How many hours a day do you spend commuting? One? Two? More? These days, a lot of people commute from one metropolitan area to another just to work every day. If you spend that much time in your car, you probably want to chat on the phone with friends and family. But you also need to keep your hands on the wheel, both for safety and legal reasons. So what is the solution? Equip your vehicle with a Bluetooth car speakerphone.
Not sure where to begin your hunt for the perfect Bluetooth speakerphone for your car? We have done all the legwork for you and put together a list of the top choices. Check out the table below to compare features and prices on the best Bluetooth speakerphones for cars.
|Motorola Roadster 2|
|Motorola Sonic Rider|
Still aren’t sure what you are looking for? Read on to learn more about the important features to shop for in a Bluetooth car speakerphone.
What is a Bluetooth Car Speakerphone?
This device is exactly what it sounds like—it is a gadget you link up to your mobile device and then physically clip to your sun visor or set on your dashboard or somewhere else secure and out of the way. When your phone rings, you can activate the speakerphone with the touch of a button and enjoy crystal clear audio.
Questions to Ask When Shopping for a Bluetooth Car Speakerphone
Before you can buy the right Bluetooth car speakerphone, you need to evaluate your needs. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
Would flashing lights on the device help you or distract you?
Many car speakerphones include an abundance of flashing lights. Some people like these, but others cannot stand them. If they are likely to distract you from driving, you will need to shop for a device without them.
What charging options do you want?
If you live in an area that receives ample sunlight, you can purchase a speakerphone that charges through a solar panel. This is a great choice since it is wire-free. If you do not get a lot of sun, you should probably just stick with a device that is powered through your accessory jack.
Do you need fast and easy setup?
This is important if you plan to move the device a lot, say from one vehicle to another and back. This also goes for situations where you have to park in a public location. A speakerphone may be a theft target, and you may need to detach it every time you parked. If this is what you expect, you want that process to be as quick and easy as possible.
Is it legal in your area to mount a speakerphone on your windshield?
Some speakerphones are designed to be mounted directly on your windshield. This can work great, but only if your state allows it. A lot of states have rules against anything being on your windshield while you are driving, so double check the laws in your area. If you cannot attach the speakerphone to your windshield, you will need alternate mounting options.
What is your price range?
There is a huge price range when it comes to car speakerphones. At the lower end, you can find devices that cost less than $20. At the higher end, some models exceed $100. Naturally you will get what you pay for. Do not expect a $20 device to perform like a $100 device.
Features to Look For When Shopping for a Bluetooth Car Speakerphone
Big buttons or voice control
While you are driving, you are going to need to keep your eyes and attention focused on the road as much as possible. For that reason, the best Bluetooth car speakerphones include large buttons for operation. It should be easy to find them out of the corner of your eye.
Don’t want to push any buttons at all? These days you can find car speakerphones which are entirely voice-operated. This is an even better choice, though you may pay extra for the feature.
One advantage of buying a car speakerphone instead of a headset is the much longer battery life you can expect. Since speakerphones are larger devices than headsets, they can use larger batteries. While talk times can range quite widely, you should be able to find a minimum of 10 hours of talk time per charge. Some devices will even give you up to 40 hours!
Standby times are even longer. Look for a week at the minimum. At the maximum, some devices will give you up to a couple of months of standby before requiring a recharge.
Incoming and outgoing call quality
The clarity of your incoming and outgoing sound should be your top consideration when you are shopping for a car speakerphone. That is after all the point of the purchase; otherwise you could just use the poor-quality speakerphone on your cell phone.
Look for a frequency range of 50Hz to 7kHz; this will provide you with the most natural sound. Also check for features like echo cancellation and noise reduction. Multiple microphones can assist with screening out background noise as well.
While you are at it, look for a dedicated mute feature. This lets you silence the device if you need to without touching a single button. This is an important road safety feature.
