When it comes to choosing the perfect audio system for your car or truck, there are several options for you to choose from. Chances are if you’ve been remotely interested in changing your car’s standard radio system, you’ve probably heard of double din and single din head units.
Head units simply refer to the display or center console that is located in the center of your car’s audio system. When it comes to choosing which aftermarket car radio is best for your vehicle, it’s important to know what kind of din you’re looking for because your vehicle make and model solely depend on its compatibility with your car or truck.
For those who want simple functionality without all of the extra bells and whistles, single din radio units may be the best option for you to choose. For those who want to interact with their car audio system whether it be via touchscreen, voice control, or anything else, double din head units provide you the perfect opportunity to do so.
Double din head units are typically purchased by experienced car audio enthusiasts and technicians and just average people who either want to expand or upgrade their current radio’s capabilities. The main difference between a lot of single din head units and double din head units is the fact that single din head units typically come with reduced features and capabilities not to mention physical controls instead of touchscreen capabilities.
If you’re serious about upgrading your car audio or stereo system, a double din head unit will be your best option to go with because it’s the option that provides the most benefit and value in terms of features and pricing.
Before making a decision on which double din head unit is best for you, there are several factors that you should consider. Many of these factors revolve around the type of vehicle that you have and it’s compatibility with the desired double din head unit that you’re interested in installing in your vehicle.
Other key factors include things such as the power requirements of the double din head unit that you decide to go with in addition to sound quality and an array of other things. Given the fact that there are so many different double din head unit options to choose from, making a final purchase decision about which unit is best for you can be quite challenging.
If you’re one of those people that’s been looking for a double din head unit for your vehicle but have had no luck, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to give you a detailed breakdown about the top double din head units available on the market in addition to answers to the most popular questions that you have in regards to double din head units and how to select the right one.
We’ll cover specific information including how to determine your car’s compatibility with the double din unit of your choice in addition to figuring out which design and features are best for you.
Be sure to read all of the information included in this guide thoroughly so that you can make an educated purchase decision about which double din head unit is best for your needs. By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to confidently shop and choose between all of the various double din head units out on the market to choose the perfect one for your vehicle.
What is the difference between a double din head unit and a single din head unit?
Before we begin the guide, let’s explain what a double din head unit is in detail. When you purchase a base or standard model vehicle, the radio that comes installed by default will most likely be a single din head unit. Now, the name single din and double din may be throwing you off because you’ve probably never used these terms to describe radio in your personal life, however, that’s how automotive and audio tech specialists refer to the units.
Single din head units typically consist of an interface that has a non-touchscreen display with very minimal buttons and dials. These units are typically very thin and definitely less feature-rich than their double din head unit counterparts.
Double din head units, on the other hand, are a much more comprehensive and easier to use option than when compared to single din radio unit options. To help you better understand the main differences between single din head units and double din head units, continue reading below.
Ease of use
It is one of the major differences between single DIN vs double DIN. The second type takes more space but they offer a great user experience with plenty of smart features including camera option, integration with phone apps, and more.
Size of the head unit
Double DIN units are larger and their faceplate measures 7×4 inches. On the other hand, the faceplate of single DIN head units measures 7×2 inches. The double DIN head unit is twice as tall as a single DIN stereo head.
Features of your head unit
Double din head units have more features than their 1 din head unit counterparts. Most of them have a large touchscreen that makes using the stereo more convenient. However, single DIN models are also functional and have practical features.
These are some of the main differences between double din head units and single din head units. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, your options in regards to which double din and single din head units may be limited. It’s always best to check your vehicle’s compatibility with the din head unit that you’re interested in installing to ensure that you can avoid any issues when it comes to installation and regular use over time.
Now that you know the main differences between single din head units and double din head units, it’s time to give you a detailed breakdown of what to look for when selecting the perfect double din head unit for your vehicle.
