Single Din vs Double DIN

Single DIN vs double DIN

Single DIN vs double DIN: which do you actually need for your car? Today, we’re going to explain the difference between single DIN and double DIN and provide you with tips and advice to help you make the right choice for your motor.

Single DIN and double DIN are terms used to describe the size and form factor of car stereos or head units.

While a single DIN car stereo measures about two inches (50mm) in height and seven inches (180mm) in width, its double DIN counterpart measures about four inches (100mm) in height and seven inches (180mm) in width.

In the rest of this article, I’ll take you through a detailed comparison between single DIN vs. double DIN to help you make an informed choice for your car.

Let’s get started!

What is the difference between a single and double Din car stereo?

Single and double DIN stereos are two very different products intended for specific kinds of cars.

To understand whether you need a double DIN vs a single DIN radio, you’ll first need to know what “DIN” actually means. 

The term DIN was created in Germany in 1984 when car manufacturers decided they needed a universal system for measuring the space for stereo equipment in a car.

DIN is an acronym meaning Deutsches Institut für Normung, which is the name of the group that created the DIN standard. 

Although it might sound complicated, DIN is really just a reference to the measurements of a car audio stereo and the amount of space it takes up in your car’s dashboard. 

So, what’s the difference between a single DIN and a double DIN? 

That’s easy!

  • Single DIN is the term used to refer to a car stereo seven inches (180 mm) wide and two inches (50 mm) high. Most older cars used this standard. It was the only sizing option to exist for a while until vehicles began to become more complex.
  • Double DIN, as you might guess, is the term referring to the larger of the DIN radio sizes. Devices measured as being “Double DIN” are double the height of the single DIN radio (four inches), but they’re still seven inches (180 mm) wide.
Single Din vs Double DIN
What makes single din head units better than their larger counterparts?

Single DIN vs double DIN radio: Benefits of single DIN

As mentioned above, there wasn’t always a battle between double DIN vs single DIN devices. Rather, all companies used the single DIN standard.

This made it easier for after-market companies to sell alternative radio systems for customers who wanted to access additional features in their dashboards. 

The single DIN radio is still popular today, though it’s less compelling than it used to be due to the size restrictions.

Though single DIN devices are easy to install and often quite affordable, they don’t have a lot of space for advanced features. 

You can access Bluetooth and USB charging ports within a single DIN radio, but you won’t have touchscreens and phone casting.

Because single DIN radios are small, there isn’t much room for controls. This can make it harder to access the features you need in some cases. Some units will come with things like voice control to help you keep your eyes on the road, but touch screens are harder to access. 

There’s always the option of looking for a device with a fold-out touchscreen, but this can be quite expensive. 

Find the best single DIN head unit radio here.

Single Din vs Double DIN
If bigger is better, then double din radio is a clear winner!

Double DIN vs single DIN radio: Double DIN benefits

Today, the double DIN radio is usually the top choice for most customers and car manufacturers. As mentioned above, the biggest difference between single DIN and double DIN radio devices is the size. 

With a double DIN radio, you’ll have a lot more real estate to work with, which means it’s easier to access things like touchscreen controls. 

Most of the double DIN systems available on the market today come with a range of touch apps to access, so you can easily find things like GPS and radio streaming services

There’s access to things like camera connections, so you can link your device to a rearview camera and get help with things like parking in tighter spaces. 

Many touchscreen radios can also feature extra components like access to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on demand or the option to upload and play your favorite albums.

Double DIN radios having more real estate means they can include many newer, more exciting features.

The biggest downside of a double DIN radio is the cost. You’ll usually need to pay a lot more for this kind of radio, particularly if you want extra features.

Because there are various components to implement, you may need help with installation. 

Find the best double DIN radio here.

Single DIN vs double DIN: Which size do you need?

Interestingly, you can usually still install a single DIN radio in a car with a double DIN head unit if you want to – but the same isn’t true the other way around.

This means you’ll need to take the time to figure out what kind of radio system fits in your car before you go shopping.

Vehicles built for single DIN head units generally won’t have enough room on board for a double DIN radio. However, you can consider speaking to a garage or mechanic for information on how you can make adaptations to your vehicle. 

