Why leave your car as is if one adjustment could totally transform it? That’s the motivation behind many drivers these days who put double din head units in their vehicles. This is not simply a random trend. It makes sense to add features that not only make your car more functional but actually safer and even more valuable.
We review some of the best double din head units on the market so you can join this group of people. They’re enjoying their vehicles more than ever and so can you.
- Features to Consider in Good Double Din Head Units
- Top 10 Best Double Din Head Units in 2018
- 1. Pioneer AVH4200NEX 2-DIN Receiver
- 2. Alpine iLX-207
- 3. Kenwood DDX774 Din Receiver with Bluetooth and HD Radio
- 4. Jensen VX7020 6.2” LCK MultiMedia touch Screen Double Din
- 5. Boss Audio BV9362BI Double Din 6.2”
- 6. Sony XAV-AX100 6.4” Car Play/Android Auto Media Receiver with Bluetooth
- 7. Pioneer AVH-X390BS Double Din
- 8. JVC KW-V830BT Double Din
- 9. Pioneer AVH-1300NEX Multimedia DVD Receiver
- 10. Clarion Corporation of America NX807 2-Din DVD Multimedia Station
- Guide to Buying the Best Double Din Head Unit
Features to Consider in Good Double Din Head Units
What is a Double Din Head Unit?
Let’s start with the name: ‘Din’ represents the German name for these units ‘Deutsch Industry Normen’. It refers to a process of standardizing radios in various brands such as BMWs and VWs which took place in the 1980s.
The ‘double’ refers to the dimensions of the gaps these consoles fit into on your dashboard. A regular din (also called single din) is 2” x 8” but a double ding is a total of 4” high. This makes it possible to add larger screens and more features.
Today this is the common terms for these units that now not only provide you with radios but DVD players, navigation systems and touch screens from where you can operate some phone functions if yours is synced. It’s the best way to turn your car into an entertainment area and even help you manage your life from the front seat.
How to Identify the Best Ones
But now you need to pick one that will work for you. Here’s what you should keep in mind.
Does it Make Your Drive Easier?
Nothing you add to your car’s interior should interfere with your driving. The layout of the double din must be easy to use, functions must be easily accessible and if you need to connect anything these ports must be in clear view.
Is it Easy to Install?
You don’t want unnecessary expenses when you improve your car. There are so many user friendly models on the market you shouldn’t settle for one that’s difficult to install, connect and sync.
Think About Your Budget?
The benefit of having a range of options is that you also don’t have to spend more than you can afford. There are quality models in all price ranges. You can pick yours according to your personal preferences to ensure you don’t pay for features you won’t use.
What Matters to You?
Do you simply want an easy navigation system or are you considering this to improve your audio experience in the car? With the right model you can manage all aspects of your favorite music via a user-friendly touch screen system. But decide what your priorities are before you start shopping so you don’t get sidetracked by the marketing jargon thrown at you.
Top 10 Best Double Din Head Units in 2018
You get a large 7” display and the unit caters for everyone whether you’re looking for a way to optimize your audio experience or you want to simplify how your vehicle provides for your driving preferences such as hands-free calling.
What’s quite impressive is that you can connect two devices (phones) at once so the radio can act according to two people’s whims.
It has a DVD/CD receiver or you can connect via Bluetooth and listen straight from your other devices. This also allows hands-free calling for the two phones connected. The display is adequately big at 7” and the entire unit’s dimensions are 11”x 9.5”x 6”. The display is motorized.
The stereo will instantly work with SiriusXM Sxv300 and you’ll be able to use your double din head unit to access weather information, traffic and more. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide you with navigation options which is the biggest disadvantage that could cause you to pick something else on this list of reviews.
You get an internal amp which makes it very easy to connect your sound system, along with the four provided channels to connect to your speakers. It has a 14W RMS rating which isn’t the best in the business but still sufficient. You can enjoy a 50W peak level when listening to your favorite song.
You can connect this to your iPod, iPhone or iPad so it’s a winning option for Apple supporters. It’s even Siri Eyes Free friendly. Luckily it’s also Android compatible so anyone can enjoy using this.
This design’s popularity is thanks to the very intuitive, easy to use display layout. You get great connectivity options though it can still be improved upon such as going absolutely wireless instead of requiring a USB cable for certain functions.
The 7” touchscreen gives you easy access to features and you can enjoy rear camera view to help you when reversing. The screen also has anti glare characteristics that make it easier to use when the sun is shining brightly
You can manage the system via the screen or from your steering wheel and you can use Apple Car Play or Android Auto. This unit also provides easy access to navigation options.
A nifty feature is that you can have dual view to keep on using the display but also watch the rear via the camera.
