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Top 11 Best Pioneer Head Unit/Car Stereo System of 2022 (A Complete Buying Guide + Included Latest Model)

Pioneer has been producing quality aftermarket head units for years, but which one is the best Pioneer head unit?

Pretty sure this question has lingered around your head for a while, and we couldn’t blame you.

Most of the head units produced by this brand are top-notch, so choosing one out of the bunch is tricky.

Fortunately, we did the job, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

For this review, we tested eleven head units created by Pioneer.

With standards based on performance, friendliness, and convenience, we ranked the topmost satisfying receivers in this list.

If you’re looking for a Pioneer radio, one of these may be what you need.

A Comparison Table of Best Pioneer Head Unit in 2022

PreviewBrand NameDetails
Pioneer DMH-1500NEX
Pioneer MVH1400NEX
Pioneer DEH-S1100UB
Pioneer AVH-2400NEX
Pioneer MVH-S310BT
Pioneer DMH-2660NEX
Pioneer AVH-3500NEX
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX
Pioneer AVH-2500NEX
Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX

Why Pioneer is The Best Brand For Car Stereo Head Unit?

Pioneer is the best brand for car stereo head units because of the quality of the devices.

The Pioneer’s catalog is vast, offering aftermarket stereos that fit in old and new cars alike.

They also appeal to all drivers. So, you won’t have issues installing them even without experience.

The performance of the head units also excels in every area.

You can use them to enjoy traditional radio stations or pair the receivers with your mobile phone for music streaming.

You will also love that the touchscreens are responsive, as they respond to your commands quickly and without delays.

This way, skipping songs or navigating through different menus.

These head units also have larger displays, making them easier to use and read.

You can use it to keep track of your favorite stations, play videos, and use the GPS with more visibility.

For all of that and much more, Pioneer is on another level.

11 Best Pioneer Head Unit Review & Buying Guide [Updated-2022]

The following list includes eleven Pioneer head units that far succeeded our expectations.

They delivered fantastic sound quality and multiple features that worked with mobile phones perfectly.

Besides providing entertainment, these receivers can keep you communicating while keeping your hands on the steering wheel.

Are you looking for a quality Pioneer head unit? These are the ones to consider.

01. Best Pioneer Double Din Head Unit DMH-1500NEX

Highlighted Features

  • 0-Inch Touchscreen
  • Wireless Control
  • Android & Apple OS Support
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • WebLink Compatible

This head unit from Pioneer brings the brand’s A-game to your dash.

The receiver is easy to install, and it offers a customizable design to adapt it to your needs.

As a result, you can organize and personalize the background colors, home screen, and user interface for complete integration to the car’s interior.

If you like to pair up your mobile phone with receivers, this unit offers that option, too.

It supports Android and Apple devices through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

There’s also WebLink to control select apps and a phone swapping function to switch between phones.

Besides entertainment, this receiver improves safety due to its rear-view camera compatibility.

The camera is optional, but it integrates seamlessly into the head unit.

After installing it, you get a crystal clear view of your behind while shifting into reverse.

As a minor downside, the receiver does require you to connect the parking brake.

This process is easy for experienced people but tricky if you have no mechanical experience.

Pros

  • The touchscreen has bright and vivid colors
  • Incredible performance with paired mobile phones
  • Compatible with different music platforms
  • Highly customizable interface

Cons

  • The head unit requires you to connect the parking brake

02. Best Pioneer Touch Screen Radio MVH1400NEX

Highlighted Features

  • AM/FM Tuner
  • Hands-Free Functionality
  • 2-Inch Resistive Touchscreen
  • 800×400 Resolution
  • 13-Band Equalizer

If you own Apple devices, this head unit is for you.

It comes with the Apple CarPlay function to pair up with your iPhone flawlessly and make calls, answer texts, and navigate.

Siri Eyes Free is also available here, providing you with a voice-oriented system to keep your hands on the wheel at all times.

Operating this receiver is pretty easy via the digital buttons.

The response is quick, and there’s almost no delay in the slightest.

The screen has a solid resolution of 800×400, while the interface is easy to understand.

The package includes a wiring harness, USB cable, and Bluetooth microphone.

Setting up the head unit is hassle-free, requiring little to no adjustments.

There’s also a manual, but it isn’t as helpful as you’d expect.

With that said, this receiver doesn’t support Android Auto.

So, don’t expect it to provide the same functionality as it would with an iPhone or Apple device.

