The 10 Best Double Din Head Units { Review + Buyers Guide}

The 10 Best Double Din Head Units  { Review + Buyers Guide}

Best Double Din Head Units

One of the best ways to upgrade your car’s interior is to add a double din head unit. Not only do they look pretty cool, but they can add a whole multitude of options for your vehicle.

The only thing is they’re not going to fit in all vehicles, as your dash is going to have to be pretty big and have enough space to accommodate them. If you do happen to have enough space, then you should definitely check them out. You can also look into Android Head Units or Flip Out Head Units if you are looking for something a little different.

The hardest part about a double din unit is deciding which one to get. There are so many different choices out there and you want to make sure you choose the right one. These units aren’t exactly cheap and you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Plus, it can be hard if you don’t know exactly what you should be looking for. You might be looking into making such a purchase but don’t consider yourself an audio enthusiast.

That’s why we wanted to go through many different double din head units to give you a solid overall view of what’s out there.

These units all come with their own list of pros and cons and deciding which one is the right choice is up to you. With so many different features, brands, and other things to consider, it often comes down to what you’re looking for. Before shopping, we recommend making a list of things that you’d want in a double din unit.

Once you have that list, it will make shopping much simpler as you browse around the various units out there.

So, without further ado, let’s start the review process!

 

 

Sony XAV-AX5000

The first unit on our list is from a brand everyone will recognize: Sony. Sony has been in just about everything tech-related for years, making anything you can think of like videogame consoles to home audio systems.

That being said, this unit comes with just about everything you would need from a head unit.

It supports both Android Audio and Apple Carplay, so you’ll be good with either phone that you have.

We also like that it comes with hands-free functionality which works fantastically. Many times, we see hands-free units that have connection issues or a bit of lag with the controls but with this Sony unit, we didn’t notice anything of the such. You can change songs or take a call without diverting your attention from the road.

You can also hook up your reverse cam if you have one, to this unit. The 7-inch screen is plenty in order to see anything and everything that is behind you. That also means you can look through your maps easily and view everything on the screen without a second thought.

While some people might prefer a more compact version, this double din is fantastic if you have the dash space for it.

This unit is also fantastic for all streaming audio options and even has SiriusXM Radio capabilities. The only thing that it’s missing is an aux input. Most devices support Bluetooth these days, but if you want to hook up a friend’s phone to your system then you may be out of luck.

Overall, this is a great system with all the features you need that will last you for the lifetime of your car.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Can easily stream all music, fantastic sound quality
  • Hands-free mode has no bugs or hiccups present
  • Crystal clear image quality, wide enough for everything you need
  • Very responsive touchscreen

 

Cons:

  • Phone must be connected with USB to enable hands-free mode
  • No HD radio
  • No aux input

 

 

Pioneer AVH-4201NEX

The first thing you’re going to notice after installing this Pioneer unit is the amazing sound quality. Even if you’ve got your stock-issued speakers, you’re going to notice an immediate bump in sound quality that wasn’t there before. It can handle all kinds of audio files and it’s going to sound like it’s coming straight from the original source.

This unit also comes with a backup camera, perfect for those who don’t have one in their vehicle and a wide enough screen to give you a perfectly clear view.

The sound and backup camera aren’t the only great things about this unit, and we can’t rave enough about the amount of features it brings to the table. The touchscreen is easy to use and very responsive. We never noticed any lag or slowdowns while using it. You won’t have to press it very hard in order for it to respond.

For those with screens in the back, the Pioneer is ideal for kids and those long road trips. It comes with Dual Zone technology, so they can listen or watch whatever they want while you enjoy your own program in the front seat. You can also access things like the GPS without interrupting what’s going on in the back seat.

It also has a neat remote control so passengers can easily manage the unit itself. We also enjoyed how communicative it was, displaying directions and other information clearly and easily. We never found ourselves squinting while trying to read something.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Jam-packed with features, has just about everything you would want
  • Comes with a backup camera
  • Great hands-free mode
  • High-quality HD radio with no subscription

 

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work with Android off the bat, you need to purchase an input cable
  • For those with Android and Apple devices, you can only connect one at a time

 

 

Alpine iLX-207

You might recognize the name Alpine from its incredible car audio speakers and systems they make. They’ve been in that game for a long time and make some of the top products on the market. Knowing that you probably won’t be surprised to know that their head unit produces top-quality audio as well.

