Best Single Din Head Unit Reviews & Full Buyers Guide 2020

by Matthew David | Updated: July 29, 2020

It is difficult to miss the fact that the car industry is constantly developing and creating new and more technologically advanced cars every single year. But, it’s not just the exterior of cars that is evolving, the interiors are becoming extremely technologically advanced.  One of the most surprising improvements that many manufacturers out there are extremely dedicated to is the improvement of the audio setup within the vehicle, and the main way that they are doing this is by replacing the standard car radio with a DIN head unit. But what is a DIN Head Unit?

What is a DIN Head Unit?

The DIN is basically where you would usually locate your standard radio and other features such as GPS, but more commonly than not, within that space you will find a radio setup. Most people and manufacturers choose to replace this standard audio setup with a DIN head unit, this is because DIN head units not only provide surround sound feeling audio quality of all of your favourite songs, but more often than not they include lots of other features that can improve the functionality of your car. A DIN head unit is far more technologically advanced than your standard radio, as you no longer have to deal with the stress of using a tape or CD. A DIN head unit usually has all of your favourite audio apps pre-installed, meaning that listening to your favorite songs is an easy task and usually of a higher quality than some of the best car speakers on the market right now.

What is the difference between a single and double DIN?

The most simple difference between a single and a double DIN unit is the size. You can expect a measurement of 2×7” inches for a single and 4×7” for a double, so the first thing you should do is measure the DIN unit in your dash as you don’t want to buy the wrong size and waste your money.  In terms of features, you can expect double DIN units to have more apps and features already preinstalled, as well as a larger and usually higher quality screen. However, if you only have the space for a single DIN unit, then don’t be discouraged. The best single DIN head unit will still have all of the applications that you could possibly imagine or need, so you won’t be at any disadvantage.

Now, if it is a single DIN head unit that you need, you may once again be faced with an issue- which unit is the best option for you? Worry not, we have eliminated the need to stressfully search the internet and have listed our ten favorite single DIN head units available on the market right now, so check out our list below and you may find the perfect fit for your driving needs.

However, if you are in need of a double DIN head unit for your car, there are plenty of reviews of double DIN head units available to view right now, so make sure you check them out.

The Top 9 Best Single DIN Head Units

1. Pioneer DEH-80PRS

This single DIN unit is probably the best on this list, due to its exceptionally reasonable price and incredible power. Pioneer have left their mark on almost every audio section, creating both exceptional subwoofers and speaker setups. This single DIN unit has continued the trend of quality Pioneer products and is definitely one to think about.

The physical appearance may be the only slight downside of the DEH-80PRS as it doesn’t look as modern as a lot of the other DIN units available on the market, so it may not match the aesthetics of your vehicle. However, if you like the vintage look and have an older looking car, this may not be an issue at all. It also has the appeal of having a featured CD player, which a lot of manufacturers choose to not include in more modern models. This means you have the choice to not go completely digital and use some of your favourite CDs. It does also have an SD slot, which means that you can download plenty of your favourite music to the DIN unit itself.

The audio quality on this particular single DIN unit is absolutely unbelievable. This DIN unit can extend to up to four units and also includes an equalizer. This means the audio that is produced by the DIN unit will be more fine tuned, which means you will be able to enjoy all types of notes, especially deep bass notes, however this does depend on the quality of your other speakers.

Again, though this device doesn’t look as modern as a lot of the other devices on the list, it does have modern features. For example, it has fantastic bluetooth connectivity which means that you can use all of the modern music applications on your phone to stream all of your favourite songs throughout your vehicle.

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2. Kenwood KDC-BT562U

Though you may not be familiar with the Kenwood brand, this company has been making leaps in the audio industry.  Like the previously discussed DIN unit, the Kenwood has more of a vintage appeal. Which, once again, may be unappealing to people who prefer more of a modern look. However, this device doesn’t look too dated and will fit in with most interiors.

What is really impressive about this DIN unit is the frequency response of 20-20kHz. This means that this setup is capable of reaching some impressive notes, when matched with the right speakers. Unlike your usual factory setup, this DIN unit is fantastic at promoting bass, so if you already have some quality speakers or subwoofers, you’re going to have some great sound quality and some immense bass.

Something that really makes this DIN unit stand out is the boot time, you can expect to have this unit up and running in around about 2 seconds. This is really fast and is incredibly useful if you want to get on the move quickly, there is nothing more inconvenient than getting ready to set off on a trip and being held back by slow technology. Slow boot time is a common issue with lots of devices like this, you will be more than aware of this if you own a GPS, so it’s refreshing that the manufacturers took the time to make sure that speed isn’t an issue.

