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Best Stereo System 2020 – Ultimate Buying Guide

If you lived in the glory days of the stereo, you probably remember having a whole wall of your home dedicated to the stereo system.

You had your speakers, of course, and they were wired to the receiver, back in the day when the speakers were actually wired via shaving down the wire and then looping it around the post.

You had your cassette player, your record player, maybe even your CD player if you made enough money, plus the usual AM/FM tuner.

All of this took up more space and more volume than your television probably takes up today.

But those days are past, and the vast majority of those things that I just mentioned aren’t even in use today.

Honestly, if you have a cassette player these days, you’re living a very unusual life. The record player is making a bit of a comeback in some areas, sure, but the reality is that unless you like certain kinds of music, you probably don’t have one, and all the testimonials from Bob Dylan about how much better the sound quality is on a record player doesn’t really matter to you.

Today, the best stereo system that you can get a hold of is going to be one that will be compact and will have various devices and an entirely different design than the stereo systems of yesteryear.

The 8 Best Stereo Systems 2020 – Comparison Table

If you’ve looked into getting yourself a stereo system before, you probably realize that it is a market that is fairly saturated, to be sure. There are offerings that come from literally every single business that you’ve ever heard of that works in electronics, and in some cases, you may even discover a few that you’ve never heard of who are making a quality product.

But we’re here to help you make sure that you get the best one for your purposes, and that means that we need to take a quick look at what the market may have to offer you. Let us do that below, in the form of a chart.

So, here are the best stereo systems 2020.

NameFormatsConnectivityWattage 
Innovative Technology ITCDS-5000 Retro Stereo SystemCD, FM Radio3.5mm AUX, Bluetooth50
Boytone BT-326F Stereo SystemFM Radio3.5mm AUX, Bluetooth40
ART + SOUND AR1004 StereoFM RadioBluetooth, USB40
Samsung MX-J630 Stereo (Editor's Pick)CD, FM RadioBluetooth, USB, Samsung Audio Remote200
Jensen JTA475B Stereo System3-Speed Turntable, CD, AM/FM Radio, Cassette3.5mm AUX Jack40
Sony CMTSBT100 Micro Stereo System (Editor's Pick)CDBluetooth, NFC, USB50
Boytone BT-324F Stereo SystemFM TunerUSB, Bluetooth, 3.5mm AUX Jack40
Pioneer X-CM56B Mini Stereo SystemCD, FM RadioBluetooth, NFC40

Now, with the use of that table, surely you are already considering what products you may like to buy, and that is great.

Let us take a bit more of a look, a bit more in-depth a look, in order to find the best stereo system for you, so that you can make the most informed purchase possible.

Innovative Technology ITCDS-5000 Retro Stereo System – The Upgraded Retro Model

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If you’re looking for a decent entry-level stereo system at a decent entry-level price, you are going to want to take a look at the Innovative Technology offering, the ITCDS-5000.

Now, that’s not to say that it is necessarily the best stereo system for the home, but it is a good stereo system that will give you’re looking for, and even more importantly, it comes with all the things that you will really need to get the stereo system off the ground.

Aside from various ports on the back through which you can attach a wide variety of other home stereo equipment, like a CD player with a six or twelve-disc changer, it comes with the usual 3.5mm AUX jack.

But even better than that, it is Bluetooth enabled, both for hooking up devices and streaming music through it (for example, using your iPad or other mobile devices), as well as for being able to hear the music, which is great if you are looking to be able to enjoy your music on the go without disturbing the house, perhaps via the use of some noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones.

The included speakers aren’t anything to sneeze at, either. They might not be as amazing as various high-end speaker systems, but believe it or not, they’re going to be more than good enough for you to be able to enjoy your music and to turn up the volume high enough that your neighbors complain that you’re throwing wild parties (and if you are, whose business is it but yours, anyway?).

When it comes to stereo systems for home use, the speakers that are included here are pretty much all that you will actually need, unless you want to have the noise so very loud that you are going to end up going deaf.

So, if you’re looking for a good starter stereo system, this one is definitely worth considering for your home use. It also has that retro feel that seems to be so popular these days.

  • Well-designed and affordable
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Decently powerful speakers

  • The receiver doesn’t come with much functionality and is basically a CD player with an FM radio

Boytone BT-326F Stereo System – The Frat Bro Option

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If you’ve ever been to a fraternity party on a college campus, you probably saw something like this hooked up, although more likely than not, you found that it was hidden behind a bunch of annoying and intoxicated people.

Just because it looks like that, though, does not mean that it is not a decent piece of equipment that almost anyone will be happy to have in their house. Although, as with so many of the receivers for a stereo system that are sold these days, it does not have a lot of functionality on its own.

