10 Best Single Din Head Units – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Single Din Head Unit

Single Din Head Units upgrades are much better than OEM stereos because they offer more functionality such as USB and AUX connectivity, CD players and LED displays among many others.

Generally, most car owners choose Single Din stereos because they are cheaper than their 2 Din counterparts and are smaller in size, which means you can have a storage box above or below the unit. They can also fit in all types of slots, including in double din slots on car dashboards.

Therefore, if your car features a basic factory installed single din radio, this article will help you find the best single din head unit upgrade to suit your sound system.

You may like to read other product reviews such as double din head unit, car speaker, car subwoofer​​​. 

10 Best Single Din Head Units - Reviews

Product Name

Power Handling

EQ

Rating

Current Price

1. Pioneer DEH-150MP Single Din Head Unit

RMS 14W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

5 Band

4.2

2. Boss Audio 612UA Single Din Head Unit

RMS 10W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

Preset

4.0

3. Sony MEX-N5200BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 17W × 4CH Peak 55W × 4CH

10 band

4.2

4. JVC KD-RD87BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 22W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

13 band

4.0

5. Pioneer AVH-X7800BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 22W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

13 band

4.0

6. Pioneer MVH-X390BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 14W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

5 Band

4.2

7. Sony MEX-XB100BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 40W × 4CH Peak 100W × 4CH

10 band

4.0

8. JVC KD-R690S Single Din Head Unit

RMS 22W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

3 band

4.2

9. Alpine CDE-164BT Single Din Head Unit

RMS 18W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

9 band

4.2

10. Kenwood Car Single Din Head Unit

RMS 22W × 4CH Peak 50W × 4CH

13 band

4.0

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pioneer DEH-150MP Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 14W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 5 band

The DEH-150MP features a CD player that reads MP3 or WMA audio formats and this basically covers a huge chunk of the available audio formats.

MP3 and WMA files are usually digitally encoded and thus, track information details such as artist, song, album etc. will automatically appear on the unit’s LED-backlit LCD screen when the audio is being played.

In terms of power output, this stereo pumps out 14 Watts RMS on each of its 4 channels and has a set of 2V RCA outputs for expanding your sound system if you find this RMS power to be too weak for your speakers.  

The unit features high pass and low pass filters as well as a 5 band equalizer that enable you to tweak the sound settings to suit your listening preferences across the car speakers or the additional amplifier and subwoofer.

Additional features include an advanced sound retriever that makes it possible to restore audio files to their original studio quality while a detachable face makes it safe to have the stereo in your car. These features make it the best overall single din head unit in this list.

Pros:

  • 5 band equalizer, high and low pass filters for sound quality tweaking
  • Advanced sound retriever for restoring data in audio files
  • Detachable face

Cons:

  • Does not support USB or Bluetooth connectivity
  • No iPhone or android support (only Aux connectivity for both)

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Boss Audio 612UA Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 10W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: Preset

If you want to upgrade your car stereo and you are on a budget, the Boss Audio 612UA is worth considering.

This is because it is affordable yet it has desirable features that include a switchable tuner, which allows you to receive radio broadcasts from the US and Europe by simply adjusting the receiver’s tuner.

Additionally, it has USB and memory card ports that allow you to play your own music in MP3 or WMA format from your phone, iPod, thumb drive or SD card. It also has an Aux port and these options ensure that you can play music from multiple sources.

To adjust the sound quality, the unit has a preset equalizer that allows you to select from multiple preset curves for styles such as Pop and Rock. Therefore, if you prefer the easy settings, this will work perfectly for you.

Combined, these features make this the best single din head unit for the money.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Switchable tuner for receiving radio broadcasts in the US and Europe
  • Easy-to-use preset equalizer

Cons:

  • No CD player
  • Non-detachable face

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Sony MEX-N5200BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 17W × 4CH / Peak 55W × 4CH
  • EQ: 10 band

Sony’s MEX-N5200BT features a built-in amplifier that delivers 17 Watts RMS over 4 channels, resulting in clearer, natural sounds from the speakers.

It also has an extra bass feature that enhances the low sound frequencies, leaving you with deep sounds that make the music feel very lively. This makes the unit have the best volume among the single din units in this list.

Furthermore, the stereo has a 10 band equalizer that lets you tweak the sound output from different angles in order to suit your listening preferences.

Aside from sound, this unit features Bluetooth wireless connectivity that lets you connect to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously for music streaming, navigation and hands-free calling on phones.

This connectivity also lets you have voice control over your iPhone and Android phone because the radio features Siri Eyes Free and voice control for Android.

In terms of appearance, the MEX-N5200BT has a 2 zone illuminator, which gives you 35,000 different colors to choose from so as to give it an accent light that matches your car’s interior.

Pros:

  • Extra bass for enhancing low sound frequencies
  • 10 band equalizer
  • 2 zone illuminator gives the unit a color accent

Cons:

  • Bluetooth connectivity might have difficulties connecting after some time in use

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

JVC KD-RD87BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 22W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 13 band

JVC KD-RD87BT’s strongest feature is its Bluetooth connectivity. It is specifically designed for hands-free calling because it incorporates the use of HFP1.6 wideband speech.

