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8 Best Single DIN Head Units: Reviews with Ultimate Buying Guide

single DIN head unit
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When it comes to replacing your old car stereo, you want something with style and functionality, right? Go big or go home-style. We know that searching for the best single DIN head unit can be daunting. A wrong choice will cost you time and cash. Not fun! Fortunately, our experts have spent hours reviewing top-rated single DIN head units to compile this guide in order enable you to find a car stereo that fits your needs.

  • Keep in mind when shopping that the DIN unit is the heartbeat of the car entertainment system. It is the final determining factor for the quality of sound you get from your speakers and the types of devices that you can connect.

We also cover the top-rated or best double DIN head units, which not only create quality sound but also integrate the latest trends in technology.

How We Chose the Best Single DIN Head Units

So, what did our our product review experts look at when evaluating these units?

  • Design
  • Power ratings
  • Affordability (price)
  • Type and quality of component materials
  • Type of display
  • Essential features such as Bluetooth and sound equalizer

Remember, the right single DIN head unit for you is one that not only meets your every day needs, but fits the budget. We hope this guide will help you find the best choice for your ride.

Top 8 Best Single DIN Head Unit Reviews with Pros and Cons

1. Pioneer DEH-150MP Single DIN Car Stereo

Are you looking forward to upgrading your car stereo without breaking the bank? The Pioneer DEH 150 MP single DIN head unit might be for you. Keep in mind from the jump, though, that the Pioneer DEH-150 does not support Bluetooth,  wireless music streaming or any smartphone app control. Also, it does not offer an anti-glare touchscreen or USB connection. Nor will it serve to  charge your phone.

So, why have we included this piece in our best single DIN head units list when it has this list of  seeming downsides? Here’s why:

This unit uses an advanced sound retriever which enhances storage of files that can be lost as a result of compression. Furthermore, it enhances audio reproduction up to 20 kHz frequencies. Not too shabby, right?

Features and Benefits of Pioneer DEH-150 Single DIN Head Unit

  • The DEH-150 features MP3 and WMA playback, which enables you to play your music in several formats. It’s now easy to carry your digital music with you.
  • The Pioneer DEH 150 MP stereo has an inbuilt aux input to enable you play your favorite music from any portable device by use of a 3.5 mm cable, how awesome is that?
  • This stereo offers a 5-band graphic equalizer to enable you customize your sound. It also includes a high and low- pass filter settings and subwoofer controls.

Pros

  • Simple interface
  • Fits perfectly into different types of dashboards
  • Low price
  • Great sound quality
  • Detachable faceplate
  • Wireless remote control
  • CEA-2006 compliant amplifier

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • No Bluetooth feature
  • No Android or iPhone auto support
  • No music streaming functionality

Our Verdict

This Pioneer unit is an impressive single DIN head unit. Even though it is suspiciously affordable, its wide range of features make it an excellent buy as long as you go in with your eyes open.

2. Alpine CDE-175BT Single DIN Head Unit

Alpine CDE-175BT will not disappoint. In fact, it is a perfect choice if you happen to be looking for a basic Bluetooth-enabled car stereo.

Features and Benefits of Alpine CDE-HD175BT Single DIN Unit

  • Cd receiver with AM/FM tuner, plays FLAC files via USB, and detachable face with variable color display
  • Bluetooth Features: hands-free calling and audio streaming, includes dual phone connection for iPhone and Android, and Siri eyes free voice control with Compatible iPhones
  • Smartphone features: built in iPod, iPhone, and iPad controls, Pandora-ready for iPhone and Android, and music file and streaming audio playback from select Android devices through USB input
  • Audio features: plays CDs, cd-rs, and cd-rws, and USB memory devices, 3-band parametric EQ with 10 user presets, and high-pass filters and subwoofer level controls
  • Expandability: compatible with SiriusXM tuner, inputs: front panel auxiliary and USB inputs, and outputs: 6-channel preamp outputs (5-volt front, rear, subwoofer)
  • It also includes a WMA and MP3 that enables you to play your music in a format of your choice while displaying song time, title and artist information.
  • The stereo also includes fast forward and playback features for your convenience.
  • This single DIN head unit automatically changes to hands-free call and thanks to its microphone integration, you can now talk as much as you want without worrying about the phone flipping off your ears.
  • The five sound settings enable you to choose one that perfectly fits your audio needs.
  • This Alpine head unit comes with six rear RCA jacks so that you can connect to external amplifiers whenever you need to. The subwoofer output is easily adjustable and includes on and off so that you won’t need other external components if you happen to add a subwoofer to your system.
  • For added convenience, control your  music using the faceplate controls. You can also change your faceplate button backlighting from the wide range of colors such as blue, green and red.

