A few decades ago, we started pimping cars with powerful sound systems, psychedelic lights, and glammed up license plates. We went from tape decks to multiple CD changers, and eventually TV screens right in the dash. They can be distracting though, so use them with care.
Rather than risking a car crash, some DVD players are installed in the back seat. There, passengers can safely entertain themselves without distracting the driver. So how can you be sure you’ve bought the best portable DVD player for your car? Let’s find out!
The Best Portable DVD Player on the Market 2021
1. DBPower 11.5-Inch Portable DVD Player
View on Amazon (Our Top Pick)
Some car accessories never leave the car. But if you’re buying a portable DVD player, you probably bring it home after every drive. This means you need some household features for your car DVD. One example? Screen sharing. DBPower can project the same playback on multiple screens. At home, this means you can push the DVD visuals onto the TV.
In the car, you can cast your DVD show onto multiple headrest screens. Or you can cast your smartphone feed onto the DVD screen. And this screen is versatile. It can fold out flat to 180°, and it can also swivel sideways to 270°. The DVD player is 11.5 inches wide with a 9-inch screen.
For antsy kids and impatient passengers, the DVD player’s memory function is a treasure. Even if the player or the car goes off, your show will resume at the exact point where it stopped. DBPower plays back multiple formats from VCDs to JPEGs and MP4s. It takes USB as well and can read SD cards with capacities up to 32GB. It can play visual only, audio, or both.
When you want a stylish, versatile machine with extended battery life, pick the DBPower. It comes with a car charger, an AV cable, and an adapter, but has no Bluetooth functionality.
2. ieGeek 9.5-Inch Portable DVD Player
When you’re buying a portable DVD player, double-check the screen size. The screen frame often means you’re getting fewer inches than you think. For example, this 11-inch ieGeek DVD player only has a 9.5-inch screen. It does have anti-glare protection though, so it’s gentler on your eyes and more effective for daytime viewing. And its battery can last up to 5 hours.
Despite its clarity and hi-tech features, this DVD player is pretty green. Its screen is made from recycled refuse but still offers the full HD experience. The DVD is region-free, so it can play DVDs from all six regions. It can also play CDs, DVD-Rs, and VCDs. On the multimedia side, it can play WMA, JPEG, AVI, VOB, MP3, and more. It can read USBs and SD cards up to 32GB.
If you’re using headrest screens, you can manually connect the DVD player to more than one screen. It’s a manual connection though, so you’ll need AV cables. You can also use AV cables to link your portable DVD player to the TV. Like the DBPower. ieGeek can swivel sideways to 270° and flip forward or backward to 180°. You can play videogames on it too.
This DVD player maximizes your audio experience, with two speakers plus a 3.5 mm earphone jack. It comes in four stylish colors to suit your style. It has no remote controller though.
3. Sylvania C-Gold 7-Inch Portable DVD Player
The Sylvania looks hefty and weighs 2 pounds, but it only offers 7 inches of screen space. It comes in gold (brownish-beige), black, and blue. The screen is a TFT-LCD that can swivel 180°. As for the DVD player, it reads both ‘original’ formats like CDs and DVDs, plus burned formats like CD-R and MP3s. It can also read still mages off JPEGs and can view USBs and SD cards.
It has handy non-tech accessories, such as car mounting straps and a carrier bag. But although it has a rechargeable lithium battery, it also needs 2 AAA batteries for its remote controller. The box includes an AC adapter, a car charger, stereo earphones, the remote, installation straps, and of course the DVD player itself. The DVD player’s speakers are built-in.
While it plays most of the formats that came before the DVD, it doesn’t play BluRay. It also doesn’t play MP4, though it can play MPEG4. It can be a little puzzling to use though. For example, to play USB or SD files, you have to switch from DVD-mode to USB-mode, which isn’t an intuitive move. Also, the sound is on the lower side so you may need an external speaker.