This means that you get extra bandwidth for communication between your phone and the stereo for better speech and reception quality.

The unit also features a wired mic that makes it possible to deliver a clearer voice. This improves the quality of the hands-free calls because it will be as if you are holding the phone close to your mouth.

Apart from making calls, the Bluetooth feature has the AVRCP profile and A2DP service that allow you to stream and control music on your device directly from the stereo itself. This makes this JVC stereo the best single din head unit with Bluetooth connectivity.

Other features include a secure detachable face, USB and Aux ports, with the USB providing a 1.5 Amp charging system.

Pros:

  • Wideband Bluetooth connectivity
  • Comes with a wired mic for better sound capture when making calls
  • Detachable face

Cons:

  • Bluetooth might be a little bit difficult to set up when pairing with your device

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pioneer AVH-X7800BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: 7-inch LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 22W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 13 band

If you thought that Single Din head units only featured small non-touch screens, Pioneer’s AVH-X7800BT will prove you wrong.

This unit features a 7-inch touchscreen LCD panel that is designed to flip in and out of its storage compartment. The panel is motorized and this allows it to tilt up after extending to expose the touchscreen. 

In terms of functionality, this large screen makes it have advanced features that are found only in 2 Din stereos. These include being navigation ready, requiring only the addition of an AVIC-U260 navigation system and that’s it.

Another feature that is unique to this large screen unit is its back camera input, which makes it ready to connect to a reverse camera. 

For connectivity, the unit has a USB port and supports Spotify and Pandora support for both iPhone and iPod over USB.

Bluetooth is also available and supports up to 2 devices at a time. This connectivity gives you good quality call reception due to its wideband speech 1.6 hands-free profile.

Though expensive, these features make it the best single din head unit with a touchscreen.  

Pros:

  • Large 7-inch LCD display
  • Navigation ready
  • Reverse camera ready

Cons:

  • Expensive

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pioneer MVH-X390BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 14W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 5 band

This head unit is compatible with Pioneer’s Advanced Remote Control (ARC) app, which is available for free on both the App Store and Google Play. ARC allows you to control functions such as fast forward, rewind and play, effectively giving you vital control at the convenience of your phone.

The stereo also comes with a remote control that enables you to operate it from the back seat or even from outside the car.

For connectivity, the unit features Bluetooth for music streaming as well as for making or receiving calls hands-free. It features the wideband 1.6 profile that gives a more natural sound quality when on hands-free calls.

In terms of power, an amplifier is built into the unit and pumps out 14 Watts RMS on 4 channels, enabling you to power both the front and rear speakers of the car. If you want to expand your sound system, it features dual 2 volt RCA pre-outs, which can either be connected to an external amplifier or a subwoofer.

Pros:

  • Controllable via ARC app
  • Bluetooth connectivity for music streaming as well as hands-free calling
  • Comes with a remote control

Cons:

  • Less powerful 2-volt pre-outs

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Sony MEX-XB100BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 40W × 4CH / Peak 100W × 4CH
  • EQ: 10 band

The Sony MEX-XB100BT is relatively expensive but it is all about power. It has a powerful built-in amplifier that churns out 40 Watts RMS, which rivals the power output of external amplifiers.  

If 40 Watts is weak for your speakers, this stereo gives you the option of attaching an external amplifier or subwoofer using its 3 sets of 5-volt pre-amps. These numbers mean that this is the most powerful single din head unit in this list.

For the bass lovers, you can boost low-end signals using the red “mega bass” button on the stereo, which will result in vibrating pulses that go with the flow of the beat. The result of all this power is crisp clear sound output, which suits most people’s listening preferences.

Apart from power, this unit has a time alignment feature that enables you to delay the sound output from the closest speakers to you. This ensures that sound from the farthest and closest speakers reaches your ears at the same time, leaving you with a very satisfying listening experience. 

Pros:

  • Powerful built-in amplifier.
  • Powerful 5-volt pre-amps
  • Time alignment feature for the speaker output

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive.

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

JVC KD-R690S Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 22W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 3 band

JVC’s KD-R690S is the top-rated single din head unit in our list and this is because it is affordable yet, it has quite a number of important features. 

For starters, it has a built-in control feature for Android devices that have android version 4.1 and above. It also has a built-in control for iPod, iPhone, and iPad over USB, with charging capability.

This means that you can access your locally stored music files as well as Pandora internet radio using either an iPhone or an Android phone.

The unit itself is compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio, which means that you can access over 140 music, comedy and other forms of entertainment channels. However, you need to buy a SiriusXM tuner and attach it the unit to open up this access.

For security purposes, the stereo is built with a detachable face, which means that it can also be easily replaced if the front part gets damaged.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod USB support
  • SiriusXM satellite radio compatible

Cons:

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Alpine CDE-164BT Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 18W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 9 band

This single din unit is very expensive but has the features to show for it. It has the all-important Bluetooth feature that enables you to make or receive calls hands-free after connecting to your phone.