Pros

  • Excellent sound audio
  • 6 RCA outputs
  • iPhone and Android app wireless audio support
  • Hands off call feature
  • Four illuminated colors
  • Detachable faceplate and storage casing
  • Pandora control functionality
  • Includes time and date
  • USB support  WMA/M4A/MP3

Cons

  • Has a separate push button
  • Has a separate Apple plug-in support
  • Has no digital audio output
  • Limited internal amp power

Our Verdict

We heart this single DIN head unit. Great performance and a fair price.

3. BOSS Audio BV9986BI

Boss single DIN unit

This single DIN may be a little cheaper but trust us, it does not slouch in its specifications and features. The Boss audio BV9986BI has been around for  decades. The company manufactures several types of both car and marine audio equipment. In other words, you’re getting the trust factor with a Boss. 

Features and Benefits of Boss Audio BV9986BI

  • This Boss car stereo has a wide display that features an innovative graphic design thanks to its 7’’ TFT touchscreen. The screen’s functionality is fantastic even though it lacks an anti-glare feature in case of the excessive sunlight.
  • The din head unit is Bluetooth-enabled making it convenient for hands-free calling and music streaming. Additionally, you can play audio from your device via the Bluetooth connection. With its MP3 and WMA features; you can now enjoy your music in all formats.
  • One of the most outstanding features of this car stereo is the ability to play music stored on an SD card. Several models in the market lack this convenience that does not depend on the phone signal for music streaming.
  • The Boss Audio BV9986BI includes four channel of up to 85 watts, together with its RDS tuner and inbuilt graphics equalizer listening to music will never be the same again, it is whole new experience.
  • Bonus points for the super cool feature that allows you to detach the front panel and store it safely to prevent theft if need be.

Pros

  • Aux and AV input
  • Seven touchscreens with a detachable front panel
  • SD card slot
  • Low price
  • Detachable faceplate

Cons

  • Does not support dual Bluetooth connectivity
  • Has no anti-glare  on the touchscreen

Our Verdict

The Boss Audio BV9986B1 is a low-priced single DIN head unit with high functionality and design. There is no doubt that this car stereo will be a great fit for your ride. Definitely worth checking out.

4. Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit

The Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit is undoubtedly one of the smartest and modern single DIN head units on the market today. The Pioneer team has collaborated with application providers to offer high-level compatibility with some essential vehicle applications.

Key Highlights of  Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit

  • The Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit provides you with the ability to browse music libraries on devices wirelessly.
  • This car stereo is compatible with Android, all you need to do is download your preferred music app and take your music to the next level.
  • The car stereo easily connects to your iPhone through the USB interface cable. The 7-inch screen excellently displays the artist, time and title of the album. To help you find the song or content you are looking for without wasting time, this Pioneer head unit includes tools such as link play and alphabet search.
  • This Pioneer DEH features excellent sound quality with inbuilt adjustable EQ controls. You can now enjoy audio in several different formats including FLAC without converting them. With this pioneer single din head unit, your FLAC music needs not to stay at home, have it on the move.
  • The USB connection gives direct signal transfer from any device for sound clarity while providing 1 amp of current to keep your gadget fully charged.
  • This car stereo is Sirius-ready. It provides you with access to wide range of over 140 channels worldwide. All you have to do is connect the Sirius tuner to the head unit and get additional features that will make driving more convenient.
  • For the Pioneer team, safety comes first. It is for this reason that they included a detachable faceplate as a unique anti-theft feature. So you have no reason to worry when parking your car somewhere sketchy. Simply carry it with you wherever!

