Most cars come with a basic radio, featuring an AM/FM receiver. Others also come with a CD player. However, a car radio or CD player may not be your favorite source of music. Today, we like streaming music via Bluetooth, smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players. Although you can play music in your car from all these sources, the sound quality may not always be the best. With some vehicles, you may experience static or hissing noise when playing music. This kind of noise is known as ground loop noise.
So what could be the best solution to this problem? Well, you only need a very simple and inexpensive device to eliminate static or hissing noise from your car music system. You only need to install a ground loop isolator to make the noise problem a thing of the past. The device is usually inserted into the 3.5mm AUX input of the head unit. You then connect your Bluetooth AUX adapter or any other device that has a 3.5mm output to the ground loop isolator.
But what causes ground loop in the first place? Well, ground loop results from the presence of several ground paths between two music equipment. The duplicated ground paths allow magnetic and electrical interference to the sound signal, thereby resulting in a hissing, static, or humming noise. A ground loop isolator works by allowing the transfer of sound signals and blocking the transfer of electricity such that the ground loop gets eliminated. As a result, noise from magnetic and electrical interference doesn’t get transmitted. However, you need to invest in the best ground loop isolator to eliminate any ground loop efficiently. This is where our reviews and guide come in handy. With our reviews, you’ll find it easier to find and buy the best and most reliable ground loop isolator.
Top 10 Ground Loop Isolators
We’ve reviewed the top 10 ground loop isolators you can find on the market today. We’ll discuss their features, what we like and dislike about each product, and our collective verdict on each product. Most importantly, we compared our selection with other numerous models and only listed the best models. Let’s start with our top pick.
Comparison Table of Best Ground Loop Isolator
1. Best Overall: BESIGN Ground Loop Noise Isolator
The BESIGN Ground Loop Noise Isolator is our best ground loop isolator. When compared to other ground loop isolators of its kind, this device stands out for its sleek design. It features a black finish for easier blending with your car head unit.
Also notable are its smooth edges. The edges don’t have any sharp corners. All the edges are rounded for a cleaner and sleek look.
Its BESIGN logo is strategically embedded on the flat sides, giving it a stylish look. The flat sides feel and look like stained wood, but are made with a glossy plastic material.
- Durable design- One of the features we like most about this ground loop isolator is its durable design. The point at which the AUX cable connects to this device is reinforced with rubber. The reinforcement prevents any damage that may result from twisting the cable.
- Bi-directional- It’s worth noting that this device is bi-directional. Thus, it can pass sound signals in either direction. That way, you can do more with it other than streaming noise-free music. For instance, you can use it to connect to your smartphone via an AUX Bluetooth adapter to make noiseless, hands-free calls.
- Effective noise isolation- Wondering how to handle that static or pop noise in your car music system? The design behind this device allows it to eliminate static noise and popping noise. As a result, you’ll enjoy better sound quality.
- User-friendly- There’re no buttons required to operate this device. Also, it doesn’t require any batteries or charging. It’s an easy-to-use device that only requires you to plug it into your car receiver and source device via AUX.
- Lightweight- Another great feature of this ground loop noise isolator is its lightweight design. It only weighs about 23 grams. You just won’t feel its weight when carrying it. In fact, it’s a device you can effortlessly carry in your pocket.
- You can use it to eliminate ground loop noise in both your car and home stereo
- Works seamlessly with any music device that has a 3.5mm AUX output
- Compact design for enhanced portability
- Doesn’t require any special setup
- A user manual is provided to assist first-time users
- Tends to reduce the volume a little bit
- It slightly lowers the bass output
If you’re seeking to improve the sound quality of your car music system with a sleek ground loop isolator, you won’t go wrong by choosing this BESIGN Ground Loop Noise Isolator.
2. Best for Preamp and Amplifier: PAC SNI-1 Noise Isolator
PAC SNI-1 Noise Isolator is designed to eliminate ground loop noise between a car stereo and an audio source that uses an RCA connection. Although it’s a little bulky in size, it does exactly what it says, thanks to its advanced transformers.
- Labeled polarities- One of the features we like most about this ground loop noise isolator is its labeled polarities. The output side is clearly labeled. Also, the Left and Right speaker polarities are marked. Additionally, the input RCA jacks are differently colored in Red and White. As a result, you’ll find it easier to connect the device properly.
- Lengthy RCA input cable- The RCA input cable that goes into the preamp or any other source device that works with RCA connections is lengthy enough for use in most cars. The lengthy cable also makes it easier to conceal the device.
- Durable construction- The housing that encloses the circuit of this device feels very strong. Its durable construction makes it keep the interior circuit protected from damage. Thus, you can rest assured of many years of service.
