The dials on your car’s dashboard are essential – they let you know how fast you’re going, how hot the engine is, and whether you have any mechanical problems to worry about. However, every time you look down at these instruments, you need to take your eyes off the road. At highway speeds, you can travel a surprisingly long way without actually looking where you’re going.
Luckily, there’s a convenient solution: head up displays. Sometimes abbreviated to ‘HUD display’, this nifty piece of kit might look like something out of science fiction, but you can actually install one in practically any vehicle. They work by projecting vital information onto the inside of your windshield. Everything from speed to GPS interfaces can be projected this way, and you can install your own for less than you’d think. To help you find the best head up displays on the market right now, we’ve compiled this handy buying guide. Below we run through our 10 favorite options, before answering some common questions about how to get the most out of your new display.
The Best Head Up Display For Cars
Kicking off our list is Arpenkin, with its universal HUD. The device projects vital trip data—from vehicle speed to fuel consumption and mileage. The display adjusts its brightness automatically, so you can easily see it come rain or shine. It’s also designed to prevent any glare from forming on your windshield, reducing the risk of eye strain and fatigue. Arpenkin’s device is compatible with all OBD2 equipped cars, making it incredibly versatile, too.
Handy alarms will let you know if you exceed the speed limit, or the voltage in the battery drops, helping you to stay safe on the road. It automatically shuts off whenever you switch off your car’s engine, too, preserving the battery and giving you one less thing to worry about. Included with this HUD is everything you need to get it up and running—a cable, manual, anti-slip mounting pad, and a special reflecting film for your windshield.
- Works with all OBD2 vehicles
- Displays vital data at eye level on your car’s windshield
- Easy to access vital information, including speed and battery voltage
- Includes anti-glare features and automatic brightness adjustment for perfect visibility
- Handy alarms let you know if you exceed the speed limit, or if your battery voltage drops
- Includes everything you need to get set up
- Brand Arpenkin
- Model X5HUDRG1133
- Weight 1.44 ounces
Easy and convenient to read
Could be brighter
Numbers could be larger
Cable can get in the way
LeaningTech has also found a spot on our list, with their simple but effective car HUD. The device can be fitted to almost any vehicle, thanks to its plug-and-play setup—just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and go. The display projects easy-to-read information straight onto your windshield, giving you instant access to important figures such as mileage, speed, and driving time.
The display automatically adjusts its brightness from day to night, so you’ll never find yourself dazzled or uncomfortable. The green color is easy on the eyes, even on long journeys, and you can even switch on a speeding alarm to help you keep steady. The universal design is compatible with all cars and trucks, and you won’t need to undertake any complicated wiring to get it going. Another neat safety feature is its fatigue driving alarm—you can set this alarm to sound every hour, to help you keep track of how long you’ve been on the road, and avoid driving without adequate breaks.
- Universal car HUD
- Easy to install into any vehicle’s cigarette lighter
- Works through GPS technology
- Projects speed, mileage, and journey time onto your car’s windshield
- Display brightness automatically adjusts from light to dark conditions
- Green display color helps prevent eye strain
- Fitted with fatigue and speed alarms
- Excellent value for money
- Brand LEANINGTECH
- Model 0001
- Weight 7.2 ounces
Compatible with any car
Will require speed calibration
Readings can be off a few MPH
Automatic brightness setting isn’t the best
Here’s a sleek and modern looking head up display for your vehicle from iKiKin. The device includes a sharp looking TFT LCD multi color smart display screen for easy reading and clear reading. It’s bright and can be seen in the day and at night without blinding you. It also comes with tons of data to show you as you drive.
From your speed, driving time, temperature, voltage, and distance, this little tool has everything necessary to enjoy a long trip and comes with seven different interfaces to choose from. It connects quickly and easily to your vehicle’s OBD2 port and installs just as fast.