Pros

  • It works with multiple platforms like Spotify and Pandora
  • The capacitive touchscreen is large and bright
  • The digital buttons work well and without delays
  • Sleek design that looks well on new and old vehicle models

Cons

  • The receiver doesn’t support Android Auto functions

03. Best Pioneer Car Stereo DEH-S1100UB

Highlighted Features

  • CD Receiver with AM/FM
  • Detachable Face
  • Illumination Dimmer
  • Remote Control
  • 5-Band Equalizer

Finding a decent head unit for older cars can be troublesome at times.

Fortunately, Pioneer offers this unit to work with new and old car models.

This head unit is smaller than most, but its powerful sound has no match.

The amplifiers highlight the lows while ringing the highs with authority for an optimal listening experience.

When you pair them with new speakers, the sound quality inside the vehicle is next-level.

You can also use the 5-band equalizer, which lets you shape the way your favorite songs sound.

There are countless ways to enjoy your favorite songs with this unit.

Connecting your mobile phone to the USB port gives you access to your music files, which you can control via the controls on the ARC app.

The head unit also supports CDs, aux input, and different files like FLAC.

The issue with this unit is the manual, which has unclear instructions that are tricky to understand.

Pros

  • Powerful performance with quality amplifiers
  • High volume to blast your favorite songs
  • Automatic shut-off after seven minutes unused
  • Good-looking red colors

Cons

  • The directions are not clear to follow

04. Best Pioneer Stereos AVH-2400NEX

Highlighted Features

  • Double-DIN Design
  • 7-Inch Screen
  • Customizable Interface
  • Multi-Color Illumination

The Pioneer AVH 2400NEX is a car stereo with a 7-inch touchscreen.

This device also has Bluetooth connectivity, an HD Radio tuner, and it supports platforms such as Pandora, Spotify, and SiriusXM.

Furthermore, the Apple CarPlay takes music streaming to another level while allowing you to mirror the phone’s screen.

This head unit is also versatile, offering the option to listen to the radio while paired with the iPhone via USB.

The connection is stable, and there are no signal interruptions.

Here’s when the RDS technology comes into play, displaying information such as song title, artist, and other details.

Adjusting the song’s quality is also a breeze due to the band equalizer.

It comes with five presets for different genres of music, such as rock, pop, and jazz.

These adjustments are easy to make by hand, as you can adjust the low, mid, and high bands quickly.

Pros

  • Outstanding song quality
  • Multiple options to customize the music
  • Compatible with the most popular mobile phone systems
  • Smooth and responsive touchscreen

Cons

  • It only has digital buttons

05. Best Pioneer Radio MVH-S310BT

Highlighted Features

  • Single-DIN Design
  • Pandora & Spotify Compatible
  • Built-In Bluetooth
  • USB Auto Switch
  • iPhone & Android Compatible

Here’s a compact unit for you if you want to save dash space.

The convenient design of the MVH-S310BT offers a small screen that displays just enough information about the unit’s functionality.

There’s also the Rotary Commander, which provides quick and easy access to preset buttons.

These features allow you to choose your favorite radio stations with barely any effort.

This receiver is not a state-of-the-art device, but it’s still one of the most effective for playing music.

The tuner is compatible with Spotify, whether you use the free or premium version.

It also has a 13-band graphic equalizer to adjust audio performance as needed.

If you take your mobile phone anywhere you go, the Bluetooth connectivity allows you to use it hands-free.

Use it to pair up phones via Bluetooth, which only takes seconds to set up.

The receiver also has blue lights that look well during the day but are too bright at night.

Luckily, this issue is not a significant disadvantage that tarnishes the receiver’s performance.

Pros

  • Attractive and compact design
  • A conveniently-sized screen displays information clearly
  • Accessible buttons for easier use
  • Intuitive and straightforward interface

Cons

  • The blue lights are too bright at night

06. Best Pioneer Multimedia Receiver DMH-2660NEX

Highlighted Features

  • 8-Inch Screen Size
  • LED Backlight
  • 5 Display Colors
  • Built-In Bluetooth
  • Integrated HD Radio

This receiver comes with a built-in HD radio tuner, allowing you to enjoy quality music with optimal sound.

It broadcasts vividly, channeling extra local FM channels to listen to music, news, and sports.

The reception is clear, and there’s no audio distortion at any point.

There’s also a Bluetooth function integrated, which lets you pair a mobile phone without complicated settings.

As soon as the phone is in proximity to the head unit, the auto-connection technology pairs the two devices automatically.

