Best Single Din Head Unit: Read This Guide Before Buying (Oct, 2018)

Best Single Din Head Unit: Read This Guide Before Buying

Oct, 2016

Choosing a car stereo is not a process that is straightforward. It is not as easy as picking the one that comes with the cheapest price tag or an option that comes with the most appealing design. In the rest of this post, we will make things easier by providing you with a guide on how to choose the best single din head unit or a stereo that comes with compact dimension.

Difference Between Single and Double Din Head Units

Clarion CZ302 Bluetooth CD/USB/MP3/WMA Receiver

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Before anything else, let us first discuss the differences between the two stereo units. By knowing how they are different from each other, you will find it easier to make the right choice.

First, let us talk about the single din car stereo, which is also the subject of the rest of this guide. In this case, the size of the main stereo unit, specifically the faceplate, is most probably 7 x 2 inches. It is also often characterized by the presence of three vertical stacked slots. This is the standard that has been set, which is why such stereo can be easily replaced.

A double din stereo, on the other hand, is bigger. It has the ability to accommodate larger screen displays and even multiple discs. The size is normally 7 x 4 inches, which means that you will be needing a bigger slot if you plan to have a stereo like such. It is a good choice for modern cars.

Again, for the sake of clarification, keep in mind that the discussions in this post will be centered to a single din unit car stereo. While most of the buying considerations tackled below will be applicable for both types, the five products that will be reviewed will be limited to those that fall under the category of single din.

Factors to Consider in Buying Best Single Din Head Unit

In this section, we will have a quick roundup of some of the most important factors that will have an impact on the choice that will be made. Make sure to keep these things in mind, which will increase the likelihood of making a decision that you will never regret.


Pioneer AVH-4100NEX In-Dash Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7

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Aesthetics will play a key role when it comes to choosing the best single din head unit. They might be sleek, but this does not mean that there is no room for appealing design. Choose a style that will perfectly complement the interior of your car. A single din head unit is recommended because it is compact. If in case you have a car that has a slot for a double din unit, when you place a single din stereo, you will end up with an additional space that can be used for storage.

When talking about the design of the single din head unit, we are also dealing with its display. This will depend on the price of the unit. The more expensive ones have more advanced displays, including LED pixel count and the ability to have the brightness and color customized based on your individual preferences.


BOSS AUDIO BV9976B Single-DIN 7 inch Motorized Touchscreen DVD Player Receiver, Bluetooth, Wireless Remote

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Generally speaking, this will have an effect on the ease of use of the single din stereo unit. It is good to look for one that has strategically-positioned controls, making it easy for you to have it configured as desired. The simpler the controls are, the less frustrating it is going to be. You must be able to take a call, skip a song, or do other things with the stereo while keeping your attention on the road. This is not only for your convenience, but more importantly, this is for your safety.

Smartphone Integration

Pioneer AVH-4100NEX In-Dash Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7" WVGA Touchscreen Display

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We are living in a modern era, in a time wherein smartphones are shaping our lives, even when we are driving. With this, it is also good to choose a single din head unit that offers smartphone integration. This will make it easy to access files from your phone, such as music. Also, this will allow you to make calls wirelessly and in a manner that is hands-free. You can also stream music and other files by having your smartphone connected to the stereo system of your car.

Power Ratings

BOSS AUDIO BV9976B Single-DIN 7 inch Motorized Touchscreen DVD Player Receiver, Bluetooth, Wireless Remote

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You also have to take a look at the technical specifications of the single din stereo, which will provide you with an idea of how impressive will its performance be. In order to gauge its functionality, one of the most important things that should be looked at would be the power ratings. Look at the max power output, which will simply refer to the maximum amount of power that can be produced within a short period. Also, you have to consider the RMS Power Output, which is the power that can be produced at a continuous rate.


 Roll over image to zoom in Clarion CZ302 Bluetooth CD/USB/MP3/WMA Receiver

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This is basically in reference to how versatile the car stereo is going to be. If you want one that is expandable, choose a head unit that can allow you to make different connections to external sources. For instance, it will be good if it has RCA outputs, audio/video inputs and outputs, microphone input, and rear camera input. Even if you have a compact single din stereo, you can make it multifunctional if there are expandable inputs and outputs.

Top Picks for the Best Single Din Head Unit

Clueless about which to choose? In this section, we will have a quick look at some of the models that can offer the best value for money.

1. Boss Audio BV9976B Single Din Head Unit

BOSS AUDIO BV9976B Single-DIN 7 inch Motorized Touchscreen DVD Player Receiver, Bluetooth, Wireless Remote

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This is definitely one of the top picks for people who are on the lookout for the best single din head unit. It is Bluetooth-enabled, which means that you can stream content from your gadget and you can also make hands-free calls, which is one of the ways by which it is possible to promote safer driving.

It is also a good thing that it is steering wheel control ready. By making the necessary connections, you can already use the steering wheel in order to input various controls, such as changing the volume of the audio.

Another feature that gives it a favorable impression is the ID3 Tag. Basically speaking, it provides you with more details that you need to know about the audio file that is being played, such as the album and the artist, aside from only the song title.

The touchscreen control is another reason why this will make an excellent pick. This makes it a sophisticated addition to any car, making it able to add a touch of being contemporary. It is also worth noting that it comes with a wireless control, which contributes into being user-friendly.

