LAST UPDATED: August 11, 2019
Best Headrest DVD Players: Make Your Favorite Films Portable
Grab your passengers’ attention with our top picks for the best headrest DVD players
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON August 11, 2019
The days of staring out the window on a road trip are long gone. With the popularity of cell phones and downloadable apps and games, technology surrounds us even when we’re on the road headed towards adventure. If you’re looking to entertain bored children faced with lots of road time, look no further than our buying guide for the best headrest DVD players.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Headrest DVD Players
- Entertain your bored children. Rather than threatening to “turn this car around” or “each time you ask me if we’re there yet adds on another five minutes,” simply turn on the DVD player and focus your attention back on the road. It’s every parent’s dream.
- Install it on nearly any type of vehicle. We don’t recommend removing the headrests in your vintage restoration project, but it’s possible to install a headrest DVD player in older vehicles. Most installation processes are simple and don’t take a lot of time.
- Easily remove and replace it. Since most headrest DVD players can be installed on a variety of cars with ease, they can also be easily removed. That means if you’re selling your car you don’t have to worry about paying someone to remove your DVD player headrests, and you can keep them for your next car.
- Increase your vehicle’s value. If you do plan on keeping the headrest DVD player in the car, you can ask for more money.
- These DVD players aren’t something that’s trendy. Most people would agree that a headrest DVD player increases the value of a car, whether it’s by a small margin or a larger factor.
- Easily upgrade your ride. If you’re looking for a relatively cheap and simple way to restore value in your vehicle, adding headrest DVD players can be an efficient solution. The installation process is fairly easy, depending on which type of player you choose.
- Take advantage of additional features. Beyond being able to play a movie, most headrest DVD players include other features as well. For example, some products are equipped for gaming purposes while others are able to play media via USB ports.
Types of Headrest DVD Players
Most detachable units are cradled in a frame that can be strapped to the headrest or latched around the posts that attach the headrest to the main body of the front seats. These types of headrest DVD players are portable and will often piggyback off one main screen to project that same screen to other units. Detachable headrest DVD players come in a variety of sizes and often include the necessary mounting hardware.
Headrest DVD players embedded into the back of the head cushion streamline your passengers’ viewing experience and often strike a more finished look than screens that attach separately. Most of the DVD players built into the headrest are OEM replacements. You can also find universal headrests. The biggest benefit of placing the DVD player screen within the headrest is that it stays protected from most wear and tear that can occur, and the screens won’t fall and get damaged if they’re bumped.
PUMPKIN’s 10.1-inch Headrest DVD Player nearly made it on our list for the best headrest DVD players. However, we recommend you check it out if you’re not satisfied with the products we listed above. Headquartered in England, PUMPKIN has been in the industry for over five years.
Though still new to the automotive aftermarket accessories business, Rockville has been spreading its reputation beyond its hometown of Inwood, New York. Some of you might prefer a hanging DVD player unit rather than one that sits behind the headrest. If that’s the case, check out this Flip Down Monitor DVD Player from Rockville.
Headquartered in New York, Audiovox has been in the automotive aftermarket accessories business since 1965. Check out the Audiovox Movies2Go if you’re looking for a simple solution to a long car ride.
Headrest DVD Player Pricing
- $70-$100: If you’re just looking for a portable DVD player, you can easily find products under $100. However, headrest DVD players at this price point aren’t necessarily going to provide the best viewing experience. In fact, rather than being able to purchase a set of DVD players, you may only be able to buy a single unit for under $100.
- $100-$200: The majority of headrest DVD players are going to cost you anywhere from $100-$200. Here, you’ll find both single and double screen packages along with both built-in and portable DVD players. Products priced closer to $200 will have some more technological advantages than their more basic counterparts.
- $200 and up: Paying any more than $200 means you’ll be investing in multiple DVD players that are incredibly capable. Some units will offer wireless headphones along with multimedia capabilities. If you want to create your own in-car home theater experience, expect to pay above $200 minimum.
Similar to other technological devices, the size of the screen can make a huge difference. Most DVD players will typically have a 10-inch screen, which is measured on the diagonal as it is with televisions and computer monitors. Larger screen size will not only improve the overall viewing experience, but it could also be enough to entertain third-row occupants.
