Best Cassette Adapter Reviews

Before the time of auxiliary (aux) ports, CD players or even Bluetooth-capable players, most vehicles just have cassette tape players or tape decks. Older models of vehicles still have such decks as the only option for entertainment.

If that’s the case for your car, worry no more! In this post, we reviewed the 5 best cassette adapters so you can play music in your car even from your iPod or smartphone.

But what are cassette adapters and how do they function? If that’s the question in your mind, we’ve also prepared to a brief answer to that before we listed the best cassette adapters.

What are Cassette Adapters?

Primarily, cassette adapters look very similar to cassette tapes so you can insert them to your car’s tape deck. However, instead of a magnetic tape where you will usually record your audio, you will find magnetic inductors and gears inside a cassette adapter (Source).

Each cassette adapter has a jack that you may plug in to your CD player, phone or iPod. Once the cassette adapter is inserted in your car’s tape deck, the sound will come out of your car stereo.

With this device, you can play your favorite soundtracks from various multimedia players and enjoy your drive.

History of Cassette Adapters

Cassette adapters were patented way back in March 29, 1988. It’s a kind of simple device that allows you to use various portable audio players and devices in older tape decks.

Initially, it was simply designed to enable car users to connect their CD players to the car stereos that only had cassette players. Yet, as technology evolved, cassette adapters were continued to be used even in cars with CD players to allow the use of other media players such as smartphones.

An ordinary cassette adapter has a single-sided writing tape connected to a stereo mini-jack connector with a cord. This cord is connected to the device’s output or headphone port and the electric signal is then converted into a magnetic signal by the head. The magnetic signal is received by the tape deck’s reading head, being converted back to electric signal, then amplified in the vehicle’s sound system.

However, a newer type of cassette adapter has also been developed. They are still shaped like a cassette tape but they’re actually MP3 players that can already store music and may be used with headphones. They can also be used in tape decks and usually have a double-sided head.

For this review, our top pick is the BESDATA universal cassette adapter. It’s a very affordable device yet promises all the great features that you may be looking for in a cassette adapter. 

Top 5 Best Cassette Adapter Reviews

1. BESDATA Universal Car Cassette Player Adapter with 3.5mm Male Jack and 2.5mm Plug Adapter for iPod, iPad, iPhone, MP3, Mobil Device, Black

BESDATA Universal Car Cassette PlayerThe BESDATA cassette adapter boasts of a three feet 3.5mm cable and a 2.5mm extra plug adapter.

You also have four different variations to choose from – two models that already allow call functions, one with microphone, and one without microphone. Although their prices are not far from each other, BESDATA cassette adapters, in general, are pretty affordable.

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This lightweight cassette adapter can be used with various gadgets such as iPods, iPads, mp3 players, smartphones, and other devices where you can plug in a 3.5mm or a 2.5mm jack.

It is also spring-loaded to make sure that it’s always in solid contact with your car’s tape deck. This BESDATA cassette adapter also has an improved cassette head mechanism that produces better sound quality.

If you’re worried about its compatibility with your vehicle’s tape deck, then this adapter is pretty versatile. You may use it on decks with side opening or with top opening since its cable may be moved from one end of the cassette adapter to the other.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a three-feet cable and 2.5mm adapter
  • Compatible with different kind of devices
  • Can be used in any type of tape deck

Cons

  • Looks and feels cheap

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2. Walkman Car Connecting Pack for MD Walkman and CD Walkman (Model# CPA-9C)

Walkman Car Connecting Pack for MD Walkman and CD Walkman (Model# CPA-9C)This Walkman CPA-9C cassette adapter is for vehicles with cassette decks that have side tape opening. On one side, it has a mini-plug that you can insert into your player’s headphone jack.

It features a silent mechanism that reduces the mechanical noise. With this, you can hear the sound from your CD or smartphone with better quality.

It also has a self-adjusting spring-loaded head that will automatically adjust itself to fit well in your vehicle’s tape deck.

It’s ideal to be used with Sony MiniDisc or Discman CD players. Yet, it will also work just fine even with non-Sony products.

Pros

  • Features silent mechanism
  • Spring-loaded head

Cons

  • Quite expensive compared to others on the list

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3. INSTEN 3.5mm Universal Car Audio Cassette Adapter for Smartphones, 3-Feet Cord (Black)

INSTEN 3.5mm Universal Car Audio Cassette Adapter for Smartphones, 3-Feet Cord (Black)This next cassette adapter from Insten is also compatible with most mobile devices – from iPods to smartphones – with its 3.5mm mini-plug that may be inserted to your device’s jack.

It boasts of a silent mechanism that can lessen the mechanical noise and allows you to have better quality sound.  Its head is also spring-loaded to maintain optimum contact with your tape deck and produce clear sound.

