DIN first determined the standard stereo head size, but now the acronym is used universally to refer to one of two most common stereo head sizes – single DIN and double DIN. The standard has since been adopted by the International Organization for Standardization and is followed by automakers around the world.
A single DIN head unit, sometimes simply called a DIN head unit, measures about 7 x 2 inches at the faceplate.
A double DIN head unit is the same width, but double the height. It’s like if you stacked two single DIN head units on top of each other.
Considering this, a double DIN head unit is still 7 inches wide but is roughly four inches tall.
Most vehicles come with a specific standard head unit size in mind. But you need to consider a lot of factors if you want to purchase an aftermarket stereo system.
Aftermarket Stereos Have Many Benefits Over Stock Systems – But Be Sure You Buy the Right Head Size
The market for car stereos is expansive. When buying a new stereo, you have lots of options, especially for head units. It’s easy enough to buy a new head unit only to find out it isn’t compatible with your vehicle.
The original equipment that came with the vehicle play a considerable role in your options.
If your vehicle came with a single DIN head unit, your only option is to replace it with another single DIN head unit. The harness for the head unit cannot be expanded to accommodate a taller faceplate.
However, if your vehicle came equipped with a double DIN head unit initially, you can take your pick between replacing it with another double-DIN head unit – or make accommodation for a single DIN head unit.
Pros and Cons for Both Single DIN and Double DIN Head Units
Replacing a double DIN head unit with a single often leaves you with extra space. You can use this space for storage or other small car accessories. A lot of the time, that storage space is used to hold a cell phone. This is especially true if the phone is connected to the stereo to play music or turn-by-turn navigation.
Single DIN head units usually don’t have as many extra features as a double DIN because of their smaller display, but they typically have all the features you’d expect from a car stereo.
If your vehicle has space for a double DIN head unit, there is lots of room for extra features.
Generally, double DIN head units are typically comprised of a large, multimedia display. But occasionally, double DIN head units are just larger versions of their single DIN counterparts.
If equipped with a multimedia display, double DIN head units can feature rear cameras capability, on-screen GPS navigation, music info display, weather conditions, and much more. The possibilities of in-car features are really limitless when it comes to double DIN head units.
You’ll Need to Decide for Yourself if Less is Truly More
For many, the pros of a simple yet powerful car stereo outweigh the need for impressive extra features.
Think about Alpine’s CDE-143BT CD Receiver. You can’t beat the price of only $130. It may surprise you that the receiver has a built-in 18-watt amp. And that it supports hands-free music streaming and phone calls. The CDE-143BT is a great example of a single DIN head unit that will not leave you disappointed.
The Kenwood Excelon DNX994S is absolutely packed with features. The unit has a sensor to detect and compensate for white noise inside the vehicle while driving. It also has a nearly 7-inch touchscreen display, in-dash GPD navigation, and parking assist. These are all in addition to the standard features you would expect from your car stereo – a CD player, an AM/FM radio, as well as a line in and USB port.
Single DIN vs. Double DIN – It all Depends on Your Needs
Your current vehicle, as well as your expectations, will determine what is best for you. If you aren’t sure, reach out to a professional for advisement on your new car stereo head unit.