Sylvania looks good, with her pretty gold tint. But this portable DVD player rejects some formats, is tied to specific DVD regions and needs a little help boosting its sound.
4. NaviSkauto 12.5-Inch Portable DVD Player
When DVDs first came out, we were very careful about regions. Why? Because it was extremely frustrating to have a DVD you couldn’t play. These days, we forget to check. But your portable DVD player will mostly be used to placate the kids. It will keep them safe and keep you sane during long trips. But they’ll probably play the same set of DVDs they’ve always loved.
Meaning these DVDs are old, and you may end up with a DVD player that can’t read them. NaviSkauto solves this because it’s a no-region player. It can read movies from anywhere, as well as USB, SD, and MMC inputs. Its processor is fairly fast, so it can view these formats up to 128GB, much higher than the standard 32GB in many portable DVD players.
This 12.5-inch DVD player has a 10.1-inch screen and a 5-hour battery. Its screen resolution is 1024 x 600, and your media will play from the exact spot where it stops. The device ships with a remote controller, a car charger for your cigarette port, and a wall charger for indoor use. AV cables are also included in the box. The vertical and horizontal swivels offer added convenience.
Naviskauto makes a mean portable DVD player. It has extra-loud built-in speakers and two nearly 10-foot chargers. It’s bulky though, and heavy. It weighs in at 3.69 pounds.
5. AudioVox Movies2Go Headrest Portable DVD Player
Ordinarily, you get a DVD player and link it to a monitor. Or you buy a portable unit that has a screen attached to the media reader. AudioVox is a little different because it’s a screen with a DVD player built-in. And it’s designed to be mounted at the back of your headrests.
When you buy this product, you get two pieces – one for each headrest. You also get two pairs of wireless headphones. These headphones double as radio receivers. They can ‘catch’ local FM signals once you calibrate them correctly. The DVD player can receive HDMI and MHL inputs.
The screens are 9 inches wide and are fitted for adjustable headrests. The headrest covers are included, so you can easily slip them over your front seats and mount your DVD player. The covers are available in black, gray, or tan. The DVD players are heavy though – 10 lbs a piece.
And the screens have optional 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios for cinematic viewing. You can toggle between the two settings, depending on your viewing preferences. You can also adjust the screen angle. The DVD players accept USB, and the package ships with a remote controller included.
Passengers in the back of your car will love the conveniently mounted DVD player screens. And with no cables to entangle, the wireless headphones are a godsend.
6. Ueme 10.1-Inch Portable DVD Player
Headrests are a convenient mounting option for car DVD players. But it’s not always easy to do the actual mounting. Ueme eases the process by including mounting cases with its products. These cases slip over your existing seat covers and hold your DVD player snugly in position. Just swivel your DVD player into a tablet configuration and slide it into place.
The Ueme screen is 10.1 inches, with a resolution of 1024 x 600. It has a battery life of 4 to 5 hours, but you can plug it directly into a wall port or car charger. The charger is 6 feet long to comfortably reach the back of the car. A wall adapter and car charger are both included in the package, as well as an AV cable for manual linking. The DVD player supports multiple formats.
These cover everything from EVO to HDCD, as well as still images and audio-only formats. It’s a non-region DVD player, but it can’t read BluRay. Playback picks up at the exact moment it stopped, so you don’t have to waste time rewinding, forwarding, or skipping through scenes with potential spoilers. This is an especially useful feature for roadside rest stops and antsy kids.
When ‘they have to go’ and you have to stop the car, that ‘last memory’ feature saves you a lot of headaches. Just make sure they don’t trip over the 6-foot charger as they dash out of the car!
7. SUNPIN 9.5-Inch Portable DVD Player
We worry a lot about our kids’ screen time. Except during road trips. When you’re stuck in the car with them and their cabin fever is driving you both mad, your screens become your savior!! The SUNPIN screen, in particular, can be helpful if you’re traveling with multiple kids.