You get three pre-out ports to support your car’s sound system. Just be prepared for lower power than some other models.
It also gives you over 2 000 radio stations to pick from on both AM and FM frequencies.
Yes, this unit has Bluetooth capabilities to connect with your SmartPhone, but don’t assume this will work in all circumstances. If you plan on making calls, getting directions and listening to your favorite music know that some of those features and video viewing only work when you’re plugged into the system via the USB cable.
It’s still hands-free for some functions and you’ll hear the audio via the car speakers. However, the moment you add cabling to a system there’s one more component that can malfunction. Of course you also need to remember to have your cable on hand at all times. This isn’t ideal so hopefully the brand can improve upon this in future.
It does connect with both Apple and Android with Android usually requiring the cable more than Apple features.
This is another all-round performer since you can connect most SmartPhones, it supports your sound system well and it’s quite customizable. The user-friendly display ensures you quickly get used to this new feature in your car even if you’re not very tech savvy.
One complaint is that this is not a very fast model. It takes some time to respond when you press the touchscreen buttons. It also lacks GPS Sat Nav but these days most drivers use their mobile phones’ apps so this isn’t a big loss.
You get a large 6,95” screen that has handy features such as adjusting the angle through a 6 step electronic process. You can set up this system for easy viewing so you stay comfortable and don’t lose focus of the road.
This unit has a rear video output and the six channel preamp outputs enable you to set up an impressive audio system inside your vehicle. Apart from the doors you can link up your subwoofer and a rear audio unit as well. The sound is mostly clear so you get quality components.
You’re able to control your audio experience thanks to volume, bass, and other controls. You can listen to radio (FM and AM), your CDs and DVDs or files on a USB drive.
You can use either an Android or an Apple device with this. Connect via cables or the Bluetooth connectivity. The device is also compatible with the apps we’ve all grown to love such as Spotify and Pandora which you can access after connecting your SmartPhone.
This is not the largest screen you’ll find on this list but it has other impressive features such as the navigation system and the fact that it even allows BlackBerry connectivity. The brand provides an instruction manual which should make installation easy. Just make sure you get an English version as consumers often receive Spanish guidelines.
Jensen also provides the trim ring, a wire harness, and all necessary installation hardware. You get a remote which makes it easy for anyone to manage the din head unit no matter where they’re seated in the car.
The screen measures 6.2” and it’s a clear LCD display. You can find your way via the provided iGo Primo Navigation app on the system. It’s impressive that the brand ensures you get updates via the Naviextras Web Support so this feature stays relevant even if roads change. Just ensure your antenna is correctly installed. If it doesn’t have a clear upwards view you’ll get errors when using the navigation feature.
There is a total of 160W peak power which is quite impressive even among the units on this list. You can adjust your audio experience thanks to a 10 Band Customizable EQ tuning feature.
The unit plays the music on your phone wirelessly if you stream it and it can of course play CDs, DVDs & radio. Just be prepared to manually look for some radio stations. It doesn’t automatically pick up all local stations and you’ll have to type in their frequencies to find them.
You can connect via Bluetooth to Apple or Android phones and many other SmartPhones so this is a good option if you have a unique phone. You can mirror your phone’s content and this device has HDMI/MHL connectivity too.
This model comes with a three-year warranty which is quite impressive especially as this falls in a lower price range than some others on this list. You’ll notice it’s not top of the range as the components aren’t the best and the layout should be less cluttered. But it’s still a decent upgrade if you’re shopping on a budget.
You control the unit via the 6.2” touchscreen. There is a remote included and you can install the rear camera features to help you steer when reversing.
On the screen you can view messages or song info with up to 64 characters. There is a Bluetooth microphone that comes with your purchase so your voice can be crystal clear when using the hands-free calling features.
The multiple radio presets make it easy to store the entire family’s favorites on one console. You get 18 FM options and 12 for AM stations. It will work with your Spotify and Pandora apps when you connect your SmartPhone & it’s compatible with most popular phones on the market today.
It can play the usual tracks from a CD, DVD or USB but also MP3 and WMA files. The 80W peak power output will fill the car with sound and you have control over your experience via the Treble, Fader, Bass & Balance settings. You can change or preset these according to your preferences.
You can connect up to three amps for your car’s sound system.
It will work with most modern SmartPhones wirelessly so you can enjoy hands-free calls. You can also use the other ports including USB, an SD card slot or the Aux port to send your music to your head unit.
One huge drawback however is that the USB connection only allows the transfer of information; it doesn’t charge your connected device.