Pros

  • Has a great design and modern look
  • A wide range of audio and video sources
  • Detachable faceplate
  • Android music streaming and hands-free calling
  • Customizable touchscreen interface
  • Ability to link tow devices wirelessly at the same time
  • A firm screen that does not flex when pressed on
  • Easy to navigate the menu with GPS integration

Cons

  • The screen takes quite some time to pop out
  • Inability to move the big picture on the radio source and use the space for other functions

Our Verdict

The Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit is a unique single car stereo with a great design and detailed functionality; it simply offers what you could be looking for in a modern single din head unit.

Buy the incredible Pioneer DEH-S1100UB Single DIN Head Unit car stereo now and enjoy a terrific value for your ride.

5. Sony DSX-GS80 GS Series 

Sony DSX-GS80 GS Series is simply awesome. With its impressive array of features and amazing sound, transforming your car into an entertainment powerhouse has never been this attainable.

Features and Benefits of Sony DSX-GS80 GS Series

  • This car stereo comes with a sound synchronization feature that enables the front panel to alternate colors to the beat of the music. With over 35,000 colors to choose from, you can really get funky.
  • The Bluetooth 3.0 allows you to connect up to two devices at the same time. Handle your call while still listening to some low volume music. Even though this Bluetooth model is a bit outdated, it gets the job done when it comes to sound.
  • This single DIN head unit has an AUX and USB port that allows connection to wide range of devices.
  • The four-channel amp gives you built-in power previously only available from external amps.
  • Subwoofer direct connection with 2-ohm option – just connect a subwoofer to either side of the rear channel speaker output
  • Use voice commands to get directions, play music, and chat on your phone.
  • Sony DSX-GS80 GS Series DIN head unit is a warehouse for all your audio options such as MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC you name it. Together with its support for Pandora and Sirius satellite radio, your audio experience will be off the chain.
  • The 2-volt RCA pre-amp output for external front and subwoofers amplifier allows you to upgrade the quality of your music anytime you need to.

Pros

  • Supports endless audio formats and applications
  • Car-filling sound
  • An excellently built unit with a well-known brand name
  • Offers convenient wireless control
  • Detachable faceplate

Cons

  • Has no Bluetooth 4.0 support
  • Sound synchronizing may be a bit annoying
  • Has no touchscreen

Our Verdict

The Sony DSX-GS80 GS Series is a powerhouse of sound. If you’re a real audiohead who wants to jam in the car, run, don’t walk to get this baby. 

6. Pyle PLTS78DUB Best Budget Single DIN Head Unit

Pyle single DIN unit

What we like most about the Pyle PLTS78DUB is the full range of features it offers. This single DIN head unit has everything you could expect in a modern car head unit. The fact that it is low-priced makes it a decent car stereo for you if you happen to be under budget restraints.

Key Highlights of Pyle PLTS78DUB

  • The Pyle PLTS78DUB is equipped with hands-free Bluetooth technology to enable you to pair your smartphone so that you can receive calls and listen to music over your car stereo system.
  • The on-screen controls allow you to effortlessly play a CD, SD card or USB drive directly from storage. The car stereo also supports AM/FM radio.
  • The motorized screen telescopes boast a clear resolution of 1440x 230 pixels to enable you to maneuver without any struggle. The telescopes also fold away easily when the car is turned off.
  • The wide 7’’ screen lets you enjoy your favorite DVD movie and also gives you desired information using the screen display and wireless remote control. (But be careful and keep your eyes on the road!)
  • The detachable front panel enables you to remove the car stereo and put it away when security is a concern.

Pros

  • Hands-free Bluetooth technology
  • Easy compatibility with a smartphone and another portable devices
  • Very high screen resolution
  • Multiple audio format support
  • Easy to use
  • Great Bluetooth call quality

Cons

  • Screen glares in a high-light environment
  • Non-versatile EQ which provides only base and treble instead of mid-range adjustments

Our Verdict

The DIN’s ability to connect to multiple sources is one incredible feature we can’t overlook. Again, its Bluetooth call quality and connectivity is excellent. The stereo stays clear when connected to calls, unlike other budget units that disconnect quite often.

We recommend this head unit to customers who are on the budget but not diehard audiophiles. Even though its sound is clear enough, it lacks essential features for sound adjustments.

7. Kenwood KDC-168U

Looking for a car head unit with a sturdy build and great features? Kenwood KDC-168U is built for power and longevity. Kenwood is known to manufacture high-quality stereo systems. Here’s why we included Kenwood KDC-168U in our review.

