10 Best Double DIN Head Unit for the Money – Reviews 2021
Stuck in traffic and can’t find anything worth doing in the meantime? Bored through a long trip and don’t know what to do? The best double DIN head unit can be your lifesaver in these situations.
There are so many ways that a multimedia receiver can help you that it’s just useless to try and explain them in this introduction. That’s why we want you to keep reading and learn more about double DIN head units and what they offer.
Read on and find out everything, from what exactly a head unit is, to reviews of the highest-quality models out there, and even a buying guide with specific knowledge about them. If that’s worth your time, then don’t waste more of it and read up!
What is a Double DIN Head Unit?
When someone says DIN, they’re referring to ‘Deutsch Industry Normen’. This is a standardized industry name for radios and sizes of multimedia receivers. And it has a German name because it was first introduced back in the 80s with BMW and Volkswagen cars.
The measurement of a standard DIN is 2 inches in height by 8 inches in width. That would be the standard DIN size of a multimedia receiver for most cars.
But now, how can a head unit be ‘double’? Well, this means that instead of having 2 inches in height, it has 4 inches. As you can guess, the large design makes it way more entertaining and adds extra features that wouldn’t fit in a small or standard DIN.
That’s why they are often used with DVD and Blu-Ray players or navigation systems that add tons of functionality. Some of them even offer the chance to hook up with smartphones and enjoy whatever you have on your phone.
In short, they make your car into an entire entertainment system without having to spend a fortune. And that’s something almost everyone would love to have.
10 Best Double DIN Head Unit Reviews
This section comes with 10 reviews of the highest-quality multimedia receivers that you’ll find. We researched and reviewed all the qualities of each product.
Here’s what we found:
1. Pioneer AVH-2300NEX Digital Multimedia Receiver
Everyone loves Pioneer devices, especially when it comes to multimedia systems like the AVH-2300NEX. A well-made, practical, and utterly entertaining receiver – that’s what you’ll get.
The first thing you’ll notice is a large 7-inch WVGA display that lets you enjoy all kinds of multimedia without problems. From videos to simple audio playing, this model gets it all done. It features an 800x480 resolution which makes everything look fantastic and clear.
But the real advantage comes from its compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These two features make it extra practical to work with smartphones of all kinds. With a simple hook up via Bluetooth, you can enjoy all your phone media as well as make and receive calls directly on your car.
Moreover, the machine also comes with an additional feature that makes it even more convenient: the Appradio Mode+. You can easily tune in your favorite radio signals and enjoy all kinds of programs. And of course, it also works with Spotify, Pandora, and even SiriusXM.
To handle the head unit, you will have several buttons on the bottom of the screen. From volume buttons to different multimedia-specific options and even recording functions and more, you get it all with this model.
And if you don’t want to use it from the display, you can make it work from your phone or steering wheel. Whatever you want to enjoy inside your car, this media receiver makes it possible. When it comes to high convenience, few models match the AVH-2300NEX.
2. Pioneer MVH-1400NEX Digital Multimedia Video Receiver
Coming again with Pioneer, we now find the MVH-1400NEX – one of the highest-quality options in the whole list.
You don’t have to break the bank to get a more-than-decent unit for your car. And this model makes it clear. It offers a 24-bit True Color panel with an 800x400 resolution that provides all kinds of customization. You can make your receiver look however you prefer for extra convenience.
The considerable advantage comes from its compatibility with both Apple and Android devices. You won’t have any problem hooking it up to receive calls and stream audio effectively.
And of course, it plays all kinds of files from DVDs to MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, WAV, CD, FLAC, and WMV, DivX, and many more. Everything plays through Bluetooth, USB, AUX, a/V composite input, a composite video output, or even a backup-camera input or wired remote.
Another exceptional capacity that you won’t find too often is the virtualDJ that allows you to change your audio quality according to your needs. You won’t have to stick to how the audio sounds at first – you can tweak it until you listen to whatever you want.
