Single DIN vs Double DIN

Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 11:50 pm

Many car owners who shop for a new stereo often find it confusing to choose between single DIN and double DIN car stereo systems. Getting educated about these two classes of DIN can help eliminate the confusion, allowing one to make an informed decision. Before explaining each of the two classes, it is vital to first understand what the term DIN means.

The initials DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung. The term is used to refer to the size of the car stereo unit. It is what determines the quality of sound coming from your speakers and the types of devices you can connect.

What is Single DIN?

As already outlined, DIN refers to the range of stereo. The single-DIN refers to the standard created by Deutsches Institut für Normung, a standards organization from Germany. Specified in the standard is the height and width for car head units-length is not specified.

Single din differs from the double din in that it is half the size of the latter and of course has fewer features than the double din. It measures approximately 2×7″ while the double din measures approximately 4×7″. Single din is the standard used by most automakers and car stereo manufacturers all over the world. This explains why most head units are interchangeable.

A single DIN car radio measure about two inches tall. There are however rare cases where you can find a DIN measuring 1.5 inches tall. Such DINs usually fall between single and double DINs.

There are certain vehicles that may seem trickier, for instance, those having three vertically stacked slots with heights of about two inches and where only one is taken up by an OEM radio. Such vehicles probably comprise of a regular single DIN head unit. In simple terms, a single DIN refers to DIN whose height is half that of a double DIN.

What is Double DIN?

Double DIN simply refers to the type of stereo unit that measures twice the height of single DIN. In other words, this stereo unit measures the same size as two single DIN stereo units stacked together like two bricks. It measures 4×7″ (180 x 100 mm) which is twice the height of a single DIN car stereo, 2×7″(180 x 50 mm) although they have the same width.

Besides being twice as tall as a single DIN unit, a double unit also possesses more features some of which includes more storage features, a larger touchscreen, easier controls, HD video screen, a DVD player with a digital display and advanced connectivity. Unlike single DIN head units that can only be replaced with other single DIN units, double DIN head unit offers more options, allowing you to replace it with another double DIN unit or a single DIN unit.

Difference between Single Din and Double Din:

The main difference between single DIN and double DIN stereo is that the latter is larger than the former. A double DIN stereo unit measures 4×7″ (180 x 100 mm) which is twice the height of a single DIN car stereo, 2×7″(180 x 50 mm).

Besides size, a double DIN head unit also differs from a single DIN head unit in that its stereo possesses more features some of which includes more storage features, a larger touchscreen, easier controls, HD video screen, a DVD player with a digital display and advanced connectivity. The two types of DIN also differ in terms of the usability of their head units. A double DIN unit provides additional smart features such as camera option and ability to integrate smartphones.

This, in turn, leads to a better user experience. These advanced options, however, does not, in any capacity, imply that single DIN is less practical or outdated as they too possess attractive features. Finally, a double DIN head unit can be replaced with either single DIN stereo or another double DIN stereo. This is a different case for single DIN head unit that can only be replaced with another single DIN stereo as its height cannot accommodate double DIN stereo.

Tips for Refitting Single DIN Vehicles:

When refitting your single DIN vehicle, there are a number of things that you should consider. First of all, you need to figure out whether it will fit. Most in-dash receivers come in the size of regular DIN models that can readily fit in regular DIN dash slots. There are some stereos, however, that are designed specifically for vehicles with double DIN dash holes.

Always ensure that you replace a single DIN head unit with another single din head unit as it is impossible to use double DIN head unit on single DIN vehicles because the former is twice the height of the latter.

The easiest option you’ve got when you are ready to replace your single DIN car radio is buying a single DIN aftermarket unit. Although small differences may exist in fit and finish, a number of single DIN aftermarket units are made in such a way that they can be installed in an adjustable collar, facilitating installation in nearly all single DIN slots. The following are some of the tips for refitting your single DIN vehicles.

Perform a self-assessment:

Prior to buying and installing any pieces of audio equipment in your single DIN vehicle, you need to first determine your budget before figuring out the specifications of the items you want to obtain. If your interest is to replace your vehicle’s head unit, you need to specify the features that you would like your new one to have, whether it is the one that only has a CD player or that which is capable of playing music from your iPod. You also need to do a lot of research to determine the capabilities of modern head units available in the market.

single din or double din

Get a new head unit:

The most important part of your car audio system is its head unit. Modern single DIN head units possess a number of features some of which include Bluetooth technology, flash drive, and SD card. Regardless of your preferred features, you can find them by conducting some research.

