Reviews

Best Satellite Radios: Top Aftermarket Receivers

Access the best satellite radio stations with these top receivers

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BY Bryan Long / LAST UPDATED ON October 12, 2019

Satellite radio has been a popular choice among drivers for years. It has hundreds of available channels without commercials breaks and features some of the most popular artists. Unfortunately, many factory radios in our vehicles don't allow access to SiriusXM channels. To get around this, we’ve compiled the best aftermarket satellite radio receivers available today.

Best Overall
JVC KW Satellite Radio Receiver
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Summary
Summary
The JVC satellite radio receiver is the most capable in-dash unit that manages to be both stylish and comprehensive.
Pros
Pros
This head unit is capable of playing AM, FM, and XM radios. It has built-in Bluetooth, a removable faceplate, and three different customizable color areas in its display.
Cons
Cons
The JVC radio is the most expensive option, and Android phones have to use the JVC app to connect via Bluetooth.
Best Overall
JVC KW Satellite Radio Receiver
Best Value
SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio
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Summary
Summary
When it comes to using SiriusXM, no other device is capable of seamless integration like this satellite radio made by Sirius.
Pros
Pros
The SiriusXM Onyx has a touchscreen display, allows you to store 20 of your favorite channels to rewind and replay, and comes with a free three-month trial to SiriusXM.
Cons
Cons
The Onyx Plus is not a replacement radio, so it doesn't play AM/FM and does not have Bluetooth connectivity. It is also not an in-dash receiver.
Best Value
SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio
Honorable Mention
Grace Digital Sound Station Internet Radio
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Summary
Summary
This in-dash selection is compatible with SiriusXM radio. It features a bold LCD display and user-friendly controls.
Pros
Pros
You can customize your music channels with the 10 preset options. It lets you control live radio with pause and replay features. The crisp display highlights relevant information. It includes alarm setups and WiFi compatibility.
Cons
Cons
This system only works with a subscription to SiriusXM. Though the controls are user friendly, everything must be adjusted manually.
Honorable Mention
Grace Digital Sound Station Internet Radio

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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.

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Tips

  • Consider what type of satellite receiver you want. If you have an outdated stereo in your car, replacing the whole thing with a new head unit can be beneficial. If you just want to add satellite capabilities, a receiver or dock-and-play model might be a better choice. 
  • If you're buying a full in-dash satellite radio receiver, pay attention to the power needs of your new radio. Some stereos draw a lot of power, and you could risk straining your car's battery. 
  • Replacing a factory radio includes connecting your speakers. Large speaker systems require a certain amount of power output, so make sure your vehicle battery and head unit are compatible. 
  • Some new cars come with satellite radio capability, but it might not be easily accessible since they’re not made to work with XM. Opting for a satellite radio receiver made by SiriusXM can make using your XM account much simpler. 

FAQs

Q: What is satellite radio?

A: Satellite radio works similarly to your regular car radio: There are multiple music stations with different hosts and genres of music. However, you have to pay a monthly fee for access to the stations.

Q: Is satellite radio a better option?

A: When comparing satellite radio to FM radio, the big thing to consider is whether a monthly fee is worth the benefit of not having commercials. You can also compare XM radio to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. SiriusXM typically costs less and has added features like personal playlists to compete with music streaming services. 

Q: What is the difference between Sirius and XM?

A: Originally, Sirius radio and XM radio were two different satellite services. However, the companies merged to become SiriusXM.

Final Thoughts

For top satellite radio, the JVC KW Satellite Radio Receiver is your best choice. It's a fashionable and versatile in-dash option for getting SiriusXM channels. 

A less expensive option is the SiriusXM Onyx Plus Satellite Radio, which features easy controls and the best display.