Best Heads-up Display
Keeping your eyes on the road is a big part of keeping you safe, so it stands to reason that all of your vital information that you need to drive should be right where your eyes are. If your car doesn’t come with a standard heads up display, or HUD, you might want to considering buying one on your own. They are sort of like Google glass- only for your windshield instead on your eyes. A good HUD is going to be able to relay all of the important information that you need such as miles per hour, time, temperature, and some models can even give you directions. It turned your car into something out of a futuristic movie, and most come in at a very affordable price point. In this guide you will find some of our favorite picks for heads up displays.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 5 hrs of research
Easy to use
Small and compact
Automatic shut off
Top 10 Picks
Easy to use
Small and compact
Automatic shut off
Users do not like the overspeed alarm, and there is no way to shut it off or adjust it
From what we have gathered, this design from SHEROX is the easiest and more effective model out there on the market that works with almost any style of car. Setting it up is a breeze, and it is able to display all of your vehicles important information right onto the windshield.Read more
This unit is able to let the user know just how fast they are driving with digital numbers reflected onto the windshield. It is also able to to tell them the water temperature under the hood, the battery voltage, and it even has an alarm to tell you when you are driving too fast.
Ease of use
The great part about this design is that is doesn’t require an reflective tape to be applied to your windshield. Simply mount the small box to your dashboard just above your steering wheel, and the it will reflect the information right in front of you.
This unit plugs into your car’s OBD2/EUOBD interface, which is something that is found in most car’s that were manufactured since 2003. It also has an automatic on and off features that will turn itself off when you power down your vehicle.
This unit is small and compact, and measures to be about 3 inches long and only 1 inch wide, which means that you are barely going to notice it on your dashboard.
The cost of this unit is runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price. It isn’t the most expensive design out there, but it is far from being the least expensive. It will likely set you back about as much as you would spend filling up your gas tank.
If you are in the market for something that it going to be able to sync to most styles of cars, and it inscreadly easy to use without breaking the bank, this is going to be one of your best options.
Bright enough to see on a bright and sunny day
Easy to set up
A little difficult to calibrate- some users feel it is always off by at least 1 MPH
Overspeed buzzer is unpleasant
This model from Yunju is very similar to the SHEROX design, but it was dropped to our number 2 spot because it has a few limitations that make it a little less than ideal. We like it because it is easy to use and set up, and gives you all of the important information you will need right on your windshield.Read more
From the very small box on your dash, this is going to be able to tell you how fast you are driving, and warning buzzer will activate if you are driving too fast. It is also able to tell drivers the water temperature under the hood, and the battery voltage as well.
Ease of use
Unlike some of the other designs that we have seen, this unit is going to be bright enough that you aren’t going to need to put any reflective tape on your windshield. Simply mount the small box to your dashboard, and it is going to be bright enough to see the numbers clearly even on bright and sunny days (but not in direct sunlight).
To use this device, simply plug it into the OBD II or EOBD plug found near your fuse box. This design is a little more limited, and isn’t compatible with vehicles that were made before 2008, and it also isn’t compatible with Blade electric cars.
With a 3.5 inch screen display, the numbers are going to be nice and big and easy to read. The entire unit measures to be 7.2 centimeters long and 5 centimeters wide, and stands to be about 2.5 centimeters tall at the highest point.
While it does have a few downsides when it comes to compatibility, users really appreciate that this design comes in at a really affordable price point. In fact, it is one of the more affordable options that we have found.
For users that have newer cars that were made after 2008, this is going to be a really great option to give a try that comes in at one of the most affordable price points out there on the market.
Color coded display for easy reading if information
Shows gas consumption
Auto shut off
Some found that the display is rather dim in bright sunlight
This design from Arestech is going to give you a lot more information at once, and it is going to take up more room on your windshield as well. Users love that is has a smart and color coded design that makes reading all of the information quick and easy, even when you are driving.Read more
Just like the make of the other designs that we have seen, this unit is going to be able to tell you just how fast you are going, and it will also alert you when you are going too fast. It will be able to tell you the water temperature under the hood, as well as the voltage of the battery. One thing that we noticed that it does differently is that it is also able to indicate your fuel consumption.
Ease of use
All you are going to need to do to use this device is to mount the small box to your dashboard. It is bright enough that users aren’t going to need to hassle with reflective tape on their windshield.
