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Fire Up Your Own Personal Radio Station with FM Transmitters

Connecting your smartphone or mp3 player to your car stereo is a modern necessity. We all spend a lot of time in our cars, and the right tunes or podcasts can make all that time behind the wheel a whole lot more fun. You might even find yourself taking the long way home from time to time, just so you can rock out a little longer and a little harder.

If your car stereo has built-in Bluetooth or a headphone jack then making that connection between the stereo and your audio device is easy breezy. But if your car stereo doesn’t have either, you’ll need an FM transmitter.

What is an FM Transmitter?

FM transmitters are simple wireless devices that turn your smartphone, mp3 player, or other audio device into your own personal radio station. They broadcast the audio from your connected device over a radio frequency of your choosing within a very limited radius. Once set up, you can tune into the FM transmitter’s radio frequency on your car stereo.

How Do FM Transmitters Work?

You start by connecting your audio device to the transmitter via Bluetooth or a 3.5mm cable plugged into the headphone port. Then you plug the FM transmitter into the 12V accessory socket in your car (the old cigarette lighter socket). On the transmitter, you choose an FM radio frequency that isn’t currently being used by any local radio stations.

Then you simply tune into that frequency on your car stereo and voila – music and other audio from your smartphone or mp3 player can now be streamed directly over your car stereo system.

What Devices Are Compatible with FM Transmitters?

The FM transmitter you select will determine which audio devices you’ll be able to connect to. If you’re looking to play audio from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone on your car stereo, you might want to choose a Bluetooth-enabled FM transmitter. This ensures a clean wireless setup.

On the other hand, if you’d like to play audio from your mp3 player on your car stereo, and that mp3 player doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth, you’ll need an FM transmitter with a 3.5mm aux port.

Features to Look for in an FM Transmitter

Certain FM transmitters also come with a built-in microphone. This means you can use it as a speakerphone when it’s connected to your smartphone, as well as for playing music, podcasts, and audiobooks.

An integrated LED screen that displays caller ID, track details, and other information is also a handy feature to have. You can see who’s calling before you answer, or what song is playing, with at a glance ease.

You’ll also want to look for an FM transmitter that features at least one USB charging port. This allows you to charge up your smartphone or other device while you’re streaming audio at the same time. Some transmitters include several USB ports, so you can keep multiple devices charged simultaneously.