voices from the driver and any passengers.
  • Ease of installation & use: There’s more to using a car stereo microphone than just hooking it up. The length of the cord and mounting options determine microphone placement which directly affects sound quality.

Finally, cost was considered as a tie-breaker.

Best Overall 3.5mm: PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip On Microphone

Clip It On. PowerDeWise

Why It Made The Cut: The PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip On microphone is not only a great microphone for your car but a great option for professional-quality recording.

Specs:
— Signal to Noise Ratio: 74 dB (decibels)
— Input: Auxiliary
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

Pros:
— Professional quality sound
— Universal compatibility
— Excellent wind muff

Cons:
— Expensive compared to other options
— Shorter cord than other microphones

The PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip On microphone is a top choice for anyone wanting a professional-quality microphone. It works great as either a lapel mic, external mic for your phone, or in your car. The 3.5mm jack ensures it’s compatible with many audio systems, as well as a four pin to three pin stereo adapter for use with other devices.

The 6.5-foot extension cord is shorter than the ones offered by other microphones but is adequate for most vehicle applications. Where the PowerDeWise stands out, though, is in providing pro-grade audio quality. The microphone features a wind muff instead of a foam cap, and its sound quality is good enough to use for podcasts or video recordings.

As far as microphones go, the PowerDeWise is expensive and may even be overkill if you only plan to use it in the car. But as an all-around professional quality microphone, it is a bargain.

Best Budget 3.5mm: FingerLakes 3.5mm Microphone

Why It Made The Cut: The FingerLakes 3.5mm Microphone provides fast data transmission and features like anti-noise and anti-jamming for great audio at a low price.

Specs:
— Signal to Noise Ratio: 58 dB
— Input: Auxiliary
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

Pros:
— Excellent sound quality
— Good sensitivity and noise filters
— Low price

Cons:
— Foam filter isn’t great at minimizing noise

FingerLakes makes a number of great microphones, but the FLTP 3.5mm Microphone is a top pick for anyone who wants a low-noise, highly sensitive unit. It does a great job reproducing natural sound in the range of the human voice.

The combination of high sensitivity and low signal resistance with the FLTP’s omnidirectional capability makes it easy to pick up other people in the car. Add to that the anti-noise and anti-jamming capability, which helps provide accurate data transmission, and you’ve got a microphone that can handle all kinds of driving conditions like weather, heavy traffic, or loud background noise.

Set up is easy. Just plug the 3.5mm jack into your car stereo’s microphone port and run the 10-foot cable to a central location. The FLTP includes a dash mount and visor clip, making it easy to mount in your car. The microphone’s foam filter isn’t as good as the PowerDeWise one, but still helps minimize noise.

Users give the Fingerlakes FLTP high marks for sound quality and ease of use with several people commenting on how well it integrates with Apple and Siri voice applications.

Best Overall 2.5mm: FingerLakes 2.5mm External Microphone

Filter the Noise. FLTP

Why It Made The Cut: Combining great sensitivity and noise filters with auxiliary and Bluetooth connectivity at a low price makes the FingerLakes 2.5mm a top pick.

Specs:
— Signal to Noise Ratio: 58 dB
— Input: Auxiliary and Bluetooth
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

Pros:
— Aux and Bluetooth connections
— Good sensitivity and noise filters
— Low price
— Good sound quality

Cons:
— Foam filter isn’t great at minimizing noise

Like the 3.5mm version, the FingerLakes 2.5mm microphone does a great job of picking up sounds around you and is ideal for hands-free calls. In fact, many people commented that their car radios sound clearer and the voice quality of their calls is significantly improved — even for people riding in the back seat.

The FingerLakes 2.5mm Microphone includes a 10-foot-long connection cord, allowing you to easily connect it to your stereo’s head unit and sun visor. It also offers clips for mounting on the dashboard or on your windscreen, and as a bonus, it has Bluetooth connectivity.

The microphone works best in operating voltages between one to 10 volts DC. It also works with other audio equipment that supports a 2.5mm jack and, while it may not offer professional-grade sound, it is a cost-effective solution for when you need better audio clarity.

Best Budget 2.5mm: ACC 2.5mm Microphone

Crackle-Free Communication. ACC

Why It Made The Cut: The ACC Microphone may be one of the cheapest but it has excellent anti-noise technology and offers great voice communication.

Specs:
— Signal to Noise Ratio: 58 dB
— Input: Auxiliary
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

Pros:
— Excellent anti-noise technology
— Great sound quality
— Low price

Cons:
— Short five-foot cable

ACC’s 2.5mm microphone is a budget solution that offers great sound quality and easy installation. Users commented on the accurate data transmission and clear voice communication, thanks to its high sensitivity and low impedance. Additionally, the mic can be mounted in your car or clipped to a visor.