Apart from all that, the handling is easy with its responsive touchscreen. You will have several touch buttons on the driver’s side for extra handiness. And if you want, the Android Auto app makes it extra practical to control if needed. Whatever you want to tweak, you can do it through the app.
For the quality it offers at such a fantastic cost, this is one of those models you can’t overlook.
3. JVC KW-V25BT Car Stereo Receiver
The next competitor in this list of fantastic head units is the JVC KW-V25BT. For us, there’s no doubt this is the best double DIN head unit for the money.
If you are a fan of decently-sounding systems, this 50-watt model with 4 channels will ultimately surpass your expectations. For such a fantastic cost, you can expect this system to make your car much more entertaining to drive.
It plays all kinds of audio and video files as well. And you can make it work along with your Apple or Android smartphone via Bluetooth without problems.
The ability to use Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, or even SiriusXM satellite radio is another considerable advantage for the cost. And inevitably, it comes with an equalizer that you can tweak however you prefer.
You can connect it to all kinds of media sources as well, including a 3.5mm aux input as well as via USB or SD card if needed. Whatever you want to play, this machine will make it possible with so many connectivity features.
Apart from all that, you can control the system via the smartphone app. And you can receive calls, look through your phone book, and more which makes it outstandingly practical overall.
Moreover, it is also compatible with steering wheel control systems for extra handiness. And if you want, the controls on the left side of the display can also be an excellent choice to tweak the volume, change audio files, navigate through its system, and more.
For the money, there’s no better option than the JVC KW-V25BT. If you’re on a small budget and want a fantastic device, this one won’t disappoint you.
4. JVC KW-V85BT Car Stereo Receiver
When it comes to quality, few brands match what JVC offers. And the KW-V85BT is one of those models that wield quality in every way.
The in-dash design makes it extremely practical. It comes with a 6.8-inch WVGA display that you can set up quickly but also use without problems. The design boasts only two buttons for handling volume and a single switch for the CD player.
It is compatible with all kinds of audio sources and files, as well as smartphones with its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You won’t have any issue playing your favorite audio or video files without having to waste any time.
Moreover, the Bluetooth connection is also fantastic because it lets you hook up with apps like Spotify, Pandora, and SiriusXM. You will never be short of radio capacity with this model. And with its USB input, you can manage the whole device with your smartphone, make calls, and even send messages without problems.
But what really sets it apart is not how practical it is, but the fantastic sound quality it offers. Boasting a K2 Technology system, you can expect exceptional audio quality with its 50-watt speaker system with 4 channels. This pairs up well with the subwoofer, phase, and low-pass Crossover controls for tweaking.
Another huge feature that you shouldn’t overlook is the camera compatibility. You can connect up to 2 cameras (front and rear), to get extra visibility when driving. That will make this system stand a step above all of its competitors.
From its touchscreen responsiveness to its overall connectivity and superb playback features and audio quality, this system will rock your car to the max.
5. Sony XAV-AX5000 Media Receiver
If we’re talking about head units for cars, we couldn’t leave Sony models out. One of those is the XAV-AX5000. It is a superb media receiver for demanding & modest users alike.
Like any other high-quality model, this one works well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can connect your smartphone and enjoy everything from messaging to calls, maps, and even your music. By directly hooking the phone via Bluetooth, you’ll have one of the most practical devices out there.
You can even connect two phones at the same time thanks to its dual USB ports. Or you can connect a pen drive or any other device along for extra media capacity.
And when it comes to handling, you can enjoy its super practical touchscreen with 6.95 inches that makes it totally easy to use. And with the extra buttons in the bottom for volume, menu, and playback, you won’t have any issue controlling it.
The best feature is the navigation system. You can enjoy one of the most complete and reliable systems out there that will make your driving experience extra pleasant. Whether it is going on long trips or looking for locations around the city, this machine works wonders.
As for the audio quality, it doesn’t stay behind, either. It comes with an electronic amplifier, a dynamic stage organizer for superb delivery, a 10-band equalizer for tweaking, and several outputs so you can connect as many woofers, speakers, tweeters or amplifiers as needed.
