Even if you can’t afford to pick up the latest car to hit the market, there’s still a way to keep up with the advance in technological innovation.
By upgrading to a double DIN head unit, you can turn any old motor into a spacecraft of high-tech functionality!
The head unit is the hub of your dash – the home for your radio controls, CD and digital media inputs, and much more.
The superficial difference between a single DIN and a double DIN head unit is size: double DINs weight in at 4×7”, so they take up a little more space in your dash.
But when it comes to your head unit, size matters: with an enlarged screen, double DIN head units come with a hugely expanded range of functions.
Finding a new double DIN car stereo to replace your old car stereo puts you firmly in the driver’s seat. With responsive touchscreens, every app you can dream of, and rearview camera inputs, you don’t need to miss out on any new innovation.
With so many on the market, it can be hard to choose. How many roads must a man walk down, before he can find the perfect double DIN head unit?
That’s why we’ve assembled the best double DIN head units on the market for a thorough review. Strap in, here we go!
Best Double DIN Head Units in 2022
The right double DIN car stereo can turn your dull dashboard into a space-age control station. This is your captain speaking.
1. Alpine iLX-W650 – Best For Apple Users
Alpine’s iLX-W650 features a slimline 7” chassis making it compatible with a wide range of vehicles. And it’s built for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so whichever operating system you’ve opted for you’ll find seamless integration.
Whilst it lacks a disc drive for the old-school amongst us, it has dedicated support for Pandora, Spotify, and SiriusXM. There’s digital radio as well as a tuner for AM/FM – infinite listening choices.
You can connect via USB or Bluetooth, making life even easier. And the intuitive touchscreen is really easy to use, featuring a bottom bar of buttons as well as a responsive screen.
And when you’re driving, you can fall back on voice control to avoid fiddling with the dashboard controls.
Additional front and rear camera inputs give you the option of recording and reversing with ease. Cameras, of course, aren’t included.
In terms of sound, the 18 watts RMS of the built-in amp won’t be blowing anyone’s socks off but for a double DIN head unit, it’s up there in terms of power. Amplifier upgrades exist, but they’ll set you back a few bucks – and you’re already paying through the nose for this unit.
Nevertheless, you can use the 9-band parametric EQ to tailor the sound to your taste.
2. Pioneer AVH-X390BS – Best On A Budget
This double DIN head unit is a great upgrade on your factory radio in the mid-price range.
With CD and DVD compatibility, Pioneer is proving that physical media isn’t dead yet. Slipping a mix CD into the dash is one pleasure of a long drive you don’t lose with this model.
And with dual Bluetooth and USB inputs, you can hook up your cell phone to get a range of your favorite music apps too, from Spotify to Pandora. Old school and new school combine to give you a powerful range of choices.
For radio fans there’s 18 FM presets and 6 AM presets to choose from. Or join the digital age with a SiriusXM subscription – although you’ll be paying extra for the tuner.
The AVH-X390BS can also read a range of video formats, input via your phone through the USB connection, or from a good old-fashioned DVD. This turns your dashboard into a media hub – just don’t get too engrossed on the road.
The touchscreen combines with a range of side-bar buttons for easy control. And hands-free mode is easy to use when you need to watch the road.
14 watts RMS power to four channels means this isn’t the most powerful unit on the market. 13 band EQ lets you tailor your tunes.
3. ATOTO A6 PRO A6Y2721PRB-G – Best For Android Users
Built for Android users only, this is an exceptionally intuitive system when paired with Google’s operating system. Whilst Apple fans might be left out, you get a hyper-specific and functional unit.
ATOTO A6 PRO A6Y2721PRB-G gives you the functionality of a tablet and more, right there in the dash. With in-built apps for Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora, all accessed through an intuitive touchscreen, you have a range of entertainment options at your fingertips.
And the in-built GPS navigation system means you’re freed from the need to hook your phone up for maps. You can even download maps to your head unit for offline use – great for long trips where you may be out of service.
