There are multiple reasons you would want to upgrade your vehicle’s stereo head unit. However, the main reason in 2021 is the function of smartphone integration. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay add voice commands, making it easier for the driver to text, call, and change the music playlist. It also helps in navigating new and unknown places.
Many people prefer this mode of upgrade because you do not need a new car to add these features to your vehicle. All you need is a new infotainment system, and you are good to go.
The extensive range of car receivers from Sony, Pioneer, JVC include many functionalities such as HD Radio, satellite connection, CD and DVD players, USB inputs, and preamps. The built-in GPS is a boon for any traveler. In addition to all this, the big screen allows for all the relevant information to be displayed neatly, without any clutter or distraction.
So, it is no wonder that you would want to look for the best double din head unit to take your car and its functions to the next level.
Top 8 Best Double DIN Head Units of 2021
If you’re a fan of wireless functionality and want the best for your vehicle, the Pioneer Avh-W4400NEX is the best double head din unit for you.
It distinguishes itself from other mainstream systems with its industry-leading change in design, allowing you to remotely access your system without the need to use physical buttons.
Moreover, it can be plugged and played from any system, be it Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or Miracast. This massive level of functionality makes it one of the more competent infotainment systems in this guide.
It also offers corded options for those looking for extra reliability. Now, if you’re an old fashioned music lover, Pioneer has got something for you as well. It comes with a built-in CD/DVD drive that allows it to play virtually any type of media available in the market.
Although this model lacks the relatively mainstream GPS function, it is easily covered by mobile phones. The absence of this feature allows its price to fall by more than a couple hundred dollars, making it one of the more affordable options on the market.
- It has wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
- Features a built-in CD/DVD player.
- Contains an intuitive physical button layout.
- It gives a better than average return of investment.
- It does not have a touch-based interactive system.
- Lacks a GPS navigation system.
If you are looking for a stable-yet-affordable infotainment system, Sony has got you covered. This budget-friendly offering from the tech giant is not high on inbuilt features but manages to make that its strong point.
Like other units, it includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality (provided you don’t mind a wired connection). It also sports a 6.4-inch display, which, while smaller than some of its other counterparts, has crisp details and a responsive touch system that is easy to view and read from a driving distance.
In addition to all this, Sony also offers a familiar volume and selection control that does not take long to get used to. The added volume knob is another handy addition to an already easily accessible array of features.
As noted before, it is cheaper than nearly all of its counterparts. That, however, does have its drawbacks as it lacks a CD/DVD player and satellite radio system. But this would not be an issue for most people who only use their infotainment system for regular and day to day work.
This model does not support the steering-based controls as it does not have an iDatalink adapter. Still, the extensive basic features and high accessibility make it the best double din head unit for the casual user.
- Extremely economical while offering all the basic and some advanced functionalities.
- It contains a crisp and responsive 6.4-inch touch display.
- Features the old volume knob, making it convenient and reliable.
- Delivers some of the clearest, detailed sound amplification, thanks to the built-in 10-band equalizer.
- Does not have a CD/DVD player.
- It also does not have a satellite radio facility.
- The inbuilt steering wheel controls cannot be integrated due to the lack of an iDatalink adapter.
If you are looking for high-quality music output in addition to top-of-the-line features and accessories, then Pioneer brings you its ACH4200NEX double din head unit. It claims to provide the best-in-class input and output audio.
This unit features unmatched compatibility with many audio file types, including FLAC, MP3, AAC, WAV, and WMA. If that is not enough, the MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, AVI, and WMV video playing capabilities are surely impressive.
Even when it comes to the more modern streaming and satellite radio options, this unit goes a step further and delivers the best in class features, with services like Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM included in its streaming facilities. Additionally, it offers a highly exceptional and reliable Bluetooth connection and even aims to enhance these already existing capabilities.
Though it does have a few glitches (nothing that an update cannot resolve), it delivers upon almost all the demands that any user might have of it and does that in style. Such outstanding features and accessories make it a contender for the best double din head unit in terms of audio and video playback.