This is where it gets a little tricky, because this unit isn’t going to work with some brands and years of cars. Just like many of the others, it plugs into the OBD II or EUOBD plug found under the steering wheel. Arestech provides a list of compatible brands and years of cars, so be sure you consult their list before making a purchase.
This unit is just a little bit bigger than most, but it also provides more information at a given time. It measures to be about 5 inches long, 3 inches wide, and is just .5 inches tall.
The cost of this design runs about in the middle of the road in terms of price. We feel that is it an excellent value because it has a sleek way of displaying a wide range of information, and it is very easy to use.
For those that want something that is going to be able to display quite a bit more information at a given time, this is going to be one of your better options. Just keep in mind that it is a little more limited on the brands of automobiles that it can accommodate.
Versatile display screen
Easy to install
Long list of cars that it will not work with
What we liked most about this design is that it actually gives the user a choice to use a reflective design on the windshield, or they could simply opt to flip it up to read directly from the screen. Users like the variety of color coordinated information that is provided, and it comes in at an affordable price point.Read more
This unit is going to be able to indicate just how fast you are traveling, and will offer a warning indication when you are driving too fast. It can indicate how hot the water temperature is under the hood, and it offers a voltage indicator on your battery. Users also appreciate that it also has a fuel consumption indicator, and it also provides RPM as well as MPH.
Ease of use
To use this device, you are simply going to need to mount it to your dash after getting it plugged in. Users will be able to adjust the brightness for a stronger reflection during the day, or they can flip the entire unit upwards to be able to read the information directly from the screen.
Just like all of the other designs that we have seen, this unit plugs into the OBD-II in your car. The downside to this model is that there is a long list of cars and trucks that this unit is not compatible with, and many of them are very popular styles such as the Jeep Wrangler and the Honda CRV. Be sure to check to make sure that your car isn’t on the list before you buy!
This unit is a little smaller than most, and measures to be just under 5 inches long and 3 inches wide.
The cost of this unit is on par with many of the other designs that we have seen out there on the market. It will likely cost you about the same amount it takes to fill your tank with gas.
We like the versatility of this design, as well as the information that it is able to displace on the screen. The only downside to this option is that there is a long list of cars that it is not compatible with.
5. color tree
Offers more information than most
Comes with a reflective film with purchase
A little more expensive than most
Some found it was a little difficult to set up
What users really like most about this option from color tree is that is a white a bit bigger than many of the other designs that we have seen, and it can display a wide array of information right onto your windshield.Read more
This design gives you all of the standard information that you need such as your speed, water temperature, and a voltage meter. It also provides a few things that we haven’t seen on any other design, such as a fatigued driver reminder (for those long trips), a compass, and an engine fault alarm.
Ease of use
After plugging it in, users will simply need to mount this small, thin box to their dashboard right above the steering wheel. This option comes with a pack that has a mounting unit that makes placing it on your dash incredibly easy.
Simply plug this design into the OBDII or EUOBD plug on the underside of your steering wheel. It is made to work with a wide variety of cars, but if you find that it doesn’t work on your car, they will kindly offer you your money back within 90 days.
This unit measures to be 6.5 inches long, and just over 5 inches wide- making it one of the larger designs to be found on our list.
The cost of this design is just slightly more expensive than many of the average price options out there on the market. However, we feel that the added features make it well worth the slightly higher cost.
For those that are looking for something that is going to be able to give you a wide range of information right at your eyeline at all times- including the health of your engine (which can really give you peace of mind on those long road trips), this is an excellent option.
Wide screen displays a lot of information
Easy set up
May not work with older pre-2008 vehicles
This is another option that is going to give you all of the information that you need in a very organized way that is easy to read while you are driving, and it comes in a sleek and compact design that you are barely going to notice on your dashboard.Read more
Users can expect all of the basic functions from this model, plus a few extra that you don’t often see on many designs. It is going to be able to tell you just how fast you are going, how hot the water in your engine is running, your battery voltage, and your average fuel consumption. It also had indicators to tell you when you are driving too fast, and a fatigued driver alert when you have been driving for too long.
Ease of use
Once it is plugged in, all you will need to do is mount it on your dashboard at an angle that is easy to read. If you are seeing double in the windshield, that means you are going to need to hang the reflective film that is included with your purchase.
This unit plugs into any OBD II EOBD, which can be found in most modern cars. The bad news about these connections is that it might not be great for cars that were made before 2008.
With a screen that measures to be about 5.5 inches, this is one of the bigger options we have seen. However, don’t confuse a bigger screen with bulky, because this unit will only sit up about a little over an inch on your dashboard.