Even though the deck is single DIN sized, you’re going to need more room as it expands at the front in order to accommodate the larger screen.

Since Alpine knows that people listen to music and audio on all sorts of devices, they made sure to make this unit as compatible as possible. You’ll be able to hook up your Android or Apple devices easily, but we have seen some users complain about how the unit functioned with their Android unit. Some even cautioned against using it with an Android device at all.

But, the stereo supports just about everything else you can imagine like Bluetooth, radio, HD Radio, Spotify, HDMI, SiriusXM, and more. Whatever you’re using to play your tunes or listen to your podcasts, the Alpine has got you covered.

The biggest head-scratcher for us (that can be taken as a negative if it’s important to you) is that it can’t play CDs or DVDs. We understand that both of these media formats are going out of style, but plenty of people still have a book of CDs with their perfect mixes on them.

If that’s something that’s important to you, then you’re going to want to skip over this Alpine and check out some other models.

 

Pros and Cons

 

Pros:

  • Works very well with Apple products
  • Plenty of connectors and instructions to make installation as easy as possible
  • Some of the best audio quality we’ve ever heard in a double din unit

Cons:

  • Android integration can be tough or not even worth your time
  • Phone needs to be connected with cable for full functionality

 

 

ATOTO A6 Double Din Android Car Stereo

While you may not be familiar with the brand, ATOTO has put together a solid head unit here with plenty of customizable options and great optimization for fantastic performance. This is a great option for Android users, who sometimes get left behind when it comes to phone integration and head units.

This device comes loaded with Android software and instantly connects to your device, allowing you to access everything on your fun from the HD display that’s in front of you.

Another thing we like was how easy it was to hook up our device to the steering wheel. That way, you can make all the changes you need while staying safe.

With its wireless connection options, you can hook up your devices without the need to plug in a USB, something that many of the other top head units lack. Even though you may not need to, you could connect this unit to a mouse and keyboard but that’s not really necessary.

Plus, all of this comes at a bargain deal so you’re not going to be blowing your entire paycheck on a single upgrade to your vehicle.

It also comes with Google Maps but supports other navigation apps as well. It will give you directions for both on and offline situations, ideal if you’re out in the middle of nowhere or in a tunnel.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Very quick booting, almost no warmup time at all
  • Fantastic sound and video quality
  • Works well with glare, doesn’t become unusable
  • Plenty of updates to keep everything going smoothly

Cons:

  • The screen protectors are entirely worthless, we noticed many air bubbles
  • Not as many audio tuning options as other head units

 

 

Pioneer DMH-C2500NEX Hideaway Unit

This deck comes with a fantastic list of features and options without breaking the bank. We consider it to be one of the best bargain deals that you can find on the market.

We have to start off this review with a huge caveat. Pioneer has been making audio products for just about everyone on the market, from audiophiles to beginners in the audio game. That being said, this product really doesn’t fall into either category.

While we found that the audio quality was good, it didn’t blow you away. It was a definite upgrade over the stock-issued speakers, but those who may not listen to music as much probably won’t notice a huge difference.

Where this unit does shine is in its navigation capabilities.

If you’re someone that’s on the road and constantly jetting around, then this is the head unit for you. The display screen is quite wide and shows all directions quite easily. Plus, it has plenty of alerts and messages about any upcoming directions. The touchscreen is incredibly responsive as well, as it requires almost no pressure at all for a quick and fast response.

While both Android and Apple devices work with this unit, you do have to plug them in via USB. We would have liked it if it were completely wireless, but the Bluetooth connection doesn’t include all the features you are going to need.

The hands-free controls and are super responsive and work incredibly well. You’ll be able to send and respond to messages, change music, and adjust the volume settings.

You also have all the setups you can want, including an option for a backup camera. Overall, this is a solid unit that provides you with great navigation and good features.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Top-of-the-line navigation, you won’t find a better unit
  • Plenty of multimedia options, easy to hook up
  • Sound quality is OK but nothing spectacular

Cons:

  • Sound quality is OK but nothing spectacular (yes, it’s in both pros and cons)
  • Slow updates, takes a long time to update the system

 

 

Boss Audio BV9364B

With a name like Boss Audio, you know that they’re going to be putting a lot of effort into making sure the sound is perfect and crystal clear. We’re here to report that this head unit does just that.

