Single DIN and double-DIN are terms you hear thrown about all the time by car audio enthusiasts and installers. And it’s highly likely that you’ve never come across or heard of these terms before. Don’t worry, most people haven’t.
These terms are used to describe what size radio will fit into a particular dashboard opening.
The word “DIN” refers to Deutsches Institut für Normung, which is the German national organization for standardization. It’s a non-profit organization that goes way back: they’ve been developing the norms and standards commonly used in all sorts of industries since 1917.
The “DIN” standard was adopted by the International Standards Organization as ISO 7736. Car manufacturers and aftermarket car stereo brands have used it to create car stereos for virtually all car brands from all over the world. Therefore, head units that fall under “DIN” are referred to as DIN car stereos, simply because the organization Deutsches Institut fur Normun was the pioneer that created the standards.
DIN size refers to the size of the stereo’s chassis, and car stereos come in two standard sizes: single DIN and double DIN. Each of which has its own pros and cons.
What is a Single DIN?
Single DIN is the most common size of receiver for automotive applications. Single DIN head units have a rectangular chassis that measures 7″W x 2″H (depths vary), and loads into the mounting surface from the front.
- Cheap for the most part
- They’re easy to install
- Don’t allow adding backup cameras
- Their menus aren’t easy to navigate
- Don’t pack in as many features as double DINs
- They have limited entertainment sources
What is a Double DIN?
Double DIN head units are 7 inches wide by 4 inches tall (two times the height of single DIN size receivers). These receivers are shallower in depth and are slightly wider. In many cases, these receivers are also equipped with DVD players and navigation systems.
- Big and easy-to-use displays
- Have easier controls
- Allow adding backup cameras
- Some double DIN stereos are equipped with built-in GPS navigation.
- Multiple entertainment sources
- Pack in a ton of bells and whistles
- Some double DINs cost a pretty penny
- Some of them require installation brackets
P.S: You might also hear about a third type called a “DIN-and-a-half” size, which is rarely seen in some factory head units. It’s simply a 3″ high receiver. The “DIN-and-a-half” size was a special size needed for a lot of older GM vehicles.
What’s the Difference between single DIN and double DIN?
When shopping for a new car stereo, an important decision will be choosing between a single DIN or a double DIN. Visually speaking, the only difference between a single DIN stereo and a double DIN stereo is the size. Generally, single-DIN receivers measure two inches tall and seven inches wide, whilst double DIN receivers measure four inches tall and seven inches wide.
The major advantage to having a double DIN head unit is the display, which makes it much easier to use the unit when driving. However, it must be noted that some single DIN headunits (A.K.A: Flip out headunits) are equipped with big motorized displays designed to slide out of the headunit and flip up to be viewed with a single push of a button.
All in all, single DIN receivers offer a smaller display for a more subtle design on the controls, but double DIN stereos offer ease-of-use, in addition to a ton of bells a whistles.
Which one is better?
Single DIN receivers come with a few minor potential downsides, including their relatively complex and not easy to navigate menus (especially when you’re driving), plus the inability to add a backup camera.
Double DIN stereos on the other hand offer a ton of features for the most part, not to mention their nice and big display. The latter will help you keep your eyes on the road a whole lot better if you’re not squinting at your display.
Additionally, while single DIN receivers may be appealing for those without interest in the aesthetic design of the dashboard, the large double DIN opening allows for more customization, upgrades, and tech modifications.
Both types come with their own pros and cons and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Which to choose depends on many factors including your car’s dashboard, your budget, your requirements …etc.
Can you fit single DIN radio into a double DIN slot?
Absolutely. You can easily fit a single din radio into a double din opening using an installation kit. These kits are designed to ultimately leave additional room in your dash, which can be customized for random cubby/storage space or be used to mount a wired remote level bass control knob or sound-shaping add-ons like car audio equalizers (EQs).