Just as important as the screen size is the resolution of the screen. While DVD players may not have access to the same technology that allows us to have 4K-capable TV screens, there’s still a lot to be said about a crisp, clear picture that reveals details you may have missed before. Most DVD players available for purchase come in around 1024 by 600 mark.
Depending on which type of headrest DVD player you invest in, easy installation either means a simple process of replacing your headrests or installing mounts for the DVD player screens. Paired with easy installation is easy removal. The best headrest DVD players should only take about 10-15 minutes to install and/or remove one unit, wiring aside.
DVD players are so much more than just a glorified CD player. Some products are even able to do both. The DVD player should be able to connect not only to the vehicle in which it resides but to other various devices as well. For example, USB, SD card, and AV input and output ports allow you to do a number of things with just one DVD player.
For the most part, you can choose between headphones, wireless headphones, or routing the sound from your DVD player to your car’s stereo for maximum effect. We’re all aware that the sound quality of a film is just as important as the picture quality, so the best headrest DVD players put as much effort into how they sound as to how they look.
- Touchscreen Capabilities: Having a touchscreen is almost a requirement on any technological device these days, but consider whether or not you want your DVD players to have this capability. Sometimes tiny fingers with nothing better to do can wreak a lot of havoc if they’re not supervised, so a touchscreen might not be best.
- Gaming Features: If you want your DVD player to be able to entertain your children in other ways, look for products that also include a gaming feature. This can be in the form of downloading applications or inserting a USB device. If gaming is an important feature, include that high on your priority list when researching products.
- Multiple Screens: Most DVD players that attach to your car’s headrest come in singles and pairs. Consider how many occupants you have and how often you’ll use the DVD player as you’re perusing various products. It might be a good idea to purchase one screen for each rear-seat occupant, depending on your preference.
Best Headrest DVD Player Reviews & Recommendations 2020
We chose the eRapta Headrest DVD Player for a number of reasons, including its portability and versatility. There are a variety of inputs and outputs that make this DVD player one you’ll always remember to pack for long trips. Best of all, you can easily start watching a movie in the car and then finish it up once you arrive home.
Besides the single, 10.5-inch DVD player monitor, eRapta includes all the various cables and connectors you’ll need. Along with AC and DC input cables, you’ll receive a car charger, a wall charger, the ISO wiring harness and adapter cable, and a remote. The folks at eRapta also include two brackets to use when mounting the DVD player to your car’s headrest. The player itself features a USB port along with ports for an SD card and AV input. Weighing in at just over four pounds, this region-free DVD player can pair with a second monitor and includes a game mode as well.
Our biggest concern with the eRapta Headrest DVD Player is that it is only a single monitor. You’ll have to spend the extra money on a second screen if you’ve got more than one child in the backseat. You won’t be able to play Blu-Ray discs on this player either.
If it’s the value you’re after, check out the WONNIE 10.5-inch Dual DVD Players. Much more than just your typical DVD players, these products work in tandem to help keep your kids occupied as you drive. While one accepts the DVD, it casts the picture to the other monitor as well so all back-seat passengers can enjoy the show. Let’s take a closer look at what these DVD players have to offer.
WONNIE fits its products with 1024 by 800 resolution HD screen designed to make the most of your viewing experience. The players can accept USB drives along with SD and MMC card readers. Additional features include an AV input and output, MP3 capabilities, and the ability to view photos. Each screen weighs about five pounds, and when paired together the two can last around two to three hours at a time on its batteries. If only one person wants to watch a movie, you’ll get an extra two hours out of the device. WONNIE includes two headrest straps to install your brand-new DVD players and remote control.
The only drawback we could find with this product is that the viewing time is rather short, especially considering most films are around two hours in length. Any extended watching time will have to be done while the DVD player is charging. That being said, there are a lot of great features that make this set of DVD players a great value pick for the budget-minded family.
If you are looking for a little versatility in your entertainment system, then this 10.5-inch media player may be your best bet. It features an LCD screen display with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels and is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi compatible. Easily accessible from the side is an HDMI input port and an AV connector, meaning you can play media files from other smart devices. Also on the side is a USB flash and SD card memory reader, which you can use for work to access your personal files. In addition, there’s a CD or DVD player right at the top of the unit.