You may be wondering what additional features this DIN unit has due to its simplistic appearance. Unlike a lot of DIN units on the market, this one doesn’t have a touch screen and so you will not have access to a lot of the fancier apps such as streaming apps on your unit. However, it does come with what you would expect from a standard unit. This means that you get bluetooth connection, which means that you can stream straight from your phone to the unit. There is also a handy little button which means that you can permanently link your phone to the DIN unit. This will make answering your phone while driving way safer as you will only have to flick one button and your calls will be answered and played through your speakers, which means you can focus more on driving.

This unit also has full SD connectivity, meaning that you can also save some of your favorite songs to the device, which again means you don’t have to worry about setting up all of your songs if you are the only one in the vehicle. This unit also comes with a handy remote control, so the car passengers can take control while the driver focuses on driving.

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3. Pioneer DEH-150MP

Once again Pioneer is showing that you don’t have to break the bank to get your hands on a quality product. Pioneer is undoubtedly one of the best audio solutions on the market right now and has already made an appearance in the top spot on this list. Pioneer put months into the rigorous testing of their products and as a result of this have released nothing but fantastic devices and the DEH-150MP is a perfect example of this.

First of all, like any Pioneer device, this unit is extremely powerful. You can expect around 50W of power from this unit, which is plenty to power 4 other speakers. Which means that you have the opportunity to set up some pretty good surround sound within your vehicle, which is ideal for any audiophile there.

For those of you that love additional tech with your devices, this unit comes with a dynamic wireless remote controller which allows you to easily control all elements of the device, but you may be wondering what applications and features actually come with this unit.  What may surprise you is the lack of features that this unit actually has. You can’t get bluetooth connectivity or even a USB connection. So you may be wondering, why is this unit even on the list? Well, we can acknowledge that a lot of you out there don’t care for additional features like mobile streaming and like the simplicity of a good quality unit, so this is where the DEH-150MP comes into play. This device promises quality sound and nothing else and Pioneer completely delivers on this, with impressive sound quality and power- you really can’t complain.

However, if you want a device that is a bit more technologically advanced, this may not be the best option for you . But if you want to focus on having crisp and impressive music quality, you should definitely look into this DIN. This unit is not completely in the past and you can still connect an aux cord to play your music, in fact the sound that you get out of this DIN may be even better quality than just playing a song out of your phone. This is due to the advanced sound retriever that this unit uses, which will enhance the quality of the songs that you listen to.

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4. Pyle PLTS78DUB

This unit stands out a lot in comparison to a lot of the other DIN units on the list due to its extended screen and more modern appearance. This unit has what a lot of the units on this list are missing, a touch screen monitor. This monitor is a full LCD display and is highly responsive, which means you can flick between all of the pre-installed apps without having to mess around with an unresponsive screen.

You may wonder what applications come pre-installed on this device. What you initially get is all of the basics, so GPS, aux and disc settings. A very useful feature that you do get is a pre installed camera app. This links to both the back and front facing camera which means that you can have dash cam recordings constantly streaming through your DIN unit. What is great about this setup is that there is plenty of room to install whatever software that you may need, due to the fact there is room for up to a 1TB SD card. This means you can add whatever music apps you want, so you don’t have to connect to your phone when driving.

However, if you do want to use connectivity options, this is still available as bluetooth connectivity is still able to use. This means you can take calls and play music while still remaining safe.  The DIN unit also has a built in microphone, which means you don’t have to use your phone at all when behind the wheel as you can easily answer calls .

If you are someone who likes having additional features with your device, you will be glad to know that this unit comes with a handy wireless remote. This again means that the person behind the wheel does not have to take full control of the music within the car as other passengers can do their bit.

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5. JVC KD-R690S

This is arguably the best single DIN head unit available on the market right now. What JVC have tried to promote with this unit is simplicity, meaning they want to make sure that they are putting out some quality audio without a list of additional and potentially useless features.

They have the power aspect covered, with a peak power of 50 watts and a 4 channel set up, you can really expect some quality audio from this DIN unit, but to ensure this is the case it should really be matched with a quality speaker setup. You should really search the market for some of the best car speakers available to you right now to ensure that you are getting the most out of your DIN.

This DIN unit comes with everything that you would expect from your standard unit. This means you get all that you would need in terms of connectivity, for example there is easy setup bluetooth connection as well as your standard aux cord, meaning that you can listen to whatever music you want from your smartphone.

This din unit promotes fantastic audio quality, with a 3-band parametric equalizer, you are bound to get some excellent high fidelity audio.