Key Highlights of Kenwood KDC-168U

  • This head unit is housed in a metallic box for strength. The front control panel is made of high-quality plastic with a stylish design.
  • The Kenwood KDC-168U comes with an AM/FM radio tuner. 
  • What could be more secure than a car head unit with a detachable faceplate? Kenwood KDC-168U has a detachable faceplate for enhanced security.
  • This head unit boasts of having a 13-digit display. The display allows you to read details about the currently playing track and makes it easy to use different settings and controls.
  • It comes with modern technology features, including support for Apple products. It also supports Android music playback through USB.
  • This head unit features sound reconstruction technology. This technology improves audio from files encoded at very low bit rates.

Pros

  • Remote control
  • Compatible with most audio controls on the steering wheel
  • Supports MP3, WMA, FLAC, and WAV audio formats
  • Plays all major types of CDs
  • Memory card reader
  • USB port
  • Front-facing AUX input

Cons

  • Apart from bass boost, there’s no other option to adjust bass
  • AM radio reception is a bit weak
  • Lacks Bluetooth connectivity

Our Verdict

Kenwood KDC-168U won’t disappoint when it comes to quality and boasts numerous desirable features. Although it lacks Bluetooth connectivity, you can still control it through your iPhone or Android device through USB and third-party applications.

8. JVC KD-T910BTS

JVC KD-T910BTS is a powerful head unit that comes with all the key features necessary in a modern car stereo unit. Here’s why it outshines its competitors on the market today.

Features and Benefits of JVC KD-T910BTS

  • This head unit features Bluetooth functionality that can pair two devices at once. You can pair your tablet or smartphone and stream music wirelessly from your device. You can also answer phone calls via Bluetooth.
  • While playing music from a compact disk, the display will show the title, artist, and album. This will assist you in skipping music easily and knowing the currently playing track.
  • You can easily detach the faceplate that comes with this unit. You’ll deter theft by removing the faceplate when leaving your car in unsecured parking lots.
  • The variable LED color illumination makes the panel decorative. The illumination sets the right ambience for listening to music.
  • This head unit comes with a USB port for music playback. You can simply plug in your flash disk or smartphone and play music through USB.
  • It supports JVC remote control application. You only need to install the app on your smartphone and control the unit from the app.

Pros

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB port and USB charging
  • 2-line display
  • 13-band equalizer
  • Remote control app

Cons

  • It doesn’t save crossover settings upon turning off the car
  • A bit challenging to program Sirius XM satellite radio stations

Our Verdict

JVC KD-T910BTS stands out for its modern features. We recommend JVC KD-T910BTS for its high-quality and multiple control options.

What Should You Consider When Shopping for a Single DIN Head Unit?

Remember that the head unit determines how smart your car is. There are higher chances of making a right decision when you know what features you are looking for. Let’s have a look at the important factors to pay attention to:

1. Power Ratings

The power ratings give an impression of the performance. Such ratings help one determine functionality. The max power out refers to the maximum amount of power that can be produced within a short period. Besides, do not forget to consider the RMS power output, which is the power produced continuously.

2. Expandability

The car stereo should be versatile. A versatile head unit enable you to make different connections to external sources. Most of these have audio or video inputs and outputs, microphone and camera input. With expandable inputs and outputs, you can make a single din stereo multifunctional.

3. Design

When it comes to the single DIN head unit aesthetics is what to pay attention to. It is advisable to choose a design that matches your car interior. One thing you have to know is that most expensive single DIN head units have an advanced display such as customized lighting and LED display. However, there are several single DIN head units with great designs at a cheaper price.

4. Playback Features

A single DIN head unit should be able to playback audios, videos, MP3, CD, HD Radio and Bluetooth. It is important to check the consistency of the playback methods, or else you will find yourself with a DIN head unit does not play music in the available format. Have a look at the following playback features and their importance:

USB port: The USB port allows you to connect all your music devices through a USB connection. The port also charges your phone as you listen to your favorite music

Bluetooth: The Bluetooth feature allows you to play music by connecting to your smartphone or any other available Bluetooth enabled device.

CD player: The CD player plays your music from a compact disk in several formats.

HD Radio: HD radio usually is usually of high quality than the usual radio.