This player is compatible with multiple digital formats, including MP3, MP4, WMA, and AVI. On top of that, it has a built-in stereo speaker that provides commendable sound quality, and you can give the kids in the backseat an unparalleled type of entertainment. In addition, it comes with universal mounts that can fit in almost any headrest in modern vehicles.
Unfortunately, the input may change randomly when you switch off your vehicle. For instance, it may switch from DVD to HDMI. Also, the screen might pixelate or power off entirely when you hit a hard bump. In addition, some DVDs may not play at all.
- If you do end up purchasing an OEM replacement headrest with a built-in DVD player screen, make sure to keep the original headrests after you replace them. That way if you ever sell the car, you can have them on hand to put back in if necessary.
- Purchase protective casings for the detachable DVD players. Chances are that even if you cinch them down tight on the back of your car’s headrests, they could end up falling at some point.
- If you want to clean your headrest monitors, use solutions similar to what you would use to clean glass. The LCD screen is sensitive, and without the right products you could end up scratching the car headrest monitors.
- Detachable car headrest DVD players should not be left in the vehicle. If you do place the car DVD player inside the vehicle for a trip, take it out and keep it in a safe place. You can simply stow the headrest player beneath a seat that can deter anyone from stealing them from your vehicle.
- To make the experience more enjoyable for your children, pick out a series of DVDs they can watch only when in the car. Alternatively, you can also choose a video game. Your rear-seat passengers can either make use of the car's audio system or use headphones when using the DVD headrest.
- Detachable headrest DVD players can be great for RV trips as well. Rather than attaching to the back of a seat, these DVD players often come with kickstands that allow you to watch them at a table, on the couch, or in bed.
- Are your children nervous to fly? Bring a detachable headrest DVD player, and they’ll be occupied as you wait to board and during the flight. Most detachable DVD players come with a wall charging cable so you can charge it at the airport and enjoy a film in the air.
Q: Can I play YouTube videos on my headrest DVD player?
A: Depending on which model DVD player you purchase, you should be able to connect your smartphone to the device and play YouTube videos. This allows you to take advantage of the widescreen viewing experience most smartphones cannot deliver. Just make sure the headrest DVD player you purchase has Bluetooth capabilities.
Q: Will headrest DVD players play Blu-Ray movies?
A: Most headrest DVD players do not have Blu-Ray capabilities. However, many incorporate an HDMI input in the design so that you can hook up other devices and play music and videos in other ways.
Q: Can I buy a headrest DVD player and have it professionally installed?
A: Check with your local auto shops to see if this is something they do. Many companies will not warranty products that you bring in on your own, so it’s best to call around and see what each company’s policy is before purchasing a unit. In some instances, you may be able to get nearly the same headrest DVD player for comparable pricing that they’ll install and warranty for a small fee.
Q: Will I see a difference in the video quality on a headrest DVD player?
A: It depends on what you’re comparing the video quality to, such as a smartphone. Most smartphones are capable of high-quality, high-resolution videos, and when compared to the large dual screens of headrest DVD players, the quality will be relatively better because you’re able to see a bigger picture.
Q: Will a headrest DVD player remote work from the driver’s seat?
A: In most cases, the remote should work from the driver’s seat; however, we recommend avoiding any distractions while driving or at least keeping them to a minimum. If there is an issue that needs to be taken care of, the best move is to pull over and fix it rather than take your eyes off the road and potentially endanger you and your passengers.
Q: Do I need to buy special headphones for the headrest DVD player I purchase?
A: Most, if not all, headrest DVD players come with a headphone jack installed so you don’t need to purchase particular headphones. If you purchase a high-quality headrest DVD player, you may even be able to pair it with wireless headphones so you don’t have to worry about cables at all.
Q: What kind of headrest mount do I need for detachable DVD players?
A: Some dual-screen headrest DVD players will come with their own headrest mounts. In case they don’t, you can always buy separate mounts for around $20-$30. These mounts can attach to the headrest via Velcro straps or a bar that encircles the headrest posts. It all depends on what type of maneuverability you want as Velcro straps are easier to swivel than a fixed mount.
Our top pick is the In-Car And At-Home Headrest DVD Player by eRapta. This product comes with a pair of mounting brackets and is great for home and auto use.
The WONNIE 10.5-inch Dual Portable DVD Player won our pick for the best value headrest DVD player. Getting two for the price of one never looked so good.