Indeed, if you do not hook something else up to the Boytone BT-326F stereo system, you basically have a very nice and flashy looking FM radio tuner with some nice speakers (and clocking in at a total of fifty watts, do not kid yourself into thinking that these are not some very serious speakers that can put out some very serious noise). That being said, if you are looking to hook up other devices to it, you’re in luck.

To begin with, you can hook up with the old-fashioned 3.5mm AUX jack, if that’s something that you want to do. But you can also use the Bluetooth connectivity to be able to stream your music from whatever source you’d like, and that means that if you have a modern tablet, you will be easily able to get the most out of it and to hear it through some serious speakers (as tablet speakers so often tend to be pretty terrible).

Most importantly, it will allow you to not only hook up a device via USB but also to charge it, which is always a good thing.

All things considered, Boytone made a decent product with a somewhat silly name (Boytone?  Really?), and one that you should be willing to take a look at if you want to make sure that you can hear your music over a group of students getting intoxicated.

  • Decently priced
  • Powerful speakers
  • Good list of connectivity options

  • Without hooking up to another device, it is nothing more than an FM radio

ART + SOUND AR1004 Stereo – The Tower Of Power

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This is kind of an unusual option, to be sure, but one that deserves to be looked at nonetheless. It’s basically a tower of speakers that you can hook various devices up to in order to get the most out of the sound quality.

To begin with, as a standalone stereo system with nothing else hooked up, it’s not much to talk about. All it has onboard is an FM radio tuner, and if you wanted to listen to FM radio locally, you could do so with thousands of other devices that don’t cost near what the AR1004 stereo costs. But when it comes down to it, thankfully, you are going to find that you do not have to worry about only having that FM tuner.

So, what else can it do?

Well, it has Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The USB connectivity is not so exciting, but with the Bluetooth connectivity, and with the design of the stereo system being what it is, it is a magnificent place to rest your favorite mobile or Bluetooth enabled device and to enjoy the streaming of your favorite music or film.

How powerful is the tower of speakers, though? Is it the best small stereo system for home, when you take into account the square footage that it will take up?  Maybe, honestly.

And more than that, the speakers put out 40 watts of sound, and that is a lot more than most people will need for their room.

So, if you’re looking for a somewhat quirky and stylish answer to your sound needs, here is a fabulous place to start your journey and one of the great stereo systems for home use.

  • Well designed and doesn’t take up much floor space
  • Bluetooth connectivity as well as USB
  • 40 watts of speaker power is nothing to sneeze at

  • Kind of funky, and having both sets of speakers on top of each other undermines the idea of having a stereo set up.

Samsung MX-J630 Stereo System – The Big Name Offering

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Samsung is a company that is known for a wide variety of devices, mostly for their televisions and phones these days (and to some, they’re known for the failings of their Samsung Galaxy S7, which basically turned into a bomb for a select few unhappy folks), but they have made a wide variety of devices that are all concerned with making for the enjoyment of the audio or visual sort, and that is a job that they managed to do quite well, believe it or not.

Unlike a lot of the other devices that we’ve looked at thus far, however, the Samsung offering is, on its own and without any device being hooked up to it, actually capable of being a decent piece of music equipment.

It comes equipped with an FM radio, of course, but also with A CD player, meaning you can listen to any CDs that you might own if you have a mind to.

You can also hook up pretty much any device that you have a desire to with the use of the Bluetooth or USB connectivity.

Where this thing really earns its money, and shines, however, is with the speaker power that it has. This thing is mostly speaker, and it manages to put out 200 watts of sound, also known as about the amount of speaker power that most decent mid-range amplifiers for a guitar can provide.

That’s a lot of speaker power and a lot of noise, to be sure, and definitely, something that you will be happy to have to provide you with the music that you would like to hear.

Combine all of that with the fact that you’re getting something from a name that you can definitely put your trust in, and you’ve got a device that will provide you with as much volume and sound quality as you could ever hope for.

  • 200 watts of speaker power!
  • CD player and FM radio included
  • Bluetooth and USB connectivity

  • Not really anything to complain about here

Jensen JTA475B Stereo System – The Old-Timey Option

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Looking at this offering from the fine folks at Jensen, it definitely looks like something that you would find in, for example, your grandfather’s attic.

Sure, it may be a bit more streamlined than the Hi-Fi Stereo systems of old, but not by all that much. However, I assure you that, in fact, this is a modern system (well, somewhat modern), made to meet the needs of the modern person, and made to provide an all-in-one system without Bluetooth or NFC or USB connectivity.

