What is double din vs single din?

Double din and single din refer to the size and form factor of car stereo head units. The terms originated from the German automotive standards body Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), which released standards for car stereo sizes in the 1980s.

A double din head unit has a height of 100mm or 3.9 inches, and a width of 178mm or 7 inches. This allows it to occupy two slots in a car’s dash. Meanwhile, a single din head unit has a height of 100mm or 3.9 inches, but a width of only 53mm or 2.1 inches, taking up just one dash slot.

The double din size was introduced in 1985 as an enhancement to single din, offering a larger screen and interface. Since then, both sizes have remained standard options for car stereo systems. Single din maintains popularity for its smaller footprint, while double din enables more advanced features and displays.

Dimensions of Double Din vs Single Din

The key difference between double din and single din car stereos is their height. According to Crutchfield, standard double din dimensions are 4 inches tall by 7 inches wide. Standard single din dimensions are 2 inches tall by 7 inches wide.

The “din” refers to the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) standard for in-car stereo dimensions. As Lifewire explains, double din units measure roughly 180 x 100 mm, which converts to the 4 x 7 inch size commonly referenced.

So while single and double din units share the same width, allowing them to fit standard dashboard openings, double din units have twice the height, allowing for larger displays and more advanced features.

Features and Capabilities

Double DIN units are known for their advanced entertainment capabilities compared to single DIN stereos due to their larger size. Double DIN head units can accommodate touchscreens up to 8 inches or more, while single DIN units are typically limited to screens of 6.2 inches or less (source). The increased real estate of double DIN units allows for a wider array of features like DVD players, navigation systems, backup cameras, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration, Bluetooth calling, and more.

Larger screens on double DIN stereos also allow for more intuitive touchscreen interfaces and the ability to display smartphone apps. They often have more physical buttons as well for core controls like volume and tuning. Single DIN units have very compact buttons and controls due to space constraints. For those wanting advanced entertainment, navigation, and smartphone integration in their vehicle, double DIN is the way to go (source).

Installation Considerations

Double din stereos have a larger footprint and require more dash space compared to single din units. Many modern vehicles are designed to accommodate double din, but older cars may require special mounting kits or modifications to the dash in order to fit the larger double din stereo. Single din stereos are easier to install in most vehicles since they take up less space.

According to this installation guide, double din stereos require cutting away portions of the dash plastic to fit the larger frame. While single din stereos can usually be installed into factory slots without major modifications. The depth of the dash cavity must also be checked, since double din units are deeper than single din.

Overall, single din stereos will generally be simpler to install into existing slots in a vehicle’s dash. Double din provides more features but requires more dash space and possible custom installation work to fit properly.

Audio Quality

Both double din and single din head units are capable of providing high quality audio, but double din units tend to have an advantage thanks to their larger size. Double din head units allow for larger internal amplification and bigger speakers than single din models. For example, some double din units feature 6.5″ speakers compared to 4″ speakers commonly found in single din models. The additional surface area allows double din speakers to move more air and produce louder, deeper bass [1].

However, single din head units can also deliver excellent sound quality through careful engineering and design. Brands like Pioneer and Kenwood make high end single din units with optimized speaker placement and sound tuning that provide crisp highs, punchy mids, and surprisingly deep bass considering the smaller footprint [2]. Single din models also take up less space in the dashboard which some users prefer aesthetically.

In the end, both double and single din units are capable of providing great sound quality. Double din may have an advantage for serious audiophiles looking for booming bass and high output levels. But single din should not be underestimated, as premium models can produce superb audio fidelity in a more compact package.

Cost Comparison

Double din stereos tend to be more expensive than single din models. This is because double din units have larger screens and more advanced features packed into the extra space, all of which increase the manufacturing costs. According to research by Dual AV, double din stereos start around $200 and go up to $2000 or more for high-end models with navigation, custom audio tuning, and premium materials. In comparison, entry-level single din stereos can be found for under $100.

While double din units dominate the premium end of the market, there are still plenty of budget-friendly options for single din. As per Electronicshub.org, major brands like Pioneer, Kenwood, and Alpine offer single din models between $100-300 that include Bluetooth, USB connectivity, and CD players. These provide an affordable upgrade over factory stereos without breaking the bank. Single din stereos are a great match for classic cars or basic needs, where the extra cost and screen size of double din may be unnecessary.


When it comes to aesthetics, double din and single din head units have very distinct looks. Double din units are almost twice as tall as single din models, with a larger faceplate that takes up the whole height of the stereo slot in a dashboard. This gives double din units a sleek, modern, and streamlined appearance that many find more premium and upscale than single din units.

In contrast, single din head units have a smaller faceplate that only takes up about half the height of the stereo slot. This can give single din units a more classic, retro, or old-school look. For some, this is a benefit as it allows single din stereos to match well with vintage or classic car interiors. Overall, double din units aim for a contemporary aesthetic, while single din models embrace a more traditional look.

Connectivity and Smart Features

One of the key benefits double din stereos have over single din is enhanced connectivity and smart features. Double din systems tend to include more connectivity options like Bluetooth for hands-free calling and wireless music streaming, WiFi for connecting to the internet, and USB ports for wired connections.

Double din stereos are also more likely to have integrated navigation systems and smartphone app integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This allows you to access maps, music, messages, and other apps directly on your car stereo’s touchscreen. Some double din models even have built-in support for virtual assistants like Alexa.

In contrast, single din stereos are more basic and usually only include a CD player, AM/FM radio tuner, and auxiliary input. While some single din head units offer Bluetooth, it’s much more common on double din systems. If you want advanced connectivity and infotainment features in your car, double din is the way to go.

Source: https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-2-din-car-stereo-534610

Popularity and Availability

Double din stereo units have been gaining popularity in recent years, especially as more vehicles come equipped with larger dashboard openings able to accommodate the larger double din size. According to one industry analysis, the global market for double din stereos is expected to reach over $3 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of over 7% from 2023 to 2030.

However, while double din units are rising in popularity, single din stereo units are still widely available and commonly used, especially in older vehicles. Single din stereos have a smaller footprint that can fit well in vehicles with limited dashboard space. One Reddit user in r/CarAV commented that single din stereos will likely maintain a solid market share for the foreseeable future as many vehicles, especially non-luxury models, still utilize the smaller single din opening.

Overall, double din car stereos are gaining ground but single din remains a practical and popular option for many drivers and vehicles.

Which is Right for You?

Whether single din or double din is best depends on a few key factors:

  • Vehicle Dash Space – Double din stereos take up more vertical room on your dash. Make sure you have enough clearance in your specific vehicle before choosing double din. Many newer vehicles accommodate double din, but some older cars may only have space for single din.
  • Budget – Double din stereos tend to have more features and capabilities, but can cost more as a result. Single din stereos are generally less expensive. Choose based on the features you need and how much you want to spend.
  • Features – Double din stereos allow for larger touchscreens, DVD playback, onboard navigation, and more connectivity options. If you want cutting-edge tech features, double din is likely the better choice. Single din has a more classic, simple design.

Importantly, both single and double din head units are capable of excellent sound quality if paired with great speakers. You can achieve audiophile-level audio from a single din stereo. It’s just a matter of allocating your budget wisely between the stereo and speakers.

Take stock of your needs, budget, and preferences. There’s no universally “right” choice between single and double din stereos. Choose the one that best fits your vehicle and goals.

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