In case you’re going for a Sony head unit, don’t overlook the XAV-AX5000. It will make your car much more enjoyable to ride on.
6. Alpine ILX-W650 Mech-Less Receiver
Few people don’t know about it, but the iLX-W650 from Alpine is the best 2-DIN car stereo that you can get. For its price and superb set of features, this model is unbeatable in terms of quality.
Despite not having a CD or DVD player, this exceptional receiver offers the chance to enjoy all kinds of radio and connect to your Apple or Android smartphone. Whether you want to play your favorite audio or video files, this unit makes it possible.
You can also use the Bluetooth connectivity with smartphones to access different apps and even get live calls without problems. Also, you can hook it up with Pandora, Spotify, and other features for extra compatibility.
The machine offers the chance to enjoy a USB port as well, so you can connect a wide array of devices. You can control it via Android with this function. And with the Siri Eyes-Free Control, you can manage the system without problems with your Apple phone.
It still comes with buttons on the bottom of the screen, making the whole tweaking system an excellent thing to enjoy.
But what really sets it apart is the audio quality that offers up to 50 watts of power in 4 channels. This pairs up well with the 6-channel pre-amp capacity so you can hook up as many audio outputs like speakers or subwoofers without problems.
Furthermore, the screen is 7 inches with an excellent 800x400 resolution. You won’t have any problem using the touchscreen and enjoy secure handling at any time. Whatever you want to do, this affordable but hugely practical model won’t let you down.
7. Sony XAV-AX1000 Media Receiver
Sony doesn’t only make high-end models for the most demanding users; it can also deliver the best budget double DIN head unit without problems. That’s what you get with the XAV-AX1000 – an excellent model in its entirety.
The first thing you’ll be impressed about is the sound quality. It comes with straightforward customization so you can make your audio sound however you prefer. But the real advantage comes from the amplification system offering up to 55 watts of power per channel. It sounds clear & loud.
And with the EXTRA BASS feature, you can enjoy a fantastic bass with your sound system without having to install too much power or wasting a fortune in woofers.
Its design is sleek and easy to use with a 6.2-inch touchscreen. And it is totally responsive, and with the side rotary dial, you can set the volume up conveniently. On the side, you’ll also get a USB port to connect with phones using Apple CarPlay to navigate and control the system.
You can handle the head unit via voice if you want too. And with the navigator system it offers, you will have the chance to travel anywhere without having to touch a single thing – just use your voice, and that’s it.
To make this system even better, you can enjoy a rear-view camera system. This will help you park and have extra visibility under challenging places. In short, this media receiver makes any car much more enjoyable & practical. If that’s enough for you – then this model is an excellent model to go for.
8. Kenwood eXcelon DNX995S Navigation Receiver
When it comes to brands that will never disappoint you, Kenwood is undoubtedly among them. And the eXcelon DNX995S is a good example of why this brand is so fantastic.
You’ll notice that this machine is much more than a simple receiver. It comes with a 6.75-inch touchscreen display with an electrostatic capacity. The HD 1280x720 resolution will make sure that you can enjoy your favorite media in the best way possible.
This pairs up well with the compatibility with most audio and video files, including MP3, WAV, FLAC, MPEG-3, MPEG-4, and many more. You can also make it work with DVDs or CDs, and it also offers AM and FM tuner.
It also comes with Bluetooth connection using Apple CarPlay for iPhones, or Android Auto for any other smartphone. You won’t have any problem streaming your favorite audio, having hands-free calls, tuning in to your favorite radio channels, etc.
To use it, you won’t have to make much of an effort either. The smartphone apps work for that, but you can also use the Siri Eyes-Free Control or Voice Command features. Yet, it also comes with a responsive screen as well as seven practical buttons on the bottom of the display.
The audio quality doesn’t stay behind, with a 13-band equalizer, a bass boost, and a loudness controller that prevents distortion. And for those who like safety, it offers a rear camera of 13 MP and a front one of 8 MP, so you can see around when driving.