Even though the style of the DIN unit can be considered to be quite dated, it does look good and even comes with some modern additional features. One of these features is a useful handheld remote, which means that you can control the DIN unit without having to stop driving as your passengers will be able to take full control.

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6. Alpine UTE-73BT

This DIN unit was put together with smartphone connectivity in mind.  This unit is a compilation of all of your favourite classic features, meaning that you get the look and functionality of a classic radio set up, along with all of the useful modern features. However, though it does have some classic features, you are not able to play CDs in this unit. So if you’re someone who doesn’t like to rely on digital MP3’s, then this won’t be the unit for you.

However, this DIN unit does come with full bluetooth connectivity, which means you will be able to link your smartphones directly to the unit and play from any application that you may want to.

The Alpine also has fantastic power handling, with a peak power of 500w, you will be able to set up a 4 way channel and set up a surround sound feel within your car.

The unit also has a full LCD fluorescent display, meaning that it will be extremely easy to see what volume/channel your speakers are operating on. This is extremely useful for those of you who are easily distracted on the road and don’t enjoy having your interior lights on. You can still see what is going on with your setup without having to distract yourself on the road.

A very useful feature that this DIN unit has included is a distance tuner. I’m sure that at some point you have experienced the annoyance of attempting to connect to a radio station and the connection repeatedly dropping. This tuning means that the radio will only connect to the strongest signals so you don’t have to worry about being interrupted when listening to your music.

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7. Boss audio BV9986bi

Even if you are not particularly well versed in the audio world, there is no doubt that you have heard of Boss. Boss are known for their high quality and exceptionally powerful products and this particular DIN unit continues the trend of fantastic quality.

This DIN unit really stands out due to its modern appearance and modern features. It comes alongside a touch screen 7” monitor, which is perfect for getting an exceptional view of whichever apps you are navigating. Something that Boss are especially proud of is the monitor quality and they even encourage users to pop in a DVD and see it for themselves. This is perfect for anyone with children , as it will be a perfect distraction for those restless long drives.

There is an inbuilt equalizer within this DIN unit, which means that you have full control of the sound that you hear. You can choose how powerful the bass or treble is, which means you can really cater your listening experience to your own personal taste.

This unit is also fully compatible with bluetooth connectivity along with an inbuilt aux cord, which means that you will have absolutely no issues playing whatever music you want to. It is also extremely easy to connect your DIN unit with whatever speakers you have set up in your vehicle, so if you’re worried about a complicated task ahead, don’t.

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8. Mechless Single Din Head Unit

This is one of the best budget options that has been discussed on this particular list, so if you’re looking for a bargain you should definitely check this product out.

This unit is another one that falls on the more simplistic side and was developed with convenience in mind. The Mechless unit has everything that you would expect to get from a standard unit, meaning you get all of the connectivity options that you could wish for. There is bluetooth audio connection, which means that you can play whatever audio you want straight from your smart devices. This unit also has convenient calling in mind and so have installed a microphone, which means your mobile device can be put completely away. You also get an aux cord for those of you that are concerned about saving mobile battery.

Again they really have convenience in mind, and so have provided you with a wireless remote so that you have straightforward control of all of the features that are part of the unit. This means that you don’t have to waste time fiddling with all of the buttons and knobs and can dedicate all of your attention to driving.

This unit also operates on a power of 45 watts, which is more than enough to produce powerful input to a series of speakers. So if you are someone who already has a quality speaker setup, you don’t have to worry about your DIN unit lagging behind.

Aesthetically this unit is not too dissimilar to many of the others on the list and has a classic car radio look, matched with backlighting to make it easier to see what button does what.  It does lack a touch-screen but that is not necessarily a bad thing as many people prefer a more simple look.

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9. Boss 508UAB

Again, this is another example of Boss’ amazing craftsmanship, however at a more than reasonable budget.

This unit is not as technologically advanced as the previously discussed Boss unit, however you still get the amazing quality that Boss constantly delivers. This includes exceptional connectivity, meaning that you can get bluetooth linking as well as aux cord connections.  But you are not limited to only using modern solutions, as you can still use CDs or USB ports. This means that if you have a large collection of car CDs that you love to use, you don’t have to stop using them.

This setup also comes with an inbuilt equalizer which means you can refine the tunes that you play, meaning that you won’t have to deal with constant distortion and you have full control of your music balance. The best part about having control is that you can do it completely from a wireless control. This means that you can fully customise how you like to listen without having to mess around with the device itself.

