December 2, 2022

leehotti

Technology and Computer

The Best Bluetooth Speakerphones For Your Old Car – Review Geek

A 1967 Pontiac Tempest GTO drives down a country road.
allanw/Shutterstock.com

Update, 10/13/22: Checked content for accuracy, product availability, and dead links. Removed Jabra Tour Speakerphone and added Avantree Roadtrip. Added “What to Look For” section and comparison grid.

What to Look for in Bluetooth Car Speakerphones

Bluetooth speakerphones are small devices with long battery life. They clip to your sun visor, and they’re a lot cheaper than a brand new stereo system. While these speakerphones may not be useful to people with newer cars, they can greatly improve the safety and experience of an older vehicle that doesn’t have Bluetooth. (If you’re interested in adding Bluetooth playback to your old car, we’d recommend checking out our guide to updating your old car with inexpensive tech.)

These speakerphones are best for hands-free calling. If you’re in a pinch and your stereo is broken, then you can use one of these to play music. Just be warned, it won’t sound as good as your average set of car speakers.

There are a lot of confusing products in the world of Bluetooth speakerphones. Some of them are poorly designed, and others are very out of date. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best Bluetooth speakerphones, from budget to premium. Here’s what to look for in the best models:

  • Speaker capacity: Each of these devices has at least one built-in speaker. However, several have two or even three separate speakers to give you the best audio experience possible.
  • Microphone: All car Bluetooth speakers have a single microphone or dual microphones. Models with dual microphones have better noise-cancellation features.
  • Battery type: Like many other gadgets, these devices come with rechargeable batteries. However, unlike a lot of other gadgets, some models allow you to take out and replace the battery as well.
  • Play time: How long can you chat on a Bluetooth car speakerphone? The best models offer up to 18 hours of time to talk.
  • Standby time: The best wireless speakerphones for old cars can last up to 800 hours between charges if you don’t take any calls.
  • Voice controls: Make sure the model you buy is compatible with the voice interface, like Siri and Google Assistant, that you use.
  • Multi-device pairing: If you often have other people in your car, ensure they can pair up to your Bluetooth car speakerphone too.
  • FM Transmitter: Talking through a portable Bluetooth speaker is fine for most situations. But an FM transmitter allows a device to also connect through your radio and pump sound out through your car’s speaker system.

Best Overall: Avantree Roadtrip

Avantree Roadtrip bluetooth speaker on a white background.
Avantree

Pros

  • Dual three-watt speakers and dual microphones
  • Built-in FM transmitter
  • Auto powering on and off

The Avantree Roadtrip delivers everything you could want out of a Bluetooth car speakerphone. Not only does it come equipped with dual three-watt speakers, but it also has dual microphones so you can both hear and be heard clearly on every call. It also features an FM router so you can take your calls through your car’s speaker system and even stream music and other audio content from your smartphone. Plus, this device is compatible with both Siri and Google Assistant, making it fit seamlessly into your wireless life.

You don’t have to worry about turning it on and off because the device automatically powers down when you disconnect from Bluetooth. And when you come back, the speaker’s motion detector will sense your presence, power up, and reconnect to your phone. If you have a passenger coming along, a multi-point connection means they can use the speaker with their smartphone too.

Expect to get about 12 hours of talk time and 800 hours of standby time out of the Avantree Roadtrip before you need to recharge it. That’s actually the shortest battery life of the Bluetooth carphones in this list. However, the speaker’s battery is replaceable. If you forget to charge, you can have an extra BL-5C ready to go in the glove box.

Best Overall

Best Budget: Avantree CK11

Avantree CK11 Bluetooth speaker on a white background.
Avantree

Pros

  • 22 hours of playback time
  • Thumping speakers
  • Easy to adjust

If you’re looking for an affordable, low-profile Bluetooth speakerphone, then you should consider the Avantree CK11. This speakerphone has a loud two-watt speaker, a mute button, and a volume knob that easy to adjust without taking your eyes off the road. It has 22 hours of in-call battery life, so you don’t need to recharge it often. Plus, Google Assistant is built into the Avantree. A simple button press allows you to make voice commands, like “call Mom.”