- Compatible with all OBD2 cars
- Dashboard mounted display helps you keep your eyes on the road
- Bright screen for easy viewing in any light condition
- Brand iKiKin
- Model iKiKin-HUDP10
- Weight 3.84 ounces
Easy to set up
Compact and easy to read screen
Could use more features
May not fit all model vehicles
The ACECAR F8 HUD model is sporty and aggressive and looks like something you’d find on a rocket ship or hyper car. It ditches the rectangular style look and insteads goes for a rounded, more edgy design that fits right into any car, SUV, truck, or Jeep. It’s an attractive little HUD with several driving tools and functions.
Aside from being able to look at normal things such as your speed, engine RPM, water temperature, voltage, and fuel consumption. It has options for brake testing, air-fuel ratio, and turbine pressure, plus the additional alarms to let you know of any issues with the car. It also has a high-definition TFT LCD screen that is bright and colorful.
- D2 compatible HUD for cars
- Installation instructions included
- Works with the vast majority of cars
- Displays stats including speed, mileage, fuel consumption, and fault codes
- Brand ACECAR
- Model B07W7S1MR1
- Weight 9.6 ounces
Plenty of functions
No mounting hardware
The next heads up display car device to make it onto our list is produced by Timprove. Unlike the previous two options, this one depends on an LCD display, rather than projecting data straight onto the windshield. It’s universally compatible, and sits on your dashboard at eye level. As you drive, the high definition screen will be filled with important data, including speed, driving direction, journey distance, and driving time.
You can also set up an alarm to warn you when you exceed the local speed limit, or when your battery voltage drops. It automatically switches on and off with your car’s ignition, and adjusts its own brightness to match whatever conditions you happen to be driving in. Its matte appearance also prevents glare-related issues, helping keep your vision as clear as possible on the go. Finally, this display can also help to keep you and your passengers safe: along with its other functions, it can also be used to carry out a brake performance test, so you can easily check up on your brakes before a long journey.
- LCD heads up display for any vehicle
- High definition screen sits at eye level on the dashboard
- Displays useful data, including speed, driving direction, and journey distance
- Features a speeding and battery voltage alarm
- Matte appearance prevents glare
- Screen automatically adjusts its brightness to match ambient conditions
- Can be used to carry out a brake performance test
- Brand TIMPROVE
- Model T600
- Weight 5.8 ounces
Compatible with any vehicle
Quick and easy
Menu can be confusing at first
ACECAR tops our list again with this compact heads up display that comes with plenty of gizmos and extra features to help you along during your drive. It features 10 functions including driving speed, engine RPG, voltage, water temperature, mileage, a built-in alarm, and an auto brightness setting, plus several more fancy and useful tools.
Best of all, it comes with a tiny projector that projects a screen on your windshield that showcases everything going on with your car so you are better prepared behind the wheel.
- Dashboard-mounted HUD projector
- Connects to OBD2 port
- Displays trip data, such as speed and mileage
- 10 features
- Brand ACECAR
- Model HUD-M7-3.5INCH
- Weight 8.2 ounces
Can be slow to update
May not read MPH correctly
Although this product isn’t technically an HUD, it does help you to keep an eye on the road while navigating. It’s a smartphone holder, which can be easily mounted on your dashboard using the grippy pad included.
The device will safely cradle your phone on the go, allowing you to see your navigation apps more easily while you drive. This not only makes for more convenient navigation, but also improves your safety by reducing distractions. The phone holder is mounted in your car through five sticky silicone gel pads. The pads are designed to keep things stable, even if you need to brake suddenly, and won’t melt when the sun pours through your windshield in the summer. This multi-functional holder can also be used in the home or office – wherever you need to keep your phone at eye level hands-free.