So what can it play?

It can play records at three different speeds, it can play cassettes (which, unlike records, have not made a comeback in the last couple of years, much to the chagrin of people who hoarded their terrible collection of cassettes and cassingles all those years ago).

It can play CD’s as well, and it even includes an FM/AM radio tuner.

What can’t it do?  Well, it has no connectivity to save a 3.5mm AUX jack. So, if you’re looking for something that you can run your mobile device through, something that you can hook up to with Bluetooth technology, for example, then this probably is not the right stereo system for you.

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a great stereo system that will allow you to play a lot of the music that you enjoy (and that your father and even grandfathers’ generations got to enjoy), then you will be more than satisfied with this Jensen offering.

If, however, you are dead-set on having something that you can hook up to a mobile device, then you are not likely to find that the Jensen stereo system meets that requirement, and you may well find that you end up a little bit disappointed if you were to buy this offering.

  • Has a working record player and a working cassette player, something hard to find these days
  • Decent speakers that can put out 40 watts
  • Retro appearance

  • No Bluetooth or USB connectivity

Sony CMTSBT100 Micro Stereo System – The Compact Solution

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Sony is yet another one of those companies that has a great pedigree for their work concerning music and sound, even though these days, people seem to mostly know them for, and to think of them in relation to, either their work in television or their video game systems (which were, in their defense, revolutionary designs that have withstood changing markets).

When it comes to Sony stereo systems, sometimes the micro option is the best option, wouldn’t you agree?

Indeed, this is a great stereo system for anyone looking for the best small stereo system for home use, and it may well remain the best stereo system 2017 has to offer, barring some great leap forward in technology. But what sets it apart?

Well, of course, to begin with, it has a glorious set of speakers.

Operating at 50 watts, and capable of putting out a decent amount of sound, as well as being designed to look a lot like the older generation of speakers (honestly, they remind me of an old pair of Bose speakers), they provide the clarity and sound quality that you would want.

But if you’re looking for a stereo that can offer you the connectivity to your favorite mobile devices that you probably desire, then you’re in luck.  Sony’s offering to the market not only utilizes Bluetooth (which is extremely common) and USB (which is even more common), but it can also work with devices that it can detect on its NFC (near field communication) signals, which means that almost any wireless device should be able to stream music to the Sony micro stereo system.

All this, and you get to enjoy it in a somewhat fashionable and very tiny box, with two decent speakers? Sounds like a great deal, and something that you will probably be very happy with spending your money on in the long run.

  • Well designed to not take up too much floor space
  • Bluetooth AND NFC connectivity, which is a real blessing
  • Decently powerful speakers

  • Not really anything to complain about here

Boytone BT-324F – The Advanced Boytone Option

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Boytone makes a second appearance on the list with a device that is a bit cheaper and with a few different bells and whistles than its earlier predecessor. Honestly, both of them are about the same in quality, so if you’re looking to buy a Boytone stereo system and are dead-set on it, you will have to choose between these two.

Now, that doesn’t mean that you are going to regret buying this one. The only real difference, as far as what the stereo alone is capable of doing, is that it has no CD player. If you’re just looking to use the stereo system on its own, without doing the work and dealing with the hassle of Bluetooth connections, then you are going to find that you’ll be stuck using only an FM tuner and nothing more.

However, where this stereo system really begins to shine is when you look into the connectivity.

It is through Bluetooth that this stereo system goes from being a boring, albeit colorful, FM tuner to being an actual all-in-one stereo stop. If you’ve got a Bluetooth device (and pretty much everyone does, with many of us carrying one around in our pockets at all times), you are going to be able to enjoy the music that you would like to listen to and even stream music to your Boytone device.

Finally, if you are looking to be able to enjoy the sound with decent quality (and a fair amount of loudness), then the 40-watt speakers that come along with it are going to be just the ticket for your earbuds.

And best of all, if you’re too lazy to get up and change the settings and volume on your stereo (which, let’s be honest, most of us are, these days), you don’t have to; the Boytone BT-324F comes with its very own remote, so you need never get up. Awesome, right?

Definitely a great home stereo system with a great home stereo receiver, and with a few speakers that are solid quality for the price.

  • The remote is a nice touch for those guilty of sloth
  • The speakers provide decent volume and crisp sound quality
  • The receiver itself is actually quite aesthetically pleasing

  • Only an FM Tuner on the receiver

Pioneer X-CM56B Mini Stereo System – The Chic Answer

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Minimalism is a movement in furniture that has been becoming more and more fashionable in a lot of settings, so why should not the stereo system be the same?