In terms of sound, 4 x 29-watt output gives impressive power for a dual DIN head unit. Blast the tunes, and audiophiles can also customize the highs and lows with the 9 band EQ.
Installation can be handled at home by the electronically minded – but recall that a fitting kit will need to be acquired separately.
4. BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B – Best For In-Car Movie Marathons
In the audio equipment world, BOSS is a brand with a strong reputation preceding them. This double DIN head unit combines a powerful audio experience with a range of extra features.
With CD and DVD compatibility, this is something of an entertainment hub. Heck, BOSS has even thrown in a remote control, bringing it even closer to a traditional lounge experience.
It also has AM/FM integration for traditional channel hopping. There are no digital capabilities in this unit, however. That means digital stations such as SiriusXM are out the window, and for streaming services, you’ll be reliant on your phone.
The lack of inbuilt Spotify and Pandora apps means you’ll spend more time on your mobile device, and less time looking at the road.
It’s super easy to get connected, however, with AUX input as well as USB and Bluetooth. And integrating steering wheel controls makes it exceptionally easy to control your tunes at the wheel.
BOSS boasts of an output of 80 watts max power, but the reality is that your RMS power is more relevant for these units. 40 watts RMS across four outputs doesn’t impress – if you want exceptional sound quality you’ll be buying aftermarket amplifiers to go along with this unit.
5. Pioneer AVH-1400NEX – Best For Hands-Free
Pioneer’s AVH-1400NEX is a great unit for streaming services and radio access, but where it truly shines is through its hands-free capabilities.
Fitted with AM/FM and with inbuilt SiriusXM compatibility, you have almost an infinite number of channels at your fingertips. You can also set up Pandora or Spotify with ease, although you’ll need to utilize a connection – through either Bluetooth or AUX input – to your mobile device.
For audiophiles, the EQ control might seem a little clunky, but you should get a decent sound out of the 22 watt RMS power channel.
And there’s a DVD player too – entertainment on long drives.
Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported, meaning you get an intuitive experience no matter your operating system.
So far, it’s everything you’d expect from a mid-priced double DIN head unit. But where the AVH-1400NEX really shines is when you look at the hands-free modes. It comes with the HFP 1.6, the latest hands-free profile.
You do everything on this unit without lifting a finger, including browsing media on your mobile device.
Pioneer’s NEX range also boasts superior sound quality for calls and speech, giving you natural sounding conversation in the car.
There are a range of additional inputs to support add-ons, from the USB ports to facilitate charging to the backup camera output. This double DIN head unit becomes a great media hub for your vehicle.
6. BOSS Audio BVB9364RC – Best For Powerful Wattage
BOSS’s audio systems double DIN head unit will become a multimedia hub for your vehicle.
It stands out from the crowd with its 30 watts RMS per channel, giving you more power when you’re cranking the tunes. However, when it comes to selection, you’ll be relying on your mobile device to go beyond the AM/FM offerings.
This is a great hub for your car sound system if you don’t mind plugging your device in for access to streaming. There are no inbuilt apps for SiriusXM, nor Spotify or Pandora.
It also lacks support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you’re addicted to your phone streamlining your life, you’ll miss this integration on the road.
That makes it one for the old-school crowd. If you’re satisfied with channel hopping analog radio or dipping into your CD collection, you’ll be happy with this.
And the DVD reader is an added bonus for entertainment on long drives.
Despite some limitations for the latest technology, there are plenty of inputs – you can connect via Bluetooth, USB, and AUX. There are inputs for a rear camera too, which BOSS have generously bundled saving you another trip to the store.
7. Pioneer DMH-1500NEX – Best Big Display Screen
With the 7” display becoming a focal point of your dashboard, this double-DIN head unit with all the integrated features is sure to become a fan favorite – if you can afford it.
There’s no CD or DVD receiver here. But that befits a completely up-to-date unit built for smartphone integration, digital radio, and streaming. If you’re shopping for the latest in in-car tech, it’s time to throw out the physical media anyway.