- Filters noise in a wide frequency range- Another feature we like most about this device is that it’s able to isolate ground loop in a wide frequency range. In fact, it isolates ground loop within a frequency range of 2 Hz to 20 kHz.
- Optional grounds- The device comes with two brown cables from the input side. These brown cables are optional grounds. They can assist you in situations where you’re unable to get a sound signal due to ground loop.
- Sturdy and tangle-free RCA cable
- Tightly connecting RCA connectors
- Corrosion and rust-resistant RCA connectors for enhanced longevity
- Affordable price range for those with a tight budget
- A user manual is provided to make it easier for first-time users to connect the device
- Tends to reduce the sound fidelity a little bit
- Reduces the bass output
We recommend the PAC SNI-1 Noise Isolator for use with car audio devices that work with RCA outputs. It’s also suitable for use between a car amplifier and the preamp outputs on the receiver.
3. Our Premium Pick: BOSS Audio Systems Ground Loop Isolator
BOSS Audio Systems is famous for its premium quality sound equipment. We’ve included its ground loop isolator in our review due to its premium quality. It’s specially designed for eliminating ground loop between a car stereo and a car amplifier through an RCA connection.
- Eliminates whining noise- One of the top features of this ground loop isolator is its ability to eliminate whining noise. If the alternator in your car is producing a whining noise in your car stereo due to ground loop, it’ll help to install this device to reduce the noise. It effectively reduces the high-pitched whining noise for an improved listening experience.
- Filters ground loop- The device is also effective in filtering ground loop caused by your car’s electrical system, especially when using the same source of power for your car stereo and amplifier. Once installed between the amplifier and head unit, it filters the ground loop to clear most of the humming noise.
- RCA input and output cables- The device comes with both input and output cables. The input cables feature 2 male RCA connectors that are plugged into the female RCA outputs of the head unit. It also features 2 female RCA output connectors for connecting to the amplifier input. However, you may have to buy a separate male to male RCA cable to connect the 2 female output connectors to the amplifier via the male to male RCA.
- Metallic casing- The working circuit of this ground loop isolator is enclosed by a metallic casing. The metallic casing is sturdy enough to keep the interior circuit protected from damage.
- High-quality components- The working circuit is made of high-quality capacitors. The components in the circuit can handle a lot of power and high peaks without distorting the sound output. Also, the leads are strongly built and specially coated for longevity.
- It filters whining noise without chocking the bass output
- It doesn’t overheat when used for a prolonged period
- It’s also efficient in reducing humming noise
- Well-coated RCA cable to prevent electromagnetic interference
- The provided RCA cable connects tightly to the respective RCA input and output ports
- Its white color makes it less concealable in most cars
- You need to buy separate male to male RCA cables to connect its output female RCA to your car amplifier
If you’re a lover of premium sound equipment and don’t mind paying extra for a premium ground loop isolator, then you won’t go wrong with this BOSS Audio Systems Ground Loop Isolator.
4. Most Lightweight: SoundBot SB363 3.5mm Ground Loop Noise Isolator
This ground loop noise isolator from SoundBot is among the best ground loop isolators, thanks to its lightweight construction, compactness, and reliability. It only weighs 0.04 pounds, making it the most lightweight ground loop isolator in our review.
- Eliminates EMI- Among its top features is its ability to eliminate electromagnetic interference (EMI) that results from ground loop. As a result, we found it efficient in filtering buzzing and hissing noise from sound signals for clearer sound output.
- Universal compatibility- It works via a 3.5mm AUX connection. It’s compatible with any car stereo and audio source that uses a 3.5mm AUX connection. You can also use it with an AUX Bluetooth dongle to connect to a Bluetooth-enabled audio source wirelessly or to make clear hands-free calls via Bluetooth.
- Stylish design- We also like the stylish design of this ground loop isolator. Its edges are rounded without any sharp edges. It’s entirely black in color with a glossy finish. Also, it features a SoundBot logo on the flat sides that adds to its stylish design.
- Built-in AUX cable- The output AUX cable that comes with this ground loop isolator is built-in the device. Its built-in design means that you can’t lose the AUX cable. Also, its built-in cable design means that you’ll only carry one item rather than carrying the cable separately.
- Simple operation- Luckily enough, you won’t require to perform any setup or complex installation procedure to start using this device. It’s a simple plug-and-play device. You’ll only need to connect it to your car head unit and audio source via AUX and it’ll instantly remove any ground loop noise.
