Best single DIN head unit: Top 10 rated products 2018
A head unit is the main interface of the entire stereo system. It used to be referred to as the receiver.
The single DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung) was a standard set by the Germans. The standard defines the width and height of heads units for cars. Head units can also be a double DIN.
To determine whether what you have is a single din car stereo, simply measure the front faceplate or check its specifications.
Knowing the difference between single din vs double din head units will make it easier for you to make the right choice.
Choosing between a Single and Double DIN Head Unit
A single DIN stereo unit is about 7 inches in width and 2 inches in height. It commonly has 3 vertical stacked slots. A double DIN stereo unit is usually about 7 inches in width and 4 inches in height. It can house multiple discs and a bigger screen display.
A double DIN will have more space for a larger screen display and other components such as amplifiers or an equalizer than a single DIN. Many video head units which are considered the best match a double DIN, such as head units with touch screens.
It does not necessarily mean though double units are more superior to single units. Many of the best ones come with great touch screens. The choice between a single or double unit boils down to your own preference.
If your car currently has a double unit, you can replace it with either a single DIN or a double unit. If what is currently installed is a single DIN, it can only be replaced by a newer unit. A single DIN car head will definitely fit into a double unit with extra space for other components.
The best single DIN head unit is often cheaper than any double units, but this is not always the case.
In choosing between the single and double units, it is important to know the features you need and to determine which fits into your budget.
Top 10 rated single DIN head units 2018
There are many single din units available in the market. It can be a daunting task to choose which is the perfect fit. Here are reviews of the best ones. Any of these could be perfect for your car.
1. Pioneer DEH-X2800UI
This pioneer single din allows you to listen to your favorite music from the music libraries of your Android and iPhone smartphones, iPod and from your CD collection.
This Pioneer head unit comes with an AM/FM tuner and a CD receiver. It features a detachable with a 13-character single line display. It also has a dimmer control and illumination timer. It comes with a remote control.
You can use your smartphone with this head unit as it comes with built-in iPhone, iPad, and iPhone controls. You can access the Pandora app for Android and iPhone devices through the Pioneer's Advanced Remote Control smartphone app for music streaming.
The Android Open Accessory 2.0 (AOA 2.0) allows you to use compatible devices through USB and also use the Pandora app for music streaming.
Pioneer is known for easy to use control menus and a good design while giving more value to function. The DEH-X2800UI lives up to the Pioneer name.
- USB input for Android and iPhone devices
- Can play music from USB and CDs
- Expandable inputs through USB inputs and auxiliary inputs
- Expandable preamp outputs (2 channels)
- Low-level sound
2. Sony MEX-XB100BT
The Sony MEX-XB100BT comes with a 3.0 Bluetooth connectivity to allow hands-free music streaming and calling as well as connection with the Pandora app and the SongPall app. It also comes with a SiriusXM Satellite radio connector.
This unit features 4 channels with 40watts power for each channel. It is equipped with AM/FM and CD functions.
Premium sound is provided by a 120 DB signal noise ration and has a radio tuner with digital clarity. Time alignment is built-in. This head unit is capable of a 2-zone color change.
The Sony MEX-XB100BT has a quality that brings out the natural sound of any audio. This head unit allows the use of your tablet or smartphone as a remote control.
- Easy to set up
- Clear sound
- Every function can be controlled through the smartphone
- No sound issues even when in maximum volume
- Not easy to use.
3. Alpine CDE-HD149BT
This alpine single din has one of the easiest to read and clearest display. The display comes with a backlight with colors that can be changed to suit your preference (orange, green and blue red).
This is compatible with a variety of devices. It connects via USB and Bluetooth to both Android and iOS smartphones. It is SiriusXM Ready so it has a wide range of listening capabilities including the usual AM/FM radio. It also features capabilities for HD radio.
This unit also comes with an SD card slot and a CD player at the back of the faceplate. This unit also comes with Bluetooth connectivity; however, for better call quality, a wired microphone is included. Bluetooth connectivity is for Android devices and iOS devices connect through USB.
The Alpine CDE-HD149BT is equipped with various functions a seasoned audiophile would love to have in a unit.
- HD radio
- With Pandora radio integration
- White text LCD display
- 4 interface colors
- SD card slot, MP3, and CD player
- Preamp RCA outputs
- SD card slot and CD player are located behind the faceplate
- Auxiliary inputs and USB are located on the back of the head unit
- Unreliable Bluetooth connectivity
4. Pioneer DEH S4000BT
This pioneer single din head unit - DEH S4000BT is capable of audio streaming and hands-free calling. This unit can be used with the Pandora app (via Bluetooth), USB and most playback features of Android devices. You can choose brightness of the display from the dimmer control selection in 10 levels.
This 50-watt unit features 4 Pioneer speakers. You can connect your iPhone and enjoy music from its library. You can also connect a DVD player through its AUX feature which comes with RCA outputs.
