The Best Double Din Head Unit

Blank Double DIN Car Stereo

If a steering wheel connects the driver to the vehicle, then the radio connects the driver to the entertainment inside the vehicle. Luckily this is one piece of automotive equipment that is fairly easy to replace and customize, as the aftermarket industry has provided many options, thanks to the double din stereo.

What is “double din”? Simply, it is the standardization of the size of a vehicle’s radio. When it was first introduced, the standard was 7” wide by 2” tall. We now call this single din. As technology grew, so did the need for larger radios. Thus, double din was born, being 7” wide by 4” tall. This is essentially two single dins stacked on each other, hence the name.

There are many reasons a person may want to upgrade their double din radio; perhaps you wish for a car stereo with a backup camera built in, or maybe you want the ease of playing music through your car stereo with Bluetooth, or maybe you just want it to look better and have a touchscreen. Whatever the reason, to help you gain some direction in the overcrowded world of aftermarket radios, we have provided a list of some of the best double dins on the market today.

Best Value
Sony WX920BT

The Best Value Double Din Car Stereo by Sony

Sony’s WX920BT is the perfect choice if you have a budget and don’t need a touchscreen interface. In fact, the classic styling may feel more at home in older model vehicles. You can customize the unit to display different colors and patterns by setting it to pulse with the beat or fluctuate with the sound level.

It has Bluetooth connectivity to make calls, play music, or get directions, and you can connect two phones simultaneously. Further connections include the ability to play CDs, a 3.5mm aux input, and a front USB port that can play tracks from a drive or smartphones.

A built-in high-power 4x55W amp provides a good amount of power for your speakers while being expandable by offering three pre-outs for external amplifiers. While touchscreens are becoming more prevalent, having a receiver with only hard buttons offers a level of convenience and accessibility. This unit from Sony packs a lot of value into its package.

This Receiver Is For:

Someone looking to upgrade their unit for better connectivity while maintaining a traditional look and feel.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Those looking for a touchscreen or back-up camera capabilities.

Best Overall
Sony XAV-AX1000

Our Pick for Best Overall Double Din Head Unit

The large 6.2” clear and responsive touchscreen of the XAV-AX1000 offers a clean modern appearance that looks stock, while providing functionalities and features that make it one of the best double dins on the market today.

Apple Carplay allows you to connect and access your iPhone on the touchscreen so you can use many of your apps seamlessly for things like navigation, music, and calling.

The AX1000 comes ready to hook up an existing or an after-market camera so you can view its feed while backing up with customizable guidelines. Create virtual speakers on your dashboard with the Dynamic Stage Organizer, which helps clear up positioning problems by adjusting the signal to improve the soundstage.

Sony took the time to design the AX1000 into a compact package to maximize the space behind the screen, resulting in far less space used than a traditional double din unit for easier install, also offering extra space for accessories.

The high-quality of the AX1000 along with all the features offered makes this the best double din head unit for the money.

This Receiver Is For:

Anyone who is looking for a high-quality well-rounded receiver.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Someone who needs a DVD/CD player.

Best Under $100
Pioneer FH-S500BT

Best Cheap Double DIN Stereo

All of Pioneer’s products are designed with care and made with high-quality parts. Their attention to quality and detail extends from their top flagship products down to the entry-level models. So even though the FH-S500BT might be in the entry-level category, buyers can rest assured that they are getting a quality product.

Having a clean stock look, the FH-S500BT will look at home in most vehicles if you are trying to maintain a factory appearance. Connect a smartphone through Bluetooth to stream music or for hands-free calling. To play music through a wired connection, you have a choice between a USB or 3.5mm input. A thirteen-band graphic equalizer provides enough control to tune the system, that can be expandable, using the two pre-outs for external amplifiers.

Even though it is an entry-level double din, the FH-S500BT offers some modern conveniences that will improve a vehicle at an affordable price.

This Receiver Is For:

Someone looking to spruce up a vehicle without a lot of investment.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Someone who can justify spending more to gain some added features.

Best Around $200
Pioneer AVH-210EX

The Best Double DIN Head Unit around $200

There are many capable units in the under $200 category, but we found the AVH-210EX from Pioneer to stand above the competition in its features offered and the quality of materials used.

The 6.2” WVGA display has a well-developed interface that looks great while changing settings or while watching a DVD. Bluetooth is offered for hands-free calling and audio streaming, while on the rear you will find hookups for USB, 3.5mm, backup camera, wired remote, and a composite video out. Though Apple Carplay and Android Auto are not supported, audio streaming for smartphones is possible through the USB port.

