by | Dec 14, 2022 | Gift Ideas, Reviews, Z

Last Updated: Dec 28, 2022 @ 2:08 pm.

What is the best wireless CarPlay adapter? To find out, we surveyed our parent readers to get their real-world experiences. Which adapters were easiest to use? Had the fewest drop-outs? Here are the ones we recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Compatabliity

No lag when using
Love how easy this unit is to set up and use—and seamlessly connects after initial start-up.
$103.98

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Best Compatibility: SuperiorTek 5.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter

Apple CarPlay made its debut back in 2011 and enabled users to display navigation, music and more from an iPhone on their dash—and we loved it. Many car makers added CarPlay support over the years, enabling you to connect an iPhone via the USB port to CarPlay.

Then iOS9 came along and added wireless CarPlay support in 2016—no need to plug a phone in via cords! The only glitch: car makers have been slow to add wireless CarPlay as a standard feature for vehicles. So if you have an older vehicle that supports wired CarPlay, how do you add wireless CarPlay?

Third-party adapters help bring wireless CarPlay to vehicles that only have wired CarPlay. We tried out a few different adapters and asked our parent readers for their experiences.

A good example was this reader favorite: SuperiorTek. This adapter has wide compatibility and is simple to set up—you attach the adapter to your car via the supplied cord and then connect your phone via Bluetooth. And yes, it works well, booting up in about 5-10 seconds based on our real world tests.

What We Liked

• Easy to install.

• Affordable way to bring wireless CarPlay to a vehicle.

• Connects seamlessly.

• Works with iPhone 5 and later.

What Needs Work

• Can interfere with dashcam if your dashcam uses WiFi.

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Best Tried & True Brand

Easy to install
The star feature here is this brand's detailed online support, including helpful instructional videos. The adapter itself works well—and even supports steering wheel control.
$109.95

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Best Tried & True Brand: OTTOCAST Wireless CarPlay Adapter

Yes, there are many brands of CarPlay adapters out there, but this one came up time and time again when we asked our readers for their favorite: OTTOCAST. We liked this company’s detailed online support and instructional videos. Yes, there are some vehicles this unit is NOT compatible with—the company has a handy chart that lists models and years. 

What We Liked

 Excellent support with instructional videos.

• Easy to install.

• No lag time when using controls.

What Needs Work

• A bit pricey.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Connects in about 10 seconds
This dongle has a built-in cord and is super easy to set up—and it worked well in our tests, with no lag.
$89.99

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Best Budget-Friendly: Teeran CarPlay Wireless Adapter

This simple adapter has a wired connection via USB-A to a vehicle—which works in most vehicles (some newer cars may be USB-C only—good news, this model includes an A to C adapter if need be). It works well and is easy on the wallet.

What We Liked

• Easy install.

• Built-in cord to attach to car (with adapter if you need to go from A to C).

• Affordable.

What Needs Work

• Works with iPhone 6 and later (some other models we researched had wider compatibility).

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Best Aftermarket Compatibility

Super simple to use
Anyone can install this adapter. Plus it's one of the few we tried that also works with aftermarket CarPlay solutions by Pioneer, Kenwood and others.
$115.00

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Best Aftermarket Compatibility: Carlin Kit 3.0 Wireless CarPlay Adapter USB

If your vehicle didn’t come with factory-installed CarPlay, you can add a third-party deck to get this feature. And what if you want to add wireless CarPlay to your aftermarket CarPlay unit? This model by CarlinKit is a good solution—and yes it works with aftermarket decks by Kenwood, Alpine and Pioneer (check compatibility with your model before order, to make sure).

This is one of the few dongles that we tried that offers aftermarket compatibility—and it worked well.

What We Liked

• Easy to set up.

• Works with both built-in factory CarPlay and some aftermarket decks.

• No lag.

• Plug and play.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Takes about 20-30 seconds to connect, a bit longer than other models we tried.

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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