Key Features to Look for When Purchasing A Double Din Head Unit
Before you make a final decision about which double din head unit is best for you, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration. While many if not all double din head units come with more comprehensive features and capabilities than single din head units, not all of them are created equal. To ensure that you get the best experience out of your selected double din head unit, this section is going to list some of the key features that you need to look for when choosing which double din head unit is right for you.
Keep in mind, certain features listed below may function differently inside of every vehicle so it’s important for you to confirm your vehicle’s capabilities before purchasing any double din head unit.
Compared to single DIN head units, double DIN heads have a larger display, and that makes them provide a good display. Since the stereos are designed to work as hands-free devices as well as play music, the display is large can enable you to be able to see who is calling you and what type of music you are listening to. Some of the double DIN heads displays are adjustable.
Thus, it can give you various options to set it up with multiple changing colors. You can have the option of changing the color theme or only in some areas of the display. There are models which can change colors in tune with the beat of the song being played in improving your driving experience. Get a head unit, which has a bright display which might light up too much at night, forcing you to adjust it, but during the day, it can help you to read it when it is sunny. If the display is dim, it can become hard to read on very bright days, which can be inconvenient.
Installation Process/ Ease of Installation
Before you choose a double DIN head unit, you should look out for one that is easy to install. There are some manufacturers who are considerate and have come up with gadgets which are easy to install. If you are going to do the installation on your own, it is important that you get a model which has a harness which can enable separation of wires which makes them easier to connect.
You can realize that most double DIN unit comes with an installation manual which is easy to follow. If the installations are going to be done by yourself, you can try and get video tutorials online. You might be lucky to get a tutorial of an exact unit like the one you are installing and thus, make the work even easier. There are so many people that will damage their stereos fascia in order to remove their stereos.
Anything from using knives down the side of the unit to jamming screwdrivers down the side and this is a big mistake due to the damage it causes. We advise that you do not try those methods and instead invest in a pair of radio keys. These simply slot into the standard gaps that all head units will have and allow you to pull it out safely. Depending upon your vehicle, you may need to remove interior parts to gain access in order to locate the radio keys into the slots.
Interface/ Ease of Use
A good double DIN head unit should be one that is easy to use. Don’t be tempted to buy a model that is fancy yet you can have to spend a year just learning how to operate it.
Some of them come with an intuitive menu that can be able to scroll through the playlist and be able to select your favorite song easily. There are those which can enable you to connect to features and can recognize the device which they were previously paired with automatically when they are in range.
Hands-free is a very important feature for any double DIN head. If you have a quality one, then it can save you a lot of trouble using your stereo while driving. It is one of the features which might be complicated when it comes to setting up. It can enable you to concentrate on your driving as you go on with listening to your favorite numbers being played from your system.
You could also look into additional features before choosing your head unit which might be vital for future extension of your sound system like preamp outputs, and others can be useful. It includes remote controls, Bluetooth, switchable illumination, steering wheel control, auxiliary inputs. After finding a head unit that flawlessly integrates with your smart devices(s), narrow down your selection by considering the head unit’s usability.
How do you like the user interface? Can you access most of your favorite functions from the display so that you don’t have to keep looking at your phone? A user-friendly double DIN head unit feels good to you and doesn’t cause much distraction.
Connectivity Features/ Options
A quality double DIN head unit should be one which should be able to connect to several devices. We are moving from the tradition where car stereos could only play music via CDs. In the modern world, they are supposed to play from every device. Nowadays, it is possible to command your washing machine through the internet and start your television using your mobile phone.
Things have changed, and that is why, naturally, you can expect to connect to your car’s head unit as well. The double head unit that is currently on the shops can measure up to technology as one can connect to both iOS and Android devices. They have features and quick command buttons which can only work on specific systems and you should make sure that what you are buying is compatible with your car.
Apart from being compatible to connect with your phone via Bluetooth, a good double DIN head should have a 3.5 mm AUX jack and a USB port which can allow you to connect with older gadgets such as flash drives and mp3 players. You can also utilize the USB port to charge your mobile phone while on the move. The connectivity for a din head unit is quite important. This is because it is going to deliver on some good performance as compared to what you get with other types.