With Bluetooth connectivity, you can stream your music and podcasts with ease and get top-notch quality no matter what speaker system you have in your vehicle. It is also a fantastic hands-free model where you can easily change music or control the volume without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

The biggest thing you’ll notice is the price. This is by far the cheapest double din head unit we’ve seen and you’d struggle to find one that’s cheaper than this.

The touchscreen, however, leaves something to be desired. While easy to manage, we found it to be lagging one too many times. We had to push the screen multiple times on a few occasions in order to get it to do what we wanted.

In terms of features, it does come equipped with a rear camera input and clear quality so you can easily see where you’re going.

For the price, you’re not going to get many other features but you can’t really complain at a system that totals at less than $100.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Perfect for those on a tight budget
  • Wireless remote control comes with the system
  • Bluetooth and built-in navigation included
  • Plenty of audio tuning options to make everything sound perfect.

 

Cons:

  • Screen is laggy and not very responsive from time to time
  • The CD player acted up more times than we would like

 

 

Kenwood Excelon DNX994S

Off the bat, this is a great-looking unit that has plenty of wonderful features and is definitely worth the extra money. The audio is incredibly clear and you’re not going to be able to ever listen to audio in someone else’s car after having it installed in yours. The DNX994S is one of our favorite head units.

Even though the unit has been out for a few years and is not quite as cutting-edge as some others on this list, it’s still an excellent choice for your vehicle.

Head units are meant to last and while you might want to buy something that is fresh off the industrial line, these units were made with the future in mind. They were cutting-edge just a few years ago, so does it really make a difference if you’re a bit late to the party?

The fact that they’re still on sale and a popular choice should tell you that they’re still great options for your vehicle. But enough about them being a little old, let’s talk about why they’re still so popular.

Unlike other units, the Kenwood works perfectly with all Apple and Android devices. The touchscreen is easy to use and you won’t have to be pressing too hard over and over again to get a response.

It comes fitted with Bluetooth and HD Radio and can playback any audio format you throw at it. The voice system is a little behind the curve, but it still works great in a pinch and the hands-free features are top-notch as well.

What’s unique about this device is that it has two inputs for a camera. That means you can hook up your rear camera and a dash camera with ease. Even though you may not make use of it immediately, it’s still a great feature to have.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Fantastic audio, crystal clear no matter what is being played
  • Hands-free works great with Bluetooth, no need for a USB connection
  • Touchscreen is responsive and very easy to use
  • Navigation system is built-in and simple to command

 

Cons:

  • No external MP3 while using your Android or Apple device
  • You’ll need to pay for traffic data after the 2-year mark

 

 

JVC KW-V85BT

JVC has been in the sound game for quite some time and audio lovers are really going to like what comes out the speakers after installing this unit. It comes in a slim design with some easy access buttons on the side which makes it worth checking out.

You’re going to get top-notch sound from just about anything you decide to play and best of all, it comes with plenty of audio tuning features so you can make sure your music is exactly the way you like it. Many other head units have basic tuning features, but JVC knows there are people out there who like to tinker with everything.

It works wonderfully with Android and Apple devices and no matter which smartphone you have, it will integrate seamlessly into the head unit. You can upload your navigation system like Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps into your device with all of your saved locations.

Better yet, you can pair two phones simultaneously making it an optimal choice for people who share a car. Not only can you pair two phones, but you can also use the two phones as well. One can make the calls while the other plays navigator for the ride.

With its smaller size, it’s an easy installation and a great fit for the majority of vehicles. Plus, this whole package comes at a moderate price to give you top-notch quality without taking your firstborn child away from you.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality that works well with any speakers
  • Easy integration for your Android and Apple devices
  • Widescreen to be able to see and navigate through everything easily
  • Multiple phone pairing and simultaneous use

 

Cons:

  • Does not deal well with glare
  • Steep learning curve at the beginning

 

 

Pioneer MVH-1400NEX

While this Pioneer unit isn’t going to come loaded with all the bells and whistles, its price is the main reason why it’s landed on our list. You a bargain deal, you’re going to be getting a quality product.

The price is enough to get you plenty excited, but we have to remind you that you get what you pay for in this market. So take our praises and complaints with an equal amount of salt while reading through this review.

One of the first things we noticed when using this unit is the touchscreen is definitely a step down from some of the higher-priced units. It’s not as responsive and we found ourselves having to press something many times for the screen to recognize what we wanted to do. That doesn’t mean it’s going to drop out on you at a moment’s notice, but you can instantly tell it’s not up to snuff.

