Car features Car MP3 transmitter
Approximate cost of a car MP3 transmitter: £15-£40
A car MP3 transmitter is a great budget choice for listening to MP3s in your car.
They’re easy to operate, and to get one working you’ll just need a compatible MP3 player and a car stereo that can receive FM radio.
It’s easiest to think of a car MP3 transmitter as a tiny radio mast that plugs into your MP3 player and broadcasts your music over a very short distance (usually up to 10m) so that your car radio – or any other radio nearby – can pick it up.
All you need to do is tune your car radio to an ‘empty’ FM frequency (listen out for the tell-tale static noise) and then set the car MP3 transmitter to the same frequency.
You can then operate your MP3 player exactly as normal, but the sound will be coming through your car stereo, rather than headphones.
Car MP3 transmitters are a cheap solution, but they are not without their faults. We’ve found they often struggle in urban areas where the airwaves tend to be much busier and, like listening to the radio, the sound quality can vary depending on the weather and your location.
On long journeys, it’s likely you’ll have to retune you car radio and car MP3 transmitter to avoid interference from local radio stations.
Your MP3 player probably won’t be charging when you use an FM transmitter (though some transmitters do plug into your car's 12v cigarette lighter).
You might want to buy an additional charger that lets you top up the MP3 player's battery through the cigarette lighter (around £5-£10).
Some of the MP3 players we’ve tested come with built-in FM transmitters, but we haven't tested standalone car MP3 transmitters.