- Great for use in both car and home stereos
- A user guide is provided to assist a first-time user
- You don’t need to connect it to any power source
- Its sleek look makes it a perfect choice for use in a sleek car interior
- Its affordable price range means that you don’t have to break the bank to buy it
- Tends to introduce unwanted lows
- Not the best in eliminating high-pitched whining noise
Looking for a portable and lightweight ground loop isolator? If so, consider this SoundBot SB363 3.5mm Ground Loop Noise Isolator in your shortlist.
5. A worthy Mention: ZIOCOM Ground Loop Noise Isolator
Whether you’re using a single din head unit or a double din head unit or whichever kind of car head unit, as long as it has a 3.5mm AUX input, this ground loop noise isolator will allow the head unit to receive a noise-free signal from an audio source that has an AUX output.
- Small-sized design- ZIOCOM has designed this ground loop isolator as a small-sized and lightweight gadget. It doesn’t require a lot of space in your car. Thus, it hangs from the AUX input of a car head unit without making the space look cluttered.
- Plug and play- The gadget is designed as a plug-and-play device. As such, you only need to plug it into the head unit and plug your audio source into the gadget to start using it. You don’t need to install anything.
- Filters buzz noise- ZIOCOM has also designed this gadget to filter buzz noise that interferes with a sound signal due to ground loop. That way, you can enjoy listening to your favorite tracks without any buzzing noise.
- Wide compatibility- Besides using it to eliminate ground loop in your car stereo, you can also use it to eliminate ground loop in your home stereo or PC, thanks to its 3.5mm connectivity. It’s also compatible with Bluetooth AUX adapters.
- Smooth sound output- Another area where this ground loop isolator stands out is its smooth sound output. It filters buzzing and static noise from a sound signal without reducing the quality of the sound.
- Its mini size makes it possible to take it away easily
- Tight plug and play connection for seamless sound transfer
- Excellent sound output for an improved listening experience
- Extremely easy to use the gadget
- Not the best for eliminating whining noise
- An audiophile may notice a slight reduction in the bass output
We find this ZIOCOM Ground Loop Noise Isolator most suitable for eliminating buzzing and static noise caused by ground loop.
6. Best for Wide Compatibility: Golvery Ground Loop Noise Isolator
The Golvery Ground Loop Noise Isolator stands out for its near-universal compatibility. It primarily works with any audio device with a 3.5mm AUX connection. It also comes with an AUX female to RCA male cable for connecting it to RCA devices. Thus, you can use it with most audio devices in your car or home stereo.
- Cylindrical design- The device features a cylindrical shape that enhances its compactness. It’s a gadget you can easily carry in your pocket and transfer it between your car head unit and home stereo as needed. Also, its shape makes it blend well with about any head unit and car interior.
- AUX and RCA connectivity- Another feature we like about this gadget is that it supports both AUX and RCA connections. It has a removable AUX to AUX cable to connect to the head unit or audio source via a 3.5mm AUX input. It also has an RCA to AUX cable for connecting RCA to AUX or AUX to RCA devices.
- Great sound quality- We also like the sound quality that this ground loop isolator outputs. You can use it to filter ground loop in both stereo and mono sounds without destroying the quality of the sound signal.
- Eliminates humming noise- Its working principle allows it to eliminate humming noise in car speakers and home stereo speakers that’s caused by ground loop. That way, you can enjoy clear sound output without the interfering noise.
- User friendly- We also like the ease of using this gadget. It’s almost self-explanatory to use this ground loop isolator. You only need to plug it in place without using batteries or pressing any buttons and start enjoying clear sound output.
- It’s lightweight and compact for enhanced portability
- Tightly fitting AUX and RCA cable for seamless connectivity
- Works instantly and doesn’t cut in and out
- A user manual is included to guide inexperienced users
- Tends to cut out some mid-bass
- Doesn’t eliminate static noise completely
We recommend the Golvery Ground Loop Noise Isolator for anyone who wants to eliminate ground loop between the car head unit and an audio source that supports AUX or RCA connections.
7. Our Budget Pick: KRIPT Noise Filter Ground Loop Isolator
KRIPT designed this ground loop isolator with affordability in mind. It works with most audio devices that use a 3.5mm AUX connection. Despite being a budget ground loop isolator, it delivers premium performance in eliminating ground loop noise.
- Permalloy construction- The core circuit of this ground loop isolator is made of permalloy. Its permalloy construction is more superior to other materials such as silicon and steel. It allows for premium transmission of sound signals.
- Fully portable- Its permalloy construction reduces its size. The permalloy allows for more compactness during its design. Also, it’s lightweight and small-sized. It’s a gadget you can easily remove from your car receiver and carry it home to use with your home stereo.