The most common upgrade nowadays is having Bluetooth connectivity. Make sure that it is something easier to pair and start streaming media. Sometimes you can even get the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as options. They do make it easier for you to connect your mobile devices to the unit. You will find USB and MicroSD card slots being part of the connectivity also. You definitely want a model that gives you the best connectivity.
When evaluating different head units, the major concerns here are on what connection options unit provides as well as the number of devices you can connect to the unit at the same time. Newer models feature Bluetooth in addition to AUX and USB connections. It’s important to know how well the unit takes care of connectivity before purchasing it.
Thieves find car stereos to be an easy target for their praying hands as it is easy to sell on the street as compared to the entire car with the risk of being caught is low. To ensure that after spending cash to purchase your desired stereo nobody doesn’t come to steal it, you need to install theft protection. When leaving the car, take off the face of the head unit and keep it in a different location like the glove box, under the seat, trunk or anywhere you deem safe. It is unlikely that a thief can have to break into your vehicle to access your car stereo because it is not worth the trouble.
If you love a stereo that sounds powerful, then you are better off going for a head unit which is strong. The more the power the double din head unit produces, the better you can enjoy the overall output. It is important to put into consideration the RMS and peak of different models that you explore the shops. The peak power is the capability of your stereo to go up in short bursts, but in case you decide to sustain this type of system for longer periods at a high level, it can burst the speakers.
You are better off going for an RMS as it can regulate energy for your stereo for a longer period. For you to purchase, it is advisable that you don’t judge your double din head unit by its peak power rather, by the RMS. Power is one of the most important things for those people who are audio enthusiasts, and it is what can determine how powerful the system can be.
Installing a double DIN head unit with greater power capabilities than your factory radio will help to improve the systems sonic abilities. Punchier music is better and more enjoyable, isn’t it? Then, your target should be head units with greater power capabilities. It’s as simple as checking the RMS and peak power ratings indicated on the product package. If you can get a high powered unit, and one with RCA line inputs and an in-built amp, there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying louder and cleaner sound even without having to install an external amp.
Number of Outputs/Pre-Amp Outputs
If you are to get state of the art speaker systems for your car, it is important that you pay close attention to pre-amp outputs. It refers to the amount of signal which you are going to receive before it becomes amplified. Your listening experience can go to a notch higher with an increase in the outputs as it enables you to be able to customize it to your liking.
How does it work? Well, you can hook up to three amplifiers to your head unit, which can then enable you to adjust the sound as you please. Head units come with varying numbers of pre-amp outputs – the signal before it has been amplified. The number of signals determines the number of amplifiers, equalizers or crossovers that can be added without using a conversion adapter.
Our recommendation is a unit with multiple outputs that will allow you to do future expansions without breaking the bank.
One of the best features of the latest stereos available is their compatibility with your smartphone. If you use a smart device that uses the iOS operating system, you have Carplay whereas Android users have Android Auto. Both have similar features and enable you to use many of the features of your smartphone upon the double din head unit. This includes navigation, hands-free calling, sending and receiving messages and so much more. Both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are premium features but it’s worth paying the extra due to the amount of additional functionality.
Benefits to Replacing Your Old Head Unit
If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not it’s a good idea for you to replace your existing head unit, this section will help make that decision a lot easier. Below, you’re going to find detailed information about all of the various benefits that you can potentially receive by replacing or installing a new head unit in your vehicle. Take the time to read the following section thoroughly to ensure that you make the right decision when it comes to choosing which double din head unit is best for your vehicle.
You can be able to use a new double din head unit to stream media or even online content with certain models thus having no need to burn CD. Whatever music you have stored on your phone can be streamed directly to your stereo through the head unit.
Improved Sound Quality
Upgraded head units are generally better than those units installed by the car manufacturers because they come with more customized and robust features and capability options. You can be in a position to select the sound that you like thus improving your entertainment.
A quality head unit can be used as a handsfree device making it possible for you to receive and make calls by connecting your phone to it via Bluetooth. Your caller can be able to hear you on the other end through an inbuilt microphone or the microphone on the phone, and you can be able to hear them through the speakers.
