Simple to operate radio wanted.

Speeedy6 Newbie
I just want a simple , plain radio. Maybe one with channels I can pre - set. I usually listen to three or four channels only. No Bluetooth, synthesizer or multiple speaker control needed. It's for a work truck so I can listen to news or talk radio.
What I have is an aftermarket someone else installed before I got the vehicle. Simple , plain and easy to use. And Cheap !
Any suggestions?

audiobaun Veteran
5,000+ posts
10+ year member
Just look on Ebay.You may be able to find a Bnew cheap unit or a good used working unit for what you want to pay for be my suggestion.
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Does your current one not have presets (which you usually hold to set, and push to turn to). Bluetooth is pretty standard on anything new these days, (can't think of any reason to avoid it).

If you wanted as cheap and basic as possible, honestly I think you have two options:
1. Figure out what factory stereo was in there. Depending on the vehicle you can probably get it for about $10-$20 from a junk yard or craigslist.

2. (and FOR WHAT YOU ARE WANTING), just go to walmart, and get a head unit for $30-$50. They have some of the most basic brands and models there are, (that aren't right away cheap Chinese junk). If that's all you want, you can find it there quick and easy. The only other problem would be wiring it in. If you have some basic audio/electrical skills you will need to wire it up, and match up the wires in the harness that goes from the head unit to the vehicle's harness. - Any teenager with a stereo can do that if you have one of those handy they can do it for $20 or a 6 pack.

3. If you don't have one of them, you could just buy a head unit from the same manufacturer you have now. Buy the cheapest head unit they sell, and the wiring harnesses SHOULD match up, where you can just use the current one, and just swap over the head unit and be done with it.

Deiimos Regular
Columbus Ohio
I’d be curious to know the brand / model that is currently installed? Does it work? Too complicated to use? Or?

And what’s the year and make of the truck? If it’s older, just find a used OEM, which is probably the simplest to operate.

Speeedy6 Newbie
I appreciate the replies to the question. The radio in my work truck is the cheapest walmart had. It was in the truck when I bought it. The reason I know it was a cheap Walmart radio is the original went out the same week I got the truck and I found the same thing at w-mart.
I was surprised at how cheap and easy it was to install. It does have presets but it really has too many features. The pre set buttons are tiny , the thing has so many buttons I'm always confused if something needs to be re-set or changed. I thought the thing was broken till I punched more buttons on it after a week without it and I just had the stupid thing on the wrong setting.
I'm an old guy with big , stiff fingers and the buttons are tiny. Not only do I have to carefully push them to change channels but sometimes I end up hitting 2 at a time.
It's just frustrating. You guys are probably pretty young compared to me . In 60's and 70's cars , the radios had big , mechanical buttons for pre sets. You push those , you better have a strong finger. It had about 3/4 of and inch stroke and made a CLUUNK/CLANK sound and you knew you did something. Ah , the good old days. I would be happy with one of those old radios in a metal box meant to mount on a tractor fender.
I checked with pull-a-part. Seems the radio is the first thing stripped out of a car by the regulars to sell online.
Thanks for letting me ramble about my frustration . I'll check back if anyone has a suggestion. In the meantime , I may have to read the directions.
No worries man. I can think of 3 different things that MIGHT work, besides looking on ebay for something old school. I also go to PnP. I would bet the 80s-90s pickups are your best chance. (not sure when you go out, but I know mine puts my vehicle out on Tuesdays. If you aren't there within an hour of it being lifted out into the yard, the good stuff the resellers can make money off of is gone, (those clowns never know how to pull parts off either, and end up breaking most things). I'll try not to rant in your thread

1. You can still find an old school radio (60s and 70s cars), but you are going to pay $200-$300 for em.
There are quite a few sites, but something like this would have options:

2. You might want to try (the site is not working for me at the moment).
Many of the newer head units come with a remote control, (did you double check in the glove box, back of the seats, center console, door cards, just in case yours has one). Some remotes are dinky and you would need child sized hands to use, BUT, SOME are designed for clunky use and in ways that you don't have to look at em. I have seen some that look like upside down hand sized cones. They would have a top and bottom and you twist them for different functions. I THINK you can sort head units by the ones that have remotes and if you search through their user manuals, you can search, and might find something that will be really easy to use.

3. There are universal steering wheel controls. They connect to your head unit, (usually by bluetooth), and have big easy buttons on a control that you mount to your steering wheel, right where you keep your hands. There are different styles, but here is one that should give you an idea.

Also, you didn't say the kind of vehicle. Maybe swapping in something with steering wheel controls is an option.

I also have two Kenwood head units. To adjust anything, you push on the big round volume button to get into the menu, then turn to go through the list, and push again to change anything. It's pretty simple, and I can't think of any new head unit that isn't going to have a bunch of features. You might be better off with one that just has em, but has controls that are a little easier to use. Not sure of your style, but no reason you can't go into a best buy, or stereo store, and mess around with different brands and see which one has functions that are easier to use. Best Buy you're more likely to not be hovered over by a salesman if you tell em you are good one time, and they always have a nice display set up so you can try all sorts of different head units and speakers.
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hispls Veteran
5,000+ posts
10+ year member
Central Maine
I was surprised at how cheap and easy it was to install. It does have presets but it really has too many features.
I think you're going to find this is true across the board. Technology has come so far at this point that even the absolute rock bottom unit that will reliably power up will be loaded with "features".

I would suggest call up Crutchfield, they're extremely helpful on the phone support before and after the sale and can likely point you in the direction of what you're after if you tell them your priorities and goals. They've always done me right in suggesting products if I have some specific needs. Alternatively a decent brick and mortar store should have several models in a sound board where you could get your hands on them and see which has the sort of user interface that makes you comfortable.

Also I've had the best luck in the past with Pioneer for strong tuner section so if your goal is FM radio you might prioritize buying a Pioneer over other options all things equal.

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