The cost of this design is just slightly more than some of the other similar options out there. However, we feel that the wide range of color coordinated information makes it well worth the slightly higher price point.
If you are in the market for something that is going to have a lot of information about your driving as well as the health of your car on those long road trips this summer, this design from YICOTA is going to be an excellent driving companion.
Works on most models of cars
Easy to use
Standard and simple display options
Not very bright on sunny days
Users had difficulty calibrating the speed correctly
While this design from Trainshow offers users all of the important information that they need when driving, the real thing that sets this unit apart from the test is the features that you will be able to turn off. If you want something that is going to have the option to have a more minimalist UI, this is going to be your best bet.Read more
This unit is going to be able to display how fast you are driving, the water temperature under the hood, the voltage of the battery, your engine's RPM, and your average fuel consumption. It also has an indicator to tell you when you are driving to fast. The best part about this design is that it has a standard setting that shows you all of the information at once, or a simple setting that just shows you your speed.
Ease of use
To use this design, you are going to need to plug it in under the steering wheel, and run the line to the left of the dashboard. Using the mount that is included with purchase, mount this screen to the dashboard right in your line of sight.
Users will need to plug this unit in the OBD II jack on the underside of the steering wheel. While there are a few brands and models of cars that this unit will not work on, that list is much smaller than some of the others we have seen. It also isn’t designed to work on cars that were made before 2003.
The screen on this design is one of the bigger options that we have seen out there on the market, and measures to be 5.5 inches.
The cost of this unit is just slightly higher than most similar designs, but we feel that this higher price point is worth it based upon the customization of display and ease of use.
For those that are looking for something that is a little more customizable than some of the other designs out there, and will deliver all of the info you will need on those long car trips, this is a great option.
Easy to set up
Comes with reflective tape for your windshield
Does not turn off and on with the car
What we liked most from this option from VGEBY is that while it gives you all of the pertinent information like that from many of the other brands, the display is a little more sleek and understanded, which can actually be a little less distracting when you are on the road.Read more
This unit has all of the features that you need to keep yourself safe on the road. It is able to tell you just how fast you are going, and it will indicate if you are traveling too fast. It also tells you the engine temperature as well as battery voltage, and it will also notify you if any of those systems are in the danger zone.
Ease of use
After you have plugged it into the power source, all you will need to do is fasten it to the dashboard right in front of your steering wheel. This option comes with a reflective shield to mount on your glass for added visibility.
This unit is powered by an OBD II or EUOBD diagnostic system. This means that if your vehicle does not use these types of diagnostic ports (typically found under the steering wheel). We found that this unit will work on most cars that were made after about 2003, but if you find that it isn’t compatible with your car, they offer a money back guarantee.
We found that this model is a little smaller than most. It measures to be 3.5 inches long, and 2.1 inches wide.
This design is a little smaller than most, and it doesn’t offer the same amount of information as some of the other designs, but the good news is that it comes in at a price point that is significantly lower than other options we have seen out there on the market.
If you are looking for something that is going to be small, sleek, and easy to use, while also coming in at a really affordable price point, we feel that this design is an excellent choice.
Works in all types of years of automobiles
Easy to install
Large 5.5 inch screen
A little expensive
Doesn’t read engine diagnostics
What users really like most about this option from Pyle is that it has a large display screen that uses color coded information so that you will be able to easily check all of your vital information at a glance. It comes in at a higher price point than most, but users seemed pretty pleased at the performance of this design.Read more
The LED screen is going to reflect into your windshield and provide you with important information such as how fast you are driving, the direction in which you are driving, and it will even display your altitude (which is something we haven’t seen on any other model). The downside to this model is that it isn’t going to be able to read any diagnostics going on inside of your car.
Ease of use
Just like any other option, all you will need to do it mount the screen to your dashboard near the steering wheel. It also comes with reflective tape to enhance the quality of the image in your windshield.
What makes this unit different is that it doesn’t plug into a diagnostic port- it simply plugs right into the cigarette outlet in your car. You can also elect to also plug it into a USB port as well. However, this means that it isn’t going to be able to read any important diagnostics going on inside your car as you drive.
This unit has one of the bigger screens that means to be 5.5 inches, making it one of the larger screens out there on the market.
Another downside to this model is that it comes in at a price point that is almost double the price of some of the more affordable options.