Download the Pioneer Advanced Remote Control (ARC) and can adjust the settings of the unit from your smartphone. The unit also comes with a 6.5 Coaxial speaker and another 6x9 inch speakers.
The DEH S4000BT is a Pioneer and it lives up to its name.
- No murmuring sound
- Excellent sound quality
- Simple control from iPhone
- Great Bluetooth connectivity
- Microphone included
- Display not bright enough for a sunny day
5. Kenwood KMM-BT515HD
This Kenwood single din KMM-BT515HD is one of your best options for a single unit. This unit head is equipped with an RMS power of 22 watts and 50watt power at peak.
This unit can play ACC, FLAC, WAV, MP3 and WMA music files. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity and features a USB interface (front). It also comes with a MOSFET.
This Kenwood unit is all digital and SiriusXM Ready. It also includes an HD Radio. It can playback music from Android and iOS devices and also accepts SD cards and USB flash drives.
Listen to all your favorite music with this Kenwood unit which is able to support various audio formats via USB.
- Good quality music with the manual and automatic equalizer.
- Hand-free calls vis Bluetooth
- Does not need any additional app for streaming audio from Android and iOS devices.
- Includes HD stations
- Easy to install
- No back inputs. AUX found only in the front panel
- Heatsink to small so unit warms easily even when only in low volume.
- Unreadable display when on a sunny day
6. Pioneer DEH-150MP
The Pioneer DEH-150MP can play music with different formats. It comes with a CD receiver that can play songs in WMA or MP3 formats while being able to view information about the title, artist, and album of the current track. The unit also comes with an FM radio and a clock display in the dash.
Superior sound clarity is delivered by a pair of the 2-way coaxial speaker from JBC. You can connect your MP3 player or smartphone to this unit via a 3.5mm cable. Audio that has been lost in the compression processed can be restored vis the Advanced Sound Retriever.
This Pioneer unit is also equipped with a 5-band graphic equalizer, control for the subwoofer as well as filter settings for low pass and high pass.
The Pioneer DEH-150MP is ideal for those who want an upgrade but do not want to spend a fortune.
- Simple and neat interface
- Superior sound clarity via the built-in amplifier
- Looks beautiful on any dashboard
- Low price
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- The display is not touchscreen
- No android Auto support and Apple CarPlay and Spotify
- Not capable of music streaming
7. Pyle PLTS78DUB
The Pyle PLTS78DUB is what you may call the ultimate car accessory. It is a single din touch screen radio. First off, this unit features a 7-inch touchscreen monitor (flip out type, HD). It has a camera and can play music from an MP3 SD, USB. You can also connect a DVD or CD player.
You can connect your Apple devices. Other devices can be connected through a 3.5 mm AUX connector. It also comes with an AM/FM radio.
Multi-colored digital display has intuitive front panel-controlled buttons. Volume adjustments are via a rotary control knob. The remote control is included.
The Pyle PLTS78DUB allows you to listen not only to superior quality music but entertaining videos as well.
- Includes a 7-inch telescoping motorized touchscreen monitor
- Easy to use touchscreen display
- Can connect video sources
- Faceplate is detachable
- Great sound quality
- The screen tends to turn blue after a few uses
8. Pyle PLR34M
The Pyle PLR34M is a simple unit that comes with a remote control and a detachable faceplate. The unit features a large LCD screen display and outputs of 60 watts.
You can play music from USB flash drives, SD cards and MP3 files. It is also equipped with an AUX output as well as an AM/FM radio. Although this unit does not come with Bluetooth connectivity it provides many ways playing music without the need to connect a smartphone.
This head unit offers superior sound clarity you can even listen to your voicemail from it. A hands-free remote control is included in the set.
If you are in a very limited budget, this Pyle PLR34M will give you pretty decent features for the price.
- Reasonably priced
- Installs in 15 minutes
- Inferior AM radio
- Front faceplate is not detachable
9. BOSS Audio BV9979B
BOSS Audio BV9979Bis equipped with a 7-inch digital LCD touchscreen monitor. this head unit can play music from various sources such CD, DVD, SD, USB flash drive, WMA, and MP3 as well as digital media stored in Android and iOS smartphones.
Input sources include ports for SD, USB, AV, Auxiliary and Rear Camera. It also includes video outputs and and front, rear and sub preamp. This single din Bluetooth head unit allows hands-free calls with a smartphone. Bluetooth also enables wireless audio streaming from Pandora and Spotify of Android and iOS devices.
Backlights can be customized, and the interface features creative graphics to allow touch screen control of the unit’s features. control. There are options for a wireless remote control, too. Front panel is detachable to keep it safe from thieves.
A small radio packed with features for the big ones.
- Stylish design
- Large screen making it easy to see everything
- Easy set-up because all wires are labeled accordingly.