This unit falls into the mid range in terms of price and it has a comprehensive set of features that make it a good investment. It’s remarkably light and has a neat layout that enhances the front of your vehicle. The technology is also up to par as it boots up quickly so you don’t have to wait long before your music is pumping.
This is a reasonably sized screen at 6.4” and the best about the front is the neat layout. The ergonomic rotary dial gives you access to the menu options and it can activate the voice prompt setting is you simply hold it. That’s very smart tech!
There is a rear camera option with guidelines you can customize.
This is one area where this setup really impresses. If you plan on upgrading your entire sound system you can use the three pre-outs supplied.
After installing them you don’t have to settle for your audio coming from the bottom of your vehicle where you install the speaker. The DSO (Dynamic Stage Organizer) setting does a re-calibration which will make it sound as if your speakers are placed on the dashboard near you. Then you’ll be even more in the mood to sing along.
You can further manage your audio experience with the 10 band equalizer.
It will work with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto. Just note that it requires connection with a cable; all features—such as traffic information—won’t work via Bluetooth. Luckily the voice recognition you already enjoy on your Android phone will work here as well.
This is an ideal option if you love customizing tech gadgets according to your creative preferences. The display can be adjusted with five color options, the keys can be one of 112 hues and there’s even a Splash screen and background options.
You also have full control of the display with brightness settings so you don’t have to feel blinded when driving at night. Luckily there is a backlight too as well as a dimmer switch.
One complaint about the touchscreen is that while it’s responsive it doesn’t scroll very well.
The screen is a 6.2” unit which isn’t impressive but still sufficient. It has an 800×480 resolution. The home screen gives you shortcuts which you can customize and you have a total of 24 presets between FM & AM radio stations.
A nifty feature is that you can view JPEG images on a slideshow if you connect the device via USB. Note that this type of features won’t work wirelessly.
This model can support a backup camera but note that this isn’t included in the purchase. The microphone for a hands-free setup comes standard though.
The built-in amp’s rating is 50W x 4. You can play tracks from CDs, DVDs or your SmartPhone. It will play WMA, MP3, WAV files and more.
It will connect to both Apple and Android devices. It even works with Siri Eyes Free. You can also access Spotify or Pandora if you love using those apps. Just note that not all apps you use on your phone will work. For example, Waze doesn’t always work via iOS.
JVC is a popular brand for a reason. This is a quality unit and you’ll realize how the designers spent time to make it more appropriate for users. That’s obvious in the fact that it weighs so little—the lightest unit on this list—which makes it easier to install.
If you want to see song information on your screen you’ll love this one that displays CD text and MP3 ID tags.
The touchscreen display is sized at 6.8” so it’s bigger than most items we reviewed. That’s thanks to the brand not wasting space around the screen. They kept features to the minimum so drivers can enjoy the benefit of a large display which is always easier to manage than compact ones. The only disadvantage here is that some consumers find the small volume buttons aren’t easy to operate.
It comes with a small remote. Of course this adds to the clutter in your car but it’s usually handy when you’re setting up your head unit.
The sound quality is great and it will work whether you use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
A great feature on this unit is the fact that the USB port not only allows connectivity but also charges your devices. It works with most SmartPhones and because you don’t have to download apps you can get to enjoying your unit as soon as you install it. It’s also Siri Eyes Free enabled. Just be prepared as it’s not always fast in responding to your prompts.
The screen is 6.2” large and there is built in Bluetooth to connect.
Don’t settle for sub-par audio if you’re fussy about your music experiences. This unit allows you to alter it via the built-in EQ features as well as Time Alignment and a 13 band graphic equalizer. You can use the installed high/low pass crossover too. This has adjustable points and slopes.
You can incorporate the CD-MC20 microphone but you have to buy the component separately.
The unit even has the latest technology that will provide playback of high-resolution FLAC files. The audio will be the same as playing a CD.
This model is lower on our list because it’s not compatible with all devices. You’ll experience more success working on your Apple device than when connecting an Android phone. You may be able to handle calls but not all Android Auto features will work.
It will work with all your favorite apps such as Pandora and Spotify.
Here’s another dynamic option for Apple lovers. It won’t work with Android Auto though some of your phone’s features will work after connecting via Bluetooth.
A warning: Software updates often disrupt normal functioning.
You get quite a large screen of 6.95” so you’ll clearly see the impressive details of the navigation feature. It shows buildings in 3D and showcases your next move on the road quite clearly. It will guide you with text-to-speech and the installed software has over 11 million points of interest.
You get a six-channel preamp so you can connect speakers as well as your subwoofer and rear unit for optimal audio experiences in the car. You can use its HDMI inputs and RCA A/V ports to ensure your vehicle’s audio works according to your preferences.