The good news about this design from Pyle is that it going to be incredibly easy to use, and because it plugs right into the cigarette lighter that can be found in every make, model, and year of car, this is going to be perfect for everyone.
Reflective lens built right into the unit
Easy to use
A little expensive
Will only display one set of numbers at a given time
Simplicity is the name of the game with this option from DRIVIM. It can only read one piece of information at a time, but users love that it is incredibly bright- even in the middle of a sunny day, and it is incredibly easy to use.Read more
This unit is going to be able to tell you the speed in which you are traveling, as well as alert you when you are traveling too fast. It can also tell you how hot your engine is running, the voltage of your battery, and engine RPM.
Ease of use
Once plugged into the diagnostic port, simply mount the screen to the dashboard of your car. The thing that users love most about this is that there is a reflective board built directly into the unit, so you will not need to worry about mounting any type of adhesive to your windshield.
Users will need to plug this unit into the OBDII port that is found in most American cars built after 2004, and most European and Japanese cars that were made after 2008.
The unit is quite a bit smaller than others that we have seen out there on the market. It measures to be just 3 inches tall (where the screen pops out) and is just over 4 inches long.
The cost of this unit is quite a bit more expensive than other similar designs that we have seen. However, based upon what past users have to say about how well this little unit performs, we feel it is well worth the higher price point.
If you are looking for something that is going to be able to stay in tune with your car for those long car rides, but isn’t going to take up all that much room on your dash or be very distracting, we feel that this unit is well worth the higher price point.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Staying in tune with your car is important, so we made sure to find styles that delivered a wealth of information.
The standard feature that is found on almost all styles was the ability to tell you how fast you are traveling, with the added bonus of offering up an indication when you are driving too fast. Many of these designs have settings that you can adjust to make it only beep when you travel over 80 MPH, or allow users to turn off the indicator so that it only flashes when you are going too fast. Designs that are plugged into your diagnostic system are loved by users because it allows the driver to be in tune without their vehicle is performing while on those really long road trip. Diagnostic features we found include things like fuel efficiency, battery voltage, RPM, and water temperature. We loved designs that offered a indicator beep when one of these functions was not in the normal range. If you aren’t interested in the diagnostics of your vehicle, styles that plug into your cigarette light will be able to tell you things like speed, time, and location.
Ease of Use
We wanted to make sure that we selected designs that you were simply going to be able to plug in and hit the road.
For many, you are going to have to figure out how to navigate menus on a very small LED screen with only a few buttons, so clear to read instructions are very important and something that we looked into. The good news here is that most designs are made in the plug-n-play fashion, so you can simply hook them up to their intended power source and hit the road. One really important design feature that you will certainly want to consider is if it has an automatic on and off switch. While switching your device to the off position isn’t exactly difficult, all it takes is one time forgetting to wake up to a dead battery. If you are camping in the middle of the woods for a long weekend, a dead battery in the middle of nowhere is a bad way to punctuate an otherwise relaxing getaway.
This is one of the most important things that we looked at, because it is going to tell us if it is going to be compatible with most cars.
The more popular designs out there on the market plug into the diagnostic port in your car, or the OBD II or EUOBD ports. While these ports are able to relay a wealth of information on your car to the device, such as water temperature and fuel efficiency, these ports aren’t available on some cars. Be sure to check the user manual in your car to ensure that it is going to be compatible. Almost all designs of cars that were made before 2003 do not have this function, which means that if you drive an older car these options are just not going to work. Additionally, some brands have a list of vehicles that their product isn’t going to work on, so be sure to always check to see if your car made a companies incompatible list. If you drive an older car, or just aren’t interested in vehicle diagnostics, you can always elect to purchase a design that plugs into a cigarette lighter, because these types of outlets have existed in cars since the invention of cigarettes!
The size of a design is going to give you an indication of how much space it is going to take up on your windshield.
From what we could gather, you won’t really need to worry about the actual space these units are going to take up in your car. Most of them are incredibly flat (usually measuring to be under 1 inch thick), and live on you windshield on the other size of your steering wheel. There were generally 2 types of designs that we found. Smaller options were able to reflect simple information such as the time and the speed onto the glass, and they had screens that measure to be between 2-3 inches. Larger options that are able to offer users quite a bit more information at the same time typically measure to be between 4-5.5 inches, with 5.5 being one of the largest that we have seen.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to save a little bit of money whenever you can.