You don’t have to listen to that same insane song (Bay-bee-SHARK-dudududu) or watch that video for the umpteenth time. Instead, stick in some headphones or earphones and they can replay as much as they like. The SUNPIN has two earphone ports, so both kids can plug in at the same time. But only if they can agree to watch the same show or listen to the same playlist …
The SUNPIN screen is 9.5 inches, though it’s housed in an 11-inch casing. The package also contains a headrest sleeve you can lace onto your seat before slipping in your DVD player. The player accepts DVD, CD, USB, and SD inputs. The screens have enhanced brightness for daytime viewing, even in a top-down car. You can buy the DVD player in 5 colors.
If you’d like your kids distracted as you listen to your preferred podcast or playlist, plug some headphones into the SUNPIN and let them play what they want. Be careful with the wires!
8. Pyle 15-Inch Portable DVD Player
You may wonder why your DVD player has USB limits. Your USB stick (or SD card) are external storage devices, so anything can read them if it has the right port … right? Wrong. To open a large storage device in real-time, you need a processor that can decipher their component data instantly. In the case of the Pyle, the maximum reading size for external storage is 32GB.
Anything larger will freeze your machine and potentially corrupt your files. But the DVD player can read CDs and DVDs, top-loading them to improve maneuverability. You do have to remember to switch it on-and-off twice. First, slide the on-off switch on the side before pressing the power button at the top of your DVD player. This conserves battery power.
The DVD player provides HD playback, both for stills and moving pictures. The built-in stereo speakers emit superior sound quality, even without headphones. Its anti-shock playback system means your media doesn’t skip even as your car rumbles of bumps and jolts on the road. The DVD player has 180° flip and a 270° swivel so it folds away neatly for mounting or storage.
Pyle gives you more screen space than many models on the market. The 17.9-inch device yields 15.6 inches of screen space, with stereo sound and remote control access.
9. Synagy 12-Inch Portable DVD Player
If you’re a certain age, you know the wariness surrounding CDs and vinyl. They scratch easily so if you don’t handle them delicately, they’ll soon become unusable. So when they’re designing high-quality DVD players (like Synagy) manufacturers insert anti-shock protection. This absorbs the bumps and scrapes of typical road use without damaging your CDs and DVDs.
Synagy doesn’t just play discs though. It can also playback USB, SD, WMA, AVI, DIVX, and much more, both original content and burnt media. You can charge your DVD player using a car charger or an AC charger that plugs into the wall. Both cables come with the package, and the rechargeable battery lasts about 4 hours between charging sessions.
The car charger is 49 inches long while the wall charger is 60 inches long, giving you sufficient distance from your power source. This gives you viewing versatility since you can stretch the cables and charge while watching. The screen resolution is 1024 x 800. You can use the included RCA AV wiring to link your DVD player to a TV, external speakers, or earphones.
The Synagy tablet is larger than your average portable DVD player. It could easily be mistaken for a laptop or tablet. Just makes sure your cables don’t become a tripping hazard.
10. Boss Audio Flip Down Portable DVD Player
Flip-down DVD players are convenient because they fold out of sight when you’re not using them. The Boss Audio version 12.1-inch monitor and comes with two pairs of wireless headphones. The headphones use two AAA batteries and you’ll go through them quite fast, so buy them in bulk if you can. The initial packaging doesn’t include headphone batteries.
The DVD player has a built-in rechargeable battery. It needs 12V to power it. While the headphones allow two users to watch and listen together, it needs a visible line of sight. These headphones are infrared, not Bluetooth. So they need direct access to the DVD player to receive the signal. If they’re blocked by – say – a headrest, the headphones won’t work.
This Boss Audio has a high-res screen of 1280 x 800 and is set to a 16:9 configuration. The gadget has a 3-year warranty, and it can read data off CDs, DVDs, USB, SD, MP3, and other formats. The dome light helps you see the controls when the car is dark. It often replaces the car’s original ceiling light. The DVD player can receive FM signals, and it comes with a remote.
