A double DIN head unit might sound like something from a space movie, but it’s actually something you probably use every day: it’s a type of car stereo system. A DIN refers to the opening where the radio fits into the car. Regular DIN openings are 2” x 8”, but a double DIN is twice the size, as the name suggests, and the space measures 4” x 8”. The length of these units is the same to accommodate the way most cars are designs. Head units are what fit into the DIN to create the car radio. These are typical aftermarket installs. However, some car manufacturers are incorporating double DIN head units on the factory radio as a way to add some more options to the car.
Best Double DIN Head Unit
Runner-Up Double DIN Head Unit
Middle-of-the-Road Double DIN Head Unit
Good Option Double DIN Head Unit
Economical Choice Double DIN Head Unit
This double DIN head unit from Pioneer is our top pick for the best double DIN units available today. This head unit offers a 6.1” touchscreen LCD display. It offers a number of great features including a DVD player, as well as a CD player. It is compatible with other media types including CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, and WMA. It also has a USB port and offers a 2-way iPod control feature. What’s great about this head unit is that a rear-view camera so you can back the car up with ease. The large touchscreen display makes it easy to see what is behind you and keep yourself and others safe. This head unit offers smartphone integration, and it has Siri Eyes Free, which is a voice control mechanism that offers multiple use options and allows you to engage hands-free operation of your iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Because the world doesn’t revolve around Apple products, this head unit is also compatible with Android devices, which is nice because some head units are not compatible with all devices. There are some fun features on this head unit as well: illumination effects and bright LCD display. You can also expand your options with subwoofer outputs, and a power output. It offers traditional AM/FM tuner radio with up to 24 presets for your radio listening enjoyment. More features include app control, hands-free calling, 8-band equalizer, information display and more. The only thing this head unit lacks is the fact that it doesn’t have navigation, which came as a surprise, but given that it had so much more than the other units in this review, it takes the number one position.
Our second choice for the best double DIN head unit for your aftermarket radio needs is the Pioneer FH-X721BT. This unit offers a variety of features, including connectivity to Spotify, so you have an endless choice of music on the go. Spotify app control allows you to control the music from your Apple device or Android device. This head unit is also compatible with Pandora, which is a personalized internet radio service. You can control it using the LCD display on the unit itself. No extra technology is needed. You don’t need a subscription to enjoy Pandora on your head unit. It offers Bluetooth connectivity so you can connect your media devices, smartphones and more. This head unit is split down the middle and half of the unit has a number of control buttons, and half the unit features an LCD display. It is bright, and you can customize the look of the unit with illumination options for the on-screen text and button lighting. While there are over 200,000 color options to choose from, you might spend more time looking for the perfect illumination color for your car’s radio than actually listening to the car radio. So it’s a good feature, but really unnecessarily large. You can also control the brightness of the screen with 10 levels of brightness, which is nice for when you are driving in the day and the night. Sometimes, these head units are very bright and can be distracting when you are driving. You’ll find this head unit offers quality sound and convenient hands-free calling features that are clear and easy to hear the person you are talking to on the phone. You can download the Pioneer ARC app on your smartphone and use it as a remote control for your radio. You can control preset radio stations, volume, track forward and backward, and more from your mobile device. Last but not least, Pioneer offers MIXTRAX, which mixes your music library for ongoing listening enjoyment.
Our pick for a great “middle of the road” option when it comes to a double DIN head unit for your vehicle is the Pioneer AVH-X391BHS. We like this device for its large LCD display that measures 6.2”, which is slightly larger than the other Pioneer devices in this review. However, this unit doesn’t offer as many features as the other head units we’re looked at so far, which makes it more economical yet practical. This double DIN head unit offers a touchscreen and built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This makes hands-free calling a breeze. What’s more, Bluetooth connectivity means you can listen to your favorite music that is stored on your smartphone or mobile device. In addition to listening to your favorite music while streaming from your smartphone, you can also listen to CDs and watch DVDs on the large 6.2” screen. This head unit can support up to 2 phones at once, so there’s no need to connect and reconnect devices when there is more than one person in the car. We like this head unit because it also comes with a rear-view camera to keep you and those around you safe when you are backing up your vehicle. This is a nice option and provides more value to the overall unit for this middle-of-the-road pick. There is an HD radio tuner, but there is no wireless remote like there are in some other models we’re reviewed so far. However, this model comes with a branded lanyard, which doesn’t improve the quality of the product, but free stuff is fun, especially if you are into music and showing off your product taste. This unit is a little heavier than some other models, which makes sense given that it is a middle of the road option because the parts would be heavier than parts used in a more expensive head unit. It weighs 11 pounds. The controls are on the left side of the screen, which are easily accessible to the driver. You can also download and connect apps from Pioneer for more options and to expand your use.