- It is optimized for FLAC, AAC, MP3, WAV, and WMA audio formats.
- Its 7-inch screen is also compatible with MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, AVI, and WMV video formats.
- Compatible with a host of the current streaming platforms such as Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM
- The iDatalink functionality allows it to be integrated with the steering control functions.
- It also has wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections.
- Does have some firmware problems that need to be solved with an update
- Has connectivity issues when connected with USB type C Android phones.
Do you want a good infotainment system but are scared about the endless features that might boggle your mind? Are you looking for a system that provides all the functions of its competitors in a clear and concise manner? Enter the Alpine ILX-107. It is one of the best double din head units owing to the easy-to-use interface and lack of technological clutter.
These are best for first-time upgraders that want a more reliable option before moving on. This unit includes almost everything that an average user might need, from maps and GPS functionality to music and messaging capabilities.
Moreover, by adding proprietary software into the mix, it also has the ability to auto-detect your phone as soon as you enter the car and start your vehicle, thereby allowing you to pair your phones without any hassle.
With a simple expansion, this model can control up to eight separate and unique accessories that can be installed in and on your vehicle (including light bars).
For those who want to listen to music, this unit works exceptionally well with Apple CarPlay. It can also provide even better-listening features due to Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeart Radio, and podcast optimization.
It can also pair up with Siri to use the audio functionality and compose messages in the hands-free mode. But, with so many high-end features, there are a few drawbacks as well.
The iDatalink adapter capability and rear camera connection require additional pieces of equipment to work with your vehicle. However, overall, this can be a highly suitable option for those looking to upgrade for the first time.
- It auto-detects iPhones on startup.
- It has wireless connectivity with Apple CarPlay.
- Optimized for Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM, iHeartRadio, and podcasts
- Can easily show GPS and directions by working in tandem with Apple Maps
- iDatalink functionality and rear video camera link are sold separately
- It is only suitable for people who are new to this niche
Unlike many other models with a similar price range and features, the JVC KW provides exceptional customization and versatility in audio playback to match the user’s distinct music tastes.
It provides 96 kHz/24-bit audio output in base forms, which is a huge jump (almost three times) from other standard stereo systems. This improvement can be attributed to JVC’s proprietary K2 music enhancement software.
It allows the user to play an active role in the available customizations, thanks to the 13 band equalizer. It goes even further by incorporating a time alignment system that helps bring all the speakers in your vehicle in line to provide a delay and lag-free listening experience.
Surprisingly, in terms of features, you can just input your vehicle’s size along with the number of speakers, and it will adjust itself automatically to fill every inch of your car with music.
But for all its frills and features, it lacks mobile integration and GPS radio technology. Therefore, it is useful as an infotainment system, but only in a limited environment. This does stop it from vying for the position of the best double din head unit, as it is outstanding in doing what it is meant to do.
- It has a 96 kHz/24-bit audio output, which is three times better than standard stereos.
- It contains the highly unique, 13 band equalizer.
- It also has time alignment for delay-free audio playback.
- The volume link EQ can auto-adjust volume based on different factors.
- It is optimized for Pandora and Spotify.
- The SiriusXM tuner is sold separately.
- It lacks GPS radio functionality.
- It does not have any app integration function.
Most of the Jensen unit’s functioning highly relies on good navigation and directional functionality. It has focused on its mapping capabilities a lot more while keeping all other features as up to date as it can. So, if you are a budding road wanderer or seasoned campers, this system is highly recommended for navigating all of that uncharted terrain. Additionally, it also features Bluetooth calling through paired smartphones and seamless integration of playing the music from when it paused right after the call, allowing you to keep your complete attention on the road.
Not just that, but the model allows you high customization for an automotive space depending on its size, and its high performing EQ balance will adjust for a seamless performance.
The model supports SiriusXM for fans of the radio, but you might have to chip in a bit more to get a separately sold tuner to access this.
