Buying Guide for Double DIN Head Units

The odds are pretty good that if your commute in your car is any longer than about five minutes you want to make sure that you have a high quality entertainment center built right in, providing you with crystal-clear music, effortless navigation, and maybe some other cool media features like a DVD/movie file player built right in.

Thanks in large part to some major technological advances in just the last few years all of that is possible these days, especially with the new Double DIN stereo systems that are available on the market right now.

Regardless of whether or not you’re looking to add a new unit to your vehicle because your old one no longer works, because you’re looking to take advantage of satellite radio alongside terrestrial radio, or because you want to completely overhaul the technology that your car uses to entertain you while you drive makes no difference – a Double DIN head unit is the way to go!

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Pioneer AVH-280BT

Pioneer AVH-280BT In-dash Multimedia Receiver featuring Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming and DVD/CD playback.

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Pioneer AVH-X4800BS

Who wouldn't be impressed by the big 6.95 display of Pioneer's AVH-X4800BS DVD receiver? To make it even better, the screen is motorized — just touch a button and it slides down to reveal the slot for your DVDs and CDs.

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Pioneer AVH-X2800BS

Pioneer's AVH-X2800BS DVD receiver adds the convenience and safety of Bluetooth to your car.

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Pioneer FH-X720BT

Pioneer has created a dynamic addition to your dash with their FH-X720BT CD receiver. You can choose from over 210,000 colors with 10 brightness levels to match the Pioneer's display to your vehicle's dash illumination.

 

What exactly is a Double DIN head unit in the first place?

The “stereo head” in your car is essentially the foundation that the rest of your stereo and entertainment system is built upon.

Usually right in the center dashboard of your car (between the driver and passenger seats), this is where you control and command your stereo and entertainment center as well as where you handle navigation, check vital information about your vehicle out on the digital readout, and do so much more!

Without a quality stereo head unit you’d never be able to listen to satellite radio, play your favorite movies while you drive, or connect to the texting and calling capabilities of your smart phone – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

As far as the “Double DIN” designation goes it’s simply referring to a standard measurement of size.

Way back in the early 1980s there were two standardized sizes for car stereo heads. The smaller size (about 7 inches wide by 2 inches tall) became known as the Single DIN with the larger unit (about 7 inches wide by 4 inches tall) the game known as the Double DIN.

Today, most dashboards are built around the Double DIN platform to provide extra space for stereo head units that need to command unlock more than a tape deck, CD player, and volume controls!

Of course, you’ll still need to measure the space that you have available in your dashboard to determine exactly what kind of stereo head unit you can implement in the – without any headache or hassle. Just don’t be surprised if you’ve got plenty of space for a Double DIN car stereo (especially if your car was manufactured within the last 15 years or so)!

Here’s what to look for in the best Double DIN head unit options

With so many different options available to pick and choose from when it comes to purchasing a Double DIN car stereo you’re going to need to do your level best to whittle down the options, narrow down your choices, and come up with a solution that fits your needs right down to the ground.

The very first thing you have to do is understand EXACTLY what you’re going to want to do with your new are stereo in the first place.

There’s a world of difference between a simple and straightforward Double DIN radio that handles terrestrial signals and the same kind of unit that has satellite radio, GPS navigation, DVD playback, backup camera capabilities, and all the other bells and whistles you’re looking for built right in.

On top of that the prices for these kinds of units can be all over the place, so that’s just another reason behind why you want to make sure that you have your expectations outlined in advance.

Another thing that has to be on your mind is the kind of power consumption that your new unit is going to require to operate efficiently and effectively.

In an ideal situation you’re going to be able to effortlessly swamp your old stereo head unit out for your new one without having to fiddle around with or play with any wiring issues whatsoever – and you definitely don’t want to have to cut any parts of your dashboard, either.

Make sure that you are shopping for a Double DIN car stereo event is as close to plug and play as humanly possible. It’ll cut down on a lot of headache and hassle, but also save you a lot of money as well.

Underpowered units aren’t going to be all that effective and overpowered units run the risk of getting too hot, melting down, or even catching on fire.

Finally, you need to be sure that you are always purchasing the highest possible quality Double DIN head unit available on the market at a price point that you’re able to afford. There are a lot of stereo head unit options available on the market right now, a lot of them from brands you’ve never heard of – and that’s not a direction that you want to go in.

