Single DIN vs Double DIN – Which Is Best?

Single DIN vs Double DIN – Which Is Best?

Single DIN vs Double DIN car stereos, which is best and why? Well, as with all things car audio, it’s down to personal preference.

Do you want your head unit to play all the latest movies, and synch with your smartphone, so you can enjoy many of your apps on the Mirror Link application? Or, are you more of a traditionalist and want your head unit to be a car radio, or at the very most to play your music files?

If you prefer the former, you should go for a Double DIN vs Single DIN, whereas if your head unit is just for playing music and listening to the radio and podcasts, then getting the Single DIN might make more sense.

Of course, there’s more to it than that, but before we get into it, let’s explain exactly what a Single DIN and Double DIN means for car stereos.

Single DIN vs Double DIN

In the Single vs Double DIN debate, it’s important to know exactly what the differences are. Many believe Single DIN means a traditional looking car radio, while a 2 DIN is a multimedia display that allows you enjoy many more things while out driving the car.

And while this is true to a degree, you can get Single DIN touch screen head units, while many Double DIN radios are available without the touchscreen feature.

Single DIN is the traditional sized stereos, and double is, yes you’ve guessed it, twice as big. In most cases.

But that’s not the car stereo front. In fact, the DIN size refers to the back of the head unit, and while the front display of most Single DINs are smaller than Double DIN displays, it’s not always the case.

Single DIN radios are a 7 x 2 inches at the back, while Double DIN units are twice as high: 7 x 4 inches at the back. And this is the size fitting that you should consider first and foremost when you’re not sure what to go for: a Single DIN or Double DIN.

The DIN size is reference to Deutsches Institut fur Normung, which is the German national organization for standardization. Based in Berlin the DIN standard doesn’t only refer to car stereos. There are actually over 30,000 DIN standards that cover pretty much every field of technology.

The standard was created in 1984, with goal to develop a radio chassis size that would be common across a wide variety of vehicles, and since then pretty much all manufacturers use the DIN standard sizing.

Typical Single DIN and Double DIN Radios’ Features

As already stated, you can get Single DIN touch screen radios, but these tend to boast smaller displays than their Double counterparts.

In fact, there are some Single DIN head units with a snug dash fit touchscreen display, but these tend to be smaller, 4 inch displays. Anyone wanting a bigger display for a 1 DIN will either usually have to get a retractable display or one that protrudes from the back of the unit and isn’t flush with the dash.

Not a big deal for most, but a Single DIN radio is mostly geared towards audio features, as the multimedia features on a Single DIN aren’t usually as good as the best Double DINs.

A Double DIN head unit will most likely have all the multimedia trimmings, with the very best touch screen sensitivity, and the display can be as good as you can get with many home televisions.

You can get many smartphone integrations with the best Single DIN head units, but as already stated, Double DIN is better vs Single DIN for multimedia features.

As with Single DIN, it really depends on the amount you’re willing to pay, because the best head units with all the best audio and multimedia features will cost a fair bit more. That said, the quality and array of features will keep you and the family entertained while out on the road for a long time.

Which To Get – Single vs Double DIN?

When you’re ready to buy and install an aftermarket car stereo, knowing which size DIN your vehicle has in place is something you really need to know before you buy a new one.

Unfortunately, there’s no Single or Double DIN label on the display, so to find out the size of yours, simply pull out the stereo and check the back. Of course, if it’s 7 x 2 inches it’s a Single DIN, whereas if the back case is 7 x 4” it’s a 2 DIN.

As well as the size considerations, you need to know what you want your car stereo for. Is it just good quality sounding music? If so, and your factory car radio is Single DIN, then you should go for this size.

The same can be said for Double DIN head units. If it’s multimedia features that you really want and the fit is possible, then you should go for the bigger size.

Can I Replace One with the Other?

Many people want to replace their factory head unit, but aren’t sure if they can replace with a bigger or smaller DIN size.

Most people installing different sized head units go from Single to Double DIN, as more people want the newer technology and are starting to go for multimedia displays.

And of course this is possible with most cars that have a Single DIN cut out. Depending on your car and factory installation, you may have to cut out a piece of your dash to make it possible to install a Double DIN size.

Your aftermarket 2 DIN head unit will likely come with a stereo dash kit. Some will be car specific, and this will include a mounting some side mounts or a mounting frame to help keep the bigger DIN size in place.

But what about replacing a Double for Single DIN, is it possible as the frame and cutout for the 2 DIN is bigger and can’t surely be filled, can it?

Well, surprisingly you can install a Single DIN head unit in the place of a bigger DIN cutout, and in fact it’s actually easier this way as you probably won’t have to cut any of your dash.

The mounting frame that comes with your aftermarket Single DIN car radio will have a Double DIN sized mounting frame, and instead of filling the space fully with a faceplate, it will likely have a storage shelf underneath the narrower faceplate.

So, whether you’re choosing one or the other, Single DIN vs Double DIN, you can replace one with the other.

If you are looking to install a Car Stereo, whichever size, this is an excellent and etailed step-by-step guide to make sure you make the neatest job.

Single DIN vs Double DIN Head Units

As with everything in the audio industry, it’s down to personal preference when it comes to Single vs Double DIN.

The best Single DIN radios concentrate on the audio quality, and some of them help your stereo system reproduce some of the best car sound you can get.

A Double DIN head unit can also boast the very best audio capabilities, but of course the same standard audio components in a 2 DIN along with all the best multimedia features, and it will be quite a bit more expensive.

Things I would really consider: What size is your factory car radio? Of course, you can replace it with a different size head unit, but it can make it more awkward to install.

Do you want it just for music or do you really want a large display with the best smartphone integration? The answer to that question should help you make up your mind, but for me Double DIN is the way forward.

Looking for a new Head Unit? Check these reviews out…

The Best Single DIN Head Units
The Best Double DIN Head Units
The Best Car Stereos

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