Speaking of mobile phones, you can also link your mobile via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

However, you must connect your devices with a cable, and these functions don’t work with all Android or Apple devices.

Android phones must have 5.0 or older OS, whereas Apple CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and later versions.

This unit is an excellent choice to discover new music and enjoy it at the highest quality.

As a result, the receiver is a valuable aftermarket stereo to replace old models.

Pros

  • It streams music from your phone directly
  • The receiver tunes local channels with the crystal-clear quality
  • Convenient radio controls to switch channels with ease
  • It allows you to make hands-free calls

Cons

  • It requires a cable to connect your mobile phone

07. Best Pioneer Bluetooth Radio AVH-3500NEX

Highlighted Features

  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Compatible
  • Back-Up Camera Input
  • Navigation Ready
  • 13-Band GE
  • Motorized Touchscreen

This head unit is not like the rest. Instead, it features a stylish design suitable for high-end vehicles that need modern devices.

You can see that in the motorized WVGA touchscreen, which is sleek and has detachable face security.

The integration to the car is seamless, making the interior look much better than before.

Despite having a touchscreen, this receiver has physical buttons and doesn’t rely on digital controls.

This design is convenient because you can change stations or music faster.

The response is quick and without delays, which is a recurring issue with some head units with digital buttons.

The head unit is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which you can use for entertainment or communication purposes.

Once you link your devices, you can stream music, answer calls, or send texts.

Nonetheless, the quality of the screen is not the best.

The brightness and contrast are lower when compared to the other head units reviewed.

Pros

  • Modern & stylish design
  • Compatible with different music streaming platforms
  • Physical buttons for easier control
  • The head unit has a large screen with visible app icons

Cons

  • The quality of the screen is not as good as the other touchscreens

08. Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

Highlighted Features

  • Wired & Wireless Connectivity
  • SiDatgaLink Maestro Support
  • Parking Assist Guidelines
  • Built-In Alexa
  • 94-Inch Touchscreen

If you’re looking for a head unit with an enhanced user interface, this one may be what you need.

The touchscreen is responsive, powerful, and intuitive, three traits that make it one of the friendliest Pioneer receivers.

As a result, the unit is easy to use and offers different customizable options.

This head unit offers wireless or wired connections, allowing you to pair up your mobile device as you see fit.

Wireless connectivity guarantees optimal navigation, media streaming, and communication while driving your car.

It’s a safer method to use your iPhone or Android devices with fewer risks of accidents.

The head unit also offers a fun and interactive listening experience.

Besides helping you discover new music, the sound quality is top-notch.

Plus, you can give thumbs up or thumbs down to each track or bookmark songs if you want to listen to them later.

Pros

  • Terrific sound quality
  • The resistive screen responds quickly
  • The GPS module helps save battery life
  • Friendly user interface for intuitive use

Cons

  • People calling you will hear echoing when you use the CarPlay function

09. Pioneer AVH-2500NEX

Highlighted Features

  • Apple CarPlay Compatible
  • Pandora & SiriusXM Support
  • DVD Player
  • 8-Inch Screen

This Pioneer head unit comes with many features that make it an excellent choice if you spend a lot of time on the roads.

For starters, the quality of the radio is top-notch, providing high-quality audio while channeling your favorite stations.

The SiriusXM function, on the other hand, lets you add an account quickly to broadcast your must-watch shows.

With a 6.8-inch screen, accessing all of these functions is a breeze.

The brightness is comfortable to the eyes, and the display is visible even during the day.

You can also dim down the brightness if you’re driving at night.

The receiver’s built-in Bluetooth is another characteristic that works perfectly.

Each call is clear and loud, allowing both ends to hear without interruptions.

Answering texts is also hassle-free due to the Siri Eyes Free system.

However, Android mobile phones have difficulties and have limited capabilities.

As a result, the head unit is friendlier to Apple devices.

Pros

  • Bright and clear display for easier reading
  • Crystal-clear and crips sound quality
  • Answering calls and texting is hassle-free
  • It performs well without interruptions

Cons

  • Not a friendly device for Android mobile phones

10. Pioneer AVH-3400NEX

Highlighted Features

  • Motorized Display
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay Compatible
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Pandora Internet Radio
  • Hands-Free Calling

Older vehicles with single-din head units don’t get a lot of love, but this Pioneer unit comes as the exception.

As stated, this unit is single-din, meaning it’ll fit in older vehicles like the 1995 Ford F-350.

Therefore, it will also fit newer car models seamlessly.

The LCD touchscreen is 7 inches and provides decent video quality with crisp sound.