All these matches well with the Garmin navigation system, which is the most comprehensive, convenient, and easy-to-use navigation system out there.
9. Alpine iLX-207 Mech-Less Audio/Video Receiver
For those who want nothing less than the best double DIN stereo, the Alpine iLX-207 video receiver is the way to go.
This fantastic model offers 50 watts of power output for the 4-channel speakers. It also has 3 pre-amp connectors so you can hook up subwoofers, tweeters, or additional speakers if needed. This goes well with the compatibility with Alpine TuneIt feature for iPhones, which add exceptional audio options.
You can listen to the radio with SiriusXM satellite, but you can also tweak the sound with a 9-band equalizer. Along with the MediaXpander Accessory Control, you can get even more out of the TuneIt App.
It also works well with Android Auto if needed, so you can make it work with any kind of smartphone and get all it offers. From maps and navigation to hands-free calls, messages, and audio streaming whenever you want – this receiver provides it all.
Moreover, you can make it work via Bluetooth or USB however you prefer. Yet, it also comes with HDMI cables, so it offers exceptional audio and video quality. And with the camera input, you can even add a rear or front camera for extra convenience.
The whole touchscreen is outstandingly well-made, with a 7-inch VGA display that offers rich colors & exceptional responsiveness. As for handling, you can enjoy the straightforward controls in the front, or the steering wheel compatibility via HDMI.
If you are a demanding user who wants nothing less than the highest quality possible, then this model is your ideal choice.
10. Sony XAV-AX200 Receiver
To finish this fantastic list of head units, we are going over the XAV-AX200 receiver from Sony.
This outstanding model comes at a pretty reasonable price while delivering exceptional sound output with its 55-watt capacity. You can pair this up with the built-in amplification system that increases the overall loudness and sound quality of the receiver. And surely, you get a 10-band equalizer for extra quality.
But what really stands out is not the audio, but the superb compatibility with other devices. You can hook it up with iPhones via Apple CarPlay or with Android smartphones via Android Auto. Once you’re hooked up, you’ll be able to play any of your media and control the head unit effortlessly.
The model also works with SiriusXM satellite radio as well as other apps like Spotify and Pandora. You can easily enjoy your favorite audio without having to make much of an effort.
Apart from that, you can answer calls if needed while driving. You will enjoy the ability to prevent accidents while arranging business or family matters. The unit is also a piece of cake to use.
It comes with an utterly responsive touchscreen as well as some buttons on the right side. You will even get a rotary dial that you can use to change volume or tweak features when needed.
And to finish this already exceptional head unit, you can add the capacity to play DVD, CDs, and all kinds of formats and files for audio or video. When it comes to making your car more entertaining to drive, this unit won’t disappoint you.
Things to Look for before Buying
By now, you should be ready to tell the best double DIN head unit from the worst ones. However, it is still advisable to learn a little more about what they offer before you make a final choice.
Here are a few aspects to consider:
Power Output & Channels
You want your double DIN unit to deliver sufficient power to the whole audio system of your car. And for that, you’ll have to consider how many watts it offers for each.
For example, most models offer 50 watts in 4 channels. That will be ideal for most systems out there if you want decent sound quality. But some models may deliver as little as 10 watts in 4 channels, or 50 watts but only in two channels. These are the ones you should not be going for.
We recommend going for as many watts as possible as well as several channels. The more watts the receiver can handle, the louder and clearer the sound will be in your car. And with the more channels it offers, the more speakers, subwoofers, and tweeters you’ll have the chance to install.
Connectivity & Compatibility
Another important part of every head unit is the overall connectivity & compatibility it offers with other devices and connections.
For example, if you want the unit to work with Android and Apple phones to receive calls or just play media, you need to make sure that it is totally compatible. Especially when it comes to apps like Spotify, Pandora, or SiriusXM, you should be assured that you can hook the unit without problems.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a unit that connects easily via USB ports, SD cards, or AUX inputs, then you need to make sure that it offers them.