The Boss Audio Overhead Flip-down DVD Player is centrally mounted and can swivel 270°. Its accompanying headphones offer convenience, but you’ll run a high bill on batteries.
You already know your DVD player should out of the driver’s eye-line. And you want a DVD player with long battery life. That way, you won’t waste your car battery recharging it. And you might consider whether it’s a portable, a flip-down, or a rearview. What other factors inform your choice? Let’s explore some tips on buying the best portable DVD player for your car.
At home, the DVD player plugs into the TV. But for portable units, the DVD player needs a dedicated screen. The bigger the better, because you get a clearer image and a more enjoyable viewing experience. But you have to balance screen size with other factors. Is it LCD or plasma? How is the screen resolution? Is it visible in daylight or do you have to darken your windows?
You could also consider power usage. In older cars, you can listen to music while the car is off, but it uses up the car battery. Does your screen work while the car is in park or do you need to turn on the ignition to watch a show? Is the sound system on your DVD player good enough to drown car sounds? If not, you need headphones or earbuds, and that’s an extra expense.
Rappers and celebrities often have a hi-tech TV or DVD right on the dash. But this makes it hard to drive, and may even break certain traffic rules. So your DVD player is better off in the back of the car. But where exactly will you watch it? Is it a compact device you can tuck into a drawer and take out at will? Or will you attach the screens permanently to the back of your headrests?
Depending on where your DVD will be installed, you need to buy the right kind. For example, portable DVD players with seat-mounted screens need a separate space for the DVD slot and control panel. But if it’s a portable gadget you brought from the house, then you need a secure mounting position. One that won’t throw the device around while you’re driving.
Along the same lines, in case the DVD player does get tossed around the car, you want it to withstand physical damage. It should have a hard outer casing and a reinforced screen to survive bumps and bruises. The typical whiplash from a stoplight (or deer) could send your DVD player flying through the windscreen. And even it rams the dash instead, you don’t want it to die.
At the same time, you want a portable DVD player with a lightweight body. That way, if your emergency brakes do send the device flying and it hits someone, it won’t cause too much damage. After all, would you rather be attacked by a laptop or a calculator? Point made. If possible, you want the DVD player to also resist the effects of food spills and soda splashes.
A lot of us learned the subtle art of flipping stations while driving. Some of us could even change tapes, CDs, and DVDs. USB sticks require a little more versatility. Either way, if you’re driving up front and the kids are watching movies in the back, you may need dexterity to manage the controls. Pick a portable DVD player with a remote controller and/or touchscreen.
This way, the kids can operate it themselves. These are also helpful control options if you’re watching a show during your lunch break, or feeding a baby in the car. In both cases, your hands are sticky and pre-occupied. Plus, you don’t want the extra task of having to clean the screen from stubborn food stains and other gunk. Especially is the screen is water-sensitive.
You may not worry about DVD regions, but it’s worth checking. You don’t want to buy a machine that can’t play your kids’ nauseating favorites. Otherwise, you’ll have a whole new tantrum to deal with! But it’s not just DVDs. These days, we store movies on USB sticks and phone files. We can even stream live through YouTube, Vimeo, and paid streaming platforms.
That’s why it helps if your portable DVD player can accept these formats too. It should have a USB slot and WiFi connectivity. You can also check whether it has casting capacity. That way, you can screencast your smartphone onto the DVD screen and enjoy ‘free’ mobile content. Besides, you never know when you’ll get the urge to play that old MP3 from high school.
Whether you need to keep the kids occupied on a road trip or indulge in lunch-time cinema, we recommend buying the DBPower portable car DVD. Here’s why:
- It plays multiple still, audio, and video formats, including USB, SVCD, WAV, and DIVX.
- It flips both horizontally (180°) and vertically (270°).
- It has ports for earphones, AV, and DC.
- It can be operated by remote.
- Its screen sharing function can be projected onto TV screens.
- Its battery lasts 5 hours.
Do you have a DVD player in your car or just a sound system? Tell us about it in the comments!