Two things make the ACC mic an excellent budget choice. First, the anti-noise technology works separately from your car’s frequency to eliminate interference. Second, the microphone’s sensitivity and impedance attributes provide clear, distortion-free communication in areas with high background noise.

The ACC 2.5mm Microphone is one of the cheapest on the market, but don’t let the price fool you. It offers everything you need for clear, hands-free calling in an easy-to-install package.

Best With Bluetooth: Alphasonik 3.5mm Bluetooth Microphone

Universal Connectivity. Alphasonik

Why It Made The Cut: Designed specifically as a Bluetooth replacement microphone, the Alphasonik offers great sound quality and pairs well with most aftermarket car stereos.

Specs:
— Signal to Noise Ratio: 58 dB
— Input: Auxiliary & Bluetooth
— Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional

Pros:
— Great Bluetooth connectivity
— Extra long cable
— Great sound quality
— Money-back guarantee

Cons:
— Sound quality can be spotty

Alphasonik designed this Bluetooth microphone specifically as a replacement option for Bluetooth car stereos, including ones made by Alpine, Kenwood, Jensen, JVC, and Sony. Additionally, it will work with any stereo head unit with a 3.5mm input.

Its 15-foot cord is one of the longest for car mics, but could be useful in larger vehicles like SUVs or vans. The mic is easy to attach to a sun visor or other mountable surface.

The sound quality is strong thanks to the omnidirectional mic, but some users said that they sounded as if they were sitting away from the microphone. Even so, Alphasonik offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so if you have this issue, or are not 100 percent satisfied, you can return it within that time period for a full refund.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Car Stereo Microphone

Microphones are fairly uncomplicated devices that have a minimum of setup compared to other electronics in your car. Even so, there are a few things to consider before buying one.

Input Type: Microphones either have a wired 3.5mm or 2.5mm auxiliary connection or a wireless Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth-compatible microphones will work with just about any smartphone and any car stereo with a Bluetooth connection. The only challenge with the Bluetooth is setting it up to work with either your phone or car stereo.

Wired connections can be confusing. The most common auxiliary connection is the 3.5mm, but 2.5mm jacks have become increasingly popular for things like headsets and smaller audio or video equipment. Should you have one type of jack but need the other, you can either order another microphone with the correct jack or an adapter. Both options cost about the same amount of money.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR): The signal-to-noise ratio measures the performance of an audio system in terms of noise, signal quality, and fidelity. The ratio is calculated using the strength of the audio system and comparing it to the base level of noise in the system.

SNR is measured in decibels (dB). A higher dB rating is better for audio quality purposes when making a recording but not critical for car microphones which translate audio into a digital signal. Most car stereo microphones have at least a 55 dB SNR rating to minimize the possibility of picking up hiss or background noise when there is no signal or voice present. Additionally, they have noise reduction or signal processing technology to help further reduce any background noises.

Polar Pattern: The microphone’s polar pattern measures the variation in sensitivity and response based on your position around the microphone. Microphones have different polar patterns for different applications. Car microphones are almost always omnidirectional, meaning they have the same response at all angles around the microphone.

FAQs

Q: How can I improve my microphone quality?

There are several things you can do to improve your microphone’s quality including:

— Turn off anything noisy in the car
— Close your windows and sunroof
— Keep the microphone of your dashboard, or if possible, mount it on a visor
— Keep your microphone positioned close to your mouth.

Q: Why does my car mic sound muffled?

A muffled sound can stem from internal problems or a bad connection to your stereo. However, it could also be caused by the location and mounting of your microphone, or the result of your environment.

Q: What is a good microphone sensitivity?

At minimum, a car stereo microphone should have an SNR rating of 55 dB or better. This helps to minimize any hiss or background noise.

Q: Are car stereo microphones worth it?

Car microphones are a cheap investment and much less expensive than replacing your car stereo and built-in microphone. In the reviews of the best car stereo microphones, most people who purchased one felt it significantly improved the audio quality of their calls compared to using their phone alone, or using the car’s built-in microphone.

Final Thoughts on Car Stereo Microphones

A car stereo microphone is a good, inexpensive option for improving the quality of your phone calls while in your car. It’s much cheaper than replacing your car stereo and significantly improves the sound quality of your voice while reducing background noise.

All of the microphones on this list provide good sound quality at a reasonable price. If you want the flexibility of Bluetooth and auxiliary connectivity, we recommend either the  FingerLakes 2.5mm External Microphone or Alphasonik 3.5mm Bluetooth Microphone. For the best overall sound quality, the PowerDeWise Lavalier Clip On Omnidirectional Microphone is our top pick. Not only does it make a great car stereo microphone, but the professional-level sound quality is so high that you can use it for recording. Pair it with a video camera or computer to make podcasts or vlogs, or just use it to vastly improve the quality of your calls.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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