You love your iPod or iPhone; it’s always with you. Why not ditch the tiny headphones and listen to your music using your car’s radio and speakers? With an FM transmitter, you can do just that! These FM transmitters work by converting the signal coming out of your player’s headphone jack into radio waves which can be picked up by any stereo with an FM radio tuner. These transmitters allow you to adjust the “station” it outputs so you can tune to an empty available frequency to listen.
Most of these are universal in that they allow you to use it with any device (including laptops) with a 3.5mm (1/8”) jack (usually the green one). Many also include USB connections specifically for your iPod which allow you to charge it while on the go. The following are just a few of the many FM transmitters. These were determined to be the best value and highest rated.
Photo by .dr4gon
Griffin iTrip Auto FM Transmitter with SmartScan for iPod (4 out of 5)
For less than $20 at Amazon, this is the cheapest dedicated iPod solution. It charges your iPod through the dock connector while playing your music through your radio. It also has a feature to automatically select the best station to play your music. The only downside to this product is that the screen can be challenging to see in bright sunlight. Once a station is selected however, you will not need to adjust it.
Griffin iTrip Universal FM Transmitter and Charger for MP3 Players (5 out of 5)
This Griffin iTrip, available at Amazon, is truly a universal solution for charging and playing any MP3 player with a rechargeable battery. At $20, it’s the most versatile of the three solutions. It features the same 3.5mm mini-jack which connects to your player but also has a USB outlet to plug in any cable (such as a micro-usb) to power your device or iPod. This can also work great for charging cell phones, GPS units, and obviously your MP3 player.
iRiver AFT 100 Mobile FM Transmitter (3 out of 5)
The iRiver is also less than $20 at Amazon, but is a universal MP3 player FM transmitter. It is simple and easy to use allowing you to transmit to all FM frequencies 88.1 to 107.9 MHz. It has a 3.5mm (1/8”) cable which works for any audio device compatible with the 3.5mm mini-jack. If you do not have an iPod or would like to use it for more than just an iPod, this is perfect for you. Since it obviously does not have the iPod dock connector, it will not be charging your iPod. This is a simple, no frills solution.
I hope this guide has given you a wide enough selection to choose from. Any of these FM transmitters should do the job nicely. Some of the downsides to FM transmitters is that in some cities, there are no open frequencies to tune to so your music might not come out so clear. In that case, if your car has an auxiliary-input jack, use that for your music or if your car still has a cassette tape player, purchase a cassette adapter. For most users however, a station or two is likely available and you should not have a problem.