- Dashboard phone mount
- Universal design fits the vast majority of smartphones
- Grippy silicone gel pads keep the device firmly on your dash
- Reduces distracted driving
- Suitable for use in your home and office, as well as the car
- Includes a 45 day money back guarantee
- Brand Vansky
- Model VS-MOUNT06
- Weight 5.3 ounces
Can be used with most smartphones
Not a full on HUD
May use data
This head up display by Dodoro has also earned itself a spot on our list. It’s compatible with pretty much any vehicle, since all you need to set it up is a functioning cigarette lighter or USB port. It projects important data onto your car’s windshield, including speed, and driving direction.
The device also features an audible speed alarm, which is triggered whenever you exceed the local speed limit. Its glare-free projection doesn’t interfere with your view of the road, and in fact makes checking your speed safer than lowering your eyes to the car’s instruments, since you can keep your eyes on the road at all times. When you switch off your car’s engine, the HUD will automatically shut off, too, ensuring you don’t drain the battery while you’re away.
- Universal HUD
- Suitable for all vehicles with a functioning cigarette lighter or USB port
- Displays vital information, such as speed, at eye level on the windshield
- Features a speed alarm, helping you to stay under the limit
- Brightness settings automatically adjust for comfortable reading
- Brand DODORO
- Model DCM08
- Weight 7.2 ounces
Compatible with a number of vehicles
Easy to see and read
Can be too bright at night
Connections feel flimsy
The next HUD to earn a spot on our list is this simple but effective display by Sherox. Its projector is designed specially for windscreen glass, so there’s no need to install a film before use. It displays all the basic data you need, without feeling cluttered. This simplicity allows you to focus on the road with ease. It’s compatible with all OBD2 and EUOBD enabled cars, making it incredibly versatile.
It displays your car’s speed, water temperature, mileage, and voltage – all at eye level so you never have to take your eyes off the road. It also features three handy alarms, letting you know if you’ve exceeded the local speed limit, if your car has overheated, or if your battery’s voltage has dropped. The bright display is easy to read, even in sunny conditions, but quickly decreases as conditions grow dimmer.
- Car HUD compatible but OBD2 and EUOBD enabled vehicles
- Projects vital information onto the windshield at eye level
- Simple display doesn’t feel cluttered
- Displays speed, water temperature, mileage, and voltage
- Includes a speeding alarm, which activates if you exceed the local speed limit
- Includes a low voltage alarm
- Brightness automatically adjusts with ambient light conditions
- Brand SHEROX
- Model TCA A100 BLACK
- Weight 6.7 ounces
Small and compact
Easy to see and read
Alarms aren’t that loud
Pyle’s Universal Vehicle Smart HUD Display includes several features to benefit you on your drive. Such inclusions are a built-in GPS compass, speedometer, travel distance, and a clock. It’s also quite fast, as it is built with a dual core processor that provides real-time driving data. Plus, it has an alarm that sounds when you are caught driving above the speed limit.
Along with all of that information, the device is easy to install too—simply plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and go. It even comes with a universal mount so it can quickly be mounted to any dashboard inside a car, truck, SUV, or Jeep.
- Universal dashboard mounted HUD
- Easy to install—simply plug into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter
- Displays useful data at eye level: speed, direction, and journey time
- Easy-to-read LED display
- Brand Pyle
- Model PHUD19
- Weight 1.44 ounces
Screen is easy to read at night and during the day
GPS system can run slow
Instructions can be difficult
These 10 head up displays are the best of the bunch, and we’re confident you’ll find the perfect fit for you among them. To help you work out which display is best for your car, check out our handy buying guide below. We’ve also taken the time to answer some common questions about this handy piece of kit.
Features to Look for in a Head Up Display
When it comes to choosing a head up display for your vehicle, there are a few key features to consider:
An HUD is no good if you can’t read the display. Look out for a bright display, which can be adjusted (whether automatically or manually) to be visible in various light conditions. If in doubt, you can gauge the display quality by looking at photos from other users.