- Inferior sound quality
- Lag in transferring from one station to another
- USB port does not load when device has over 4GB of stored content.
10. Pyle PL7ANDIN
The Pyle PL7ANDIN is an android single din head unit with great touchscreen head unit for Android. It may look like a regular unit except that it is equipped with a retractable and motorized large touchscreen monitor that flips out from the car stereo with a touch of a button.
This unit runs on an Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and has a 16 GB internal memory.
The 7-inch touchscreen has a 1080p HD resolution. Controlling this single din head unit with touch screen is similar to how you would with a tablet. Music streaming is possible with the wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Hands-free calling is also possible via Bluetooth.
- Overloading with functional features
- Screen hides in the dash when not being used
- Excellent audio quality
- Responsive touchscreen
- Inferior auxiliary input and Bluetooth connectivity
- Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Head unit
Factors to Take into Consideration
Choosing the right and the best unit will allow your car audio system to have superior sound quality. Choosing an inferior one will be such a waste of money, effort and time.
To make sure you choose the right unit, make sure these qualities are present.
- Power Ratings
Power ratings will dictate much of the functionality of the head unit, specifically the maximum power output or how much power it can produced within the shortest period. Check the specifications for the Root Mean Square (RMS) Power or the power it can produce at a continuous rate.
When pairing your speakers to the car stereo, they need to have the same RMS level or at least as close as possible. The main purpose of a car stereo is to send, through an internal amplifier, audio signals to your car speakers. The wattage generated by the car stereo is therefore of utmost importance.
An easy to use unit allows you to have full control of your car stereo system. Choose one that have controls positioned strategically so you can easily configure the sound. It should be able to allow you choose a song track, take or make a call and do a lot more with your stereo while having your eyes on the road.
It is also important to have full control of the sound of your car’s audio system, so opt for a car stereo which includes an EQ with a lot of bands. If you want more fine-tuning flexibility of the overall frequency output, look for one with a parametric EQ.
- Types of Media Files and Other Input Sources
Ensure that sources and devices you intend to use is supported by the software of the unit. Some of the more popular media files it should be compatible with should include iTunes, WMA, MP3, MPEG-4 and others.
If you intend to also use CDs, an SD card or a flash drive with so much number of gigabytes of audio, your unit should also have provisions for these input sources. It would be best if it would include a 3.5 analog auxiliary input to ensure universal connectivity.
- Preamp Outputs
The number of amplifiers and components of the audio system that can be connected to the unit depends on how many Preamp outputs it has.
This refers to the versatility of your car audio system. An expandable unit can allow you to connect your audio system to various external sources. Even a compact singe DIN stereo can become multifunction if it includes inputs and outputs that are expandable.
Nothing can beat an easy to read display. You want everything on the display to be crystal clear even when direct sunlight hits it or even at night. A high contrast with 2-line display can make the display readable no matter the circumstances.
Readability, brightness and an interface that is user-friendly are important details to look into.
Single units and most head units for that matter feature Bluetooth connectivity. There are however a few which do not. It is important therefore to be mindful of this feature.
- Integration with Smartphone and Other Apps
You should also check if the head unit is capable of syncing with smartphones and whether it can access radio apps with online streaming and satellite radio.
When you can integrate your smartphone with your unit you will be able to to listen to music stored on your phone as well as make hands free or wireless calls.
If you are an Android user choose a head unit that features the A2DP stereo Bluetooth audio streaming. If you are an iPhone look for the “made for iPhone” logo to make sure there is a USB port that supports the media of iDevice.
If you are into apps used for streaming such as iHeart Radio or Pandora, choose a head unit that supports the app you frequently use.
- Design and Ergonomics
The feel and look of your unit largely depend on your personal preference. Do you prefer pushing buttons or rotary type knobs to controlling the volume? Do you prefer a display with an eye catching deign with light shows and moving graphics or one with a simple design?
It would also be cool if the design and style of your head unit will complement your car’s interiors.
Know in advance the features you need and want in a unit and choose one that is a perfect fit.
Common Problems and Possible Solutions
- Newly Installed Head Unit Does Not Have Power. This is the case when head unit turns off and turns on after a while.
- Head Unit has Power but does not Produce any Sound
- The head unit is not obtaining 12v.
- The amplifier is in protection mode.
- Grounding issues.
- Check the wirings. Make sure that the right voltage is connected to the right wires. The black wire is for the grounding, yellow is for 12 volts and red for the accessory 12v
- Check the fuse. Fuse is usually located under the hood or the dash (check Owner’s Manual. Pull the fuse out and check its condition. Replace blown out the fuse.
The best single DIN head unit will allow you to enjoy listening to good quality music while on the road. With the many available features, it can be difficult to choose which is the right one for you and your car. Closely study the above reviews so you can make an educated choice.