- Wide frequency range- The device can filter ground loop within a wide frequency range of between 40 Hz to 20 kHz. This means that it filters noise from most of the audible sound frequencies for an improved listening experience.
- Distortion-free sound output- Upon comparing it to other ground loop isolators, we found that it stands out for its high-quality circuit. It comprises two premium quality transformers that are constructed from pure copper. As a result, it outputs distortion-free sound when filtering ground loop noise.
- Eliminates electrical noise- If your car speakers are outputting a buzzing or humming noise, it’s likely caused by electrical interference, which is known as ground loop. It works by filtering out DC that may leak into the sound signal. Thus, you’ll enjoy listening to music without electrical noise.
- Compatible with any portable audio device that uses a 3.5mm AUX connection
- High-quality AUX cable for seamless sound transmission
- Affordable price range
- Great for anyone on the go, thanks to its portability
- The outer casing doesn’t feel very durable
- Some noise can be heard when listening to music at high volume
The KRIPT Noise Filter Ground Loop Isolator is the most affordable option in our review. We recommend it to anyone with a tight budget.
8. MW Audio NY Ground Loop Noise Isolator
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One of the reasons why we like this is its compact design. It’s designed to work with both car music systems and home stereo. When compared to our first pick, the BESIGN Ground Loop Noise Isolator, the two devices feature different designs. However, this product is similar in design with our ninth pick, the Smof Ground Loop Noise Isolator.
Also, when compared to other ground loop isolators in our list, it stands out in eliminating ground loop noise. Besides, it doesn’t reduce the volume of the sound output.
- Compact design- We found this ground loop isolator to be extremely compact. It measures just 2.01” long, 0.59” wide, and 0.59” thick. When weighed, it only weighs under 28 grams. Being that lightweight and compact means that it won’t take any significant space in your car. Also, you can take it away very easily.
- Glossy finish- It features a glossy black finish, with ABS plastic construction. The glossy, black finish makes it blend nicely with any head unit. Its rectangular shape also makes it blend nicely with any head unit and source device. Additionally, its ABS plastic construction makes it strong and durable.
- Reinforced cable- The cable that connects the device to the head unit and source device is reinforced on the area where it meets the device. The extra reinforcement adds to the security of the cable such that it can’t loosen easily at the joint.
- Efficient noise elimination- Another feature we like most about this device is that it eliminates ground loop noise efficiently. In fact, it doesn’t affect the volume output of a sound signal when isolating noise. Thus, it maintains the original quality of a sound signal.
- Great input design- Its 3.5mm AUX input port is strategically positioned on one end. The input allows for tight connections with an AUX jack such that there’s no cutting in and out of the sound signal. Thus, you’re assured of a seamless connection.
- Great noise isolation in the sound signal
- You can easily carry it along with you, thanks to its compact design and lightweight
- Comes with a male 3.5mm cord for easier connectivity
- Crystal clear sound for improved car music listening experience
- Eliminates the buzzing noise that often occurs when using the AUX port of a smartphone and charging it at the same time
- The provided cable is a little short for use in a car
- Tends to output a mono signal in some car music systems
The MW Audio NY Ground Loop Noise Isolator is very reliable for reducing almost all noises in a sound signal including crackling, static, and popping noises.
9. Best for Eliminating Buzz: Smof Ground Loop Noise Isolator
The Smof ground loop isolator is specially designed to eliminate buzzing noise from both car and home stereo systems. It works by connecting it via a 3.5mm AUX cable.
Since it features a standard 3.5mm AUX connection, you can connect it to any source device that supports a 3.5mm connection including your tablet, smartphone, laptop, and mp3 player among other gadgets.
- Simple operation- One of the features we like most about this ground loop isolator is its simple operation. There’s no unique setup needed. You only need to connect it to the AUX input of your car receiver and the audio source.
- Instant noise elimination- Upon plugging it into your car stereo and source device, this ground loop noise isolator eliminates ground loop and buzzing noise instantly. There’s no waiting time required to use it. It works instantly for clear sound output.
- Maintains sound quality- While some ground loop isolators destroy the quality of the original sound signal, this ground loop isolator from Smof stands out in that it isolates ground loop between car audio components without interfering with the frequency response of the sound signal. Thus, it outputs high-quality sound as the original sound signal, but without ground loop noise.
- Sturdy AUX cable- The provided 3.5mm AUX cable feels very strongly and solidly built. It doesn’t tangle when coiled. Also, it’s not prone to damage when twisted. It’s also protected with a rubber coating on the ends where it joins the AUX jack pins for enhanced durability.
- Portable- Its design allows for enhanced portability. It only measures 2.44×0.79×0.79 inches and weighs only 0.081 pounds. Its compactness and low weight make it easy to carry around.