When it comes to choosing a good option for your next car radio system, you’ll want to check out the Jensen VX7020. We recommend this head unit because of the large touchscreen that measures 6.2” and the bright resolution display for a comfortable viewing experience. It makes it easy to quickly scan your screen while driving without taking your eyes off the road. Everything you need is within reach, and with Bluetooth technology, you can listen to your favorite music right from your smartphone with ease. Plus, Bluetooth technology means you don’t have to take your hands off the wheel to make or receive a phone call. This unit will pair with most Apple and Android smartphones or mobile devices. What’s more, you can connect this unit to your SiriusXM account, Pandora internet streaming account, iHeartRadio, and Spotify apps right on the touchscreen multimedia display. It couldn’t be easier to listen to music on the go. What’s more, there is also a DVD player included in this practical and economic head unit. What this unit does have that some of the others don’t is navigation. Navigation isn’t always necessary, especially when you have a smartphone on your while traveling, but it is a nice option and makes this option a bit more attractive. There are over 11 million points of interest that have been programmed into this device. You can also download new points of interest into it from your smartphone device. Not only does this head unit connect to Apple and Android devices, but it will also connect to Blackberry devices. That’s great for those people who prefer smart devices that aren’t Apple or Android. Installation is a breeze for these double DIN units because Jensen radios come with everything you need to install the product quickly and easily. You’ll also get a detailed installation manual so you can install this unit yourself. For best results, though, consider having your double-DIN head unit installed by a professional. Another great feature of this head unit is that you can connect it to certain controls on your steering wheel, such as volume, and tracking forward and backward, so you don’t need to take your hands off the wheel. With so many features, plus the navigation system, the Jensen VX7020 is a great option for someone looking to upgrade their existing radio system into a double DIN head unit.
Our final pick for the best double DIN head units on the market today is this Kenwood DDX372BT unit. Kenwood has long been associated with amazing audio and sound. We like this radio system for its brand association and the number of features that come standard with it. It features a 6.2” touchscreen LCD display, and it also has a number of color illumination options. Similar to some of the other head units, color illumination is an important part of the experience, but too many colors are not necessary. The LCD screen offers excellent resolution at 800 x 480 and Siri Eyes Free Control. The head unit will connect to Apple products, as well as Android devices. It has built-in control for Apple phones, but not Android devices. It does have a DVD and CD player built in for more entertainment value, and the DVD player is great for long trips with the kids. You can connect your devices to the unit with a lightning cable or using the Bluetooth connectivity that comes standard on this unit. This is a great economical option for people who are looking to upgrade their standard audio system to something a little more robust. This head unit doesn’t have all the features other units have, but this is still such a great option and entry level head unit. It comes with an instructional manual and installation manual. Professional installation will make your budget audio system work and function better, but you could install this yourself. Because this comes from a leading manufacturer of audio products, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck here. What it’s lacking is a navigation system, but not all units have it so it’s not a deal breaker. The control system on this unit is nice because it has the features you might use all the time, such as Pandora, or Bluetooth so you don’t have to fuss with the menu and can get on with your travels.
Our top pick is the Pioneer AVH-X2600BT because it has everything we need, and nothing we don’t. While it doesn’t have a navigation system, it has great connectivity, and hands-free options so you can drive in comfort and safety. It has a great control interface and a bright display so you can easily see what you need. We especially like the backup camera that comes standard with this model and is easily installed on your car. It’s just another way to add value to the already great console. It’s a great option for your next double DIN head unit.
When it comes to upgrading your car’s radio with a double DIN head unit, you’ll want to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Aftermarket radio heads often come with more features than even a market head unit might offer as part of the car’s original features. Here’s a list of what you might find when you buy an aftermarket audio system to help you understand your options.
Choosing a double DIN head unit that has a number of features is the best way to go. This prevents you from having to use wires or connectivity to get more out of your radio and navigation system. The more features that come with your head unit, the more you will pay, but depending on what you want, it is worth it.
Most double DIN head units come standard with an LCD display. The quality of the LCD display will vary depending on the make, model, and price point. The size of the display also varies across different makes and models of head units in aftermarket radio systems.
You might be surprised to learn that some of the best DIN head units on the market don’t actually have a CD player. That’s because CDs are making an exit as a medium that is used on a regular basis. You can get head units and radio systems that have CD players, but they are going the way of the past. What you can get quite easily, however, is a head unit with a built-in DVD player. This is a great option for kids in the car, but if you are driving solo, it’s not really necessary.
DIN head units come with optional GPS navigation. Like everything, you get what you pay for, but navigation is nice these days when you are in a strange city or making your way to a new location. It also helps to keep you hands-free when you are traveling and don’t have access to your smartphone for navigational purposes.
If you are like most people, you probably expect to see Bluetooth on all electronic devices. You should really go for Bluetooth features when you buy a DIN head units so you can get the most out of your entertainment system for your car. This also allows you to take and make phone calls with hands-free technology. Safety first!
Another great feature that is available on some models of head units is the rear-view camera for backing up assistance. When you are trying to park your car in a tight spot, this is a handy feature to help guide your vehicle into place.
You will find some head units that come with a remote control so people in the backseat can control the music, movies, and more. It’s also a great feature for when you don’t want to reach across the dashboard to change the song or answer a call. Keeping the remote close by makes it easier to use the head unit on the road. Mostly though, your passengers will appreciate radio control.
Overall, whatever double DIN head unit you decide to buy, make sure it has all of the features you will need. Invest in a unit with Bluetooth - all of the units on this list have Bluetooth connectivity, but some older models are still catching up to the times. It just makes your life so much easier and keeps you safe on the road. If you travel a lot, you might consider investing in an audio system that has a navigation system. These are not always necessary, but they are nice to have, especially if you don’t know your way around a strange place. What’s more, consider how you will listen to your music, if you will stream music from your smartphone, or if you will stick with your CD collection. Either way, taking time to consider your options helps you get the double DIN head unit that is right for you.
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