There’s room to install an external microphone, which will let you answer calls and use Siri.

Also, there are no noises when you use it hands-free, which is another plus during calls.

While installing the unit, you’ll find that the harness may need some tweaking.

That’s the only drawback you may encounter because the rest of the installation goes smoothly.

Pros

  • This single-din head unit is perfect for older vehicles
  • The screen offers high-quality images and a friendly interface
  • It produces high-quality sound
  • Calls come through without interruptions or interference

Cons

  • The wiring may need some tweaking, depending on the vehicle
  • You may need to customize the dash to accommodate the microphone and the ports

11. Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX

Highlighted Features

  • 1-Inch Floating Touchscreen
  • Wired & Wireless Connectivity
  • HD Radio Tuner
  • Single-DIN

This head unit comes with a floating display, which allows you to set up the receiver in any way you want.

You can adjust the screen horizontally, vertically, or at an angle.

This flexibility is super helpful while trying to fit the unit in the vehicle’s dash in the most convenient way.

The touchscreen is 10.1 inches, making it one of the largest out there.

Since it’s single-din and has a slim profile, fitting the chases in most car dash openings isn’t a problem.

Undoubtedly, the larger touchscreen is the highest point of this head unit.

It makes it easier to access all functions, whether you’re streaming music, making a call, or using the GPS.

The sound quality of the HD Radio tuner is another plus.

Both AM/FM audio come through clearly, preventing interruptions or interferences.

Since this unit doesn’t require a subscription, you can tune it to regular stations in a breeze.

Pros

  • Large screen with high resolution and visibility
  • Multiple adjustment options to accommodate the screen
  • Hands-free calling and streaming
  • It allows you to customize sound quality with an equalizer

Cons

  • It requires a wired connection to the parking brake

The Buying Considerations of Best Pioneer Head Unit

Are you not sure how to pick the best Pioneer head unit for your car?

Here’s a list of features that will help you with that.

1. Type

Before choosing any head unit, make sure to know the type of device that will fit in your dash.

Receivers come in different sizes, including single-din and double-din.

Therefore, you must identify which one is more suitable for your car if you want to avoid throwing your money away.

Pioneer offers all types of head units, meaning that you won’t lack options.

Pick wisely, and integrating it into your vehicle will be less traumatic and require fewer accommodations.

2. Touchscreen

Through the receiver’s touchscreen is how you communicate with it, as it lets you access and use each of its functions.

Therefore, the size of the screen and its responsiveness are other factors you must consider.

Most head units have touchscreens of 6 or 7 inches.

These are alright for the most part, as they’re visible and offer plenty of room to customize your apps.

However, if you want something a bit larger, then either a 9 or 10 inches touchscreen is the way to go.

The resolution, brightness, and contrast are other elements you must consider while choosing a touchscreen.

In many cases, the display is not visible during the day or too bright at night.

Finding the perfect balance between the two will make your experience more pleasant.

3. Controls

Most modern head units have digital controls, and that’s excellent.

They help make the receivers look more stylish and integrate seamlessly into the vehicle.

However, people often mention physical buttons or knobs are better because they respond faster.

While that’s true sometimes, the newer Pioneer head units don’t have lag issues when you use the digital buttons.

Still, this issue is something you want to consider to make up your mind based on your personal preferences.

4. Mobile Phone Compatibility

One of the most satisfying features of Pioneer head units is their capability to pair up mobile phones.

The list includes Android and Apple devices, but some receivers only work with one of the two.

If you want a device compatible with your phone, make sure the head unit supports Android and Apple devices without compatibility issues.

A receiver that supports mobile phone pairing is convenient for many reasons.

You can use the connection to stream music for entertainment or answer calls and texts.

Besides never losing communication with friends and family, pairing up a mobile phone makes your rides safer by keeping your hands on the wheel.

5. Wired Vs. Wireless Connectivity

Other than Bluetooth, you can link your mobile phone with the receiver via wireless or a USB cable.

Each one has pros and cons, so let’s go through both methods briefly.

Wired Connection

Having your mobile phone wired to the receiver creates a steady and more reliable connection.

The chances of interference or interruptions are pretty low, meaning you get to use the phone’s functions without any concern.

Sadly, having a cable wiggling around in the car isn’t pleasant for many people.

Wireless Connection

With a wireless connection, you and passengers are free to use their phones without limitations or restrictions.

There’s no cable around, and you can keep your mobile phone anywhere you want inside the vehicle.

Many would argue that wireless connections are prone to failing, but that doesn’t happen too often either.