Get New Speakers:

Speakers make up the main sound output channels of a car audio system. When refitting your single DIN vehicle, this is one part that you need to upgrade. A number of car speakers exist in the marker including Kenwood, Pioneer and Polk Audio. Speakers also come in various sizes including 6 x 9, 6 x 8, and 6.5 speakers. You should know the size that best fits your system. Besides size, you will come across two categories of speakers, the full-range and component speakers. Whichever the speaker you choose, the important thing is that it must match the OEM hole of your car.

Difference between Single Din and Double Din

Amplify your sound:

The next thing you need to consider is to amplify the sound of the car speakers. This you can do by installing a good amplifier that will enhance and boost the sound signals coming from the head units and direct to the speaker. Amplifiers exist in two types which are the mono channel and multiple channel amplifiers. The difference between the two is that while the mono channel amplifiers boost only the signal for one speaker, double channel amplifiers are capable of boosting up to six speakers. A multiple channel amplifier should be your ideal choice as it provides you with the flexibility of expanding your car audio system in the future.

Get the bass in your music:

The standard bass thump in your music usually has a low frequency. For this low frequency to come out clear and crisp when playing music, you require a special type of speaker known as the subwoofer. Ensure that you conduct enough research to ensure that you can pick a unit that fits in your budget. Also, ensure that you provide your subwoofer with amplified sound.

Tips for Refitting Double DIN Vehicles:

It is always easy to move from a double DIN head unit to a single DIN head unit since double DIN is twice the height of the single DIN. The vice versa is however impossible courtesy of space issues. Unless your vehicle had an OEM option for a factory CD player, single DIN vehicles can only be refitted with aftermarket single DIN vehicles. There are a number of tips that you need to be aware of when upgrading a double-DIN vehicle.

Pay close attention to pre-amp outputs:

Pre-amp outputs entail the signal you are going to receive prior to its amplification. Increasing the o

utputs can take your listening experience a notch higher as it enables you to customize the outputs to your liking. This can be achieved by hooking up your outputs to three amplifiers to double DIN head unit. This enables you to adjust the sound according to your liking.

Go for a double DIN head unit that is strong:

This is ideal for those who love stereo that sounds powerful. A double DIN head unit with more power will definitely provide you with an overall output that you can enjoy. When shopping, however, you need to consider the RMS and peak of various models. The peak power refers to the capability of your stereo to go up in short bursts. When this type of system is sustained for longer at higher, the speakers run the risk of bursting. RMS is thus an ideal option as it can regulate your stereo’s energy for long periods.

Install a theft protection:

Most thieves now prefer stealing car stereos as opposed to the entire vehicle. After all, it is easy to sell and the risk of being is minimal. Whenever you leave your car, always ensure that you remove the face of the head unit and keep in a separate location you deem safe.


An ideal double-DIN car stereo should be capable of connecting to a number of devices. Current aftermarket stereos offer more in terms of connectivity as they are able to play on every device. When refitting your double-DIN vehicle, you need to consider a model that is capable of connecting to your phone via Bluetooth, USB port as connecting with older gadgets such as flash drive and MP3 players.

App Control:

This feature can be found in nearly all double DIN head units. When refitting your double-DIN vehicle, consider buying a unit that allows you to control your phone via the head unit hence eliminating the need to look at your phone.

what is single din

Is Double DIN Head Unit Better than Single DIN Head Unit:

Double DIN head is not necessarily better than a single DIN unit although it possesses additional features in terms of display. The fact that a double-DIN is twice the height of a single DIN means it offers more screen space than the latter. As a result, double DIN head unit is usually the best touchscreen head units and video units. You can check here what car stereo should you buy? 

Replacing Car Stereo from Single DIN to Double DIN:

As already outlined, it is always easy to move from a double DIN head unit to a single DIN head unit since double DIN is twice the height of the single DIN. The vice versa is however impossible courtesy of space issues.

single din vs double din

A single measures about two inches tall while a double DIN means twice the height (four inches) making it practically impossible to replace a single DIN car stereo with a double DIN car stereo. For vehicles with an OEM option for a factory CD player or any other equipment, the replacement is possible but only if the additional space is more than two inches tall.

Benefits of Upgrading to a Double Din Radio Set:

  1. Upgrade double DIN head unit offers hands free operation which allows to receive and make calls without touching your phone.
  2. A new double-DIN head unit allows you to stream media hence no need to burn CD.
  3. Upgrade double DIN head units offer better sound quality as compared to those installed by car manufacturers.
  4. Upgrade double DIN head units offer room for more media connection like connecting to AUX jacks and USB ports.
  5. Eventually, upgrade head units allows you to connect to more Bluetooth devices.

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