What Is The Difference Between Single Din and Double Din Head Units?

With technology seemingly changing all the time, it can be hard to find the right head unit for your car. One of the age-old debates still rumbles on and that is which is the better option, single din, or double din. You don’t always have to stick with the one that the car manufacturer gave you so if you are looking for an upgrade, it is possible. However, how can you tell which is the better option? Let’s take a look in greater detail.

What Is A Single DIN Head Unit?

A single DIN is the regular size of the head unit of a car stereo. As the name suggests it is the smaller of the two and common in any car type. They are sometimes referred to as 1 DIN. If a vehicle is fitted with a single DIN head unit then it can only be replaced with another single DIN unit due to the size.

What Is A Double DIN Head Unit?

With a single DIN being the standard, a double-DIN is twice the size. It is the equivalent of two single DIN head units stacked on top of one another. Vehicles fitted with double DIN head units tend to have more options when it comes to replacing or upgrading.

How Big Are Single and Double DIN Head Units?

This is the easiest way to tell both apart. A single DIN head unit measures around 7 x 2 inches on the front, and a double-DIN is 7 x 4 inches. Because they are twice as tall, a double-DIN cannot be fitted into a slot where a single DIN has been installed. On the other hand, if you want to move from a double-DIN to. a single DIN, you can.

What Does DIN Mean?

Using Deutsches Institut Fur Normung (DIN), the German, car stereo measuring system that has been the standard for some time, it has been adopted and used by carmakers all over the world. The organization that is DIN has been the name behind this measuring method because they were the first to come up with this standard.

What Is Better: Single DIN or Double DIN?

Certain characteristics make both good options for different people, the following are some of the most notable:


Because of its size, a double DIN head unit can offer more features than a single unit. The larger screen means the touchscreen is easier to navigate and can display more useful information about what is playing. Both can offer plenty of storage space but the double DIN products can be hooked up to a rear camera to make reversing easier and some can display GPS information and even weather updates.

If a multimedia outfit is important to you, then a double DIN head unit will appeal when it comes to features.

DVD Player

This isn’t the sort of added extra you are going to get from a single DIN unit and although not every double DIN product has a DVD player built-in, it is the only type of head unit that makes it possible.

HD Screen

Although you can get some impressive clarity from a single DIN screen, it is mostly the double DIN products that are known for their screen quality. This is where you will find HD graphics compared to the blocky font types that look somewhat dated.


Both single and double DIN head units offer a range of connectivity options. It doesn’t matter what size you go for, many have the option to plug in via USB or connect via Bluetooth, but this is most likely to be with the latest models rather than a dated one.

Sound Quality

The sound quality should be the primary concern for most car owners who are into their music or want to get the most out of their sound system but little of this comes down to the DIN size. Preamps and car amplifiers are more important for this, so quality speakers should be the product to invest in when this is a priority. Features like bass control and a built-in amp can add to the sound quality, other products might not compare in this area.


Although most come with a CD player slot, this has not been cutting edge for some time now. With many people moving away from CD’s it is important to find a single or double DIN unit that can be connected to your device to stream your music. Bluetooth is a must, but so is the radio. Some modern products cannot connect to digital, AM/FM, or satellite radio so if you are used to commuting with your favorite station, make sure the product you are considering can tick this box. 

Single DIN Flip Down Unit

This is a bit of a gamechanger as it allows those with only space for a single DIN head unit to make the most of their limited space. These products can double the size of the screen and make up for the fact that it is not possible to install a double-DIN head unit.

Because of this, no one has to miss out on a large screen that can do it all. However, these are not as common which means there is a higher price point.

Do I Need A Single DIN or Double DIN?:

If you currently have a double-DIN (the larger head unit size) in your car, you can choose from either a single DIN for a retro look or a quality double DIN with all the modern features available. Anyone who currently has the narrow single DIN head unit will only be able to use the same although you can upgrade for better screen quality and more connectivity options.

To mount either you have to already have the space to accommodate a new unit and although a touchscreen display with the ability to connect to a rear camera is appealing features, they don’t add to the sound quality. Because of this, if you feel like you are missing out and cannot upgrade to a larger unit, it isn’t the end of the world.

Single DIN’s are more common so you do get plenty of options. They are also more affordable and some come with remote controls, USB port to charge a phone, and other useful features that make it worth upgrading.