If you have a large music library on your handset, you can use the Bluetooth connectivity to stream and control this library straight from the stereo.

It is compatible with iPhones and thus, whether your music is stored locally, on iTunes or on select third-party apps, this stereo can receive the sound signals wirelessly then them to the car speakers.

The unit is also steering wheel control ready, which means that if your car has Bluetooth steering wheel controls, they can be synced with the unit to allow you adjust things such as volume settings without getting your hands off the wheel.

Additionally, you can also use the existing buttons on your factory steering wheel by installing an additional adapter, then wire the system back together and have your steering wheel controls functioning again.

Pros:

  • Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling as well as music streaming
  • Steering wheel control ready
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices

Cons:

  • Expensive

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Kenwood Car Single Din Head Unit
  • Screen: LCD
  • Power handling: RMS 22W × 4CH / Peak 50W × 4CH
  • EQ: 13 band

Kenwood’s KDC-MP372BT is reasonably priced for the features that it offers. It has a built-in Android Open Accessory (AOA) feature that allows the stereo to control the play, pause and skip audio functionalities on audio files that are either stored locally or streaming to your Android phone.

While using the AOA feature, the USB connection also charges the phone, ensuring that it does not run out of power while in use. The unit also supports Pandora, internet radio and Spotify over the USB when using either an iPhone or an Android phone.

If you prefer wireless connectivity, Bluetooth is also built-in to the stereo and has a wide bandwidth for a simultaneous dual device connection. This allows for wireless streaming as well as hands-free calling.

Wired earbuds are included in the package, providing a wired mic and headset for clearer communication when receiving or making a call using the stereo.  

For outputs, the unit has 2.5 Volt pre-amps, which enable you to expand the sound system by installing a subwoofer or an amplifier to feed more powerful speakers.

Pros:

  • AOA gives you control over the music in your android phone.
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Comes with earbuds for better clarity when communicating over the stereo’s hands-free calling feature

Cons:

  • 2.5V pre-outs do not provide a very powerful output signal

How to Buy the Best Single Din Head Units

Single Din Head Units Buying Guide

#1. Power

Power is usually a huge factor to consider before buying a new head unit. Well, what exactly is it?

The power of a stereo (measured in Watts) is a measure of how well the unit will provide audio signals to the speakers. The higher the wattage, the better the sound quality that you will get.

However, you might be confused be the peak and RMS power, which are both given in watts. Peak power is not very significant because it shows the maximum power that the built-in amplifier can reach, which does not happen very often.

The RMS value is the most important number to consider because it shows the actual average power output to the speakers at all times.

Ideally, you should buy a head unit with at least 15 Watts RMS. Any figure lower that this will not give you the best sound quality unless you install an additional amplifier.

#2. Display

Since single din head units are small in size, it is natural to assume that all of them have small screens.

However, this is not the case. Some single din stereos have large screens that flip in and out of the unit, effectively giving you a 2 din size screen from the small unit.

Therefore, if you fancy having a large screen with its accompanying features, yet you have a single din slot in your dashboard, no need to worry. Well, you will have to worry about your pocket because they are available at a premium.

However, if you prefer a smaller, simpler display, they are quite many and you just need to find the one that suits you the most. 

#3. Playback

Stereos are meant for entertainment. As such, the best head unit should have USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and CD players that can play at least MP3 and WMA audio formats as well as MP1, 2 and 4 video formats.

You should buy a stereo with at least these playback options because most songs are available in these formats. Otherwise, you will have an expensive unit that skips through your song files because they are not readable.    

#4. Expandability

Expandability comes in the form of input and output ports. A head unit with multiple I/O ports is certainly better to buy because it is more practical. For instance, having RCA outputs gives you the option of expanding the sound system with amplifiers and subwoofers.

A camera input enables you to expand the stereo’s capabilities in order to improve your driving experience by displaying the blind spots behind your car as you back up.  

#5. Connectivity

Connectivity comes in three major ways:

  • Bluetooth: A built-in Bluetooth functionality is an ultimate feature to have when connectivity is concerned. It enables you to makes calls using your phone hands-free as well as enabling you to stream music from the connected device. 
  • USB: USB also allows for music streaming but not hands-free calls. However, it does provide a charging system for your device, enabling you to keep it powered as it supplies the music.
  • Aux: Auxiliary ports are basically “reverse” headphone jacks. They take input from the connected device (headphone jacks provide output) and play it on the car speakers.

Before buying a head unit, ensure that it has at least these 3 connectivity avenues so that you can have multiple angles for connected your external devices.   

Conclusion

Single din head units and car stereos, in general, have very many features that define them. It is possible to find one that has it all but it will surely be very expensive, yet you may not use all the features in the entire lifetime of the unit.

The best thing to do would be to identify what you prefer having most in your stereo, then look for a unit that is fully featured in that area. For instance, if you prefer loud, banging sound systems, high RMS and high voltage RCA outputs should be your main concern.  

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