Not all models come with all these connections and compatibilities, so be sure to get something that offers them all, or at least those you need and want.
Interface & Controls
Another super helpful thing to think about when buying is how easy the unit is to use. You’ll want something that doesn’t demand too much knowledge or experience to handle. And at the same time, you want something that is easily controlled in different ways.
The first thing to consider is the touchscreen. You’ll want something large enough and responsive so you can handle it without making much of an effort. But you’ll also want extra buttons around the display. These will make the handling even easier, especially for functions like volume, playback, menu, and turning on and off.
And if you want to go the extra mile in terms of controls, choose those that hook up with the steering wheel handling system. Along with proper Bluetooth configuration using smartphones, a wireless control system is always worth having.
If you want to enjoy videos and other graphics inside the car, nothing will be more important than the quality of the display. We recommend resolutions of at least 700x300 if you want decent size & image quality. But for the best experience, go for something of at least 800x400 – that would be ideal.
The size of the display also matters. And we advise getting something of at least 6 inches. Anything less than that will be too small. If you can go for an 8-inch model, that would be your best choice.
As for installation, you should go for a model that makes it easy. Here, you should focus on proper cable labeling, simple wiring, and as many connections as possible so you can hook up anything you want quickly.
If you get a head unit with proper installation features & accessories, then that’s a great model to go for.
Want your system to record or at least show what’s in front or behind the car? Then go for a model with camera compatibility. They will offer the chance to hook up one, two, or even three or four cameras so you can watch everything around you. This can be a helpful thing to have in your head unit.
Finally, a nice feature to have on your media receiver would be a GPS. A navigation system would make the whole unit way more practical, especially if you’re someone who often goes to trips. Some models even come with the chance to connect with smartphone maps and get updated data for extra convenience.
Best Double DIN Head Unit Brands
Want to pick the best model available in the market? Then you’ll have to choose the best brand as well.
Here, we explain the most prestigious and reliable brands in the head unit market:
While you will probably see JVC and Kenwood offering individual head units on their own, it is actually the same brand. They were individual Japanese brands until 2008 when they merged. But both brands were always among the best when it comes to audio systems; especially DIN units, speakers, and MP3 players.
If you want quality, then you can expect the manufacturing of every Kenwood or JVC product to offer what you want.
With more than 50 years in the industry, both JVC and Kenwood are exceptional options to go for. And now that they work together, you won’t be disappointed with what they have to offer.
Pioneer is a pioneer brand. There’s no doubt about it, especially after it introduced the first CD player for cars in the history of the world in 1984.
As a Japanese brand, they focus on quality and reliability. Similarly to any Japanese brand, you will get no less than exceptional results without having to spend a fortune. And on top of all that, they still manage to offer superb features that not many models deliver.
From speakers to head units, subwoofers, headsets, wireless accessories, and much more, Pioneer is a brand that never disappoints.
Everyone knows about Sony, and for a good reason. As another Japanese brand in the electronics market, it delivers some of the most fantastic products you can think of. And the head units and audio systems it offers are not an exception.
With millions of products to offer and with a considerable prestige that surpasses even the most demanding standards, Sony is a go-to brand that goes the extra mile every time.
If you want quality and unbeatable reliability, a Sony head unit will be your go-to option. It will merely surpass all your expectations.
Finally, we come with the smallest brand on the whole list. It is still one of the highest-quality options that you can pick.
Alpine belongs to Alps Electrics, a vast electronic manufacturer that offers products of all kinds and for all users. Following that, you can easily say that Alpine knows what quality means, so they deliver just that.
As another Japanese brand in the audio-system market, Alpine is another exceptional brand to go for. But they focus mainly on navigation, yet its car audio delivery is still among the best. A head unit from this brand won’t be a bad investment.
Difference between 1 DIN and 2 DIN?
To pick the best double DIN car stereo, you need to know how it differs from a single DIN model. But without reading hundreds of pages about this, you may never find out the real difference. That’s what we want to explain in the briefest way possible.