It’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Audio, it’s SiriusXM-ready, and has a dedicated inbuilt Spotify app for your streaming needs.
You can connect via Bluetooth, AUX, or USB, and whilst streaming works wirelessly, you’ll still need to wire up for Auto or CarPlay and to access GPS navigation.
It boasts excellent audio quality and a 13 band fully adjustable EQ letting you fine-tune your tunes!
It also has enough ports to keep you charging your devices and room for adding a rearview camera.
Integrated vehicle modes for your smartphone make it intuitive to use and, like other head units in the NEX range it features the latest in hands-free technology. You’ll need to make the most of that though because the 7” screen is susceptible to glare and suffers from smudging.
8. ATOTO A6 Standard A6Y2710SB – Best Budget ATOTO Head Unit
ATOTO A6 Standard A6Y2710SB’s dedicated car media center is packed with inbuilt apps that make in-car entertainment a breeze.
You’ve got Pandora, Spotify, and navigation apps at the touch of a button, and with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto supported by the A6 life on the road has never been easier.
Everything should sound great too, with 24 watts of RMS power and a customizable sound through the EQ.
ATOTO Standard A6Y2710SB’s Easy Connection mode also gives you access to apps that aren’t yet supported by Apple or Android’s vehicle OS mode.
The main selling point is the ease of use. Everything you could possibly want has been designed and integrated. The touchscreen is responsive, and ATOTO’s touch gesture shortcuts allow you instant access to the high-frequency operations you require.
You can connect wirelessly or through the AUX input and there’s an additional USB port. The 1024*600 IPS display screen looks great for all your media.
It’s a shame that the absence of a DVD receiver means the thing you’ll most commonly see is the view of your reversing camera!
9. JVC KWR930BT – Best Non-Touchscreen Unit
Not everyone wants to board the technology train. If you find touchscreens an unnecessary distraction while you’re driving, then JVC’s old-school-style head unit will be a great choice.
For those who aren’t completely immersed in our new tactile world, it’s completely intuitive, with button panels and a volume dial, all backlit in neon shades to create a stylish centerpiece for your in-car media.
As well as analog channels this unit is SiriusXM ready for a plethora of digital tunes. And it supports the play of a wide range of media formats from MP3 to the audiophile’s favored FLAC. And it supports CDs too if you’re still rocking them.
Bluetooth connection gives you access to music streaming via your mobile device. While the unit itself doesn’t have any dedicated streaming apps, you can easily hook up Spotify or Pandora from your phone.
It sounds great, with a 13 band EQ for optimizing your tunes and the built-in MOSFET amp with 22 watts RMS. It’s a great choice for music connoisseurs with little desire for added extras.
Dual Bluetooth gives you and a passenger easy access to hands-free calling – switching between phones is seamless and intuitive in what could have been a clunky system.
But the absence of a bigger display means there’s no integrated navigation. You’ll be left squinting at your phone to get from A to B.
10. JVC KW-V25BT – Best JVC Touchscreen Unit
Coming in at the mid-price range, JVC’s touchscreen double DIN head unit features tons of integrated apps with great functionality.
Compatible with Android Auto, but not Apple CarPlay (sorry Apple fans) it features a stylish 6.2” touchscreen with a button sidebar and CD/DVD receiver above the screen.
The neon glow behind the buttons is a stylish touch. But this isn’t all style and no substance, it’s a solid unit that can do almost everything.
The integrated apps, including SiriusXM, Spotify, and Pandora lets you access your tunes at the touch of a button. Everything should sound great with 22 watts across four channels and 13 band EQ for fine-tuning.
And through Bluetooth or wired connectivity, you can get your navigation on-screen for easy driving.
It comes with plenty of ports, including for a rearview camera which can be bundled with the unit to give you exceptional value.
The Buyer’s Guide to Choosing Right Double DIN Head Unit
There’s a lot to look for in double DIN head units. Whether you just want a shiny touchscreen for GPS navigation or an in-car media hub to keep everyone entertained, here’s how to navigate the world of double-DIN head units.