Top Double Din Head Unit Recommendations
Now that you know exactly what double din head units are and what to look for when purchasing one, it’s time to look at some of the best double din head unit options available on the market. All of the following double din head units come with different features and compatibility so keep that in mind when selecting which double din head unit is right for you.
Kenwood Excelon DNX994SFor the longest time, we all have known Kenwood to be a top brand when it comes to sound quality. It is worth noting that this is one of the best models on the market right now if you are looking for a double din head unit. First of all, you will like the model for being good in terms of performance. This is because it is able to deliver on some good sound quality.
This should make it stand out as one of the best. The model still features a touch control panel. This is where you get access to multiple controls all in the form of touch. You are going to have an easy time working with such a model since it is what people want right now.
Another thing is that you get a variable key illumination. This should allow for ease of use, especially at night. To make it even better, the manufacturer has included navigation features in it. The use of the Garmin navigation system should definitely make it better when it comes to overall use. There is the SD card slot that allows for map update whenever you have to. There is no doubt you will be comfortable working with a model that allows for future updating of the system.
The built-in Bluetooth capability allows you to enjoy wireless streaming of music whenever you have to. It is something that will work great for you.
If you are looking for a top performance product, well this is another option. It does come with an impressive 7-inch touchscreen. This should definitely make access to various functionalities easier. It does also feature the AM/FM tuner. As a result, you never have to miss listening to your favorite radio stations all the time.
It is also worth noting that it comes with built-in GPS navigation. There is no doubt you will have an easy time working with it when it comes to going to different places. The internal amp is also something good. It is able to give you the best in terms of performance just as you would want. The sound, as a result, will be great as compared to models without an amp. The model features a microSD slot that allows you to make updates.
In the end, you will have a model that works great and delivers on proper performance. Since it is Apple CarPlay compatible, you can definitely use your Apple devices with the head unit. Another thing worth noting should be its maps. The impressive maps should help anyone reach their destination with ease. The model is able to play CDs, DVDs, and USB drives. As a result, you should find it is quite versatile. Many people feel okay with such versatility as they can play media from different devices. The next time you need a good performance head unit, this is one of them.
This is one of the best models when it comes to performance also. First of all, it does come with an impressive internal amp. The amp is good so that it can deliver on good quality sound at all times. This is definitely what you would want when it comes to the best performance. Another thing is that it comes from Pioneer, so you never have to worry about sound quality.
The model does come with built-in Bluetooth functionality. This is good for those who need to use hands-free calling or even stream the audio wirelessly. This is a nice feature that should be in similar products. The best part is that it can even support two phones at ago. This makes it even better as compared to some models that just support one phone at a time.
The model does come with iPod or iPhone control. This makes it easier for you to view content from your phone especially media. You can now play songs and other types of media with ease. The impressive tuner is also going to make it easier for you to enjoy different types of information as compared to the others on the market. You can even get to hear the traffic, weather reports, and sports flash.
This is another top performance model to buy right now. First of all, we get to see that it comes with some impressive sound quality. It is going to give you an easy time working with it as compared to the other models on the market. All the time people have used it, they find that the controls are within reach. They are able to work great as compared to the other models on the market. You can be sure to have some good time when it comes to working with it.
To make it even better, it does come with some good smartphone connectivity. This means that it can easily connect to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You can now connect your Android and Apple devices to it. It will be able to work great just as you need it. That is not all as it does come with Bluetooth connectivity.
This even allows for additional devices to be connected to it. In the end, it is going to be a top performance head unit to enjoy using. The best part about using this model should be that it is within the affordable range. This means that you will not have to spend a lot of money to get it working great. The high-resolution audio playback is another feature that should make you enjoy the music coming out of the system. You will be in a position to enjoy working with it.
Use all of the information in this guide to help you locate the best 2-din head unit option for your vehicle. There are a lot of 2-din head unit options available on the market for you to choose from and they will always spice up your vehicles sound system.