The good news here is that these futuristic design typically don’t carry that ‘tech of the future’ price point. In fact, many of these designs are going to cost you less than what you would pay to fill up your tank with gas before a big trip. If you consider all of the functions that these little devices can achieve- such as keeping a eye on the vitals of your car while you drive- you may be a little shocked at just how affordable these designs are. When selecting different models for our list, we mainly stuck to those designs that had a price tag that lived in the middle of the road. However, we also want to make sure that we included designs that were also on the low end of the price scale, and also include some of the more expensive designs as well.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Take into consideration the things that are important for you to know when you are on the road. if you are worried about the health of your beloved vehicle on those long road trips, select a model that offers things like water temperature, fuel efficiency, and voltage.
Navigating a seemingly primitive LED display that only has a few buttons on the side can be a little difficult, so be sure that you select something that has clear and easy to read instructions. Being able to tell how you are doing on fuel efficiency is important, but it does not no good if it is buried in hard to find menus!
We found that designs that plug into your diagnostic outlet is going to provide you the most information, but it doesn't work on some cars. If you have an older car, selecting a style that plugs into the cigarette outlet may be your best option!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why do I need one?
In the age of distracted drivers, keeping your eyes on the road can serve to be a big challenge. Moving your speedometer about 12 inches upwards onto the windshield may not seem like much of an improvement, but it actually is. When you look down to see how fast you are going, you mind will also briefly wander over to the gas gauge to see how you are doing on gas mileage, and it may also drift over to how many miles are on your car, and all of the other numbers that may not be important to the particular task at hand. However, miles per hour isn’t the only thing that these little boxes can do. On those long car rides, the mind always starts to wander as passengers begin to get bored or fall asleep. Suddenly, you wonder just how reliable your car is going to be for the long road ahead. You may hear a clanging in the engine, and wonder if everything is running alright. With one of these handy devices plugged right into the diagnostic center of your car, you can be able to drive with the confidence that everything under the hood is running great and is capable for the long drive ahead.
q: How does it work?
It may seem like a newer tech, but it is actually something that had been around since about the 1960’s. Some higher end cars such as a Corvette had a similar display in the windshield to read how fast you were traveling. If you think about it, it really is a quite simple piece of tech. For the newer devices, a simple LED screen with information on the face is reflected into the glass on your windshield. This means that you view of the road will remain unobstructed, but you will still have a keen sense of how fast you are going.
q: What happens if I’m seeing double in my windshield?
You finally plugged your unit into the OBD II, and turned on your car, but the numbers are blurred and doubled. Before you send your unit back as being faulty, you might first want to take a look at your windshield. Not all windshields are created equal, and some glass panels will double reflections. The good news here is that there is a really simple way to remedy this problem- reflective tape. Many designs that we have seen on the market actually come with reflective tape or a reflective panel to mount to the glass. This will allow the users to see the reflection clearly. Even if you aren’t seeing double with your device, these reflection panels help users see the display more clearly, and may prevent annoying glare on a very sunny day.
q: How will I know if it will work in my car?
While these units are incredibly handy and helpful, the downside is that they aren’t going to work with every make and model of car. Many companies offer up a list of cars that they have found that their devices do not work with, so be sure to consult these lists before making your purchase. Designs that use the OBD II port are going to work on models of American cars that were manufactured after 2003, or European or Japanese cars that were made after 2008 or so. If you are driving a pre-2003 car, there are still going to be some options that you can select from. Some designs don’t use the diagnostic plug at all, and simply plug into the cigarette outlet in your car. However, this means that you won’t be able to have a readout on the health of your car as you drive, but you will still be able to read things like speed, direction, and time.
q: Are they safe?
Just like with anything, there are those out there that feel that these units aren’t entirely safe to use, because it splits focus while looking at the same landscape. However, there is an overwhelming number of users that feel that these devices make them feel more tuned into the automobile, and keeps their focus from shifting throughout the car. Even before the invention of cellphones, users could be involved in a car crash just by looking down to adjust the radio dial. The more information that you have in front of you, the safer that you will be when out on the road for long periods of time.
q: Where is the OBD II outlet?
If you are someone that has very limited knowledge on how your car works and operates, you might not even be aware that this plug there. When an error light comes on on your dashboard, your mechanic will plug a little device into this plug to run a diagnostic check to confirm the problem. In almost all cars, this plug is found just below the steering where next to the fuse box. This means that when you plug it in, you will be able to run the wire up along the left side of the dash so that there will not be any messy cables and wires in your way.