All in all, this is the perfect system, and barring a few glitches and bugs it is prone to, it is your ideal road trip companion.
- It has top-tier mapping and GPS facilities.
- Supports Bluetooth hands-free calling
- It is also affordably-priced for its features.
- The SiriusXM tuner is sold separately and needs to be integrated independently.
- Prone to glitches and bugs, though it can be tweaked with a few system settings.
This is a wonderfully affordable option for your vehicle and doesn’t skimp on any crucial features. It cleverly makes use of Siri’s hands-free functionality. Siri is just a touch away so that your focus never strays from the wheel. The model also features a backup camera functionality that is just as easily adjusted. Hooking it in the right position will enable you to use your vehicle’s backup camera.
This model’s distinctive feature is that it offers to elevate the existing functionality of your car, making it a must-have if you want a system that doesn’t burn a hole in your pockets.
But, if it’s your first tie upgrading, we recommend that you visit a professional rather than do it yourself, as installing this could be challenging. As the integration the model offers can make it extremely challenging to install, you’ll never really get enough of your old automobile again once you do get it hooked up.
- It features the Siri Hands-Free functionality.
- Simple integration with a built-in backup camera allows for easier backup.
- CD/DVD player is a cherry on top of the existing functions.
- Compatible with iPhone and iPod
- Challenging to install by yourself
- SiriusXM tuner sold separately.
The Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 provides all the functionality you’d need. The screen and mounting are its main focal points. Further, it is not only functional but also attractive. It has an adjustable mount for the screen, which hovers over the dash. It has a high price tag for all the features that it offers, so you will have to invest more capital than you would on some other entries.
In this particular module, there are quite a few features and accessories, such as lights, lockboxes. It even integrates easily with previously installed S-pod switches, making the integration seamless.
The tapered back also helps this model perfectly complement every car dashboard without jostling vents and knobs. Optimized for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, this model software can handle several desirable apps. Waze, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more- all run on this model’s integrated software without a hitch.
When mounted, the panel and the mount are attached to the stable build frame. It also has an optional Multi-Camera Switcher Universal Camera Input with Guideline Monitor and Rearview Camera Remote Guideline Display.
It is equipped with 9-band parametric Dual HD EQ/6-channel time correction/MediaXpander HD and compliant with Alpine Accessory Control Module (KAC-001 sold separately)
- Hovering position above the dashboard
- It works with many leading apps, including Waze, Spotify, and Amazon Music.
- The command center provides easy accessory control.
- Among the most expensive models on the market
Best Double Din Head Units – Conclusion
It is quite tricky to declare anyone DIN unit the best. Many options stand out as excellent picks for people looking to upgrade and reap all the benefits and opportunities that a modern DIN head unit has to offer.
With the addition of iDatalink integration, you can use steering controls to control your infotainment system. And finally, the materials used and wireless options offered vary from unit to unit.
So, while it is tough to crown one unit as the best double head din unit, it is relatively easy to list some of the best ones, and that precisely what this guide hopes to achieve.
So go through all the entries and try and find out the best one for your needs and capabilities.
FAQs on Double Din Head Units
What Head Units Fit In A Car?
All aftermarket car stereos usually come in two standardized sizes (referred to as DIN, after their German acronym). A single DIN unit measures 2 inches in height and 7 inches in length, while double-DIN measures 4 inches in height and 7 inches in length.
Before investing in an aftermarket stereo, you should research your vehicle’s dimensions and try and find out the sixe of the unit that it can accommodate. A single-DIN console can only accommodate units with a single DIN size, while double DIN ones can accommodate both Single-DIN and double-DIN size units. You can easily find the DIN size in the owner’s manual that comes with your vehicle.
In any case, it is best to have your car checked by an installation expert. That way, if you have a particular unit in mind, they can easily fit it or recommend ones that might go better with your vehicle’s aesthetic and functionality.
However, It is imperative to research because there is nothing more heart wrenching than buying your favorite DIN unit and finding out that it does not fit your vehicle.