What can you expect in terms of warranty and support? Most car speakerphones come with a one-year warranty. Some companies provide additional support as well in the form of downloads and apps online.
You now should have a much better idea what to look for when you are shopping for a Bluetooth speakerphone for your car. Scroll back up to the top of the guide and take a closer look at the comparison chart for top Bluetooth car speakerphones. You are now ready to compare different models and pick the best one for your needs!
Jabra Freeway: a Great All-Around Bluetooth Headset Alternative
The best thing about the Jabra Freeway is that it almost always recognizes your commands. Other Bluetooth speakerphones struggle when it comes to voice recognition. This device’s noise filter is quite strong as well. If you need a way to use your phone wirelessly but you don’t want to bother with a headset, take a hard look at the Jabra Freeway.
- No need to use an earpiece. If you don’t like the way Bluetooth headsets make you look, this speaker is a good alternative.
- Picks up your voice every time. Unlike many Bluetooth speakers, this one understands your commands almost every time.
- Short, simple setup. Just pair the speaker with your phone and you’re good to go.
- Filters out noise. This device’s built-in noise filters ensure that nobody will ever know that you’re talking to them via a speaker.
- Turns itself on when you need it. Because the Jabra senses when you’re around, you can use it for about a month before you need to recharge it.
- Music sounds great on it, too. The speakers are of good enough quality to handle music.
- Siri compatible. If you have an iPhone, hold down the big button for 2 seconds to talk to Siri.
- The Jabra Freeway’s optional VoiceAssist software isn’t quite ready for prime time. There are too many bugs for it to be useful.
- The built-in FM transmitter would have been a nice feature, but it doesn’t work very well.
Motorola Roadster 2: New and Improved FM Transmitter
The best thing about the Roadster 2 is its improved FM transmitter feature. The Roadster 2 scans your radio automatically and starts broadcasting when it finds a free frequency. If you have a nice car stereo system and you want to play your own music instead of listen to the radio, the Roadster 2 could be for you.
- Easy setup. Simply go through the 5 second pairing process and the Roadster 2 is ready for action.
- Picks up your voice every time. The Roadster 2 almost always understands what you want it to do.
- Clear audio. Like many Bluetooth speakers, this one features noise filtration.
- Use your car radio to listen to mp3s. The Roadster 2 scans your radio for unused stations, then starts broadcasting mp3s from your phone.
- Clip it to your visor. The visor clip comes in handy because it moves the speaker closer to your head, allowing for better communication.
- Double pairing. The speaker can communicate with up to 2 phones at the same time.
- “Find my car” feature. Download the app for free and the Roadster 2 will help you keep track of where you parked your car.
- You can only use the car finder if you have an Android phone. You can use it with iPhones.
- The built in speaker is okay, but sounds a little bit tinny compared to other Bluetooth speakers.
Jabra Drive: A Tough Little Bluetooth Speaker
The Jabra Drive is little, but don’t underestimate its ability to survive drops and dings. It’s high grade plastic shell is very hard to crack. Also, its battery life is very impressive. Though the speaker isn’t so great for music, all telephone calls come in loud and clear. It’s a nice workhorse Bluetooth speaker that does what it does very well.
- A cinch to install and use. Like most Bluetooth speakers, this one is easy to pair and use.
- Auto connects when you get in. The built-in motion sensor activates the Jabra Drive and turns it off automatically when nobody is around.
- Sun visor clip. The clip is convenient because it allows you to get close to the mic and speaker.
- Includes cigarette lighter charger. A single charge lasts a long time, but if you do need juice you can plug it in.
- Long battery life. You can use this speaker for about a month before it needs more power.
- Small size. This speaker won’t attract attention because it’s about as big as a garage door opener.
- Sturdy construction. The high quality plastic and metal shell is capable of surviving accidents and drops.
- The speakers don’t sound good when you play music. However, they are just fine for phone calls.
- The noise filtration feature isn’t so great. A/C and wind noise are a problem.