Some HUDs can be connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows you to see your navigation apps alongside other trip information. Many HUDs with this connectivity double up as a car phone, too. If you travel a lot for work and need to take calls on the go, this could be a great feature for you. Whichever device you choose, be sure it’s compatible with your vehicle – some are universal, and simply plug into the cigarette lighter, while others must be wired into a specific OBD system.
Which HUD you select will also depend upon what data you want to see displayed. Some devices connect to your car’s OBD system, allowing them to display everything from fuel consumption to diagnostic codes, while others stick to simple information like speed. Simpler displays are not necessarily inferior, as they’re generally less cluttered, so easier to read.
Benefits of Using HUD for Cars
Installing a head up display in your car comes with a number of benefits:
- Using an HUD means you don’t need to take your eyes off the road to check your speed
- Using an HUD can give you access to trip data you may not otherwise be able to see
- Installing an HUD is generally simple
- Some HUDs can be connected to your smartphone, allowing you better access to your navigation app of choice
- HUDs are available to suit all budgets
- Using an HUD can help prevent speeding and fatigue
How to Install a Head Up Display For Cars
How you install your HUD will depend upon the manufacturer, and you should always follow their instructions carefully.
HUDs are generally installed using one of these two methods:
- Cigarette Lighter
Universal HUDs are simply plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter. They gather data about your trip via GPS, and don’t depend on the car’s internal electronics. These are the easiest to install – simply plug them in, and mount them on the dashboard.
Other HUDs are installed by plugging them into your car’s onboard computer. This allows them access to any data fed into the system. OBD connectors are located in different areas on different vehicles, but you will often find them under the steering wheel. Consult your car’s manual if you’re struggling to find the OBD connector. Once you’ve tracked down the port, it’s a fairly simple matter of making a few connections, and mounting the device itself on your dashboard.
Different Types of Head Up Displays
There are three main types of head up displays in the car world:
- Built-in HUD
Some high-end modern cars have HUD systems already built in. They’re pretty much invisible to the driver, but project information onto the windshield at eye level, through a series of mirrors.
- On-Board HUD
The displays on our list all fall into this category: they’re after-market devices mounted on your dashboard, and project information onto either your windshield, or their own glass display panel. Many can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth, allowing you to view your navigation app, or take calls hands-free.
- Smartphone Apps
If you want to give HUDs a go before making a real investment, you could try a head up display app on your phone. These apps project information onto your windshield when you place your phone in the right spot on the dashboard. You’ll probably need a grippy mounting pad to keep your phone in place throughout the journey.
Best Head Up Display For Cars FAQ:
Q: What are HUDs for?
A: Head up displays (HUDs) are an alternative to conventional dashboard dials. They’re designed to make it safer and easier to see vital trip information by placing it at eye level. This means you don’t need to take your eyes off the road to read a speedometer, or check your mileage.
A: HUDs were originally developed for aviation purposes, but they’re just as useful to drivers on the ground.
They work by treating your windshield as a screen, and projecting images onto it. Sometimes, your windshield will need to be coated with a special film to make the display more easily visible.
Q: Are HUDs safe?
A: Yes, HUDs are safe to use. In fact, once you’re used to using one, your driving is likely to be safer than it was without. This is because a head up display allows you to keep a better eye on your speed, or navigation instructions, without having to look away from the road.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best HUD for cars is the Arpenkin Universal Head Up Display for its quick setup time and easy-to-navigate and user-friendly interface. It easily connects to your vehicle’s OBD2 port and shows vital information, letting you know all about your car. The display is comfortable to read and comes with an automatic brightness setting that changes with ambient light level.
The screen shows a number of various settings including speed, journey time, distance covered, and more. It even includes speed warning alarms to alert you whenever you exceed the local speed limit, keeping you and others safe on the road.
- How Head-up Displays Work – How Stuff Works
- Adding A HUD To Your Car: Three Options – Slash Gear
- What is a head-up display, and is a HUD worth the money? – Car Magazine
- Heads up Display, Working and Types – Automotive Electronics