What Features Should I Look For When I Buy An Aftermarket Head Unit?
After you have made sure that your car can accommodate a particular type of DIN unit, you can start looking for units offering different features and additional functionalities. There are many functions to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. Here is a small glossary of the various elements you might want your DIN unit to have.
While a touchscreen display looks better and provides a crisp feedback response, it does not always have the best functionality. So look for a touchscreen display that comes along with a few physical controls in order to control your unit’s features easily and based on muscle memory.
This is one of the best wireless fidelity options in the market. It is supported by nearly every device out, be it smartphones, tablets or laptops. This allows for a secure wireless connection with your unit without worrying about the hassle of wires. A Bluetooth enabled head unit is always the better choice for calling-related features, navigation, and other hands-free functionalities.
Support For Music Streaming Apps
No one can resist listening to some good music while on a long drive or when stuck in traffic. So, it is imperative to look for a stereo unit that can play as many types of music as possible while offering as many capabilities as possible.
A good connection to any streaming platform makes a stereo unit better than ones that don’t offer this feature. Granted that these would cost more than conventional stereo units, but the added functionality and versatility in playing music more than makes up for it.
Smartphone Integration With Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
This is the leading cause of looking for newer and advanced stereo options. Many higher-ended options include software to seamlessly integrate your android or apple phone with the stereo unit to get the complete integration experience.
This way, you can use maps, Siri, or even Cortana while driving, without having to use your hands or going through the hassle of setting up accessories.
In-Dash GPS Navigation
This feature is adored by many. People who travel would like to look for an infotainment system that comes with a built-in GPS and satellite radio. This allows for better navigation.
Granted that a mobile phone can perform the same functions, but it is always better to have a stationary and built-in mapping device that can display your routes and play music simultaneously, without needing any inputs from you.
DVD Playback & Rear Seat Entertainment Support
This function is useful for newcomers who want to have something advanced in their cars but still retain some of the old functions. It also lends a rugged look to your car’s aesthetics.
Moreover, many units allow integration with OEM rear seats.
This way, everyone can enjoy and use the infotainment system (like sharing movies or listening to songs with the family) to its fullest.
Backup Camera Support
No amount of caution and practice can take away your fear of backing up a car without direct audio or visual cues. The integration of the infotainment system with the rear camera allows you to see your vehicle’s rear better than a standard screen.
This saves you the hassle of looking back all the time and provides a good safety option to look at your car’s rear all the while sitting safely in the confines of your car. So, go through the unit’s specifications carefully, as the absence of this functionality can be a substantial loss.
Support For Satellite Radio
Satellite radio, such as SiriusXM, has been a long time favorite of many audio enthusiasts. It is a staple for many who are looking to expand their musical palate. Therefore, having a system with satellite radio compatibility offers many benefits, both in its versatility and functionality.
USB & AUX Inputs
Since the late 2000s, all OEM units come with AUX and USB inputs. The tradition still continues, with many aftermarket units offering these inputs facilities to increase playback options and versatility.
Audio CD Playback
The CD playback option is targeted at people who have a collection of music CDs that they would not want to part with. Though it is not very versatile, it can be a good option for people looking for something advanced, while retaining a hint of nostalgia.
Support For Digital Media Files Like MP3
MP3 is one of the most widely used file formats, so it is no wonder that nearly every aftermarket unit supports this audio format. Many older OEMs did not include this support, so upgrading to a system that does only increases your repository of music and playback options.
Equalization & Time Correction
This is one of the more advanced options and allows the user to tweak and modify specific channels according to their taste. Time correction is the cherry on top that cuts down on echo and time delay, providing crisp and clear music playback.
Support For High-Resolution File Formats Such As FLAC
Finally, file formats such as FLAC are the music streaming industry’s pinnacle of musical purity. Therefore, it is no wonder that any unit that supports this feature will pull ahead of its competitors in terms of clarity and reliability.