It is also extremely powerful which is incredible for a DIN unit of this price point and shows that you really don’t have to break the bank in order to get a high quality performance.  You really get all that you need and more, with exceptional output.  Due to the 50W power you can also play your music out of 4 audio sources,  which means you will get a nice surround sound feel.

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Buyers guide – Choose the Best Single DIN Head Unit

Now that you have had the opportunity to check out all of the excellent options available on the market right now, you may be overwhelmed by the variety of options. Because of this we have put together a buyers guide that consists of a series of possible topics you may need to think about, as well as answers to questions that you may have.

Important Considerations for a Single DIN Head Unit

Design

If you get yourself a single DIN unit, you are going to be spending a large part of the day looking at it as it will be positioned as your centre of attention. Because of this you are going to want the DIN unit to look good. Aesthetics are important in general when buying any new feature , but you want to make sure that this unit looks good as it will be the first thing people pay attention to when entering your car.  You want to make sure that the unit head itself isn’t too bulky as it will protrude and stand out a lot. You also want to make sure that the screen of your unit has thin bezels and looks generally modern, as you don’t want to have to replace it in the near future for a more modern model.

Features

Not every unit is the same and so not every unit will have the exact same features. Some units will come with a series of pre-installed apps, however the apps may not be what you require for your own personal needs and so you should really check what comes with your unit as you may pay the price for a series of additional features that you don’t really need, or you may miss out and not get all of the software that you do need.

Power

You want to make sure that whichever unit you choose has a high power rating. The power of the unit will basically determine the performance of your unit and so you will want to make sure that you have a good continuous power rating to ensure that you get a good quality of use out of the unit.

Easy use

One of the most important qualities that you should look out for when buying a DIN unit is whether or not it is easy to use. It is more likely than not that you will be using the device when driving, so you don’t want to be put in the position where you are distracted when at the wheel. One of the features that will really determine how easy the device is to use is the sensitivity of the touchscreen. Sometimes with cheaper models you may notice that the touchscreen is unresponsive, this can be an issue if you are trying to control your GPS or switch song and can be extremely distracting to use.

Linking to other devices

A point of convenience that you may want to look out for is whether or not the unit is capable of linking with your other devices. If you have someone else in your vehicle with you, it would be more convenient for them to be able to control the music from where they are sitting as opposed to you having to control the music. The same can be said for trying to set up GPS or anything like that, having the ability to link to other devices is just extremely convenient.

Screen quality

Something that you may not realise is important when buying a DIN unit is the quality of your screen, though this is not completely detrimental, having a good quality screen will make it easier to see what is happening on the screen and will be less distracting for driving.

Price

A lot of people fall victim to spending a lot of money on getting a new state of the art DIN unit, but price doesn’t necessarily translate to quality. You should really pay attention  to the price of whatever DIN unit you decide to purchase as they can be very pricey if you’re looking in the wrong place, make sure you take time to find the best financial deal that you can.

Frequently asked questions

How does the sound differ from a normal speaker setup?

The factory speakers that you usually get with a car simply don’t cut it for most audiophiles out there, they’re usually scratchy and aren’t very comfortable to listen to. However, the speaker setup that you get with your DIN unit is usually more technologically advanced and so not only are you getting easier controls, but you are also getting better audio quality.

How easy is smartphone integration

Though you won’t get smartphone integration with every model available on the market, for most it is the standard to be able to link your phone and other smart devices straight to your DIN unit, so if you’re looking for a convenient setup then you should look for a device that is capable of pairing with your phone.

Are single DINS worse than double DINs?

Absolutely not, the only real difference between the two is size. You do sometimes get more software on a double DIN, but this doesn’t mean that what you get on a single DIN is inadequate. Due to their size it is also more likely that your single DIN will fit into any car, so you won’t have to replace your setup if you decide to purchase a new vehicle.

Can I test my single DIN head unit without a car?

You can test your DIN head unit with an external power source, this means that you don’t have to use your car to check whether or not it works. However, you will need a 12-volt source or you may not be able to see how well it works. You also don’t want to overdo it, so when testing- don’t push the volume to be too high.

Will the single DIN head unit work with factory speakers?

If you aren’t in the position to  upgrade your current car speakers or just don’t want to, you may be wondering whether or not a new DIN head unit will be compatible with your current setup. Most car setups will definitely be able to handle the output from a single DIN, however the quality of your speakers may limit the potential of your DIN unit so it may be worth investing in some better ones.   If you want to listen to quite bassy songs, we also recommend that you look at purchasing a subwoofer, which will be able to handle bass a lot better than your standard speaker. If you are not sure where to look for the best option for you, we have several 12 inch subwoofer reviews that you can look at.