6. HD Tuner

Streaming music through platforms like Spotify is fun, but sometimes you want to enjoy songs in an old-fashioned way.

That’s when the HD Tuner comes into play.

This function allows you to channel near stations to broadcast songs, news, and sports.

Higher quality tuners can channel FM and AM, but not all can play music clearly and crisply.

Make sure to find a receiver with a high-quality tuner, and you will make the most out of your time on the roads.

7. Band Equalizer

The band equalizer is a function that people often overlook but plays an essential role in the sound quality department.

It’s a helpful feature that lets you adjust audio properties, enhancing how each song sounds once you play it.

These equalizers can come as 5-band graphic equalizers or 13-band graphic equalizers.

If you enjoy customizing how music plays in your car, then this function is a must-have.

Common Pioneer Head Unit Problems

1. The Car Radio Doesn’t Work

Sometimes, the radio may not work, and it could be due to problems with the power source.

If there’s no power, there’s no music.

In this case, you must check the wiring under the dashboard or look for blown fuses.

You can do the latter with a multimeter.

2. Newly Installed Head Unit Doesn’t Receive Power

If your newly installed head unit isn’t receiving power, it probably means it isn’t receiving the volts required to operate.

Luckily, you can use a voltmeter to test the power wires and see if it’s transmitting the volts needed to power up the head unit.

3. The Car Stereo Isn’t Producing Any Bass

When the car stereo doesn’t seem to be producing bass sounds, it could be because the speakers are out of polarity.

Check if the speaker wires connect to the stereo amp and head unit correctly.

4. The Car Stereo is Producing Odd Noises

Have you been noticing strange noises coming out of your Pioneers stereo lately?

It may be happening for several reasons, but you can start by swapping the channels to see if the sounds remain.

If there’s still some crackling, the speaker is likely beyond repair, and you must buy a new one.

Alternate causes: alternator whine and voltage spikes.

5. The Car Stereo Stops Playing Sound Suddenly

Overheated amplifiers may be the reason why the sound of your stereo cuts off unexpectedly.

One way to solve it is to guarantee enough airflow into the amplifier.

Alternatively, make sure the wiring connections are good.

6. The Car Stereo Gets Too Hot

If you feel the car stereo is too hot, you may want to check for any potential faulty wiring.

For a solution, take a closer look at the installation and wiring of the receiver.

The Basic FAQs of Best Pioneer Head Unit

01. Does Pioneer Make Good Car Audio?

Pioneer is a successful brand with a proven record of quality components.

Currently, they have a wide range of audio equipment, such as in-dash CD players, head units, and A/V receivers.

The price of these units is also affordable, starting from $89 and up.

02. What Does Pioneer’s NEX Mean?

NEX is an acronym that means Networked Entertainment eXperience.

It’s a term adopted by Pioneer for its second generation of in-dash receivers back in 2015.

As you can see, this line of head units earned many spots in our reviews due to their quality.

NEX head units are worth considering.

03. Which Pioneer Head Unit Should You Buy?

The Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is easily the top choice to consider before everything else.

If that receiver doesn’t satisfy your needs, the Pioneer MVH1400NEX is the second to best.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which head unit to buy.

04. Is Pioneer Better Than Kenwood?

One trait that separates Pioneer from Kenwood is the quality of the speakers.

They’re more powerful and provide higher quality audio when compared to Kenwood, earning many points to their cause.

On the other hand, the strong point of Kenwood equipment is the subwoofers, which have almost no match.

05. What Country Makes Pioneer Receivers?

Pioneer manufactures its head units in China. You can see that in the considerably affordable prices.

Nonetheless, the quality of the materials and components used to make the head units is high.

As a result, they’re among the best car stereos within their price ranges.

06. Do All Pioneer Car Stereos Fit All Cars?

Universal car stereos will fit in all cars as long as the units have an adequate fascia panel and the type of DIN matches the vehicle’s dash.

As long as the stereo has these features in check, it’s possible to install it in almost any vehicle interior.

Conclusion

And there you have them! The top 11 best Pioneer head unit options worth every penny when you’re looking for an aftermarket receiver.

Each of these units delivered a solid performance through a welcoming interface, high-quality audio, and convenient features to pair up your phone.

After testing all of these head units, it’s clear why Pioneer remains a world-class car stereo manufacturer.

You don’t need anything else, so consider all the options reviewed here and pick wisely.

We guarantee that you will have a fun and entertaining time on the roads regardless of the model you end up choosing.

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