This is a great product for people that want to add Bluetooth to their car without breaking the bank. It’s loud, it has a great battery life, and you can make outgoing calls without touching your phone. The Avantree does lack the higher sound quality found on some of the more expensive models featured here, however, so keep reading if your key concern is audio fidelity.

Best Budget

Best for Incoming Calls: Jabra Drive

Jabra Drive Bluetooth speaker on a white background.
Jabra

Pros

  • Great noise cancellation
  • 20 hours of talk time
  • Compatible with Siri and Google Assistant

Cons

  • No handsfree outgoing calls

The Jabra Drive is a small, good looking Bluetooth speakerphone that features noise-cancellation technology and the ability to quickly switch between different phones while driving. It has a loud two-watt speaker, a 20-hour in-call battery life, and a set of volume buttons that are easy to reach while driving.

Sadly, the Jabra Drive doesn’t give you any options for hands-free outgoing calls. If you want to make a call with the Jabra Drive, then you need to do it on your cellphone. That can be a deal-breaker for some people, just don’t forget that you can use voice-commands with Siri or Google Assistant to make outgoing calls on your phone.

Best for Incoming Calls

Best for Shared Cars: Motorola Sonic Rider

Motorola Sonic Rider on a white background.
Motorola

Pros

  • Remembers up to six devices
  • 60-hour in-call battery life
  • Features noise-cancellation

Cons

  • Lacks handsfree outgoing calls

If you share a car with the family, then a speakerphone like the Motorola Sonic Rider can be extremely useful. It can remember up to six devices, and it boasts a 60-hour in-call battery life. The Sonic Rider’s two-watt speaker is quite large, so you don’t have to worry about low call volume. And since the Sonic Rider also has noise-cancellation technology, nobody will have any trouble hearing you on the other end of the phone.

While this speakerphone does feature some voice commands for accepting and declining calls, it doesn’t have any options for making hands-free outgoing calls. You’ll have to do that with your phone’s built-in voice assistant.

Best for Shared Cars

Best Premium: Jabra Freeway

Jabra Freeway Bluetooth speaker on a white background.
Jabra

Pros

  • Phenomenal speakers and microphones
  • FM transmitter
  • Creates virtual surround sound

Cons

  • 14-hour in-call battery life
  • Expensive

The Jabra Freeway is a bit expensive, but it’s a fantastic speakerphone. It has 3 high-quality speakers and creates a virtual surround sound environment. But music lovers don’t have to stick with the Jabra Freeway’s speakers, because it has a built-in FM transmitter that your car’s radio can dial into.

As you would expect from a premium speakerphone, the Jabra Freeway has buttons that are easy to use while driving, noise-cancellation technology, and support for your phone’s virtual assistant. Sadly, the Jabra Freeway only has a 14-hour in-call battery life, but it can do a lot in those 14 hours.

Best Premium

Best Budget Speaker With a Microphone: Anker Soundcore

Anker Soundcore bluetooth speaker on a white background.
Anker

Pros

  • Built-in microphone
  • Portable
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Doesn’t attach to your visor

If you’re concerned that a dedicated speakerphone won’t have the sound quality or versatility that you need, then maybe you should consider using a typical Bluetooth speaker in your car. The Anker Soundcore is a loud, high-quality Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t cost much more than a meal at a cheap restaurant. It’s one of our favorite budget Bluetooth speakers, and it can do a lot of the things that a speakerphone can. It’s just a little bulky, that’s all.

Any Bluetooth speaker can be used to amplify call volume. Of course, your average Bluetooth speaker doesn’t have a microphone, but you can always set your cellphone to speaker mode and use that for your calls. That’s where it pays to look at the details, this Soundcore speaker has a built-in mic so you can use it to not only hear your calls but talk back too.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Bluetooth speakers are designed with music mind and typically offer a way better bass range than clip-on speakerphone models, so a Soundcore will be better for music listening than small Bluetooth speakerphones.

Bulky Bluetooth speakers don’t have the battery life or convenience of a proper Bluetooth speakerphone, but a cheap speaker like the Anker Soundcore may be better for music lovers or people that are on a budget.