Any significant changes will probably cost you a lot of money, unfortunately. 

Your best bet for making sure you get the sizing right is to measure your radio. If you have a large screen that’s up to four inches (100 mm) in height, it’s probably a double DIN radio. If you’ve only got a smaller device with a 2-inch (50 mm) face, it’s a single DIN. 

There are also some other radio designs out there that don’t follow the single or double DIN measurements. Though rare, these designs can make it difficult to find new radios to install in your vehicle. 

If you’re not sure about your radio system, or you’re concerned it may not be a “standard size,” it’s best to talk to the company you bought the car from.

Single DIN vs. Double DIN Stereo: Direct Comparison

The table below shows a direct comparison between single DIN and double DIN car head units: 

ComparisonSingle DINDouble DIN
SpacingCompact and fits easily on the dashboardRequires more dashboard space
DimensionsLength: seven inches (180 mm)
Width: two inches (50 mm)
Length: seven inches (180 mm)
Width: four inches (100 mm)
ConnectivityBasic connection with devices like USB and AUX-inAdvanced connection with Bluetooth, USB, and AUX
ControlMay be challenging due to the smaller screenUser friendly due to a wider screen
FeaturesLimitedA diverse range of features
ScreenSmaller digital screenLarge HD screen size
DVD PlayerNot supportSupported
Phone ConnectivityUnavailableAvailable
Table 1: Comparison between single DIN and double DIN car head units.

Is Double DIN the same as 2 DIN?

Double DIN car stereo is the same as 2 DIN. 

2 DIN head unit is a colloquial term for double DIN. Therefore, whether you buy a double DIN or 2 DIN, your stereo will measure about four inches (100mm) in height and seven inches (180mm) in width.

The only difference will be when you go for 1 DIN. This equates to a single DIN car stereo. As such, it will measure about two inches (50mm) in height and seven inches (180mm) in width.

How to Know If a Head Unit Will Fit in Your Car

If you’re in the market for a car audio head unit or want to upgrade the current unit, the first thing you want to do is ensure the option you get fits seamlessly.

So, what should you do to achieve that? Well, there are two ways to know if a head unit will fit in your car.

First, use an online database to find a fitting head unit for your car. The best online databases for this include Crutchfield’s Outfit My Car and Pioneer Electronics Fit Guide.

Once you get to these websites, input your car’s model, make, the necessary trim options, and the year it was manufactured. Finally, note the head unit the system suggests for your car.

The second way is to measure your car’s current head unit manually. Measure its height and width in inches or millimeters. This will give you an idea of what to look for.

The future is now thanks to the variety of features present in your double din stereo.

What Can I Access With the Double DIN Stereo?

As already mentioned, a double DIN car stereo has multiple features that make it ideal for most modern car enthusiasts.

With a double DIN stereo head unit, you can access features like AM/FM radio stations, MP3 players, Bluetooth connectivity, Android Auto, USB charging, access to phone apps, AUX-in ports, HD radio, SD/TF card slots, high sound quality, voice control, and backup cameras for control.

Although the double DIN option is more costly than its single DIN counterpart, the included features make it a worthy investment for your car.

Choosing your new car stereo

Once you’ve got a good idea of the size of your radio, you’ll be able to start shopping for an alternative stereo. There are plenty of great options out there for both double DIN and single DIN vehicles. 

Remember to take your time sorting through your options and look for something you know is easy enough to install. 

Other points to consider include:

Audio sources

Aside from access to AM and FM radio, you may also want to be able to stream internet radio, access Bluetooth connections from your smartphone, or even insert an SD card or USB for albums. 

Smartphone integration

Having access to your smartphone in your car can make life a lot easier. With this in mind, look for a radio you can connect to your smartphone for hands-free calling and conversations.

Smartphone integration will also allow you to play music from your phone in some cases. 

Extra features

Most stereo systems come with various great features these days, like the option to charge your phone, use voice assistant control, and even plug in an aux cable for private headphone-based listening.

If you need more help choosing the ultimate car stereo, you can find more information on some of the top sellers here on Radio Fidelity. 

Looking for an extensive list of the best of both types of head units? We’ve got the Best Single DIN products and Double DIN head units!

Radio Fidelity: For the love of radio.

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