It also comes with a 30-feet cable so you can comfortably place your device anywhere you want. You may also insert the cassette adapter on its side or on its top since you can alter the cabling of the adapter through its groove on top.

Yet, the Insten cassette adapter is unidirectional. The side stating “cassette adapter” should be facing up when it’s inserted into the tape deck. More so, to obtain the right quality of sound, the device should only be at 80% max volume. Otherwise, the sound will be distorted in some sort.

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Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Comes with a three-feet cable
  • Can be inserted with the top or on its side

Cons

  • Still produces loud mechanical noise
  • Have issues in compatibility with some car tape decks

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4. Insten Car Audio Cassette Tape Adapter Compatible with iPod / Sony MP3 CD

Insten Car Audio Cassette Tape Adapter Compatible with iPodThis cassette adapter still from Insten is the most affordable one you’d find in this list. Yet, it is very much similar with the others especially with the previous one from Insten.

It boasts of being compatible with various Apple products, such as iPhones, iPods and the like. It has a mini-plug insert that you may plug in to various mobile devices.

This cassette adapter also has a silent mechanism to reduce mechanical noise while on the road. It also has a spring-loaded head to maintain optimum contact with the vehicle’s tape deck and provide clear sound.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Compatible with most mobile devices
  • With spring-loaded head

Cons

  • Still produces loud mechanical noise
  • Does not work in some vehicles’ tape deck

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5. AirChichi 3.5mm Car Audio Tape Cassette Adapter – for iPhone, iPad iPod MP3 Player CD Radio Nano, 3 Feet Long Cable (A-1)

AirChichi 3.5mmLastly, the cassette adapter from AirChichi comes with a three-feet cable with 3.5mm male jack and a 2.5mm male adapter. These make the cassette adapter compatible with almost all mobile devices.

This lightweight, portable device is also spring-loaded to keep it in place inside your car’s tape deck. It is also equipped with silent mechanism to provide better sound quality.

Pros

  • Comes with 3-feet cable and 2.5mm adapter
  • Compatible with most mobile devices
  • With spring-loaded head

Cons

  • Works great at first but easily breaks

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Buying Guide (Features to Consider)

The cassette adapters reviewed above are very much the same with one another. If you’re having a hard time choosing which one to buy, here’s a brief buying guide to help you out.

Mainly, the features you’d want to look out for are Sound Quality, Durability and Compatibility (Source).

Sound Quality

Since you want to play music from your mobile devices to your car stereo, you’d want to preserve the quality of the music. However, not all cassette adapters can do that. Some produce mechanical sounds from the gears inside the cassette adapter.

As such, you’d want to make sure that your cassette adapter has an effective silent mechanism so your music will not be distorted with noises.

Durability

From the reviews, apparently, some adapters do not last long. This is where you have to be critical.

Choose the cassette adapter that’s not only cheap but will stay with you and continue to function as expected through your many road trips. Surely, you wouldn’t want to buy a cassette adapter every time you have a travel coming up.

Compatibility

A vehicle’s tape deck allows a cassette or cassette adapter to be inserted either on its side or on its top. You will want to make sure that your adapter can be inserted in the way that’s compatible with your vehicle’s tape deck.

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Some cassette adapters allow you to insert the device either on the side or on its top to fit your car’s tape deck. You would want to opt for cassette adapters with this feature if you are intending to use it in various tape decks.

How to Use Cassette Adapters

For the next part, here’s a quick step by step process on how to use your cassette adapters (Source).

  1. Insert the mini-plug from the cassette adapter into your device’s jack.
  2. Turn on your car radio/stereo and keep it at the lowest volume first.
  3. Insert the cassette adapter into your vehicle’s tape deck.
  4. Play the music from your phone or from any device you chose to listen to.
  5. Adjust the volume of your device and of your car stereo at your preferred level.
  6. Once you’re done listening, eject the adapter the same way you would eject a regular cassette tape. You may also leave the adapter in the deck if you wish.

Other Applications

Although cassette adapters are usually used in cars, they can also be used with other audio equipment. They can be used with a microphone, handheld game console, or laptop computer. It may also be used in a home tape deck to play sound from any device (Source).

Conclusion

Cassette tapes may already be a thing of the past. However, it is still possible that you will encounter tape decks around – in your car, at home, and in other entertainment venues.

With cassette adapters, you don’t have to worry about not being able to use your tape decks because of the new portable audio devices and smartphones. As such, you can consider that cassette adapters are devices that allows you to connect new technology with the older ones.

Although their features appear to be very similar with one another, their construction and design are not. Some are less durable, others still produces mechanical noise as you use them so be extra careful as you choose.

Regardless, we hope that you’d find one that will best suit your vehicle. And, enjoy your road trip with your best soundtrack.

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