Five display colors can be cycled through to choose the best look to match the rest of your interior. A thirteen-band graphic equalizer allows fine tuning to the audio to get the most out of the sound system.

The AVH-210EX is a well-rounded receiver at a great price that is a significant improvement over many factory units.

This Receiver Is For:

Someone looking for an impressive above-entry-level receiver that is Bluetooth and DVD capable.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Someone wanting the convenience of Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

Best Features
Alpine X208U

The Alpine X208U is loaded with every car stereo feature you could want

Alpine’s X208U is a monster receiver in all the features it offers, but what sets it apart further from its competitors is its ability for expansion with other Alpine accessories.

The huge 8” WVGA high resolution anti-glare display is crystal clear and feels responsive while navigating through the intuitive menus. For convenience, hard buttons are present for the most used functions while swipe control allows you to navigate through menus easily. Compatibility with both Apple Carplay and Android Auto lets you use your apps through the touchscreen seamlessly while Bluetooth offers another way to connect for calls and music. The Built-in navigation comes with 3D and 2D mapping so even without a phone, connection directions are available.

To tweak the sound system, Alpine offers six-channel time correction and a nine-band parametric EQ. Although there is no DVD player built in, one can be used with the provided HDMI input. The X208U also features an HDMI output to send video to other areas of the vehicle like the rear seats.

Hook up a rear camera to view it on the screen or with an added accessory (KCX-C250MC) add multiple cameras to gain views from around your vehicle. To turn the X208U into a vehicle’s control hub, an accessory controller (KAC-001) may be added, allowing various aftermarket accessories like a winch, lights, air suspension, or a motorized tonneau cover to be controlled directly on the touchscreen.

Whether you only use the built-in features or expand the system, the X208U will take any vehicle to the next level.

This Receiver Is For:

Enthusiasts looking for a high-end receiver full of tech.

This Receiver Is Not For:

The budget-minded person who doesn’t spend a lot of time in the vehicle.

Best Sound
Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

The Best Double Din Car Stereo for Audio Quality

If you are looking to experience the high-end sound quality that you get at home on the go, then Pioneer’s AVH-W4500NEX is the double din for you.

To make sure everything sounds the best it can, the AVH-W4500NEX has a built-in Auto EQ (Separate CD-MC20 microphone required) and time alignment that measures a vehicle’s unique setup, then adjusts to compensate for best sound quality.

Going further, a thirteen-band graphic equalizer and high/low pass crossovers with adjustable slopes allows the user to tune the system for their ears. To fully appreciate the AVH-W4500NEX’s abilities, high quality music is needed. This unit allows playback of high-res FLAC files up to 192kHz/24 bit—a standard once reserved only for home hi-fi equipment.

The 6.94” WVGA clear resistive touchscreen is responsive and powerful, while the user interface is easy to use and highly customizable. Bluetooth is available as well as the ability to connect either wired or wirelessly to Apple Carplay or Android Auto.

The receiver is the brains of a sound system, and the AVH-W4500NEX is smart enough to handle the demands of high-fidelity audio.

This Receiver Is For:

Someone who is looking for the best sound experience.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Someone whose top priority isn’t sound quality.

Honorable Mention
BOSS Audio BVCP9685A

A Top Double Din Head Unit

Even though BOSS is not as big of a name as Sony or Pioneer, they offer some excellent products, and the BVCP9685A is one of them.

While offering a variety of input options like USB, AV, and Bluetooth is great, the BVCP9685A is also Apple Carplay and Android Auto compatible. This allows access to some smartphone apps on the large 6.75” touchscreen. The rear features a camera input allowing a factory or aftermarket camera to be viewed on the touchscreen while reversing.

A high-power rating of 4 x 80W means this receiver can really push some air, but if you are looking to further expand the system with a sub or more speakers, then the three pre-outs on the rear will provide connections for external amplifiers.

At its great price, the BVCP9685A is a solid option for an upgrade that comes with Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

This Receiver Is For:

Those looking for Apple Carplay and Android Auto at a fair price.

This Receiver Is Not For:

Someone who prefers the convenience of some hard buttons and a volume knob.

About The Author

Jack Nemo is a professional sound engineer based in Alberta, Canada. He’s managed to make a career out of his love for music while working with artists from around the world. When not behind a soundboard he can be found taking things apart to see how they work and attempting to put them back together again.