To help you find the very best Double DIN head unit available that checks off all of your key criteria you’ll want to check out some of the amazing options we have highlighted for you below.

Let’s dig right in!

Check out these Double DIN units if you’re looking to make an upgrade

Pioneer AVH-280BT

Pioneer AVH-280BT double din stereo

Easily one of the most impressive Double DIN Bluetooth enabled stereo units you’re going to be able to find on the market today, this unit also includes a 6.2 inch WPG a touchscreen with a gorgeous LED backlight display.

Loaded with all kinds of exciting applications and one of the most simple and straightforward installation processes you’re going to ever have to deal with, you’ll be able to play all your favorite music and media, stream it from a variety of different sources through the Bluetooth connection, and can even playback DVDs and Blu-rays without any trouble at all.

Combine all of that with a remote control capability so that passengers in the backseat have a chance at running the radio once in a while and you’re talking about something really special here!

Pioneer AVH-280BT

Pioneer AVH-280BT In-dash Multimedia Receiver featuring Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming and DVD/CD playback.

Pioneer AVH-X2800BS

Pioneer AVH-X2800BS double din stereo

Very similar to the Pioneer Double DIN stereo that we mentioned above, this particular unit includes SiriusXM satellite radio capabilities right out of the box as well.

The sound quality on this Double DIN touchscreen device is nothing short of spectacular, especially when you’re streaming media across from your mobile devices via Bluetooth or the included USB plug. The integrated USB connection charges your devices while it plays media back, a huge advantage over some of the other “handicapped” Double DIN options.

It’s also possible to really, really easily install a brand-new reverse camera into your vehicle with this head unit – something that can’t be said about a lot of options available at this price point. The Double DIN DVD player features are a welcome bonus as well, and something that you’ll really appreciate during longer trips in the car.

Pioneer AVH-X2800BS

Pioneer's AVH-X2800BS DVD receiver adds the convenience and safety of Bluetooth to your car.

Pioneer AVH-X4800BS

Best Pioneer AVH-X4800BS double din radio

A premium model Double DIN head unit from Pioneer, this particular unit not only includes all of the game changing features you’ll find in less expensive Pioneer units but you’ll also have the chance to take advantage of a motorized DVD player for effortless playback and DVD disk management, integrated Bluetooth technology to communicate and control mobile devices, and applications that stream via Spotify and Pandora (as well as others) with no difficulty whatsoever.

Not at all power-hungry like a lot of other premium level had units can be, the installation process for this unit is really simple, really straightforward, and as close to “plug and play” as you’re going to get.

You can hook up an additional rearview camera to this display unit without too much hassle (though you’ll have to purchase the rearview camera kit separately), and installation should only really take an hour or two maximum.

The touchscreen itself is really simple to use, the LCD readout is absolutely gorgeous with some of the clearest picture we’ve ever seen on a Double DIN unit, and your experience using this device is going to be nothing short of exceptional.

It’s a fantastic head unit that you’re going to love going forward with!

Pioneer AVH-X4800BS

Who wouldn't be impressed by the big 6.95 display of Pioneer's AVH-X4800BS DVD receiver? To make it even better, the screen is motorized — just touch a button and it slides down to reveal the slot for your DVDs and CDs.

Pioneer FH-X720BT

Cheap Pioneer FH-X720BT Double Din Head Unit

If you’re looking for a pretty simple and straightforward 2 DIN car stereo set up that is going to duplicate the standard stereo equipment you’ll find in most cars today – terrestrial radio, CD playback, and a USB connection for smart phones or mobile devices – that won’t threaten to break your bank account, this is the unit for you.

Not only is this an affordable option manufactured by one of the best and biggest car stereo equipment manufacturers on the planet, but it’s also one of the few budget based options that includes integrated Bluetooth technology as well.

You’ll be able to connect your stereo head unit to your mobile device to stream music and media, but you’ll also be able to use your Bluetooth stereo head unit to navigate and control your mobile device, too!

Pioneer FH-X720BT

Pioneer has created a dynamic addition to your dash with their FH-X720BT CD receiver. You can choose from over 210,000 colors with 10 brightness levels to match the Pioneer's display to your vehicle's dash illumination, or you can set separate colors for controls and display to create the look that makes you happy..