Enjoy a customized audio experience thanks to the 15 Band EQ tuning options.
This is another model that mostly caters to Apple users. If you already use iOS you’ll love how much of your device can be incorporated into this unit such as viewing all your apps on the head unit’s large screen.
We’re quite impressed that this model will respond to your voice. This works on the navigation too and is possible thanks to its compatibility with Siri.
Guide to Buying the Best Double Din Head Unit
How easy is it to distinguish between these units? We’ll discuss a few more facts to help you gauge what the best value for money will be for you.
Comparison: Double Din vs Single Din
The most obvious difference between the double and single din designs is the size. With a single din you only have a height of 2” in which to cram features.
The one thing you should consider is whether your vehicle is compatible with a double din. It’s much easier to find space for a single din unit in some models.
Benefits of a Double Din Unit
The size limits what manufacturers can build into single din units and those additional two inches make it a lot easier to add features.
It’s also easier to control features on a larger interface especially if you’re driving. Of course you’re not supposed to look at the interface while you’re on the road. On a double din unit the knobs can be larger so it’s easy to grasp the volume knob if you need to turn it down or want the voice of your navigation system a bit louder.
Apart from this a double din unit adds this to your driving experience:
- These units add aesthetic value to your car so you’ll love getting into the front seat
- The display is huge so you can easily view the information or toggle through the menu
- They add the feature of connectivity between your SmartPhone and your radio so you can access music and enjoy hands free calling
- The display is usually a touch screen which looks sleek and requires fewer loose, movable parts that can wear out
And you can be assured when it’s time to sell your car that console you added will add some serious value that a next owner will be willing to pay for.
But there is such a variety of options. Which features should be at the top of your priority list and when do you know it’s worth the buy?
Which Features Really Matter?
Here are our favorites but remember you need to pick the ones that enhance your driving according to your habits and preferences.
The bigger the display the better, right? This is mostly correct but there are many factors that make a display ideal. Displays can have motorized features and they need to be clear. A dull display will only hamper functionality and when you’re driving at night you don’t want to struggle to make out details.
The display’s layout should also make sense and not be haphazardly put together as many OEM double dins are. Also make sure you can read all the information you like to have access to such as song names (if this is a priority for you). Some will only display names partially.
Make sure the buttons on the display are large so they’re easy to press and find even without looking. This is especially important if you have large hands. You can’t allow yourself to lose focus of what’s going on on the road because you can’t find your favorite song to play.
A double din’s navigation is supposed to make your driving easier but also safer. Instead of glancing at your small screen on your phone you can glance at a large surface. The quality navigation units provide access to the latest maps and make it easy to use so you don’t lose focus on the road in front of you.
Navigation features can also include navigating when your reverse. Rear camera view functionality is still scarce but hopefully this will develop in future. At the moment this is something you’re likely to pay a little more for but it’s worth it if you’re paranoid about driving into objects behind you.
If you do invest in this rear view technology do yourself a favor and opt for one that automatically switches to the camera setting—even while you’re listening to music—if it senses you’re reversing the car.
You don’t want to spend hours—or a lot of money on hiring professional help—to get your system to work. Ideally you want a plug and play device that will be instantly accessible without requiring a lot of settings changes or software downloads.
Also consider what it will take to install the system physically. Remember you need to take out the old system and replace it with your new double din. A good investment is radio removal keys that will prevent damage to your vehicle or the units you take out.
Connectivity & Compatibility
Setup closely links to the double din’s ability to connect with your current devices such as your phone. A popular operating system is Android but if you don’t prefer this software on your phone you probably don’t want it in your car either.
If you’re going to link it to a larger sound system in your car this should be possible without using many converters or additional components that lead to extra expenses.
For this connectivity you need multiple output channels. If you’re that car owner that transformed his or her car with additional speakers they’re most likely situated on all doors. You need to be able to manage these units as well as your subwoofer straight from the din.
At the moment new technology allows you to mirror your phone’s screen. Don’t settle for old technology because soon you’ll wish for an upgrade.
Your double din is not only the way you manage which track will play next; it also determines how loud it’s going to play. All double dins have ratings in terms of their peak Wattage and RMS Wattage. Since you won’t always play your music at top volume you should focus on the RMS rating. If you can find anything close to 20RMS you’ve got a good system.
This rating determines how powerfully your system will push your music through the speakers but also how clear those sounds will be. If you’re fussy about how your audio sounds you need to make sure your speakers won’t distort your favorite songs simply because you purchased a low quality double din head unit.
Have you found your double din head unit yet? There’s space in the front of your car that’s just waiting to be filled with features found in these units. So simply decide what your ride needs and start enjoying what modern technology can add to your journeys.