Sound And Video Quality
This is a media center, so the quality of your sound and video (if your unit includes supported video) is going to be of primary importance.
Most of these units are powered to around 50 watts peak power, meaning they’ll never blow the roof off. For aftermarket sound systems, look elsewhere.
But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the listening experience entirely – adjustable EQ will give you the power to customize sound how you like it.
And nowadays we’re used to watching the action in incredible 4K – heck, even home videos from our phones offer this degree of quality. If you want incredible resolution on the road, picking the best screen on the market is the only way.
In today’s interconnected world, the connectivity options on your double DIN head unit is going to make a big difference in how you use it.
Whether you’re in the Apple fan club or you’re an Android obsessive, you’ll want to make sure your unit can connect to Apple and Google’s driving modes respectively. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto hook your vehicle up to your cell phone, making your mobile truly mobile! Compatibility with these functions will make your life easier.
If you’re someone who likes getting wired, look out for physical connections too – from USB ports to aux inputs, some of these units have it all.
One thing you don’t want to find yourself doing on the busy highway is trying to figure out how to change the radio station. Eyes on the road, please!
By introducing a big, shiny screen to our dashboard, we’re running the risk of distraction. So an intuitive interface isn’t just for ease of use. It’s a genuine safety feature.
From touchscreens to voice control there is a range of options to help you keep your attention on the car in front. But cheaper double DIN car stereos will often have a control panel of buttons at the bottom – you might even prefer a few simple options rather than a whole interactive screen.
How easy your double DIN head unit is to use can turn driving into a serene experience, so be mindful about the user interface.
The DIY-savvy and electronically educated can install their own double DIN head unit and, with the help of a YouTube video and an adapter kit, installation should be a breeze.
But it’s intimidating to start destroying your car’s dashboard, so I wouldn’t blame you if you called in the professionals. And in fact, the kit you need for installation can cost a pretty penny so you might not be saving as much as you think.
If you are going for self-install, make sure you carefully measure up the dimensions of your dash so you know how much space you have to work with, and pick up the installation kit and extras like antennas before getting started.
As well as these essential considerations to find your perfect double DIN car stereo, there are a number of added extras to look out for. When you’re feeling spoiled for choice, these features can seal the deal.
Okay, physical media is so last century. But plenty of us are still hanging on to mountains of CDs and DVDs. With 24/7 streaming, you’re not going to need these at home anytime soon, but they could find a new home in the car.
Long drives go faster when you’re rocking out to an old mixtape. And you’ll really appreciate it when the kids are engrossed in a DVD for hours on end!
Accessing your favorite music apps from the dash gives you a world of choice about your tunes.
Whether you’re Team Tidal or a Spotify streamer, making sure your chosen streaming service is compatible with your double DIN head unit is a must.
The popularity of Spotify means that many of these units have dedicated, in-built Spotify compatibility but if your choice of streaming service is as esoteric as your tune choice then you’ll need to ensure it’s supported.
In-Built GPS Navigation
Can you remember the last time I took a trip without plugging it into a GPS planner beforehand? Google Maps can save you hours on even familiar drives, rerouting you away from roadworks or accidents that hold up traffic.
Having GPS navigation built into your dashboard gives you instant access to the best routes – you’ll never be lost again. For a deep dive into these navigation system, check our top options here.
There’s only one thing worse than road rage and that’s road envy.
Stop peering into other people’s cabs at the lights, trying to check out their in-car setup. Instead, you can upgrade your vehicle’s head unit to a fancy double DIN option with every tool you need for comfortable driving.
Frustrated channel hopping ends here, with all your favorite Spotify playlists at the touch of a button.
And no more getting lost, squinting at your phone for directions in unfamiliar cities. GPS navigation, right on your dash, will get you home.
These double DIN head units won’t break the bank. Put the pedal to the metal and upgrade your head unit today.