If you’re an audiophile, it’s best to steer away from this head unit. Why? Because for whatever reasons, Pioneer added something called “Mixtrax” which will add in various sounds and transitions while you’re listening to your music. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a pretty head-scratching “feature” which seems completely unnecessary.

That being said, the audio quality on this unit is fantastic and way more than we expected with a budget head unit like this one. You’re going to notice a serious upgrade, even if you’ve decided to stick with your stock-issued speakers.

It’s also nice to see a unit that still supports CDs and DVDs, which many higher-end units have cast to the waste side. It’s nice to see it have an option for your blasts from the past.

 

Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Although not everyone is listening to physical music, it’s a nice touch to have a CD/DVD player
  • It’s a budget option for those not looking to spend a ton
  • Has support for both Android and Apple devices

 

Cons:

  • Package is nothing but skins and bones, doesn’t include many accessories

 

 

Sony XAV-AX200

With Sony dipping its toes in so many different markets, it’s safe to say that they know how to make something that’s easy for the average consumer. This head unit is a prime example of their experience, as you’ll notice it’s incredibly easy to grab and use even if you’ve never owned a head unit before.

It’s got a clean, sleek style that isn’t overly flashy but looks great. The screen is a bit smaller than the majority of units on this list, as it comes in at just under 6.5 inches. Although it would be nice to have the extra size, Sony added some useful buttons that make navigation and use a breeze for anyone.

It also comes with a CD/DVD drive right at the front instead of being stuffed behind the screen like other models. This makes it easy for people who still have their CD booklet and like to throw in their favorite mixes from yesteryear.

The biggest drawback to this model is the fact that it doesn’t support wireless connectivity, something that many people thought was impossible in this day and age. It does come with a SiriusXM Radio trial but you’ll have to pay for that after the first three months of us.

The sound is pretty solid and works well with any speaker system.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Great-looking unit, slim design that fits on most dashes
  • Buttons on the side make for easy navigation
  • Great sound

Cons:

  • No wireless functionality
  • Phones have to be plugged in at all times
  • Short SiriusXM Trial

What To Consider When Shopping Double Din Head Units

Before you jump in and make an impulse buy, here are a couple important considerations you should make when shopping for the right double din head unit.

Flagship Models

Many times while researching, you may come across the term “flagship model”. What exactly does this mean?

This refers to being a prime offering from a particular brand at a particular part of time. You can think of flagship models as hit singles that popular bands will often put out.

These models are the manufacturer’s best chances of showing you their latest features and technology. So when a company says that they’re releasing a flagship model, that means they’re going to show you the best of the best.

 

Budget Brands

Not all the head units above were top-of-the-line and many were for budget buyers. We’ve found that these budget options are going to get the job done but while sacrificing many features.

Remember, you get what you pay for and durability can be a huge question mark with some of the cheaper head units. It largely depends on your budget as we can’t tell you one way or another which unit you should buy.

While your head unit may work one day, there are plenty of stories throughout online reviews where their head unit simply stopped working or gave out one day. If you’re seeing reviews like that, just understand the risk that you are taking.

 

The Steering Controls

Many of these models come with the promise that you can use your steering controls while interacting with the head unit. That means you can control volume, change the song, change the station, and more.

Whether or not they will instantly work largely depends on the vehicle and your head unit’s compatibility. It’s important to double-check that they will work with each other before installation. If not, then you will have to invest in a separate wiring kit.

 

Other Units

You might notice that there are more controls on your head unit than audio settings. You have climate control, door control, and much more. Will those all still work?

The answer to that, once again, is: it depends. Newer cars often have these features in the existing head unit and wiring them all can be a tricky task, even for an expert. The best thing you can do is find a head unit that supports iDatalink Maestro. This will ensure that you keep your vehicle’s functionality even when replacing the stock head unit.

 

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of different head units to choose from. For you, there may be no right or wrong unit and the ideal choice for you may depend on your budget, vehicle, and expectations.

Once again, we recommend making a list of your important features and trying to filter down your results from there. Good luck with finding your optimal head unit!

Bryce

Bryce Newell is an automotive enthusiast who loves to write about the latest news, products, and DIY projects. While Bryce is an amateur in the field, he is passionate about cars and has been since he spent weekends in the garage helping his dad rebuild a 68 Dodge Charger as a kid.

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