XM Radio: This feature should allow you to connect and listen to several songs and radio channels through satellite. You’ll have to pay for it (hello, Sirius) but of course will enjoy a huge selection of channels.

5. Controls

The head unit buttons should be well-positioned to enable you to make calls and play songs while you are still alert on the road. The controls should be strategically placed for your safety as you drive.

6. Smartphone Integration

It is advisable to choose a single DIN head unit with a smartphone connection to enable you to have access quickly and also make phone calls wirelessly. Furthermore, you can listen to music in the same manner as you drive out and about.

7. GPS Navigation

Besides the fact that GPS makes driving much more comfortable and convenient, it also makes your driving safer. This feature enables you to know how much time you need to get to where you are going, obstacles and traffic concerns to avoid and more, all thanks to its rich accurate maps and traffic data. This is not a feature to overlook in our opinion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why should I upgrade/install a new single DIN head unit?

Answer: Aftermarket head units produce cleaner sound than stock head units. The first major reason for installing a new single DIN head unit (single DIN HU) is to get better sound quality and an improved driving experience.

Secondly, a new head unit allows you to take full advantage of wireless connectivity. Hands-free phone operation such as calls and phone browsing are just two among the many benefits of Bluetooth connectivity.

Thirdly, you will be able to stream media on your new single DIN HU.  You can now watch and even listen to live radio stations directly. This doesn’t mean that you cannot connect to other media devices. USB ports/AUX jacks on new head units allow you to connect the HU to older devices such as MP3 players.

Q. Which devices does the new single DIN head unit connect with?

Answer: Most current models of head units integrate with smart devices. While some single DIN HUs are compatible with both Android and iOS devices, others are compatible with either iOS alone or Android alone. If you are an Android user, make sure that the head unit you choose supports Android Auto interfaces. iOS users should ensure that their chosen head unit works with Apple CarPlay.

Q. Can factory speakers work with a new single DIN head unit?

Answer:  Although the majority of factory speakers can handle the output from a new head unit, their performance is limited. You can test the limits for your speakers by turning up the volume and noting the level at which the speaker starts to distort. Blasting factory speakers can cause damage due to cranking. Since you want to achieve the best value from your investment in a single DIN HU, adding a new set of aftermarket speakers to the system makes sense. With aftermarket speakers, you will take advantage of all that your new head unit can offer.

Q. Can a single unit head unit fit any car audio system?

Answer: The most important thing to consider when thinking about installing your new HU is whether there is enough installation space. If you were using a single DIN HU earlier, then you have less to worry about. Chances are high that the space left by the older head unit is enough for the new model. In the case that the older stereo was a double DIN unit, you will have to do a considerably big chunk of work adjusting the available space to fit the size of your new HU.

Q. My car stereo stopped working. Did I burn out my head unit?

Answer: A car stereo can stop working if a fuse blows or connection wires get loose. If a pop sound keeps disrupting the head unit’s sound delivery, the problem could be a result of insulated wires getting crossed. It could also be due to some power leads which were probably not correctly crimped and they keep getting in each other’s way. Check wire connections and put the head unit back in place to see if it works. If the issue is not resolved, you might have to start thinking about using the warranty to get a replacement from the manufacturer.

Q. How can I test my new single DIN head unit without a car?

Answer: It’s possible to test out a new head unit without a car. Touch the yellow, black and red terminals to an AV battery. Check to see if the head unit lights up. If the HU has extra features such as GPS, USB and AUX, you need a battery that’s over 9V for the test.

Q. Which types of radio can I listen to via my new single DIN head unit?

Answer: All new models of head units have in-built AM/FM radio. Some of the more advanced radios (like satellite radio and HD radio) are only available on some models. Satellite radio allows you to listen to your favorite radio stations from any location on the globe. HD radio enhances the quality of audio of the local radio stations.

Our Final Thoughts

We hope this comprehensive shopping guide for single DIN head units has been helpful. Choosing an excellent single DIN head unit is not a walk in the park. Therefore, it is advisable that you read through the reviews before selecting your unit.

All the single DIN head units come in a sleek package with a clear to read and understand manual. Make a choice today and take your car music experience to the next level.

Also Read: Best 12 Inch Subwoofers 2020: The Bass Heads’ Favorite Is Here

Summary

Tags

after-market, DIY


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