- There’re no batteries or buttons required to use the device
- Rounded edges for a sleek and smooth look
- Tightly connecting AUX input and AUX cable for a stable connection
- Glossy black finish that gives it a classic look
- Lengthy AUX cable for enhanced usability
- Doesn’t fully eliminate static noise when using a lengthy audio cable
- Doesn’t get rid of all the noise when using an AUX Bluetooth dongle
With all factors considered, we find this Smof Ground Loop Noise Isolator as the perfect choice for eliminating buzzing noise caused by ground loop.
10. Best for Eliminating Hiss: AUKEY Ground Loop Noise Isolator
Bored of that nagging hiss from or buzz from your car music system? It’s most likely caused by ground loop noise. AUKEY has designed this ground loop isolator to assist in eliminating the hissing and buzzing noise resulting from ground loop.
Its design makes it reliable for eliminating ground loop on both car music systems and home stereo systems.
Also, its design allows for an effortless setup. There’s nothing much you need to do to get it working. You just need to plug it in and start enjoying noise-free sound output.
- High-quality sound output- The design behind this ground loop isolator allows for the transmission of noise-free sound signals without any background interference. It outputs a stereo signal such that it doesn’t destroy the quality of sound output.
- Lengthy cable- The provided AUX cable is long enough for more comfortable usage. It measures 24 inches long. It’s lengthy enough for most needs. Also, it blends effortlessly without tangling.
- Powerfully built- Although it’s heavier than the MW Audio NY and BESIGN ground loop isolators, the extra weight is a result of a more powerful internal circuit. Its circuit comprises top-quality transistors for enhanced ground loop isolation.
- ABS plastic cover- Its outer cover is made of an ABS plastic material. It feels very sturdy and looks attractive. The satin finish on the ABS plastic cover enhances its overall look.
- Reinforced cable- Another great feature of this ground loop isolator is its reinforced cable design. The reinforcement prevents the cable from damage due to consistent bending and coiling.
- The rounded edges give it a sleek look
- The glossy AUKEY logo embedded on the top makes it look unique
- A glossy, black finish that gives it a classic look
- Filters out ground loop noise instantly
- Simple plug and play setup
- Minimizes popping noise but doesn’t eliminate it entirely
- An audiophile may notice a slight loss in the volume
The AUKEY Ground Loop Noise Isolator is perfect for eliminating hissing and buzzing noise in a car music system as a result of ground loop.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Ground Loop Isolator
While most ground loop isolators look similar, they differ in terms of performance. Thus, you need to make your choice wisely to choose an efficient ground loop isolator. Considering the several options available, you may find it challenging to make the right choice. Here’re some factors you can consider to assist you to narrow down your choices to the best ground loop noise isolator.
1. Audio quality
Generally, a ground loop isolator works by filtering ground loop from the audio signal path. While doing so, inefficient ground loop isolators may interfere with the quality of the sound signal. Thus, ensure the device you’re choosing is efficient such that it doesn’t reduce the volume of the sound signal or cut out some frequencies when filtering ground loop.
2. Cable length
It’ll help if the ground loop isolator comes with an AUX or RCA cable depending on its mode of connection. Ensure the cable is long enough for comfortable use in your car but not too long as you’d have to coil the extra length. However, a lengthy cable would be great for use with a home stereo. Also, if the AUX or RCA port of your head unit is located behind the head unit or home stereo, it’ll help to choose a ground loop isolator with a long cable.
It’ll also help to choose a portable ground loop isolator. It should have a compact design such that it doesn’t take a lot of space in your car. Also, it should be lightweight for enhanced portability such that you can easily take it away from your car and use it with your home stereo and vice versa.
Ensure the ground loop isolator you’re choosing is compatible with your portable audio device. For instance, if you’re using a smartphone or mp3 player to stream music to your car head unit, it’s advisable to choose a ground loop isolator that uses a 3.5mm AUX connection. If you want to eliminate ground loop between the preamp and car amplifier, it’s advisable to use a ground loop isolator that uses an RCA connection.
5. User-friendly design
The best ground loop noise isolator is the one that features a user-friendly design. It shouldn’t require any power connection, batteries, or buttons to get it working. Also, it shouldn’t require any special installation or setup to start using it. The best choice is the one that has a simple plug-and-play operation.
As you can see, these ground loop isolators are broadly similar but differ slightly in terms of performance and efficiency. Luckily for you, we’ve only reviewed the best ground loop isolators from leading manufacturers. Thus, any choice you make from our review won’t disappoint. Nevertheless, compare them to stand better chances of making the best choice.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.