Pioneer is another one of those companies that have a long history in the music business in general.  A Japanese company that was begun in the late 1930s, they first opened as a store repairing radios and speakers.

Since then, they’ve become a manufacturer of radios, stereo systems for cars and for home use, and even DVD and Blu-Ray players!

The point is that they know a thing or two about making a stereo system.

And their offering to the market shows it. As far as home audio systems go, they manage to take up very little space, and you to offer a lot of bang for your buck.

If you’re looking to just use it as a standalone product, you’re in luck, because it offers both an FM radio tuner and a CD player, which is more than most offer.  Of course, it would be a mistake to underutilize this equipment that way.

As with so many of the stereo systems reviewed, Pioneer’s X-CM56B is capable of hooking into a USB device, but they have more than that.

The real draw here is the ability to stream to the Pioneer stereo system with the use of either Bluetooth or NFC connections, which are a lot of fun and very easy to work with.

What about the speakers?  Well, they may be compact, but they’re also stackable, and they put out a decent sound quality. This is a great stereo system for someone who may have a limited amount of space, but who may also want to have a high-end system.

  • Very small, truly lives up to the name ‘mini’
  • Bluetooth and NFC connectivity
  • Beautifully designed and decent quality speakers

  • Nothing to complain about except the price

Buyer’s Guide

Now that we have taken a look at the competition, and now that you’re sure you want a home stereo system, I’m sure that you have a few questions. To make sure that you get the stereo system best for you, and that you will be happiest with over the long term, I have answers here for the common questions you may have.

NFC Or Bluetooth, Which Is Better?

NFC and Bluetooth can be used to fill the same need to be able to wirelessly connect devices to your stereo system.

NFC is utilized in a lot of technology in your cell phones today, including things like Apple or Google pay applications that allow you to pay by just swiping your phone across some sort of pad designed to pick up the signal. It is nifty technology, and a lot of cars, in fact, will use it, as well as Bluetooth connections, in order to allow you to run your music (or video) from your mobile devices through the car stereo.

Bluetooth is pretty much the same thing, but with a bit more security.

So, which is better? Well, NFC has a maximum range of 20 meters, while Bluetooth, even on low-energy settings, clocks in around 50meters, and when on full power, it can reach 100meters. In most houses, you can sit anywhere in the house and connect to your receiver via Bluetooth, but that’s not necessarily true with NFC.

The bit rate (speed of transmission) is also very different.  NFC operates around 424kbits a second, which means that you’re sending about a megabyte every three seconds. By comparison, Bluetooth on low energy gets 1 megabyte every second, and on regular settings gets 2.1.

The choice is yours, but if you don’t want to suffer through a lot of packet loss, you might want to stick to Bluetooth.  NFC is just kind of a nice thing to have as a backup.

How Much Do The Speaker I Need?

Honestly, you don’t even need 40 watts in most houses.  Unless you have a huge space to fill with sound and a lot of impediment in the way (like a crowd of people, for example), 40 to 50 watts is going to be just fine for you.

Now, that’s not to say that having a 200-watt set of speakers (like Samsung comes with) cannot be a fun time, but its overkill. Also, if you run them at their maximum settings, you will be guaranteeing damage to your ears for anyone standing near the speakers.

So, the point that I’m making is that if you’re just going to be sitting in your own home and enjoying your own music, you’re going to be fine going along with a speaker that is 40 or 50 watts, and you are not likely to need too much more except in specific instances that you’re not likely to encounter.

Also, I would like to advise you to be careful with how you utilize speakers so you do not permanently damage your ears and suffer permanent ringing in your ears (tinnitus).

Conclusion

Now that we’ve had an enjoyable look at the best home stereo systems out there, it’s time to figure out which one is best.  Now, to be sure, that does not necessarily mean that it will be the best for you, but simply that it is the best one for the average user.

After much consideration, an obvious winner emerges in the Pioneer X-CM56B. It’s a great device, to start with, but the best thing about it is how very compact it is.

If you’re looking to have a big and flashy stereo system, you may not like it, but being able to put it conveniently on a shelf, even a bookshelf, is a great thing, and something that will make it a much more accessible and useful design than any of the others we looked at, and its ability to connect via both Bluetooth and NFC is admirable. Its speakers, too, are very high quality, making it the overall winner.

But whichever of the reviewed stereo systems you find will meet your needs, you will be happy with your purchase, and hopefully, you’ll get years of enjoyment from the product you select.

Jason is a music enthusiast and a sound addict, so it was only natural for him to buy some stereo speakers for his new car. After looking at a bunch of websites online, he couldn’t really find what he was looking for, so he decided to create his own site - BestStereo.io.