Things We Liked:

  • Touchscreen user interface that is easy to configure
  • Comes with multiple color illumination
  • Offers a variety of options to control audio as desired

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Does not come with built-in subwoofer control
  • No detachable front panel

2. JVC KD-R330 Single Din Car Stereo

JVC KDR-330Single-Din Car Stereo with Dual Aux Inputs/3-Band Equalizer/6 Station Presets

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The expandability of this model is one of the things that will make you have it chosen above its competitors. You will have various options for connectivity, making it useful in ways more than one. It comes with rear and front auxiliary inputs and two-channel preamp outputs.

The brightness control is one feature that you might find useful, but not really a standout. You can control the illumination of the unit head, depending on what you are most comfortable with. You can also use the auto dimmer.

With the use of this stereo, you can also enjoy its integrated tuner. You can store up to 24 different stations, which will be perfect for listening while on the road.

Words of praises have been also expressed with regards to its wireless remote control. This makes it easy to input various commands and will also make it a safer companion while on the road.

Lastly, it comes with subwoofer control and low pass filter, which will be both contributory towards improving the sound quality that will be reproduced by the stereo system.

Things We Liked:

  • Perfect for budget-conscious buyers
  • User-interface is quite straightforward
  • Comes with a solid build, making it last long

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Features are very basic
  • Installation can be complicated for beginners

3. Pioneer AVH-4100NEX in-Dash Multimedia Receiver

Pioneer AVH-4100NEX In-Dash Multimedia DVD Receiver with 7" WVGA Touchscreen Display

Editor Rating :

Are you on the lookout for a feature-rich option for the best single din head unit? This is one option that might do you justice. Nonetheless, as it has a lots of features, expect as well that its price is going to be higher than the ones with restricted or basic functionality.

Whether you are using an Android or an Apple phone, this is going to be compatible. Connecting your gadgets can be quite a task, but once you are all done, all that you have to do is to enjoy streaming content, especially music to power up your road trips.

The touchscreen is perhaps one of its greatest assets. There are some who are complaining about the supposed complications, but the learning curve is not actually steep. It will not take long before you finally realize that it is actually intuitive and simpler than what it seems.

Of course, audio quality will be superb. There are various settings that will allow you to tweak your music depending on the requirements of the components. In addition, it also has a groundbreaking technology that will allow you to play FLAC file. This means that you do not need to convert and compress your audio files and no need to risk minimizing its quality.

Things We Liked:

  • Has an easy-to-use, contemporary touchscreen display
  • Supports hands-free calling
  • Rich with features that could be useful in more ways than one

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Priced as a high-end, expensive model
  • Its operation can be a bit complicated at times

4. Alpine CDE-143BT Advanced Bluetooth CD Receiver

Alpine CDE-143BT Advanced Bluetooth CD Receiver

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Simplicity – this is perhaps one of the reasons why you might want to consider picking this model above other alternatives. From the layout itself, you can already easily tell that this is going to be a user-friendly car stereo.

The built-in Bluetooth is one of its most impressive features. This means that you will be able to listen to music from your phone without the need to make wired connections. This will also let you use your audio system for making hands-free calls while you are driving.

Another commendable feature is the App Direct Mode, which is basically an indication that this is created with smartphone integration in mind. With this feature, basic app control can be easily done on the head unit.

Lastly, this is one product that has been favored by many people basically because of the built-in equalizer. While there is not a lot of features that will allow you to adjust its audio, the equalizer is a good way to make music more immersive.

Things We Liked:

  • Economical price, making it perfect for beginners
  • Offers high-speed USB connection
  • Comes with a built-in Bluetooth

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Features are very basic
  • Minimal options for you to customize the quality of your audio

5. Clarion CZ302 Bluetooth Single Din Head Unit

Clarion CZ302 Bluetooth CD/USB/MP3/WMA Receiver

Editor Rating :

Are you looking for an excellent product with reasonable price? If yes, this is definitely one of the options that should be taken into consideration. It is not only economical, but it is also user-friendly, making it ideal for those who prefer no-frills stereo systems.

From its long list of features, one that gives it a distinction is its versatility. There are many ways to have it connected with various devices and sources. For instance, it offers both iPod and iPhone connectivity. More so, you can also stream Pandora and SiriusXM.

For audiophiles, it will also make an excellent pick. One of the reasons for this would be its MOS-FET power amplifier, which is basically the one that is responsible for the production of superb audio, which can be deemed comparable to those that you can find in the higher end of the market.

Lastly, it also has Parrot Bluetooth, allowing it to offer wireless connectivity. There is a built-in mic and will also allow you to easily access your Phonebook. This technology provides better road safety as it will allow you to do more without distracting your attention.

Things We Liked:

  • Perfect choice for budget-conscious buyers
  • Straightforward user-interface
  • The manufacturer provides comprehensive instructions for installation

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • Warranty coverage is pretty much limited
  • Customer service could have been better


A good car stereo should be seen as an investment. This makes it important to exert effort and spare time in choosing the best single din head unit. Although it may be tempting to choose one product only because it is cheap, you should be intelligent enough to not fall into such trap. Instead, go back to the factors and models mentioned above, which will make it likely for you to arrive at the right choice.