Shopping for a car stereo? If so, then it’s important to know that in-dash head units come in different sizes. These are referred to as DIN sizes, and you have two choices to consider: single-DIN vs double-DIN. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.
What Is DIN Size?
“DIN” stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung or, in English, the German Institute for Standardization. This Berlin-based organization establishes and maintains thousands of standard measurements used in different automotive, engineering and tech fields.
When the average North American hears the term “DIN size,” it’s usually in reference to the size of a car stereo’s chassis. You’ll come across two main DIN sizes when you shop for a car stereo:
- Single-DIN: A single-DIN car stereo is two inches tall and seven inches wide. The Sony head unit shown in the image at the top of this article is a single-DIN model.
- Double-DIN: A double-DIN car stereo is the same width as a single-DIN variant — both are seven inches wide. But a double-DIN stereo is four inches in height, which is twice as tall as a single-DIN model. The stereo shown here in the body of the article is a double-DIN model.
Single-DIN vs Double-DIN: Pros and Cons
Here are some pros and cons of single-DIN head units:
- Single-DIN units are relatively easy to install.
- They can be an affordable but significant upgrade to a broken or outdated car stereo. They may add features like an auxiliary input jack or wireless Bluetooth audio.
- Single-DIN units are somewhat small, and there isn’t a whole lot of room for controls. Because of this lack of real estate, the controls may be difficult to access and use in some cases.
- Typically, single-DIN stereos don’t have a touchscreen. Some units come with a fold-out touchscreen, but these are relatively rare and more expensive.
Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of double-DIN stereos:
- Double-DIN stereos have more room for controls. The extra real estate means that the controls on double-DIN models are often easier to access and easier to use than those on single-DIN units.
- Because of their size advantage, double-DIN stereos offer room for a touchscreen, while single-DIN stereos don’t, unless the touchscreen is a foldout version, as mentioned earlier. A touchscreen stereo offers some significant benefits. Compared to stereos without screens, touchscreen stereos tend to be easier to use, with displays that are easier to read. They also offer superior phone integration. Additionally, some touchscreen stereos can be equipped with features such as a rearview camera, onscreen GPS navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These features aren’t typically offered with single-DIN head units.
- Double-DIN stereos are more difficult to install than head units without screens.
- Double-DIN units will be more expensive than their single-DIN counterparts.
Typically, vehicles that can accommodate double-DIN head units can also accommodate single-DIN models. However, the reverse isn’t true, as vehicles built for single-DIN units don’t always have enough room on board for a double-DIN stereo.
Sometimes you can tell which size would be best for your vehicle by looking at the panel that houses the stereo controls. If it’s the short two-inch one, you’ve got a single-DIN. The easiest way to check whether a unit’s DIN size suits your car is to use an online lookup tool. These tools will require you to enter the make, model and year of your vehicle, after which they’ll let you know if your car can fit a single-DIN stereo, a double-DIN model or both.
An aftermarket stereo can upgrade your driving experience in a big way. Now that you know the details of single-DIN vs double-DIN head units, you’ll be able to choose the best stereo for your needs.
Check out all the car stereos and accessories available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on single-DIN vs double-DIN head units, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.