If you are to find out more about this, then keep reading:
What Does DIN Mean?
As explained before, DIN means “Deutsches Institut for Normung.” That refers to the organization that standardized the size of stereo receivers in cars.
Because no other organization in the world created such standard for the size of head units, the International Standards Organization adopted the DIN as the general rule. That’s why DIN refers specifically to this type of device in cars.
It has an average size of 2 inches of height by 8 inches of width. That’s the first measurement given to the stereos in cars in Germany, which eventually became the norm all around the world.
What is a 2 DIN Stereo?
So, if a DIN refers to 2 by 8 inches, then a 2-DIN stereo refers to double that. But in reality, what doubles is the height. Instead of 2 inches, you will get 4 inches in height.
A double DIN stereo is then twice as high or tall as a single DIN unit. It is like two single DIN stereos stacked together, and it offers the chance to add several more features, extra display capacity, and much more. The good thing is that it’s pretty standard nowadays, and most SUVs and large cars tend to come with one of these.
If you need to get one for your car, then you’ll be happy to know that there are thousands of options to go for. You won’t have to stick to a standard model if you don’t want to.
And surely, the capacity to entertain and the overall value it adds to any car is far higher than any single DIN model can offer. Only for that, you can say that a 2-DIN stereo is a superb feature to have on your vehicle.
Single DIN Vs. Double DIN
Comparing one to the other is like comparing a large car with a small car. Yes, there are tons of similarities as they both probably have four wheels, a steering wheel, an engine, and a roof. But surely, the large vehicle is perhaps much more powerful, more practical, and more expensive.
That’s how you can easily separate a double DIN from a single DIN model. Still, it is crucial to understand how exactly this can change the whole device and add more features or practicality.
In terms of features, you will encounter that a double DIN model comes with many additional functions that a single DIN model does not.
For example, the touchscreen of a double DIN model tends to be way larger. In the meantime, the single DIN model doesn’t usually come with a touchscreen, and if they do, it tends to be really small.
The best double DIN head unit also comes with additional media playing features such as DVD compatibility, video playing, Bluetooth, WiFi, and navigation systems. On top of that, a double DIN model usually delivers the chance to connect the steering wheel to the controls, which lets you handle the device without touching it.
With single DIN models, you won’t get any of that. Most of the time, you just get a few buttons, a dial, and a small display that tells you what’s being played. Some models may come with Bluetooth and USB connections, but still, nothing compared to the larger 2-DIN models.
Overall, there’s no doubt a double DIN model is far better than any single DIN option. But of course, not all vehicles will fit a sizeable 2-DIN head unit. And so it is essential to be careful when buying. If you want to enjoy the media system of your car to the maximum, then nothing will be more useful than a double DIN receiver.
Frequently Asked Questions
While learning about head units can be immensely helpful, the one thing that will truly help you is getting rid of all your doubts.
That’s what this section will help you with:
1. Are there double head units larger or smaller than average?
No, all units have the same measurements in height and width. However, the display size may differ, as well as the depth of the device according to its design and car compatibility.
2. Will my old steering wheel media controls work with a new head unit?
Yes, they will work as long as it is possible to connect them. Most cars with steering media control offer the chance to hook up with all kinds of units.
3. Should I get new speakers and subwoofer with the new receiver?
No, you can use the old audio system. You just need to change the player and/or old head unit if you had any.
4. Do I need a particular power system to make a double DIN head unit work?
No, you can make it work with a standard battery and original connections. You just need to install them correctly, and that’s it.
5. How much does it take to install a new 2-DIN receiver?
It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours if you follow the set-up instructions correctly.
After reading the whole article, you are probably exhausted. But don’t worry – now you are ready to pick the best double DIN head unit with ease.
Remember, the right model is the one that matches your demands and needs. As long as it feels like the perfect option for everything you require, then that’s the model to go for.
Don’t waste more of your time and pick one now. Having a double DIN head unit will completely change your car-driving experience.